Local News

Atlanta Public Library Receives $5,000 Grant

The Atlanta Public Library was the recent recipient of a grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

 

Cathy Macariello with the Atlanta Public Library indicates the library received a $5,000 grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The grant will be used for public programming.

 

 

In the short term, the grant money will be used to assist the library in creating virtual summer programming. Any amount left over would then be earmarked for when in-person programming resumes.

 

 

The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation offers grant opportunities to area nonprofit organizations providing community services in a wide variety of areas.

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State Issues Guidance for Churches to Reopen

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS ISSUING GUIDELINES FOR CHURCHES TO OPERATE SAFELY. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE SAFEST OPTIONS REMAIN REMOTE AND DRIVE IN SERVICES, BUT FOR THOSE THAT WANT TO HOLD IN-PERSON WORSHIP, THE STATE HAS SOME RECOMMENDATIONS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THESE ARE RECOMMENDATIONS, NOT MANDATES. 

 

 

TO SEE THE GUIDELINES, VISIT DPH DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH COVID19.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Get ready for some of the best weather we've seen all year this weekend. State Climatologist Trent Ford gives us the outlook for the weekend and the week ahead.

 

 

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Local Health Officials Praise Residents for Diligence in Following Guidelines to Slow the Spread of Coronavirus

Local health officials agree, residents have done an exemplary job of doing their part to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

 

As the State of Illinois gradually reopens the economy, CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services Paul Skowron says DeWitt County has demonstrated, quote - "exemplary civic responsibility".

 

 

Dave Remmert, Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department applauds the public as well and describes his feelings as quote - "truly impressed". He points out, the data locally reflects the community's efforts. 

 

 

Remmert points out, the case they had in Piatt County from earlier in the week has submitted two consecutive negative test results.  He has been moved to our "Not Detected" line as Remmert believes he was a false positive case.

 

90-percent of the state's fatalities and 83-percent of the state's total coronavirus cases are in the Chicago area. Overall, Illinois has a 14-percent positive rate, however, the preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from May 22–May 28 is 8%.

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Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Administers Special COVID Grants to Area Groups

The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation partnered with a fund-holder within the organization, coupled with funding from the State of Illinois, to provide support for local non-profits during the coronavirus outbreak.

 

According to Grants and Communications Manager with IPCF, Michele Evans, they sought out non-profits in their four-county area to provide relief during a time when they could not fundraise. 

 

 

Groups from Community Action to The DeWitt County Friendship Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters were among those that were able to secure grants through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

 

 

In total, over $530,000 was donated to groups in DeWitt, Logan, McLean, and Livingston Counties. Evans indicates the need is great as they received over 60 applications from groups and organizations. She explains groups needed funding for personal protective equipment while others needed help filling the gaps left from losses in revenue because fundraising events had to be canceled. 

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Local Health Officials Optimistic With Recent Coronavirus Trends

As Illinois gets set to enter phase 3 of Governor JB Pritzker's five-phase plan to restore Illinois, health officials in DeWitt County say things are starting to look much better.

 

As more data becomes available about the coronavirus, CEO of Clinton's Warner Hospital, Paul Skowron believes it is giving leaders across the state and country the necessary information about how to effectively reopen the economy and protect those most susceptible to the disease.

 

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert indicates he too is optimistic with recent data trends of the coronavirus. Cases and fatalities in Illinois earlier this week hit nearly a month low.

 

 

One of the predominant known data points is the impacts on the elderly population and Skowron indicates it is their job, in conjunction with the Health Department, to make sure the public knows the facts about this disease. He also offered his thoughts on mask-wearing....

 

 

As we get set to move into the next phase of the Governor's plan to restore Illinois, Remmert hopes there would be some flexibility from the Governor to move into phase four if numbers across the state continue to improve as they have in recent weeks.

 

 

Skowron indicates cases and fatalities coming down are good but he is also encouraged by the diligent measures taken by places like hospitals and assisted living facilities to protect people. Additionally, he believes as the economy reopens, people will continue to remain vigilant in protecting family and neighbors. 

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Monticello Working With Restaurants for Outdoor Seating Heading Into Phase 3 of Reopening

Businesses across the state are celebrating as the State of Illinois begins to open back up. 

 

Shelly Crawford-Stock is the Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Monticello Main Street Executive Director and indicates they are working with their downtown restaurants to come up with some outside the box ideas on outdoor seating.

 

 

The plans for options for downtown restaurants have been in the works for some time in Monticello. According to Crawford-Stock, they want to balance safety for the community but making sure their businesses have something to offer. She says they brought together several parties to make sure they did it right. 

 

 

Outdoor availability for dining is limited to several Monticello restaurants. According to Crawford-Stock, they are making adjustments to their outdoor areas for patrons.

 

 

Crawford-Stock says to keep tabs on their Make It Monticello Facebook and Instagram accounts along with makeitmonticello.com. The Chamber and Main Street keep the site updated with services available in the community, restaurants open for curbside pick-up, and much more. 

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Report Looks at Corn and Soybean Production Costs in Illinois

Data released on the cost of producing corn and soybeans in Illinois in 2019 and the numbers are compared to the 2018 crop year. The report looks at both per-bushel and per-acre costs says Brad Zwilling with Illinois Farm Business Farm Management.

 

 

You can access the report at “farmdocdaily.illinois.edu”.

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Phase 3 Begins Tomorrow

All four regions of the state will begin Phase 3 tomorrow.

 

In his daily COVID-19 Press Briefing on Thursday, Gov. JB Pritzker announced all four regions are eligible to reopen per Phase Three.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker indicates IDPH has provided guidelines for day camps and youth sports. Recommendations for houses of worship to safely reopen have also been released.

 

 

For entertainment, horse racing will return in phase three. Spectators can watch the races from home and place bets over the phone or online.

 

 

The Governor says the same metrics that brought from Phase Two to Three will be the same that move the state into Phase Four. The earliest day for Phase Four is Friday, June 26.

 

 

Townships, counties, and municipalities can elect to enter each phase using stricter metrics.

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Sen. Rose on Budget

The Illinois Budget passed Sunday night along a party-line vote has received many critics from across the aisle.

 

Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, states his opposition to the budget is due to the uncertainty of it. The budget contains  $907 million in new spending. $6.5 billion will be borrowed from state and federal funds.

 

 

Sen. Rose indicates the state's finances were poor before the pandemic, and not being able to pay off the loans in the new budget could land the state in "junk bond status".

 

 

Sen. Rose feels it was too early to pass a budget. Revenue data from March is all lawmakers had to base the budget off of which Rose points out was a split month.

 

 

Sen. Rose suggested during the session that work on the budget be postponed until the end of June which is allowed in the state constitution. At that time revenue data from April and May would be available to help inform the budget.

 

 

The next fiscal year begins on July 1, 2020.

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Clinton Goodwill Store Re-Opening Monday

Clinton's Goodwill Retail Store will open June 2nd.  That announcement came today from Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries.  

 

All of their stores, including Clinton, will operate on reduced hours from 10 to 6 Monday thru Saturday and noon til 5 on Sunday, with occupancy limits to support social distancing.  Signs will also be posted at the entrance to each store outline this and other safety precautions.

 

The Clinton store and all Land of Lincoln Goodwill stores will also accept touchless drop off donations during the same hours following the Stop, Drop and Go process. Donors can STOP at the donation door, DROP their donations on the ground by the donation door, then get back in their vehicles and GO. 

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Encore Developmental Services Able to Secure PPP Loan

It was a long, complicated process but Encore Developmental Services was able to secure the Payroll Protection Program loan administered through the Small Business Administration.

 

According to Executive Director Stephanie Coonce, the agency applied at the guidance of the Department of Human Services. She indicates that loan allowed them to continue to pay their employees.

 

 

Coonce indicates there are still somethings to work through in the realm of the developmentally disabled. She explains things fundraising and those types of revenues are not able to be acquired this time of the year and questions remain about how PPP fits with those funds being lost.

 

 

Encore will receive a boost when they plan to reopen June 1 using just their staff. Coonce indicates during their reopening, they will not be accepting donations. 

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Atlanta Public Library Cancels In-Person Programs, Looking to Add Virtual Programs

Atlanta Public Library has curtailed in-person programming for the summer.

 

Cathy Maciariello with the Atlanta Public Library announced they have canceled in-person summer programming. This includes their popular children's' art camp due to the interactive environment.

 

 

Maciariello indicates they are currently working on virtual programming for the summer. She notes several of their programs could work well virtually.

 

 

Maciariello says summer programs usually provide a substantial amount of their revenue.

 


To stay up to date on the Atlanta Public Library visit their Facebook page, go to www.atltapld.org, or call (217) 648-2112.

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Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan does not include movie theatres

MOVIE THEATRES IN ILLINOIS ARE LOOKING TO OPEN…BUT GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS NOT YET.

 

PHASE THREE OF THE RESTORE ILLINOIS PLAN BEGINS FRIDAY, WITH SEVERAL BUSINESSES OPENING BACK UP. THE GOVERNOR SAYS THAT WON’T INCLUDE MOVIE THEATRES.

 

 

THEATRE OWNERS HAVE PROPOSED A PLAN TO OPEN AT 50 PERCENT CAPACITY, BUT GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE CAN’T SEE THAT SAFELY HAPPENING.

 

 

UNDER THE GOVERNOR’S REOPENING PLAN, THEATRES CAN’T OPEN THEIR DOORS UNTIL PHASE FOUR. THE EARLIEST PHASE FOUR WOULD BEGIN IS THE END OF JUNE, AND THEATRES WOULD BE LIMITED TO 50 PEOPLE PER MOVIE.

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Visits To Nursing Homes Might Come Last

There are lots of things that are the new normal right now in a COIVD-19 environment. From wearing facemasks to getting used to long hair. But a real challenge for many is not being able to visit loved ones in nursing homes. Those long-term care facilities have been closed to outsiders for months-long efforts to stop the spread of COIVD-19.

 

Governor JB Pritzker says unfortunately keeping visitors from nursing homes may be one of the last things that change.

 

 

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Illinois Pork Disposal Grant being offered through IPPA

As a last resort, if pork producers have to depopulate their herds due to meatpacking plant back-ups, the Illinois Pork Producers Association is making some funds available. They are called IPPA Disposal Grants says the association’s, Jennifer Tirey.

 

 

Tirey says funds are allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applicants must be pre-approved and submit invoices after the project is completed to receive payment.

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WHOW To Broadcast DeWitt County Board Special Meeting Tuesday Evening

The DeWitt County Board will hold a special meeting to vote on the proposed Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind project, this Tuesday at 6 in the evening.  All of WHOW's platforms will carry this meeting live.  

 

Tune into the BIG 1520 across Central Illinois, 92.3 FM in DeWitt County, and106.5 FM in Logan County.  Or listen to the WHOW LIVE stream at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app or Amazon Alexa. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Health Department Director Updates on Coronavirus Latest Locally

Cases of the novel coronavirus have been limited in DeWitt and Piatt Counties and even more interesting is the fact nearly half the cases are from healthcare workers.

 

Two of DeWitt County's four cases have been healthcare workers and in Piatt County, that number is six of their 11 cases are healthcare workers. DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert says it makes sense healthcare workers are at risk of contracting this virus.

 

 

Both counties in the health department's jurisdiction have seen some recent cases. Remmert indicates an 84-year old DeWitt County woman tested positive a few weeks ago and her case was very interesting as it played out. Tuesday, the health department announced a 71-year old male who will be getting a second opinion. 

 

 

Some may be concerned with the false-positive possibilities but Remmert says those things are going to happen and cautions against getting alarmed at those incidents.

 

 

Testing in the two-county area is approaching 1,000 samples. Piatt County currently has five active cases with six individuals who have recovered while DeWitt County has zero active cases. 

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Missing Farmer City Woman Found Dead

A Farmer City woman who was listed as missing/endangered by authorities over the weekend has been found dead.

 

Authorities say 69-year old Donna Kelley was found deceased. Kelley was last seen on the morning of May 20 by her neighbor after walking his dog and returning. She was last heard from at 9:02 pm on May 20 from a friend via telephone.

 

Farmer City authorities sought information from the community such as access to doorbell cameras and other recording security systems to locate Kelley. 

 

The Illinois State Police have been called in to assist with the investigation, which is ongoing and no additional information will be released at this time. An autopsy is pending.

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Weekly Crop Report

PLANTING PROGRESS SLOWED SLIGHTLY AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

LESS THAN TWO DAYS ON AVERAGE WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK, WITH ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL IN SOME AREAS, ESPECIALLY NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER TAKES A LOOK AT SOYBEAN PROGRESS.

 

 

89 PERCENT OF CORN HAS BEEN PLANTED, UP FROM 83 PERCENT LAST WEEK. 66 PERCENT HAS EMERGED AND 55 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

82 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 14 PERCENT COMPLETE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS 53 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 47 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Governor Pritzker Optimistic All of Illinois Will Move to Phase 3 Friday

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ALL OF ILLINOIS SHOULD BE MOVING TO PHASE THREE OF HIS REOPENING PLAN ON FRIDAY. 

 

THE NUMBERS NEEDED TO MOVE TO THE NEXT STAGE ARE HOLDING OR DECLINING, WHICH IS GREAT NEWS SAYS THE GOVERNOR. THAT INCLUDES THE POSITIVITY RATE OF COVID-19 TESTS AND THE NUMBER OF HOSPITAL BEDS. PRITZKER URGES PEOPLE TO CONTINUE TAKING PRECAUTIONS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR CREDITS PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES.

 

 

IN PHASE THREE, SALONS, GYMS, RETAIL STORES, OFFICES AND BARS AND RESTAURANTS WITH OUTDOOR SEATING MAY OPEN BACK UP, WITH STRINGENT HEALTH PROTOCOLS IN PLACE.

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Ag Highlights in State Budget

How did agriculture fare in the recently approved state budget? Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards has some of the highlights.

 

 

State lawmakers passed the $40-billion state budget this past Saturday, which relies on borrowing up to $5-billion from the federal reserve.

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DeWitt County Voters to Decide Future of Ambulance Service in Farmer City

In November, not only will local voters be casting votes for President of the United States and DeWitt County Board members, but they will also be voting to include Farmer City in the DeWitt County Ambulance Service district.

 

Farmer City's agreement with Arrow Ambulance will expire at the end of the year and the DeWitt County Board's public safety committee has been seeking a resolution to the potential lapse in service. Committee Chair Lance Reece indicates Farmer City can no longer afford to pay for ambulance services as they are at the max levied in their fire protection district.

 

 

According to State's Attorney Dan Markwell, the County explored an intergovernmental agreement but funds used in the DeWitt County Ambulance Service District cannot be used outside that district, which was one of many moving parts in regards to funding.

 

 

The referendum will be a two-part campaign. Farmer City voters will have to vote to join the DeWitt County service and DeWitt County voters will have to vote to accept Farmer City. Any rejection of the referendum on either side negates any plans.

 

 

A failure of the referendum would leave Farmer City in a tough spot. Markwell explains there are scenarios where there will be a delay in response times in parts of DeWitt County.

 

 

Many may vote no because bringing the Farmer City Fire Protection District into the DeWitt County district will likely increase taxes but Reece hopes residents will think of their friends and neighbors in Farmer City who will need this service in the future.

 

 

Reece indicates they will do what they can to help out the residents of Farmer City and get this referendum passed. 

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Piatt County Reporting New Case of Coronavirus

A 71-year old man in Piatt County has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department indicates the individual is not showing signs or symptoms and plans to request a re-test with his primary care provider. He and his household contacts will be monitored by the Health Department. 

 

The female in DeWitt County that tested positive was declared recovered over the holiday weekend, bringing DeWitt County's recovered total to four. There is one test pending in DeWitt County.

 

Piatt County now has five positive cases and six have recovered. 

 

Logan County still has one active case with nine recovered. There are no tests currently pending. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,178 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 39 additional deaths. Today's 1,178 new cases are the lowest number since April 20. 

 

Additionally, Memorial Day Monday's 31 fatalities were the state's lowest since April 19. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 21,643 specimens for a total of 769,564.  The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate, May 16 – May 22 is 12%.

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Warm, Possibly Wet Week to Be Followed By Beautiful Weekend

If we can get through the heat and humidity of the rest of the week, a beautiful weekend awaits us.

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday says there are afternoon and evening chances of showers and thunderstorms throughout the remainder of the week.
 

 

Perfect weather is on the way this weekend. Miller says anticipate nice weather from Friday through the weekend.

 

 

Miller says as we get to June, things should warm up and they are looking for a somewhat of a dry pattern developing. We'll hear more from Miller on that in the coming days on Regional Radio News. 

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Camp Osage Plans to Start June 1, Will Look Different

When Camp Osage begins June 1 it will look different. How different is still up in the air.

 

David Torbert, Clinton YMCA youth program director, indicates Camp Osage was set to open June 1 and still hopeful they can do that. He has ideas about how to handle public health concerns but has yet to hear guidelines from local officials.

 

 

Torbert is anticipating beginning the summer with a relatively small attendance of around ten campers. He is looking forward to adding more campers as the summer goes along.

 

 

Camp Osage will adhere to social distancing guidelines and will rework their games and activities to keep campers at a six feet distance from each other.

 

 

Camp Osage is set to open June 1 along with a soft reopening of the Clinton YMCA.

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Farmer City Public Library Hosting Virtual Summer Reading Club

The Farmer City Public Library's summer reading club will be held virtually this year.

 

Amy Johnson, Director of the Farmery City Public Library, indicates the library will be holding their summer reading club virtually this year. Patrons will log their reading times online and will receive prizes through the mail.

 

 

Johnson says there are three age groups for the program: infants through third grade, fourth grade through eighth grade, and high school/adults. Each age group will receive different prizes that have been sponsored by area businesses.

 

 

Registration is ongoing and the reading club officially begins June 1. For more information visit the Farmer City Library's Facebook page.

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Illinois State Historian on 1918 and 2020 Pandemic Comparisons

History is important. That's the message from the Illinois State Historian for people wanting a speedy return to normalcy.

 

The coronavirus pandemic bears much resemblance to the Spanish Flu pandemic. Illinois State Historian Dr. Samuel Wheeler indicates while the world was fighting in WWI, the homefront was faced with a fight of its own.

 

 

Dr. Wheeler points out that in 1918 vaccines and antibiotics were not available. Social distancing was enacted and proved to be effective in bending the curve. Across the country the second and third waves were deadlier.

 

 

A difference between the coronavirus and the Spanish Flu are the populations who contract the disease. While the elderly and immunocompromised are most susceptible to the coronavirus, the Spanish Flu was contractable by anyone and everyone.

 

 

Dr. Wheeler cautions Illinoisians wishing a return of normalcy stating that history shows us that good things come to those who are patient.

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Local Lawmakers React to Illinois Democrats Budget

The Illinois House passed a maintenance-level $40 billion state budget Saturday night that would rely heavily on federal funding to close a gaping pandemic-driven deficit.

 

The spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 requires Senate approval before it can be sent to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk. House Republican lawmakers were completely cut out of the final budget product.  Speaker Madigan and his majority decided to go it alone and ram through a partisan, unbalanced budget.  

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins, who voted against the budget bill and spoke during final floor debate, says the tough choices have to be made and this budget doesn’t do that.  

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady has concerns about higher education.

 

 

The House voted largely along party lines to advance the budget, 68-44. One publication that covers the statehouse said of the budget “Let’s stipulate that this new budget is both a disaster and a complete fantasy.”

 

The budget plan would allow for borrowing of up to $5 billion from the Federal Reserve that would be repaid with expected but uncertain federal aid from Washington. State officials also hope there will be a loosening of restrictions on how the state can spend $3.5 billion in federal aid the state has already received.

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State Holiday For November Election Other Changes Could Be Coming

Voting might look different in November. Democrats are looking to expand vote by mail options for the upcoming election. The effort is geared to looking ahead to what a major statewide election would like if COVID-19 is still circulating in the state and people are worried about in-person voting or working at the polls.

 

Among the changes Election Day 2020 would be an extended state holiday, applications for absentee voting would be mailed out and provisions for curbside voting would be made. Democrat State Rep. Kelly Burke says with COIVD-19 its clear some polling places are better than others.

 

 

So what’s being mailed? Only an application to vote by mail or absentee if a person voted in 2018, 2019 or in the 2020 primary. All of the provisions in the bill would sunset in January of 2021 and only apply to the November election.

 

The bill passed the house and heads to the Senate for approval.

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State Gets Budget, Can't Agree on Business Fines

The state has a budget. Lawmakers agreed to a $40 billion spending plan. But what lawmakers didn’t do is to follow through on a request from the Governor to codify into law a way to help enforce the stay at home order.

 

Pritzker’s earlier decision to call for a class A misdemeanor for businesses ignoring rules to stay closed caused a furor and forced him to withdraw it. Pritzker then asked the legislature to pass a law that would enforce a fine for disobeying the orders. They did not and Pritzker took notice.

 

 

Pritzker has said all along that he never wanted jail time for anyone ignoring the public health order or to pull a business license.

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Encore Thrift Store Targeting June 1 Reopening

Encore Developmental Services in Clinton are targeting resuming their operations on June 1. 

 

Executive Director Stephanie Coonce tells Regional Radio they will likely reopening their doors that Monday but it is unlikely they will incorporate their day-program clients into getting the store open. 

 

While the store plans to reopen June 1, Coonce indicates they are not ready to take donations again. She explains there is data to suggest any remnants of the coronavirus could survive in the conditions of their warehouse so they want to make sure they have a safe environment before they start accepting donations.

 

 

Coonce indicates the community will see a completely different store when they visit starting next week. They have turned over their inventory in the store and will have all new items to shop through. Get more information by searching the Encore Thrift Store page on Facebook or visit www.encoreservices.org. 

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Concerns Over Virtual Wind Farm Vote Dominate DeWitt County Board Meeting

The DeWitt County Board met virtually for nearly two hours Thursday night.  Much of that time was devoted to hearing from 17 members of the public, the majority of whom voiced concerns over the upcoming June 2nd virtual vote on the proposed Alta Farms II wind farm project.

 

Those concerns were echoed by Board Member, Melonie Tilley, at the end of the meeting...

 

 

In addition to public access concerns due to technological challenges, Board Member, Nate Ennis, voiced concerns over potential violations of the Open Meetings Act.  State's Attorney Dan Markwell feels the virtual meeting meets those requirements...

 

 

Tilley and Ennis also questioned whether voting on a Special Use Permit was "essential" business for the county.  Board Chair Dave Newberg says all DeWitt County business is essential...

 

 

The initial vote on this Special Use Permit was orginially set for March 18th, but has been delayed due to the pandemic.  

 

The virtual vote on the proposed Alta Farms II wind farm project remains scheduled for June 2nd.

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Local Health Officials Offer Thoughts on Any Resurgence of Coronavirus

If a second wave of coronavirus resurfaces, local health officials say we are in much better shape to handle it.

 

Experts anticipate a resurgence of the coronavirus in the fall and next winter and Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert says the data surrounding capacity in hospitals and anticipates by the fall, kids will be back in schools.

 

 

For Paul Skowron, CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services in Clinton, his hope is testing will become more accurate and more cost-effective. He says testing will be a stop-gap until a vaccine is developed.

 

 

In support of opening the economy sooner, Skowron believes the coronavirus is not a surprise anymore and we are now better prepared for any second wave or eruption that might occur in late summer or fall. He adds, PPE is in place, testing equipment and faster turnaround of results, as well as improved  health care processes regarding patient flow that will prevent infection. Any future outbreak will be swiftly attacked head on.

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Governor JB Pritzker announces guidelines for businesses to reopen in Phase 3

RE-OPENING GUIDELINES ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR ILLINOIS BUSINESSES.

 

THE STATE HAS POSTED GUIDELINES AND TOOLKITS FOR RESTAURANTS, BARS, GYMS, SALONS, RETAIL STORES AND MORE TO REOPEN. PHASE THREE BEGINS FRIDAY SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THEY CAME UP WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS BY TALKING WITH BUSINESS OWNERS, WORKERS, PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS AND MORE…BALANCING BRINGING THE ECONOMY BACK WITH KEEPING PEOPLE SAFE.

 

 

OWNERS OF BARS, RESTAURANTS, GYMS AND RETAIL STORES AS WELL AS YOUTH SPORTS, GOLF COURSE AND DAY CAMP DIRECTORS CAN FIND THE GUIDELINES AND TOOLKITS FOR REOPENING ONLINE AT: DCEO DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Lawmakers pass a more than $40B new state budget

THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE HAS APPROVED A MORE THAN 40 BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET THAT REFLECTS THE ADDED PRESSURE THAT COVID-19 HAS PLACED UPON THE STATE. 

REPRESENTATIVE GREG HARRIS OF CHICAGO SAYS IT’S BEEN AN INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT YEAR.

 

THAT’S WHY THE STATE MAY BORROW UP TO FIVE BILLION DOLLARS FROM THE FEDERAL RESERVE TO HELP FILL SOME GAPS. THAT WOULD BE PAID BACK WITH ANTICIPATED AID PASSED BY CONGRESS. REPRESENTATIVE TOM DEMMER OF DIXON IS CRITICAL OF THAT PLAN.

 

THE BUDGET, WHICH TAKES EFFECT ON JULY FIRST, ADDRESSES MANY OF THE STATE’S NEEDS DURING THE PANDEMIC SAYS SENATOR ANDY MANAR OF BUNKER HILL.

 

 

SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES WILL GET THE SAME AMOUNT OF FUNDING AS THEY DID LAST YEAR. THE BUDGET ALSO INCLUDES MILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR COVID TESTING AND MONEY TO HIRE MORE CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATORS.

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Lawmakers pass bill allowing for curbside sale of cocktails by bars and restaurants

YOU MAY SOON BE ABLE TO PICK UP CURBSIDE COCKTAILS FROM YOUR LOCAL WATERING HOLE.

 

LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL LETTING BARS AND RESTAURANTS SELL MIXED DRINKS TO GO. THEY WILL HAVE TO BE CAREFULLY PACKAGED BUT SALES SHOULD HELP OUT THE INDUSTRY SAYS SENATOR SARA FEIGENHOLTZ OF CHICAGO.

 

 

UNDER A BILL APPROVED BY STATE LAWMAKERS, YOU CAN ORDER MARGARITAS, MOJITOS OR OTHER MIXED DRINKS TO GO FROM BARS AND RESTAURANTS. THERE ARE STRICT RULES ABOUT HOW THEY WILL HAVE TO BE PACKAGED. REPRESENTATIVE GRANT WEHRLI OF NAPERVILLE IS A SUPPORTER.

 

 

IF SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR, THE PROVISION WILL STAY IN EFFECT FOR ONE YEAR, ALTHOUGH IT COULD BE EXTENDED. COMMUNITIES CAN OPT OUT IF THEY DON’T WANT TO ALLOW THE CURBSIDE SALES.

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Lawmakers approve legislation to pave the way for a casino in Chicago

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS ARE PAVING THE WAY FOR A CASINO IN CHICAGO THAT THEY SAY WILL BENEFIT THE WHOLE STATE. 

 

THE BILL LOWERS GAMING TAX RATES FOR A PLANNED CASINO IN THE CITY. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY SAYS SENATOR BILL CUNNINGHAM OF CHICAGO, IS THAT SOME OF THE REVENUE WILL PAY FOR BUILDING PROJECTS ACROSS ILLINOIS.

 

 

SENATOR BILL CUNNINGHAM OF CHICAGO SPONSORED THE BILL, WHICH LOWERS THE TAX STRUCTURE FOR A CITY CASINO. SOME OF THE REVENUE, AS WITH OTHER CASINOS, WILL GO TOWARDS MUCH NEEDED BUILDING PROJECTS ACROSS ILLINOIS. ADDITIONALLY,

 

 

THE BILL STILL NEEDS TO BE APPROVED BY THE GOVERNOR.

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Weekly Weather Report

If you were hoping for a dry spell in central Illinois, it isn't likely. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us, the chances of rain are going to hang around through much of the week ahead.

 

 

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Two Clinton Polling Places Moved

If you vote in the DeWitt County precincts of Clintonia 2 and Clintonia 7, then you will have a new polling location this fall.

 

At its virtual monthly meeting Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board unanimously approved moving the two precincts from the DeWitt County Housing Authority's "high rise" on east Main street to the First Christian Church on North Jackson.

 

DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith says the move is a matter of safety...

 

 

The move of Clintonia 2 and Clintonia 7 now means six precincts within Clinton will be voting this fall at the First Christian Church.

 

Anyone with questions about their polling place, or options for absentee voting for this November's election are encouraged to contact the DeWitt County Clerk's office. 
 

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CCEF Announces Scholarship Recipients

Clinton Community Education Foundation recently announced the 2020-2021 scholarship winners.

 

Russell Long with CCEF, indicates the scholarships they administer are traditionally awarded at the Gold Star Banquet during the spring semester. With classes and events at schools being canceled by the coronavirus, the high school guidance department put together a video compilation of all scholarship winners.

 

 

The CCEF has several scholarships that they award themselves: the Vincent Beggs Scholarship, Vocational/Technology Scholarship, and the James Adcock Teacher Scholarship.

 

 

In addition to their scholarships, CCEF also administers scholarships on behalf of Excelon Power Station in Clinton and the family of Jerry Ryan.

 

 

Long indicates he is glad they were able to award so many scholarships given the circumstances.

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Two New Coronavirus Cases in Piatt County

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting two new cases of coronavirus.

 

The first is a 47-year-old male.  He has no current symptoms with limited contacts.  Monitoring is ongoing and we are working with his contacts currently.

 

In the second case, the health department is still waiting for more details.  Information will be provided on this individual over the weekend.

 

Piatt County currently has four individuals with coronavirus with DeWitt County at one.

 

One test is pending in each of the two counties and a total of 916 samples have been reported. 

Logan County has one active case of coronavirus, nine individuals have recovered and 859 samples have been reported. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,758 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 110 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 105,444 cases, including 4,715 deaths, in 100 counties in Illinois. Just short of 90-percent of cases are in the Chicagoland area. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 25,113 specimens for a total of 697,133.  

 

The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate, May 13-19, 2020 is 13%.

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Sen. Rose Agrees With Parts of Governor's Reopen Plan, Hopes for More Collaboration

There are parts of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's plan to reopen the Illinois economy that State Senator Chapin Rose agrees with.

 

The Mahomet Republican likes that the Governor elected to base his thresholds for advancement through the various phases on hospital capacity. While he agrees that approach, the Senator also notes, the regions he has established are too big because of where people will seek help in the event they get sick.

 

 

Regions of Illinois will have to wait 28 days to advance from one phase to the next starting June 1. Sen. Rose says there is no science to 28 days and points out people want to reopen and do so safely.

 

 

Sen. Rose is disappointed the Governor is taking the approach of 'my way or the highway'. He does not believe the Governor is leading well when he sends him and his family to Florida and Wisconsin during their downtime.

 

 

Sen. Rose has been meeting with as many people from all sectors including young people to find out where they are at in terms of wanting to reopen and get back to as much normalcy as possible and he is finding most are on board with a safe reopening and he plans to send his findings on to the Governor's office. 

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Illinois Junior College Growing Hemp

Hemp will be grown on Illinois Valley Community College’s farm plot in Oglesby. IVCC will start a cannabis growing certificate program this fall. Teacher Kathryn Lillie says it’ll be done in two semesters with an internship in the spring.

 

 

Students will learn about the cannabis plant, different uses for it, and how the hemp, medical, and recreational cannabis industries work. Legal cannabis careers can be worth anywhere from around $25,000 to more than $100,000 per year in income.

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House Approves Bill Expanding Vote By Mail for November Election

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE VOTING TO EXPAND MAIL-IN VOTING FOR THE NOVEMBER ELECTION.

 

UNDER THE BILL, VOTERS WHO CAST A BALLOT IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS WILL BE SENT AN APPLICATION FOR A MAIL-IN BALLOT. IT’S SUPPORTED BY REPRESENTATIVE KATIE STUART OF COLLINSVILLE.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE DAN BRADY OF BLOOMINGTON SAYS THERE ARE CONCERNS ABOUT VOTER FRAUD.

 

 

THE EFFORT WOULD ONLY APPLY TO THE NOVEMBER THIRD ELECTION. STUDENTS WOULD GET THE DAY OFF SO SCHOOLS COULD BE SAFELY USED AS POLLING PLACES. CRITICS WORRY ABOUT VOTER FRAUD.

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Governor Concerned About Coronavirus Resurgence in Fall

AS THE STATE GETS READY TO MOVE INTO THE NEXT PHASE OF THE “RESTORE ILLINOIS” PLAN, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WARNS…THE THREAT OF THE CORONAVIRUS ISN’T OVER YET.

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE…BUT THERE COULD BE ANOTHER SURGE OF CASES AS THE WEATHER COOLS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THEY WILL BE WATCHING THE NUMBERS CAREFULLY AS THE STATE MOVES INTO THE NEXT PHASE FOR ANY NEW SPIKE IN CASES.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THAT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE PLENTY OF TESTING, A SOLID CONTACT TRACING PROGRAM AND ROOM IN HOSPITALS FOR POSSIBLE PATIENTS.

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GOP To Ask Democrats to Hold Off on Graduated Income Tax Vote This Fall

Republicans are keeping up the pressure on Democrats to pull the graduated income tax question off the November ballot. 

 

The issue was debated in the Senate last night. Republican Jason Barickman says placing the question on the ballot will only give Illinois residents who already feel under attack even more reason to believe that.

 

 

 

The on a party-line

vote the Senate approved placing the question of the graduated income tax on the November ballot.

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Farmers Can Begin CFAP Application Next Week

Applications will soon be accepted for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or CFAP. Livestock, row crop, and specialty crop producers can apply for the direct payment help through their local FSA office says Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards.

 

 

Applications will be accepted May 26th through August 28th.

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DeWitt County To Urge Governor To Re-Open; Approves Two Salary Increases

The DeWitt County Board will join with municipalities within the county in sending a letter to Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker, urging him to allow local businesses to safely re-open.

 

The Board unanimously passed a motion at its virtual meeting Thursday night to send the letter after getting consent from local health department leaders.  County Board Chair Dave Newberg read the letter, which opens by asking Pritzker to accelerate re-opening plans...

 

 

The letter, read by Newberg, goes on to acknowledge the seriousness of the outbreak, but it also points out the local economic impact of the shutdown...

 

 

Board member Terry Ferguson notes the letter came about to show a unified voice from DeWitt County municipalities.  He says the County Board was advised this was the safest way to show their support for local businesses...

 

 

DeWitt County State's Attorney Dan Markwell raised concerns if the letter had been presented to the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department.  The board agreed to present the letter to the health department board next week, and would then proceed to send it to the Governor. 

 

In other business Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board:

 

> voted 7-4 in favor of increasing the DeWitt County Coroner salary from 20-thousand 5-hundred dollars to 23-thousand dollars over the next four years.

 

> The Board unanimously approved increasing the DeWitt County Circuit Clerk salary from 58-thousand dollars to 61-thousand 3-hundred dollars over the next four years.

 

> The Board unanimously approved county employee insurance packages for the next year.

 

> The Board also unanimously approved a referendum for the November ballot to combine the ambulance service in the Farmer City Fire Protection District into DeWitt County Emergency Services.

 

 

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Coronavirus Forces Cancellation of Community Action's Biggest Fundraiser

Last month, Community Action was forced to cancel its biggest fundraiser of the year.

 

Much to the disappointment of the organization and those who look forward to the annual Cheeseburger in Paradise event in Lincoln, the agency is reeling and Breann Titus says the loss will be roughly $25,000.

 

 

While the event will not go on, Titus says they encouraged their donors to contribute to other efforts within the agency that have been so important during the coronavirus shut down. 

 

 

Money lost from the influx of cash brought by Cheeseburger in Paradise is going to have a trickle-down impact on their budget but also programming. Titus says they will pursue grant opportunities but it may not be enough to make up for where the fundraising dollars end up.

 

 

Titus says they will have some challenges to make up that revenue loss but will work to do things down the road to try to close that gap. 

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United Way Offers Resources for Coronavirus Relief

United Way has a couple of one-stop-shop resources for people seeking financial assistance due to the coronavirus.

 

Ryan Huffer with the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois indicates people can call 211 for help with food, rent, and utility assistance, or counseling and will be referred to the nearest agency.

 

 

United Way's website offers a list of resources that is updated daily. Huffer says they are in communication with social services and agencies to direct people to where they can receive help.

 

 

Huffer reminds other social services in DeWitt County are also preparing to see an influx of patrons. All of the services are available confidentially.

 

 

For more information visit uwdecatur.org or call (217) 422-8537.

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Sen. Rose: The Coronavirus is Here, We Have To Coincide With It

You're not stopping COVID because no government on earth has been able to yet.

 

State Senator Chapin Rose believes we should be working together on how we approach moving forward because the coronavirus is here and stopping the spread is not going to happen. The Mahomet Republican says we need to figure how we're going to coincide with it until a vaccine or suitable treatment is developed.

 

 

The Senator encourages Illinoisans and says we will get through this. He says we need to protect the elderly but healthy people need to get back to work.

 

 

Sen. Rose agrees with a lot of things in the Governor's 'Reopen Illinois Plan' but hopes there will be some adjustments. We'll hear more from the Senator tomorrow on Regional Radio News. 

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State Police Won't Arrest Those Disobeying Governor's Executive Order

The Illinois State Police won't arrest anyone that defies the Governor's Executive Orders.  That came from I-S-P on their Facebook page Tuesday night.

 

The statement said that they will not issue any criminal misdemeanors to individuals for violations of temporary emergency rules or executive orders, adding they'll
only apply those emergency rules to entities such as corporations, LLPs or other business entities consistent with state and constitutional law. 

 

The State Police say no individual will be arrested or taken to jail for a violation of the Executive Orders or emergency rules. 

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Courts Around Illinois Could Open As Early As June 1

Courts thru-out Illinois could open as early as June First, based on guidelines released Wednesday by the Illinois Supreme Court.

 

The state's highest court issued an order and operational guidelines to help courts statewide resume in-person operations and establish procedures for remote hearings. Since mid March, the state’s courts have been operating under precautionary measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to conduct emergency and essential matters. 

 

Yesterday's order modifies the Court’s March 17th order so that each circuit may return to hearing all court matters either in-person or remotely according to a schedule adopted for each county by the chief circuit judge. 

 

Remote hearings, which have proven to be successful nationwide, will play a large role in reducing the numbers of people appearing at courthouses and ensuring the safety of court users, staff and judicial officers, according to the Supreme Court.

 

Chief circuit judges are authorized to develop plans for resumption of court operations in their respective circuit.  Plans may differ from county to county, but local plans are to continue the use of remote hearings where it's appropriate. 

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Senator Rose Says JCAR Stopping Pritzker's Emergency Rule Good; More Battles Remain

51st District Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose, a Republican from Mahomet, says while the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on Wednesday forced Governor J-B Pritzker to withdraw a proposed emergency rule that tightening enforcement of his Executive Order, the Governor is now asking the Legislature to do it while they're in session this week.

 

 

Senator Rose says he doesn't know if enough Democrats will support Pritzker's bill.

 

 

Senator Rose says the Governor's announcement Wednesday opening up outside dining at restaurants on May 28th is a good sign.

 

 

The Senate Republicans Wednesday proposed their own legislation to re-open Illinois, and Rose thinks it'll help in pressuring the Governor.

 

 

 

Senator Rose's district includes all or parts of DeWitt, Piatt, McLean, Macon, and Champaign counties in the Regional Radio listening area.

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Governor Pritzker Loosens Restrictions in Phase 3

Coronavirus statistics are suggesting restrictions in place in the Governor's reopening plan can be loosened as we get set to enter phase 3 later next week.

 

Governor JB Pritzker, back in Springfield to join the Illinois legislature's return to work, says the diligent work of Illinoisans along with encouraging news in the healthcare system is the reason for the Governor's loosening his restrictions in phase 3 of his 'Restore Illinois' plan.

 

 

Governor Pritzker is allowing for outdoor seating to be available at bars and restaurants. 

 

 

State parks will reopen May 29 along with the concessions at the parks. 

 

 

According to Governor Pritzker, fitness centers will remain under the same guidelines and retail stores can reopen.

 

 

The boating restrictions will be lifted and now up to ten people can be on a boat of an appropriate size.

 

 

The Governor points out local governments can pull back on these restrictions if they see it necessary. Additionally, he cautions against letting up in the diligence of social distancing and points out other states that have opened up have seen spikes in cases and hospitalizations. 

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Piatt County Reporting New Case of Coronavirus

A 46-year old female healthcare worker has tested positive for coronavirus in Piatt County.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department indicates the individual is a healthcare worker in Champaign  County and is having no signs or symptoms at this time and tested positive yesterday (Tuesday).

 

The individual will isolate at home with a potential release date of May 31st; pending no signs and symptoms and fever-free.  The close contacts have been notified and will isolate and monitor for signs and symptoms at home until June 1st - no one is currently having signs and symptoms. The case and all contacts will undergo daily monitoring from our staff.

 

One test is pending in each DeWitt and Piatt Counties. 840 tests have been processed.

 

Logan County now has one active case and nine individuals tested. 804 samples have been processed.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,388 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 147 additional deaths.

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 21,029 specimens for a total of 642,713.  The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate, May 11-17, 2020 is 14%.

 

IDPH is reporting a total of 100,418 cases, including 4,525 deaths, in 100 counties in Illinois.

 

Just short of 90-percent of cases are in the Chicagoland area. 

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How Abraham Lincoln Might Have Handled the Coronavirus Outbreak

Abraham Lincoln was such a big people person, a stay at home order would have pained him so much, he probably would have ended up with the coronavirus when he was President of the United States.

 

Basing what we know about the 16th President, Professor Mark Pohlad believes that is just one of several things we can assume about Honest Abe had a pandemic cropped up during his time in office. Pohlad is a Lincoln fanatic and recently wrote a piece titled "What Abraham Lincoln would do in the coronavirus pandemic".

 

 

Pohlad believes Lincoln's level-headed nature would have been a huge asset in a time that is very charged with differing opinions and passion behind those opinions. He says a word the President would have used was 'disenthral'. Pohlad says we know this because Lincoln lived during a very charged period in our nation's history, the Civil War. 

 

 

Another endearing trademark of Lincoln's was to bring in people with differing opinions from his and try to form the best policies based on those differing viewpoints. In a time like this, Pohlad says Lincoln would certainly have turned to experts to guide his decision making.

 

 

The country is currently in a state of transition and Pohlad speculates we can get a lot about how Lincoln might have handled a going back to work and rebuilding the economy in his second inaugural address. 

 

 

Pohlad hopes as we are still in our homes, folks would explore the history documentaries available on streaming services. He also praises the Abraham Lincoln sculpture on the Clinton Square and the prairie land of Weldon Springs State Park and encourages checking those types of landmarks out. 

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Clinton Goodwill to Accept Donations; Retail Store Still Closed

Officials with Land of Lincoln Goodwill have announced that their donation center in Clinton will begin accepting drop-off donations on May 27th.  

 

Goodwill says they have taken necessary safety precautions at these donation sites to protect both donors and Goodwill donation attendants and will be implementing social distancing measures at each location, instituting a "Stop, Drop, and Go" process.   

 

A list of acceptable and unacceptable donations can be found on the Land of Lincoln Goodwill website.

 

Their Clinton retail store, and others operated by Land of Lincoln Goodwill in Central Illinois, remain closed pending further word from the Governor on when they can open.

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Local Officials Discuss Clinton Businesses Reopening Efforts

Several Clinton businesses are reopening and local officials are weighing in on enforcement of violating the Governor's mandates and potential consequences.

 

As a few DeWitt County restaurants, hair salons, and health centers reopen, State's Attorney Dan Markwell indicates he is going to handle any cases turned over to him on a case-by-case basis. He says right now they have two cases that he will not pursue criminal charges for.

 

 

Clinton Attorney Kevin Hammer indicates he and several attorneys in central Illinois believe the Governor is overstepping his bounds. He explains the Governor, through public health rules, has not followed state statutes and regulations. 

 

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Executive Director Dave Remmert indicates his role in all this is advisory. He is advising businesses that will be reopening to keep in mind, there are things at stake beyond the enforcement jurisdiction of the health department. 

 

 

State's Attorney Markwell echoes similar comments as Remmert. A business could be contacted by the Attorney General, and that enforcement would be beyond the control of his office.

 

 

According to Hammer, the Governor is trying to scare people to remain closed and does not feel that is right. He points out establishments do need to be concerned about losing their licenses, however, he does not believe violating a mandate is enough to remove a license.

 

 

Like the State's Attorney, Remmert indicates a lot of enforcement from his end of things comes on a case-by-case basis. He worries the state may step in and take away the licenses of these establishments.

 

 

Other local officials have indicated enforcement of mandates from the Governor's office is somewhat vague and difficult to enforce. Hammer calls it a disconnect between the various agencies. He wants to see more leadership at the local to back their small businesses.

 

 

While there are various avenues for the State of Illinois to pursue enforcement of violations, Remmert indicates the Governor has recently turned to a very old law that would hit violators of the executive orders with a Class-A misdemeanor.

 

 

According to Hammer, it will be the small business owners hurt the most from these mandates from Governor Pritzker and many do not have the resources to obtain legal help. He is working with other attorneys in the area to provide legal counsel pro bono, in addition to trying to raise money for these business owners through a 'Go Fund Me' campaign. 

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Warming Temperatures But More Rain Forecasted for Illinois

Warming temperatures in the forecast for the Memorial Day weekend in Illinois, but the weather pattern will remain active says DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson.

 

 

Anderson says there was a lot of inch to three-inch rains throughout Illinois this past weekend with some areas near Chicago receiving as much as eight inches.

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Clinton Board of Education Promotes Goebbel, Peck; Extends Superintendent Nettles

The Clinton Board of Education promoted within Tuesday night at their regular Board of Education meeting.

 

The Board of Education extended Superintendent Curt Nettles' contract through 2024. Additionally, Drew Goebbel has been promoted to Assistance Superintendent and Jim Peck has been promoted to Clinton Junior High School Principal. 

 

Board of Education President Dan Matthews spoke highly of all three men and the leadership they've provided the district. 

 

 

The Board of Education used Zoom to broadcast their meeting to the public Tuesday and at times the audio was hard to hear. The hope is to have everyone back in the junior high school library in June. 

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Clinton City Administrator to Business Owners: If You Want to Open Up, Open Up

If you are a business owner in Clinton and you want to open up - open up.

 

That is the message from City Administrator Tim Followell who says it wasn't the City of Clinton that shut down the businesses that closed after Governor Pritzker enacted the stay at home order. He believes business owners don't need the blessing of the City to reopen.

 

 

The City has received criticism regarding not putting a plan together for reopening. Followell says not only does the City not have the authority to tell businesses to reopen but they also do not have access to experts to help guide them in good policy to reopen.

 

 

Followell says the City is also tied up because they do not want to face the wrath of anything the Governor and his office can do to the City. He wants DeWitt County on the Governor's radar for something other than the wrong reasons.

 

 

Many have criticized the City for not taking action to protect sales tax dollars that come to the City. Followell points out, the State of Illinois does not have pass along sales tax dollars to the City. He emphasizes that is an unwritten law and those revenues to stop at any time.

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Clinton Business Leaders Discuss Reopening

Wrestling with public safety and economic security are the two biggest factors being weighed by leadership across the country as areas of the US try to expedite the process of getting back to work safely.

 

Downstate Illinoisans are growing frustrated by the stay at home orders despite very low numbers in a lot of areas of the state. Friday afternoon in a town hall forum with State Representative Dan Caulkins, Warner Hospital CEO Paul Skowron told the Decatur Republican they have to give people confidence about opening back up at the hospital. 

 

 

From the economic side, President of First National Bank in Clinton, Josh Shofner is becoming increasingly concerned the recovery from this virus is going to take several years to recover from.

 

 

According to Rennie Cluver, Executive Director of the Clinton YMCA, he is frustrated with the length of time necessary to move from phase three to phase four when the community is ready for phase four right now. He expressed some frustration for a lack of communication from local leaders to lay out a plan.

 

 

The Decatur Republican believes one of the positives of the coronavirus outbreak is going to be the expedition of the entry into the digital world with the innovation needed for all the remote work and business being conducted in the last few months. 

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Clinton City Council Sends Letter to Local Governor Requesting Expedition of Reopening

The Restore Illinois Plan isn't sitting well with Clinton City leadership and Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Mayor Roger Cyrulik informed the Council of a letter that will go to State Senator Chapin Rose and Governor JB Pritzker.

 

The Mayor hopes to get a voice in the decision-making process. He says small businesses are hurting and to wait another 11 days may be too long to make up all the losses they've experienced.

 

 

The Mayor's letter expresses concerns over the timeline given in the plan and while data is driving the decisions, the Mayor says economic hardships are starting stack up.

 

 

The letter expresses a collaborative approach with the Governor and calls for allowing a more regional approach to reopening. Mayor Cyrulik in the letter says social distancing and PPE should be a part of any reopening efforts locally.

 

 

Commissioner Dan Ballenger backed the Mayor's letter and says we need to get the City going again.

Also at the Monday night Council meeting, the Council approved the Center Street project for $1.25-million. 

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Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS ARE KEEPING WELL AHEAD OF LAST YEAR’S PLANTING PACE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER GIVES AN UPDATE ON CORN.

 

 

SCHLEUSENER TURNS TO SOYBEANS:

 

 

67 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 63 PERCENT IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT. THAT’S A SLIGHT DECLINE FROM LAST WEEK. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT ONE PERCENT SHORT, 49 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 50 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Sen. Durbin Wants Nazi Signs Gone from Rallies

Protests at the state capitol and Thompson center in Chicago have had people in the crowd carrying signs evoking Nazi Germany slogans, swastikas, and imagery making Governor JB Pritzker look like Adolph Hitler or comparing them.

 

Pritzker who is Jewish says the signs have no place at a protest rally and wonders why members of the Republican party in Illinois would speak at rallies where those signs are carried. House GOP Leader Jim Durkin did not speak at those events and says people with those signs or feelings need to stay home.

 

 

House Members Darren Bailey and Chris Miller addressed the crowd in Springfield.

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Illinois Department of Public Health Urging People to Not Put Off Other Medical Needs

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS URGING PEOPLE NOT TO PUT OFF OTHER MEDICAL NEEDS DURING THE PANDEMIC.

 

ALTHOUGH THE PANDEMIC IS ONGOING…STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS YOU SHOULDN’T BE IGNORING OTHER MEDICAL ISSUES.

 

 

EZIKE SUGGESTS CALLING YOUR PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER TO SEE WHAT PROTOCOLS THEY HAVE IN PLACE AT THEIR OFFICE. SHE SAYS IT’S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT THAT KIDS GET THE REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS.

 

 

THE STATE IS ANNOUNCING MORE THAN 22-HUNDRED NEW CASES OF CORONAVIRUS INFECTION, BRINGING THE TOTAL IN ILLINOIS TO MORE THAN 96 THOUSAND. MANY OF THOSE PATIENTS HAVE RECOVERED.

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Governor Announces Contact Tracing in Select Illinois Counties

THE STATE IS LAUNCHING A CONTACT TRACING PILOT PROGRAM IN TWO ILLINOIS COUNTIES. 

 

A STATEWIDE TRACING PROGRAM IS IN THE WORKS, AND SAINT CLAIR AND LAKE COUNTIES WILL BE THE FIRST TO TRY IT OUT. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS COVID-19 PATIENTS WILL BE INTERVIEWED TO SEE WHO THEY HAVE COME IN CONTACT WITH RECENTLY.

 

 

IT’S AN IMPORTANT TOOL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE VIRUS SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE STATE’S 97 LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENTS WILL BE DOING THE TRACING. YOU CAN APPLY TO BE A TRACER ONLINE AT: DPH DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH COVID19.

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Gov. Pritzker Questions What GOP Leaders are Doing at Rallies

They haven’t been large in number but there have been anti-Semitic signs at protests over Governor JB Pritzker’s stay at home orders.

 

Signs with swastikas, imagery making Pritzker look like Adolph Hitler and even signs evoking Nazi Germany slogans tied to concentration camps have been seen. Pritzker, who is Jewish, says Republicans who spoke at the event are putting people in danger.

 

 

Republican Mark Curran is running against Durbin for Senate this fall.

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GOP Responds to Governors Misdemeanor Decision

Top Republicans are pushing back against the Governor making an emergency rule to be able to issue misdemeanors to businesses that ignore his stay at home orders.

 

JB Pritzker says the ticket is a needed tool that can be used to get businesses to comply. Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady doesn’t see it that and says the Governor has exceeded his authority and isn’t doing anything to help the growing divide in the state.

 

 

The rule could be addressed Wednesday by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules or JCAR. That committee is comprised of six Democrats and six republicans.

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GOP Leaders Want Grad Tax Question Off Fall Ballot

The House and Senate GOP wants a question being posed to voters in November off the ballot. 

 

The question is – should the state should implement a graduated income tax. Senate Republican Minority leader Bill Brady says during of time of unknowns taxpayers need the certainty of the current flat tax.

 

 

Democrats are unlikely to take any interest the call from Republicans to act to pull the question from the fall ballot.

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Ag Groups Seek Addtional Funding For Field Vets

As state budget talks ramp up in Springfield, one of the “asks” from agriculture is additional funding for field veterinarians says Mark Gebhards with Illinois Farm Bureau.

 

 

State lawmakers return to Springfield this week.

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Governor Gives Law Enforcement Additionally Tools to Enforce Mandates - Discusses Expansion of Powers

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker Monday tried to clear up some confusion regarding a recent order from his office to give local law enforcement and Departments of Health more enforcement options for statewide mandates.

 

According to the Governor, enforcement right now is limited and prefers to promote education and compliance, which admits has been effective, but in the event, they need to, there are penalties they can turn to.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says enforcement is the last thing they want to turn to because of the impacts it can have on those businesses. He says currently, a citation is a class-A misdemeanor for the violation of a public health rule.

 

 

The emergency rule for the requirement of following the stay at home rules gives local health departments and law enforcement more ability to do their jobs. Gov. Pritzker says this falls in line with other states and does not apply to individuals.

 

 

Governor Pritzker thanks 99-percent of Illinois businesses following their guidelines and remains optimistic much of Illinois will move to phase 3 of his reopen Illinois plan. 

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MABAS Tent at Warner Hospital Taken Down

Last Friday, the MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) tent was removed from the parking lot of Warner Hospital and Health Services front lot. 

 

CEO Paul Skowron says the tent ultimately wasn't needed but was set up as contingency if the coronavirus ever intensified enough to need it.

 

 

Skowron says it is good news the tent will be returned and never needed to be used. 

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The Vault Targeting Reopen Date of June 1, Plans to Offer Community Lunch Program

When The Vault reopens its doors June 1, they will do so with a new program in place.

 

'Grub n' Go' is their new program that will allow the community to grab a $5 lunch made by students. Executive Director Tammy Wilson says they will serve lunch every day but it will be a community effort to make the program successful.

 

 

According to Wilson, depending on social distancing regulations, the community is welcome to come into The Vault and pick up their lunch or they can dine in, safely of course. 

 

 

The menu ranges from Monday's bacon mac n' cheese, taco bowl Tuesday, brats and dogs Wednesday, Thursday will offer tater tot casserole and pulled pork on Fridays.

 

 

Wilson indicates they are very sensitive to the fact restaurants are trying to get themselves back up and going and feared what their reaction might be, however, feedback from those owners offered their support for the effort.

 

 

Monday, June 1 will be the first day they offer the lunch and it will be offered Monday through Friday from 11 am to 1 pm. Wilson adds anyone who stops by can also stop in and enjoy the snacks available at their cafe. Those items are available all day at The Vault.

 

Get more information by finding The Vault on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram or by visiting thevaultclinton.org. 

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Illinois Sheriffs Association Calls Governor's Threats to Withhold Funding for Not Enforcing Executive Order "Outrageous"

In a post late last week on their Facebook page, the Illinois Sheriff's Association says they disagree with Governor J-B Pritzker's threat to local law enforcement suffering consequences if they don't enforce his Executive Order.

 

The news release called it outrageous that the Governor is threatening retaliation against local law enforcment, including litigation and loss of funding.

 

The Illinois Sheriff's Association statement went on to say that their group has not been consulted by the Governor about the impact his policy has on law enforcement or counties across the state.  The statement added that Sheriffs were elected by their counties to keep residents safe, and they will continue to do so.

 

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State Rep Claims Governor May Tighten Executive Order

A Republican State Representative is calling out the Governor on an apparent weekend news release claiming his Executive Orders could be extended and have stricter enforcement.

 

State Representative John M. Cabello, a Republican from Machesney Park in northern Illinois, is publicly objecting to apparent rule changes made by the Illinois Department of Public Health, or I-D-P-H, that criminalizes non-compliance with I-D-P-H regulations. 

 

Cabello claims the changes would empower local health officials to , quoting the news release, “…institute prosecutions or proceedings…” against violators of health rules. It also directs county State’s Attorneys to “…prosecute all persons…violating or refusing to obey the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Health”.

 

Cabello says the rule changes also call for heavy fines and charges under a Class A Misdemeanor for any violators. Additionally, the rule under 20 ILCS 2305/2(k) states: quote, “Any person who knowingly or maliciously disseminates any false information or report concerning the existence of any dangerously contagious or infectious disease in connection with the Department’s power of quarantine, isolation or closure order is guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor”.

 

Cabello took issue with the proposed changes, calling the Governor a dictator in a news release Cabello posted on-line Saturday, and claiming he's weaponizing I-D-P-H to treat citizens like criminals.

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DeWitt County Board Chair: The Coronavirus is Real But So Are People's Livelihoods

Counties in various parts of Illinois are giving their residents and businesses the 'thumbs up' to open back up and DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg weighed in on what they might do.

 

Newberg stresses anything the County Board would take action on would only impact those businesses that are in unincorporated areas. He explains that it is the only direction they could give as each community would have to establish their plans and directions for their residents and businesses.

 

 

According to Newberg, they need to look at a reopening plan very closely. He says the statistics in DeWitt County do not warrant continuing with the closure and credits the responsibility of the residents.

 

 

DeWitt County falls in an interesting place geographically in central Illinois sandwiched between Bloomington/Normal, Champaign, Decatur, Springfield, and Lincoln. Newberg indicates he keeps tabs on what other counties are doing and he notes most are taking different approaches.

 

 

Newberg feels people need to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. He says we don't know that reopening will create a spike in cases. Additionally, he believes allowing people to get back out and businesses to reopen is a risk we need to take. 

 

He adds if business owners aren't comfortable reopening they can remain closed and if residents are not comfortable going out, they can remain inside. 

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Rep. Caulkins Hears Concerns, Frustrations of Clinton Business Leaders

As we seek to protect the country from the coronavirus, the impacts on the economy have equally as devastating.

 

Friday afternoon State Representative Dan Caulkins and the Clinton Chamber of Commerce hosted an online town hall with leaders of various sectors in Clinton. Among those on the call was CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron, who updated the Decatur Republican on the situation in DeWitt County.

 

 

Ed Cicenas is the owner of EMC Photography in Clinton and he explains while he understands and supports the shutdown, it doesn't make being unable to work any more bearable.

 

 

Expediting customers to online banking has been one of the results of the coronavirus for the banking industry and Josh Shofner (left), President of First National Bank in Clinton told Caulkins their lobby has been shut down and much of their work has shifted to a remote mode. 

 

 

The Clinton YMCA is targeting a June 1 soft reopening but Executive Director Rennie Cluver (right) indicates there are some requirements they are going to have to follow that don't make a lot of sense.

 

 

The Decatur Representative says he looks forward to getting back to Springfield this week. He thanked the Chamber of Commerce for reaching out to him and coordinating the forum on Friday. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Concerned About Local Governments' Plans to Defy Governor's Orders

We may not all agree on Governor JB Pritzker's stay at home order that is set to last through the end of the month, but a central Illinois public health official is concerned about local governments' plans to open their communities' on their own volition.

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert continues to ask for patience from the public. He says these communities doing these things put a lot of their enforcement officials at risk.

 

 

Remmert continues to caution against residents acting in fear of the disease. He hopes the public will make decisions based on rational and data and not from what media outlets or social media is telling us.

 

 

Remmert says a lot of posts on social media are based on fear and often lack the entirety of the facts available. 

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Pritzker Admits Family Did Travel During No Travel Order

Where has the family of Governor JB Pritzker been? The Democrat governor admitted on Friday that his wife and daughter did indeed travel to Florida and spent time in that state during March, April, and May. 

 

Pritzker says they traveled before the stay at home order was given. Pritzker says he doesn’t talk about his wife and children much because he wants them to remain private and out of the public eye and he says right now their safety is in question.

 

 

Pritzker says they have returned to Illinois but now are spending time going to a horse farm they own in Wisconsin.

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Rep. Chris Miller Calls Gov. Pritzker 'Enemy'

The legislature is set to come to Springfield later this week for the first time since the stay at home order was given by the Governor. But a few have been coming to the Capitol to support protests over JB Pritzker’s actions in closing non-essential businesses during the COVID 19 pandemic. 

 

Republican State Rep. Chris Miller spoke the crowd on Saturday – identifying the Governor as an enemy.

 

 

Miller has said that he will not follow the guidelines set forth by the General Assembly for meeting this week – noting he will not wear a face-covering during the session while inside the Bank of Springfield Center.

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Expectant Mothers Need Coronavirus Test

Pregnant women should get a COIVD 19 test before they give birth.

 

That is the advice from IDPH Director and Dr. Ngozi Ezike. She says that recent data in Illinois shows that pregnant women are infected with COVID-19 anywhere between 3 and 12 percent of the time. A test will alert medical care providers to use the proper PPE and prepare the right medical plan for the mother and newborn.

 

 

Ezike says doctors are also worried about mothers unknowingly passing a coronavirus infection to their newborns after birth.

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Coronavirus Testing Still Expanding

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE IS EXPANDING TESTING FOR THE CORONAVIRUS. 

 

ANYONE WITH SYMPTOMS IS ENCOURAGED TO GET TESTED AT ONE OF THE STATE’S MORE THAN 250 SITES. ADDITIONALLY, CERTAIN WORKERS CAN NOW GET TESTED AT A COMMUNITY-BASED TESTING SITE, REGARDLESS IF THEY HAVE SYMPTOMS. THEY INCLUDE LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, GROCERY STORE, RESTAURANT, AND CHILD CARE WORKERS AND MORE. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT’S AN IMPORTANT PART OF FIGHTING THE VIRUS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS ANYONE WITH SYMPTOMS LIKE FEVER, COUGH OR SHORTNESS OF BREATH SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ONE OF THE STATE’S 251 TESTING SITES. THOSE IN CERTAIN FIELDS, EVEN IF THEY DON’T HAVE SYMPTOMS, MAY NOW ALSO GET TESTED AT ILLINOIS’ COMMUNITY-BASED TESTING SITES:

 

 

TO FIND A TESTING SITE NEAR YOU, VISIT: CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV AND CLICK ON “RESOURCES.”

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Severe Weather Possible This Afternoon Into Tonight

The National Weather Service inn Lincoln says a cold front will move into the central Illinois later this morning.

 

Scattered thunderstorms should develop along this front and move northeast across parts of central and eastern Illinois, from this afternoon into this evening.

 

Damaging winds and a few, brief tornado touchdowns will be possible with the stronger storms.

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio and dewittdailynews.com for the latest weather information.

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Central Illinois Lawmaker Says Reopening Doesn't Mean Being Reckless

State Representative Dan Caulkins is critical of the Governor's plan to reopen the State of Illinois over a prolonged period.

 

He says the reopening of the State doesn't mean Illinois residents and its business community is going to be reckless about it. He feels businesses should be able to ask their customers to wear masks as well as require proper social distancing.

 

 

The Decatur Republican says people see through the one business being able to be opened but not others. He believes we're going to make criminals of ordinary people because of the civil disobedience this is going to result in.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins suspects the Pritzker administration will threaten licenses to be revoked for businesses that reopen when local leaders tell them they can. 

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Congressman Davis Weighs In On Gen. Flynn Situation

Congressman Rodney Davis calls the developments surrounding the federal government's case against General Michael Flynn very troubling.

 

The three-star general has had his case of lying to federal investigators dismissed and in the last few weeks, the details of an investigation into him and his ties to Russia have been unveiled. US Congressman Rodney Davis calls those developments troubling.

 

 

Names of former President Barack Obama's cabinet that unmasked Gen. Flynn were released this week. Congressman Davis says there has to be an investigation into the way the Flynn case was handled. 


Among the names that unmasked Gen. Flynn was former Vice President Joe Biden who has said he knew there was an investigation into Gen. Flynn however, that was all he knew. 

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Secretary of State Announces Drive Through Services for Vehicle Registration Stickers

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE IS OPENING SEVEN DRIVE-THRU LOCATIONS TO RENEW YOUR LICENSE PLATE STICKER. 

 

STARTING TUESDAY, SEVEN LOCATIONS WILL BE OPEN SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON DAVE DRUKER.

 

 

DRUKER SAYS THIS IS AN INITIAL STEP TOWARDS EVENTUALLY REOPENING, GIVING MOTORISTS A CHANCE TO RENEW THEIR VEHICLE REGISTRATION FROM THEIR CAR.

 

 

THE DRIVE -THRUS ARE CHICAGO NORTH, SOUTH AND WEST...CASH WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AT THOSE LOCATIONS. FACILITIES AT ROCKFORD-CENTRAL, MACOMB, SPRINGFIELD AND TILTON WILL ALSO OFFER THE DRIVE-THRU OPTION. ADDITIONALLY, YOU CAN RENEW YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION ONLINE AT: CYBERDRIVE ILLINOIS DOT COM.

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IDPH Director Discusses Mental Health

Health is strained right now. Mental, emotional, physical health are all under pressure from the coronavirus, staying at home for weeks on end or losing a job and worrying about the outcome.

 

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says a wide range of emotions are being felt around the state.

 

 

There are free state resources for people looking for help. You can text TALK to 5-5-2-0-2-0 and a counselor will contact you to talk about the problems you may be having.

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State Police: Slow Down in Work Zones

While most people are at home because of COVID-19, there is still traffic on the roadways, and work crews are still working in construction zones across Illinois. 

 

Illinois State Police are reminding those drivers still on the roads that the work zone safety laws have not changed. ISP Trooper Josh Korando says construction speed limits posted are in effect all day in work zones, whether workers are there or not.

 

 

The minimum fine for the first offense of speeding in a work zone is $375, and $1,000 for the second offense, with more severe punishments also possible.

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Piatt County State's Attorney Offers Guidance for Churches to Reopen

Piatt County State's Attorney Dana Rhoades Friday offered guidance to churches in her County on best practices to reopen.

 

Rhoades in a written statement said quote - "I am notifying Piatt County citizens that it is not my intention as the Piatt County State’s Attorney to file criminal charges against such businesses or churches that reopen within Piatt County when sufficient social distancing protocols are in place."

 

Protocols include face coverings, disinfecting, and other recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health, however, because of the risk involved, she is encouraging any church or business reopening to seek legal counsel. 

 

Other risks churches and businesses should consider include COVID-19 liability claims being denied by insurance if in violation of the Governor's Executive Orders or CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines, and workers comp injuries could be denied.

 

Additionally, PPP equipment needs to be supplied to staff, failure to do so could result in litigation. 

Rhoades says churches and businesses need to implement social distancing guidelines outlined by the IDPH including requiring face coverings and asking for separation of individuals by six feet.

 

Failure to implement these requirements could result in, among other consequences, liability and licensure revocation.

 

The release says quote - "Vigilance by all citizens is necessary to ensure that our County citizens are not put at great risk.  For this same reason, the Piatt County State’s Attorney’s Office will exercise its discretion to enforce reckless conduct violations and seek cease and desist orders when appropriate."

 

She directs churches and businesses with further questions on safety protocol implementation to contact the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department. 

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Clinton Business Owner: There's Not a Lot of Time Left for Businesses Like Mine

In March, Joe Sarti threatened to remain open through a close down order from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. 

 

After receiving a lot of publicity, Sarti ultimately complied with the state order and adjusted his business model to a curbside pick up. During a Friday afternoon town hall forum with State Representative Dan Caulkins, the longtime business owner says there isn't much time for businesses like his.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins says we are going to reopen and we are going to get back, however, he is calling on the Pritzker administration for consistency in their plans.

 

 

The Decatur Republican heard from several other representatives in the Clinton community. We'll have more on the Friday town hall forum on Monday on Regional Radio News. 

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The Vault Appreciative of Recent Grants

The Vault in Clinton was recently the recipient of a couple of grants.

 

Tammy Wilson is the Executive Director of The Vault and says Tradewind Energy recently contributed $10,000 for the distribution of summer education materials to students most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation recently awarded a grant to The Vault and Wilson says they are going to be able to improve their Golden Gears cafe. She indicates they will teach kids anything from baking skills to marketing lessons. 

 

 

The Vault hopes to add some lesson books for teens along with any hygiene materials they need. They will work with the Clinton Community Education Foundation and Clinton Education Association to get names of students that need materials. 

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Clinton Community Invited to Participate in Graduation Cruise Sunday Afternoon

The Class of 2020 will have a story like none-other and Sunday afternoon, a local resident is hoping to make the memories more sweet than bitter. 

 

Steve Howard is organizing a graduation cruise through the City of Clinton Sunday afternoon. He hopes seniors will participate by decorating their vehicles and hopes the community will line the streets of the community, safely of course, to support the Class of 2020.

 

 

Graduates will leave from Clinton High School Sunday at 1 pm and travel behind the high school, up through town towards the north end of town looping back around through the square, out the east side of town back to the high school.

 

Howard encourages as much of the community to participate with signs and horns. He says this is something to show seniors they are appreciated and thought about. 

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Scovill Zoo Keeping Busy with Projects

Scovill Zoo is taking the time to complete a few projects to enhance their guests' experiences when they can reopen.

 

Scovill Zoo Superintendent Ken Frye indicates they are building an open pavilion near the concession stand that will be completed within a few weeks. The pavilion will replace the wolf deck as the zoo's designated party area.

 

 

Frye says the zoo will add an aviary near the concession stand where the crowned cranes currently are. The cranes' new exhibit will be near the zebras.

 

 

Frye notes these projects would have been completed with or without people present.

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DeWitt County Sheriff Concerned About Job Losses Further Impacting County Budgets

The impacts of the court fines and fees reforms passed by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker last year have yet to be realized and in 2020, the coronavirus' impacts on people's employment status could create even more chaos in the court system.

 

That could, in turn, further impact DeWitt County's budget and has caught the attention of Sheriff Mike Walker. The Sheriff at last month's DeWitt County Board meeting told the board he is concerned because people are unemployed at this time, it could lead to further reductions in fines and fees through the court system.

 

 

The Sheriff points out it won't be just court fines and fees that are going to impact their budgets, but because his deputies have not been as active with self-initiated offenses, they won't have revenue generated from those things.

 

 

State's Attorney Dan Markwell noted the income from those fines and fees may not arrive late in the year or even next year. 

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce, Rep. Dan Caulkins Teaming Up For Community Town Hall Event Friday

Hear from business leaders in Clinton and State Representative Dan Caulkins Friday afternoon on Facebook about how the coronavirus is impacting them and what the State of Illinois' outlook is.

 

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce and Rep. Caulkins are teaming up with local business owners in both the private and public sectors to hear how the coronavirus is impacting them. Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard noticed Caulkins has done these in other parts of his district and wanted to do something similar for the community.

 

 

According to Brisard, Warner Hospital CEO Paul Skowron, YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver, and local small business owners will be part of the forum. Brisard feels this is a good mix of community representation.

 

 

Brisard says they want to hear from these community leaders and how this coronavirus is impacting their operations. She indicates, watchers of the live event will be able to submit questions and a moderator within Rep. Caulkins' team will field those for the Decatur Republican. 

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ALMH Farmers Market To Open Saturday, Online Ordering Available

Farmer's markets are deemed essential businesses in Illinois under the guidance of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. 

 

The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Health Collaborative is opening its market this Saturday and predictably, there will be some limitations. Chelsea Campbell with the ALMH market indicates they will ask those that enter the market to wear masks, maintain a six-feet distance between everyone and they may even have to limit the number of people that can enter the building.

 

 

The market stores open at noon on Mondays and will close at noon on Thursdays. Campbell indicates they have vendors that have listed their items online and you can find the Market at almh.org and seek out their page and find their online listings.

 

 

The produce vendors at the market are always very popular and Campbell says they are anticipating an abundance of spring fruits and vegetables. They are excited to have popular vendors back this year and are equally excited to welcome new vendors to the market. 

 

 

The farmer's market will be at their regular location at the Logan County fairgrounds. Campbell says even the opening for the season is a week later than they had scheduled, they feel very fortunate to offer the market to the community during this time.

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Severe Weather Possible for Regional Radio Listening Area thru Tonight

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has the Regional Radio listening area in the "slight risk" category for severe weather, from 2 o'clock this afternoon thru tonight.

 

The Weather Service says there is a slight risk of severe weather across central and east central Illinois this afternoon through tonight. The greatest threat area will be north of I-70. Hail and damaging winds will be the primary severe weather threat. However, a brief tornado touchdown is possible north of Taylorville to Danville line. 

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio and dewittdailynews.com for the latest weather information.

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Federal Agency Provides COVID-19 Nurse Training Grants to Central Illinois Entities

Several health entities in the Central Illinois have received COVID-19 grants from the U-S Department of Health and Human Services to train more registered nurses in primary training.

 

Almost 79-million dollars each will be going to Illinois State University in Normal, Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

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Lt. Gov. Stratton Highlights Illinois Ag on Social Media Channels

As the pandemic has continued to impact all aspects of life in Illinois. One elected official is working to spotlight the work of family farms and specialty growers. 

 

Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton has focused on an effort called cultivating our communities. She’s using her Facebook page and Twitter feed to shine a light on Illinois agriculture.

 

 

Stratton heads the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council.

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Local Health Officials Offer Latest on Coronavirus

Local health officials are offering several thoughts on digesting data coming from the State of Illinois' Department of Public Health when trying to decide if we have flattened the curve.

 

According to CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron, you need to examine at least a week's worth of data to make any determinations on trends and he believes that data is suggesting the curve has been flattened.

 

 

As he looks at the data each day, Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Dave Remmert, the number of cases of coronavirus is very distorted because there are so many we don't know. He feels the focus of the data should be on how many fatalities it is causing.

 

 

The two veteran health officials offered their thoughts on the Governor's reopen Illinois plan. Skowron says while many may not like the plan the Governor offered up, he needed to establish some benchmarks and is optimistic Governor Pritzker might just loosen some of those if numbers in Illinois improve.

 

 

Many are critical that the Governor wants the eradication of the coronavirus or a vaccine, both of which could take well over a year by many experts estimations. Remmert, however, did not hear the benchmarks of reopening like that, he believes a suitable remedy would allow us to reopen and there are positive trends in that part of the battle against the coronavirus.

 

 

Both Remmert and Skowron point out, as testing figures continue to increase, the number of cases could continue to be higher but again stress, examining at least a week's worth of data is the best practice in determining any trends on the virus. 

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Governor Pritzker Warns Against Areas Defying Stay at Home Order

AS THE DAILY DEATH COUNT FROM COVID-19 HITS A RECORD HIGH IN ILLINOIS…GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ISSUING A WARNING TO AREAS THAT DEFY THE STATE’S STAY AT HOME ORDER. 

 

192 ADDITIONAL DEATHS ARE BEING REPORTED, RAISING THE TOTAL DEATH TOLL TO NEARLY 38-HUNDRED. SEVERAL AREAS ARE CONSIDERING OPENING THE ECONOMY SOONER THAN THE GOVERNOR’S PLAN CALLS FOR, WHICH IS PROMPTING THIS RESPONSE:

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE KNOWS THIS IS VERY HARD, BUT THAT THE PANDEMIC IS NOT OVER.

 

 

PRITZKER SAYS BUSINESSES THAT OPEN PREMATURELY RISK LOSING THEIR LICENSE. ILLINOIS NOW HAS MORE THAN 84 THOUSAND COVID-19 CASES, ALTHOUGH MANY PATIENTS HAVE RECOVERED.

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Farm Progress Show Still on For September

The country’s largest ag trade show still scheduled to happen this year, with people. That’s the plan right now for the Farm Progress Show Sept. 1-3 in Boone, Iowa says show director Matt Jungmann (young-man)

 

 

Jungmann farms in western Illinois. The Farm Progress Show rotates between Boone, Iowa and Decatur each year.

 

On Wednesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa businesses statewide can reopen Friday. She said all restrictions that were previously lifted in all but 22-Iowa counties are now lifted in all counties. Salons, gyms, churches, and even restaurants can reopen with social distancing and capacity limits in place.

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Radio Legend, WEZC "Sunday Morning Easy" Host Orv Graham Dies

A Central Illinois radio legend has died.

 

81-year-old Orv Graham died Tuesday afternoon, after complications from pneumonia.

 

Orv's over 50 year radio career included becoming the longtime "Voice of Decatur" on WSOY-AM 1340, and ultimately its general manager.

 

Graham left the radio business in the 1980's to begin a second career in investments and health insurance.

 

He did features on WXFM Mount Zion for several years, and in 2009, he approached WEZC owner Randal J. Miller about purchasing 4 hours each Sunday morning on that station, selling advertising in the Decatur market and hosting what became "Sunday Morning Easy."

 

That program hit the air for the first time on Sunday, October 4th, 2009, being heard in the Clinton-Decatur area.   Graham continued the show until the first quarter of this year, when he became ill.

 

Miller said that Graham was one of his mentors, dating back to the 1980's, and added that not only will his family miss him, but so will his many listeners.

 

WEZC 95.9 FM will broadcast a tribute to Graham this Sunday morning from 8 to 9, and include the first hour of his first show.

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84-Year Old DeWitt County Female Identified as May 12 Positive Coronavirus Case; New Logan County Case

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting the DeWitt County case first reported yesterday is in an 84-year old female who lives by herself at home.  

 

The individual has mild symptoms currently and is being monitored daily along with 3 close contacts by the agency.  These individuals will be monitored for 14 days from their last contact with the case.

 

Eight tests are pending in the two-county area. 658 specimens have been turned over for inspection.

 

Logan County is also reporting a new case of coronavirus with no tests currently pending. There are three active cases and five individuals have recovered. 490 tests have been conducted for Logan County residents. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,677 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 192 additional deaths.

 

IDPH is reporting a total of 84,698 cases, including 3,792 deaths, in 99 counties in Illinois. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 17,668 specimens for a total of 489,359.  The statewide 7-day rolling positivity rate is 17%

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DeWitt County Board Sets Date for Tradewind Energy Special Use Permit Vote

The DeWitt County Board has set June 2 as the date for their vote on a special use permit application for Tradewind Energy's Alta Farms II Wind Project. 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg tells Regional Radio News the meeting will be conducted virtually that Tuesday night. Newberg explains the special meeting will mirror the format of the vote for the Tradewind application from last year.

 

 

According to Newberg, the Board was originally scheduled for March 18. He recognizes it is inconvenient to not have everyone in a room but the times we are in are dictating the circumstances of the vote. 

 

 

Newberg believes it is time Tradewind Energy should have a resolution on its application. He says they have already had to wait two months and by the time the vote is taken in June, it will be two-and-a-half months.

 

 

The meeting is again, Tuesday, June 2 at 6 pm.

 

Those wishing to be placed on the agenda for public comment should call Dana Smith, DeWitt County Clerk, at 217-935-7780 to be placed on the agenda and indicate if they are speaking for or against the project. 

 

Those who want to give public comment via email should submit their statement to countyclerk@dewittcountyill.com or by mail to DeWitt County Clerk, P.O. Box 439, Clinton, IL 61727 no later than 4:30 p.m. on May 28, 2020.  

 

All emails and written statements will be forwarded to Board Members prior to the meeting.

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DeWitt Sheriff: We Have No Direction on Enforcing Mandates

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker says law enforcement has no direction on how to enforce the mandates from Governor JB Pritzker regarding the stay at home orders and mask requirements.

 

Last month on the WHOW Morning Show, Sheriff Walker caused an online stir stating as much and many accused him of using his personal feelings to dictate his enforcement but Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show, the Sheriff says that is the farthest thing from the truth. Right now, there is no direction from the State on how to enforce the mandates, that he points out, are not laws.

 

 

The Sheriff says the only way to enforce the mandates is for lawmakers to return to Springfield and pass these mandates and make the laws. Sheriff Walker credits the residents of DeWitt County for following the mandates laid out by Governor Pritzker.

 

 

According to Sheriff Walker, he is not going follow the example of his peers in other parts of the state by standing up and declaring he is not going to enforce the mandates because it is law enforcement's job to keep the public safe.

 

 

The Sheriff explains enforcement of mandate violations is a very fine line for law enforcement from enforcing the breaking of laws and opening themselves up to liabilities.

 

 

The Sheriff notes, if business owners call law enforcement seeking advice about disregarding the Governor's order and wanting to open up, he recommends a call to that individual's personal attorney and the health department because law enforcement is not in the business of shutting businesses down. 

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The month of May is mental health awareness month and a central Illinois organization is highlighting things to help everyone prioritize mental health.

 

Jessica Smiley with Heritage Behavioral Health Center says there are many ways people cope with their stress and anxiety and depression. She indicates they are using social media and the hashtag-tools2thrive to get information to their communities.

 

 

A virtual event is being hosted by Heritage on May 23 where they are asking their communities to draw a picture with the theme of mental health. Smiley says those can be submitted by snapping a picture of it and submitting that for their online gallery.

 

 

Additionally, Heritage is hosting a community gratitude virtual scavenger hunt on Friday. Visit hertagenet.org or find them on Facebook for more details. You can also seek out the hashtag-tools2thrive and find many resources including yoga or daily meditation. 

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Warmer Temperatures But Rain Coming This Weekend

Warmer temps expected this week for much of Illinois, but some heavy rains are also in the forecast. There could be some strong storms too says Freese-Notis Weather meteorologist Dan Hicks…..

 

 

So far this month Hicks says temps are running about four to eight degrees below normal across most of the Midwest.

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Rep. Darin LaHood on Food Supply Chain

President Trump recently used the Defense Production Act to open up meat processing plants. An Illinois congressman hopes it will help with the backup in the food supply.

 

Representative Darin Lahood indicated there is much anxiety among livestock producers created by the pandemic. Rep. LaHood hopes the executive order will help alleviate the food supply chain backup.

 

 

Rep. LaHood points out that many of the plants in other states that Illinois producers send their livestock have been shut down due to the coronavirus. He says while public health is an important issue, it is also a problem if livestock has to be euthanized.

 

 

Through the implementation of social distancing within the plants along with access to rapid testing, Rep. Lahood believes both public health issues and economic issues can be healthily balanced.

 

 

Other than the weather, Rep. LaHood notes his constituents are reporting a good planting season.

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Illinois Department Public Health Says They Review Coronavirus Deaths

How are COVID-19 deaths recorded? The Illinois Department of Public Health says they report initially what is on the death certificate. 

 

But after a few days, they go back and make sure that even if a person had a positive test for coronavirus that the virus was connected to their death and it wasn’t for another circumstance.

 

 

That’s the IDPH Dir. Dr. Ngozi Ezike. She reported on Tuesday that the state had conducted more than 20,000 COVID-19 tests in a 24-hour period. The state calls it an important milestone in the fight against the virus and important as Illinois tries to reopen the economy.

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Governor Pritzker Pushing Lawmakers To Get Back to Springfield

The Governor is putting a little heat on the legislature to get back to Springfield. He wants lawmakers to reconvene and vote on important issues at the state capitol.

 

JB Pritzker has repeatedly noted that it’s up too legislative leaders to get back to the capitol but Tuesday Pritzker put it more clearly that he feels lawmakers need meet.

 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health has issued guidance as to how the 177 members of the Illinois General Assembly and staff members could come and get to work at the capitol.

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Governor Pritzker Announces Construction Grants and Money for Hospitals

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING FUNDING FOR ILLINOIS HOSPITALS AND LOCAL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS. 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS 25 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, TOWNSHIPS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO HELP PAY FOR PLANNED CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, THE STATE IS PROVIDING 75 MILLION DOLLARS TO ILLINOIS HOSPITALS TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19.

 

 

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Clinton Land of Lincoln Goodwill Store In Hopes of Re-Opening June 1

Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries, which has a retail store and donation center in Clinton, is in hopes of re-opening all its stores on June First when the Governor's latest Stay-at-Home order expires.

 

Board chair Doctor Janet Kirby tells Regional Radio News plans are in place to make that happen as well.

 

 

Between choosing a new C-E-O and now dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, Doctor Kirby says the last few months have been challenging, but the senior leadership team at Goodwill has stepped up.

 

 

The non-profit's Chief Financial Officer Ron Culves was promoted to C-E-O on March 19th after a 6-month nationwide search, and Doctor Kirby says the organization has continued to function well.

 

 

Find out more on-line at LLGI.ORG.

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DeWitt, Piatt County Reporting New Cases of Coronavirus

A new case of coronavirus is being reported in each DeWitt County and Piatt County Tuesday afternoon.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports, quote - "We are awaiting information on the DeWitt Co case and should be able to report some details on that individual tomorrow.  The case in Piatt Co is a 57-year-old male who is a healthcare worker and was exposed at work.  This individual has no household contacts.  He will be following specific protocols for health care workers for his quarantine period."

 

Of the 11 cases in the two-county area, six are healthcare workers. 

 

Testing in Logan County has moved to 484 specimens run with two pending and two individuals recovered since the weekend.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 4,014 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 144 additional deaths.

 

IDPH is reporting a total of 83,021 cases, including 3,601 deaths, in 98 counties in Illinois. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 29,266 specimens for a total of 471,691.

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State Bank of Lincoln Helps Retain Almost 1500 Local Jobs with PPP Loans

Almost 15-hundred local jobs were retained in Logan and Dewitt Counties, as a result of the Small Business Administration's Payroll Protection Program thru a local bank.

 

State Bank of Lincoln President and C-E-O Steve Aughenbaugh tells Regional Radio News that 210 P-P-P loans were completed by the bank, totaling over 9-point-3 million dollars.

 

Aughenbaugh was pleased that their bank was able to assist local businesses in keeping their employees during the coronavirus outbreak.

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Clinton YMCA Doubles Enrollment for Acres for Kids

The Clinton YMCA's unique fundraising program in its second year has doubled enrollment.

 

Darren Moser with the Clinton YMCA indicates Acres for Kids is in its second year and has doubled the number of producers involved. Moser notes Acres for Kids is a part of the Strong Kids campaign and the money raised helps to fund scholarships for youth.

 

 

Moser says the farmers in the program plant seeds that are donated from Stone Seed, Becks, LG, Pioneer, or DeKalb Asgrow. 75 percent of the gross harvested grain goes to the Clinton YMCA and 25 percent goes to the producer.

 

 

Contributions to the program help fund agriculture education. Children in Camp Osage are taken to a farm over the summer to learn firsthand about where their food comes from.

 

 

Moser says it is not too late to be involved in the program for 2020. For more information or to enroll in Acres for Kids call the Clinton YMCA at 935-8307.

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Warner Library's Summer Reading Club to Look Different in 2020

Thanks to the ongoing impacts of the coronavirus, the Warner Library's annual summer reading club is going to look a lot different this summer for the community's youth.

 

Children's librarian Paula Lopatic says while there won't be the in-person activities that make the summer reading club the popular program it is, there will be a lot of things that remain the same. They are still holding registration and asking kids to keep track of their reading. 

 

 

According to Lopatic, they are putting discovery kits together for the kids to have something fun for them to do and learn at the same time.

 

 

The goal of the summer reading club is to make reading and learning not only a continuing part of the summer but also to be something fun. Lopatic hopes, even though there likely will not any in-person events, the community will make the most of the program they have planned.

 

 

Registration will begin June 1 and can be done at vwarner.org. Lopatic says details about the summer reading club will continue to evolve. She thanks the Clinton school district for allowing the library to disperse information about the summer reading club in the lunches that are being dispersed to the youth of the community. 

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Rep. Caulkins: Illinoisans Are Losing Faith in Governor Pritzker

Illinoisans are losing faith in Governor JB Pritzker.

 

That is the belief of Illinois Representative Dan Caulkins who says the Governor is not credible and people have stopped believing in him. He says Illinoisans are smart enough to understand what is going on.

 

 

According to Rep. Caulkins, central Illinois leaders are developing their plans to unveil and it breaks its steps into 15-day phases. He says it protects neighbors and community members that are cared about but also allows businesses to open back up safely.

 

 

The Decatur Republican says people are tired of the Governor's dictatorial mandates and feel they are not going to stand for it much longer. He says too many residents have too much at stake right now.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins says the Governor needs to trust Illinoisans to make the right decisions and do what is best for them. 

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Weekly Crop Report

PLANTING CONTINUES WELL AHEAD OF LAST YEAR’S PACE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

DESPITE LESS THAT THREE DAYS ON AVERAGE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK…CORN PLANTING IS MOVING ALONG AT A STEADY PACE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

43 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED, COMPARED TO JUST THREE PERCENT ONE YEAR AGO, AND 10 PERCENT HAS EMERGED. 

 

 

41 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 65 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, THREE PERCENT SHORT, 74 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 22 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Illinois Gets First Shipment of Possible Coronavirus Treatment

There is one drug that has received a go-ahead as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Remdesivir has been seen in early studies to help patients recover from coronavirus.

 

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says Illinois received a shipment of the drug from the federal government and those cases of Remdesivir have been distributed to 14 hospitals around the state. Ezike says IDPH worked to send the drug to hospitals that needed it the most.

 

 

127 cases went to Cook County hospitals and 13 cases to hospitals in other parts of Illinois. Each case has enough medicine to treat five patients.

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Governor Pritzker Says Most of State On Track to Move to Phase 3 by End of Month

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS MOST OF THE STATE IS ON TRACK TO MOVE TO THE NEXT PHASE OF REOPENING AT THE END OF THE MONTH.

 

UNDER HIS “RESTORE ILLINOIS” PROGRAM, THE STATE IS DIVIDED INTO FOUR REGIONS. EACH REGION MUST MEET CERTAIN BENCHMARKS TO MOVE TO THE NEXT PHASE OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT THAT ILLINOIS DOESN’T JUST OPEN EVERYTHING BACK UP.

 

 

THAT EXCEPTION IN THE NORTHEAST REGION, WHICH INCLUDES CHICAGO AND SUBURBS. THAT AREA NEEDS TO SEE THE RATE OF POSITIVE TESTS COME DOWN BEFORE MOVING TO PHASE THREE. 

 

IN PHASE THREE, BARBERSHOPS, SALONS AND RETAIL STORES CAN OPEN WITH PRECAUTIONS.

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Farmers Await Direction on CFAP Program

Farmers continue to wait for the final rules on direct payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or CFAP.

 

 

And Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards says it could take up to a month for the U.S. Senate and House to reach a compromise on the next Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES 2.0”.

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Land of Lincoln Goodwill Has New CEO

Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries, which owns a retail store and donation center in Clinton, has a new C-E-O.

 

Board president Doctor Janet Kirby tells Regional Radio News the organization's Chief Financial Officer Ron Culves was promoted to the job March 19th, following a nationwide search which began last October.

 

 

Dr. Kirby said Culves was a good fit because he knew what Goodwill is going thru after closing their retail operations March 20th due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

 

Goodwill was able to access the Payroll Protection Program for all those laid off.

 

 

Kirby says it's a challenging time for retail and Goodwill is adapting.

 

 

Find out more on-line at LLGI.ORG.

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dewittdailynews.com Informal Poll: Majority of Readers Against Latest Stay At Home Order

A 7-day informal poll on dewittdailynews.com shows 53-point-9 percent of readers are against Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker's continuance of the Stay at Home order thru May 30th.

 

The Governor made the announcement April 23rd to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

46-percent of those participating in the dewittdailynews.com informal poll, agreed with the Governor's order.

 

Over 140 people have taken the survey over the last week.  It'll continue thru the end of May, located on the lower right side of every page.

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Governor Pritzker Says Illinois Peak Hospitalizations Will Be Mid-June

First, it was mid-April. Then mid-May. Monday afternoon, Governor JB Pritzker announced the peak of Illinois' hospitalizations will come in mid-June.

 

After adding data to the models the Governor is using, he says the more data points they can track, the more accurate the projections become. He says the state is seeing stabilizing in numbers but we are not on the backside of those numbers.

 

 

Despite progress, the Governor says pushing out the estimated peak is a natural consequence of flattening the curve. He adds the virus cannot be stopped without a vaccine and the rate of transmission needs to be slowed over a longer period, giving the healthcare system the ability to treat individuals. He says mitigation efforts are saving lives. 

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Local Food Pantries Get $20,000 in Grants from State Bank of Lincoln, Chicago Federal Home Loan Bank

Local food pantries are benefitting from some 20-thousand dollars in grants in a partnership that includes a local bank.

 

The State Bank of Lincoln and the Chicago Federal Home Loan Bank, are providing COVID-19 Relief Program grants for food pantries in Logan and DeWitt Counties.

 

State Bank of Lincoln President and C-E-O Steve Aughenbaugh tells Regional Radio News that the 2 entities are pleased to provide these grants, as demands at local food pantries has increased due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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Peace Meal Making Adjustments to Meal Delivery Program to Protect Seniors

Seniors are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus and they are also the target audience that has a great dependence on the Peace Meal program.

 

That is why Peace Meal leaders are doing things like sanitizing their hands before meal deliveries and wearing masks when delivering meals to area seniors. Shelly Tolly with Peace Meal says they starting wearing masks before the mandate from Governor JB Pritzker and feels sanitizing their hands before a meal delivery is a very effective way to protect seniors.

 

 

In requested situations, the Peace Meal driver can leave a meal at the doorstep for an individual. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Tolly tells Regional Radio News, their other requirements remain, they need to see their client and make contact with them.

 

 

Additionally, during this time, Peace Meal has had to adjust their procedure for getting their clients enrolled in the program. While there is no delay in getting the meals to the seniors, paperwork that has to be done in person is being put off until residents get the all-clear.

 

 

Peace Meal continues to enroll new clients into the program, and Tolly even notes they are finding many seniors who want to enroll just for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak to protect themselves. To get enrolled or learn more about the program, contact Peace Meal at 217-345-1800 or 800-543-1770. 

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The Vault Participating in National Program To Assist Those Most Vulnerable to the Coronavirus

The Vault in Clinton is having its youth participate in a national program to assist those most vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak. 

 

Executive Director Tammy Wilson explains the program rallies a community together to find seniors and do simple things like going grocery shopping and bringing groceries back to the doorsteps of the individual, and maintaining social distancing.

 

 

According to Wilson, a pre-med college student started the program and it has since been picked up by groups all over the country. She feels this would be a great program to continue well after the coronavirus has been defeated. 

 

 

If seniors are Facebook-savvy, they can find The Vault by searching 'The Vault Clinton' or you can contact student-leader Kaitlin Burton at 217-853-1539 or Tammy Hoffman at 217-620-6914. 

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Heritage Behavioral Health Center Seeing Increase in Individuals Experience Mental Illnesses

Healthcare providers in Illinois say they are seeing an increase in individuals who are experiencing mental illness for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

With people at home and in many cases out of work, Jessica Smiley with Heritage Behavioral Health Center says they are seeing an increase in individuals who are experiencing things like depression and anxiety for the first time.

 

 

Governor JB Pritzker's 'Call for Calm' call and text program has been made available to the state of Illinois residents for free. Smiley says they are a partner in that program and they are starting to see an increase in calls and texts from the community.

 

 

For those that think they may be experiencing some of these things, Smiley says there are signs to look out for like being overtaken by worry about the situation and if your attitude has changed.

 

 

For individuals that think taking the next step after recognizing they may be experiencing mental illness symptoms, Smiley indicates if you are not sure, have conversations with someone close to you. If you are thinking about serious harm, seek help immediately.

 

 

Roughly one in five people experience mental illness during their lives and many may think the coronavirus would bring that number higher but Smiley contends that number is probably higher anyways because of the number of people that experience these issues but never seek out help.

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McLean County Museum of History's Summer Camps to be Held Virtually

The McLean County Museum of History will host their Futures in History day camp online this summer.

 

Candace Summers with the McLean County Museum of History notes they are currently working to conduct their traditional summer activities online. The Futures in History day camp will meet virtually for group activities as well as individual activities.

 

 

Summers indicates the virtual format will allow students from across the country to participate. With technology, they can serve more people due to not having space or geographical restrictions.

 

 

To stay up to date on the McLean County Museum of History's summer programs visit www.mchistory.org and like them on Facebook.

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Tests Up in Illinois But Governor Pritzker Wants More

Illinois is a good place to be if you want a COVID-19 test. The state says it ranks second out of the ten most populous states for per-capita testing over the past week. Illinois also ranks fifth out of 50 states for the most test completed. But Governor JB Pritzker says more testing needs to be done..

 

 

There are plans to announce new drive-through testing facilities this week. There are 244 public testing sites around Illinois.

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Red Cross Assisting in Plasma Program

One of the therapies to emerge in the fight against COVID-19 is the use of plasma from people who have recovered from the illness to treat those that currently have it. It’s a therapy that is seeing some success, and a spokesman with the American Red Cross says they are supporting those efforts.

 

Joe Zydlo says it’s a process called convalescent plasma.

 

 

You can donate, but you must meet the same requirements as if you were going to donate blood. For instance, if you have traveled abroad, you must wait at least a year to donate, as well as having been completely recovered from COVID-19 for a certain number of days. For more information, go to redcrossblood.org/plasma4covid.

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More Calls for Pritzker To Visit Other Parts of Illinois

Governor JB Pritzker ended a run of 63 consecutive press conferences on Friday. All but a few of those events have taken place in Chicago. Critics of the Governor continue to assert that he needs to get out of Chicago and travel around the state to see what the stay at home order looks like elsewhere and see for himself what the economic toll is like.

 

Elected officials held a press conference in Quincy to encourage the Governor to come to the border community to see how businesses there are impacted. He says he’s on the phone every day to people all over the state and thinks the situation can be understood no matter where you might be.

 

 

Illinois reported 1,656 new COIVD-19 cases on Sunday. The death toll was under 100 for the first time in five days.

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Governor In Discussions to Get Pro Sports Back in Illinois

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE’S WORKING WITH COMMISSIONERS TO BRING PROFESSIONAL SPORTS BACK. 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S AS ANXIOUS AS ANYONE TO SEE SPORTS PLAYING AGAIN AND HAS BEEN IN TOUCH WITH TEAM MANAGEMENT.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS TEAMS ARE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO PROTECT PLAYERS AND BROADCAST ALL THEIR GAMES.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER AT THIS POINT, THERE ISN’T MUCH TALK ABOUT ALLOWING FANS BACK IN THE STANDS. HE ANTICIPATES TEAMS SUBMITTING A PLAN FOR REVIEW BY MEDICAL EXPERTS.

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Daily Coronavirus Statistics

The DeWitt/Piatt BiCounty Health Department have conducted 576 total tests.

 

DeWitt County has tested 305 with 296 returning negative, six pending, and three recovered.

Piatt County has tested 271 with 265 negative and six recovered.

 

The Logan County Health Department has tested 425 with 390 negative, 26 pending, and four active cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,325 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 111 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 76,085 cases, including 3,349 deaths, in 98 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 16,617 specimens for a total of 416,331.

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South Central Illinois Lawmaker Says IDES is Broken

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has been overwhelmed with unemployment claims. 
The state says they have processed more than a million from March to May. 

 

Even getting a million claims done leaves still people waiting for checks, gig workers have been left behind in being able to file and Republican State Rep. Avery Bourne says a constituent’s experience is enough to call the system broken.

 

 

The Governor says this week that 100 new people will be answering phones on Monday and another 100 will be up and running in two weeks.

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Murder Hornets Not in Illinois

Yes, “murder hornets” are real. But no, they are not in Illinois. It’s a topic State Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator Kelly Estes is getting plenty of questions about.

 

 

Estes says Illinois does have a few “lookalikes” including the cicada killer wasp or European hornet.

 

The Asian hornet has received plenty of national media attention this past week, and the roughly two-inch insect has been known to kill up to 50 people a year in Japan, according to a New York Times report. And the “murder hornet” can also have a devastating impact on bee populations.

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Illinois Farm Bureau Speaks With House Ag Committee Chair

Illinois Farm Bureau gets an audience with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Colin Peterson.

 

IFB’s Mark Gebhards says talk this week concerned how ag will fare in the next COVID-19 relief package, specifically the ethanol market and livestock industry.

 

 

Illinois is represented in the U.S. House Ag Committee by Cheri Bustos, Rodney Davis and Mike Bost.

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First-Ever Social Distancing Car Cruise in Clinton Tonight

2 Clinton auto dealerships are collectively holding what they're calling a "socially distancing car cruise" thru the streets of Clinton, tonight starting at 6:30.

 

Those wanting to enter a vehicle in the cruise, can show up on Mr. Lincoln's Square at 6:30.  The cruise route will go thru both the Anderson Ford and Baum Chevrolet-Buick lots, then back to Mr. Lincoln's Square, repeating the route as many times as they like.

 

Baum Chevrolet-Buick owner Scott Baum says the event is all about having fun.

 

 

Clinton residents along the cruising route are urged to watch tonight, but remember to abide by social distancing guidelines.

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Testing Shows No Coronavirus Cases at Liberty Village

100-percent of coronavirus tests are negative for staff and residents at Liberty Village in Clinton.

 

For a few weeks, health department officials have been watching the assisted living facility in Clinton after a staffer tested positive a few weeks ago, leaving concern about the spread of the virus. Friday afternoon, the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department received the remainder of the tests for coronavirus and they all came back negative.

 

Testing in the two counties has increased to 560 with ten tests pending in DeWitt County and zero in Piatt. 

 

The Logan County Health Department is reporting a new case bringing their active case total to four. 26 tests are pending. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,887 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 130 additional deaths.

 

In total, there are a total of 73,760 cases, including 3,241 deaths, in 98 counties in Illinois. 90-percent of cases are in the Chicago area. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 20,671 specimens for a total of 399,714.

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Bears Legend Sends Clinton High School Seniors Message of Encouragement

For a few weeks, WHOW has been asking for those feel-good stories you've seen and Friday, one showed up to Clinton High School seniors from an unexpected place.

 

Former Bears linebacker Mike Singletary took time out of his day recently to send a heartfelt message of encouragement to Clinton High School seniors.

 

 

Clinton High School Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says Facebook made the message possible thanks to a friend of High School Principal Jerry Wayne. Koeppel hopes it means a lot to their students and parents.

 

 

You can view the video on the WHOW and dewittdailynews.com Facebook page. Koeppel also shared it to the Clinton sports page on Facebook. 

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Blue Ridge Schools to Host Drive Through Graduation

Blue Ridge Schools are planning a drive-thru graduation ceremony to honor their seniors.

 

Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, Susan Wilson explains they will allow their seniors to drive up at their circle drive in front of the high school. The Illinois State Board of Education deemed a drive-thru graduation would not be allowed but Wilson says activism prevailed and now their event will go on.

 

 

According to Wilson, they will have speeches followed by students pulling up, getting out to accept their diplomas, get a quick picture and there will be a parade through town to honor the seniors.

 

 

Wilson says they considered all options when discussing graduation and because students will be off to the next thing in their lives over the summer, they did not feel that was an option for them. She looks forward to having all her students back together one last time. 

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Corn Belt Energy Cancels Annual Meeting

There won't be an annual meeting of Corn Belt Energy on June 19th, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

That's the word from officials with the rural electric cooperative that serves the Regional Radio listening area.

 

Board chair Rae F. Payne said the board felt it was the right thing to do, to keep cooperative members safe.

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Local Health Care Agencies Sharing Grants for Additional Coronavirus Testing

Several health care providers in the Regional Radio listening area, were given grants expanding capacity for coronavirus testing, by the U-S Department of Health.

 

Central Counties Health Centers with facilities in Taylorville, Springfield and Jacksonville received almost 381-thousand dollars; Chestnut Health Systems in Bloomington got some 156-thousand; Community Health Improvement Center in Decatur received almost 361-thousand dollars; the County of Macoupin in Carlinville got almost 215-thousand; Promise Healthcare in Champaign received over 286-thosuand dollars; and Southern Illinois University in Springfield got over 654-thousand.

 

Some 45 health centers across the state are sharing in over 25-million dollars being distributed by the U-S Department of Health.

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Congressman Davis Calling on Governor Pritzker to Release Federal Dollars to Local Governments

Hundreds of millions of dollars were distributed by the federal government to municipalities across the country but in Illinois, local governments have yet to see those dollars because Governor JB Pritzker has not released them. 

 

Congressman Rodney Davis wants to know why those dollars are not going to communities in Illinois when many are already planning on struggles once the coronavirus has been defeated. Congressman Davis says programs like the PPP helped small businesses and their employees, it is time to help local governments.

 

 

The Congressman from Taylorville says it is too soon to start talking about more stimulus bills before we know what the economy looks like as Americans begin getting back to work. He says there is still stimulus money to be distributed, and those dollars need to get out before they disperse more. 

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Local Health Officials Provide Thoughts on Latest in Coronavirus

Coronavirus figures are starting to level off and that is leaving healthcare officials in DeWitt County optimistic that perhaps the worst of the coronavirus is behind us.

 

Paul Skowron is the CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services and believes even in Chicago, the numbers coming in are starting to level off. Skowron credits Governor JB Pritzker for embracing many ideas and believes reopening Illinois is not an easy task.

 

 

According to Dave Remmert, Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, the state hit a 16-day low in fatalities earlier this week, only to be followed by a new daily high the next day but he remains encouraged by other numbers, like increased testing.

 

 

Skowron also points out that testing going up and the number of cases plateauing is a good sign. As for down the road, Skowron hopes a gradual reopening of Illinois will lift the spirits of residents. 

 

 

While there has been a spike in fatalities from the coronavirus in recent days after a 16-day low, overtime Remmert anticipates those numbers to continue to decline they had been in recent weeks.

 

 

The region that encompasses DeWitt and Piatt County has less than ten hospitalizations from coronavirus however, the region cannot progress to phase 3 of the Governor's five-phase plan until June 1. 

 

Skowron says antibody in the last week has started to make strides after the FDA tightened the reigns on testing earlier this week, adopting more stringent standards for coronavirus antibody testing. He feels the summer will give developers time to come up with accurate tests. 

 

Remmert still believes healthy people need to out and back to their daily routines while maintaining social distancing from vulnerable populations. 

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Anderson Ford, Baum Chevrolet-Buick Sponsoring Social Distancing Car Cruise Saturday

Anderson Ford in Clinton owner Randy Anderson called Baum Chevrolet-Buick owner Scott Baum with an idea:  How about a "social distancing car cruise?"  Scott said "let's do it!"

 

 

The Anderson Baum Car Cruise 2020 takes place this Saturday evening from 6:30 til 8.  Baum says cruisers will begin on Mr. Lincoln's Square.

 

 

Baum hopes to have those attending both Anderson's and Baum's car shows, to participate in this "social distanced car cruise" this Saturday night.

 

 

To be eligible for prizes, cruisers must check in at both dealerships prior to 7:15pm.  Winners will be selected by 7:30 that night.  Giveaway include restaurant gift certificates and kids' goodie bags.

 

Clinton residents along the route are encouraged to view the cruise as long as social distancing is respected.

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Parents Concerned About Going Back to Work Before Child Care Facilities Open Up, Governor Pritzker Says Use 2,500 Facilities Already Open

In Governor Pritzker's five-phase plan to reopen the Illinois economy, a circumstance could arise where parents are allowed to return to work but their childcare facility may not be open.

 

Parents are concerned they may not have a place to send their kids but Governor JB Pritzker Thursday says 2,500 facilities remain open through the stay at home order. He notes they have established a task force to look at expanding that number.

 

 

The phase four guidelines for reopening childcare facilities from the Governor's plan states quote - "additional measures can be carefully lifted allowing for schools and child care programs to reopen with social distancing policies in place." Phase three employees that can return to work include factory workers, non-essential workers, bars and restaurant workers, personal care service workers such as barbers, health and fitness workers, and retail capacities will be increased. 

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Governor Pritzker Addresses Unemployment Issues

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the economic destruction from the fallout of the coronavirus has been swift and unprecedented.

 

Governor Pritzker notes the Illinois Department of Employment Security has now processed over a million unemployment claims since March 1. He says families are emptying their life's savings and individuals are applying for unemployment for the first time.

 

 

According to the Governor, historical levels of benefits are being paid. Over $2-billion of claims have been paid out and he says the pain devastation is heartbreaking.

 

 

Defending the Department of Employment Security, the Governor says the department has been underfunded, undermanned and it's computers outdated. He says all these things have left families hurting and waiting. 

 

 

The Governor says the department is doing everything from bringing on new employees, retired employees, workers working several hours of overtime and increased their phone lines, overhauled their web platform, and used every avenue possible to build on capacities.

 

The Governor says while there is work to be done, improvements have been made. He says unemployment benefits are being paid to 99.9-percent of clean claims and 75-percent of those claimants receive payments within two weeks. 

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2020 Piatt County Fair Canceled

A long-running, annual Piatt County event has been canceled for 2020.

 

The Piatt County Fair Board met this week and decided to cancel the annual Piatt County Fair in Cerro Gordo.  This year's event was to be held on June 18th through the 21st.

 

Andy Bolsen organizes the annual antique tractor pull, and also serves on the Piatt County Fair Board.  He says public health concerns due to coronavirus, as well as financial concerns, have led to the cancellation.

 

 

Bolsen believes safety has to be the biggest factor in holding any event.  He notes the majority of the fair's volunteers fall in the at-risk age group.  In addition, he notes fairs and festivals have to weigh the possibility of not having the public feel safe enough to attend an event.

 

 

Bolsen says there is a bright spot to the cancellation.  The Piatt County Fair Board is going to use the year off to do additional work on the fairgrounds.

 

 

 

The Piatt County Fair is the latest in several fairs and festivals to be canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.  Monticello's annual Freedom Fest also announced its cancellation this week. 

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New Coronavirus Case in Logan County, Five Individuals Recovered

The Logan County Health Department is reporting a new case of coronavirus and an individual has recovered.

 

The new case is a woman in her 20s. The recovered individual is a female in the community. The Health Department notes, individuals from Christian Nursing Home and Generations Nursing Home are still recovering. 

 

Testing the last few days in Logan County has spiked and the Health Department tells Regional Radio, their data suggests it is simply individuals going to drive through test sites. They are currently not testing assisted living facilities or their corrections facilities, both locations that have seen cases. Testing totals are up to 409 in Logan County with 24 tests pending. 

 

There are no new cases of coronavirus in DeWitt County or Piatt County. The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting 546 total tests. DeWitt County has 14 tests pending while Piatt County has one.

 

The health department indicates the 14 pending tests noted in DeWitt County, 8 of the tests are from healthcare workers and residents of Liberty Village nursing home.  As of today, these residents are through a 14 day incubation period since the employee there tested positive. No symptoms have been noted in this population.

 

They continue to engage in daily communication related to contact tracing with contacts of the recent cases in DeWitt County.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,641 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 138 additional deaths.

 

In total, there are 70,873 cases, including 3,111 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. 90-percent of cases are in the Chicago area. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 17,783 specimens for a total of 379,043.

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National Weather Service: Serious Freeze Coming This Weekend

The frost being predicted this weekend should be taken seriously if you have planted any veggies or flowers in those outdoor gardens.

 

That is the message from the National Weather Service in Lincoln and Chris Miller who, on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, told Regional Radio News he anticipates a freeze warning getting issued for tomorrow night.

 

 

Miller says it is going to become dangerously cold for any plants that may be in the ground right now. He explains the overnight lows they are looking for the area could have devastating impacts on any unprotected plants.

 

 

If you live in the south-central Illinois area and even into southern Illinois, overnight temperatures Friday may not be as cold but those residents should still consider covering plants and protecting them from frost that might develop.

 

 

Fruit tree owners should be concerned if the trees are starting to bear fruits. Miller says those fruits could see some damage but overall, he does not anticipate widespread damage.

 

 

Miller indicates any crops that have emerged should be fine through the overnight freeze Friday. Most crops are pretty hardy and he also believes playing in the favor of farmers is the fact the freeze is only going to be short-lived. 

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Warner Library Announces Drive Up Services

As Illinois looks forward to a slow reopening, a Clinton entity is also slowly expanding their offerings as allowed by the government.

 

Business Manager at Clinton's Warner Library, Samantha Rusk explains they are excited to announce curbside pick up as an option. She says their website vwarner.org website will have a link for their online program.

 

 

The library is also offering a program similar to a subscription box where patrons can request a genre of books and receive several pieces of literature in that genre. Rusk says you can still request specific books or items but they ask you only ask for a certain amount at a time.

 

 

According to Rusk, the program is going to available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Community members are asked to make requests in advance and they will then receive a phone call from the library to schedule a time to come to the library.

 

 

With summer approaching and kids having been removed from their learning environments for almost two months, Rusk says it is as important as ever for kids to read this summer. She says the curbside pick up can be catered to fit a child's interests as well.

 

 

Again, visit vwarner.org, and just below their masthead will be a link to their online ordering. You can also call the library at 217-935-5174. 

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Rep. Brady Weighs in on Governor's 5-Phase Plan

Lawmakers around Illinois are weighing in on Governor JB Pritzker's five-phase plan to reopen Illinois which he released the details of on Tuesday afternoon.

 

While all the GOP House members on the call said they supported the governor’s stay-at-home order and appreciated the changes made in the new version that went into effect Friday, they said the four regions in the plan are arbitrary and said decisions about when to reopen should be evaluated on a more local level. Rep. Dan Brady says the Governor's plan does not offer any semblance of the local authority to local officials.

 

 

Unemployment issues have hindered thousands of unemployed Illinoisans the last several weeks. Rep. Brady says even he and his colleagues don't have the answers.

 

 

House Republican lawmakers in an internet press conference Wednesday morning gave their opinions on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s regional five-phase plan to reopen the state’s economy which was released on Tuesday. 

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Minority Leader Durkin Calls Five Phase Plan Unworkable

Members of the House GOP have attacked the Governor’s five-phase plan to reopen the state’s economy.

 

Minority Leader Jim Durkin said on Wednesday that with phases set to run for at least 28 days the reopening of the state is unworkable.

 

 

The House and Senate are free to reconvene on its own. So, the decisions lie with the Speaker of the House and Senate President.

 

Mike Madigan said in a statement that reads in part “While I am eager to see a return to normalcy, we are talking about people’s lives, and any plan for a return to Springfield must have the health and safety of all those involved as a top priority, including the communities the members represent.”

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In-Person 4-H Events Canceled Through July 5

The University of Illinois Extension announcing that all-in person 4-H activities and events will not be held through early July. Lisa Diaz is the director of the Illinois 4-H.

 

 

Diaz says a decision on the remainder of the July schedule will be made June 1.

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House Republicans Want Lawmakers Back to Work

Republican members of the House want to be back to work in Springfield. House Leader Jim Durkin says that the Speaker of the House and President of the Illinois Senate control when they return to the legislature. But they have been given guidelines from IDPH how to operate safely when they return to work. And he says that time is now, but it doesn’t have to be at the state capitol and could be held in a bigger venue.

 

 

Durkin says the four legislative leaders have only met by conference call two times since lawmakers left Springfield.

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Illinois State FFA Convention Going Virtual

The 92nd Illinois FFA convention is going to look and feel a little different. 

 

The FFA Board has decided to move the event to a virtual one. Illinois FFA Executive Director Mindy Bunselmeyer says the convention will spread over a few weeks. But elections and other business will happen virtually between June 9 and 11. Bunselmeyer acknowledges it has been disappointing for the state officers to have this decision made – but they understand and are now working hard on a whole new way to connect with FFA members.

 

 

Bunselmeyer says it is her hope that going virtually will allow even more people to be a part of the convention.

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Governor Says Don't Count on Either State Fairs

As people start to read over the Governor’s plan for reopening the state it brings into question just how many phases can be accomplished in the next few months. And if phase five is months away then what about the prospects of having the Illinois State Fair? JB Pritzker says…

 

 

Pritzker remains hopeful about progress on the more than 70 clinical trials underway on treatment for COIVD-19. A treatment would allow phase five to begin sooner rather than later.

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Healthcare Workers Who Were Coronavirus Positive Have Recovered

The two female healthcare workers who tested positive for coronavirus in DeWitt County have recovered, bringing the recovery rate for the DeWitt and Piatt County region to 100-percent for coronavirus.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department says there are still six tests pending for staff and residents at Liberty Village in Clinton. 

 

In their daily release, the Health Department says quote - "We are reviewing the RECOVERY ILLINOIS plans announced yesterday by Governor Pritzker and where we stand currently in terms of the data metrics involved in moving toward the next phases.  We will need to move along the phases sequentially even though the metrics involved in moving to phase 3 and to phase 4 are the same.  These are regional approaches with the Central IL region encompassing EMS Regions 3 and 6.  The plan requires a stable hospitalization rate for 28 days within the region.  No region would be able to progress into the next phase until June 1."

 

In Logan County, the Health Department reports a spike in tests awaiting results to 16. There are still three active cases in the county and testing is up to 399 specimens processed.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,270 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 136 additional deaths. 

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 68,232 cases, including 2,974 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. 90-percent of the state's case total is in the Chicago area. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 14,974 specimens for a total of 361,260.  

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The Vault Keeping Tabs on Community's Youth

The Vault in Clinton is working to make sure the youth in our community are doing well during a time when they should be finishing their semester and getting ready for summer break and vacations and camps.

 

Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show, Executive Director Tammy Wilson says their staff leadership and youth leadership are reaching out to kids to make sure all is well in their worlds and their efforts have proven fruitful at times.

 

 

According to Wilson, they also have found some youth are having a hard time during this pandemic. She explains they found kids who were possibly battling newfound depression and anxiety and a few with severe struggles. 

 

 

To keep spirits up, The Vault is doing a lot on social media with words of encouragement and any resources for their kids that they may need. Additionally, Wilson's daughter, Abby, is doing a joke of the day on their Facebook and Instagram page.

 

Additionally, the Harlem Wizards that came to Clinton earlier this year, have been doing exercise videos on social media and The Vault has been promoting those for their kids to participate in as well. 

 

Find The Vault on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest of the things they are doing to engage the community's youth. 

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Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Updates Boating Restrictions in Illinois

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's executive order to reopen select state parks and bodies of water in Illinois last Friday created quite a stir among boaters when it did not mention the two-person to a boat limit that was discussed in his initial detailed outline of the guidelines last month. 

 

Tuesday, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity updated the order and included the two-person limit. Additionally, the order asks residents to refrain from traveling long distances to boat or fish.

 

The order issued also reminds outdoorsmen fishing from boats and banks is now permitted. The two-person limit applies to all boats, regardless of its size and competitive tournaments, and events promoting fishing are prohibited. 

 

As for marinas and boat rental facilities, they are operating with the minimum number of workers necessary, and restaurants or bait shops at these sites can operate under a take-out or curbside pick up service. 

 

Many may wonder why the DCEO is issuing the guidance regarding state parks and Illinois waterways and according to officials with the department, quote - "DCEO has been providing guidance on a number of topics geared toward essential businesses and operations, as determined by the Governor's stay-at-home order. This includes anywhere from golf to drive-ins to camping - all of it is listed in the FAQ on our site."

 

State parks and marinas are under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and DNR officials will carry out the guidelines for these facilities as deemed necessary.  

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Dozens of Central Illinois Non-Profits Receive Grants From Illinois Prairie Community Foundation

Dozens of central Illinois non-profits from DeWitt, Logan, McLean, and Livingston Counties received nearly $140,000 in grant money from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

 

The organization announced the grants last week and Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Michele Evans with the IPCF told Regional Radio News, groups in DeWitt County to benefit from their funding includes Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Clinton Community Education Foundation, and the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois.

 

 

Groups to receive grant funding in Logan County include Heartland Community College for their 'Complete and Connect Lincoln' program along with the Lincoln Pastoral Counseling Services. Additionally, Evans says the United Way of Logan County received funding for their 'Dolly Parton Imagination Library'.

 

 

Evans says they are pleased to once again support The Vault in Clinton and a new entity will be the Mt. Pulaski music department and they will be using nearly $2,700 for new risers for their musical performances.

 

 

73 programs are being supported through this round of grant funding from the IPCF and Evans points out other interesting programs they are supporting will be the free dental clinic for the uninsured through the McLean County Community Healthcare Clinic. Additionally, she feels the Dreams are Possible program, 'Preparing Women for Employment With a Living Wage' was interesting because it prepares women for economically sustainable employment by creating skill-based workers, helping them transition from jobs to careers and prepares them to expect and advocate for a living wage,

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Governor Pritzker Lays Out Plan to Reopen Illinois

Meeting testing requirements while breaking the State of Illinois into four regions are all aspects of a reopening plan laid out by Governor JB Pritzker Tuesday afternoon.

 

The Governor says his plan will continue to follow the science data but indicates he has listened to people in Illinois and across the country for their ideas and believes their ideas have been immensely helpful.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker calls the plan an approach balanced with data and passionate Illinoisans who want to reopen. He says the reality on the ground looks different in areas of the state, which is why he is breaking the state into four different regions.

 

 

Additionally, the state will open in five phases. Governor Pritzker says the fifth phase reopens Illinois in a post-coronavirus world. He says the first phase has been accomplished and we are currently in phase two.

 

 

Testing will play an important role in moving into phases three and four. Gov. Pritzker says telework is still strongly encouraged. He indicates non-essential manufacturing and non-essential businesses can reopen.

 

 

To make it to phase four, Governor Pritzker says restaurants, bars, health centers, and movie theaters among other businesses can reopen. He says these things hinge on health guidelines being met through the Illinois Department of Public Health guidance. In phase four, crowds can move to 50 people.

 

 

Phase five is a full reopening of Illinois but Gov. Pritzker says the only way we move into phase five is with a vaccine, a suitable treatment, or the elimination of the coronavirus in Illinois.

 

 

The Governor wrapped up his unveiling of his plan pointing out they are going to rely on Illinoisans to work together to make these plans work. He says they will work with law enforcement to take action when necessary. 

 

He calls his plan for responding to and recovering from a pandemic in the 21st century and says they are writing the playbook as they go. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Optimistic About Liberty Village Situation

A situation that could have been much worse is starting to appear like there will a positive conclusion.

 

Tests from 37 residents and staff at Liberty Village continue to trickle back and so far, the news has been positive, as there are no cases of coronavirus in the DeWitt County facility after a staffer tested positive last week for the virus that continues to claim lives of Illinoisans and Americans. 

 

Dave Remmert is the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department and today (Tuesday) told Regional Radio News he is optimistic the news will conclude positively at the assisted living facility in Clinton, something not a lot of facilities in Illinois can say at this time.

 

 

Many have wondered why only a part of the staff and residents of the facility have been tested. Remmert indicates the answer is simply a contact tracing procedure as most of the residents have been quarantined in their rooms since the coronavirus outbreak began.

 

 

While the situation at the assisted living facility is looking more positive by the day, Remmert expressed his concern for the lack of isolation is followed by one of the individuals who recently tested positive for the virus. Remmert called the situation frustrating.

 

 

While Remmert has advocated for young people to return to work and to resume their daily routines, he says for healthy individuals to be out is one thing but for a sick individual to be out is quite another. He stresses the danger of individuals who are sick being out is going to create a problem. 

 

Remmert indicates they are going to have to retest around half-a-dozen individuals. Piatt County is reporting no new cases of coronavirus Tuesday while in Logan County, they have no new cases but remain with three active cases. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,122 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 176 new fatalities. 90-percent of cases are in the Chicago area. 

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 65,962 cases, including 2,838 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 13,139 specimens for a total of 346,286.

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Spanish Flu 'Eerily Similar' to Coronavirus

Central Illinois historians have been curious about how the coronavirus pandemic has compared to that of the Spanish Flu of 1918. Their findings: the events are playing out very similarly to each other. 

 

Candace Summers with the McLean County Museum of History indicates her research found many comparisons between the two pandemics. Social distancing, wearing masks, and encouraging handwashing were all implemented in McLean County in 1918.

 

 

The Bloomington Red Cross chapter, which had only been founded three years prior, organized drives for beds, jams, and jellies. Summers points out volunteers also made masks and hospital gowns.

 

 

Summers says the main difference between the two diseases is the age range of fatalities. Younger people were more likely to succumb to the Spanish Flu, while the elderly are the most at risk for the coronavirus.

 

 

Summers encourages the public to document how the pandemic is affecting their lives so future generations can now what life was like.

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Center Street Project Bids Come In Over Budget Again, City to Consider at Next Meeting

Last month, bids for the Center Street project came in well over estimates that were already very liberal from the public works department. 

 

Public Works Director Steve Lobb says the project is already being reduced to just one portion of Center Street, on the south end of town, and while the updated bids were still over budget, his fear if they continue to put off the project, the government funding of the project may not be there.

 

 

Lobb feels the current bid is best for the City and recommended the Council's approval. The Council will take action on the bids at their next meeting on May 18.

 

 

The project was redesigned last month and it reduced the estimates to $1.25-million as opposed to $1.5-million from the first bid cycle. Lobb indicates the breakdown of government contributions does not change regardless of the cost, and $1.25-million fits better into the City's budget. 

 

Also at the Monday night meeting:

 

>>The Council reappointed Jeff Hoke as Fire Chief and Stephen Paige as Assistant Fire Chief

 

>>The Council reappointed Steve Meyers as City Attorney, Cheryl VanValey as City Clerk, Clint Lichtenwalter as City Treasurer, Tom Edmunds as Budget Officer, and Steve Lobb as Public Works

Director

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Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS DIDN’T HAVE MUCH TIME IN THE FIELDS THIS PAST WEEK…BUT WERE ABLE TO MAKE SOME PLANTING PROGRESS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

RAINFALL WAS ABOVE NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK, BUT PRODUCERS MADE GOOD USE OF THE DRY DAYS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

31 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND TWO PERCENT HAVE EMERGED. 

 

 

20 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS TWO PERCENT SHORT, 72 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 26 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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US-China Trade Relationship Impacting Markets to Start Week

The U.S. and China trade relationship being tested again and that’s impacting the commodity markets to start the week. Karl Setzer is a market analyst with AgriVisor.

 

 

Bean futures were trading double digit lower Monday morning.

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Regional Reopening Will Have to Consider Health Care Access

For a few weeks, the Governor has been hinting that he will consider reopening different parts of the state before others. He’s talked about a regional effort but says how he looks at regions might be a little bit different than others.

 

JB Pritzker wants to know that when people do get sick they will have someplace to go.

 

 

Illinois stay at home order runs through the month of May but can be altered before then.

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Just Getting A Test Not Enough for Employer to be Notified

As more testing becomes available for COIVD-19 some people might be nervous about their employer finding out that they went for a test.

 

Just getting a test isn’t enough to notify an employer says Gail O’Neil the Director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health.

 

 

The state will be alerted to a positive test and that person will need to quarantine for a period of time and if they don’t respond to tracing phone calls or alert their employer. The Public Health Department will.

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Governor Says Now Not The Time to Defy State's Stay At Home Order

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO DEFY THE STATE’S STAY AT HOME ORDER. 

 

THERE’S CONCERN ABOUT RECENT EVENTS, INCLUDING HOUSE PARTIES IN CHICAGO, A CHURCH SERVICE IN LENA, PROTESTS IN SPRINGFIELD AND PLANS TO RE-OPEN SOME BUSINESSES IN PLACES LIKE EAST PEORIA. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THESE ACTIONS COULD LEAD TO A RESURGENCE OF THE VIRUS.

 

 

HOLDING CHURCH SERVICES IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS, HOUSE PARTIES IN CHICAGO, PROTESTS ALL OVER THE STATE AND SOME BUSINESSES RE-OPENING COULD LEAD TO A RESURGENCE OF THE VIRUS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS IT’S ALSO NOT A GOOD IDEA TO START VISITING FRIENDS AND FAMILY THAT YOU HAVEN’T BEEN AROUND THROUGH ALL THIS, ESPECIALLY ELDERLY RELATIVES THAT ARE AT GREATEST RISK.

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April Was Wet, Colder

APRIL WEATHER WAS COLDER AND WETTER THAN AVERAGE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE LAST MONTH WAS ABOUT 49 DEGREES. THAT’S THREE AND A HALF DEGREES BELOW NORMAL AND MAKES APRIL 2020 THE 27TH COLDEST ON RECORD SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

PRECIPITATION WAS MORE THAN A HALF INCH ABOVE NORMAL…ALTHOUGH MOST OF THAT RAINFALL CAME TOWARDS THE END OF APRIL. CENTRAL ILLINOIS RECEIVED THE MOST RAIN, WHILE NORTHERN ILLINOIS GOT SOME SNOW LAST MONTH.

 

 

LAST MONTH WAS THE 27TH COLDEST APRIL ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics: Liberty Village in Clinton Under Watch, Still No Positive Tests; Illinois Hits 16-Day Low in Fatalities

No new coronavirus cases are being reported in DeWitt County as results from staff and patients at Liberty Village in Clinton continue to trickle in.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports there are 22 tests pending for DeWitt County with two active cases still. Officials estimate around a dozen results came back negative today from the 27 tests at Liberty Village.

 

256 total tests have been conducted among DeWitt County residents, 231 have returned negative results, there are still 22 pending. In Piatt, testing is at 226 with 218 negatives and two awaiting results. 

 

Seven total individuals have recovered in the two-county area.

 

In Logan County, the Health Department reports 363 tests administered to residents, three are awaiting results and there are three active cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,341 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 46 additional deaths. 46 fatalities is a new 16-day low in deaths from coronavirus, dating back to April 19.

 

In total, there are 63,840 cases, including 2,662 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. 90-percent of cases are in Chicago. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 13,834 specimens for a total of 333,147.  

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dewittdailynews.com Conducting Survey on Governor's Stay at Home Order

The Miller Media Group has created a survey on each of its 2 on-line daily newspapers, to gauge reader sentiment about Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker's continuance of the "Stay at Home" order thru May 30th.

 

The survey is located on the lower right of each page of taylorvilledailynews-dot-com and dewittdailynews-dot-com.  It's a simple survey asking "Do you agree with Governor Pritzker's continuance of the Stay at Home order thru May 30th?"

 

Readers can vote "yes" or "no" in this unscientific survey, and also leave optional comments.

Results of those responding to the survey in each market, are instantly available by clicking the "View Results" icon on the bottom right of the page.

 

Both taylorvilledailynews-dot-com and dewittdailynews-dot-com will report on air and on line, results and comments thru-out the month.

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Congressman LaHood: Give The Illinois People the Benefit of the Doubt

Congressman Darin LaHood has been outspoken about Illinois reopening on a Regional basis and says Governor Pritzker and his team need to consider downstate separately from Chicago.

 

The Republican Congressman from Dunlap believes the people of Illinois have been diligent and obedient to the stay at home orders and it is time to let those that want to go out, to be able to. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday he told Regional Radio News he does not anticipate a mass migration of Chicago residents to downstate. 

 

 

The coronavirus is only the tip of the iceberg of the problems the country could have if people don't get back to work. According to the Congressman, poverty and the inability to prosper is going to become a problem as well.

 

 

Congressman LaHood points out 95-percent of the country's cases are within 90 miles of the nation's seven international airports.

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Warner Hospital CEO: Some Aspects of Life Will Never Return to Normal

Returning to normal is a goal the entire world is striving for during the outbreak of the coronavirus but a local healthcare official wonders if we will ever return to that time.

 

CEO Paul Skowron doesn't question if we'll ever be able to gather around a restaurant table for celebrations or go to baseball games or go boating on the lake with friends and family but does wonder if there are aspects daily life regarding protecting our family and friends from sickness that may not ever be the same again. 

 

 

Things like wearing face coverings, staying home when you're sick, and avoiding the elderly and immune-compromised are likely to become normal parts of the cold and flu season. Skowron believes a lot of lessons are being learned right now.

 

 

As we plan to get together, Skowron hopes businesses and entities will take precautions to keep their patrons safe. He points to large gatherings that happen weekly at churches and the things they could do.

 

 

As antibody testing continues to develop, the research is still very preliminary and feels it will be a while before we know the benefits of antibody testing. He is not hopeful it will solve anything in the next 30 or 60 days. 

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Health Department Director: Understanding of Coronavirus Has Evolved

Returning to a partial normal routine needs to be considered in Illinois as we begin to learn more about the coronavirus.

 

That is the message from the Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert. Last week when a worker at Liberty Village tested positive for the coronavirus, Remmert pointed out 40-percent of the Illinois fatality total from coronavirus in Illinois was in the assisted living population. That is one of the reasons he believes we should start phasing in a return to normal.

 

 

Antibody testing in other areas of the country are revealing the coronavirus is more widespread than initially thought and revealing a death rate that is in line with the flu in a typical year. Remmert says that doesn't mean we shouldn't remain concerned for populations that are high risk of the virus.

 

 

Last week, Governor Pritzker outlined his reasons for keeping downstate Illinois in a stay home order that was met with much pushback from residents south of Chicago. Remmert indicates the hotspots of the outbreak in other areas of the country, like Chicago, is because of the dense populations.

 

 

Remmert believes there is a valid reason for looking at statistics differently than clumping case totals together. He explains epidemiologists look for data that would give a rate for a population to indicate how severe the disease and the fatality rate for a given disease. 

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State Board of Education Offers Guidance for Graduation

THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS OFFERING SOME GUIDANCE FOR SCHOOLS LOOKING TO HONOR GRADUATES. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE KNOWS IT’S A SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS…AND THAT THEY SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS. THAT’S WHY THE BOARD HAS ISSUED RECOMMENDATIONS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE KNOWS IT’S IMPORTANT THAT STUDENTS BE RECOGNIZED.

 

 

SUGGESTIONS INCLUDE HOLDING A VIRTUAL GRADUATION, DRIVE-IN CEREMONIES WHERE STUDENTS ONLY EXIT THE CAR TO HAVE THEIR PHOTO TAKEN, OR INDIVIDUAL CEREMONIES.

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Governor Warns Against Coronavirus Related Scams

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS WARNING THE PUBLIC ABOUT CORONAVIRUS-RELATED SCAMS.

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS CON ARTISTS CONTINUE TO USE THE PANDEMIC TO PREY ON PEOPLE.

 

 

HE WARNS CON ARTISTS THAT THEY WILL BE CAUGHT AND PROSECUTED.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR URGES ANYONE WHO SUSPECTS A SCAM TO REPORT IT ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL DOT GOV.

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Drive In Theaters Could Reopen

A summertime staple in parts of Illinois is drive-in movie theaters. With regular movie theaters closed will drive-ins be able to open? Several around the state have asked and IDPH Director and Dr. Ngozi Ezike says they are looking for a way to get them to show movies.

 

 

Drive-in theaters won’t have many new movies to play. Many Hollywood releases have been postponed until later this fall or even next year.

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Downstate Senator Plans to Put Reopening Strategy to Paper

Southern Illinois legislators have been pushing for a regional re-opening of the state’s economy leading up to the end of the April 30th stay-at-home order put in place by Governor JB Pritzker due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Their claim is that because of the smaller population as well as how the landscape of I-70 and south provides natural social distancing, the cases are far fewer across the board.

 

Senator Paul Schimpf of Waterloo represents the 58th District of southwestern Illinois. He put a plan to paper this past week for a regional re-opening of the state.

 

 

Senator Schimpf’s plan is based on four phases of regional re-openings, all driven by local on-the-ground data such as hospital capacity, testing availability, infection rates, and risk-based assessments of activities.

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Below Normal Temperatures Expected for This Week

The first part of May should see below normal temps for most of Illinois.

 

 

National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Cousins says the threat for severe weather during the first few weeks of May appears to be low at this time.

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Group of Clinton, Lincoln Real Estate Agents Form "The 217 Home Team"

A group of Clinton and Lincoln area real estate agents, have combined to form a new firm in those counties.

 

"The 217 Home Team", affiliated with RE/Max Choice in Bloomington and Champaign, is headed by Camill Riddle-Tedrick, who tells Regional Radio News that Brady Realtors, who the group of 217 Home Team Realtors formerly worked for, was a stand-alone non-franchise real estate company.  With RE/Max Choice comes simplicity and marketing.

 

 

Tedrick says the new affiliation gives them lots of tools to offer buyers.

 

 

The "217 Home Team" name came from the area code where the real estate agents live.

 

 

And, the "217 Home Team" has many familiar faces in real estate between Clinton and Lincoln.

 

 

Find information on-line by googling "RE/Max Choice The 217 Home Team".

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Local Coronavirus Numbers

The DeWitt/Piatt BiCounty Health Department report 459 tests have been conducted between the two counties.

 

DeWitt has tested 237 with 216 negatives, 18 pending, and two active cases.

 

Piatt has administered 222 tests with 213 negative and three pending.

 

The Logan County Health Department is reporting 317 total tests with three pending and three active cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,994 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 63 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 61,499 cases, including 2,618 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 19,417 specimens for a total of 319,313.

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Gov. Pritzker Recognizes National Asian American Heritage Month

May is National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

 

Gov. JB Pritzker in his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Sunday acknowledged the role Asian immigrants played in our country's history while facing discrimination. He says now is the time to end racist attacks against the Asian American community.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker noted several Illinois banks have partnered with the Illinois Department of Professional and Federal Regulation to allow non-customers to cash their stimulus checks.

 

 

The Governor also warned of scams related to the coronavirus. Scams should be reported to the Attorney General's Office.

 

Gov. Pritzker asks every Illinoisian to do their part by completing the 2020 Census.

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Gov. Pritzker on Domestic Violence During Stay at Home Order

The Illinois Department of Human Services is offering more resources for victims of domestic violence during the pandemic.

 

In his daily COVID-19 Press Briefing on Saturday, Gov. JB Pritzker indicates domestic violence may escalate during the stay home order. State programs now offer more resources to combat this.

 

 

The Illinois Domestic Violence Helpline is 1-877-863-6338.

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Local Coronavirus Statistics

DeWitt, Piatt, and Logan counties report no new cases of coronavirus today.

 

DeWitt County has tested 229 individuals, with 208 returning negative, 18 pending results, and two active cases remain.

 

Piatt County has tested 216 with 209 negative and one awaiting results.

 

Logan County reports 317 total tested with three pending and three active cases.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 2,450 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 105 additional deaths.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 58,505 cases, including 2,559 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 15,208 specimens for a total of 299,896.

 

The Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs is reporting one resident at its LaSalle Veterans’ Home testing positive. Testing efforts are underway at the facility.

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Church Deemed 'Essential' But Gatherings Still Limited to 10

There is a change coming for the state’s stay at home order. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker has modified his executive order to allow for the “free exercise of religion”. The order still requires the exercise of religion to observe social distancing and limits gatherings to 10 people.

 

The changes come after a pastor in the town of Lena sued the Governor for infringing on his and his congregations first amendment rights. Pritzker says he hopes members of churches make a responsible decision and stay away from large gatherings where asymptomatic people could spread COIVD-19.

 

 

Church has become an essential service in Illinois.

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Warner Hospital Looking Forward to Resuming Services

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker last week extended his stay at home order, however, in doing so, he also allowed aspects of the Illinois economy to resume.

 

Select recreation sites will open to the public Friday while retailers will be able to offer online and curbside pick up options. Additionally, hospitals will be able to resume elective procedures and CEO of Warner Hospital Paul Skowron says all hospitals will resume and it is a good idea.

 

 

The emergency room at Warner Hospital has been open and taking patients but Skowron says they will soon start to take in patients that have had visits and procedures they've put off in the name of slowing the spread. Soon their Family Medicine facility will return to seeing patients.

 

 

Skowron says Clinton is fortunate to have a small hospital because they naturally run a tight ship and they have not had to lay any staff off during the coronavirus outbreak while other areas, even in central Illinois, have had to send staff home during this time. 

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Staff, Residents of Liberty Village Tested for Coronavirus; Health Officials Keeping An Eye on the Situation

No new coronavirus cases were reported today in DeWitt, Piatt, and Logan Counties but because of recent positive cases in DeWitt County, staff and residents at a DeWitt County assisted living facility have all been tested. 

 

Testing in DeWitt and Piatt Counties increased to 424 tests conducted, 37 tests in DeWitt County are awaiting results, those tests are the staff and residents of Liberty in Village. The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department indicates they continue to maintain communication with the staff there and are very concerned about the health and safety of their residents.

 

In a statement Friday, Executive Director of the Health Department, Dave Remmert said quote - "The Governor's message today focused on the issue of Contact Tracing.  Historically, this is one of the key elements of public health practice to reduce the spread of infections in populations.  With other agency services suspended currently, we have staff available to focus on these really critical functions.  This involves working with identified cases and getting feedback from them on any other persons that they may have had contact with for an extended period and within a 6-foot distance over the incubation period for the disease.  As you can imagine, these contacts could be extensive numbers.  Once identified, we remain in daily contact with them over their quarantine period.  This also involves identifying any needs they may have that we can work towards to allow them to stay home, e.g., groceries."

 

Remmert is imploring the public to remain patient and vigilant with the stay at home guidelines. He says while the orders have been extended, they are being relaxed a bit further and over time it is expected they will be relaxed even more. 

 

Logan County testing increased to 317 tests with three awaiting results. The Health Department still reports three active cases with four previous individuals to test positive have recovered. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 3,137 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 105 additional deaths.

 

IDPH is reporting a total of 56,055 cases, including 2,457 deaths, in 97 counties in Illinois. 

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have processed 14,821 specimens for a total of 284,688.

 

90-percent of cases are in the Chicago area. 

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Clinton YMCA Announces Cancellation of Spring Youth Soccer Season, Still Planning to Have Camp Osage

The coronavirus pandemic has forced youth sports leadership in Clinton to announce the cancellation of one of their seasons.

 

The Clinton YMCA Friday announced they will cancel their spring youth soccer season. Youth Program Coordinator at the YMCA, David Torbert told Regional Radio News Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, the cancellation is because of the social distancing guidelines.

 

 

As of right now, Torbert indicates they are planning on going forward with Camp Osage in the summer. He indicates that the program will also look different but they are planning right now as if they will be able to host kids this summer. 

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Clinton Lake Reopens, Confusion About Boat Capacity In Question

When the Governor released his executive order for Clinton Lake and other Illinois sites to reopen Friday morning at dawn, the order excluded a limit on capacity in a boat.

 

John Williamson, DNR Conservation Police Sergeant says despite the order not being clear, those that flooded the lake initially seemed to be following all other social distancing guidelines.

 

 

The buzz around Clinton Lake reopening was palpable as boats started to filter into gas stations in Clinton by the afternoon hours Thursday and Friday morning there were lines of boats ready to launch from access areas.

 

 

Visit dnr.illinois.gov for more on fishing regulations in Illinois. Williamson also notes you can get information about licenses that expired on March 31 in Illinois at the DNR website. 

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Weldon Springs Among Expanded List of Illinois Parks to Open Friday

Select Illinois parks opened to the public under social distancing guidelines and early Friday morning, word started to spread the list of parks expanding.

 

DNR officials announced Weldon Springs in DeWitt County and Moraine View State Recreation Area north of LeRoy in McLean County are among sites that were added to a select list of parks to open Friday morning. DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson says limitations at Weldon Springs will mirror all other parks that are open.

 

 

Get a full list of parks reopening at the link below:

 

 https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/closures/Pages/ParksOpenDuringCoVID19.aspx.

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Clinton High School Announces Plans for Graduation in Late June

To give students the best chance to participate in graduation, Clinton High School has announced they will hold graduation on June 28 at the Clinton High School football field.

 

Principal Jerry Wayne says the date is certainly tentative as the coronavirus social distancing guidelines continue to evolve but he felt setting the date where they did would give them the best chance to be able to hold graduation for their students and their families.

 

 

Balancing social distancing guidelines and also maintaining normalcy was on the mind of Wayne when deciding how to coordinate a graduation ceremony. He indicates the best chance to hold a ceremony and maintain social distancing was to hold the proceedings at the football field.

 

 

Wayne hopes to have students walk across the stage, head towards the track for pictures, and then find their seats. There is the possibility the ceremony could be pushed to July depending on the developments of the coronavirus during the month of June. 

 

WHOW will be broadcasting the graduation ceremony live via THE BIG 1520/92.3 FM & 106.5 FM, as well as being streamed by clicking the WHOW LIVE icon at Dewitt Daily News, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

 

Again the ceremony is set for Sunday, June 28 at 7:30 pm with a rain date of Monday, June 29. 

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