Local News

Argenta-Oreana Fire Department Excited for Grant from Fire Marshall's Office

Argenta-Oreana was among dozens of Illinois Fire Departments to receive $3-million in grants from the Illinois Fire Marshall's Office.

 

Argenta-Oreana Fire Chief Kurt Michener says the $26,000 is going to help them cover an unexpected expense they have for medical equipment they need in both their stations. The first year fire chief was excited to receive his first grant. 

 

 

Fire departments are becoming increasingly relied upon for medical calls. According to Chief Michener, their latest call data indicates only one in five calls they go to are fire calls, so updated medical equipment is necessary for them.

 

 

The medical equipment the department needs to upgrade comes as somewhat of a surprise for the department. Chief Michener explains they recently received notice the life expectancy on their cardiac monitors was about to expire and so this grant is going to be a big boost in getting those replaced.

 

 

Chief Michener says the Argenta-Oreana Fire Department is very fortunate to have the grant come along at a perfect time and they are appreciative of the Fire Marshall's office for awarding them the money. 

 

Additionally in Macon County, the Maroa Countryside Fire Protection District received $26,000. Harristown Fire Protection District received just short of $24,000 and Blue Mound Fire Protection District received $26,000. 

 

Other departments in central Illinois to receive funds include the New Holland Fire Protection District and the Latham Fire Protection District in Logan County. New Holland received just short of $25,000 while Latham received $26,000.

 

Cisco Fire Protection District in Piatt County received just short of $25,000 while the North Piatt Fire Protection District received just over $25,000. 

 

And Armington Community Fire Protection District in Tazewell County received over just over $15,000. 

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Central Illinois CEO Program Ends First Year Anticlimacticly But Students Learned Many Lessons

A program aimed to introduce high school students to the world of local business and opportunities in their back yard was changed thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that shut down schools for the entirety of the fourth quarter.

 

The Central Illinois CEO Program was in its first year in Clinton, Blue Ridge, Maroa-Forsyth, and Warrensburg-Latham Schools and while school kids were forced to stay at home as the coronavirus shut down area schools, the program went virtual. Program leader Melanie Brown says the three-quarters of the year the students were able to participate, they had a great experience.

 

 

Perhaps one of the most recognizable aspects of the CEO program is the individual business students begin. Brown explains the abrupt conclusion of the school year did not allow them to participate in a trade-show that is the grand finale of their program.

 

 

According to Brown, the communities began this process several years ago and investors in the program found value in it. Additionally, the kids expressed the value of the program at the end of the year.

 

 

Many of the investors and business owners students were able to get to know thanks to the networking they did pay off for many. Brown explains some investors provided personal contact information for them and she hopes the program gave them a glimpse of the possibilities they could pursue locally.

 

 

The first year of the Central Illinois CEO program began with nine students. Brown stresses the program is not funded by the schools nor the State of Illinois, rather by community investors. Those investors often play a pivotal role in the program through mentorships or providing a meeting space, which takes place before the school day begins. 

 

Tomorrow on Regional Radio News, we'll more from Brown on what the next year hold for the CEO program. 

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CHS Preparing for Summer Maintenance

Apart from renovations to the track and baseball field, summer maintenance is much of a routine this summer.

 

Jerry Wayne, CHS Principal, indicated the high school will be replacing their front door starting this week. Wayne thanks the custodial and grounds staff for all of the hard work they have done to prepare for when students return.

 

 

Wayne says they currently have set up hand sanitizing stations in places where athletic teams might be due to their return following IHSA's Return to Play Stage 2.

 

 

Wayne is confident that the building will be clean and safe for students as they return in the fall.

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Weekly Crop Report

WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING IS MORE THAN HALFWAY COMPLETE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

RAINFALL WAS ABOVE NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK BUT PRODUCERS WERE ABLE TO GET TIME IN THE FIELDS FOR HARVESTING SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

ONE PERCENT OF CORN IS SILKING AND 67 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

96 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE EMERGED AND 10 PERCENT ARE BLOOMING. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW STANDS AT SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 18 PERCENT SHORT, 66 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 10 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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USDA Rural Development Promoting Infrastructure Programs

USDA Rural Development continues to promote infrastructure programs for local communities.

 

 

Doug Wilson is the state director for USDA Rural Development. You can find out about the agency's many programs at "rd.usda.gov/il."

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Sen. Duckworth Discusses Russian Bounties Scandal

US Senator Tammy Duckworth isn’t buying much of what is coming out of the White House over what the President knew or didn’t know about possible Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers.

 

On the floor of the Senate Duckworth says even if you believe the President’s word that he wasn’t briefed on the matter - that’s not good enough.

 

 

Duckworth says at least one service member reportedly is dead because of the bounties.

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Farm Progress Show Canceled

The 2020 Farm Progress Show has now been canceled in Boone, Iowa, but show manager Matt Jungmann says a virtual experience is being organized for Sept. 1-3.

 

 

Jungmann, who farms in western Illinois, is also show manager for Husker Harvest Day and that event, scheduled for Sept. 15-17 in Nebraska has also been canceled.

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Center Street Project Slated to Start Next Week

Next week, work on the anticipated million-dollar Center Street project in Clinton is slated to get underway.

 

After being forced to go to bid multiple times, Public Works Director Steve Lobb says they are finally to a point to get the project going. He reminds residents part of the reason the project is so expensive is because of ADA compliance regulations. 

 

 

The project will not be completed by the Apple n' Pork Festival, should it take place this year, but Lobb points out the project will be paused and the area on North Center Street cleared out for all the visitors to the annual festival.

 

 

According to Lobb, all the hurdles and hiccups in the process required them to continue to press on. He explains they had to adjust and adapt under circumstances that made such an effort difficult. 

 

 

Had the second round of bids still come back very high after adjustments to the plans, Lobb indicates they very well may have scrapped the project until next year but that would have almost guaranteed the bids still would be high because he has never seen construction costs decrease.

 

 

Lobb is still befuddled the reasons for initial bids coming in over budget and that has significantly decreased the amount of work they planned on doing this summer. He says bids the second time around still came in high but they were able to work within those numbers and make the project happen. 

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Warner Hospital CEO Provides Updates on Facility Improvements

Before the coronavirus put a wrench in the plans of several sectors of the local economy, Clinton's Warner Hospital and Health Services had a busy summer planned.

 

CEO Paul Skowron indicates their pharmacy project is complete and now they await state inspection. He explains once they get the 'thumbs up' from the State, they will move their equipment.

 

 

The pharmacy remodel was among several targeted areas this year for the City-owned hospital. According to Skowron, there are two phases to the pharmacy remodel along with their plans for the emergency room renovation.

 

 

Mandated deadlines were in play for some of the projects at the hospital and what has impressed Skowron is the government has been very responsive to the situation at hand and understanding the time frames in place are going to be fluid for some things going forward. 

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Camp Osage Expands Enrollment

Today is the first day for Camp Osage's new enrollment numbers.

 

David Torbert, Clinton YMCA Activity Director, indicates since the State entered Phase Four on Friday they can now have 45 campers.

 

 

Torbert notes despite being restricted by numbers, they are still maintaining the atmosphere of the normal Camp Osage. Moving forward they will be planning more outdoor activities.

 

 

Torbert says he is happy the YMCA can provide those families who are returning to work as permitted in Phase Four a fun and safe atmosphere for their children.

 

 

Clinton YMCA officials are continuing to clean and sanitize regularly. To learn more about Camp Osage call the YMCA at (217) 935-8307, or visit the Camp Osage Facebook page.

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Atlanta Public Library Open to Patrons

The Atlanta Public Library has reopened in-person services for its patrons.

 

Cathy Maciariello with the Atlanta Public Library indicates the library is open on limited hours. She notes patrons can also take advantage of their curbside pickup and delivery service.

 

 

Maciariello notes the response so far has been predictable. They are limiting foot traffic per floor and patrons who have come in are taking precautions.

 

 

Maciariello says normally summers see groups of children spending their days at the library. She says while it is disappointing not to see this, it is necessary for everyone's health and wellness.

 

 

For more information visit www.atlantapld.org.

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Springfield Dealing With Workplace Shooting

The city of Springfield continues to work through the pain of a workplace shooting that left three people dead along with the suspected shooter. Springfield Police say Michael Collins of Springfield opened fire inside a welding area at Bunn, a coffee pot and drink machine manufacturer on Friday.

 

Three people died, men in their 20’s and 60’ and woman in her 50’s. Hy Bunn, President and CEO of Bunn, says the family-owned business will be ready to assist the victims’ families and employees.

 

 

The gunman was found dead in his car miles away in Morgan County.

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Clinton High School Successfully Hosts Graduation

While it wasn't what seniors may have envisioned when the 2019-2020 school year began, in a pandemic world, Clinton High School seniors were able to receive their diplomas in the walls of Clinton High School Sunday afternoon.

 

Principal Jerry Wayne and his staff worked long and hard to make sure some sort of graduation ceremony took place to recognize the seniors of Clinton High School and Sunday the principal tipped his cap to his students.

 

 

Valedictorian Kayla Sterr thanked everyone involved in preparing the Class of 2020....

 

 

Valedictorian Destiny Schlessinger jokingly called the Class of 2020 the guineapig class, capped off by a pandemic shortened year.

 

 

Valedictorian Garrett Wayne says whatever the future holds for their class, they will always have the memories of high school to look back on.

 

 

Valedictorian Elizabeth Maier offered up encouragement to her classmates....

 

 

To her classmates, Valedictorian Payne Turney spoke a word of encouragement from Apple founder, Steve Jobs....

 

 

Valedictorian Brett Reeves says the memories of high school will always be with them...

 

 

Sarah Fabris was the Salutatorian and Class President Libby Bateson announced the graduates as they entered the auditorium to receive their diplomas. 

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IDOA working on planning a show for livestock exhibitors

Livestock exhibitors are bummed with local county fairs and the state fair being cancelled this summer, but the Illinois Department of Agriculture is still planning on holding some type of show. But those details are still being worked out says Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards.

 

 

62 local county fair events have already been cancelled this summer in Illinois along with the Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs.

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Local Law Enforcement To Resume Normal Patrols

With many aspects of life starting to return to normalcy expect to see law enforcement return as well.

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers states they had limited patrol to aspects of public safety but with an increase in traffic they will begin their normal patrols.

 

 

Sheriff Mike Walker indicates his office has already resumed patrols. They are still taking precautions when bringing people to the jail.

 

 

Both officials remind motorists to be mindful of their surroundings are more people return to the road.

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IDPH Launches County by County COVID-19 Assessment

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS LAUNCHING A NEW TOOL TO HELP ASSESS THE THREAT OF THE CORONAVIRUS IN YOUR AREA. 

 

THE RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL PROVIDES INFORMATION LIKE THE NUMBER OF NEW CASES IN YOUR COUNTY, E-R VISITS WITH VIRUS LIKE SYMPTOMS AND WHETHER THERE HAVE BEEN ANY CLUSTERS OF INFECTION. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gazhi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS IT’S DISPLAYED AS A MAP.

 

 

THE TOOL FEATURES A MAP THAT ASSESSES HOW EACH COUNTY IS DOING WHEN IT COMES TO NEW CASES, CLUSTERS OF CASES, HOSPITALIZATION AND MORE. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THE IDEA IS TO GIVE PEOPLE A FEEL FOR WHAT IS SAFE FOR THEM TO DO.

 

 

VIEW THIS INFORMATION ON THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH’S WEBSITE AND CLICK ON THE “CORONAVIRUS DISEASE” BANNER.

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Sen. Rose Wants Young People to Wear Masks

To wear a mask or not wear a mask that indeed is the question, and one local lawmaker thinks you should.

 

Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, indicates he has seen more and more people stop wearing masks recently. He says it is a civic duty to wear a mask.

 

 

Sen. Rose cites studies have shown the effectiveness of wearing masks. He details one recent visit to a fast-food restaurant that left him furious.

 

 

As the state starts to reopen more Sen. Rose hopes people will continue to follow the masks and social distancing recommendations.

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IDPH Director Likens Not Wearing a Mask to Russian Roulette

STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS NOT WEARING A MASK IN PUBLIC IS LIKE PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE. 

 

WEARING A FACIAL COVERING AROUND OTHER PEOPLE IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP PREVENT SPREAD OF THE CORONAVIRUS, BUT SOME STILL REFUSE SAYS DOCTOR EZIKE.

 

 

DOCTOR EZIKE SAYS SOME STILL REFUSE TO WEAR A MASK, PUTTING THEMSELVES AND OTHERS AT RISK. SHE SAYS IT’S TOO DANGEROUS TO TAKE A GAMBLE WITH COVID-19.

 

 

EZIKE SAYS WEARING A FACIAL COVERING IS ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO PREVENT SPREAD OF THE VIRUS

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Weekly Weather Summary

This past week saw some much needed rain and that trend will continue this weekend and into next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford...

 

 

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Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office asks more health care providers to report fireworks injuries

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE IS URGING ALL HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS TO REPORT ANY FIREWORKS INJURIES THIS SUMMER.

 

IT'S IMPORTANT TO COLLECT THIS DATA SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

THE STATE HEARD FROM 56 HEALTH CARE FACILITIES ABOUT INJURIES CAUSED BY FIREWORKS AROUND THE FOURTH OF JULY LAST YEAR...BUT MORE ARE ENCOURAGED TO REPORT. FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS THE PROVIDERS DOCUMENTED 126 PEOPLE INJURED.

 

 

PROVIDERS ARE URGED TO VISIT: SFM DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV AND THEN CLICK ON "FIREWORKS SAFETY" TO REPORT ANY CASES THEY SEE.

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CHS Graduation To Be Heard on WHOW Sunday at 2pm

The Clinton High School Class of 2020 graduation ceremony will be Sunday, June 28, at 2 pm.

 

CHS Principal Jerry Wayne told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Friday, after surveying students and parents they will host graduation that meets public health guidelines Sunday afternoon.

 

 

Wayne indicates due to social distancing, graduates and their families have been given a time slot to arrive at the high school parking lot. They will remain in their cars and will be directed by staff upon arrival.

 

 

Graduates will walk across the stage one at a time. After receiving their diploma, the graduate will pause for a quick photo op by Mark Woods. They will then exit the high school afterward.

 

The Clinton High School 2020 Commencement Ceremony will be broadcasted live Sunday, June 28, at 2 pm on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, on the WHOW mobile app, and on Amazon Alexa.

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DeWitt/Piatt Health Director Continues to Push for Calm Despite Coronavirus Cases Increases

As coronavirus cases begin to increase in parts of the country, including those that have been reopened for many weeks now, the Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department says we don't need to panic.

 

Dave Remmert anticipated the number of cases would increase as people get back out and begin to mingle and continues to be dismayed by the reaction to the rise in cases. He points out, healthy populations of people getting and spreading the virus amongst each other is not a bad thing.

 

 

According to Remmert, local cases are not severe however, there are zero hospitalizations, let alone fatalities. He points out symptoms of those who have contracted the coronavirus locally have been overall mild and asymptomatic. 

 

 

According to Remmert, the protection of vulnerable populations like nursing home residents and those that immunocompromised is very important. He credits local facilities for the measures they've taken and the continued heightened awareness.

 

 

As we collect more data on the coronavirus we begin to learn more about this novel virus. Remmert believes we are going to be living with this virus for a while and the fatality rate is very low.
 

 

According to Remmert, while there are differences between the flu and coronavirus, there are also similarities. While the coronavirus has killed a lot more than a typical flu season, the flu also brings respiratory issues and it targets the elderly population more adversely. 

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Canceled Tour DeWitt Still Supporting Kids

The last few years the final weekend in June has seen hundreds of cyclists take to the back roads of DeWitt County in the annual Tour DeWitt.  Covid-19 had different plans this year, as the pandemic forced the cancellation of the event.  

 

Tour Director, Steve Lobb, says organizers and participants were disappointed in the cancellation, but he notes all have been supportive.

 

 

Even though the ride isn't happening this year, Tour DeWitt is still supporting local youth.  Lobb explains they typically donate all proceeds to the McLean County Child Protection Network, which supports the DeWitt County Children's Advocacy Center.  He says community support has been overwhelming as sponsors and riders are still donating to the cause; despite the event being canceled.

 

 

Organizers are grateful to see the donations, as experts believe instances of unreported child abuse could be rising during the pandemic.  Lobb says the generosity will ensure CPN services are available to any who may need them in the community.

 

 

Lobb and the Tour DeWitt organizers are asking anyone willing to help support their efforts to visit the ride's Facebook page for further information.  You can also drop a donation in the mail via the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, just be sure to indicate it's for the Tour DeWitt fundraiser.

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State Issued Broad Reccommendations For Schools To Form Plans

WHILE SOME ARE LOOKING FOR MORE DIRECTION FROM THE STATE WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING KIDS BACK IN THE CLASSROOM, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THEY WANT SCHOOLS TO BE ABLE TO DESIGN THEIR OWN UNIQUE PLANS.

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS WHAT MIGHT WORK FOR ONE DISTRICT MAY NOT WORK FOR ANOTHER, AND THAT’S WHY THE STATE ISSUED BROAD RECOMMENDATIONS.

 

 

SPEAKING AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN GENESEO, GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS EACH SCHOOL WILL HAVE ITS OWN CHALLENGES, WHETHER IT BE HOW TO HANDLE LUNCH TIME OR KEEPING STUDENTS IN MASKS ALL DAY.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS EVERYONE WANTS TO MAKE SURE STUDENTS AND STAFF STAY HEALTHY AND THAT ACCOMPLISHING THAT MAY LOOK DIFFERENT FROM SCHOOL TO SCHOOL.

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IDPH reminding about immunizations

The ongoing pandemic has kept people from visiting the doctor and that goes for families keeping up with visits for healthy kids and adults putting off more serious checkups.

 

IDPH data says their data shows families have forgone immunizations over worries about COVID-19. Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says before a possible surge in cases now is the time to get healthy.

 

 

Medical centers are back open and ready for businesses. Doctors offices are practicing social distancing and having nearly everyone wear PPE.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum opens back up on July 1st

THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM IS REOPENING ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 1ST. 

 

THE MUSEUM WILL OPEN IT'S DOOR TO VISITORS AND FEATURE A NEW EXHIBIT ABOUT SPIES AND TERRORISM IN AMERICA. THERE WILL BE NEW SAFETY PROTOCOLS IN PLACE SAYS SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS, AND YOU WILL HAVE TO BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE.

 

 

THE MUSEUM WILL BE OPEN FROM NINE TO FIVE, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WILL SHOWCASE A NEW EXHIBIT ON SPIES AND TERRORISM IN THE U-S. VISITORS WILL HAVE TO BUY THEIR TICKETS IN ADVANCE, HAVE THEIR TEMPERATURE CHECKED AND WEAR A MASK. SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS SAYS THERE ARE A FEW OTHER CHANGES AS WELL.

 

 

THE CHILDREN'S PLAY AREA WILL BE CLOSED AND THE NUMBER OF THEATRE PERFORMANCE WILL BE REDUCED TO ALLOW TIME FOR CLEANING. THE PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY WILL BE OPEN BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. VISIT: PRESIDENT LINCOLN DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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State Fire Marshal Urges Public to be Careful with Fireworks

AS MORE PEOPLE MAY BE APT TO PUT ON THEIR OWN SHOW AT HOME, THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE IS WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF FIREWORKS. 

 

MANY COMMUNITIES HAVE CANCELLED THEIR BIG FIREWORKS SHOWS, SO THERE IS SOME CONCERN ABOUT BACKYARD USE SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ. HE SAYS ONLY NOVELTY ITEMS LIKE SNAPPERS, POPPERS AND SPARKLERS ARE LEGAL IN ILLINOIS.

 

 

FIREWORKS SHOULD BE LEFT TO THE PROFESISONALS SAYS STATE FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ. HE SAYS ONLY NOVELTY FIREWORKS ARE TECHNICALLY LEGAL IN ILLINOIS.

 

 

THE PERMIT PROCESS INCLUDES THE LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT INSPECTING THE AREA WHERE YOU PLAN TO SHOOT OFF THE FIREWORKS. FULTZ REMINDS THAT EVEN SPARKLERS CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS, SINCE THEY CAN BURN AT OVER 12-HUNDRED DEGREES.

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Phase 4 Begins Friday

Illinois's four regions will enter Phase 4 of Restore Illinois tomorrow (Friday).

 

Gov. JB Pritzker in a COVID-19 Press Briefing Thursday announced fitness centers, indoor dining, movie theaters, and schools will be allowed to reopen.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker applauds Illinoisans in their efforts to allow the state to reopen while many states are moving backward.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says with businesses reopening comes an increased chance of contracting the coronavirus. He says to continue moving forward Illinoisans will need to continue to wash their hands, wear masks, and social distance.

 

 

The state will remain in Phase Four until a vaccine or effective treatment is available.

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Heyworth Superintendent on State's School Guidelines

The Illinois State Board of Education earlier this week released guidelines for in-person instruction to return this fall.

 

Lisa Taylor, Heyworth Superintendent, says one troubling part of the guidelines is group sizes of 50 students. She says school districts will have to figure out how to conduct lunch, PE, and band classes.

 

 

Taylor indicates Heyworth is preparing plans for in-person learning, remote learning, and hybrid classes. They are modeling their hybrid plan after Peoria schools. Taylor says they are working with other county superintendents to maintain consistency throughout the county.

 

 

Taylor says another potential problem is funding. Heyworth schools received a grant from the stimulus program which will be put towards technology. She feels the increase in purchasing of cleaning supplies and PPE should not fall on taxpayers.

 

 

Temperature checks and how to do is also of great interest. Taylor says they will survey parents on their preferences.

 

 

Taylor notes this school year it will be of utmost importance that parents keep students home who are displaying symptoms or are possibly exposed.

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Clinton Public Works Summer Maintenance Schedule Delayed by Coronavirus

Annual summer maintenance work in the City of Clinton will be delayed in 2020 because of the coronavirus.

 

Public Works Director Steve Lobb tells Regional Radio News, they are working through their planned projects but the pandemic is delaying a lot of things on their calendar this year.

 

 

According to Lobb, if they cannot get their annual seal-coat work done by mid-September, it will have to be put off until next year. He is not anticipating that happening but the work will be delayed.

 

 

Public works is an industry with work to be done and not always the time nor manpower and not to mention funding that continues to flatline while costs increase. Lobb says this year that issue is compounding due to all the unforeseen circumstances.

 

 

Lobb indicates they anticipate the Center Street project to get started July 6, the Monday after the Fourth of July holiday weekend. We'll have more on that project next week on Regional Radio News. 

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Governor JB Pritzker announces first $50 million in statewide broadband expansion grants

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING 50 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS TO KICK OFF THE STATE’S LARGEST-EVER BROADBAND EXPANSION EFFORT.

 

BIG CITIES SHOULDN’T BE THE ONLY PLACES THAT HAVE HIGH SPEED INTERNET SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE MONEY, PLUS ANOTHER 65 MILLION IN NON-STATE MATCHING FUNDS IS GOING TO 28 PROJECTS AROUND THE STATE SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE EFFORT IS PART OF THE “CONNECT ILLINOIS” INITIATIVE, WHICH AIMS TO BRING INTERNET ACCESS TO EVERY PART OF THE STATE BY 2024.

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IHSA ready for Stage 2 return to play

It's all about a numbers game when discussing IHSA "return to play" guidelines. The state is expected to move to Phase 4 under the governor's Restore Illinois plan on Friday and that will mean Stage 2 for the IHSA outline, which is pending approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health. IHSA Stage 1 "return to play" started earlier this month and the policy allows for strength, conditioning and speed workouts for groups of ten or less. Stage 2 would allow for team related activities says the IHSA's Sam Knox.

 

 

Stage 2 for IHSA "return to play" would mean outdoor and indoor gatherings of 50 or fewer players, coaches and officials. It would also allow for athletic contests and practices, again all pending IDPH approval.

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This Week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week

This week is lightning safety awareness week.

 

With severe storms that rolled through much of Illinois Monday afternoon, lightning strikes are much less deadly than they used to be. Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says any thunderstorm can produce lightning and any lightning strike that hits the ground can be devastating.

 

 

According to Miller, they have testimonies of individuals that have reported lightning enter an open window or front or back door. He indicates lightning isn't always deadly but it can be damaging to your long-term health. 

 

 

While decreases in fatalities and injuries from lightning have gone down, Miller says there is some sobering news that increases in fatalities among people who work or spend time outside are still dying from lightning strikes.

 

 

Miller indicates most storms with a rumble of thunder are going to produce lightning. He says random lightning strikes are very rare. He says when you hear the rumbles of thunder, get indoors and close the doors and windows. 

 

He also points out, 80-percent of lightning fatalities are men ages 20-50 years old.

This week weather.gov/lincoln will have several links to resources about lightning safety. Miller encourages the public to take a few minutes and browse through some of those. 

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Warner Hospital CEO Says Hospital Will Operate As If We're Still in Phase 3

To protect its workers and patients, Clinton's Warner Hospital and Health Services will continue to operate under the guidance of Phase 3 of the 'Restore Illinois' plan despite the state moving to phase 4 Friday.

 

CEO Paul Skowron told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday they are going to continue to require masks by patients and social distancing guidelines of six-feet separation. He believes it is important for them to not let their guard down and demonstrate maximum safety. 

 

 

While many hospitals had to lay off staff and many systems have found themselves in financial trouble since the coronavirus began, Skowron says that did not happen in Clinton and he emphasizes they had the cash reserves to get through the difficult shutdowns.

 

 

Since the hospital's partial reopening as guidance from health officials has continued, Skowron indicates things fell off significantly but they have since seen a rebound and are getting back to their levels before the shutdown.

 

 

Skowron believes if there is a second wave of cases as Illinois begins to reopen further beginning Friday, they will be as prepared as they ever have been because they are well stocked on equipment and testing supplies. 

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Miller Park Zoo Reopening Friday

With the state of Illinois set to enter Phase 4 Friday, the Miller Park Zoo is planning a reopening.

 

Jay Tetzloff, Superintendent of Miller Park Zoo, indicates Phase Four of Restore Illinois will allow for the zoo to reopen. While some zoos have already reopened, the Bloomington City Manager felt it was in the best interest of public health to follow the Governor's plan "exactly as written."

 

 

Among the guidelines for those coming out, only fifty people will be allowed on the property including employees. Tetzloff asks patrons to reserve a time to visit the zoo online and this first weekend will be open to zoo members only.

 

 

The guidelines to reopen brought some challenges to the zoo. Tetzloff says the zoo will be redirected for a one-way route and masks will be required. He notes the exposure to other guests will be "close to nothing."

 

 

Patrons will need to reserve a time to visit the zoo by calling (309) 434-2250. For more information visit millerparkzoo.org.

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Rep. Darin LaHood Appointed to China Task Force

An Illinois Congressman was appointed to the U.S. House China Task Force.

 

Rep. Darin LaHood indicates the task force was assembled a few weeks ago and will address how to respond to China in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

The task force will be asked to look into toughening the U.S.'s policies towards China in a bipartisan way. LaHood notes the U.S.'s relationship with China is complicated because the U.S. relies on China as a trade partner.

 

 

Rep. LaHood believes the task force is something all Americans can get behind. He also believes they need to balance the economic market of China while also holding them accountable.

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State Unveils Plans for Students to Return to School

The Governor has laid-out plans for schools to reopen in the fall and hold in-person learning.

 

The guidelines are out to the hundreds of districts in Illinois and it begins with face coverings for teachers and students. Temperature checks are also going to be requested.

 

The Governor and education leaders say they will give districts control over choices about what in-person education will look like – even to consider bringing students in on an every other day basis.

 

Carmen Ayala the State Superintendent of Education says they want districts to be able to respond to changes throughout the school year based on local needs.

 

 

2 and half million cloth face masks have been purchased for schools. And districts have been given access to new funding to purchase PPE and cleaning supplies.

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Quiet Tornado Season in Illinois So Far

It’s been a quiet tornado season thus far in Illinois.

 

 

That’s state climatologist Trent Ford, making his comments to the RFD Radio Network Tuesday.

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IDPH Updates on Coronavirus Numbers

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS COVID-19 NUMBERS IN ILLINOIS HAVE REALLY IMPROVED.

 

601 NEW CASES ARE BEING ANNOUNCED. THAT COMPARES TO THE DAILY TOTAL OF ABOUT FOUR THOUSAND NEW CASES REPORTED SIX WEEKS AGO. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS MORE TESTING IS BEING DONE.

 

 

DOCTOR EZIKE SAYS DAILY NEW CASES ARE DOWN AS WELL. FROM THE MOST RECENT 601 TO… AT IT’S HIGHEST…OVER FOUR THOUSAND.

 

 

EZIKE SAYS LESS COVID PATIENTS ARE IN THE HOSPITAL, WITH ABOUT 16 HUNDRED IN NOW COMPARED TO MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND AT THE END OF APRIL.

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Congressman Davis Delivers PPE To Area First Responders

Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville made several stops in central Illinois Tuesday to deliver personal protective equipment, or PPE, to the area's first responding agencies.

 

Among the stops, was a visit to Micah Gallardo and the DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency along with the Monticello Fire Department.

 

The Taylorville Republican also stopped at the McLean County Nursing Home, the Savoy Fire Department, and Macon Eastern Star Home.

 

Thanks to a partnership with John Deere, the United Auto Workers (UAW), and Illinois Manufacturing Association (IMA), face shields were delivered to first responders as they are vital to protecting first responders and others from the coronavirus.

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DeWitt County Sheriff Talks Police Reform Proposals, Indicates Many Are Already Being Done

Reforms to police departments across the country could be inevitable in 2020 and beyond as the death of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis police have sparked conversations about reforms in law enforcement.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker says one change he has been hearing proposed that he would support is the access records of officers moving from department to department. Currently, if an officer transfers their personnel files cannot be accessed, and he believes that would a very good step in the right direction.

 

 

According to the Sheriff, many things being talked about across the country are already being done. In his 30-plus years in law enforcement, he points out DeWitt County has regularly been a progressive, forwarding thinking department.

 

 

Body cameras are becoming more popular in the law enforcement community but are not universal. Sheriff Walker says those have been part of their uniforms for several years now and after initial pushback from DeWitt County Sheriff's Office patrolman, they are showing to be very useful.

 

 

In terms of defunding the police, the Sheriff says abolishing the police would lead to more crime and the first impacts of any reduction in funding are going to be the reduction of personnel in these agencies, which will reduce response to times. 

 

He also notes, costs are going to increase for departments if more training is added to an already extensive routine for them. 

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Farmer City Library Waiting to Reopen

While many libraries in central Illinois are bringing back many services on a limited basis, a DeWitt County library is waiting for more information before they reopen.

 

Amy Johnson is the Director of the Farmer City Public Library and indicates they rolled out curbside pick up services earlier this month. For now, the library plans for that to be the only service they offer through July.

 

 

Three days through the work-week are designated for curbside pickup at the library and Johnson indicates their times cover the morning, afternoon, and evening. The public is encouraged to call or email about curbside pickup and she points out, because of the gradual reopening, their offering is finally expanding.

 

 

The interlibrary loan program is starting to get reintroduced. Johnson explains the interlibrary loan program allows patrons to request materials from another library not available at their library. She notes by the end of the month, it should be fully operational again.

 

 

During the shutdown, material providers for the Farmer City Library were not distributing materials so Johnson anticipates a surge of new materials to be on the way throughout the rest of the month. Get more information about the Farmer City Public Library by visiting their Facebook page. 

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Weekly Crop Report

SOYBEAN PLANTING IS ALMOST DONE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

97 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES HAVE BEEN PLANTED SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

SCHLEUSENER SAYS 26 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED.

 

 

59 PERCENT OF CORN IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPPED TO SEVEN PERCENT VERY SHORT, 26 PERCENT SHORT, 63 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FOUR PERCENT SURPLUS. THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NEARLY COMPLETE.

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Stimulus Payments on Debit Cards

While it’s not a bad idea to be suspicious when an unexpected credit or debit card shows up in the mail, it appears one that may be legit is being mistaken for a scam. If you did not get your Economic Impact Payment via direct deposit, you should have gotten or will be getting a debit card in a plain white envelope with the return address of “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

 

Better Business Bureau Investigator Don O’Brien says this was not a well-known fact.

 

 

He warns that scammers may try to text, call, or email you, trying to get you to give up your card number or your personal information. If you have not received your Economic Impact Payment, you can track your funds using the Get My Payment tracking tool at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

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Illinois Nutrient Research Education Council Considering Projects

The Illinois Nutrient Research Education Council continues to do work. It’s project time and there are a number of efforts throughout the state under consideration says N-REC Executive Director Julie Armstrong.

 

 

NREC has been in business since 2012 and was created by state statute. Its work is funded by a 75-cent per ton assessment on bulk fertilizer sold in Illinois. Decisions on 2020 projects will be made in August.

 

New Windsor area farmer Jeff Kirwan serves as Chairman of the N-REC Council.

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Amazon Adding Two New Fulfillment Centers in South Suburbs

TWO NEW AMAZON FULFILLMENT CENTERS ARE COMING TO THE SOUTH SUBURBS. 

 

THE FACILITIES WILL BE BUILT IN MATTESON AND MARKHAM IN COOK COUNTY, CREATING TWO THOUSAND JOBS SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE CENTERS, TO BE BUILT IN MARKHAM AND MATTESON, WILL SUPPORT ABOUT TWO THOUSAND JOBS SAYS AMAZON’S MIKE FLANNERY.

 

 

THE AMAZON JOBS WILL ALL START AT 15 DOLLARS AN HOUR OR MORE. FLANNERY SAYS THEY ARE AIMING TO BE OPEN FOR THE 2020-2021 HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON.

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Illinois Department of Public Health Releases Details on "Restore Illinois Phase 4" Guidelines

The Illinois Department of Public Health Monday afternoon released guidelines to move the state to the "Restore Illinois Phase 4" track this Friday, as part of treating the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

 

I-D-P-H tweeked several of the items previously released regarding recreation, restaurants, retail and offices.

 

Outdoor recreation facilities should limit group sizes to 50 customers, with multiple groups permitted if proper social distancing and group management is enforced. Capacity restrictions and group sizes will be reassessed based on the latest science and public health metrics on an ongoing basis throughout Phase 4, according to the state agency.

 

Guidance on restaurants and bars released Monday afternoon says seated area capacity of restaurants and bars should be determined by arranging seating to provide a minimum of six feet between tables or other designated patron service areas. Indoor dining can reopen with groups of 10 or less, with tables spaced 6-feet apart in seated areas and with standing areas at no more than 25% of capacity. Capacity restrictions will be reassessed based on the latest science and public health metrics on an ongoing basis throughout Phase 4.  

 

Retail establishments can operate with 50-percent of store capacity.

 

Non-essential offices can re-open with 50-percent of office capacity.

 

Find a link to all the details on the "Restore Illinois Phase 4" plan at dewittdailynews.com.

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Administrator Says School Should Return in the Fall

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Administrator believes students will be able to return to school in the fall.

 

Dave Remmert, DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Administrator, indicates according to data school-age children are the least at risk for the coronavirus with the majority of cases being mild, and they end up recovering.

 

 

There is speculation surrounding students transmitting the disease to their families. Remmert says a lot of cases in children are asymptomatic and reports indicate asymptomatic carriers are less likely to transmit the disease.

 

 

If school resumes in the fall Remmert believes masks should be implemented. He says masks are common sense in the way they help prevent the spread.

 

 

Remmert says with maks and social distancing guidelines in place students can safely return to school in the fall.

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DeWitt County Museum Discussing Reopening Plans, Status of Apple n' Pork Undecided

The DeWitt County Museum and its leadership are committed to making it through a difficult period in its history and thanks to some unexpected support during the shutdown, they believe the DeWitt County landmark will do so without question.

 

It is estimated a third of all small, rural museums are in jeopardy of permanently closing in light of the coronavirus shutdowns but Director Joey Long says the DeWitt County Museum has a great nest egg thanks to the annual Apple n' Pork Festival.

 

 

According to Long, while the Apple n' Pork Festival accounts for a good amount of their yearly budget, that is not the only source of revenue. Foot traffic and memberships are also integral to their financial viability and she says there have been some nice contributions to their cause.

 

 

Grants will also help the museum make it through. Long says she applied and recently received word they have received a grant from Ameren Illinois. Additionally, membership renewals have come in at higher levels than in years past.

 

 

As for when the museum might open up, Long says they are at the mercy of the guidance of the Governor and the regulations in the 'Restore Illinois' plan. She explains they are working on a plan to reopen and it will need approval before they can open their doors again.

 

 

According to Long, 90-percent of their visitors are from outside DeWitt County, so when they have a date set for their reopening, they will be working hard to make sure their message is heard 'far and wide'.

 

For the latest on any information regarding a Museum reopening and the guidelines that will be in place, Long directs the public to their Facebook page.  

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New Grocery Store Coming to Mt. Pulaski

A Logan County community that has been without a grocery store for four years opens today.

 

The Market on the Hill grocery store in Mt. Pulaski opens today with a grand opening later this week. Andrew Meister (my-stir) is the Chairperson of the Market on the Hill coop and says a year of creative thinking and fundraising has made the grocery store a reality for a community of about 1,800.

 

 

Bringing in food from local producers is an instrumental piece to the Market on the Hill grocery store. According to Meister, over ten-percent of a family's income goes towards food-related expenses. 

 

 

Local family farms will be an integral part of the coop and many in central Illinois will recognize the names of some of the contributors to the food supply for the Market on the Hill.

 

 

Demand at the grocery stores has been so high, limits on certain purchases have been implemented. According to Meister, this was the time to open up.

 

 

Meister hopes the food coop may open up opportunities for other farmers in the area. He indicates farmers who may not view selling food for local sale is not part of their business plan but perhaps this will give them that opportunity.

 

 

The Market on the Hill is a community-owned grocery store owned by 125 residents of Logan County. Store hours are 9 am-7 pm Monday- Saturday and 10-4 pm on Sunday. The store is open to all, and shoppers need not be owners to take advantage of the store's many offerings. The store will feature a deli with high-quality meats and cheeses and will carry a number of staple goods, including pantry items and fresh produce, with special efforts to source products directly from surrounding farms.

 

The store will open its doors for business today and is located on the corner of S. Layafette St. on the town square. A grand opening celebration will follow on Friday. To better serve Logan County residents amidst the pandemic, all shoppers will receive 20% off fresh fruits and vegetables, guaranteed through September. The discount is made possible through a partnership with the Mt. Pulaski Economic Development Board and will make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable for shoppers of all income levels at a time when it is needed most.

 

The grand opening will feature a ribbon-cutting with dignitaries and legislators and free light refreshments provided by Mike Richner Catering in partnership with John Wyss of Primo Grills. Local ingredients will be provided by Hilltop Community Gardens and Tyson's Farm. Outdoor seating will be available and state guidelines for social-distancing will be observed.

 

For more information about the Market on the Hill and opening week, activities visit www.facebook.com/marketonthehill

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More DUI's last few weeks

This is the time of year many police departments see a rise in DUI arrests, and even during a pandemic, that's true this year.

 

Officer Brad Park with the Normal Police Department says there has been an uptick in DUI's the last few weeks.

 

 

Park says it could also align with restaurants and bars now open for outdoor dining. Phase 4 of the reopening plan is supposed to start next Friday, which allows limited indoor dining.

 

Park’s advice - plan ahead and use a designated driver or rideshare service.

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Illinois Commerce Commission approves COVID-19 utility relief agreement to help people struggling to pay their bills

THERE WILL BE MORE HELP FOR PEOPLE STRUGGLING TO PAY THEIR UTILITY BILLS UNDER A NEW AGREEMENT APPROVED BY THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION. 

 

THE AGREEMENT COVERS EIGHT OF THE STATE'S MAJOR UTILITIES INCLUDING AMEREN AND COM-ED, ASSISTING BOTH QUALIFYING RESIDENTIAL AND SMALL BUSINESS CUSTOMERS DURING THE PANDEMIC. I-C-C CHAIRWOMAN CARRIE ZALEWSKI SAYS THAT INCLUDES FLEXIBLE PAYMENT PLANS AND RECONNECTING THOSE WHO HAVE LOST SERVICE BECAUSE OF NONPAYMENT AT NO CHARGE. THERE'S ALSO HELP FOR CUSTOMERS DROWNING IN DEBT.

 

 

THE CONSUMER PROTECTIONS INCLUDED IN THE AGREEMENT FOR QUALIFYING RESIDENTIAL AND SMALL BUSINESS CUSTOMERS INCLUDE FLEXIBLE PAYMENT PLANS, RECONNECTIONS WITH NO FEES AND NOT REPORTING OVERDUE BILLS TO CREDIT BUREAUS. I-C-C CHAIRWOMAN CARRIE ZALEWSKI SAYS THE BEST PART, IS THAT CUSTOMERS HIT HARD BY THE PANDEMIC WON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH A BUNCH OF RED TAPE TO QUALIFY.

 

 

SOME MAY EVEN BE ABLE TO GET A REDUCTION ON THEIR BILL. THIS AGREEMENT COVERS EIGHT OF THE STATE'S MAJOR UTILITIES, ALTHOUGH A SIMILAR ONE IS IN PLACE WITH SMALLER COMPANIES. ZALEWSKI SAYS IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH YOUR UTILITY YOU CAN CONTACT THE I-C-C DIRECTLY FOR ASSISTANCE. VISIT ICC DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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DeWitt County Museum Director: We Will Make It Through

Concerns about the future of rural museums have had history buffs on edge since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and a local museum director says her site will make it through.

 

Joey Long is the Director of the CH Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum and points out there are studies that show many rural museums might be in trouble in the aftermath of the coronavirus shutdowns. 

According to Long, the Museum is on solid footing and she is confident they will be able to recoup what they have lost and emphatically states they will survive and they will prevail.

 

 

Long indicates the community has always shown great support for their facility and their cause. In fact, through much of the pandemic, they have continued to see donations come in from various places in the community and they are very grateful for that continued support.

 

A reopening date for the Museum has not been determined yet but Long says you can keep up with the latest information by following their Facebook page. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

We could finally get some much-needed rain this weekend and into early next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells what to expect this weekend and beyond...

 

 

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Clinton Police Make Vehicle Theft Arrest

Tuesday was one of the most active days in recent memory for first responders. 

 

Just after 3 p.m., Clinton Police responded to the Clinton Circle K gas station/convenient store for the report of vehicle theft. Initial responding officers were able to ascertain a vehicle and suspect description and last known direction of travel. Neighboring law enforcement agencies were summoned to assist in attempting to locate the suspect vehicle as it fled south from Clinton. Maroa Police were able to locate the suspect vehicle traveling south on US Highway 51 and effect a traffic stop on US Highway 51 near Forsyth Road where the suspect was taken into custody without incident. The suspect was identified as Raijuan L. Shelton, 20, Decatur, IL. Shelton was later transported to the Dewitt County Jail and turned over to corrections personnel for processing on the charge of Possession of a Stolen Vehicle. 

 

Through the course of the investigation, it was learned that the victim had advertised the vehicle for sale on a publicly accessible social media website. The alleged suspect answered the ad as an interested prospective buyer and arranged to meet for a test drive. During the test drive, the suspect stopped at the Circle K gas station and when the suspect and victim exited the vehicle, the suspect returned into the vehicle and fled the scene. No one was injured during the incident. 

 

The Clinton Police Department reminds individuals that while online advertising and sales of property have become extremely popular and common, one should exercise extreme caution when communicating with, meeting with, and engaging in business with strangers.  

 

The Clinton Police Department wishes to thank the Maroa Police Department and the Macon County Sheriff’s Department for the assistance in the quick response and swift resolution of this investigation.  

 

First responders were called to a destructive fire at the Clinton Assembly of God Church in Clinton  Tuesday morning and there was also a DUI accident in Clinton.

 

Clinton Police remind the public, all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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University of Illinois Announces Fall In-Person Learning

In-person instruction will take place in the fall at the University of Illinois, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place to protect students if the state has moved into Phase IV of its reopening schedule, officials said Thursday.

 

Students who don’t or can’t return to the central Illinois campus can take classes online, according to the university. Those who have signed up to live in university housing or freshmen required to live on campus will have to submit special documentation and receive approval to learn from a distance.

 

In announcing the plans, Chancellor Robert Jones said there will be as much in-person instruction and residential occupancy as restrictions of space, health and safety allow. Classes will be in spaces that allow adequate social distancing between students and professors. As an added precaution, face coverings will be required in all instructional spaces and classrooms.

 

In an online message, Jones and the university’s vice-chancellor said resuming in-person instruction is also predicated upon the university’s ability to provide adequate COVID-19 testing for faculty, staff and students, “coupled with a comprehensive plan that looks after the vulnerable and aims at mitigating and containing any outbreaks.”

 

Similar plans are being put into place for Illinois’ campuses in Chicago and Springfield, according to university officials.

 

Unlike some colleges and universities that are starting the fall semester early to get ahead of a possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections, classes at the universities will begin Aug. 24.

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State Unemployment Fell Last Month, Jobs Added

THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FELL IN MAY.

 

THE ILLINOIS JOBLESS RATE DROPPED TO 15 POINT TWO PERCENT LAST MONTH...DOWN FROM 17 POINT TWO IN APRIL. STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUSTRO SAYS MORE THAN 62 THOUSAND JOBS WERE ADDED IN MAY.

 

 

MORE THAN 62 THOUSAND JOBS WERE ADDED IN MAY AS WELL.

 

 

THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR MAY CAME IN AT 13 POINT THREE PERCENT.

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Sen. Durbin Pleased With Supreme Court's Ruling on DACA

Illinois Senior Senator is applauding a decision by the Supreme Court. Thursday the Court rejected President Trump’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. The act passed into law in 2013 forged a pathway to citizenship for children who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents. Democrat Dick Durbin says there are now 700,000 kids who have grown up in the United States that are serving the country in all manner of jobs and careers.

 

 

Durbin remains worried that the Trump Administration will work to strip away the protections afforded by to dreamers by DACA.

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DeWitt County Board Shifts Venue for July 14 Wind Farm Vote

The DeWitt County Board's July 14 special meeting to vote on the special use permit application for Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind farm project will shift from the DeWitt County Building to Mr. Lincoln Square in Clinton.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg proposed Thursday night at the Board's regular meeting and the board approved it. The chairman says this has been cleared with Clinton Mayor Roger Cyrulik, Police Chief Ben Lowers, and the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department.

 

 

According to Newberg, the company that the City of Clinton works with for sound on the square for their events will be who the County hires. The meeting will also be broadcast live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and the many WHOW mobile platforms.

 

 

A rain date was discussed but Newberg says he is thinking positively and indicates they can keep an eye to the weather and adjust accordingly if necessary.

 

 

The meeting is now set for July 14 at 6 pm. Hear the meeting in its entirety on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW Mobile app and Amazon Alexa. 

 

Also at the Thursday night County Board meeting:

 

>>The Board approved a contract extension for County Highway Engineer Mark Mathon for six years with a first-year salary increase of 2-percent and subsequent years to be negotiated.

 

>>The Board named Aaron Paque (paw-kay) as zoning administrator

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DNR Offering Free Fishing This Weekend

No license required if you want to go fishing this weekend.

 

The Department of Natural Resources is allowing the public to fish any public body of water without a license this weekend and DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson indicates it aims to give everyone a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and experience the fun of fishing.

 

 

Regulations at each body of water are going to be different. Williamson encourages anyone heading out to familiarize themselves with those regulations for where they are going and to let someone know where you're going to be fishing at. 

 

 

Visit dnr.illinois.gov for all regulations of each body of water. Additionally, Williamson says you can get a fishing license or renew your fishing license at that web address as well. 

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Clinton Assembly of God Church to Hold Sunday Service on Church Grounds

A tent with about 200 chairs will be ready to go and members of the Clinton Assembly of God Church in Clinton are invited out for the first service for the Clinton church after a devastating fire this week left the congregation's sanctuary in ruins.

 

Pastor Nick Blacklidge tells Regional Radio News there is a story of hope in the face of destruction. He believes there will be many blessings to come out of this tragedy and is looking forward to the future.

 

 

The front lawn of the church will be the site of this Sunday's service. Pastor Blacklidge says the outpouring of support from the Clinton community and surrounding communities has been unbelievable.

 

 

Pastor Blacklidge already had a sermon planned out and says he is not going to have to alter anything. His Sunday message will center around the lessons in Ephesians 6 and the Shield of Faith and its purpose to extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy. 

 

The service will get underway at 10:30 am and with a warm weekend ahead, Pastor Blacklidge does not anticipate it being a long service. 

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Monticello Superintendent on Next School Year

Monticello Schools Superintendent is optimistic that in-person learning will be able to return in the fall.

 

Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Monticello Superintendent, indicates the district is currently planning curriculum for the upcoming school year. He is optimistic in-person learning can return under Phase Four guidelines.

 

 

Monticello schools have put together a work-study group comprised of teachers and administrators that are reviewing and revising the district's remote learning plan. Dr. Zimmerman says remote learning may have to be implemented if cases start to rise.

 

 

ISBE is expected to release its guidelines for the 2020-2021 school year very soon, some speculate as soon as this week. Once they do, Dr. Zimmerman says they will be able to narrow their plans to fit what is allowed.

 

 

Monticello Schools will start on September 1 due to the district's construction projects. Dr. Zimmerman believes those couple of weeks could give them a leg up on refining their approach to bringing kids back to school. 

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ISU Waiving ACT, SAT Requirement for Fall 2021 Semester

Illinois State University’s Office of Admissions on Wednesday announced that freshman applying for the fall 2021 semester will not be required to submit ACT or SAT scores.

 

ISU Director of Admissions Jeff Mavros (MAV-rose) says the move is intended to reduce anxiety for students because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

Mavros says students will still have the option to submit an ACT or SAT score, and doing so will not affect their standing negatively.

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Gov. Pritzker Makes Tweaks to Phase 4

The state hasn’t reported more than 700 new cases of coronavirus in any day over the past six. That continued downtrend is leading the state to the phase four stage of reopening on June 28.

 

Governor JB Pritzker says every region is on the right path to another phase of reopening and he remains committed to making tweaks and adjustments as needed once the new phase is reached.

 

 

The state will remain in Phase 4 until a widespread treatment or vaccine is available.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces $900-Million For Community, Business Grants

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING 900 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS FOR COMMUNITIES AND BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY THE CORONAVIRUS. 

 

TWO NEW ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS WILL HELP STRUGGLING ILLINOISANS PAY THEIR RENT OR MORTGAGE SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE MONEY WILL GO TOWARDS SEVERAL AREAS SAYS SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD.

 

 

THOSE PROGRAMS WILL LAUNCH IN AUGUST. THERE ARE ALSO BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANTS FOR OWNERS WHO HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO OPEN BECAUSE OF THE VIRUS OR RECENT PROPERTY DAMAGE, AS WELL AS MONEY FOR MINORITY FARMERS, MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND FOOD BANKS.

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Richland Community College Lays Out Guidelines for Reopening

Richland Community College has released its guidelines for fall classes and as much as possible, classes will be conducted online.

 

President of the Decatur based community college, Dr. Cris Valdez tells Regional Radio News they are going to be doing as much online learning as possible and then bringing students in for any hands-on coursework they may have under the guidance of public health officials.

 

 

According to Dr. Valdez, the school has had this plan in place to a degree so they could get their semester finished out in the spring. He indicates it has worked well and so many of their programs require that hands-on learning piece.

 

 

For any return to work or class scenario, there are going to be individuals that don't mind the resumption and others that are going to be more hesitant. Dr. Valdez credits his staff for being willing and ready but indicates the feelings of each individual are not universal.

 

 

Dr. Valdez stresses they are being as cautious as they can for both their employees and their students. He adds they are trying to putting out this information because they believe students are waiting to figure out what is the best option for them. Enrollment is down over 20-percent but Dr. Valdez anticipates their fall enrollment to be down around five-to-ten percent. 

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Clinton IGA To Get Facelift; New Coolers Being Installed

Clinton IGA will soon be getting a facelift.

 

Kirby Foods of Champaign-Urbana, which purchased the store from Mike Chapman last December, has announced it will be doing a complete remodel of the outside of the building in the next few weeks.   The new look will be more attractive to area shoppers and provide an easier place for pickup of groceries.

 

Kirby Foods has already invested in new coolers and display cases in the Deli area of the store.

 

Further improvements will be made to the inside of the store in coming months, to show Kirby's commitment to the Clinton community.

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Clinton Lake to Open Up Parking Lot at Beach But Beach to Remain Closed

You still can't go on the beach at Clinton Lake but you can park at the beach and make your way to a makeshift beach adjacent to the beach. 

 

DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday they have encountered issues with park-goers illegally parking while enjoying the makeshift beach adjacent to the Clinton Beach. He says to make sure people are not parking illegally, they are opening up the Clinton Beach parking lot to ease the congestion.

 

 

If there are people who may be on Clinton Beach, authorities are ushering them away. Williamson indicates though, social distancing in other parts of the park is difficult to enforce. 

 

 

Williamson indicates DNR officials get concerned because boaters launching from Mascoutin can sometimes come around the bend at high rates of speed and that leaves some swimmers exposed. He encourages boaters and swimmers to be aware of each other and be safe in that area of the Lake. 

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State Climatologist Discusses Summer

There is a difference between astronomical summer and meteorological summer. State Climatologist Trent Ford says astronomical summer this year begins June 20th while meteorological summer always runs June through August.

 

 

Ford is finishing up his tenth month as state climatologist.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Anticipates Reopening Guidelines Soon

What schools will look like in the fall could become more clear during June as school leaders await the release of guidelines from the State of Illinois.

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, Clinton Schools superintendent Curt Nettles informed his board there has been speculation those guidelines could come as soon as this week but he and his colleagues anticipate those coming soon.

 

 

According to Nettles, there is an unofficial task force for the district to put into place plans for the district to reopen. He indicates while the State of Illinois will push local control, there will be guidelines they have to incorporate in their plans.

 

 

Nettles indicates they will put together a plan that is best for the students, staff, community and families. He indicates their committee consists of school board members, administrators, teachers, fall sports coaches, and the health department is going to be a part of it as well.

 

Nettles looks forward to getting the guidelines from the State of Illinois moving forward with the plann

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Sen. Durbin Weighs in on Summer Conventions

Illinois' senior U.S. Senator says it's a bad idea to host conventions and rallies this summer leading up to the November election because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Senator Dick Durbin says he hopes his party makes the right choice when it comes to the Democratic National Convention. Durbin spoke with WJBC's Scott Miller.

 

 

The Democratic National Convention is supposed to start in Milwaukee in two months.

 

The Republican National Committee announced last week it will hold part of its summer convention in Jacksonville, Florida. President Trump demanded the event be moved from Charlotte, North Carolina after a rift with Democratic leaders in that state surrounding social distancing rules.

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BBB Says Watch Out for Fake Facebook Giveaways

Are you trying to win a new RV, sports car, or maybe a tiny house you saw on a Facebook promotion? How about those free miles on a popular airline? Chances are, you are being duped. An investigator with the Better Business Bureau says those that are generating these posts are in the business of building lists they can then sell to other marketers, and there is no prize waiting for you.

 

Agency investigator Don O’Brien says you need to be careful what you share.

 

 

If you have entered a contest like this, O’Brien says you probably won't lose money, but you could be spammed by ads.

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Gov. Pritzker Expands Vote by Mail Program

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HAS SIGNED A NEW LAW EXPANDING THE STATE'S VOTE-BY-MAIL PROGRAM.

 

ALL RECENT ILLINOIS VOTERS WILL RECEIVE AN APPLICATION TO VOTE BY MAIL IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION. IT'S IN RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC AND WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR JULIE MORRISON OF DEERFIELD.

 

 

THE LAW ALSO PERMITS CURBSIDE VOTING AND EXPANDS HOURS OF OPERATIONS FOR EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS. VOTERS SUBMITTING THEIR APPLICATION FOR A MAIL-IN BALLOT BY OCTOBER FIRST WILL RECEIVE IT BY OCTOBER SIXTH.

 

 

UNDER THE LAW, IT ALSO REQUIRES EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS TO EXPAND THEIR HOURS AND MAKES ELECTION DAY A STATE HOLIDAY FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICES AND SCHOOLS.

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Clinton Fire Chief Thankful for All Assistance Provided by Central Illinois Fire Departments, Firefighters

Over a hundred firefighters were summoned Tuesday morning to battle a blaze at the Clinton Assembly of God Church and Clinton Fire Chief Jeff Hoke says all those people made things run very smoothly.

 

As firefighters were packing up late in the afternoon hours Tuesday, the Chief says there were still some hot spots that they anticipated continuing to smolder even after they left with the destroyed sanctuary in the backdrop.

 

 

Chief Hoke believes the fire had been going for a while upon the arrival of their crews. He says it was a challenging initially with just his crews there and then the challenge became situating the aerial trucks but once more manpower arrived, he was able to get a better handle on fighting the blaze.

 

 

Chief Hoke says the church fire Tuesday was by far one of the worst situations he's seen in his time in Clinton. He is thankful to the community and the Red Cross for donations of water and food and the support from the City of Clinton, the police and EMTs. He was grateful to Nelson Excavating and Tool Excavating for their lending of end loaders during the battle. 

 

Departments from Kenney, Wapella, Maroa, Farmer City, Heyworth, Farmer City, Waynesville, Weldon, Argenta, Oreana, Warrensburg, Decatur, Lincoln, Mt. Pulaski, Bloomington, and Hickory Point. The Chief says Lincoln and Hickory Point provider aerial trucks in addition to the City's ladder. 

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CAOG Pastor - Our Church Is Our People

A four alarm fire destroyed much of the Clinton Assembly of God church complex Tuesday morning, but the church's pastor is just thankful no one was injured.

 

Pastor Nick Blacklidge says the building may have burnt, but the Assembly of God church is still strong...

 

 

Pastor Blacklidge describes the day's events as an unexpected roller coaster.  He initially didn't realize the severity of the fire, but says arriving on the scene was shocking...

 

 

Blacklidge credits the quick thinking and hard work of first responders for saving part of the complex.  He says the church will rebuild its sanctuary...

 

 

In fact, Pastor Blacklidge stressed the Clinton Assembly of God Church will meet somewhere this Sunday.  The location is yet to be determined, but he says the outpouring of support from the community has already been great...

 

 

Regional Radio will be sure to share the location of this Sunday's service once it's been decided. 

 

As for the fire, crews remained on scene through much of the day Tuesday. A cause of the blaze has not been determined, and remains under investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshall's office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aerial Views of Clinton Assembly of God Fire

Local resident Adam Charron submitted the following pics of the Clinton Assembly of God Church fire taken with his drone Tuesday morning....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fire Strikes Clinton Assembly Of God Church

Hundreds of firefighters from across central Illinois battled a four alarm fire at the Clinton Assembly of God church for over two hours Tuesday morning.

 

Clinton Health and Safety Commissioner Dan Ballenger told Regional Radio News that the blaze was pretty much extinguished around 11 o'clock Tuesday morning...

 

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers was the first on the scene just after 8am, and radioed the fire call in....

 

 

No one is believed to have been in the building when the fire started.  Commissioner Ballenger says thankfully the only injuries suffered were a few cases of heat exhaustion...

 

 

The damage to the church was extensive.  The Illinois State Fire Marshall Office has been called in to investigate.  A complete rundown of departments involved has not been released.  

 

Numerous pictures and video from the scene of the Clinton Assembly of God fire are available on DeWittDailyNews.com, and our Facebook page.

 

We will have more on this story as more details are released.

 

 

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Clinton Assembly of God Church On Fire

The Clinton Assembly of God Church in Clinton is on fire.

First responders were called to the scene around 8:30 am Tuesday and within an hour, a portion of the church was nearly fully involved as firefighters fight the blaze from the Clinton, Lincoln, and Hickory Point Fire Department ladder trucks. More engines were reported on the way to the scene.

 

The roof of the sanctuary has collapsed. 

 

Numerous departments are at the scene but no other details were available.

 

This story will be updated. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monticello Chamber of Commerce Gearing Up for Busy Week

The Monticello Farmer's Market will open this Thursday and there are weekend activities planned for the first time in months in Monticello this weekend.

 

Monticello Chamber Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock says there will be social distancing guidelines in place but they are encouraging the community and central Illinois residents to join them for the first market of this season on Thursday.

 

 

The Chamber and the City of Monticello will be blocking off some streets downtown to expand outdoor seating for their guests and there will be musical performances for the community to bring lawn chairs for the performances. Crawford-Stock says it is a welcome back for the community.

 

 

Allerton Park's Summer Solstice Cruise will take place on Saturday. Crawford-Stock says musical acts they usually have will play on WILL and they are encouraging the community to come out for the sunset.

 

 

The Farmer's Market is from 3 pm to 6 pm on State Street in downtown. Visit makeitmonticello.com or find Make It Monticello on Facebook for a full list of the activities happening as Illinois begins to reopen. 

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Weekly Crop Report

WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING IS UNDERWAY AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

97 PERCENT OF WHEAT HAS HEADED AND THREE PERCENT HAS BEEN HARVESTED. THAT COMPARES TO 15 PERCENT NORMALLY. 

 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHELUSENER SAYS 96 PERCENT OF CORN HAS EMERGED.

 

 

94 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 84 PERCENT EMERGED. CONDITIONS WERE DRIER THIS PAST WEEK. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE RATED AS THREE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 20 PERCENT SHORT, 74 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Governor Pritzker Says Phase 4 Should Begin in 11 Days

WITH CORONAVIRUS CASES FALLING IN ILLINOIS…GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE SHOULD BE MOVING TO PHASE FOUR LATE NEXT WEEK (JUNE 26TH). 

 

FORTUNE MAGAZINE RECENTLY RANKED ILLINOIS AS HAVING THE BIGGEST DECREASE IN COVID-19 CASES OVER THE PAST TWO WEEKS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S PLEASED WITH THE DECLINING NUMBERS.

 

 

STATE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE ANNOUNCING 473 NEW CASES AND 19 ADDITIONAL DEATHS, WITH A DAILY POSITIVITY RATE OF JUST TWO AND A HALF PERCENT.

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Governor JB Pritzker Announces Emergency Relief for Low-Income Households

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS MORE MONEY IS NOW AVAILABLE TO LOW-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS IMPACTED BY THE PANDEMIC. 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS 275 MILLION DOLLARS IN EMERGENCY RELIEF IS AVAILABLE FOR THINGS LIKE FOOD, RENT, UTILITIES, MEDICINE AND MORE. ADDITIONALLY, MORE PEOPLE WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR ASSISTANCE.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER ADDS - BETTER YET, IT’S EASIER THAN EVER TO APPLY.

 

 

TO APPLY FOR THE GRANT MONEY, VISIT THE WEBSITE: HELP ILLINOIS FAMILIES DOT COM.

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Farm Progress Show Still On in Iowa

The show goes on. The Farm Progress Show is still set for Sept. 1-3 in Boone, Iowa. The announcement comes just days after both the Illinois and Iowa State Fairs were canceled.

 

 

That’s show manager Matt Jungmann. He also serves as show manager for Husker Harvest Days in Grand Forks, Nebraska and says that event, scheduled for Sept. 15-17, is still a go.

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Clinton City Treasurer Breaks Down Predicted Tax Dollars; City Parks Reopened

For the first time in two months, the Clinton City Council was altogether in the Council chambers Monday night. 

 

The Council was briefed by City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter on the situation the coronavirus shutdown could have on the budget. Lichtenwalter says revenues are projected to decrease. (The virtual meeting audio was sometimes inaudible due to interference)

 

 

Lichtenwalter will be on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday morning at approximately 9:30 am with Steve Lobb. Hear more from him on-air and at the many WHOW mobile platforms including the WHOW mobile app and Amazon Alexa.

 

Council members expressed their pleasure to return to the chambers and conduct City business in person. John Wise offered his thoughts on being back together....

 

 

For many in the community, they will welcome Danny Ballenger's news that City parks are reopened and the pickle-ball courts are operating.

 

 

ement Agency for $15,000. A yearly item on the Council agenda.

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Clinton YMCA Reopened With Restrictions for Members

Members of Clinton YMCA have returned to their routine of getting exercise in but things are anything but normal as they get back.

 

Executive Director Rennie Cluver told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Monday they are asking their members who want to work out to register for a 45-minute time slot before they come and will be limited in what access they have to the facility.

 

 

Many of the things for members to do were developed by Cluver and his staff but they also received approval and guidance from the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department.

 

 

Cluver was frustrated the YMCA had to shut down during the peak of the coronavirus due to the importance of health and wellness for people but also because of the potential loss of revenue. As their members get back to it, he indicates most are very pleased to have access to exercise equipment again.

 

 

Cluver is hopeful the Governor will ease restrictions on health and fitness centers soon so they can resumer their classes. If he does not, Cluver believes those should resume as Illinois transitions to phase 4 of the 'Restore Illinois' plan. 

 

Visit clintoncommymca.org for more information on what is available at the YMCA, or call 217-935-8307. 

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Clinton City Council, School Board to Meet in Person This Week

The Clinton City Council and the Clinton Board of Education are planning to meet in person this week for the first time in two months.

 

The City Council will meet tonight in the council chambers. The public should access the meeting by calling (646) 749-3117, then, when prompted, enter the access code 505-953-573. 

 

To allow for social distancing, the Clinton Board of Education is shifting their meeting to the High School commons. The Board usually gathers in the junior high school library. 

 

Tuesday night, the Board of Education will name a new junior high school assistant principal, Morgan Hickman is expected to be named high school volleyball coach and they will take up their annual action to shift $1-million to the education fund from the working cash fund. 

 

The City Council meeting begins Monday at 7 pm and the school board will gather Tuesday at 6:30 pm. 

 

Thursday's DeWitt County Board meeting will still be held virtually. 

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DeWitt County 4-H Fair Moves Online

As we've previously reported, the University of Illinois, Extension, and Illinois 4-H have moved all in-person events for July to online or virtual formats.  That directly impacts the annual DeWitt County 4-H Fair scheduled for early July.

 

Doug Harlan, County Director for the DeWitt, Macon, & Piatt County U of I Extension, explains the local fair will be shifting to an online format for both general and livestock shows.  

 

 

According to Harlan, 4-H families should already be accustomed to the online 4-H portal used to register projects.  He says there will be added steps of uploading visuals and submitting a report on the projects.

 

 

Harlan notes that organizers were worried about having enough judges willing to volunteer for a virtual fair, however, he says numerous community members have already come forward to help ensure the youth have some type of 4-H experience this year.

 

 

Registration for Horse projects to be shown in Dewitt County are due by June 21.  All other project registrations are due by July 1st.  

 

Judging of projects is planned to take place on the days originally published in the fair book.  For DeWitt County general and non-horse livestock projects, that's July 10th through the 13th. Once the results are compiled, we will have them posted on the Fair Results page on DeWittDailyNews.com.  

 

If you have questions or need assistance with navigating the online fair platform, contact the local U of I Extension office, or visit their website for more information.

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Monticello Reading Teacher Says Summer Important Time for Kids

The last quarter of school being lost to in-person instruction with our youth has teachers concerned about even more drastic declines in reading skills than are yearly experienced during the summer vacation.

 

Catherine Sokolowski is a 20-year veteran of the Monticello teaching ranks and teaches middle-school language arts and says we need to be reading to or with our kids this summer.

 

 

Research shows the reading ability for kids declines if they are not reading during the summer months. Sokolowski says kids are going to need to be reading even more than typical recommendations.

 

 

According to Sokolowski, the younger the student, the parent reading to them is best. She points out visiting the library is a great way to continue to find new material for students and in Monticello, taking advantage of their pop-up libraries is a great way to continue the fun of reading.

 

 

For families that may have an access-challenge to books, Sokolowski indicates she has made her collection available to students and encourages reaching out to teachers in your district and inquiring about any materials they are willing to lend.

 

 

Sokolowski says if your child enjoys reading e-books, there is nothing wrong with letting them do that. She has found though, her students prefer paper copies of books rather than electronic versions. 

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State Treasurer Announces Special Coin to Honor 19th Amendment

Illinois has commemorated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced a new coin to honor this time in history.

 

 

Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on June 4th, 1919. It was ratified by the Illinois General Assembly on June 10th, 1919, followed by 35 other states. The 19th amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26th, 1920. You can find more information or purchase the coin at illinoistreasurer.gov.

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Secretary of State Launches New Pre-Registration Application for Licenses, IDs

ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE'S OFFICE HAS LAUNCHED A NEW ONLINE APPLICATION FOR THOSE NEEDING A NEW DRIVER'S LICENSES OR I-D CARD. 

 

THE IDEA IS TO SAVE TIME AT THE COUNTER WHEN YOU GO IN TO GET YOUR NEW LICENSE...BY GETTING EVERYTHING FILLED OUT BEFOREHAND SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT.

 

 

THIS NEW ONLINE FORM WILL BE A TIME SAVER SAYS HAUPT.

 

 

YOU WILL STILL NEED TO BRING ANY NECESSARY DOCUMENTS WHEN YOU GO IN, LIKE IF YOU'RE APPLYING FOR THE REAL I-D SAYS HAUPT. VISIT: CYBER DRIVE ILLINOIS DOT COM TO ACCESS THE PRE-REGISTRATION APPLICATION.

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Department of Agriculture Putting Together Plans for September Junior Livestock Exhibitors

Even though the Illinois State Fair has been canceled this summer, there are still some plans for junior livestock exhibitors at a later date.

 

 

Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello says the general 4-H project shows will be done virtually this summer. He says a specific date for the junior livestock exhibitors will be announced in the near future.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Moves Golf Outing to September

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is adjusting their calendar for June.

 

The Chamber's June 23 golf outing is going to be moved to September according to Executive Director Marian Brisard.

 

 

The new date for the outing falls on the week of Apple n' Pork but Brisard does not believe that will be an issue.

 

 

The Chamber of Commerce has also extended its meat raffle to the new date of their golf outing. Brisard says the coronavirus shut down slowed down the ticket sales for that fundraiser, so they are extending it. To get information on the adjustment of events and for more things happening in Clinton, visit clintonilchamber.org. 

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Community Action's Head Start to Offer Summer Programming

Thanks to a grant, Community Action's Head Start programming is going to be offering summer programming.

 

Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez tells Regional Radio News the purpose of summer programming is to get kids back into a classroom setting before they return to school in the fall and make up for the lost instruction time from the coronavirus.

 

 

Rumler-Gomez says Head Start is allowing a lot of flexibility in how their sites work the classroom setting but they are asking kids to wear masks, maintain social distancing of six-feet, and classroom sizes are limited to ten students.

 

 

There are plenty of spots available for the summer head start programming. Rumler-Gomez points anyone interested in getting their child registered to visit their website, capcil.info, or call 217-732-2159. 

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Olympia's Molly Schempp Named Illinois FFA State Vice-President

Olympia High School's Molly Schempp Thursday was named the Illinois FFA State Vice President.

 

Schempp, who is from Atlanta, says she is slowly realizing the significance of the honor to be vice president of the state chapter. She says FFA runs in her family and so it was a natural fit to get right involved with FFA at Olympia High School.

 

 

The State FFA Convention was held virtually this year and Schempp credits state leadership for making it a flawless process. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

Another fantastic weekend is in store for Illinois and little to no rain is in the forecast for the week ahead. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details...

 

 

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Illinois State Fair, DuQuoin State Fair Canceled Due to Coronavirus

THIS SUMMER'S ILLINOIS AND DUQUOIN STATE FAIRS ARE CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19.

 

STATE FAIR MANAGER KEVIN GORDON MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA.

 

 

AFTER EXPLORING SEVERAL OPTIONS, GORDON SAYS THEY DECIDED SKIPPING THE FAIRS THIS YEAR IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

 

 

GORDON SAYS THEY ARE ALREADY WORKING ON THE 2021 ILLINOIS STATE FAIR WITH SOME NEW UPGRADES TO GRANDSTAND CONCERT TICKETS AND CARNIVAL RIDE PASSES. 

 

IF YOU'VE ALREADY PURCHASED A MEGA PASS, COUPON BOOKLET OR PARKING PASS, VISIT: ILLINOIS STATE FAIR DOT INFO FOR REFUND DETAILS. THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WILL HOST A JUNIOR LIVESTOCK SHOW IN SEPTEMBER FOR KIDS.

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The Vault Reopens to Youth

Phase 3 of Gov. JB Pritzker's 'Restore Illinois' plan allows for a Clinton teen center to reopen on a limited basis.

 

Executive Director of The Vault in Clinton, Tammy Wilson told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday they are allowing youth in but activities are limited. She says mentors have returned to the facility. Youth are encouraged to wear masks but not required.

 

 

According to Wilson, the youth she has been able to talk to and interact with have taken the shutdown of the coronavirus in stride and are very happy to be back at The Vault and interacting with their friends.

 

 

Concern for youth over the shutdown and their mental wellbeing have been expressed by healthcare professionals in the last few months but Wilson indicates she hasn't seen that impact yet from the kids she has been able to talk to.

 

 

Wilson adds their Grub-N-Go lunch program has gotten off to a great start, selling out of food several times in the first week-and-a-half. She thanks the community for their support of the program and they look forward to a successful summer. 

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Parts of Illinois Moving Towards Phase Four

Can Illinois hit phase four in the Governor’s reopening plan on time at the end of June? Critics of the reopening plan say the state should be ready to move to Phase four in 14 days and not 28 days.

 

JB Pritzker says it wasn’t all that long ago that Illinois progressed into Phase three.

 

 

A number of states are dealing with a spike in COIVD cases.

 

In Arizona state officials report 76 percent of the state’s ICU beds are currently in use.

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Illinois River Locks and Dams Closed for Repairs

Boat and barge traffic will be somewhat limited on 191 miles of the upper Illinois River from early July to late October. There was preliminary repair work on some of the locks last year. Mechanical work will be done on five of them this year. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District Spokesman Allen Marshall says the work will require complete closures ranging from three weeks to four months depending on the location. Anyone operating a vessel on the river will be able to take it anywhere between the closed locks but no farther.

 

 

The Marseilles and Starved Rock locks will be completely closed for new gates that let vessels through. LaGrange will close for more extensive lock machinery replacement. Peoria will be closed for maintenance and inspection. The Dresden lock in Grundy County will have a part-time closure at first, then a complete closure for three weeks in October.

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DCFS Launches Campaign to Recruit Foster Parents

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS LAUNCHING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO RECRUIT MORE FOSTER PARENTS.

 

THE CAMPAIGN IS CALLED "CAN YOU FOSTER MY FUTURE" AND AIMS TO FINDS PARENTS WILLING TO OPEN THEIR HOMES SAYS D-C-F-S SPOKESPERSON DEBORAH LOPEZ.

 

 

LOPEZ SAYS FAMILIES ARE NEEDED FOR SIBLING GROUPS, TEENS, TEEN MOMS AND THEIR BABIES, MINORITY CHILDREN AND L-G-B-T-Q-I YOUTH.

 

 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT IS AVAILABLE ON THE D-C-F-S WEBSITE. CLICK ON "LOVING HOMES." THE LICENSING PROCESS CAN TAKE UP SIX MONTHS AND INCLUDES A BACKGROUND CHECK, HOME INSPECTION AND TRAINING.

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Clinton Police Chief Weighs In On Defunding Police

'Asinine' is how Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers describes the idea of defunding police.

 

Chief Lowers did not hold back in his opinions on the matter and believes while there might be a need to discuss enhancing community programs, the importance of police is largely unseen in so many situations in a given community. 

 

 

While he doesn't believe disbanding police will ever be a reality, he says it is too easy for people to get the public worked up and cheering for an idea that is not well thought out.

 

 

Chief Lowers believes there is too much bashing back and forth on the political spectrum and Americans cannot get along on anything. He says politicians are performing to their base rather than thinking through their proposed solutions. 

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Congressman LaHood Offers Support for Law Enforcement, Says Defunding Police Would Be Dumb

Congressman Darin LaHood Thursday offered his support to law enforcement as they are once again under the national microscope in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

 

Before running for Congress, the Dunlap Republican was a state and federal prosecutor, indicating he worked closely with many law enforcement officers and says the vast majority of them are good people and they do a good job serving their communities.

 

 

The Congressman calls the notion of defunding the police "dumb" and says it makes no sense to turn over the duties of keeping peace, law, and order to people like therapists and EMTs.

 

 

Floyd's death has sparked protests calling for police reforms and while Congressman LaHood supports law enforcement, he also believes there are going to be things police can do better and points out, a one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work and is says change needs to happen at a local level.

 

 

In some cases, shifting police funding to other community agencies has also been a part of the discussion. LaHood says those are decisions that are going to need to take place at a local level as well. 

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Pritzker Signs $43-Billion Budget

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Wednesday an Illinois budget heavily reliant on federal assistance because of revenue lost to COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and social interaction.

 

But even short of revenue, Democrats who control the General Assembly sent the Democratic governor a $42.9 billion spending plan, 7.5% larger than the current year’s outlay. It takes effect July 1.

 

The budget relies on billions of dollars that Illinois and other states hope come in the form of federal assistance to state balance sheets battered by COVID-19. It also authorizes borrowing up to $5 billion from a federal COVID-19 relief fund if grant funding isn’t forthcoming.

 

Republicans objected to the plan during an abbreviated, four-day emergency session in May that stood for a full spring session’s worth of work. They wanted spending cuts, but Democrats said balancing the budget with cuts would be too drastic.

 

Pritzker said in a prepared statement Wednesday, quote - "The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the enormous role government plays in keeping communities safe and providing the tools people need to build better lives. While the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our state revenues, investing in our people will allow the state to rebound and recover from this pandemic as we safely re-open.”

 

The highly contagious, potentially lethal coronavirus, which through Wednesday had infected nearly 130,000 in Illinois and led to the deaths of 6,095, forced Pritzker in mid-March to close schools, nonessential businesses and order people to stay at home, decrees that remained virtually unchanged through May 30. Retail sales dipped nearly 6% in March and more than 21% in April, according to the General Assembly’s bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

 

Unemployment soared to 16.4% and the commission estimates personal and corporate income tax revenue will fall $1.5 billion short of what it did last year, with sales tax receipts down $121 million.

Overall, Pritzker said state revenue will be $4 billion lower than what experts predicted when the governor proposed a budget in February.

 

Pritzker and governors across the nation are hoping for additional relief packages from Washington to fill gaps and repay that loan. The state is still spending $3.3 billion it received for COVID-19 expenses in April, although that money is restricted to specific items, such as protective clothing, used to combat the virus.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces Grant Programs for Childcare Providers

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING A 270 MILLION DOLLAR GRANT PROGRAM FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE STATE PREVIOUSLY AWARDED ONE-TIME STIPENDS TO PROVIDERS CARING FOR THE CHILDREN OF FRONT-LINE WORKERS, BUT GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS MORE MUST BE DONE. HE SAYS THIS NEW PROGRAM MAKES ILLINOIS THE FIRST STATE IN THE COUNTRY TO HELP RESTORE CHILD CARE THROUGH THE PANDEMIC.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE MONEY WILL HELP CHILD CARE CENTERS AND PROVIDERS COPE WITH SMALLER CLASS SIZES AND NEW SAFETY PROTOCOLS WITHOUT HAVING TO DRASTICALLY RAISE PRICES.

 

 

THE SURVEY IS AVAILABLE ON THE ILLINOIS NETWORK OF CHILD CARE RESOURCE AND REFERRAL AGENCIES’ WEBSITE, WHICH WILL ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM.

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Peterson Insurance Garners Host of Awards from Pekin Insurance

Peterson Insurance Services in Clinton has again earned a host of awards from Pekin Insurance.

 

Owner Jay Peterson tells Regional Radio News the agency has won awards from Pekin for many years.

 

 

Peterson outlined the awards won this year.

 

 

Pekin Insurance rewards performance by its agents, and the Peterson Agency has consistently shined.

 

 

And, Peterson says Pekin Insurance has been a company his agency works well with.

 

 

Peterson Insurance Services is located at 117 West Main in Clinton.

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Clinton Police Chief Stands Behind Law Enforcement, Good Cops

Police in America are once again under great scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis two weeks at the hands of law enforcement and a local law enforcement official is weighing in.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says he stands behind his fellow law enforcement officers and the good police officers of the communities they serve. He believes good individuals are police officers and just like every other occupation in the world, there are bad apples that give the good ones a bad name.

 

 

The Chief does not believe there is an overwhelming problem of racism amongst police officers, however, says there are always going to be things law enforcement can do better and is always in favor of dialogue to achieve the goal of being better.

 

 

Defunding police departments to do anything from disbanding departments to shifting funding elsewhere has seen an increase in dialogue this week and the Chief indicates he will never support that idea and believes each case needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

 

 

Chief Lowers says he is very passionate about the topic of American law enforcement and stands behind good police officers and good police work. He says great people are doing a thankless job and doing it for the right reasons. 

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Golf Outing Rescheduled

An annual fundraiser for local "Ag In The Classroom" efforts has been postponed.

 

The DeWitt County Farm Bureau has announced its Foundation Golf Outing has been rescheduled for later in 2020.  Allison Reinecke, Farm Bureau Manager, says the continued crowd size restrictions due to the pandemic meant the event had to be pushed back...

 

 

According to Reinecke, the funds raised through the golf outing help the DeWitt County Farm Bureau Foundation support local education efforts in several ways...

 

 

Registration is currently underway for the re-scheduled event to be held on August 28th at Woodlawn Country Club in Farmer City.  To learn more about taking part in the event, sponsoring, or to register, visit DewittCountyFarmBureau.com.

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Sen. Manar Discusses What Schools Can Expect for Funding in Wake of Coronavirus

The state of Illinois is going to work through a big budget hole over the next few years due to the economic fallout of COIVD 19. So where do you cut? 

 

The state passed equity-based school funding in 2017 with the help of Democrat State Senator Andy Manar. He says budgets will be strapped but now is not the time to undo the work done in getting poorer school districts more money.

 

 

Manar says he still wants to see more money pushed to education but understands how hard that will be given the economic outlook in Illinois.

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Livingston County Sheriff In Washington, D.C.

Livingston County Sheriff Tony Childress was in Washington D.C. on Monday to participate in a roundtable discussion with President Trump and other agencies around the country.

 

During the roundtable, Childress shared Livingston County's ideology for law enforcement.

 

 

Childress, who is a Republican, was the only representative from Illinois to attend the discussion.

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Illinois Farmers Receive Guidance on Dicamba Use

Some clarity for those Illinois farmers that use dicamba products. The information was released from the U.S. EPA Monday night and follows a court ruling late last week says Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards.

 

 

Gebhards says current dicamba label restrictions in Illinois require producers to use the product by June 20th. Also, farmers cannot spray dicamba herbicides when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees.

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Gov. Pritzker Discusses Potential Changes to Police In Light of George Floyd Death

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HIS OFFICE IS LOOKING AT A NUMBER OF PROPOSALS IN RESPONSE TO THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD. 

 

WHETHER IT BE BANNING CHOKEHOLDS BY POLICE OR REQUIRING COPS TO BE LICENSED BY THE STATE…THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S LISTENING TO ALL IDEAS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAID SEVERAL CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE. THAT INCLUDE MORE POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE’S ALSO SEEKING INPUT FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT. HE SAYS BOTTOM LINE, THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY, CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM AND MORE INVESTMENT IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES.

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Gov. Pritzker Discusses Kids Returning to School in Fall

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE REMAINS HOPEFUL THAT STUDENTS CAN RETURN TO SCHOOL IN THE FALL. 

 

IT WILL ALL BE UP TO THE NUMBERS, AND THE EXPERTS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THERE ARE CONCERNS ABOUT CONTINUED SPREAD OF THE VIRUS…AND STRESSES WHETHER OR NOT KIDS ARE BACK IN CLASS DEPENDS ON THE NUMBERS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THEY ARE ALSO PREPARING SCHOOLS FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF MORE DISTANCE LEARNING. 

 

THE STATE IS REPORTING 797 NEW COVID-19 CASES AND 95 ADDITIONAL DEATHS. MORE THAN SIX THOUSAND CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS IN ILLINOIS HAVE NOW DIED.

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Baum Chevrolet Buick, Anderson Ford Hosting Second Car Cruise Saturday

A pair of Clinton car dealership owners are teaming up again this weekend for a second car cruise.

 

Scott Baum, owner of Baum Chevrolet Buick, and Randy Anderson, owner of Anderson Ford in Clinton are hosting the season's second car cruise Saturday evening from 6 pm to 8 pm. Baum tells Regional Radio News the first was received very well and they want to try for a second event to be more successful.

 

 

The route will be altered for this event. Baum indicates they found a few problems with their last car cruise but believes their new route, which circles the square and incorporates both dealerships, will be better.

 

 

The event is free to enter. Baum says just show up and start driving your car. He hopes to see folks watching along the parade route, following social distancing. 

 

Judging of vehicles will happen until 7:15. Trophies will be awarded for Best of Show - Truck, Best of Show - Car, Best Muscle Car, Best Street Car, Best Min Truck, Best Paint, and Best Sound among others. 

 

Organizers ask for no hot rodding, no burnouts, and no stopping beside each other. There will also be gift certificates from local restaurants drawn randomly. 

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Health Concerns Cancel Logan County Fair for 2020

This year's Logan County Fair in Lincoln will not be held.

 

The Fair Board met last night, and unanimously voted to cancel this year's Fair according to board president Mike Maske.

 

 

There were financial considerations as well.

 

 

This would have been the 84th Logan County Fair.

 

 

The Logan County Fair was slated to take place August 2nd thru the 9th at the Fairgrounds in Lincoln.

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Young Leaders Boost Local Food Banks

Two DeWitt County food banks were recently the beneficiaries of a substantial donation from the DeWitt County Farm Bureau Young Leaders.

 

Allison Reinecke, Farm Bureau Manager, indicates their young leader group donated $600, split between the Clinton First Church of the Nazarene and Farmer City's Salt Creek Parish Resource Center...

 

 

The group consists of Farm Bureau members ages 18-35 that have an interest in agriculture.  Reinecke notes the funds were partially raised as part of the group's Apple & Pork Festival activities...

 

 

The Young Leaders group counts anti-hunger programs among its many roles in the county; others include agriculture promotion, leadership development, and agriculture education for both the community and youth.

 

For more information about Young Leaders and future food pantry collections, please call the DeWitt County Farm Bureau office at 217-935-2126.

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Congressman Davis: President Visiting St. John's Church Overshadowed Good Message

Many have been critical of President Donald Trump clearing out Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. of protestors last week to visit St. John's Episcopal Church, but Congressman Rodney Davis says his actions overshadowed a good message from the President moments before.

 

President Trump and his security team cleared the area of protestors so after a message in the Rose Garden of the White House, he could visit the church that was vandalized the night before by looters protesting police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Taylorville Congressman says the President's message was lost in the actions taken by law enforcement at the scene. 

 

 

The damage done in the park and at the church was terrible, according to the Taylorville Republican, and believes the fact his message was lost in the outcome. He believes President Trump's message was on point.

 

 

The President's Defense Secretary has questioned the decision to invoke the Insurrection Act and that has left many wondering if there is a divide in the President's cabinet. Congressman Davis says there's going to be disagreement in any cabinet and simply the military is not patrolling the streets of the country. 

 

 

Antifa has been attributed much of the chaos the last few weeks and Congressman Davis believes there needs to accountability for the people funding the group and those carrying out the actions of destroying property.

 

 

Congressman Davis says what happened to George Floyd should not happen to any individual ever. He says the memory of Floyd cannot be remembered by rioting and looting. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN PLANTING IN ILLINOIS IS JUST ABOUT FINISHED. 

 

98 PERCENT OF CORN ACRES HAVE BEEN PLANTED SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

88 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 67 PERCENT HAS EMERGED. THE CONDITION OF THE CROP IMPROVED TO 67 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT SHAPE.

 

 

93 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 10 PERCENT SHORT, 78 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 11 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Remnants of Cristobal To Hit Illinois Today

Heavy rain likely for parts of Illinois Tuesday due to remnants from a tropical storm.

 

 

That's meteorologist Brian Pierce from the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities.

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Governor Talks Police Issues

Discussions of defunding police departments is getting tossed around. But Governor JB Pritzker says its not about defunding law enforcement from his point of view - rather it’s time to reimagine how and when police officers need to be called to certain situations.

 

 

Pritzker praised the work of Illinois State Police to help secure communities in Illinois and how well they worked to support the efforts of the National Guard to protect neighborhoods and businesses.

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DeWitt County Residents Lodge Opening Meetings Act Complaints to Attorney General

The Office of the Attorney General received five requests for review of the Open Meetings Act from DeWitt County residents in regards to the DeWitt County Board meeting on May 21.

 

Regional Radio News has obtained documents of the letters that were sent out between May 22 and May 26, the subsequent letter of notice from the Attorney General's office to DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg of the allegations, and the response from DeWitt County Assistant State's Attorney Tim Holl. 

 

The allegations were submitted by Olivia Klemm, Betsy Shifflet, Andrea Rhoades, Melissa Crutcher, and Aaron Kammeyer. The allegations laid out by the five suggest the opening meetings act was violated because of connectivity issues to the Zoom call. Additionally, allegations were made of bullying by the Board Chair during time allotted for those from the public to address the Board, and no public comment period designated on the agenda. 

 

The Attorney General's office is reviewing the complaints and requested response from Board Chair Newberg or his representation, the State's Attorney. Assistant State's Attorney Holl in response recognized the public may have had connectivity issues, however, the board made the meeting available via One tap mobile option, which allowed anyone to dial a number and provide a meeting ID and password, which did not require an internet connection.

 

Additionally, the methods of access to the meeting for the public were in line with the Governor's executive order regarding the open meetings act during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

The community members raised concerns over there being only 30 minutes for public comment and each speaker being allotted only five minutes to speak. Holl wrote quote - "The Open Meetings Act provides for public comments during meetings subject to rules established by the public body".

 

Continued - "DeWitt County ordinances in relevant part, limits the length of time for any individual speaker to five minutes and limits the total time for public comment at any individual meeting to 30 minutes."

 

He also points to the ordinance and its allowance for the Chair to curtail a speaker if they are repeating a comment that was previously made. 

 

Citing concerns over the special meeting on June 2 to vote on the Tradewind Energy special use permit that was ultimately postponed, Holl wrote quote - "Several speakers wished to address the Board regarding either whether the permit should be granted or whether the vote should be held. Although neither of these issues was on the agenda and no board member had made any mentions regarding this issue, the Chair allowed everyone to speak."

 

His comments continued, quote - "The Chair did not cut anyone off from speaking except the last speaker. By the time the last speaker began, 30 minutes had lapsed and the Chair was acting within the provisions of the County's ordinance and Open Meetings Act when he cut the speaker off. In total, the Chair allowed approximately 47 minutes of public comment."

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg confirmed his receipt of the notice from the Attorney General's Office and the response from the DeWitt County State's Attorney's office. He says they have sent back everything requested from the Attorney General's office and are now waiting on a decision.

 

 

Newberg is confident the County Board and its representation followed the guidance for a virtual meeting per the open meetings act and Governor JB Pritzker's executive order.

 

 

The County Board has been hosting virtual meetings since April due to the guidelines laid out by health officials during the coronavirus pandemic. Newberg indicates every step of the way, they are communicating with the State's Attorney's office to make sure they are doing everything correctly.

 

 

Newberg anticipates resolution on the matter in the next weeks, well ahead of the July 14 scheduled vote for the Tradewind Energy Special use permit vote for their Alta Farms II wind project in northwest DeWitt County. 

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Tradewind Officials Un-Phased By Vote Being Postponed

Despite the vote being postponed for a special use permit for the Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind project in the northwest DeWitt County, officials say they remain confident their project will pass and look forward to July 14.

 

The County Board last Tuesday night postponed the vote on the wind farm project in hopes of being in phase 4 of Governor JB Pritzker's 'Restore Illinois' plan and project development manager Tom Swierzcewski says an in-person meeting is always preferred so he awaits the guidance from the state for July 14. 

 

 

The meeting being postponed was not what Tradewind expected but Swierzcewski says while they had hoped to have the project decided on Tuesday, they understand the circumstances and will look ahead to July 14, maintaining they believe their project is a first-rate project that meets, if not, exceeds, all the County's ordinances.

 

 

Another six weeks is a painful delay for the project but Swierzcewski says it isn't the first delay of the project but they hope it is one of the last. He thanks their supporters that attended virtually and those that tuned to WHOW's radio broadcast of the meeting. 

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Seniors Excited to Be Back Friendship Center

Seniors that were regulars at the DeWitt County Friendship Center were able to return to the facility on Main Street in Clinton last week and were excited to do so.

 

Executive Director Paula Jiles calls the reopening a 'soft opening' because they are limiting the number of people in the building at one time and they are adjusting their schedule to give anyone that comes in the chance to participate in their daily activities. 

 

 

In addition to scaled-down daily activities, Jiles says daily yoga returns this week and she is working to bring back their support groups and other monthly services, like the hearing-aid checks, as soon as possible.

 

 

Jiles says her seniors were and are so happy to be back. She believes many were able to stay in contact and still get together during the shutdown but they are still very excited to be back together at the Friendship Center facility.

 

 

According to the Jiles, before you come out to the Friendship Center, you need to call to get on their list. She says they don't want to, but they will turn people away at the door, so it is important to call. They have a two-hour morning session and a two-hour afternoon session and they can host up to eight people at a time.

 

Contact the Friendship Center at 217-935-9411. 

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Sen. Rose concerned With Oversights Given to Governor in Spring Session

Despite having no revenue figures from the impacts of the coronavirus economic shutdowns, Illinois democrats led budget negotiations that passed a $40-plus-billion budget in May. 

 

State Senator Chapin Rose has several concerns about the budget. He has indicated he wanted to wait for figures to come out so they could better predict what they were going to be working with and was critical of the borrowing that took place. One win though for Republicans in the budget was the Governor's strings attached funding to get a progressive income tax passed in November.

 

 

The Mahomet Republican has concerns about the oversight of federal spending of federal coronavirus funds, which could easily remain in Chicago and downstate Illinois may not see any of that money.

 

 

Lack of control and ripe for corruption are just a few of the ways Sen. Rose described how the bill was written and says he warned a few of his colleagues in the Senate this could end badly.

 

 

Sen. Rose feels giving any Governor of any party the ability to spend $600-million is not a good idea but would not say he is questioning Gov. JB Pritzker or that he thought it would happen. 

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Spring Closes Out Cool, Wet in Illinois

SPRING IN ILLINOIS CLOSED OUT WITH A COOL, WET MAY. 

 

IT STARTED WARMING UP TOWARDS THE END OF LAST MONTH...BUT THE MAJORITY OF DAYS WERE FAIRLY COOL SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

STATEWIDE AVERAGE RAINFALL IN MAY CAME IN AT NEARLY FIVE AND A HALF INCHES. THAT'S NEARLY AN INCH ABOVE NORMAL...MAKING LAST MONTH THE 25TH WETTEST MAY ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS. FORD SAYS TROPICAL DEPRESSION CRISTOBAL IS EXPECTED TO RE-EMERGE AS A TROPICAL STORM AND IMPACT THE STATE TOWARD THE MIDDLE PART OF NEXT WEEK.

 

 

RAINFALL TOTALS WERE THE HIGHEST IN THE CHICAGO AREA LAST MONTH, WITH SOME PARTS OF NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS RECEIVING OVER NINE INCHES IN MAY.

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Billion Dollar Ask for Chicago

It’s a big ask no doubt about it. But it comes at a big time for black communities in Illinois. And Democrat State Rep. Chris Welch is trying to seize the moment for a major investment for his community and others like his around the state.

 

 

Welch led that chant and laid out those demands as the Governor stood a few feet away during the West Side Day of Action in Chicago.

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Illinois Producers Taking Advantage of CFAP

Illinois producers are taking advantage of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program or CFAP. The program provides direct payments to farmers under the CARES act says Illinois Farm Bureau's Mark Gebhards.

 

 

CFAP application runs through late August.

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Attorney General Calls for Police Officers to Be Licensed by State

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS CALLING FOR POLICE OFFICERS TO BE LICENSED BY THE STATE.

 

JUST LIKE DOCTORS, HAIRDRESSERS AND TEACHERS, ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL SAYS COPS SHOULD BE LICENSED.

 

 

UNDER THE PROPOSAL, RAOUL SAYS POLICE CITED REPEATEDLY FOR MISCONDUCT COULD HAVE THEIR LICENSED STRIPPED AND BE UNABLE TO WORK IN LAW ENFORCEMENT.

 

 

RAOUL WAS SPEAKING AT THE SOUTH SUBURBAN DAY OF ACTION SATURDAY IN CALUMET CITY.

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Ameren Upgrading Street Lights in Clinton

Ameren Illinois is partnering with the City of Clinton to upgrade neighborhood streetlights with more energy-efficient LED streetlights.

 

Ameren Illinois is replacing 250 existing sodium vapor, mercury vapor, and metal halide streetlights to LEDs to help the City save energy. Replacement is already underway and, weather permitting should be completed by June 15. Ameren Illinois has contracted with a vendor, Pro Electric, to perform this replacement with the help of local trained electrical workers.

 

In a release, Daetta Jones, senior director of Division Operations, Ameren Illinois, said quote- "Energy efficiency benefits everyone by reducing the amount of energy that is produced and expended. The new LED streetlights will provide the City of Clinton with public safety, environmental and financial benefits for many years."

 

LED streetlight benefits include saving money with enhanced reliability and 3x longer life expectancy, LED lights use 55-65% less energy than the older technology and reduce maintenance and operational costs.

 

Additionally, LED lights protect the environment by decreasing energy generation and cutting carbon emissions, improving nighttime visibility, and produces a cool white light similar to moonlight.

 

Later this summer, Ameren Illinois will be replacing 75 streetlights in Cerro Gordo. By the end of this year, Ameren Illinois will have replaced 10,000 streetlights throughout central and southern Illinois.

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Monticello Chamber, Monticello Main Street Office Reopens

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Monticello Main Street office has reopened to the public

Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock tells Regional Radio they are excited to be opened again and look forward to seeing the community come in with questions and materials for the things happening around the community.

 

 

Crawford-Stock says CDC and IDPH guidelines are in place for those that want to enter their facility...

 

 

Crawford-Stock continues to point residents and those in surrounding communities interested in coming into Monticello for restaurants and retail shops to visit makeitmonticello.com or find 'Make It Monticello' on social media at Facebook. 

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Decatur Area Arts Council to Reopen Facility Monday

The Decatur Area Arts Council is excited to be able to reopen its facility to the public starting Monday.

 

Executive Director Jerry Johnson says they have a great gallery ready to go to welcome back the community and their supporters.

 

 

The exhibit, 'Decatur: Our Hometown' will have lots of things on display that will somewhat nostalgic for residents of the area. Johnson indicates there will be artifacts combined with the displays of local artists.

 

 

Check decaturarts.org for the latest in all the happenings at the Decatur Area Arts Council. Johnson says they will be asking those that enter the building to wear masks and maintain social distancing per the CDC and IDPH guidelines. 

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Rep. Caulkins Requests State Extend Deadline for Farmers to Use Essential Pesticide

State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) is requesting the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) to extend the deadline allowed for farmers to use the pesticide ‘dicamba’ if permitted by federal court. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled dicamba illegal for use as of June 3, 2020, seventeen days ahead of the deadline for farmers to apply the pesticide used by most farmers in Illinois.

 

In a Friday release, the Decatur Republican says quote - “The last couple years have been rough for farmers. With trade wars, low crop prices, and low production, this is another blow to the Ag industry. It’s ridiculous to have this pesticide taken away after it has already been paid for and there is not a reliable alternative at this time.”

 

Many farmers choose to plant crops that are dicamba resistant, a product that has been utilized by farmers for over 50 years. Dicamba is one of several tools used by farmers today.

 

He added quote - “I am advocating for farmers to be able to use this product until the issue gets resolved. This is why I have requested the State to extend the deadline for farmers to use dicamba if the federal government extends the timeframe. If the federal court ends up allowing the use of dicamba for a specific period, then our state needs to extend the deadline for farmers past June 20th as fifteen days does not provide ample time for farmers to use this product to protect their crops.”

 

Before the ruling was made by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) allowed the use of dicamba until June 20, 2020.

 

Caulkins added quote - “It’s critical for farmers that choose to use dicamba are allowed to use it on their crops this year due to the fact their crop is resistant to dicamba. Otherwise, our nation’s food supply will be put at risk because farmers will end up harvesting fewer crops this fall.”

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Scovill Zoo to Reopen Monday

The Scovill Zoo in Decatur is reopening Monday.

 

Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Director Ken Frye told Regional Radio News they received word just late this week and are getting everything inside the zoo ready for guests to return. Some things inside the zoo, like train rides, will not be available yet and they are now doing ticket sales online.

 

 

Social distancing markers of about ten-feet will be marked off outside the zoo, however, once inside, guests can police themselves on social distancing. Frye indicates if their guests want to wear masks, they are encouraged to but that is not going to be a requirement. 

 

 

For the staff of the zoo, some last-minute projects will be finished and there will be some changes guests will notice as well. 

 

Frye points out, there will be no access to the petting zoo initially and they also have a baby penguin and four new cheetahs. 

 

Get tickets to the zoo at Scovillzoo.com. 

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IFB & IFCA Release Statements On Dicamba Ruling

Two Illinois agriculture organizations have issued statements in regards to this week's federal court ruling on the sale and use of Dicamba herbicide in soybeans....

 

The Illinois Farm Bureau released the following statement to Regional Radio Thursday afternoon...

 

"On June 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision that vacated the registrations of three dicamba herbicides – Bayer’s Xtendimax, BASF’s Engenia and Corteva’s FeXapan. The ruling does not appear to address Syngenta’s Tavium.

Illinois Farm Bureau remains in communication with the U.S. EPA, Illinois Department of Agriculture, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the registrants. We will work to minimize any potential sudden disruption to Illinois farmers’ planting and growing season."

 

In addition, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association issued the following statement Thursday evening via their web platforms...

 

"IL Department of Agriculture legal counsel has looked at the US 9th Circuit Court ruling on dicamba, and believes it clearly calls for the stop of use, sale and distribution of all uses of the three products: Xtendimax, Engenia and FeXapan effective immediately.   The Tavium registration is not affected by this ruling.  We are expecting a statement from IDOA very soon but this is the situation in Illinois, and we ask for our members to abide by this determination and help communicate this serious message.  More information will be forthcoming and we will communicate as soon as we have more details from IDA or US EPA on the management of product already in the supply chain. "

 

USDA Director Sonny Perdue Thursday called for the courts to allow farmers to go ahead and use dicamba they have purchased for this growing season.

 

It's expected that Bayer, and others named in the suit, will attempt to appeal the ruling.

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Clinton Schools Reading Teacher Discusses Importance for Kids to Read This Summer

On top of lost instruction in the last quarter of the school year due to the coronavirus shut downs combined with the summer slide, the term for reading skills that decline in youth over the summer, a local teacher is encouraging the community to work with kids this summer on their reading skills.

 

Sam Rybacki (rye-back-E) is a reading teacher at Clinton Elementary School and expressed her concerns for the potential severe declines kids could see as a result of all the lost classroom time between the coronavirus shutdowns and the current summer vacation.

 

 

Rybacki has several ideas for families to engage their kids in reading during the summer. She recommends making regular visits to the library if possible and reading alongside your child. That could be as easy as reading to them, your child reading to you or you read while your child reads.

 

 

Some kids may be reluctant to want to read and Rybacki engaging kids in a fun activity like cooking or building something. She also points out, kids are returning to comic book reading.

 

 

Rybacki stressed the importance of kids continuing to read over the summer because it is a skill that declines if not exercised it will go away. She also encourages making reading as fun as possible and less of a chore. She says kids tend not to want to do chores, so it is important for it to be something they have fun with. 

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Ameren Offering Hardship Grants To Small Business, Non-Profits

Ameren Illinois announced that funding is available for small businesses and non-profits that have fallen behind on their electric bills. Under the company's COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recovery Program, one-time grants of up to $500 will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis until June 30th, or until the funds are exhausted.

 

Ameren Spokesperson, Brian Bretsch says it's his hope that this funding will help businesses as well as residential customers along the road to recovery.

 

 

Grant recipients will have the funds applied to their Ameren Illinois account. Business owners and Ameren customers alike can both call 866-800-0747 or visit AmerenIllinoisSavings.com/Recovery for full details.

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DNR Lays Out Guidelines for Campers

Campers have been taking advantage of the Department of Natural Resources opening up of campsites across the sate as guidance has been issued for them.

 

Rachel Torbert is the Deputy Director for DNR and indicates social distancing measures are in place like no outside visitors or campers at your campsite, campfires are limited to those occupying that site and campers being allowed to temporarily secure entrance to their campsite to restrict access to others.

 

 

Torbert says when the State of Illinois went into phase 3 of Governor JB Pritzker's 'Restore Illinois' plan and parks all reopened, campers were excited to learn campsites at some of these locations and others around Illinois reopened at the same time.

 

 

According to Torbert, there are contactless transaction options in some places. DNR is asking site hosts and staff to practice social distancing and they will have personal protective equipment on while interacting with the public as well.

 

 

DNR is also asking for individuals that may be experiencing coronavirus symptoms to remain at home and go camping once they are healthy in accordance with CDC and IDPH guidelines. If you are going to be in any of the parks with people present, masks are required along with the six-feet distance between individuals and the ten-person maximum in a group is still in place. 

Get more information at dnr.illinois.gov. 

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Protesters to Converge on Monticello Saturday, Local Peace Advocates Planning Coinciding Event

As protests and marches continue to show support for George Floyd in the wake of his death at the hands of Minneapolis Police last week, an event is being scheduled in Monticello Saturday.

 

The Monticello Chamber is making the community and protestors aware there is also an event planned in conjunction with the protest to keep the peace.

 

The Chamber has released a statement indicating there is no expectation the protest will become violent or get out of hand and organizers of the event are coordinating with the Monticello Police Department. Additionally, those that attend may chalk the sidewalks, use speaker systems, and hang flyers in windows. 

 

There has also been a Facebook event created by the Central Illinois Citizens for Freedom called Patriots United to Protect Monticello, IL. This event is encouraging people to protect Monticello and asks them to bring their motorcycles and conceal carry weapons with the intent of keeping the event peaceful.

 

In the statement, the Chamber says quote - "We are not trying to create alarm, but make sure you are aware. We will be working to get full details in the morning from the city and police department. Further information will be passed along."

 

To accommodate the expected crowd, the Chamber and City of Monticello are encouraging those that have a business in downtown Monticello Saturday to park in the parking lot behind the FroYo store and for business owners to make any patrons they know to be coming to the square aware of the situation.

 

Additionally, for restaurants that have set up outdoor seating, they are encouraging them to make patrons aware of the event if crowds have not arrived at the time of their seating. 

 

Also in the release, the Chamber says quote - "As of yesterday, a plan was created for the demonstration in conjunction with the City and the Police Department. The planners of the Demonstration for Justice and Peace have been very open to working with the City and Police Department. Around 10 am our PD/City staff will begin barricading some streets on the square to prevent through traffic. Those participating in the demonstration have been asked to park in the parking lot adjacent to the City Building/Livingston Center/Depot. From 11-12 they will informally meet on Washington St at the Northside of the courthouse. They may be making signs, milling around and talking, etc. There will be 2 speakers at noon. After the speakers, the demonstrators will march from the north side of the courthouse to Charter St, then to Main St, then to Independence St, then to Livingston St, back to Charter St, to Main St and end on the south side of the Courthouse. Along the way, they may take a knee for 7 mins (once or more times). There will then be 2 speakers after the march and they will disperse. This path is narrowed from the original plan that included Rt 105.

 

"Please recognize that neither the City of Monticello or Monticello Police Department has the right to tell them where they can or can not protest. The group has voluntarily worked with both to create an understanding and to promote safety for all involved. However, they could adjust the planned route, and law enforcement is prepared for that possibility. Also, there may be people with bags and backpacks. There is not a possibility to search everyone upon entering from all directions, therefore, the law enforcement on-site will be vigilantly watching."

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Illinois 4-H Shows Thru July To Be Held Online

The University of Illinois Extension has announced that all in-person events, including 4-H shows, planned through July 31st will be online or postponed.  Local Farm Broadcaster, Jared White, has more....

 

 

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Miller Park Zoo Hoping to Host Brews at the Zoo in July

Like many zoos around the world, the Miller Park Zoo has had its fundraising efforts impacted by the coronavirus.

 

Jay Tetzloff, Miller Park Zoo Superintendent, indicates there have been good and bad impacts of the zoo being closed. He indicates construction on the De Brazza's monkey exhibit is running behind schedule, however, the zoo has received donations from new donors thanks to their efforts on social media.

 

 

Fundraising has become a focus of a self-sustaining model for the zoo and Tetzloff says while they have not been necessarily hurt in terms of fundraising, one of their large fundraising events, Brews at the Zoo, has been put on hold until July.

 

 

Tetzloff has taken time during the shutdown to complete grant writing and the zoo has also reached out to their donors asking them to remember the zoo during this difficult time.

 

 

A fundraiser for the zoo usually held in September, Voodoo at the Zoo, usually receives many items from local businesses for a silent auction, however, Tetzloff says they will not be asking for as many donations out of respect for the finances of local businesses that may be struggling due to the shutdown. 

 

 

For more information visit www.millerparkzoo.org or visit them on Facebook or Instagram.

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Sen. Duckworth Critical of Trump's Photo Op

US Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois wasn’t impressed with the President walking over to St. John’s Church the other day. Duckworth says the photo-op came at the expense of the safety of peaceful protests and the politicization of the military.

 

 

Duckworth, a veteran, flew Blackhawk helicopters in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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Members of the House Black Legislative Caucus Call for Special Session

MEMBERS OF THE BLACK LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS ARE CALLING FOR A SPECIAL SESSION. 

 

REPRESENTATIVE KAM BUCKNER OF CHICAGO SAYS THE ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHOULD MEET AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO DISCUSS THINGS LIKE CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM, POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES.

 

 

BUCKNER SAYS THERE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SEVERAL BILLS PROPOSED ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES THAT HAVEN'T BEEN DEBATED YET.

 

 

BUCKNER SAYS THESE ISSUES CAN'T WAIT UNTIL LAWMAKERS RETURN FOR THE VETO SESSION IN NOVEMBER. HE'D LIKE TO SEE A SPECIAL SESSION CALLED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

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Get Covered Illinois Offers Advice For Unemployed

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE IS REMINDING THERE'S HELP FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOB...AND SUBSEQUENTLY THEIR HEALTH CARE. 

 

IF YOU NO LONGER HAVE JOB-BASED COVERAGE OR YOUR COBRA BENEFITS HAVE EXPIRED, YOU MAY QUALITY FOR THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE'S SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD SAYS GET COVERED ILLINOIS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LAURA PELLIKAN.

 

 

PELLIKAN SAYS YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE'S SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD. 

 

 

PELLIKAN SAYS IF YOU HAVEN'T LOST YOUR INSURANCE YET BUT EXPECT TO...YOU CAN ENROLL BEFORE YOUR COVERAGE ENDS. AGAIN, THAT WEBSITE IS: GET COVERED ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Warner Library Reopens to Patrons on Limited Basis

Limited hours and limited capacity highlight Clinton's Warner Library reopening to the public this week.

 

Business Manager Samantha Rusk says their staff is excited to start seeing patrons return to their facility on North Quincy Street this week. In addition to smaller crowd sizes and limited hours, they also have limited access to the bookshelves. 

 

 

Rusk outlines how things are going to work for a while. She explains a lot of business is going to be conducted at the front desk and they are asking patrons to wear masks under the guidance of the library board and the local department of health.

 

 

Curbside services are still available for the community. Rusk indicates if you are still hesitant about returning to the building, they are still bringing folks their desired materials to their vehicles. Additionally, Rusk points out they are putting together areas of the library for patrons to find materials that might interest them.

 

 

Visit the library at 310 North Quincy Street, call 217-935-5174, visit www.vwarner.org, or follow the library on social media at Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. 

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Long Lines Greet Reopened Driver's Facilities

Some long lines as driver’s license facilities re-opened throughout Illinois this week. A couple of reminders from Dave Druker with the Secretary of State’s office, including utilizing online services through “cyberdriveillinois.com”.

 

 

In addition to renewing your vehicle registration sticker, other services available online include obtaining a duplicate driver’s license or ID card; obtaining a driving record abstract; and renewing a driver’s license through the Safe Driver Renewal program.

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Early June Heat Should Benefit Crops

The early June heat should be good for Illinois’ emerging crops says DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson.

 

 

Anderson sees much of June progressing with stretches of heat followed by periods of rainfall, which will provide quality growing conditions for producers throughout much of Illinois.

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Decision on State Fairs Likely Later This Month

A final decision on the Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs likely later this month. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello still has some hope.

 

 

The Illinois State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 13-23 with the Du Quoin State Fair set for Aug. 28 through Sept. 7.

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DeWitt County Board Votes to Postpone Wind Farm Vote

The DeWitt County Board voted Tuesday night to postpone the vote on the special use permit for the Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind project in the northwest corner of DeWitt County. 

 

At the special meeting, Melanie Tilley asked the board to consider moving the meeting to Tuesday, July 14 at 6 pm with concerns about board members present and the ability to monitor their activity.

 

 

Tilley also expressed concerns over the meeting not being audible, something opponents of the project have been expressing concerns about in recent comments. Additionally, an open meetings act concern was brought up as well.

 

 

Terry Ferguson pointed to comments by Tradewind project development manager Tom Swierczewski when on the WHOW Morning Show stated ideally, they too would like to have the meeting with everyone present. Ferguson says if Illinois can move to phase 4 of Governor JB Pritzker's Restore Illinois plan in July, perhaps there could a limited audience present. 

 

 

Since the County has gone to virtual meetings, Nate Ennis points out he has not been able to be present for any of them. Tilley feels there may be a rights violation for board members by having to exclude some board members from being present at the County Courthouse.

 

 

Board Lance Reece took some exception to the comments by Ennis and Tilley. He and Tilley exchanged thoughts on who is in the room and who is in another room. Reece says if you wait until the coronavirus has passed and for everyone to meet in the same room, a vote may not happen until next year.

 

 

Christy Pruser suggested the Board's vote be July 14 no matter the circumstances surrounding the guidelines from the Governor. After much confusion about language in motion amendments and votes necessary to pass the motions, the Board approved the postponement of the meeting to July 14, whether it be held virtually or in person. 

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Wind Farm Opponent Leader Pleased With Board's Decision to Postpone Vote

Opponents of the proposed wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County are celebrating Tuesday night after the DeWitt County Board voted to postpone the vote on the wind farm to Tuesday, July 14 at 6 pm.

 

Andrea Rhoades leads the group Residents Against Wind Turbines in DeWitt County and was pleased the Board decided to postpone the vote for over a month in anticipation of getting the Board all together in the same room.

 

 

The Board's vote was 6-5 to postpone the meeting to July 14. Rhoades says if the meeting is to be held virtually, there is the possibility it could be postponed again depending on how the Board wants to handle it. 

 

Members of the Tradewind team could not be reached for comment following the meeting. 

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Clinton Casey's on Washington Street Burglarized Early Saturday Morning

The Clinton Police Department is seeking information regarding a burglary and property damage incident at the Clinton Casey's on East Washington Street.

 

Clinton Crimestoppers reports at approximately 3:30 am Saturday, the alarm at the gas station at 1603 East Washington Street was activated and responders discovered the glass door battered.

 

Video surveillance footage depicts a short, unidentified subject who was hooded and gloved making entry to the store through the front door. The subject then stole Newport brand cigarettes and fled on foot. 

 

Crimestoppers is seeking information on this incident and may pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 when a felony arrest is made as a result of information provided.

 

Authorities ask anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 217-935-3333. Crimestoppers phone line does utilize caller identification and is not recorded. Crimestoppers wants your information, not your name. 

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Clinton YMCA Gets Guidance to Start Up Camp Osage

Clinton youths can begin Camp Osage mid-week this week now that guidance from the State of Illinois has been given on conducting summer camp.

 

Youth program director at the Clinton YMCA David Torbert says they'll be scaling back the initial number of children they'll host for the first month or so of camp, or until they receive clearance to take on more. He adds they will take precautions through handwashing and basic hygiene practices.

 

 

Activities will continue to include going to the parks that are open, taking part in indoor activities but Torbert indicates he wants to introduce some learning activities. He notes his collaboration with the school district to come up with things to keep the kids engaged in learning during the summer given the amount of classroom time lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

Nine campers to one counselor have been the recommended ratio by health officials. Torbert indicates they are being asked to keep groups as small as possible and are keeping the kids isolated from the general Y population as possible during the day.

 

 

While some may be hesitant to send their kids off or might do it out of necessity but aren't completely comfortable doing so, Torbert reassures parents they are following all the health guidelines and are holding themselves to a high standard to keep everyone safe.

 

 

To get registered, visit the YMCA website at clintoncommyma.org. There is a $25 registration fee. Camp is $36 per day or $125 for the whole week for members. The program is open to non-members at $52 a day or $225 for the whole week. 

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DeWitt County Board to Vote on Wind Farm Special Use Permit Tonight

The DeWitt County Board will vote tonight on the special use permit application for the Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind project in northwest DeWitt County.

 

Last year, the application failed to get enough support to pass and Tradewind was sent back to the drawing board. This application has been surrounded by controversy in the County's zoning off to hearings at the Regional Planning Commission level being delayed in the fall to the Zoning Board of Appeals hearings being extended a week because of the volume of comments from the public and of course the latest hurdle in working around a pandemic to get the issue voted on.

 

The vote, originally scheduled for mid-March was put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak shutdown but Development Director for the project, Tom Swierczewski says this evening's meeting is going to be one for the books.

 

 

Opponents of the project have voiced their concerns over the virtual format for this meeting. Andrea Rhoades leads the group Residents Against Wind Farms in DeWitt County and says not much has changed in this application from the one voted down last spring.

 

 

While some of the circumstances surrounding the process of getting to this vote have been frustrating, Swierczewski realizes a lot of it is out of the control of everyone involved.

 

 

Rhoades believes Tradewind in this application is asking for several conditions, which she says they are trying to sneak these in to make adjustments that will have long term impacts on residents near non-participating landowners.

 

 

Each side will be allowed to make their final presentations to the County Board, though no new evidence can be presented. Swierczewski believes all testimony has been presented and looks forward to getting to the vote.

 

 

Each side will be allowed 15 minutes to speak in what County leaders have encouraged as a coordinated effort of each side to plan their speakers. According to Rhoades, 15 minutes is not enough time to make their final cases, especially because not all board members attended all the ZBA hearings in January.

 

 

Swierczewski says the time is now for DeWitt County and calls their project first rate. He believes it meets if not exceeds all the County's ordinances and looks forward to a positive outcome for the project and getting construction started.

 

 

Tonight's meeting is at 6 pm. The meeting will be carried live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and all the WHOW online platforms including the WHOW mobile and Amazon Alexa. 

 

Get full coverage of the meeting following the vote by the County Board at dewittdailynews.com and on Regional Radio News. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN PLANTING IN ILLINOIS IS STARTING TO WRAP UP AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

92 PERCENT OF CORN HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 76 PERCENT HAS EMERGED. THAT’S WELL AHEAD OF LAST YEAR AND ABOUT ON PAR WITH THE FIVE-YEAR AVERAGE. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 56 PERCENT OF CORN IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION, ABOUT THE SAME AS LAST WEEK.

 

 

74 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 50 PERCENT HAS EMERGED.

 

 

86 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS 29 PERCENT COMPLETE. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS THREE PERCENT SHORT, 70 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 27 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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State Police Director Says Looters Young Adults Organizing Ahead of Time

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE SAYS SOME OF THE LOOTING AND CRIMINAL DAMAGE OCCURRING IN DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES IS BEING ORGANIZED BY GROUPS OF YOUNG ADULTS.

 

I-S-P DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS THEY’VE DISCOVERED A PATTERN OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS. GROUPS OF PEOPLE AGE 17 TO 25 SEEM TO BE COMMUNICATING ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND TARGETING SPECIFIC BUSINESSES.

 

 

KELLY SAYS THEY’VE SEEN THIS PLAY OUT IN CHAMPAIGN, AURORA AND OTHER AREAS, WITH SOME GROUPS TRAVELING AROUND TO DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES.

 

 

KELLY SAYS SOME OF THEM ARE THEN LOOTING STORES, TRYING TO SET FIRES AND DAMAGING PROPERTY. OFFICIALS DO NOT THINK THERE IS A MAIN PERSON OR LARGE ORGANIZATION DRIVING THESE SMALL GROUPS.

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Governor Pritzker Discusses Role of National Guard

Governor JB Pritzker has deployed 250 more members of the National Guard in Illinois to support street closures and general security in other parts of the state.

 

He is also using 300 state troopers to support law enforcement in cities and towns around Illinois. Pritzker says as the state continues to see peaceful protests, break out into violent ones he asked the National Guard to do what local authorities asked for. And for those wanting the guard to step up and fulfill a more forceful role – the guard is doing what they should.

 

 

The Governor issued a disaster declaration for nine counties to aid in disaster response and recovery efforts tied to civil unrest.

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DCFS Launches 'You Are Not Alone' Campaign For Kids

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS LAUNCHING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO HELP PROTECT KIDS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC. 

 

CALLS TO REPORT SUSPECTED CASES OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT ARE DOWN BY 57 PERCENT RIGHT NOW, BUT THAT DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN IT'S HAPPENING LESS OFTEN SAYS D-C-F-S SPOKESPERSON DEBORAH LOPEZ.

 

 

SHE SAYS KIDS CURRENTLY HAVE LESS CONTACT WITH ADULTS WHO ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT, SO THEY'VE KICKED OFF THE "YOU ARE NOT ALONE" CAMPAIGN. POSTERS ARE BEING PUT UP IN PEDIATRICIAN OFFICES ACROSS ILLINOIS...LETTING KIDS KNOW IT'S NEVER OKAY FOR SOMEONE TO CAUSE THEM HARM.

 

 

THE "YOU ARE NOT ALONE CAMPAIGN" STRESSES TO KIDS THAT IT'S NEVER OKAY FOR ANYONE TO HURT OR NEGLECT THEM, AND URGES THEM TO CALL THE STATE'S CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE AT: 1-800-25-ABUSE IF THEY ARE HAVING PROBLEMS AT HOME.

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Clinton Public Health and Safety Commissioner: Pay Attention

It was a simple message for the community as looting and rioting begin to expand on the streets of the country and to a limited degree, central Illinois.

 

At the Monday Night Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Health and Safety Dan Ballenger had a brief and simple message for the community....

 

 

Also at the Monday night meeting, Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Ken Buchanan updated on the status of the city-wide cleanup, which is being moved to the fall.

 

 

Also Monday night, the Council...

 

>>Approived the plumbers and pipefitters contract with the City of Clinton

 

>>Approved the bid for sledge lime removal for the water treatment plant for $15.25 per ton with Evergreen FS

 

>>The Council approved the purchase of software for the fire department for just over $3,000

 

>>The Council approved an engineering service agreement with Symbiont for no more than $25,000. 

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Community Action Focused on Helping Build People Back Up After COVID-19

As communities return to work in Illinois in the wake of the coronavirus shutdowns, a central Illinois non-profit is focusing their attention to help rebuild those that have suffered so much loss in the last few months.

 

Community Action is looking to the aftermath of this pandemic and has been planning for programming to help get their communities back on their feet. Executive Director, Alison Rumler-Gomez indicates their 'Disaster Relief Unit' was a direct response to the expenses their clients may have that the stimulus money may not have been able to cover.

 

 

Community Action's Mike Robbins is overseeing the project and explains this falls in line with their 'hand up' project and seeks to bridge the gap for people that are just getting back to work.

 

 

Not everyone is going back to work in phase 3 and Community Action is adapting to that. According to Rumler-Gomez, they are going to work with folks to find an opportunity out of the misfortune that has happened to so many. She also adds they are going to open up their coaching app to the public.

 

 

Robbins says they want to be a bridge for resources in the community for their clients. If they cannot directly help someone, they want to get them connected to a group or organization that can. 

 

 

Visit capcil.info for more information. Robbins indicates the program has already sparked quite a bit of interest. You can also call 217-732-2159. Community Action's office is open but on a limited basis. 

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Group Opposed to Wind Farm Discusses Issues With Tuesday Meeting

DeWitt County residents who are opposed to a wind farm in the northwest corner of the County are voicing their concerns about tomorrow night's special meeting to decide the fate of a second application for the project.

 

Tradewind Energy's Alta Farms II special use permit will be voted on by the DeWitt County Board Tuesday at 6 pm and residents against the project say this is isn't essential business for the County and the vote should wait until the public can gather together to be present for a decision. Led by Andrea Rhoades, their message is the County should be taking up essential items only right now.

 

 

The issue with the vote being essential or not is because of the fact it will be conducted virtually, another concern of the group. Rhoades says the prior meetings held by the County Board have shown issues with people being able to connect and monitor the meeting.

 

 

The combination of the virtual meeting along with the County Board deeming the vote essential does not make sense to Rhoades. She has concerns about the ability of the Board to be present with the public and interact with them in a virtual format. 

 

 

Again, Tuesday's meeting is at 6 pm. For those not on the agenda to participate, the meeting will be carried live on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and all the WHOW online platforms including the WHOW mobile and Amazon Alexa. 

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Warner Hospital Volume Down Nearly Half As They Welcome Patients Back

With patient volume down at Clinton's Warner Hospital, leadership indicates they are excited to have surgery procedures resume and patients starting to return for doctor visits. 

 

As the hospital welcomes patients back to their facility, CEO Paul Skowron tells Regional Radio News April volume was down nearly half and now the goal has to be to give the community confidence to return.

 

 

Patients returning are doing so cautiously but Skowron indicates they are showing they are not going to be slowed by the threat of the coronavirus. He indicates the hospital is demonstrating their commitment to safety through distancing measures and PPE being worn by their staff.

 

 

Skowron gives props to his staff for their leadership in being willing to come back and see patients. He indicates, initially there was some trepidation on their part but their attitudes changed as the hospital kept up with the latest in CDC and IDPH guidelines.

 

 

Skowron indicates the best way to keep up with everything that is happening as the hospital continues to resume service is by visiting their Facebook page. 

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National Weather Service Sees Warmer Stretch Coming in June

The month of June is shaping up to be dry and warmer.

 

That is the message from National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Miller who says as we enter June, there are indications of a dry stretch on the way. While there could be some rain in the forecast, things should warm up and be dry.

 

 

Later in the summer, the National Weather Service is looking at a trend towards above-normal precipitation, however, Miller is hesitant to buy into that prediction. He points out, later in the summer is typically the driest part of the year for central Illinois.

 

 

While the late summer can be traditionally dry, Miller points out central Illinois is often impacted by the remnants of tropical storms in the south, leading to the possibility things could be wet.

 

 

After an unbelievable weather weekend, chances of rain return later this week as temperatures are expected to creep back into the 80s. 

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