Local News

DeWitt County Friendship Center Expanding Yoga Offering

The DeWitt County Friendship Center is expanding its yoga offerings for their seniors.

 

Executive Director Paula Jiles told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Friday it has been a huge hit for their seniors. It is a beneficial course and they are excited to have a session on Monday mornings.

 

 

Senior yoga at the Friendship Center is now offered Monday and Wednesday mornings.

 

Jiles notes many of their programs and services are starting to return in full. Get more information by stopping by their Main Street building or calling them at 217-935-411. 

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Demolition Underway at Kiwanis Park 'Ultimate Play Space'

At the beginning of the week, Kiwanis Park was on its way to meeting its demise. By Friday afternoon, problem areas were being removed and work is underway to restore those spots, preserving the park's future for several years.

 

Commissioner Dan Ballenger at Kiwanis Park with several City of Clinton Public Works employees had removed several posts of rotted treated wood from the park's Ultimate Play Space and was underway getting things restored. 

 

 

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce presented the City of Clinton with a check for $2,300 from funds leftover when the park was installed over a decade ago. 

 

We'll have more on the donation from the Chamber and what is next at the park tucked back behind the Clinton YMCA off Alexander Street on Monday on Regional Radio News. 

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Gov. Pritzker Files New Rules for Increased Masking, Social Distancing Compliance

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS ANNOUNCING NEW RULES TO HELP ENFORCE COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES. 

 

THE RULES ONLY APPLY TO BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS AND DAYCARE FACILITIES…AND AIM TO BOOST COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC HEALTH MANDATES SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE FIRST STEP WILL BE A WARNING, FOLLOWED BY ASKING PATRONS TO LEAVE IF A BUSINESS IS CAUGHT FAILING TO COMPLY A SECOND TIME. IF THERE IS A THIRD VIOLATION, THE BUSINESS MAY BE HIT WITH A MISDEMEANOR CHARGES AND A FINE RANGING FROM 75 DOLLARS TO 25-HUNDRED.

 

 

INDIVIDUALS WILL NOT FACE PENALTIES, ALTHOUGH EVERYONE NEEDS TO COMPLY WITH THE MANDATES. THE RULES WILL HAVE TO BE APPROVED BY A LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE THAT MEETS NEXT WEEK.

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Eight New Inmate Cases at Logan Correctional Center, One Staffer Tests Positive for Coronavirus

The Logan County Correctional Center yesterday reported eight new inmate positive tests for the coronavirus and one new employee positive test.

 

Inmate total positives are 18 with 12 employees. Ten employees have recovered and 1 inmate has recovered. 41 total positives have been reported at Logan Correctional Center. 

 

Lincoln Correctional Center received one new positive yesterday among their employees bringing their total to five. 

 

The Logan County Health Department reported two new cases, bring their total to 91 with 21 active cases. The Health Department reports a 1.5-percent positivity rate.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported three new cases of the coronavirus in Piatt County. Their total cases are now 49. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,953 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 21 additional confirmed deaths.

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 41,686 specimens for a total of 2,937,749.  
The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of the total test from July 30 – August 5 is 4.0%.  

 

As of last night, 1,517 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 346 patients were in the ICU and 132 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. 

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Clinton YMCA Bringing Back Y-Zone to Clinton and Monticello, Adjusting Rates

If you relied on Y-Zone through the Clinton YMCA for before or after school care, you will still be able to take advantage of that this school year but it will, predictably, look different. 

 

YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver tells Regional Radio News, in Clinton and Monticello they are adjusting rates to reflect the care families may need. If you're child just needs a few hours after school because of the implemented early dismissal time due to COVID, there will be a 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm option.

 

 

Changes to Y-Zone will be very similar to Camp Osage. Cluver explains parents are going to be asked to remain in their vehicles. He indicates that is how they are doing things with summer camp and it has worked well.

 

 

Changes are being made in how parents pay for care. Cluver explains when parents register their children, they will do so before the start of the week and will pay at that time. Because guidelines state there can only be 15 kids in a group, the Y needs to make sure they have the staff available to keep that breakdown.

 

 

Masks will be required for kids that are in attendance at Y-Zone. Cluver indicates they are going to be taking kids outside as much as possible. He is sympathetic to parents' concerns about having their kids in masks all day and so that is why it is their goal to be outside as much as possible.

 

 

Visit clintoncommymca.org for information on Y-Zone or call the Y in Clinton at 217-935-8307. 

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Department of Employment Security Announces 20 Weeks of Extended Benefits Available

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY IS ANNOUNCING 20 MORE WEEKS OF REGULAR STATE BENEFITS ARE NOW AVAILABLE. 

 

I-D-E-S SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CISCO SAYS THE EXTENSION IS KICKING IN BECAUSE OF HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE STATE DUE TO THE PANDEMIC.

 

 

CISCO SAYS IF YOU’RE ALREADY RECEIVING BENEFITS YOU WON’T NEED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE TO GET THE EXTENSION. THE EXTENDED BENEFITS ARE FUNDED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

 

 

VISIT: IDES DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Ameren Launches New Program

Ameren Illinois is launching a new $8 million dollar statewide energy assistance program called Fresh Start…

 

 

Ameren’s Tucker Kennedy says the new program is part of their overall response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Commissioner Ballenger Says Kiwanis Park Will Not Be Demolished; Pushes for Park District

Monday night Commissioner of Public Safety on the Clinton City Council, Dan Ballenger sent shockwaves through the community when he announced a decision to bring down Kiwanis Park behind the Clinton YMCA on Alexander Street.

 

Parts of the park are in rough shape with some treated wood rotting and falling apart. The Commissioner has had a change of heart on bringing down the Kiwanis Park playground equipment because he doesn't have a good plan for what to put in its place.

 

 

According to Ballenger, Thursday evening will begin the process of improving the playground. He says the park will remain closed to the public until City crews can get out there and work on it. Anticipate fencing of some kind being set up around the playground equipment to keep kids off it. 

 

 

Out of this announcement Monday and the subsequent change of heart, Ballenger is pushing residents to help establish a park district. He indicates that is one thing he has heard from the public through all this.

 

 

Ballenger believes fixing up the equipment will buy three to four years of additional use on the playground and he hopes at that time, a suitable plan can be established for how the equipment will be replaced.

 

Additionally, out of Ballenger's announcement Monday, the community has stepped up contacting him to inform him of efforts they'd like to start to help maintain the playground rather than bring it all down. 

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COVID Scams Targeting Job Seekers

As the country continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic while getting back to work, scams are targeting individuals trying to get back on their feet.

 

Connie Unruh with the TS Institute indicates there are fake job postings popping up on all sorts of platforms. From job boards to social media, she indicates maybe dig a little further before offering up critical information an employer would want.

 

 

Many employers will list their jobs on their own website in addition to the promotion they do on job boards. Unruh says it is a good idea to check the company's website to confirm the job listing is accurate.

 

 

Many Americans still have not collected their stimulus money from the spring. Unruh says this has been the source of additional issues. Additionally, as contact tracing efforts intensify due to the COVID pandemic, there are scams popping up with people posing as contact tracers.

 

 

Unruh continues to urge residents to be on the lookout for the unemployment scams. Governor JB Pritzker Wednesday warned of this. She also encourages the public to take advantage of the weekly credit reports that are available for free until next spring. 

 

If you suspect any form of identity theft, contact authorities immediately. 

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Tri-Valley Schools Offering In-Person, Remote Learning Options

Tri-Valley will be bringing students back to school in the fall if families are willing to send their kids, otherwise, a remote learning option will be made available.

 

Dr. David Mouser is the District Superintendent and indicates their plan came together thanks to the collaboration with his peers in communities around them and also because of the input from the community. He points out, Tri-Valley is at an advantage because they are starting the year later due to a construction project at their high school.

 

 

According to Dr. Mouser, teachers want to be with the kids of the Tri-Valley district but there, as expected, apprehension. He says teachers stressed guidance to be followed, like masking and social distancing.

 

 

When staff and students enter the building there will be temperature checks and health surveys. Dr. Mouser says they are hyper-focused on social distancing, making lunch safe and many of the day-to-day procedures that are generally not thought about in a regular year. He adds they are asking the community to step up and help where possible.

 

 

In the event a positive case arises among the staff or student population, the health department will be the guiding agency for how to handle that scenario. Dr. Mouser says while they hope it is a situation that does not come about, it would be naive to think it can't happen.

 

 

Dr. Mouser is the father of two students in the district and will be sending his kids back to school because it is what is best for them. He indicates his kids want to get back to school and to be with their friends. 

 

 

It will be the goal of teachers to make things as normal as possible but that will be a huge challenge. Dr. Mouser asks the community to keep the students and the district in their prayers as everyone faces an uncertain time. 

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State Treasurer's I-Cash Program Crosses $1-Billion Threshold

A billion dollars has been returned to Illinoisans and others under the direction of the state’s Treasurer. Mike Frerichs says that in the past five years his office has streamlined the process for people to receive their unclaimed property.

 

 

In the previous five years about $700 million was distributed by the Treasurer’s’ office.

 

There is still $3.5 billion in the unclaimed property fund. A google search of I Cash Illinois will send you to the web page to begin a search.

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Latest on Ag Ecomomy With Purdue Economist, Jim Mintert

Farmer sentiment in July virtually unchanged from a month earlier, according to the latest data from the Ag Economy Barometer. The information is compiled by Purdue University and CME Group says ag economist Jim Mintert.

 

 

The barometer is released each month and involves a survey of 400 U.S. ag producers.

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Illinois Supreme Court Shifts Civil Cases Against Governor to Sangamon County

A number of court cases filed in southern Illinois against Governor JB Pritzker are going to be moved to Springfield. The cases filed by Thomas DeVore will be heard in the capitol city after the decision by the Illinois Supreme Court.

 

 

And now in Clay County, the Governor is facing an Indirect Civil Contempt motion.

 

The end result is a request to place the Governor in the Clay County jail for continuing to file Executive Orders connected to COVID-19.

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Illinois Participating in Midwest Hemp Database Project

Four land grant universities teaming up for the Midwestern Hemp Database project. The University of Illinois is partnering with Michigan State, Purdue and Wisconsin with the goal of providing regional insight to agronomic performance and also cannabinoid development of modern hemp varieties says James DeDecker with Michigan State.

 

 

The Illinois portion of the project is being led by the University of Illinois Extension’s Phillip Alberti.

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Logan County Correctional Center Reporting 21 Confirmed Cases of COVD

The Logan County Correctional Center is reporting 11 staff members testing positive for the coronavirus with ten inmates testing positive.

 

The Illinois Department of Corrections website indicates nine staffers have recovered and one inmate is recovered for a total of 31 cases.

 

Lincoln Correction Center has four cases with one recovered. 

 

In Logan County, the Health Department is reporting 20 active cases. In total, they are reporting 89 total cases. Logan County is reporting a 1.5-percent positivity rate with 5,840 total tests administered.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports 31 cases for DeWitt County and 46 cases in Piatt County. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,471 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 19 additional confirmed deaths.

 

Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 42,598 specimens.  

 

The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of the total test from July 28 – August 3 is 3.9%.  

 

As of last night, 1,496 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 365 patients were in the ICU and 125 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. 

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DNR Announces Recipients for Historic Preservation Tax Credit

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources last month announced the third round of recipients of the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, a statewide historic preservation incentive that encourages private investment in historic properties across Illinois. 

 

The state tax credit program gives priority to buildings that are in low-income census tracts, federally declared disaster areas, and counties that border a state with a competitive statewide historic tax credit. DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert says Bloomington High School was among three recipients this round.

 

 

Buildings that were once owned by a governmental entity and whose development partnership includes a Community Development Entity, a low-profit organization, or a not-for-profit organization also are given priority for an allocation. According to Torbert, one of the benefits of the program is projects have and will continue to create local construction jobs to help restart the state’s economy. 

 

 

Torbert notes the return on investment is almost 100-percent, sometimes more. She says it is a great way to bring old buildings back onto the tax-roll for the State of Illinois. She points out it is also a win for the local community. 

 

 

The Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, administered by the IDNR State Historic Preservation Office, is available to owners of historic structures who undertake certified rehabilitations making them eligible for a tax credit of 25 percent of their qualified rehabilitation costs up to $3 million per project. Credits are limited to a total of $15 million in allocations per year, with a total of $75 million in tax credits available over the five years that the program is to be in effect. 

 

During this first round of the second year of the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, complete applications received represented 16 historic properties in nine different communities across the state. The total private reinvestment of all project applications is estimated to exceed $290 million. The total amount of credits requested was approximately $29.3 million, and $7.5 million of credits were able to be allocated. The rehabilitation tax credits are awarded only after a substantial private investment has been made in local communities.

 

For more information on the Illinois Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, contact Carol Dyson, 217-524-0276, carol.dyson@illinois.gov with the IDNR Illinois State Historic Preservation Office.

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Stretches of Illinois Need Rain, Others Have Too Much

Depending on where you're at in Illinois, you might need a little more rain but you might also be wishing for a long dry stretch. 

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates from their office in Lincoln to Clinton, up towards Farmer City and most of Piatt County, it is still a little dry, while there are areas Decatur to Springfield and southward that are in good shape.

 

 

Portions of north-central and far southern Illinois have had plenty of rain and Miller indicates they are hoping for some dry stretches.

 

 

The hit-and-miss showers and storms that roll through central Illinois hitting some places often are generally fronts that are not strong enough to push through other parts of the state. He explains many fronts stall and sits over an area.

 

 

June was a quiet month for tornado activity and severe weather, something very out of the ordinary, Miller notes. 

 

Yesterday on Regional Radio News, Miller noted the beautiful weather we're experiencing this week is thanks to the hurricane moving up the east coast. He notes though, warm and humid weather will return by the weekend. 

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Clinton City Council Approves Non-Highway Vehicles on City Streets

Don't be surprised if you see Clinton residents rolling around town in golfcart-like vehicles.

 

The Clinton City Council Monday night approved a city ordinance to allow non-highway vehicles on city streets. City Administrator Tim Followell explains the vehicles can be gas or electric and have to pass safety inspections, be insured and licensed.

 

 

Follow explains there were unclear discussions around speed-limits for these vehicles by Clinton officials. The ordinance states, vehicles cannot travel more than 20 MPH and are limited to municipal streets with a speed limit of less than 35 MPH. 

 

 

Other community's ordinances for golf carts vary. Additionally, Followell notes there are not many of these vehicles on the streets of communities that allow them.

 

 

According to Followell, the original reasoning for non-highway vehicles was to deal with rising gas prices. At the time, the idea did not come to fruition. Recently, state law changed regarding crossing highways but Followell points out, there are still laws limiting what roads vehicles can be on.

 

 

Licensing forms are available now at Clinton City Hall and at the Clinton Police Department and inspections on the vehicles must be done by the Clinton Police Department. Stickers will be issued for the first August 13. Licensing fees are $100.

 

Visit clintonillinois.com for the full ordinance

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Argenta Bank Offering Businesses Help During COVID

For many businesses, taking advantage of the payroll protection program, or PPP, was unsuccessful so an Argenta Bank is stepping up in partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank.

 

The Gerber State Bank Vice President Cortney Smatanko (smuh-tank-O) indicates businesses DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties are eligible but cannot have received funds from PPP in the spring. They are giving away 10-$2,000 grants. 

 

 

Visit gerberstatebank.com for a link to the COVID-19 grants. Smatanko says the application is a single page and can be dropped off in-person to 110 East Elm Street in Argenta or to 102 South IL-48 in Oreana. 

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Illinois Clerks Already Preparing for November Election

Illinois residents, your chance to go to the polls is still a few months away. In Madison County as is the case in many others, the County Clerk’s office is preparing for the various ways to vote early, but also making sure they are ready to go on Election Day on November 3.

 

And among those preparations, Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza says, is making sure there is enough Personal Protective Equipment to go around.

 

 

She says there is an excitement in her office and among voters she hasn’t experienced in a long time heading into this year’s Presidential Election.

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Sen. Durbin Defends $600 Unemployment Benefit

US Senator Dick Durbin says 800,000 unemployed people in Illinois can’t afford to not have the federal government provide them an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits.

 

He met with people out of work in Chicago last week and says everyone he talked too would face hard decisions about what to do and how to move forward without the enhanced benefits. Durbin says for one family with a newborn the choices aren’t going to be easy.

 

 

Democrats in Washington want to keep the enhanced benefit at $600 a week and Republicans want to trim the amount to $200 a week.

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COVID Surge in Southern Illinois Worse Than Chicago

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS VISITING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS TODAY, WHERE THERE HAS BEEN AN ALARMING SURGE OF CORONAVIRUS CASES. 

 

EIGHT OUT OF 11 ILLINOIS COUNTIES THAT ARE AT THE “WARNING” LEVEL FOR COVID-19 ARE LOCATED IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE STATE. THAT INCLUDES JACKSON COUNTY…WHERE THE GOVERNOR MET WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS IN CARBONDALE.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER HAS WARNED THAT AREAS WITH GROWING POSITIVITY RATES AND INCREASED HOSPITALIZATIONS WILL HAVE TO RESUME PREVIOUS RESTRICTIONS.

 

 

IF NUMBERS KEEP RISING…GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS RESTRICTIONS WILL BE PUT BACK INTO PLACE. THAT MAY INCLUDE LIMITING GATHERINGS AND INDOOR DINING AND TEMPORARILY SHUTTING DOWN BUSINESSES EXPERIENCING OUTBREAKS.

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Hurricane Isaias Causing Cooler Week in Central Illinois

If you woke up Tuesday morning and thought about throwing a sweatshirt on, thank Hurricane Isaias.

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio News Monday on the WHOW Morning Show the hurricane in the south is stalling any warm weather from coming up to the midwest causing very below-normal temperatures. 

 

 

Once the hurricane moves off and weather patterns return to normal, so will the central Illinois weather. Miller explains warm weather will return later this week and by the weekend we should have a return to hot and humid conditions.

 

 

Recent rains have left stretches of central Illinois still needing moisture while other areas are experiencing an overabundance of rain. We'll have more with Miller on this later this week on Regional Radio News. 

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Peterson Insurance Donates $1000 To Neighborhood Care Center

Peterson Insurance in Clinton this week made a donation to Neighborhood Care Center of $1000 for their efforts to assist the Clinton community during the ongoing COVID 19 crisis.

 

Presenting the check to Cody Monkman (left) is Dexter Peterson (right) of Peterson Insurance Services.

 

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Heyworth Schools Lay Out Back to School Plan

Families in Heyworth will have the chance to send their students back to school or take advantage of remote learning options. 

 

Superintendent Dr. Lisa Taylor on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News their transition team came up with a plan for a back-to-school plan with a combination of in-person learning and remote learning. She indicates they are following all the guidelines laid out by the State and the typical school day is going to look very different.

 

 

According to Dr. Taylor, the district surveyed teachers, parents, and students and there was overwhelming support for returning to school. She explains the biggest concern they heard had to do with how to handle positive cases.

 

 

Dr. Taylor says the self-certification of the health process has been a fluid policy from the State of Illinois. The latest policy is to allow parents to self-certify for their kids.

 

 

Dr. Taylor indicates if her kids were in the K-12 age range she would send them back under the current circumstances. She believes kids need to be in school and they need the interactions they get there with their peers.

 

 

Not only is Dr. Taylor confident about their plan for this year but she believes there's an opportunity to keep some policies in place going forward. 

 

 

Those interested in the Heyworth plan can visit the district website for the latest information, husd4.org. Dr. Taylor indicates information available at the website will likely expand as the school year progresses. 

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Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS CROPS ARE ABOUT ON PACE WITH THE FIVE-YEAR AVERAGE SO FAR. 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 78 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING, COMPARED TO 84 PERCENT NORMALLY

 

 

96 PERCENT OF CORN IS SILKING, COMPARED TO 92 PERCENT NORMALLY, AND 43 PERCENT IS IN THE DOUGH STAGE SAYS SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

RAINFALL THIS PAST WEEK WAS MORE THAN AN INCH ABOVE NORMAL, LEAVING AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, NINE PERCENT SHORT, 68 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 22 PERCENT SURPLUS.

 

THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS 90 PERCENT COMPLETE.

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Gov. Pritzker Says He Will Continue Fund His Own Campaign

Republicans in the state are saying an ethics test for Democrats will be if they take campaign money from Speaker of the House Mike Madigan.

 

If the money doesn’t come from Madigan will Governor JB Pritzker begin bankrolling campaigns?

 

Pritzker says he will continue self-funding his own and will remain supportive of democrats around the state.

 

 

The Speaker is the head of four organizations that have about millions on hand, he’s also been implicated in a federal bribery case surrounding ComEd.

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Commissioner Ballenger on Kiwanis Park: It Is Not Safe For Kids to Play On

Another community park in Clinton needs significant repairs and Monday night the Clinton City Commissioner for Public Safety proposed the demolition of Kiwanis Park behind the Clinton YMCA on Alexander Street.

 

Commissioner Ballenger has been working with his wife to clean up trash left behind at the community park which has seen significant patchwork repairs done in recent years but the Commissioner says it is time for it to come down.

 

 

Commissioner Ballenger does not like taking another area for kids to play on but says it is not safe at this time and reiterated his call for the park to be demolished.

 

 

Mayor Roger Cyrulik wanted to wait on the demolition until later in the year when City crews could work on it themselves. Ballenger believes it needs to be brought down now before kids start playing on the playground and disregarding the taped off play equipment. The Council voted, at the advisement of City Attorney Steve Myers, to start the process to send out the demolition for bid. 

 

The City was recently forced to tape-off and ultimately bring down the playground equipment at Downey Park. Playground equipment there was set to be installed this summer, however, those plans were put on hold due to the COVID pandemic. 

 

Also at the Monday night City Council meeting:

 

>>The Council approved the use of non-highway vehicles on city streets. Permit paperwork is ready at City Hall now and after inspections, those vehicles could be on the road as soon as Tuesday. 

 

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Prenatal Classes Resume at Lincoln's ALMH Today

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital announced free prenatal classes will resume this evening.

 

The classes have a new format that will provide women important information at the appropriate time in their pregnancy.

 

Classes will be offered on the first Monday of each month for pregnant women who are 20-24 weeks. Topics will include: healthy eating, stages of labor, breathing/Lamaze, myth-busting, the whys, and why nots of inductions, introduction to breastfeeding, and much more. 

 

On the third Monday of each month, classes for pregnant women who are at 32-36 weeks will cover the following topics: fetal monitoring, positions for labor and delivery, what to expect during labor and delivery, C-sections, breastfeeding, the role of your support partner, caring for a newborn and more. 

All classes take place from 6 pm-8 pm in the Steinfort Room at ALMH.

 

In a release Friday,  ALMH says they are “Ready. Safe. Go.” and excited to welcome pregnant moms to classes in a clean and safe environment. ALMH conducts screening on everyone who enters the hospital and sanitizes every surface so attendees can feel comfortable. 

 

There will be a limited number of participants in order to maintain proper social distancing and masks are required upon entrance to the hospital.

 

Elizabeth Meyrick, RN, obstetrics department manager, said quote “We look forward to sharing information that can help lessen anxiety for new moms and even second-time mothers. Information is empowering.” 

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Beware of COVID Scams

Scammers are taking advantage of the misfortune and assistance of the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Connie Unruh with the TS Institute says they are seeing several scams that revolve around the current pandemic. The most prominent is the unemployment scam where people are filing for unemployment in the name of someone else. If you find this might have happened to you, report it to authorities.

 

 

If you get a notification of unemployment benefits being approved or even the unemployment debit card in the mail, Unruh says that should be a red flag.

 

 

According to Unruh, you can get a free credit report once a week during COVID. She explains checking in on the credit report is a very good way to prevent other forms of identity theft. 

 

 

Unruh emphasizes contacting law enforcement because there needs to be a police report. But IDES is also looking to keep track of this data. She also recommends contacting the Federal Trade Commission. 

 

Several other scams are circulating related to COVID. We'll have more on these later this week on Regional Radio News. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools to Bring Kids Back Four Days A Week

Maroa-Forsyth students will be in class four days a week and they have adjusted their calendar for the 2020-2021 school year.

 

Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer tells Regional Radio News, his administration has worked for several weeks to come up with a plan to bring kids back under the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois School Board Association. 

 

 

Maroa-Forsyth community members at a roughly 70-percent clip indicated they wanted their students to be back in school. Dr. Ahlemeyer says the remaining 30-percent were asking for more time on a decision.

 

 

Dr. Ahlemeyer also points out their teachers are overwhelmingly in support of returning to school. He credits his staff for their dedication to the community and its students and their ability to adapt to the always-changing environment of education.

 

 

In the event there are positive cases in the school, Dr. Ahlemeyer says they will turn to the county and state health departments for guidance. 

 

Once the pandemic is gone, Dr. Ahlemeyer could see the possibility of allowing students the chance to participate in school in a virtual format, something the State of Illinois currently allows. 

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McLean County Museum of History Construction Update

The McLean County Museum of History is moving ahead with their construction projects.

 

Candace Summers with the McLean County Museum of History indicates the museum has chosen to remain closed so it can expedite some much-needed facility updates. The modernization of the public restrooms is currently underway.

 

 

Another project that was approved by the board is updating the historic lighting fixtures. Summers says they will be rewired to handle modern bulbs and restored to their original color. The museum also found the rest of the original fixtures which will be added to the rest of the museum.

 

 

In addition to work inside the building, the museum will also be getting a new roof courtesy the County of McLean. Summers notes her excitement for when the public will be welcomed back.

 

 

To stay up to date on when the museum will reopen visit mchistory.org.

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New Plan to Transform Juvenile Justice System in Illinois Announced

A NEW EFFORT TO TRANSFORM THE STATE’S JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM IS UNDERWAY. 

 

THE THREE PHASE PLAN AIMS TO REDUCE THE HARM OF BEING LOCKED UP SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE DIRECTOR HEIDI MUELLER.

 

 

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON SAYS THAT STARTS WITH MOVING YOUTH OFFENDERS TO REGIONAL, MORE DORM-LIKE FACILITIES INSTEAD OF PRISONS.

 

 

THE PLAN WILL TRANSITION YOUTH OFFENDERS TO SMALLER, REGIONAL CENTERS, WITH INTERVENTION SUPPORT FROM COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS. 

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WHOW, WEZC To Broadcast Virtual Apple and Pork Festival Coverage from Big Red Barn September 26th

Even though Clinton's Apple and Pork Festival won't be held this year, WHOW and WEZC will bring interviews with all those involved in fund raising for the beneficiary of the event each year, the C-H Moore Museum and Homestead, along with many of the non-profit organizations that make their budget each year at the Apple and Pork Festival.

 

The stations are calling it their "virtual" Apple and Pork Festival coverage, airing on both stations live from the Big Red Barn Saturday, September 26th from 10am until at least 3pm or later.

 

The coverage will air on all of WHOW's many platforms--AM, FM, and on-line, as well as on WEZC 95-point-9 FM.

 

The stations will donate 25% of the dollars collected from local businesses that are sponsoring the virtual coverage, to the C. H. Moore Homestead and Museum.

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Local Coronavirus Update

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting new cases for both counties this weekend.

 

On Thursday, DeWitt County reported two new cases: a 48-year-old asymptomatic male in DeWitt, and a 90-year-old in Wapella who was a close contact of a confirmed case. Piatt County reported three new cases: a 49-year-old male in Monticello who was exposed at work, a 37-year-old in Monticello, and a 62-year-old living in Bement where in close contact to the same confirmed case from a different county.

 

On Friday Piatt County reported three additional cases: a 38-year-old male in Monticello who was exposed at work in a different county, a 44-year-old male living in White Heath, and a 60-year-old female who was with the same close contact as the two cases reported Thursday.

 

Piatt County has had 40 cases total and DeWitt County has had 28 total.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reminds us to wear face-coverings when out in public and maintain social distance. If you are sick, be responsible, call your doctor and stay home. 

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Sen. Durbin Discusses Unemployment Issues

As another stimulus package slowly rolls through the US Senate a sticking point seems to be tied to extra money for unemployment benefits. Illinois’ Senior Senator Dick Durbin says the Senate is poised to leave for the weekend with nothing to show to American people.

 

Durbin says its essentially an urban myth that an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits are keeping people from seeking another job.

 

 

Durbin says if people are trying to pay for employer provided healthcare through COBRA – it costs an average of $1700 a month. He says that eats up the majority of the extra money the federal government is providing.

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USDA Rural Development Program Getting Plenty of Use

The State Director for USDA Rural Development says his office has been busy, even during the pandemic.

 

 

Doug Wilson says you can find out more on the many programs USDA Rural Development offers through usda.gov/il

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Governor Pritzker Continues to Get Questions About Madigan

Is it time for the Illinois Speaker of the House to step down? A number of House Democrats have asked him to do so.

 

Governor JB Pritzker isn’t saying that just yet. As Mike Madigan is calling House Democrats to ask them personally if he should step down…

 

What would Pritzker say if the phone rings?

 

 

After making calls to House Democrats, Madigan says in a statement, after hearing positive feedback from members “I have no plan to resign.”

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COVID Grant Helps Encore Developmental Center

Back in May, the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation awarded over $80,000 to central Illinois non-profits to help bridge the gap in losses experienced during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

 

Encore Developmental Services was one of the recipients of those grants - much to the surprise of Executive Director Stephanie Coonce who indicates the IPCF received roughly half-a-million dollars in funding requests. 

 

 

Encore received $3,000 from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

 

Other grant recipients locally included the DeWitt County Friendship Center who received $2,300, DeWitt County DOVE received $5,000, Heritage Behavioral Health Center received $2,500, Big Brothers Big Sisters received $2,500, Community Action received $5,000, and the Salvation Army in Lincoln received $2,875. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

A mild weekend is on the way and more of the same could be in store for next week. Former State Climatologist Jim Angel, sitting in for State Climatologist Trent Ford, updates us on the chances for rain.

 

 

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ALMH in Lincoln Offering Free Colorectal Screening Kits

Get a free colorectal screening kit Wednesday courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln.

 

Communications Director Angie Stoltzenburg explains residents can pull up Monday to the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital circle drive and receive a free take-home kit thanks to a partnership with the Regional Cancer Partnership of Illinois.

 

 

Anyone wanting a free kit should expect to sign a short consent form. Screenings are aimed at individuals 45-years-old or older. 

 

 

Wednesday, August 5 from 9 am to noon kits will be available at the hospital off Business Route 66/Lincoln Parkway. 

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