Local News

Warner Hospital CEO Predicts Masking Ending March 1; Visits from School Kids Increasing

Six more months of masking is the prediction of a DeWitt County healthcare professional.

 

CEO of Warner Hospital Paul Skowron on the WHOW Morning Show Monday predicted March 1 would be the end of mandatory masking. He believes trends are positive for the coronavirus with multiple vaccines being developed at warp speed.

 

 

In the meantime, schools will remain in session and students are monitored daily by teachers and staff. Those that are showing COVID symptoms, and the list is long, are asked to either consult with a doctor or isolate. Skowron says that mandate has left the City-owned facility seeing an uptick in youth coming in. He adds their staff have been ready for this and are prepared to see anyone that is asked to seek medical attention. 

 

 

As the cold and flu season approaches, Skowron hopes the COVID awareness will lead to more people getting the flu vaccine this year, although he anticipates another high volume flu season with the predicted cold winter. 

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Heritage Health Services Promoting Getting Help

As we get set to turn the calendar to September this week, a local healthcare group is promoting messages around suicide awareness.

 

September is Suicide Prevention Month and Jessica Smiley with Heritage Behavioral Health Services indicates studies suggesting a rise in depression and other mental and emotional health issues are starting to increase in the wake of the COVID pandemic lockdowns. 

 

 

According to Smiley, there is a lot of negative stigmas surrounding seeking help for the emotional and mental challenges plaguing individuals. She believes one of the bigger stigmas is the reaction from those close to us.

 

 

As Americans continue to deal with social distancing isolation, Smiley encourages finding a way to connect. Whether it is a traditional phone call or a face time phone call, there are ways to stay connected with your loved ones. She stresses we need those connections and encourages getting creative. 

 

 

As with many issues, the first step in getting help is recognizing you need help and taking the appropriate measures to reach out to someone. Smiley indicates the first person you reach out to does not have to be a professional, but rather a family member, friend, teacher, or pastor. 

 

Get in contact with Heritage about any challenges you're facing by calling them at -217-362-6262. If you need immediate help, hit '1' right after dialing the number and you'll be connected to a crisis worker.

 

Throughout the month of September on WHOW, we'll hear from individuals with all types of connections to mental health. From authorities to counselor's like Smiley (Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 9:30 am), some include Farmer City Police Chief Nate Guest (Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 9:30 am), Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers (Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 8:30 am), and Tony Kirkman from the Piatt County Mental Health Center (Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 9 am). 

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LIHEAP Assistance Available Early This Fall

LIHEAP assistance will be available early this fall thanks to the COVID pandemic.

 

Community Action distributes Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, funding. Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez indicates the CARES Act contained extra funding for the program so they are making it available to make sure all the money gets distributed.

 

 

Getting connected to the assistance available can be done online now as well. According to Rumler-Gomez, get on capcil.info and find the eligibility link and book an appointment. She lays out what things you'll need when you come for your appointment.

 

 

LIHEAP is a one-time payment towards an energy bill assistance that could span several payments. They also have a program with a stipend towards your monthly bill and there is a one-time reconnection payment as well.

 

Get more information by visiting capcil.info or contact Community Action at their Lincoln office at 217-732-2159. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

We appear to be headed for a cool off as we flip the calendar to September this week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more...

 

 

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TS Institute Warns of 'Free' Amazon Packages

A recent scam has arisen surrounding receiving Amazon packages you didn't order.

 

Connie Unruh with the TS Institute indicates a scam has arisen that involves Amazon packages being delivered to the home that you haven't ordered. She details what happened to her and others.

 

 

Unruh says this is known as a brushing scam. Companies will send items to customers to make a customer appear to be a valid purchaser of the items. They will then write a positive review on behalf of the recipient.

 

 

Unruh warns this means that the scammers have access to your Amazon account and possibly other sensitive information that could be used for identity theft. She recommends changing your account passwords.

 

 

Amazon says to contact their customer service if you receive unknown or suspicious orders.

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Census Workers Still Have Work To Do in Next Month

Almost a third of households in Illinois still haven’t answered the 2020 census. Ellisa (eh-LEE-suh) Johnson with the Census Bureau says there are a lot of people to count with only a month to go. The count ends on September 30th.

 

 

People have a variety of reasons for not answering the census. Some people don’t speak the language on the census forms they get, some put the forms down and forget to go back to them later, and some don’t trust the government. Undercounts can reduce representation in government, grant money that goes to communities, and countless policy decisions that are partly affected by how many people live in one place or another.

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Barth Inducted to Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame

DeWitt County 4-H nominated Megan Barth for the 2020 Illinois 4-H Hall of Fame.

 

Megan Barth explains her involvement in 4-H including being a nine-year 4-H member, leader of Salt Creek Clovers club, Communications Fair Superintendent, and serving on the DeWitt County 4-H Foundation.

 

 

Barth indicates her dedication to the 4-H program is due to helping youth achieve growth through their projects and community service. She says 4-H helps youth become well-rounded through the wide array of project areas.

 

 

Barth is also a parent of a current 4-Her. She thanks DeWitt County 4-H for nominating her.

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More Than One Million Mail In Ballots Have Been Requested in Illinois

ILLINOISANS HAVE ALREADY REQUESTED MORE THAN ONE MILLION MAIL-IN BALLOTS. 

 

AVOIDING THE POLLS AND MAILING IN THE NOVEMBER BALLOT IS PROVING TO BE A POPULAR OPTION, WITH ONE POINT ONE MILLION REQUESTED SO FAR SAYS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SPOKESPERSON MATT DIETRICH.

 

 

UNDER A NEW STATE LAW, APPLICATIONS FOR MAIL-IN BALLOTS WERE SENT TO ALL RECENT VOTERS. YOU CAN ALSO REQUEST A BALLOT AT ELECTIONS DOT IL DOT GOV. THEY WILL BE MAILED OUT IN LATE SEPTEMBER.

 

 

RECENT VOTERS SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED AN APPLICATION FOR A BALLOT IN THE MAIL, OR YOU CAN REQUEST ONE ONLINE AT: ELECTIONS DOT IL DOT GOV. THE BALLOTS WILL BE MAILED OUT BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 24TH.

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LaHood's Differ on Endorsements for President

A former Central Illinois Republican Congressman says he's supporting former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election.

 

Former Peoria Republican congressman, Ray LaHood's decision, comes as his son, Congressman Darin LaHood, serves as the co-chair of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in Illinois.

Darin LaHood says it's easier to support a candidate when you're no longer serving in office.

 

 

Ray LaHood served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation from 2009-2013 under the Obama Administration, where he worked with Joe Biden.

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Several Starved Rock Trails Reopening

SEVERAL TRAILS AT STARVED ROCK STATE PARK ARE REOPENING WEDNESDAY. 

 

THE PARK CLOSED DOWN AFTER EXTENSIVE STORM DAMAGE A FEW WEEKS AGO...BUT ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT SAYS THEY ARE BACK IN BUSINESS.

 

 

TORBERT WARNS THIS DOESN'T MEAN THE WHOLE PARK IS BACK OPEN YET.

 

 

TORBERT REMINDS THAT VISITORS SHOULD BRING A FACE COVERING IN CASE SOCIAL DISTANCING ISN'T POSSIBLE. HIKERS NEED TO STAY ON THE DESIGNATED TRAILS AND NO SWIMMING OR WADING IS ALLOWED.

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Illinois Farmland Values Holding Steady

Farmland values holding steady in Illinois. Brad Zwilling is a data analyst for Farm Business Farm Management at the University of Illinois.

 

 

In Iowa, the latest farm real estate value averages $7,070 per acre; $6,600 in Indiana, $3,400 in Missouri and $4,850 in Wisconsin.

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Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Talks Challenges of Pandemic During Harvest Season

The harvest season will soon be underway with farmers hauling corn and soybean crops to the local elevator. Jeff Adkisson with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois says there will be some new challenges this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

 

 

The Grain and Feed Association represents more than 90-percent of the commercial grain storage space in the state of Illinois where members include grain elevators and grain handling facilities, processors, feed mills and companies who provide goods and services to the industry.

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Springfield Site Recognized by National American Civil Rights Network

In 1908 a white mob in Springfield Illinois lynched two innocent black men after two different black men who had been arrested for rape and murder had been transferred out of town.

 

The mob of white citizens destroyed and burned down black owned businesses over two days and killed six other black residents.

 

Now the site of race riot has been included in the National African American Civil Rights Network. US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt says reflection and understanding of what happened at the site should lead to reflection and understanding.

 

 

One of the outcomes of the riot was the creation of the National Association of Colored People or the NAACP.

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Sen. Duckworth Calls for Federal Dollars To Flow to Local Governments

As a central Illinois town stares down laying off firefighters, one US Senator says federal dollars need to flow to cities and other forms government.

 

Peoria is considering laying off 33 firefighters due to budget concerns. Tammy Duckworth wants the Senate to come back with support for cities and states.

 

Duckworth says the intent of the third COVID relief package was to support local units of government, but that didn’t happen after Republicans finished writing the rules.

 

 

Duckworth says there was $150 billion in the third package to help relieve stress on governments but the strings attached made that money much harder to allocate.

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Encouraging Message From Abraham Lincoln Theme of New Sign at CH Moore Homestead

If you drive by the north side of Clinton and pass the CH Moore Homestead, you'll notice a new banner standing at the southwest corner of the expansive property.

 

The banner portrays Abraham Lincoln with some encouraging words from the central Illinois icon. Director Joey Woolridge says it is a fitting message for us today.

 

 

Woolridge hopes the message brings encouragement to those passing through our central Illinois community during difficult times.

 

 

The banner was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Warner Foundation and Woolridge and the DeWitt County Museum Association thank them for providing a positive message to the community. 

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Blue Ridge School Leader Pleased With Start of School

As school buildings begin getting students back to class, local leaders are raving over the success of their return.

 

Blue Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer told Regional Radio News Thursday on the WHOW Morning Show she is pleasantly surprised at how easy the transition has gone.

 

 

Blue Ridge students who are learning in-person are at the school building twice a day. Dr. Stanifer explains they are doing a block-schedule titled 'Blue and Silver' days with one group in on Mondays and Thursdays and the other group in on Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

 

Around 85-percent of the student body is participating in in-person learning. Dr. Stanifer says this ratio was in line with what she anticipated. The block-schedule structure came about because of spacing issues in their buildings.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer has a very positive attitude about the return of school and she says it is a byproduct of the energy from her teachers. She says it will be a community effort to make sure they can keep kids in school.

 

 

Blue Ridge students returned to class last week. Dr. Stanifer indicates an isolated positive case of COVID should not lead to a shut down of a school but each circumstance will be handled differently. 

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Heyworth Schools Leader Ecstatic With Start of School

A rural McLean County school district is back to class and their leader says the kinks appear to be worked out and it is starting to feel normal.

 

Dr. Lisa Taylor is the Superintendent of the Heyworth School district. She says masking and social distancing have not been an issue. Additionally, they are making sure they are cleaning thoroughly and after hours are dedicated to preparations for any remote learning mandates that may come forward.

 

 

Around ten percent of Heyworth students are participating in remote learning. Dr. Taylor indicates kids that are doing in-person learning are being welcomed each day by a renovated building. While it isn't reaching its full potential because of social distancing, it is exciting for the kids.

 

 

Dr. Taylor believes everyone is glad to be back and reiterated her desire to keep kids in school as long as they can.

 

 

Heyworth student went back to school last week. Dr. Taylor says they will have to take any positive cases of COVID on a case-by-case basis but did not believe a small number of cases would have to lead to any shutdowns of school. 

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Exelon to Close Two Illinois Power Plants in 2021; Clinton Nuclear Power Plant Not on List

Two nuclear plants in northern Illinois will shut down next year, resulting in the loss of up to 1,400 jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue, the power company said Thursday.

 

Exelon, the power company that owns Byron Generating Station and the Dresden Generating Station, announced in a statement Thursday that it will close both plants next fall. The Byron station is slated for closure in September 2021 and the Dresden plant in Morris in November 2021. Clinton Nuclear Power Station was not on the list of closures. 

 

Christopher Crane, president and CEO of Exelon, said in a news release, quote - “Although we know in our heads that shutting down the uneconomic Illinois plants is necessary to preserve even more jobs elsewhere, our hearts ache today for the thousands of talented women and men that have served Illinois families for more than a generation and will lose their jobs because of poorly conceived energy policies.”

 

In addition to employing more than 1,500 people full time, the two plants also generate millions of dollars in taxes and also make charitable contributions to the two communities.

 

In Byron, Exelon pays $38 million a year in property taxes, according to Ogle County tax records. The station also provides more than $300,000 to local charities each year, the company said.

 

Overall, nuclear power stations have been struggling to compete with the cheap power produced from shale gas, which is often extracted through hydraulic fracking.

 

Exelon is expected to save $50 million by scaling back the refueling outages scheduled for this fall at both stations. That will also result in the elimination of up to 1,400 of the more than 2,000 mainly union jobs typically associated with the refueling.

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Department of Transportation Focused on Impaired Driving This Weekend

THIS WEEKEND MARKS "SATURATION SATURDAY" WHEN POLICE WILL REALLY BE CRACKING DOWN ON IMPAIRED DRIVERS. (two stories, same lead).

 

AS THE LABOR DAY HOLIDAY APPROACHES, COPS WANT TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE THAT DRINKING OR USING DRUGS AND DRIVING WILL NOT BE TOLERATED SAYS THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION'S SHANNON ALDERMAN.

 

 

WHILE NUMBERS HAVE IMPROVED OVER THE YEARS...ALDERMAN SAYS ABOUT 300 PEOPLE DIE EACH YEAR IN ALCOHOL RELATED CRASHED ON ILLINOIS ROADS EACH YEAR.

 

 

"SATURDATION SATURDAY" WAS CREATED A FEW YEARS AGO BY MISSOURI'S MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING CHAPTER AND ILLINOIS ADOPTED THE INITIATIVE SOON AFTER.

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Energy Market Reacting to Hurricane Laura

How is the energy complex reacting to Hurricane Laura in the Gulf Coast? Harry Cooney is manager of customer risk management for GROWMARK.

 

 

According to Triple-A, the average price of gasoline in Illinois is $2.39 a gallon, which is three-cents higher than a month ago. Diesel is averaging $2.41 a gallon in Illinois, which is a penny higher than a month ago.

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Illinois Farm Bureau Touts Success of Adopt A Legislator Program

The Illinois Farm Bureau continues to have great success with the “Adopt A Legislator” program. It pairs county farm bureaus with legislators from the Chicagoland area says Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards.

 

 

The program was created in 2001.

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Rural Wapella Fire Leaves Barn in Ruins

Just before 11 am Wednesday morning, Wapella Fire Crews were called to structure fire on Toad Hill Road.

 

Upon arrival, crews found a barn at 14530 Toad Hill Road completely engulfed. Crews initially responded with three units and assistance from Clinton and Heyworth, however the situation quickly required much more assistance.

 

Departments from Wapella, Clinton, Heyworth, Farmer City, Waynesville, Weldon, Kenney, McLean, Bloomington Township, Downs, LeRoy, Ellsworth, Bellflower, Maroa, Argenta-Oreana, Cisco, Northern Piatt and Deland.

 

DeWitt County EMS, McLean and Heyworth provided ambulances. One firefighter was transported with heat exhaustion. Several firefighters were treated on scene.

 

McLean Fire, DeWitt County EMA and Servpro provided rehab services.

 

Wilson Township provided a backhoe. Cornbelt Electric responded for utilities.

 

The DeWitt County Sheriff's office provided traffic control and assisted with initial operations.

 

Authorities thank the Village of Wapella and Exelon Power station for assistance filling water tenders.

 

Casey's in Wapella donated food and other items to first responders.

 

Authorities also thank dispatchers at CENCOM and the surrounding counties.

 

Crews were still on scene in the late afternoon hours putting out hotspots.

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Clinton BOE Approves Tentative 2021 Budget

The Clinton School District is anticipating ending up in the black for the fiscal year 2021.

 

Last Tuesday night at the monthly Clinton Board of Education meeting, Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel laid out the tentative budget and indicates while they often operate in the red, they are anticipating ending up in the black this year.

 

 

According to Goebel, the levy for Clinton schools is very low, and compared to other districts, it could be up to half the levy of other districts. Additionally, educational purchases are up this year, leaving them ahead of their spending from last year.

 

 

Last year the district purchased nearly a half-million dollars worth school buses. Additionally, this year technology purchases for classrooms are down so there will not be as much dedicated to those expenses this year. Goebel indicates their investments nearly doubled in the last year and grant funding is stable. 

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Director of Piatt County Mental Health Center Concerned Over Youth Survey Results

The coronavirus pandemic put a wrench in the biennial Youth Survey through the University of Illinois, but enough data came back to a Piatt County agency to raise some red flags.

 

The Piatt County Mental Health Center receives the results of the survey that the University of Illinois administers every two years and they examine the results for DeWitt and Piatt Counties. According to Executive Director Tony Kirkman, this year's survey was only able to capture most of the information for Piatt County.

 

 

According to Kirkman, while the Piatt County data isn't as complete as normal, he is concerned about the trends of mental health and bullying. He says youth mental health has been a focus for their agency in recent years and those numbers are rising.

 

 

Kirkman reports bullying is becoming a growing issue among young people. Social media has been a huge piece to increased issues of not only bullying but overall issues among youth in schools. 

 

 

As more gets asked of youth, anxiety grows and access to help is another hurdle. According to Kirkman, last year they started placing a therapist in the schools to be available to students. Initial reports from school leaders in Piatt County were very positive. 

 

For more information about the services provided by the Piatt County Mental Health Center, you can visit their website, www.piattmhc.org. You can also find the Piatt County Mental Health Center on Facebook. 

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Heatwave to Break Starting Saturday

A late summer heat wave continues to barrel down on much of Illinois this week. Temps will stay in the 90’s with heat indices around 100 through Friday.

 

 

Ford says cooler temps are on the way Saturday for most of Illinois.

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Lawmakers Continue to Push for Ethics Reforms

A State Senator continues to discuss ethics reform and Republican Neil Anderson from the Quad Cities is pushing for a return to session...

 

 

Anderson says that they don't even know if there is a Veto Session this year or if regular session will start on time. The president of the senate and Speaker Madigan have the power to bring lawmakers back to Springfield to discuss the issue.

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Push Against Graduated Income Tax Continues

Advertising has begun to support Governor JB Pritzker’s plan to create a graduated income tax. But opposition remains. Greg Baise, with IDEAS Illinois, is leading one group against the plan. He says giving more money to state government and lawmakers is no way to attack spending problems in Springfield.

 

 

60 percent of the voters in November will have to approve the constitutional amendment to change the state’s current income tax structure.

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DeWitt, Piatt County 4-H Volunteers Receive Hall of Fame Awards

Megan Barth of Clinton and Dr. Nathan Pyatt of Cisco received the Illinois Foundation 4-H Hall of Fame Award during a virtual ceremony last week representing this year's nominees from DeWitt and Piatt Counties. 

 

DeWitt County 4-H Program Coordinator Lindsey Burden calls Barth (pictured right) an asset to DeWitt County 4-H and describes her as always willing to lend a hand when asked and always happy to do so. Barth was a nine-year 4-H member and has been a co-leader for the Salt Creek Clovers for seven years. She has served on the DeWitt County Foundation for the past 12 years and has been the Communications Fair Superintendent for the past four years. Megan also served four years on the Unit Extension Council. 

 

 

Piatt County 4-H Program Coordinator Jan Wenke indicates Dr. Pyatt (pictured left) has served as a volunteer leader for the Cisco Clovers 4-H Club for many years and inspires youth to step out of their comfort zone to take on leadership roles within the club. 

 

 

This year, the Foundation recognized 87 individuals for their dedication to 4-H, the University of Illinois Extension youth development program. In total, more than 15,000 volunteers fill key leadership and mentoring roles in Illinois 4-H programs. 

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Community Action Expanding Reach of Help During COVID Pandemic

Community Action initially was only able to help a limited pool of community members during the early stages of the coronavirus but recently are discovering they can help more people who might be struggling.

 

Executive Director Alison Rumler-Gomez explains they are receiving CARES funding to be more than they anticipated and so that is allowing them to expand the scope of their assistance. She points out, the continue to focus on those that were current with bills before the pandemic started.

 

 

According to Rumler-Gomez, the CSBG program allows local entities to make decisions that best serve their communities. That allowed Community Action to focus on individuals and families that were greatly impacted by pandemic.

 

 

The extra $1-million does not go as far as you might think. Rumler-Gomez indicates they have helped out families with up to $10,000 past due rent costs. 

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Sen. Rose Critical of Governor Pritzker Holding Onto CARES Funding

In the spring, the federal government distributed funding to states for potential expenses lost during the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The State of Illinois has distributed a little over 15-percent of the funding and State Sen. Chapin Rose is wondering why this money is not distributed as state entities try to get back on their feet.

 

 

The Mahomet Republican is critical of the Governor holding back this money when there are people in need who could benefit from the distribution of this money. He says with six months and CARES funding, unemployment offices should be open right now.

 

 

Sen. Rose says he is stunned so much of the CARES money has not been distributed and also disputes recent figures reported by the Governor's office regarding an increase in the State's income tax. 

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State Working to Get Unemployment Benefits to Those Who Qualify

The state is trying to get a system up and running to provide an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits to people – but the technical hurdles are proving difficult to clear. 

 

When the federal government failed to extend the extra $600 a week in benefits, a workaround was presented to states by creating FEMA grants that could be used to add dollars onto unemployment checks. The process is proving cumbersome with the current computer and automation systems Illinois’ unemployment office is using says Governor JB Pritzker.

 

 

There does not appear to be a clear timeline to get the extra money going out and now the feds say each state will be only promised enough funding to cover three weeks of increased payments.

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Secretary of State Extends Renewable Period for Senior Licenses

SENIORS 75 AND OLDER ARE GETTING MORE TIME TO RENEW THEIR DRIVER’S LICENSE.

 

ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON DAVE DRUKER SAYS THEY ARE HOPING TO REDUCE LINES AND PROTECT SENIORS FROM EXPOSURE TO THE CORONAVIRUS.

 

 

THE GOAL IS TO SHORTEN LINES AT DRIVER SERVICES FACILITIES AND KEEP OLDER ILLINOISANS SAFE FROM THE VIRUS SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON DAVE DRUKER.

 

 

LETTERS WILL BE SENT TO THOSE WHO QUALIFY AND DRUKER SAYS YOU SHOULD KEEP IT AS PROOF OF THE ONE YEAR EXTENSION. LICENSE EXPIRATION DATES FOR ALL OTHER DRIVERS HAVE BEEN PUSHED TO NOVEMBER FIRST.

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Mask Mandate Expands in Restaurants

A NEW STATEWIDE RULE REQUIRES BAR AND RESTAURANT CUSTOMERS TO WEAR A MASK WHEN INTERACTING WITH STAFF. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS WITH COVID-19 NUMBERS RISING, THE NEW REQUIREMENT IS MEANT TO PROTECT WORKERS AND HELP SLOW THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS.

 

 

THE MASK MUST BE COVERING YOUR NOSE AND MOUTH SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

PATRONS MUST ALREADY WHERE A MASK IN A BAR OR RESTAURANT UNLESS THEY ARE EATING OR DRINKING AT A TABLE OR UP AT THE BAR.

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LaHood's Differ on Endorsements for President

A former Central Illinois Republican Congressman says he's supporting former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 Presidential Election.

 

Former Peoria Republican congressman, Ray LaHood's decision, comes as his son, Congressman Darin LaHood, serves as the co-chair of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in Illinois.

 

Darin LaHood says it's easier to support a candidate when you're no longer serving in office.

 

 

Ray LaHood served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation from 2009-2013 under the Obama Administration, where he worked with Joe Biden.

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Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Talks Challenges of Pandemic During Harvest Season

The harvest season will soon be underway with farmers hauling corn and soybean crops to the local elevator. Jeff Adkisson with the Grain and Feed Association of Illinois says there will be some new challenges this year due to the ongoing pandemic.

 

 

The Grain and Feed Association represents more than 90-percent of the commercial grain storage space in the state of Illinois where members include grain elevators and grain handling facilities, processors, feed mills and companies who provide goods and services to the industry.

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DNR Threatens To Shut Down Clinton Lake Fishing Spots if Littering Does Not Stop

Pick up your garbage or your favorite fishing spots on Clinton Lake will be shut down.

 

That is the message from DNR who indicates the spillway and a few other areas that are popular for public fishing on Clinton are being overrun by the public's trash. DNR Conservation Police Sergeant John Williamson told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday it is not what they want to do but they have no other option.

 

 

According to Williamson, empty worm containers to dirty diapers are among the things left at the spillway. He adds there are also people who are leaving bags of home trash at the site.

 

 

Not only is the spillway a trouble area, but there are also other popular fishing spots that are often highly littered. Williamson indicates garbage service is a very expensive service to offer and so they are imploring the public to simply pick things up before they leave.

 

 

Just do better is the message from Williamson, who hopes the situation does not come down to closing some or all of these popular areas. 

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Mt. Pulaski High School Principal Excited About New School Year

Mt. Pulaski High School students will not be returning to class for a few weeks but when they do, their Principal is very excited about the new year.

 

Despite the pandemic that has put communities into high gear to plan for the resumption of education, kids in many central Illinois communities will or are back in their buildings for in-person learning. Mt. Pulaski High School principal Terry Morgan on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News it will be nice to have kids back after six months away.

 

 

Mt. Pulaski students will spend the first half of the day in class with teachers and peers and then return home for the afternoon to participate in remote learning. Morgan indicates this is a pretty standard plan but they are breaking their days up into essentially a block schedule.

 

 

According to Morgan, he does not anticipate too many problems with his students in regard to social distancing and masking. He believes they have a good group of students and they will follow the guidance because they want the school to be in session.

 

 

While Morgan's children are grown and out of the K-12 system, he indicates if they were still coming to school, he would send them back. He expressed his confidence in their plan and the work everyone in Mt. Pulaski put in to come up with a good plan.

 

 

As school districts flip to remote learning, Morgan says the limited class sizes along with a newly renovated and bigger building, can make social distancing work. He also believes the half-day plan with an afternoon remote learning component will help them remain in-person. 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A COOL, DRY WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS. 

 

FARMFIELDS SAW LESS RAINFALL AND LOWER TEMPERATURES THAN NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK, WITH 47 PERCENT OF CORN IN THE DENT STAGE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. 72 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION, A DECLINE FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK.

 

 

SCHLEUSENER SAYS 92 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE SETTING PODS AND 73 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPPED TO SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 29 PERCENT SHORT, 64 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND JUST ONE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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University of Illinois Investment in Saliva Testing Getting Attention

Tabbed as a "game-changer" by Gov. Pritzker, a Bloomington doctor, says the new University of Illinois COVID-19 saliva-based test could change Coronavirus testing worldwide.

 

The Illinois-developed test, called I-COVID, requires individuals to drool into a test tube. U of I researchers say test results then come within hours.

 

OSF General Surgeon Dr. John Wieland says the Universities $6 million investment into the saliva-based testing program is a model for college campuses worldwide.

 

 

The University has also implemented other mitigations such as a new smartphone application that allows students access to buildings if the app shows they tested negative for COVID-19.

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Sen. Duckworth Calls for Federal Dollars To Flow to Local Governments

As a central Illinois town stares down laying off firefighters, one US Senator says federal dollars need to flow to cities and other forms government.

 

Peoria is considering laying off 33 firefighters due to budget concerns. Tammy Duckworth wants the Senate to come back with support for cities and states.

 

Duckworth says the intent of the third COVID relief package was to support local units of government, but that didn’t happen after Republicans finished writing the rules.

 

 

Duckworth says there was $150 billion in the third package to help relieve stress on governments but the strings attached made that money much harder to allocate.

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Illinois Farmland Values Holding Steady

Farmland values holding steady in Illinois. Brad Zwilling is a data analyst for Farm Business Farm Management at the University of Illinois.

 

 

In Iowa, the latest farm real estate value averages $7,070 per acre; $6,600 in Indiana, $3,400 in Missouri and $4,850 in Wisconsin.

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Heat Wave Settling In Over Illinois

Much of Illinois to experience a late summer heat wave this week

 

 

That’s meteorologist Brian Pierce with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. He says cooler temps are anticipated by the weekend.

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Clinton Schools Asking Parents to Closely Watch Students Health As IDPH Issues New Guidance

Late last week, as is customary from the Illinois Department of Public Health, school districts received new guidance regarding students exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19.

 

The symptoms range from mild that often are associated with allergies to more severe symptoms. As parents self-certify the health of their kids to return to class, Superintendent Curt Nettles says it will be important for lines of communication to be open.

 

 

Nettles encourages working with a family doctor if a child displays symptoms. He indicates the doctor may express concern or they can give the 'all-clear' for kids to return to school.

 

 

While many in the community and even colleagues of Nettles' wonder if all the changing mandates from IDPH and the Illinois State Board of Education are pushing districts towards remote learning. He does not believe that is the case and is trying to be calm about all the changes.

 

 

Nettles reports a good first few days of classes in schools. It is he and the school board's wish is to continue to offer in-person learning. 

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DeWitt County Board Chair Says Issues With Board Members Ferguson, Tilley in Past

After some contentious exchanges at a special meeting of the DeWitt County Board last Wednesday night, DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg says any issues from his perspective are in the past.

 

Board members Melonie Tilley and Terry Ferguson were the recipients of harsh comments from the veteran leader, specifically Tilley, who at one point was chided by Newberg, "thank you for being my more conscious" after board members went back and forth over a decommissioning agreement with Tradewind Energy as a part of their special use permit for their Alta Farms II wind project.

 

Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Newberg indicated private conversations he had with the two and believes the issues are now in the past.

 

 

While many may disagree with the stances Newberg has on the issues, he believes it is everyone's right to do so. He indicates his desire to move forward.

 

 

The County Board held a special meeting last Wednesday night to consider a number of ordinances surrounding the Tradewind Energy project, the decommissioning agreement received the most attention as Board members felt a review of the plan was necessary, however, did not receive enough support. 

 

The Thursday night meeting was much more light-hearted with no combative banter among the board. 

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Clinton YMCA Offering After School Place to Hangout for Junior High Students

The Clinton YMCA will be offering Clinton Junior High School students a place to go after school starting today.

 

Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates the Y will be open to junior high school students however, there will not be structured programming like there is with Y-Zone. He says they simply want to give these students a safe place to be after school.

 

 

Cluver indicates they will be asking the students to police themselves as they will not be dedicating a staff person to monitor them. Nearly anything the kids want to do will be up to them and their parents. He says a lot of responsibility will be placed on each individual.

 

 

Students can be at the YMCA Monday through Friday this week and next, but when The Vault reopens the Tuesday after Labor Day, students are welcome Wednesday through Friday. 

 

Tammy Wilson is the Executive Director of The Vault and explains they are readying for students right now and are will reopen for after school programming starting September 8.

 

 

Both Wilson and Cluver thank the Clinton School District for helping them coordinated transportation to their facilities and look forward to providing safe environments as families try to coordinate care for kids with early dismissals throughout the first quarter. 

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Logan County Moves to Warning Level for COVID

20 ILLINOIS COUNTIES ARE NOW AT A WARNING LEVEL FOR COVID-19, AMONG THOSE - LOGAN COUNTY.

 

A COUNTY HITS THE DESIGNATION WHEN TWO OR MORE VIRUS RISK FACTORS ARE MET, SUCH AS THE NUMBER OF CASES PER 100 THOUSAND RESIDENTS AND WEEKLY EMERGENCY ROOM VISITS. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS SHE KNOWS THEY KEEP REPEATING THE SAME MESSAGE TO WEAR A MASK AND WASH HANDS, BUT THAT IT'S NOT SINKING IN FOR SOME.

 

 

DOCTOR EZIKE SAYS THESE COUNTIES HAVE SEEN A RISE IN CASES AND OUTBREAKS BECAUSE OF RISKY BEHAVIOR.

 

 

Logan County is now at 224 total cases with a 2.8-percent positivity rate. July 29, Logan County opened a free testing site at the Logan County Fairgrounds. Since the site opened, cases have nearly tripled. 

 

COUNTIES NOW AT A WARNING INCLUDE: Bureau, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, White, Will, and Williamson.

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Offers "Soft Repopening" of Community Day Services

A small step in returning to normal was taken recently for a Piatt County agency.

 

The Piatt County Mental Health Center participated in what its executive director calls a soft reopening. Tony Kirkman indicates the Illinois Department of Human Services allowed for them to begin getting their day program folks back under very strict safety guidelines.

 

 

Kirkman calls it a small taste of a return to normal. He explains individuals will have to undergo a very thorough assessment before they return. Kirkman feels for the individuals that are not going to be able to pass the assessments and will have to remain isolated further. 

 

 

While the developmentally disabled have been greatly impacted by the shutdown and isolation it created, Kirkman says we are seeing the impacts of such decisions across society.

 

 

According to Kirkman, they are looking forward to having their folks back in September. He says local providers are accredited and monitored by many state agencies and are funded by many great agencies as well. He says the folks in our communities are in good hands. 

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Sen. Rose Blasts Governor Pritzker Over Unemployment Benefits Situation

Illinois Senator Chapin Rose is putting Governor JB Pritzker on blast for the issues associated with the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the issues surrounding getting people their unemployment insurance payments.

 

The Mahomet Republican penned a letter to the Chicago Democrat asking all IDES offices reopen in haste and begin addressing seeing the hundreds of thousands of jobless Illinoisans who are still awaiting unemployment benefits, and have been for up to six months.

 

 

According to Sen. Rose, there are many unemployed Illinoisans that have received benefits. However, the "gig" workers, or those who file 10-99s, still have yet to receive their benefits. He believes unemployment offices need to reopen and unemployment workers need to see people face to face to address their problems.

 

 

Sen. Rose is very frustrated with Governor Pritzker's administration not sending out the first round of benefits from the spring that came from the federal government while the Governor plays the blame game towards President Trump. He says, quote - fix what you can fix, man."

 

 

The Senator gets calls daily about this issue from his constituents and it is having a trickle-down impact on his communities. Because Gov. Pritzker issued an eviction moratorium, landlords are not receiving payments on their properties and any debt they have is not getting paid off.

 

 

Sen. Rose's advice for many is to stop making credit card payments and those types of things to have money to feed their families and pay for utilities.

 

 

As IDES workers stay home and continue to get paid, Sen. Rose questions what they are doing from their homes and again made calls for the Governor to reopen their offices immediately. He anticipates rallying public support through appearances in front of these closed offices until the Governor takes action. 

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Springfield Site Recognized by National American Civil Rights Network

In 1908 a white mob in Springfield Illinois lynched two innocent black men after two different black men who had been arrested for rape and murder had been transferred out of town.

 

The mob of white citizens destroyed and burned down black owned businesses over two days and killed six other black residents.

 

Now the site of race riot has been included in the National African American Civil Rights Network. US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt says reflection and understanding of what happened at the site should lead to reflection and understanding.

 

 

One of the outcomes of the riot was the creation of the National Association of Colored People or the NAACP.

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Illinois Harvest Permits Available Beginning Sept. 1

The Illinois Harvest Permit will again be available for farmers hauling corn and soybeans this fall. The permit is from the Illinois Department of Transportation says Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards.

 

 

You can find out more info on the permit by going to “ilfb.org” and typing “Illinois Harvest Permit” in the search box.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Plenty of sunshine is on tap after a very bright week in central Illinois. State climatologist Trent Ford talks the weekend and the week ahead in this week's weekly weather summary.

 

 

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DeWitt County's Community Care System Advocate Beginning to Return to Community Visits

As the State of Illinois continues its gradual reopen, DeWitt County's Community Care System Advocate is beginning to return to visits in the County.

 

Dianne Cusey has been limiting visits to drive-up only the last few months but is beginning to return to making visits to other DeWitt County facilities. Based at the DeWitt County Friendship Center, Executive Director Paula Jiles outlines Cusey's schedule for the near future.

 

 

Contact the DeWitt County Friendship Center at 217-935-9411 to get in contact with Cusey or find out when she will be in your neighborhood. 

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As Students Return to Class, Heyworth Schools Facility Addition Wrapped Up

Students returning to classes in Heyworth will be returning to a renovated facility.

 

Superintendent Dr. Lisa Taylor indicates the multi-million dollar renovation includes a new gymnasium and updated classrooms among their improvements. She says all the improvements are finished as kids return.

 


New furniture will highlight the classroom work for students. Dr. Taylor indicates some of the furniture lends itself to better collaboration but that will something that will have to wait until after the COVID pandemic to learn how well it is going to work.

 

 

Heyworth students returned to class this week. 

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Illinois Recreational Access Program Seeking Private Landowners to Lease Ground to Hunters

Last month, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced an additional archery deer hunting opportunity in 2020 through the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP). 

 

IRAP has added a third archery deer hunting period December 16-31 and DNR Deputy Director indicates they are seeking landowners to be a part of their expanded opportunities later this fall and winter.

 

 

97-percent of Illinois land is private and Torbert says it can be difficult for hunters to find land to hunt on. Torbert indicates the perks for landowners are that they help them manage their ground through controlled burns and other means. 

 

 

Hunters can turkey hunt, wild game, upland and waterfowl hunts among many others on the private land leased by landowners. 

 

Applications for IRAP deer hunting are now being accepted through 5:00 p.m. Aug. 24. 

 

A lottery drawing will be held at the end of August and successful applicants will be notified and sent a site permit along with directions and a map of the property on which they will hunt. 

 

IRAP is open to both resident and non-resident hunters. 

 

IRAP deer hunting applications can be found on the IDNR website.

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Unemployment Down to 11.3-percent in July

THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPPED TO 11 POINT THREE PERCENT LAST MONTH.

THE ILLINOIS JOBLESS RATE IS DOWN FROM 14 POINT FIVE IN JUNE SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUSTRO.

 

 

SALUSTRO SAYS THE BIGGEST JOB GAINS WERE SEEN IN THE LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY SECTOR AS MORE RESTAURANT AND BAR EMPLOYEES GET BACK TO WORK. GROWTH WAS ALSO SEEN IN EDUCATIONAL AND HEALTH SERVICES AND PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES.

 

THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR JULY CAME IN AT 10 POINT TWO PERCENT.

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DeWitt/Piatt Health Department Director Asks Public To Stop Calling Them About Masking Violations

If you have a complaint regarding masking violations you witness, the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is asking the public to contact authorities.

 

Executive Director Dave Remmert says the issue of mask enforcement does not fall on the health department, but rather local authorities. He indicates they receive multiple calls a week of the public reporting masking violations.

 

 

As the public begins to return to normal routines, Remmert encourages individuals who do not feel it is safe to go out, to stay in. He points out both DeWitt and Piatt Counties are doing quite well with the disease. 

 

 

While Piatt County is outpacing DeWitt County in the number of cases, he points out it is interesting to him that Piatt County is almost double in the number of tests compared to DeWitt County. 

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Congressman Davis Critical of Democrats Unwillingness to Negotiate Relief Package

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order extending unemployment benefits and scaling back the payroll tax.

 

Democrats were critical of the action taken by President Trump and Congressman Rodney Davis wonders what he was supposed to do when they were unwilling to negotiate in good faith with Republicans.

 

 

Congressman Davis did not hold back in his criticism of Democrats calling their outrage over the President's executive order hypocritical all because Trump is "the big bad orange man."

 

 

According to Davis, a portion of the extended but reduced unemployment benefits will fall on the states to fund. In Illinois, an Inspector General's report shows Illinois still 83-percent of CARES Act funds still to distribute. He is calling on Governor Pritzker to begin distributing those funds as they were intended. 

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DeWitt County Jail Housing Select Logan County Inmates During COVID

As the coronavirus outbreak hits Logan County hard in recent weeks, the DeWitt County Sheriff's office is lending a helping hand to his colleague to the west.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker has been housing select inmates from the Logan County Jail as their community battles the coronavirus. Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting, Public Safety Committee Chairperson Lance Reece provided the Board with details on the matter. Sheriff Walker tells Regional Radio News this all stems from an earlier executive order from Governor JB Pritzker impacting the Illinois Department of Corrections.

 

 

About three weeks ago, DeWitt County housed six inmates from the Department of Corrections compared to more than double that in Logan County. The Sheriff explains Logan County Sheriff Mark Landers was not comfortable bringing in new arrestees with an outbreak taking place in their jail.

 

 

To lend a hand to Logan County, Sheriff Walker agreed to take any new arrestees that were screened and tested for COVID. To avoid exposing Logan County inmates to COVID at their jail or releasing some to the public, Logan County is bringing some arrestees to DeWitt County.

 

 

Sheriff Walker indicates inmates might stay just a night or two, others have bond set and are released. He calls it a situation where DeWitt County is in the midst of three or four counties of similar size and the working relationship between the various agencies allows them all to work well together.

 

Sheriff Walker also notes Logan County is paying DeWitt County for these efforts. 

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Clinton YMCA Offering Y-Zone in Monticello; Blue Ridge

The Clinton YMCA will once again be offering Y-Zone in Monticello and are looking to adding Blue Ridge.

 

Rennie Cluver, Executive Director of the Clinton YMCA, indicates this is the third year of Monticello Y-Zone. The Monticello Christian Church has agreed to allow its facilities to be used on days when school is not in session this year. The church is the site for Camp Osage.

 

 

Cluver notes the Monticello Y-Zone is hosted at Lincoln School and students are bussed from the other elementary school to attend. Pricing is the same but parents need to be sure to download the Monticello parent handbook.

 

 

The YMCA has been approached by Blue Ridge school district to bring Y-Zone to Farmer City. Cluver says talks are looking promising and plans are being set in place.

 

 

More information for Monticello Y-Zone is available at clintoncommymca.org.

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COVID Still Impacting Illinois Legislature

Coronavirus cases continue to rise across Illinois and a state lawmaker says people need to take "personal responsibility for their actions."

 

State Senator Jason Barickman says it's important to monitor the COVID-19 numbers, particularly the impact it can have on the healthcare system.

 

 

The Bloomington Republican is encouraging people to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

 

As for the legislature's role in coronavirus decisions, Barickman says they've been "completely sidelined," and he wishes the governor was more willing to work together.

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Second DeWitt County Resident Hospitalized With COVID; Investigating IDPH's Report of Deceased Individual

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting a second DeWitt County resident has been hospitalized due to a COVID infection.

 

Health Department Director Dave Remmert reports the individual recently traveled to visit a relative in the Chicago area. The relative tested positive and soon after, the DeWitt County resident did too. She is hospitalized and the case is of concern to health department officials.

 

 

The two-county area saw a spike in cases a few weeks ago but since then, the situation has moderated. According to Remmert, they found the common theme among their cases during that time to be contracting the virus through household contacts and reinforces the recovery rate for everyone. 

 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health Thursday listed a male in his 80s who died from COVID in DeWitt County. Remmert indicates they are looking into the case currently as the individual did not match local records. 

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DeLand-Weldon Superintendent Raves About Start of School

'Awesome' is how the Superintendent of DeLand-Weldon Schools described the first day of classes Wednesday of this week.

 

Amanda Geary says teachers and students were happy to be back in the buildings and there was a lot of positive energy from everyone.

 

 

Geary calls herself a 'Positive Poppy' explaining she is committed to doing everything she can to keep kids in the school all year, even if there is a positive case.

 

 

Public skepticism wondered about kids and masking and social distancing. Not only was the energy positive on day one of school reopening but Geary says they had zero issues with students and their masks.

 

 

Geary reports around 15-percent of high school students elected remote learning. Additionally, despite being down a couple of bus drivers, they found their transportation plans on day one to go better than they had anticipated. 

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University of Illinois Saliva Test Could Be Made Available Statewide

Months ago, the University of Illinois announced that they were planning on being able to widely test students and faculty on campus for COVID-19 with a saliva test.

 

The U of I has been granted emergency approval to use the test and now there comes hope that the state of Illinois can have access to the test that could lead to widespread testing of the general population.

 

Dr. Martin Burke, the Associate Dean for the U of I College of Medicine, says the real impact of the test will be that it is fast and cheap.

 

 

Burke says the salvia test also cuts down on other laboratory material that is needed when using nasal swabs.

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Illinois House Republicans Want Ethics Reform Before Election

Republicans in the House are asking that Democrats reconvene before the election in November to debate and vote on ethics reform.

 

Rep. John Cabello says that reforms are badly needed and waiting out an election isn’t a reason to delay calling a special session.

 

 

Cabello adds that it’s time for lawmakers to show that they are ready to earn the trust of the voters back.

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IDPH Chief Concerned Public Becoming Numb to COVID Numbers, Warnings

STATE OFFICIALS SAY ILLINOIS IS HEADING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION WHEN IT COMES TO THE CORONAVIRUS. 

 

ILLINOIS IS CLOSE TO HITTING 212 THOUSAND POSITIVE CASES, AND MORE THAN 78-HUNDRED PATIENTS HAVE DIED SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay).

 

 

EZIKE SAYS SEVERAL REGIONS OF THE STATE ARE SEEING INCREASES IN POSITIVITY AND HOSPITAL ADMISSION RATES, RAISING CONCERNS ABOUT PEOPLE BECOMING COMPLACENT ABOUT TAKING PRECAUTIONS SAYS EZIKE (eh-zee-kay).

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS IF NUMBERS CONTINUE TO RISE, MORE AREAS WILL BE SUBJECT TO TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS.

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Discussion Over Tradewind Energy Decommissioning Agreement Gets Contentious

Wednesday night, the DeWitt County Board considered a series of ordinances surrounding the special use permit application for the Alta Farms II wind project approved last month.

 

Per the County's ordinances, Tradewind Energy is able to select their engineering firm for the decommissioning plan and the cost would fall on them as well, however, members of the DeWitt County Board feel it is necessary to have a review of that plan. 

 

Terry Ferguson wanted Patrick Engineering, recommended by Logan County. Ferguson would like a second opinion and points out in Logan County, the wind company paid for the evaluation.

 

 

Dan Matthews was at the meeting virtually and chimed in with his agreement the County needed to find another engineering firm to review the agreement.

 

 

Discussion between Board Chair David Newberg and Melonie Tilley started tense and did not lessen as the meeting went along but a comment by Tilley was challenged by Newberg regarding who should be the firm to review the decommissioning plan.

 

 

Lance Reece contended the idea of finding a second engineering firm was unnecessary because the plan was going to be reviewed in three years and he felt the project would not be decommissioned in three years.

 

 

According to Reece, the discussion was centered around something that was unlikely and felt in the event a review was necessary, they could find someone to review the plan at that time.

 

 

Board Chair Newberg challenged Ferguson's idea for a review of the plan asking what he felt an appropriate cost should be. The tense exchanged quickly escalated when Tilley chimed in asking Newberg to think of the future of DeWitt County, to which Newberg chided Tilley for quote - "being his quote moral compass."

 

 

Ferguson's proposal to find a second engineering firm to review the decommissioning agreement failed and a minor change to the County's decommissioning agreement was made to have any legal action regarding the decommissioning plan take place in DeWitt County at the advisement of the State's Attorney. 

 

Of note - Cole Ritter was not at the meeting Wednesday. Ritter also did not attend the special use application vote from July, drawing criticism to opponents of the project.

 

Also Wednesday night, the Board approved a signage plan for the operations of the project along with an agreement for a monthly report of complaints on the project to the zoning office by Tradewind in their logging and investigation plan. 

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Tractor Supply Company Coming To Former Shopko Building in Monticello

 

Construction is going on inside and out on the former Shopko Building on Monticello's south side.  The building is being renovated for the new Tractor Supply Company store to be located there.  Tentative opening date is November 7.

 

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Monticello School Construction Nearing Completion Ahead of September 1 Student Start

 

Construction at the main campus of Monticello Schools is nearing completion as students prepare for their first day of attendance September 1.

 

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As Students Return to School, Clinton Schools Leader Ready to See Kids Again

School leaders and teachers in Clinton are excited to have kids back in the buildings as Wednesday marks the first day of school.

 

Most students are back today while everyone will return Thursday. Wednesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent Curt Nettles told Regional Radio News they have been preparing for the several months for the return of students to class.

 

 

According to Nettles, the shutdown was dramatic and to a degree traumatic. He is very pleased with the work his administration and staff have put in and the optimistic way they are approaching having kids back.

 

 

While some districts have gone to exclusive remote learning for the first quarter or first semester and some in the community may not agree with returning to school, Nettles has received overwhelmingly positive comments about getting kids back to the school building.

 

 

As the Illinois Department of Public Health continued to pass down further guidance on returning to school, Nettles points out the message from the Illinois State Board of Education never changed from their original goal of getting kids back to school. 

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Clinton Police Chief on Students Returning to School

Today is the first day of school for many in the Clinton school district, and the Clinton Police Department will be out during the commute to and from school.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates while it might be a different school year inside the classroom, he is expecting it to be the same from his perspective.

 

 

Chief Lowers says School Resource Officer Mike Bennett is anxious to get back into the schools and looks forward to interacting with students daily. From the perspective of building security nothing changes.

 

 

Chief Lowers reminds motorists to be considerate of an increase in pedestrian traffic and school zones. 

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State Ag Director Missing State Fair

Illinois Department of Agriculture Jerry Costello missing the Illinois State Fair. The event canceled earlier this summer due to the ongoing pandemic. Ag Day was supposed to be Tuesday.

 

 

The only other times the Illinois State Fair was canceled occurred during World War II and the Civil War.

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Illinois Launches Online COVID Hotspot Map for Travelers

Illinois public health officials on Monday launched a COVID-19 hotspot map for travelers to assess their risk before leaving the state.

 

The online map shows which U.S. states have an average daily case rate of at least 15 cases per 100,000 people, which is considered higher risk.

 

Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at an East St. Louis news conference, quote - “This virus does not recognize borders and specific regions and it doesn’t stop at the edge of a region or a county. We know that people may have to travel, but potentially based on where you may go that travel may increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

 

She urged travelers to factor in details like how to safely manage airport terminals and rest areas.

Southwestern Illinois has seen a resurgence, triggering fresh restrictions.

 

Over the weekend Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced restrictions for seven southwestern Illinois counties including Madison and St. Clair that take effect Tuesday. The move follows consecutive days of a positive test rate of 8% or higher. The state’s average positive test rate is 4.2%.

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Estimated 37.7-Million Acres Impacted by Last Week's Derecho

It’s been referred to as the “Iowa Hurricane” and DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson says that may be a fair comparison. 

 

He’s talking about last week’s derecho that tore a path of destruction through a 770-mile stretch of the Midwest, including Illinois. He says some estimates have as many as 37.7 million of Midwest farmland acres impacted by last Monday’s system.

 

 

President Donald Trump was in Iowa Tuesday discussing derecho damage.

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A/C Issues at Clinton Junior High School Could Pose Problem to Start of School

Many thought a COVID outbreak might be the downfall of the start of the school year in Clinton but in fact, it is could be a mechanical issue. 

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Curt Nettles updated the board about some issues they are running into involving air conditioning at Clinton Junior High School. He explains planned maintenance on the air conditioning unit has taken an unfortunate turn as the wrong equipment was sent to the district.

 

 

According to Nettles, they plan to run the air conditioning to get the building cooled down in time for the first day of students in the building Wednesday. He is, however, concerned about the status of the building going into Thursday and Friday.

 

 

Nettles indicates the financial implications are not any more than what they agreed to in their bid process however, he would like to see some reparations over this. He says May 1 was the start date on this project and now with the first day of school here, the project is still not done. He informed the board they could pursue extending warranties on the unit. 

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Mt. Pulaski Schools Approve Half-Day, In-Person Learning Plan

Half days of school with remote learning taking place in the afternoon are the plans of Mt. Pulaski schools when school resumes in September.

 

Because of construction at their main campus, the district resumes classwork on September 8. Superintendent Fred Lamkey says they will have remote learning participants join electronically in the morning and then everyone will be remote in the afternoon.

 

 

Teachers in Mt. Pulaski advocated for utilizing technology to keep kids within the same scope of instruction. Lamkey explains there are many programs to make this type of learning possible paired with the fact they are a one-to-one technology district. 

 

 

According to Lamkey, he has had many conversations with parents about concern over sending kids back to school. He reassures them everyone has to do what is best for their family and reinforces the fact their plan has everyone in mind.

 

 

Many wonder about putting teachers in harm's way bringing students back to classes but Lamkey emphasizes it was the teachers of their district that were instrumental in the formation of their plans.

 

 

As midwest schools get back to classes, Lamkey is curious about how the various approaches will play out. He wonders if the less restrictive approaches in neighboring states might be worth considering if they are successful. While he watches those approaches, he believes there need to be safeguards in place to keep people safe. 

 

 

Lamkey is releasing the entirety of their plan today on the district's website and on social media. Registration is ongoing this week in Mt. Pulaski. Parents will decide at the time of registration if they are sending their kids back to school or participating in remote learning. 

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Clinton YMCA Offering Expanded Y-Zone this School Year

If you require childcare due to the shortened school days in Clinton, the Clinton YMCA will be offering Y-Zone.

 

Clinton YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates Y-Zone is available for students kindergarten through fifth grade. Y-Zone runs from 6:30am until the start of school and then from 1:30pm until 6pm.

 

 

Cluver says to make sure they have enough staff for the number of students attending, parents will need to preregister. In cases of emergency, parents can contact the YMCA and they will notify the staff.

 

 

David Torbert, Clinton YMCA Program Director, reminds Y-Zone is an afterschool program so staff will assist students with help for homework or projects they may have in addition to games and activities.

 

 

Cluver notes with an increase in the number of hours of childcare for afterschool, the price has been adjusted. Parents can send their students from 1:30pm-3:30pm or from 1:30pm-6pm.

 

 

For more information on Y-Zone visit clintoncommymca.org.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Escape Room Open Now

A fundraiser for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce that was started last Halloween is available once again.

 

Marian Brisard, Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, indicates Frankie's Escape Room Viva La Hotel Cancun is open throughout August and September and is not intended to be scary. The puzzle has been expanded and now takes approximately one hour to complete.

 

 

Brisard explains it is a fun, team-building activity that is safe. She details what guests can expect upon arrival...

 

 

Brisard says the Chamber asks that groups be aware of who they attend with in light of the pandemic. Guests are asked to wear masks but are allowed to remove them while in the escape room.

 

 

To make a reservation for the escape room call the Chamber office at (217) 935-3364, or send a message on Frankie's Escape Room Facebook event page. The escape room is available from 10 am-8 pm Monday through Saturday.

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Monticello High School Principal Weighs In On Return to School

Monticello Schools had a built-in a delayed start to school before COVID hit and it is proving to be an advantage for the district.

 

Monticello High School Principal Adam Clapp says they are working to find ways to give kids and staff a break from mask-wearing. He notes it will be a challenge but they hope to make things as normal as possible.

 

 

Monticello high school has the challenge of making learning work in an older facility but Clapp says it isn't as challenging as you might think. He explains because they are not doing lunch, the cafeteria will be an option and they can also take advantage of their recently remodeled auditorium.

 

 

As students begin to get back to the building for various reasons, Clapp says there are some kids ready to return but others have hesitations. He says like everyone else, there are kids on all ends of the spectrum.

 

 

Clapp credits his students for their resiliency and calls them good kids. He believes the majority of their kids will be very cooperative in following the guidelines and looks forward to having kids back in the building. He and the teachers of the high school have missed the students and look forward to seeing them again. 

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Weekly Crop Report

THE CONDITION OF ILLINOIS CORN AND SOYBEAN CROPS DROPPED A LITTLE THIS PAST WEEK. 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 97 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES ARE BLOOMING.

 

 

81 PERCENT OF CORN IS IN THE DOUGH STAGE AND 21 PERCENT HAS DENTED. 76 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 57 PERCENT COMPLETE.

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT THREE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 20 PERCENT SHORT, 72 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FIVE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Tick Threat For Summer of 2020

A couple of new tick varieties causing some concern in Illinois. Jennifer Russell is the Executive Director of the Illinois Lyme Association.

 

 

One of the most common ticks in Illinois is the deer tick, which can cause Lyme disease.

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Red Cross pushing for blood donations

With the novel Coronavirus putting a stronghold on blood donations, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross says the demand for blood is high. Steve Stoewer, Director of Blood Services at the American Red Cross, says blood donations are two-fold...

 

 

To find and schedule a blood donation near you, visit redcross.org.

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Cong. Kinzinger urges people to question QAnon conspiracy theories

Cong. Adam Kinzinger says whoever’s behind the QAnon conspiracy theories is more creative than he is. The Channahon Republican representing the Illinois 16th District is talking about QAnon ideas, including some about him, in a video, he put on the internet yesterday.

 

 

One well known QAnon conspiracy theory, known as Jade Helm 15, claimed U.S. military exercises in Texas in 2015 were a prelude to confiscating guns across the country. Kinzinger asks anyone who believes the QAnon theories to question them with an open mind. In the video, Kinzinger says he doesn't think people who believe conspiracy theories have bad intentions. Kinzinger says he thinks some people genuinely believe there is a secret group running everything and that the world would be better if that group gets exposed. He admits being briefly amazed by so-called evidence that the moon landings were faked.

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Durbin asked about Madigan being an effective leader

Can Mike Madigan be an effective leader both in the Illinois House and for the state’s Democratic Party? US Senator Dick Durbin isn’t so sure..

 

 

Madigan has been identified as Public Official A in a federal bribery case with ComEd but he has yet to be charged with any wrong doing. Madigan says he has support of House Democrats and he isn’t going to resign.

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Governor touts first round of BIG grants

Gov. JB Pritzker made stops in Bloomington and Urbana on Thursday to announce the first round of Business Interruption Grants for small businesses across the state.

 

Pritzker says the grants total 46 million dollars and are going to over 26 hundred businesses who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

 

 

The governor says a second round of funds will be awarded. More information is available at DCEO.Illinois.gov.

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Governor JB Pritzker says a COVID-19 saliva test created by the U of I is promising

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS A COVID-19 SALIVA TEST DEVELOPED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS IS SHOWING A LOT OF PROMISE.

 

THE TEST IS CHEAPER THAN THE NASAL SWAB, WITH RESULTS AVAILABLE IN HOURS INSTEAD OF DAYS. IT WAS INITIALLY CREATED TO QUICKLY TEST STUDENTS AND FACULTY ON CAMPUS. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT'S A TREMENDOUS DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS.

 


THE TEST WAS CREATED TO HELP MONITOR STUDENTS AND FACULTY ON CAMPUS. IT'S CHEAPER THAN THE NASAL SWAB AND OFFERS RESULTS IN HOURS INSTEAD OF DAYS. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE'D LIKE TO SEE IT USED AT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE STATE, AND EVENTUALLY FOR THE PUBLIC.

 

 

THE U OF I HAS FORMED "SHIELD T-3"...A NEW ORGANIZATION TO EXPAND USE OF THE SALIVA TEST.

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ISBE distributes 2.5 million face masks to schools across the state

THE STATE IS SENDING OUT TWO AND A HALF MILLION MASKS TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS ACROSS ILLINOIS. 

 

THE CLOTH MASKS WILL GO A LONG WAY TOWARDS PROTECTING ALL STUDENTS IN THE CLASSROOM SAYS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION SPOKESPERSON JACKIE MATTHEWS.

 

 

SINCE MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED IN SCHOOLS...THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION WANTS TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO ONE SAYS SPOKESPERSON JACKIE MATTHEWS.

 

 

MASKS ARE REQUIRED FOR KIDS AND ALL SCHOOL STAFF, AND ARE SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN TO BE ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO REDUCE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS SAYS MATTHEWS. THE STATE IS ALSO SHIPPING OUT FACE SHIELDS TO BE USED FOR ADDITIONAL PROTECTION AT SCHOOL IF NEEDED.

 

SCHOOLS CAN REQUEST ADDITIONAL P-P-E SUCH AS GOWNS AND HAND SANITZIER. VISIT: ISBE DOT NET SLASH COVID 19 FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Clinton's Lincoln, Douglas Elementary Principal Confident in Return to Class Plans

Clinton students will return to class this week and for the students of Pre-K through first grade, many are concerned about kids keeping masks on and maintaining social distancing.

 

Principal Beth Wickenhauser says the task is one teachers are well equipped to handle. For Lincoln and Douglas Elementary students, she indicates they are going to spend the first few days of school focusing on cooperation with distancing and masking. She implores parents to work with kids leading up to the start of school. 

 

 

According to Wickenhauser, the classroom set up promotes social distancing but at the same time, a kid getting too close to someone will not be something teachers get worked up about. She again believes this will become part of the procedures of school this year.

 

 

Clinton Elementary students will return to classes at CES, Lincoln, and Douglas Schools this Wednesday. 

 

Today (Monday) is the final day for registration and to opt into the remote learning program provided by the district. 

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Clinton Police Chief On Golf Cart Ordinance

An ordinance permitting golf carts on city streets went into effect last week.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers gives a rundown of what the ordinance entails.

 

 

Chief Lowers explains a golf cart ordinance is not a new issue. He says it was brought up several years ago and recent changes in legislation have made an ordinance more feasible.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates he has done extensive research on ordinances in similar-sized communities. He found there have been very little problems with enforcement and traffic crashes.

 

The ordinance can be found on the City's website, www.clintonillinois.com. The non-highway vehicle application for registration and inspection form can be picked up at the Clinton Police Department.

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Clinton Boy Scouts Hosting Black Locust Campgrounds Fundraiser

The Clinton Boy Scouts are hosting a fundraiser to help with the costs of restoring Black Locust Campgrounds.

 

Ed Cicenas, Assistant Scout Master for Scout Troop 1142, indicates the restoration of Black Locust has been a five-year project. He says the next step is installing public restrooms and they have run into problems with state requirements and the necessary costs.

 

 

Cicenas notes this summer, while they were preparing to move ahead with the restrooms, found out that the money that had fundraised and received would not be enough to cover the additional specifications.

 

 

An anonymous donor has agreed to donate to the Scouts but wants to see them do more fundraising first. Troop 1142 will host a drive-thru dinner at the American Legion on September 5. The dinner is by ticket only.

 


Tickets for the dinner need to be purchased by August 30. To purchase contact Kim Pakidis at (217) 201-8622 or any Scout Leader.

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New Local Coronavirus Cases Reported This Weekend

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported one case for each county this weekend.

 

In DeWitt County, a 45-year-old female in Clinton was reported on Friday. One case had recovered on Saturday leaving three cases active.

 

Piatt County reported a new case Friday, an 18-year-old female in Bement. Three Piatt County cases recovered Friday and six recovered Saturday. Piatt County now has 5 active cases.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reminds you to wear a face-covering when you are around people who are not in your household and to stay home and contact your doctor if you are sick.

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Sen. Durbin Weighs In On Voting By Mail

A new Postmaster for the United States Postal Service has some elected officials nervous about what lies ahead for on-time delivery of mail before and up to Election Day in November.

 

US Senator Dick Durbin says he’s hearing growing suspicion about being able to count on being counted if you choose to vote by mail.

 

 

Durbin says the Post Office should assure on time delivery of mail and ballots and wants the Senate to appropriate money to the USPS to shore up its operations.

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USDA Forecasts Increases in Corn, Soybean Production in Illinois

THE U-S-D-A IS PROJECTING RECORD CORN AND SOYBEAN YIELDS THIS YEAR. 

 

NUMBERS ARE DEFINITELY UP IN ILLINOIS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS THE STATE’S CORN YIELD IS EXPECTED TO BE 207 BUSHELS PER ACRE, UP 26 BUSHELS FROM LAST YEAR.

 

 

BASED ON AUGUST FIRST CONDITIONS…THE ILLINOIS SOYBEAN CROP IS YIELD IS FORECAST AT 64 BUSHELS PER ACRE. THAT’S A NEW STATE RECORD SAYS SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

STATE WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTION IS EXPECTED TO BE DOWN BY ABOUT EIGHT PERCENT FROM LAST YEAR.

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Construction in Southern Illinois Moving Forward

Four million dollars in state funding is being released to expand and build a port in Cairo.

 

It’s the first part of $40 million headed to the project that sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi River. The project would be a multi modal hub connecting river traffic to trains or semi-trucks.

 

Republican State Senator Dale Fowler says the completed port will bring jobs and an economic lifeline to the area.

 

 

80 percent of the nation’s daily barge traffic floats past Cairo. The first four million for the port will go to early design, engineering and permitting.

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Clinton School Leaders Offer Encouragement to Parents

As parents in Clinton schools face a deadline of Monday to send their kids back to school or option for remote learning for the first semester, a few leaders in the district are offering up encouragement.

 

Lincoln and Douglas Schools Principal Beth Wickenhauser has talked with several parents who are grappling with the choice, which has to be made by Monday. Her advice: whatever choice you make, it will be the right one.

 

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles has a similar message. He is looking forward to having kids back and is confident in the plan they have created but he also understands the trepidation of parents who are unsure of what to do.

 

 

Parents have to decide by the end of the day Monday when registration ends for the district. Most students will return to class Wednesday and everyone will be back Thursday. 

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Power Outage Food Safety

A reminder about power outage food safety in the aftermath of severe weather in parts of Illinois this week. Jenny Barrie with the LaSalle County Health Department says things in the refrigerator need to be kept below 40 degrees.

 

 

Things will last longer in a freezer that opens from the top or otherwise isn’t opened often. Barrie says if it’s full, things can last 48 hours, half full about 24 hours. If you have homeowner or renter insurance, you may have coverage for food lost due to a power outage.

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Revamped District Transportation Plan Helped Clinton District Prepare for COVID

Last year, the Clinton Schools Unit District 15 began the process of revamping the district's transportation plans to create better communication between parents and the district.

 

Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel took charge of that effort and he indicates it has paid off as he focuses on getting kids back to and from school during the coronavirus pandemic. He indicates the first evidence of the revamped plan was on this year's registration.

 

 

When parents register, the map provided by the school district will provide parents with what bus their kids will need to be on and they will provide phone numbers and medical information. Goebel hopes this provides a better line of communication for families.

 

 

Bus drivers have likely reached out to families to touch base and confirm the route they will be on.

 

Registration for Clinton schools is Monday and Goebel encourages anyone who has yet to register to do so. As the former principal of Clinton Junior High School, he says it is surprising how many kids show up to class on the first day but are not registered. 

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DeWitt, Piatt Counties Report New COVID-19 Cases

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported new coronavirus cases for both counties Thursday.

 

DeWitt County is reporting one new case, a 34-year-old female in Clinton, bringing the active case count to three. Two cases have recovered.

 

Piatt County has one new case, a 70-year-old male in Atwood, bringing the active case count to 13. Two cases have recovered.

 

DeWitt County has had 35 cases total and Piatt County has had 61 cases total. 

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Thursday announced 1,834 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 24 additional confirmed death.

 

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 200,427 cases, including 7,696 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.  Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 46,006 specimens for a total of 3,235,807.  The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from August 6 – August 12 is 4.0%.  As of Wednesday night, 1,628 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 383 patients were in the ICU and 127 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

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Clinton Schools Assistant Superintendent Discusses Bussing Plans

Getting kids to and from school this year is going to be a challenge but Clinton Schools Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel believes they are up to the task.

 

Keeping kids six feet apart and having less than 50 kids on a bus at a time are among some the protocols that will be taking place but Goebel believes they will be able to pull it off by having some drivers make two stops on their routes. 

 

 

According to Goebel, before students get on the bus, they will have their temperatures taken. He explains students will have to be masked when getting on the bus and they are going to keep kids six-feet apart as often as possible.

 

 

If students are discovered to have a temperature, Goebel indicates the first protocol will be to contact the parents of the child. If the parents cannot be reached, the child will get on the bus and be secluded from the rest of the students and taken to the school.

 

 

The school will be made aware of the situation with the student and once the student gets to the building, they will be taken to a designated area where students who may fall ill during the day are taken. He says these situations will cause the busses to be late. 

 

 

As the school year goes along, Goebel anticipates there being aspects of it that need adjusting. He indicates some changes they made to bussing before COVID have paid off in their preparation for bussing this year. We'll have more on that over the weekend on Regional Radio News. 

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Congressman Davis Talks Having COVID, Calls for Antibody Testing

As Congressman Davis gets set to wrap the quarantine period after testing positive for COVID-19 last week, he is calling for an increase in antibody testing.

 

The Taylorville Republican indicates he was running a fever but that was his only symptom, so proceeded to get tested and returned a positive after two different tests. He is thankful temperature checks were a regular part of his routine or he may have gone undetected.

 

 

According to Congressman Davis, it is concerning to him there are likely millions of people walking around with the coronavirus who are asymptomatic and may not have otherwise known they had it. He is calling for more robust antibody testing.

 

 

Antibody testing is being done at blood centers and the American Red Cross announced earlier this summer they are doing antibody testing when you donate. Congressman Davis says we need to know how many people have antibodies.

 

 

While the focus of investments has been on finding a vaccine, Congressman Davis indicates we can work on both a vaccine and more robust antibody testing at the same time and is calling for such action.

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Thursday First Day of Golf Cart-Like Vehicles on Select Clinton Streets

Today is the first day you'll likely see golf cart-like vehicles on city streets.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers was among the leaders in help City officials formulate a policy for these vehicles on city streets. He indicates last October was the start of his research on the matter.

 

 

While some may not like this decision, the Chief indicates they put a significant emphasis on safety. He explains Thursday is the first day for these vehicles to hit the city streets and he anticipates perhaps seeing a few, right away on day one.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, the State of Illinois requires several of its mandates on these vehicles. The State does allow for utility vehicles however, he notes a noise factor was a part of their decision as other communities have elected to only allow golf carts on the roads.

 

 

A surprising discovery from other communities for Chief Lowers was the lack of incidents involving golf cart-like vehicles. He explains like motorcycle accidents, many of the incidents they did discover were the fault of the motor vehicle driver.

 

 

Golf carts must be insured, have lights, and a slow-moving vehicle indicator. According to the Chief, they must be insured and they must have seatbelts.

 

 

Applications for a golf cart can be picked up at the Police Department in Clinton. The Police Department will do safety inspections. Children under the age of 8 are not permitted on golf carts due to regulations surrounding car seats. The Chief reminds these riders they cannot drive down a state highway but they can cross a state highway. Riding on sidewalks is prohibited. 

 

You can get the full ordinance at clintonillinois.com. 

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USDA Forecasts Increases in Corn, Soybean Production in Illinois

THE U-S-D-A IS PROJECTING RECORD CORN AND SOYBEAN YIELDS THIS YEAR. 

 

NUMBERS ARE DEFINITELY UP IN ILLINOIS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS THE STATE’S CORN YIELD IS EXPECTED TO BE 207 BUSHELS PER ACRE, UP 26 BUSHELS FROM LAST YEAR.

 

 

BASED ON AUGUST FIRST CONDITIONS…THE ILLINOIS SOYBEAN CROP IS YIELD IS FORECAST AT 64 BUSHELS PER ACRE. THAT’S A NEW STATE RECORD SAYS SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

STATE WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTION IS EXPECTED TO BE DOWN BY ABOUT EIGHT PERCENT FROM LAST YEAR.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Lays Out Remote Learning Plan

Earlier this week, Clinton Schools officials laid out their guidelines for remote learning. 

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates they are working with an outside vendor to provide the learning materials for those students that have opted into the remote learning program. He explains there will be a program for K-5 students and 6-12 students. 

 

 

There will be a role teachers play in the K-5 grading of the materials, but most will be done through the program. Nettles says he is working to arrange a webinar for their company to teach parents about the program and help create accounts for everyone.

 

 

The decision for students to remain in the remote learning curriculum will be final. According to Nettles, because the district is paying for the program, they are asking families to use the program all the way through the first semester. 

 

 

Again, the deadline to opt into the remote learning program is this Monday, August 17. Nettles indicates families can make their indication at the time of registration.

 

Students K-5, 6th graders, freshman and any new students report to school on Wednesday, August 19 with everyone in class Thursday, August 20. 

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Clinton Junior High School Principal Discusses Return to Schools Plan

A block schedule is going to highlight some of the creative ways Clinton Junior High School is going to make things work as they await kids returning to their building next week.

 

Principal Jim Peck on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News they are planning a block schedule title 'Maroon and Gold' days. He indicates the schedule adjustment allows them more classroom time. Additionally, these are measures that are on top of the mandated masking and social distancing of kids.

 

 

According to Peck, access to lockers will be limited. Additionally, he anticipates as students are making their way through the halls there being many reminders needed. He believes being upfront and honest with the kids will go a longs way toward getting their cooperation.

 

 

The Clinton Junior High School's size is going to provide Peck and his staff the ability to keep lunches within the limitations laid out by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

 

According to Peck, an emphasis will be placed on getting outside whenever possible. He points out he's had teachers that are willing to supply their equipment to make outdoor learning a possibility.

 

 

Being interactive with his students has been a focus of Peck's since the shutdown in the spring. He indicates on top of communicating with them via social media, he is getting to slowly be reintroduced to them. 

 

 

Peck has a young child not quite at the school-age yet but says if she was, he would send her to school day one without hesitation.

 

 

Peck says teachers are ready to come back and have missed the students a great deal. He has received good feedback from teachers about the plans and is starting to return to their classrooms getting things ready. 

 

Peck says any parents with questions about the school's return to class plans can reach out to him via email, jpeck@cusd15.org, or call the school office at 217-935-2103.

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DeWitt County Clerk Says Be on Lookout for Mail-In Voting Applications

Mail-in voting applications should have arrived at your door in the last week, and if they haven't, they are on the way.

 

DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith indicates her office has sent out the applications just recently but points out that may not be the only one you've received. She explains political parties are sending them out as well however, you only need to mail back one.

 

 

Starting Sept. 24, you can begin early voting. Additionally, those who choose to vote by mail will not receive a ballot until after Sept. 24. Smith indicates Nov. 2 is the final day to early vote.

 

 

The DeWitt County Board voted to close the Courthouse on election day as mandated by the State of Illinois. Smith points out her office remains open on election day and her office will also be expanding hours as we get closer to election season.

 

Get all the information at dewittcountyill.com. 

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National Weather Service Looking for Residents to Keep Track of Rain

No matter where you live in Illinois, the National Weather Service is seeking residents to be rainfall trackers.

 

The National Weather Service coordinates the website cocorahs.org, a rain, hail and snowfall tracker across the country. Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln calls their participants 'citizen scientists'.

 

 

Spotters are asked to use a rain gauge through the National Weather Service. Miller explains the rain gauge is a minimal expense and makes sure everyone's reporting tools are uniform.

 

 

Using cocorahs.org data has become a regular part of live WHOW programming in the morning. Miller says you will be surprised how you find a tracker will report one total, perhaps sizeable, and another tracker not far away will report a much smaller amount.

 

 

Even if someone near you tracks rainfall, Miller says it is not an issue to have another person tracking in that area. 

 

Visit cocorahs.org - c-o-c-o-r-a-h-s dot org - for the latest in rainfall totals or to learn more about becoming a rain tracker. 

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Rare Derecho Impacts Illinois

Are you just learning about the weather term derecho (da-ray-cho)? 

 

It happened Monday as a severe weather system barreled through northern and central Illinois along with other parts of the Midwest. The strong winds—approaching 100 miles per hour in some areas, left widespread damage. Dan Hicks is a meteorologist with Freese-Notis Weather.

 

 

The system also impacted Iowa and parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and tracked over 700 miles in a 14-hour span on Monday, according to the NOAA Storm Prediction Center.

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Low Interest Rates Impacting Farmland Values

What are low-interest rates doing to farmland values and cash rents? Illinois Farm Bureau senior economist Mike Doherty assesses that issue.

 

 

Last week, the National Agricultural Statistics Service at USDA released its land values 2020 summary, showing Illinois cropland averaging $7,300 per acre, which was the same as a year ago.

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Governor's Emergency Rules for Businesses Regarding Mask Wearing Upheld by Legislative Oversight Committee

A LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE UPHELD GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER'S MASK ENFORCEMENT RULES FOR ILLINOIS BUSINESSES, SCHOOLS AND DAYCARE CENTERS TUESDAY.

 

THE RULES CREATE GUIDELINES FOR ENFORCING THE STATE'S MASK MANDATE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS, RANGING FROM A WARNING TO FINES FOR REPEAT OFFENDERS. THE GOVERNOR'S GENERAL COUNSEL, ANN SPILLANE, SAYS BUSINESSES NEED TO POST SIGNS ASKING CUSTOMERS TO WEAR A MASK AND PROVIDE MASKS TO CUSTOMERS IF POSSIBLE. THEY DO NOT NEED TO POLICE THOSE WHO SAY THEY CAN'T MEDICALLY WEAR A MASK.

 

 

SENATOR PAUL SCHIMPF OF WATERLOO SAY BUSINESS OWNERS SHOULDN'T BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR CUSTOMERS WHO REFUSE TO WEAR A MASK, AND THAT THE ENFORCEMENT MEASURES WOULD CARRY MORE WEIGHT IF THEY WERE STATE LAW.

 

 

THE JOINT COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATIVE RULES VOTED TO LET THE RULES STAND. THEY DO NOT APPLY TO INDIVIDUAL'S IGNORING THE STATE'S MASK MANDATE.

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Clinton Elementary School Principal Eager to See Kids Again

As school leaders prepare their staff and buildings for the return of school, the temporary ways of learning are at the forefront of the thoughts of everyone.

 

Principal of Clinton Elementary School, Sacha Young told Regional Radio News Tuesday on the WHOW Morning Show they are implementing policies to keep social distancing and keep teachers and other staff safe. Among the most noticeable changes will be students remaining in one classroom almost the entire day. 

 

 

The nearly brand new Clinton Elementary School building affords the grades 2 through 5 plenty of space to spread out. She indicates they are taking group tables out of their classrooms and creating more space by giving each student their desk.

 

 

Providing kids as much opportunity to spend time outside as possible is going to be emphasized during the day. Young says it gives the kids and teachers a reprieve from the masks and provides another safe space for kids to be.

 

 

Young credits the district and its hard work to come up with a safe plan to bring students and staff back. She has two high school-aged kids and will be sending them to school when the buildings reopen in a week.

 

 

Students will return to class next Wednesday, August 19. For those that have elected to participate in remote learning, there will a third-party vendor providing materials to those students. More specific details are expected soon from district leadership. 

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DeWitt County Development Council Renewing Focus on Serving Community

The DeWitt County Development Council will be spending the foreseeable future getting in front of DeWitt County stakeholders and finding out what is important to them and how DCDC can better serve them.

 

DCDC Board President David Torbert explains they want to get in front of leadership for the County, Clinton, and Farmer City in hopes of getting a better idea of what DCDC can do to better serve them.

 

 

According to Torbert, the relationship with Clinton, Farmer City, and DeWitt County are vital to DCDC. He believes once they hear from those entities, DCDC can narrow its focus.

 

 

Approaching Clinton, Farmer City, and DeWitt County about funding DCDC again is a possible talking point. Torbert indicates the more funding they have, the more they could do to serve the various partners in DeWitt County.

 

 

DCDC recently announced its search for a new Executive Director. He is hopeful getting that position filled will jumpstart some of the things they have planned for the remainder of 2020 and beyond. 

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Highway Construction Announced in Northern Piatt County to Champaign

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that construction on Interstate 72 between White Heath (exit 169) and Interstate 57 at Champaign (exits 182A-B) begins Aug. 12.
 
The $8.3 million Rebuild Illinois project involves 11 miles of pavement patching and resurfacing and will require lane closures, with one lane open in each direction at all times. Work is expected to be complete by the end of November, weather permitting.
 
Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman, said quote - “This Rebuild Illinois project is another example of the significant investment being made for the future. Thanks to Gov. Pritzker’s support and leadership, Rebuild Illinois is creating economic opportunity across the state by investing in infrastructure while improving safety and quality of life.”
 
Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. To avoid the work area, when feasible, use of alternate routes should be considered. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to changed conditions and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits, refrain from using mobile devices and be alert for workers and equipment.

 

Gov. Pritzker’s historic and bipartisan Rebuild Illinois is investing $33.2 billion into the state’s aging transportation system over six years, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but the first one that touches all modes of Illinois transportation: roads and bridges, transit, waterways, freight and passenger rail, aviation, and bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.

 

For IDOT District 5 updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOTDistrict5 or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on GettingAroundIllinois.com. 

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Sen. Durbin Weighs In On Voting By Mail

A new Postmaster for the United States Postal Service has some elected officials nervous about what lies ahead for on-time delivery of mail before and up to Election Day in November.

 

US Senator Dick Durbin says he’s hearing growing suspicion about being able to count on being counted if you choose to vote by mail.

 

 

Durbin says the Post Office should assure on time delivery of mail and ballots and wants the Senate to appropriate money to the USPS to shore up its operations.

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Red Cross Needs Volunteers

The American Red Cross is launching a volunteer recruiting effort heading into hurricane and wildfire season. Some experts are predicting a busy year for both, and the agency wants to be ready when the need arises.

 

The organization's Mary Jane Thomson says potential volunteers will have to be able to deploy for a 14-day period and work 8 to 12-hour shifts.

 

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of volunteers currently available to deploy is greatly reduced. To volunteer, go to redcross.org/volunteertoday

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Weekly Crop Report

THE CONDITION OF CORN AND SOYBEANS CROPS IMPROVED THIS PAST WEEK. 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN SAYS 66 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP IS NOW IN THE DOUGH STAGE.

 

 

THE ILLINOIS SOYBEAN CROP IMPROVED TO 78 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION, WITH 91 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS BLOOMING AND 74 PERCENT SETTING PODS. 

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 46 PERCENT COMPLETE. 

 

BOTH TEMPERATURES AND RAINFALL WERE BELOW NORMAL, LEAVING AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT TWO PERCENT VERY SHORT, 21 PERCENT SHORT, 65 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 12 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Monticello Middle School Gearing Up to Bring Kids Back

Administrators and teachers in Monticello are getting ready to bring kids back and make things feel normal again. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, first-year principal of Monticello Middle School, Mark Hughes, indicates they will be doing everything they can for kids to maintain social distancing but they also are going to focus on the social and emotional well-being of the students. 

 

 

According to Hughes, there will be an emphasis on trying to make things as normal as possible. He believes there will certainly be things that are different but believes learning will feel normal again when the focus shifts to the classroom.

 

 

Hughes and his staff are blessed to have a relatively new facility. He indicates because newer buildings are generally more spacious, they can get creative in how they socially distance.

 

 

Monticello Schools students will report to class for the first day of school on Tuesday, September 8. 

 

The deadline for parents to select if students will be returning to class or taking advantage of remote learning this Wednesday, August 12. We'll have more with Hughes on what remote learning will look like for his students later this week on Regional Radio News.

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Maroa-Forsyth High School Bringing Remote Learners to Classroom Virtually

If families in Maroa-Forsyth elect for their high schoolers to do learning remotely this fall, they will be doing their learning with their peers, but from home.

 

Thanks to the developments of technology, the high school will be bringing in their home-learners, contrary to how many districts are offering remote learning this fall. Maroa-Forsyth High School Principal Brice Stewart told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Monday their kids are going to have a class schedule and they will be required to be "in class" virtually.

 

 

One of the challenges with this style of learning will be families and their access to the necessary technology and wireless internet to attend class. Stewart explains they are going to work with those families to provide them with the internet access required to do the remote learning.

 

 

Once COVID is gone and learning returns to normal, Stewart could see this type of instruction working in the future. He says other districts are going the extra mile with it.

 

 

Students will be in the high school building four days a week for a shortened schedule on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. All students will be required to mask and maintain social distancing. 

 

The first day of student attendance has been adjusted to begin Monday, Aug. 31. 

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Logan Correction Center Reports 63 total cases in Inmate Population, Logan County Reports First Fatality

63 inmates at Logan Correction Center have now tested positive for the coronavirus.

 

The Illinois Department of Corrections page indicates there are now 14 positive cases among staffers. There are ten recoveries among staffers and two among inmates.

 

At the Lincoln Correction Center, eight staff have tested positive. One inmate is positive and one staffer has recovered.

 

The Logan County Health Department is also reporting the County's first coronavirus related fatality.

 

The Health Department reports a woman in her 70s who was being treated for COVID-19 in Springfield died on August 7. She had been hospitalized since July 25.

 

Logan County has 110 total positives and 35 active cases. They are reporting a 1.8-percent positivity rate.

 

Late last week, a DeWitt County resident tested positive for COVID. The individual is a 31-year old male. DeWitt County now has 32 total cases. Piatt County reported a total of seven news cases last week, bringing their County's total of 56 total cases.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department emphasizes according to the Governor's guidelines, neither county is at the 'Warning Level'. 

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Commissioner Ballenger Envisions Big Things for Kiwanis Park Ultimate Play Space

Last week Kiwanis Park's Ultimate Play Space was the subject of much scrutiny over its future.

 

This week, the park will be the focus of restoration efforts to give the play area an extended lifespan. Clinton Commissioner of Public Safety, Dan Ballenger says the last week was a whirlwind but thanks the community for their input and believes it was their efforts that gave leadership a more focused effort.

 

 

The efforts were boosted thanks to a $2,300 donation from the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Executive Director Marian Brisard indicates the money is from the fundraising efforts when the park was originally erected over a decade ago.

 

 

Commissioner Ballenger believes the $2,300 from the Chamber will pay for the materials needed to restore the troubled spots of the equipment. He points out costs on this particular effort are going to be low because of donations from community organizations.

 

 

The temporary fixes of the equipment are not meant to last forever but Ballenger says there are many options for the community. Last week, Ballenger promoted the idea of a park district. If that is not an option, doing fundraising and finding corporate donors could be an option.

 

 

Community members that were instrumental in the creation of the group to raise money for the play space have come back around to express their desire to preserve the play space. He believes with the resources of the City of Clinton on top of the community's passion, the project will get done. 

 

 

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First Year Warrensburg-Latham Superintendent Navigating New Role Amid Pandemic

First-year superintendents are not only navigating the challenges of learning a new district with a new administration and teachers and students but now they are directing their districts through perhaps the most significant time even the most veteran school leaders have ever seen. 

 

Cheryl Warner, a veteran of the teaching ranks, is taking over her first district leadership position as Superintendent of Warrensburg-Latham Schools and calls it a unique challenge but says her staff and support system have been great to work with so far.

 

 

According to Warner, her staff, even those she has yet to meet, are very supportive and everyone understands the situation at hand. While the pandemic presents a huge challenge, there are also other things she needs to begin to understand about her new district.

 

 

Warner was previously the principal at Mt. Zion High School and has had a handful of stops in all sectors of education en route to her hiring at Warrensburg-Latham Schools.

 

 

Warrensburg-Latham schools released their extensive plan to the community a few weeks ago. Warner directs parents and community members to the district website for the details.

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Holly's Country Kitchen Grand Opening This Weekend

A Monticello restaurant is celebrating its grand opening this weekend.

Holly Miller, the owner of Holly's Country Kitchen, indicates the restaurant is located at 1204 Bear Lane in Monticello and is open from 10 am to 7 pm Tuesday through Saturday. Her menu consists of comfort food that appeals to the rural community.

 

 

Miller says the restaurant is farm to table-based. In addition to Miller doing her own farming, several farmers from the Monticello and Clinton area are used as well.

 

 

The restaurant has a store that features crafts and antiques from vendors based in Monticello and the surrounding area.

 

Miller notes she has been doing freezer prep meals and canning before starting a restaurant and is continuing it. The restaurant has a freezer that offers many take and bake meals for sale.

 

 

For more information visit hollyscountrycanning.com.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Thanks to Hurricane Isaias, beautiful weather hovered over the midwest this week. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us though, the warm, humid weather returns this weekend and into next week with chances for rain.

 

 

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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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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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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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