Local News

DeWitt County Board Moves Monthly Meeting to Oct. 1

The DeWitt County Board meeting scheduled for Thursday night, September 24 will now be Thursday night, October 1 at 6 pm. 

 

No other information was available at this time. 

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West Coast Wildfires Providing for Brilliant Sunsets in Midwest

A record wildfire season is wreaking havoc on the west coast however it is providing for brilliant views in the evenings in the midwest.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the conditions have been perfect for creating brilliant sunsets. The smoke in the upper atmosphere along with jetstreams are creating a perfectly bright red sunset.

 

 

Weather systems are expected to shift any time and Miller says that will likely be the end of those sightings.

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Baum Chevrolet Buick, Anderson Ford Hosting Final Socially Distanced Car Show Saturday

As area groups get ready for a busy Saturday of alternate Apple n' Pork activities, a pair of Clinton car dealerships are planning one final car cruise.

 

Anderson Ford and Baum Chevrolet-Buick in Clinton have hosted a trio of classic car cruises this summer and Saturday will be their final drive of the season. Marketing Director at Baum Chevrolet, Janell Baum-Thomas tells Regional Radio News they are looking forward to one final socially distanced event on a day when they would normally be hosting their big car show for Apple n' Pork weekend.

 

 

According to Baum-Thomas, cars that register on Saturday at Anderson Ford will be eligible for prizes for various car categories. 

 

 

Also that night, Baum Chevrolet Buick will be giving away gift cards to local establishments to help the local economy.

 

 

Anyone that wants to participate in the car cruise just needs to show up to Anderson Ford that evening and follow the other vehicles through the route, which begins at Anderson Ford, 1001 Rt. 10 West. It will travel up to Mr. Lincoln’s Square and back down to the dealership. To close the loop, participants will travel back to the Square, repeating the route as many times as they like.

 

Additionally, for those that want to enjoy the cars passing along the community streets are recommended to watch from Illini Drive or on the Clinton Square. 

 

The car cruise is from 6 pm to 8 pm on Saturday. Get more information by vising the Baum Chevrolet Buick Facebook page. 

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Clinton YMCA 'Strong Kids' Campaign Underway

Thanks to the COVID pandemic and its economic impacts, a Clinton non-profit's annual fundraising efforts were put on hold and this month they are finally getting into gear again.

 

The Clinton YMCA's annual Strong Kids campaign is underway. Executive Director Rennie Cluver says this year they are starting the campaign reaching out to banner donors and next week they plan to begin reaching out to the community.

 

 

Next Monday, September 28 begins outreach to donors that give in smaller amounts. Cluver explains they are excited to partner with DeWitt Savings Bank the week of October 5-10 and any donations they receive will be matched up to $10,000. 

 

 

Cluver points out the Clinton YMCA supplements over $100,000 for community families to be able to participate in Y programming through the year. Many in the community are still surprised to learn the YMCA does not receive federal or state funding.

 

 

This year's strong kids campaign may be as important as ever. Cluver explains because there may be so many businesses and families who are still reeling from the COVID pandemic's economic impacts, they really don't know what to expect.

 

 

October 10, the YMCA is hosting a fundraiser to help supplement the loss of the Apple n' Pork Festival. They will be serving a drive-thru meal of their traditional pork cutlet sandwiches and loaded baked potatoes, staples of their Apple n' Pork fundraising efforts.

 

October 10 will be the final day for contributions that will be matched by DeWitt Savings Bank. Cluver is hoping the folks will contribute while also enjoying their Apple n' Pork weekend classic food. 

 

You can contribute online this year to the Strong Kids campaign through the Y website, clintoncommymca.org or you can call 217-935-8307 for more information on contributing to the annual campaign. 

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Secretary of State Extends Expiration Dates for Drivers Licenses, ID Cards

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE IS AGAIN EXTENDING EXPIRATION DATES FOR ILLINOIS DRIVER’S LICENSES AND I-D CARDS. 

 

YOU NOW HAVE UNTIL FEBRUARY FIRST TO RENEW YOUR EXPIRING LICENSE OR I-D SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON DAVE DRUKER.

 

 

DRUKER SAYS FACILITIES ARE OPEN BUT SOME MAY HAVE LONG LINES.

 

 

DRUKER SAYS LICENSE PLATE STICKERS REMAIN EXTENDED UNTIL NOVEMBER FIRST SINCE YOU CAN DO THAT ONLINE AT: CYBER DRIVE ILLINOIS DOT COM.

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Illinois Attorney General Warns of Work From Home Scams, Pyramid Schemes

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS WARNING THE PUBLIC ABOUT WORK FROM HOME SCAMS.

 

THE SCAMS AREN'T REALLY NEW, BUT HAVE BECOME MORE PREVALENT DURING THE PANDEMIC. ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOKESPERSON ANNIE THOMPSON SAYS THE OFFERS CAN LOOK ENTICING.

 

 

THOMPSON SAYS THEY ARE ALSO SEEING FAKE JOB POSTINGS IN HOPES OF GETTING THE APPLICANT'S PERSONAL INFORMATION, AND PYRAMID SCHEMES DISGUISED AS GIFTING CLUBS. SHE SAYS YOU SHOULDN'T SEND MONEY OR GIFTS TO PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW OR PAY FOR ANY MATERIALS OR TRAINING UPFRONT.

 

 

THOMPSON ASKS THE PUBLIC TO REPORT ANY SCAMS THEY COME ACROSS TO THE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE AT: ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL DOT GOV.

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Extensive Remodeling Continues at Kirby Foods' Clinton IGA

 

Extensive remodeling continues on the Clinton IGA building.  Kirby Foods purchased the business last December, and has been working to remodel both the inside and outside of the building.

 

 

Remodeling includes a major makeover of the front facade of the building.

 

 

 

The extensive remodeling is part of KIrby Foods' long term investment in the Clinton community, according to company officials.

 

Champaign-Urbana based Kirby Foods owns and operates over 10 stores in Illinois and Indiana.

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Clinton Rotary Planning Friday Pulled Pork Dinner Fundraiser

The Clinton Rotary Club will be among a half-dozen or so groups in Clinton this weekend hosting fundraising efforts during the traditional Apple n' Pork as the event is canceled for 2020.

 

According to the Rotary Club's Connie Unruh, Rotarians will be serving a pulled pork dinner at the Legion this Friday night. They ask tickets to be purchased in advance of the Friday night event however, meals can be purchased Friday night.

 

 

The Rotary Club has a long history of supporting community causes and groups. Unruh says their annual Apple n' Pork sales help supplement those efforts and in recent years, they continue to pay the City of Clinton back for funds fronted to them to upgrade their pickleball courts and playground equipment at Rotary Park

 

 

The Rotary Club began meeting again in mid-summer. Unruh says for them, it is very important to make the connections through their meetings and help the community.

 

 

Rotary pulled pork meal tickets are available from any Rotarian or at DeWitt Savings Bank or Wilson Chrysler Jeep Dodge. Meals are served from 4 pm to 6 pm at the Clinton American Legion Hall at 219 North Elizabeth Street. 

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DeWitt County Clerk Discusses Early Voting

Early voting for the 2020 election begins tomorrow (Thursday).

 

All you have to do to early vote is stop into the County Clerk's office at the DeWitt County Courthouse, provide your name, sign-in, fill out your ballot and submit it to the voting machine and you're votes are submitted.

 

 

Earlier this week was Voter Registration Day and Clerk Dana Smith says if you are not registered to vote and you want to early vote, you will not be able to do both on the same day. She explains you will need to come in, register with her office - bring two forms of identification - and then your voter card will be sent in the mail that day. Once you receive your voter card, you can come into early vote.

 

 

Last week there was some confusion regarding mail-in voting and Smith indicates those applications are still available. Smith indicates there is still about a month left for her office to get those ballots mailed out to residents. Mail-in ballots have to be out by election day, November 3. 

 

 

As early vote ramps up, Smith indicates her office will be announcing expanded hours during weekday evenings and select Saturdays. 

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Clinton YMCA Promoting New Business Memberships with Wednesday Open House

The Clinton YMCA and the Clinton Chamber of Commerce are teaming up for a special open house event today.

 

Clinton Y Executive Director Rennie Cluver explains they are bringing in Chamber business members for a socially distanced open house to preview the remodel they took on during the pandemic. He hopes the open house will implore businesses to donate to the Strong Kids Campaign. If a business contributes, its contribution will qualify its employees for a discount for a Y membership.

 

 

According to Cluver, the focus is not only to help increase memberships and revenue for the Y but to also help create a more healthy workforce in the community. He says a healthy workforce is a more productive workforce that is happier and has fewer days missed due to sickness.

 

 

Today's event goes from 10 am to 11 am. Business owners can tour the facility and hear more about the business memberships, which allows any business donors to offer their employees a percentage off of a membership to the YMCA.

 

In March and April, the Y remodeled their front desk and entryway along with their wellness center. 

 

Businesses interested in a business membership can contact the YMCA at 217-935-8307. 

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Hosts Annual Golf Outing

One of the Chamber's top events and larger fundraisers, the annual golf outing took place Tuesday afternoon at the beautiful Clinton Country Club on a perfect afternoon for the first day of fall.

 

The Chamber, like most organizations across the country, has had many events impacted due to the coronavirus, and Tuesday organizers were able to pull off the rescheduled outing. Chamber Board President Josh Shofner indicates it was a way to generate some revenue for the Chamber and give their members a good time.

 

 

During the COVID pandemic, a lot of Chamber board meetings were conducted over Zoom calls and Shofner indicates it was nice to be able to execute the rescheduled Chamber Golf outing after many tough decisions they had to make.

 

 

During the COVID shutdowns and the through the cancellations of many events, Shofner indicates Chamber members that paid dues to events that were canceled stepped up and allowed the Chamber to keep those funds or keep them as payments for future events, allowing the Chamber to continue to operate.

 

 

According to Shofner, they will begin thinking about some of their future events after the Haunted House season wraps up like the annual Chamber dinner, the business expo, and May Days. 

 

Organizers reported 13 teams at this year's event, originally scheduled for June. The 13 teams were down from a record 21 teams last year. 

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This is Child Passenger Safety Week

THIS IS CHILD PASSENGER SAFETY WEEK, AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SAYS GUIDANCE IS AVAILABLE ONLINE THIS YEAR. 

 

VEHICLE CRASHES ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR YOUNG KIDS, SO IT’S IMPORTANT THAT FAMILIES USE THE RIGHT CAR SEAT FOR THEIR CHILD AND INSTALL IT CORRECTLY. I-DOT SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL REMINDS, IT’S THE LAW.

 

 

THE CAR SEAT CHECKS USUALLY HELD DURING THE ANNUAL SAFETY WEEK HAVE BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO COVID, BUT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION HAS LOTS OF GOOD INFORMATION ON ITS WEBSITE.

 

 

THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION HAS CAR SEAT HELP FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS ON THE WEBSITE: NHTSA DOT GOV SLASH THE RIGHT SEAT.

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The Need for Domestic Violence Funding During Pandemic

One of the side effects of the rise of COVID-19, the shelter at home or quarantine orders, in some cases, has been the rise of Domestic Violence. 

 

Rania Mankarious is a Domestic Violence expert and she says that not only is the rise in Domestic Violence cases troubling, the decline of services available to aid those victims of violence is also disturbing. Non-profit shelters that rely on donations have seen significant declines in funding due to the economic uncertainty and the inability to hold traditional fundraisers...

 

 

On Monday it was announced that $17 million dollars in funds is being made available to combat Domestic Violence in Illinois but it is unclear when the money will be doled out and where the money may end up going.

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State Revises Process for Cannabis Dispensary Licenses

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THEY ARE WORKING TO MAKE THE PROCESS OF AWARDING ADULT-USE CANNABIS DISPENSARY LICENSES FAIRER. 

 

APPLICANTS WHO DIDN’T FAREWELL IN THEIR BID FOR ONE OF 75 INITIAL LICENSES WILL NOW GET A SCORE-SHEET TO SEE WHERE THEY DID POORLY AND GET A CHANCE TO REVISE THEIR SUBMISSION. RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IS A NEW INDUSTRY FOR ILLINOIS, AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE PROCESS HAS BEEN A LEARNING CURVE.

 

 

HUTCHINSON SAYS THIS WILL GIVE APPLICANTS A CHANCE TO MAKE A STRONGER CASE.

 

 

AFTER THE FIRST 75 LICENSES ARE AWARDED…A DISPARITY STUDY WILL BE CONDUCTED.

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Sonny Perdue Visits Springfield

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made a stop in central Illinois this week. Among the topics he addressed was the “C-C-C” or the Commodity Credit Corporation.

 

 

Perdue was visiting central Illinois at the request of Congressman Rodney Davis.

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Perdue Discusses Food Distribution

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was in Illinois this week overseeing a round of farmers to families food box distributions. 

 

The USDA administers the SNAP food assistance program and this year during the pandemic created the food box program to deliver items like dairy, produce and meat to those in need. Purdue says it’s been a big success getting food to those in need and helping farmers overcome supply chain problems.

 

 

Another billion dollars is being dedicated to the program to continue the distribution of the boxes through October.

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Illinois Department of Agriculture Addresses Farm Safety Week

THIS IS NATIONAL FARM SAFETY AND HEALTH WEEK.

 

GIVEN RECENT CHALLENGES, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DEPUTY DIRECTOR KRISTI JONES SAYS THEY REALLY WANT TO FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH THIS YEAR.

 

 

THE CAMPAIGN ADDRESSES SEVERAL TOPICS INCLUDING TRACTOR SAFETY ANDA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS.

 

 

THE DEPARTMENT WILL BE HIGHLIGHTING DIFFERENT HEALTH AND SAFETY TOPICS ALL WEEK ON ITS FACEBOOK AND TWITTER ACCOUNTS.

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Clinton Legion Stepping Up To Aid Groups Seeking to Still Host Alternate Apple n' Pork Events

As the City of Clinton embarks what will be an unusually quiet last full week of September with the annual Apple n' Pork Festival canceled, a local veterans group is stepping up to give back to a community that has been very supportive of them.

 

Tom Reddington and his fellow veterans at the American Legion are allowing several community groups to use their expansive kitchen to prepare food for what will ultimately be a less-than-normal Apple n' Pork weekend in Clinton. He says it is their way of giving back to a very generous community that has supported them.

 

 

For Reddington and his fellow veterans, in a time when the community is in need, it makes them feel like they are still serving.

 

 

Among groups hosting fundraising efforts this week are the Clinton Rotary Club's Friday night pulled pork dinner, the Clinton Kiwanis Club's Saturday cookout at IGA, and the DeWitt County Museum's ham n' beans and smoked ham sandwiches sales on Saturday evening. 

 

Get a full list of weekend alternate Apple n' Pork Festival events in Clinton by visiting dewittdailynews.com and clicking on the Apple n' Pork icon at the top of the home page. 

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Clinton Water Department to Get Upgraded Automated System for Treatment Plant

To save the City of Clinton money, the water department will be upgrading the surveillance of the automated water treatment plant equipment.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner John Wise says problems with the current equipment is costing the city overtime to bring workers in on weekends. He says the new system is going to be a cost-savings measure.

 

 

According to Wise, an Indiana company will install it and will only charge the City for services when they have to travel to work on it. The council approved the purchase of the new system through Donohue & Associates, INC. for no more than $10,000.

 

The City also approved an ordinance for the local Cure program, part of the CARES act which gives the city access to those funds released in the spring. 

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Bement Schools Offering Community Free Meals

A southern Piatt County community school district is offering its community free meals, regardless of their affiliation with the school system.

 

Bement Schools filed a waiver to feed every child in their school district regardless if they attend a school or not. Superintendent Dr. Shiela Greenwood explains families need to register the week before the meals being distributed and stresses these are free meals in a district with 50-percent of students on free or reduced lunches.

 

 

The meals are prepackaged healthy and nutritious meals. Dr. Greenwood indicates parents can pick up meals on Mondays and need to get registered for meals the week before pickups. 

 

 

Call the school district at 217-678-4200 and choose extension 1 for high school students or 2 for middle school or younger students. 

 

Pickups are Monday afternoons from 2:15 pm to 3 pm by the high school cafeteria with five meals for breakfast and lunches. 

 

Dr. Greenwood indicates there are no eligibility guidelines and students do not have to attend Bement schools to take advantage of the program 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A DRY WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS.

 

THERE WAS NO MEASURABLE RAINFALL THIS PAST WEEK...DROPPING AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE TO NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 27 PERCENT SHORT 61 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER PROVIDES AN UPDATE ON THE SOYBEAN CROP.

 

 

73 PERCENT OF CORN WERE RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION, RELATIVELY UNCHANGED FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK. 53 PERCENT OF CORN IS MATURE AND FOUR PERCENT HAS BEEN HARVESTED.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 27 PERCENT SHORT, 61 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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This is Farm Safety Week

This is National Farm Safety and Health Week. A number of businesses and organizations are helping spread the message including GROWMARK, where Kevin Frye is safety manager.

 

 

This year’s theme is “Every Farmer Counts”.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces $156-Million Grants for Childcare Providers

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING 156 MILLION DOLLARS IN CHILD CARE GRANTS WITH MORE TO COME. 

 

THE BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANTS ARE GOING TO NEARLY 47-HUNDRED DAYCARE CENTERS AND HOMES ACROSS THE STATE. THE GOVERNOR SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE PROVIDERS KEEP OPERATING...SO MOMS AND DADS CAN KEEP GOING TO WORK.

 

 

THEY ARE PART OF CONTINUED SUPPORT FROM THE STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND VITAL TO HELPING PARENTS GO TO WORK AND BRING HOME A PAYCHECK SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

AN ADDITIONAL 114 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN COMING WEEKS. VISIT IL GATEWAYS DOT COM FOR MORE INFORMATION.

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Clintonia Eagle Theater Closes Due to COVID

An employee at Clinton's Clintonia Eagle Theater has tested positive for COVID, imposing a shutdown of the movie theater at Kelly Court.

 

In a message posted to social media Monday, the theater is in contact with the health department about protocols to take. No indication was made about how long they would remain closed but extra disinfectant measures would be taken before reopening. 

 

The announcement noted all staff was being quarantined out of an abundance of caution. 

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Clinton To Look Different This Weekend as Apple n' Pork Festival Falls to COVID

Normally this week, the City of Clinton would be buzzing in preparation for tens-of-thousands of visitors for its annual Apple n' Pork Festival.

 

Thanks to COVID, nearly the entirety of the festivities are being canceled but that isn't slowing down a few groups who are forging ahead with plans to try to make something of this pandemic centered year. The CH Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum Board have decided to return to its roots. Director Joey Long says they are going to simply offer their ham n' beans and smoked ham sandwiches.

 

 

To make things safe for their volunteers and the public, the food will be served in a drive-thru fashion. Long explains they are still finalizing how they will arrange for traffic flow but those wishing to purchase meals will pull up, pay for their food, and have it delivered. 

 

 

The ham n' beans and ham sandwiches are a staple of the festival. Long points out they will be serving from 3 pm to 7 pm, or until they sell out. They will be preparing around 450 servings of food, and ham n' beans will be served by the quart. 

 

 

According to Long, follow the Apple n' Pork Festival Facebook page for details on the way they will directing traffic. Also, follow the Facebook page for updates on all things Apple n' Pork Festival. 

 

Also, this Saturday tune in to The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM and 95.9 FM WEZC, along with all Regional Radio News' online platforms including the WHOW mobile app and Amazon Alexa, for virtual coverage of the Apple n' Pork Festival. 

 

You'll hear from over a dozen groups who are annually at the Homestead grounds and set up in the community and benefit greatly from the tens-of-thousands of visitors that make tracks to Clinton for the annual festival. Groups include the Boy Scouts, the Clinton YMCA, the Clinton Am-Vets, and the Clinton Athletic Boosters among many more. 

 

Coverage Saturday begins at 10 am and will go until 6 pm.

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Asking Residents to Avoid Large Gatherings

Last week DeWitt County was named to the Illinois Department of Public Health's warning list for COVID due to a recent spike in cases.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department attributes the spike in cases to Labor Day gatherings. Executive Director Dave Remmert says while it sounds alarming the County made the warning list, residents are doing a good job protecting vulnerable populations from this disease as hospitalizations and fatalities are very minimal in the two-county area.

 

 

Remmert is encouraged Piatt County saw a similar spike and avoided the IDPH warning and now they are seeing case numbers stabilize again. Last week on Regional Radio News, he discussed the ebb-and-flow nature to the virus and maintains that stance despite the recent spike in cases.

 

 

Labor Day gatherings being the most likely source of the spread of this virus locally prompted Remmert to implore the public to avoid large gatherings, especially large gatherings indoors. 

 

 

Making the warning list alarmed many in the community and Remmert says that is a good thing. He hopes making the warning list will prompt action like more mask-wearing, increased awareness around social distancing, and people avoiding large gatherings.

 

 

As contact tracing efforts increase for the local agency, Remmert indicates they were able to hire three additional staff for those efforts. 

 

Last week, testing for DeWitt County dropped from 308 to 214 helping contribute to the spike in positivity rate. 

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Illinois Rail Safety Week Begins Today

Built on the booming railroad industry, Rail Safety Week means a lot to a Clinton native and now high-ranking law enforcement official. 

 

The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is sponsoring Rail Safety Week from September 21-27 and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers notes Illinois Rail Safety Week is intended to increase awareness of railroad safety as it pertains to the general public.

 

 

The railroad system has had its impacts Clinton residents as some families have deep ties to the rail system many generations ago, and while the Chief cannot recall any major accidents, they do receive minor calls about individuals disregarding railroad crossing signs.

 

 

Chief Lowers reminds the public that railroad tracks are, contrary to popular belief, private property. Walking or biking along railroad tracks is illegal and unsafe.

 

 

The ties to the rail system in Illinois don't end in Clinotn - the City of Chicago has one of the country's biggest rail hubs. Chief Lowers encourages the public to view rail safety education material on the Operation Lifesaver website at www.oli.org.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Things were a little cooler this weekend. State Climatologist Trent Ford Discusses what is ahead as we hit the backstretch of September

 

 

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Heyworth Schools Leader Says A Lot is Unknown As District Prepares Budget

It's budget time for Illinois schools and a McLean County school district leader says a lot is uncertain this year as so much hangs in the balance with Governor JB Pritzker's graduated income tax proposal.

 

According to Superintendent of Heyworth Schools, Dr. Lisa Taylor, the graduated income tax proposal has strings attached and among those is school funding. Shes says overall, expenditures are flat but revenues are giving her some anxiety this year.

 

 

Dr. Taylor is frustrated by the situation that holds school funding over the heads of taxpayers. She explains in Heyworth, they already were planning to make cuts, and to not know exactly what funding will be coming their way is making the matter worse.

 

 

Evidenced-based funding was a proposal lawmakers began using just a few years ago but Dr. Taylor indicates this year that the funding model to be greatly altered, especially for her district. She indicates the evidence-based funding model, however, continues to neglect categorical payments.

 

 

Dr. Taylor says it feels as though the Governor is keeping schools and its funding hostage to get his tax reforms passed, which she calls unfair to the kids of Illinois. 

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Soybean Markets Rally

A nice rally in the soybean market last week, but not near the push in corn futures. AgriVisor’s Karl Setser says there are different dynamics in play for both commodities.

 

 

November bean futures were up 15 cents Friday and 47-and-a-half cents for the week. December corn was up three-and-a-quarter cents Friday and 10-cents for the week.

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Exploring Solar Farm Impacts on Farmland

Researchers hope to learn some of the economic, legal and community aspects and impacts of leasing solar panels and infrastructure on farmland. Rod Bain has more...

 

 

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Sen. Rose Not a Fan of Positivity Rate Metric

Yesterday, DeWitt County made the Illinois Department of Public Health's Warning List for COVID thanks to an increased positive rate.

 

Tests locally went from 308 down to 244, helping contribute to the increased positivity rate. State Senator Chapin Rose earlier in the week, unaware of the fact DeWitt County was going to show up on this week's warning list, indicated his displeasure with the positivity rate metric.

 

 

Sen. Rose believes the metrics that should be emphasized are hospitalizations and protecting vulnerable populations. Local health officials have been echoing this message for many months during the pandemic.

 

 

Sen. Rose is critical of the Governor's shift in focus in recent weeks as efforts have increased to bring back fall sports in light of many other states reversing earlier decisions. He believes we have passed giving hospitals and healthcare providers the capacity to deal with COVID and now we are focused on protecting people from themselves, something he calls an overreach. 

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Rep. Bost Supports EPA Renewable Energy Standards Announcement

The EPA this week made the decision to deny “gap year” petitions for small refinery exemptions and uphold the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

 

In July, Southern Illinois Congressman Mike Bost joined his House Biofuels Caucus colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump urging the rejection of 54 “gap year” petitions for SREs.

 

 

This decision will ensure that 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels are blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

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Second Round of CFAP Announced

A second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will begin Monday with sign-up for eligible producers. Rod Bain has the details...

 

 

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DeWitt County Makes IDPH COVID Warning List

As we head to the weekend, DeWitt County has made the Illinois Department of Public Health's warning list.

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Executive Director Dave Remmert indicates the positivity rate in DeWitt County spiked this week. He indicates the case counts locally have been gradually climbing this week.

 

 

While many point to a party at a local bar over the weekend as a probable cause of the spike in cases, Remmert indicates his staff is finding it is more likely Labor Day gatherings were the sources for transmission of COVID.

 

 

Remmert is imploring the public to avoid large gatherings, especially large indoor gatherings. He is encouraged Piatt County saw a similar spike and avoided the IDPH warning and now they are seeing case numbers stabilize again.

 

We'll have more on this story Monday on Regional Radio News. 

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DeWitt County Clerk Discusses Recent Letter from Secretary of State

Voters this week who have not applied for a mail-in ballot received from the Secretary of State's office notice there is still time to get one and a DeWitt County official indicates that set off a firestorm of worried residents.

 

DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith tells Regional Radio News they have been inundated with phone calls from residents who are confused and wondering if this notice means precincts will be closing. Smith says this is not the case that in-person voting is still scheduled in DeWitt County.

 

 

According to Smith, early voting beings next week and is not the same as voting by mail. Smith explains early voting is done in-person and you submit your ballot like you do when you vote at a precinct.

 

 

Smith stresses locally all polling places are opening and will be for election day.

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DeLand-Weldon Schools Put Fiscal Year 2021 Budget on File

Things are looking very good at DeLand-Weldon for their annual budget.

 

Superintendent Amanda Geary says most of their fund balances are very healthy and last month put the budget on file. She explains with no major projects on the horizon, their fund balances are very healthy at this time.

 

 

According to Geary, they take a very conservative approach to budgeting and it has resulted in the district being on pace to finish in the black this year.

 

 

As the district projects to be in the black, Geary says they could use some small improvements in their buildings but she would also like to see some of their excess revenues end up in their reserves.

 

 

Geary points out, DeLand-Weldon Schools do not rely on the State of Illinois for much of their revenues. She estimates they receive about 60-percent of their annual budget comes from local revenues while 30-percent comes from the State and the other ten from federal contributions. 

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Illinois Corn Growers Talk Harvest Safety

The Illinois Corn Growers Association is reminding people about farm safety as corn harvesting begins across the state.

 

Rodney Weinzierl (WINE-zearl) is the executive director at the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

 

 

In the weekly crop report, USDA Crop Statistician Mark Schleusner says 37 percent of corn is mature and two percent has been harvested. 72 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition.

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IDPH Discusses Suicide Prevention Month

SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT DURING THE PANDEMIC. 

 

MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE IN ILLINOIS TAKE THEIR OWN LIVES EACH YEAR AND SUICIDE IS THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR AGES 15 TO 34. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS WHILE THERE ARE NO STATISTICS ABOUT SUICIDE RATES RELATED TO COVID-19, IT IS A CONCERN.

 

 

WHILE THERE AREN’T STATISTICS YET REGARDING COVID-19 RELATED SUICIDES, MANY OF THE ISSUES PEOPLE ARE FACING NOW SUCH AS JOB LOSS, FINANCIAL PROBLEMS AND SOCIAL ISOLATION ARE RISK FACTORS.

 

 

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS FEELING HOPELESS AND HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, EZIKE ENCOURAGES YOU TO CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE AT: 1-800-273-TALK.

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DCFS Reminds Mandated Reporters to Be On Lookout for Abuse, Neglect

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS REMINDING MANDATED REPORTERS THAT IT'S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW TO WATCH KIDS FOR SIGNS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT.

 

AS SOME ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES HAVE OPENED BACK UP...D-C-F-S ACTING DIRECTOR MARC SMITH SAYS THOSE REQUIRED BY LAW TO REPORT SIGNS OF ABUSE LIKE TEACHERS, DAYCARE PROVIDERS AND DOCTORS SHOULD KEEP AN EXTRA CLOSE EYE ON CHILDREN.

 

 

SMITH SAYS EVERYONE SHOULD PAY CLOSE ATTENTION.

 

 

D-C-F-S HAS A NEW ONLINE REPORTING FORM ON ITS WEBPAGE OR YOU CAN CALL THE STATE'S HOTLINE AT: 1-800-25-ABUSE. SMITH URGES ANYONE WHO SEES SOMETHING, TO SAY SOMETHING.

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Sen. Rose Sounds Off on Governor's Sports Decisions

A state lawmaker is sounding off on Governor JB Pritzker's handling of the high school sports situation.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, State Sen. Chapin Rose told Regional Radio News Governor Pritzker not allowing high school sports to be played is the latest example of him moving the goalposts and now shifting to a focus of protecting people from themselves.

 

 

According to the Senator, we are moving past providing nursing homes and assisted living facilities with the capacity to deal with COVID and we are starting to cause real harm to people.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker says he is listening to scientists and watching the science of the situation but Sen. Rose contends the science shows outdoor transmission is almost non-existent. He calls the Governor "a record player".

 

 

Sen. Rose believes parents and kids need to be able to decide for themselves if they want to play and not have the government intervening for them. 

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Friends of Warner Library Offering 'Grab Bag' Book Sale

Last week, the Friends of the Warner Library kicked off a book sale campaign to help supplement losses from annual fundraisers that were lost this year.

 

Samantha Rusk is the Business Manager at Warner Library in Clinton and indicates the Friends of the Warner Library are offering a 'Grab Bag' book sale to help supplement the losses from their spring and fall book sales this year due to the COVID pandemic. 

 

 

According to Rusk, the Friends of the Library raise money to help support the many things the library does during the year. She explains much of the costs for the summer reading club comes from the Friends of the Library.

 

 

Bags of books are $1 and can be purchased during regular business hours. Rusk notes they have a wide variety of book and plenty to sell. Stop by the library at 310 North Quincy Street or visit vwarner.org and find the library on Facebook for more information. 

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Up and Down Nature of COVID Playing Itself Out in DeWitt, Piatt Counties at Smaller Scale

The coronavirus has ebbed and flowed across the country and it is playing out that way locally.

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Dave Remmert says the nature of this virus has been up and down in many parts of the United States and it is playing itself out that way locally but on a smaller scale. At the start of the week, there were 50 active cases combined between DeWitt and Piatt Counties.

 

 

The trends continue to be in people that do not require hospitalization and everyone is recovering. Remmert points out the death attributed to DeWitt County is still perplexing and there have been a few other individuals that have been removed from the case counts.

 

 

According to Remmert, as cases begin to crop up in the schools in the two-county area, they are not seeing many youths getting COVID and kids are not getting it at school.

 

 

Remmert recognizes the coronavirus is a very contagious disease and believes the focus of the impact of the virus is through hospitalization and fatality figures. He notes locally, those numbers are not significant. 

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Monticello Chamber Rolls Out Chamber Bucks Match Program

If you buy gift cards to a Monticello business, thanks to a local bank, you can receive up to a $25 match in Monticello Chamber bucks.

 

The program is thanks to First State Bank of Monticello who received a grant to help stimulate the local economy by matching any gift card purchase up to $25 to local businesses in Chamber bucks. Monticello Chamber Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock indicates the program is open to anyone in any community.

 

 

According to Crawford-Stock, when you purchase a gift card form a Monticello business, take it to First State Bank of Monticello and they will match your gift card purchase of up to $25 in Chamber bucks.

 

 

During the final quarter of the year, the Monticello Chamber is focused on pushing the message of supporting local businesses as many are still in recovery mode from the impacts of the pandemic. 

 

Visit monticellochamber.org or makeitmonticello.com for more information on the gift card match program. You can also find the Monticello Chamber of Commerce of Make it Monticello on Facebook. 

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One New Student, Teacher COVID Case in Clinton Schools This Week

As Clinton schools ascend towards the one-month mark of their school year, a new student COVID case and a new teacher COVID case was discovered this week.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles tells Regional Radio News that brings their total to five cumulative in the student body and two among teachers.

 

 

Earlier this week, Principals of each building in the district updated Regional Radio listeners of how the year has gone so far and Nettles indicates, from what he has seen, things are going as well as those leaders described. He points out he shared many concerns the community had leading up to school.

 

 

While districts surrounding Clinton are forced to temporarily close their doors, Nettles indicates there is not a threshold for cases or even quarantined number of students but he believes if that time comes, they will know when it happens.

 

 

According to Nettles, it is on families of students and teachers to act responsibly away from the school building. Students are in the buildings for five hours of the 24 hour day and he points out that responsibility also applies to him.

 

 

The latest case in the student resulted in less than ten students having to isolate. 

 

This is the fourth week of school in Clinton Schools. 

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What Impacts Will Latest Tropical Storm Have on Illinois Weather

Another tropical storm is affecting the Gulf Coast. What impact will the system have on Illinois weather? Bryce Anderson is a meteorologist with DTN.

 

 

Hurricane Sally should make landfall early Wednesday morning near the Mississippi-Alabama state line. The winds have decreased to 85 miles an hour and the National Hurricane Center is not expecting much change in the storm's strength before it comes ashore.

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Gov. Pritzker Says State, Municipal Workers Could Be Laid Off If Federal Aid Isn't Passed

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS IF ILLINOIS DOESN’T GET FEDERAL AID…MANY STATE AND CITY JOBS MAY BE LOST. 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HIS STATE AGENCY DIRECTORS ARE IDENTIFYING FIVE PERCENT CUTS THAT COULD BE MADE IF CONGRESS DOESN’T APPROVE AN AID PACKAGE. HE SAYS CITIES AND COUNTIES WILL BE HURTING TOO, INCLUDING IN PUBLIC SAFETY.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS NO FEDERAL HELP MAY MEAN THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE FURLOUGHED OR LAID OFF.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE’S ASKED HIS CABINET MEMBERS TO IDENTIFY FIVE PERCENT CUTS ACROSS ALL STATE AGENCIES THAT COULD BE MADE IF NECESSARY.

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Clinton Board of Education Gets Update on Remote Learners

A month into a school year that will look different most likely the entirety of the year, the Clinton Board of Education Tuesday night at the regular Board of Education meeting received an update on how those students that opted for remote learning were doing.

 

The district offered remote learners a grace period of early September to opt back into the in-person option and Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates over 30 students returned to in-person learning after initially selecting remote learning.

 

 

According to Nettles, there have been some issues for remote learners but he believes they are getting those worked out and credits their administration and support staff for being available to those families that need further assistance.

 

 

Another issue being worked through for district staff is how much interaction there is with remote learning students. Nettles explains K-5 there is a little more involvement for those teachers but 6-12 there is almost none. 

 

 

Tuesday night the Board of Education approved the Fiscal Year 2021 budget and approved the issuance of refinanced bonds for approximately $6.37-million. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Seeking to Add Staff

To keep up with the demand for contact tracing, the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is seeking to add more staff.

 

Director Dave Remmert says contact tracing efforts are beginning to bog down his staff and their functions and so they are seeking additional LPNs to apply.

 

 

Remmert indicates as their programs begin to resume, they are being forced to put their personnel in other areas. The demand has become too great to continue to operate with the staff they currently have.

 

 

Remmert indicates they are likely looking at making multiple hires and while for now, the positions would be temporary, they could become permanent employees down the road if it is warranted. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Director Discuss Youth and Suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Month and a local mental health expert says there are some alarming trends in our communities' youth.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and recently told Regional Radio News there are some alarming trends in regards to local youth and suicidal thoughts. Tuesday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Kirman indicated an every-other-year survey of local youth indicated there was a spike in kids that had suicidal thoughts and stressed these statistics were pre-COVID.

 

 

According to Kirkman, over 20-percent of the tenth and twelfth-grade students surveyed reported depression symptoms. Additionally, Kirkman is very concerned about the discovery of students that have had suicidal thoughts.

 

 

Kirkman believes part of the reason our youth are becoming depressed and contemplating suicide is because of the continuous nature of exposure to the news cycle and feeling trapped in their circumstances.

 

 

Kirkman points out suicide rates in kids and young adults have jumped over 50-percent with the national suicided rate being 14 per 100,000. He notes that would equate to roughly two successful death by suicide in DeWitt and Piatt County.

 

He encourages people to talk about this more and focus on mental wellness and to not stigmatize mental health issues. 

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Positivity All Around for Clinton School Building Leaders

Entering the fourth full week of school, Clinton school building principals says so much has gone well since kids returned to classes. 

 

Questions swirled from the community about the ability of younger students to keep masks on and maintain social distancing but Principal of Clinton's Lincoln and Douglas Elementary Schools, Beth Wickenhauser indicates they had minimal issues with a few students early but she credits the community for having the kids prepared for having to mask all day.

 

 

Sacha Young at Clinton Elementary School could not say enough good things about the return of school in her building. She says students and teachers both were excited to be back and while things are different, she adds they have gotten used to how school is going to work this year.

 

 

Having a good plan in place laid the foundation for returning to school successfully for Principal Jim Peck at Clinton Junior High School. He says the first few days were a feeling out process of how all their procedures were going to go and what they looked like. Since then, he says things have been very smooth as everyone seems to be acclimated to how things will work.

 

 

"Better than I could have planned" is how high school principal Jerry Wayne described the start of the year for his building. He credits students for doing the things necessary to keep school going.

 

 

All students were back to class on August 19 and to this point, only a pre-k class has had to isolate due to a COVID case in the buildings. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN HARVESTING IS JUST BEGINNING IN ILLINOIS.

 

IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT, STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS SOYBEANS ARE TURNING COLOR ON 49 PERCENT OF ACRES.

 

 

95 PERCENT OF CORN IS IN THE DENT STAGE OR BEYOND SAYS SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS 95 PERCENT COMPLETE AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IMPROVED TO FOUR PERCENT VERY SHORT, 26 PERCENT SHORT, 63 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SEVEN PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Virtual Farm Progress Show This Week

COVID-19 has caused the Farm Progress Show to be a virtual event this year. The show manager, Matt Jungmann says moving away from an in-person attraction was a tough decision.

 

 

The virtual Farm Progress Show runs Tuesday through Thursday this week at “farmprogressshow.com”.

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Girl Scouts Working Through Pandemic Challenges

Organizations continue to navigate how to connect during the pandemic. 

 

The Girl Scouts of Central Illinois say they are open and connecting young girls with the power of scouting. Sally Hoiniotes, (honey-otis) the Chief Membership Officer for Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, says are meeting safely in person and offering online events.

 

 

Find out more about scout events near you at get your girl power dot org.

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DCFS Discusses Continuing To Keep Kids Safe During Pandemic

ILLINOIS SENATE LAWMAKERS ARE GETTING AN UPDATE ON HOW THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS HANDLING ABUSES CASES DURING THE PANDEMIC. 

 

THE D-C-F-S CALL CENTER, WHICH HANDLES CALLS TO THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE IS BEING RUN REMOTELY BY EMPLOYEES. CALLS DROPPED 52 PERCENT IN APRIL AS COVID-19 GAINED STEAM AND LESS MANDATED REPORTERS LIKE TEACHERS WERE AROUND STUDENTS TO NOTICE ANY PROBLEMS. GAYLE HOPPER RUNS THE PROGRAM AND SAYS WHILE CALLS ARE NOW RISING, THE NUMBER OF INVESTIGATIONS THEY ARE CONDUCTING HAS INCREASED.

 

 

AT A COMMITTEE HEARING, D-C-F-S DIRECTOR MARC SMITH TOLD LAWMAKERS THEY ARE WORKING HARD TO MAKE SURE KIDS ARE PROTECTED IN THESE CHALLENGING TIMES.

 

 

HOPPER TOLD A SENATE COMMITTEE THAT D-C-F-S ALSO LAUNCHED THE "YOU ARE NOT ALONE" CAMPAIGN, URGING KIDS TO REACH OUT IF THEY NEED HELP. THERE'S ALSO A NEW ONLINE FORM TO REPORT SUSPECTED CASES OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT THAT AREN'T IN IMMEDIATE DANGER.

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Warner Hospital Sets Up Special COVID Testing Tent in Parking Lot, Will Not Be Public Testing Site

If you've been by Warner Hospital on Monday, you've likely noticed a climate-controlled tent outside their main building at White and Van Buren.

 

CEO Paul Skowron tells Regional Radio News this is a similar setup to the MABAS tent that was set up in March and April. Because of an increased volume of people getting tested due to schools being back in session, the tent will be the exclusive location for testing now through the City of Clinton owned entity.

 

 

According to Skowron, starting next Monday, the tent will go live. He emphasizes this will not be a public testing site and patients will still have to have a doctor's referral.

 

 

Social media chatter has for many months now suggested hospitals are paid for each positive case discovered in their facility but Skowron notes, while that may be something that happens at bigger healthcare systems, that is not something that is happening in many central Illinois facilities, including Warner Hospital.

 

 

Skowron indicates because Warner Hospital offers a rapid test to their patients, they are getting a lot of people from outside DeWitt County coming to the Clinton facility for testing now as well. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Begin 2-Week COVID Shutdown Today (Monday)

A small number of cases impacted the foodservice sector of the Blue School District late last week, leaving administrators with the only decision to temporarily close their doors for two weeks.

 

Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer told Regional News Monday they did not have a large number of cases but because of infections in staff, it impacted their ability to feed their students and for that reason, they are beginning a two-week and a day shutdown.

 

 

Before the discovery of COVID impacting their food service, Dr. Stanifer is highly complimentary of how things have gone to this point. She says there were excitement and positivity at every level.

 

 

The district has a school improvement day scheduled for Monday, September 28 so the goal is for students to return on Tuesday, September 29. Upon today's (Monday's) remote learning planning day, Dr. Stanifer estimated the district to be about 85-percent ready for remote learning. 

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Encore Thrift Store Reopened, Taking Donations Again

DeWitt County's Encore Developmental Services has reopened the Encore Thrift Store on the east side of the community off Route 10. 

 

Executive Director Stephanie Coonce indicates a lot has changed if you haven't been in since the re-opening. She indicates they cleared out all their inventory and started fresh and have expanded where customers can shop.

 

 

According to Coonce, their warehouse has been cleaned out and more space to shop has been created. She explains back by popular demand is their Christmas section.

 

 

Encore is again taking donations. Coonce hopes donors will bring them things that have a resale value and not stuff that will likely end up in the trash. Additionally, she notes their donations do sit for two weeks before it is put on their sales floor due to COVID.

 

 

Search Encore Thrift Store or DCHRC East on Facebook or visit encoreservices.org for more information about Encore Developmental Services. 

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Terror On Washington Street To Open October 9

Plan on being a part of this year's Clinton haunted house but with a number of significant changes. 

 

An annual fundraiser for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce will operate differently this year due to the pandemic. Marian Brisard, Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, indicates the 'Terror on Washington Street' Haunted House will be open this year but will be operating under new guidelines to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

 

 

Brisard notes they have made changes inside the haunted house as well as previously, rooms any scares that could come into contact with guests removed.

 

 

Tickets this year will be sold through the Chamber's website and Facebook page. In addition to purchasing admittance, patrons will be reserving times to attend. While tickets can be purchased at the site when they open, they are encouraging the public to buy those tickets online. 

 

 

Brisard says they are still in need of volunteers to help with the Haunted House. They are limited on the number of volunteers that can be present inside the house. The Chamber will again donate a portion of the proceeds to groups who volunteer.

 

 

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce's 'Terror on Washington Street' Haunted House will be open on Friday and Saturday nights from October 9 through October 31. To purchase tickets visit www.clintonhauntedhouse.com or the Haunted House Facebook page.

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Bement Schools Celebrating Seamless Return to School

As area school kids get back into the routine of the school day with a different feel this year, one Piatt County District is celebrating the return to class with very limited issues.

 

Dr. Sheila Greenwood is the Superintendent of Bement Schools and tells Regional Radio News, they have had very few issues with COVID in their buildings so far and adds there have been very few issues with the things their kids are being asked to do this year due to the pandemic.

 

 

Many doubted if schools make it beyond just a few weeks before COVID would shut things down but Dr. Greenwood says kids are showing resiliency and there are positive vibes all over the place as everyone is glad to be back to class.

 

 

Dr. Greenwood is making it her goal for their district to be a success story on returning to school safely during the pandemic. She says everyone is working hard to make it through the school year with zero interruptions. 

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September is Campus Fire Safety Month

THIS IS CAMPUS FIRE SAFETY MONTH AND THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE HAS SOME TIPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS. 

 

ACCORDING TO CAMPUS FIREWATCH, 85 PERCENT OF COLLEGE-RELATED FIRE DEATHS HAVE HAPPENED IN OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING. FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS THAT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT STUDENTS TAKE THE INITIATIVE TO CHECK THEIR APARTMENT OR HOME FOR ANY HAZARDS.

 

 

A SMOKE DETECTOR SHOULD BE IN EVERY BEDROOM AND COMMON AREA. FULTZ SAYS STUDENTS SHOULD ALSO KNOW TWO WAYS OUT OF EVERY ROOM IN CASE OF A FIRE AND NEVER LEAVE THE KITCHEN WHEN COOKING.

 

 

SINCE JANUARY 2000…175 PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN COLLEGE-RELATED FIRES, INCLUDING SEVEN IN ILLINOIS.

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Grain Bin Safety During Harvest

Farmers are being reminded about grain bin safety as the harvest begins. Dave Newcomb is with the Illinois Fire Service Institute.

 

 

The Illinois Fire Service Institute partners with organizations and first responders around the state to offer training sessions on grain bin safety.

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DeWitt, Piatt Counties Add More Cases This Weekend

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported 11 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

 

DeWitt County has four new cases in Farmer City and two new cases in Clinton. DeWitt County has had a total of 75 cases.

 

Piatt County has three new cases in Bement, one new case in Monticello, and one new case in DeLand. Piatt County's total case count is at 115.

 

Among the 11 cases: two are minors, two are females in their 20s, one female in her 30s, one male in his 30s, one female in her 40s, two females in their 50s, one male in his 50s, and one male in his 60s.

Neither DeWitt nor Piatt County is on the Illinois Warning List for COVID-19.
 

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Livestock Shows Next Two Weekends at Illinois State Fairgrounds

Junior livestock exhibitors will be at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield over the next two weekends. 

 

Even though the state fair was cancelled this summer, Illinois Department of Agriculture director Jerry Costello says it was crucial for the state to provide some other opportunities for youth and their livestock projects.

 

 

Beef, sheep, dairy goats, pygmy goats, rabbits and poultry will be featured this weekend with swine, dairy cattle and meat goat competitions next weekend.

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IHSA Considering State Tournament for E-Sports

Not if, but when. The IHSA’s Kurt Gibson is speaking about a state tournament in Esports or video gaming.

 

 

The IHSA has already declared Esports an emerging sport and activity. An IHSA Esports Advisory Committee has met seven times since April of 2019.

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DeWitt County Township Voting Records Unearthed Linked to First Women's Votes Cast

As the country celebrates 100 years of women's suffrage, a DeWitt County township's discovery in recent years ties back to the movement. 

 

During a recent interview with the McLean County Museum of History on the WHOW Morning Show, Terry Ferguson reached out to Regional Radio News and indicated Harp Township a number of years ago stumbled up old voting records that were separated in the event the Supreme Court overruled womens' right to vote.

 

 

According to Ferguson, the representative from the voting records office indicated there are not many of those ballots still around. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

Some much needed rain rolled through parts of Illinois this week but was it enough to ease increasing drought conditions? State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us...

 

 

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30 Counties on State's COVID Warning List

30 ILLINOIS COUNTIES ARE NOW AT THE WARNING LEVEL FOR COVID-19.

 

THE COUNTIES ARE LOCATED ALL OVER THE STATE, WITH WARNING LEVELS TRIGGERED BY RISING TEST POSITIVITY RATES, E-R VISITS, CLUSTERS OF CASES AND OTHER TROUBLING TRENDS. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE SAYS LOCAL OFFICIALS ARE SEEING PEOPLE GATHERING IN LARGE GROUPS, NOT SOCIAL DISTANCING AND NOT WEARING A MASK.

 

 

DR. EZIKE SAYS SOME COMMON FACTORS IN THE AFFECTED COUNTIES INCLUDE OUTBREAKS ASSOCIATED WITH LARGE PARTIES, BARS, WEDDINGS AND LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES…AS WELL AS NO ENFORCEMENT OF SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASK REQUIREMENTS. 

 

 

EZIKE SAYS SOME PEOPLE REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN CONTACT TRACING AND ARE NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION ABOUT CLOSE CONTACTS OR ANSWERING THE PHONE.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces $16-Million to Connect Unemployed Illinoisans with COVID Response Jobs

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING A NEW 16 MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT IN PUTTING MORE ILLINOISANS BACK TO WORK. 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE FEDERAL FUNDING WILL BE USED TO TRAIN AND PLACE NEARLY 13-HUNDRED PEOPLE IN A VARIETY OF JOBS, INCLUDING THOSE CREATED BY THE PANDEMIC.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS JOBS INCLUDE CONTACT TRACERS, TEMPERATURE SCREENERS AND BUILDING SANITIZATION WORKERS.

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS EFFORT…VISIT: ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH GET HIRED.

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Time Running Out for Non-Profits to Apply for Food, Housing Grants

THERE’S JUST A FEW WEEKS LEFT FOR SMALL NON-PROFIT GROUPS TO APPLY FOR FOOD AND HOUSING GRANTS THROUGH ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS’ OFFICE. 

 

375 THOUSAND DOLLARS WILL BE SPLIT BETWEEN 30 ORGANIZATIONS THROUGH THE CHARITABLE TRUST STABILIZATION PROGRAM SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.

 

 

GROUPS SELECTED WILL RECEIVE UP TO 12 THOUSAND 500 DOLLARS EACH. APPLY BY SEPTEMBER 30TH.

 

 

THE MONEY COMES FROM THE CHARITABLE TRUST STABILIZATION FUND WHICH HELPS NON-PROFITS WITH ANNUAL BUDGETS OF ONE MILLION DOLLARS OR LESS. APPLY BY SEPTEMBER 30TH AT: IL CHARITABLE TRUST DOT COM.

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Department of Labor Urging Construction Managers To Discuss Preventing Falls With Workers During National Safety Stand Down Campaign

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS URGING CONSTRUCTION MANAGERS TO TAKE PART IN NEXT WEEK’S NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT FALLS. 

 

FALLING FROM AN ELEVATION IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR CONSTRUCTION WORKERS SAYS ILLINOIS OSHA DIRECTOR BRANDY LOZOSKY.

 

 

A TRAINING GUIDE, LESSON PLANS, VIDEOS AND MORE IS AVAILABLE AND TOPICS COVERED INCLUDE SCAFFOLDING AND ROOFING SAFETY.

 

 

FALLS FROM ELEVATION ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYEES. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: OSHA DOT GOV SLASH STOP FALLS STAND DOWN.

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University of Illinois Extension Educators Offering Tips for Businesses to Help Customers Feel Safe During COVID

AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EDUCATOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION OFFERS SOME TIPS FOR BUSINESSES WORKING TO MAKE CUSTOMERS FEEL SAFE FROM THE CORONAVIRUS.

 

THE EXTENSION'S JENNIFER RUSSELL SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT FOR CUSTOMERS TO GET A GOOD VIBE ABOUT HEALTH PROTOCOLS FROM THE MOMENT THEY WALK IN OR SIT AT A TABLE.

 

 

RUSSELL NOTES THAT INCLUDES HAVING HAND SANITIZER READILY AVAILABLE, STAFF PROPERLY WEARING MASKS AND MORE.

 

 

RUSSELL SAYS BUSINESSES SHOULD BE VERY UPFRONT ABOUT THEIR CLEANING PROTOCOLS, AND EVEN DO SMALL THINGS SUCH AS HAVING A CUP FOR SANITIZED PENS AND DIRTY PENS FOR SIGNING RECEIPTS TO HELP MAKE CUSTOMERS FEEL COMFORTABLE. FREQUENT HAND SANITIZER STATIONS AND GOING TOUCHLESS WHEREVER POSSIBLE IS ALSO A GOOD IDEA SAYS RUSELL.

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Pandemic Continuing To Impact Ag Industry

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted farmers across the country, including right here in Illinois.

 

Rodney Weinzierl (WINE-zearl), executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, says the virus has hit a few different areas of the ag industry.

 

 

Weinzierl (WINE-zearl) adds that people are driving less and about 30 percent of the corn crop goes into ethanol production. He says as gasoline sales drop, so do the profits for farmers.

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UPDATED: DeWitt County Farm Bureau Hosting Tractor Drive Now On Sunday

As farmers get ready to hit the fields very soon, the DeWitt County Farm Bureau is hosting their annual tractor drive this Saturday.

 

DeWitt County Farm Bureau Manager Allison Reinecke tells Regional Radio News, the event was originally scheduled for Saturday in Kenney, but a rainy forecast has now pushed the event to Sunday. Registration still gets underway Sunday at 11 am and the parade starts around noon.

 

 

This year's parade route goes from Farmer's Grain to East Road up to 500 North Road then to County Road 11 by Little Galilee. Reinecke feels it is going to be a nice scenic route this year.

 

 

Registration is $35 and includes a ticket to the Kenney Fire Department's fried chicken dinner meal. To get more information, you can pre-register through the Farm Bureau website, at dewittcountyfarmbureau.com, and find the Tractor Drive page. You can also show up Sunday morning in Kenney and participate. 

 

AGAIN - DUE TO RAINY SATURDAY FORECAST; EVENT POSTPONED TO SAME TIME ON SUNDAY (9/13).

 

Get more information at the Farm Bureau website or call 935-2126. 

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Logan County Author Touts New Book

A retired police officer from the Lincoln Police Department has taken up writing since his days in law enforcement, and on this 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, his fourth book is now available.

 

Tom Brewster on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News, his latest adventure book, 'The Road to Floradixie' follows the adventures of a retired former athlete who lost his wife in the September 11 attacks and while visiting the 9/11 Memorial is approached about joining an underground terrorist-fighting coalition.

 

 

According to Brewster, his main character brings along a group of retired law enforcement officers that are itching to return to police work. They end up pursuing an individual who is on a reward poster and find a human trafficking ring organized by a man in the midwest.

 

 

While the story focuses primarily on the one objective of the men pursuing the human trafficking ring, Brewster indicates the organization they are involved in is very successful and is recognized by federal authorities as to the things they are accomplishing. 

 

 

Around two years ago, Brewster began 'The Road to Floradixie'. While some publishers did not take up his book, one did, however, he thought because he missed an original email from them, perhaps his chances at having it published were dashed. But a stroke of luck came his way....

 

 

Brewster indicates many of his stories revolve around retired police officers as he can easily relate to them. He indicates his inspiration for 'The Road to Floradixie' came from listening to the news and hearing about some of the things the federal government is doing for 9/11 victims' families. 

 

 

'The Road to Floradixie' is available today (Friday) on Amazon Audible and wherever books are sold. 

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Pandemic Continuing To Impact Ag Industry

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted farmers across the country, including right here in Illinois.

 

Rodney Weinzierl (WINE-zearl), executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, says the virus has hit a few different areas of the ag industry.

 

 

Weinzierl (WINE-zearl) adds that people are driving less and about 30 percent of the corn crop goes into ethanol production. He says as gasoline sales drop, so do the profits for farmers.

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DNR Launches 'Hunt Illinois' Website

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS LAUNCHING A NEW WEBSITE JUST FOR HUNTERS. 

 

THE NEW “HUNT ILLINOIS” WEBSITE IS A GREAT RESOURCE SAYS D-N-R SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

TORBERT SAYS THEY WANTED TO MAKE IT EASY FOR HUNTERS TO NAVIGATE.

 

 

 

THE WEBSITE IS

HUNT ILLINOIS DOT ORG.

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DeWitt County 4-H Fair Board Hosting Chicken, Pork Chop BBQ Dinner Next Saturday

Support DeWitt County 4-H and enjoy a homestyle meal next Saturday, September 19. 

 

To help supplement some of the losses from the Apple n' Pork Festival's cancellation, the 4-H Fair Board is hosting a drive-thru BBQ chicken and pork chop dinner next Saturday at the fairgrounds. 4-H Board member Terry Ferguson indicates meals are $26 and are made for two.

 

 

The 4-H Fair Board is a non-profit that uses fundraisers like the one next Saturday to maintain the 4-H fairgrounds and pay bills associated with the property.

 

 

Fundraising efforts last year helped the 4-H Fair Board erect a new bathroom facility. Ferguson indicates that will be ready for 4-H-ers from DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt County youth next summer when DeWitt County hosts the three counties for the 4-H Fair.

 

 

You purchase tickets through the DeWitt County 4-H Fair Association's Facebook page or you can purchase meals the day of the event.

 

Again, it is Saturday, September 19 from 4 pm to 7 pm at the DeWitt County Fairgrounds. 

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Monticello Band Adjusting to 'Year Like No Other'

Groups of 50 thirty feet apart, two different types of masks, and no band for the second quarter of the first semester are among the many things the Monticello High School band is having to do to make their time together work.

 

Director Allison Allender says the kids have been resilient and are just happy to be back together again playing and interacting. She calls it a year like no other.

 

 

Despite all the restrictions, Allender plans to have her kids still pull off a full marching show, when or if, there is a high school football season this year. The disappointment of this year is the fact there will be no competitive season for them.

 

 

The way Monticello has adjusted their daily schedule for students, Allender indicates she will not have band students for the second quarter of the first semester. With that in mind and keeping social distancing, they are utilizing as many opportunities to be outside as possible.

 

 

There were times during the summer Allender was not sure if there was going to be a band season, but now that they can be together, she is grateful for the time they can spend with the kids and views each day as a gift. 

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House Committee To Discuss Madigan This Week

A House committee is convening this week to investigate the behavior of Speaker of the House Mike Madigan in connection with a federal bribery case with utility ComEd.

 

House Republicans forced the creation of the committee. Republican Rep. Deanne Mazzochi says the public wants answers and this committee should be driven to get to the truth.

 

 

Madigan has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the ComEd case and hasn’t been charged or indicted by the federal government.

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Colleges, Universities Face Several Challenges as New Semester Gets Underway

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES FACE ARE FACING SEVERAL CHALLENGES AS THE SEMESTER BEGINS AMIDST A PANDEMIC.

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA CHAMPAIGN HAS INCREASED RESTRICTIONS ON STUDENTS AND BRADLEY UNIVERSITY HAS QUARANTINED THE ENTIRE STUDENT BODY AFTER AN OUTBREAK OF COVID-19. MANY SCHOOLS HAVE HAD TO QUARANTINE AT LEAST SOME STUDENTS, AND GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THAT’S THE BEST OPTION FOR THOSE WHO ARE SICK.

 

 

AT ILLINOIS STATE, PRESIDENT LARRY DIETZ SAYS THEY HAD LARGE CROWDS GATHERING OVERNIGHT AS TWO YOUTUBE STARS VISITED NORMAL.

 

 

MANY COLLEGE ADMINISTRATORS HAVE EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT STUDENT ATTENDING LARGE PARTIES AS WELL.

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Clinton Police Chief Discusses Gradual Increase in Mental Health Issues

Nearly 25 years ago, one of the most common issues Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers encountered was domestic situations involving drugs or alcohol but that has changed and it is now an issue that does not have a singular solution.

 

Chief Lowers explains recently they are starting to see a majority of their response calls to a mental crisis situation and points out many domestic violence situations often have a mental health connection.

 

 

Chief Lowers believes Clinton is blessed to have an organization like Heritage Behavioral Health Services to turn to for assistance with circumstances that arise in the community. He explains the role of law enforcement and those counselors often intersect.

 

 

Chief Lowers believes instead of proposing cutting funding from police departments to go towards other social services agencies, we should instead find ways to simply increase funding for those social service agencies to work in conjunction with police departments to respond to these sometimes volatile situations.

 

 

Chief Lowers has often been outspoken about the issues social media creates in many parts of society today and he believes it has had its impacts on the mental health of people in our communities. He believes the emotional reactions of individuals on social media is creating a very unstable society.

 

 

The Chief would like to see reforms to the long term attention individuals dealing with mental health receive. He explains they often deal with the same individuals and he would like to see more awareness and effort towards getting support for them. 

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Boil Order Issued in Clinton

A boil order is in affect in Clinton until further notice for the area from Van Buren Street to Jericho Road and Rosewood Drive to Quincy Street.  

 

If you have questions call 935-3432 during business hours.

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Clinton Schools Balancing Confidentiality, Keeping Community Informed with COVID Information

For the first time last week in the nearly three-week-old school year, Clinton Schools were faced with dealing with the coronavirus in their classrooms.

 

As the district balanced how to release information, many in the community demanded more information and expressed frustration with the lack of information available. Superintendent Curt Nettles says his focus is to protect the privacy of his students while also keeping the community as informed as he can.

 

 

The district has been sending out information regarding COVID in the classrooms to parents of the students in those classrooms that have been impacted. He understands parents may be frustrated by this process.

 

 

Many parents believe it is their right to know if COVID is in their school building. Nettles believes between what the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department shares and what the school district shares create a good picture of the situation in the community.

 

 

The district makes many decisions based on recommendations and information provided by the Health Department. Nettles says their relationship with the Health Department is very strong and credits them with aiding the district good policies to keep kids in school.

 

 

While the situation is not ideal for anyone right now, Nettles asks the community for a little grace and patience while they navigate this situation. He says, for now, they will continue to provide limited information but did leave open the possibility how much they offer could change.

 

 

As of Tuesday morning, Nettles was unaware of any new youth cases in the school district and indicated they were currently at four cases among the student and staff population, with one case each at Lincoln School, Clinton Elementary School, Clinton, Junior High School, and Clinton High School and a teacher at Clinton Junior High School. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN CONTINUES TO PROGRESS AT A FASTER PACE THAN USUAL AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS CORN IS MOVING ALONG NICELY.

 

 

13 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES ARE TURNING COLOR, COMPARED TO 33 PERCENT NORMALLY. TWO PERCENT ARE DROPPING LEAVES AND 68 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 93 PERCENT COMPLETE.

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED LAST WEEK TO 13 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 44 PERCENT SHORT AND 43 PERCENT ADEQUATE.

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State of Illinois Dealing With $5-Billion Budget Shortfall

The state of Illinois is working through a $5 billion budget shortfall because of COIVD-19. 

 

Governor JB Pritzker says the state needs help from the federal government to patch the hole blown in the budget. He says after many rounds of federal bailouts to private corporations and businesses its time for DC lawmakers to send money to states and local governments.

 

 

The state’s fiscal year doesn’t end until June 30.

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Contrasts in Weather This Week in Illinois

There will be quite the weather contrast in Illinois this week. 

 

You’ll see 90’s in the southern part of the state and upper 50’s to lower 60’s in the northern part of the state. The northern part of the state will also get a nice dose of rain, while southern Illinois will remain in a dry pattern says Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks.

 

 

And Hicks says even though high temps are only reaching upper 50’s in some parts of Illinois this week, it’s still too early to talk frost.

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Congressman Davis Addresses Cutting Funding for Cities with Civil Unrest

Should federal funding be cut to cities where civil unrest continues to be a problem?

 

Republican Congressman Rodney Davis says that if a city isn’t willing or able to act on its own to stop violence and they won’t allow National Guard troops in, then those leaders should be held accountable for citizens who no longer feel safe.

 

 

Talk by the President about cutting funding, Davis says, is trying to send the message that something more needs to be done.

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Most Clinton Tax Figures Very Strong

Everyone being forced to stay close to home might just be paying off for the City of Clinton.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Finance, Tom Edmunds indicated a number of their funds were up from this time last year.

 

(Audio is difficult to hear as Edmunds was in attendance virtually)

 

 

Also at the Monday night City Council meeting, Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Ken Buchanan indicated recovery efforts underway after a train going through town last week derailed. The scene is cleared of the rail cars but some street and sidewalk work will need to be done. The Public Works Department is in contact with the rail company to get those efforts underway. 

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Monticello Changing Fall 'Business Bootcamp' Program to Focus on Small Businesses Reeling from COVID

Normally in the spring and fall, the City of Monticello Community Development office hosts its 'Business Bootcamp' program to help potential entrepreneurs gain the tools and knowledge necessary to open and operate a successful business.

 

This fall the goal of the program is changing. Callie McFarland is the Community Development Director for the City of Monticello and explains the change is to help businesses navigate the impacts of the COVID pandemic.

 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, McFarland says Monticello businesses are learning to evolve in the aftermath of COVID. She points out a social media and online presence are where many are turning.

 

 

McFarland says their businesses are getting creative in how they connect with their community. She lays out what a Monticello bookstore owner and restaurant owner are doing during the pandemic....

 

 

To get more information on the Monticello Business Reboot program, visit the City of Monticello Facebook page, the city website at cityofmonticello.net, or monticellochamber.org. 

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Clinton Schools Refinancing Bonds, Saving Taxpayers Over $500,000

The Clinton School District has decided to refinance the bonds used to pay for the Clinton Junior High School.

 

At the August Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Curt Nettles explains the bonds are in the stage where they could be paid off or refinanced. The district has decided to refinance those, saving taxpayers upwards of a half-a-million dollars. 

 

 

Nettles compares the scenario facing the district to refinancing a home. He indicates rates are very favorable at this time and over time is saves taxpayers quite a bit.

 

 

The Board of Education approved the measure last month. Nettles anticipates issuing the bonds this month and then closing on them in November. He says it is a lengthy process to do all this but the new refinanced rates would fall in the next tax cycle. 

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Trends in Tropics Suggesting Cold, Wet Winter

As forecasters begin to think about what the winter months will look like, their attention turns to tropical weather patterns.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates they are seeing the early signs of weather patterns that could bring cold and wet weather this winter.

 

 

Not only are things looking to be cold and wet this winter, but the cold and wet could extend into the spring. Miller also cautions against the excitement or dismay that the above-normal precipitation will come in the form of snow.

 

 

Miller indicates there was only one winter in a 'La Nina' winter where we were above normal for temperatures and that was in 2011. 

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Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers, Rural Appraisers Release 2020 Farmland Prices, 2021 Cash Rents

The Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers has released the “2020 Farmland Prices and 2021 Cash Rents” report.

 

 

The report is normally released during the Farm Progress Show, but this year’s information was shared via webinar format. Among the presenters was Luke Worrell. The average price for Excellent Quality farmland across the state was $10,313. The average paid for Good farmland was $8,233. Average Quality land was very “stable,” with the overall average being $6,350 per acre.

 

Those responding to the survey indicated an expectation of a 2.5 percent decline in cash rents for professionally managed Excellent farmland going into 2021. This drops the average rate from $305 per acre to $297. For Good farmland the rate is projected to drop from $270 to $253. For Average land the rate is expected to go from $224 per acre to $212, and $173 to $160 for Fair quality land.

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USDA Announces First Ever Grants for Urban Ag Projects

USDA announces its first-ever recipients of grants and cooperative agreements for urban agriculture efforts. Stephanie Ho has the story.

 

 

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Half of State Experiencing Dry, Drought Conditions

AFTER A FAIRLY DRY AUGUST…HALF OF THE STATE IS EXPERIENCING DROUGHT OR NEAR DROUGHT CONDITIONS. 

 

ALTHOUGH LAST MONTH INCLUDED A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING INCLUDING HIGH TEMPS, LOWER TEMPS AND A DERECHO, IT ENDED UP COOLER THAN NORMAL AND THE 15TH DRIEST AUGUST ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS. MOST OF THE RAINFALL LAST MONTH WAS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, LEAVING THE TOP HALF OF THE STATE EITHER ABNORMALLY DRY OR IN A MODERATE DROUGHT. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD SAYS THAT PROBABLY ISN’T CHANGING ANYTIME SOON.

 

 

THE LONG-TERM OUTLOOK CALLS FOR COOLER THAN AVERAGE TEMPERATURES AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR SEPTEMBER.

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DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department Report More Cases

The DeWitt-County Bi-County Health Department reported 11 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

 

DeWitt County reported three new cases: one in Wapella, one in Farmer City, and one in Clinton. The DeWitt County case total is now at 56.

 

Piatt County reported eight new cases: three in Cerro Gordo, three in Atwood, one in Bement, and one in Monticello. Piatt County has had 100 total cases.

 

Among the 11 cases reported: two were minors, one male in his 20s, two females in their 40s, one male in his 40s, three females in their 50s, one female in her 60s, and one female in her 70s.

 

Neither county is at warning level.

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DeWitt County Museum Hosting 'Porch Posts'

While the CH Moore Homestead remains closed for tours, they are getting creative in how they connect with the public.

 

According to Director Joey Long, 'Porch Posts' are a great way for people to come out to the museum and hear about local history. She indicates they invite the public to set up in the front lawn with blankets or lawn chairs and practice social distancing.

 

 

For those that are unable to attend, the Homestead will try to get those posted to their social media outlets.

 

 

The Homestead will be offering its next presentation on Saturday, September 12th, at 10:00am, on the museum’s front lawn. Long will share the story of C.H. Moore’s funeral (which took place at the mansion), the Moore mausoleum, and a variety of artifacts related to Victorian Era mourning customs.  

This is an admission-free event; open to all, but donations will be accepted. 

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Congressman LaHood Wishes Americans Would Wait for Facts Before Reacting to Stories

Congressman Darin LaHood believes the public needs to wait for facts about a case that is released before reacting.

 

Reactions to Jacob Blake's shooting led to rioting and more destruction, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Congressman LaHood says it is important details of cases are released rather than reacting to 20-seconds of a video from social media.  

 


President Trump was in Kenosha, Wisconsin last Tuesday. LaHood believes despite the pleas from some in the area to not come, there was support for the President's arrival.

 

 

The reaction to Blake's shooting quickly spilled into the sports world where the NBA, NHL, and some MLB teams did not play for a two-day period the previous week. Congressman LaHood is disappointed to see the politicization of sports.

 

 

LaHood is a former prosecutor and many were critical of the seven shots fired into the back of Blake in front children in the vehicle he was trying to enter. Without knowing all the details of the case, he did not dismiss the idea that could lead to criminal charges against the officer.

 

 

Congressman LaHood supports everyone's right to gather and protest peacefully. He believes the destruction of property taking place in so many parts of the country is why so many people are focused on the issue heading towards the election. 

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Central Iowa Continues To Deal With Derecho Damage

The August 10th derecho (d??r??CH?) storm that battered hundreds of miles of the Midwest hit central Iowa the hardest. NAFB Farm Broadcaster Jared White recently had a firsthand look at the aftermath...

 

 

You can see numerous pictures taken by Jared from central Iowa this week at IllinoisFarmRadio.com.

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Congressman LaHood Praises President Trump's RNC Convention Speech

Dunlap Republican Representative Darin LaHood is praising President Donald Trump's Republican National Convention Speech last week.

 

Congressman LaHood, who was in attendance outside the Whtie House last Thursday. believes the President's messages were on point in a well-delivered address that touched on all things ahead if he is re-elected.

 

 

Congressman LaHood credits the RNC for a well-executed Convention under the circumstances and appreciated the speakers from all walks of life and everyday Americans.

 

 

Congressman LaHood believes the RNC's ability to pull off the Convention as flawlessly as they did was a great accomplishment.

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September is National Preparedness Month

As the seasons begin to change, so too do the things we need to be prepared for severe weather.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says September is National Preparedness Month and they are asking the public to begin to think about those things we'll need for winter weather that is on the way.

 

 

Communities like Gifford, Washington, and Taylorville in Illinois are examples of places where severe weather can strike when you least expect it. 

 

Visit weather.gov for more information on all things preparedness. 

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Weekly Weather Report

A beautiful holiday weekend is in store and cooler weather awaits the other side... State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us more.

 

 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Confirms New COVID Cases; Clinton Schools Cancel Lincoln Pre-K Classes

As the Clinton School district wraps up its first full two weeks of school heading into the Labor Day weekend, this week marks the first time the district has dealt with the coronavirus this year.

 

The Health Department announced four new cases in DeWitt County on Tuesday and two in Piatt County. Among the six new cases between the two counties, four are minors under the age of 17. The Health Department reports schools have been notified, including Clinton Schools. 

 

Clinton schools canceled Lincoln School Pre-K classes Thursday to complete contact tracing. Close contacts have been notified by the Health Department. 

 

Close Contacts that are reported will be contacted by the local health department. To be a close contact, an individual must be within 6 feet for at least 15 mins, during the infectious period of the individual who has COVID-19.

 

With these cases, case counts are at DeWitt Co: 53; and Piatt Co: 92 for a total of 145 cases.

While there are currently 30 Illinois counties in the warning level for COVID-19, neither county in the health department's two-county jurisdiction is under the warning level in the IDPH County Metrics.

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Illinois State Police Urging Safety This Labor Day Weekend

EXPECT TO SEE MORE POLICE OUT ON THE ROADS THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND. 

 

STATE AND LOCAL POLICE ARE BOOSTING PATROLS AS PART OF THE “DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER CAMPAIGN.” I-S-P TROOPER JOSH KORANDO (co-ron-doe) SAYS IT’S SIMPLE: IF YOU PLAN TO DRINK, PLAN HOW TO GET HOME.

 

 

TROOPER JOSH KORANDO (co-ron-doe) SAYS THERE’S NO REASON ANYONE NEEDS TO DRIVE AFTER DRINKING.

 

 

POLICE WILL ALSO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR SPEEDERS, DISTRACTED DRIVERS AND THOSE NOT BUCKLED UP.

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Illinois Farm Bureau Provides Update on Phase 1 of China Trade Numbers

What are the numbers looking like with the Phase 1 trade deal with China. An update from Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards.

 

 

The Phase 1 trade deal between the U.S. and China was signed in January.

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Governor Pritzker Wants Answers in Madigan, ComEd Investigation

A special Illinois House committee is going to investigate the conduct of Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. It could finish in discipline for Madigan and in the most extreme case wind up with him being expelled from the House Chambers.

 

The move comes at the request of some House Republicans. Madigan hasn’t been indicted in connection with a federal bribery case surrounding ComEd. The utility admitted in a deferred prosecution agreement this summer that they bribed Madigan associates to gain his support for laws that paved the way for ComEd to raise electric rates.

 

Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says he wants all the answers surrounding ComEd and hopes this isn’t a political move ahead of the November elections.

 

 

The speaker says in a statement that he “never made a legislative decision with improper motives”. The committee was formed with three democrats and three republicans.

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Ameren Promoting Teen Driving Safety

Ameren Illinois is teaming the Distress Bandanna Teen Driver Safety Initiative to draw attention to the dangers of downed power lines. More than 3,000 vehicles strike power poles each year according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which creates a dangerous scenario as power lines can cause the vehicle and surrounding area to become energized.

 

Vivian Anderson, Founder of Distress Bandana says this is important information to share with young drivers, as statistics show half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school.

 

 

Ameren Illinois and the Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association launched a downed power line and vehicle safety module last Fall into Driver Education classes across the state. The module at AmerenIllinois.com/DriverEd contains an instructional video and quiz. You can also find the video at DistressBandanna.com under Teen Driver Safety Program.

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Encore Developmental Services Preparing for Day Service Clients' Return

Encore Developmental Services are hoping to have their day service clients back at some point in September.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Executive Director Stephanie Coonce told Regional Radio News they are doing a lot of heavy lifting within the facility to bring those folks back safely. She indicates those folks need to safely get back to their routines.

 

 

There will be a fine balancing getting day program individuals back to Encore because many are among the most susceptible to the coronavirus. Coonce says they have received good guidance in getting their folks back but striking that balance weighs on her.

 

 

For the day programming individuals, Coonce says there are very few that understand what is happening and why. This is on top of the frustration of not being able to go out and see their friends and family.

 

 

A returning plan has been approved that will include social distancing guidelines and masking guidelines like most other entities. According to Coonce, the real challenge for their day programming individuals will be an assessment that needs to be filled out before they can come back.

 

 

Coonce estimates about half of their day services clients will be able to return after completing the assessment. She also points out they will have capacity limits which will further reduce the number of individuals they can have on a given day, however, they are looking at procedures like alternating the days those folks can be at Encore, just to make sure everyone gets the chance to go back to a part of their routine. 

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Harvest Season Still Looking to Be Warmer Than Normal

If farmers are planning for an early harvest in September, things could be a little cooler but the National Weather Service says to plan on a warmer than normal October.

 

Farmers could be in the field as soon as next week, if not by the middle of the month and for those farmers, things will probably be a little cooler this year. Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates they are still looking at a warmer than normal October.

 

 

Things have been very dry in central Illinois the past month and Miller is not seeing a reprieve on the way. He explains the saving grace could be a tropical storm in the south and its remnants reaching the midwest.

 

 

August was cool and dry. Miller indicates there were areas of central Illinois that were up to two-inches below normal for precipitation.

 

 

According to Miller, August is already a very dry month anyways and to add receiving only an inch or two of rain in some places, there are some very dry fields in Illinois right now.

 

 

The flash drought of August happening for the sixth time in 20 years is significant. Miller explains those six times are among the top ten driest months on record since the late 1800s in Illinois.

 

Central Illinois could get a brief relief from the dry weather later this weekend when chances of rain increase. Miller adds things are also expected to cool down heading into next week. 

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Latest Ag Economy Barometer Released

The latest Ag Economy Barometer has been released. The data is for August and is from Purdue University and the CME Group says ag economics professor Michael Langemeir.

 

 

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer is a nationwide measure of the health of the U.S. agricultural economy released each month. The index is based on a survey of 400 agricultural producers.

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IDPH Cautioning Against Labor Day Gatherings

As Labor Day weekend draws near, health and government officials are cautioning against large gatherings as they worry about people spreading coronavirus.

 

Governor JB Pritzker says when attending those big picnics you might let your guard down and not be as safe as you would otherwise be.

 

 

Officials say outdoor events are safer than indoors and its best to bring your own plates and dinnerware.

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Illinois Republican Lawmaker Wants Hearing on Abuse Allegations at Long Term Care Facilities

A number of lawmakers say it’s time for public hearings on how the state was or wasn’t handling oversight at long term care facilities. 

 

At issue is allegations of abuse and neglect not being investigated during the spring and early summer. The Illinois Department of Public Health says they will have an outside firm investigate the lapse in oversight. But that isn’t good enough for Republican Rep. Grant Wehrli.

 

 

Records indicated there were more than 270 allegations that were not investigated during the spring and summer.

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Congresswoman Bustos Supports Postal Service

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, fresh off a vote in Washington to help stop the dismantling of the United Postal Service, says that USPS is a great part of American history and maybe as important now as ever...

 

 

The bill Bustos supported was passed in the House, but the Senate still hasn't asked for a vote.

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DNR Announces Release of New App

Outdoorsmen in Illinois will be celebrating the arrival of a new app for the Department of Natural Resources.

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert indicates the app will have a wealth of information on all things DNR along with digital licenses.

 

 

The simplicity of the app will streamline access to information for hunters, fishermen, and others. Torbert indicates it is well organized and hunters can even access their hunting licenses on the app as well.

 

 

Torbert indicates hunters from out of state indicated to DNR their state offered an app and it makes a lot of things much easier to them. She explains the DNR Foundation took that advice to heart and worked hard to develop a good app for Illinoisans.

 

 

In the Apple Store or Google Play, search 'Outdoor Illinois' and you'll find the app. 

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UPDATED: School Aged Child Tests Positive for COVID in Clinton Schools

A school-aged individual in DeWitt County has tested positive for COVID. 

 

A child under ten was among three new cases in DeWitt County on September 1 according to the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department. Executive Director Dave Remmert says that brings DeWitt County's active cases to nine with 48 total.

 

 

Health Department regulations do not allow for Remmert to expand on the details of where the child goes to school or what district they are in. He explains why....

 

 

Regional Radio News has received confirmation the student is in the Clinton district. No other details about the situation are being released to the public. 

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Warner Library Promoting Library Card Sign-Up Month

September is library card sign up month and Clinton's Warner Library is hoping community members who haven't discovered the great resource in their back yard will check out everything they have to offer.

 

Samantha Rusk is the library's business manager and indicates getting a library card is very easy and to encourage the community to get one, they have a giveaway they are doing for everyone who signs up.

 

 

For individuals that are homebound, Rusk indicates they want to be available to those individuals as well. She explains they offer a homebound delivery service to be accessible to as many people as possible.

 

 

The Warner Library has a vast collection of movies and videogames. Rusk indicates from the Golden Globe quality movies to videogames that are all the rage, you'll find it at the Warner Library.

 

 

Get your library card by visiting the Warner Library at 310 North Quincy Street. You can get more information about the library by visiting vwarner.org or by calling 217-935-5174. 

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Labor Day Weekend To Start Nice Then Turn Wet

If you've got outdoor plans for the Labor Day weekend, you'll want to get those in early in the weekend.

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln tells Regional Radio News the holiday weekend should be very nice to start the weekend but by Sunday afternoon, clouds will increase bringing more chances of rain.

 

 

Over the next few weeks, look for temperatures to cool down a little bit. Daytime temperatures will hang out in the 70s and even lows could dip to the 40s, according to Miller.

 

 

While things are anticipated to cool down, Miller says September will continue to be dry, coming off an August that in some places was two inches below normal precipitation levels. 

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Illinois Cash Rent Data Released

Illinois 2020 cash rent information being released. The data is compiled through USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Crop statistician Mark Schleusener provides a statewide snapshot.

 

 

Non-irrigated cropland is averaging $240 per acre in northwest Illinois; $230 in the northeast part of the state; $223 in western Illinois; $253 in central Illinois; and $236 in eastern Illinois. The lowest average is in southeast Illinois at $133 per acre.

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Deadline Approaching for COVID Food Assistance Program

The deadline is approaching for farmers who want to apply for USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Stephanie Ho has the details...

 

 

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Clinton Junior High School Staffer Tests Positive for COVID

A Clinton Junior High School teacher has tested positive for COVID.

 

The case is the first confirmed case in the school system and Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates they are in contact with the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department for contact tracing and quarantine measures that need to be taken.

 

 

As the district navigates its second full week of back to class, in-person learning, Nettles believes things are going very well. He says teachers, students, and other staff are adapting to the things they need to do to keep everyone in the buildings.

 

 

Parents of junior high school students were notified late Monday afternoon of the positive case. 

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U of I Extension Talks Gardening, Nutrition

If you're back yard garden is flourishing this year, you are likely experiencing a plentiful harvest about now.

 

As those fresh fruits and vegetables begin to stack up, the University of Illinois Nutrition Educator Caitlin Mellendorf has some ideas of incorporating those into your meals. Adding a zucchini squash to a grilled cheese is one of the creative ideas she has recently put out on a blog she publishes. 

 

 

Working with 4-H-ers, Mellendorf has helped them come up with creative smoothie ideas. While she prefers frozen berries, her idea works just as well with fresh berries. Added with the fruit, again, zucchini squash is a great option for the nutrition from vegetables.

 

 

Clinton's grocery stores offer homegrown produce from many local vendors, but Mellendorf also encourages finding other producers in your area that grow fresh produce and helping them out if they sell what they harvest. She says this time of year has so many options, among them sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, and all sorts of varieties of peppers. 

 

You can also do a search for your local University of Illinois Extension office for a list of resources they have on nutrition information and gardening resources. 

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Mahomet-Seymour Schools Back On Track After Bumpy Start to School Year

When Mahomet-Seymour Schools welcomed back students a few weeks ago, they were greeted with a couple of early cases of COVID.

 

Since that time, Superintendent Dr. Lindsey Hall says things have been going very well. She explains the Champaign-Urbana Health District was great to work with. They were able to keep their doors open and find ways to keep students coming to class.

 

 

In their communities, Dr. Hall believes there was an overwhelming majority of people glad to have kids back to school and from the kids' perspectives to be back to school. She points out things have gone well since they worked through the early bumps of COVID cases.

 

 

Dr. Hall calls every day they can have children in the school buildings is a gift. While she feels great, they are prepared for unexpected circumstances to arise and their mindset is to take things day-by-day.

 

 

Dr. Hall directs her communities to the district website with a wealth of resources about COVID and Mahomet-Seymour Schools. She also hopes anyone interested in their district will follow them on social media outlets. 

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Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS CORN AND SOYBEAN CROPS ARE PROGRESSING AHEAD OF THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE FOR THE MOST PART. 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 97 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE SETTING PODS, COMPARED TO 94 PERCENT NORMALLY. 72 PERCENT IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

71 PERCENT OF CORN IS IN THE DENT STAGE OR BEYOND AND 12 PERCENT IS MATURE. 70 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION SAYS SCHLEUSENER. 

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 84 PERCENT COMPLETE, AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO 12 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 40 SHORT AND 48 PERCENT ADEQUATE.

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Illinois State University Adopting U of I Testing

While Coronavirus cases continue to rise at Illinois State University, the campus will soon get a helping hand from a neighbor 53 miles from campus.

 

In six to eight weeks, ISU will adopt the University of Illinois new saliva-based tests called "I-COVID" that provides test results within hours.

 

ISU President Larry Dietz said once labs are approved, the University will have to hire staff to conduct the testing.

 

 

As of Monday, 972 ISU students have tested positive for COVID-19. The rolling 7-day positivity rate is 24.0%.

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Durbin Says Be Prepared for Delayed Voting Results

One million mail-in ballots have been requested so far in Illinois. The trends are pointing to the greatest number of ballots ever mailed in for an Illinois election and more than likely in 49 other states.

 

That is going to lead to possible bottlenecks on Election Night. For all the work that is being done to make sure those ballots arrive from the post office they also need to be counted and US Senator Dick Durbin says the public better be ready to wait for a while for a final result.

 

 

Vote by mail ballots in Illinois will be mailed out by the end of the month.

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Another Illinois State Police Squad Car Hit By Scott's Law Violator

AS ANOTHER SQUAD CAR IS HIT, THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS REMINDING MOTORISTS OF ILLINOIS' MOVE OVER LAW. 

 

LAST YEAR, 27 I-S-P SQUAD CARS WERE STRUCK BY VIOLATORS, LEAVING THREE TROOPERS DEAD. AFTER AN INCIDENT IN THE CHICAGO AREA OVER THE WEEKEND...10 HAVE BEEN HIT SO FAR THIS YEAR SAYS TROOPER JAYME BUFFORD (buffered).

 

 

GETTING PEOPLE TO OBEY THE MOVE OVER LAW HAS BEEN VERY IMPORTAINT TO THE STATE POLICE, AFTER LOSING THREE TROOPERS LAST YEAR TO VIOLATORS SAYS TROOPER BUFFORD (buffered).

 

 

SO FAR THIS YEAR, TROOPERS HAVE ISSUED MORE THAN 13-HUNDRED TICKETS FOR NOT MOVING OVER. FINES START AT 250 DOLLARS.

 

THE MOVE OVER LAW, ALSO CALLED SCOTT'S LAW, REQUIRES DRIVERS TO SLOW DOWN AND SWITCH LANES IF THEY CAN WHEN APPROACHING A VEHICLE WITH FLASHING LIGHTS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. FINES BEGIN AT 250 DOLLARS.

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