Local News

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Discusses COVID Latest

Cases continue to spike locally however, local metrics are very strong compared to other parts of the area.

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert indicates cases are continuing to rise locally but he continues to monitor fatalities and hospitalizations. He also believes it is good to compare how DeWitt and Piatt Counties are doing compared to other parts of the state. 

 

 

According to Remmert, DeWitt and Piatt County have much lower incidence rates, hospitalization rates, and fatality rates than surrounding counties. And that is encouraging to him.

 

 

Monticello High School and Clinton High School went remote last week and will remain in remote learning this week. Remmert believes shutting down a building for a couple of weeks is a good thing to get the situation under control but stands with superintendents that do not want to go back to remote learning full-time.

 

 

According to Health Department data, Piatt County has the area's lowest incidence rate while DeWitt County is third. Piatt County's zero fatalities mark the area's lowest death rate while DeWitt County comes in fifth behind Champaign County, Logan County, and McLean County. 

 

Remmert says he will try to provide this data about once a week on top of the several-times-a-week frequency with which they publish their other data. 

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DeWitt County Board Discusses Future of Clinton Lake Acreage at Marina

Around four parcels of land totaling 150 acres at Clinton Lake has long been targeted for development and when the economy hit a snag in 2008, the possibility of development fell with it.

 

Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting, Chairperson of the Marina Committee, Jay Wickenhauser approached the board about approving an appraisal of around 75 acres for $1,000.

 

 

Lance Reece wondered if getting an appraisal would be worth the money because in a few years it would be outdated. State's Attorney Dan Markwell pointed out marina operator Joe Caldwell would be the first to have the right of refusal when the property could be sold next in two years.

 

 

According to Wickenhauser, there has been an offer made to purchase the marina. Reece questioned selling the marina and Wickenhauser noted that was why they were looking at selling they were want to get an appraisal of the acreage adjacent to the marina and perhaps selling that.

 

 

Dan Matthews wants to put a plan in place before anything goes up for sale or any appraisals are done. He believes the property is valuable to the marina.

 

 

Melonie Tilley points out it was the mid-2000s when the County explored selling the property and spent a considerable amount of money to do so. Matthews believes the County should come up with a long-term plan for the property.

 

 

The Board decided to not move forward with the appraisal of the 75 acres. 

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Clinton Administrators Discuss Navigating School Year Under COVID

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, Clinton school building leaders made short presentations on the things happening in their buildings during COVID.

 

Students have been back to classes for nine weeks and administrators shared some of the stories and Douglas and Lincoln Schools Principal Beth Wickenhauser says her focus has been on professional development and specifically finding out what teachers wanted.

 

 

According to Clinton Elementary School Principal Sacha Young, she wanted to know what the COVID slide was like. After some assessments of their students, they found they were not as far behind as they had thought they might be, and she found that to be encouraging.

 

 

The block-schedule at the junior high school has worked out well. Principal Jim Peck says that allowed them to expand the amount of classroom time. Additionally, the opportunities and programs in their building benefited from the block schedule. 

 

 

According to high school principal Jerry Wayne, the mental health first aid training their kids took last year has paid off. He explains they are trying to be proactive in making their students aware of the resources available and continuing the messaging of, quote - "it is ok to not be ok."

 

 

Clinton High School shut down due to COVID contact tracing this week, however, the rest of the school buildings have now been in session nine consecutive weeks. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Day Service Update

The Illinois Department of Human Services has allowed day services to reopen under strict guidelines and some area providers are taking different approaches bringing those folks back.

 

Tony Kirkman, Executive Director of Piatt County Mental Health Center, indicates over the past two months, they have been able to bring back some of their day service clients.

 

 

Kirkman says a problem for the state of Illinois is how to provide funding for day services so consumers can return once the pandemic ceases.

 

 

Kirkman notes many of their clients and their families report increased anxiety, depression, and social isolation. For many, they have been sheltering in place since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

 

For more information on the Piatt County Mental Health Service's day services, visit their website: www.piattmhc.org.

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State Launches Effort to Get Taxpayers to Take Advantage of Earned Income Tax Credit

THE STATE IS LAUNCHING AN EFFORT TO GET MORE TAXPAYERS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT.

 

THE INITIATIVE TARGETS OVER 22-THOUSAND ILLINOISANS WHO QUALIFY FOR, BUT DID NOT CLAIM THE CREDIT SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUSTRO.

 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE WILL BE EMAILING HOUSEHOLDS THAT QUALIFY WITH CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLYING FOR THE CREDIT SAYS SALUSTRO.

 

 

SALUSTRO SAYS MOST HOUSEHOLDS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR BOTH THE FEDERAL AND STATE EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT IF THEY EARN LESS THAN 56-THOUSAND DOLLARS. FAMILIES CAN RECEIVE UP TO 65-HUNDRED FOR THE FEDERAL CREDIT AND 11-HUNDRED FOR THE ILLINOIS CREDIT.

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State Fire Marshall's Office Urges Safety When Decorating for Halloween

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE IS ENCOURAGING THE PUBLIC TO KEEP SAFETY IN MIND WHEN DECORATING FOR FALL AND HALLOWEEN. 

 

TO ENSURE YOU HAVE A SAFE TRICK OR TREATING AND FALL SEASON, FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ RECOMMENDS BEING CAREFUL WITH CANDLES AND CHOOSING COSTUMES THAT DON'T HAVE A LOT OF TRAILING FABRIC.

 

 

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION, AN AVERAGE OF 770 HOME STRUCTURE FIRES BEGIN WITH DECORATIONS THAT WERE TOO CLOSE TO A HEAT SOURCE EACH YEAR ACROSS THE U-S.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS YOU ALSO NEED TO BE CAREFUL WITH DRIED FLOWERS, CORNSTALKS AND CREPE PAPER WHICH CAN CATCH FIRE EASILY. STAY AWAY FROM LONG TRAILING FABRIC ON HALLOWEEN COSTUMES WHICH CAN ALSO CATCH ON FIRE AND TEACH KIDS TO STAY AWAY FROM OPEN FLAMES.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was an unseasonably warm day Thursday followed by some rainstorms that ushered in cooler temperatures. Things are looking to be more seasonable over the weekend and in the week ahead says state climatologist Trent Ford...

 

 

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Clinton High School Extends Remote Learning To Nov. 4

Clinton High School students will have to wait until Nov. 4 to return to class.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles says they have no good reason to bring students back and with an already high number of students have to quarantine, they felt it was best to continue remote learning until Nov. 4. He adds, Nov. 4 was chosen because there are no classes on Nov. 2 and the State has designated election day as a state holiday.

 

 

According to Nettles, the district is at 19 cumulative cases of COVID across the district with eight originating from the high school and then four from the junior high school.

 

 

Nettles understands the frustration of parents during these situations and indicates it is frustrating to them as well. He appreciates the cooperation from the community and how hard their staff is working to keep kids safe while they are in school.

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DeWitt County DOVE Advocate Discusses Victims Escaping Abusive Situations

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and DeWitt County DOVE is hoping the public will take some time and become more aware of what victims face when trying to escape their abusers.

 

Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE tells Regional Radio News it can take a victim seven to ten attempts to leave their abusers and oftentimes face shocking, even heinous, efforts of control and monitoring.

 

 

As victims are now able to get out and see friends, family, and coworkers as the COVID lockdowns begin to ease, Tolladay says they have seen a huge increase in their cases escalating. She indicates that was not unexpected due to the nature of the lockdowns and the lack of contact with people that would take notice of something wrong with an individual in these circumstances.

 

 

The DOVE 24/7 hotline is 217-935-6072 or their office line is 217-935-6619.

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Sen. Durbin Discusses Stimulus Package

US Senator Dick Durbin says the reality of a new COVID relief package making it out of the Senate isn’t looking good.

 

Durbin says that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear that another round of support will face a certain end in the Senate.

 

 

Senate Democrats say that the Head of the Federal Reserve says it would be tragic to not pass support for the economy.

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Sen. Durbin Talks Coney-Barrett

As the US Senate gets closer to voting on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court one Senator in Illinois says it can be stopped but Democrat Dick Durbin says his party can’t do it on their own.

 

 

Barrett is a step closer to the nomination after being approved by the Senate Judicial Committee this week.

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Gov. Pritzker Decrees State Police to Help With COVID Mitigation Enforcement

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STRICTER COVID-19 MITIGATIONS PLACED ON SOME REGIONS OF THE STATE WILL BE ENFORCED. 

 

SOME OF THE NEW RESTRICTIONS NOW AFFECTING FOUR ILLINOIS REGIONS INCLUDE NO INDOOR DINING OR BAR SERVICES, AND GATHERINGS ARE LIMITED TO 25 PEOPLE OR LESS. THE GOVERNOR SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESSES AND THE PUBLIC TO FOLLOW THESE RULES.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE HAS BEEN ALERTED TO THE NEW RULES NOW AFFECTING FOUR OUT OF 11 ILLINOIS REGIONS. HE SAYS TROOPERS WILL START WITH WARNINGS TO VIOLATORS, BUT CAN ALSO ISSUE CITATIONS. THE STATE MAY ALSO TAKE AWAY A BAR OR RESTAURANT'S LIQUOR LICENSE.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS BARS AND RESTAURANTS STILL FAILING TO COMPLY COULD LOSE THEIR LIQUOR LICENSE, WHICH COULD BE HARD TO GET BACK IF REGULATIONS AREN'T BEING FOLLOWED.

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Chicago Public Health Commissioner Says Families Need to Worry About Stopping COVID Spread at Home

As coronavirus cases continue to rise around the state, health officials want people to do more to stop the spread of the virus.

 

Allison Arwardy, the Public Health Commissioner in for Chicago says spread isn’t happening as much as you’d think in public places. It’s in homes and areas you feel safe. She says you can’t let your guard down because of the surroundings you find yourself in. You need to protect yourself no matter where you are.

 

 

Arwardy says that guidance is especially focused on individuals receiving home health care and repair work.

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DeWitt County Board Puts Budget On File With Minimal Tax Increases

The uncertainty after COVID along with challenges like adjustments in the court fines and fees structures and increases in minimum wage made this year's DeWitt County budgeting process exceedingly difficult.

 

Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board and Finance Chair Camille Redman presented the Board and the public with the budget and she says it comes with minimal tax increases in the county rate and from the ambulance services.

 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg calls it a great budget and Redman credits Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister. Newberg also points out there are agreements with all the unions and raises in anticipation of the mandated minimum wage.

 

 

Newberg indicates this budget didn't come without its challenges and credits board member Terry Ferguson for his foresight to file the third-quarter report with the landfill.

 

 

Newberg will be in studio Friday morning to discuss the budget and many other items of discussion from the Thursday night meeting, including....

 

>>The Board postponed an appraisal of the 75 acres of timber on Clinton Lake. This part of the 600 acres of Clinton Lake that has been the topic of development in recent years.

 

>>The Board approved the purchase of laptops to be used with the CARES funding from the federal government from the COVID stimulus plan.

 

>>The Board set a special meeting for Tuesday evening that will take place virtually for several motions related to the Alta Farms II wind farm. Those include a motion to approve the wind farm construction observation contractor scope of services agreement, a motion to approve the building permit review contractor scope of services agreement, a motion to approve the DeWitt County insurance agreement, and a motion to approve a sound study consultant agreement. 

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Clinton YMCA To Offer Winter Sports Clinics

Due to COVID restrictions, winter programming at the YMCA will look different this year but they will still be able to offer sports camps to area youth.

 

Youth Program Director David Torbert tells Regional Radio News the winter programming will be similar to the fall programming in that they will not be able to offer competitions, so their focus will be on skill development.

 

 

Similar to the fall sports, Torbert is excited to again have the collaboration of the high school athletic department. He says both the high school boys and girls basketball coaches have wanted to get involved and be a part of these programs.

 

 

Health screenings and masks will be a part of this year's clinics. Torbert says they want to create an environment of safety for everyone that comes out.

 

 

Get more information by stopping into the YMCA at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton and by visiting clintoncommymca.org. Torbert says registration will be left open until the start of the program on Nov. 2. 

 

He adds boys clinics will be Mondays and Tuesday while girls will do camps on Thursdays and Fridays. They will also be broken down by age group with 3rd through 5th graders going from 6 pm to 7 pm and 6th through 8th graders going from 7 pm to 8 pm. 

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Monticello High School to Remain in Remote Learning Until Nov. 4

Monticello High School students will remain in remote learning until November 4 district administration announced Thursday afternoon.

 

Dr. Vic Zimmerman on Twitter announced six students have tested positive for COVID and 35 are in quarantine. 

 

The first quarter is scheduled to end on Oct. 30 and with no school, Nov. 2-3, students will return to the building on Nov. 4. 

 

Over the weekend, the decision was made to turn to remote learning due to slow contact tracing efforts at the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department. 

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Mt. Pulaski Schools Exploring Expanding School Day

Despite COVID numbers increasing in Illinois and other parts of the country, central Illinois school leaders are exploring bringing students back to school on a more full-time basis.

 

Mt. Pulaski school is among those exploring furthering the school day and Superintendent Fred Lamkey says their building leadership team is exploring extending their school day into the afternoon hours. Currently, students are in-person in the morning hours and remotely in the afternoon.

 

 

While COVID cases in Illinois and other parts of the country begin to surge, Lamkey says it is a reminder that the mitigation efforts like masking and physical distancing are going to be necessary to make a return to school on a more full-time basis successful.

 

 

According to Lamkey, as the cold and flu season ascends upon us, his approach is to take things a day at a time and utilize what they have done in the past for what could be the most challenging part of the school year.

 

 

When the district surveyed parents over the summer about how they wanted to proceed with the school year, Lamkey indicates 99-percent said they wanted to be in-person. Around 16 total kids are doing remote learning in their district.

 

 

Lamkey credits the community, their teachers and staff, and the students for the work they have done in making the policies in place work and allowing them to stay in school and explore the possibility of expanding their school day. 

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Monticello Expands Grant Programs for Downtown Businesses

Downtown Monticello business owners will soon be able to take advantage of an expanded grant opportunity through the City for things like roof repairs and tuck-pointing.

 

Callie McFarland is the Director of Community Development for the City of Monticello and explains they are expanding on a couple of grant opportunities already in place. The current grants were very limited, calling them 'putting lipstick on a pig'.

 

 

McFarland explains there are some small changes to the program. The window for construction is now shorter and the program is run through the City Council. She notes they are hoping to rally interest in the program as the first application period begins in December.

 

 

According to McFarland, there is a review committee comprised of several different entities. She says the process has been streamlined to make sure there are more details in an application and projects get done quicker.

 

 

McFarland points anyone with questions to the City website, cityofmonticello.net or to contact them at 217-762-2583. 

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Sen. Rose Offers Thoughts on Progressive Tax Vote

We are less than two weeks away from the election and the ballot for many central Illinois voters is loaded.

 

From local races to state seats on the ballot and the much anticipated presidential race, a lot of money is being poured into education on the progressive income tax vote. Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose outlined his view on the Fair Tax, noting it is a valid question, but the refusal to say where the rates are going to be set is a problem.

 

 

Both Republicans and Democrats have arguments for and against the Fair Tax. Senator Rose

says that one argument against the Fair Tax is that they cannot balance the budget on only

taxing the top 3%.

 

 

Another issue that Senator Rose has when it comes to the Fair Tax is that he says that the

wealthy who would pay the higher rates will leave, but farmers can’t.

 

 

Ads about the tax are filtering through almost all media formats, from streaming services like Spotify and YouTubeTV to radio and TV stations, a lot rides on the vote. Gov. Pritzker has tied many entities' funding to the tax, most notably for school districts. 

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State Officials Strategizing Vaccine Distribution For When It's Available

THE STATE IS PUTTING TOGETHER A PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE ONCE WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE. 

 

THE GOAL WOULD BE TO FIRST VACCINATE THOSE MOST VULNERABLE, INCLUDING HEALTH CARE WORKERS, FIRST RESPONDERS AND STAFF AND RESIDENTS OF LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER. HE NOTES THE PLAN IS EVOLVING...SINCE QUESTIONS STILL REMAIN.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THEY WANT TO BE READY TO GET THE VACCINE OUT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE...BUT THAT THERE ARE STILL SEVERAL QUESTIONS SUCH AS HOW MANY DOSES WILL THE VACCINE ENTAIL, HOW WILL IT NEED TO BE STORED, AND..

 

 

OFFICIALS SAY THE VACCINE WILL NOT BE A PUBLIC MANDATE. IT WILL BE FREE ALTHOUGH PROVIDERS MAY CHARGE A SMALL FEE TO ADMINISTER IT.

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Midwest Weather Offering Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Another crazy stretch of weather for the Midwest. Field fires in central and southern Illinois, followed by nine-inches of snow in central Iowa and then back to 70 degree temperatures later this week. The first dose of winter was felt along the I-80 corridor in Iowa on Monday. Nine inches of show was reported in Polk City, which is between Des Moines and Ames. Bryce Anderson is Chief Agriculture Meteorologist for DTN.

 

 

High temps will return to the 50’s on Friday for much of Illinois.

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Former Congressman Shimkus Joins SIU Faculty

As Congressman John Shimkus transitions from a life of public service back into the private sector, he is announcing his next career move. Beginning in the spring, Shimkus will join the SIUE faculty as a member of the Political Science department. Shimkus is a graduate of the university, completing his Master's in Business Administration in 1997, just as he was starting his first term in the House of Representatives.

 

He served as Madison County Treasurer from 1990-1996 and was an educator at Metro East Lutheran High School in Edwardsville before that. He says this move feels like he has come full circle, saying he feels “very blessed to have served as a member of congress.”

 

 

Shimkus had already committed to providing to the university a sampling of his work while in office. A donation of records, correspondence, photos and more will soon be housed in the “Shimkus Collection” at the Elijah P. Lovejoy Library on campus.

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Farm Bureau Promoting 'Get Out the Vote' Campaign

The Illinois Farm Bureau pushing the “Get Out the Vote” campaign and the organization remains opposed to the Progressive Income Tax says IFB President Richard Guebert Jr.

 

 

Early voting runs through Nov. 2 with polls open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day Nov. 3.

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Congressman LaHood Discusses Stimulus Progress

There will not be another stimulus package, according to a Central Illinois Congressman. 

 

With election day less than two weeks away, Congressman Darin LaHood said House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to add language that is not COVID-related.

 

 

So far, the White House is offering around $1.9 trillion, while the Democrats are proposing $2.2 trillion in relief. On Tuesday, the White House said negotiation progress has been made modestly between Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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DeWitt County DOVE Discusses October Being Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.

 

You've likely seen DeWitt County DOVE's signs around the community this month. DOVE's Jennifer Tolladay is hoping October will be a time when we take time and seek out information about domestic violence - such as the cycle of domestic abuse and violence starts with little things.

 

 

According to Tolladay, abusers very carefully select their victims, and oftentimes their behavior is something they likely have done in previous relationships.

 

 

An abusive relationship to turn from emotional abuse to physical abuse is often dependent on the abuser. Tolladay explains sometimes the relationship can take a turn based on substance abuse by the abuser or something in their lives triggers the change.

 

 

Tolladay points out, children can often be a catalyst to a victim seeking asylum. Whether the abuser has done something to the children in their relationship or the children have witnessed something and told a mandated reporter like a school teacher or church leader, those often can be the things that start the process of a victim leaving the relationship.

 

 

Tolladay indicates one of the biggest stigmas around domestic violence victims is they can just get up at any point and leave or that the victims must have done something to deserve what is happening to them. She points out abusers are going to find some reason to harm their victims.

 

She also notes the stigma is often that men are the only abusers however, there are some very "cunning and manipulative" women out there as well.

 

Tolladay encourages anyone enduring an abusive situation to do anything they can to escape and find help. The DOVE 24/7 hotline is 217-935-6072 or their office line is 217-935-6619.

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Teen Driving Deaths Down Since 2007

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE SAYS TEEN DRIVING DEATHS IN ILLINOIS ARE DOWN BY 74 PERCENT. 

 

THAT DECREASE IS SINCE 2007, THE YEAR BEFORE THE STATE IMPLEMENTED THE GRADUATED DRIVER’S LICENSE PROGRAM WHICH PLACED STRICTER REQUIREMENTS ON NEW DRIVERS SAYS SECRETARY WHITE.

 

 

WHITE SAYS THE PROGRAM REQUIRES MORE PRACTICE TIME WITH PARENTS, AND LIMITS UNRELATED PASSENGERS TO JUST ONE.

 

 

LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS…41 TEENS WERE KILLED IN TRAFFIC CRASHES. THAT COMPARES TO 155 IN 2007.

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State Officials Insist They Are Not Trying to Punish Bars, Restaurants with COVID Restrictions

STATE OFFICIALS SAY THEY AREN’T TRYING TO PUNISH BARS AND RESTAURANTS WITH STRICTER COVID-19 RULES. 

 

NEW MITIGATIONS FOR REGIONS WITH RISING CASES INCLUDE NO INDOOR DINING OR BAR SERVICE. PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS CONTACT TRACING HAS SHOWN THAT EXPOSURE IS GREATEST IN SCHOOLS, AT WORK AND AT BARS AND RESTAURANTS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT JUST MAKES SENSE.

 

 

FOUR OF THE STATE’S 11 DESIGNATED COVID REGIONS ARE NOW UNDER THE NEW MITIGATIONS UNTIL TEST POSITIVITY RATES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS COME DOWN.

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DNR Discusses Hunting Safety

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS ANNOUNCING HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR DEER HUNTING AT STATE PARKS THIS YEAR. 

 

I-D-N-R WANTS TO MAKE SURE HUNTERS STAY SAFE FROM THE CORONAVIRUS WHILE ENJOYING THE OUTDOORS. THAT’S WHY THERE’S SOME CHANGES THIS YEAR SAYS SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY,

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, THERE WILL BE NO IN-PERSON DRAWINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS FOR BLIND LOCATIONS OR HUNTING ZONES AND NO PRE-SEASON ORIENTATION MEETINGS WILL BE HELD THIS YEAR. CHECK I-D-N-R’S WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND FOR IMPACTS ON SPECIFIC STATE PARKS.

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Clinton Board of Education Discusses Return of Remote Learners

Some families of students learning from home want to return to school and Tuesday night the Clinton Board of Education discussed how to handle a return to class as the end of the semester is on the horizon.

 

According to Superintendent Curt Nettles, these discussions have been ongoing over the last few weeks, and for him and Board President, Dan Matthews, the focus is on the younger students, specifically those at Lincoln and Douglas Schools and Clinton Elementary School.

 

 

The district plans to bring remote learners back at the start of the second semester because the district is paying for a curriculum for those families to use. According to Nettles, after talking with teachers, he believes it would be difficult to go against their original plan but believes they could find alternate solutions.

 

 

Matthews called the meeting with CES Principal Sacha Young and her teachers were a very good meeting. He explains the challenges ahead with COVID, students' activities outside of school and any mitigation efforts that could be coming by Gov. JB Pritzker makes for a lot of uncertainty.

 

 

Chris Hammer is also a teacher at Lincoln High School and sympathizes with the challenges for teachers. It was brought up assessing students for where they are and the challenges that could be brought up by bringing them in mid-semester.

 

 

Matthews indicates kids are falling farther behind in the remote learning setting and Matthews believes something needs to be done for them but admits he does not know what that looks like.

 

 

Hammer realizes the challenges parents are facing right now and believes perhaps a lot of parents overestimated how effectively they could teach their kids in the home.

 

 

At the end of the discussion amongst board members, Matthews stated the decision would be to wait until the next semester to bring students back, however, he implored teachers to be mindful of what will be necessary to make sure those students get caught up and bring those resources to the board's attention. 

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Clinton City Council Puts GIS Infrastructure Mapping System on File

It isn't often the Clinton City Council issues an agenda with no actionable business but that was the case Monday night.

 

The Council did, however, put on file a GIS mapping project for city infrastructure and plot outlines. Administrator Tim Followell on the WHOW Morning Show indicates this is a big deal because it will take all the paper maps and convert them into a digital map.

 

 

This is going to make often large and inconvenient projects much easier. Followell explains not only will it make some things easier, but it could turn into a matter of improved public safety.

 

 

Followell anticipates the November 2 meeting being when the agreement gets approved. After that, it is a matter of utilizing the paper copies of all the infrastructure and then uploads it to a digital footprint. 

 

 

Followell calls the mapping system an investment that will be around $70,000 upfront. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CROP HARVESTING IS PROGRESSING QUICKLY IN ILLINOIS. 

 

ANOTHER WEEK OF VERY LITTLE RAIN GAVE PRODUCERS PLENTY OF TIME IN THE FIELDS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

81 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED...WELL AHEAD OF THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE OF 66 PERCENT. 

 

 

73 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 25 PERCENT HAS EMERGED. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO 22 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 34 PERCENT SHORT, 43 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND ONE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Southern Illinois Latest Region to Face COVID Mitigation Efforts

REGION FIVE, IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS CURRENTLY HAS A TEST POSITIVITY RATE OF OVER NINE PERCENT, AND AN INCREASE IN CORONAVIRUS RELATED HOSPITALIZATIONS SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

HE WARNS MORE AREAS COULD SOON FOLLOW.

 

 

REGION 1, THE ROCKFORD AREA, IS ALREADY UNDER THE TOUGHER RULES AND REGIONS SEVEN AND EIGHT MAY SOON FOLLOW. THAT INCLUDES KANKAKEE, WILL, DUPAGE AND KANE COUNTIES.

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Rep. Brady Believes Election Results Will Take Weeks, Even Months to Confirm

With more than 27 million votes cast by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one state lawmaker says it could take weeks and months before officials' results are confirmed.

 

Dan Brady, State Representative of the 105th District, who is also up for reelection, said with no possible clear winner on November 3rd, it could add to America's problems.

 

 

Brady added that while some may be skeptical of voting by mail, the process is safe because it's in local governments' hands.

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Governor Pritzker Warns of Second COVID Wave

The state and much of the United States is seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Illinois has been seeing case counts reach more than three thousand infections over each of the last five days. Governor JB Pritzker says even as a new wave of the virus is here, better outcomes have been seen for those who are being infected.

 

 

Pritzker says people in Illinois continue to need to wear a mask, keep physical distance and wash their hands.

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Clinton High School Turns to Remote Learning Amid Small COVID Outbreak

A small number of COVID cases resulting in subsequent contact tracing has forced administrators to go to remote learning at Clinton High School until at least Friday.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department's contact tracing is slow due to the high number of COVID cases in the two-county area and so their efforts resulted in nearly 70 students needing to quarantine.

 

 

Will remote learning extend beyond Friday? Nettles says he is committed to bringing students back on Monday, October 26, however, if the COVID situation among their students and staff becomes more severe than it already is, they may have to be in remote learning longer.

 

 

As schools get set to face one of their biggest challenges yet, the cold and flu season which coincides with COVID this year, Nettles indicates this hiccup in their in-person learning intentions is not altering his outlook on the winter season because they know there will be sickness coming.

 

 

Nettles indicates if the community is not willing to take precautions through the cold and flu season, then the school system will struggle to make it through the winter in-person. He hopes everyone will be responsible and see a doctor when necessary.

 

He also notes Tuesday will serve as a teacher institute day to get remote learning plans set in motion and they will begin to execute their plan they had at the ready. 

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Clinton YMCA Offering Free Fitness Weeks

If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to take up an exercise routine at the Clinton YMCA, the next three weeks are your chances to find out.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates for the next three weeks, the Y will be open to the community to come in, try out their wellness center full of workout equipment, try out a few classes or just come in and shoot some hoops in their gym.

 

 

As we begin to hit the time of year seasonal affective disorder starts to set in and all sorts of viruses circulate, Cluver believes now is the best time to begin setting in place those healthy habits.

 

 

According to Cluver, this is a no strings attached offer to the community to come in for three weeks, take advantage of any activities or programs that sound good to the individual, and check out what the Y is all about.

 

 

If you're choosing to work out for the first time or begin a routine regularly for the first time, Cluver has a couple of pieces of advice. The first is to something you like and the other is to invite someone along with you to hold you accountable.

 

 

Stop into the YMCA at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton to learn more. Cluver says for anyone unfamiliar with the Y, he or someone on his staff is always willing to offer a tour and provide more information on all the activities and wellness programs they have available.

 

You can also visit clintoncommymca.org for more information. 

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Monticello Schools Go Remote Learning Over Positive COVID Tests, Contact Tracing Impacts

Between four and eight new COVID cases at Monticello High School and the impacts of contact tracing have forced Monticello school administrators to go to remote learning this week.

 

Dr. Vic Zimmerman tells Regional Radio News they became aware of this over the weekend and because of the health department's backlog of contact tracing efforts, they did their own limited efforts and found over 30 students impacted from the contact tracing.

 

 

As the high school goes to the remote learning plan this week, Dr. Zimmerman says it is something they are completely prepared for. He says this was something they planned for in their return to school plans.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman anticipates a decision about next week's plans by mid-week. On Twitter, he says all other school buildings will remain open and implores the community to reconsider attending events where multiple individuals may be congregating without social distancing or masking. 

 

Dr. Zimmerman also re-tweeted an earlier tweet pointing out they have students in the building five hours per day and are most concerned about what happens the other 19 hours in the day. 

 

 

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Clinton Schools To Offer Free Lunches Thanks to USDA Grant

Clinton School kids can take advantage of free lunches from the school district courtesy of a grant from the USDA.

 

Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles says this is the program that allowed them to continue to provide lunches to children after schools were shut down in March. As the new school year began, the program went away but now it has returned.

 

 

For parents that may have been struggling to pay for their children's lunches, this will be a big bonus and Nettles adds it's also another layer of nutrition for the kids in their lunch program.

 

 

According to Nettles, the al a carte items that are available at the junior high school and high school buildings are not eligible for the free lunch programs. 

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Local Health Officials Discuss Recent COVID News on Masking, Testing

When asked what recent developments of COVID caught their attention, two DeWitt County health officials had two different answers.

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert points to a recent data point from the CDC on masking. Remmert says it suggests while masking is an important step in containing the coronavirus, it is not the end-all for stopping the spread.

 

 

CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services Paul Skowron says a recent development of fast-result testing is going to be a big step forward when it becomes available, unfortunately, it doesn't appear as though it will be widely available until the first part of next year.

 

 

As the number of COVID cases continues to jump in DeWitt County, Illinois, and the country, Skowron says we need to remain vigilant in our efforts of masking and physical distancing.  

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National Weather Service Concerned About Lack of Moisture in Extended Forecasts

The National Weather Service in Lincoln is concerned about the lack of rain in long-term weather forecasts, suggesting we could be on the way to a dry spring and mirroring the way the drought of 2012 started.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service says right as we shift to November, December and beyond, things are looking unpredictable. Miller notes right now they are looking for a dry and cool start to the winter but the weather pattern we're in would suggest a more wet start to the winter.

 

 

The rollercoaster ride of temperatures will continue. Miller says it won't be unusual to see temperatures in the 40s and limited precipitation. 

 

 

Drought is expanding across the country and Miller says the winter is going to do little to ease that. He says rarely is winter a drought-busting season.

 

 

This pattern last took place in 2011 with 2012 was dominated by extreme drought. Miller says a long-term rainfall is needed soon, otherwise, we're likely looking at a dry spring. 

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Fall Has Been Dry So Far

IT'S BEEN A DRY FALL SO FAR IN ILLINOIS.

 

ACCORDING TO THE U-S DROUGHT MONITOR...THE BOTTOM HALF AND NEARLY ALL OF THE EASTERN BORDER IN ILLINOIS IS EITHER ABNORMALLY DRY ON IN A MODERATE DROUGHT. THAT MAKES SENSE GIVEN THE LATEST RAIN TOTALS SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

FORD SAYS THE DRY WEATHER HAS BEEN GOOD FOR CROP HARVESTING, SOIL MOISTURE WILL NEED REPLENISHING FOR THE SPRING PLANTING SEASON.

 

 

FORD SAYS THE 6-10 DAY AND WINTER OUTLOOKS ARE CALLING FOR ABOVE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION.

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State Unemployment Rate Down Third Month in Row

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE CONTINUES TO FALL.

 

SEPTEMBER WAS THE THIRD MONTH IN A ROW FOR A DECLINE IN THE STATE'S JOBLESS RATE SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CISCO.

 

 

CISCO SAYS A FEW AREAS SAW SOME GROWTH.

 

 

UNFORTUNATELY, THE STATE LOST ABOUT 12 THOUSAND JOBS LAST MONTH, ESPECIALLY IN THE PROFESSIONAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES, GOVERNMENT AND HEALTH AND EDUCATION SECTORS.

 

THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR SEPTEMBER CAME IN AT SEVEN POINT NINE PERCENT.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Dry ground, warm days and windy conditions are contributing to some possibly dangerous conditions this weekend. State Climatologist Trent Ford outlines the weekend weather forecast and the week ahead.
 

 

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Change in COVID Testing Mandates to Result in Longer Waits for Kids to Go Back to School

For some Illinois administrators, teachers, and parents, the 2020 school year has been challenging enough and for even more, it is about to get more challenging.

This week the Illinois Department of Public Health announced they any student who is sent home needing a negative COVID test to return to the classroom will no longer be able to use the results of the rapid-tests. CEO of Warner Hospital Paul Skowron explains this means any test done - in Clinton, at least - will have to wait at least a day for their results to return.

 

 

Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles says he has seen first-hand the inaccuracies of the rapid tests. He calls it a scenario of being safe rather than sorry.

 

 

Skowron says the administration of the test will remain the same. It is the same swab and the same kit, the only difference is the results are examined away from the City-owned facility as opposed to getting results right away.

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Lincoln to Clinton Down to Decatur One of Driest Stretches in Illinois

A stretch from Lincoln to Clinton down to Decatur and farther south is the driest areas of Illinois.

 

The National Weather Service's Chris Miller says the data is deceiving though because of how wet the spring was. He indicates that doesn't take away from the fact it is very dry. 

 

 

Most of Illinois remains in a 'moderate drought' and Miller says things are even drier down to the south of central Illinois.

 

 

Miller told Regional Radio News earlier this week if we don't see a significant rain system in the next several weeks, we are looking at a good chance of starting the spring in a drought. 

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$46-Million in USDA Funding Invested in Southern Illinois Broadband

Tens of millions of dollars are coming from the USDA to southern Illinois to improve broadband connections. The USDA says more than $46 million will be invested to bring high-speed internet to nearly 400 farms, almost five hundred businesses, and dozens of schools. Republican Congressman Mike Bost says recent events have exposed the continued digital divide in rural areas.

 

 

The funds, broken up into grants and forgivable loans will be invested in parts of Saline, Williamson, Franklin, White, Crawford, and Lawrence counties.

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National Weather Service Issues Red Flag Warning, Wind Advisory for Saturday

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning and Wind Advisory for the Regional Radio listening area for Saturday.

 

The Weather Service says that from 10 this morning thru 8 o'clock tonight, a combination of gusty winds and low humidity will allow any fires that develop, to spread rapidly.  They add the threat is greatest in rural areas where harvest continues.  Outdoor burning is not recommended.

 

South winds will gust from 45 to 50 miles an hour during the afternoon north of a Taylorville to Danville line, and from 35 to 45 miles an hour south of there.

 

Humidity this afternoon will be as low as 20 to 25 percent.

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio for the latest weather information.

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Domestic Abuse Cases 'Way Up' in DeWitt County

As the COVID restrictions ease gradually in Illinois, the number of domestic abuse cases are beginning to go through the roof.

 

That is what Jennifer Tolladay at DeWitt County DOVE tells Regional Radio News and indicates it was not unexpected.

 

 

Tolladay encourages anyone enduring an abusive situation to do anything they can to escape and find help. The DOVE 24/7 hotline is 217-935-6072 or their office line is 217-935-6619.

 

Tolladay says it can take a victim anywhere from seven to ten attempts to permanently escape their abuser. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director: Please Avoid Gatherings of Elderly People

The spike in COVID in DeWitt County has the Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department pleading with the public to cancel any gatherings that involving elderly individuals. 

 

Dave Remmert says his primary concern durnig the entirety of the spread of this virus has been protecting vulnerable populations and he is pleading with the community considering any gathering of these people to cancel those planned activities.

 

 

The DeWitt County metrics are beginning to increase and Remmert is stressing the importance of continuing to shelter vulnerable populations due to the overwhelming adverse impacts on them.

 

 

While recent trends are going in the wrong direction for DeWitt County, Remmert says overall DeWitt County had been doing a good job containing the virus and protecting vulnerable populations. He also adds, this includes Piatt County. 

 

 

According to Remmert, not only is DeWitt County inching closer to returning to the Governor's COVID warning list, but the entire region is getting closer to triggering mitigation efforts.

 

 

An outbreak at Liberty Village assisted living facility in Clinton and the shutdown of the DeWitt County Friendship Center, a senior gathering place, all made news this week locally. 

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Local Lawmakers Weigh In On High School Sports

High school football is on its way to an unprecedented spring season in Illinois.

 

While states all around Illinois and the country have reversed course in recent weeks, Illinois and Governor JB Pritzker have remained steadfast in keeping the football, volleyball, and soccer seasons shut down. 

 

Thursday on the WHOW Morning Show, State Sen. Chapin Rose says the supermajority of the Democrat-controlled Illinois legislature doesn't want to get in the Governor's way and so he is very discouraged by the way this situation is being handled.

 

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins also on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday went the political route and self-admittedly knows it is not a popular opinion but he says to stop electing Democrats to Springfield.

 

 

Sen. Rose says right now we're stuck in a pattern of lawsuits - that are largely getting thrown out - and petitions. He points out Democratic lawmakers are not going to stand up to him by calling the legislator back to Springfield.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins is critical of the IHSA that they are walking around like 'whipped puppies' and is imploring parents and school board members that care about this issue to become active.

 

 

Winter sports are set to begin November 16 and Gov. Pritzker has been non-committal about the possibilities of winter sports moving forward. 

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IDPH Reports Daily High of COVID Cases

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTED THURSDAY A RECORD DAILY HIGH OF NEW COVID-19 CASES.

 

FOUR-THOUSAND-15 NEW CASES HAVE BEEN CONFIRMED, AND 53 ADDITIONAL DEATHS. THAT'S THE HIGHEST ONE-DAY TOTAL SINCE MORE THAN 53-HUNDRED NEW CASES WERE REPORTED ON SEPTEMBER FOURTH DUE TO A BACKLOG IN TESTS. EARLIER THIS WEEK GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WARNED THE PUBLIC THAT THE VIRUS IS STILL DANGEROUS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER REMINDED THAT THE VIRUS IS STILL A RISK, AND THAT IT CAN CAUSE LONG-TERM HEALTH IMPLICATIONS:

 

 

LONG TERM EFFECTS INCLUDE BREATHING PROBLEMS AND EXHAUSTION. THE STATEWIDE TEST POSITIVITY RATE HAS NOW RISEN TO FOUR POINT NINE PERCENT, WITH HIGHER NUMBERS SEEN IN MANY COMMUNITIES.

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Gov. Pritzker Asked About High School Winter Sports

Some high school sports have been played this fall but notably not football and volleyball. Will traditional winter sports be played? Basketball season is nearing and Governor JB Pritzker isn’t completely committing to that sport being ready for competition.

 

 

The IHSA has set the winter sports season to start on November 16th. The IHSA Board meets next Monday for its regular October meeting.

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100 Applications Submitted for Illinois Livestock Management Facilities Grant Program

Around 100 applications have been received for the state’s Livestock Management Facilities Grant Program. The initiative was rolled out as a response to market disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic says acting Illinois Department of Agriculture director Jerry Costello.

 

 

The Livestock Management Facilities Grant Program consists of three financial assistance programs: Swine Depopulation Program, Agriculture Business Interruption Program and Meat and Poultry Capacity Program. The application deadline is Oct. 31. More information is available on IDOA’s website and questions can be submitted to agr.grants@illinois.gov.

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$46-Million in USDA Funding Invested in Southern Illinois Broadband

Tens of millions of dollars are coming from the USDA to southern Illinois to improve broadband connections. The USDA says more than $46 million will be invested to bring high-speed internet to nearly 400 farms, almost five hundred businesses, and dozens of schools. Republican Congressman Mike Bost says recent events have exposed the continued digital divide in rural areas.

 

 

The funds, broken up into grants and forgivable loans will be invested in parts of Saline, Williamson, Franklin, White, Crawford and Lawrence counties.

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Medicare Part D Open Enrollment Starts Today (Thursday)

Thursday, October 15 is the first day of the annual open enrollment period for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

 

If you're a senior in DeWitt County hoping to meet with Diane Cusey through Community Care Systems, the process will be a little different this year. Cusey indicates now is the time to get in and get enrolled or make any alterations to your coverage.

 

 

Enrolling in Medicare Part D can save seniors a lot of money on their prescription drugs. According to Cusey, it is worth at least checking on your plan to make sure there are no increases, costing seniors more money.

 

 

There are income eligibility guidelines for the program. Cusey explains there is so much change on a year-to-year basis that all seniors need to get in and know what has changed and how it impacts them.

 

 

Cusey outlines what seniors will need when they make an appointment with her....

 

 

With the Friendship Center shutdown until November 1. You can still get in contact with Cusey at their Friendship Center office for more details about how meetings with her will be conducted. Her number in Clinton is 217-935-4560. 

 

Cusey will also be making stops around DeWitt County during the open enrollment period. You can catch her at Farmer City during her normal hours and in Kenney at 8:30 am on Wednesday, October 28, and then Wednesday, November 25 at 8:30 am.

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DeWitt County DOVE Hosting Annual Candle Light Vigil For Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and each year, DeWitt County DOVE hosts a special candlelight vigil to commemorate the victims of domestic violence and its survivors.

 

The ceremony is tonight at the St. John's Catholic Church in Clinton at 6:30 pm. Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE says because of COVID, this year's event will be shorter but they will continue with their usual testimonials and candle-lighting ceremony to honor the victims of domestic violence.

 

 

The month of October allows for DOVE to provide added awareness around domestic violence but to also pause and reflect on those who are in the midst of a situation seeking shelter or those who have lost their battle.

 

 

This evening's vigil will be shorter to honor COVID restrictions. Tolladay says they will require masks to be worn and have sanitizer available at the doors.

 

 

Tonight's vigil starts at 6:30 pm and again is at the St. John's Catholic Church on Monroe Street in Clinton. Get more information about DOVE by 217-935-6619.

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Illinois Specific Death by Suicide Data Released

One person dies by suicide in Illinois every six hours.

 

Alarming numbers recently were released and Heritage Behavioral Health Center's Jessica Smiley says the numbers are alarming for young people. 

 

 

Since the COVID shutdowns, stress and depression are on the rise in Illinois. Smiley indicates mental health issues like these are not always associated with suicide but she stresses it is important we check on each other.

 

 

According to Smiley, circling around the issue or ignoring it altogether is not helpful. She encourages learning about depression and mental health and suicide and again, checking in on each other.

 

 

Smiley will return to the WHOW Morning Show this Friday at 9:30 am. She encourages community businesses, organizations, and anyone interested to reach out to them and participate in Heritage's first-aid training for mental health. There are many ways to take advantage of that  - to get more information visit heritagenet.org. 

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IDPH Releases Holiday Season Guide Amid COVID

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS OFFERING GUIDANCE FOR GETTING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS SAFELY AMIDST THE PANDEMIC. 

 

THE HOLIDAYS ARE OFTEN A TIME FOR PARTIES AND GETTING TOGETHER WITH FAMILY. BUT WITH THE CORONAVIRUS STILL GOING STRONG, THIS YEAR IS GOING TO TAKE SOME EXTRA PLANNING SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay).

 

 

EZIKE SAYS EVEN SMALL GATHERINGS POSE A RISK OF INFECTION.

 

 

EZIKE ADVISES EVERYONE TO WEAR A MASK WHEN NOT EATING OR DRINKING, HOSTING GATHERINGS OUTSIDE IF THE WEATHER ALLOWS AND INCREASING AIR FLOW INSIDE BY CRACKING THE WINDOWS. SHE SAYS IT’S ALSO A GOOD IDEA TO SKIP THE BUFFET STYLE DINNER THIS YEAR AND HAVE JUST ONE PERSON SERVING THE FOOD.

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Ameren Highlighting Correct Generator Use

Power outages can happen any time of year but a temporary power option that many choose during these outages is a generator. Ameren Illinois is highlighting the importance of how to use one safely. The utility’s Brian Bretsch says Ameren wants to make sure customers install and use their generators properly.

 

 

Bretsch says homeowners should exercise extreme caution when handling fuel for portable generators. Do not attempt to refuel your generator while it is running. Let the generator cool down before adding fuel. Call Ameren at 1-800-755-5000 if you plan to install a back-up generator.

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Ag Groups Welcome Illinois River Lock and Dam Improvements

Commodity groups are celebrating the re-opening of the La Grange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River this week.

 

Jim Tarmann is with the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

 

 

The Peoria Lock and Dam reopened ahead of schedule on Sept. 30.

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Corn Field Fire on Clinton's West Side Brings 4 Fire Departments to the Scene

 

4 area fire departments responded to a corn field fire at the intersection of US Highway 51 and Illinois Route 10 at 3 o'clock Wednesday afternoon.

 

 

Fire departments from Kenney, Wapella, and Maroa assisted Clinton in getting control of the fire, whose flames could be seen as high as 10 feet in the air.

 

 

The fire caused lots of smoke in the area.

 

 

Clinton Fire Department Captain Chris White told Regional Radio News reporter Seth Laurence during our live coverage, that the 4 departments worked together to contain the fire.

 

 

The fire was contained by 3:30 Wednesday afternoon.

 

Traffic on Illinois Route 10 between US Highway 51 and Illinois Route 54 was detoured during the fire.

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department: Situation at Liberty Village Not Our Story to Tell

Regional Radio News has learned upwards of 30 cases of COVID are in Liberty Village between staff and residents.

 

The community has pressed both Liberty Village and the health department for answers and health department executive director Dave Remmert says he can confirm there is an outbreak at the facility but believes the situation there is not the health department's story to tell.

 

 

Multiple attempts to reach Liberty Village officials in Clinton have been unsuccessful. The only correspondence with them has been through a written statement by their Regional Director of Marketing for Liberty Village, Ken Miars (myers), who said quote - "Currently all symptomatic and or positive residents have been moved to our secured COVID-19 unit with strict isolation protocols. We continue to monitor all resident vital signs every four hours as well as exhibiting any symptoms. Our staff continues to be screened and monitored twice per shift for any new symptoms. We are appropriately staffed with adequate PPE. Testing will continue to be performed weekly for all residents and staff. We truly appreciate the support of the community of Clinton and surrounding communities have shown us through many acts of kindness since the very beginning of this pandemic. We ask that you continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers."

 

DeWitt County was attributed a third COVID fatality earlier in the week by the Illinois Department of Public Health. It is unknown if it is a fatality related to the COVID outbreak at Liberty Village. 

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Clinton Police Release Identity of Victim Hit by Car in Clinton Friday Evening

The identity of the woman hit by a car on Van Buren Street in Clinton last Friday night has been released.

 

At approximately 6:30 pm, Clinton Police investigated a personal injury accident at Van Buren & Center Street. 

 

A vehicle driven by Kyle A. Koons 32, Clinton was westbound on Van Buren Street. A pedestrian Kathleen J. Merten 69, Bradley was crossing northbound on Van Buren when she was struck by Koons. 

 

Merten was transported by EMS for treatment. 

Clinton Police was assisted by DeWitt County Sheriff and Illinois State Police in the investigation.

 

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Weekly Crop Report

THE DRY WEATHER GAVE FARMERS PLENTY OF TIME IN THE FIELDS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

JUST ABOUT THE WHOLE WEEK WAS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK, WITH MOST AREAS SEEING VERY LITTLE RAIN. CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN SAYS 95 PERCENT OF CORN IS MATURE.

 

 

PARN SAYS 95 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE NOW DROPPING LEAVES.

 

 

46 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 15 PERCENT EMERGED. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL DROPPED TO NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 36 PERCENT SHORT, 54 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND ONE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Pot Tax Sales Taxes Hit $1-Million

THE STATE HAS NOW COLLECTED MORE THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN TAXES FROM THE SALE OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN ILLINOIS.

 

THAT TOTAL IS FOR THE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF THIS YEAR…WITH A CHUNK OF THE MONEY GOING TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON SAM SALUTRO.

 

 

SALUSTRO EXPLAINS HOW IT’S COLLECTED.

 

 

THE TAX MONEY WILL ALSO BE USED FOR THINGS LIKE SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT…AND TO INVEST IN COMMUNITIES HIT HARD BY THE WAR ON DRUGS.

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Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Debunks Flu Myths

With the covid-19 pandemic still in full force, this flu season will be extremely difficult to navigate. Dr. Ravi Jhaveri (rah-VEE JUH-veer-ee), the Associate Division Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, is doing his best to debunk one of the biggest myths about the flu vaccine...

 

 

Jhaveri advocates for getting out and talking to your doctor if at all possible. If that can't be done, find more information at www dot prepare for flu dot com.

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National Weather Service Says Central Illinois Undergoing Weather Change

Mid-week in central Illinois is expected to be exceptionally breezy with wind gusts between 30 and 40 miles per hour some afternoons.

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln says the windy days ahead are due to a change in weather patterns. 

 

 

According to Miller, the rest of this week and into next week is going to remain dry and things are going to cool down. He says while there are small chances of rain, they are unlikely to produce anything significant.

 

 

A lot of dry and cool weather heading into the weekend and next week will allow for ideal harvest conditions. Miller says even through the rest of the month will be dry and as of this week, only southern Illinois is looking at the possibility of above-normal precipitation.

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Liberty Village in Clinton Dealing With COVID Outbreak

Regional Radio News has learned Liberty Village is dealing with a COVID outbreak at their Clinton location.

 

Multiple attempts to reach Liberty Village and DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department officials to get updated figures have been unsuccessful. 

 

In a written statement to Regional Radio News, Regional Director of Marketing for Liberty Village, Ken Miars said quote - "Currently all symptomatic and or positive residents have been moved to our secured COVID-19 unit with strict isolation protocols. We continue to monitor all resident vital signs every four hours as well as exhibiting any symptoms. Our staff continues to be screened and monitored twice per shift for any new symptoms. We are appropriately staffed with adequate PPE. Testing will continue to be performed weekly for all residents and staff. We truly appreciate the support of the community of Clinton and surrounding communities have shown us through many acts of kindness since the very beginning of this pandemic. We ask that you continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers."

 

Regional Radio News will continue to seek comment from Clinton Liberty Village officials and DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department administration. This story will be updated. 

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UPDATED: DeWitt County & Tradewind Energy Sued Over Wind Farm

69 plantiffs have filed a lawsuit against DeWitt County and Tradewind Energy over the recent approval of the special use permit for the Alta Farms II windfarm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County.

 

Olivia Klemm tells Regional Radio News they believe the DeWitt County regulations for a wind farm were not met. They have a number of issues with the application.

 

 

Klemm believes several members of the County Board did not do their due-diligence in hearing the arguments of those opposed to the wind farm during the Regional Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals hearings.

 

 

The County Board held a special meeting in August for the vote on the special use permit of the Alta Farms II wind farm. The meeting was supercharged with emotion and Klemm says the decision meant a lot to her because of the investment of time for her and the feelings of the community as a whole on the matter.

 

 

Klemm does not have a timeline for when the matter might be taken up by a judge but she is hopeful it will be taken up soon so they can get a resolution. She feels they have a very strong case. 

 

As of Tuesday afternoon, DeWitt County State's Attorney Dan Markwell said quote - "I have not been served with any type of notice that anyone has filed suit against the County.  Nor have I been contacted by any county board member at this point stating that any board member has been served.  Therefore, I have no knowledge with which to make a comment on this topic."

 

In a statement to Regional Radio News, Tradewind officials say, quote - "Since the project was proposed nearly 10 years ago, Alta Farms II has enjoyed the strong support of many local residents who have repeatedly stood up for new jobs and economic growth in DeWitt County. While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we look forward to building a first-rate wind farm that will benefit the entire community.”

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Closed Until Nov. 1

The DeWitt County Friendship Center is closing their doors until November 1 due to COVID.

 

Executive Director Paula Jiles tells Regional Radio News COVID has struck the senior center on Main Street in Clinton and so they are taking the next three weeks to keep everyone isolated.

 

 

According to Jiles, while masking has been encouraged at the facility, they have not been able to enforce masking, however, they will be making a requirement while in the building going forward starting Nov. 1.

 

 

All activities and programs scheduled for the rest of October have been canceled. No decisions have been made on anything happening in November.

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Weekend Mobile Testing Unit Performs 95 Samples

95 samples were taken over the weekend at the mobile testing unit at the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department location on Revere Road in Clinton.

 

Results from those tests are not in yet however, the health department is reporting a large spike in cases, including multiple positive tests at Liberty Village in Clinton.

 

Monday, the health department reported 11 new cases in Clinton and four new cases in Piatt County, with three in Monticello and one in Mansfield. Sunday the Health Department did not issue a report. Saturday there were four new DeWitt County cases reported, all in Clinton, while there were three new Piatt County cases with three in Monticello and one each in Bement and Hammond.

 

Friday the health department reported three new cases in DeWitt County, all in Clinton. Piatt County reported four new cases with two in La Place and one each in Cerro Gordo and Monticello. 

 

Thursday there were 34 new cases reported in Clinton and the health department described them as, quote - "outbreak-related". There was also a new case in Weldon.

 

Last Wednesday, the health department reported six new DeWitt County cases, with five in Clinton and one in Wapella. Piatt County also reported three new cases, two in Cerro Gordo and one in Monticello.

 

The health department breaks down the new cases as four individuals under 20, nine individuals in their 20s, six individuals in their 30s, five individuals in their 40s, seven individuals in their 50s, 11 individuals in their 60s, 17 individuals in their 70s, 15 individuals in their 80s, and one female in her 90s. 

 

With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had 230 cases total while Piatt County has had 185 cases total.

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Clinton Youth Leaders Still Seeing Students Struggling

Clinton youth are back to school, some can play sports and participate in other programs this fall, but that hasn't been the cure for struggles they encountered during the COVID shutdowns.

 

Tammy Wilson is the Executive Director of The Vault in Clinton and says despite things starting to return to normal for the community's youth, they are finding there are kids still struggling. She believes the continued uncertainty is contributing to anxiety in kids. 

 

 

As we seek to return to normal, kids are missing the things that they once were able to do regularly, like participate in sports and gather with friends whenever and wherever. Wilson believes it is a sense of loss.

 

 

Back when it was first established, The Vault was to be a safe place to go to remain free of trouble and receive good mentorship but in a pandemic world, Wilson indicates it is the relationships with their mentors and other youth that are making a difference right now.

 

 

Wilson says their goal is to harbor an environment for kids to establish strong relationships with adults in hopes of becoming stable adults and calls The Vault way more than a hangout.

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Warrensburg-Latham Schools Bring Students Back Ahead of Schedule

Next week, Warrensburg-Latham students were scheduled to return to the classrooms, marking the start of the second quarter, however, district leadership decided to accelerate that process by bringing them back last week.

 

Superintendent Cheryl Warner says things went very well their first week. She explains they had a significant number of staff and students impacted by COVID right before in-person learning was set to begin but thanks to a strong remote learning plan, they were able to close things down to get things under control.

 

 

Once Warrensburg-Latham Schools turned to their remote learning plan for the first quarter, Warner indicates they were then able to watch how area other districts handled their return to in-person learning and the challenges brought to bear with that. She explains they altered how they brought high school students back, hoping to have all students in their buildings each day. 

 

 

Getting the staff healthy was a point of emphasis during the remote learning period and while COVID seemed to disproportionately impact their staff more than others, Warner is pleased to report they are as healthy as they've ever been. 

 

 

Before school started, Warner says 16-percent of their staff were significantly impacted by COVID, resulting in loss of work options. She points out they did not have the ability to cover all those losses which were disappointing because they believe in-person learning is the best way for their students to learn. 

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Social Security Warns of Scams

A federal government agency is warning of impersonation scams.

 

Jack Myers, Public Affairs Specialist with Social Security, indicates he has heard reports of scammers pretending to be from Social Security calling and demanding credit card numbers or personal information to resolve a conflict.

 

 

Myers says any official contact from Social Security will come by a letter in the mail. He reminds Social Security would never make any threats or would suspend Social Security Numbers.

 

 

Myers notes if you receive a scam phone call or fall victim to an impersonation scam, you can report it to their Office of Inspector General.

 

 

To report scams, go to oig.ssa.gov.

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Soybean Trade Off to Rough Start This Week

A rough start in soybean trade this week. November contracts were down 31-and-three-quarter cents at the close on Monday says AgriVisor’s Karl Setser.

 

 

In overnight trade, November beans were up six-and-a-half cents.

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Pumpkin Businesses Booming

According to one of the largest growers in Central Illinois, in the heart of the largest pumpkin producing state in the nation, business is booming.

 

John Ackerman, Owner of Ackerman family farms, says despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the pumpkin farm has seen pent up demand.

 

 

Currently, Ackerman family farms grow over 150 different varieties of pumpkins, and Ackerman said this year's crop benefited from the summer's semi-drought conditions.

 

Ackerman family farms are located just off of U.S. Route 150 in Morton.

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OSF General Surgeon Offers Thoughts on Remdesivir

An experimental drug given to President Trump to treat COVID-19 could have played a role in the President's quick recovery, according to a Bloomington Doctor.

 

Just a week after President Trump tested positive for COVID-19, OSF St. Joseph General Surgeon Dr. John Wieland said the usage of experimental medical treatments had positive effects.

 

 

Last week, Sean Conley, Physician to the President, said he prescribed Remdesivir to the President as part of a five-day regimen.

 

During a telephone interview with Fox News over the weekend, President Trump said he feels great and is no longer taking any medications for the disease.

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House GOP Remains Upset With Madigan Investigation Process

Members of the House GOP remain upset that the special investigation into Speaker of the House Mike Madigan has been delayed until the election is over. The decision was made by the committee chair Democrat Chris Welch. Committee member Republican Grant Wehrli says the Governor needs to become involved in matters otherwise handled by lawmakers.

 

 

Welch has said the process was political and has scheduled the third hearing on Madigan and how he might have been involved with bribery and ComEd until after the November elections.

 

Madigan hasn’t been charged with any wrongdoing by law enforcement.

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City Crews Readying for Leaf Cleanup Season

The leaves are starting to change colors which means the leaf cleanup season is right around the corner.

 

Clinton Public Works Director Steve Lobb says while the busy leaf cleanup season for his crews is still a few weeks away, some leaf cleanup efforts may be underway now. He reminds residents the yard waste facility is open now and those yard waste items can be taken there.

 

 

When the leaf cleanup season comes around, Lobb reminds residents it is City of Clinton ordinance leaves can be swept to the pavement. He says it is hard to predict though when their equipment will begin rolling. 

 

 

According to Lobb, around late October and early November is when their leaf-vacs really get going and start to cycle through the community on a regular basis.

 

 

Lobb notes they break down the City of Clinton into five zones, targeting one zone per day and then moving on to the next. Weather permitting, they try to get to your leaf pile within five days. He also notes the efficiency of their operation is very weather dependent and after rains, they have to wait a day or two for the leaves to dry out so their vacs can work effectively. 

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COVID To Impact Revenues for Monticello Schools

The Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax is a huge piece of the revenue Monticello Schools rely on for annual budgeting but thanks to COVID, this year's funding is anticipated to be down.

 

Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman tells Regional Radio News, they are planning on CPPRT to be down this year because of the tax ebbs-and-flows with the economy.

 

 

While the situation is not ideal, Dr. Zimmerman says they do plan for these circumstances through conservative budgeting.

 

 

According to Dr. Zimmerman, the impacts of CPPRT dips are likely to impact this year and next year's budgets.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman is confident because they have the fund balances to make it through the next few years and he hopes the community will be as well.

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U of I Extension Nutrition Educator Talks Harvest Nutrition

With harvest season in full swing, farmers may find themselves struggling to eat healthily. The U of I Extension has some suggestions.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf, U of I Extension Nutrition Educator, implores farmers to take meal and snack breaks while in the field.

 

 

Keep in mind though, Mellendorf indicates it may not be a good idea to be constantly snacking throughout the day.

 

 

Mellendorf recommends farmers eat meals and snacks that consist of protein, fat, and fiber. These foods help digest foods slower, allows for more energy throughout the day. 

 

 

Another recommendation is to stock up on foods that are healthy and convenient. Some examples include fruit cups and vegetable chips.

 

 

For healthy recipes and nutritional advice, visit Caitlin Mellendorf's blog at https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/healthy-eats-and-repeat.

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Congressman LaHood Touts China Task Force Final Report

Congressman Darin LaHood was part of the China Task Force which assessed the growing threats posed by China, advancing policies that strengthen America's supply chains and economy and expand opportunity for Illinois agriculture.

 

A final report was issued by the task force and Congressman LaHood says it was a five-month process that spoke with over 500 people. He points to the coronavirus pandemic as a prime example of America's reliance on China.

 

 

According to Congressman LaHood, among the recommendations are protecting intellectual properties, partnering with other countries, and tax incentives.s

 

 

Congressman LaHood hopes this is a wake-up call to Americans about the dangers posed by the Communist Party of China. He points out this is a ten-year plan with bi-partisan support. 

 

 

Congressman LaHood says it was his focus to advance policies that strengthened American competitiveness and supported farmers and Midwest manufacturers. 

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DCFS Launches New Streamlined, Online System for Reporting Abuse and Neglect

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS LAUNCHING A NEW STREAMLINED, ONLINE SYSTEM FOR REPORTING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT.

 

THE NEW SYSTEM IS MUCH EASIER TO USE: THOSE FILING A REPORT NO LONGER HAVE TO REGISTER AS A USER, HAS CLEARER ENTRY FIELDS AND IT TAKES LESS CLICKS TO GET THE INFORMATION FILED SAYS D-C-F-S DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TIERNEY STUTZ.

 

 

THE ONLINE ENTRY FORM HAS BEEN SIMPLIFIED, YOU DON'T NEED TO REGISTER AS A USER TO FILE A REPORT, AND INFORMATION ENTERED IS SENT DIRECTLY INTO THE D-C-F-S CASE SYSTEM SAYS STUTZ.

 

 

THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE IS STILL AVAILABLE THOUGH, WITH SPECIFIC PROMPTS NOW FOR MANDATED REPORTERS, THE PUBLIC AND CHILDREN REPORTING THEIR OWN ABUSE AND NEGLECT. THE TOLL FREE NUMBER IS 1-800-25-ABUSE. VISIT D-C-F-S' WEBSITE TO FILE A REPORT ONLINE FROM YOUR COMPUTER OR MOBILE PHONE.

 

THAT WAY, INVESTIGATORS CAN IMMEDIATELY BEGIN REVIEWING REPORTS. STUTZ ALSO SAYS THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE HAS ALSO BEEN UPDATED, WITH SPECIFICS PROMPTS FOR KIDS THAT ARE REPORTING THEIR OWN ABUSE OR NEGLECT, AS WELL AS FOR TEACHERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT. TO FILE A REPORT VISIT D-C-F-S' WEBSITE OR CALL THE HOTLINE AT: 1-800-25-ABUSE.

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Sen. Durbin Discusses Coney-Barrett Nomination

The Senate Judiciary Committee meets this week to begin hearings on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. 

 

Illinois’ Senior US Senator Dick Durbin, a committee member, says one of the key reasons Republicans are rushing to nominate a judge is a November 10th hearing on the Affordable Care Act. Durbin says if the ACA is struck down healthcare for millions will never be the same.

 

 

Durbin says the rush to confirm Judge Barrett could result in insurance companies setting lifetime limits on health care costs and not covering children up to the age of 26 on family plans.

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Illinois' Oldest Airport Seeking IDOT Approval for Reconstruction

The oldest continuously operated airport in Illinois is waiting for approval from the Illinois Department of Transportation before construction can begin to rebuild the hangar lost to fire.

 

Monmouth's City Administrator, Lew Steinbrecher ("Stine-breck-er") says that IDOT's aeronautics division has to approve the hangar's design and placement before work can begin.

 

 

The "Maple City's" airport hangar burned down last October. Damage exceeded $1.1 million.

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Virtual Haunted House Still Available at Clinton's Terror on Washington Street Site

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce's Terror on Washington Street Haunted House has been canceled but a virtual experience is available for those interested.

 

A couple of years ago, the Chamber partnered with a local business person to provide a virtual haunted house attraction and that will be available this year. According to Marian Brisard, Chamber Executive Director, this is a fun experience you can still participate in at their site on Washington Street.

 

 

Admission for the virtual haunted house is $10 and is available every Friday and Saturday night in October from 7 pm to 11 pm. Get more information at the Terror on Washington Street Haunted House's Facebook page or contact the Chamber at 217-935-3364. 

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Emergency Management Agency Urging Public to Participate in World's Largest Earthquake Drill Next Week

THE ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO PARTICIPATE IN THE WORLD'S LARGEST EARTHQUAKE DRILL NEXT WEEK. 

 

THE ANNUAL SHAKEOUT EVENT WILL BE HELD NEXT THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15TH, AT 10:15 A-M. I-EMA SPOKESPERSON REBECCA CLARK ENCOURAGES EVERYONE TO SIGN UP TO PARTICIPATE AND LEARN HOW TO DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON IN THE EVENT OF AN EARTHQUAKE. SHE REMINDS THAT EARTHQUAKES DON'T ONLY OCCUR IN CALIFORNIA.

 

 

CLARK SAYS THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO JOIN THE GREAT SHAKEOUT DRILL ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15TH.

 

 

YOU CAN SIGN UP TO TAKE PART IN THE GREAT SHAKEOUT ONLINE AT: SHAKEOUT DOT ORG. FAMILIES WILL FIND TOOLKITS AVAILABLE FOR KIDS WHO ARE REMOTE LEARNING AS WELL AS OTHER RESOURCES.

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Peoria Charter Company May Close

The end could be near for a Central Illinois transportation company, calling on the state to help budget shortfalls affected by COVID-19.

 

Peoria Charter Coach Owner Bill Winkler said he's facing a $90,000 bus licensing fee at the end of Oct. If the state does not step in, he will have to close his Peoria doors for good.

 

 

The BIG grant that Winkler hopes to get ranges from $5,000 to $150,000, and Winkler said he has yet to hear from the state after turning in his application two weeks ago.

 

So far, Peoria Charter has received a $1.2 million bailout from the government to stay afloat, but Winkler said he used that money to hire back as many employees as he could.

 

However, after three months of paying employees, he ran out of the money, forcing him to reduce his staff from 130 to 30.

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DNR Deputy Director Discusses Deer, Vehicle Accidents

It's the season of increased deer/vehicle accidents.

 

There are many factors involved in the increased deer movement. DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert says the open of the archery deer season coincides with rut and with the crops coming out of the ground, deer are in their most active season.

 

 

Keep the distractions to a minimum and watch the sides of the road for the reflection of headlights in the eyes of deer. Torbert also stresses if you encounter a deer, don't veer, slow down, and hit the deer. She says this may sound illogical but swerving to avoid a deer can be more dangerous than just hitting the deer head-on.

 

 

While many may think deer/vehicle accidents are a rural issue but it can happen anywhere as there are often urban deer populations that are also becoming very active right now. She also reminds that if you see a deer on the side of the road, there are likely more around. 

 

dnr.illinois.gov has all the regulations about keeping a deer that you might have hit if you do not have a deer tag. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

Above average temperatures dominated the latter part of the last week and a seasonable week is ahead.... U of I Extension's Todd Gleason has more...

 

 

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34 Year Old Male Died in Traffic Accident in DeWitt County

A 34-year old Deland man was killed in a traffic accident Friday afternoon.

 

Illinois State Police says the crash occurred at about 2:20 p.m.at Illinois Route 10 at Friends Creek Road. They say a 2006 Peterbilt semi-truck was traveling southbound on Freinds Creek Road when the driver failed to stop at the intersection at Illinois Route 10, then struck the front end of the 2019 International semi-truck.

 

The driver of the Peterbilt, a 34-year old male and was pronounced deceased on scene by the DeWitt County Coroner. The driver of the 2019 International semi-truck was James H Isbell, a 51-year-old male from Washington, IL. James was transported by ambulance to a local hospital with minor injuries.

 

Units were still on the scene at 9:45 p.m. Friday for cleanup.

 

Illinois State Police is withholding the name of the man who died until the family has been notified.

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69 Year Old Woman in Critical Condition After Pedestrian, Motor Vehicle Accident in Clinton

A 69-year old Clinton woman is in critical condition after a pedestrian and vehicle accident Friday afternoon.

 

At approximately 6:39 P.M. emergency responders were dispatched to the 100 block of East Van Buren Street in Clinton for the report of a traffic collision involving a pedestrian. 

 

The investigation revealed a 32-year-old male was driving a pickup truck westbound on VanBuren Street and struck a 69-year-old female who was walking north across VanBuren Street directly east of the intersection with South Center Street. 

 

The female pedestrian was transported to an area hospital where she is listed in critical condition. 

 Clinton Police are being assisted by the Illinois State Police and the investigation is ongoing.  

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DeWitt County Off Governor's COVID Warning List

DeWitt County is off Governor JB Pritzker's COVID warning list.

 

DeWitt County spent two weeks on the warning list and DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert believes we're coming off the list thanks to increases in testing.

 

 

Remmert says expansive testing is a good thing and encourages the community to come out and get tested at their mobile testing unit this weekend at the health department's Clinton location. The testing is free and open to the public Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.

 

 

Those that get a test over the weekend in Clinton can anticipate their results coming back in 4-7 days. Remmert notes if you get tested and you are not showing symptoms you do not have to quarantine but continues to encourage anyone not feeling well to stay home. 

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Congressman LaHood Disappointed Trump Did Not Tout Record in Last Week's Debate

A central Illinois Congressman was disappointed watching last week's presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

 

Congressman Darin LaHood wishes the President would have spoken more to the successes of his first four years in office rather than turn the event into a shouting and arguing match. 

 

 

Many were disappointed in the President's remarks regarding denouncing racism. The Dunlap Republican assures everyone the President is not a racist and points out he has repeatedly condemned racism and all its supporters. 

 

 

Congressman LaHood says the President's brash and abrasive style has been the way he operates since he announced his candidacy in 2015 and says that will be something he has to run on. Still, he hopes the President will take the approach of talking about the things he's done in the last four years. 

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Producers Have Until Later This Month to Apply for Livestock Management Grants

Farmers have until later this month to apply for livestock management grant funds stemming from market disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic.

 

 

Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards says IDOA will award grants through three programs: swine depopulation, agriculture business interruption and meat and poultry capacity.

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House GOP Wants to Discuss Budget

Budget cuts are on the mind of everyone in state government. 

 

Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says the federal government should come up with fiscal help for state and other governments that are experiencing historic revenue shortfalls. House GOP Leader Jim Durkin doesn’t offer direct budget cuts he’d consider, but says legislators need to begin talks on how to balance state spending.

 

 

Durkin says it was obvious when the budget was passed in May that it wasn’t balanced.

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House GOP Leader Criticizes Democrats for Postponing Special Investigatign Committee Meetings

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JIM DURKIN HAS SOME HARSH WORDS FOR DEMOCRATS POSTPONING MEETINGS OF THE SPECIAL INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE. 

 

DURKIN CALLED FOR THE HEARINGS IN RESPONSE TO THE COM-ED BRIBERY SCHEME, BUT ONLY TWO HAVE BEEN HELD SO FAR. DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN, REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS WELCH, HAS SUSPENDED MEETINGS UNTIL AFTER THE NOVEMBER ELECTION, SAYING THIS IS ALL ABOUT POLITICS. DURKIN RESPONDS.

 

 

DURKIN SAYS THE ISSUE IS TOO SERIOUS TO PUT OFF.

 

 

SPEAKER MADIGAN HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANY WRONGDOING. HOUSE G-O-P MEMBERS WANT HIM TO TESTIFY BEFORE THE COMMITTEE, AND ULTIMATELY FACE DISCIPLINARY ACTION OVER THE SCANDAL.

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Gov. Pritzker Reports All Negative Tests During 14-Day COVID Quarantine

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE'S FEELING WELL AS HE FINISHES OUT THE LAST FEW DAYS OF QUARANTINE.

 

THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN IN A 14 DAY QUARANTINE SINCE SEPTEMBER 29TH, WHEN A MEMBER OF HIS STAFF TESTED POSITIVE FOR THE CORONAVIRUS. HE SAYS HE HASN'T HAD ANY PROBLEMS SO FAR.

 

 

HE SAYS HIS HEALTH IS GOOD.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE'S BEEN TESTED TWICE FOR THE VIRUS SINCE BEING IN QUARANTINE AND BOTH TESTS HAVE COME BACK NEGATIVE.

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DNR Deputy Director Says Hunter Questions Often Revolve Around Following Protocols

The deer hunting season is underway as the archery deer season is open.

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert says the most common questions they get from hunters this time of the year often revolve around the proper way to handle specific situations.

 

 

According to Torbert, as DNR moves into a digital world with its outdoor app, they often get questions about their licensing and tags. Illinois laws recently changed regarding this so she often gets questions seeking to clear those issues up.

 

 

Questions around blaze orange attire often come in and Torbert says the answer can be confusing. She notes they also want to clear up issues around when archery deer hunting is permissible as other seasons open up.

 

 

Torbert also indicates they also receive questions about shooting a deer who tracks to a neighboring property where the hunter does not have permission. She notes this is a sticky situation but it is best when possible to get permission from those neighboring landowners to venture onto their property if necessary.

 

 

Issues and questions like these can be found at dnr.illinois.gov. Torbert also notes the website also provides contact information for your local DNR office along with contact information for their conservation officers. 

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Bement Superintendent Calls Kirby Student, Teacher Rapid Testing 'Gamechanger'

A gamechanger is how the Superintendent of the Bement School district describes a rapid testing option exclusively for teachers and students in Piatt County through Kirby Medical Center.

 

Dr. Sheila Greenwood on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday discussing the transition to the cold/flu season says having rapid testing for COVID available to their students will be a 'gamechanger' in keeping them in school in what could be the most uncertain stretch of the school year amid the pandemic.

 

 

As the cold/flu season approaches, Dr. Greenwood indicates having those test results quickly is going to lessen a lot of the processes they have in place and make things much easier on knowing the exact condition of students and teachers.

 

 

Rapid testing will be available to all students in any Piatt County school district and students in the Argenta-Oreana school district starting Monday.

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DeWitt/Piatt Health Department Director: We Need to Evolve Our Thinking on COVID

We need to evolve our thinking on COVID-19.

 

That is the message from the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert who says there is enough data available after nearly eight months of COVID being in the United States.

 

 

Case counting continues to be a point of contention for Remmert because of the mild-nature of the virus overall to most populations. He admits the virus can be dangerous for some populations but we need to be watching hospitalizations and fatalities more closely.

 

 

This weekend's mobile COVID testing site should help DeWitt County increase testing and allow the County to come off the Governor's COVID warning list. Remmert points to ramp up testing at Warner Hospital as another key part of the process.

 

 

Remmert continues to promote masking and sheltering vulnerable populations. He points out their contact tracing efforts are continuing to show household contacts being primary spreaders more than any other circumstance. 

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Despite Losing Apple n' Pork Festival, Wapella Christian Church Continuing to Count Blessings

In covering the Apple n' Pork Festival for many years, Regional Radio News listeners are well-versed on the impact the annual Festival has on the community.

 

For Wapella Christian Church, their Apple n' Pork Festival sweet corn sales helps them supplement so many opportunities for their youth. Pastor Josh Gorrie says they'll raise several thousand dollars during the final weekend of September that goes directly into their youth programming.

 

 

According to Pastor Gorrie, despite not having Apple n' Pork, they likely will have to either scale back the number of things they offer their youth or they will have to increase fundraising. He notes because of COVID, the activities for the youth have been scaled back anyways.

 

 

Pastor Gorrie indicates they take kids to things like Winter Jam and youth conferences along with fun things like going to the Wisconsin Dells or visits to Dairy Queen. 

 

For anyone interested in knowing more about Wapella Christian Church by visiting their website, wapellacc.org where you'll also find links to their YouTube channel and other social media platforms. 

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Congressman LaHood: Trump Should Not Have Walked Away from Stimulus Negotiations

Wednesday a report surfaced President Donald Trump was walking away from negotiations for a second stimulus bill until after the November election and a central Illinois Congressman says he wishes the President would not do that.

 

Congressman Darin LaHood says too many people are still hurting and with winter coming, many industries are going to be forced to lay people off because they are hurting for business. 

 

 

Congressman LaHood is calling for revisions to the payroll protection program (PPP) and they need to look at extending unemployment benefits.

 

 

Lindsey Graham tweeted Wednesday morning urging the President and all his colleagues to return to the negotiating table because the bipartisan $1.5-trillion package "has many good things for individuals and businesses."

 

Rep. Cheri Bustos tweeted late Tuesday, quote - "The President's decision today discards the sacrifices made by millions of Americans over the past eight months and throws away any hard-fought progress toward recovery out the window."

 

Sen. Dick Durbin tweeted, quote - "In walking away from relief negotiations, President Trump is turning his back on struggling Americans at the worst possible time."

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Commissioner Ballenger Optimistic Portion of Kiwanis Park Could Be Usable At Some Point This Fall

Kiwanis Park and community members who enjoy it were put through the wringer after it was announced plans to tear the park down due to dilapidation but an outcry from the community was able to reverse the decision.

 

Clinton Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger was at the center of both decisions, announcing on a Monday night at a City Council meeting the park equipment would be torn down, but days later reversed the decision. 

 

After several weeks of work to repair parts of the equipment in unusable condition, he is hopeful perhaps portions of the equipment could be gifted back to the community for use still this fall.

 

 

Last month during the first days of the repair process, Ballenger was optimistic they could get the equipment fixed-up at little or no cost and it has played out almost the way he hoped.

 

 

Bad trees around the park have been removed and Ballenger says he has the mulch they've purchased ready to install soon. 

 

In about a week, Ballenger hopes to be able to invite the community out to help paint the equipment. He thanks the volunteers that have stepped up so far. He is thankful for the amount of support the community is showing. 

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Clinton's Center Street Project Could Be Complete This Month

Good fortune from Mother Nature has allowed the $1.5-million Center Street Project in Clinton to move along with very few interruptions since its start last month.

 

Public Works Director Steve Lobb tells Regional Radio News the project is moving right along as this week has been very busy and laying of pavement is underway.

 

 

According to Lobb, because of funding, the project will not be as expansive as they had hoped. Thanks to good weather, they are moving along smoothly on things like the curb and gutter and ADA compliant walkways.

 

 

The north end of Center Street is receiving extensive repairs, but it is not getting resurfaced. Lobb anticipates the rest of the project getting completed in the next five years. 

 

 

Lobb continues to ask residents to avoid Center Street this week as workers take on major parts of the renovations. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Offering Details on Weekend Testing in Clinton

The Illinois Department of Public Health and the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department are partnering together for a weekend COVID testing site at the Health Department facility on Revere Road in Clinton.

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Dave Remmert stresses this is a free test on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. His hope is this will help push the positivity rate in the County down. 

 

 

According to Remmert, this will be a nasal swab but it will not be the well-known deep swab. He believes this will be a more tolerable test for the public. He points out there will likely be a drive-through or walk-up option.

 

 

Some may wonder if doing mass testing like this weekend will expose more cases and continue to keep DeWitt County on the Governor's COVID warning list, but Remmert believes it actually may have the opposite effect where healthy people or single-symptom individuals get tested and find they don't have the coronavirus.

 

 

Again the testing is from 9 am to 5 pm at the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department on Revere Road on Clinton's east side. 

 

It is free testing and open to anyone in any county. 

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Promotional Opportunity of Apple n' Pork Weekend Lost for Second Chance for Pets

DeWitt County's pet rescue and pet adoption agency indicates the loss of the Apple n' Pork Festival this year did not have as dire an impact as many other agencies have reported.

 

For Second Chance for Pets of DeWitt County, the annual Apple n' Pork Festival is a great way to raise awareness of their mission. The group's Heather Wantland indicates the annual festival gives them a chance to showcase their pets available for adoption and raise general awareness around what they do.

 

 

Wantland has worried the awareness the Apple n' Pork weekend provides might impact their ability to adopt out pets but she indicates that worry has quickly been laid to rest as they are seeing a spike in people wanting to adopt pets during the COVID pandemic.

 

 

Last year's Apple n' Pork weekend was a record-setter for Second Chance. Wantland attributes that to a litter of pitbull puppies they had at their tent that drew in crowds all weekend. She says otherwise, any donations they receive during the weekend goes back into the community and its pet owners.

 

 

Keep up with the latest happenings and pets available through Second Chance for Pets by finding them on Facebook or visit secondchanceforpets.com. You can also speak to someone at Second Chance by calling their message line at 217-935-3488 or emailing secondchanceforpets@yahoo.com. 

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Dry, Warm Weather Rest of Week

A warming trend for Illinois this week and more dry weather. John Haase is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities.

 

 

Haase says a low pressure system moving in early next week could bring some rain and cooler temps.

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Committee Investigating Madigan Doesn't Meet Again Until After Election

You won’t be following the special investigation into Speaker of the House Mike Madigan for the next month or so. 

 

The Democrat Chairman of the Committee Chris Welch says the next meeting will be November 5th. Welch says in a press release that holding off on another meeting until after the November elections will take the political theater out of the event. Republicans on the committee, including Deanna Mazzochi aren’t happy.

 

 

As the committee seeks to find out if Madigan acted in a manner unbecoming of a legislator, he has yet to charged criminally by the federal government in the case against ComEd.

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Piatt County Students To Be Able to Get Rapid Test for COVID

Thanks to a Piatt County hospital's fundraising arm, students and teachers will have access to rapid testing for COVID starting next week.

 

Mark Fred is the COO and Chief Information Officer for Kirby Medical Center in Monticello and indicates the Kirby Foundation is stepping up to make rapid testing available to all students and teachers in Piatt County schools and Argenta-Oreana.

 

 

According to Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman, the biggest challenge through the first month-and-a-half has been getting single-symptom students who have to be sent home tested and those results back in a timely fashion so those kids and teachers can return to school.

 

 

For students that are removed from the classroom setting over a single-symptom, they will receive a form to take to the testing site at the hospital in Monticello or one of the three Kirby locations. Fred says this is a free test so insurance will not be a requirement for anyone tested.

 

 

As more testing is done on the Monticello student population, Dr. Zimmerman says it stands to reason there will likely be more cases of COVID found but he also points out they have found almost all of their kids removed for single-symptom reasons they are coming back negative.

 

 

As of Monday of this week, Monticello Schools had only one case among their students and one case among their teachers. Testing for students at Kirby Medical Center will be available Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm then 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. 

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Wednesday's Annual Fire Truck Parade in Clinton to Look Different

Kids and adults alike look forward to the annual fire truck parade in Clinton the first Wednesday of every October. 

 

The good news for this year's event is it is still on but it will look different. Clinton Fire Chief Jeff Hoke tells Regional Radio News they are planning on the parade to have the same route and the same pomp and circumstance but the festivities that annually follow on the square will not be taking place this year.

 

 

According to Chief Hoke, as usual, the fire truck parade will originate at Clinton Junior High School and run down Illini Drive up Main Street to Mr. Lincoln Square and the engines will exit the north side of the square. He indicates so far COVID has not impacted the number of trucks participating. In fact, because other events have been canceled, there are a few new Department's joining this year.

 

 

According to Chief Hoke, because of COVID, the fire department will not be able to make their annual visits to the kids in the schools during fire prevention week. Despite that, he notes they are looking at ways to get those materials to students. 

 

Additionally, looking ahead to November, it is looking increasingly likely their door-to-door boot campaign will not be happening this year either but no final decision has been made on that effort. 

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Hosting Free Flu Shot Clinic Wednesday

Seniors are being urged to get their flu shots this year amid the coronavirus pandemic that targets that age group more adversely than any other.

 

The DeWitt County Friendship Center this week is offering seniors of the area a chance to get a free flu shot this week. Executive Director Paula Jiles says it will be held at their facility on Main Street on Wednesday.

 

 

Bring your Medicaid/Medicare card and again the clinic is from 9:30 am to noon on Wednesday at the Friendship Center at 410 East Main Street in Clinton.

 

This will be one of two opportunities this week to get a flu shot in Clinton. Warner Hospital is hosting a flu shot clinic today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) from 8 am to 5 pm at the Family Medicine facility at 422 West White Street. 

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Waynesville Women's Club on Not Having Apple & Pork Festival

For many, when they think of the annual Apple and Pork Festival, gingerbread men come to mind.

 

Patty Klemm, with the Waynesville Women's Club, indicated while many groups went ahead and sold their food anyway, they were unable to do so due to the nature of the gingerbread cookies.

 

 

Klemm notes they bake approximately 8,00 to 9,000 cookies each year. A favorite for many, Klemm is surprised just how famous the cookies have become.

 

 

The Waynesville Women's Club uses the funds from the Apple and Pork weekend to fund many activities in Waynesville as well as DeWitt County and the Olympia school district. 

 

 

Klemm says the Waynesville Women's Club donated to the DeWitt County Museum Association in place of the Apple and Pork Festival.

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Weekly Crop Report

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

 

THIS PAST WEEK WAS COOLER AND DRIER THAN NORMAL…WITH NEARLY SIX DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK. CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN SAYS 89 PERCENT OF CORN ACRES ARE MATURE.

 

 

81 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE DROPPING LEAVES AND 25 PERCENT OF THE CROP HAS BEEN HARVESTED. 

 

 

29 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT SEVEN PERCENT VERY SHORT, 23 PERCENT SHORT, 68 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND TWO PERCENT SURPLUS.

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This Week is Fire Prevention Week

IT’S FIRE PREVENTION WEEK AND THIS YEAR’S CAMPAIGN IS FOCUSING ON KITCHEN FIRES. 

 

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL FIRE PREVENTION ASSOCIATION, COOKING IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF HOME FIRES AND INJURIES, WITH 44 PERCENT OF HOME FIRES STARTING IN THE KITCHEN SAYS STATE FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY:

 

 

FULTZ ALSO REMINDS TO NEVER LEAVE FOOD THAT’S COOKING UNATTENDED AND TO HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN THE KITCHEN.

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State Board of Education Working With Unions to Provide Mentors for First Year Teachers

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS TEAMING UP WITH TEACHER’S UNIONS TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR FIRST YEAR TEACHERS.

 

HIGH QUALITY MENTORING PROGRAMS ARE DESIGNED TO REDUCE TURNOVER AMONG NEW TEACHERS AND GIVE THEM A SHOULDER TO LEAN ON. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT DURING THE PANDEMIC SAYS THE BOARD’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING JENNIFER KIRMES (kir'-miss).

 

 

KIRMES (kir'-miss) SAYS THEY WANT TEACHERS TO FEEL SUPPORTED.

 

 

THE MENTORING PROGRAM IS BEING FUNDED WITH A SIX AND A HALF MILLION DOLLAR FEDERAL COVID RELIEF GRANT.

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Clinton Mayor Lays Out Halloween Guidance from IDPH

2020 Halloween will look different for many this year. 

 

Large gatherings and other get-togethers will be discouraged for social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Clinton Mayor Roger Cyrulik Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting outlined the guidance for trick-r-treating this year....

 

 

The Mayor says to follow the 3 W's - Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. 

 

Trick-r-treating hours in Clinton are from 5 pm to 8 pm. 

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COVID Cases Continue to Spike in DeWitt, Piatt Counties

COVID cases continue to climb in DeWitt and Piatt Counties and the Bi-County Health Department is keeping a close on the situation.

 

Executive Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert says over the weekend roughly 16 new cases were announced. He points out they are seeing the younger populations being the group contracting this virus.

 

 

While cases day-over-day are increasing, Remmert says the numbers coming in are not necessarily shocking because of the fact younger people are contracting the virus, the area is doing a good job protecting the vulnerable populations, thus resulting in few hospitalizations and fatalities.

 

 

Many may wonder about this community event or that gathering causing a spread of the coronavirus locally but Remmert says the vast majority of their tracing efforts are showing the virus to be mostly spread through household contacts. 

 

 

DeWitt County remains on the Governor's COVID Warning List and while cases have spiked and that being a major contributor to that designation, Remmert continues to maintain the low testing numbers, especially in DeWitt County, remains part of the reason for DeWitt County being on the warning list.

 

 

Remmert anticipates testing numbers to go up with the offering of an IDPH mobile testing unit on October 10-11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  This mobile testing unit will provide free tests and will be parked at the agency's office located at 5924 Revere Road in0 Clinton. We'll have more details on this testing with Remmert later this week on Regional Radio News. 

 

Remmert says the schools are doing very well. He points out there are some cases in the school system but that has thus far, not been a source of the spread of this virus locally. 

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Clinton Public Works Director: Avoid North Center Street This Week

Clinton's Public Works Director is asking the community to avoid North Center Street in Clinton this week.

 

Steve Lobb tells Regional Radio News the construction on the $1.5-million street renovation is ramping up with a bevy of activity this week and simply will not be able to handle traffic as they take on several significant parts of the project.

 

 

Lobb says work for Center Street is right on target. We'll have more with him later this week on the latest with the work on Regional Radio News. 

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Clinton Am-Vets Need Community's Help

The Clinton Am-Vets are looking at tough times ahead after losing their two biggest fundraisers of the year due to COVID.

 

Marc Rogers with the Am-Vets indicates the losses of the annual May Days Festival and the annual Apple n' Pork Festival means they will be without their two biggest fundraisers. In a good year, the Am-Vets could pull in roughly $3,000 from the Apple n' Pork Festival alone and contribute those funds to groups like the Boys Scouts and the Danville Veterans Hospital. 

 

 

With those losses, Rogers says they will likely be turning to the community to allow them to continue to help other veterans and engage with the local Boy Scouts.

 

 

Any donations for the Am-Vets can be dropped by their office at 302 North Monroe Street in Clinton. 

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Mahomet-Seymour Schools Exploring Returning to Full, In-Person Learning

As issues and concerns with kids returning to the classroom diminish, more and more area schools are turning their attention to a full return to class for their community's youth.

 

Among those exploring the possibilities are Mahomet-Seymour Schools and their Superintendent Dr. Lindsey Hall says they will continue to use the remote/in-person hybrid through the first semester but they are going to start exploring bringing all students back for the second semester.

 

 

While Dr. Hall recognizes a lot could change between now and the start of the second semester, she is encouraging the community to do what they can to help them bring all students back, starting with getting a flu shot.

 

 

According to Dr. Hall, their district is dealing with about one COVID case per week and working through the contact tracing process. She says overall, the first semester has gone very well and credits their staff and community for working together to make being in school a success.

 

This week starts the seventh week of school for Mahomet-Seymour Schools. 

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Congressman Davis on Stopgap Spending Bill

A spending bill recently signed by the President provides funding for the federal government through December 11.

 

Congressman Rodney Davis indicates a major impact of the spending bill is the refunding of the Commodity Credit Corporation.

 

 

Congressman Davis explains seventy-five percent of government spending is mandatory. The other twenty-five percent is what gets debated every year. He says without the refunding of the CCC farmers would not be able to be reimbursed.

 

 

Congressman Davis says the refunding of the CCC was a bipartisan effort after it was held up by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Speaker was pressured by Democrats from agricultural states to provide the refunding.

 

 

The short-term measure will keep the federal government funded through December 11.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Warmer temperatures on the way this week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more....

 

 

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Technology and Manufacturing Association Opposed to Progressive Income Tax

A leader of the Technology and Manufacturing Association wants people to vote no on the progressive income tax. 

 

Former Republican State Rep. Steve Rauschenberger says he’s worried that if Illinois voters approve the tax change that the rates won’t stop increasing for top earners after a one-time change.

 

 

The decision to change Illinois’ income tax structure is on the November ballot.

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Seniors Urged to Get Flu Shot This Year

THE STATE DEPARTMENT ON AGING IS URGING OLDER ILLINOIANS TO GET THEIR FLU SHOT.

 

THE FLU VACCINE IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR SENIORS AND THOSE WITH UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS SAYS DEPARTMENT ON AGING DIRECTOR PAULA BASTA.

 

 

BASTA SAYS GETTING YOUR FLU SHOT AND PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS ALSO REDUCED THE STRAIN ON THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND LEAVES HOSPITAL BEDS OPEN FOR COVID-19 PATIENTS. 

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is breast cancer awareness month. Dr. Jim Tarter is a radiologist. He says mammograms are the biggest life-saving tool when it comes to the detection and treatment of breast cancer.

 

 

Dr. Tarter says there is also a program in Illinois called the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) that is available for those who cannot afford a mammogram. Contact your local health department for more information on the IBCCP.

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Illinois Offering $5-Million in Grants for Meat, Poultry Producers

State officials have announced a $5 million grant program for Illinois meat and poultry producers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Livestock and poultry producers haven’t been able to sell as much to processing plants, which have seen COVID-19-related closures.

 

The grants are part of the Business Interruption Grants program which relies on federal coronavirus relief funds to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic. More than $49 million has been distributed already.

 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement, quote - “Illinois remains a leading agricultural state in the nation, and I’m proud to help farmers build on that success by providing needed grants to help offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

Applications are available online through October 31.

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Mating Season Means More for Illinois Auto Crashes With Deer

Illinois motorists should beware of more deer activity this time of year, particularly at dawn and dusk.

 

Officials from the Illinois Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation note that it’s deer mating season, meaning more deer will be on the move — and crossing roads.

 

Transportation Secretary Omer Osman urges motorists to be watchful and remember the rule, “Don’t veer for deer.”

 

Osman said in a statement, quote - “While the urge to swerve is instinctual, it could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or drive into oncoming traffic, increasing the severity of a crash.” 

 

Officials say motorists should be aware of their surroundings, especially in areas marked with deer crossing signs. They should scan the roadside for “eye shine,” the reflection of headlights in the animals’ eyes.

 

And when a deer is spotted, slow down. They travel in groups, so more are likely nearby.

 

Illinois recorded more than 16,200 crashes involving deer last year. Of these, 15,600 resulted in damage to property or vehicles. Nearly 4% caused personal injuries and four were fatal.

 

More than 40% of crashes occurred in October, November and December, with the most being reported in November.

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Fall Off to Cool Start

FALL IS OFF TO A COOL START IN ILLINOIS. 

 

TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN A LITTLE LOWER THAN USUAL SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

SEPTEMBER STATEWIDE PRECIPITATION WAS SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL, AND VARIED WIDELY ACROSS ILLINOIS. THE U-S DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS CENTRAL, SOUTHERN AND MOST OF THE EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE AS ABNORMALLY DRY, WITH SPOTS OF MODERATE DROUGHT IN A FEW AREAS. 

 

 

FORD SAYS THE RAIN WAS WELCOME BUT ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS PERSIST THROUGHOUT MUCH OF ILLINOIS. HE ADDS THAT IF YOU'VE NOTICED THE SKY OVER ILLIOIS LOOKING AN ODD MILKY-WHITE COLOR, THAT'S THE RESULT OF SMOKE FROM THE WILDFIRES OUT WEST MOVING ACROSS THE STATE.

 

FORD SAYS THE EIGHT TO 14 DAY OUTLOOK CALLS FOR WARMER AND DRIER CONDITIONS THAN NORMAL.

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Flu Shot Clinic Oct. 6-7

Warner Hospital and Health Services will be offering a flu shot clinic this upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Paul Skowron, CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, indicates the flu shot clinic is from 8 am to 5 pm both days at the Family Medicine building while supplies last.


 

Skowron is anticipating a large number will get flu shots this year due to the nature of the COIVD pandemic. While the flu shot does not protect against COVID, it does offer protection against the flu.

 

 

The flu shot clinic is October 6-7 from 8 am to 5 pm at the Family Medicine building at 422 West White Street in Clinton. The clinic is for ages 9 and over with Medicare and Commercial insurance only while supplies last.

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Incumbent County Board Member Weighs In On Lack of Participation from County Board Challengers

WHOW and Regional Radio News earlier this week helped sponsor a candidate forum for the upcoming election on the DeWitt County Board.

 

The Tuesday night forum from the Abagail in Clinton was open to all candidates that will appear and on Tuesday, November 3 ballot and the five incumbent Board members were the only ones to take advantage of the opportunity to use the on-air and digital platforms to speak to voters and that fact did not go unnoticed on Tuesday.

 

Lance Reece was among the participants to speak on the lack of participation from those running...

 

Reece also pointed out the unfeasible idea by one challenger to bring in more residents to make up what could be a huge budget shortfall if the power plant leaves. (Editor's Note: Reece intended to say 1,000 homes would be needed.)

 

 

During the primaries, WHOW and Regional Radio News offered all the candidates on the primary ballot the opportunity to be a part of on-air candidate interviews and again, only incumbent board members took advantage of that opportunity. 

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Flag Retirement Ceremony Planned For October

Many area residents enjoy flying Old Glory, however, sometimes you may want to replace that Ragged Old Flag.  

 

Clinton Scout Troop 11-42 is offering residents a chance to respectfully retire their used American flags.  Nathan Anderson, Senior Patrol Leader for Troop 11-42, says they're currently accepting donations of used flags.  He and his father, Scout Master Ron Anderson - explain...

 

 

Ron Anderson says the Scouts haven't been able to host a ceremony yet this year, so they have a lot to retire at the upcoming ceremony.

 

 

Again, those used flag donations are being currently accepted at Ace Hardware and Encore Thrift Store in Clinton.  

 

The Flag Retirement Ceremony is set for October 19th at 6p at the Chautauqua area at Weldon Springs.

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DCFB Young Leaders Miss Apple & Pork Opportunity

In recent years, visitors to Clinton's annual Apple & Pork Festival have had an added parking opportunity on the north side of the city thanks to the DeWitt County Farm Bureau Young Leaders.

 

Tyler Barringer, President of the group, explains the joint effort has become the group's primary fundraiser each year.  He says those funds are then donated to food banks within the DeWitt County community. 

 

 

Of course, the cancellation of this year's festival means those funds won't be there, but Barringer explains they've still made their annual donation to the food banks, just a bit earlier due to the pandemic...

 

The DeWitt County Farm Bureau Young Leaders welcome anyone interested in agriculture that falls into the age range of 18-35.  To learn more about the group, visit dewittcountyfarmbureau.com.

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13 New Covid Cases Reported In Two County Area

Thirteen new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in DeWitt & Piatt counties in the past two days.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports 7 new cases in Clinton Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 30 & Oct. 1).  DeWitt County also saw a new case each in Kenney and Farmer City.

 

According to the Health Department, Monticello saw 2 new cases the past two days.  A new case each was also reported in De Land and Mansfield.

 

With these additional cases, DeWitt Co has had 152 cases total and Piatt Co has had 155 cases total.
 
In a release, Health Department Director, Dave Remmert says cases are rising in both counties, but especially in DeWitt Co, which will remain on the IDPH warning list.  

 

He reminds the public that this is a highly contagious disease and can spread even when cases are asymptomatic. He asks you to please wear a mask when in public, remain socially distant, wash your hands consistently and frequently. 

 

Remmert adds the department is having many individuals who are withholding information about close contacts. He reminds the public that they respect privacy and any information received is confidential. 

--

 

9/30/2020 Wednesday

DeWitt: 2 new cases in Clinton. 1 new case in Kenney..
Piatt: 1 new case in De Land. 1 new case in Mansfield.
 

10/1/2020 Thursday

DeWitt: 5 new cases in Clinton. 1 new case in Farmer City.
Piatt: 2 new cases in Monticello.
 

1 minor.
5 females in their 20's.
1 female in her 30's.
1 female in her 40's.
1 female in her 50's.
1 male in his 70's.
2 males in their 80's.
1 female in her 80's.
 

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Repairs Coming To DeWitt County Building

The DeWitt County Board held an abbreviated meeting Thursday night, one week after the regular September meeting was delayed.  The results of last night's meeting will bring some needed repairs to the DeWitt County Building.

 

County Board Chair David Newberg indicates a main topic of discussion was the needed re-roofing of portions of the building.  He says it's time to take care of some issues with the 30-plus year old roof.

 

 

According to Newberg, the project is going to come in well under budget expectations...

 

 

In addition, the DeWitt County Board approved a 13-thousand 5-hundred dollar emergency expenditure to replace two circulation pumps on the building's boiler system.  

 

Both projects are expected to begin as soon as possible.

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Wapella Fire Reports Single Vehicle Accident

The Wapella Fire Department reports at 8:10 pm on Thursday, October 1, Wapella Fire was dispatched to a single-vehicle accident near the intersection of Irish Row Road and Thorp's Road, approximately 2 1/2 miles east of Wapella.

 

Upon arrival, Wapella Fire found an SUV that had rolled several times after striking a utility pole. The drive had been ejected and had sustained very serious injuries.

 

Along with DeWitt County EMS, patient care was initiated immediately and the vehicle was stabilized to reduce the risk of any further incident.

 

DCEMS transported the patient to a medical helicopter and the patient was subsequently flown to Carle Hospital in Urbana for treatment.

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Clinton City Administrator Discusses What No Apple n' Pork Could Mean for City

It was an unusually quiet final weekend of September in Clinton as the annual Apple n' Pork Festival joined the running list of events canceled due to the COVID pandemic.

 

Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell says it is hard to quantify what the annual festival means to the City as upwards of 80,000 people come to town. He points out most of the money raised by these groups that weekend then ends up right back in the community in some way, shape, or form.

 

 

According to Followell, to try to do an economic impact study of the Apple n' Pork weekend would likely cost the City as much as they bring in but he speculates there is a good amount of money flowing through the town those weekends. He also commends local groups for the things they were doing this past weekend.

 

 

From all indications by the various groups that took on fundraising efforts during the weekend, most groups made-out very well. Including the DeWitt County Museum, who sold out of their ham n' beans and ham sandwiches within hours of opening up sales late on Saturday afternoon.

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Clinton YMCA To Hold Pork Cutlet Sandwich, Baked Potato Fundraiser Oct. 10

Join the Clinton YMCA and their Otter Swim program for a joint fundraiser that will take the place of their annual Apple n' Pork Festival efforts.

 

All week on Regional Radio News, we've been highlighting the impacts of COVID on the many groups that are a part of the annual Apple n' Pork Festival. The Clinton YMCA and their Otter swimmers program had their efforts stalled this year due to COVID. Executive Director Rennie Cluver says that isn't going to slow them down as they are planning a Saturday, October 10 event at the Y

 

According to Cluver, the Apple n' Pork Festival weekend annually brings in roughly $8,000 to $10,000. Cluver indicates they don't always designate those funds from the sales of Apple n' Pork as they go into their general fund for their operational expenses.

 

 

The Y last week received a shot in the arm as Cluver indicates they received a State Farm grant that is going to help offset the funds they are unlikely to be able to make from a normal Apple n' Pork weekend. He says the grant from State Farm will go towards their Y-Zone program.

 

 

Additionally, the week leading up the October 10 fundraiser and then capping off the week on that Saturday the YMCA is partnering with DeWitt Savings Bank for a matching program through their Strong Kids campaign. According to Cluver, any donations to the Y that week will be matched up to $10,000 from DeWitt Savings Bank.

 

 

Tickets for the Saturday, October 10 fundraiser are available at the YMCA and are $10 for a pork cutlet sandwich and a loaded baked potato. Cluver notes there is also a kids meal option with a hot dog and a drink for $5. 

 

The YMCA is located at 217 South Alexander Street in Clinton. 

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Atlanta Public Library To Offer App 'Hoopla' for Patrons

If you have a library card with the Atlanta Public Library, you'll soon be able to take advantage of hundreds-of-thousands of materials electronically.

 

Patrons of the Logan County library will soon be able to access books, music, and movies on the app 'Hoople'. Director Cathy Maciariello says they will roll this out in December and feels there are so many benefits to offering this to their community. 

 

 

Offering Hoopla will add to the digital offerings already available through the Atlanta Public Library. According to Maciariello, there is a lot more flexibility through the Hoopla app.


 

To get a library card to the Atlanta Public Library, Maciariello says all you need is proof of residency and within minutes you'll have a library card in your possession.

 

 

Registering for Hoopla for library cardholders is easy as downloading the app, entering your library card information and you're on your way using thousands upon thousands of materials at the tap of your device. Maciariello says to be on the lookout for more details in the weeks ahead as they plan to roll this service out in December. 

 

Find out more about the Atlanta Public Library by visiting their website at www.atlantaplb.org or find them on Facebook. The historic library is located in downtown Atlanta, Illinois. 

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Loss of Apple & Pork Festival Affects Clinton Athletic Boosters

When you think of the Apple & Pork Festival, you may not immediately think of the Clinton Athletic Boosters, but if you're one of the thousands that park each year at Clinton High School the last weekend in September, then you've supported their efforts.

 

Brian Ennis, President of the Clinton Boosters, explains the annual parking effort manned by Clinton athletic teams is their second-largest fundraiser of the year...

 

 

Ennis notes the Booster Club utilizes its share of the funds to support the team efforts of Clinton Junior High and High School athletic teams in a variety of ways.  He says the teams use their share to provide added opportunities for their athletes...


 

Fortunately for the Boosters, they were able to hold their largest annual fundraiser "Maroon Madness" in early March.  Ennis hopes their current effort of selling Gold Cards, which offers discounts at local businesses, is successful enough to lessen the impact of the loss of Apple & Pork revenue.

 

 

Clinton Gold Cards are currently available for 10-dollars from any junior high or high school athlete.  You can also contact the district athletic office to help support the Booster Club.

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Monticello Chamber Organizing Downtown, Socially Distanced Activities

In the COVID age, organizers are challenged with bringing their communities together and maintaining social distancing, but one Piatt County community is pulling it off this weekend.

 

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce is organizing a socially distanced and small-scale fall festival. Monticello Chamber Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock says they have several music acts planned along with activities for families and kids to be a part of.

 

 

The annual hit, the scarecrow walk, will be set up. Crawford-Stock says their local domestic violence group, Willowtree Missions annually sets this up and it is a community favorite.

 

 

According to Crawford-Stock, they are taking extra precautions to allow those that come out to maintain social distancing. Additionally, they are asking the community to follow all other COVID guidelines, mainly masking. 

 

The music starts at 11 am and goes until 7 pm. Get more information at makeitmonticello.com or find 'Make It Monticello' or the Monticello Chamber of Commerce on Facebook. 

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