If you are looking for ways to give back to the community during the holiday season, the Salvation Army is asking for your contributions.
Cody Monkman with the Neighborhood Care Center In Clinton indicates the DeWitt County Salvation Army chapter is based out of the Neighborhood Care Center. He says this came to be through his involvement with the Neighborhood Care Center and the First Christian Church.
With the loss of Walmart last year, the Salvation Army did a letter drive instead of the traditional red kettle campaign. Monkman notes they found that this was better due to funding allocations.
With the financial hardships brought upon by the global pandemic, Monkman says more people and new people are coming to the Neighborhood Care Center asking for help.
Laura Conheady says the Salvation Army funds are used for utility bills, rent, and gas vouchers. With their funds from last year, they have only been able to give $25 per family.
To donate to the Salvation Army, send contributions to the Neighborhood Care Center at P.O. Box 346 Clinton, IL 61727 ATTN: Laura Conheady. Please make checks available to The Salvation Army.
Like they did in the spring, the Clinton School District will once again be offering lunches to students during the remote learning session.
Clinton Schools Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel says starting today, students can pick up breakfast and lunch from Lincoln School, Douglas School, Webster Apartments, and Countryside Apartments between 12:30-2 pm.
Goebel notes the pickup time is later in the day than it was previously. This change is attributed to the school day being more structured with students meeting online at a specific time.
Goebel indicates they will also have pickup locations at Kenney, Wapella, Hallsville, DeWitt, and Lane for students of the district that live outside of the city limits.
Meal distributions begin today and will run until the end of the semester each day students would normally be in session. Goebel welcomes anyone with questions to contact him at (217) 935-8321
Long-term weather forecasts are not showing a pattern of extended cold or extended warm temperatures and moisture forecasts are showing things could be wet.
Last week, Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio News the up-and-down temperatures have surprisingly resulted in things being average for this time of the year and we're expecting more of those up-and-down temperature swings during the winter months ahead.
While we're headed towards a 'La Nina' winter, Miller explains a winter with above-average precipitation doesn't necessarily mean we're in for a wet enough winter to break the drought we're experiencing.
Miller reminds residents that rarely does snow equate to a significant amount of moisture as it takes over ten inches of snow to equate to one inch of rain fall.
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported 75 new coronavirus cases this week.
DeWitt: 2 new cases in Clinton. 2 new cases in De Land. 2 new cases in Wapella.
Piatt: 8 new cases in Monticello. 2 new cases in Cisco. 5 new cases in Mansfield. 2 new cases in Bement. 1 new case in Cerro Gordo. 1 new case in Atwood. 1 new case in White Heath. 1 new case in Hammond. 1 new case in Milmine
DeWitt: 10 new cases in Farmer City. 7 new cases in Clinton. 3 new cases in Waynesville.
Piatt: 12 new cases in Monticello. 5 new cases in Bement. 4 new cases in Mansfield. 3 new cases in Cerro Gordo. 1 new case in Lodge. 1 new case in White Heath. 1 new case in Milmine.
With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had a total of 658 cases; Piatt County has had a total of 809 cases.
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reminds the public to refrain from attending large gatherings, wash your hands, watch your distance, wear a mask in public, protect vulnerable populations, and test even when asymptomatic.
With the start of the holiday season also comes the possibility of hazardous weather conditions.
Chris Miller, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Lincoln, indicates we are now in the Holiday travel season. He urges motorists to use caution when driving on snowy or icy roads and to keep a winter safety kit in your vehicle.
In addition to winterizing your car, Miller says it is also important to winterize your house. He recommends stocking up on items that you would need in case you are unable to leave your home in the event of a storm.
Winter safety tips and information is available online at weather.gov/lincoln.
November has seen warmer than average temperatures and that trend will continue into the beginning of December. However, December as a whole is leaning toward La Nina conditions. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the latest...
Like many other holiday festivities, the Miller Park Zoo's Wild Lights will look a little different this year.
Jay Tetzloff, Miller Park Zoo superintendent, indicates Wild Lights will be held on two weekends this year. Reservations are required due to the zoo's capacity limits.
Tetzloff says the success of Spooktacular led them to not only expand Wild Lights to two weekends but also the hours of the event. Zoo patrons can expect a candlelight walk through the zoo and Santa as well.
Wild Lights is December 4, 5, 11, and 12 from 5-8 pm. The admission price for zoo members is free and, non-members are $5. To purchase tickets and make reservations call, (309) 434-2250 or visit millerparkzoo.org.
Difficult financial times facing the IHSA due to revenue shortfalls from most high school sports coming to a stop since last March. IHSA executive director Craig Anderson is worried.
The IHSA board will be meeting Dec. 2 and Dec. 14 to discuss the status of winter sports, which have been put on pause due to Tier 3 mitigations in Illinois.
ILLINOIS HUNTERS TOOK MORE THAN 47 THOUSAND DEER DURING THE FIRST WEEKEND OF FIREARM DEER SEASON.
AFTER A WEEKEND OF PRETTY NICE WEATHER, STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT SAYS HUNTERS HARVESTED 47 THOUSAND 147 DEER.
THE PRELIMINARY TOTAL IS 47 THOUSAND 147 DEER HARVESTED. THAT'S DOWN ABOUT THREE THOUSAND COMPARED TO THE FIRST HALF OF THE FIREARM SEASON LAST YEAR. THE SECOND WEEKEND FOR FIREARM HUNTING IS DECEMBER THIRD THROUGH THE SIXTH, WITH OTHER OPPORTUNITIES AS WELL SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.
ILLINOIS COUNTIES WITH THE LARGEST HARVESTS INCLUDE RANDOLPH, JACKSON, FULTON, JEFFERSON AND HANCOCK.
COVID is hitting rural America hard in light of the shutdowns from the spring and now further shutdowns in other parts of the country.
Clinton City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter indicates the city has, quote - "recovered quite well from [COVID]". Sales taxes, gambling taxes, and other revenues were down but he notes things are bouncing back higher than they were before.
The 'use tax', or taxes on online sales, has been a huge boost to local governments. According to Lichtenwalter, it wasn't until recently the federal government was forced to taxes to go back to local communities where the purchases originated from.
Early on in the pandemic, it was feared the City might have to dip into reserves to recover from the pandemic but Lichtenwalter indicates if we can avoid another lockdown to the degree of the first one, the City should end up in a good enough position to not have to do that.
The City is just over halfway through the fiscal year with more possible mitigations for COVID ahead in Illinois as we hit the cold and flu season when many experts predict another spike in COVID is coming.
It's levy time in central Illinois as area taxing bodies assess where they are at and what their needs are.
Blue Ridge Schools levy in 2020 is looking very strong. Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer announced they are refinancing bonds issued from 2012 that are going to save their taxpayers over a half-a-million dollars and doing the same with their 2014 bonds will allow them to make facility improvements.
Additionally, the district has issued their levy for 2020 and Dr. Stanifer indicates their tax rate is dropping this year thanks to the bonds being refinanced. All the good news is something she is thankful for given the uncertainty ahead.
Clinton schools took a similar course of action as Blue Ridge Schools in refinancing bonds. Both were done to take advantage of low-interest rates.
A favorite seasonal event in Monticello has adjusted for 2020.
Monticello Main Street Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock notes thirteen businesses will be open today from 11 am to 7 pm for the Reds of Christmas. Many of the participating businesses have special treats, giveaways, or discounts.
Crawford-Stock hopes in addition to the Reds of Christmas patrons will visit downtown Monticello to support local businesses on Small Business Saturday.
For those who do not feel comfortable shopping currently, Crawford-Stock indicates gift cards to many local businesses are available for purchase through the Monticello Chamber of Commerce's website.
For more information on the Reds of Christmas visit the Monticello Main Street and Monticello Chamber of Commerce Facebook pages.
IF YOU THINK YOU WERE EXPOSED TO COVID-19 OVER THE THANKSGIVING WEEKEND, THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDS WAITING A WEEK BEFORE GETTING TESTED.
GOT TOGETHER WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE YOUR HOME OVER THE HOLIDAY AND FEAR YOU MAY HAVE BEEN INFECTED? IT WON'T HELP TO GET TESTED RIGHT AWAY SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI EZIKE.
WHILE IT CAN TAKE 14 DAYS TO SHOW SYMPTOMS AFTER EXPOSURE...MOST PEOPLE WHO ARE INFECTED WILL END UP WITH A POSITIVE TEST AT DAY SEVEN SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI EZIKE.
EZIKE SAYS IF PEOPLE AREN'T CAREFUL AND GET TOGETHER IN LARGE GROUPS, SHE FEARS COVID CASES WILL SPIKE AGAIN OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE WILL BE BORROWING TWO BILLION DOLLARS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO HELP OFFSET REVENUE LOSSES DURING THE PANDEMIC.
WITH THE LOSS OF JOBS AND HITS TO TOURISM, HOSPITALITY AND RETAIL, THE CORONAVIRUS HAS TAKEN A BIG CHUNK OUT OF STATE TAX REVENUES, TO THE TUNE OF FIVE BILLION DOLLARS. AND WITH NO STIMULUS PACKAGE TO HELP STATES WITH COVID COSTS YET, THE GOVERNOR SAYS ILLINOIS NEEDS HELP AND WILL BORROW TWO OUT OF THE FIVE BILLION DOLLARS AVAILABLE TO THE STATE.
THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE'S RELUCTANT TO ADD TO THE STATE'S DEBT, BUT THAT ILLINOIS NEEDS THE INFUSION TO CONTINUE TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF COVID-19 ON RESIDENTS AND THE ECONOMY.
PRITZKER SAYS HE'S HOPEFUL PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN AND CONGRESS WILL COME TOGETHER TO PROVIDE RELIEF TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND THAT THE ECONOMY WILL RECOVER ONCE A VACCINE IS WIDELY AVAILABLE.
GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE LOSS OF TAX REVENUE DURING THE PANDEMIC HAS COST THE STATE ABOUT FIVE BILLION DOLLARS.
If you need help with your heating bill this winter, Ameren Illinois is touting a pair of programs through their Energy Assistance program...
Susan Sams is the Executive Director of the Warm Neighbors Cool Friends Program through Ameren Illinois. The program was once just for help in the winter-time but has recently gone year round to offer Energy Assistance in the Summer months as well.
US Senator Dick Durbin says he wants the top Democrat spot on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The current Ranking Member is California’s Dianne Feinstein and she will not seek the leadership post in the next session of Congress. That leaves an opening that Durbin is ready to fill.
Senate Democrats almost always follow seniority levels when assigning committee leadership positions. Durbin’s spent 22 years on the committee.
He isn’t without a potential challenger – the Democrat in line after Durbin – Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island has a number of backers.
A Republican Congressman from Illinois says he is glad that President Donald Trump has officially started the transition of power at the White House. But Darin LaHood does not think that Joe Biden has officially won anything just yet.
LaHood says that he wants to see a Federal Court case resolved in Pennsylvania before officially acknowledging the Biden win.
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting more coronavirus cases.
DeWitt: 2 new cases in Farmer City. 1 new case in Wapella. 1 new case in DeLand.
Piatt: 5 new cases in Monticello. 3 new cases in Atwood. 2 new cases in Mansfield. 1 new case in Cerro Gordo.
DeWitt: 5 new cases in Clinton. 3 new cases in Farmer City. 2 new cases in De Witt. 1 new case in Wapella.
Piatt: 5 new cases in Monticello. 3 new cases in White Heath. 2 new cases in Bement. 1 new case in Cerro Gordo. 1 new case in Milmine.
DeWitt: 6 new cases in Clinton. 1 new case in Farmer City. 1 new case in Waynesville.
Piatt: 6 new cases in Monticello. 3 new cases in Hammond. 2 new cases in Cerro Gordo. 1 new case in Bement. 1 new case in Milmine. 1 new case in White Heath.
DeWitt: 4 new cases in Clinton. 4 new cases in Farmer City. 1 new case in DeLand.
Piatt: 7 new cases in Monticello. 6 new cases in Bement. 3 new cases in Hammond. 3 new cases in White Heath. 2 new cases in Cerro Gordo. 2 new cases in Mansfield. 2 new cases in Atwood. 1 new case in Cisco.
With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had a total of 632 cases, Piatt County has had a total of 760 cases. An estimated 280 cases are currently active.
3 Additional deaths have been reported: one male in his 70s, one male in his 80s, and one female in her 80s all from DeWitt County.
The Health Department stated in a release that "Illinois State Police have started to issue citations to restaurants and bars in our area not complying with the mitigation measures and continuing with in-person dining/services."
Bringing a local focus with realistic expectations and goals is the idea behind a working group being coordinated by a local mental health organization.
Jessica Smiley with Heritage Behavioral Health Services indicates they have brought together several community stakeholders from school leaders and social workers to community members. She says losses of young people in recent years propelled the group's formation.
According to Smiley, now that they have a group of local folks at the table, they are moving into the goal-setting phase and deciding what they want to focus on.
As the group continues to meet, to make their goals manageable, Smiley explains they want to focus on what can be done that does not require everyone to be together and they have targeted a couple of early initiatives to meet that goal.
Smiley says the group is meeting roughly once-a-month and they have been meeting since early on in the fall.
For anyone interested in reaching out to Heritage for any emotional or mental health challenges they may be facing, you can reach them at 217-362-6262 or you can text Heritage at 552020.
Would you believe if someone told you temperatures are actually right at the averages for this time of the year?
You may not and it still is surprising to Chris Miller with the National Weather Services who indicates it is definitely hard to believe given a very moderate stretch of weather we saw in the middle of the month in central Illinois.
These are spring-like trends that are known are as a progressive pattern and Miller points out once you're in that pattern and headed to the winter, it is very difficult to break out of that.
Windy, windy, windy has been the theme of the warm days as well. According to Miller, windy days are also connected to those temperature swings.
Miller indicates there is a plethora of fascinating data available about this fall's trends at weather.gov. You can also find information on drought conditions in central Illinois and across the country as well as the latest in forecasts and any weather notices that are being issued.
THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS BOOSTING PATROLS FOR THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND.
ALTHOUGH OFFICIALS URGE PEOPLE TO STAY HOME THIS THANKSGIVING, STATE POLICE WILL BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THOSE ON THE HIGHWAY SPEEDING AND DRUNK DRIVING SAYS TROOPER MINDY CARROLL.
WHILE THE STATE POLICE ENCOURAGES FOLKS TO STAY HOME THIS THANKSGIVING, SATURATED PATROLS WILL BE OUT THERE SAYS TROOPER MINDY CARROLL.
THANKSGIVING IS TYPICALLY ONE OF THE BUSIEST TRAVEL DAYS OF THE YEAR.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING DOWNSTATE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO APPLY FOR COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDS BEFORE NEXT WEEK’S DEADLINE.
MORE THAN 350 UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAVE YET TO SUBMIT THEIR APPLICATION FOR THE FEDERAL CURE PROGRAM, WHICH REIMBURSES COMMUNITIES FOR PANDEMIC RELATED COSTS SAYS THE GOVERNOR.
SO FAR, ONLY ABOUT 118 MILLION OF ILLINOIS’ 250 MILLION DOLLAR SHARE OF FEDERAL CURE PROGRAM MONEY HAS GONE OUT OR IS ON THE WAY TO COMMUNITIES SAYS THE GOVERNOR.
THE APPLICATION DEADLINE IS DECEMBER FIRST. DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: DCEO DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.
ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS' “MONEY MATCH” PROGRAM IS RETURNING MORE THAN A MILLION DOLLARS TO THOUSANDS OF TAXPAYERS.
THE PROGRAM AIMS TO GET UNCLAIMED CASH TO THE RIGHTFUL OWNER. NEARLY 13 THOUSAND NOTIFICATION LETTERS ARE GOING OUT, AND CHECKS WILL BE ISSUED AFTER THE ADDRESS IS CONFIRMED SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.
THE TREASURER’S OFFICE IS IN CHARGE OF HOLDING UNCLAIMED PROPERTY LIKE THE CONTENTS OF LONG FORGOTTEN SAFE DEPOSIT BOXES AND STOCKS.
TO CHECK IF YOU HAVE MONEY OR PROPERTY DUE YOU, VISIT THE WEBSITE: ILLINOIS TREASURER DOT GOV SLASH ICASH.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS LAUNCHING A STATEWIDE GAMBLING AND ADDICTION STUDY.
A TEAM OF RESEARCHERS WILL LOOK AT HOW PREVALENT GAMBLING ADDICTION IS IN ILLINOIS, ESPECIALLY AMONG MINORITY COMMUNITIES, AS WELL AS RISK FACTORS THAT LEAD TO PROBLEMS WITH GAMBLING SAYS D-H-S SPOKESPERSON PATRICK LAUGHLIN.
THE HALF A MILLION DOLLAR, YEAR LONG EFFORT IS FUNDED IN PART BY GAMING TAX REVENUE.
RESULTS OF THE YEAR LONG EFFORT WILL BE USED TO IMPROVE GAMBLING ADDICTION TREATMENT IN ILLINOIS.
The Kirby Foods' sign went up this month at the former Clinton IGA in Clinton, as part of Kirby's extensive remodeling of the exterior of the building.
Kirby, an employee-owned company, purchased the former Clinton IGA from local owner Mike Chapman, last December 1.
Further remodeling is anticipated at the Clinton location.
Beginning Tuesday, Warner Hospital and Health Services will move COVID Testing to the Wellness Center.
Paul Skowron, CEO of Warner Hospital of Health Services, indicates they made this decision because the tent they are currently using is not for inclement weather.
The hours for testing will remain at 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. Skowron notes while the tent may still be up next week, testing will not be available there.
Skowron says the hospital has made recent additions to the Wellness Center's entrance in case of inclement weather. During rushes, individuals will have to wait in their car until the line shortens.
COVID testing is available through a doctor's order. The Wellness Center is at 418 West South Street in Clinton.
Free COVID testing is coming to Monticello on Saturday, December 5.
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department will host free testing at their Piatt County location. Director Dave Remmert hopes they can get as many people tested as possible.
According to Remmert, Piatt County is beginning to see quite a spike in their COVID numbers in the last few weeks.
Remmert indicates because of a lag in reporting and the delays they are experiencing in contact tracing, they are most of the time unable to provide their communities with up-to-date active COVID cases.
Piatt County Mental Health Center will now be able to offer student loan forgiveness for their employees, thanks to a recent grant.
Piatt County Mental Health Center Executive Director Tony Kirkman indicates, in February, he applied for a grant so that the Piatt County Mental Health Center could offer current and future employees student loan forgiveness through the federal program. In September, they had received the grant.
Kirkman says a community mental health center is a good starting position because you see a wide array of patients when compared with private practices. The experience paired with the loan forgiveness he feels would be very-attractive for recent college graduates.
To qualify for the program, applicants would have to remain in the position for two years to have a portion of their student loans forgiven. Kirkman notes this is an additional benefit he can offer that doesn't cost the county.
To learn more about the Piatt County Mental Health Center call, (217) 762-5371 or visit piattmhc.org.
Millions of families will have their plans altered this Thanksgiving thanks to the COVID pandemic.
Family gatherings will be a lot smaller and some people will connect via FaceTime or Skype or Zoom. DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert says his plans are being altered this year and hopes the public will limit the size of their gatherings.
While not everyone knows someone with a suppressed immune system or someone very elderly or even someone with multiple comorbidities, Remmert says doing simple things like washing your hands frequently and continuing to wear those masks are ways you can help do your part to protect those vulnerable populations.
While the last few days, the COVID numbers have seemed to level out in Illinois, Remmert does not see the recommendations of staying home and avoiding gathering together changing
Remmert indicates he was doing some research comparing the trends of the 1918 pandemic and indicates the 'Spanish flu' of 1918 had similar trend lines of the current COVID pandemic and also points out the winter after the first wave saw a tremendous second wave of infections.
THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE IS WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF COOKING FIRES THIS THANKSGIVING.
WHILE EVERYONE IS FOCUSED ON PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM COVID...FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS FAMILIES NEED TO REMEMBER OVEN AND STOVE SAFETY THIS WEEK AS WELL.
AND IF YOU'RE FRYING YOUR TURKEY:
FULTZ SAYS YOU ALSO WANT TO MAKE SURE THE TURKEY IS COMPLETELY THAWED BEFORE PUTTING IT IN THE FRYER. HE ADDS THAT YOU CAN SMOTHER SMALL FLAMES IN A PAN BY SLIDING A LID OVER THE TOP.
HE NOTES THANKSGIVING IS THE NUMBER ONE DAY FOR FIRES INVOLVING HOME COOKING EQUIPMENT, WITH FOUR TIMES AS MANY AS USUAL REPORTED EACH YEAR.
A conservative member of the House GOP says that it's time for two people to leave office.
Republican Grant Wherli says that it’s time for President Trump to concede. He adds the time has also come for House Speaker Mike Madigan to leave too.
Madigan has made no public comment about resigning.
Recognizing his time as Chairman of the DeWitt County Board is likely up, David Newberg says he looks forward to working with four new board members coming on in December and supporting the next person that has the support to serve in that post.
Friday on the WHOW Morning Show following up the Thursday night meeting, Newberg recognized it was likely the final time to represent the County on the show. He says it was a pleasure to work with some 'unbelievable people" the last six years.
While recognizing he likely won't be the next Board's Chairperson, he says he would support Terry Ferguson for that post. He points to Ferguson's work ethic and dedication to DeWitt County as reasons he would be a terrific board chair.
The reorganization of the DeWitt County Board will take place Monday, December 7 at 6 pm. The Board will also have a new vice-chair as Camill Redman exits the Board after the election.
UNPRECEDENTED UNEMPLOYMENT FRAUD CONTINUES ACROSS ILLINOIS AND THE NATION.
ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL SAYS SINCE JULY, HIS OFFICE HAS RECEIVED NEARLY FIVE THOUSAND COMPLAINTS ABOUT UNEMPLOYMENT FRAUD, OFTEN IN THE FORM OF A FAKE BENEFIT DEBIT CARD. RAOUL SAYS ANYONE CAN BE A VICTIM OF THE SCAM, NOTING HE RECEIVED A PHONY CARD IN THE MAIL.
RAOUL RECOMMENDS KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON YOUR BANK STATEMENTS AND CREDIT REPORT IF YOU THINK YOU'RE INFORMATION HAS BEEN COMPROMISED.
THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY IS TRYING TO DETERMINE HOW MUCH OF THE MORE THAN 17 BILLION DOLLARS PAID OUT IN UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS SO FAR MAY HAVE BEEN FOR FRAUDULENT CLAIMS.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says they are doing better getting people signed up for unemployment benefits.
The Acting Director of IDES Kristen Richards says the headcount at the start of the pandemic was half of what it was a decade ago. That lack of people inside the office and the remarkable demand for claims overwhelmed IDES.
IDES says now there is order to the call center and more than 1 million callbacks have been completed and everyone is guaranteed a call back.
IDES claims to have improved the certification process for those receiving benefits - and that keeps more people certified and cuts down on the need for anyone to call them in the first place.
STATE OFFICIALS WARN THAT A FEW DAYS OF IMPROVED COVID NUMBERS DOESN’T MEAN ILLINOIS IS OUT OF THE WOODS YET.
OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS, THERE’S BEEN A SLIGHT DECREASE IN THE NUMBER OF NEW CORONAVIRUS INFECTIONS. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THAT’S GOOD NEWS.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS WHILE THAT IS GOOD NEWS, THIS ISN’T OVER.
THE GOVERNOR REMINDS THAT THE STATEWIDE TEST POSITIVITY RATE IS STILL IN THE DOUBLE DIGITS AND THAT ILLINOIS IS STILL SEEING ON AVERAGE MORE THAN 10 THOUSAND NEW COVID CASES A DAY.
Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert happy to see some life in the market. He says it’s been a good stretch.
Soybean futures climbed double digits Monday at the Chicago Board of Trade and are approaching 12-dollars.
In light of the recent mitigations put into effect statewide, the Vespasian Warner Public Library will return to curbside services.
Samantha Rusk, Business Manager for the Vespasian Warner Public Library, indicates the library board decided to follow the trend set by other libraries and move to curbside only. In addition to checking out items, many services will be available as well.
Rusk says the library will have one computer open for public use by appointment only. The Revere Room will be available as a workspace as well.
The library has programming planned for December including, virtual events and curbside crafts.
The digital library services and parking lot WiFi are available 24/7. To checkout, items visit vwarner.org/curbside-order. To make an appointment call, (217) 935-5174.
Logan County residents are being asked to participate in a health survey with about a week left before it expires.
The Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Community Health Collaborative helps coordinate the survey that seeks to assess the community on what is important to them from a health perspective. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Angie Stoltzenburg with the Health Collaborative indicates this survey only comes around once every three years, so the community's input is very important.
According to Stoltzenburg, this is quite an undertaking for the Collaborative as they analyze a lot of outside data points and then focus on Logan County to help come up with the survey for the community to provide input.
Obesity, substance use, and mental health have been targeted in the path and Stoltzenburg explains they also targeted cancer and poverty because they have the resources to also address those issues. Additionally, she notes that led to a county-wide community health plan with all the stakeholders was created so everyone was on the same page.
As the community provides its input, Stoltzenburg tries to let the data lead them in their efforts. One thing that is likely to continue to be something they focus on is obesity because that appears to be an issue that is not going away.
Stoltzenburg notes she will be watching a social determinant of health such as living conditions which could lead to trying to secure affordable housing to better address issues in the community even if it looks strange for the hospital to be concerned about it.
November 30 is the final day to participate in the survey in Logan County. Stoltzenburg is willing to send out any participants that want a paper copy, just contact her at 217-605-5008 or visit almh.org to find the survey on the world wide web.
While some school districts are turning to remote learning ahead of and through the Thanksgiving holiday, local school leaders hope their families and communities will be cautious.
Navigating school during the COVID pandemic has been a rollercoaster and local school leaders want their kids to be in school and families in central Illinois have indicated they want the same. If youth are to remain in school, caution during the holidays is going to have to be practiced according to Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles.
Dr. Hilary Stanifer is the Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools and indicates she and her family have had to make some tough choices surrounding Thanksgiving this year. While she understands the desire to see friends and family, she hopes her community uses caution as they target a return to in-person learning after the Thanksgiving holiday.
COVID has impacted Amanda Geary, who is the Superintendent at Deland-Weldon Schools, and she is also going to be cautious during this holiday week. Like Blue Ridge Schools, Deland-Weldon schools are targeting bringing their students back for in-person learning after the Thanksgiving break.
In a letter to the community last week, Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman pointed out their recent decision to go remote was a direct result of decisions being made away from the school setting.
School leaders since the start of school and the planned return to class have said the biggest concern they have about maintaining in-person learning is the public making responsible decisions that would allow them to stay in school.
The DeWitt County Board in a special meeting tonight will take up its final piece of business before swearing in a new board in a few weeks in passing the fiscal year 21 budget.
Board Chair David Newberg calls this year's budget "a great budget" and thanks County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister and Vice-Chair of the Board Camille Redman who is the Board's finance committee chair.
Newberg indicates this year's tax increase is minimal and also includes a slight bump in the levy for the ambulance service, even as the County adds the Farmer City Fire Protection district to its jurisdiction.
The Clinton City Council is expected to approve the annual levy at their first meeting in December.
City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter explains an expiring TIF district on the west side of the community provided an infusion of cash available to taxing bodies.
An annual positive report out of the levy is the well-funded police and fire pensions. Lichtenwalter indicates in recent years, they have made a focused effort to get those stabilized and they are currently the better-funded pensions in the State of Illinois.
City Administrator Tim Followell calls this an a-typical levy and Lichtenwalter also points out this will be the fourth straight year the rate is down.
Lichtenwalter reminds residents of the decision last year to shift funds from the hospital to the pension funds which will help them in their goal to achieve 100-percent funded pensions. He notes that was possible thanks to the financial success of the hospital in the last five years.
For residents wondering, COVID does not impact EAV nor the levy.
As Illinoisans face softer stay-at-home orders for a second time during the coronavirus pandemic, the first round of shutdowns created several challenges for people close to a victim of domestic violence.
Jennifer Tolladay at DeWitt County DOVE tells Regional Radio News she received outreach from loved ones concerned about a person in a possible abusive situation and she was particularly concerned about children. She indicates she received many phone calls from loved ones of a person suspected to be in an abusive situation.
Tolladay says while abusers and victims are often careful not to bring children into the situation, she says it is inevitable kids will be aware of what is happening. She says kids are way more observant than we give them credit for.
Tolladay reminds that victims leaving is not as easy as getting up and walking out the door. She indicates several factors often hold them back like financial resources or having children involved.
Tolladay implores anyone who is now able to get out of their home where abuse might be taking place to reach out to DOVE for any assistance they can provide. You can reach the DOVE office in Clinton at 217-935-6619 or you contact their 24/7 hotline is 217-935-6072.
A conservative member of the House GOP says that its time for two people to leave office.
Republican Grant Wherli says that it’s time for President Trump to concede. He adds the time has also come for House Speaker Mike Madigan to leave too.
Madigan has made no public comment about resigning.
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported 198 new coronavirus cases between the two counties this past week.
On Sunday one new case was reported in Clinton. Both counties added 24 cases on Monday. On Tuesday, DeWitt County reported 14 cases with 11 in Clinton. Piatt County reported 20 cases with 8 in Cerro Gordo and 6 in Monticello. On Wednesday 6 cases were reported in Clinton and 13 total cases in Piatt County. Thursday saw 17 cases in DeWitt County with 12 reported in Clinton. Piatt County reported 40 cases with 17 in Monticello. On Friday DeWitt County reported 8 cases with 3 in Wapella, and 2 each in Clinton and Farmer City. Piatt County reported 13 total with 7 in Monticello.
With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had a total of 600 cases, Piatt County has had a total of 697 cases.
3 additional deaths have been reported in our residents over the past week, all DeWitt County residents: 2 females in their 80s and one female in her 90s. These deaths bring our totals to 11 in DeWitt County and 5 in Piatt County
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reminds the public that cases are spiking, locally, statewide, and nationwide. Please refrain from attending and hosting gatherings. Wash your hands, watch your distance, wear a mask when in public, protect vulnerable populations, and please test even when asymptomatic.
Earlier this week, InnovaFeed announced they would be coming to Decatur creating over 400 jobs for the area.
Republican State Sen. Chapin Rose congratulated the leaders in Decatur and Macon County that made this happen.
Sen. Rose has focused on a regionalized approach to development pointing out jobs created in Decatur or Bloomington or Champaign impact the smaller communities around them like Clinton and others.
Speaker of the House Mike Madigan has always been public enemy number one for Republicans in Illinois. That hasn’t changed… but as four more people are indicated in connection to the ComEd bribery scheme the calls for him to resign are only growing louder. House GOP Leader Jim Durkin says as the state is in crisis Madigan needs to go.
Madigan hasn’t been charged with any wrong-doing in connection with the corruption investigation connected to ComEd. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker said on Thursday that if Madigan won’t stand before the press and the people of Illinois to answer questions about the situation, he is in then he needs to step down as Speaker of the House.
Some much needed rain is on the way ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. What does the Thanksgiving holiday have in store? State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us....
Progress being made on two COVID vaccines. One from Moderna and the other Pfizer. The key question is distribution, specifically to rural underserved areas. Governor Pritzker was asked about that
Pfizer is reporting its coronavirus vaccine is more successful than originally thought. An earlier evaluation reported the vaccine to be more than 90-percent effective, however a final analysis shows it to be 95-percent effective. The company earlier this week said it will seek emergency use authorization from the FDA "within days."
Another DeWitt County school district will be going to remote learning but this time it is for a shorter time.
Superintendent Amanda Geary tells Regional Radio News COVID contact tracing efforts are forcing around 15 to 20-percent of their students and teachers to quarantine and they are finding it difficult to get enough substitute teachers to fill the gap.
According to Geary, they hope to return to full in-person learning on November 30 but this will be discussed by their board of education at their upcoming meeting on Monday.
Geary stresses it is the contact tracing measures of COVID that are making things difficult for Deland-Weldon schools. She stresses in-person learning is what they want first and foremost but they also have to think about what is best for everyone in their communities.
A Clinton business owner Thursday contributed to the ongoing improvements to the Kiwanis Park Ultimate Playspace.
Claudine Wargel, owner of Anthro Insights, indicates she wanted to be a part of the efforts to improve the playspace. She indicates she was very encouraged by the way the community has come together to help restore the park.
Wargel was a part of the original effort to fundraise to build the playspace, an effort that was almost entirely volunteer-based.
Marian Brisard is the Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Brisard reminds the community the Chamber has been holding funds for the park since its inception in the early 2000s and provided an update on the progress of the park.
Wargel encourages anyone who is in a position to do any financial giving this holiday season to consider contributing to the Ultimate Playspace or any community non-profit.
Brisard notes anyone wanting to contribute to the Ultimate Playspace can take those to the Chamber of Commerce office on the square.
A central Illinois lawmaker is weighing in on last week's decision to cancel the fall veto lame-duck session in Springfield this month.
While disappointed, Republican State Rep. Dan Caulkins indicates, on one hand, he's glad there will not be the opportunity for lawmakers to vote on a tax increase after a progressive income tax proposal failed at the polls a few weeks ago, however, on the other hand, he recognizes a lot of work needs to be done.
While Speaker Madigan canceled the session and Gov. JB Pritzker commented he would still like to find a way to meet, Caulkins points out the Governor could call an emergency session. He believes the two are keeping lawmakers home for their gain.
Rep. Caulkins believes keeping lawmakers home is the Speaker and Governor wielding their power for personal interests. He calls it bad politics.
The 101st General Assembly wraps up business in January when the members of the 102nd General Assembly will be sworn in. The Governor has said he plans to meet with the four legislative leaders to formulate the budget for this year.
Thousands of Illinois residents still have not claimed their economic impact payment, the $1200.00 payment that was given to every American amid the COVID-19 shutdown. Michael Devine from the Internal Revenue Service says these are mostly people who don’t make enough to file taxes and thus may not have current information on file with the IRS.
If you are someone who does not regularly file taxes but feel you should have been eligible for the Economic Impact Payment, go to IRS.gov or call the IRS so someone can help walk you through the process. The deadline for those who’ve not received their Economic Impact Payment is November 21st if you want to get the check this year. Otherwise you can get it when you file your taxes in 2021.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER AND ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE CALLING ON HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE MADIGAN TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COMMONWEALTH EDISON BRIBERY SCANDAL.
A GROUP OF MADIGAN'S ALLIES HAVE BEEN INDICTED FOR THEIR ROLE IN THE ALLEGED SCHEME TO CURRY FAVOR WITH THE SPEAKER AND PASS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD BENEFIT THE COMPANY. SPEAKER MADIGAN ISSUED A STATEMENT DENYING ANY WRONGDOING, BUT GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
G-O-P MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE LOOKING INTO POSSIBLE WRONGDOING, INCLUDING REPRESENTATIVE DEANNE MAZZOCHI OF ELMHURST, ECHO THOSE SENTIMENTS.
A NUMBER OF DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS SAY THEY WILL NOT VOTE FOR MADIGAN AS SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE COME JANUARY.
FIREARM DEER HUNTING SEASON KICKS OFF TOMORROW IN ILLINOIS.
THIS IS THE FIRST WEEKEND FOR FIREARM DEER HUNTING, THE MOST POPULAR SEASON OF THE YEAR. STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT HAS THIS REMINDER.
C-W-D CHECK STATIONS WILL BE CLOSED THIS YEAR DUE TO COVID-19, BUT TORBERT REMINDS HUNTERS THEY STILL NEED TO REPORT THEIR HARVEST EACH DAY BY 10 P-M.
THE SECOND HALF OF THE FIREARM SEASON RUNS DECEMBER THIRD THROUGH THE SIXTH.
Add Clinton schools to a list of districts utilizing remote learning for the remainder of the first semester.
Superintendent Curt Nettles put the call out Thursday evening indicating the escalating situation of COVID in the community and its impacts on school is just too overwhelming right now.
Students will attend class Friday to meet one final time with teachers and get instruction on how things will look for the next three weeks following the Thanksgiving holiday. Nettles indicates Monday and Tuesday will be preparation days for teachers and then after Thanksgiving, remote learning begins until the end of the semester.
Nettles is very confident his teachers and school buildings are very ready for full remote learning. He indicates while note every building has gone remote to this point, there have been practice scenarios done for this. Additionally, with two days next week for last-minute preparations, Nettles says they are ready.
Many parents might be frustrated by this and he is very sympathetic to that frustration. He is thankful for the support from the community that is appreciative of the efforts of the district to this point and for the support from the Board of Education of the decisions so far.
Last month, the DeWitt County Board moved to send a sound study agreement back to the County's Land Use Committee. At the Thursday night regular board meeting, the agreement was back on the table after the Committee came back with no recommendation and a 2-2-1 vote.
Again Thursday night, the motion was asked to be tabled. Melonie Tilley asked the motion be sent back to the Land Use Committee again but Lance Reece pushed back against the idea of the motion again going back to the land use committee. Tilley believes there should be no hurry in passing this.
According to Land Use Committee Chair, Terry Ferguson, a consulting engineering firm is helping with the permitting process and feels as well, it is being rushed.
Kyle Lockhause with Tradewind Energy indicates an updated sound study updated, similar to what was in the special use permit. He explains a sound study takes quite a while to get ready for and he had hoped the board would take up the motion Thursday.
Sending the agreement back to the Land Use Committee failed. An amendment to the motion was approved that any work during the winter months would be done while the ground is frozen. Tilley brought up concerns the firm is overseeing several other aspects of the study and felt a third-party consultant would be best.
The sound study agreement was voted down.
The Board Thursday night also approved the re-hiring of Zoning Administrator Aaron Paque as well as an agreement with the University of Illinois Shelter Medicine, an extension of the U of I's low-income spay and neuter agreement.
Since the start of school, Clinton Schools have seen between 40 and 50 cases of COVID impacting the school system.
Superintendent Curt Nettles on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News those cases are spread over the entire first semester.
According to Nettles, there have been points they have been close to going to remote for the whole district but he says their patience has allowed those situations to become less severe and they've been able to keep kids in the buildings.
As schools around Clinton go to remote learning at a district level or building level, be it for extended periods or temporarily, Nettles indicates if the situation warrants it, they will do the same thing.
Nettles says the district's principals and nurses are working throughout the day, including the evening hours through any positive COVID cases and contact tracing efforts. He credits their diligence during this difficult time.
Could the diagnostic effectiveness of mental health professionals be suffering from constant virtual counseling sessions?
That is a concern for a central Illinois mental health professional who indicates he is seeing a "Zoom fatigue". Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and he indicates while telehealth has been a huge benefit to keeping healthcare workers safe and still providing an outlet for people to seek help, there is a fatigue of the virtual meetings developing.
According to Kirkman, not only are healthcare professionals not able to get a good idea of some of the little things that go on with an in-person meeting, but they are coming away from the Zoom meeting exhausted.
Kirman points out young people have adapted well to the Zoom meetings. He also notes, telehealth continues to fall under the Governor's executive orders, which for now, will be in effect until December 22.
There are parts of central Illinois under severe drought and it is going to take a considerable amount of moisture to break out of it.
That's the message from National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Miller, who indicates a stretch of Lincoln to Clinton, Decatur to Taylorville, and areas stretching to Indiana are in a severe drought as we get closer to winter.
According to Miller, hoping the drought will break in the winter months is unlikely. He explains snow does not keep its moisture very well. He notes around 13 inches of snow is the equivalent of one inch of rainfall.
So what would it take to break out of this drought? Miller indicates some extraordinary circumstances would have to develop. From a warm stretch from the end of November and through December on top of each month receiving as much moisture as a typical winter in total.
Miller notes while we could start the spring in a moderate drought, that could quickly change in the spring. It is not uncommon for springtime weather to be extremely wet, however, that will bring its own set of challenges, specifically those for farmers and the planting season.
Most of Illinois can expect some rain this weekend. Bryce Anderson serves as Chief Agriculture Meteorologist for DTN.
He sees temperatures on a seasonal track for the week of Thanksgiving in Illinois with daytime highs in the mid-40s’ to mid-50’s.
Coronavirus cases are on the rise, and Illinois's Senior U.S. Senator says President Trump needs to work with President-elect Joe Biden to prepare for vaccine distribution. Dick Durbin believes President Trump's reluctance to work with President-elect Joe Biden would hurt the nation.
Recently, drugmaker Pfizer revealed its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective and had no severe effects. Pfizer reports it could have up to 50 million doses available by the end of the year, with up to 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
Construction continues on the Kirby Foods Clinton IGA building on Van Buren Street in Clinton.
The employee-owned company purchased the store from local owner Mike Chapman, on December First of last year, and is making a major investment in the store, both inside and out.
For now, you go both in and out, from the same doors that formerly were the entrance to the store.
This picture is just inside the doors at the store, showing what it'll look like when it's completed.
It was all COVID Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting.
What will the landscape of high school sports look like this year? What happens if the Governor sends all schools to remote learning? Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates it has been advised heavily by representatives of the district to not participate in winter sports.
According to athletic director Matt Koeppel, the only sports allowed to participate in activities this winter have been cheerleading, dance and swimming. At the end of the meeting, it was announced the IHSA is pausing all high school sports until further notice.
Keoppel says most athletic administrators he talks to are taking a similar approach to Clinton and are being given similar advice.
After the Governor's announced recommending all youth sports activities be paused, the IHSA followed suit and announced a pause in the winter sports season.
The Board of Education also discussed how ready each school building is for remote learning should that become necessary. The district has already had several classrooms and even the high school shut down temporarily this school year due to COVID.
Case counting is becoming everyday practice for an illness with a 99-plus percent survival rate but what about case counting for women and children who were battered and marred both emotionally and physically for weeks and months during the coronavirus shutdowns?
Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE tells Regional Radio News it was no surprise when the government issued stay-at-home orders, the calls to their domestic abuse hotline dropped off dramatically and individuals seeking shelter fell off as well.
Tolladay heard from victims the shutdowns gave their abusers the chance to escalate the abuse to new levels and in a lot of circumstances, the abuse turning physical was unexpected and out of nowhere.
Shelters in many places were also forced to close down due to the proximity of victims seeking refuge. Tolladay indicates their Decatur shelter was a highly sought after place because they remained open safely.
Tolladay implores anyone who is now able to get out of their home where abuse might be taking place to reach out to DOVE for any assistance they can provide. You can reach the DOVE office in Clinton at 217-935-6619 or you contact their 24/7 hotline is 217-935-6072.
The American Red Cross has put out another call for blood, as the pandemic continues to impact donations. While not urgent yet, the holiday season is traditionally a slower time for donations, so the Red Cross wants to get out in front of any shortage before we get into the busy weeks to close out the year.
Joe Zydlo, the External Communications Manager for the American Red Cross Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region, says even with fewer blood drives due to the pandemic, donations have been steady this year.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply of blood is available. Appointments can be made by calling 1-800-RED CROSS, on the new Red Cross Blood Donor App, or by visiting redcrossblood.org
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced new COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday that include capping crowds in retail stores and temporarily closing museums and casinos.
The latest rules, which take effect Friday, come as infections and hospitalizations continue to soar. Illinois on Tuesday logged 12,601 new cases and 97 additional deaths.
Earlier Tuesday, Pritzker joined other Midwestern governors in a video conference urging extra caution for people planning holiday gatherings among family or friends. State leaders and health experts have agonized for weeks over the potential for explosive virus spread from indoor celebrations among guests from different households.
The governors also produced a social media video, “Mask Up,” to spread their message.
Under the newly announced restrictions, retail stores must lower customer capacity to 25% from the current 50%, though grocery stores will be excluded and can operate at 50% capacity. Gyms will also be capped at 25% and indoor classes will no longer be allowed.
The first-term Democrat stopped short of a stay-at-home order, calling it a last resort. The entire state was under such an order for six weeks last spring at the onset of the virus.
Pritzker said he will be apart from his family during the holiday and plans to spend Thanksgiving with his teenage son in Chicago while his wife and teenage daughter will stay in Florida “indefinitely.” Pritzker owns an equestrian farm in Florida.
Pritzker spelled out his family’s decision during a Tuesday briefing with reporters in Chicago where he became visibly agitated and paused to compose himself. He said his family has faced unfounded scrutiny and threats, including on social media, for not adhering to social distancing measures.
Recently, an attorney who has brought lawsuits against Pritzker’s COVID-19 orders offered $1,000 to those providing footage of “Pritzker out celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family,” according to a Facebook post.
Tuesday marked the 11th consecutive day new infections have topped 10,000, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Hospitalizations also continue to rise, to 5,887 Tuesday, a 24% increase from a week ago. The spike in the most seriously ill is seen in those needing breathing assistance from ventilators. Ventilator usage was at 545 Tuesday, a 37% increase in the past seven days.
Pritzker, who at times during his daily briefings has issued stern admonitions for those who skip face masks and ignore rules against large gatherings, struck a hopeful tone that people will buckle down and safely weather the critical holiday period.
Monticello Schools are going full remote effective Wednesday, November 18 and that will last until Friday, December 4.
In a letter sent to parents on Tuesday, Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman indicates 20% of the student population is in close-contact quarantine in addition to 14% selecting at-home learning. That makes over 1/3 of the students on remote plans.
Dr. Zimmerman adds quote - "Our teachers are managing three different learning plans when we add in the temporary remote students. We had some high close contact numbers last week and we had six new positive cases over the weekend. We are not seeing any significant COVID spread occur within our schools – our positive cases come from outside of school activities which cause students/employees to have to quarantine as close contacts. This over-stretches teachers in addition causing six employees to close contact quarantine for two weeks since Friday. We continue to be diligent with safety measures in school and we know that being in school is the safest place for our students. We consider making it to this point in the school year a success with five days a week of instruction."
The veteran school leader was critical of decision making away from the school setting, adding quote - "Frankly, some adult decisions outside of school are causing this school closure to occur. I get that we are all COVID-weary and we want to live our lives – but we cannot 'have our cake and eat it, too' (following all safety measures inside of school for 25 hours a week and then attending non-family social gatherings, playing travel ball, and ignoring safety guidelines for the other 143 hours in a week will not work). As we approach Thanksgiving with our families, I would encourage you to continue to follow safety guidelines to the greatest extent possible."
November 18 will be a remote learning transition day meaning lessons will be posted on Google/Seesaw and no live instruction will take place. The district will be fully remote through Friday, Dec 4, and re-opening in-school learning on Dec 7. The letter also indicates they will plan for in-person and at-home learning plans to resume Dec 7-Dec 22 which will be twelve days of instruction prior to Christmas Break.
Dr. Zimmerman wrote, quote "I feel that it is better for us to go remote in smaller chunks of time so we can consider the local school COVID data as we make future decisions. I understand the potential hardship that going 100% remote will put on some of our families due to parents' work schedules. Now is a great time to again come together as a community and help a neighbor or friend out. There will be no access to Kirby RAPID COVID testing while we are on remote learning."
Dr. Zimmerman expressed his pride in the students that have been in-person and are following the safety guidelines. He also expressed his appreciation for their staff and their work to not only educate their kids in unprecedented times but also keeping the buildings clean and sanitized.
Contact tracing continues to consume officials at the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, resulting in over a week since their last report.
In that time, Piatt County saw an increase of 139 new COVID cases while DeWitt County added 53 new confirmed cases. In total, the increases make the total for Piatt County 582 while DeWitt County checks in with 530.
The Health Department continues to call for a cease of hosting and attending large gatherings, parties, and events.
They continue to recommend washing your hands frequently, watch your distance (6 feet or more), and wear a mask when in public. Protect vulnerable populations.
The Health Department is also asking to test even when asymptomatic.
They also note we are experiencing the peak number of cases we've seen during this pandemic this week.
All but 4 counties within the State of Illinois are on the State Warning List for COVID-19, including both DeWitt and Piatt.
Monday was the final day of brush pick up until next year.
Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner Ken Buchanan noted the leaf vacs are out as the final leaves hit the ground and remind residents brush pickup will be suspended until next year, part of a change to the City code just a few years ago.
Commissioner Tom Edmunds, at the meeting virtually, pointed out the levy that will be voted on at the next meeting in December, will include fire and police pensions that are funded well above state averages, and are in excellent shape.
Also at the upcoming first December council meeting, the council will take up a petition for the disconnection of parcels as well as an ordinance of Chapter 1 of Title 13 building codes. Additionally, brush grinding and leaf disposal will be taken up for the yard waste facility for a combined $29,600.
The Clinton YMCA and Blue Ridge School district officials are coordinating an effort to bring the Y-Zone after school program to Farmer City.
Targeting the program to launch after the first of the year, Y Youth Program Director David Torbert on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News, they are still finding out what the need is for the program in Farmer City and the communities served by the district.
Y-Zone is a safe place for kids to go during the after school hours and receive help on homework or just have a place to have some fun with their friends. Torbert indicates its structure will look very similar to the Clinton Y-Zone program.
According to Torbert, while it might seem like there is plenty of time before the program is rolled out, he says they face the daunting task of finding qualified volunteers to work with the kids in the program.
To get more information, Torbert points any parent of a student in the Blue Ridge district to contact their child's school or to reach out to the Y for further information. The YMCA in Clinton can be reached at 217-935-8307.
The Macon County Conservation District's deer herd management program is currently underway is seeing a good turnout among hunters.
Richie Wolf, Executive Director of Rock Springs Nature Center, indicates the deer herd management program is an archery hunting program this open to not only Macon County residents but state and out of state as well.
Wolf says the Macon County Conservation District was one of the first to implement a deer management program. He says deer can very easily overpopulate, and if left unchecked, can damage natural vegetation.
The hunting is limited to certain areas of the park that is only accessible to the registered hunters. Wolf encourages anyone interested to visit the Conservation District's website to apply for an application. He says Rock Springs is a good site for anyone wanting to get started hunting.
The deer management program runs until December 10 and, hunters can harvest coyotes and bearded turkeys as well. For more information visit: https://maconcountyconservation.org/habitat-restoration/deer-herd-management/
CORN AND SOYBEAN HARVEST IS NOW COMPLETE IN ILLINOIS.
THERE WERE FIVE DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK WITH TEMPERATURES MORE THAN SIX DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL AND RAINFALL A LITTLE MORE THAN USUAL. HARVESTING IS NOW DONE SO CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT THE WINTER WHEAT CROP.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS 10 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 21 PERCENT SHORT, 66 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.
AS COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS CONTINUE TO RISE IN ILLINOIS, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING EVERYONE TO STAY HOME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
THE NUMBER OF CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL HAS INCREASED BY 260 PERCENT OVER THE PAST MONTH AND A HALF. SO THE MESSAGE IS SIMPLE SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER: STAY HOME IF YOU CAN AND WEAR A MASK IF YOU GO OUT.
HE SAYS HOSPITALS ARE FILLING UP, AND STAFF IS EXHAUSTED WITH THE RECENT RAPID INCREASES.
THE GOVERNOR SAYS ILLINOIS IS AVERAGING ABOUT 52-HUNDRED COVID PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL EACH DAY, AND THAT THE NUMBER OF HOSPITALIZATIONS HAS RISEN 70 PERCENT IN JUST THE LAST TWO WEEKS.
Governor J.B. Pritzker not ready to move all Illinois schools to remote learning just yet. He was asked about the issue Monday afternoon.
The state announced over 11,000 new COVID cases Monday with another 37 deaths.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is asking for Illinoisans to limit their travel and gatherings over the next 30 days, right in the heart of the holiday season.
With that in mind, DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert is indicating there are a number of COVID outbreaks and quarantined individuals lately stemming from large gatherings of people.
Remmert indicates COVID fatalities in the health department's two county jurisdiction have been mostly in older populations.
As the world anticipates a vaccine later this year or early next, Remmert indicates they are now beginning to work through a vaccination plan and working on who will get vaccinated first.
IDPH on Saturday reported 11,028 new or probable coronavirus cases and 166 deaths. Illinois hospitals said they had 5,415 patients with COVID-19 on Friday night, including 9% on ventilators.
The COVID pandemic has been described as the most difficult issue facing school district administrators even by the most veteran of school leaders.
Talking about one's emotional and mental state is not an easy public discussion to have and graciously, local school leaders are giving updates on how they're handling these hyper-scrutinized and enormously difficult decisions. Deland-Weldon Superintendent Amanda Geary indicates her family, faith, and female peers have been the pillars of keeping her going.
Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman is as steady-mannered school leader as you'll find in central Illinois. He says it is the job of the superintendent to lead in the good times and the bad.
Focusing on everyone else, dealing with displaced anger, and having COVID consume the time and energy of school leaders is taking years off the lives of school leaders according to Bement Schools Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood.
According to Warrensburg-Latham Schools Superintendent, Cheryl Warner, she is finding exercise keeps her mental health strong. Like her peers, she is also leaning on her peers across the area.
Heading into the thick of the cold and flu season, many superintendents and their board of educations are beginning to explore bringing back any remote learners that are ready to return to the school setting, another hurdle during the COVID pandemic.
If you qualify for disabilities or are 65 or older without income, Social Security recommends looking into Supplemental Security Income.
Jack Myers with Social Security indicates SSI is a needs-based program for individuals with disabilities and people who are 65 and older. To qualify, you must meet income and resource limits.
Myers notes the main difference between Social Security and SSI benefits is that SSI is not based on work history and does not come from the Social Security trust fund.
The medical criteria to be considered disabled for SSI is the same as Social Security. Myers says because it is a needs-based program, they will have to ask for information such as living arrangements to determine if you qualify.
For more information about SSI, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov.
The Governor has come out with dire numbers concerning the state’s fiscal situation.
Pritzker’s Office of Management and Budget released data last week showing the state is $3.9 billion in the hole for the current fiscal year.
How will the state address it? Republican State Rep. Avery Bourne says the failure of the progressive income tax on Election Day shows voters want the state to find a different way to fill the budget gap.
The Governor says that he will be meeting with the four legislative leaders to bring the budget within balance this year.
SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS ANNOUNCING THAT ALL DRIVER'S SERVICES FACILITIES WILL BE CLOSED FOR A FEW WEEKS.
AS A PRECAUTION DURING THE PANDEMIC, THE FACILITIES WILL CLOSE TUESDAY THE 17TH AND THEN REOPEN DECEMBER THE SEVENTH SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT.
HAUPT REMINDS THERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF ONLINE AT CYBER DRIVE ILLINOIS DOT COM, SUCH AS RENEWING YOUR VEHICLE REGISTRATION. ADDITIONALLY, THE EXPIRATION DATE FOR STATE DRIVER'S LICENSES AND I-D CARDS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JUNE FIRST OF NEXT YEAR.
An Illinois congressman says he's "cautiously optimistic" that Americans will receive a second COVID-19 stimulus check.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, who recently won reelection to the U.S. House in Illinois; 13th Congressional District, says the problem lies with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Taylorville Republican says small businesses are suffering because Speaker Pelosi is reluctant to negotiate a second stimulus deal.
President-elect Joe Biden could propose a second round of checks to Americans once sworn in; however, that is several months away.
Instead of 'wear your mask' a local healthcare leader is saying 'wear your safety equipment'.
CEO of Warner Hospital Paul Skowron indicates because the messaging of 'wear your mask' is becoming tiresome to many, he is hoping the messaging of 'wear your safety equipment' will better resonate with the public.
As positive cases of coronavirus continue to spike across the state, Skowron is focused on making sure he has as much staff healthy and available along with making sure they can handle any infusion of COVID patients. He indicates they need to make sure they are doing everything they can because surrounding healthcare facilities are seeing an increase in hospitalized individuals.
While a stay-at-home order could come from the Governor's office if the situation in Illinois does not improve, he indicates it still appears as though local districts will continue to make their own decisions about if they go to a remote-learning setting or remain in-person.
Cases of COVID are exponentially growing in DeWitt and Piatt Counties.
According to DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert, the trend is concerning and he remains the most concerned for the elderly populations and severely susceptible individuals.
This week saw more fatalities in DeWitt and Piatt Counties. Remmert says most, but not all, are stemming from the assisted living facilities in both counties.
As cases continue to exponentially grow locally, Remmert indicates they are finding there are too many birthday parties or weddings that are resulting in not only cases but also a great number of people having to quarantine due to contact tracing efforts. He is imploring the public to limit these gatherings.
A historic warm stretch for November snapped this week and a much cooler and breezy weekend is here. State Climatologist Trent Ford gives a look at the week ahead....
Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s not only concerned about the rising COVID numbers in Illinois, but bordering states as well. He supports a national strategy.
Iowa has now surpassed 170,000 COVID cases with nearly 20,000 reported this week.
AS PART OF THE STATE'S "REBUILD ILLINOIS" PROGRAM, DOWNSTATE COMMUNITIES ARE RECEIVING 112 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS FOR TRANSIT NEEDS.
31 DOWNSTATE TRANSIT PROVIDERS ARE RECEIVING THE FUNDS SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.
WAPPEL SAYS 31 TRANSIT PROVIDERS WILL SHARE THE FUNDING, WHICH CAN BE USED FOR SEVERAL PROJECTS.
WAPPEL SAYS FOR MANY PEOPLE, TRANSIT SERVICES CAN BE A LIFELINE FOR THEM TO GET TO WORK, SCHOOL OR THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE.
Students at The Vault in Clinton will be taking part in the annual 'Small Business Saturday'.
'Small Business Saturday' is the 'mom n' pop' compliment to 'Black Friday' and 'Cyber Monday' around the post-Thanksgiving shopping sprees. Connie Unruh leads the program called 'Biz-Town' and her students are selling spaces for local businesses and groups to utilize and the community will be welcome at The Vault that Saturday to check everything out.
In addition to the booth spaces available to the community, The Vault teens are also coordinating a bake sale for that afternoon.
'Biz-Town' is designed for the youth to learn the basics about owning and operating a business through adapting and marketing. Unruh points out this has also created lessons in supporting the community and believes their event on Saturday, Nov. 28 does just that.
Executive Director of The Vault, Tammy Wilson credits Unruh for being an excellent teacher and inspiring them to dive into this event.
12 students are participating in this program.
To get more information about their Small Business Saturday event, contact The Vault at 217-935-4003. Again, the event is from 1 pm to 5 pm at The Vault on the north side of Clinton Square.
Around 1-percent of Warrensburg-Latham students have been impacted by COVID to this point in the school year.
Superintendent Cheryl Warner calls the data surrounding COVID in their schools very positive. She says while the area and region are seeing spikes in COVID cases, they have been fortunate that transmission of COVID has not occurred in the schools.
Warrensburg-Latham has a special COVID committee to help guide the district through this time. While some districts are exploring an early reintegration of remote learners into the student population for in-person learning, Warner says they are waiting on bringing their students back until the start of the second semester.
While the response to remote learning has been mixed, Warner says 90-percent of their students at risk of failing are remote learners.
For students at risk of failure, Warner indicates they are extending the school day for both in-person and remote learners for voluntary, intensive interventions.
Central Illinois Republican Congressman Darin LaHood was reelected to a two-year term last Tuesday and is focused on continuing his efforts for the people of central Illinois in Washington, D.C.
Congressman LaHood is pushing for another stimulus bill for the businesses that continue to struggle during this pandemic. He says lawmakers go back next week and it will be a priority during the lame-duck session.
Congressman LaHood says family-owned restaurants and the hospitality industry is hurting in Illinois. He says this is due to the "overzealous" mandates of Gov. JB Pritzker.
Continuing the work of the recent trade agreements with China and the debt is also on Congressman LaHood's radar as he goes back to Washington.
Congressman LaHood indicates he has been visiting with farmers in his district this fall checking in on how the harvest is going for them.
THE STATE IS LAUNCHING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE HEALTHY WAYS TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR.
"HEALTHY HOLIDAYS TO YOU" COMES AS THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 IS HITTING ILLINOIS WITH A VENGEANCE, AND OFFERS ADVICE FOR THE COMING WEEKS SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE DROPPING OFF HOLIDAY GOODIES AT THE DOOR INSTEAD OF ENTERING SOMEONE'S HOME AND SHOPPING ONLINE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
THE BROADCAST AND SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN FEATURES QUIPS SUCH AS DECKING THE HALLS WITH SANITIZER, MASKING BEFORE YOU MISTLETOE, AND IF YOU'RE GOING TO JINGLE, JINGLE SIX FEET APART.
An explosion of coronavirus cases at the Illinois Veterans Home in LaSalle has state Sen. Sue Rezin calling for an investigation.
The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs says as of Wednesday 81 residents and 88 employees tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that has already claimed seven residents' lives. Just two residents and two employees had tested positive as of November 2 right after the outbreak began. Rezin believes some safety protocols must have been broken and there's something to learn from the situation.
The Morris Republican says the American heroes who live there and their families deserve an investigation into what went wrong.
As harvest is pretty much wrapped up for most Illinois farmers the numbers look pretty good. Illinois Corn Growers Association executive director Rodney Weinzierl (wine-ZEARL) says they expect yields to be above average, but not record-breaking.
According to the USDA, Illinois yields are projected now to be 195 bushels of corn and 58 bushels of soybeans per acre.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS IF COVID-19 NUMBERS DON'T IMPROVE, SOME SORT OF STAY AT HOME ORDER MAY BE IN ENACTED IN THE COMING DAYS.
AS THE NUMBER OF NEW CASES SOARS, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS ASKED PEOPLE TO LIMIT THEIR ACTIVITIES AND TRAVEL, AND WORK FROM HOME IF THEY CAN. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IF WE DON'T GET SPREAD OF THE VIRUS UNDER CONTROL, A STATEWIDE MANDATE MAY BE IN ORDER.
THE GOVERNOR SAYS SINCE OCTOBER FIRST, THERE HAS BEEN A 459 PERCENT INCREASE IN CORONAVIRUS CASES AND A 217 PERCENT INCREASE IN DEATHS.
BESIDES LIMITING GOING OUT, THE GOVERNOR ASKS PEOPLE TO AVOID EVEN SMALL GATHERINGS WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD.
As harvest comes to a close, one Central Illinois commodity broker says new leadership in the White House could be a breath of fresh air when it comes to commodity prices in the future.
With Bates Commodities in Normal, Curt Kimmel said that Democratic President-elect Joe Biden could pass another stimulus bill to help farmers with the help of a democratic controlled House of Representatives.
On Tuesday, agricultural commodities rallied after the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected a lower 2021 carryover of wheat, corn, and soybeans, with soybeans seeing their highest levels since early July.
The state legislature hasn’t met since the pandemic started, and two legislators say it needs to. State Senator Sue Rezin says, for one thing, restaurants are being expected to change their plans mid-stream without the public’s input. Rezin says the legislature also needs to look into whether local health departments have the funding they need to do their work during the pandemic.
Rezin and State Rep. La Shawn Ford held a Zoom news conference Thursday calling for public meetings to resume.
Richard Randall and his wife Marlene are celebrating 40 years of owning and operating Randall Cabinets and Design in business in DeWitt County.
Richard tells Regional Radio News his roots in Clinton began when he was a college student at Illinois State University hoping to become a wood teacher but ended up starting his own business and things only grew from there.
Randall's business growth is due to almost entirely word of mouth recommendations. He explains a job for one individual would translate to two or three others and it snowballed from there.
According to Randall, as they grew they then started selling Sub-Zero and Wolf kitchen appliances as well as countertops of all types. You've likely seen the small storage sheds outside their facility in Wapella, Randall notes they recently started selling those to better utilize the prime location they have off the highway.
One of Randall's most notable clients was a former Cy Young award candidate and a member of the Chicago Cubs. He also points out the variety of jobs he's done has required a lot of creativity.
Randall has since retired but remains a part of the business on the design side - his son Joe has taken over the business and Richard congratulates him on the recent birth of their new baby. He thanks his wife Marlene for her support of him over the 40 years of their operation and is thankful for the gift God gave him to be successful in his industry.
Randall Cabinets is located at 703 Walnut Circle in Wapella to the north of Circle H Western Store.
The Farmer City Chamber of Commerce is moving forward with its plans for its 2020 Christmas parade.
Chad Wills with the Farmer City Chamber says they are looking forward to their 'Polar Express Parade' on Sunday, November 22 at 2 pm. He indicates interest is as high as it is in a non-pandemic year.
Wills is very confident the event will be a success despite recent COVID numbers escalating locally. He notes he was at the Heyworth Christmas parade recently and also points out this is something their community wants to do.
Wills says entries will be accepted up to the start of the parade on that Sunday. But to get your entry in now, you can contact him at 309-386-2791.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE'S DISAPPOINTED THE FALL LEGISLATIVE VETO SESSION HAS BEEN CANCELLED.
THE HOUSE AND SENATE NIXED THE SESSION DUE TO CONCERNS OVER COVID-19. LAWMAKERS DON’T HAVE ANY ACTUAL VETOES TO CONSIDER, BUT THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE WOULD HAVE LIKED THEM TO MEET.
GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE’D HOPED TO GET A LOT DONE DURING THE SESSION, BUT NOW WILL MEET WITH LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TO DISCUSS WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE STATE BUDGET NOW THAT THE GRADUATED INCOME TAX PROPOSAL HAS FAILED.
THE NEXT TIME LAWMAKERS ARE SCHEDULED TO BE BACK AT THE CAPITOL IS IN JANUARY FOR A SHORT LAME DUCK SESSION BEFORE A NEW GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS SWORN IN.
A member of Illinois’ congressional delegation getting mentioned as a possibility for the U.S. Ag Secretary post in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards says other names mentioned include U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota and U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge from Ohio. Bustos was just elected to a fifth term in office. She serves in the U.S. House Ag Committee.
Knox County farmer John Block served as U.S. Ag Secretary in the Reagan administration.
In a special meeting of the Board of Education for Monticello schools tonight, discussing the latest with COVID and winter sports will be the primary focuses in a meeting that is unlikely to have any action.
Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday tells Regional Radio News this meeting is about giving the Board information to consider ahead of their regular board meeting next Wednesday.
According to Dr. Zimmerman, COVID in the community is starting to result in a spike in students that are being forced quarantine. Currently, there are 13 cases of COVID across the district but the good news is the transmission does not appear to be happening in the school buildings.
As it relates to the Board's discussion regarding winter sports and more specifically basketball, Dr. Zimmerman says it is going to be difficult to recommend a decision to move forward playing sports against the guidelines of the Illinois Department of Public Health when they are in compliance with every other recommendation.
Dr. Zimmerman indicates it has been tough to watch his students lose the opportunities of playing and competing in sports this fall and now likely the winter months. He says it is even more frustrating knowing neighboring states have successfully pulled off fall sports and are now transitioning to those winter sports.
Despite COVID numbers increasing in central Illinois and all over the state, local school leaders are discussing bringing back remote learners ready to return to in-person learning. Dr. Zimmerman says they heard similar issues as neighboring districts that there were students struggling with the remote learning setting and so at the start of the second quarter last week, they allowed any remote learners to return to in-person learning.
With COVID on the rise in the community and among those that are in the school buildings, Dr. Zimmerman released an update to their parents about the latest in COVID and stressed the importance of personal responsibility if they want to have their kids remain in school as we head to the cold and flu season.
Dr. Zimmerman continues to stress the importance of personal responsibility of everyone outside the school setting. He reminds the community they have their kids for five hours out of the day and when they are in school, they are following the guidelines set in place. He also is confident the spread of the virus locally is not originating in the schools.
A central Illinois Congressman says the path back to the White House is narrowing for President Donald Trump but supports the President's challenge of the 2020 election.
Dunlap Republican Congressman Darin LaHood believes the President should be able to pursue the integrity of the election and ensure all legal ballots were counted however, he says the President needs to bring evidence forward in the next week to ten days.
While the 2000 election involved only the state of Florida, Congressman LaHood says there are some similarities and believes the outcomes will be similar. Mostly he predicts this process will end up in the court system.
According to Congressman LaHood, given the divided government, President-elect Biden is going to have to govern from the middle but questions if he'll be able to do that.
Congressman LaHood was one of the many Republican House members to retain their seats in last Tuesday's election and is thankful for the support he received in getting approved for two more years.
Double-digit gains on the Chicago Board of Trade Tuesday with soybean trade leading the way. The key factors…….
That’s AgriVisor market analyst Karl Setzer speaking at the close on Tuesday.
Temperatures won’t be in the 70’s for the rest of week or likely for the rest of month, but there won’t be too drastic of a change with daytime highs. Many areas of Illinois hit record high temps Monday, but a more normal weather pattern is returning to the state says Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks.
Hicks sees an up and down temperature pattern in December, averaging closer to normal with precipitation running a little below normal.
As a possible vaccine from Pfizer comes online to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 the challenges of delivering the vaccine are coming into focus. Pfizer’s vaccine will have to be stored and delivered in extremely cold conditions. The federal government is largely handing off the distribution efforts to the states.
Governor JB Pritzker says knowing those challenges ahead for delivery only makes it more critical to get it right.
The state of Illinois has a preliminary distribution plan for a COVID-19 vaccine.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE RAPIDLY INCREASING ACROSS THE STATE.
FOR NEARLY A WEEK NOW, MORE THAN FOUR THOUSAND ILLINOIS COVID PATIENTS HAVE BEEN IN THE HOSPITAL EACH DAY SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.
THE GOVERNOR SAYS NORTHWESTERN AND SOUTHERN ILLINOIS HAVE RECENTLY SEEN HOSPITALIZATION RATES ABOUT DOUBLE SINCE THEIR PEAK BACK IN MAY AND CENTRAL ILLINOIS AND THE METRO EAST AREAS ARE DEALING WITH INCREASES OF TWO TO THREE AND A HALF TIMES THEIR PREVIOUS HIGHS.
GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE COLLAR COUNTIES ARE CLOSE BEHIND. FOR NEARLY A WEEK NOW, DAILY HOSPITALIZATIONS ACROSS THE STATE HAVE BEEN OVER FOUR THOUSAND.
In late-October, the Clinton Chamber of Commerce announced the cancellation of their annual Christmas parade.
Knowing how much a lot of people look forward to that event, Clinton business owner Lance Schmid decided he would organize an event for the community. He indicates the event is taking somewhat becoming a grassroots effort on Facebook.
Sunday, December 6 at 3:30 pm is the date and time for the parade. Schmid says Dave Jackson is allowing the event to use his store's parking lot on Center Street.
Schmid hopes his organization of this event will be an example for anyone in the community that sees something they don't like to quote - "be the change you want to see".
Anyone interested in being a part of the parade can find the event's Facebook page by searching 'Christmas 2020'. Schmid says this is a free parade with no entry fees for any floats or displays.
Earlier this week it was announced a staffer at the Clinton Goodwill store tested positive for COVID and the business temporarily shut down.
Goodwill announced Tuesday they would be reopening Wednesday morning at 10 am.
Goodwill indicates there are employees that are self-isolating and during their brief closure they disinfected all areas of the store. They have been in contact with the health department for directions as well as following their own guidelines and safety protocols.
Local health officials are offering more guidance in how potential or confirmed COVID cases should handle quarantine and contact tracing efforts for possible exposures.
Executive Director Dave Remmert in a statement Tuesday says quote - "We seem to be getting a lot of calls from area residents related to contact tracing efforts of our agency. Our contact tracing efforts are keeping up with cases, but often there is a lag in the reporting from testing centers around us. We can't begin contact tracing until we have a case to report."
The Health Department advises all cases to isolate at home and for all suspected contacts to quarantine at home while waiting for contact tracing efforts to begin. The Health Department has noted they will be in contact and Remmert stresses there is no need to call the health department as they will be in contact as soon as test results are submitted to their system.
As local and state COVID cases continue to spike, officials remind the public to continue to keep physical distance, wear a mask in public and wash your hands frequently.
Remmert points out, quote - "We are seeing a great number of cases and contacts in area residents stemming from birthday parties and a recent wedding. Now is not the time for these sorts of events. In each circumstance, we've had cases that had as many as 30 people named in close contacts who were forced to quarantine."
As the leaves fall off the trees in masses and harvest continues, local authorities are sending out some friendly safety reminders.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers as the harvest of central Illinois rolls along, he is asking for patience from motorists who will be traveling. The Chief says this is part of living in the corn belt and we should use to and understanding the time of year we're in.
Chief Lowers is one of the many hunters that will be hitting the rural areas for the fall deer hunt in the weeks ahead. He indicates the harvest and hunting season are among many things making deer more active this time of the year. Additionally, the leaves falling can cause some havoc on the roadways.
Burning of leaves in the City of Clinton is prohibited. Chief Lowers reminds residents City crews are making the rounds now for leaf cleanup. Additionally, the yard waste facility is open for those that have the means to take advantage of that.
The City of Clinton Public Works Department is updating the City of Clinton website daily with the zones they will be visiting for leaf clean up. Check out clintonillinois.com for the latest.
Wednesday is Veterans Day and Social Security is reminding veterans of the very small gesture they are taking to make sure the people who risk their lives for our country are properly taken care of.
Jack Myers with Social Security reminds anyone who knows a wounded veteran to visit ssa.gov/woundedwarriors. But he is also reminding veterans any disability claims they submit are immediately expedited to the front of the line.
According to Myers, there is a difference between benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Social Security as the two have different applications.
Learn more about all things veterans and Social Security, visit ssa.gov/woundedwarriors.
CORN AND SOYBEAN HARVESTING IS STARTING TO WRAP UP AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
IT WAS A WARM, DRY WEEK IN ILLINOIS, GIVING FARMERS PLENTY OF TIME IN THE FIELDS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
97 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 90 PERCENT EMERGED.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECREASED TO SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 25 PERCENT SHORT, 67 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND TWO PERCENT SURPLUS.
ILLINOIS IS JOINING A MULTI-STATE EFFORT TO LOWER VETERAN SUICIDE RATES.
THE STATE IS DEDICATING TWO MILLION DOLLARS TOWARDS THE NATIONAL “GOVERNOR’S CHALLENGE TO PREVENT SUICIDE” INITIATIVE. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICE SPOKESPERSON MARISA KOLLIAS SAYS THE MONEY WILL BE USED FOR SUPPORT AND PREVENTION SERVICES.
THAT INCLUDES PUTTING TWO MILLION DOLLARS TOWARDS THE INITIATIVE FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND SUICIDE PREVENTION PROGRAMS SAYS KOLLIAS.
LAST YEAR…SUICIDE WAS THE 12TH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG ILLINOIS RESIDENTS OF ALL AGES, BUT THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR THOSE AGES ONE TO 24.
The Clinton Goodwill store has closed its doors for the time being after an employee tested positive for COVID.
In a release Monday, Goodwill indicates the employee last worked Tuesday, November 3, and tested positive for COVID Friday, November 6.
The company is using its time closed to disinfect the entIre store and donation processing area.
No date for reopening has been determined.
The COVID pandemic has in some, way, shape and form impacted every school district in the state.
Whether districts have started remote and transitioned to in-person learning or had to temporarily take their learning to a remote format, it seems every district has been impacted one way or another. All that is except Deland-Weldon schools. Superintendent Amanda Geary knocking on every wood surface she can find says things have been going well for them.
While many feared an outbreak in the student body or community COVID numbers rising being detrimental to the school year, Geary says for her and most of her peers, finding substitute teachers in the event they need two-week replacements was their biggest fear of returning to school.
Geary credits teachers, students, and maintenance workers for following all the guidelines they have in place. When in school, they are doing everything they can to limit exposure through a lot of different practices when kids are in the building.
Deland-Weldon students who were participating in remote learning for the first quarter had the option of returning to in-person learning at the start of the second quarter, roughly three weeks ago. Geary indicates they will offer that again before students return for the second semester after Christmas break.
It was a record-setter for voter turnout last week in DeWitt County.
DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith tells Regional Radio News early voting was as popular as an option as it's ever been but most people still went to the polls on election day.
According to Smith, DeWitt County purchased new voting machines a few years ago that have streamlined their results tabulations and she indicates this is why there should not be any concerns the public may have about if their ballots were correctly counted.
According to Smith, the driver of this year's record turnout was likely the interest in wind farms at the County Board level and the presidential election.
DeWitt County's election will result in four new County Board members being sworn in in December.
The COVID pandemic has been described as the most difficult issue facing school district administrators even by the most veteran of school leaders.
Talking about one's emotional and mental state is not an easy public discussion to have and graciously, local school leaders are giving updates on how they're handling these hyper-scrutinized and enormously difficult decisions. Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools Dr. Hilary Stanifer has been asked how she is doing and it feels good to have that support during her first year of being in her role.
Dr. John Ahlemeyer is the Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools and has found himself keeping in touch with his peers in neighboring districts. While they often compete amongst each other, he says this is a time they need to lean on one another and support each other.
The most challenging year of her career is how Superintendent of Heyworth Schools Dr. Lisa Taylor describes this year. She says there has been a lot of criticism and complaints this year and she invites those individuals to come and talk to her.
Heading into the thick of the cold and flu season, many superintendents and their board of educations are beginning to explore bringing back any remote learners that are ready to return to the school setting, another hurdle during the COVID pandemic.
The proposed graduated income tax proposal from Gov. JB Pritzker aimed to increase revenue in the Illinois budget failed last Tuesday and a tax increase is likely coming according to a central Illinois lawmaker.
If Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly don’t get a stimulus bailout from the federal government, they will likely try to pass a tax increase, according to Illinois State Senator Chapin Rose.
Senator Rose does expect there to be a veto session because he doesn’t think that his democratic colleagues can help themselves from passing more rules and regulations.
Several counties put on their ballot a referendum to make Chicago the 51st state, Senator Rose says that it’s easier said than done.
If separation was approved, Senator Rose believes the first 5-10 years after the separation would be difficult, but that after that the amazing resources of downstate Illinois would take over.
Illinois voters rejected the graduated income tax proposal at a 55-percent clip, not in favor.
The defeat of the Progressive Tax Amendment, Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride not being retained, and modest Republican gains in the Illinois Statehouse were a message from voters on election day to House Speaker Michael Madigan. That's the assessment of downstate state rep. Dan Swanson...
Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride lost his bid for retention on the Illinois Supreme Court by a margin of 54% to 43% in what was seen as a resounding rebuke to House Speaker Michael Madigan, who had spent heavily on ads to push for Kilbride to be retained.
WITH CORONAVIRUS CASES SOARING...THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS FAMILIES NEED TO RETHINK HOW THEY USUALLY CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS.
FAMILY GATHERINGS, WHERE YOU SEE RELATIVES YOU HAVEN'T BEEN AROUND SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN HAVE BEEN A SIGNIFICANT SOURCE OF SPREAD OF THE VIRUS. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE SAYS IT MAY BE JUST TOO BIG OF A RISK TO GET EVERYONE TOGETHER THIS YEAR.
WHAT ABOUT TRAVELING?
EZIKE REMINDS THAT EVEN IF YOU AREN'T SHOWING SYMPTOMS, YOU COULD BE CARRYING THE VIRUS AND SPREAD IT TO THOSE AT HIGH RISK, AND THAT THERE ARE SEVERAL SOURCES OF EXPOSURE NO MATTER HOW YOU CHOOSE TO TRAVEL.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is combining two different types of positive COVID-19 results into one data set.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike says the state has a batch of antigen tests, those are only slightly less accurate than PCR tests. If you test positive from a PCR test you have a confirmed result. If you test positive from an antigen test you are listed as probable. Until this past week those figures had been compiled separately. Ezike says that is changing.
The CDC has changed the guidelines to allow for those two types of test results to be combined into one data set. Often if you test positive with an antigen test you will go back for PCR testing. If that is the case Ezike says your case would only wind up being counted once in the state’s totals.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos wants to see another COVID stimulus bill move forward.
Bustos was re-elected to a fifth term last Tuesday in a close race with challenger Esther Joy King. Bustos serves as chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
With a resounding victory in Tuesday’s election, Republican Congressman Mike Bost of Murphysboro is heading back to Washington D.C. The focus for much of congress will be another COVID relief package. In addition, Congressman Bost has some priorities of his own. He says there are three areas Congress will be working on almost immediately once they reconvene.
In addition, Bost says he plans to continue his work on veteran-related issues. If Republicans take the majority, he will be working to become chairman of the VA Committee. If Democrats are in charge, he will be the highest-ranking Republican on that committee.
Leaf clean up is underway in Clinton.
Leaf piles on the curbs are starting to increase in number and City crews are out now with their two leaf-vacs to clean things up. Commissioner of Public Improvements on the Clinton City Council, Ken Buchanan Monday night announced the yard waste facility is also expanding its hours of operation this month.
Additionally, this is the final month of brush pick up until next year.
Buchanan also noted the Center Street project has a few minor things to finish up and it will be complete.
Record warmth the last five days is expected to be followed by more seasonable temperatures next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more...
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported over 70 new cases this week between the two counties.
On Tuesday, DeWitt County reported 12 new cases with 9 in Clinton, and one case each in DeWitt, Waynesville, and Heyworth. Piatt County reported 10 cases with 3 cases in Monticello, 3 in Mansfield, and one in White Heath, Bement, Cerro Gordo, and Cisco.
On Wednesday, DeWitt County added 5 cases with 3 in Clinton, a case in Weldon, and a case in Farmer City. Piatt County had 20 cases with 9 in Monticello, 4 in Cerro Gordo, 3 in Atwood, 2 in Mansfield, and cases in Bement and White Heath.
Thursday, DeWitt County reported 16 cases with 12 in Clinton, 2 in Kenney, and 2 in Farmer City. Piatt County also had 16 cases with 6 in Monticello, 5 in Cerro Gordo, 2 in Bement, and one each in Atwood, Cisco, and Mansfield.
With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had a total of 431 cases; Piatt County has had a total of 365 cases.
There have been 2 additional fatalities reported in recent days, a DeWitt County female in her 90s, and a Piatt County male in his 80s. This brings total fatalities to 7 in DeWitt County and 4 in Piatt County.
Seniors can return to the DeWitt County Friendship on November 16.
The Friendship Center Board decided to close down an additional two weeks due to COVID issues. Executive Director Paula Jiles says they want to do what is best for their seniors. They felt it was best to get everyone healthy.
Upon the reopening at the Friendship Center, seniors that come in will be required to mask and social distance. Jiles indicates they will resume some of their regular activities with social distancing in mind. They will still host some other monthly programs as well. Get more information about what is happening at the Friendship Center by calling them at 217-935-9411.
Seniors in DeWitt County hoping to get an appointment with Diane Cusey for the Medicare Part D open enrollment period need to do so quickly.
Cusey is the County's Community Care Systems worker and indicates her schedule is booked out for almost the next month to help folks get enrolled in Medicare Part D or to update their plans.
According to Cusey, at this time she is unable to meet with seniors in person, so everything is over the phone or by email. She adds this is also impacting her plans to visit Farmer City and Kenney this month.
If you want to make an appointment with Cusey, you need to call her and leave a message. She is becoming inundated with appointments but will return calls and indicates if you already have an appointment, plan on corresponding via email, or over the phone.
Cusey encourages seniors to call her direct number at the Friendship Center, which is 217-935-4560. She also points tech-savvy seniors to visit medicare.gov to take care of this process electronically on their own if they do not want to wait on an appointment time with her.
The annual cemetery walk hosted by the McLean County Museum of History not only has gone virtual this year, but it has been so successful, they are extending the opportunity to view it to the end of the month.
Educator at the Museum, Candace Summers indicates the cemetery walk is intended to tell the stories of the people buried at Evergreen Cemetery in McLean County and provide education about why cemeteries are so important. While educational, it has also had an impact on issues in cemeteries.
Summers indicates a cemetery is more than just a burial ground with names and dates etched in stone. Often times it is kids asking the questions, but she enjoys explaining why a cemetery is such a special place.
The cemetery walk has been made available for free to youth. Summers says this has been a wild success.
Visit mchistory.org and find information on the cemetery walk. Summers indicates they have extended the ability to view the cemetery walk until December 1.
Another strong day in soybean trade. Double-digit gains and hitting the 11-dollar mark on Thursday at the Chicago Board of Trade.
That’s AgriVisor market analyst Karl Setzer at the close on Thursday.
Do you feel you are in a slump during the winter season? Is your mood is affecting your relationships, social activities, or workdays? You may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. An expert with OSF HealthCare says there are ways to deal with it.
Marybeth Evans, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, OSF HealthCare says it is estimated five percent of adults in the U.S. experience SAD with symptoms typically lasting about 40% of the year.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, common symptoms of SAD include fatigue, even with too much sleep, and weight gain associated with overeating and carbohydrate cravings. SAD symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include many symptoms similar to major depression.
WITH NEW COVID INFECTIONS SOARING, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS MORE RESTRICTIONS MAY BE IN STORE FOR ILLINOIS.
THE GOVERNOR ISN’T SAYING YET WHAT THOSE RESTRICTIONS MIGHT BE, BUT WARNS THEY ARE COMING IF THE VIRUS CONTINUES TO SPREAD.
HE ISN’T SAYING SPECIFICALLY WHAT THAT MAY ENTAIL.
GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE PUBLIC HAS GOT TO DO ITS PART BY WEARING A MASK AND AVOIDING PARTIES AND GATHERINGS. HE SAYS RESTAURANTS AND BARS NEED TO FOLLOW THE RULES AS WELL AND NOT OFFER INDOOR SERVICE.
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS ANNOUNCING COVID SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR DEER C-W-D STATIONS.
DEER HUNTERS IN SOME COUNTIES ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE THEIR HARVEST TO A CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE CHECK STATION. I-D-N-R SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT SAYS THERE ARE A FEW CHANGES THIS YEAR.
THE FIREARM DEER HUNTING SEASON IN ILLINOIS IS NOVEMBER 20TH THROUGH THE 22ND AND DECEMBER THIRD THROUGH THE SIXTH.
Boaters might just have one final chance to get out on Clinton Lake before the fall and winter weather forces the boats to be put up for the year.
Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Captain John Williamson indicates the summer on Clinton Lake was a busy place this summer. He notes, there was a surge in boat sales and that was reflected in the crowds on the lake.
According to Williamson, with lockdowns and people stuck inside, there were concerns the problems would be escalated on the water but there really was not much of that.
Capt. Williamson anticipates an uptick in boaters this weekend with temperatures expected in the 70s throughout the weekend. He notes fishing is still strong on the lake if anyone is wanting to take advantage of that.
As the nation awaits the ballot counting to continue and likely litigation coming from the results of the 2020 presidential election, Congressman Rodney Davis was among many Republicans Tuesday to retain their seats in Congress.
On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Congressman Davis thanked the voters for their support and looks forward to continuing the things he's doing in Washington for central Illinois. He says priority number one is to help the country get through COVID.
This election process brings back memories of 2000 for Congressman Davis. While social media is buzzing with improprieties on both sides, he implores the public not to believe everything they see online however, he believes there is voter fraud happening.
Congressman Davis says the way this election is playing out is a very bad look for America across the globe and believes it only plays into the disinformation wars in China and other places.
Congressman Davis believes voter fraud is a matter of a state being willing to fix the issues with their systems, unfortunately, there is a lot of corruption in many places in America when it comes to elections.
The DeWitt County Board last month discussed how to spend money from the federal government for COVID relief.
At the October DeWitt County Board meeting, the Board discussed how to spend funds available but they would have to fall under the parameters of COVID impacts. Vice-Chair of the DeWitt County Board Camille Redman suggests laptops that could be used during board meetings for the virtual attendees along with other county employees.
Board Chair David Newberg and Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister indicate there is $220,000 available but the purchases have to be COVID pandemic related. Newberg points out due to the virtual component of their meetings recently, laptop purchases make sense and could have multiple uses.
Dan Matthews, who also serves as the President of the Clinton Board of Education, indicated similar funding was made available to school districts and explains they had to get creative in how they used their funds.
The Board approved Rentmeister to move forward and purchase as many laptops as the funds available would allow.
The community of Monticello is celebrating the grand opening of Tractor Supply Company.
The store is in the old Shopko building on the community's south side. Monticello Chamber Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock indicates the company has put in a lot of work to make the building their own and Saturday the community is welcome out for their grand opening.
According to Crawford-Stock, during the pandemic when a lot of businesses are struggling to stay afloat, it is a big win for Monticello to be able to welcome someone into an existing spot and have a new retail option.
Tractor Supply will be in the area of the community with Faith Lutheran Church, the DMV, and Robert Milligan Memorial Dog Park.
Last month's field fires were of great concern for farmers in central Illinois, now this month Department of Natural Resources officials have issued an advisory for hunters.
DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday indicates the grain that fell off burned bushels of corn near waterfowl hunting sites is considered baiting and DNR authorities wanted to make hunters aware of this.
Torbert acknowledges this is often inadvertent but since the recent field fires are not considered a normal agricultural practice, the fires have created areas that will be considered baited for the 2020-21 Illinois waterfowl hunting seasons until all grain left on the ground has been removed.
Hunters with questions regarding waterfowl hunting and baiting can contact their local IDNR Conservation Police Officer. A directory with CPO contact information can be found on the IDNR website at:
We’re moving into the fall ammonia season for producers across the state and a few reminders from Jean Payne with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.
Payne posts the soil temperature readings every day at “ifca.com”.
A fifth term for Democrat Senator Dick Durbin in Illinois. The state’s senior senator beat a number of opponents to secure his victory on Election Day.
Durbin says as heads back to DC that no matter who you voted for by Tuesday, he’s heading to the Capitol to work on issues for everyone in Illinois.
Durbin begins his list of priorities with working on COIVD-19 relief packages as soon as the Senate returns to Washington DC next week.
The state’s voters loudly turned down a ballot proposition that would have allowed the state legislature to change the state’s flat tax to a graduated income tax.
Democrat Governor JB Pritzker pushed hard for the change in the tax structure and says now that the state won’t be able to raise taxes on the state’s highest earners - sharp budget cuts may be coming.
A 66-year old rural Cerro Gordo woman is dead following a house fire on Sunday, November 1.
Macon County Coroner Michael Day announced Sandra K. Bramel died in the fire that resulted in a total loss of her home located at 1101 North East County Line Road, which required attention from multiple agencies.
The coroner says the autopsy showed Bramel died of smoke inhalation.
The COVID pandemic has been described as the most difficult issue facing school district administrators even by the most veteran of school leaders.
Talking about one's emotional and mental state is not an easy public discussion to have and graciously, local school leaders are giving updates on how they're handling these hyper-scrutinized and enormously difficult decisions. Fred Lamkey is the Superintendent at Mt. Pulaski Schools and says he doing well and is taking things one day at a time.
Dr. Lindsey Hall leads the Mahomet-Seymour school district and says she is doing great and points to family and faith as drivers of support in her life that keep her in check.
Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles echoed a similar message as Dr. Hall. He says exercising and his faith are two keys in keeping a positive mindset and appreciates the support of the Clinton Board of Education and the staff of their schools.
Heading into the thick of the cold and flu season, many superintendents and their board of educations are beginning to explore bringing back any remote learners that are ready to return to the school setting, another hurdle during the COVID pandemic.
Deer/vehicle crashes annually increase this time of the year and local authorities are reminding motorists to be on high alert, especially when driving at night.
Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Captain John Williamson says annually there are around two or three accidents in his region. With rut season beginning and the crops coming out of the field, deer are going to be active.
Cpt. Williamson encourages motorists to slow down, use the high beams when possible, and keep an eye to the sides of the road.
Motorists that do hit a deer in a car accident are able to keep the deer for its meat if they want to. According to Cpt. Williamson, the DNR website has a form to fill out. You can also get a hold of your local DNR conservation officer and they can help walk you through the process as well.
DNR authorities also remind residents deer/vehicle accidents do not just happen out in the rural areas, as there are deer that do make their way into populated areas and can cause accidents on community streets.
What a week of weather for Illinois. Mild temperatures will stay near or above 70 through the weekend with very little rain in the forecast says DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson.
After this week, Anderson says we’ll see more normal type November weather in Illinois with chances of rain improving in the latter part of this coming weekend and early next week.
U.S. Representative Darin LaHood is heading back to Congress after defeating Democrat challenger George Petrilli.
The Dunlap Republican, who represents the 18th district, said being reelected for the third time shows his commitment to the state and the nation.
LaHood, who won a seat in the U.S. House in 2016 and 2018, will serve another two-years in Congress.
The DeWitt County Board could have a 30-percent turnover come December.
Results from Tuesday night's election suggest all four challengers to Districts A and C incumbents will be the winners. In District A with five out of five precincts reporting, challengers Buck Carter, Aaron Kammeyer, and Jamie Prestegaard were the big winners. Carter received the most votes with 1,297 while Kammeyer tallied 1,187 and Prestegaard followed with 1,116. Incumbents Camille Redman and Lance Reece, both Democrats, fell far behind with Redman garnering 598 votes and Reece 435.
In District C, challenger Republican Megan Myers after six out of six precincts reporting tallied a district-high 1,129 votes followed closely by incumbent Republican Jay Wickenhauser with 1,117 and incumbent Republican Board Chair David Newberg with 1,048 votes. Democrat incumbent Scott Nimmo lagged behind with 631 votes.
District A had a 74-percent voter turnout while District C had 72-percent voter turnout.
Incumbent County Circuit Clerk Michelle Van Valey received nearly 84-percent of the vote, comfortably ahead of challenger Nathan Florey with all 23 DeWitt County precincts reporting. Van Valey received 6,202 votes to Florey's 1,185 with a 74-percent voter turnout.
Uncontested races in DeWitt County included State's Attorney Dan Markwell, County Coroner Randy Rice, and the Farmer City retail sales tax proposal was turned down by a vote of 649-288.
The Republican tickets locally were also dominant Tuesday. The Trump/Pence ticket received 70-percent of the local vote, Mark Curran received 65-percent of the local vote however, incumbent Dick Durbin has been declared the winner for the US Senate race.
Additionally, Congressman Rodney Davis received nearly 75-percent of the vote to challenger Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan.
The State's constitutional amendment proposal received only 22-percent support in DeWitt County.
Tallies are unofficial as absentee and mail-in ballots still have two weeks to be counted.
CORN AND SOYBEAN HARVESTING CONTINUES AHEAD OF THE FIVE-YEAR AVERAGE.
ABOUT FOUR AND A HALF DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK, WITH WET CONDITIONS IN SOUTHERN COUNTIES. OVERALL, HARVESTING IS ON TRACK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
94 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 82 PERCENT HAS EMERGED.
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE INCREASED TO THREE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 18 PERCENT SHORT, 68 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 11 PERCENT SURPLUS.
THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS ASKS VOTERS TO BE PATIENT WAITING FOR FINAL VOTE COUNTS.
VOTERS NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT A LOT OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS COULD ARRIVE AFTER ELECTION DAY, AND BE COUNTED AS LATE AS NOVEMBER 17TH SAYS BOARD SPOKESPERSON MATT DIETRICH.
DIETRICH SAYS THAT MEANS IN CLOSER RACES, YOU MAY SEE THE LEADING CANDIDATE CHANGE MULTIPLE TIMES BEFORE THE FINAL COUNT IS COMPLETED. MORE THAN HALF A MILLION MAIL-IN BALLOTS COULD ARRIVE AFTER ELECTION DAY, AND MAY NOT BE COUNTED UNTIL NOVEMBER 17TH.
DIETRICH SAYS THE MAIL-IN BALLOTS MAY ALSO DELAY THE FINAL WORD ON THE PROPOSED GRADUATED INCOME TAX AMENDMENT.
The Illinois Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee doing work this week. Mark Gebhards is IFB’s Director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities.
The Resolutions Committee is in charge of readying policy for the IFB Annual Meeting in December, which is a virtual event this year.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING THE PUBLIC NOT TO RELY ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ELECTION RESULTS.
WITH SO MANY MAIL-IN BALLOTS TO BE COUNTED…IT MAY TAKE AT LEAST A FEW DAYS TO FINALIZE WINNERS. THE GOVERNOR SAYS YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT ELECTION INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES.
PRITZKER ADVISES PEOPLE TO GET ELECTION RESULTS FROM REPUTABLE NEWS SOURCES OR THEIR LOCAL ELECTION AUTHORITY’S WEBSITE.
GOVERNOR PRITZKER CAUTIONS THAT IT’S LIKELY GOING TO TAKE AT LEAST A FEW DAYS TO DETERMINE WINNERS IN MANY RACES.
It seems like more and more people are out to scam the elderly for money. Imposter scams are quite common, oftentimes with the caller claiming to be a relative in trouble and needing money. The Better Business Bureau says this is commonly referred to as the grandparent scam, and although it's been around for a long time, crooks still find enough victims to make it profitable.
Investigator for the Better Business Bureau Don O'Brien says the grandparent scam is now including a tie-in to the pandemic.
In addition to taking steps to protect yourself, law enforcement asks you to share information with family and friends so that they may also have the knowledge to fend of these scammers.
This is the final week to check out the Clinton YMCA without a membership.
November 7 will be the final day for community members to stop into the Y and check out their wellness center or swim pool and any programs they offer. Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates these days started in mid-October and has been pleased with the turnout so far.
According to Cluver, nearly all facets of their facility are getting used during this time from the community coming in. He notes many have already set up memberships.
While the titles of some of these programs and the amount of equipment available in the Y wellness center might seem overwhelming, Cluver indicates the benefits of their classes is they provide for alternate movements and a personal-paced program.
You can find a list of classes on the classes but to get a full detailed overview of what those classes offer, do a Google search for those after visiting the Y website, clintoncommymca.org.
November is American Diabetes Month and a nutrition educator at the University of Illinois Extension is highlighting some of the resources available to those that suffer from this disease.
Caitlin Mellendorf says November is an opportunity to promote awareness around diabetes and those organizations that do a lot of research and care work for diabetes patients. She also notes the U of I Extension does a lot of with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
The Extension started an in-person campaign on nutrition with diabetes last year. Mellendorf explains they transitioned it to an online course that is free to anyone interested in learning more about their diagnosis and how to find healthy balances in your diet.
Statewide, a program about managing diabetes is wrapping up but Mellendorf indicates it will go online and be available for free after it wraps up in a few weeks. She explains in the weeks ahead they are talking about managing other risks associated with diabetes.
Visit extension.illinois.edu/manage diabetes for all these resources as they become available and plenty more nutrition information as well.
It's election day in America.
Locally, DeWitt County residents are watching the races for the County Board. At least one new board member will be seated next month, but that number could be as great as four.
For Board District A, incumbents Camille Redman and Lance Reece face three challengers in Buck Carter, Aaron Kammeyer, and Jamie Prestegaard.
In County Board District C, incumbents Scott Nimmo, Jay Wickenhauser, and David Newberg face challenger Megan Myers.
The Circuit Clerk race also features incumbent Michelle Van Valey against Nathan Florey.
State voters will be voting on a constitutional amendment regarding the state's income tax. The proposal shifts the tax from a flat-rate tax to a graduated tax. It will need 60-percent support to pass.
Polls close at 7 pm on Tuesday evening. After the polls close, tune into Regional Radio News for complete election night coverage. Starting at 8 pm, we'll bring all the local results up until all ballots available Tuesday have been counted.
Hear the coverage live starting at 8 pm on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW, at 95.9 FM WEZC in Clinton, and online at dewittdailynews.com.
The Clinton Council Monday night approved a GIS mapping project for city infrastructure and plot outlines.
Administrator Tim Followell last month told Regional Radio News 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.
After Monday's approval, it is a matter of utilizing the paper copies of all the infrastructure and then uploads it to a digital footprint.
The mapping system will cost approximately $70,000.
Encore Developmental Services are remaining vigilant with operating protocol while bringing vulnerable populations back to work.
Stephanie Coonce, Encore Executive Director, indicates they now have two-thirds of their day services back. Each group home is in their bubble, but Coonce has gotten creative and has found a way they can interact amongst themselves.
Coonce says the other main program they are working with is the Employment Services Program. The program has been expanded in recent years through grants and was at 12 people before the pandemic.
Coonce believes it has gone well with having their clients and employees back in the building. She notes they have been extremely cautious with following the guidelines.
To stay up to date on Encore Developmental Services, and to see their staff, visit their Facebook page.
The Abraham Lincoln Hospital Community Health Collaborative's triennial health survey kicks off at the health expo tonight.
ALMH Communications Director, Angela Stoltzenburg, states the survey is conducted every three years under the Affordable Care Act. The results from the survey are then used to put together a plan to meet the needs of the community.
Stoltzenburg indicates past surveys have resulted in the creation of mental health clinics, the CATCH program in Logan County schools, as well as made from scratch breakfast and lunch programs in Logan County schools.
All Logan County residents are encouraged to complete the 2020 community health survey. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Those who complete it will be entered to win a $250 gift card to the Lincoln IGA. In addition to being available at the Health Expo, the survey is also available at tiny.cc/chna2020.
Maroa-Forsyth Schools continue to plug away at the school year amid the COVID pandemic.
Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer indicates they have had their share of cases like most other districts and have had to have students and staff quarantine due to contact tracing measures but overall he is pleased with how the year has gone.
Dr. Ahlemeyer credits the district's plan, the diligence of the community to stay healthy and luck is on their side. He indicates they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep things going.
According to Dr. Ahlemeyer, a lot of credit is due to their students and teachers for adapting to the circumstances. He is standing up against the stigma that teachers who can be home and teach are not doing as much work as they normally would be.
Dr. Ahlemeyer admits there are things they need to continue to work on when they have students in the buildings and emphasizes the continued focus on the things like masking and distancing as keys to keeping kids from getting sick and being sent home.
THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS WORKING TO ENSURE THE PUBLIC'S SAFETY FOR TUESDAY'S ELECTION.
THE I-S-P HAS BEEN PREPARING FOR MONTHS, PARTICIPATING IN READINESS EXERCISES AND UTILIZING THE STATEWIDE TERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE CENTER TO ANALYZE POTENTIAL THREATS SAYS DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY. THIS WILL CONTINUE.
STATE TROOPERS AND INTELLIGENCE EXPERTS ARE KEEPING CLOSE TABS ON THE ELECTION, MONITORING FOR ANY POTENTIAL PROBLEMS AND LENDING SUPPORT AS NEEDED.
KELLY SAYS EXTRA PATROLS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO HELP LOCAL POLICE WITH ANY ISSUES AT POLLING PLACES AS WELL.
GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS AT THIS TIME, ANOTHER STAY AT HOME ORDER IS NOT IN THE WORKS.
AS 10 OUT OF 11 REGIONS ARE PLACED UNDER INCREASED SAFETY MEASURES, SOME ARE WONDERING IF THE STATE WILL JUST MOVE BACK TO PHASE THREE. THE GOVERNOR RESPONDS:
MOST REGIONS HAVE TIER ONE MITIGATIONS, ALTHOUGH REGION 1, THE ROCKFORD AND NORWESTERN ILLINOIS AREA, IS AT TIER TWO WITH EVEN STRICTER REQUIREMENTS. THE ONLY REGION WITHOUT ANY ENHANCED MITIGATIONS GOING INTO THE WEEKEND WAS REGION TWO, THE PEORIA, BLOOMINGTON AND GALESBURG AREA ALTHOUGH THOSE COMMUNITIES WILL JOIN THE REST OF THE STATE THIS WEEK.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says she wouldn't necessarily support a nationwide mask mandate, but she would back a national COVID-19 strategy.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 6,980 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 35 additional deaths.
Macon County Coroner Michael Day today notified Regional Radio News that a 66-year-old Cerro Gordo woman was pronounced dead at the scene of a rural residential fire this morning.
Day said the residence was a total loss and required multiple fire departments to bring the blaze under control.
The Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office and the Macon County Sheriff are investigating. An autoposy is scheduled for Monday in Bloomington.
Day added the victim's name is being withheld pending notification of relatives.
The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department is reporting a spike in local coronavirus infections.
On Wednesday, 7 new cases were reported in Clinton, 3 in Kenney, and 1 in Farmer City. In Piatt County, 4 new cases were reported in Monticello, 2 in Cerro Gordo, 1 in Hammond, and 1 in White Heath.
On Thursday in DeWitt County, 2 cases were reported in Clinton, 1 in Deland, and 1 in Wapella. Piatt County reported 3 in Cerro Gordo, 2 in Atwood, 1 in Bement, 1 in Hammond, 1 in Lodge, and 1 in Monticello.
On Friday, 9 cases were reported in Clinton, 4 in Monticello, and 1 in Cerro Gordo. It was also announced Friday that a second fatality attributed to COVID occurred in Piatt County in a female in her 90s.
With these additional cases, DeWitt Co has had a total of 370 cases and Piatt Co has had a total of 300 cases.
DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director David Remmert said in a release, "Remember, cases are spiking locally, statewide, and nationwide. Please refrain from attending events/parties/gatherings. Please don't host such gatherings. We've seen multiple school-aged birthday parties recently in which a case lead to more than 20+ close contacts who all had to quarantine. Wash your hands frequently, Watch your distance (6 feet or more), Wear a mask when in public. Protect vulnerable populations. Please test even when asymptomatic. Approximately 40 percent of cases of this disease may not have symptoms."