Local News

February is Canned Foods Month

February is canned foods month and while some people have preconceived notions around canned foods, a University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator is hoping folks will give it another try.

 

Home canning has become very popular again but Caitlin Mellendorf is also promoting commercially canned foods. She says a lot of people have some long-standing presumptions around canned goods in grocery stores, she points things have improved a great deal in regards to commercially canned goods.

 

 

In-season, fresh fruits and vegetables can be hard to find from November to March and Mellendorf believes canned foods are a great supplement when you can't find those items in the store.

 

 

According to Mellendorf, most foods that end up at canneries, are to those facilities within hours of their harvest. She says that is a good thing as it helps keep its nutrients. 

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Chicago's United Center to Serve as Mass Vaccination Site

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING A NEW MASS VACCINATION SITE OPEN TO ALL ELIGIBLE ILLINOISANS AT THE UNITED CENTER IN CHICAGO. 

 

THE COMMUNITY VACCINATION CENTER AT THE UNITED CENTER SITE IS PART OF A BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PILOT PROGRAM, AND WILL OPEN MARCH 10TH. THE FACILITY WILL HAVE THE CAPACITY TO GIVE UP TO SIX THOUSAND DOSES EACH DAY, WITH SENIORS GETTING FIRST DIBS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THIS IS GREAT NEWS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE DOSES GIVEN AT THE UNITED CENTER WILL COME DIRECTLY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND WILL NOT BE TAKEN OUT OF THE STATE'S ALLOTMENT.

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Illinois Tollways Do Away With Cash Payments

The days of paying cash on the Illinois Tollway are gone forever.

 

The tollway announced Thursday it is permanently eliminating cash toll collections and will accept only I-Pass, E-ZPass, or online payments. Customers unable to pay online can pay by check or money order.

 

The move comes nearly a year after the tollway suspended cash tolls in mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

The tollway also said it will begin a program in May to help low-income drivers by waiving deposits on I-PASS transponders and adding $20 in tolls to people with household incomes up to 2 1/2 times the poverty line.

 

More than 92% of toll payments in 2019 used I-Pass or E-ZPass and that number has grown during the pandemic, the tollway said.

 

The tollway lets drivers who don’t use I-Pass and E-ZPass to pay within 14 days or risk a $3 fine for passenger vehicles.

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Weekly Weather Summary

A glorious weekend is in store for Illinois. Will it last? State climatologist Trent Ford lets us know...

 

 

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Clinton School Board Sets Calendar for 2021-22

Last week the Clinton Board of Education approved the school calendar for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates school will start on Wednesday, August 18 for students. There will be a regular spring break and winter break next year.

 

 

According to Nettles, whatever the COVID situation is when kids return to school, they will be ready for it welcoming students back under whatever guidance may be in place.

 

 

The Board of Education is expected to hear plans for a summer school program at its meeting in March. 

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Encore Developmental Services Glad to Start Seeing More Residents Returning; Seeing An Increase in First Time Clients

Encore Developmental Services in DeWitt County is glad to have their clients returning its Executive Director says they are also seeing an increase in first-time clients.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Stephanie Coonce indicates they are starting to get more and more of their clients back. She says things are going well so far.

 

 

Many clients are returning to Encore for the first time in months after having spent the better part of a year in isolation due to COVID. According to Coonce, that isolation and its impacts have varied from individual to individual.

 

 

The evolution of Encore's facility on Route 10 on the east side of the community continues. Coonce indicates because they are seeing an increase in clients, they are having to add barriers and other things to make sure they keep everyone safe.

 

 

Between CARES funding a federal grant, Encore can make cosmetic changes to its facility but Coonce also notes the mitigation requirements are also creating staffing challenges. She notes they are needing additional staff with all the requirements on them.

 

 

According to Coonce, none of their clients have had COVID to this point and she credits that to the diligence in keeping their facility clean but also to those individuals for following the protocols and mitigations in the last year despite the challenges it has brought to bear. 

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Lincoln Mayor Encouraged By Recent Progress Towards Fifth Street Project

Residents in the City of Lincoln are well aware of the need for improvements on Fifth Street on the City's west side. 

 

Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch is encouraged by recent progress made as they near breaking ground to expand the road and improve the pavement. He explains they are in the process of acquiring land to make that happen.

 

 

As land is acquired, Mayor Welch estimates the City is roughly 18-months from breaking ground. He explains because the project will partially be funded by State of Illinois dollars, they will need to get that process rolling soon.

 

 

Fifth Street in Lincoln runs by businesses like Logan Lanes, Community Action, Heritage Packaging, and Sysco Central Illinois location. 

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Southern Illinois County Board Approves 'Back the Blue' Ordinance

When the recently signed criminal justice reform bill first became a topic of discussion, a southern Illinois Sheriff began drafting some protections for his employees regarding qualified immunity. 

 

The ‘Back the Blue’ Ordinance was crafted by Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard over 3 weeks of work. Although the qualified immunity portion was taken out of the new version of the bill that was signed this week, Sheriff Bullard said he wanted to be proactive for future changes. He says the original version of House bill 3653 eliminated built-in protection for law enforcement from frivolous lawsuits and would cause a mass exodus if it stayed like the original.

 

 

The Jefferson County Board passed the ordinance by a vote of 10-2. Those who voted against the bill cited that qualified immunity already exists but Sheriff Bullard responded that this ordinance is an insurance policy going forward.

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Durbin Calling for Action on Stimulus Bill

Lawmakers in Washington are getting closer to voting on a new economic bailout. A $1.9 billion bill would give people a $1400 check, boost unemployment benefits and expand child tax credits. Democrat US Senator Dick Durbin says it's time to act in a big way to support families and the nation's economy.

 

 

Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour is also being proposed but there is uncertainty if that aspect of the legislation would get needed Democrat support in the Senate.

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Challenges of Vaccine Distribution in Rural America Highlighted in Congressional Hearing

The challenges of delivering the vaccine in rural Illinois highlighted this week at a virtual congressional hearing. Henderson County was used as an example.

 

 

That testimony from Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos at a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services. She says in rural Illinois, one in four people do not have access to high-speed internet. 

 

Bustos is supporting the Moving Forward Act, a funding package and an infrastructure bill that includes nearly $1 billion for rural broadband. Last month, the Congresswoman was appointed to the House Task Force on Rural Broadband.

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Blue Ridge Schools Exploring Summer School Options

Getting kids caught up from the tremendous amount of classroom time lost in the last year is taking a front-and-center focus for central Illinois administrators as the 2020-21 school year begins to wind down.

 

Blue Ridge Schools are in the early planning stages planning for a summer school program for students that have fallen behind. On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer told Regional Radio News they are beginning with their high school students for credit recovery. She also notes they could end up offering a spring after-school program. 

 

 

According to Dr. Stanifer, they have a bridge program for students going from junior high school to high school. She also indicates they implemented a reading program for their younger students last summer they hope to utilize again this summer.

 

 

As students who started the school year in remote learning transition back to in-person, administrators and school leaders all over central Illinois report an adjustment period of catching those students up. Dr. Stanifer says the trends in her district have been very interesting. 

 

 

Dr. Stanifer is very thankful to be working in a community that supports education and wants kids to be learning in the classroom. She is also thankful for the staff that is willing to come to school each day.

 

 

Blue Ridge staff will finish its vaccine process this week and Dr. Stanifer also points out they will be bringing students to school five days a week beginning on Monday, March 15 with an early dismissal still in effect. 

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Zero New COVID Cases Confirmed in DeWitt County Monday, One Tuesday

COVID metrics across the state and country are bottoming out and this week, so far, that trend is showing itself locally.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reports zero new cases in DeWitt County from Monday while Tuesday there was only one new confirmed case.

 

In Piatt County, earlier this week there were two new confirmed cases Monday and seven Tuesday.

With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had a total of 1315 cases while Piatt County has had a total of 1369 cases.  

 

There have been a total of 22 deaths in DeWitt County and 14 deaths in Piatt County due to COVID-19.

 

The Health Department continues to deal with a shortage of vaccines despite receiving its shipment this week. As such, they will not be able to load any additional SignUpGenius links for new appointment slots until more vaccine becomes available.

 

The Health Department will provide vaccination for every resident wanting to be vaccinated that meets eligibility requirements, but it will take months to accomplish this.  

 

For those who canceled their appointments in order for those at higher risk to receive their vaccine, more SignUpGeniuses will come soon that will allow you re-schedule your appointment.  The Health Department will only be able to vaccinate second-dose appointments for the time being. 

 

Stay tuned to its website at www.dewittpiatthealth.com and Facebook page for additional information.

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Maroa-Forsyth Releases Drawings of New Middle School

Community members in Maroa-Forsyth are being encouraged to check out the drawings of the new middle school that will begin construction later this year.

 

Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer tells Regional Radio News they are very excited about the new facility that will be attached to the high school and feature a new, state-of-the-art auditorium.

 

 

The new facility and the renovations of the high school will have an emphasis on science lab spaces and STEM spaces. Dr. Ahlemeyer says with the boom of those two focuses, they need to make sure they offer not only the latest for their students but offer flexibility for the future.

 

 

Dr. Ahlemeyer anticipates movement beginning this summer and the project will span two years with full learning taking place in the new building beginning in the 2023-24 school year.

 

 

Students and staff are going to have to be flexible for a couple of years as construction carries on. Dr. Ahlemeyer stresses they will not let the educational quality suffer and believes the district will be very proud of what the finished product will look like in 2 years. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Director Highlights Study on Mental Wellness in Rural America

The American Farm Bureau Federation recently concluded a study on COVID's impacts on mental wellness in rural America and a Piatt County non-profit is analyzing its results.

 

The Piatt County Mental Health Center's Executive Director Tony Kirkman calls the report fascinating as it breaks down the study, which surveyed the farming community specifically.

 

 

Kirkman says everyone is already very stressed with little room for more and COVID only exasperated the existing stress. He says the restrictions from COVID caused a lot of stress on people.

 

 

A recent study also showed an increase in binge drinking by adults over 30. Kirkman says that is not going to help anyone's situation. He hopes people will try to focus on the positive things that COVID has brought to bear.

 

 

Kirkman encourages people to find positive outlets in their lives. He says wallowing in the constant bombardment of negativity is not good for our mental health either. 

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Rep. Brady Offers Improvements for Crime Bill

As Gov. Pritzker signed a sweeping criminal justice reform bill on Tuesday, one state lawmaker says some areas of the legislation have room for improvement. State Rep. Dan Brady says House bill 3653 has some positives, but lawmakers could improve some areas of the bill through amendments.

 

 

The Bloomington Republican said he's disappointed in Gov. Pritzker's decision not to meet with House Leader Jim Durkin's offer to go over the bill line-by-line. The 766-page bill, which abolishes cash bail, passed on a last-minute vote during the lame-duck session.

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One-In-Seven Illinoisans Have Received First Dose of Vaccine

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ONE IN SEVEN ILLINOISANS HAVE RECEIVED THE FIRST DOSE OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE. 

 

ABOUT 58 THOUSAND DOSES ARE ADMINISTERED EACH DAY IN ILLINOIS...BUT THAT COULD SOON INCREASE SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS IF THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VERSION OF THE VACCINE IS APPROVED LATER THIS WEEK...STATES ARE BEING TOLD THEY WILL SEE A 20 PERCENT INCREASE IN DOSES BY THE END OF MARCH.

 

 

TO FIND A VACCINATION SITE NEAR YOU...VISIT CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Illinois Hemp Harvest Numbers

ILLINOIS' HEMP HARVEST FELL SLIGHTLY LAST YEAR.

 

HEMP FARMERS HARVESTED NEARLY 24-HUNDRED ACRES DURING THE SECOND SEASON OF THE INDUSTRY. THAT'S DOWN FROM 2019 WHEN FARMERS HARVESTED JUST OVER 28-HUNDRED ACRES OF HEMP SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIVISION OF CANNABIS MANAGER DAVID LAKELAND.

 

 

LAKELAND SAYS THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK DIDN'T HELP.

 

 

LAKELAND SAYS THEY ARE NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2021 HEMP SEASON. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S WEBSITE.

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Farmland Values Staying Steady in Illinois

Farmland values remain strong in Illinois. An update on recent activity from Dale Jones with Sullivan Auctioneers.

 

 

Also this month, farmland near Champaign brought a top bid of $14,400 an acre.

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Warner Hospital Board Hears From CEO On Upcoming Fiscal Year Budget

The Warner Hospital and Health Services Board of Directors earlier this week heard from CEO Paul Skowron on the projected budget for Fiscal Year '22. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Skowron indicates the highlight of this year's budget is capital improvements. The hospital is targeting the continued renovation of the emergency room as well as the purchase of a new CT machine.

 

 

According to Skowron, COVID dollars are going to allow the hospital to purchase an emergency tent. He calls this not only a response to being better prepared for an event like COVID but also for other public health events that might require its use.

 

 

Skowron for some time has had aspirations for planning for a new facility in the community however, he points out COVID has slowed down their plans for that. He indicates they need to focus in the near term on getting people who continue to put off health-related appointments and procedures back to the hospital.

 

 

According to Skowron, one of the big changes the healthcare industry is going to have to look at as it relates to future care is telehealth. He indicates this became a very popular form of care during the pandemic and does not see it changing points out the federal government is starting to recognize it as a form of care is reimbursing it now. 

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Monticello Chamber of Commerce Working on Summer Activities

With COVID numbers plummeting and vaccine distribution ramping up each day, a Piatt County organization wants its community to know they are planning for summer activities.

 

Shelly Crawford-Stock is the Executive Director of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Monticello Main Street. She indicates Allerton Park will have a bevy of activities as the warmer weather makes its way to central Illinois.

 

 

The activities at Allerton Park aren't the only things set to get going in the spring. Crawford-Stock says the rodeo is planning for their events this year. The May Market is planned along with the 'Whites of Spring' event. She says there's plenty of things in the works.

 

 

Crawford-Stock indicates the Chamber is also working on a special event though she is not ready to share details yet as planning is still ongoing. Get more information on all things Monticello by finding the Chamber and Main Street on Facebook or search 'make it Monticello' on Facebook. 

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Sen. Rose: Our Kids Are Being Left Behind

A central Illinois lawmaker says we are leaving our children behind educationally during COVID.

 

State Sen. Chapin Rose says kids are being left behind in the policy-making of COVID. He says the idea of sending kids who have not been in school for almost a year for one day a week of in-person learning is not an act of courage when we know COVID does not impact kids and schools are not spreaders of the disease either.

 

 

He calls it irreparable harm and believes when it comes time to test Illinois kids and compare them to students in other states, Illinois students will do worse.

 

 

He points to districts like Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield where parents are fighting for kids to be in school and school boards continue to say no, he calls it 'nuts' and 'insane'.

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State Climatologist Talks February Weather Trends

We didn’t hit the record low Illinois temperature of 38-below like we did last year in Mount Carroll, but there were some cold temps earlier this month.

 

 

Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford says Mount Carroll, located in the northwest part of the state, had a low reading this month at minus 24.

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Sen. Bailey Announces Run for Governor

Another Republican is officially running for Governor. State Senator Darren Bailey announced his candidacy yesterday in Effingham. He says that Illinois is hurting, and common sense will begin to fix it.

 

 

Bailey was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2019 and was elected to the Illinois Senate in 2020.

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IDOT Engineer Says Recent Weather Has Done Considerable Damage to Illinois Roads

With temperature extremes and big snow ravaging roadways this winter, an IDOT engineer says there is no shortage of potholes on state roads. Joe Monroe says crews are staying busy making repairs to their highways since the frozen precipitation and the freeze-thaw cycle has caused some noticeable damage.

 

 

Monroe says crews are working on fixing roads around the district every day that it is safe to do so.

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Governor Pritzker Announces Low-Interest Loan in Response to Rising Natural Gas Prices

The lasting impact of the arctic air that slammed the Midwest and Texas are astronomical utility bills for some Illinois villages and towns. 

 

The Governor is offering up a small fix to make paying those bills a little easier - a low-interest loan program that municipalities can access to pay off a sharp increase in energy costs. Due to a dramatic increase in natural gas consumption and never-before-seen increases in the price for natural gas, JB Pritzker says some small towns found utility bills approaching hard-to-believe figures.

 

 

Right now, a loan program of $15 million is under consideration. The state is expecting federal help to come for those facing extreme increases in heating costs. If that happens those funds will be used to pay back the loans that a village or town may take out.

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and local domestic abuse advocate says the statistics and trends regarding teens and dating violence are alarming.

 

Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE says roughly 1.5-million teens are impacted by teen dating violence each year. She indicates teen dating violence often can encompass sexual assault and that brings a new dynamic to the abuse that can go on.

 

 

When abuse is happening in a relationship involving youth, Tolladay says very few people will come forward and tell someone. She adds another alarming trend is the number of times a partner will reach out to their significant other through text or call.

 

 

Over-the-top signs of jealousy are an early indicator of a relationship that could turn abusive. Tolladay says while some jealousy is OK, there are signs that a jealous individual may be more than just a little jealous and might show patterns of abusive behavior.

 

 

According to Tolladay, giving up the things you want to do what the other person wants to do while being belittled is a sign of a possible abusive partner. 

 

Tolladay addressed teen dating violence on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday. For more information on this, you can contact DOVE at 217-935-6619 or contact DOVE's 24-hour hotline at 217-935-6072. 

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Youth Engaged in Philanthropy Seeking Members from DeWitt/Logan Counties

A local high school program is seeking membership from DeWitt and Logan counties.

 

Michele Evans with the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation indicates the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy program is open to high school students in McLean, Livingston, DeWitt, and Logan counties. Through the program, students will hold meetings and award grants to local youth-oriented programs.

 

 

Evans hopes students from DeWitt and Logan Counties will consider being a part of this program. She notes currently, they have only had students from McLean County involved in the program. 

 

 

Applications for the program must be completed by April 3, 2021, and individuals selected to be a part of the 2021-2022 YEP group will be notified in May.

 

For more information, contact Amanda Cole, YEP Program Mentor, at amandal.cole@yahoo.com or through the IPCF office at 309-662-4477.

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Rep. Davis Critical of Pritzker Using Politics to Drive Decision Making, Not Science

An Illinois Congressman says Gov. Pritzker's COVID policies seem to be based on politics and not data.

 

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) says "it's about time" that restaurants are reopening across Illinois. He indicates the statistics do not show that restaurants are superspreaders and that lockdowns are harming local businesses.

 

 

Rep. Davis says schools need to reopen to improve the education and mental health of students. He says we know more about the virus now and can follow precautions to keep students safe while meeting in person.

 

 

Rep. Davis notes he is glad to see sports return to Illinois schools. He says bordering states that played sports saw fewer coronavirus cases than collegiate and professional teams.

 

 

As vaccines continue to rollout Rep. Davis hopes the Governor will change his policies from lockdowns to reopening.

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Solar Energy Expert Says Texas Power Outages Due to Climate Change

As power slowly comes back on in the lone star state due to a nationwide winter storm leaving millions without power, the massive blackouts are mainly caused by climate change, according to a solar energy expert.

 

Shannon Fulton with Straight Up Solar said while artic temperatures blast parts of the Midwest and Texas, state grids cannot handle the freezing temperatures, and that's leaving millions without power in its path.


 

 

Fulton says although frozen, wind turbines are still working up to 80% capacity and are the answer for the future.

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This is Grain Bin Safety Week

THIS IS GRAIN BIN SAFETY WEEK.

 

JOE SMALL WITH THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SAYS IT’S EASY FOR FARMERS TO BECOME COMPLACENT WHEN WORKING IN AND AROUND GRAIN BINS, BUT THAT CONDITIONS CAN QUICKLY BECOME DANGEROUS. SMALL SAYS THIS CAN OCCUR WHEN THE CONDITION OF THE GRAIN IS POOR AND CLUMPING.

 

 

HE HAS THIS ADVICE:

 

 

SMALL SAYS FARMERS SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE SOMEONE WITH THEM, WEAR A HARNESS WITH A PROPERLY SECURED ROPE, AND BREAK UP CRUSTED GRAIN FROM OUTSIDE THE BIN WITH A LONG POLE IF POSSIBLE.

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Sen. Barickman Says Too Much 'Political Rhetoric' in Governor's Budget Address

Just days removed from Gov. Pritzker's budget address, one state senator says he was "stunned" by the Governors' "harsh political rhetoric" during his budget address.

 

On Wednesday of last week, Gov. Pritzker unveiled his 2021 budget proposal, which did not include a tax hike. However, Senator Jason Barickman said the speech did have unnecessary rhetoric. Barickman said Republicans are willing to negotiate a balanced budget, but Pritzker's political rhetoric does not help.

 

 

Barickman said last year Republicans sent recommendations and ideas for a budget, but Pritzker was unwilling to budge.

 

He added Republicans would try to propose more ideas in the spring when the General Assembly reconvenes.

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Gov. Pritzker Signs Criminal Justice Reform Bill

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A SWEEPING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM PACKAGE INTO LAW. 

 

THE NEW LAW ENDS CASH BAIL IN MANY CASES, SETS STATEWIDE STANDARDS ON POLICE USE OF FORCE, REQUIRES COPS TO WEAR BODY CAMERAS, DIVERTS LOW-LEVEL DRUG OFFENDERS TO TREATMENT PROGRAMS AND MUCH MORE. GOVERNOR PRITZKER:

 

 

IT’S SUPPORTED BY REPRESENTATIVE JUSTIN SLAUGHTER OF CHICAGO.

 

 

OPPONENTS, MANY IN LAW ENFORCEMENT, SAY THIS TIES THE HANDS OF POLICE OFFICERS AND WILL MAKE COMMUNITIES LESS SAFE.

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Facing Vaccine Shortage

Weather is impacting the State of Illinois' distribution efforts of the COVID vaccine.

 

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department over the weekend issued a notice that supplies for vaccine clinics this week for Wednesday and beyond are in jeopardy.

 

Dave Remmert, Health Department Director indicates they have enough supply for its Monday/Tuesday clinics, however, if more vaccines do not arrive before Tuesday, that will impact clinics the rest of the week.

 

Remmert has been told shipments will arrive before Tuesday, however, they will not be able to maintain their current pace. The Health Department is vaccinating roughly 1650 people per week, however, with only 200 doses expected this week and 300 next week, the Health Department is asking for understanding. 

 

If you have scheduled a first dose appointment and are not considered vulnerable and age 65 or older, they are asking you to consider canceling your appointment this week and wait for more sign-up opportunities. 

 

The Health Department will be now prioritizing second doses only and will continue to only vaccine those who need a second dose until they receive more vaccines.

 

If you are willing to cancel your appointment, please email the cancellation so the department can adjust its schedule. 

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Clinton Community Remembers David Torbert

The community of Clinton last week lost a man who touched the lives of countless people across DeWitt County and central Illinois.

 

David Torbert passed away Monday, February 15 at the age of 36 and friends and colleagues are remembering him for the impact he had on so many across Clinton. Torbert was involved in so many facets of the community from his time working at the Clinton Journal writing sports to his time at Baum Chevrolet Buick in Clinton and most recently impacting the community's young people as Youth Program Director at the Clinton YMCA.

 

Y Executive Director Rennie Cluver says Torbert was very passionate about his work through the YMCA and recalls just how happy he was every day to come in do what he was doing.

 

 

Torbert was frequently heard on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW through his roles with the Y, the DCDC and provided color commentary for Maroons sports with Jared White. White says you won't find a bigger fan of the Clinton Maroons than Torbert.

 

 

Lance White, who served on the DeWitt County Development Council Board with Torbert, recalls how Torbert had a desire to know everyone's story and made an easy connection with everyone. White says while it is easy to project what was coming for Torbert, White believes Torbert had already accomplished so much. 

 

 

Torbert grew up in Clinton spending his early years at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago overcoming insurmountable health complications with a smile on his face and a prank in his back pocket for nurses and doctors alike.

 

In high school, he was a member of the Clinton High School golf team, working as a sportswriter for the local newspaper and officiating youth soccer and basketball games at the Clinton Community YMCA.

 

He and his wife, Rachel (Baum) were high school classmates and college sweethearts. The pair married in 2008.

 

Using his writing and communication talents in a variety of jobs, David settled in as the Youth and Adult Sports Program Director for the Clinton Community YMCA, where he served as the Camp Osage director and coordinated all youth sports programs. Teaching and coaching youth basketball, football and soccer, and instilling a love of sport, sportsmanship and Christian principles of the YMCA, was a task he dearly loved.

 

David’s family, wife and daughter, and friends, were a top priority, and he expressed his love often, always flashing a million-dollar smile and willing to drop anything to help a friend or family member in need.

 

Due to the ongoing pandemic and current public health directives, a private memorial and graveside service for family and invited guests will be held on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, at Calvert Funeral Home, in Clinton. Given David’s love of youth sports and his affinity for nurses and doctors who saved his life as a child, the family requests any memorial donations be made to Clinton Community YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign, 417 S. Alexander St., Clinton, IL 61727 and Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital, 225 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

 

A public celebration of life will follow at the Clinton Community YMCA this summer. 

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National Weather Service Concerned About Flooding Stemming from Melting Snow

Temperatures this week are anticipated to increase, good news for midwesterners tired of the deep freeze that has encapsulated February.

 

It's also a bit of a win-lose situation according to Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln who notes the melting snow could result in widespread flooding. However, it could also be good for soil moistures that are struggling through a drought stemming back to last year.

 

 

With tiling becoming popular among farmers seeking to allow for moisture run-off, Miller indicates this accelerates flooding of streams and rivers.

 

 

Miller also points out, rain could be on the way as we turn the calendar to March, which means meteorologists will be closely watching for flash flooding possibilities.

 

 

Miller says temperatures will start to normalize. They will also be looking out for what they term, an 'ice jam'. In bigger creeks or rivers, chunks of ice do not break up as they should and as they move, they get jammed and all the water behind it piles up. 

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Community Care Systems DeWitt County Advocate Resuming Limited Hours Outside Clinton

If you have been wanting to see Dianne Cusey, DeWitt County's Community Care System Advocate, and you live outside Clinton, there's some good news.

 

According to Cusey, she is able to start expanding limited hours in Farmer City on the first and third Wednesday and the second Monday.

 

 

Cusey is still not able to go to Waynesville, Kenney, or Lane and still cannot do home visits. To make an appointment, you can contact her at the Friendship Center at 217-935-4560. 

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Kindness Can Help Break the Impacts of Abuse

Fred Rogers once said, "Be kind. Be kind. Be kind."

 

That advice can be especially impactful on someone who may have been brought up in or is in the midst of an abuse situation in their home. Earlier this week, Jennifer Tolladay at DeWitt County DOVE told us about all the negative impacts kids being exposed to abuse can have but she points out it takes just one person to be in their corner to begin reversing those impacts.

 

 

While there is sometimes self-pride or stigmas around seeking help, Tolladay says support groups are a great way for someone to find support.

 

 

Get more information about DOVE or find support through its many services by contacting them at 217-935-6619.

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DeWitt County Friendship Executive Director Highlights Assistance for Medications for Seniors

A lesser-known program through a DeWitt County non-profit helps seniors pay for medications.

 

Paula Jiles is the Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center and indicates a program that doesn't often get talked about helps seniors pay for medications. She says this assistance is available to seniors to take advantage of once a year.

 

 

To get more information, contact the Friendship Center at 217-935-9411. 

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City of Monticello Looking to Spruce Up Burke Park

The City of Monticello will soon be engaging its community members with ideas on how to spruce up a local park.

 

Director of Community Development, Callie McFarland, indicates Burke Park needs some fresh ideas and improvements. She indicates they will seeking out the ideas of the community soon to get a vision for the future.

 

 

The City will use The Farnsworth Group to help take all the ideas of the community and make its vision a reality. McFarland says it is time for them to start looking at improvements.

 

 

McFarland implores the community to keep tabs on the City's Facebook page for information regarding meetings and is hopeful by early summer the planning process will be wrapped up. She says they will then start to discuss budgeting for the plans for the following year. 

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Midwest Food Bank Sending Help to Texas

Every county in Texas is under a state of emergency as they have received heavy snow, ice, and bitterly cold temperatures.

 

Midwest Food Bank, with locations in Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, and Morton, is sending disaster relief to help the effort. Bloomington-Normal executive director Tara Ingham says the Salvation Army has requested over 4,000 family food boxes be sent to their facility in Texas.

 

 

Ingham says one load of boxes left Thursday afternoon and a volunteer group will be completing a second load for departure this weekend.

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Weekly Weather Summary

The prolonged cold spell is about snap. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the outlook...

 

 

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Leroy Man Killed in Fatal Car Crash Near Farmer City

A Leroy man is dead after a fatal crash on Interstate-74 near Farmer City early Thursday.

 

State Police indicate 28-year old Jordan Reinhart-Smith was heading eastbound when he lost control of his vehicle at milepost 159 near Farmer City at around 4:30 am Thursday. 

 

The vehicle struck both the right and left sides of the guardrails and was struck on the driver-side door by a semi. 

 

The semi was driven by 32-year old Lucas Ballard of Rutledge, Tennessee. 

 

Reinhart-Smith was pronounced dead at approximately 9:15 am Friday from injuries sustained to the accident.

 

Just before 5 am, all eastbound and westbound lanes were shut down for the traffic crash investigation and cleanup of debris. The westbound lanes were re-opened just after 5:3 a.m. All lanes were reopened at approximately 730 a.m. 

 

The Champaign County Coroner indicated Friday morning no autopsy will be performed however an inquest may be held at a later date. 

 

The Champaign County Coroner and the Illinois State Police are investigating. 

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Water Main Break Calls Off In-Person Learning for Lincoln School in Clinton

Lincoln School students in Clinton are learning (learned) at home Friday after a water main break forced the closure of the school.

 

City Administrator Tim Followell tells Regional Radio News crews were on scene late into the night Thursday make repairs, which forced administrators to call off in-person learning.

 

 

A battle with the water tower near Clinton High School and Junior High School campuses has been going on this week due to the extreme cold. Followell indicates things are beginning to turn around for the better with that situation.

 

 

Followell says the water main break near Lincoln School was severe. He indicates later in the evening Thursday, city officials could not guarantee things would be fixed in time for parents to plan for Friday morning so the recommendation was to have school called off. 

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Eagles Send QB Wentz to Colts

The Eagles agreed to trade QB Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. Philadelphia receives a third-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional second-round pick in 2022 that can turn into a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps this year or 70% and the Colts make the playoffs.

 

Wentz is coming off the worst season of his five-year career and was benched for rookie Jalen Hurts after 12 games. He finished third in NFL MVP voting in 2017 when he led the Eagles to an 11-2 record before a knee injury ended his season and Philadelphia went on to win the Super Bowl.

 

The deal reunites Wentz with Colts coach Frank Reich, who served as Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator his first two seasons in the league. Press Taylor, an offensive assistant coach with the Eagles during Wentz’s tenure, also has joined Reich’s staff.

 

The Colts are turning to their fourth starting quarterback in Reich’s four years. Andrew Luck retired abruptly before the 2019 season and Jacoby Brissett took over. Philip Rivers led the team to the playoffs in his only season in Indianapolis in 2020. After Rivers retired, Wentz became an ideal replacement for the team.

 

Brissett is about to become a free agent and the only other quarterback on the roster is Jacob Eason, who never took a snap last season as a rookie.

 

Wentz is entering the first season of a four-year, $128 million contract extension he signed in June 2019. The Eagles will absorb a significant salary cap hit of $33.8 million in dead money on their 2021 cap. Indy started the offseason with the second-most room under the projected cap.

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DeWitt County Board Hears on Lawsuits at Monthly Meeting

At the monthly meeting of the DeWitt County Board Thursday night, the board heard several public comments regarding the Alta Farms II Special Use Permit.

 

One of the addressers was Richard Porter, a lawyer from Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, who represents 82 DeWitt County residents in lawsuits against the County and Alta Farms II. He informed the Board on what his clients are seeking. The conversation became tense when State's Attorney Dan Markwell took exception to Porter offering his legal advice to the Board. 

 

 

Land Use Committee Chairman Terry Ferguson reported the committee had interviewed sound study companies and will address a proposal at their next meeting. The Regional Planning Commission will review wind ordinances at their March meeting.

 

 

Also at the meeting, the County Board approved a motion to appraise 74 acres of timber at the marina. Ferguson noted this is the first step in determining what to do with the unused property.

 

 

The Board also approved a contract with Chastain & Associates for the bid and construction of a new gas dock at the marina, appointed Charles Williams to the Merit Commission, and recognized the recent passing of David Torbert.

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Hospitality Industry Tells Lawmakers They Want to Move Towards Reopening

THE STATE'S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IS ASKING FOR A SOLID PLAN TO WORK TOWARDS FULLY REOPENING. 

 

DURING A VIRTUAL SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING, THOSE REPRESENTING HOTELS, FOODSERVICE AND BARS STRESSED THE NEED FOR MORE GUIDANCE AS ILLINOIS SITS IN PHASE FOUR OF COVID MITIGATIONS. THAT INCLUDES ILLINOIS RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT SAM TOIA, WHO SAYS CURRENT RULES NEED TO BE REVISITED.

 

 

SENATOR DAVE SYVERSON OF ROCKFORD AGREED.

 

 

SENATE COMMITTEE MEMBERS WANT TO WORK WITH PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS AND INDUSTRY LEADERS OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS TO COME UP WITH A DETAILED GAME PLAN TO TRANSITION INTO PHASE FIVE.

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Speaker Madigan Steps Down

Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who set much of Illinois’ political agenda as House speaker for four decades before his ouster last month, resigned his seat in the Legislature on Thursday.

 

Madigan, the longest-serving legislative leader in U.S. history, was tarnished by a federal bribery investigation announced last summer. Madigan — who was instrumental in turning Illinois solidly blue from the bellwether it had been for much of the 20th century — has not been charged in the federal probe and maintains his innocence. But after being implicated, he lost his bid for a 19th term as speaker to Hillside Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

 

In a statement Thursday, Madigan, 78, did not explicitly state the reason for his departure after holding the post for 50 years.

 

In a letter to the House clerk, Madigan offered his resignation effective Thursday. In the earlier statement, he said it would take effect at month’s end.

 

In July, Madigan was implicated in a long-running bribery scheme involving the state’s largest electric utility, ComEd. Court filings didn’t name Madigan but made it clear he was the person in documents referred to as “Public Official A.” ComEd admitted it secured jobs, often requiring little or no work, and contracts for his associates from 2011 to 2019 for favorable treatment in regulations.

 

ComEd agreed in August to pay $200 million, though that settlement did not preclude criminal charges against any individual.

 

Democratic committee members from Madigan’s district on Chicago’s southwest side have 30 days to choose his successor, who would serve until Madigan’s term expires in January 2023. Madigan has been a ward committeeman since 1969 and controls 56% of the weighted vote in choosing a replacement, a spokeswoman said.

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Gov. Pritzker Weighs In On Speaker Madigan Stepping Down

THE FORMER SPEAKER SUBMITTED HIS RESIGNATION, EFFECTIVE AT THE END OF THE MONTH, SAYING HE IS LEAVING OFFICE AT PEACE WITH HIS DECISION AND PROUD OF THE MANY CONTRIBUTIONS HE HAS MADE TO THE STATE. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WISHED HIM WELL AND WAS ASKED BY REPORTERS IF MADIGAN LEAVING IS A GOOD THING FOR STATE GOVERNMENT IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT COM-ED SCANDAL.

 

 

PRITZKER WAS ASKED BY REPORTERS IF MADIGAN'S RESIGNATION IS GOOD FOR GOVERNMENT GIVEN THE RECENT SCANDALS SURROUNDING THE FORMER SPEAKER. THE GOVERNOR SAYS THOSE TYPES OF ACCUSATIONS UNFORTUNATELY REFLECT POORLY ON PUBLIC SERVICE IN GENERAL.

 

 

MADIGAN SERVED IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE FOR 50 YEARS AND WAS THE LONGEST SERVING HOUSE SPEAKER IN U-S HISTORY.

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Sen. Rose Marvels At How Far Illinois Has Fallen

'Political theater' and 'how far we've fallen' are just a few of the sentiments offered by a central Illinois lawmaker in light of yesterday's budget address by Governor JB Pritzker.

 

In a prerecorded presentation to Illinoisans, the Governor laid out plans for the fiscal future of Illinois. With the backdrop of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, State Sen. Chapin Rose called it 'literal political theater'.

 

 

The Mahomet Republican stressed a desire to have a Governor lay out a clear plan for Illinois to get back to where we were over a half-century ago.

 

 

Sen. Rose blasts the Governor for blaming Illinois Republicans for the mess the State is in when Democrats have controlled the legislature for nearly 20 years and have had one Republican Governor in the same period.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker has said in the past Republicans do not bring forward any ideas on how to fix the budget issues. That is not sitting well with Sen. Rose who says Illinois Republicans have filed several bills over the last decade to deal with a worsening situation.

 

 

Sen. Rose believes Illinoisans realize the situation is not good and the progressive income tax vote from November is the wake-up call to Springfield that lawmakers need to start living within its means. He also believes a Biden administration bailout package can be their next lifeline but at the end of the day, they're still unable to make ends meet. 

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DeWitt County Domestic Abuse Advocate Discusses Impacts of Abuse on Kids

Children being exposed to emotional and physical abuse at an early age has impacts on the development of kids.

 

Advocates were concerned at the start of lockdowns that kept mothers and kids alone with their abusers for weeks, even months in some places. Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE says kids being exposed to abuse, both verbal and physical, has shown to impact their development.

 

 

The stress of witnessing abuse is impacting the development of the brains of youth. Tolladay says the constant stress of their situation quickly takes what is a normal situation and escalates to a self-defense mode.

 

 

According to Tolladay, the impacts on development don't end at just those social triggers but there is also an educational development. She explains what is often routine critiques from educators are perceived as attacks.

 

 

Many kids who come from an abusive situation are often labeled as 'problem children' because they do not have the impulse control to contain their emotions. Tolladay credits teachers and the education system locally for their awareness on the matter and ability to properly respond to these children.

 

 

While the data shows kids suffer a great deal from the abuse that takes place when they are young, there is also encouraging data about how to help these folks even when they're older. We'll hear more from Tolladay on that in the days ahead on Regional Radio News. 

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Monticello Schools To Bring Back Summer School

Making up lost classroom time to the COVID pandemic is something school leaders across the country are going to have to grapple with in the years ahead as our country's youth has lost an extensive amount of instruction, especially students that have not been in school in nearly a year.

 

Monticello Schools will be offering summer school and Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman explains this will be what their district does to try to make sure students are ready for the next grade level they will be moving on to.

 

 

The program will have two sessions that span two weeks for three hours a day Monday through Thursday. Dr. Zimmerman is excited about this program and believes it will be a good program for their community.

 

 

Principals and teachers will make recommendations on who should be a part of the program. Districts across the area indicate they have normally very good students that are struggling with remote learning and even more students that struggle who are falling behind in remote learning.

 

 

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of school districts across the country that have yet to return to in-person learning and Dr. Zimmerman counts his blessings every day he lives in a community that supports the local school district and has a Board of Education that sees the importance of having kids learning in-person.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman calls it a great opportunity to be in Monticello. He believes the Board of Education, the community and their teacher's union are all pulling in the same direction. 

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State Launches Three More Mass Vaccination Sites

THE STATE IS LAUNCHING THREE MORE MASS COVID-19 VACCINATION SITES.

 

TWO OF THE SITES OPEN FRIDAY IN CARBONDALE…ONE ON THE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY CAMPUS AND THE OTHER AT THE CARBONDALE CIVIC CENTER. DURING HIS BUDGET ADDRESS FROM THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIRGROUNDS…GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER ANNOUNCED THE THIRD NEW SITE.

 

 

THESE SITES JOIN OTHER MASS VACCINATION EFFORTS IN TINLEY PARK AND ST. CLAIR COUNTY, AS WELL AS HUNDREDS OF SMALLER OPERATIONS AROUND THE STATE. 

 

 

VISIT: CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV FOR A FULL LIST AND MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SIGN UP FOR AN APPOINTMENT.

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Pushback on Illinois' FOID Card Law

With a proposal in Congress to require people to get a license from the government to buy a firearm, some are pointing to Illinois’ Firearm Owner Identification Card law as obsolete.

 

Clint Taylor is a firearms instructor in southern Illinois and a former Chief Deputy of the Sheriff’s Office in Jefferson County. Taylor says with such a large backlog of applications and renewals, this may be a good time to do away with the FOID card altogether.

 

 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said they need authority from the Illinois state legislature to “untangle and integrate'' Illinois' gun owner licensing laws. There are competing proposals expected at the statehouse dealing with Illinois laws in different ways.

 

Illinois is one of four states that require residents to get some sort of permission from state regulators in advance of owning firearms.

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Legislative Panel Upholds 'Culturally Responsive' Teaching Standards

A LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION IS UPHOLDING NEW "CULTURALLY RESPONSIBLE" TEACHING STANDARDS. 

 

THE NEW STANDARDS PUSHED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION AIMS TO BETTER PREPARE TEACHERS FOR A DIVERSE CLASSROOM AND TO LOOK AT HOW THEIR OWN BIASES MAY AFFECT THEIR INSTRUCTION. THE BOARD'S LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR AMANDA ELLIOTT SAYS RESEARCH SHOWS THAT WHEN STUDENTS FEEL INCLUDED AND UNDERSTOOD, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE STEVE REICK OF WOODSTOCK QUESTIONED THE CHANGES.

 

 

OPPONENTS ARGUED THIS IS FORCING POLITICAL IDEOLOGY ON TEACHERS. THE NEW STANDARDS WILL TAKE EFFECT IN THE FALL OF 2025.

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Deep Freeze About to End

It's been weeks since we've seen an above-freezing day in central Illinois.

 

That's all about to change as we gradually start to warm up heading into next week. On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Miller told Regional Radio News this prolonged cold spell has been unique but it isn't a record-setter by any stretch.

 

 

But relief is on the way. According to Miller, this weekend will begin the gradual warm-up and by the end of next week, he predicts we'll be in the 40s regularly again like we were in December and January.

 

 

As the warm weather moves in, that is likely the end of the snow, at least for now. Miller indicates not only has it been cold for some time but we've also seen several days with at least some form of snowfall. 

 

 

Miller does note if temperatures get warm too fast, the melting of all this snow and ice could lead to significant flooding. He is predicting temperatures to remain steadily in the 40s which should lead to an easing of the melting of this snow and be a good thing for the drought we're experiencing. We'll have more on that next week on Regional Radio News. 

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Governor Pritzker Lays Out Budget Priorities, Says Pandemic's End is in Sight

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker in a prerecorded video address to the State of Illinois laid out his budget for the Fiscal Year.

 

The Governor thanked Illinoisans for their perseverance during the pandemic but says there are tough budgetary decisions this year.

 

 

For weeks, the Chicago Democrat has said he will not seek to raise the income tax after a referendum in November failed. Wednesday, Gov. Pritzker stood by those claims.

 

 

Governor Pritzker Wednesday recognized the struggles of Illinoisans during the pandemic and says the end is near.

 

 

Governor Pritzker Wednesday also called for setting aside federal relief money for small businesses, holding education funding steady, passing ethics reforms, and says he will push for more federal dollars to come to Illinois. 

 

He called the budget a reflection of the struggle of balancing the normal problems of government in a pandemic. 

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Clinton Fire Department Receives Grant Through Illinois Emergency Management Agency

The Clinton Fire Department has received a grant through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. 

 

Fire Department Captain Brandon Robinson at the Monday night Clinton City Council meeting indicates the grant allows them to purchase equipment that would aid in any incidents involving the Clinton Nuclear Power Station. 

 

 

According to Robinson, the bid they received was a little higher than they anticipated however, he believes while there are important pieces to the quote, they can afford the overage.

 

 

Robinson credits the recently passed Tom Conaty (con-uh-dee) from the Kenney Fire Department whom Robinson says was a great help in getting the grant written. 

 

 

According to Public Safety Commissioner Dan Ballenger, the grant money has already been awarded and City Council approval was needed to move forward with the purchases. 

 

 

Ballenger indicates another engine in the Department's fleet has been outfitted with LED lighting. That was paid for by the Fire Protection District. 

 

The Council approved the purchase of three tablets and hardware through JANO Technologies, Inc. for just over $5400. 

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Illinois GOP Sizes Up Governor's Budget Plans

As the Governor readies a budget address the Illinois GOP already has a counterattack to what JB Pritzker might suggest.

 

Pritzker will not ask lawmakers to approve any tax hikes – but he will be looking to close existing corporate tax loopholes and hold spending flat. House GOP Minority Leader Jim Durkin says it still amounts to a tax increase.

 

 

The Governor’s office is looking to claw back about $900 million from closing those loopholes.

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Paul Schimpf Announces Candidacy for Governor

The first Republican has announced their candidacy for Governor. Paul Schimpf a one term State Senator is in.

 

Schimpf from Waterloo, has run state-wide before, losing the race for Attorney General to Lisa Madigan in 2014. Schimpf says he’s running to prevent the state from sliding further away from it’s potential and he’s learned lessons by watching the last Republican Governor, Bruce Rauner, run Illinois.

 

 

Schimpf is a graduate of the Naval Academy and finished up as a prosecutor inside of the Marine Corps.

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Durbin Says Another Stimulus Package is Needed

Illinois' senior U.S. Senator says another stimulus package could be passed in the coming weeks.

 

President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package has been deemed too much by Republicans, but Democrat Dick Durbin says the package is needed.

 

 

The House needs to approve the package then it would head to the Senate.

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Clinton Schools Exploring Summer School Options

School administrators across the state and the country are going to be discussing more and more, plans for summer school to make sure students are ready to move on and make up for the tremendous amount of classroom time lost due to the COVID pandemic. 

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, a good amount of time was dedicated to discussing summer school options, who would attend, when they would attend and how long they would attend. Superintendent Curt Nettles sees summer school as a 'recovery of credits.'

 

 

Administration of the various buildings weighed in Tuesday night on what summer school might look like. Junior High School Principal Jim Peck says his building leadership team will begin meeting this week to zero in on priorities for summer school.

 

 

Administrators will have a challenge finding teachers willing to teach during the summer months. Nettles indicates this will not be something they force their staff to do and they will provide compensation for teachers that do step up. High School Principal Robert Svencner indicates they too are in the planning stages for this program.

 

 

Nettles hopes to have a proposal to bring before the Board for its March meeting for approval. 

 

Hear from Nettles following up the Board of Education meeting on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday at 8:30 am. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Executive Director Anticipates 75-Percent of Staff to Be Vaccinated by End of the Month

Roughly 75-percent of the staff at a Piatt County non-profit is expected to be vaccinated for COVID by the end of the month.

 

As the Piatt County Mental Health Center continues to welcome day services residents and their services continue, Executive Director Tony Kirkman says while they can continue to welcome residents in at a limited capacity, they are getting their staff vaccinated, something he says offers more protections for their staff and consumers.

 

 

While getting its staff vaccinated and the Center's customers being vaccinated should provide more confidence for the community to come in, Kirkman points out the vaccine availability is not expanding their capacity and that is impacting them financially.

 

 

Kirkman indicates they continue to be very proactive in keeping their facility clean like many other entities and businesses. He notes they even upgraded their HVAC systems with CARES funding to a hospital-grade system.

 

 

The Piatt County Mental Health Center keeps the community up to date with the latest mostly through its Facebook page, but you can also learn more at its website, www.piattmhc.org. 

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City Snow Crews Ask for Patience As They Dig Out the Snow

As central Illinois digs out of a snowstorm that left anywhere from 5 to 8 inches of new snow yesterday and last night, Clinton City officials are asking residents to be patient as crews dig our streets out.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvement Ken Buchanan indicated they were unable to treat the roads during the nighttime hours because treatment would have been ineffective, but crews back at it early this morning getting things started.

 

 

Schools in the area are closed today and the DeWitt County Courthouse has closed today as well. 

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Clinton Fifth Grade Students Participating in DARE

The annual DARE program is underway in the classrooms of fifth-grade students in Clinton.

 

Police Chief Ben Lowers leads the program and says this is a long-running tradition in the schools that started with now Sheriff, Mike Walker.

 

 

The DARE program originated to address the growing issue of drug abuse in the late 80s and early 90s but has since evolved to tackle the issues of the day facing our youth. Chief Lowers believes if the program influences just one student then it was worth it.

 

 

Chief Lowers has said this for many years since he became the DARE instructor in Clinton and it was a message passed down from his predecessor, Chief Mike Reidy, that they get more out of the program than they could put into.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, one of the most beneficial pieces of the program is also not at all affiliated with the curriculum. He believes having positive interactions with law enforcement for the community's youth will foster a positive relationship with the community in the future. 

 

 

The Chief indicates one of the final pieces of the curriculum brings in high school students that have gone through the program. He says the kids look forward to hearing from those students as they want to know what it is like to go on to junior and senior high school. 

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Illinois GOP Lawmakers Say Budget Must Be Balanced This Year

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SET TO DELIVER HIS ANNUAL BUDGET ADDRESS WEDNESDAY AND ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS SAY IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER THAT THE PROPOSAL IS BALANCED.

 

THE ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION REQUIRES THE STATE BUDGET BE BALANCED EACH YEAR, WITH SPENDING MATCHING REVENUES. BUT SOMETIMES EXPECTED REVENUES DON'T PAN OUT. THAT CAN'T HAPPEN THIS YEAR SAYS HOUSE G-O-P LEADER JIM DURKIN.

 

 

G-O-P REPRESENTATIVE TOM DEMMER OF DIXON SAYS THE NEW BUDGET CAN'T BE PASSED BASED ON WISHFUL THINKING.

 

 

THE STATE IS FACING A THREE BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET DEFICIT. GOVERNOR PRITZKER HAS SAID HIS PROPOSAL WILL KEEP SPENDING AT THE SAME LEVELS AS LAST YEAR AND WILL NOT INCLUDE A TAX INCREASE. HE SAYS REPUBLICANS SHOULD OFFER SUGGESTIONS ABOUT WHERE CUTS CAN BE MADE TO HELP KEEP COSTS DOWN.

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Illinois Corn Growers Assocation Executive Director Discusses Biden Administration Priorities

The executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association says several of their priorities fit in with some of the Biden administration's goals.

 

Rodney Weinzierl (WINE-zerl) says they expect discussions this spring about a new infrastructure package, mainly because it would help the economy.

 

 

Weinzierl says an upgrade to the river system would mean a lot more grain moved by the river compared to trains and trucks.

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Freshman Lawmaker Critical of Governor's Vaccine Distribution

A freshman state lawmaker critical of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s handling of the state’s COVID vaccine distribution. State Senator Win Stoller says there needs to be an improvement and more urgency with the state plan.

 

 

Stoller was elected to his first term last November.

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All 1800 State Plows Out Yesterday

IDOT has all 1,800 plows and salt trucks out currently to battle a winter storm that has touched nearly every portion of the state. If you must travel it’s imperative that you take your time says Master Sergeant JC Clarke with the Illinois State Police and you have to be prepared.

 

 

Clarke says there is never a good time to be on your phone when driving and last bit of advice – buckle up.

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Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Seeking Applicants for Latest Grant Cycle

A new grant cycle is here for non-profits in DeWitt, Livingston, Logan, and McLean Counties through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, or IPCF.

 

Grant Coordinator Michele Evans on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News they have three grant application categories available in this cycle, which is their most popular cycle they offer.

 

 

For local non-profits, the IPCF website has general information about the grants and applications as well. Evans notes they have tried to streamline some of the pieces of the application that need financial information to make it easier on all their non-profit applicants.

 

 

Once grants have been submitted to the IPCF, and again the deadline is Friday, February 26, Evans reviews the applications to make sure all the information is provided and then a committee through the Foundation meets to discuss the applications and determine where their funding will go.

 

 

Give a call to the IPCF office in Bloomington at 309-662-4477 or visit ilprairiecf.org for more information on the spring grant cycle. 

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Community Action Planning for Annual 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' Fundraiser

It'll be moved two weeks back and organizers are working diligently with local health officials but plans are in motion to host a popular Logan County event this year.

 

Community Action's 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' annually raises thousands of dollars and is a popular event for the Lincoln community and Breann Titus, Director of Agency Development says they are forging ahead with plans for this year's event.

 

 

According to Titus, they are getting positive feedback from businesses and individuals that support their event. She is excited to see that people want 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' to return.

 

 

Titus is very hopeful the event happens this year, she believes not having it would likely be the end of 'Cheeseburger in Paradise'. 

 

 

If you'd like more information about 'Cheeseburger in Paradise,' you can contact Titus at 217-732-2159 or visit capcil.info. You can also find the event on Facebook through the Community Action page. 

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Bement Schools Superintendent Weighs In On Return of High School Sports

An incredible celebration is how a Piatt County Schools leader describes the return of high school sports for her district.

 

Dr. Sheila Greenwood is the Superintendent of Bement Schools and says kids being able to play sports not only provides a sense of normalcy but it's also good for their emotional, social, and physical health.

 

 

Dr. Greenwood called the hiatus from sports difficult. She believes sports and extracurricular activities are such a big part of the development of students.

 

 

Many argue students who participate in sports often are more likely to be engaged in academics to remain eligible for those activities. Dr. Greenwood believes that is indeed the case and feels bad for the students that are losing opportunities they cannot get back.

 

 

Dr. Greenwood calls it a domino effect where kids who want to play collegiately are now behind in getting information to coaches at colleges where students who have been playing sports since August and September of last year have all those things in place. 

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Special Enrollment Period for ACA Marketplace Begins Today

A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR ILLINOISANS NEEDING HEALTH INSURANCE KICKS OFF MONDAY. 

 

AN EXECUTIVE ORDER SIGNED BY PRESIDENT BIDEN PROVIDES THE ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO SEARCH FOR AN AFFORDABLE PLAN ON THE STATE'S MARKETPLACE SAYS GET COVERED ILLINOIS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LAURA PELLIKAN.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY...

 

 

THOSE THAT HAVE ALREADY ENROLLED CAN ALSO USE THIS PERIOD TO SWITCH PLANS. THE SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD RUNS THROUGH MAY 15TH. LEARN MORE AT: GET COVERED ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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'Move Over' Task Force Offers First Recommendations

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE'S MOVE OVER TASK FORCE IS MAKING RECOMMENDATIONS TO FURTHER PROTECT OFFICERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS.

 

THE TASK FORCE WAS FORMED AFTER A RASH OF MOVE OVER LAW VIOLATIONS LEFT TWO TROOPERS DEAD IN 2019. FOUR SQUAD CARS HAVE ALREADY BEEN STRUCK THIS YEAR, INJURING THREE TROOPERS. STATE POLICE SERGEANT JOEY WATSON SAYS THE GROUP IS PROPOSING SEVERAL CHANGES. ONE IS SIMPLE...REQUIRING DRIVERS TO NOT ONLY CHANGE LANES WHEN THEY SEE FLASHING LIGHTS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, BUT TO SLOW DOWN AS WELL.

 

 

OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE STIFFER PENALTIES FOR DISTRACTED DRIVERS VIOLATING THE MOVE OVER LAW, MAKING THE LAW A NATIONAL SAFETY PRIORITY AND BETTER DATA COLLECTION TO TRACK HOW OFTEN THIS OCCURS. 

 

 

THE TASK FORCE WAS FORMED AFTER A SERIES OF 27 MOVE OVER VIOLATIONS IN 2019 LEFT TWO TROOPERS DEAD. WATSON SAYS FOUR CRASHES WITH STATE POLICE SQUAD CARS HAVE ALREADY OCCURED THIS YEAR, INJURING THREE TROOPERS.

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National Weather Service Issues Winter Storm Warning, Wind Chill Advisory for Regional Radio Listening Area

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the entire Regional Radio listening area, from 6 o'clock Sunday night until 6 o'clock Tuesday morning. 

 

The Weather Service says some 6 to 10 inches of snow is expected.

 

Due to continuing high winds, the Weather Service has also issued a Wind Chill Advisory until noon Monday, with wind chills expected as low as 20 below zero.

 

Weather officials say an extended time with periods of moderate snowfall is
expected, resulting in large snowfall totals and slippery road conditions.

 

The hazardous conditions could impact commutes, and cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in under 30 minutes.

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio for the latest weather and school closing information.  And, you can find school closings, cancellations, and road conditions on the blue menu bar of dewittdailynews.com.

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Clinton High School to Honor Senior Basketball Players Wednesday Night

This Wednesday night, Clinton High School will hold its senior night for boy's and girl's basketball players.

 

In a release Friday, Athletic Director Matt Koeppel says all fans that have a varsity basketball spectator pass will be allowed for both games.

 

The girls host Fisher at 6 pm followed by the boys game hosting Fisher at 7:30 pm. The ceremony will be held at 5:40 pm prior to the girl's game for both boys and girls athletes. 

 

Hear both games of this double-header on 92.3 FM WHOW, at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile and at Amazon Alexa. 

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DeWitt County Soil, Water Conservation District Hosting Annual Fish Sale

The DeWitt County Soil & Water Conservation District is conducting its annual fish sale ending on Friday, March 5th at 3:00 PM.

 

Available varieties are grass carp, channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill, red ear, and fathead minnows all at various sizes. 

 

The fish will be delivered for pick up on Wednesday, March 24th at 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM at the District
Office. 

 

The District offers this sale as a service to make fish available in smaller quantities for pond stocking not normally available to the public. 

 

If you would like to order or for up to date information, please contact our office in one of the following ways: find us on Facebook @dewittcountysoilandwater, stop by the SWCD Office in Clinton at 5920 Revere Road, or call 217-935-2181, ext. 3.

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Weekly Weather Summary

The bitter cold is sticking around. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more about what's ahead this weekend and the week ahead.
 

 

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IDPH Ecnouraging Getting Tested for COVID If You Attended a Super Bowl Party

THE STATE'S TOP PUBLIC HEALTH DOCTOR SAYS IF YOU WENT TO A SUPER BOWL PARTY LAST WEEKEND, IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO GET TESTED FOR COVID-19.

 

FOR THOSE WHO ATTENDED A GATHERING FOR THE BIG GAME, NOW IS THE TIME TO GET TESTED IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY SAYS ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE.

 

 

DOCTOR EZIKE SAYS IT'S IMPORTANT TO DO THE RESPONSIBLE THING AND GET TESTED NOW.

 

 

TO FIND A TESTING SITE NEAR YOU, VISIT CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV AND CLICK ON "RESOURCES."

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IDPH Announces Over 800 Locations Giving COVID-19 Vaccine Shots

The Illinois Department of Public Health late Friday afternoon announced that COVID-19 vaccines are now available at over 800 locations across the state.

 

Locations now include many Walgreen's, CVS, Kroger, Hy-Vee, and Meijer Pharmacies, as well as county health departments across the state.

 

Many of the newly announced locations are in or close to the Regional Radio listening area.

In all cases, an appointment must be booked on-line.  

 

To see the complete list, and find a COVID-19 vaccine location near you, please click HERE.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Planning for '21 Events

As the COVID vaccine rollout continues, area non-profits are starting to plan for their annual fundraising events for the upcoming year.

 

Among those is the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Lacy Phelps with the Chamber on the WHOW Morning Show Friday told Regional Radio News they have some events with dates set and others they are waiting on but are forging ahead.

 

 

In-person events like the annual Business Expo and May Days have plans in place this year as well. Phelps says they're still planning for a May, May Days event and are pushing the Business Expo to the summer.

 

 

Other events planned for the year include a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Rotary Park in Clinton, two golf outings in the summer and fall and the Chamber is also hosting another raffle, which is underway.

 

Ge more information about all these events by visiting clintonilchamber.com or by finding them on Facebook. 

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Monticello Chamber Director Hoping Folks Keep Local Businesses in Mind for Valentine's Day

If you're looking for last-minute gift ideas for that special person in your life for Valentine's Day, a Monticello business official is hoping you'll keep local businesses in mind. 

 

Shelly Crawford-Stock is the Executive Director of the Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Monticello Main Street and says they have a lot of great businesses in their community for those last-minute Valentine's gifts. She points the community to their business directory on their Facebook page.

 

 

Crawford-Stock says there are businesses across the area that can be a great resource for anyone of any interest in your life.

 

 

As restaurants begin to reopen, Crawford-Stock hopes those Valentine's Day reservations will be booked with local establishments as much as possible. She points folks to the 'Eat Around Monticello' Facebook group. 

 

 

Crawford-Stock points folks to the City of Monticello website, its Facebook page, the Chamber website, and Facebook page, or again, find the group, 'Eating Around Monticello.' 

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February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month and a University of Illinois Extension Educator hopes as Valentine's Day rolls around, we consider things we can do for a healthier heart.

 

According to Caitlin Mellendor, Nutrition Educator at the University of Illinois Extension Office in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties, there are four areas of nutrition to focus on when you discuss heart health and those are fats, sodium, fiber, and added sugars. She says reducing solid fats for liquid fats is better for your heart health.

 

 

Sodium has a big impact on your blood pressure. Mellendorf says an increase in sodium and it's impact on blood pressure varies from individual to individual. She encourages giving foods with reduced sodium a try.

 

 

Plant foods are going to offer fibers that end up being good for our bodies. Mellendorf points out that added sugars are being found to contribute to higher cholesterol. She says the recommended added sugars from men to women varies and we should watch for those.

 

 

A statewide Heart Health Month seminar begins with food demos. Mellendorf says this will be a statewide offering that are 30 minutes - just visit extension.illinois.edu for more information. 

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More Than 1.5-Million COVID Vaccines Distributed in Illinois So Far

MORE THAN ONE AND A HALF MILLION DOSES OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE HAVE NOW BEEN ADMINISTERED IN ILLINOIS, WITH HOPES OF INCREASING THAT PACE IN THE COMING WEEKS.

 

STATE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS TESTIFIED BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE ABOUT THE STATUS OF THE VACCINATION ROLLOUT, SAYING ONE POINT TWO MILLION OF THOSE WERE INITIAL DOSES AND ABOUT 300 THOUSAND WERE SECOND DOSES. I-D-P-H DEPUTY DIRECTOR ANDREW FRIEND SAYS THEY ARE PREPARING FOR SHIPMENTS TO RAMP UP.

 

 

OFFICIALS SAY THE GOAL IS TO GIVE 900 THOUSAND SHOTS A WEEK. CURRENTLY, THE AVERAGE IS ABOUT 280 THOUSAND A WEEK.

 

 

SENATORS EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION FACULTY NOT BEING INCLUDED IN PHASE ONE B, OPENING 1-B UP TO EVEN MORE PEOPLE WHEN IT'S ALREADY HARD TO GET AN APPOINTMENT IN MANY AREAS AND HOW THE SIGN UP PROCESS DIFFERS FROM REGION TO REGION.

 

FRIEND ADDS THEY ARE ALSO SETTING UP STORAGE FREEZERS ACROSS THE STATE TO ACCOMODATE THE VACCINE ONCE LARGER SHIPMENTS ARRIVE. MORE THAN 300 NEW VACCINATION LOCATIONS HAVE JUST BE ADDED, BRINGING THE TOTAL TO 850 STATEWIDE. 

 

FIND ONE NEAR YOU AT: CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Director Discusses Expansion of '1B' Vaccination Plans

Wednesday Illinois Governor JB Pritzker expanded the '1B' population guidance for COVID vaccinations. 

 

The guidance now includes anyone with underlying health conditions regardless of age or profession. DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert tells Regional Radio News this will mean more people can now sign up locally to get the vaccine.

 

 

According to Remmert, the vaccination clinics that rotate between DeWitt and Piatt County each day have been going very smoothly. He credits his staff for creating a good system and the public for adjusting to the online registration for those clinics.

 

 

Signup links are available for both Piatt County and DeWitt County.

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Tri-Valley Brings Students Back Five Days-A-Week

School districts that blended in-person and remote learning through the first semester are beginning the process of bringing students back for the entire week.

 

Among those is Tri-Valley schools in McLean County. Superintendent Dr. David Mouser indicates it has been exciting to have all their kids back for the full week. He says they followed their local data and felt it was time to bring kids back all five days of the week.

 

 

Part of the reason many districts are expanding their school days or weeks is because of the rollout of the vaccine. Dr. Mouser indicates around 90-percent of this staff has received their first dose, but he does have his concerns.

 

 

Many wonder not only what a vaccine will mean for a return to normalcy for our day-to-day lives overall, but what it will mean for schools. That is something Dr. Mouser ponders as his staff wraps up its vaccination process.

 

 

The Tri-Valley schools leader has been to encourage their staff to get the vaccine that wants it. He supports all his staff in their decision on the matter.

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Congressman Davis Approves of Biden's Ag Secretary Pick

A central Illinois Congressman is giving a thumbs up to the Biden administration's pick for Ag Secretary.

 

Tom Vilsack was the Ag Secretary under President Obama and has been reappointed to the post. Congressman Davis says Vilsack is very fair and looks forward to working with him again.

 

 

With a new administration, Congressman Davis believes some of the top of mind issues for farmers are making American products more marketable and credits the first phase of an agreement with China during the Trump administration for that beginning to happen.

 

 

According to the Taylorville Republican, radical environmentalists pose a great threat to the conservation practices in place in the latest farm bill. He is worried President Biden bending the knee to these people early on in his administration could lead to these types of actions happening.

 

 

Congressman Davis believes Secretary Vilsack will provide a balanced voice in that discussion. 

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State Expanding Eligibility for '1B' COVID Vaccine

THE STATE IS EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY FOR PHASE ONE-B OF THE COVID-19 VACCINATION ROLLOUT. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THEY PLAN TO INCLUDE THOSE WITH DANGEROUS UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS, REGARDLESS OF AGE OR PROFESSION STARTING FEBRUARY 25TH.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THIS EXPANSION WILL ALSO INCLUDE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. NEARLY ONE AND A HALF MILLION DOSES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED IN ILLINOIS SO FAR.

 

 

THOSE WITH CONDITIONS LIKE CANCER, DIABETES, C-O-P-D, PREGNANCY, HEART DISEASE AND OBESITY WILL BE INCLUDED AS WELL AS PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.

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Rep. Brady Reacts to House Rules Committee Changes

State Representative Dan Brady Wednesday voted “no” on majority-crafted House Rules that will continue to shut out Representatives from the minority party and the millions of constituents they represent. The Normal Republican says the more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

 

Rep. Brady and House Republicans had offered changes for House rules to ensure all members’ constituents would have a voice in their government by ensuring rights of Members to have their bills called in Committee, equire notice to the Members and Public on what will be up for action in committee and on the Floor, creating a waiting period for Floor Amendments, Concurrence and Budget Bills, and increase the ability of members to debate legislation on the House Floor.

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More Than 100 New COVID Vaccine Sites Addes in Illinois

MORE THAN 100 NEW COVID-19 VACCINATION SITES HAVE BEEN ADDED IN ILLINOIS. 

 

134 ADDITIONAL SITES ARE COMING ONLINE INCLUDING TWO NEW MASS VACCINATION SITES IN COOK COUNTY, AND AT SEVERAL RETAIL LOCATIONS AROUND THE STATE INCLUDING WAL-MART, KROGER AND JEWEL-OSCO SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE SHOTS ARE AVAILABLE AT 517 LOCATIONS NOW, AND YOU CAN SEARCH ONLINE FOR ONE NEAR YOU SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF DOSES DELIVERED EACH WEEK. TO FIND A VACCINATION LOCATION NEAR YOU, VISIT THE WEBSITE: CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Gov. Pritzker Not Planning to Expand Spending in New Budget

The Governor is getting set to give a virtual budget address, but this year he will not be talking about expanding state spending.

 

Democrat JB Pritzker is floating a few details about his plan before his speech and says spending will stay flat year over year and will not require any tax increases to meet the needs for the upcoming fiscal year.

 

 

Pritzker is seeking to close some tax loopholes on businesses to retain about $900 million in tax dollars.

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House Adopts New Rules Including Term Limits for Legislative Leaders

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE IS VOTING TO SET TERM LIMITS FOR PARTY LEADERS. 

 

HOUSE LAWMAKERS MET IN SPRINGFIELD TO APPROVE NEW RULES FOR THE CURRENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION. THEY INCLUDE 10 YEAR TERM LIMITS FOR THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE AND MINORITY LEADER. THE CHANGE COMES AFTER MIKE MADIGAN'S 36 YEAR REIGN AS SPEAKER. ADDITIONALLY, ALL BILLS ARE GUARANTEED TO BE ASSIGNED TO A COMMITTEE. BUT REPRESENTATIVE MARK BATINICK OF PLAINFIELD SAYS THAT DOESN'T GO FAR ENOUGH, AND THAT REPUBLICANS AND THE PUBLIC SHOULD BE GIVEN MORE NOTICE ABOUT WHICH BILL WILL BE UP FOR DISCUSSION EACH DAY.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE LINDSEY LAPOINTE OF CHICAGO SAYS SHE'S ESPECIALLY PLEASE WITH ANOTHER CHANGE...LETTING HOUSE LAWMAKERS HOLD COMMITTEE HEARINGS REMOTELY.

 

 

REPUBLICAN ARGUED AGAINST SOME COMPONENTS OF THE NEW RULES, SAYING THEY LACKED TRANSPARENCY AND DO NOT ENSURE G-O-P BILLS WILL BE HEARD.

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Caring for Livestock in Bitter Cold

What about the impact of this run of bitterly cold weather on livestock? A few reminders from Nic Anderson from the Illinois Livestock Development Group.

 

 

Anderson says among the key cold stress signs to watch out for is the animal becoming lethargic.

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BBB Warns Not to Post Your COVID Vaccine Selfie

If you have been one of the people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, you have received a card stating you have done so. It includes information about when you got the first and second shot, and other personal information. The better Business Bureau says they are now seeing people taking selfies with those cards, something that can put you at risk of identity theft.

 

BBB spokesman Don O’Brien says if you’re thinking about taking a selfie and then posting it to social media… don’t.

 

 

There is also another type of scam that agencies overseas are dealing with. Scammers in the United Kingdom are manufacturing phony vaccine cards and selling them online via eBay and TikTok. BBB has more tips and alerts on COVID-19 scams at bbb.org/coronavirus.

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Clinton Police Chief Discusses Keeping Warm During Cold Stretch

One of the longest and most severe cold stretches in several years is bearing down on central Illinois and local law enforcement is encouraging residents to do everything they can to stay warm.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday says this starts with having a charged cell phone with you when traveling. He says mechanical failures can happen anywhere at any time and we should be prepared for those.

 

 

Chief Lowers stresses staying in the vehicle if you end up stranded. He says your call to 9-1-1 will go to the nearest dispatch center. He also notes the vehicle you're in is the safest place.

 

 

Last week, Chief Lowers put out a call to pet owners with outdoor animals to get those animals in somewhere warm. He is renewing those calls and says those animals are at the mercy of their handlers.

 

 

Chief Lowers also encourages a phone call to those friends, family, or neighbors - especially the elderly - that may live alone to check-in on them and their well-being. Being a good neighbor during these times is important. 

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DeWitt County Development Council Exploring Possible Partnership With ISU For Executive Director Position

The DeWitt County Development Council has been looking for a new Executive Director for several months and recently began exploring the possibility of partnering with a local university to help fill that position.

 

Board President David Torbert indicates they have inquired with Illinois State University about a possible partnership through one of their programs to offer a graduate student an internship with the DCDC.

 

 

According to Torbert, a lot of those students have a lot of business experience already. He hopes with the experience a potential match would bring could help not only the DCDC grow but also the community.

 

 

Being a part of this program would be a financial commitment for the DCDC, however, Torbert sees the benefits of being a part of this as far greater than the costs. Once the fellowship is over for the student, Torbert hopes it could parlay itself into them finding a permanent executive director.

 

 

Torbert indicates they will send off their application for the fellowship program in the days ahead. If the DCDC finds a match, the program would be for 11 months and Torbert says while it seems like a while away, it will go by quickly and a lot will happen. 

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Monticello Anticipating First Movement on City Improvement Grant Recipients

The City of Monticello has awarded their first rounds of City Improvement grants and movement from their recipients is anticipated soon. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Director of Community Development Callie McFarland told Regional Radio News the city accepted applications ending in early December and last month awarded their first three grants to various businesses in the downtown district.

 

 

According to McFarland, the goal is to get business owners to invest in their properties and make the downtown a better place. She indicates the grant can encompass a wide variety of issues, which is why they combined several other programs into one.

 

 

The public/private partnership of the business district allows for business owners to receive a 50-percent reimbursement up to a certain amount. McFarland believes the investment from the community side of things improves the downtown over the long haul.

 

 

McFarland indicates the City hopes to award these grants during two rounds every year and the business district will last 23 years. She hopes eventually it results in a "new" downtown. She also points out the City has some high-priced projects that will need taken care of down the road and she says this will help offset the reliance on their general revenue stream. 

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Social Security Reminds of Importance of 1099s

Tax season is here and Social Security says to make sure you receive your SSA-1099.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates a Social Security 1099 is a tax form Social Security mails each year in January to people who received Social Security benefits the prior year. If you've misplaced yours, a replacement is available through your 'mySocialSecurity' account.

 

 

Myers notes those who receive SSI benefits will not receive 1099. Social Security benefits are potentially taxable by the federal government, but SSI is not.

 

 

For those who don't already have a 'mySocialSecurity' account, creating one is relatively short and easy to do. Myers lays out the steps to creating an account.

 

 

In addition to viewing your 1099, your 'mySocialSecurity' account allows you to check your benefit and payment information, request a replacement SS card, and review your earnings record.

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Sen. Manar's Replacement Named in Illinois Senate

The state Senate seat vacated by Democrat Andy Manar has been filled. Doris Turner was selected by a committee to take Manar’s seat in the 48th District. She says rebuilding after the pandemic will be a top priority.

 

 

She is currently a member of the city council in Springfield and the Chair of the Sangamon County Democrat Party, Turner will be stepping aside from both roles.

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New Effort to Pass Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act

STATE LAWMAKERS AND ADVOCATES ARE RENEWING EFFORTS TO PASS A CLEAN JOBS ACT IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THIS LATEST VERSION AIMS TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE, CREATE EQUITABLE JOBS AND HOLD UTILITIES ACCOUNTABLE SAYS BILL SPONSOR, REPRESENTATIVE ANN WILLIAMS OF CHICAGO.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE KAM BUCKNER OF CHICAGO SAYS THE ACT WILL ALSO BOOST THE ECONOMY.

 

 

SUPPORTERS SAY THE GOAL IS TO MOVE TO 100 PERCENT CLEAN ENERGY BY 2050 BY INCREASING ENERGY EFFICIENCIES, MOVING TOWARDS ELECTRIC PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FLEETS, SETTING UP CHARGING STATIONS IN ALL COMMUNITIES, GIVING MORE HOUSEHOLDS ACCESS TO SOLAR ENERGY AND OTHER INITIATIVES.

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Illinois Manufacturers Association Says Defense Production Act Should Help Speed Up Vaccine Distribution

President Joe Biden has used the defense production act to help accelerate manufacturing goods connected to COVID 19 vaccines.

 

It’s hoped that the decision will speed up the creation and delivery of vaccines to states. The head of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, Mark Denzler says a few industries will benefit the most.

 

 

Pfizer, who manufactures COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan says they are working to cut their own production time for the vaccines in half.

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Congressman Kinzinger Not Interested in Leaving Republican Party

Against the pressure of Donald Trump supporters who say Adam Kinzinger isn’t a real Republican, the Congressman assures everyone he is a conservative. He says his Country 1st initiative is to get the party back to the principles of conservative philosophy and not just about supporting Trump. Kinzinger says he’s not interested in joining or starting another party.

 

 

Kinzinger says he wants diversity of views in the Republican Party, but not support for QAnon conspiracy theories and claims that the election was stolen just because it’s easier to go along with them. He says his hope in the party is the number of Republicans who have told him they don’t like what has happened to the party. And he says the Capitol riot should be a wake-up call that the party is in peril.

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Attorney General Kwame Raoul's Office Highlighting Internet Safety for Kids

STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL'S OFFICE IS OFFERING SOME ADVICE FOR STUDENTS, PARENTS AND TEACHERS ABOUT INTERNET SAFETY. 

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL SAYS THE ILLINOIS INTERNET CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN TASK FORCE HAS INVESTIGATED NUMEROUS CASES OF CYBER PREDATORS GOING AFTER KIDS, AS WELL AS WELL AS AN UPTICK IN YOUTH SHARING EXPLICIT CONTENT ONLINE.

 

 

RAOUL SAYS MOMS AND DADS SHOULD ALSO EMPHASIZE THAT PREDATORS CAN BE ANYWHERE.

 

 

RAOUL SAYS BEFORE SHARING INFORMATION, A PHOTO OR VIDEO ONLINE, STUDENTS SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES IF IT'S SOMETHING THAT THEY WOULDN'T WANT TO BE MADE PUBLIC, IF THEY KNOW THE PERSON THEY ARE SENDING IT TO, AND IF THEY THINK THAT PERSON WILL SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.

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Warner Hospital CEO Discusses New Services Coming to Clinton in '21

With a new year upon us and the economy beginning to open back up, Warner Hospital and Health Services are beginning to focus once again on services to enhance their offerings for the community.

 

CEO Paul Skowron indicates they are getting set to welcome an ear, nose, and throat doctor from Gibson Area Hospital. He anticipates that service is available at some point this month.

 

 

Expanding on ENT services is the latest in a long line of additions and changes since Skowron took over as CEO of the City-owned hospital six years ago. One of his primary objectives was to rebrand the hospital through a name change. 

 

 

As the name change helped change the image of the hospital, Skowron began adding services to keep residents local for their healthcare needs. In that time, the hospital's financial situation greatly improved.

 

 

According to Skowron, as the economy opens back up and testing locally shifts to the hospital's lab, they look forward to bringing back health and wellness-focused classes and programs to the community in their Wellness Center. 

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Temperatures Last Month Were Warmer Than Normal

JANUARY WEATHER WAS WARMER THAN NORMAL IN ILLINOIS...BUT THE STATE'S CLIMATOLOGIST SAYS A BIG CHANGE IS COMING. 

 

LAST MONTH'S TEMPS WERE NEARLY TWO AND A HALF DEGREES ABOVE AVERAGE, BUT THAT ISN'T CONTINUING INTO FEBRUARY SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

FORD SAYS THE LONG TERM OUTLOOK IS CALLING FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPS INTO AT LEAST THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH. 

 

 

DESPITE THE RECENT SNOW AND RAIN...A WIDE SWATH ACROSS CENTRAL ILLINOIS REMAINS IN ABNORMALLY DRY TO MODERATE DROUGHT CONDITIONS.

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Burn Awareness Week

THIS IS NATIONAL BURN AWARENESS WEEK, WITH A FOCUS THIS YEAR ON ELECTRICAL BURNS. 

 

THE THEME IS ELECTRICAL SAFETY, FROM AMPS TO ZAPS SAYS ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO ASSESS YOUR HOME FOR OTHER POTENTIAL HAZARDS SUCH AS SPACE HEATERS, STOVETOPS AND GRILLS. 

 

 

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION, THE TOP CAUSES FOR BURNS INCLUDE CONTACT WITH A FLAME, SCALDING, CONTACT WITH A HOT OBJECT, ELECTRICAL AND CHEMICALS.

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McLean County Museum of History Beginning Preparations for Spring Reopening

The McLean County Museum of History has taken advantage of the downtime thanks to COVID to revamp their facility in downtown Bloomington and now are shifting their focus to reopening at some point in the spring.

 

Candace Summers at the Museum Monday morning told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show indicated the closure due to COVID allowed them to get crews in to update their bathrooms and lighting fixtures in the facility. She notes those projects are winding down. 

 

 

As the museum looks forward to reopening, Summers encourages those interested in providing input to visit their Facebook page and fill out a brief survey about if they are interested in visiting their facility.

 

 

According to Summers, the survey is getting a great amount of feedback and positive feedback at that. She believes people want to come back to the museum and museum staff will do everything asked of them to make sure it is safe for the public to do so.

 

 

Summers is optimistic by April the museum will have its doors reopened and the public will be welcomed in. She looks forward to the public seeing the changes they've made when they return.

 

Visit mchistory.org for more information and again find them on Facebook to take the survey. 

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Warner Library Receives Grant from Youth Engaged in Philanthropy

The Warner Public Library recently received the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.

 

Corey Campbell, Warner Library Youth Services Manager, indicates the grant will be used to purchase e-readers for youth patrons. The library will survey the community as to which titles they would like to see.

 

 

Campbell says the e-readers will allow the youth of the community a way to become familiar with new technology while also developing literacy skills. He says any kind of reading is beneficial.

 

 

Once the e-readers are ready they will be available for circulation similar to the Library of Things collection.

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Executive Director Hoping Vaccine Makes Seniors Feel Comfortable Coming Back

As the senior population begins the process of getting its COVID vaccine, a local non-profit executive is hoping that will mean good news for their facility.

 

Paula Jiles is the Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center in Clinton and indicates the facility has been pretty empty the last several months as seniors stay home in fear of the coronavirus. She notes they are starting to help seniors get registered for vaccine clinics locally.

 

 

Seniors tell Jiles they want to return to the Friendship Center but many are waiting until they have received both doses of the vaccine. 

 

 

Jiles began putting a few more events on the calendar for seniors in January and is expanding on that in February. With restaurants reopening for in-person dining, many events include trips to a restaurant. She believes seniors need to socialize and get out when they're comfortable. 

 

 

Jiles says they have a number of daily and weekly activities that are getting back going again. You can get more information about the DeWitt County Friendship Center by calling 217-935-9411. 

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Monticello High School Principal Says School Year Has Gone Much Better Than Expected

Monticello High School Principal Adam Clapp before the school year started wasn't sure how long school would stay in session if it even got off the ground at all.

 

Six months later and with a semester in the books, he says things off gone way better than expected and believes the planning that went into the school year has paid off in a big way.

 

 

Clapp credits his students for their willingness to comply with all the mitigation efforts needed to make the school year happen. Through all the ups-and-downs, he credits the kids will sticking with everything.

 

 

Clapp's students received a huge boost a couple of weeks ago when the Governor's office and IDPH announced the return of all sports and then the IHSA's schedule of sports for the second semester. Saturday's first home basketball game featured a video of the Monticello pep band performing and that was pumped into the arena during halftime, another piece of a return to what students enjoy doing. 

 

 

While students remained positive, the last several months were tough for the students of Monticello, according to Clapp. He also notes that lunchtimes have been missing this year which is a great time for administrators and teachers to connect with kids.

 

 

It was a few weeks ago the new Sievers Center was used to begin vaccinating Piatt County schools staff. Clapp says the vaccine begins to give everyone a 'light at the end of the tunnel' and hope for a return to normalcy. 

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Solar Energy on Rise Thanks to Future Energy Jobs Act

Solar energy is on the rise across the state thanks to legislation signed into law nearly four years ago.

 

According to the Illinois Clean Job Coalition, the Future Energy Jobs Act will lead to between $12 to $15 billion in private investments and bring tens of thousands of new jobs to the state by 2025. Larissa Armstrong, the Assistant Director of the Ecology Action Center in Bloomington, said the energy legislation also allows residents to reap the benefits of solar programs without havisolar panels installed on their homes.

 

 

Over the next 10-years across the state, renewable energy will generate over $8 billion in economic output. Gov. Pritzker says he wants to take Illinois to 25% renewable energy by 2025.

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Freshman Lawmaker Critical of New Standards Out from ISBE

Critics against teaching standards the Illinois State Board of Education is advancing say the new rules are about politics and fear it could lead to fewer teachers and fewer families educating their children in Illinois.

 

State Representative Paul Jacobs is serving in his first term in the 115th District. He says the new mandates are too much after 2020 and a year of public unrest and unease.

 

 

Previous proposed rules instructed teachers to embrace "progressive viewpoints and perspectives," but a spokesperson for ISBE this week said the proposed rules no longer include "progressive" because the word “progressive” was perceived as political "and that was not the intent. The ISBE will present the dozens of new regulations for teachers and schools for a vote before the Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on February 16th in Springfield. You can visit isbe.net for a full review of the ISBE’s proposed rule changes.

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Monticello Dedicates New Gymnasium to Arthur 'Buzz' Sievers

It was a special day for what many call a dedicated problem solver.

 

Arthur 'Buzz' Sievers (Pictured right delivers remarks Saturday) had the new gymnasium at Monticello High School dedicated in his name on Saturday afternoon before the Monticello boy's basketball team's season opener and facility's first competition. Sievers thanked his family before him for showing him what it meant to have a servant's heart.

 

 

Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman (pictured below offers remarks at the Saturday dedication) and the Board of Education in November of 2019 decided the new facility's gymnasium would forever bear the name of Sievers and offered his thoughts on what the graduate of Monticello High School has meant to the district and central Illinois for over 50 years.

 

The ceremony included a video on the new video board in the gym that offered many heartfelt words from the staff at the school district for what Sievers has meant to them over the years. 

 

There will be a mini replica of Sievers in a yellow blazer that will be on display in the foyer of the new Sievers Center. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Local Coronavirus Update

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported 19 new coronavirus cases this week.

 

On Wednesday, DeWitt County added 2 new cases in Clinton while Piatt County saw 3 cases in Monticello, 2 in Cerro Gordo and La Place, and one in Bement and DeLand.

 

On Thursday, DeWitt County reported 2 new cases in Clinton. Piatt County had 4 cases in Monticello, one in Bement, and one in Cerro Gordo.

 

With these additional cases, DeWitt County has had a total of 1254 cases; Piatt County has had a total of 1316 cases.  There have been a total of 22 deaths in DeWitt County and 13 deaths in Piatt County due to COVID-19.

 

The health department reminds the public to " WASH your hands frequently, WEAR a mask when in public, WATCH your distance (maintain a 6 ft distance), don't attend or host gatherings, and shelter vulnerable populations."

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Makes Donation to Child Protection Network

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce recently donated to the Child Protection Network.

 

Samantha Stevenson with CPN indicates the Chamber stepped up to provide needed materials they collected that will help the Children's Advocacy Center, whom the Chamber shares their building with on the downtown Clinton Square.

 

 

Stevenson also notes the CPN recently donated books to a couple of local groups including the CPN Casa program, Children's Home and Aid, ABC Counseling, and BCPA Creativity Center. She says a local author stepped up to provide the books for these groups.

 

 

The Child Protection Network is the supporting arm of the Children's Advocacy Center, a child and family welfare non-profit that serves DeWitt, McLean, and Livingston Counties. Their DeWitt County office is in the upper-level of the building shared with the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. 

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No Wall of Honor Inductees for Clinton High School This Year

Clinton High School will not be inducting anyone into the Wall of Honor in 2021.

 

Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne indicates the committee reviewed nominations for the Wall of Honor and felt there wasn't anyone that fit all their criteria. He says they want the Wall of Honor to be a true recognition of people that have done tremendous things after their days at Clinton High School.

 

 

Typically the first or second week of February would be when a Wall of Honor inductee would be recognized at a home high school boys basketball game.

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Atlanta Tourism Bureau, Atlanta Public Library Offering Leasing Opportunity for The Palm Grill Cafe

Atlanta and Logan County residents are likely familiar with the popular The Palm Grill Cafe, or The Grill. A couple of Atlanta entities are seeking a leasee for the space.

 

Whitney Ortiz is the Tourism Development Director for Atlanta, Illinois, and indicates 'The Grill' has a great opportunity through the Atlanta Public Library for a potential restaurant owner to come in and start a restaurant. Ortiz indicates it's almost an already-made situation.

 

 

Ortiz indicates it is an ideal location in Atlanta. Additionally, she says there's a lot of attractions that bring people to downtown Atlanta.

 

 

According to Ortiz, The Palm Grill Cafe was a hot spot in the 30s and 40s. The restaurant closed but came back in 2009 and since has drawn people from all over. She says it's also popular amongst the locals.

 

 

Ortiz is hoping for 'The Grill' to get open ahead of the spring and summer tour season. 

 

The Atlanta Public Library is exploring other opportunities to help a potential leasee. To get more information, contact the Library at 217-648-2112 or email apldinformation@gmail.com. 

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Latest Rains in Central Illinois Helping Ease Drought Conditions

Despite rains coming all at once, the recent precipitation in the form of rain in central Illinois is helping ease drought conditions that had weather experts very concerned.

 

Chris Miller with the National Weather Service indicates rain fell for quite a bit of time and he says that is going to go a long way in easing the drought we're experiencing.

 

 

Thanks to the length of rainfall over about 24 hours, Miller indicates a large swath of central Illinois can breathe a little easier.

 

 

According to Miller, the drought was expanding into neighboring states and even farther out, and those areas are also improving. The drought now shifts to the western portion of the country. 

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Record Number of COVID Vaccines Administered Thursday

NEARLY 75 THOUSAND COVID-19 VACCINATION DOSES WERE ADMINISTERED YESTERDAY, A NEW RECORD FOR ILLINOIS. 

 

ON AVERAGE, ABOUT 49 THOUSAND DOSES ARE GIVEN EACH DAY IN ILLINOIS, BUT NUMBERS FAR SURPASSED THAT THURSDAY. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS MORE VACCINATION SITES ARE OPENING AND URGES THE PUBLIC TO KEEP CHECKING THE STATE'S COVID WEBSITE FOR LOCATIONS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR URGES PATIENCE AND SAYS THERE HE'S HOPEFUL A NEW VACCINE BY JOHNSON AND JOHNSON WILL BE APPROVED SOON.

 

 

THE NUMBER OF NEW COVID CASES EACH DAY HAS BEEN UNDER FOUR THOUSAND FOR THE PAST WEEK IN ILLINOIS AND THE ENTIRE STATE IS NOW UNDER PHASE FOUR MITIGATIONS.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Bundle up. The weather ahead is frigid. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more...

 

 

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Clinton Schools Leader Watching Legislation in Springfield Regarding School Resource Officers

School Resource Officers, or SRO's, could be in danger of being not allowed in schools anymore if a measure is taken up by the Illinois legislature in 2021. 

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates a piece of legislation in Springfield is on hold right now but could be taken up this year that would remove SRO's from the school setting.

 

 

The measure has been tabled but could be brought back up at any time and Nettles says if it is indeed brought back up, he vows to be in Springfield to testify against the legislation. 

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Congressman Davis Hopes Biden Finds Common Ground With Republicans

Just a few weeks into the Joe Biden administration in Washington, D.C., a central Illinois Congressman is so far disappointed with the President's calls for unity yet not backing up those calls with action.

 

Executive orders and a nearly $2-trillion stimulus package that will likely be pushed through Congress with no Republican support are the early targets of the President. Congressman Rodney Davis is disappointed in the divisive rhetoric coming from his colleagues across the aisle.

 

 

'Typical Democrats' is how Congressman Davis describes the nearly $2-trillion economic stimulus package that is working its way through Congress right now. He says this is how Democrats operate, continuing to spend without regard to spending that has already taken place to this point. 

 

 

The President did meet with minority leadership about the stimulus bill but Congressman Davis says any concerns raised in that meeting were completely disregarded. He believes Republicans' ask of a $600-billion bill was within reason. 

 

 

Congressman Davis is critical of the Governor for setting a program where local governments did not know how to apply for funding that was made available to them. He says if more money is going to the states, there will need to be more oversite and federal control.  

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Prevent Frozen Pipes During Coming Cold Stretch

With subzero temperatures on the way this weekend, water departments and companies are reminding people to leave water on somewhere in buildings where pipes are prone to freezing. Karen Cotton with Illinois American Water says it doesn’t take much to prevent frozen pipes.

 

 

That also can prevent the service line to your home or business from freezing. Another tip is to open a door to let heat into the space where the pipes are if that's possible. If a water pipe freezes, turn off water to the building and use a safe heat source to patiently thaw it. Don't try to hurry things up with a candle or torch.

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GOP, Advocates Call Criminal Justice Reform Bill Threat to Public Safety

REPUBLICANS IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE SAY A SWEEPING CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM BILL SITTING ON THE GOVERNOR'S DESK POSES A THREAT TO PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIME VICTIMS.

 

MOST LAWMAKERS AGREE THAT REFORMS ARE NEEDED, BUT THE HOUSE G-O-P SAYS THE MEASURE IS CONFUSING AND DOESN'T DO ENOUGH TO PROTECT VICTIMS. VERMILLION COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY JACQUELINE LACY AGREES AND EXPLAINS THE POTENTIAL RAMIFICATIONS OF ONE PORTION OF THE BILL THAT GIVES THOSE ARRESTED THREE PHONE CALLS INSTEAD OF ONE.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE DAVID WELTER OF MORRIS TAKES ISSUE WITH A PROVISION ENDING CASH BAIL.

 

 

REPUBLICANS SAYS ANOTHER CONCERN IS THE ELIMINATION OF CASH BAIL AND WHAT THEY SAY ARE INCONSISTENT STANDARDS OF WHETHER OR NOT SOMEONE ARRESTED POSES A THREAT IF THEY ARE RELEASED UNTIL TRIAL.

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Girl Scout Cookie Sales to Start This Weekend

It’s time for Girl Scout cookie sales.

 

Pam Kovasevich, the CEO for the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois says sales will start rolling out this weekend. Each chapter will have their sales at a slightly different time – so if you are looking to buy cookies during the pandemic she says contact a scout or hit the web.

 

 

 

 

Some areas are even offering delivery of cookies by Grub Hub.

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Clinton Veterans Advocate Calling on Community for Saturday Veteran Funeral

US Army Korean war era veteran Darrell Batson passed away over the weekend and his funeral is this Saturday the 6th.

 

A local veterans advocate is calling on the community to support Mr. Batson this Saturday when the procession makes its way through Clinton from Argenta. Jeff Morlock says they will have veterans set up with flags at the entrance of Woodlawn Cemetery and the community is invited to line the streets of the route.

 

 

Morlock says this is an effort he is taking on to honor the fallen heroes of our community. He hopes it continues to catch on as more people see and hear about it.

 

 

Morlock has been working on developing a Facebook page for the program and recently rolled it out. He hopes folks will search 'Battle Cross Crusaders'. 

 

 

Again, Batson's procession will be coming from Calverts Funeral Home in Argenta to Woodlawn cemetery, coming through Clinton at approximately 11 am.

 

They will be coming in on Rt 10, turning left on Van Buren Street by Subway, to Grant turning North, to the intersection of Grant, and Center. Turning North onto US business 51, to Cromwell Road turning west, to Walnut Street turn left to the Mausoleum entrance turning left into the cemetery.

 

If anyone is interested in attending at a different spot, Morlock encourages the stop sign across from the Y motel as a great place to have someone with a flag to welcome them to Clinton.

 

If you have any questions feel free to call Morlock at 217-853-2530 or Dick Wagers at 217-935-6481.

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University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator Emphasizes Food Safety for Super Bowl Weekend

A Super Bowl party can quickly go south if food safety is ignored.

 

That's why nutrition educator at the University of Illinois Caitlin Mellendorf is sending out a few reminders for this Super Bowl weekend. Whether you're serving a large group, which is being discouraged this year, or a couple of friends or family, food safety is important.

 

 

If you'll be serving foods that require a maintained temperature, Mellendorf recommends a bowl of ice for those cold foods or a slow cooker for those warm foods.

 

 

If you are not going to try to keep foods hot or cold, Mellendorf says to give those foods about a two-hour limit before either deciding to put them away or throw them out.

 

 

If you're preparing food, Mellendorf says hand washing is the number one thing to remember. Other reminders include making sure those meats have reached their proper temperature. If you are transitioning from one food to another, make sure you wash those surfaces before bringing in new food.

 

And again, wash your hands. 

 

Mellendorf indicates the USDA has a great resource available online about food safety and the recommended temperatures for meats to be cooked at. 

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Miller Park Zoo Offering Free Fridays in February

It's once again time for free admission Fridays for a Bloomington entity.

 

The Miller Park Zoo each February offers free admission to their guests on Fridays and Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says it is always his goal to make sure a place like the zoo is affordable to the community, and this is a great way to give back.

 

 

COVID has had its impacts on the zoo but Tetzloff says despite those challenges, it was important for him, especially this year, to offer these free admission days, even if the public would have been sympathetic to the fact it would not be in their best interest to offer them.

 

 

COVID has created stressful times for a lot of us and Tetzloff hopes if you are looking for something to get your mind off the troubles of the day, stop by the zoo for an hour or two and he believes you'll find a little relief.

 

 

You can get more information about the Miller Park Zoo by finding them on Facebook. Tetzloff says that is where they send most of their information, but you can also find them at millerparkzoo.org. 

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State Directs Excess Vaccines from Pharmacy Partnership to Go to Those in '1B'

THE STATE IS REDIRECTING NEARLY 100 THOUSAND UNUSED DOSES OF THE VACCINE AWAY FROM A FEDERAL PHARMACY PROGRAM. 

 

THE PROGRAM UTILIZED WALGREENS AND C-V-S TO VACCINATE THE STATE’S MOST VULNERABLE, SETTING ASIDE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF DOSES SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE DOSES ARE LEFT OVER FROM THE ALLOTMENT SET ASIDE FOR THE PROGRAM, WHICH PARTNERED WITH WALGREENS AND C-V-S TO GET LONG TERM CARE RESIDENTS VACCINATED.

 

 

PRITZKER SAYS THE FEDS OVERESTIMATED HOW MANY RESIDENTS EACH FACILITY HAS AND HOW MANY STAFF AND RESIDENTS WOULD DECLINE THE VACCINE SO THERE’S SOME LEFT OVER. THOSE DOSES WILL GO TO PEOPLE ELIGIBLE TO GET THE SHOT UNDER PHASE 1-B.

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House, Senate GOP Introduces Constitutional Amendments to Empower Voters

HOUSE AND SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE PROPOSING A SERIES OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS TO EMPOWER ILLINOIS VOTERS. 

 

ONE AMENDMENT MAKES IT EASIER FOR CITIZENS TO PROPOSE CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION ON A WIDER VARIETY OF TOPICS. SENATE MINORITY LEADER DAN MCCONCHI SAYS ANOTHER ALLOWS FOR VOTER-INITIATED REFERENDUMS ON RECENTLY ENACTED LAWS.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE MARK BATINICK OF PLAINFIELD....

 

 

THE THIRD AMENDMENT LETS VOTERS RECALL ELECTED OFFICIALS AT ALL LEVELS INCLUDING STATE CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS, LAWMAKERS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS.

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Governor Gives Clearance for General Assembly to be Vaccinated

The Illinois House and Senate have canceled upcoming in-person sessions in Springfield. Some legislators have wanted to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine before returning in person. Today, Governor JB Pritzker is allowing any of the 177 state reps or senators to get a COVID vaccine if they want one.

 

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says the move is a slap in the face to millions of folks who were in Phase 1B and still can’t get a spot in line.

 

 

Pritzker says he won’t be including himself on the list to get a vaccine and will wait his turn.

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Congresswoman Bustos Supports Vilsack for Ag Secretary

Shortly after Joe Biden was elected President, Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ name was mentioned as a possibility for the Secretary of Agriculture position, but that job is going to former Obama Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Bustos is okay with that.

 

 

Vilsack hails from the Midwest and is a former Iowa governor.

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Congresswoman Bustos Breaks Down Differences Between Senate Republicans, Biden Stimulus Plan

As Americans await another stimulus package, Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says there are some clear differences as to what Senate Republicans want and what the Biden administration wants.

 

 

Bustos was just elected to her fifth term last November.

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Clinton Police Chief Says to Think of Outdoor Pets During Upcoming Cold

The coldest temperatures of the winter are descending on central Illinois starting this weekend and a local law enforcement official is hoping pet owners will think of those outdoor dogs.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says while people have a choice of going out and staying out in this cold or finding a warm blanket, our pets don't have that choice. He hopes residents with outdoor animals will make appropriate accommodations for that animal.

 

 

Inevitably, someone will leave a dog out without adequate shelter and water and authorities will be called. The Chief indicates police are often the first call and through the course of their response, authorities will seek to make contact with the owner of the pet but will never leave the animal in its current condition if a change of scenery is required.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, there continue to be issues with dogs not on a leash in our neighborhoods. He reminds residents to keep animals leashed when not on their property and clean up any messes they make when they are out on walks in the community. 

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DNR Releases Deer Harvest Totals for 2020

The deer harvest totals are in for the 2020 hunting season and one area saw a huge increase.

 

Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director Rachel Torbert indicates the archery deer season blew right past a record that was set last year and now they will begin exploring why that was the case.

 

 

DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson indicates a change in Illinois now allows crossbows to be used during the archery deer season. He says this was a positive change for hunters that could not handle the size of the archery equipment. 

 

 

Capt. Williamson and Torbert say the increase in deer harvest may not just be due to the allowance of crossbows. Capt. Williamson says the rebound of the deer population from the 2012-13 EHD epidemic is now starting to return closer to normal.

 

 

There was a total of 1,025 deer harvest in DeWitt County with 631 coming during the archery season and 365 during the firearm season.

 

Logan County had a total of 840 deer harvested with 467 from the archery season and 336 during the firearm season.

 

In Piatt County, 436 deer were harvest, 287 during the archery season, and 133 during the firearm season.

 

Champaign County had 690 deer harvested with 429 coming from the archery season and 230 the firearm season.

 

881 deer were harvest in Macon County with 568 from the archery season and 267 from the firearm season. 

 

McLean County harvested 2,038 deer with 629 from the archery season and 628 the firearm season.

 

Finally, Peoria County harvested 2,038 deer with 1,117 from the archery season and 866 from the firearm season. 

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Bitter Cold Temperatures Coming to Central Illinois

Some bitter cold temperatures are expected to settle into central Illinois this weekend. 

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates this was a pattern that he thought might settle in on the midwest a few weeks ago but it bounced back up towards Canada and stayed there. Now it is moving in on central Illinois and is going to hang around.

 

 

The La Nina weather pattern has helped stave off these bitter cold temperatures but all the snow on the ground to our north and northwest is helping the cold air surge into the lower midwest. Miller says snow on the ground plays a large role in the decrease in temperatures.

 

 

According to Miller, this bitter cold is going to stay around for some time. He estimates it could be around for a couple of weeks. On top of the cold sticking around, he says anticipate some snow periodically during this time as well. 

 

 

The cold air could ease after the 15th or 16th of February but there is another surge of cold air the National Weather Service is keeping an eye on. Overall, Miller is anticipating the month of February being cold. 

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IDPH Stresses Masks Still Needed Even After Vaccination

FOR THOSE GOING THROUGH THE COVID-19 VACCINATION PROCESS OR WHO ARE ABOUT TO...THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS SOME REMINDERS.

 

YOU WON'T REACH MAXIMUM PROTECTION AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS UNTIL 10 TO 14 DAYS AFTER YOU RECEIVE THE SECOND DOSE OF THE VACCINE SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay). BUT SHE SAYS THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU DON'T STILL NEED TO BE CAREFUL.

 

 

DOCTOR EZIKE ADDS EVEN THEN, SAFETY PRECAUTIONS STILL NEED TO BE TAKEN.

 

 

EZIKE SAYS THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE COVID VACCINE IS ABOUT 95 PERCENT EFFECTIVE...A FAR GREATER PERCENTAGE THAN THE ANNUAL FLU SHOT WHICH IS AROUND 40 TO 50 PERCENT EFFECTIVE.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Offering Half-Price Admission All Month

THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM IN SPRINGFIELD IS OFFERING FREE ADMISSION ON LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY. 

 

EVERYONE GETS IN FREE ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12TH, IN HONOR OF LINCOLN'S 212TH BIRTHDAY AND KIDS ARE FREE ON PRESIDENT'S DAY. YOU CAN SAVE THE REST OF THE MONTH AS WELL SAYS SPOKESPERSON CHRIS WILLS.

 

 

MUSEUM CURATORS HAVE ALSO ADDED A FEW NEW ITEMS TO THE FACILITY'S TREASURES GALLERY SAYS WILLS.

 

 

ALL VISITORS WILL NEED TO MAKE A RESERVATION AHEAD OF TIME. LEARN MORE AT: PRESIDENT LINCOLN DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Warner Hospital CEO Reports Flu Down 75-Percent

Warner Hospital CEO Paul Skowron reports the flu is down 75-percent locally.

 

Skowron says they have seen a massive reduction in the flu this year and he attributes it to the distancing and mask-wearing measures the public has taken thanks to COVID.

 

 

Because this year's flu has been so mild if things return to normal in the flu season of 2021-22, could things be a lot worse? Skowron says that is not out of the realm of possibility and indicates it will be very important everyone gets their flu shots.

 

 

As Illinois begins to ease COVID mitigations, a spring surge of the flu is not out of the question either. Skowron says our immune systems may be thrown off by the quick re-adjustment to a routine we haven't had in a year.

 

 

If you're looking for a reliable way to fend off illnesses like the flu, even COVID, Skowron recommends a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet. 

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Warner Library Announces Expansion of Hours Starting Next Week

Next Monday the Warner Library in Clinton will expand its hours.

 

Business Manager Samantha Rusk on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday told Regional Radio News they will be open at 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Thursday and 9 am to 3 pm on Friday.

 

 

Curbside services have been one of the silver linings to the pandemic for the library and Rusk continues to emphasize they plan to carry on with that offering going forward. 

 

 

Rusk indicates they continue to keep health focus with a strict cleaning policy and barriers throughout the library for contactless checkout. Again, the library's new hours begin next Monday, February 8.

 

You can get more information by visiting vwarner.org. 

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Blue Ridge Schools To Begin 'Mock' Strategic Planning

As COVID vaccine rollouts now begin to expand to teachers and school staffers, a DeWitt County district is beginning a steering committee with part of its focus to be on strategic planning.

 

A steering committee in Blue Ridge has begun meeting that is going to focus on issues like professional development and making sure there are strategies in place to work with kids and bring them along educationally in wake of the COVID pandemic altering their development. Schools Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer indicates there will be aspects of this they hoped to accomplish before COVID hit.

 

 

As the steering committee progresses, Dr. Stanifer indicates they will engage their community but also their staff and teachers. She compares this process to strategic planning. 

 

 

Dr. Stanifer anticipates hearing about how to make up for all the lost classroom time for their students. Administrators anticipate another round of COVID funding coming their way and she believes those funds might be utilized best by getting creative in bridging that development gap.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer says the challenge will be to connect with all the students in their district that learned from a different program at home than those that were in-person and also taking into consideration students that didn't have the resources at home to keep up when school was completely shut down in the spring of last year. 

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Republicans Rally Against Congressman Kinzinger

Illinois Republican Cong. Adam Kinzinger isn’t conservative enough for the party members who rallied in Ottawa’s Washington Park Saturday. Kinzinger voted to impeach Pres. Trump. LaSalle County Republican Party Chairman Larry Smith says things Kinzinger has said against Trump were inappropriate.

 

 

Some signs held by those in the crowd called Kinzinger a RINO--Republican in Name Only. Others professed the belief that Trump is the legitimate presidential election winner. A statement a Kinzinger spokeswoman provided to WCMY News before the event says the Congressman has enjoyed a long relationship with local party leaders and looks forward to building on its solid foundation. The event happened the same weekend Kinzinger launched an initiative that he says is to change the Republican Party back to what it was when he joined.

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Know the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHALL'S OFFICE IS WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF CARBON MONOXIDE. 

 

ON YOUR OWN, CARBON MONOXIDE IS HARD TO DETECT SINCE IT'S COLORLESS, ODORLES AND TASTELESS. THAT'S WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A C-O ALARM IN YOUR HOME SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS IN 2019, ILLINOIS FIRE DEPARTMENTS RESPONDED TO MORE THAN 23 THOUSAND CALLS ABOUT CARBON MONOXIDE, WITH LEAKS FOUND AT NEARLY 11 THOUSAND OF THOSE LOCATIONS. SYMPTOMS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING INCLUDE HEADACHES, FATIGUE AND NAUSEA.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS IT'S IMPERATIVE YOU HAVE WORKING C-O DETECTORS IN YOUR HOME. HE SAYS MANY RETAILERS SELL COMBINATION SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS.

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IDES Offers Tips on Recognizing, Dealing With Unemployment Benefits Fraud

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT FRAUD CONTINUES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. HERE'S WHAT TO DO IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU. 

 

THE FRAUD IS OCCURING BECAUSE SOMEONE LIKELY GOT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION FROM A DATA BREACH, SUCH AS THE ONE AT EQUIFAX A FEW YEARS AGO, OR OTHER CYBER ATTACK SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIRECTOR KRISTIN RICHARDS. SHE EXPLAINS HOW YOU'LL KNOW IF YOU'VE BEEN TARGETED.

 

 

RICHARDS EXPLAINS HOW THIS HAPPENS.

 

 

RICHARDS SAYS IF THIS HAPPENS, YOU CAN REPORT IT ONLINE BY VISITING: IDES DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV AND CLICKING ON "FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT."

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House GOP Members Discuss ISBE's Culturally Responsive Teaching Standards

ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE CRITICAL OF NEW TEACHING STANDARDS ADOPTED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. 

 

THE STATE BOARD SAYS THE "CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING STANDARDS" AIM TO PREPARE EDUCATORS TO TEACH A DIVERSE GROUP OF STUDENTS AND MAKE ALL KIDS FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG. THEY ENCOURAGE TEACHERS TO INCLUDE LESSONS ON INEQUITY AND PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENT ADVOCACY. REPRESENTATIVE STEVE REICK OF WOODSTOCK SAYS THESE NEW MANDATES ARE TOO MUCH RIGHT NOW.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE TOM DEMMER OF DIXON SAYS THE STANDARDS GO TOO FAR.

 

 

THE NEW TEACHING STANDARDS ARE SET TO GO BEFORE A LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE FOR FINAL APPROVAL LATER THIS MONTH.

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Congressman Kinzinger Starts Restoration Initiative in Republican Party

Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger’s answer to claims that he’s not a real Republican is that the Republican Party isn’t what it used to be. In an online video, the northern Illinois Congressman says he wants to change it back. Kinzinger says the party inspired him to serve his country and millions of others to join the party. But he says instead of being the party of hope, it’s become a party of darkness, division, and conspiracy theories.

 

 

He explained Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, the party has no moral authority anymore after the attack on the Capitol last month. He says it's hard to explain conservative views with that on people's minds. The movement Kinzinger is launching is called Country 1st. It has a web site country1st.com.

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1099s Available for Unemployment Benefits

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SAYS TAX FORMS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO RECEIVED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. 

 

ANYONE WHO RECEIVED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, INCLUDING PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE, WILL NEED TO FILL OUT A 10-99-G FORM IN ORDER TO FILE THEIR INCOME TAX RETURNS SAYS I-D-E-S DIRECTOR KRISTIN RICHARDS.

 

 

RICHARDS SAYS IF YOU ALREADY OPTED TO GET THE FORM ELECTRONICALLY, YOU SHOULD BE GETTING AN EMAIL TO ACCESS THE DOCUMENT ONLINE.

 

 

 

 

 IF YOU DID NOT, YOU SHOULD RECEIVE A PAPER COPY IN THE MAIL OR CAN DOWNLOAND IT FROM THE I-D-E-S WEBSITE AT: IDES DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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This is Last Week for Brush Pickup in Clinton From January Ice Storm

If you've got fallen brush from the January ice storm in Clinton, this is the final week to get that to the curb for city crews to pick up.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner Ken Buchanan says his guys need to move on to other things.

 

 

The only other item of significance from the Monday meeting was the approval of a supplemental site location application for site approval of the Stericycle medical waste incinerator.

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Local COVID Testing Way Down as Vaccine Rollout Begins

Vaccine distribution is going on a month locally and local healthcare professionals say testing COVID is drastically down.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Warner Hospital CEO Paul Skowron indicates testing is so far down they are looking at in the next month, moving any COVID tests to their lab instead of their wellness center, which has become their COVID testing unit since early December.

 

 

According to DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert, cases both locally and statewide continue to decrease. He points out, the new strain of COVID has popped up in Piatt County however, there is only one case so far.

 

 

Looking forward, mass vaccination is underway in DeWitt and Piatt Counties. According to Skowron, clinics take place three times a week in each County though after enough people get the vaccine, they will likely decrease the number of clinics in DeWitt County.

 

 

Remmert and Skowron continue to emphasize to the public these are not open vaccination sites. Registration online is required. Additionally, both say they still need healthcare workers to sign up to help man the clinics.

 

Remmert points those in the '1b' population to find their websites or Facebook page for the latest sign-ups available. Those will for the week ahead. If you're interested in working at one of their clinics in DeWitt or Piatt Counties, that information will be posted today at dewittdailynews.com. 

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Scams Circulating Around COVID-Related Stocks

The stock market has come under fire recently after Robinhood cut off the trade of certain companies last week and during the pandemic, more people than ever have dipped their toes into the markets first the first time.

 

Based on the popularity of trying to get in on the market, scammers are preying on people and a local financial professional is offering up some advice. Connie Unruh is the President of the DeWitt County TRIAD and indicates COVID-related stock scams are increasing recently.

 

 

According to Unruh, accompanying a lot of these penny-stocks are fake data charts. Unruh says before you do any investing, do your homework and plenty of research. She points out even experienced investing professionals rarely beat the market.

 

 

Unruh says the most important thing is to do your research and know the risk involved in investing in individual stocks. She says the ultimate risk is losing everything. 

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Monticello Police Chief Says Winter Not Slowing Car Burglaries

Winter often slows the number of vehicle burglaries as fewer people are out walking during the cold winter nights, however, a central Illinois community is reporting a consistent number of thefts still taking place.

 

It's led to Monticello Police Chief John Carter asking his community and central Illinois residents to be vigilant in locking doors and do not leave valuables in the car either. 

 

 

Chief Carter says with COVID leaving people out of work and other economic factors happening, he is not surprised this is an issue in the thick of the winter months.

 

 

Anyone interested in following the Monticello Police Department can find their Facebook and offer questions or comments there as well. The Chief stresses, make sure you are following the Monticello, Illinois Facebook page. 

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Sen. Rose, Illinois Republicans Call On Governor to Follow Florida's Vaccination Model

One of the worst distribution rates in the nation and a mismatch of assisted living facility residents vaccination rates compared to the general public are just a few of the recent criticisms coming from State Senator Chapin Rose to Governor JB Pritzker.

 

According to Sen. Rose, Illinois ranks 37th out of 50 in vaccine distribution and points out the most vulnerable population to COVID is woefully behind in getting vaccinated. He says things need to change and they need to change quickly.

 

 

Sen. Rose is calling on Gov. Pritzker to follow the model Florida is using in getting people vaccinated. He says at the end of the day he doesn't care who is to blame, he just wants the situation fixed.

 

 

Gov. Pritzker last week, according to Sen. Rose, acknowledged there was a problem, no the Mahomet Republican is calling for the Governor to get it fixed.

 

 

Sen. Rose says there are a lot of things that could have been taken care of already in preparation for the vaccine arriving around six weeks ago. He points out issues like certifications of medical staff to deliver the vaccine and no universal consents. Sen. Rose believes the top priority should be finishing off the '1A' populations. 

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Macon County Conservation District Restoration Process Near Fort Daniel Underway

Last year, the Macon County Conservation District purchased property near Fort Daniel outside Mt. Zion to restore to pre-historic prairie land.

 

That process took a step forward in December when the first round of prairie grass seed was dropped. Conservation District Executive Director Richie Wolf indicates this planting of prairie grass is only a portion of the entire property.

 

 

It is quite costly to buy prairie grass seed. According to Wolf, the difficulty of prairie grass seed collection along with the scarcity of providers of the seed make it very expensive.

 

 

Winter is ideal for the planting of prairie grass. Wolf explains the freezing and thawing of the soil acts a natural planting of the seed and gets it to just the right depth in the soil.

 

 

If you are hoping to see the progress of the planted seed, Wolf says you might have to wait a few years. Additionally, they are looking at another 70 to 80 more acres to plant in the years ahead. The goal is to restore the property to its native state, which in central Illinois is prairie grass. 

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Deputy House Minority Leader Calling on Governor to Veto Police Reform Bill

Law enforcement agencies across the state are calling for Gov. Pritzker to veto a police reform bill that passed during the lame-duck session, which ends cash bail within two years.

 

House Bill 3653, which passed in the final minutes of the previous General Assembly's lame-duck session, will make communities less safe, according to Deputy House Minority leader Dan Brady.

 

Rep. Brady says the bill's problems are the unanimous complaint policy, new provisions to resisting a police officer's obstruction, and cash bail. And that's why he's joining a petition to urge Gov. Pritzker to veto the bill.

 

 

With 30 days left to review the bill, Gov. Pritzker has agreed to House Republican Leader Jim Durkin's offer to go through the legislation together.

 

The governor has not said if he would sign the bill or not.

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