Local News

Clinton Police Seeking To Utilize Local Security Cameras Through New Database

Thanks to a robust new database through DeWitt County CENCOM, local authorities are seeking Clinton and DeWitt County residents who would be willing to voluntarily register their security systems.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers on the WHOW Morning Show emphasized to Regional Radio News this is not allowing the police department unencumbered access to your system but rather a tool to enhance crime-fighting in the community.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, new software at DeWitt County CENCOM would allow officers conducting an investigation the ability to see where a home security system may be set up. With these systems become very prominent with homeowners, the Chief says these can be great crime-fighting resources. 

 

 

Chief Lowers points out a criminal investigation of a juvenile car theft case in recent weeks was aided by the ability of law enforcement's ability to utilize home security systems.

 

 

Nearly 100 residents have registered their home security cameras to law enforcement. Chief Lowers indicates it's as simple as providing your name, address, and a contact line and in the event your camera is needed, authorities will reach out to you.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates it has been an unusually busy spring this year for the police department. He continues to encourage locking those car doors and removing all valuables. 

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Tri-Valley Schools Leader Looking Forward to Normal 2021-22 School Year

School leaders in central Illinois are looking forward to a normal school year starting in the fall of 2021 for the 21-22 school year.

 

While leaders await guidance from the State of Illinois, a McLean County school leader is hoping the State will give local districts control to make decisions that are best for them. Dr. David Mouser is the Superintendent of Tri-Valley schools and looks forward to full classrooms and full school days.

 

 

Dr. Mouser believes if students are vaccinated, they do not need to wear masks. He points out even if the state mandates masks on students, it will not be a big deal because it hasn't been a big deal to this point in the school year.

 

 

While students and staff have been able to utilize the newly renovated high school, Dr. Mouser says they are looking forward to having it all together for the entirety of the school year next year.

 

 

Dr. Mouser says his students have celebrated prom, a spring homecoming, and look forward to a limited capacity graduation later this month. 

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Secretary of State Promoting Online Services

Even with the federal government pushing back the deadline for Real IDs, some people are still waiting in long lines at the DMV. Illinois Secretary of State spokesperson Dave Druker says with the Real ID deadline now May 2023 they hope that alleviates some stress at driver services facilities.

 

 

The Secretary of State's office recommends people get the Real ID once their license expires. Druker is also reminding people that many services can be taken care of online at cyberdriveillinois.com.

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Rep. Kinzinger Supports Congresswoman Cheney

Only one of Illinois’ Republican Congressmen has publicly said they voted to keep Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney in party leadership.

 

She was stripped of her leadership position in the House GOP after refusing to back down her consistent criticism of former President Donald Trump. Adam Kinzinger says it was a sad day for the Republican Party.

 

 

Reps. Rodney Davis, Mike Bost and Darin LaHood have not said publicly how they voted. Freshman Congresswoman Mary Miller released a statement making it clear she voted to oust Cheney from her spot.

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Kids Ages 12-15 Can Now Get Pfizer COVID Vaccine

KIDS AGES 12 TO 15 CAN NOW GET THE COVID-19 VACCINE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

WITH APPROVAL OF THE USE OF THE PFIZER VERSION FOR THIS AGE GROUP, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAID TUESDAY THAT THE STATE STANDS READY TO ADMINISTER THE SHOT.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER WAS ASKED ON TUESDAY ABOUT IMPLEMENTING YOUTH VACCINATION AND SAID THE STATE’S ALREADY LARGE INFRASTRUCTURE OF SITES WOULD BE ABLE TO ADMINISTER THE PFIZER SHOT.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS AS MORE DOCTOR’S OFFICES CARRY THE VACCINE, KIDS WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO GET THE SHOT DURING THEIR REGULAR CHECK-UPS OR BACK-TO-SCHOOL PHYSICAL.

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IDPH Announces $225-Million Investment to Expand Saliva-Based COVID Testing for School Kids

THE SALIVA TEST FOR COVID-19 WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR USE IN ILLINOIS SCHOOLS. 

 

THANKS TO A 225 MILLION DOLLAR STATE INVESTMENT, STUDENTS IN MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CAN BE TESTED FOR THE VIRUS BY GIVING A SALIVA SAMPLE. THE TEST WAS DEVELOPED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AND OFFERS QUICK RESULTS. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS THIS IS PART OF AN EFFORT TO MAKE SCHOOLS AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE.

 

 

IT WAS DEVELOPED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AND OFFERS QUICK RESULTS.

 

 

THE TESTING WILL BE FREE FOR DISTRICTS WITH PREDOMINATELY LOW-INCOME STUDENTS. OTHER SCHOOLS WILL GET A DISCOUNTED RATE OF 10 DOLLARS PER TEST.

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Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming to State Highways

MOTORISTS TRAVELING ILLINOIS INTERSTATES SHOULD SOON HAVE AN EASIER TIME FINDING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATION. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS WORKING TO PROMOTE CLEAN ENERGY WITH THIS LATEST INITIATIVE SAYS SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.

 

 

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS DOING WHAT IT CAN TO SUPPORT THE GOVERNOR’S GOAL OF HAVING 750 THOUSAND ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON THE ROAD BY 2030 SAYS WAPPEL.

 

 

THE BLUE SIGNS WILL READ “ALTERNATIVE FUELS CORRIDOR.” GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER’S GOAL IS TO HAVE 750 THOUSAND ELECTRIC VEHICLES ON THE ROAD BY 2030.

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DCDC Awards First Ever Micro-Grants to Local Businesses

The DeWitt County Development Council recently awarded its first-ever micro-grants.

 

Three area businesses were selected by the DCDC and Scott Baum indicates the purpose of these microgrants is to stimulate local businesses. The funding for the microgrants was raised locally.

 

 

C&P Custom Printing, R&S Auto Body, and Triple-M Farms received grants this spring. Baum was impressed with the innovation and creativity of local small business owners.

 

 

Learn more about the DCDC by finding them on Facebook or visit dcdc-illinois.net. 

 

 

 

 

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Monticello High School Planning for Graduation, Seniors-Only Prom

Monticello High School seniors will be busy the last weekends of May.  

 

Principal Adam Clapp indicates prom will be the week after graduation at Monarch in Monticello with a post-prom event to be held at Monticello High School. He indicates it will be limited to just Monticello seniors.

 

 

Prom events and activities will look different across the area as some schools are holding prom events and others don't. According to Clapp, they wanted to give their seniors something to be able to participate in because they didn't have a prom last year.

 

 

Graduation will be held Sunday, May 23. Clapp hopes by the time graduation rolls around the state will be in the 'bridge phase' and can increase capacity limits.

 

 

Clapp continues to praise his students for their resiliency in the face of adversity. He says having 80-percent of their 16-and-older students vaccinated is also helping in quarantine efforts as the school year winds down. 

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May Shaping Up to Be Average for Moisture

Central Illinois and many other parts of the state have received enough rain to ease drought concerns.

 

Thankfully, Chris Miller at the National Weather Service indicates the rest of May, after a nice stretch of weather this weekend and into next week, is trending towards average to slightly above average amounts of rain the rest of the way. 

 

 

Long-term outlooks are showing it is looking to be abundantly cloudy later in the week next week. Miller says it is still early to say for certain if that will hold but one thing to keep in mind, as the jetstream shifts north and those volatile weather conditions turn into rainstorms, the clouds from those can encompass central Illinois so it is possible those clouds linger over us.

 

 

As evidenced last week with the several tornadoes reported in Sangamon and Macon Counties, Miller says this is the time of the year severe weather can pop up at any time and any place. He implores the public to keep an eye to the sky and be aware of the changing weather conditions around us. 

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State Awards $1-Billion in Transportation Grants

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE HAS NOW AWARDED ONE BILLION DOLLARS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS THROUGH THE REBUILD ILLINOIS PROGRAM. 

 

THE PROGRAM IS THE LARGEST INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT IN STATE HISTORY, WITH THIS FUNDING ADDRESSING OVERDUE TRANSPORTATION NEEDS SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE MONEY HAS ALREADY IMPROVED THREE THOUSAND MILES OF HIGHWAYS AND 180 BRIDGES.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS REBUILD ILLINOIS GRANTS HAVE GONE TO LOCAL WORK AS WELL, INCLUDING BIKE BATHS, STORM SEWERS AND TRAFFIC SIGNAL UPGRADES. AN ADDITIONAL 500 MILLION DOLLARS WILL BE AWARDED UNDER THE PROGRAM.

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More Than 10-Million COVID Vaccines Have Been Administered in Illinois

MORE THAN 10 MILLION DOSES OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE CURRENT AVERAGE IS ABOUT 84 THOUSAND SHOTS GIVEN EACH DAY, AND NEARLY 36 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION IS NOW FULLY VACCINATED. STILL…SOME REMAIN SKEPTICAL SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

FOR THOSE STILL HESITANT, HE REASSURES THE SHOT IS SAFE AND PROVIDES A LITTLE MORE FREEDOM.

 

 

OTHERS JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR EASY ACCESS TO THE VACCINE. THE GOVERNOR SAYS THEY ARE ADDRESSING THAT PROBLEM WITH MOBILE UNITS, LOCAL CLINICS AND MAKING THE SHOT AVAILABLE IN DOCTOR’S OFFICES.

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Durbin Discusses Unemployment Benefits

Lawmakers in Washington DC are debating plans from the White House to infuse trillions more dollars into the economy and back infrastructure spending across the United States.

 

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin says Democrats and Republicans both want the same thing. But they are seeking different ways of achieving it and he says pulling back support for people who have lost their jobs won’t help them return to jobs they might not be able to afford.

 

 

A number of states are ending participation in the federal unemployment benefits program in the hopes of getting people back to work, but Illinois is not one of them.

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IHSA Continues Search for Officials

The need for officials continues to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

According to the President of the Bloomington-Normal Officials Association, the shortage is growing by the day. Derek Sieg said the demand for officials is high from elementary to high school sports, and the problem is two-fold.

 

 

Sieg said the need is so great some umpires have been officiating games with a one-person crew when the minimum is two. Sieg added that the association is working with the Illinois High School Association and has been campaigning statewide to get more officials trained, but the shortage continues.

 

For those interested in becoming an official, information can be found at IHSA.org.

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Congresswoman Bustos Touts Head Start Program

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos touting education reform and Head Start. She says the Biden Administration education plan intends to make Head Start programs a standard part of learning.

 

 

Bustos visited the Head Start program in Henry County this week.

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ALMH Foundation Hosting 'In Plain Sight' Drive-Thru Event

Parents and guardians of youth in Logan County are invited to be a part of a drive-thru 'in plain sight' display today (Tuesday).

 

Angie Stoltzenburg at ALMH indicates this is a program that sets up the bedroom of an adolescent and shows how today's youth might conceal things like drugs, alcohol, and other items harmful to their health.

 

 

The ALMH Substance Abuse Coalition is leading this effort and it is a rescheduled event from April when central Illinois received snow. Stoltzenburg adds this is in partnership with SIU Medicine Center for Rural Health.

 

 

Stoltzenburg indicates this program is designed to bring awareness to parents and guardians of the possibility of the things kids keep in their rooms. She hopes it sparks necessary and needed conversations with our youth.

 

 

Stoltzenburg says vaping is becoming so prevalent among our youth and vape pens, unfortunately, can be easily concealed by a child from parents.

 

The program is from 4 pm to 6 pm in the parking lot of Lincoln High School. 

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Weekly Crop Report

PLANTING CONTINUES AHEAD OF SCHEDULE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

THE COOL, WET WEATHER LEFT ONLY ABOUT THREE AND A HALF DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK, BUT FARMERS STILL MADE SOME NICE PROGRESS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

57 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 23 PERCENT EMERGED. 

 

 

58 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 70 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 10 PERCENT SHORT, 63 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 26 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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This is National Prevention Week

This is National Prevention Week with each day focused on different substance abuse disorders. 

Dr. Camille Dunkley, assistant professor of family and community medicine with the SIU Medical School says dealing with a friend or family member with a drinking problem or drug abuse problem can be a challenge. Dunkley says if you are in a place to help someone or want help yourself its best to begin with your primary care doctor.

 

 

Dunkley says there are new medical programs available for individuals who are addicted to opioid pain killers.

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May is Bicycle Awareness Month

THIS IS BICYCLE SAFETY MONTH AND ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE HAS A FEW REMINDERS. 

 

THE BIGGIE…WEAR A HELMET SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON BETH KAUFMAN.

 

 

DRIVERS ARE URGED TO DO THEIR PART AS WELL.

 

 

SECRETARY WHITE’S OFFICE SAYS HEAD INJURIES ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH FOR BICYCLISTS. KAUFMAN ALSO URGES DRIVERS TO SHARE THE ROAD WITH BIKERS AND RECOMMENDS BRUSHING UP ON THE RULES OF 

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IDPH Encouraging Those Hesitant About COVID Vaccine to Talk to Their Physician

THE STATE’S TOP PUBLIC HEALTH DOCTOR IS URGING THOSE WHO ARE HESITANT ABOUT THE COVID-19 VACCINE TO SPEAK WITH THEIR PERSONAL PHYSICAN ABOUT THE SHOT. 

 

PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE SAYS GETTING THE VACCINE IS AN IMPORTANT DECISION THAT YOU SHOULD DISCUSS WITH A TRUSTED DOCTOR.

 

 

SHE RECOMMENDS DISCUSSING ANY CONCERNS WITH A TRUSTED HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL.

 

 

NEARLY 10 MILLION DOSES OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED SO FAR IN ILLINOIS, WITH MORE THAN 35 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION NOW FULLY VACCINATED.

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Gov. Pritzker Hoping to Bring COVID Vaccine to Some Illinois Workplaces

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING A NEW EFFORT TO BRING THE COVID-19 VACCINE TO MORE ILLINOISANS. 

 

BY MID-MAY, EMPLOYEES IN 10 LOCATIONS SPREAD OUT AMONG CHICAGO, ROCKFORD AND SCHAUMBURG WILL BE ABLE TO GET THE SHOT AT WORK UNDER THE INITIATIVE SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THEY ARE ALSO LOOKING FOR COMMUNITY GROUPS, CHURCHES AND THE LIKE WHICH WANT TO HOST VACCINE CLINICS.

 

 

DATES AND TIMES WILL BE PROMOTED AHEAD OF TIME AND SCHEDULED TO REACH THE MOST WORKERS.

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DeWitt County Enel Green Power Team Discusses Future of Local Presence

With the construction of the Enel Green Power Alta Farms II wind farm in northwest DeWitt County underway, the physical presence of the company will begin to shift as we head to the summer.

 

Tom Swierczewski, who has been front and center in the company's bid to build wind turbines in DeWitt County for the past several years, will be transitioning most of the visibility to Brayten McGee, who is the construction manager for the project. 

 

 

Tradewind Energy, before being acquired by Enel, leased their current location through the DeWitt County Restoration Association. According to Swierczewski, Enel will soon transition out of that location and notes McGee and his team will soon become the point of contact for the community.

 

 

The newest edition of the DeWitt County Board has dedicated a lot of its attention to this project, many thought it may cancel the project, but Swierczewski continues to report mostly positive feedback on their end about this project that is now underway.

 

 

enelgreenpower.com/altafarms has information available about the project that is now underway in DeWitt County, including daily announcements of work that is planned for each day. 

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Weekend Rains All But Eliminates Any Moisture Shortages in Central Illinois

Weekend rains in Illinois have almost eliminated any shortages of moisture throughout central Illinois.

 

Coming into the winter and even spring, drought concerns were starting to creep in but Monday on the WHOW Morning Show, Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio News this weekend's rains capped off what has been a very wet spring.

 

 

Anywhere from one to two inches of rain fell in most places in central Illinois this weekend, and the National Weather Service's cocorahs.org website even had reports of two-plus inches in some places.

 

 

Early this week is looking at still cooler temperatures, especially in the overnight with some frost advisories in effect in some places in central Illinois. Miller indicates if we can make it through the early part of this week, we're starting to head towards more seasonable temperatures in the week-and-a-half ahead.

 

 

Miller says this time next week we could see regular temperatures in the lower-70s and even approaching 80 degrees. We'll have more from Miller throughout the week on Regional Radio News.

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Car Dealers Dealing With Vehicle Shortages

If you drive by the lot of your local car dealer, you'll likely notice a lot of empty space. 

 

Car dealers across the country are dealing with a shortage of both new and used inventory to sell. Scott Baum, owner of Baum Chevrolet Buick in Clinton was on the RFD Radio Network last week and says the lack of new car inventory has increased the demand for used cars.

 

 

According to Baum, dealers are resupplied vehicles based on what is selling and what their inventory is. But because manufacturing shut down, the inventory available is too small to restock everyone's lots.

 

 

Additionally, making matters worse is a computer chip shortage. Baum explains vehicles use microchips, in the range of hundreds per vehicle. So as manufacturers try to catch up, they also face a shortage of necessary microchips to make cars.

 

 

Baum says he's never seen an issue like this one before but like most business owners, he and his staff are dealing with what they have the best they can and continue their focus on their customers. 

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Central Illinois Entrepreneur Students Wrapping Up Robust Business Curriculum This Week

Over a dozen high school students in two chapters of an entrepreneur program are wrapping the 2020-21 school year this week and many say they are walking away with a new set of skills and lessons.

 

Students from the Central Illinois and Sangamon Valley CEO programs will be in class for the final time this week. Jordan Geralds, part of the Central Illinois CEO program from Blue Ridge High School says she has learned a whole new skill set that she can take with her well beyond high school.

 

 

Emma Culbertson says the CEO program has forced her to step outside her comfort zone and engage with people she never would have through means she likely never would have.

 

 

Emmah Cook, part of the Central Illinois CEO Program from Warrensburg-Latham High School echoes her peers' thoughts but adds with her outgoing personality, becoming a better presenter has helped her become a professional businesswoman.

 

 

From the Sangamon Valley CEO program, Josie Nelson from Monticello High School says she has learned to better interact with professionals.

 

 

Ethan Braake, also from Monticello High School and part of the Sangamon Valley CEO program says he learned a lot of life skills like being professional and showing up on time. 

 

 

Last week, both chapters of the program held trade shows to display the individual businesses they created during the second semester of the program.

 

The CEO class meets five days a week for 90 minutes a day and is a year-long high school course. It is supported by businesses and donors in the communities of the two chapters and is not funded by any school or taxpayer dollars. 

 

The class meets in local businesses and changes locations throughout the year. This helps the students establish a common identity based on their CEO experience and a greater appreciation for the area's professional work environments.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a local professional believes the often swept under the rug mentality surrounding mental health issues is starting to become less commonplace.

 

Jessica Smiley with Heritage Behavioral Health Services believes there is better conversation surrounding issues like anxiety and depression and then better supports for those issues as well.

 

 

For May 2021, Smiley says they want people to feel comfortable with any feelings they are experiencing. She hopes people will begin to connect at a deeper level, especially when things are not going well.

 

 

According to Smiley, if feelings of anxiety or depression are lasting for a while and impacting day-to-day relationships or productivity, then it is time to recognize something may be going on that needs to be addressed.

 

 

Smiley encourages a visit to heritagenet.org if you are struggling and need someone to talk to. She emphasizes there are so many resources to tap into, and hopes anyone struggling will take advantage of those.

 

Additionally, for anyone that receives correspondence from someone struggling, she encourages just listening and doing as little to make it about themselves and keep the listening reflective. 

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Governor Expanding Education Spending

Illinois is actually getting good economic news.

 

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability or COFGA says Illinois didn’t lose as much revenue because of the pandemic. Tax receipts from corporate, personal and sales taxes all out preformed expectations. Because of the unexpected growth, Governor JB Pritzker says he is now proposing $350 million in education funding be added to the upcoming budget.

 

 

Pritzker made the announcement late last week.

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Monticello Renewing Focus on Developing 30 Acres for Recreation

The City of Monticello is renewing its focus on a 30-acre parcel of land that they hope will be a hub for recreation.

 

Director of Development for Monticello, Callie McFarland indicates it's been 10 years since this dream has been something they are working on and recently the City has renewed its efforts.

 

 

According to McFarland, the group charged with renewing this plan will need to consider the fact the City of Monticello has very limited facilities when it comes to sports and recreation.

 

 

While the city needs football, baseball, and soccer fields, McFarland stresses there are so many other ways to recreate and believes this group is going to consider those other things as well. She points out the group is going to have to get very creative in how they will fund this project and indicates it may have to start small and grow from there. 

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State of Illinois Announces Start Seeing Motorcyles Campaign

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO “START SEEING MOTORCYCLES.”

 

IT’S TIME FOR THE ANNUAL CAMPAIGN TO ONCE AGAIN ASK DRIVERS AND RIDERS TO BE ESPECIALLY CAREFUL SAYS I-DOT SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.

 

 

HE HAS THIS ADVICE FOR MOTORISTS:

 

 

WAPPEL SAYS WHILE MOTORCYCLISTS REPRESENT JUST THREE PERCENT OF TOTAL VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS IN THE STATE, THEY ACCOUNT FOR 14 PERCENT OF TRAFFIC FATALITIES. 153 BIKERS DIED ON ILLINOIS ROADS LAST YEAR.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It will be a wet Mother's Day in central Illinois. What will the week ahead hold? State Climatologist Trent Ford lets us know...
 

 

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Enel Green Power's Alta Farms Team Gives Update on Project's Latest

Work is underway on Enel Green Power's Alta Farm's II wind project in northwest DeWitt County.

 

Thursday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, project manager Brayten McGee and Tom Swierczewski updated on the latest of the project. McGee points out lay down yard will be the hub of the project.

 

 

Early on in the project, there will be a lot of road closures. McGee indicates things will be messy to start but is hopeful folks will look forward to the end product.

 

 

At the latest DeWitt County Board meeting, much discussion centered around field drainage and McGee indicated his commitment to keeping the integrity of local fields. He pointed to several lessons learned during the construction of projects in Logan County. 

 

 

enelgreenpower.com/altafarms has a daily update on what construction crews will be doing each day. 

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Monticello Schools Superintendent Weighs In On Next Year

There's still a lot to be determined regarding school next year but most area school leaders seem to be in agreement on a number of issues.

 

Most seem to be predicting students in school five days a week for full days and only for remote learning to be an option for students in an extraordinary situation. Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of Monticello Schools, joins his peers predicting these terms for schools.

 

 

As for COVID cosmetics, Dr. Zimmerman is somewhat indifferent to the requirements of students. He says if the State of Illinois continues to ask students and staff to mask, he does not foresee an issue because masking was not an issue this year.

 

 

As spring sports get into the swing of their seasons and the school year begins to wind down, Dr. Zimmerman is very thankful to see his students out enjoying their activities and having fun again. 

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You May Soon Be Able to Get The COVID Vaccine at Your Doctor's Office

THE STATE IS EXPANDING VACCINE AVAILABILITY TO DOCTOR’S OFFICES ACROSS ILLINOIS. 

 

STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS 60 PERCENT OF ADULT ILLINOIS RESIDENTS HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST THEIR FIRST DOSE OF THE VACCINE. NOW, OFFICIALS WANT TO REACH THOSE WHO HAVEN’T GOTTEN THE SHOT YET.

 

 

MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOCTOR’S OFFICES HAVE ALREADY SIGNED UP. THOSE INTERESTED IN JOINING CAN VISIT THE I-D-P-H WEBSITE FOR AN ENROLLMENT PACKET.

 

 

60 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS ADULTS HAVE NOW RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF THE VACCINE. NEARLY 34 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION IS FULLY VACCINATED.

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State Moving to Bridge Phase Next Friday, Could Reopen June 11

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ILLINOIS WILL MOVE INTO THE “BRIDGE” PHASE NEXT FRIDAY AND MAY FULLY REOPEN AS SOON AS JUNE 11TH.

 

THANKS TO DECLINING CASES AND STEADYING HOSPITALIZATION NUMBERS, THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE STATE CAN ENTER THE BRIDGE PHASE ON MAY 14TH.

 

 

THE BRIDGE PHASE MEANS LARGER CAPACITY LIMITS FOR PLACES LIKE GYMS, OFFICES, MUSEUMS, FLEA MARKETS AND MUSEUMS.

 

 

IF COVID CONDITIONS CONTINUE IMPROVING THAT FULL REOPENING COULD BEGIN AS EARLY AS JUNE 11TH. MASKS WILL STILL BE REQUIRED DURING THE BRIDGE PHASE AND IT’S YET TO BE DETERMINED IF THAT WILL CONTINUE INTO PHASE FIVE.

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New Election Reforms Proposed

NEW ELECTION REFORMS ARE BEING PROPOSED IN HOPES OF INSTILLING MORE VOTER CONFIDENCE.

 

THE BILL AIMS TO STANDARDIZE PRACTICES ACROSS THE STATE, SO THAT ALL COUNTY ELECTION AUTHORITIES ARE ON THE SAME PAGE. THAT INCLUDES TRAINING FOR ELECTION JUDGES AND PUBLISHING ONLINE EXACTLY HOW VOTE BY MAIL BALLOTS ARE HANDLED SAYS SENATOR SALLY TURNER OF LINCOLN.

 

 

THE GOAL OF THE LEGISLATION IS TO SET UP STATEWIDE STANDARDS SUCH AS UNIFORM AND COMPREHENSIVE TRAINING FOR ELECTION JUDGES SAYS SENATOR SUE REZIN OF MORRIS.

 

 

THE LEGISLATION ALSO CALLS FOR ELECTION AUTHORITIES TO POST A NOTICE ONLINE ABOUT WHY BALLOT TALLIES ARE MORE THAN FIVE HOURS LATE AND TO PERFORM PERIODIC AUDITS.

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Friday is Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

Friday, May 7 is Children's Mental Health Awareness Day.

 

If you're a parent or guardian of a Clinton Schools child, you may notice Clinton School staffers in green on Friday when you drop off or pick up your young ones. On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Jessica Smiley with Heritage Behavioral Health Services told Regional Radio News she is thankful to have the backing of the district in this effort.

 

 

When it comes to children and mental illness, Smiley points out one in five children battle mental health issues and says a mental health challenge only means a child has to navigate the world differently and it by no means is conclusively a long-term issue.

 

 

What mental illness looks like in a child can vary but Smiley encourages keeping an eye on your child acting differently for long periods of time. She says oftentimes childrens' behaviors will change when they may be going through something.

 

 

According to Smiley, having a consistent routine for kids is one of the biggest things parents can do to maintain the mental and emotional wellness of children. Additionally, she encourages parents to always monitor a child's behavior and keep a consistent line of communication.

 

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Smiley indicates there is a lot going on within Heritage to promote the month. You can visit heritagenet.org or find them on Facebook to get the latest on the happenings they have going on.

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Warner Library Bringing Back Limited Seating for Patrons, Newspapers

If you've missed sitting at the Warner Library in Clinton and enjoying a good book or reading your favorite news publication, there is good news for you.

 

Business Director of the Clinton library Samantha Rusk indicates they will be putting some of their seating back out for patrons to enjoy a good book or their favorite news publication.

 

 

According to Rusk, newspapers are returning and patrons can begin reading those again. Additionally, some kid's toys on the children's floor will be put back out. 

 

 

If you visit the library today hoping to see these things, Rusk indicates it may not all be ready to go. The library is hoping to have everything ready by the end of the week. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Planning for Busy Summer

It will be a busy summer for a rural DeWitt County school district.

 

Not only has summer school taken a front-and-center focus for area school leaders and Dr. Hilary Stanifer, Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, but also says their summer school programming begins just a week after school dismisses for the summer, May 28.

 

 

A program introduced last summer will continue this summer at Blue Ridge. According to Dr. Stanifer, they also have a kindergarten jump start program that returns this summer.

 

 

Finally, a couple of digital programs will be offered to K-8 students aimed at enjoyable but also instructional programming over the summer.

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DNR Is Hiring

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be hiring 25 new conservation officers.

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News indicates anyone interested in applying has until the end of the month.

 

 

Captain John Williamson believes DNR CPOs are the best in the country and doesn't mind telling anyone and everyone that.

 

 

DNR officers generally start in northern Illinois in the Chicago-land area and the collar counties. While that may not sound all that enticing or appealing, Capt. Williamson knows several officers in his class that ended up staying in that part of the state after an initial desire to transfer out when the opportunity came.

 

 

Capt. Williamson calls DNR officers the "Swiss army knife of law enforcement." He explains not only can DNR officials do very unique things both on land and water but they have full authority like a standard uniformed municipal officer.

 

 

Visit Central Management Services where all available State of Illinois job postings are at. She also directs interested applicants to dnr.illinois.gov. 

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Congressman LaHood Disappointed in Facebook's Ruling on Former President Trump

According to one Central Illinois lawmaker, Facebook's Oversight Board decision to continue the network's ban of former President Donald Trump's social media accounts set's a 'terrible precedent.'

 

On Wednesday, a Facebook-appointed panel of lawyers, journalists, and activists announced their decision to continue the former President's ban after the social network reports Trump used the site to form an insurrection in Washington in January. Congressman Darin LaHood said the platform's decision to continue the ban more than four months after the insurrection is 'fundamental unfairness.'

 

 

Both YouTube and Twitter have also barred the former President after the insurrection at the Capitol.

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Republicans Continue to Express Frustration Over LaSalle Veterans Home Situation

Republicans are angry about the report from the state about the COIVD-19 outbreak that killed 36 veterans in state-run veterans’ homes.

 

The report details a lack of direct leadership from the head of the agency to a lack of training for staff. Republican Rep. Dan Swanson says that the state should be double-checking that the rest of the homes are safe places for vets to live.

 

 

Pritzker fired Linda Chapa LaVia who headed the IDVA at the time of the outbreak and has now hired a 31 year Navy Veteran, Terry Prince, to lead the agency.

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Bill Would Prohibit Schools from Applying Dress Codes to Hairstyles

PUBLIC SCHOOLS COULD LOSE SOME STATE FUNDING IF THEY APPLY STUDENT DRESS CODES TO HAIRSTYLES UNDER A BILL BEING DISCUSSED IN THE ILLINOIS SENATE. 

 

THE MEASURE WAS DISCUSSED IN A LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE, WHERE SENATOR MIKE SIMMONS OF CHICAGO SAID IT'S TIME TO END OLD POLICIES THAT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST MINORITY STUDENTS. 

 

 

SENATOR SUE REZIN OF MORRIS AGREES WITH THE CHANGE, BUT QUESTIONS THE PENALTY.

 

 

SCHOOLS THAT DON'T COMPLY WOULD HAVE THEIR STATE FUNDING KEPT AT THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S LEVELS. WHILE COMMITTEE MEMBERS AGREED THE CHANGE IS NEEDED, SOME QUESTIONED THE HARSH PENALTY. SIMMONS SAYS NEGOTIATIONS ARE ONGOING.

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BBB Calls for Digital Spring Cleaning

Spring is the time many of us clean up or clear out clutter. The Better Business says don’t forget to do the same with the digital device on which you surf the web or conduct online business. An agency investigator says there's probably a bunch of digital data clutter that lives on your electronic devices.

 

Taking some simple, proactive steps will go a long way in safeguarding against any number of potentially disruptive issues like identity theft, loss of funds or credit card fraud. Don O’Brien says among the tips is to lock down your login.

 

 

You should also update your system and software; back it up; clean up your online presence; and be careful what you share, like quizzes on social media.

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Local Groups Hoping Sense of Volunteerism Isn't Dying

It's a theme for many civic groups in small communities across the country - volunteers are needed and more specifically, younger volunteers.

 

Edith Brady-Lunny volunteers with several civic groups in DeWitt County and says the ones she works with are always in need of volunteers. She believes thriving civic groups have a good base of volunteers.

 

 

With so many individuals stretched thin across so many groups, Brady-Lunny believes we're doing things locally to instill a sense of volunteerism but encourages more, and involving kids in those efforts. 

 

 

The busy lives we all lead have led to the decline in the availability of community members to participate in helping out civic groups that do so much for our towns. That's what Brady-Lunny attributes part of it to and finds it interesting to look back and see how much pride there was in individual communities.

 

 

Many people point to the time commitment of being a volunteer for a group or organization. Brady-Lunny says oftentimes, involvement is as much or as little as you're willing to give but any time you can provide to your community is always appreciated.

 

 

With so many activities having fallen victim to COVID in the past year and those things missing from our calendars, Brady-Lunny hopes people will take it upon themselves to be a part of bringing them back. 

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Rainy, Cooler Temps Highlight Start of May

A brief warm-up over the weekend for Illinois, but cooler temps should be the rule for the first half of May says DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson.

 

 

Anderson says Illinois will see chilly temperatures overnight this week, but not as low as frost advisory levels.

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New Effort Launched to Get Southern Illinoisans Vaccinated

THE STATE IS LAUNCHING A NEW EFFORT TO GET MORE PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19. 

 

A MOBILE VACCINATION SITE WILL BE OFFERING THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE AT THE WORLD RECREATIONAL SHOOTING COMPLEX IN SPARTA ON MAY 14TH AND 15TH. THOSE THAT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY WILL GET A BONUS SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THIS IS JUST ONE INCENTIVE. THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM IN SPRINGFIELD IS OFFERING FREE ADMISSION THIS MONTH AND NEXT TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED.

 

 

ACCESS TO THE FREE TARGETS IS VALUED AT 26 TO 35 DOLLARS AND MUST BE USED BY THE END OF OCTOBER, EXCLUDING DAYS OF MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS AT THE COMPLEX.

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Illinois Could Move to Phase 5 in July

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IF COVID-19 NUMBERS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ILLINOIS IS ON TRACK TO ENTER PHASE FIVE IN JULY. 

 

CHICAGO MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT ANNOUNCED THAT HER GOAL IS TO FULLY REOPEN THE CITY BY JULY FOURTH. THAT'S A REAL POSSIBILITY STATEWIDE SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER, SO LONG AS THE VARIANTS DON'T CAUSE AN INCREASE IN CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR IS HOPEFUL ILLINOIS WILL SOON BE IN THE BRIDGE PHASE. THEN, IF NUMBERS HOLD OR DECLINE FOR A 28 DAY PERIOD, THE STATE CAN MOVE TO PHASE FIVE, WHICH IS A FULL REOPENING.

 

 

NEARLY 80 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS SENIORS AND 55 PERCENT OF THOSE 16 AND UP HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF THE VACCINE SO FAR.v

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Chicago Auto Show Happening This Summer

The Chicago Auto Show will be returning this summer, but what about other large-scale events? Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took that question during a news conference Tuesday.

 

 

The Chicago Auto Show will be held at McCormick Place from July 15th to 19th and will incorporate several innovative safety features – including being held indoors and outdoors for the first time since it was held in Chicago in 1901.

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Warner Library Planning for Summer Reading Club

The annual summer reading club will return in 2021.

 

The program was put on hold with small activities for kids in 2020 but Children's Program Director Corey Campbell will be bringing back the program this year with some new twists. On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Campbell told Regional Radio News there will be three different age groups that will be somewhat fluid based on the individual's reading level.

 

 

According to Campbell, reading will be tracked by time this summer. He explains they want to be as inclusive as possible for readers of all levels.

 

 

As far as programs for kids this summer, Campbell notes they will continue to offer grab-n-go kits but was hesitant to commit to much else. He says for in-person programs, we'll have to wait and see what COVID mitigations allow.

 

 

While designed to be fun and engaging, the summer reading club also offers the opportunity to keep kids engaged in reading. Campbell explains it takes just 15 minutes of reading per day to keep kids from experiencing the 'summer slide' and that is an easily achievable number.

 

 

The summer reading club will kick off Tuesday, June 1 and at that time, kids and families can begin registering. Get more information by finding the Warner Library on social media or by visiting vwarner.org. 

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DeWitt County 4-H Director Discusses 2021 Fair

Local 4-H-ers will get the opportunity to showcase their projects this year and some details are confirmed but there is also still undecided.

 

Monday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, DeWitt County 4-H Director Lindsey Burden told Regional Radio News, they are planning for 50 people on the fairgrounds at a time during this year's 4-H Fair as they are hoping to keep crowds limited this year.

 

 

Judging of 4-H projects will be done outdoors as much as possible. Burden indicates a large tent will be going up before the fair so as much judging will be done under that. She also indicates livestock judging will look different this year.

 

 

Burden indicates numbers in the DeWitt County 4-H program are down this year. She points to the uncertainty in the fall surrounding not only COVID but also the status of a fair for 2021 as reasons they perhaps didn't see their usual strong numbers.

 

 

According to Burden, 2021 also welcomes the additions of the Macon and Piatt County 4-H-ers. This was a pre-COVID arrangement and Burden says it will be interesting to see how that works not only this year but to see all the kids and families in one place in DeWitt County next year and beyond. 

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Bement Schools Superintendent Hoping for Fewer Restrictions on Schools in 2021-22

A Piatt County school leader is hoping for fewer restrictions on schools as they plan for a return to full in-person learning next school year.

 

Superintendent of Bement Schools, Dr. Sheila Greenwood is encouraged by recent guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding social gatherings and events and hopes that will trickle down to guidance for the return of school next fall.

 

 

When it comes to the COVID mitigations, Dr. Greenwood is hoping for a lessened requirement when it comes to distancing. She hopes for a return to normal school year things like field trips and assemblies.

 

 

While guidance for remote learning has not come down from the Illinois State Board of Education, Dr. Greenwood anticipates remote learning only being an option for very rare circumstances.

 

 

As guidance trickles down and districts begin to set in place their plans for next year, Dr. Greenwood encourages their community to follow them at bementschools.org. She also points out they keep their various Facebook pages up to date as well. 

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Weekly Crop Report

MORE THAN HALF OF ILLINOIS CORN ACRES HAVE NOW BEEN PLANTED. 

 

ABOVE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES AND ABOUT NORMAL RAINFALL GAVE FARMERS OVER FOUR DAYS IN THE FIELDS THIS PAST WEEK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN.

 

 

SOYBEAN PLANTING IS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE WITH 41 PERCENT IN THE GROUND AND SEVEN PERCENT EMERGED. 

 

 

21 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS TWO PERCENT VERY SHORT, 17 PERCENT SHORT, 69 ADEQUATE AND 12 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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This is Arson Awareness Week

THIS IS ARSON AWARENESS WEEK, WITH A FOCUS ON ARSON DUE TO CIVIL UNREST. 

 

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE URGES LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS TO HAVE A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IN PLACE SHOULD CIVIL UNREST AND FIRES BREAK OUT SAYS SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS THE PUBLIC CAN DO ITS PART AS WELL.

 

 

LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS, STATE INVESTIGATORS RESPONDED TO MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND SUSPECTED CASES OF ARSON. THE OFFICE ALSO HAS SEVEN ACCELERANT DETECTION DOGS THAT WERE BROUGHT IN FOR 263 CASES.

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Illinois May Soon Be Able to Move to Bridge Phase

THE STATE MAY BE ABLE TO SOON ENTER THE "BRIDGE" PHASE OF COVID-19 MITIGATIONS.

 

ENOUGH SENIORS ARE VACCINATED FOR ILLINOIS TO MOVE INTO THE BRIDGE PHASE, WHICH INCREASES CAPACITY LIMITS IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT SETTINGS, BUT COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE STILL A CONCERN. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS IT APPEARS THAT'S CHANGING.

 

 

ILLINOIS MAY BE IN THE BRIDGE PHASE BEFORE TOO LONG, WHICH INCREASES CAPACITY LIMITS IN CERTAIN SETTINGS. HE REMINDS THE PUBLIC OF THE C-D-C'S GOOD NEWS...THAT IN MOST CASES MASKS ARE NOT NEEDED OUTDOORS FOR MANY PEOPLE.

 

 

THE LATEST DAILY TOTALS INCLUDE MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND NEW CASES AND 28 ADDITIONAL DEATHS. THE GOVERNOR HAS EXTENDED THE MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS UNTIL MAY 29TH.

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Gov. Pritzker Planning on State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is expected to kick off on August 12 in Springfield. But with so much unknown about the state of coronavirus restrictions will the fair be up and running a year after it was canceled due to COVID-19? Governor JB Pritzker says he expects the livestock shows, corn dogs, and concerts to be back this summer.

 

 

The Du Quoin State Fair is slated to run from August 27 to September 6th.

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Gov. Pritzker Discusses Fair Maps

Governor JB Pritzker remains steadfast in his feelings that a “fair” map needs to be drawn for the state’s next legislative districts. Pritzker has gone from “I will veto” any map drawn by legislators or political leaders to a map drawn by a Democratic-controlled state legislature can be approved if its “fair”.

 

 

Pritzker says lawmakers decided to forgo any independent commission so now it’s on them to produce a map he can approve.

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Ag Pest Season Underway

The state’s ag pest survey coordinator is ready for bug season.

 

 

Kelly Estes has an active blog. You can find it by searching “Illinois Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program”. She also updates information through her social media presence on Twitter. Her handle is “@ILPestSurvey”.

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Clinton Commissioner of Public Safety Announce Resignation of Fire Chief

It's the time of year when City officials are reappointed by the Clinton City Council and Monday night Clinton's Commissioner of Public Safety announced the resignation of its Fire Chief.

 

Chief Jeff Hoke has accepted a job out of state and submitted his resignation over the weekend. Dan Ballenger informed the Council Monday at the City Council meeting and indicates he will need some time to get someone appointed to that post.

 

 

Other appointments Monday night include Stephen Page as Assistant Fire Chief, Steve Myers as City Attorney, Tim Followell to the position of the sexton of the cemetery, Cheryl Van Valey as City Clerk, and Clint Lichtenwalter as City Treasurer.

 

Residents may be noticing the increase in golf carts around the community now that the weather is nice enough for them to be out. Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements Ken Buchanan reminds they were legalized in city limits late last year.

 

 

Monday night the City Council also approved the sale of surplus property at 1003 East Washington Street. 

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Talks Next Year

What will school look like next year?

 

It's a tough question for area Superintendents to answer because they anticipate schools being fully reopened and school days returning to normal schedules but what the COVID cosmetics will be is unanswered. Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says they are still waiting on the guidelines.

 

 

Nettles, along with his peers across the area, are planning for a full reopening of school with full days and all kids back in class. He anticipates continued masking of everyone and hopes for lessened distancing to make school days flow better.

 

 

While remote learning instruction has not been released, Nettles believes there will not be widely available remote learning except for the extraordinary circumstance.

 

 

Looking ahead, Nettles believes everyone in education is much more knowledgeable about how to efficiently teach kids under the circumstances but emphasizes in-person learning is best for everyone. 

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Atlanta Tourism Bureau Planning Busy Summer

If you're looking for things to do this summer in Central Illinois, the Atlanta Tourism Bureau is inviting you to visit Atlanta.

 

Whitney Ortiz, Atlanta Tourism Bureau Director of Development, indicates they will be hosting walking tours of Atlanta twice a day every Friday and Saturday throughout June, July, and August.

 

 

Ortiz notes Atlanta will celebrate the Fourth of July on July 3. Activities include walking tours, softball games, picnics, and fireworks in the evening.

 

 

Ortiz says the Atlanta Tourism Bureau is currently looking at hosting a pop-up market for mid-July on Route 66. It will be a two-day event held on the actual Route 66 alignment.

 

 

For more information, follow Visit Atlanta, IL on Facebook or Instagram, or call or text (217) 871-7557. Questions can be directed to tourismatlantail@gmail.com. 

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Rep. Caulkins Reacts to Census Results

Results are in and the State of Illinois has experienced a population decline and will lose a Congressional seat.

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins indicates downstate Illinois is the victim of the population decline. He has a couple of theories about why people are leaving Illinois.

 

 

The drop in population is likely going to reduce districts in downstate Illinois by around 1500-2000 people. That's Caulkins' prediction who points out Illinois Democrats are using, quote - "sketchy data" to redraw maps in a partisan way, something Gov. Pritzker campaigned he would not do.

 

 

According to Rep. Caulkins, redistricting is going to greatly hurt minority communities. He explains census data has been admitted by the Government to underrepresent those communities.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins points to Iowa as a state to follow when it comes to map drawing. He explains they do an independent drawing of maps.

 

Additionally, Rep. Caulkins says Illinois Democrats are going to run into a problem because the breakdown of populations is not released until late summer but the maps have to be approved by June 1. 

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Sen. Durbin Touts Success of American Rescue Plan

According to Illinois' Senior Senator, the American Rescue Plan is already paying dividends as President Joe Biden crosses 100-days in office.

 

Less than 40-days ago, Senate Democrats passed a $1.9 trillion economic bill designed to speed up the U.S's recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Dick Durbin said the bill that provided 14-hundred-dollar checks to American's is already paying off.

 

 

The rescue plan, which passed in March, also provides small business support, extended unemployment benefits, and lower health premiums.

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Gov. Pritzker Says Electronic COVID Cards To Be Voluntary

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ANY SORT OF ELECTRONIC PROOF OF COVID-19 VACCINATION WILL BE VOLUNTARY. 

 

THE STATE IS EXPLORING WAYS FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE AN ELECTRONIC COPY OF THEIR VACCINE CARD TO EASILY PULL UP IF NEEDED. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN ILLINOISANS WILL BE REQUIRED TO CARRY A PASSPORT SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THAT WOULD NOT BE A MANDATORY SO-CALLED PASSPORT.

 

 

ACCORDING TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, MORE THAN NINE POINT TWO MILLION DOSES HAVE BEEN ADMINISTERED AND OVER 31 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION IS NOW FULLY VACCINATED.

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LaSalle Veterans Home Gets New Leadership

36 veterans at the LaSalle Veterans home died in 2020 during a COVID-19 outbreak. Now a state report has shed light on the deadly outcome. Details of the report include a scathing take on leadership at the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs – saying mismanagement created an “inefficient, reactive and chaotic” response to the virus. 

 

Months after the outbreak the Director of the IDVA Linda Chapa LaVia was fired by the Pritzker Administration. But the report says Chapa LaVia abdicated her responsibilities in dealing with situation early on. Governor JB Pritzker says looking back on it, he shouldn’t have put her in charge of the IDVA.

 

 

The report includes details of residents who tested positive for COVID being placed in rooms with those who tested negative, lack of employee training to deal with stopping the spread of the virus and failing to ask for outside help once the scope of the outbreak was known. The new Director of the IDVA Terry Prince comes to Illinois after running Ohio’s Veterans homes and is a 31 year Navy Veteran.

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Governor Discusses Vaccine Requirements for College Students

As colleges let out for the school year, planning is underway to bring students back full time in the fall.

 

Will students be required to be vaccinated against COIVD-19? Some private colleges have already informed students that they will require it. But what about at state schools here in Illinois? Governor JB Pritzker says they are making vaccines easy to access near universities – as to a mandate? That’s not something he’s committing too.

 

 

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IHSA State Bass Fishing Tournament Back on for 2021

The IHSA state tournament series in bass fishing is back on this year after being wiped last spring due to the pandemic. 289 schools are entered with 25 sectionals throughout the state taking place May 6 says the IHSA’s Kurt Gibson.

 

 

The IHSA state bass fishing champ will be crowned May 22 at Carlyle Lake. The first year for the state tournament series was in 2009.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Some rain rolled through central Illinois in the mid-week cooling things off. A more seasonable weekend is on tap in Illinois, but what's ahead next week? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details....

 

 

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IDPH Exploring Electronic COVID Vaccination Cards

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS LOOKING INTO USE OF AN ELECTRONIC COVID-19 VACCINATION CARD. 

 

AT A LEGISLATIVE HEARING THIS WEEK, STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) TOUTED THE BENEFITS OF GETTING THE SHOT. SHE WAS ASKED HOW PEOPLE WILL PROVE THEY'VE HAD THE VACCINE.

 

 

DOCTOR EZIKE TOLD MEMBERS THAT AN ELECTRONIC CARD, POSSIBLY THROUGH AN APP, WOULD PROVIDE A WAY FOR PEOPLE TO PROVE THEY'VE BEEN VACCINATED IF NECESSARY.

 

 

EVENT ORGANIZERS AND SPORTS TEAMS ARE FIGURING OUT HOW TO BRING BACK VISITORS AND FANS. THAT COULD INCLUDE ONLY ALLOWING THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE SHOT TO ENTER.

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Congresswoman Bustos To Not Seek Re-Election

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has indicated she will not be seeking re-election. She made the announcement on social media late Friday morning.

 

 

Bustos was first elected in 2012. She just won re-election to her fifth term last November defeating challenger Esther Joy King.

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Safety Campaign to Prevent Falls at Construction Worksites Kicks Off This Week

A CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTING THE RISK OF FALLING AT CONSTRUCTION WORKSITES KICKS OFF MONDAY. 

 

EMPLOYERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE NATIONAL SAFETY STAND DOWN TO PREVENT FALLS IN CONSTRUCTION WEEK AS A CHANCE TO TALK TO WORKERS ABOUT BEING CAREFUL SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SPOKESPERSON MIKE MATULIS.

 

 

MATULIS SAYS STATISTICS SHOW THAT FALLS ARE THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AT CONSTRUCTION SITES, SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WORKERS ARE TAUGHT HOW TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS.

 

 

THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION HAS SEVERAL RESOURCES FOR EMPLOYERS INCLUDING POSTERS, VIDEOS AND TRAINING MATERIALS WHICH CAN BE ACCESSED BY SEARCHING ONLINE FOR "STOP FALLS STAND DOWN."

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