Local News

Clinton's Neighborhood Care Center Highlights Partnership With TS Institute

A Clinton non-profit has a long-standing partnership with a local financial institution to help people understand the many complexities of managing money.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Cody Monkman, Director of the Neighborhood Care Center, says their partnership with the TS Institute helps lay out the basics of money management and budgeting to in-depth financial coaching.

 

 

Connie Unruh with the TS Institute leads the coursework and coaching. She explains they offer both group classes and one-on-one coaching. 

 

 

According to Monkman, one of the other added benefits of this program has been the restoration of relational issues. He believes the way you spend money reflects your values and so when they go through an individual's or a couple's financials, it can be an exposure of things that need to be addressed.

 

 

Many of the ministries within the Neighborhood Care Center are aimed at helping people through a crisis, Monkman says this is a program that doesn't necessarily have to be for people in a crisis and says the benefit is they are giving people tools they can use in hopes they have lifelong skills they are going away with.

 

 

Monkman and Unruh hope to resume group classes in the fall. You can learn more at neighborhoodcarecenter.net or by calling Unruh at the TS Institute by calling 217-935-7464. The Neighborhood Care Center's number 217-935-6844. 

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Despite Rollercoaster of Weather, May Was Average for Temperatures, Rainfall

May was an adventure when it came to weather.

 

Some days were very warm and then there was a stretch early in the month that was very cold, with frost advisories in some places. Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates it all totaled up to a month that was only a degree-below normal.

 

 

As it relates to rain, that was again all over the place depending on where you're at in Illinois. Miller says some places are doing well for moisture and other areas very much struggling.

 

 

As we hit the unofficial start of summer with this Memorial Day, Miller attributes the oddities of the rain disparities to some of the weather patterns that came through last month.

 

 

Miller says we saw this late last fall when central Illinois would get much-needed moisture but it would appear to just skip over the east-central portion of Illinois. 

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Social Security Highlighting Military Heroes

Throughout the past month, Social Security has been honoring military service members and some of the way the agency makes those folks a priority.

 

As the nation honors the heroes who have sacrificed not only their lives but the everyday luxuries to serve our country, Jack Myers with Social Security is taking this opportunity to remind families that have lost a loved one that Social Security benefits may be payable to surviving family members including spouses and children.

 

 

According to Myers, Social Security expedites the disability claims of veterans. Myers says this is something they do through their Wounded Warriors Initiative. He implores veterans to apply for both their Social Security benefits and VA Disability benefits.

 

 

Get more information by visiting ssa.gov/woundedwarriors. 

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Illinois House Passes Redistricting Maps With Super Majority, Awaits Governor's Signature

Illinois Democrats in the House approved House and Senate Redistricting Maps Friday night, sending the maps--which had already been approved by the Senate--to Governor Pritzker for his signature.

 

Democrats hold a supermajority in both chambers, so the latest versions of the maps passed quickly over the cries by Republicans that the maps were gerry-mandered to keep Democats in power another 10 years.

 

Republicans also claim that Pritzker in his 2018 campaign for governor, wanted transparency in creating and passing the maps.  Pritzker's office has not indicated whether he'll sign the bill OK'ing the maps.  He has until June 30th to decide.

 

Both maps change boundaries moreso for area Representatives, and less for local Senators.

 

See the passed Illinois House map here, and the Illinois Senate map here.

 

 

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Clinton Schools Agree to Acquire Land from Clinton Family

The Clinton school district has agreed to acquire land from a Clinton family.

 

The Killian's, who previously owned First National Bank, is donating land behind the bank across the street from the school. Superintendent Curt Nettles says the Board of Education has agreed to acquire that land and they must decide what to do with it.

 

 

The Board of Education approved the acquisition last week at its monthly meeting. 

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Weather Radio Issues in Central Illinois Should Be Resolving

If you own a weather radio, especially in DeWitt County, you've likely noticed some irregularities in recent weeks and months.

 

That is because the weather radio stations operated by the National Weather Service have been experiencing some very unique issues. Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates their weather radio in Champaign has been down for well over a year now, and that is proving to be challenging.

 

 

DeWitt County also shares the weather radio in Bloomington/Normal, and that radio went off the air several weeks ago. Miller says weather damaged it rather extensively.

 

 

The National Weather Service website has been keeping the public up to date with the latest. Visit weather.gov/lincoln for more. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

It's going to be a cool Memorial Day Weekend. What does the week ahead have in store? State climatologist Trent Ford fills us in...

 

 

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Roadwork Highlight of Week for DeWitt County Wind Farm

Road closures continue as construction for the coming Alta Farms II wind farm ramps up in northwest DeWitt County.

 

Most roads closed from last week were still closed throughout the week this week. Cement stabilization and culvert installations highlighted the early parts of the week. Crews also continued to install signage in areas impacted by the work. 

 

As the weather warms, crews are highlighting the importance of hydration and ways to stay cool. 

 

As of Friday morning, the last published work update at the Enel Green Power website was from Tuesday. 

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DeWitt County Museum Unveils Rebrand

For the last several months, if you've tried to visit the DeWitt County Museum website on the world wide web, you've not been able to get through - until just recently.

 

The Museum and CH Moore Homestead Board have been undergoing a rebranding effort. Director Joey Long indicates they rolled out their new website with a refreshed look earlier this month.

 

 

Long says their designer was on-point with what they wanted in their rebrand.

 

 

While it isn't tied to the Museum's rebrand effort, the Homestead has made some technological advances inside the museum. Long says if you come out, you'll notice 'QR-codes' on various artifacts.

 

 

When guests scan the 'QR-code' throughout the museum, guests will be directed to an audio file describing a room or artifact. Woolridge believes the audio clips offered will enhance the experience of touring the museum. 

 

 

Long believes the Museum's innovation into the technological arena will be something they can utilize well after COVID.

 

She hopes the public will also be sure to check out their rebranded website by visiting chmoorehomestead.org. 

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Sen. Rose Blasts Democrats Spending Plans for Upcoming Fiscal Year

Thanks to a nearly $2-billion surplus and $8-billion from the federal government, Illinois is looking to be in good shape financially this year.

 

That's great news says State Senator Chapin Rose though he questions how Illinois Democrats are claiming this year's budget is still going to be over a billion dollars in the hole.

 

 

The Mahomet Republican contends not only does the State of Illinois legislature not need another penny in additional taxes for the upcoming budget but he is condemning Illinois Democrats for using the federal dollars to expand spending rather than shore up short-term debt taken on by the Pritzker administration.

 

 

Senator Rose is calling on Decatur and Champaign residents to call on their representatives to reject furthering Illinois' spending and any future tax increases doing so might incur. 

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Illinois Lawmakers Pass Bill Adding Sexting Education to Curriculum

STUDENTS WOULD LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DANGERS OF SEXTING UNDER A BILL PASSED BY ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS.

 

THE MEASURE REQUIRES SCHOOLS TEACHING SEX EDUCATION IN GRADES SIX THROUGH 12 TO INCLUDE A CURRICULUM ON SEXTING. IT’S SPONSORED BY SENATOR STEVE STADELMAN OF ROCKFORD.

 

 

IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THE BILL INTO LAW.

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State Police Closing In On Answers in Champaign Police Officer's Death

The Illinois State Police are leading the investigation into the shooting death of Champaign Police officer Chris Oberheim. He was killed during a shootout with the suspect, Darion Lafayette, who was also killed in the gun battle. Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says his investigative team is getting closer to having answers as to how the situation turned deadly.

 

 

Lafayette had numerous run-ins with law enforcement before being a suspect in the shooting. Another police officer, Jeffery Creel, was hit three times and is recovering.

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Illinois House Passes Bill Prohibiting Schools Banning Certain Types of Hairstyles in Dress Code

SCHOOL DRESS CODES CAN’T BAN CERTAIN HAIRSTYLES UNDER LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE ILLINOIS HOUSE THURSDAY. 

 

THE MEASURE WAS PROMPTED BY AN INCIDENT IN CHICAGO, WHERE A FOUR YEAR OLD AFRICAN AMERICAN BOY WAS SENT HOME FROM PRE-SCHOOL BECAUSE HIS HAIR WAS IN BRAIDS. REPRESENTATIVE GREG HARRIS SAYS THERE SHOULD BE NO DISCRIMINATION BASED ON HOW A STUDENT WEARS THEIR HAIR.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE CYRIL NICHOLAS SUPPORTS THE CHANGE.

 

 

OPPONENTS ARGUED THIS SHOULDN’T APPLY TO PRIVATE SCHOOLS. THE SENATE NEEDS TO APPROVE A SMALL CHANGE TO THE BILL AND THEN IT GOES TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK.

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Illinois House Passes Bill Allowing Bars to Offer Vaccine Promotion

YOU MAY SOON BE ABLE TO GET A FREE DRINK IF YOU’RE VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19. 

 

UNDER LEGISLATION PASSED BY THE HOUSE, BARS CAN OFFER ONE FREE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE TO PATRONS SHOWING PROOF OF VACCINATION. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ZALEWSKI OF RIVERSIDE.

 

 

THE PROMOTION IS SUPPORTED BY REPRESENTATIVE TOM DEMMER OF DIXON.

 

 

THE PROMOTION WOULD RUN FOR ONE MONTH, FROM JUNE 10TH THROUGH JULY 10TH. THE BILL ALSO EXTENDS A LAW ENACTED DURING THE PANDEMIC ALLOWING COCKTAILS TO GO AND FOR DELIVERY. IT STILL NEEDS SENATE APPROVAL.

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Illinois Attorney General Says Online Sex Exploitation of Children on the Rise

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL’S OFFICE SAYS REPORTS OF ONLINE CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ARE ON THE RISE. 

 

CYBER CRIME SPECIALIST CHRISTINE FELLER SAYS THEY ARE EXPECTING TO SEE A 16 PERCENT INCREASE IN REPORTS THIS YEAR. AND WHILE MOST INVOLVE ADULTS ABUSING CHILDREN, KIDS ARE ALSO POSTING INAPPROPRIATE CONTENT ON INSTAGRAM AND SNAPCHAT. ADDITIONALLY…

 

 

FELLER HAS THIS ADVICE FOR PARENTS:

 

 

THE ILLINOIS INTERNET CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN TASK FORCE WORKS TO INVESTIGATE THESE REPORTS, TRAINS LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES AND PROVIDES ONLINE SAFETY EDUCATION TO KIDS AND ADULTS.

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Double-Digit Gains in Corn, Beans and Wheat Thursday

A market rally at Chicago Board of Trade. Corn, beans and wheat all up double digits on Thursday.

 

 

That’s AgriVisor market analyst Karl Setzer speaking at the close on Thursday.

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Cool, Dry Memorial Day Weekend Ahead

After a wet Thursday, the National Weather Service says get ready for almost perfect weather for the Memorial Day weekend.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says Friday will be cooler than usual, but the temperature should rise as we go through the weekend.

 

 

Next week kicks off the postseason for high school spring sports. Miller indicates it'll be dry to start the week but more thunderstorms and wet weather could be on the way later in the week.

 

 

Next week on Regional Radio, we'll hear more from Miller about the month of June as we turn the calendar. 

 

Get more weather information at weather.gov/lincoln. 

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Clinton High School 'Basic Home Construction' Course Highlight at Recent BOE Meeting

A new trades course was recently highlighted by the Clinton Board of Education meeting last week.

 

Fred Knapp teaches the course titled 'basic home construction' and a trio of his students were in attendance to show off some of the things they've done this year. He explains the course encompasses everything from budget and manpower management to designing the basics of a project.

 

 

Senior Andrew Pagel described a she-shed the class built. He says things went a lot smoother than they thought they would.

 

 

According to Knapp, the classroom was able to acquire a CNC machine for engraving. He notes this will be something that will be instrumental in the workplace if students choose to pursue a trade. The students present at Tuesday's board meeting were able to display some of the creations they've done this spring. 

 

 

Knapp indicated his desire to eventually get a machine that could engrave in metals. He admits those are very expensive pieces of equipment but believes it would be invaluable to his classroom. 

 

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Progress Continuing In Transforming Former Lincoln Developmental Center into State Youth Center

Officials in Lincoln continue to be encouraged by the progress towards turning the former Lincoln Developmental Center into a state-run site for teens and youth.

 

Mayor Tracy Welch explains the location on the community's southwest side would serve the state in the central Illinois region. He says it could create roughly 80 jobs upon its completion.

 

 

According to Mayor Welch, there is a road that runs through the heart of the facility and it could create issues transporting youth. He explains there are a lot of ideas on the table to mitigate those challenges.

 

 

The youth center will not be utilizing the entirety of the buildings or property of the once robust Lincoln Developmental Center, however, the Mayor hopes eventually the State will decide to expand and use more of it. 

 

He also touts the economic benefits of the development for visitors to the center and those folks spending money in the community to expand the tax base. 

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State Police Joining Seatbelt Enforcement Campaign for Memorial Day

STATE AND LOCAL POLICE IN ILLINOIS WILL BE PARTICIPATING IN A NATIONWIDE SEATBELT CAMPAIGN OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND. 

 

POLICE ARE TAKING CLICK IT OR TICKET ENFORCEMENT BORDER TO BORDER IN ILLINOIS, LOOKING FOR THOSE NOT BUCKLING UP, AS WELL AS DRUNK, SPEEDING AND DISTRACTED DRIVERS.

 

 

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL SAYS THE CAMPAIGN INCLUDES ADDITIONAL POLICE PATROLS AND SEAT BELT ENFORCEMENT ZONES ACROSS THE STATE.

 

 

POLICE WILL ALSO BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR SPEEDERS, DRUNK DRIVERS AND DISTRACTED DRIVERS.

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Secretary of State Office Warning of Text Scam

ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE’S OFFICE IS WARNING THE PUBLIC ABOUT NEW EMAIL AND TEXT SCAMS.

 

THE SCAMS ARE TARGETING ILLINOISANS…AND INCLUDE UNSOLICITED TEXT AND EMAIL MESSAGES CLAIMING TO BE FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE. SPOKESPERSON BETH KAUFMAN SAYS THEY ARE BOGUS.

 

 

THE SCAM MESSAGES MENTION PENDING D-M-V FEES OR ASK TO UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION. KAUFMAN SAYS THEY ARE WORKING WITH THE ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE ON THE MATTER.

 

 

KAUFMAN SAYS THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE WILL NEVER REQUEST INFORMATION LIKE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER VIA A TEXT OR EMAIL.

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Lawmakers Approve Constitutional Amendment Giving Works Right to Unionize

VOTERS WILL BE ASKED IF ILLINOIS WORKERS SHOULD HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO UNIONIZE IN THE MARCH ELECTION. 

 

THE AMENDMENT TO THE STATE CONSTITUTION WOULD MAKE IT A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT FOR WORKERS TO FORM A UNION AND COLLECTIVELY BARGAIN. IT WAS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE MARCUS EVANS OF CHICAGO, WHO URGED HIS COLLEAGUES TO VOTE YES.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE BLAINE WILHOUR OF EFFINGHAM SAYS THIS WILL DRIVE BUSINESSES OUT OF THE STATE.

 

 

THE AMENDMENT ALSO PROHIBITS MUNICIPALITIES FROM PASSING LOCAL RIGHT TO WORK LAWS. IT’S PASSED BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND WILL NOW BE PUT TO THE VOTERS.

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Groups Call for Transparency With Legislative Mapping Process

Legislative maps seem to be moving forward.

 

House and Senate Democrats have held public hearings about the map-making process where little new information has been learned. That leaves the data behind the re-mapping process to be questioned by many groups. Griselda Vega Samuel with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund says she wants the process to be more transparent.

 

 

American Community Survey data was used to draw the new maps – not the complete US Census data that has been used in the past.

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State Board of Education Tells Schools to Plan on Wearing Masks Next School Year

If you were hoping to send your kids back to school without masks for the next school year, those hopes took a hit Tuesday as the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) told schools the mask mandate would remain in place.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Blue Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer told Regional Radio News this is just starting to make its rounds to area school leaders and school boards.

 

 

While she was hopeful masks could be lifted heading into the new school year, Dr. Stanifer is not completely caught off guard by the new guidance. She is, however, still happy that school days will be normal next year and there will be no remote learning option next year.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer points out, this guidance is coming in May and there are nearly three months before school starts back up again. She is holding out hope things could change later in the summer. 

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Clinton Junior High School Teacher Presents Cemetery Restoration Project to Board of Education

Clinton Junior High School students in Kelbey McMath's social studies class are learning about local people buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

 

The project, called the 'Good Cemetarien' is both a history lesson and a restoration project at the same time. Last week at the Board of Education meeting, McMath described the project that is now spanning its second year.

 

 

Thanks to a grant through the Clinton Education Foundation, McMath's class is able to make a map of the cemetery through GPS receivers they have. He credits his students for their approach to the project when they've been out at the cemetery.

 

 

Last week, students cleaned the headstones of the cemetery. McMath found materials that are safe for the stones.

 

 

McMath recently won the Illinois State Historical Society's Teacher of the Year award. 

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Illinois House Passes Bill Aimed at Increasing Diversity in Cannabis Industry

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE IS PASSING LEGISLATION TO INCREASE DIVERSITY IN THE STATE’S CANNABIS INDUSTRY. 

 

THE BILL IS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD OF CHICAGO AND AIMS TO IMPROVE UPON THE 2019 LANDMARK LAW LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA.

 

 

FORD SAYS FLAWS IN THE APPLICATION AND SCORING PROCESS KEPT MINORITIES OUT OF THE PROFITABLE INDUSTRY. HIS MEASURE TWEAKS THE SYSTEM AND ADDS TWO MORE LOTTERIES IN WHICH 110 DISPENSARY LICENSES WILL BE AVAILABLE. IT NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE.

 

REPRESENTATIVE KATHLEEN WILLIS OF NORTHLAKE SAYS IT’S TIME TO CORRECT THE DEFICIENCIES OF THE ORIGINAL 2019 LAW LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER APPLAUDED PASSAGE OF THE MEASURE, WHICH NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE FOR A VOTE.

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Child Protection Network Promoting 'CASA' Program During Foster Care Awareness Month

A central Illinois agency aimed at protecting children in abusive situations is highlighting a program that assigns individuals with just a single child to be there for them throughout a case they may find themselves in.

 

The CASA program or the Court Appointed Special Advocate, is coordinated by the Children's Advocacy Center and the Child Protection Network's Samantha Stevenson explains this person is with the child nearly from the start of their case with DCFS until its conclusion. 

 

 

Stevenson touts the benefits of working with a child throughout their case and says they not only hear back from their CASAs the benefits but also the fact they remain close to that child long after the case has been resolved.

 

 

Being a CASA can be very demanding from a physical and emotional standpoint and Stevenson indicates once you have concluded a case with a child, the CPN insists CASAs take a year or so break to recharge and reconnect with family and friends.

 

 

Get more information by finding the CASA program for the Children's Advocacy Center on Facebook. You can also contact Molly Evans by email at molly.evans@mcleancountyil.gov or by calling 309-888-5656. 

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Clinton Junior High School Students Reach Fundraising Goal - Soak Principal

Clinton Junior High School students were challenged during a fund-raising effort to reach a certain goal, if they succeeded Principal Jim Peck agreed to be drenched. 

 

At least 25 students reached the goal, so many in fact, that they had to go in waves of three or four at a time. Peck was doused multiple times during the last Monday of this school year as the children found ways to soak him with water - cold water.

 

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Clinton Cub Scout Pack 4142 Holds Annual Crossover Ceremony

Clinton Cub Scout Pack 4142 held its annual Crossover Ceremony, where Cub Scouts Arrow of Light Scouts leave the Cub Scout Pack, and are accepted into BSA Troop 1142, the Boy Scout Troop in Clinton.

 

 

The Cubs crossing over to be Scouts are, from left, Kolton Bruning, Shawn Ferguson, Drake Perry, Jacob Harrell and Kole Sutton. 

 

They stand with their parents during the Ceremony held at Lane Christian Church. The boys are leaving the Cub Scout world where they are lead by adult leaders to where the leaders become advisors and the troop is lead by the boys themselves. Cub Scouts range in age from 5 to 11 usually, with Boy Scouts having boys up until they turn 18.

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DeWitt County Board Discusses Wind Farm Weather Curtailment Agreement

In perhaps the shortest gathering of this edition of the DeWitt County Board, the wind farm was again a topic of conversation but occupied much less attention than in meetings past last Thursday night. 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson tells Regional Radio News the Board heard concerns regarding the curtailment of the wind towers during weather events. He says the agreement between the County and Enel Green Power seems to be unclear.

 

 

Wi-Fi could be coming to the Clinton Lake Marina. Ferguson indicates the process is underway to possibly bring Wi-Fi to the neighborhood near the Marina, which would include Wi-Fi at the Marina.

 

 

Last Thursday night's Board meeting was the first in-person meeting since last July when the Board held a special meeting for the vote on the Tradewind Energy Alta Farms special use permit on the Square. Ferguson indicates it is still a limited crowd but wanted to start getting back together in person.

 

 

Among action from last Thursday's meeting:

 

>>The Board approved Nick Godby to the DeWitt County Housing Authority Board, Brett Willits to the Kenney Fire Protection District Board, Rodney Wilson the Wapella Fire Protection District Board, Kayla Wiggins to the Waynesville Fire Protection District Board, and Chip Atten to the Clinton Fire Protection District Board. 

 

>>The Board approved bids for the Sheriff's Office parking lot rehabilitation. That work is expected to start and be complete this summer.

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Weldon Springs Foundation Looking Forward to Busy Summer

If you're a childcare provider, a parent at home with kids, or just looking for something to do yourself this summer, Weldon Springs is going to have plenty to offer.

 

Stephanie Kauffman on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News they are gearing up for a very busy summer. The concession and restaurant at Weldon Springs is reopening as soon as this weekend.

 

 

The Weldon Springs Foundation will be opening up the schoolhouse and town hall buildings they have in the park. Kauffman says kids at the park for events like Y-Zone will be able to go in and out of those and learn more about their history. 

 

 

The Foundation is hoping this coming weekend kayaks will be available to rent and the concession will be back up and operating. Kauffman also points to the annual fishing derby coming up on Father's Day Sunday. 

 

Get more information by finding the Weldon Springs Foundation on Facebook or visiting weldonsprings.com. 

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Miller Park Zoo Bringing Back Brews at the Zoo

A Bloomington-Normal entity is excited to announce it will be bringing back one of its most popular events this summer.

 

The Miller Park Zoo's 'Brews at the Zoo' will return in July and Superintendent Jay Tetzloff is excited because the event is a nighttime event and the zoo has a different feel after dark. Additionally, this year's edition of 'Brews at the Zoo' will be a two-night event. 

 

 

According to Tetzloff, the anticipated 300 attendance could increase if guidance regarding COVID changes. While he hopes it does, they are keeping in mind everyone's comfortability given the situation.

 

 

'Brews at the Zoo' at its heart, allows supporters of the zoo to enjoy the zoo but enjoy local food and drink vendors. Tetzloff hopes this year's event reaches a new demographic.

 

 

To get information about 'Brews at the Zoo', visit millerparkzoo.org. Tetzloff reminds this event is a two-night event but tickets are selling quickly. 'Brews at the Zoo' is July 11-12. 

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Weekly Crop Report

STATEWIDE RAINFALL WAS ABOUT A HALF-INCH ABOVE NORMAL THIS PAST WEEK, BUT PRODUCERS STILL FOUND TIME TO CONTINUE PLANTING. 

 

AN AVERAGE OF THREE-POINT SEVEN DAYS WAS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK AND CORN PLANTING IS NOW 90 PERCENT COMPLETE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

80 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES HAVE BEEN PLANTED WITH 60 PERCENT EMERGED. 

 

 

90 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 84 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. THE FIRST CUTTING OF HAY IS NOW 50 PERCENT COMPLETE.

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, NINE PERCENT SHORT, 73 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 17 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Illinois House GOP Critical of New Proposed Legislative Maps

ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE CRITICAL OF THE NEW LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT MAPS DRAWN BY THEIR COUNTERPARTS. 

 

ON FRIDAY EVENING, THE DEMOCRATS RELEASED PROPOSED LEGISLATIVE BOUNDARIES FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS, SAYING THEY REFLECT THE BROAD GEOGRAPHICAL AND RACIAL DIVERSITY OF THE STATE. HOUSE G-O-P LEADER JIM DURKIN WASN'T IMPRESSED.

 

 

THE NEW MAPS AREN'T GETTING ANY PRAISE FROM G-O-P REPRESENTATIVE TIM BUTLER OF SPRINGFIELD.

 

 

THE G-O-P HAS CALLED FOR AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION, NOT LAWMAKERS, TO COME UP WITH THE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS. FOUR PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE NEW MAPS WILL BE HELD THIS WEEK.

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IDOT Resumes Summer Roadside Mowing

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS ANNOUNCING THAT ROADSIDE MOWING IS NOW UNDERWAY ACROSS THE STATE.

 

IN RECENT YEARS, I-DOT HAS REVISED ITS MOWING SCHEDULE TO BETTER BALANCE ENVIRONMENTAL NEEDS WITH ROUTINE MAINTENANCE FOR DRIVING SAFETY. CREWS ARE OUT MOWING NOW SAYS SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.

 

 

WAPPEL SAYS SAFETY MOWING IS DONE RIGHT NEXT TO THE ROADWAY AS NEEDED, BUT OTHER AREAS LIKE DITCHES AND CULVERTS ARE MOWED ON A CYCLE TO PROTECT THE HABITATS OF ILLINOIS POLLINATORS LIKE THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY.

 

 

I-DOT IS ASKING DRIVERS TO SLOW DOWN AND GIVE MOWING CREWS PLENTY OF ROOM WHEN THEY ARE OUT ON THE ROADS.

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DCFS Reminds Families of Childhood Drowning

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS WARNING PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF CHILDHOOD DROWNING. 

 

KIDS CAN DROWN IN AS LITTLE AS ONE INCH OF WATER, SO IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO SECURE TOLIET LIDS AND HOT TUB COVERS AND EMPTY BUCKETS AND INFLATABLE POOLS WHEN NOT IN USE SAYS D-C-F-S CHIEF NURSE PETE DYKES. HE ALSO HAS THIS ADVICE:

 

 

KIDS SHOULD BE MONITORED AT ALL TIMES IN AND AROUND WATER SAYS DYKES, NOTING THAT IT DOESN'T TAKE MUCH FOR A CHILD TO DROWN.

 

 

DYKES RECOMMENDS LEARNING C-P-R AS WELL. LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS, 20 CHILDREN LOST THEIR LIVES TO ACCIDENTAL DROWNING INCLUDING NINE IN SWIMMING POOLS, FOUR IN RIVERS, TWO IN LAKES, ONE IN A POND AND ONE IN A CISTERN.

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Piatt County Mental Health Professional Discusses Growing Anxiety Around Returning to Normal

A mental and emotional health professional in Piatt County says they are seeing an increase in anxiety regarding life returning to normal as we come out of COVID.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Piatt County Mental Health Center's Executive Director and indicates this condition, being termed 're-entry anxiety' is becoming very prominent as we start to think about going out again with masks and the attention to hyper-vigilant cleaning begins to go away.

 

 

According to Kirkman, the human condition craves and desires control over our circumstances and he says COVID has put a wrench into that control we crave. He says it will take two to three months of repeating old behaviors before we are accustomed to the way of life pre-COVID. 

 

 

Kirkman encourages as we unmask and get back to the things we used to do, go places we know and are comfortable being at and then continue to branch out from those experiences. 

 

 

The portion of the population that is experiencing 're-entry anxiety' and the portion of the population unafraid of returning to normal will have to co-exist for several weeks and months. Kirkman hopes we all treat each other with respect and recognize we're equal members of society. 

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Legislation Would Help Rural EMTs

An Illinois lawmaker’s bill aims to boost rural Emergency Medical Technician recruitment. 

 

The legislation allows for exceptions to the credentialing process in rural areas allowing nurses, physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses with active licenses to apply to serve as volunteers to perform the same work as certified EMTs says State rep. Dan Swanson.

 

 

Swanson says the idea was brought to him by a couple of rural fire chiefs.

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Clinton High School Class of 2021 Graduation

As heard on WHOW, Clinton High School held its graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 on Sunday afternoon.

 

Clinton Superintendent Curt Nettles acknowledged the hard work of the school board and the community at large to be able to host an in-person ceremony. He notes looking back it was uncertain whether or not an in-person ceremony would be feasible.

 

 

Valedictorians Mia Kaufman and Bethany Overbey reminisced over the many life lessons their class has learned. They noted the impact of the pandemic and the challenges it brought to their daily lives.

 

 

CHS English teacher Kathryn Bent was voted to address the Class of 2021. She noted how the students have grown over the years personally and academically. She reminded them of the many mistakes they have made along the way and emplored to continue making mistakes as that is how growth is achieved.

 

 

Andrew Pagel was the Salutatorian and Class Presidents Lydia Taylo and Mia Kaufman announced the graduates as they received their diplomas.  

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Clinton's Peterson Insurance Receives Company Awards for 2020

The Pekin Insurance Agency's Peterson Insurance in Clinton has once again received high marks from its agency in the form of several awards.

 

Owner Jay Peterson indicates they were awarded the 2020 Underwriter of Merit and Beyond the Expected Awards and Gold Key and Inner Circle Club (lifetime member). This is the seventh consecutive year that Peterson Insurance has been awarded all four of these awards.  

 

 

Peterson Insurance has been family-owned and operated since 1966 and serves clients from four locations in Central Illinois. Peterson would like to thank the Agency Staff, Pekin Insurance, and most importantly their clients throughout central Illinois for their support to make these achievements possible. 

 

August 1st will mark the Agencies 55th anniversary. 

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DNR Boosting Enforcement Efforts as Boating Season Heats Up

THE ILLINOIS CONSERVATION POLICE IS BOOSTING ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS AS BOATING SEASON IN ILLINOIS GETS UNDERWAY. 

 

POLICE WILL BE OUT ON THE WATER LOOKING ESPECIALLY FOR DRUNK BOAT DRIVERS. THEY WILL ALSO PERFORM SAFETY CHECKS SAYS SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

TORBERT SAYS BOATS ALSO NEED TO BE EQUIPPED WITH A FIRE EXTINGUISHER, FLARES, WORKING HORN AND NAVIGATION LIGHTS AS WELL AS AN ENGINE CUT OFF SWITCH AS REQUIRED BY A NEW FEDERAL LAW.

 

 

TORBERT SAYS KIDS UNDER 13 MUST WEAR A LIFEJACKET WHENEVER THE BOAT IS UNDERWAY. A NEW FEDERAL LAW ALSO REQUIRES BOATS TO BE EQUIPPED WITH AN ENGINE CUT OFF SWITCH.

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Illinois Department of Labor Ride Inspectors Back This Summer

STATE RIDE INSPECTORS ARE BACK AT IT AGAIN THIS SUMMER.

 

AS THINGS RETURN TO PRE-PANDEMIC STATUS, INSPECTORS WITH THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ARE OUT MAKING SURE RIDES ARE SAFE AT THEME PARKS, FAIRS AND FESTIVALS SAYS DIRECTOR MICHAEL KLEINIK.

 

 

KLEINIK SAYS IF THEY FIND ANY ISSUES, THE OPERATOR WILL HAVE TO FIX THE PROBLEMS AND THE RIDE WILL BE INSPECTED AGAIN.

 

 

KLEINIK SAYS THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO DO ITS PART AS WELL, FOLLOWING POSTED HEIGHT AND WEIGHT GUIDELINES AS WELL AS SAFETY RULES.

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Weekly Weather Report

A warm weekend is ahead. What does that mean for this upcoming week? State Climatologist Trent Ford has this report...

 

 

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Early Rains Slow Wind Farm Work - Road Closures Beginning to Increase

Early week rains washed out some work on the ongoing Alta Farms II Wind Farm for Enel Green Power.

 

According to daily published reports, some work was "weathered out" Monday and Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, 19 of 21 lay down acres were complete and cables for the laydown yard were being delivered Thursday.

 

Also as of Thursday, road closures were starting to add up. Among the closures is Sunset Road from Jenkins Switch Road to Sumpter Road, Thorps Road from Hallsville Road to Mockingbird Road, Flatland Road from Hallsville Road to Mockingbird Road, Sumpter Road from Sunset Road to Tabor Road, Flatland Road from Green Valley Road to Mockingbird Road, Flatland Road from Burr Oak Road to Green Valley Road, Flatland Road from Hallsville Road to Mockingbird Road, Burr Oak Road from Flatland Road to Thorps Road, Flatland Road from Green Valley Road to Mockingbird Road, and Flatland Road from Burr Oak Road to Green Valley Road.

 

All closures were full closures for either culvert work or soil cement stabilization. Local residents residing in these areas have access and have been notified. 

 

Construction signage is going up in the impacted areas. 

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Clinton Grocery Store Owner: Inflation is Here

If you're paying a little bit more for that favorite drink or snack at the grocery store, a Clinton grocery store owner says you can thank inflation.

 

Clinton Save A Lot Owner Dave Jackson on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News the cost of almost everything is going up and it's thanks to a lot of motivating factors.

 

 

According to Jackson costs are going up almost across the board. He points to labor costs going up thanks to Illinois' minimum wage increases, the costs of fuel, and the lack of people working as all factors in this spike in prices.

 

 

Jackson Thursday said he could sugarcoat the situation but he wanted to be upfront with his customers and make everyone aware of what is happening. 

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Clinton YMCA Offering Summer Survivor Series

Fitness enthusiasts are invited to be a part of the Clinton YMCA's new program, a summer survivor series.

 

The Y has, for several years running, offered a winter survivor series to promote regular exercise and fitness. Executive Director Rennie Cluver credits the Y's Gretchen Isaac for coming up with this ideal.

 

 

The summertime offers a lot more distractions to everyone's time and Cluver understands not everyone is going to be in the Y perhaps as much as they normally would be. He encourages participants to keep track of those outdoor activities and making sure to log those.

 

 

This past winter's survivor series offered a big prize package of a trip for two to Cancun. While that won't be on the table for this summer's program, Cluver says they still plan to offer incentives for participants.

 

 

The summer survivor series starts June 1. Get signed up by stopping into the YMCA at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton. 

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Child Abuse Data Outpacing 2020

As Illinois continues to come out of COVID, a central Illinois agency aimed at protecting children in situations of abuse say data so far this year is outpacing 2020.

 

Abuse advocates of all types say they saw a spike in new cases of abuse of women and children last year and Samantha Stevenson with the Child Protection Network indicates in DeWitt, McLean, and Livingston Counties, this year's metrics are ahead of last year's.

 

 

Many opponents of continued shutdowns dating back to this time last year pointed to spikes in abuse towards women and children, and while Stevenson stops short saying this was predictable, she notes they are not surprised by the spike in abuse cases.

 

 

May is Foster Care Awareness Month. Stevenson indicates they are always in need of more foster homes and CASA (court-appointed special advocate) volunteers. If you're interested in those programs you can find the CPN on social media. 

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Senate Passes Comprehensive Sex Education Bill

THE STATE SENATE IS VOTING TO OVERHAUL SEX EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS SCHOOLS. 

 

THE LEGISLATION PASSED 37 TO 18, MANDATING SEX ED STARTING IN KINDERGARTEN. THE IDEA IS TO PROVIDE COMPREHENSIVE, AGE-APPROPRIATE, INCLUSIVE, AND MEDICALLY ACCURATE INFORMATION TO ALL CHILDREN. TOPICS WOULD INCLUDE CONSENT, HEALTH RELATIONSHIPS, SEXUAL HEALTH, AND DATING VIOLENCE. THESE ARE IMPORTANT LESSONS SAYS SENATOR LINDA HOLMES OF AURORA.

 

 

THAT'S JUST TOO MUCH FOR REPRESENTATIVE DARREN BAILEY OF XENIA.

 

 

DISTRICTS WILL BE ABLE TO DECIDE HOW THEY TEACH THE CURRICULUM AND PARENTS CAN OPT-OUT THEIR KIDS FROM INSTRUCTION. THE MEASURE NOW NEEDS HOUSE APPROVAL.

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Illinois House Republicans Call for IDES Offices to Reopen

REPUBLICANS IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE ARE CALLING FOR STATE EMPLOYMENT OFFICES TO REOPEN. 

 

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY OFFICES HAVE BEEN CLOSED SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC, WITH BUSINESS CONDUCTED ONLINE AND VIA PHONE. ROCKFORD REPRESENTATIVE JOE SOSNOWSKI SAYS IT'S TIME I-D-E-S OPENS TO THE PUBLIC AND PRAISES THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE FOR REMAINING OPEN DURING MUCH OF THE PANDEMIC.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE DAN UGASTE OF SAINT CHARLES HIS G-O-P COLLEAGUES SUGGEST RE-DIRECTING THE FEDERAL BENEFITS TOWARDS CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE INSTEAD.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HAS SAID I-D-E-S OFFICES WILL REOPEN THIS SUMMER BUT HASN'T GIVEN AN EXACT DATE. HE'S CITED SAFETY CONCERNS IN THE PAST BASED ON THREATS AGAINST WORKERS.

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House Passes Bill Requiring Schools to Have Menstrual Products in All 4th-12th Grade Bathrooms

ILLINOIS SCHOOLS WILL HAVE TO MAKE SURE ALL BATHROOMS ARE STOCKED WITH MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS UNDER A BILL PASSED BY THE HOUSE THURSDAY.

 

THE MEASURE PASSED ON A 68 TO 43 VOTE, WITH A LOT OF DEBATE ABOUT WHY BOTH MALE AND FEMALE BATHROOMS NEED TO HAVE PADS AND TAMPONS. REPRESENTATIVE KATHLEEN WILLIS OF NORTHLAKE EXPLAINS.

 

 

SUPPORTERS ARGUE THE PRODUCTS SHOULD BE READILY ACCESSIBLE TO THOSE WHO HAVE THEIR PERIOD AT SCHOOL, BUT REPRESENTATIVE ANDREW CHESNEY OF FREEPORT DISAGREED.

 

 

THE MEASURE PASSED ON A 68 TO 43 VOTE AND NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE.

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Mt. Pulaski Schools Bringing Fresh Meals to Students

Mt. Pulaski is making its case as the epitome of a farm-to-table lifestyle with a recent decision by the Mt. Pulaski Board of Education.

 

Superintendent Fred Lamkey on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News the district is bringing in a new food provider whose aim is to bring the farm-to-table concept to schools.

 

 

Lamkey indicates the company they are hiring is well established across the corn belt. He explains they have excellent systems in place to train school staff, provide food, and give kids plenty of options.

 

 

The program starts next year for Mt. Pulaski schools. This effort also coincides with a coop grocery store in the community focused on providing local farmer-produced food to the community. 

 

ALMH in Lincoln also began a similar effort late in 2019 with schools in Lincoln. 

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Rep. Caulkins Weighs In On Governor's Failures at LaSalle Veteran's Home

A group of House Republican legislators met at the capitol in Springfield today to discuss the critical mismanagement of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs under the leadership of the Pritzker administration.

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur), a veteran of over 20 years of military service, said the first responsibility of a leader is to protect those under his command. But since the outbreak of the pandemic at the Illinois Veteran’s homes, all we have heard from the Prizker administration is excuse after excuse and zero action to protect the lives of the veterans. 

 

 

COVID-19 claimed the lives of 36 residents of the LaSalle Veterans Home last fall.   But a report found those deaths could have been prevented.  According to a scathing Illinois Department of Human Services Inspector General report released late last month, the lack of COVID plan and failures in leadership contributed to a big outbreak.

 

 

Last week, the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing at the capitol to take testimony from members of the administration, but they are still looking for answers that weren’t given at that hearing.

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Rep. Brady Blasts Lack of Leadership From Governor's Office

A group of House Republicans, in a Wednesday morning press conference, addressed what they see to be the lack of accountability and leadership from the Governor’s Office.

 

State Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal) discussed what he said were the absolute failure of IDES and the Governor refusing to take ownership or any accountability for that.

 

 

According to Brady, the Pritzker administration's refusal to take responsibility for their failures and to work to fix them has cost Illinois families dearly. Families thrown out of work this past year by the coronavirus shutdown, have been waiting weeks and months for responses for unemployment regarding their claims.  

 

 

He went on to say that if that isn’t bad enough, a data breach on the Illinois Department of Unemployment Security website, also left them open to identity theft.  And a year into the Governor’s Coronavirus response plan, we still don't have answers about this complete failure.

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Springfield Republican Rips Illinois Dems on Redistricting

With less than two weeks before the end of the legislative session,  members of the Illinois House Republican caucus and the public in general wait to get answers from Illinois Democrats as to what data they are using during the redistricting process.  

 

Wednesday on the House floor, the Republican spokesperson of the House redistricting committee, Rep. Tim Butler of Springfield, once again rose to ask Democrat leaders for the answer and once again got the “we’ll get back to you on that” response.  That prompted Rep. Butler to say he has heard that response time and time again. 

 

 

Republicans accuse the Democrats of rushing the process so they can maintain control and predict Democrats will use data from the American Community Survey (ACS) – a survey performed by the U.S. Census Bureau that’s done on a significantly smaller scale than the once-every-decade census. They say that as long as those across the aisle want to use the ACS as a point for drawing the map, this is not a fair map.   ACS data is simply an estimate and there should be no rush using this estimated data from the ACS.

 

 

The constitution’s drop-date is Oct. 5 for the map-making work to be completed.

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Sen. Barickman Mulling Run for Governor

A downstate Illinois lawmaker is mulling around the idea of running for Governor of Illinois; however, a decision could come later this summer. State Senator Jason Barickman said he wants to decide with his family.

 

 

Currently, candidates who have announced intentions on running for Governor include Illinois State Senator Darrin Bailey, former State Senator Paul Schimpf, and Illinois businessman Gary Rabine. Gov. Pritzker has yet to announce intentions to run for reelection.

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IDPH Director Discusses Vaccine Basics

THE STATE’S TOP PUBLIC HEALTH DOCTOR IS DISCUSSING THE INS AND OUTS OF COVID-19 VACCINE PROTECTION. 

 

IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED, MEANING YOU’VE RECEIVED THE REQUIRED DOSES AND PASSED THE TWO WEEK MARK, YOU CAN ASSUME YOU’RE PROTECTED AND YOU AREN’T GOING TO GET SEVERELY ILL OR END UP HOSPITALIZED SAYS ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay). BUT CAN YOU STILL GET THE VIRUS?

 

 

EZIKE SAYS THAT LOW LEVELS OF THE VIRUS MAKE IT UNLIKELY THAT SOMEONE VACCINATED WHO GETS COVID WOULD SPREAD IT TO OTHERS.

 

 

EZIKE SAYS WHILE VACCINATION IS A PERSONAL DECISION, THOSE OPTING NOT TO GET THE SHOT SHOULD CONTINUE TO WEAR A MASK TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND OTHERS.

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Ameren Partnering With Food Pantries

A number of food pantries will now be able to keep perishable donations longer, something that many pantries struggle with. 

 

The help is coming from Ameren Illinois, which recently donated 26 The ENERGY STAR upright convertible refrigerator/freezers to pantries across its service area. The donations came after hearing of places that were having to turn away donations because there was a lack of equipment to store the food. Ameren Illinois Community Relations Executive Tina Gibbs says more than 100 agencies applied for help.

 

 

Based on the response, Gibbs says there is a good chance they will do this again later this year.

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Local Lawmakers Honor Fallen Champaign Police Officer

Local lawmakers are honoring the life of Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim who was killed in the line of duty early Wednesday morning. 

In a statement released from State Representative Dan Caulkins, the Decatur Republican credits Oberheim's commitment to his family and service to his community.

 

“Today, we learned with deep sadness of the passing of Champaign Police Officer Chris Oberheim, badge number 703. Officer Oberheim was struck by gunfire while responding to a domestic disturbance in Champaign early Wednesday morning. Ever the professional, Officer Oberheim will be remembered for his bravery in the line of duty, his devotion to protecting the people of Champaign, and his love for his family. Officer Oberheim began his career with the Decatur Police Department before joining the Champaign Police Department in 2008. He served his community honorably and will be missed by all. I send my prayers and condolences to Officer Oberheim’s family, friends, colleagues, and loved ones.”

 

State Senator Chapin Rose knew Officer Oberheim's partner, who was also injured in the Wednesday incident described as a domestic dispute.

 

On the Senate floor Wednesday, the Mahomet Republican said quote - “This morning I found out that one of my best friends in the world was shot while on duty as a Champaign Police Officer responding to a domestic call – and while he is in stable condition, his partner, Officer Chris Oberheim gave his life serving to protect those whom he had never met. My friend is a standup citizen, coached my son’s little league team, volunteers faithfully at our local communities AWANA church program for kids, and is defined by his faith.  And while I do not know Officer Oberheim, this morning I talked to numerous people who do.  Chris was a Father of four and husband, a softball coach, and a veteran of both the Champaign Police Department, as well as the Decatur Police Department – where he still has family and numerous friends continuing to serve in law enforcement - all of whom are mourning his loss today. I also talked to the Monticello Schools Superintendent, who noted the enormity of the loss for the Monticello community in Chris’ passing.  Both of these men displayed the courage and selfless sacrifice that defines our brave men and women in Blue."

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Champaign Police Officer Killed in Domestic Incident

A central Illinois police officer died Wednesday after being shot by a suspect in a domestic disturbance who also was killed in an exchange of gunfire that left a second officer wounded, a police chief said.

 

Champaign police Officer Chris Oberheim, 44, “passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Police Chief Anthony Cobb said in a statement.

 

He said Oberheim, who had joined the department in September 2008, was struck by gunfire early Wednesday while responding to a domestic disturbance. Cobb added his only intention was to serve, protect and help provide care before he was senselessly fired upon and killed.

 

 Cobb said in his statement - Officer Oberheim is remembered for his heroism, bravery, and the oath of office he honorably upheld in his commitment to duty.

 

The suspect who opened fire on Oberheim and another officer was killed in the exchange of gunfire about 3:20 a.m. at an apartment complex on Champaign’s north side. The second officer was wounded and reported in stable condition.

 

According to reports, the shooting occurred at an apartment complex and it came days after Chief Cobb said he feared a shooting involving police could happen as the city deals with escalating gun violence.

 

There have been about 85 reports of shots fired, and many injuries, in Champaign so far this year.

 

Champaign police said Illinois State Police will lead the investigation into the shooting, with assistance from Urbana police, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, and the University of Illinois Police Department.

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Clinton Board of Education Hears About Summer Projects

The Clinton School district will spend roughly $200,000 on summer improvements on a variety of projects across the district.

 

At the Tuesday night monthly meeting of the Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel told the Board after an extensive amount of research, he found they typically spend around $100,000 each summer. 

 

 

According to Goebel, there are several expensive projects that they are targeting, starting with replacing several poles. Fixing around a half-a-dozen poles will cost nearly $100,000 on its own.

 

 

The rest of the list is smaller projects that may not generate a lot of buzz but Goebel has been keeping track of things that need to be done and is targeting a list of things to fix.

 

 

Other projects targeted this summer include clock replacements at Clinton Junior High School, concrete work in front of the junior high school, and playground equipment at Lincoln Elementary School will be gradually replaced. 

 

Other action from the Tuesday night meeting:

 

>>The Board of Education approved the acquisition of land from the Killian family

 

>>The Board approved administration contracts for 2021-22

 

>>$62,500 was transferred from the Education Fund to the debt fund to pay the annual Apple lease for district technology.

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Clinton City Administrator Discusses Future of Summer Concert Series

Before COVID, the City of Clinton had real momentum in creating anticipation for its annual summer concert series.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Clinton City Administrator Tim Followell says the series will have to be put on hold in 2021 for several reasons. Primarily the City was not sure what guidance was going to be for the time frame of the concerts but also booking talent is very expensive right now due to demand.

 

 

If you're needing some live entertainment, Followell says this weekend's May Days festival will have several live entertainment options.

 

 

Followell says the City will be looking to bring back those concerts next year. American Idol contestants Lauren Alaina and Sundance Head have been featured talents in recent years. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Executive Director Focused on Education for Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a Piatt County mental health leader is focused on continuing education.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, gave an update of statistics that continue to grow as it relates to mental health. His passion is highlighting the data in our youth.

 

 

According to Kirkman, one partnership he is glad to see being enhanced in recent years is the partnership between law enforcement and mental health professionals. He believes this is leading to better response for those with mental health issues that are getting into legal or criminal trouble.

 

 

A concerning trend among youth in DeWitt and Piatt Counties is the fact there is a lot of kids entertaining ideas of suicide. He believes we need to give kids a healthy avenue to express these feelings. 

 

 

The Piatt County Mental Health Center was instrumental in coordinating with a trio of Piatt County school districts to bring a counselor to its halls a few years ago. Kirkman says that the counselor has been extremely busy this year as COVID has greatly impacted district students.

 

 

Kirkman hopes the public will continue to educate itself on mental health. He says they see a lot of inappropriate behavior followed by shame. He believes there is no shame in treating mental health issues comparing it to treating a headache or other standard illness. 

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Wet Weather to Usher in Warm Weather

A wet weather picture for much of Illinois this week will transition to warm weather....

 

 

DTN Chief Agriculture Meteorologist Bryce Anderson says things should let up following Wednesday. Warmer temps will also arrive later this week into the weekend with low to mid-80’s expected to be the norm. Some areas of Illinois may get close to 90 by the latter portion of the weekend or early next week.

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Sen. Durbin Critical of GOP Infrastructure Proposal

Republicans could unveil a massive infrastructure proposal in the coming days as optimism grows about a possible bipartisan deal. However, the proposal is "not very ambitious," according to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.

 

 

Those charging stations would benefit Rivan manufacturing, hoping to begin producing their R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck later this summer in Normal. The proposal, which would be a fraction of President Biden's $2.3 Trillion infrastructure plan, would include funding for roads, public transportation, and airports.

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GOP Remains Frustrated With Ethics Reforms

Has enough been done to root out ethical problems inside the statehouse? 

 

Governor JB Pritzker has called for reforms to be brought through the legislature – but Republicans are saying bills to address those issues are floundering as session days tick away. Republican Rep. Chris Bos says the reforms start simply.

 

 

Democrats have been supportive of many of the same reforms but so far wide ranging ethics reform bills still aren’t up for a floor vote.

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Bill Would Require Students to Be Taught About Media Literacy

LEGISLATION PENDING IN THE ILLINOIS SENATE REQUIRES HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO BE TAUGHT ABOUT MEDIA LITERACY. 

 

A NEW STATE LAW ALREADY REQUIRES KIDS TO TAKE A COURSE IN COMPUTER LITERACY. SPONSOR OF THE NEW BILL, SENATOR KARINA VILLA OF WEST CHICAGO WANTS MEDIA LITERACY TO BE COVERED IN THAT COURSE AS WELL.

 

 

SENATOR TERRI BRYANT OF MURPHYSBORO IS EXPRESSING CONCERN ABOUT THE MEASURE.

 

 

THE UNIT, WHICH WOULD BE DEVELOPED BY EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT, WOULD ALSO INCLUDE LESSONS ON CREATING MEDIA AND THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING INFORMATION FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES.

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Gov. Pritzker Has No Plans to Cut Enhanced Benefits for Out of Work Illinoisans

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THERE ARE NO PLANS TO CUT ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FOR OUT-OF-WORK ILLINOISANS.

 

SEVERAL STATES ARE ENDING THE EXTRA 300 DOLLARS A MONTH BENEFIT, WITH LEADERS SAYING PEOPLE AREN’T AS MOTIVATED TO GO BACK TO WORK THESE DAYS. SPEAKING MONDAY IN SPRINGFIELD, GOVERNOR PRITZKER DISAGREED.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE MARTIN MCLAUGHLIN OF LAKE BARRINGTON SAYS THE EXTRA 300 DOLLARS A WEEK IS MAKING IT VERY HARD FOR BUSINESSES TO REOPEN ANY FURTHER.

 

 

SEVERAL STATES ARE OPTING TO END THE ENHANCED BENEFIT BUT GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE DOESN’T WANT TO PULL THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER ILLINOISANS STILL STRUGGLING.

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Clinton YMCA Gearing Up for Summer 'Camp Osage' Program

Registration is open for the Clinton YMCA's annual summer program, Camp Osage.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Executive Director Rennie Cluver told Regional Radio News they are looking forward to a more normal year with fewer restrictions, more kids and more opportunities for fun in the great outdoors.

 

 

The Y recently changed a policy they were going to enter the summer with and that is registration ahead of a week of camp will not be necessary. Cluver explains they were going to ask parents and guardians to register kids the week prior for their attendance but have since gone back on that requirement.

 

 

While Cluver is thankful there are more things happening this summer, like returning to Weldon Springs, he also notes there will be some restrictions in place. He also anticipates more activities being added to the calendar as the year goes along.

 

 

In recent years, Y staff have worked to be inclusive to children of all interests. Cluver explains they understand not all kids are 'get outside and get dirty' type of children and they want to make sure everyone has a good time doing the things they enjoy.

 

 

Camp Osage kicks off Tuesday, June 1. Cluver says registration is ongoing. He encourages parents that will have kids that regularly attend Camp Osage to consider registering their child for child membership through the Y. It will save them money over the course of the summer.

 

Get more information by finding the YMCA on Facebook or visiting clintoncommymca.org. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Readying for 2021-22 School Year

As the pandemic impacted 2020-21 school year wraps up, area school leaders have begun preparations for the next school year.

 

Most administrators are planning for students to be back in school full time starting in mid-to-late August and Blue Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer indicates their attention is planning for how COVID will impact next school year.

 

 

According to Dr. Stanifer, whether students have to mask or not will likely not be up to her and whatever the recommendations will be as it relates to those issues, she will follow them. She just hopes to have kids in-person as much as possible.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer began her tenure in Blue Ridge very early on in the pandemic and believes she started to transition from crisis manager to leader this school year. She is looking forward to building on that.

 

 

Blue Ridge will have a busy summer. The district is planning on having a summer school program very quickly after the final day of class. There will also be an elementary introductory program and some programming available for students to work on at their own pace. 

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Weekly Crop Report

A COOL, DRY WEEK KEPT PLANTING PROGRESS AHEAD OF PACE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

ABOUT FOUR DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK. LOOKING AT SOYBEANS...

 

 

86 PERCENT OF CORN ACRES HAVE NOW BEEN PLANTED. 59 PERCENT HAS EMERGED, COMPARED TO 40 PERCENT AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR SAYS SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

85 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 83 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 22 PERCENT COMPLETE. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 10 PERCENT SHORT, 69 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 20 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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New Law Would Help People Through the Court Process

A NEW SERVICE CALLED "ILLINOIS COURT HELP" IS NOW AVAILABLE TO HELP GUIDE PEOPLE THROUGH THE OFTEN CONFUSING COURT PROCESS.

 

THE HELPLINE IS STAFFED BY TRAINED COURT GUIDES TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS SAYS LISA COLPOYS WITH THE ILLINOIS COURTS.

 

 

COLPOYS SAYS BY TEXTING OR CALLING THE HELPLINE AT 833-411-1121, ANYONE FACING THINGS LIKE A DIVORCE, D-U-I OR EVICTION CAN GET ANSWERS TO THEIR QUESTIONS.

 

 

YOU CAN ALSO GET LOGISTICAL INFORMATION LIKE WHERE TO PARK AND WHAT COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS ARE IN PLACE AT THE COURTHOUSE.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces Rent Program

A survey done in Illinois by the US Census says there are about 300,000 people in Illinois who don’t always know how they are going to pay their rent.

 

A new program from the state is trying to address that. With the support of COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government, 125,000 renters will be able to apply for $25,000 each in back rent relief. Governor JB Pritzker says the process will need both the landlord and tenant involved. And local community groups can help put both parties together.

 

 

The process from application to deposit is expected to take about 90 days. The renter does not have access to the funds – they are directly deposited into an account for the landlord.

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Fully Vaccinated Illinoisans Can Ditch Masks in Most Settings

FULLY VACCINATED ILLINOISANS CAN NOW DITCH THE MASK IN MOST SETTINGS UNDER NEW STATE GUIDELINES.

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE IS ALIGNING WITH C-D-C RECOMMENDATIONS, SO THAT THOSE WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO WEAR A MASK IN MANY PLACES, BOTH INDOORS AND OUTDOORS. HE SAYS IT MAY TAKE SOME GETTING USED TO.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER IS ISSUING A NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER, LETTING PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE REQUIRED DOSES AND PASSED THE WAITING PERIOD TO SKIP THEIR MASK AT MANY INDOOR AND OUTDOOR PLACES.

 

 

EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THE SHOT WILL STILL HAVE TO MASK UP ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND IN CONGREGATE AND HEALTH CARE SETTINGS. THE GOVERNOR SAYS UNVACCINATED RESIDENTS SHOULD CONTINUE TO WEAR A MASK.

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Congressman Davis Reintroduces Wade Research Act

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis has reintroduced the Jonny Wade Pediatric Cancer Research Act. Davis’ bill would eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and transfer the $391.5-million balance to the 10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund. Wade was 8-years-old when he died of brain cancer on Christmas Eve 2015. Davis says he got to meet Jonny not long before he died.

 

 

Davis says the Presidential Election Campaign Fund has not been used by any major party candidate since 2008.

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Brief Clinton City Council Meeting Highlighted By Streets, Parks Update

A brief meeting of the Clinton City Council Monday featured brief updates on monthly brush pick-up and the latest at Kiwanis Park.

 

Commissioner of Public Improvements Kenny Buchanan indicates this is brush pick-up week and city crews continue to see excessive amounts of brush out to be picked up.

 

 

Kids are back to using Kiwanis Park playground equipment thanks to diligent work by Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger who indicates Exelon recently played a vital role in progressing that park forward.

 

 

The Council approved the appropriation of infrastructure funds for the improvement of Center Street. City Administrator Tim Followell made note this was just making official action that was taken a few months ago for improvements to a small portion of the multi-million Center Street project from last year for ADA improvements. 

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Clinton Police Dealing With Busy Spring

Vehicle burglaries. Car thefts. The usual springtime complaints.

 

It has been an unusually busy spring for local authorities and Police Chief Ben Lowers and reminds the public, most - if not all - burglaries they respond are crimes of opportunity.

 

 

Around 30 golf carts are registered in the City of Clinton. Chief Lowers reminds those were legalized late last year. The Chief is pleased to report, so far there have been no issues regarding golf carts on community streets. 

 

 

Chief Lowers calls the department's golf cart a great resource and has been very handy during nighttime patrols. While it provides a little more quote - "stealth" for overnight officers, it also provides for better one-on-one interaction with the community. 

 

 

Chief Lowers reminds residents to lock those vehicles. Keep all valuables either hidden, out of sight, or better yet, out of the vehicle altogether. If possible, keep vehicles parked in a well-lit place.

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May Days Starts Thursday

An annual springtime festival in Clinton is returning this year following the COVID lockdown.

 

Marian Brisard, Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, reminds that May Days presale carnival tickets for May Days are still available at several Chamber businesses. May Days was canceled last year as the COVID pandemic shutdowns were still in place. 

 

 

May Days begin Thursday at 5 pm with a flag-raising ceremony. Other highlights include the Clinton High School Thespians' sing-off competition.

 

 

On Saturday, May 22, the Clinton Fire Department along with other area fire departments will be hosting a waterball competition at 2 pm. This year it has been moved to the DeWitt County Building Parking Lot. Also on Saturday is the American Legion Pork Chop Supper from 5-6:30 pm.

 

 

The ticket booths this year will once again be manned by Second Chance for Pets volunteers. Brisard indicates by volunteering their time, May Days is also a fundraiser for Second Chance.

 

 

May Days this year is Thursday, May 20 through Sunday, May 23. Thursday night and Sunday are family days and all carnival rides take one ticket only. Presale tickets are available until 3 pm Thursday, and tickets will be for sale at the carnival.

 

For more information, visit clintonilchamber.com, follow them on Facebook, or call (217) 935-3364.

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Sen. Durbin Supports Pritzker in Using COVID Relief Dollars to Pay for Federal Loan

The state still wants to be able to use COVID relief dollars to pay back short-term loans from the federal government.

 

The Governor has said part of his plan for $8 billion in federal funds is to repay the loan the state took from the Federal Reserve’s Liquidity Fund. The Fed has said that’s not a proper use of those dollars. Both the Governor and US Senator Dick Durbin disagree.

 

 

The state was loaned about $3 billion last year. Comptroller Susana Mendoza has also been vocal about the state being able to use those dollars to pay off the borrowing.

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ALMH Offering Vaccine Clinics for Youth Ages 12-15

Now that the COVID vaccine is open to kids ages 12 to 15, a Logan County healthcare system is offering free vaccine clinics.

 

Alyssa Schmidt is the Director of Compliance and Medical Staff at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln. She says clinics begin Thursday and Friday this week. Individuals under 18 will be required to have a parent with them.

 

 

According to Schmidt, ALMH has been able to vaccinate over 6,000 people.

 

 

Vaccination clinics will be held from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. It is a two-dose regimen, with the shots spaced about 21 days apart. Once people receive their second shot, they will be fully immunized about two weeks later. 

 

An appointment is required to participate in the vaccination clinics. Registration opened May 13.  To make an appointment, visit ALMH.org, click on the COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic banner. For those without internet access, call 217-605-6500. The call will go to voicemail and someone will call back when an appointment is available to schedule. 

 

Schmidt stresses these clinics are open to residents in any zip code. 

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Illinois Department of Agriculture Offering Free Chemical Container Recycling Days Throughout State

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE WILL BE OFFERING FREE RECYCLING FOR AGRICHEMICAL CONTAINERS. 

 

FARMERS AND AGRICHEMICAL FACILITIES ARE URGED TO SAVE THEIR EMPTY CONTAINERS FOR THE UPCOMING RECYCLING DAYS SAYS THE AGENCY'S RICHARD SEVERNS.

 

 

CONTAINERS MUST BE CLEAN AND DRY AND BE FREE OF CAPS AND LABELS. MINI AND INTERMEDIATE BULK CONTAINERS MUST BE CUT INTO SEPARATE TOP, BOTTOM AND SIDES AND FITTINGS REMOVED. 

 

 

DATES AND TIMES FOR RECYCLING ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: AGRICULTURE DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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A Look at Meat Consumption in the US

A STUDY OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LOOKS AT MEAT CONSUMPTION IN THE U-S. 

 

FOR THE MOST PART, THE AMOUNT OF MEAT PEOPLE ARE EATING HAS REMAINED STEADY OVER THE PAST TWO DECADES. BUT U OF I COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE RESEARCH ASSISTANT GRETCHEN KUCK (cook) SAYS MORE ARE OPTING FOR CHICKEN OVER BEEF.

 

 

THERE WAS A BIT OF A DECLINE IN CONSUMPTION FROM 2007 TO 2013, WHICH KUCK SAYS CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO INCREASED USE OF CORN IN ETHANOL LEADING TO HIGHER GRAIN PRICES AND THE GREAT RECESSION OF 2008.

 

 

KUCK SAYS ANOTHER TREND DURING THE PAST TWO DECADES IS A DECLINE IN PEOPLE EATING BEEF AND AN INCREASE IN CHICKEN CONSUMPTION.

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DNR Officials Discuss Parking at Area Parks

Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials are asking the public to be mindful of parking rules at State Parks this summer.

 

DNR Deputy Director reminds anyone going to a state park to be aware of those parking signs. She points to Starved Rock State Park as a place where parking can get backed up a lot on busy weekends. 

 

 

Clinton Lake is known for vehicles parking in illegal zones in the Mascoutin campground area. DNR officials stress most parking rules are in place for safety reasons. 

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ISU Still Working on Timetable for Indoor Facility

A new indoor practice facility could be coming to Illinois State University; however, the school's Athletic Director says a timeline is not yet set. The facility, which would complement Horton Field House, is a priority for new Athletic Director Kyle Brennan.

 

 

In March, the University received a $2 million anonymous donation to kickstart the fundraising effort to allow for teams like football to practice indoors. With a change coming to the President position come Friday, Brennan said he would be working with the University's new leader to ensure the project is completed.

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Rep. Brady Demands Illinois Democrats' Gerrymandering End

A group of House Republicans held an after session press conference on Friday to wrap up the week’s action in Springfield, however they didn’t expect to be done with the day’s work as quickly as they were.   

 

State Representative Dan Brady (R-Normal) talked about the Democrat update the previous day and how the Democrats are once again cramming gerrymandered district maps down the throats of Illinois residents.

 

 

Following a six minute and 30 second session day, the group planned to talk about things important to the state such as redistricting, the LaSalle Veterans Home tragedy, the continued FOID card fiasco, and ethics reform but they felt the need to mention the fact with all of the issues facing the state and with only two weeks remaining in the spring legislative session, Democrat leaders chose to gavel in/gavel out and send everyone home.

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Can COVID Relief Dollars Be Used to Help State Pay Off Borrowing?

Illinois was the only state to borrow from an emergency fund set up by the Federal Reserve last year to meet state expenses during the height of the pandemic. 

 

And the plan to pay off those borrowed billions was centered around using some of the COVID-19 relief dollars appropriated from Congress. But early on it appears the Federal Government says that’s not allowed. According to Governor JB Pritzker the state remains in close communication with Washington DC to change the interpretation of the law.

 

 

Illinois borrowed about $3 billion from the Federal Reserve’s liquidity fund.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a cool week in central Illinois after a couple of inches of rain last weekend. More rain could be on the way again as we head into the weekend and next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us more...

 

 

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Six Flags Great America Offering Free Tickets to Vaccinated Individuals

GET THE SHOT, GET FREE TICKETS TO SIX FLAGS GREAT AMERCIA UNDER A NEW COVID-19 VACCINE INCENTIVE.

 

SIX FLAGS IS DONATING 50 THOUSAND TICKETS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE OPTED TO GET VACCINATED, GOOD FOR USE AT THE PARKS IN GURNEE AND ROCKFORD SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE HOPE IS THAT A FREE DAY OF SUMMER FUN PROVIDES SOME INCENTIVE TO GET VACCINATED SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

AREA HEALTH DEPARTMENTS WILL GET SOME OF THE TICKETS TO DISTRIBUTE AND THE ILLINOIS NATIONAL GUARD WILL HAVE A MOBILE VACCINATION UNIT SET UP AT GREAT AMERICA ON JUNE FIFTH AND SIXTH. THERE WILL ALSO BE A CONCENTRATED EFFORT TO REACH PEOPLE IN COMMUNITIES WITH LOW VACCINATION RATES.

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Gov. Pritzker Discusses LaSalle Veterans Home COVID Outbreak

Lawsuits have now been filed by some of the families of veterans who died from COVID-19 while living at the LaSalle Veterans Home last November. 

 

The deaths come a few years after up to 14 residents of another state-run veterans home died in Quincy after a Legionnaires outbreak. That deadly incident was used by Governor JB Pritzker to tarnish then Governor Bruce Rauner. Pritzker says his administration handled the current situation quite differently than Rauner did.

 

 

Pritzker has appointed a new acting director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.

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High School Basketball Shot Clock Could Be Possible in 2022-'23

Beginning with the 2022-23 season, a 35-second shot clock will be permitted in high school basketball games by state association adoption. What does that mean for Illinois? Reaction from the IHSA’s Kurt Gibson…..

 

 

The IHSA Board meets June 14.

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Progress of Alta Farms II Construction Impacted By Weekend Rains

Last weekend's torrential rainfall forced a mandatory site inspection of the ongoing construction of the Alta Farms II wind farm.

 

Per the report published by Enel Green Power Monday, 1.6-inches of rainfall was reported at the site, and work was limited early in the week due to muddy conditions. 

 

Safety protocols were completed like mandatory online COVID training and rapid testing as well as a review of site requirements both related to COVID and site safety. 

 

By Tuesday, workers were continuing with the prep and stoning of Mockingbird Hill Road, Tabor Road North, Burr Oak Road, and Green Valley Road. Midweek, crews were working to widen Burr Oak Road from Flatland Road to Thorps Road. Culvert installations are underway as well as surveying. 

 

As of Thursday afternoon, roughly 9 of 15 acres of laydown yard was complete. 

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ALMH Farmer's Market Reopens for Summer on Saturday

Farmer's market-goers in Lincoln are readying for Saturday when the ALMH Farmer's Market reopens for the summer. 

 

Chelsea Campbell says this is the sixth year for the market and is excited they are going to be able to bring back a lot of programming that was put on pause last summer due to the COVID pandemic.

 

 

The 'sample of the market' program is returning this year along with programs for kids to token games are coming back in 2021. Campbell says tokens are good to be used at any vendor at the market.

 

 

Health screenings are returning in 2021. Campbell says these are great free resources to the community that are wildly popular.

 

 

Campbell indicates the token system used at the market can often be a point of confusion. Tokens are not required to shop at the market but come in handy if you don't have cash and vendors do not have access to debit card scanners. Campbell also points out SNAP users can shop the market.

 

 

Campbell says in 2020, the ALMH Farmer's Market went back to its essential function and was very happy to see the community support for the market. Additionally, they found their online shopping program was a huge success and are bringing that back in 2021.

 

Find the ALMH Farmer's Market on Facebook or visit almhmarket.org for more information. Saturday markets in Lincoln are from 8 am to noon at the Logan County Fairgrounds. 

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National Weather Service Updates 'Normals'

Just like the government resets its counting stats with decennial censuses, the National Weather Service resets its counting data every ten years as well.

 

It may sound confusing, it's actually quite simple according to Chris Miller of the National Weather Service in Lincoln. He explains they compare their 'normal' data to a 30-year period. It's time to reset those 30-year 'normals'.

 

 

Temperatures in the last thirty years have slightly increased in recent years and Miller points out it is particularly noticeable in the winter temperatures.

 

 

Unsurprisingly to some, snowfall has increased over the years, and Miller points out it is again particularly noticeable later in the spring. Mid-April snow this year and an Easter Sunday snow just a few years ago are recurring memories for central Illinoisans.

 

 

Comparing the latest adjustment of 'normals', Miller says it's interesting to see the fluctuations in these data points. He explains temperatures have really only increased a half-of-a-degree over the last century-plus.

 

 

Miller says data like the new 'normals' and other fascinating data points are available all the time at weather.gov/lincoln. 

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Illinois Officially Moves Into 'Bridge Phase' Today

ILLINOIS OFFICIALLY MOVES INTO THE "BRIDGE PHASE" TODAY. 

 

THANKS TO DECLINING COVID CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS, SOME RESTRICTIONS WILL BE LOOSENED UP A BIT SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THIS IS GREAT NEWS SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

IF COVID NUMBERS CONTINUE TO DECLINE, THE STATE WILL MOVE TO PHASE FIVE, FULL REOPENING IN ABOUT A MONTH.

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Cubs, Sox Expanding Fan Capacity

THE CHICAGO CUBS AND WHITE SOX ARE BOOSTING FAN CAPACITY LATER THIS MONTH. 

 

CAPACITY WILL INCREASE FROM 25 PERCENT TO 60 PERCENT AT THE END OF MAY. ADDITIONALLY, SPECIAL AREAS WILL BE SET UP FOR FANS WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS CERTAIN AREAS WILL BE DESIGNATED FOR VACCINATED FANS ONLY.

 

 

MASKS WILL STILL BE REQUIRED.

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This Week is Police Week

It's Police Week and a local law enforcement official is taking time to remember the fallen officers in our community and also raise awareness around the officers that are killed in the line of duty each year.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says Clinton and DeWitt County has lost three officers in the line of duty over the years and annually recognizes them.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, 2020 was one of the deadliest years for officers killed in the line of duty given the civil unrest across the country. Chief Lowers says many fatalities to police officers have been attributed to COVID in the last year as well.

 

 

Police reform discussions have often turned to better community policing and Chief Lowers in his time as Chief in Clinton has been very intentional about building a strong relationship with the community.

 

 

Chief Lowers hopes if you see a police officer out this week, you take a moment to simply say thank you. He says it means more to them than the public can know. 

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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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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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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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