Local News

Tuesday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and a government agency is highlighting one form of abuse that seems to chronically target the elderly.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security says not only do scams habitually target and victimize the elderly, but they also come in the form of imposters mimicking Social Security agents.

 

 

Recently, Social Security personnel have been made aware of the fact many of these swindlers are impersonating Social Security badges. Myers says they'll use government symbols, words, or even names and photos of real people to appear authentic.

 

 

Identifying if a call or correspondence is a scam might help knowing how Social Security is going to get a hold of you. Myers indicates Social Security will never text or email an image of an employee's identification nor will they suspend your Social Security number or threaten you with arrest or other legal action.

 

 

According to Myers, Social Security will never ask for you to pay by retail gift card, a wire transfer, or internet currency. Additionally, be aware of claims of promises of increased benefits in exchange for payment.

 

 

Myers points out, you may owe Social Security money, however, those notices will come in the form of a letter with payment options and appeal rights. 

 

Myers encourages any attempts of these that may come your way to report them to the Office of the Inspector General by visiting oig.ssa.gov. 

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University of Illinois Extension Discusses Summer Grilling

The summer grilling season is upon us and the University of Illinois Extension has some reminders about safe and clean grilling this summer. 

 

You can tell it's summer grilling season by the various smells you'll encounter when strolling through the community and Caitlin Mellendorf, Nutrition Educator with the University of Illinois Extension says there are four general focuses when discussing outdoor grilling. The first, and perhaps the most important, is cleanliness.

 

 

Dealing with raw meats can be very complicated and Mellendorf emphasizes you want to be very careful if you're going to be cooking with multiple kinds of raw meat. She says being negligent can have some very harsh consequences.

 

 

Finally, you want to make sure your foods are cooked to their recommended internal temperatures. Mellendorf says a food thermometer is a must and implores to never judge your foods' completion based on how it looks. Additionally, you'll want to maintain those temperatures in hot foods and keep cold foods cold. 

 

 

Cross-contamination is a very serious threat if you do not clean properly and are mingling raw meats together. Mellendorf says the side effects of this can be mild for some to serious food poisonings and other illnesses. 

 

Another recommendation is to keep those grill grates cleaned by scraping them off between foods coming and going on the grill and where we're putting our foods on the grill. 

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Recent Legislative Session 'Big Win' for Mental Health

A local mental health agency is welcoming a bill passed during the recent Illinois state legislative session.

 

Tony Kirkman, Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center, told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday that Illinois House Bill 3308 is a "big win for telehealth." The bill will protect the Governor's executive order on telehealth for the next five years.

 

 

The bill has a sunset clause that will allow private insurance companies to negotiate the rate for telehealth. Kirkman is anticipating insurance companies will cover less of a cost of telehealth compared to in-person visits.

 

 

Kirkman applauds the Governor's executive orders for allowing mental health providers to transition to telehealth quickly. He says telehealth allowed for individuals who were receiving therapy to continue that relationship. It has been good outreach for younger populations as well.

 

 

Illinois House Bill 3308 passed the General Assembly and now awaits the Governor's signature.

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State agencies helping with emergency response at chemical fire in Rockton, IL

STATE AGENCIES ARE PROVIDING EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO THE CHEMICAL FIRE IN ROCKTON, ILLINOIS. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER ACTIVATED THE STATE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER TO HELP COORDINATE EFFORTS AT CHEMTOOL, A LUBRICANT MANUFACTURING PLANT. THERE'S A MANDATORY EVACUATION IN PLACE WITHIN A MILE RADIUS OF THE BUILDING. ILLINOIS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY DIRECTOR JOHN KIM SAYS STAFF WILL MONITOR THE SITUATION.

 

 

THE FIRE BROKE OUT AT CHEMTOOL, A LUBRICANT MANUFACTURING COMPANY. THE ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DISPATCHED TEAMS TO THE SCENE AND DIRECTOR ALICIA TATE-NADEAU SAYS THEY ARE REVIEWING POTENTIAL PROBLEMS.

 

 

STATE E-P-A OFFICIALS ARE ALSO MONITORING THE SITUATION AND ILLINOIS NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED TO HELP OUT AS WELL.

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Weekly Crop Report

SOYBEAN PLANTING IS WRAPPING UP IN ILLINOIS. 

 

95 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES HAVE NOW BEEN PLANTED, WITH 91 PERCENT EMERGED. 63 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER GIVES AN UPDATE ON CORN:

 

 

IN THE LATEST CROP REPORT, AG STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 98 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES HAVE BEEN PLANTED.

 

 

82 PERCENT OF THE WINTER WHEAT CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPPED TO SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 28 PERCENT SHORT, 56 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 10 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Davis opposes EPA regulation of motorsports

Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis is among lawmakers in our nation’s capital pushing for passage of the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021. HR 3281, which Davis says has bipartisan support, would protect motorsports from being subjected to federal EPA rules on emissions.

 

Davis says the Clean Air Act of 1990 had clear language embedded in it protecting racecars from being subjected to the same regulation as every-day-drivers, but the EPA is attempting to change that. He goes on to say this bill would protect the sport from government overreach.

 

 

Davis notes auto racing is a huge part of many local economies and cultures. He says the EPA has been trying to modify that act to apply to vehicles used for professional and amateur motorsports since 2016.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Celebrating Successful May Days

The 2021 version of May Days was one of the best yet - if not, the best yet.

 

That's according to Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce Marian Brisard who raves about the four-day event this last month. She points to the financial profit the Chamber was able to turn as evidence this was one of the best festivals to date.

 

 

The Chamber ventured out to host one of the community's first large-gathering in-person events and Brisard says she was glad they could be a leader in doing something like this. From a financial perspective, Brisard says it was very important for the Chamber to put on May Days.

 

 

Brisard wrote a thank you to all those who were instrumental in making May Days a success in the most recent Chamber newsletter. You can visit clintonilchamber.com to find that and there are also thank you's posted in the window of the Chamber building on the Clinton Square. 

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Warner Hospital To Bring Down COVID Tent at the End of June, Make Testing Available Inside

If you've driven by Clinton's Warner Hospital in recent months, you've noticed a small tent outside the Family Medicine building. 

 

That will soon be coming down and CEO Paul Skowron says the testing taking place in the tent will be shifting to within the hospital itself. He indicates at one point last week, there were zero tests conducted.

 

 

As of Friday, the mask mandate in Illinois has been lifted in most settings. Skowron indicates an anticipated spike from the Memorial Day celebrations never materialized. He hopes as we get through the summer, high-volume testing will be less necessary.

 

 

Skowron indicates the tent coming down on June 30 will be well-timed because the hospital has a parking lot project planned for this summer, so it will be out of the way just in time for that to get underway.

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Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers Discusses Vacation Season

As the United States makes its way back to normal coming out of COVID, the summer vacation season may be one of the busiest in recent memory.

 

As you head your various ways for some rest and relaxation, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers encourages not losing sight of the things you need to do to protect yourself on the homefront. He encourages being a good neighbor and reaching out to each other and help keep watch over one another.

 

 

The Chief encourages having a trusted friend or relative frequently check on your home. He says you can have your mail held and newspaper service paused. 

 

 

Chief Lowers understands the desire to share photos of the fun you're having wherever you may but he encourages using discretion with how much we're sharing. He notes a simple post can reveal a lot about your whereabouts, but also the fact you're home is also vacant.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, the Police Department offers a vacation watch program where they will do a drive-by of your home a couple of times per day. Chief Lowers says it is as easy as providing the department some basic information and the dates of your planned travel.

 

 

You can get signed up for the vacation watch program by calling 217-935-9441. 

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Illinois Average for Positive COVID Tests Dips Below 1-Percent

The number of COVID-19 cases in Illinois continued to drop over the weekend with the state’s seven-day positivity rate on all tests remaining under 1%.

 

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 298 new and confirmed cases on Sunday, along with 11 new deaths.

 

At the same time, more than half of the state’s adult population has been fully vaccinated.

 

Overall, Illinois has logged more than 1.3 million infections. The death toll from the coronavirus is 23,061.

 

Illinois fully reopened on Friday since pandemic-related closures and restrictions were put in place more than a year ago. Chicago, which hasn’t always lined up with state restrictions, also reopened Friday.

 

People who are not vaccinated must still wear a face-covering indoors, and everyone will still need to wear masks inside health care facilities, jails, shelters, schools, taxis, and on public transportation. Businesses can still opt to require people to wear masks on their premises.

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DNR Continues Promotion of Boating Safety

Boating season in full force. And Illinois waterways have been packed. A few reminders from Rachel Torbert from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

Torbert also reminds that it is against the law to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol.

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Better Business Bureau Discusses Growing DMV Scamv

Government imposter scams have become hot over the last few years, and the Better Business Bureau reports one getting a lot of play recently is one in which the scammer claims to be from the department of motor vehicles. 

 

A BBB investigator advises you to be aware of the new scam which is being seen more and more in our area. BBB Investigator Don O’Brien says if you receive correspondence from someone claiming to be with a government agency, investigate it thoroughly before you act on it.

 

 

He says the government imposter scam, like many others, relies on creating a sense of urgency or false hope. If you are contacted with this type of grift, O’Brien says you should resist the urge to act immediately, do not respond to unknown texts or emails, and do a little research to see if the government agency or organization that contacted you actually exists.

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Clinton Police Chief Encourages Keeping Watchful Eye on Elderly Neighbors, Pets During Extreme Heat

It didn't take long for central Illinois to go from a wet, cool spring to the summer heat but alas, here we are.

 

Weekend temperatures in central Illinois through the weekend and into next week will hover in the mid-80s to near 90-degrees. In an annual precautionary message, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers implores the public to keep a watchful eye on our neighbors, especially the elderly. Additionally, the Chief is calling on everyone to be vigilant in pet care. 

 

 

The Chief says keeping an eye on our neighbors during warm stretches goes back to his continued messages of being a good neighbor at all times. 

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Outdoor activities surged during the pandemic

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN ILLINOIS SURGED DURING THE PANDEMIC. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES CLOSED ALL FACILITIES PRETTY QUICKLY AFTER THE VIRUS FIRST HIT. 60 SITES OPENED BACK UP MAY FIRST, WITH THE REMAINING COMING ON LINE AT THE END OF MAY. CHIEF OF STAFF KRISTIN DICENSO SAYS ATTENDANCE FIGURES SHOW COOPED UP ILLINOISANS WERE READY TO ENJOY THE OUTDOORS.

 

 

ILLINOIS PARKS, FISH AND WILDLIFE AREAS, HISTORIC SITES AND RECREATIONAL AREAS WERE CLOSED EARLY ON, BUT BEGAN REOPENING LAST MAY. STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES CHIEF OF STAFF KRISTIN DICENSO SAYS DESPITE THE MONTHS LOST DURING LOCKDOWN, ATTENDANCE AT THESE SITES INCREASED BY MORE THAN SIX PERCENT LAST YEAR.

 

 

DICENSO WAS TESTIFYING AT A STATE SENATE COMMITTEE ON TOURISM.

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Weekly Weather Summary

The first week of June was warmer than average. Outlooks into next week and the latter part of June will see a return to more seasonable temperatures. State Climatologist Trent Ford has this report...

 

 

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Warner Hospital CEO Discusses Phase 5

The CEO of Clinton's Warner Hospital has several messages for the community as the State of Illinois enters phase 5 of Governor JB Pritzker's COVID reopening plan.

 

Phase 5 ends the mask mandate except in certain settings including healthcare facilities. Paul Skowron says while we've weathered the storm of the last year-plus, we still need to be vigilant.

 

 

Earlier this week on Regional Radio News, DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Dave Remmert told Regional Radio News he felt we were getting close to having most of the population with some sort of immunity, Skowron did not necessarily agree nor disagree with that but expressed the overlapping desire of the two healthcare officials to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

 

 

Skowron is emphasizing to the public 'Phase 5' guidance continues to require masks in healthcare settings. Even as healthcare facilities have been back open in full for around a year, he continues to report preventative healthcare screenings and appointments remain behind. 

 

 

Skowron believes a lot of the hesitation in coming back to healthcare facilities is still an uncomfortably factor due to COVID but also individuals that do not want to wear a mask when they go to the doctor. 

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USDA Raising Estimates for Winter Wheat Crop

THE U-S-D-A IS RAISING ESTIMATES FOR THE WINTER WHEAT CROP. 

 

A LITTLE GOOD NEWS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

THAT'S SEVEN BUSHELS HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR. PRODUCTION IS FORECAST AT NEARLY 49 MILLION BUSHELS, UP 38 PERCENT FROM 2020.

 

 

NATIONALLY, WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTION IS FORECAST TO BE ONE POINT THREE ONE BILLION BUSHELS, UP 12 PERCENT OVER 2020.

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University of Illinois Extension Launches Mental Health Training

The University of Illinois Extension launching what they call Mental Health First Aid Training aimed at helping people in the ag community identify those who might need some help. Lisa Torrance is the University of Illinois Extension County Director in McDonough County...

 

 

The training is for those in the Ag Industry, fellow farmers and families of farmers and is intended to impart the skills needed to recognize someone in crisis. To sign up go to go.illinois.edu/mentalhealth2021. This is a virtual event so anyone can take part anywhere in Illinois.

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Illinois Goes to Phase 5 Today

Illinois shifts into Phase 5 today. 

 

The change means COVID restrictions are largely a thing of the past. Perhaps the most notable change will be no more capacity limits at venues from convention halls to baseball stadiums. IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says this should make summer much more enjoyable.

 

 

Masks will still be required on public transportation and in most health care settings. Ezike says if you feel more secure wearing a mask feel free to keep it on no matter where you are.

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Illinois Ag Leaders Meet With Congressman GT Thompson

Members of Illinois agriculture met this week with Congressman GT Thompson of Pennslyvania, the minority leader of the House Ag Committee. Rodney Weinzierl (wine-zerl), executive director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association, was in attendance.

 

 

Weinzierl says the meeting took place in Kane County.

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51-Percent of Illinois Adults Vaccinated

MORE THAN 51 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS ADULTS ARE FULLY VACCINATED. 

 

68 PERCENT OF RESIDENTS 18 AND OLDER HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE. THOSE WHO HAVEN'T GOTTEN THEIR SHOT ARE STILL URGED TO DO SO. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THE VACCINE IS SAVING LIVES, AND THE PROOF IS IN THE NUMBERS.

 

 

95 PERCENT OF ALL NEW COVID CASES IN MAY OCCURRED IN PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT FULLY VACCINATED.

 

 

VISIT CORONAVIRUS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV TO FIND A VACCINATION SITE IN YOUR AREA.

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Clinton High School Thespians Presenting 'You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown'

Fans of the classic character Charlie Brown will not want to miss a local production of 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.'

 

Clinton High School thespians have been working since April to recreate the classic film that turned into a theater production in the 80s. On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Jonah Stauffer, who plays the role of Charlie Brown, compared it to the old comic strips you are used to seeing.

 

 

Stauffer calls playing Charlie Brown, an honor and rewatched old Charlie Brown performances to find a way to relate. Lydia Taylo, who plays the role of Lucy, says she had to find a way to tap into a sassy, get-what-she-wants child.

 

 

While the cast list is limited, both actors give a tremendous amount of credit to the ensemble of the show and those behind the scenes. Taylo says she has been one of those members of the crew in previous performances and wants them to know they are as equally important to the success of the performance as those individuals with front-and-center roles. She also credits their director, Lisa Groves. 

 

 

Both Taylo and Stauffer are seniors. Stauffer says this is his favorite production they have done since he's been in high school while Taylo is very happy to have people returning to the production to perform for.

 

 

Tickets are $8 and the actors ask as much as possible for those to be purchased in advance of the shows due to the limited capacity. You can get tickets by visiting our.show/chs/charliebrown. Tickets will be available at the doors. 

 

The show was originally scheduled to be on the downtown square in Clinton but because of weather concerns, it is now being held at the high school. Attendees are asked to enter through the sports entrance on the high school's west side. 

 

Shows open tonight (Thursday) and run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7 pm. For attendees, masks will be required and even the actors will be wearing clear masks so the audience can still see their facial expressions. 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Getting Back to Normal Services

The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department has made significant improvements to its facilities in recent years to accommodate expanding services.

 

Coming out of COVID, Director Dave Remmert is reminding the public of some of those services. He reminds residents just before COVID hit, they had received a grant to expand dental services to their two-county service area.

 

 

Starting next school year, Remmert indicates a sealant program based in the schools will be reintroduced. This took a back seat thanks to COVID in the last year-and-a-half.

 

 

You can learn more about all the services of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department by visiting dewittpiatthealth.com or finding them on Facebook. 

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Incoming Maroa-Forsyth Superintendent Discusses COVID, Building Project

Longtime middle school principal Dr. Kris Kahler is going to be taking the reins as the head of Maroa-Forsyth schools this summer.

 

Monday morning outgoing Superintendent Dr. John Ahlemeyer credits Dr. Kahler for doing the things he has to do to be certified to take on the role of superintendent but also believes Dr. Kahler's knowledge of the district and relationship with teachers makes him the right fit going forward.

 

 

Dr. Kahler explains his experiences as an administrator the last decade-plus has given him the confidence that in leading different initiatives to take on the role of superintendent.

 

 

Maroa-Forsyth Schools are beginning a building project adjacent to its high school. Dr. Kahler was instrumental in getting the project to where it is now.

 

 

Looking ahead to the 2021-22 school year, Dr. Kahler says the first they need to know before kids come back to school will be what the guidance from the State of Illinois will be regarding COVID. He indicates guidance has been issued but is anticipating that changing as the summer goes along.

 

Dr. Kahler is focused on making up the learning loss from COVID. That process is underway this week. Additionally, he hopes to effectively utilize the funding from COVID and perhaps use it to improve technology but also get kids ready to return to the school setting, a place for a few, they have not been since last March. 

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Congresswoman Bustos Discusses PPP With Business Owners

Was the Paycheck Protection Program a benefit to local businesses? That’s a subject Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has been discussing with business owners in her district.

 

 

Bustos says that even as she supports the Paycheck Protection Program, following up on how effective it was is part of how she approaches legislation.

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Man Dies at Clinton Lake Wednesday

Around 4:45 pm Wednesday, authorities were called to Clinton Lake where a man was found drowned.

 

Around 5 pm, authorities found a man in his 50s near the Boondocks Grill and Bar area of the lake.

 

Authorities are investigating the circumstances of his death.

 

This story will be updated. 

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Barclay Library Summer Reading Club Underway

The Barclay Public Library in Warrensburg has launched its 2021 summer reading club and organizers are planning for a close to normal program this year.

 

Children's librarian Cindy Lewis on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News they have a children's, teen, and adult summer reading club. They have made a change this year and are going by minutes read for their children's program.

 

 

Area libraries are approaching summer programming differently. The Barclay Public Library is welcoming in programmers but Lewis points out everything will take place outside at the community park across the street from their facility.

 

 

The teen and adult summer reading club will be based on books read throughout the summer. Lewis explains for every five books read, those individuals can enter into drawings at the end of the summer for gift cards to various Macon County businesses.

 

 

Programs will be every Thursday at the park across the street from the library. Lewis also recommends their reading programs for young kids every Tuesday at the park. 

 

For more information, you can find the Barclay Public Library on Facebook or you can register for the summer reading club at barlcay.lib.il.us. 

 

The Barclay Public Library is also allowing vaccinated individuals to enter the library without a mask and has recently reintroduced some of its regular services. 

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Clinton Teen Center Director Says Area Youth Are Much Improved Now That Many Activities Have Resumed

The leader of a DeWitt County teen center indicates now that kids are back to participating in activities again, they are doing a lot better.

 

Back during the shutdown of sports and school extracurriculars, leaders across the area who work with youth reported kids were struggling. Tammy Wilson is the Executive Director of The Vault in Clinton and indicates there is a noticeable difference now that things are going back to normal.

 

 

According to Wilson, as The Vault seeks to be an outlet for kids to find security and relief, they have recently acquired a K-9 that is being trained to be a comfort dog.

 

 

Wilson is Daisy's handler and she was purchased to be a comfort dog for the kids of The Vault.

 

 

You can check out pictures of Daisy by finding The Vault on social media. 

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Scovill Zoo Sends Red Panda to Philadelphia Zoo

The Scovill Zoo recently sent a red panda to live at the Philadelphia Zoo. 

 

Ken Frye, Director of Scovill Zoo, indicated on the WHOW Morning Show Friday, zoos are working together to maintain the species' survival. The red panda was an offspring and it was sent to live with other red pandas so it could breed once it reached that age.

 

 

Frye notes the red panda was sent by plane from St. Louis to Philadelphia. He details there is a lot of paperwork required to send animals on a flight depending on the airline.

 

 

Frye says it is common nowadays for zoos to send animals to each other to prevent extinction. He notes zoos have evolved from being an animal showcase to maintaining populations so they can be reintroduced.

 

 

Frye prefers to transport animals by driving if it is reasonable. He says the least amount of time spent traveling is best for the animal.

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June is Dairy Month

June is Dairy Month and the St. Louis District Dairy Council is promoting the benefits of implementing dairy in our daily meals.

 

Monica Nyman with the St. Louis District Dairy Council says we need three servings a day of dairy in our diets and the benefits from lowering your risks of heart disease and it's good for bone health.

 

 

One of the focuses of the Dairy Council in this Dairy Month of 2021 is to help the public better understand the difference between a traditional gallon of milk and what they term, alternative beverages.

 

 

If you visit the St. Louis District Dairy Council website, stldairycouncil.org, you'll find a resource that helps consumers understand the differences in these products.

 

 

The St. Louis District Dairy Council is also doing a lot of social media engagement giveaways this month. You can find them on most social media platforms by searching St. Louis District Dairy Council. 

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Sen. Durbin Calling on Congress To Sign Insurrection Commission

As the hunt continues for more suspects alleged to play a part in the deadly capitol insurrections on January 6th, Illinois' Senior Senator is calling on Congress to form an independent investigation into the attack.

 

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said there needs to be another vote after Republicans shot down the proposed commission.

 

 

Congressman Darin LaHood voted against the commission, while Congressmen Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger voted in favor of the 9/11 style commission.

 

So far, more than 400 people have been arrested and charged with storming the capital.

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Secretary of State Launching Electronic Car Insurance Verification System

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE'S OFFICE IS LAUNCHING A NEW INITIATIVE TO HELP REDUCE THE NUMBER OF UNINSURED DRIVERS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

BEGINNING JULY FIRST, AUTO INSURANCE VERIFICATION WILL BE CONDUCTED ELECTRONICALLY SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT.

 

 

THOSE THAT DON'T APPEAR TO BE COVERED WILL BE NOTIFIED.

 

 

UNDER THE SYSTEM, INSURANCE WILL BE VERIFIED RANDOMLY AT LEAST TWICE A YEAR. DRIVERS THAT CAN'T BE VERIFIED WILL BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO PROVE THEY HAVE CAR INSURANCE. IF THEY CAN'T, THEY FACE LICENSE PLATE SUSPENSION AND A 100 REINSTATEMENT FEE.

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Illinois EPA Warns Public to Avoid Exposure to Blue-Green Algae

THE STATE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY IS WARNING THE PUBLIC TO LOOK OUT FOR BLUE-GREEN ALGAE IN ILLINOIS LAKES AND RIVERS.

 

AS TEMPERATURES RISE, THE I-E-P-A IS STARTING TO SEE MORE OF THE ALGAE SAYS SPOKESPERSON KIM BIGGS. LARGE GROWTHS OR "BLOOMS" ARE TYPICALLY HARMLESS BUT CAN PRODUCE TOXIC CHEMICALS THAT ARE HARMFUL TO PEOPLE AND PETS.

 

 

BIGGS EXPLAINS HOW TO SPOT THE BLOOMS:

 

 

SYMPTOMS OF EXPOSURE INCLUDE RASHES, HIVES, DIARRHEA, COUGHING AND VOMITTING. BIGGS SAYS THESE ALGAL BLOOMS TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE SPILLED BLUE-GREEN PAINT IN THE WATER OR LIKE SCUM OR FILTER OVER THE WATER.

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Humidity Has Arrived in Central Illinois

 

Humid conditions impacting much of Illinois this week.

 

 

Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks anticipates the temperature pattern to remain “near to slightly above normal" for the remainder of June.

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After 10 Years, Illinois Caverns Reopening

AFTER BEING CLOSED FOR 10 YEARS, THE ILLINOIS CAVERNS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS IS REOPENING TO THE PUBLIC.

 

THE TOURIST ATTRACTION WILL BE BACK OPEN BEGINNING WEDNESDAY, JUNE 16TH, LETTING PEOPLE EXPLORE THE UNDERGROUND WONDERS OF ILLINOIS SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

W-N-S CANNOT BE TRANSMITTED TO HUMANS OR OTHER ANIMALS BUT CAN BE FATAL TO CERTAIN BATS. THE PREVALENCE OF THE DISEASE HAS BEEN RELATIVELY LOW AT THIS SITE. 

 

 

THE SITE WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FROM APRIL THROUGH OCTOBER ON WEDNESDAYS THROUGH SUNDAYS FROM NINE A-M TO FOUR P-M.

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Local COVID Data Following Statewide Trends

As Illinois gets set to enter Phase 5 of the Governor's reopening plan, local data is following state metrics.

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Dave Remmert indicates of the past several weeks, local case counts are declining, following the trends of the statewide metrics.

 

 

Remmert continues to be not only encouraged by the local vaccination data but also the statewide data indicating we could be close to having most of the population with immunity to this disease.

 

 

As things begin to slowly return to normal, Remmert notes a lot of the programs and services they offer in the two counties are beginning to return. We'll hear more from Remmert later this week on Regional Radio News regarding the things that are starting back up. 

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Warrensburg-Latham Superintendent on ISBE 2021-22 Guidance

The Illinois State Board of Education recently announced guidelines for the 2021-22 school year that allow for a closer-to-normal school year.

 

Warrensburg-Latham Superintendent Cheryl Warner welcomes the announcement of a return to in-person learning. She concurs that while remote instruction during the lockdown was better than no learning, it is not a substitute for in-person.

 

 

Mrs. Warner indicates districts will only be required to provide remote learning if a student is not eligible for the COVID vaccine and if they are under quarantine from a public health department.

 

 

Mrs. Warner states, as of now, the masking, social distancing, and bus capacity guidelines will still be in place. She is hopeful that when the State reaches Phase Five, those restrictions will start to loosen.

 

 

Mrs. Warner says the district has made a lot of progress this year despite the circumstances and will continue this into the future.

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Illinois Lawmakers Pass Mental Health Emergency Bill

LEGISLATION ADDRESSING MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCIES IS HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR'S DESK.

 

A NEW NATIONWIDE SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE NUMBER...9-8-8 WILL BE OPERATIONAL NEXT SUMMER. A BILL PASSED BY LAWMAKERS REQUIRES COMMUNITIES TO COORDINATE THE NEW NUMBER WITH THEIR 9-1-1 SYSTEMS, SO THAT CALLS ARE DIRECTED APPROPRIATELY AND PEOPLE GET THE HELP THEY NEED. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY CASSIDY OF CHICAGO SAYS IT WAS PROMPTED IN PART BY THE DEATH OF A 15 YEAR OLD CALUMET CITY TEEN.

 

 

HIS FAMILY HAD CALLED 9-1-1 AND POLICE SHOT WATTS AFTER THEY SAY HE THREATENED THEM WITH A KNIFE. CASSIDY SAYS THE CHANGE WILL MAKE SURE A MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY WILL GET A MENTAL HEALTH RESPONSE.

 

 

THE MEASURE STILL NEEDS TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR.

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Illinois Department of Labor Promoting Dangers of Heat on the Job

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF HEAT ON THE JOB.

 

EMPLOYERS AND WORKERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGNS OF HEATSTROKE AS TEMPERATURES RISE SAYS DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT DIRECTOR JASON KELLER.

 

 

KELLER SAYS IT'S VITAL FOR WORKERS TO STAY HYDRATED OUTSIDE, AND NOTES THAT THOSE WITH UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS, SENIORS AND THOSE WHO ARE OVERWEIGHT ARE MOST SUSCEPTIBLE TO HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS.

 

 

KELLER STRESSES THAT HEATSTROKE CAN BE LIFE-THREATENING AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS AN EMERGENCY.

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House Members Differ on Dealing With FOID Card Issue

ONE ISSUE THAT DIDN'T GET RESOLVED DURING THE SPRING LEGISLATIVE SESSION...FIXING THE STATE'S FOID CARD BACKLOG. 

 

DUELING BILLS WERE DEBATED IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE, WITH ONE BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO. ONE REQUIRES SUBMITTING FINGERPRINTS TO GET A FOID CARD, THE OTHER ONLY REQUIRES FINGERPRINTS IF YOU WANT TO GET A CARD THAT NEVER EXPIRES. SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER OF PEORIA SPONSORED THAT VERSION.

 

 

HE USE OF FINGERPRINTS AT ALL IS A MAJOR STICKING POINT... WITH SOME, LIKE SENATOR DARREN BAILEY OF LOUISVILLE, ARGUING AGAINST THE CARD ENTIRELY.

 

 

NEITHER OF THE BILLS CLEARED BOTH CHAMBERS. LAWMAKERS SAY THEY WILL CONTINUE WORKING ON THE LEGISLATION.

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Exercise Can Reduce Severe COVID Symptoms

If you exercise regularly, you may have a better chance at not developing more severe COVID-19 symptoms if you contract the disease. According to one expert with OSF HealthCare, exercise plays a major factor in our immune response, not only in the COVID virus but all viruses and bacteria and other diseases that you are more prone to if you aren’t moving and develop obesity.

 

Regular exercise helps improve immune function and lung capacity, as well as cardiovascular and muscle function. Kathleen Meade, Family Nurse Practitioner with OSF HealthCare says the lungs and heart are two major organs that have been greatly impacted by COVID.

 

 

The study published recently by the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that compared to people who exercise between 11 and 149 minutes a week, inactive people were 120 % more likely to be hospitalized and 110% more likely to need critical care admission. You should always check with your physician before starting any type of exercise program.

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DeWitt, Macon, Piatt County 4-H Fair to Be 'Totally Normal'

The 2021 DeWitt/Macon/Piatt County 4-H fairs will be back to a normal schedule with no restrictions for adults.

 

That is according to Doug Harlan, Extension Director for the offices of DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Harlan indicates the fairs will return to their normal schedule with only restrictions on kids.

 

 

This year's fair dates kick off June 26-27 with the horse show and the general 4-H fair show will on July 9-12. Harlan indicates they have reverted away from their 'show-and-go' schedule and return to their normal yearly schedule.

 

 

The annual Sunday night awards show returns in 2021. Harlan explains the awards show received the most interest when inquiring about the Fair this summer. He believes families wanted to have it return and many will be glad to hear that it is indeed coming back.

 

 

The 4-H fairs this year are going to be exclusively held in DeWitt County. Harlan indicates there's been a lot of work to go into hosting this event on Clinton's north side.

 

 

WHOW will have coverage of the 4-H shows and will have results posted to dewittdailynews.com after the fair. 

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Heyworth Schools Superintendent Discusses Dramatic Increase in Mental Health Issues

Opponents of continued lockdowns and keeping kids in remote learning pointed to the likely increase in emotional and mental health issues in our kids and a central Illinois school leader is indicating this past year they experienced a dramatic spike in those cases among their students.

 

Heyworth Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Taylor indicates they are dialing in on the emotional and mental health issues their students are experiencing. She says the hospitalization of students with these concerns doubled this last year.

 

 

According to Dr. Taylor, they have seen an increase in students seeking help from their counselor. She indicates the focus is going to be on increasing those resources in the school but also giving parents of the kids the information they need to better equip them to deal with these issues.

 

 

Dr. Taylor indicates the increases in mental and emotional issues among her students are not outliers. She says her peers are seeing and discussing the same things.

 

 

Many parents are concerned about the permanent damage we've done to our kids by forcing them into isolation throughout the pandemic. Dr. Taylor says she hears that all the time and believes the recourse is going to have to be getting more resources into schools to help kids.

 

 

To make the situation better Dr. Taylor says districts need to have local control going into the new school year in the fall. She believes Superintendents, principals, and school boards know what is best for their kids and community and that control needs to be put in their hands.

 

 

Dr. Taylor also points out they are hearing a lot from parents wanting to know how to help their kids and so they are doing as much as they can, but their biggest effort might be the resources they've put up at their district website. 

 

 

Dr. Taylor points out almost every student they sent home to quarantine because of being exposed to COVID in the school never contracted the virus, and if they did, there were extenuating circumstances where a sibling in the household had the virus and that was where they contracted it. 

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DNR Discusses Dealing With Baby Animals

It's the baby animal season and local outdoors officials are imploring the public to leave the wildlife alone.

 

It's that simple says Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Captain John Williamson. He explains most of the time, the baby's mother knows the animal is there and will come back for it. 

 

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert says while we may have the best intentions in trying to help these animals that are appealing because of their cute baby attributes, it's not beneficial to those animals to help them in almost every case.

 

 

wildlife.illinois.org is the website for information on dealing with animals on your property or to find a wildlife rehab refuge near you. Torbert says as a last resort, then you should call DNR for further guidance. 

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House Republican Leader Expects Courts to Decide Redistricting Maps

Governor Pritzker has signed the Democrat-drawn redistricting bill. But Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin believes the courts will have the final say on the matter.

 

 

Durkin is also critical of Governor Pritzker for not cutting enhanced unemployment benefits in Illinois like some other states are doing.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Redistricting Maps

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING LEGISLATION CREATING NEW POLITICAL BOUNDARIES IN ILLINOIS FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS.

 

THE NEW MAPS OUTLINE DISTRICTS FOR STATE LAWMAKERS, THE COOK COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW AND THE STATE SUPREME COURT, REFLECTING THE DIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SAYS THE GOVERNOR. BUT REPUBLICANS ARE CRITICIZING THE MAPS, SAYING THEY WERE ONLY DRAWN BY THE DEMOCRATS, NOT AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION AS THE G-O-P PROPOSED.

 

 

THE G-O-P HAD CALLED FOR AN INDEPENDENT COMMISSION, NOT LEGISLATORS TO CREATE THE NEW BOUNDARIES SAYS SENATE MINORITY LEADER DAN MCCONCHIE.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE NEW DISTRICT BOUNDARIES ENSURE COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE TRADITIONALLY BEEN LEFT OUT HAVE FAIR REPRESENTATION IN GOVERNMENT.

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Scovill Zoo Free Days Now Through October

A local zoo is offering free admission on Thursdays throughout the summer.

 

Scovill Zoo Director Ken Frye indicates every Thursday until October 7 is free admission. Regular rates for carousel and train rides still apply.

 

 

Frye estimates twenty-five percent of the zoo's annual admission is from the Free Days and is grateful the zoo can give back to the community. He notes the train ride was extended in late summer 2019, so this summer may be the first time many can experience it.

 

 

Scovill Zoo is open daily from 9:30 am to 6 pm. Regular Admission $8.25 for adults, $6.25 for children, and $7.25 for seniors.

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Weekly Weather Summary

This past week saw a return to summer conditions. That trend will continue with a chance of rain throughout the weekend and to begin next week. University of Illinois's Todd Gleason has more...

 

 

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Lawmakers pass bill aimed at puppy mills

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL THIS WEEK TAKING AIM AT PUPPY MILLS. 

 

THE MEASURE SAYS ANY CATS OR DOGS SOLD BY PET STORES IN ILLINOIS MUST BE FROM ANIMAL CONTROL OR A SHELTER, NOT A BREEDING MILL. THESE MILLS MASS PRODUCE ANIMALS WHICH ARE KEPT CONFINED IN SMALL CAGES AND OFTEN SOLD WITH DISEASES SAYS SENATOR LINDA HOLMES OF AURORA.

 

 

PET SHOPS WOULD BE PROHIBITED FROM SELLING DOGS AND CATS FROM INHUMANE MASS COMMERCIAL MILLS UNDER THE LEGISLATION. IT'S A PRACTICE THAT NEEDS TO END SAYS SENATOR LINDA HOLEMS OF AURORA.

 

 

IF THE BILL IS SIGNED INTO LAW, PET SHOPS WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO SELL ANIMALS FROM LOCAL CONTROL OR SHELTERS. THE PUBLIC WILL STILL BE ABLE TO PURCHASE A PET FROM A PRIVATE BREEDER.

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Sen. Durbin Seeking Funding for Charging Stations

A new electric vehicle car company is close to rolling off it’s first delivery vans, trucks and SUVs from the assembly line in Bloomington-Normal.

 

Rivian recently hosted US Senator Dick Durbin for a tour and he says the state is primed to be a leader in electric vehicles and that’s why he wants billions in federal infrastructure spending to include charging stations. Electric vehicles don’t burn gasoline or ethanol – Durbin says biofuel producers need to be ready to adapt to what he sees as the future of transportation.

 

 

Amazon has pledged an order of 100,000 delivery vans from Rivian.

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Governor Pritzker Expects to Move Illinois to COVID Phase 5 Re-opening State Next Friday

Governor Pritzker on Friday gave signs that the state will move to Phase 5 this Friday, June Eleventh, in the fight against the coronavirus.

 

Pritzker said that with over 67 percent of the state's population age 18 and older getting at least once dose of the COVID vaccine, and a statewide positivity rate of less than 2 percent, he and the Illinois Department of Public Health are expected to move the state to Phase 5 on Friday, June Eleventh.

 

As of June 5th, according to the web site covidactnow-dot-org, Illinois' positivity rate is one-point-7 percent with just over 55 percent of the total population vaccinated.

 

Fully vaccinated people don't have to wear a mask inside or out according to Phase 5 guidelines, except if required by local authorities.  Masks will still be required for all people travelling public transportation, health care, schools and day cares, educational institutions, and congregate settings.

 

Pritzker urged those who have not been vaccinated, to do so, to avoid a spike in COVID cases.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Redistricting Maps; Republicans Claim Left Out

Govenor J. B. Pritzker on Friday signed legislation creating new political boundries in Illinois for the next 10 years.

 

The new maps outline districts for state lawmakers, the Cook County Board of Review, and the State Supreme Court, reflecting the diversity of Illinois according to the Governor.  

 

But, Republicans are criticizing the maps, saying they were only drawn by the Democrats, not an independent commission as the GOP proposed.

 

Governor Pritzker says the new district boundries ensure communities that have traditionally been left out have fair representation in government.

 

Asked if they plan to challenge the maps, Republicans say they will review their options over the weekend.

 

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DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department Director Pleased With Vaccination Progress, Says Interest is Declining

Local public health officials are pleased with the progress of the vaccine, indicating as more people get vaccinated, interest is declining.

 

DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Public Health Department Director Dave Remmert expressed his pleasure with the rollout of the vaccine locally and the enormous effort from his staff and the community to make it successful.

 

 

Now, not only can anyone in the age range of the vaccines get a vaccine when they're ready, but they can also get any of the three approved vaccines. Remmert says it's as easy as calling the office in Clinton or Monticello to get an appointment set up.

 

 

Now that ages 12-16 have been approved for the vaccine, Remmert says they are beginning to offer clinics for kids in that age group. He also points out there is a percent of the population in both counties are now fully vaccinated.

 

 

Remmert indicates the demand for school-aged kids to get the vaccine was not as significant as he had anticipated. He believes there could be a few factors at play but mostly believes parents are likely taking advantage of the vaccine availability at businesses like Walgreens and other places.

 

 

Remmert continues to advocate for the vaccine. He does recognize the personal decision this is and reinforced his gratification that they have vaccinated a majority of the most vulnerable populations locally. 

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DeWitt County Museum Hosting Saturday Breakfast Fundraiser

The DeWitt County Museum is inviting the public to once again participate in its fundraising breakfast this Saturday.

 

Director of the DeWitt County Museum and CH Moore Homestead, Joey Long indicates they are partnering with the American Legion for an egg, sausage, and biscuits and gravy breakfast. 

 

 

This year's event will not be ticketed, so those interested in getting breakfast can just show up at the American Legion Hall on Saturday morning. Long indicates dollars from this fundraiser will likely end up in a general fund with a designation to be decided on at a later date.

 

 

Again this Saturday's breakfast will be from 7 am to 10 am or until they have sold out. Tickets are $8 for adults and children meals are $4. 

 

The American Legion Hall is located at 219 North Elizabeth Street in Clinton.

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Congressman Davis Reacts to Fauci Emails

An FOIA request has released hundreds of emails from Dr. Anthony Fauci that has Republicans on the offensive about the handling of the COVID pandemic over the last 12-18 months.

 

Thursday on the WHOW Morning Show, Congressman Rodney Davis offered his thoughts on the release of the emails indicating these experts we've entrusted our decisions with should have to answer questions.

 

 

The Taylorville Republican is frustrated the decisions of Washington bureaucrats should be approved by the public. He points out decisions made by these people were not based on science and crippled American families and businesses.

 

 

According to Davis, this could be just the beginning for holding health officials accountable. He wonders why things have been so quick to change, but speculates it's because these officials have been playing politics. 

 

 

June 11, Governor JB Pritzker has targeted Illinois for a full reopening. Congressman Davis says this should provide little doubt that Illinois and every other state should be reopened.

 

 

The Taylorville Republican is also calling on schools to reopen in full this fall and for kids to return to school without masks. 

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The Vault Offering High School Students Opportunities to Learn About Various Careers

A scaled-down program at a teen center in Clinton this summer will give high school students a broad overview of various career opportunities they can pursue.

 

The Vault in Clinton has annually offered summer career camps that not only allow students to speak with a professional in a certain field but also get some hands-on experience. Executive Director of The Vault, Tammy Wilson, indicates they have a full lineup of speakers and presenters for their kids.

 

 

On Saturday, June 26, following the construction and trades summer career camp, The Vault is going to auctioning off the special projects they made in a special event.

 

 

Starting next week, The Vault is bringing back its 'grub-n-go' lunch program. This was a hit last year but it is being scaled back to just one day a week this summer. Wilson says they are offering their 'taco bowl Tuesday' starting next week.

 

 

Meals are $5 and organizers ask if possible to call ahead for orders. Wilson says the program ends on August 10. Get more information by visiting thevaultclinton.org. You can call 217-934-4003. You can also find The Vault on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

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DNR Reports Minimal Issues Over Memorial Day Weekend on Clinton Lake

Memorial Day weekend on Clinton Lake was rather ideal.

 

That's according to DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson who says the weather over the weekend wasn't the greatest but boaters and recreators alike made time on the water and did so with minimal issues. 

 

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert, joining Capt. Williamson on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, indicates there are a lot of new boaters on our waterways this year. She is imploring those new boaters to know and understand the rules of the water.

 

 

The Memorial Day weekend is often viewed as the unofficial kickoff to the summer boating season. Capt. Williamson points out boaters need to be aware, the days and week ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, there will be extra patrols out panning for intoxicated operators. 

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Decatur Area Arts Council Bringing Back Popular Monthly Event

Since last March, a Macon County non-profit has been anxiously awaiting a monthly event that celebrates the latest in arts and culture.

 

The Decatur Area Arts Council is welcoming back visitors this Friday for its monthly 'gallery walks'.' Executive Director Jerry Johnson says the gallery walks are the kickoff events for the exhibit that will occupy the Anne Lloyd Gallery in their downtown facility.

 

 

Each summer, the gallery is occupied by an exhibit that highlights a different region of the world. Johnson explains their kickoff events for their summer galleries often offer various tastes of that region including food, drink, and even entertainment.

 

 

Inside the gallery, there will be plenty to take in. Johnson says all three levels of their downtown facility will have something to take in.

 

 

For Johnson, the exhibit this summer will feature a little bit of everything and will have a lot of good information about some of the history of the artifacts and artwork.

 

 

With the latest guidance from the CDC, Johnson indicates they are allowing vaccinated individuals to attend without a mask. He hopes those that are not vaccinated will still wear a mask, though note they are not requiring to show proof of vaccination.

 

 

This Friday's Gallery Walk will be from 5 pm to 7:30 pm. The Decatur Area Arts Council is located t 125 North Water Street in downtown Decatur. You can learn more by visiting decaturarts.org or finding the Arts Council on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. 

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Congressman LaHood Reintroduces Route 66 Legislation

A Central Illinois Congressman is joining a California lawmaker to reintroduce a bill to turn U.S. Route 66 into a National Historic Trail. According to Congressman Darin LaHood, the name designation could attract more tourists across the state.

 

 

The legislation has previously passed the House of Representatives, where LaHood is joining U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano of California as the bill's sponsors. U.S. Route 66 spans 2,238 miles across the United States.

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Local Lawmakers React to Spring Legislative Session

Ramming through a state budget at the last minute is drawing the ire of a pair of central Illinois State Senators.

 

Illinois Democrats pushed through a state budget that roughly spends a billion more than it is expected to draw in revenues next year. State Senator Chapin Rose says this is the playbook for Illinois Democrats.

 

 

Sen. Sally Turner was disappointed to not hear anything about paying down the State's pension debts. The first-term Lincoln Republican was surprised to receive the budget so late in the process then to have to turn around and vote on it so quickly.

 

 

Redistricting was also a topic among the central Illinois Republicans. Additionally, both Turner and Rose blasted lawmakers for not tackling issues within the Department of Employment Security. Rose mentioned the sex education reforms and the additional changes to the FOID card system. 

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51-Percent of Illinois Adults Vaccinated

NEARLY 51 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS ADULTS ARE NOW FULLY VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19.

 

OVER 67 PERCENT HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER REMINDS THAT TEENS CAN NOW GET VACCINATED AS WELL.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE NUMBER OF CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS CONTINUES TO DECLINE.

 

 

ABOUT ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE ARE CURRENTLY IN THE HOSPITAL WITH THE VIRUS.

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Social Security Highlighting Acquiring New Social Security Card During COVID

Even though COVID restrictions are easing across the country, Social Security offices remain closed except for one-on-one appointments only. 

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates one of the most popular reasons for walk-in visitors is a replacement Social Security card. He is reminding the public those replacements can be applied for online or by mail.

 

 

Myers believes applying for your replacement Social Security card online will be the easiest way to do that. He explains you'll need to create a 'My Social Security account, but other than that, for most adults it's an easy, seamless process.

 

 

If you are getting a replacement Social Security card by mail, you will need to submit an SS-5 form which is available online. Myers explains applying by mail does require proof of identity, name change if applicable, and proof of citizenship.

 

 

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security needs to see proof of your immigration status.  Those documents shouldn’t be mailed, so you should call your local Social Security office about scheduling a critical-need in-person appointment.  

 

Social Security cannot accept photocopies of the documents you submit with your application. If you have a driver’s license, non-driver ID card, or U.S. passport. Those are considered “primary” proofs, and you would normally have to submit one of those.  

 

Information on the types of documents that are acceptable as a secondary proof is available at www.ssa.gov/coronavirus.

 

Myers stresses a replacement Social Security card is free so if you are on a website that wants to charge you, you are not at the Social Security website. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CROP PLANTING CONTINUES IN ILLINOIS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN LOOKS AT CORN:

 

 

TURNING TO SOYBEANS:

 

 

RAINFALL WAS ABOVE AVERAGE THIS PAST WEEK, LEAVING AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, EIGHT PERCENT SHORT, 69 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 22 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Warm, Dry Weather Coming Later This Week

The calendar has flipped to June 1 and that means meteorological summer has arrived. And summer-like temps will be felt in much of Illinois later in the week.

 

 

Meteorological or climatological summer runs June through August.

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New COVID Vaccine Promotions Coming Soon

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE WILL BE ROLLING OUT NEW COVID-19 VACCINE PROMOTIONS. 

 

ONE INCENTIVE IS THE SHOT FOR A SHOT BILL LAWMAKERS JUST PASSED FOR BARS TO OFFER CUSTOMERS A FREE DRINK. IT'S A PERSONAL FAVORITE SAYS THE GOVERNOR. ADDITIONALLY,

 

 

PRITZKER SAYS MORE DETAILS ON THE LOTTERY WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON.

 

 

THERE’S ALSO THE SHOT FOR A SHOT LEGISLATION JUST PASSED THAT LETS BARS OFFER VACCINATED CUSTOMERS A FREE DRINK. ONCE SIGNED INTO LAW THAT WILL RUN JUNE 10TH THROUGH JULY 10TH.

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Lawmakers Pass Ethics Reform

A SERIES OF ETHICS REFORMS MADE IT THROUGH THE HOUSE AND SENATE DURING THE FINAL HOURS OF THE SPRING LEGISLATIVE SESSION. 

 

THE MEASURE BANS POLITICAL FUNDRAISERS ON SESSION DAYS AND PROHIBITS LAWMAKERS FROM TAKING A LOBBYING JOB FOR SIX MONTHS AFTER THEY LEAVE OFFICE. IT WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR ANN GILLESPIE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS.

 

 

SENATOR JOHN CURRAN OF LEMONT SPOKE IN FAVOR OF THE BILL.

 

 

THE BILL ALSO PROHIBITS LAWMAKERS FROM LOBBYING OTHER UNITS OF GOVERNMENT AND PRO-RATES THE SALARY OF A LEGISLATOR STEPPING DOWN BEFORE THEIR TERM ENDS. CURRENTLY, A MEMBER IS PAID FOR THE FULL MONTH EVEN IF THEY EVEN WORK JUST A FEW DAYS.

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Gov. Pritzker Supports Democrats Budget

Illinois has a plan to spend $42 billion next fiscal year. Democrats crafted the bill and Governor JB Pritzker approves of their work, saying it’s a balanced plan that holds the line on state spending and ushers in a new fiscal era for the state.

 

 

Republicans say the spending plan came so late in the game that they have no idea what’s really in it and it doesn’t address larger issues including the imbalance in the state’s unemployment fund.

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Gov. Pritzker Says Illinois on Track to Move to Phase 5 Next Week

WITH COVID-19 NUMBERS DECLINING, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER CONFIRMS THAT THE STATE IS ABOUT TO OPEN BACK UP.

 

NEW CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE DECLINING IN ILLINOIS, WITH SOME OF THE LOWEST TOTALS RECORD AS OF LATE. AT A PRESS CONFERENCE, GOVERNOR PRITZKER WAS ASKED IF ILLINOIS IS READY FOR PHASE FIVE.

 

 

ACCORDING TO C-D-C NUMBERS, MORE THAN 67 PERCENT OF ILLINOIS ADULTS HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF THE VACCINE AND MORE THAN HALF ARE FULLY VACCINATED.

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Warner Library Kicks Off Summer Reading Club Tuesday

The first day of summer for Clinton youth ushers in the 2021 summer reading club at the Warner Library in Clinton.

 

Corey Campbell is the children's librarian and says every person of any age is welcome. This year's program and its milestones will largely be based on your age. From time spent reading to how many books you've read, it really depends on what level of a reader you are.

 

 

Part of the fun of the summer reading club is the prizes for milestones achieved during the summer. Campbells says their prizes for kids do not vary a great deal from one group to the next. Business Manager Samantha Rusk explains they have a lot of fun things for their adult readers.

 

 

Many kids and families look forward to the terrific programs that draw sizeable crowds. Unfortunately because of the challenges of planning for the summer when organizers did, those programs are not going to happen this year. Campbell stresses they plan to bring those back next year and emphasizes those are not going away.

 

 

After a scaled-down version of the summer reading club last year, Campbell says they were committed to having a program this year. 

 

 

Campbell indicates the summer reading club is instrumental in continuing the things kids, especially young kids, have learned in the school setting through the summer. He points out the 'summer slide' is very real and helps kids keep their skills sharp.

 

 

Campbell says registration will cut off at the end of July, so he hopes families and kids will feel invited to come in and begin at any time. Get more information by visiting vwarner.org, calling 217-935-5174, or stopping into their facility at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton. 

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DeWitt County Museum Director Noticing Shift in Demographic of Visitors in 2021

The DeWitt County Museum and CH Moore Homestead have been open for about a month now and the Director is noticing some interesting trends for those stopping in so far this summer.

 

Joey Long says they are starting to see more people with a love of history stopping into the museum and they are spending a lot more time inside the museum and on the grounds.

 

 

Long says all types of people of all ages are coming to the Museum. On top of the various age ranges, the reasons for visits are fascinating for Long. 

 

 

Long indicates they have not seen very many visitors who are in the area just stopping in because they saw a sign on the highway or a flyer at a local establishment but anticipates as more people begin to get out post-COVID, those types of visitors returning. 

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Sen. Rose Weighs in on Illinois New Supreme Court Maps, FOID Card Legislation

During debate Friday night (May 28) on a redrawing of State Supreme Court district boundaries and State Senator Chapin Rose charged the changes created exclusively by Illinois Democrats as designed solely to ensure a Democrat majority on the state’s high court.

 

The Mahomet Republican says Democrats did not like what the voters had to say in November and now Democrats are changing the rules.

 

 

Sen. Rose also voted no on House Bill 562, the latest legislative version of Illinois’ controversial Firearm Owner’s ID card, or FOID card, because of higher fees for people simply exercising their Second Amendment rights, fingerprinting FOID card applicants if you choose automatic card renewal, and new regulations impacting private firearm sales between individuals and involve the state’s federal firearm dealers licensee holders, all at higher fees. 

 

 

Rose also says the FOID card policy is useless when it comes to preventing gun crimes. 

 

Additionally, it’s been nearly 60 years since the boundaries of Supreme Court districts were redrawn.

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June Expecting to Be Seasonal

As we turn the calendar to June, expect this month to be normal in terms of weather.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says we finally have broken out of the up and down fluctuations of temperatures from May and now can look forward to warmer days more regularly. 

 

 

As for rainfall, it'll be more of the same. Miller says rainfall should be about normal with chances of late-in-the-day rain showers or thunderstorms several times a week. 

 

 

As more moisture sets in over the area, Miller says as our area's moisture supply has stabilized, that should keep those very hot days away. Now he notes - that won't exclude us from those very humid summer days.

 

 

As we look ahead through the rest of the summer, Miller says things should stabilize and extreme weather patterns are staying west, east, and south. He also notes June can be a peak month for severe weather, so always be aware of those threats. 

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Shot for a shot/cocktails to go bill heading to the Governor's desk

YOUR LOCAL BAR MAY SOON BE OFFERING A VACCINE DRINK PROMOTION. 

 

THE SENATE APPROVED LEGISLATION LETTING BARS OFFER A FREE SHOT, BEER OR GLASS OF WINE TO THOSE WHO CAN SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION. IF NOW SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR, THE PROMOTION WOULD RUN JUNE TENTH THROUGH JULY TENTH. THE MEASURE ALSO LETS BARS AND RESTAURANTS CONTINUE TO OFFER COCKTAILS TO GO, WHICH PROVED VITAL DURING THE PANDEMIC SAYS SENATOR SARA FEIGENHOLTZ OF CHICAGO.

 

 

SENATOR LAUAR MURPHY OF DES PLAINES JOKED SHE'S BEEN HAPPY TO ENSURE THAT LAW IS WORKING.

 

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THE COCKTAILS TO GO LAW WOULD BE EXTENDED UNTIL 2024 UNDER THE BILL.

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Illinois FFA Planning Some Outdoor Events

The annual FFA Convention this year is looking a little different than years past – but the students will be gathering in person. The FFA has three outdoor events around the state to keep the crowds a little smaller.

 

FFA Vice President Molly Schempp says after an all virtual FFA Convention last year it was important to plan out a way to honor award winners in person.

 

 

The FFA will in Normal today, in Carbondale on June 5 and at the State Fairgrounds on June 8, 9 and 10.

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Illinois' Monday COVID Case Count Lowest in a Year

The daily count of new and confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois dropped to 521 on Monday, which is the lowest point in nearly one year.

 

Illinois Department of Public Health data show the state’s previous lowest total was 462 cases on June 22 of last year.

 

Still, public health officials reported 33 additional deaths the same day and have previously said that weekend case counts are generally lower.

 

The news comes as more than half of Illinois adults have been fully vaccinated. Overall, Illinois has reported more than 1.3 million infections and 22,827 COVID-19 deaths.

 

State officials are encouraging more people to get vaccinated and are making the shots available to Memorial Day weekend travelers throughout the state, including a vaccine clinic at Union Station in Chicago.

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Illinois Democrats Proposed Budget Passes Along Party Lines

Democrats in Illinois say the budget they are proposing is a good step forward after a year when worrying about revenues left many wondering how bleak the budget would have to be.

 

One of the chief budgeteers Rep. Greg Harris says it allocates needed dollars to K-12 education and it won’t cut back on what local governments receive from the state.

 

 

The budget, approved along party lines, is set to spend $42.3 billion with $41.3 billion expected back in general revenue funds.

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House passes college student athlete endorsement bill

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE APPROVED LEGISLATION SATURDAY LETTING COLLEGE STUDENT ATHLETES BENEFIT FROM ENDORSEMENTS.

 

EFFORTS TO PASS A SIMILAR MEASURE HAVE BEEN UNDERWAY IN RECENT YEARS, GIVING COLLEGE ATHLETES A CHANCE TO GET AN AGENT AND SIGN ENDORSEMENT DEALS. IT'S SUPPORTED BY REPRESENTATIVE JONATHAN CARROLL OF NORTHBROOK.

 

 

THE MEASURE GIVES COLLEGE ATHLETES THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROFIT FROM THEIR IMAGE AND LIKENESS, WITH SOME ADDED PROTECTIONS SAYS SPONSOR, REPRESENTATIVE KAM BUCKNER OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THE BILL STILL NEEDS SENATE APPROVAL.

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House passes bill requiring 30 minutes of recess each day

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE NARROWLY APPROVED LEGISLATION REQUIRING 30 MINUTES OF RECESS PER DAY. 

 

THE MEASURE ONLY APPLIES TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND GRADES KINDERGARTEN THROUGH FIVE. IT'S BEEN WHITTLED DOWN FROM THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE BILL MANDATING AN HOUR OF RECESS. UNDER THIS NEW VERSION, THE BREAKS CAN BE SPLIT UP INTO 15 MINUTE INCREMENTS. IT'S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE AARON ORTIZ OF CHICAGO WHO SAYS THIS FREE TIME IS VITAL.

 

 

THE SO-CALLED "RIGHT TO PLAY" BILL IS A WATERED-DOWN VERSION OF THE ORIGINAL MEASURE. THIS ITERATION MANDATES 30 MINUTES OF RECESS, WHICH CAN BE BROKEN UP INTO TWO 15 MINUTE SEGMENTS OF PLAYTIME, AND ONLY FOR GRADES KINDERGARTEN THROUGH FIFTH. BUT OPPONENTS, LIKE REPRESENTATIVE JEFF KEICHER OF SYCAMORE, QUESTION WHETHER SCHOOLS NEED TO DEAL WITH ANOTHER MANDATE COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC.

 

 

THE BILL NOW GOES BACK TO THE SENATE TO ACCEPT THE CHANGES.

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Bill to Lower Trailer Fees Approved

In January of 2020 – licensing a trailer in Illinois went from a mere $18 to $118.

 

The funds were earmarked for the state’s infrastructure plan, the massive increase didn’t sit well with many lawmakers and anyone with a trailer, or two. Monday the Illinois House passed a bill to lower the fee. Democrat Rep. Katie Stewart says fewer trailers are being licensed in the state and the fee had to have something to do with it.

 

 

The bill, which reduces the fee to $36, has widespread support on both sides of the isle.

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