Local News

Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo Thursday at Clinton High School

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo returns Thursday afternoon at Clinton High School.

 

The annual event fell victim to the COVID pandemic in 2020. Executive Director Marian Brisard is excited to have the expo back on the calendar this year and for everyone to learn about the businesses and non-profits that make our community go.

 

 

There will be a fashion show, the community shred through Heartland Bank and Trust and Brisard indicates there will be plenty to see and discuss with local businesses and non-profits.

 

 

The Thursday Business Expo is from 4 pm to 7 pm at Clinton High School. 

 

Hear live coverage of the Expo from 3 pm to 5 pm on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com and Amazon Alexa. Then tune in from 5 pm to 7 pm for updates on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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$50,000 Contribution from Enel to Help DeWitt County Sheriff Hire Two New Deputies

The DeWitt County Sheriff's office will be able to speed up efforts to hire more deputies much sooner than they anticipated thanks to a contribution from Enel Green Power. 

 

To have more security at its laydown yard in northwest DeWitt County, Enel Green Power approached DeWitt County and Sheriff Mike Walker regarding off-duty officers patrolling the laydown yard, however, the Sheriff indicates he is short-staffed and could not accommodate that request.

 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Sheriff Walker explains if the County did not have access to this grant funding, he would have to wait until December, which is the start of the County's fiscal year, to begin the hiring process of these officers. He can get the hiring process started now instead of waiting.

 

 

Law enforcement agencies across the country are seeing police leave forces in droves and central Illinois agencies have not been exempt from that, however, Sheriff Walker points out he has been fortunate to not have seen any patrol officers leave his staff and is hopeful the pool of candidates will be forward good officers to fill these roles. 

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CEO Facilitators Discuss 2020-21 School Year

A pair of central Illinois leaders of youth in an entrepreneurship program recently outlined the challenges of the 2020-21 school year.

 

The Central Illinois and Sangamon Valley CEO programs are entrepreneurship programs offered to high school students in Clinton, Blue Ridge, Monticello, Cerro Gordo, Bement, Warrensburg-Latham, Maroa-Forsyth, and Argenta-Oreana. Melanie Brown heads the Central Illinois CEO program that encompasses Clinton, Blue Ridge, Maroa-Forsyth, and Warrensburg-Latham, she is thankful they were able to execute a full year of the class despite the challenges.

 

 

Lisa Shephard leads the Sangamon Valley CEO program that has students from Monticello, Cerro Gordo, Bement, and Argenta-Oreana. She is thankful for the communities being willing to step up and support them through such uncertain times.

 

 

One of the positives for Brown that came out of the pandemic for the program was the ability to connect with business leaders from areas of the state and even country that perhaps they wouldn't have before.

 

 

According to Shephard, being flexible and adapt to challenges was a big part of the development of her and her students. She felt they all developed a solution-based mindset.

 

 

Looking to next year, both leaders indicate there could be opportunities for them to reopen their applications because they did not get the chance to market the program to students during the school year like they usually thanks to COVID. 

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St. Louis District Dairy Council Notes Positive Developments Out of COVID

A St. Louis-based non-profit is taking away several positives out of the COVID pandemic as its programming resumes across Illinois.

 

The St. Louis District Dairy Council is beginning to return to normal programming, including in-person experiences. Monica Nyman indicates they are planning to return to normal activities within the organization this summer and then will turn their attention to the fall.

 

 

If the St. Louis District Dairy Council will be able to make its way back into the classrooms, Nyman says they will be able to return to normal with a number of its regular programming.

 

 

The past year has forced the St. Louis District Dairy Council to step outside its comfort zone and try new things. Nyman indicates while she has learned a lot, she feels the opportunities of education can reach so much farther, especially geographically, thanks to the lessons in technology.

 

 

If you're interested in having Nyman or anyone from the St. Louis District Dairy Council come to speak to your group, you can visit stldairycouncil.org or search 'STL Dairy Council' Facebook for more there. 

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Red Cros Reports Severe Blood Shortage

With the Fourth of July coming up and ongoing challenges to find new blood donors, a spokesman for the American Red Cross in St. Louis says a severe blood shortage exists. 

 

The agency is again putting out a call for blood donors, as the traditionally low summer blood supply is at what an agency spokesman says is a level that requires them to do so. Joe Zydlo, spokesman for the American Red Cross, says they like to have at least a five-day blood supply on hand for most blood types.

 

 

The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood and platelet donations every day for the patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. You can find a list of blood drives at ww.redcrossblood.org

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Gov. Pritzker Announces More Financial Assistance for Child Care

DAYCARE WILL BE MORE AFFORDABLE FOR LOW TO MODERATE-INCOME FAMILIES UNDER CHANGES ANNOUNCED BY GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER. 

 

80 PERCENT OF FAMILIES IN THE STATE'S CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM WILL PAY LESS IN DAYCARE COSTS AND THOSE AT OR BELOW 100 PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY LINE WILL PAY JUST ONE DOLLAR A MONTH. THE PROGRAM IS ADMINISTERED BY THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. SECRETARY GRACE HOU (ho) SAYS PROVIDERS WILL GET MORE STATE SUPPORT AS WELL.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER EXPLAINS WHAT'S NEW IN THE CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM:

 

 

THE ADDITIONAL BENEFITS BEGIN THURSDAY.

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Illinois College Athletes Can Sign Endorsement Deals Under New State Law

COLLEGE ATHLETES WILL SOON BE ABLE TO SIGN ENDORSEMENT DEALS UNDER A NEW STATE LAW SIGNED BY GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER TUESDAY. 

 

UNIVERSITIES AND THE N-C-DOUBLE-A MAKE PLENTY OF MONEY OFF OF COLLEGE SPORTS, AND SO SHOULD THE STUDENTS WHO HAVE THEIR NAME, IMAGE AND LIKENESS USED IN PROMOTIONS AND MERCHANDISE SAYS REPRESENTATIVE KAM BUCKNER OF CHICAGO. HE SAYS THIS WILL INCREASE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL COLLEGE ATHLETES.

 

 

HOUSE SPEAKER CHRIS WELCH, A FORMER COLLEGE ATHLETE, SAYS IT'S TIME THESE ATHLETES EARN THEIR FAIR SHARE.

 

 

THIS NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT JULY FIRST.

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UPDATED: Clinton Lake Reopens; Beach Closed; Spillway & Salt Creek Flooding

Clinton Lake has reopened after a brief closure due to high waters.

 

Weekend rains dropped anywhere from five to seven inches of rain in DeWitt County resulting in high and active waters. Those active waters resulted in Clinton Lake being shut down Sunday. Authorities reopened the lake shortly after the noon hour on Tuesday.  Clinton Lake Beach remains closed.

 

Active waters resulted in a water rescue call on Salt Creek in northern DeWitt County Saturday during the time which a tornado warning was active from a storm on the County's west side.

 

Authorities continue to ask boaters and recreators to use caution and implore motorists to never cross a flooded roadway. 

 

 

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Write Stuff for Kids Gearing Up for 2021 School Year

DeWitt County's Write Stuff for Kids is gearing up for its annual school supply distribution and organizers are starting now to rally the community to support them.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Edith Brady-Lunny told Regional Radio News that unlike in years past, when the organization has held dedicated drives for supplies, they are hoping to partner with businesses and non-profits to collect items.

 

 

According to Brady-Lunny, there is still time for families to register children in their homes. She notes there are no income guidelines for this program. She also hopes to have all the supplies rounded up by early August.

 

 

This year's distribution for school supplies will be August 7 and Brady-Lunny indicates if you don't get your child signed up in time or circumstances change and you'll need help at the time of the supply distribution, you will not be turned away. 

 

 

Find Write Stuff for Kids on Facebook for the latest information regarding this year's school supply drive but also many other things happening within the organization. Brady-Lunny says a message to their Facebook page is one of the best ways to get in contact with them. 

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'Flat Lincoln' Making the Rounds in Clinton

An Illinois tourism promotion is making the rounds in Clinton.

 

If you are in-and-out of local businesses this summer, you may notice the 'Flat Lincoln' cutout in one of our local establishments. Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marian Brisard says they have a set schedule through July and are hoping other businesses or organizations will host the 'Flat Lincoln' cutout.

 

(Brisard pictured right with 'Flat Lincoln' at the Chamber Golf Outing with Regional Radio's Seth Laurence)

 

 

According to Brisard, two 'Flat Lincolns' are floating around the community. There is a lifesize cutout and it will be making its way through the community. 

 

 

If you plan to attend this Thursday's Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, 'Flat Lincoln' will also be at the high school for the event. 

 

You can set up to have 'Flat Lincoln' come to your business by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 217-935-3364. 

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University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator Excited for Food Safety Courses to Return in July

A local University of Illinois Extention educator is excited about the return of food safety courses in July.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf is a nutrition educator for DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties University of Illinois Extension. In July, Extension is bringing back its certified food protection manager course. The course will be offered at the DeWitt County office in Clinton. 

 

 

This spring and summer, Extension is offering a virtual program to help the public navigate your local farmers market. Mellendorf stresses like all their virtual programming, you can find it archived online.

 

 

To continue educating the public on the trendy pressure cookers, Mellendorf indicates they have more programs planned surrounding those kitchen appliances. 

 

 

As Extension offices around Illinois reopen and begin to host in-person classes more, Mellendorf indicates she is once again available for training and programs for group settings. She encourages contacting the Macon County Extension office to reach her. Other educators in the Extension system will also be resuming these types of programs, so contact your local Extension office to learn more or get in touch with an educator near you. 

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Sen. Durbin Discusses American Rescue Funds

Cities and other municipalities are sitting on millions of dollars from the federal government from the American Rescue Plan.

 

But those dollars aren’t always proving easy to spend. Some local governments are asking for different ways to spend those dollars and US Senator Dick Durbin says he’s up to listening to perhaps changing where dollars can be spent, but he notes they can’t be used for just anything.

 

 

Many communities are using the funds for infrastructure spending; including sewer and water pipe repairs and increasing access to broadband.

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BBB Says Use Caution Using Online Banking, Cryptocurrencies

Electronic financial transactions have become commonplace in recent years, even to the point of some banking institutions going completely online. Combined with the rising popularity of cryptocurrency, there are many options in which to invest online, but an investigator advises caution before making any moves. Better Business Bureau Investigator Don O’Brien says he’s not convinced cryptocurrency is all it’s cracked up to be.

 

 

As for online-only financial institutions, they offer account services and money management strictly online, often primarily through a mobile app. They do not have brick-and-mortar branches, though most participate in large ATM networks. O’Brien suggests you research the bank or credit union thoroughly, rather than making a rash decision based on an account opening incentive. Consider how much you will use online services vs. branch services. And make sure the bank or credit union is insured.

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69-Percent of Illinoisans 12-and-Over Have At Least One COVID Shot

There is still a long way to go to get all Illinois residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

 

State data shows about 69% of those 12 and older have at least one vaccine shot. Governor JB Pritzker says IDPH expects the more transmissible delta variant to become the dominant strain in the state by fall and if you are still waiting to get a shot – now is the perfect time to do so.

 

 

Recent data shows Illinois averaging about 44,000 shots a day.

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Limited Reports of Damage from Weekend Storms, Mostly Flooding; Clinton Lake Closed Due to Active High Water

While surrounding communities were hit with excessive damage thanks to weekend rains that resulted in flooding and damage from flooding, DeWitt County was spared from many of these occurrences.

 

DeWitt County EMA Director Micah Gallardo indicates to Regional Radio News the most severe weather came late in the afternoon Saturday when there were reports of rotation and conditions were favorable for a tornado that resulted in sirens being sounded thanks to a storm in the Kenney area. 

 

Despite that storm and many others throughout the weekend, the only issues that faced DeWitt County authorities related to flooding.

 

The Department of Natural Resources responded to a report of a stranded kayaker at around 4 pm on Saturday. Authorities indicate two male kayakers were on Salt Creek and about a mile away from the bridge of Farmers Bridge Road, one kayaker had fallen out of his kayak and was stranded holding onto a tree for safety. The other kayaker was able to make it to shore safely.

 

DNR authorities arrived on the scene first but Clinton Fire crews were able to pull the individual to safety thanks to their active water safety training.

 

Along with DNR and Clinton Fire crews, Wapella Fire, the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office, and DeWitt County EMS were on scene. 

 

DNR authorities also remind that Clinton Lake is closed due to water levels being high and the water being very active. They hope those water levels to stabilize in just a few days but with more rain in the forecast, they warn it could be up to a week.

 

Authorities ask the public to never try and cross a flooded roadway, reminding of the slogan, "turn around, don't drown." 

 

DNR authorities encourage recreation boaters and kayakers to stay off the water right now. 

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Warner Hospital to Reconstruct Parking Lot This Summer

Warner Hospital and Health Services will begin work on the circular drive parking lot this summer.

 

Warner Hospital and Health Services CEO Paul Skowron indicate the hospital board approved a bid for the parking lot reconstruction project at their meeting last Wednesday night. The project is expected to begin mid July.

 

 

Skowron says in addition to resurfacing two new handicap parking spaces off the circular drive will be created. Also, the emergency room ramp's heat cells will be replaced with updated technology.

 

 

Skowron says the parking lot project is much needed as in the past it had accumulated patches whenever a problem occurred. He notes the necessity of having a flat parking lot is to ensure patient safety.

 

 

The hospital's COVID testing tent was already scheduled to come down before the approval of the parking lot project.

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Blue Ridge Student Elected State FFA Vice President

A local high school student was recently elected as the Illinois FFA Vice President.

 

Jaton Shaffer, a 2021 graduate of Blue Ridge High School, was elected Vice President at the 2021 Illinois FFA Convention. He says his motivation to run was due to networking with previous state officers and wanting to inspire the next generation.

 

 

Shaffer notes being Vice President has brought him a lot of pride and he is looking forward to meeting with FFA chapters across the state.

 

 

The newly elected State FFA team has already been busy with planning for the upcoming year and attending conferences.

 

 

Shaffer is still in shock of being elected vice president. He says he never saw this coming and offers this advice to current FFA members who want to be state officers...

 

 

Shaffer will hold off on his collegiate plans for a year to fully dedicate the next year to serving the FFA chapters of Illinois.

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OSF Talks Vaccine Hesitancy

A pair of recent studies appear to show vaccine hesitancy in rural areas. The CDC reports vaccine coverage was lower in rural counties (38.9%) than in urban counties (45.7%). A similar poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found vaccine hesitancy was highest in rural counties with 21% of rural residents stating they would “definitely not” get a vaccine compared with 10% of urban residents.

 

And those statistics have some healthcare professionals concerned. Some researchers point to a perception of low risk of COVID-19 coupled with the perception of low risk for severe disease - particularly among young people - for fueling complacency. But OSF HealthCare Occupational Health physician Robert Ayers says he has seen perfectly healthy young people die from the infection.

 

 

Ayres fears a false sense of security could lead many unvaccinated people to be infected with the more easily spread variants, which could pose the risk of another surge that will overwhelm health care providers which he says could put us back into a world of mitigation and isolation being seen in other countries.

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New Windsor Farmer Testifies in Washington, D.C.

From trade wars and flooding to supply chain disruptions due to COVID and a derecho, Midwest farmers have faced a number of challenges in recent years. Jeff Kirwan of New Windsor testified to the obstacles facing Illinois farmers during a U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management hearing last week.

 

 

A new Farm Bill will be proposed in 2023 and the Illinois Farm Bureau Board member says his testimony served as the early stages of the process. The U.S. House subcommittee is chaired by Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.

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DeWitt County Sheriff's Department Receives Grant from Enel Green Power

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department recently received a grant from Enel Green Power.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson told Regional Radio News Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show the Board accepted a $50,000 grant from Enel on behalf of the Sheriff's Department at the monthly meeting Thursday night.

 

 

Ferguson notes this is not an unprecedented move. Exelon has provided the department with funding during refueling periods in the past. He is grateful for Enel's generosity.

 

 

Ferguson says the Sheriff's Department is currently hiring new deputies and encourages anyone interested to contact the Sheriff's Department.

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IL Tollway expands I-PASS Assist program

THE ILLINOIS TOLLWAY IS EXPANDING IT'S "I-PASS ASSIST" PROGRAM TO HELP MORE PEOPLE GET THE TRANSPONDERS. 

 

NOW THAT THE TOLLWAY HAS GONE CASHLESS AND USING AN I-PASS SAVES MOTORISTS 50 PERCENT ON TOLLS, SPOKESPERSON DAN ROZEK SAYS THEY'RE REALLY WORKING TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR LOWER INCOME ILLIOISANS TO GET AN I-PASS. HE EXPLAINS THE CHANGES.

 

 

I-PASS ASSIST IS OFFERING NEW INCENTIVES TO QUALIFYING INDIVIDUALS, SUCH AS NO DEPOSIT ON TRANSPONDERS, AND LESS MONEY REQUIRED TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT SAYS TOLLWAY SPOKESPERSON DAN ROZEK.

 

 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SIGNING UP FOR THE I-PASS ASSIST PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS TOLLWAY DOT COM.

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IL Rental Payment Program has already paid out $70 million with more to come

THE STATE'S RENTAL PAYMENT PROGRAM HAS PAID OUT 70 MILLION DOLLARS TO ILLINOIS LANDLORDS IN JUST THE FIRST MONTH.

 

THE ILLINOIS HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY RECEIVED MORE THAN 70 THOUSAND APPLICATIONS FROM LANDLORDS, REQUESTING ASSISTANCE ON BEHALF OF THEIR TENANTS. 70 MILLION HAS ALREADY GONE OUT, AND ANOTHER 17 MILLION HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR PAYMENT. HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS MORE IN ASSISTANCE IS EXPECTED IN THE COMING WEEKS. THE AUTHORITY'S RODRIGO CARRILLO SAYS IT'S CLEAR THE NEED IS OUT THERE.

 

 

LANDLORDS SUBMITTED 664 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF REQUESTS FOR PAST AND FUTURE RENT ON BEHALF OF THEIR TENANTS TO THE ILLINOIS HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY. 70 MILLION HAS ALREADY GONE OUT WITH ANOTHER 17 ON THE WAY AND HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS MORE TO COME. THE AUTHORITY'S RODRIGO CARRILLO SAYS THE NEED FOR THIS ASSISTANCE IS GREAT.

 

 

THE PORTION OF THE PROGRAM FOR LANDLORDS IS NOW CLOSED. TENANTS STILL NEEDING ASSISTANCE MAY START APPLYING TO THE PROGRAM MONDAY ON THE WEBSITE: IHDA DOT ORG.

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U of I Professor discusses the reasons behind the current labor shortage

A UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PROFESSOR SAYS THERE ARE SEVERAL FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE CURRENT LABOR SHORTAGE. 

 

BARS, RESTAURANTS, HOTELS AND OTHER BUSINESSES LOOKING TO HIRE MULTIPLE WORKERS AT A TIME IS PART OF THE PROBLEM SAYS U OF I LABOR PROFESSOR ROBERT BRUNO. ANOTHER IS FINDING QUALITY, AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE. HE SAYS PEOPLE ARE ALSO BEING MORE SELECTIVE.

 

 

H BUSINESSES SEEKING TO FILL SEVERAL POSITIONS AT ONCE SAYS U OF I LABOR PROFESSOR ROBERT BRUNO. HE ADDS THAT WORKERS ARE ALSO BEING MORE SELECTIVE, SEEKING BETTER PAY, HOURS AND HEALTH CARE. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ARGUMENT THAT PEOPLE AREN'T LOOKING FOR A JOB BECAUSE THEY ARE RECEIVNG THE EXTRA 300 DOLLAR A WEEK FEDERAL JOBLESS BENEFIT?

 

 

BRUNO SAYS ANOTHER FACTOR CONTINUES TO BE FINDING QUALITY, AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Temperatures this week were cooler than previous weeks. Rain is expected for the majority of the state this weekend and next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more...

 

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Rains Postpone DeWitt, Macon, Piatt 4-H Horse Show

The rains have postponed the DeWitt, Macon, & Piatt County 4-H Horse Show that was scheduled for this weekend.  

 

The University of Illinois Extension indicates the Horse Show will be postponed to the rain dates of August 7th & 8th.  

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Rainy Weather Cancels Tour DeWitt

The rainy weather has caused the cancellation of this weekend's Tour DeWitt bicylce ride.

 

Organizers Friday called off the bike ride across DeWitt County due to the threat of severe storms and potential flooding coupled with the excess rain the area has already seen over the past 48 hours.

 

Again the 2021 Tour DeWitt ride set for Saturday, June 26th, has been cancelled.

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Community Action Laying Groundwork for Strategic Planning

A central Illinois non-profit is spending this month and next laying the foundation for its upcoming strategic planning process.

 

Alison Rumler-Gomez is the Executive Director of Community Action and is a strong advocate for yearly strategic planning. To prepare for that process in the late summer of each year, the agency lays the groundwork by meeting with local leaders in all sectors in their respective communities.

 

 

According to Rumler-Gomez, getting their communities back to work will likely be a big focus in this upcoming strategic planning process. She believes getting society back to work will be a multi-year process.

 

 

Rumler-Gomez also believes there is going to have to be a mindset shift for a lot of people who either have been working from home or not working at all. She explains while the opportunities for working from home will likely be expanded, it simply will not be a universal option that many are going to have to come to grips with.

 

 

Rumler-Gomez says people get self-worth when they are working and there is a bigger connection to their community. Additionally, she points out the mental and emotional issues that stem from people not working and being isolated, however, she recognizes there is a hesitancy to get back to work and Community Action hopes to help bridge that gap. 

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Maroa Library Immersed in Summer Reading Club

The summer reading club is roaring on at the Maroa Public Library.

 

Maroa Library Program Director Jenny Cowgill on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News they are already underway with their program and they have a lot of activities on the calendar until the program ends July 9.

 

 

Children that participate are given a log to keep track of their reading. Cowgill indicates each age group keeps track of its reading differently.

 

 

Programs like the Maroa Library's summer reading club offers children the opportunity to continue their reading and learning through the summer months while offering fun incentives. Cowgill says it's important for kids to continue to keep those skills sharp when they're away from school.

 

 

There's still time for kids to get involved in the Maroa Library summer reading club plus several activities still to come this summer. Cowgill directs those interested to head to their website, maroa.lib.il.us, or visit them at 305 Garfield Street in Maroa. You can also find the library on Facebook. 

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Lincoln Mayor Discusses Goal of Improving Equity in His Community

This past weekend, the City of Lincoln and its leaders held a Juneteenth celebration and it is being embraced by the City's Mayor.

 

Tracy Welch was elected Mayor of Lincoln in March and was previously the acting Mayor when Seth Goodman resigned. Mayor Welch says when he was acting Mayor, the City formed an equity and inclusion commission to hear from those in the community who have concerns.

 

 

According to Mayor Welch, there is a feeling among residents the City Council does not hear their concerns or feelings. He hopes this Commission can be a bridge between those groups of people and the City Council.

 

 

The Mayor hopes to act on the things the commission recommends and make sure the rest of the community understands why they are doing the things they do. He believes at the end of the day they need to make sure they include everyone's passions in their decisions.

 

 

Lincoln has become more diverse over the years and Mayor Welch believes the community is doing a good job of adapting to that diversity. 

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Still no energy policy bill

The state still doesn’t have a set of bills designed to address challenges and changes to the state’s energy policy. Governor JB Pritzker says work continues to address the nuclear industry and Exelon’s statements about possibly closing two power plants.

 

 

Lawmakers came back for a special session early this month to address changes, but nothing was accomplished.

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Ameren Illinois Midwest Mutual Assistance Network deployed last week in response to storms

Last week, a tornado in a Chicago suburb led to the deployment of the Ameren Illinois Midwest Mutual Assistance Network. Mobile crews of Ameren lineman from across the state were deployed to help with downed power lines, power poles and to restore electricity across the affected areas. Riley Adams from Ameren Illinois says the program takes crews across the state and even across the Midwest to restore safe electricity to affected areas as quickly as possible...

 

 

Adams says that the Midwest Mutual Assistance Network is urgently important. When major disasters happen, the network brings in help not just from around the area of the disaster but from surrounding midwestern states, if needed for a major disaster.

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Girl scout cookies strong in Illinois

A group of Girl Scouts in Illinois did a pretty good job of selling cookies this year.

 

Pam Kovacevich the CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Illinois says over their 38 counties they don’t have the backlog of cookies that has been talked about around the US where 15 million boxes are left unsold.

 

 

Girl Scouts are busy signing up for fall at get your girl power dot org.

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Sen. Rose Blasts Governor For Choosing Democrats Spending, Raises Over Interest of Illinoisans

As the Illinois Senate wrapped up the spring legislative agenda some would categorize as radical, a central Illinois lawmaker took off the gloves criticizing Governor JB Pritzker.

 

Sen. Chapin Rose came in off the top rope to blast the Chicago Democrat for not doing the right thing and standing up for the people of Illinois when Illinois Democrats had to reintroduce and re-approve the budget because the first version, passed in the early morning hours, could not be signed.

 

 

With former Speaker of the House Mike Madigan now out of the Illinois political picture, Sen. Rose says Gov. Pritzker has now become the leader of the Illinois Democratic Party and embodies the progressive left agenda.

 

 

The Mahomet Republican wasn't done there - he also teed off on the Governor for outright breaking his campaign promise to not sign a lawmaker-drawn legislative map and then having the pomposity to blame Republicans for not bringing forward a legislative map. 

 

 

Sen. Rose says Illinois Republicans have turned to the courts to have maps drawn independently and this just another in a long list of broken promises by the first-term Democrat. 

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Governor Pritzker Asked About Masks In School Next Year

Is it too soon to be thinking about next school year and what it might look like when it comes to public health measures? Governor JB Pritzker says no decisions have been made on a mask mandate later this summer and into fall for school kids.

 

 

Pritzker says more dialogue will be needed and much more will be known about the continued spread of COVID over the next few months.

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DeWitt County Museum to Renovate Porch

A campaign that spanned a couple of years has finally paid off for a DeWitt County non-profit.

 

The DeWitt County Museum for a few years has been promoting its 'Buy A Board' campaign which sought to raise funds to renovate the porches of the CH Moore Homestead. Director Joey Long indicates the campaign sought to address the deteriorating state of the Homestead's porches.

 

 

Historic sites like the CH Moore Homestead oft fall under guidelines that have to be followed because of their ties to government funding but Long explains the Museum doesn't have to do those things as they do not receive any funding from any government entity. She stresses that doesn't mean they will be disregarding the historical integrity of the home.

 

 

The Museum will also get a paint job this summer. If you're hoping to notice a discernible difference in the home when the Apple n' Pork Festival returns this summer, Long indicates you may not notice much as they are going to try to keep the paint color as close to what it is now. 

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Bloomington's Miller Park Zoo Unveils Rebrand Focused on Mission

A Bloomington-Normal entity is refreshing its mission in the community through a rebranding effort.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, the Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo Jay Tetzloff told Regional Radio News the idea stemmed from last summer's lockdowns when he thought something like this would be a good idea. The rebrand focuses on renewing the mission of the city-owned entity.

 

 

As American zoos shift from exhibiting animals for the enjoyment of the public to more of rescue and sustainability operations, Tetzloff indicates getting that message to the public needs to be better presented.

 

 

Tetzloff points out the rebrand of the logo encompasses so many of their breeding programs, their new additions, and the history of their establishment. 

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Weighs In on Students' Mental Health

The mental health of students was at the forefront of one superintendent's mind throughout the past year and a half.

 

Clinton Superintendent Curt Nettles notes before the pandemic the Clinton school district stepped up its efforts on caring for the mental health and wellbeing of their students. When asked about hospitalizations, he believes the number was typical for the district.

 

 

Mr. Nettles indicates when students have been hospitalized the school district is still responsible for educating them. He says he is aware of when hospitalizations occur and did not see a large increase.

 

 

Mr. Nettles says during remote instruction his message to staff was to keep tabs on everyone. He says the Teen Mental Health First Aid prepared teachers and students to help each other during the pandemic and to know what to look for.

 

 

Katy Arnold and Amanda Douglas kept everyone motivated throughout the pandemic through postings on social media.

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Rep. LaHood on Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

President Joe Biden is expected to meet with members of Congress this week as they try to win support for a bipartisan infrastructure plan. 

 

Part of that conversation will include a larger rollout for electric vehicles. Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood says electric vehicles are the future and building out the infrastructure is a big step.

 

 

LaHood says places like Rivian and Tesla are leading the charge but Ford, Volvo, and Chrysler are turning to electric as well.

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Illinois Special Olympics Proceeding With Summer Games Virtually

The annual Special Olympics summer games are underway across the state, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes are competing virtually.

 

Dave Breen, President and CEO of Special Olympics Illinois said even though the Special Olympics are virtual, athletes are participating in a wide array of sports.

 

 

In a typical year, around 4,200 athletes and 2,500 volunteers would participate in the summer games. Breen said he hopes the events return to in-person next year.

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Illinois Soybean Association Working With Farmers Across Illinois Through PCM Program

The Illinois Soybean Association is introducing new farm practices to farmers all across the state.

 

The association recently released their 2021 Business Case for Conservation farmer service program, which reports aggregated data from over 827,000 acres of farmland. Michael Gill, Director of Conservation Agriculture for the Illinois Soybean Association checkoff program, said the Precision Conservation Management (PCM) operates in 31 different counties in the state.

 

 

The Precision Conservation Management program reports data in 31 different counties from high soil productivity-rated fields.

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IDOT Warning of Fake Emails, Texts Scams

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS WARNING ABOUT FAKE EMAILS AND TEXTS SEEKING PERSONAL INFORMATION. 

 

I-DOT HAS BEEN GETTING REPORTS OF MESSAGES PURPORTING TO BE FROM THE AGENCY. SPOKESPERSON MARIA CASTADENDA SAYS IT’S A PHISHING SCAM.

 

 

CASTANEDA SAYS YOU SHOULD NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS IN THE MESSAGE WHICH COULD PUT MALWARE ON YOUR PHONE OR COMPUTER.

 

 

SIMILAR MESSAGES HAVE ALSO BEEN REPORTED THAT FALSELY CLAIM TO BE FROM THE ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE.

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Gauging Lumber Market

The lumber market is slowly recovering. Jason Plummer is vice president of RP Lumber in Edwardsville and also serves as vice president of the Illinois Lumber and Materials Association. He says there have been a number of issues at play.

 

 

Plummer’s dad founded the company 45 years ago and he said his father has never experienced anything resembling the current lumber market situation.

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How FBI Helps Small Communities Investigate Big Crimes

Police in Peru, Illinois know last week’s reported kidnapping shocked a lot of people who just don’t expect it to happen in their community. 

 

FBI Special Agent Jonathan Williamson with the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team says nowhere’s immune. His team’s job is to get out to communities, big and small, and help them find and analyze clues. Small communities away from the big cities and suburbs usually don't have the big resources. The FBI got involved in the Peru case right away. It turns out, the person taken from a street in Peru last Monday morning wasn't a teenager as originally thought. Police found the woman, in her 20's, safe in Peoria.

 

 

Police are still looking for the suspect, 27-year old Bobby A. Cross of Peoria. Police have not said yet whether he'll face abduction charges.

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DCFS Enhances Training, Resources to Support LGBTQI+ Youth in Care

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS WORKING TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF L-G-B-T-Q-I-PLUS YOUTH IN CARE.

 

IN HONOR OF PRIDE MONTH, D-C-F-S IS HIGHLIGHTING THE ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEE TRAINING AND RESOURCES OFFERED TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGES L-G-B-T-Q-I-PLUS KIDS IN THE SYSTEM FACE.

 

 

D-C-F-S L-G-B-T-Q-I-PLUS SERVICES CHIEF MARLA COURTS SAYS THEY WORKING TO EXPAND THE AGENCY’S NETWORK OF GENDER-AFFIRMING THERAPISTS, SERVICE PROVIDERS AND HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS ACROSS THE STATE. SHE ALSO ENCOURAGES ILLINOISANS TO CONSIDER FOSTERING A YOUTH IN CARE.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, D-C-F-S IS WORKING TO FURTHER EDUCATE STAFF ON THE SPECIAL CHALLENGES THAT L-G-B-T-Q-I-PLUS YOUTH FACE AND TO DEVELOP MORE RESOURCES FOR THE KIDS IN CARE.

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American Red Cross Calling on Downstate Illinois to Donate Blood

As things slowly return to business as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross calls on Illinoisans to donate blood. According to Lyn Hruska, Executive Director of the Central Illinois chapter, the need is always higher during the summer months.

 

 

The Central Illinois chapter serves 17 counties in Illinois. To schedule an appointment, visit AmericanRedCross.org.

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Clinton Chamber of Commerce Hosts Golf Outing Tuesday

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce held its first of two planned golf outings Tuesday afternoon.

 

The setting was picture perfect with brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. Executive Director Marian Brisard says it was great to have the event on the heels of a record-setting May Days festival.

 

 

According to Chamber Board President Josh Shofner, the Chamber was fortunate to be able to get through COVID despite the challenges faced by everyone's business. He explains the Chamber was able to take advantage of the PPP program which was a big boost.

 

 

Both Brisard and Shofner look forward to next Thursday's Chamber Business Expo that will be held at Clinton High School from 3 pm to 6 pm. Brisard says they will be asking those who are not vaccinated to continue to wear a mask. She also points out the community shred returns thanks to Heartland Bank and Trust.

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Clinton City Council Approves Assistant Fire Chief Appointment

The Clinton Fire Department has a second assistant fire chief.

 

As Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger seeks out a new fire chief, the Council Monday night approved Dan Ballenger, Jr. to the post of assistant chief. City Administrator Tim Followell points out Ballenger, Sr. abstained during the vote and it was unanimous otherwise.

 

 

The situation resembles a similar situation within the Fire Department about a decade ago but Followell indicates there were about 15 firefighters at the meeting Monday who offered their support to Ballenger, Jr.

 

 

Followell offered an update on the latest in the search for a fire chief noting the pool for the position is probably not very big in addition to the fact it can be a challenge to work a full-time job and be the fire chief of a small community fire department.

 

 

Monday night, questions were raised regarding the efficiency of the department working with two assistant chiefs but also without a chief and everything seemed to indicate things are running smoothly under the current circumstances but efforts to find a chief will continue. 

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Child Protection Network Sees Increase in Child Abuse Cases

With the state starting to reopen, reports of child abuse are on the rise.

 

Child Protection Network Development Director Samantha Stevenson reports as of June there are approximately 400 children in foster care in DeWitt, Livingston, and McLean counties. That number is on pace with last year. The number of confirmed cases of child abuse in Central Illinois is tracking to double the number of cases from 2020.

 

 

Stevenson indicates that abuse during the pandemic and the lockdown could have gone unreported due to children having less access to support systems. 

 

 

Stevenson says school reopening has played a role in cases being reported with children having more access to mandated reporters. She is anticipating more reports of abuse during the lockdown to be reported as reopening continues.

 

 

Stevenson implores if you suspect a child is at risk of abuse or neglect contact the 24-hour child abuse hotline at 1-800-252-2873.

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Macon County 4-H Needing Volunteers for Farm Progress Show

A local 4-H Foundation needs volunteers to help run a food booth at the Farm Progress Show.

 

Doug Harlan, U of I Extension County Director for DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties, indicates the Macon County 4-H Foundation has a food booth at the Farm Progress Show and it takes around 90 volunteers to run.

 

 

Harlan says the money raised from the booth funds projects in all three counties. He notes the Macon County Foundation donated $19,000 for the bathroom project at the DeWitt Fairgrounds. Funding for scholarships and program grants also come from the Farm Progress Show.

 

 

Harlan says groups that volunteer will receive a portion of the profits for working the booth. He contends the Farm Progress Show is something you don't want to miss out on.

 

 

To volunteer contact your local Extention office at (217) 935-5764.

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Weekly Crop Report

WHEAT HARVESTING IN ILLINOIS CONTINUES BEHIND LAST YEAR'S PACE.

 

IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT, STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS THERE WERE ABOUT SIX DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK

 

 

66 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS AND 64 PERCENT OF CORN IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS FOUR PERCENT VERY SHORT, 28 PERCENT SHORT, 64 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FOUR PERCENT SURPLUS. THREE PERCENT OF THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW COMPLETE.

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IDPH Worried About New COVID Variant

As the state continues to work to vaccinate more people against COVID-19 a new variant is worrying those in public health. 

 

The Delta variant is proving to be more contagious than past versions of COVID-19 and that’s why experts are saying getting fully vaccinated is more important than ever. IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says once you’ve taken the shot, patient outcomes greatly improve if you get sick with the virus.

 

 

Illinois is averaging 231 new cases over the past 8 days.

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IDPH Hopes New Lottery Will Entice People to Get Vaccinated

STATE OFFICIALS ARE HOPEFUL THE NEW LOTTERY PROMOTION WILL PROMPT MORE PEOPLE TO GET THE COVID-19 VACCINE. 

 

"ALL IN FOR THE WIN" INCLUDES CASH PRIZES FOR ADULTS AND COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR TEENS WHO HAVE GOTTEN THEIR SHOTS. SPEAKING LAST WEEK, ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAID REASONS FOR NOT GETTING VACCINATED VARY.

 

 

SHE CALLS THE "MOVEABLE MIDDLE" ENTICED BY THE "ALL IN FOR THE WIN" LOTTERY WHICH FEATURES 10 MILLION DOLLARS IN PRIZES.

 

 

THOSE WHO HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST ONE DOSE ARE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED TO WIN, AND ENTRIES WILL UPDATED AS NEW PEOPLE GET VACCINATED. THE FIRST DRAWING WILL BE JULY EIGHTH.

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DNR Releases 2021 Schedule for Waterfowl Blind Site Drawings

WATERFOWL HUNTING BLIND SITE DRAWINGS ARE GETTING BACK TO NORMAL. 

 

THE SCHEDULE IS OUT FOR THE REMAINING DRAWINGS THAT WILL HELD AT SEVERAL PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS IN JULY AND AUGUST. IT'S SOMETHING THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES HAS BEEN GETTING A LOT OF QUESTIONS ABOUT SAYS SPOKESPERSON RACHEL TORBERT.

 

 

TORBERT. THEY WILL BE HELD AT SEVERAL PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS ACROSS ILLINOIS.

 

 

 THEY ALSO MUST HAVE A 2020 OR 2021 HUNTING LICENSE AND MIGRATORY WATERFOWL STAMP. MORE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: DNR DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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County Fair Season Underway

The Illinois county fair season is off and running. Things started earlier this month in Macon County and will finish up in October in Williamson and Winnebago counties. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello has already hit one county fair and plans more stops this summer.

 

 

A number of county fairs are taking place this week including Greene, Jasper, Henry, Montgomery, Vermillion and the Western Illinois Fair in Pike County.

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Clinton YMCA Pool Renovation Finished

The Clinton YMCA's pool is open again after being closed for renovation.

 

Bonnie Taylo, Clinton YMCA Aquatics Director, indicates the pool was closed for repainting. She explains the repainting now incorporates the colors of their swim team.

 

 

Taylo says the renovation will be put to good use this summer as the Y is beginning a summer swim team. The season will run from June to July with the postseason in August.

 

 

There is something for everyone at the Aquatic Center with programming available for six months through seniors. Taylo says two popular classes for seniors are water aerobics and water arthritis.

 

 

Taylo reminds swim lessons are also available for all ages. They offer parent and child lessons for infants and toddlers to introduce them to the water. She says after 3 years old they can be in the class by themselves. Private lessons are also available for adults.

 

 

Visit clintoncommymca.org to view the pool schedule. For more information on classes call (217) 935-8307.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Hopes for as Few Restrictions as Possible Next Year

School next year will be mostly normal. School days will be their traditional length. Sports will be back on its normal schedule and everyone will be required to be in-person except for the very scarce exception.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says while he will do what the state asks of him and the district, he will be advocating for as few restrictions as possible next year.

 

 

Limited guidance regarding next year has come down from the Illinois Department of Public Health through the Illinois State Board of Education. Nettles says it is still early to be getting wrapped up in decisions for two months from now.


 

Planning for more interventions for kids is among the primary focuses for next year as well as increasing mental and emotional resources for their kids. 

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Sen. Rose Amused by Democrats Bungling Spring Legislative Agenda

A central Illinois lawmaker is comically captivated by Illinois Democrats bungling several key issues they sought to accomplish with a continued super-majority across the Illinois legislature.

 

State Sen. Chapin Rose says Illinois Democrats had a horrible end of session and Senators were called back for a special session to address the energy bill they did not pass. He says they are not well organized right now. 

 

 

The Mahomet Republican indicates Illinois Democrats are starting to learn their radical agenda is not only overwhelmingly rejected by Illinoisans.

 

 

There are just a limited number of coal plants left in Illinois and Sen. Rose says this invokes the absurdity of Illinois Democrats' efforts to end carbon. He says all the places that use coal for their electricity will be going to providers outside of Illinois for their energy and those sources will likely be carbon.

 

 

Sen. Rose found it amusing Illinois Democrats seemed to pit the 'new guard allies versus the 'old-guard allies. With super-majorities across the board plus the gubernatorial election next year, Sen. Rose believes something will get done but could only chuckle at the disorganization.

 

 

For those concerned about the Exelon Nuclear Power Station in Clinton, Sen. Rose says there is no correlation between this legislation and the Clinton Power Plant. He also notes the legislation has taken out previsions removing local control regarding zoning of wind in each community. 

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St. Louis Dairy Council on COVID Impacts

Every organization had to adapt its outreach during the COVID pandemic, and the St. Louis District Dairy Council is no different.

 

Monica Nyman with the St. Louis District Dairy Council indicates they have grown their outreach on social media throughout the past year and a half.

 

 

Nyman says they have seen increases in social media followers and interactions due to their shift in focus. She sees virtual events staying for years to come.

 

 

The St. Louis District Dairy Council will be hosting its annual meeting and Let's Talk Dairy event in July in St. Louis. Both events were canceled last year due to COVID.

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ISU Director of Canine Behavior telling Illinoisans not to leave dogs in hot cars

An Illinois veterinarian warning pet owners to avoid leaving dogs in a parked car for any length of time during the summer month. Dr. Valeri Farmer-Dougan, director of the Canine Behavior and Cognition Laboratory at Illinois State University, says even cooler temperatures could be dangerous.

 

 

She added that within 10-minutes of leaving an animal in a vehicle, the interior temperature could reach 140 degrees on hot days. In Illinois, leaving an animal in the car for a prolonged period is considered a misdemeanor and could come with a maximum one-year in jail sentence.

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IL Dept. of Natural Resources reminding paddlers to practice safety out on the water

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS REMINDING PADDLERS TO BE SAFE OUT ON THE WATER THIS SUMMER.

 

D-N-R SAFETY EDUCATOR JEFF HOPKINS SAYS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER THAT YOUR CANOE, KAYAK OR PADDLEBOARD CAN POSE THE SAME RISKS AS A BOAT.

 

 

CANOES, KAYAKS AND PADDLEBOARDS SHOULD BE TREATED JUST LIKE A BOAT SAYS D-N-R SAFETY EDUCATOR JEFF HOPKINS. HE HAS THIS ADVICE:

 

 

HOPKINS SAYS YOU SHOULDN’T OVERLOAD YOUR WATERCRAFT OR GO PADDLING ALONE. HE ALSO RECOMMENDS KEEPING AN EYE ON THE WEATHER AS WELL AS ANY BOATS NEAR YOU.

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Illinois Turkey Harvest Numbers Slightly Down

Spring turkey harvest numbers are slightly down in 2021 compared to 2020.

 

DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert indicates turkey hunters harvested a preliminary statewide total of 13,383 wild turkeys during the 2021 Illinois Spring Turkey Season. This year’s preliminary harvest total compares with the 2020 statewide turkey harvest of 15,831. 

 

 

A windy spring could have contributed to the slight decrease in harvest numbers this spring according to DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson.

 

 

The top five counties for spring wild turkey harvest in 2021 were Jefferson (421), Pike (353), Jo Daviess (352), Marion (332), and Wayne (298).

 

DeWitt County hunters harvested 49 turkeys this spring. In Logan County, hunters took 28 turkeys and 10 turkeys in Piatt County.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces "All in for the Win" Campaign

As the rate of COVID vaccinations slows in Illinois – the state is upping the game when it comes to encouraging people to take the jab.

 

It’s called All In for the Win. Governor JB Pritzker says a free shot will qualify you for portions of a $10 million prize pool. People 18 and above will be in a pool of $7 million in cash prizes and those from 12 – 17 can win a Bright Start College fund with $150,000 in it.

 

 

To qualify you need to receive your first shot by July 1st and drawings will continue all summer.

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June is Men's Health Awareness Month

June is Men's Health Awareness Month in Illinois. Dr Andrew Peterson from OSF Healthcare notes that with the pandemic restrictions ending, now is a good time to remind men about needed screenings available that can help with preventative care for conditions that tend to affect men more than women.

 

 

Dr Peterson says that regular exams can help to prevent leading causes of death among men including heart disease, cancer and other preventable health issues.

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State Will Help Seniors With Medicare Questions Later This Month

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING IS OFFERING HELP ONLINE TO SENIORS LOOKING INTO MEDICARE. 

 

THE MEDICARE SYSTEM CAN BE CONFUSING, SO THE AGENCY IS PARTICIPATING IN A VIRTUAL “MEDICARE FAIR” ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23RD FROM TWO TO SIX P-M SAYS STATE HEALTH INSURANCE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM DIRECTOR SANDY LEITH.

 

 

LEITH SAYS IT’S A GREAT CHANCE TO GET ANSWERS TO ALL YOUR QUESTIONS SUCH AS…

 

 

YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE MEDICARE FAIR NOW THROUGH JUNE 21ST BY VISITING THE DEPARTMENT ON AGING’S WEBSITE.

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Rep. Ford Uses Battle With Prostate Cancer To Promote Screenings

ONE STATE LAWMAKER IS SHARING HIS BATTLE WITH PROSTATE CANCER TO ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO GET SCREENED FOR THE DISEASE. 

 

CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD SAYS HE WAS SCREENED LAST OCTOBER AND HIS P-S-A LEVELS CAME BACK QUITE HIGH. DOCTORS WERE CONCERNED ABOUT HOW AGGRESSIVE THE CANCER WAS AND FORD HAD SURGERY IN JANUARY. HE STRESSES THE NEED TO BE CHECKED REGULARLY.

 

 

FORD IS URGING MEN TO BE PROACTIVE AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE TESTED.

 

 

THE SURGERY WAS SUCCESSFUL AND FORD SAYS HE WAS RUNNING A 5-K A MONTH LATER. HE ADDS THAT PROSTATE CANCER IS MORE PREVALENT IN AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN THAN IN OTHER RACES.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Another warm and humid week for Illinois. Outlooks for next week show some slight rain and we should return to more seasonable temperatures. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the report...

 

 

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BBB warns of grandparents scam

With a busy travel season expected this summer coming out of the pandemic, the Better Business Bureau wants you to be aware of a scam that tricks thousands of people nationwide each year. It's called the "Grandparent Scam," and you are being urged not to fall for the ruse if someone claiming to be a grandchild or close relative calls asking for money if you cannot verify their circumstances.

 

Don O'Brien, investigator with the Better Business Bureau, says it can be easy to fall victim to crooks that try to play on your emotions.

 

 

This scam has been around since about 2008 and has continually evolved.

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IL Dept. of Labor urges employers to emphasize trench safety

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR IS STRESSING THE IMPORTANCE OF TRENCH SAFETY.

EMPLOYERS NEED TO TRAIN WORKERS IN RISK MANAGEMENT AND THE BEST WAYS TO PREVENT CAVE-INS SAYS AGENCY SPOKESPERSON PAUL CICCHINNI (chick-kini).

 

 

TRENCHING IS ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS JOBS AT A CONSTRUCTION SITE SAYS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR SPOKESPERSON PAUL CICCHINI (chick-kini), SO EMPLOYERS MUST HAVE SPECIALLY TRAINED WORKERS TO OVERSEE SAFETY.

 

 

CICCHINI SAYS IN A TRENCH COLLAPSE, JUST A CUBIC YARD OF SOIL CAN WEIGH AS MUCH AS A SMALL CAR.

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Summer lawn watering tips

THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION OFFICE IS OFFERING SOME SUMMER LAWN CARE TIPS. 

 

NOW THAT THE WEATHER IS REALLY HEATING UP, IT'S TIME TO DECIDE IF YOU WANT TO PUT THE EFFORT AND MONEY INTO WATERING YOUR YARD ALL SUMMER SAYS U OF I HORTICULTURE EDUCATOR RICHARD HENTSCHEL. IF THAT'S THE ROUTE YOU WANT TO GO...

 

 

HORTICULTURE EDUCATOR RICHARD HENTSCHEL SAYS IF WANT TO KEEP YOUR YARD LOOKING GREEN, YOU REALLY NEED TO COMMIT TO WATERING DEEPLY AND INFREQUENTLY. THAT MEANS AN INCH TO AN INCH AND A HALF OF WATER ABOUT ONCE A WEEK. ADDITIONALLY...

 

 

HENTSCHEL POINTS OUT THAT KEEPING A LUSH LAWN WILL REQUIRE ADDITIONAL FERTILIZER AND SUGGESTS MOWING MORE OFTEN AT A TALLER HEIGHT. THE TALLER GRASS WILL SHIELD THE ROOTS FROM THE SUN A LITTLE BETTER SO YOUR YARD WON'T DRY OUT AS QUICKLY.

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IL Treasurer Mike Frerichs' Office Highlighting Unique Properties Returned

LLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS’ OFFICE IS LAUNCHING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE UNIQUE ITEMS RETURNED TO PEOPLE THROUGH THE “I-CASH” PROGRAM. 

 

THE EFFORT INCLUDES ONLINE ADS AND DIRECT MAILING, REMINDING THE PUBLIC THAT THEY MAY HAVE UNCLAIMED PROPERTY WAITING FOR THEM SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.

 

 

TREASURER FRERICHS SAYS HE’S ALWAYS TRYING TO PROMOTE THE I-CASH PROGRAM.

 

 

FRERICHS SAYS ABOUT ONE IN FOUR PEOPLE ARE SUCCESSFUL WHEN THEY SEARCH THE ONLINE DATABASE AND CLAIMS AVERAGE ABOUT ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. VISIT ILLINOIS TREASURER DOT GOV SLASH ICASH TO TRY YOUR LUCK.

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Clinton Police Make Arrest in Two-County Storage Unit Burglaries

A Clinton Police Department investigation into multiple burglaries of storage units has led to the arrest of a Lincoln man. 

 

Friday June 4th Clinton Police were summoned to the business of “Storage Unlimited” located on Illinois Route 54 East to investigate the discovery of at least 17 storage units forced open and at least eight units burglarized during the early morning hours of June 4th. 

 

On Tuesday, June 15, Clinton Police Detectives arrested Thomas Slayton, 28, Lincoln, for multiple counts of Burglary, Possession of Burglary Tools and Possession of Stolen property/Theft. Slayton was transported to the Dewitt County Jail where he was turned over to Dewitt County Sheriff’s Office Corrections personnel pending an appearance in court.

 

Clinton Police were assisted in the arrest by Lincoln Police and the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Chief Ben Lowers said in a statement this week, quote - “I’d like to commend our officers and Investigations Unit on their diligent work to resolve these cases in a swift and timely manner. We want to send a message that theft and burglary in our community will not be tolerated and we are dedicated to bringing those responsible to justice for their criminal actions.” 

 

Authorities remind all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Monticello Chamber of Commerce Business Expo Friday

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce Business Expo is today (Friday) from 3-6pm in downtown Monticello.

 

Shelly Crawford-Stock, Monticello Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, indicates they will be highlighting the many local businesses in Monticello. She notes businesses will be hosting giveaways along with food and live music.

 

 

Crawford-Stock says the business expo has been ongoing for many years and serves as a reminder of the businesses in the Monticello community. With many of the businesses hit hard by the pandemic, Crawford-Stock hopes the community will come out and show their support.

 

 

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce Business Expo is from 3-6pm Friday. Monticello Main Street will be hosting live, acoustic music from Dave and Lisa from 5-8pm as part of the Music on Main concert series. Both events are on the downtown Monticello square.

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Suicide Rates During COVID

Suicide rates did not increase as much as some have expected during COVID, but one local mental health expert says it's too early to tell.

 

Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center Tony Kirkman indicates it is too early to say suicide rates did not increase during COVID. He notes data usually lag along with the number of factors brought by the pandemic.

 

 

Kirkman believes one reason might be the destigmatization of mental health among the younger generations. He says in today's day and age people are more willing to discuss mental health and to seek help when they need it.

 

 

Kirkman says if you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues the first place should turn to is your friends and family. If you don't feel comfortable or that isn't an option, there are various local and state resources.

 

 

Kirkman indicates taking the first step of recognizing you need help is the hardest part. Kirkman liked therapy to a quick lube station for your car. You are receiving resources to help you get your levels back in check.

 

 

To contact the Piatt County Mental Health Center, visit piattmhc.org or call (217) 762-5371.

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National Weather Service Discusses July, Summer Humidity

Yesterday on Regional Radio News we outlined the sudden dry trend in which we find ourselves in central Illinois.

 

As we wrap up June and turn the calendar to July, Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln is keeping an eye on the moisture that could potentially be makings its way to the midwest, unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be much on the horizon.

 

 

According to Miller, the condition of the corn crop can play a large role in the weather of the summer. He explains if the crop is not in good condition, it will not be as humid as usual. Additionally, the weather of the upper-midwest, which drives moisture to central Illinois, is in a very dry pattern as well.

 

 

Looking beyond July, Miller says above-normal temperatures are expected, which is not out of the ordinary. He says nothing too extreme is expected.

 

 

As we hit the weekend, portions of central Illinois remain under an umbrella of dry air that seems to be skipped over when moisture makes its way through. Miller says this continues a pattern of the last few years where there is no local moisture for the atmosphere to draw from. 

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Sen. Barickman Calls Budget 'Fatally Flawed'

A Central Illinois lawmaker, who is mulling a decision to run for Governor, says Illinois' new state budget is "fatally flawed."

 

The budget, which passed on June 1, was initially set to take effect next summer. However, some mistakes in the legislation led to a Senate vote to correct the errors. According to State Sen. Jason Barickman, the legislation was a disaster from the beginning.

 

 

The Bloomington Republican added that when Gov. Pritzker corrected the legislation; he could have scaled back a bill that provides politicians with an 18-hundred dollar a year pay raise.

 

The House must also accept the changes. The state's new fiscal year begins July 1.

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Commodity Markets Have Brutal Thursday

It was a brutal day at the Chicago Board of Trade. Big red numbers in the commodity market on Thursday.

 

 

That’s Hugh Whalen with MID-CO Commodities in Bloomington, speaking shortly after the close on Thursday.

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Recreational Marijuana Equity Act

A new state bill allows for minority businesses to receive recreational marijuana licenses.

 

Tony Kirkman, Piatt County Mental Health Center Executive Director, reminds last year when recreational marijuana was legalized, a lottery system was established to award licenses. The reasoning was to award licenses to minority owners, but larger companies received the licenses.

 

 

The General Assembly recently passed the Recreational Marijuana Equity Act, which creates two additional lotteries of 110 total for minority dispensary owners. In addition to the 110, the bill also allows the lottery for last year's 75 licenses to move forward.

 

 

Kirkman notes the original recreational marijuana bill provided for twenty percent of the tax proceeds would go to substance abuse and mental health providers. The new state budget allocates $15 million to the Substance Use and Prevention Recovery Department.

 

 

Kirkman says this is much-needed funding to allow mental health providers to continue serving the communities they serve.

 

The bill now heads to the Governor's desk.

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Republicans remain upset over Governor's budget process

The budget passed a few weeks back by Illinois lawmakers wasn’t proof-read. The spending plan lacked a few key dates in the text to spell out just when spending on some state programs could begin. So it was with the stroke of the pen, an amendatory veto, that Governor JB Pritzker fixed it and sent it back to lawmakers to re-approve it. Republicans didn’t support the measure the first time and this time around were upset about the sloppy way it was put together.

 

House GOP member Mike Marron says mistakes were made because the budget arrived at the last minute.

 

 

Republicans don’t have a particular fix right now – but say the budget should be ready to be viewed for a few days before voting to approve it or not. The House and Senate used Democratic majorities to approve the changes.

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Central Illinois Drying Out

Heading into 2021, we were too dry. Then things got better thanks to a wet stretch in February and March. 

 

Now as we head to the summer, things are drying out again. Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio News Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show, there are parts of southern Illinois that are just fine, but much of central and northern Illinois is dry.

 

 

Normally this time of the year, we can expect around three-quarters of an inch of rain on a weekly basis. Miller indicates once again, a stretch that goes from Lincoln to Clinton over towards Champaign and as far south as Effingham and Shelbyville that is under a dome of dry weather and is well below normal for moisture.

 

 

Towards the end of the week and into the weekend are the best chances for rain showers that could relieve this dry run we're on. Miller indicates because the storms will be developing over parts of Illinois, not every area that needs moisture is going to get it. 


 

Through the rest of the summer, Miller says right now nothing is showing a truly wet pattern coming in July or August. He says temperatures will be hot and then cool off slightly for a short time and then return to hot and cycle that way through the next few months.

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Adjustments to FOID card

Small steps forward were made in adjusting the FOID card system in Illinois. One of the biggest changes will be with collecting fingerprints. They aren’t going to be required to get a card but if you submit them you will be granted an automatic renewal if you qualify. Republican Rep. Deanne Mazzochi says the fixes won’t slow down gun violence or speed up the process to issue new ones.

 

 

The bill will create electronic versions of the cards.

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Juneteenth is now an official state holiday in Illinois

JUNETEENTH IS NOW AN OFFICIAL STATE HOLIDAY IN ILLINOIS. 

 

UNDER A NEW STATE LAW, THE HOLIDAY WILL BE CELEBRATED ON JUNE 19TH EVERY YEAR, MARKING THE DAY IN 1865 WHEN THE LAST SLAVES WERE FINALLY FREED IN GALVESTON, TEXAS. “FREEDOM DAY” IS A VITAL PART OF HISTORY THAT SHOULD BE REMEMBERED EACH YEAR SAYS SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SIGNED THE NEW STATE LAW NEXT TO A RARE SIGNED COPY OF THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION IN SPRINGFIELD. IT MARKS JUNE 19TH AS A NEW HOLIDAY. REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD OF CHICAGO EXPLAINS THE SIGNIFICANCE.

 

 

THE LAW TAKES EFFECT NEXT YEAR AND WILL BE A PUBLIC SCHOOL HOLIDAY AND A PAID HOLIDAY FOR STATE EMPLOYEES WHEN JUNE 19TH FALLS ON A WEEKDAY.

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House approves Chicago schools elected board bill

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE VOTED WEDNESDAY TO CREATE AN ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD FOR CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 

 

C-P-S IS CURRENTLY THE ONLY DISTRICT IN THE STATE WHERE BOARD MEMBERS ARE APPOINTED INSTEAD OF ELECTED. IF SIGNED INTO LAW, THE LEGISLATION SETS UP A 21 MEMBER FULLY ELECTED BOARD BY 2027. IT’S SUPPORTED BY REPRESENTATIVE KAM BUCKNER OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THE CHANGE IS A LONG TIME COMING SAYS REPRESENTATIVE DELIA RAMIREZ OF CHICAGO, WITH HER BILL SETTING UP A FULLY ELECTED 21 MEMBER SCHOOL BOARD BY 2027.

 

 

IF SIGNED INTO LAW, THE LEGISLATION WILL BE PHASED IN, WITH A HYBRID BOARD TAKING OFFICE IN 2025. C-P-S IS CURRENTLY THE ONLY DISTRICT IN THE STATE THAT DOES NOT ELECT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS.

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Clinton Board of Education Amends Budget, Approves Position for K-5 Special Education Department Lead

The Clinton Board of Education met for a brief meeting Tuesday night.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio News they approved budget amendments. The district will finish Fiscal Year '21 in the black.

 

 

The Board approved the district to create a position for a K-5 Special Education Department head. Nettles explains a leader is in place at high school and junior high school. 

 

 

Additionally, Thursday night the Board of Education discussed allowing staff members who reside outside the district to allow their children to attend Clinton Schools and waiving the tuition fees. Nettles explains the other things like registration fees would apply.

 

 

Nettles notes that was a proposal that was only discussed and could be taken up for a vote in August or September.

 

The Board of Education will not convene in July.

 

Also Tuesday night, the Board approved handbook updates for the 2021-22 school year and its behavior policy. Minor adjustments were made to both according to Nettles. 

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Local Scams

Tuesday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and on Regional Radio News, we highlighted the battle seniors face regarding scams.

 

Many may say, well our local seniors don't deal with those things but Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says that simply is not the case. While seniors can be the most susceptible, almost everyone is constantly bombarded with scam phone calls.

 

 

It's not anything groundbreaking, but Chief Lowers indicates imposters are simply playing a numbers game. Additionally, these people are very good at what they do and tap into the public's emotional reactions.

 

 

The evolving world of technology is opening us up to more and more opportunities for scams. Chief Lowers offers some things we can do to not end up the victim of a scam.

 

 

The Chief continues to encourage you not to answer calls from unfamiliar phone numbers, and if you do thinking the number looks familiar, hang up once you realize the call is not who you may have thought it was from. 

 

Additionally, Chief Lowers says they continue to see local folks falling for these scams. Especially in the case of a wire-transfer type of scam, local institutions will sniff some of these out but it happens far too frequently, local authorities continue to see local seniors and residents victims of scams that could have been prevented if common sense was used. 

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Warner Hospital Hopes to Get Front Parking Lot Right This Summer

After trying to save money on a project in front of Warner Hospital in Clinton, the city-owned entity is having to go back and redo a project they thought they had fixed a few years ago.

 

CEO Paul Skowron explains the parking lot in front of the facility on White Street in Clinton will undergo its second nearly full renovation. In 2019, they did this but with materials, they felt would get the job done and save the hospital money. It did not work out.

 

 

With the cyber-attacks of recent weeks across varying industries, Skowron points out a recent upgrade they've made is to review their ransom-ware software within the hospital. He stresses to the public, the security of their system and patient information is always top-of-mind for them.

 

 

Among other improvements within the city-owned facility is an upgrade of their phone system. Skowron recognizes this isn't the most appealing piece of news for the public but it will allow them to be more efficient. 

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Senate Approves Fixes to State Budget

THE ILLINOIS SENATE IS VOTING TO CORRECT ERRORS IN THE NEW STATE BUDGET. 

 

THE BUDGET ORIGINALLY PASSED THE SENATE IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF JUNE FIRST, BUT THERE WERE SOME MISTAKES IN THE LEGISLATION SAYS SENATE PRESIDENT DON HARMON.

 

 

SENATOR JASON BARICKMAN OF BLOOMINGTON SAYS THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU RUSH A MEASURE THROUGH IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS:

 

 

THE HOUSE MUST ALSO AGREE TO THE FIXES. THE STATE’S NEW FISCAL YEAR BEGINS JULY FIRST.

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Rain chances improve toward weekend into early next week

They’re waiting for rain in many parts of Illinois. Some relief may be on the way. And even though it’s been relatively dry throughout much of Illinois this month, the temperature pattern hasn’t been too extreme.

 

 

That’s DTN ag meteorologist John Baranick. He spoke with the RFD Radio Network Tuesday morning.

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Illinois State Police Continue to Struggle With FOID Applications

The Illinois State Police are struggling to keep up with processing applications for FOID cards in a timely manner.

 

ISP Director Brendan Kelly says over the past 10 years applications are way up and funding remains flat. He says whatever becomes of possible legislative changes to the FOID system, lawmakers need to address fundamental issues surrounding it.

 

 

A change to the state’s FOID card system that is up for debate this week addresses firearm revocation after a citizen has their FOID card revoked. The Illinois State Rifle Association is officially “neutral” on the change.

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Coal-Backers Disappointed With Recent Legislation

Energy legislation moving through the statehouse has drawn the ire of supporters of coal-fired power plants, union labor, and some lawmakers. 

 

The legislation could force the shutdown of two power plants – Prairie State Energy in Marissa and CWLP in Springfield. CWLP’s Chief Engineer Doug Brown says his utility is expecting to be part of a carbon capture project at the plant but that could be put in danger of never coming if the bill forces the shutdown of the utility by 2035.

 

 

Brown says planned retirements of existing coal-fired units at CWLP will meet the Biden Administration’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 2030 from 2005 levels.

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Clean Energy Negotiations Stalled

IT LOOKS LIKE NEGOTIATIONS ON A FULL CLEAN ENERGY PLAN HAVE STALLED IN THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE. 

 

ONE ISSUE IS PREVAILING WAGE RATES, ALTHOUGH LAWMAKERS SAY THAT MAY BE WORKED OUT SOON. THE BIGGER PROBLEM IS THAT DIFFERENT SCHEDULES FOR REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS AND CLOSING COAL PLANTS IN DOWNSTATE MARISSA AND SPRINGFIELD HAVE BEEN PROPOSED SAYS SENATOR BILL CUNNINGHAM.

 

 

THE BIGGEST STICKING POINT IS THE SCHEDULE FOR REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS AND CLOSING COAL PLANTS, SPECIFICALLY FACILITIES IN DOWNSTATE MARISSA AND SPRINGFIELD. SENATOR BILL CUNNINGHAM IS WORKING ON PLAN AND SAYS THERE ARE TWO PROPOSALS ON THE TABLE.

 

 

THERE ARE REPORTS THAT SENATORS ARE NOW WORKING ON A SMALLER BILL THAT PLACES A MORATORIUM ON NUCLEAR PLANT CLOSURES, CONTAINS ETHICS PROVISIONS AND ADDRESSES A FEW OTHER AREAS.

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Asian carp won't be called 'Asian' carp on menus

A new name for the invasive Asian Carp as it appears as a food product or on a menu. They’re calling it the “big reveal” later this month says IDNR Director Colleen Callahan.

 

 

The new name will be revealed June 29.

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?IL Treasurer Mike Frerichs' Office Highlighting Unique Properties Returned

ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS’S OFFICE IS LAUNCHING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE UNIQUE ITEMS RETURNED TO PEOPLE THROUGH THE “I-CASH” PROGRAM. 

 

THE EFFORT INCLUDES ONLINE ADS AND DIRECT MAILING, REMINDING THE PUBLIC THAT THEY MAY HAVE UNCLAIMED PROPERTY WAITING FOR THEM SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.

 

 

TREASURER FRERICHS SAYS HE’S ALWAYS TRYING TO PROMOTE THE I-CASH PROGRAM.

 

 

FRERICHS SAYS ABOUT ONE IN FOUR PEOPLE ARE SUCCESSFUL WHEN THEY SEARCH THE ONLINE DATABASE AND CLAIMS AVERAGE ABOUT ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. VISIT ILLINOIS TREASURER DOT GOV SLASH ICASH TO TRY YOUR LUCK.

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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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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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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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