Local News

Local COVID Cases on Rise

COVID cases locally are on the rise and DeWitt County has reported two COVID-related fatalities in the last two weeks.

 

Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, Dave Remmert indicates over 90-percent of cases are in the unvaccinated. 

 

 

That trend of unvaccinated driving most of the hospitalizations is holding locally like it is statewide. Remmert continues to promote the vaccination of the population but understands the perspectives of people that do not want to be vaccinated.

 

 

Something that seems to be talked about only minimally depending on where you turn for COVID conversation is the impact of natural immunity. Remmert points to data that shows someone infected with COVID has longer-lasting, natural immunity.

 

 

The latest data from the Health Department shows 53 active cases of COVID in DeWitt County and 45 in Piatt County. 

 

Vaccination for COVID is available through the health department's offices.  Please call them for an appointment.  In DeWitt County, call (217)935-3427 ext 2141, or in Piatt County, call (217) 762-7911 ext 2211.  You can also receive vaccination through our local Walgreens, or through state-sponsored vaccination clinics in areas nearby. 

 

DeWitt County is currently on the state warning list for COVID. 

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Reacts to Vaccination Mandate on Illinois Schools

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says his feelings about the mandate to have all Illinois school staffers vaccinated or face weekly testing has not changed since it came down late last week.

 

The veteran school leader told Regional Radio News it is not only a frustrating mandate but the frustrations continue to mount as no guidance has been given to schools on how to implement this starting next Monday.

 

 

Among the questions needing answers right now are where do staffers go to get tested? Is the district obligated to provide testing? What if teachers don't get tested?

 

 

A concern over teachers leaving Illinois schools because of this mandate is very real in the minds of some school leaders. Nettles says while he hasn't had those conversations with any of his staff, he recognizes those could be decisions some are considering.

 

 

Nettles says he's had enough but doesn't know what to do. Between correspondences to lawmakers, the Governor's office, and others, he feels that is still the best way to bring change to this situation.

 

 

While Nettles says he'll continue to write letters and show up in person, he hopes the community will join him and make their voices heard and continue to be active in doing so. 

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Monticello Schools Superintendent Reacts to Vaccine Mandate on Illinois Schools

Central Illinois school leaders continue to react to and digest last week's news from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker that all K-12 educators and staff not vaccinated are subject to weekly testing. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Monticello Schools Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman told Regional Radio he estimates around 80-percent of his district staff is vaccinated. He points to an informal survey they did that indicated around 90-percent were vaccinated.

 

 

Many superintendents are growing concerned this could deepen an ongoing challenge of staffing in their districts. Be it support staff or teachers in the classrooms, districts have struggled for several years now to keep their districts fully staffed. Dr. Zimmerman says Monticello Schools cannot afford to lose more staff. 

 

 

Many local school leaders have been put off by the Governor's tone in his recent press briefings regarding mandates over schools. Dr. Zimmerman understands how some could perceive his comments the way they do.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman indicates there was a rumor swirling in education circles over the weekend that the Governor was going to shut schools down after the Labor Day weekend. He continues to hope for districts to be able to make their own decisions as it relates to school shutdowns. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN IS ADVANCING A LITTLE SLOWER THAN USUAL AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

65 PERCENT OF CORN IS IN THE DENT STAGE, COMPARED TO 68 PERCENT LAST YEAR. FOUR PERCENT IS MATURE, BEHIND THE NORM OF 10 PERCENT SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

95 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE SETTING PODS, WHICH IS ABOUT NORMAL AT THIS TIME OF YEAR.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS FIVE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 20 PERCENT SHORT, 70 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FIVE PERCENT SURPLUS. THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 91 PERCENT COMPLETE.

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New Law Sets up Plan for Removal of All Lead Pipes in Illinois

A NEW STATE LAW KICKS OFF A PLAN TO REMOVE ALL LEAD PIPES IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THERE ARE MORE LEAD LINES BRINGING WATER INTO HOMES IN ILLINOIS THAN IN ANY OTHER STATE. THE LAW SETS A TIMETABLE AND REQUIREMENTS FOR REPLACING THOSE LINES AND WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR MELINDA BUSH OF GRAYSLAKE.

 

 

THIS IS LANDMARK LEGISLATION THAT WILL IMPROVE DRINKING WATER ACROSS THE STATE SAYS REPRESENTATIVE LAMONT ROBINSON.

 

 

TOO MUCH LEAD IN DRINKING WATER CAN CAUSE BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS AND SLOWED GROWTH IN CHILDREN AND CAN CAUSE PREMATURE BIRTH IN PREGNANT WOMEN. BESIDES THE POSITIVE HEALTH EFFECTS, BUSH SAYS THE LAW WILL CREATE UP TO 11 THOUSAND JOBS.

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Master Farmers Recognized

The state’s Master Farmers are going to be recognized at the Farm Progress Show. The event, organized by Prairie Farmer Magazine has been delayed twice because of COVID restrictions. Prairie Farmer’s Holly Spangler says it will be a little different but still a great time.

 

 

8 farmers in all, from classes in 2020 and 2021 will be honored Thursday at the Farm Progress show inside the Hospitality Building.

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Community Action Partnership Seeking Contractors to Bid on Winterization Projects

Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois announced today that it's accepting applications to pre-qualify contractors to perform weatherization services on at least 200 homes in Central Illinois this fall and winter.

They're specifically requesting experienced specialty HVAC, plumbing and architectural contractors. This work will include air-sealing, insulating attics and walls, repair or replace heating and cooling systems, and making incidental repairs related to the weatherization program.  The work will need to be completed during the program year which begins October 1, 2021 and ends September 30, 2022.  

There are certain specifications for contractors to qualify for these grant funds to be used to do work.  At a minimum, contractors will be required to agree to adhere to weatherization standards set forth by the state and federal funding.

Community Action and sister participating agencies will be holding a virtual informational meeting on Wednesday, September 8th, from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Registration is required. 

For more information, contact Mike Miller at Community Action Partnership in Lincoln.

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Farm Progress Show Preview

If you're coming out to the Farm Progress Show this week in Decatur, organizers have some things to keep in mind.

 

As the 'Super Bowl of Agriculture' resumes in 2021, the COVID pandemic resumes and events manager for Farm Progress, Matt Jungmann indicates while 90-percent of the show is outdoors, it wouldn't hurt for attendees to bring a mask along in light of the Governor's indoor mask mandate that goes into effect Monday.

 

 

Dena Morgan, Sponsorship and Activation Manager for Farm Progress Companies, is encouraging event-goers to download the Farm Progress Show app. Among other tips is to be aware of the weather as you come out and make sure you wear comfortable shoes.

 

 

Organizers are very pleased with the projected weather forecast for this week's Farm Progress Show. 

 

You can hear wall-to-wall coverage of the Farm Progress Show starting Monday with the noon farm show and then all morning every morning of the show, then again in the noon farm show and starting again at 2:30 pm each day of the show. Tune in to The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, illinoisfarmradio.com, the WHOW mobile app, or catch coverage by seeking out WHOW on Amazon Alexa. 

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Clinton Board of Education Receives Good News on Latest Budget

At the August Clinton Board of Education meeting, the Clinton Board received good news on this year's budget.

 

Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel presented to the Board a budget that resembles last year's budget closely. He points out, they project a deficit for the education fund and transfer money to there, what's called 'working cash fund'. He says they're in good shape.

 

 

According to Goebel, they are spending quite a bit on some bigger projects which should be covered by reserves.

 

 

Goebel compared their funds from last year to this year. He points says overall things are looking very good.

 

 

A surprising boost in the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax, or CPPRT was a big boost to a positive report for this year's budget. 

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September Weather Likely Won't Change Much From August Trends

As we get set to flip the calendar to September this week, the weather patterns of August are likely not to alter too greatly as we begin the meteorological fall season.

 

Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates things are looking like they'll remain pretty consistent with August. August was warm with consistent temperatures in the 80s and overall pretty dry.

 

 

Projections for the fall are coming in warmer than normal, a good thing for the harvest season says Miller.

 

 

Miller indicates trends are strong trends towards a La Nina winter. He says the moderate temperatures could last into the early part of the winter with those typical winter weather patterns showing up later than usual. 

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Veterinarian Shortage

The demand for veterinarians remains strong in Illinois and nationwide. There are 130 vet students at the University of Illinois this fall says Associate vet-med professor Dr. Jim Lowe.

 

 

The Illinois Farm Bureau offers the IVET Program, which provides low-interest loans up to $40,000, to as many as three veterinary students each year. Loans are paid to recipients for a period of two to three years and are payable over 5 years after graduation. 

 

IVET also awards recipients a $1,500 stipend during their fourth year in school to help pay expenses associated with clinical rotations. Eligible applicants must be attending an accredited college of veterinary medicine in the U.S. and must commit to an Illinois food animal practice and work in the field for five years.

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State Lawmakers Holding Hearings in Anticipation of Next Week's Special Session on Redistricting

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS ARE HOLDING HEARINGS AROUND THE STATE IN ANTICIPATION OF NEXT WEEK'S SPECIAL SESSION ON REDISTRICTING. 

 

NEW LEGISLATIVE MAPS HAVE ALREADY BEEN APPROVED, BUT MAY NEED TO BE TWEAKED BASED ON RECENTLY RELEASED CENSUS DATA. THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO OFFER THEIR THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW DISTRICTS SHOULD BE DRAWN. SPRINGFIELD REPRESENTATIVE TIM BUTLER REMAINS CRITICAL OF THE PROCESS, SAYING THE NEW MAPS ARE DRAWN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS WITH NO TRANSPARENCY.

 

 

JULIE CONTRERAS, PRESIDENT OF THE GROUP UNITED GIVING HOPE IS ASKING FOR EVERYONE TO SLOW DOWN.

 

 

SOME WHO HAVE ALREADY SPOKEN AT THE HEARINGS, INCLUDING THOSE REPRESENTING MINORITY COMMUNITIES, ARE URGING LAWMAKERS TO SLOW DOWN AND WAIT FOR FURTHER CENSUS DETAILS TO COME OUT BEFORE SETTING NEW POLITICAL BOUNDARIES. 

 

THE SPECIAL SESSION WILL BE HELD ON TUESDAY.

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Illinois House's Statue and Monument Review Task Force Discusses Possible Monument to President Obama, Other Figures

A HOUSE TASK FORCE REVIEWING STATUES AND MONUMENTS IN ILLINOIS CONTINUES ITS WORK, WITH A LOOK AT ERECTING A SALUTE TO FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA. 

 

THE COMMITTEE IS DISCUSSING WHICH STATUES SHOULD STAY AND WHICH SHOULD BE REPLACED. LAST YEAR, STATUES OF STEPHEN DOUGLAS AND PIERRE MENARD WERE REMOVED FROM THE CAPITOL GROUNDS BECAUSE BOTH MEN WERE SLAVE OWNERS. SOME SUGGEST PRESIDENT OBAMA SHOULD BE HONORED, SINCE HE SERVED AS AN ILLINOIS STATE AND U-S SENATOR, AND ANNOUNCED HIS CANDIDACY FOR PRESIDENCY IN SPRINGFIELD. AREA REPRESENTATIVE TIM BUTLER AGREES.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE MARY FLOWERS SAYS NOT EVERY PERSON IS PERFECT, AND THAT THESE MONUMENTS SHOULD MOST OF ALL REFLECT AND DISPLAY HISTORICAL TRUTH.

 

 

BUTLER SAYS OTHERS HAVE SUGGESTED A STATUE OF PRESIDENT RONALD REGAN WHO WAS BORN IN ILLINOIS. CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVE MARY FLOWERS STRESSED THAT THEY AREN'T LOOKING FOR PERFECT PEOPLE TO HONOR, BUT FOR MONUMENTS TO TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT HISTORY.

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Gov. Signs Bills Expanding Equity, Protection of Religous Freedoms for Students

A SERIES OF NEW STATE LAWS IMPROVES EQUITY AND PROTECTS RELIGIOUS FREEDOMS FOR ILLINOIS STUDENTS. 

 

ONE LAW ALLOWS STUDENTS TO BE ABSENT FROM SCHOOL FOR A RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY OR RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION. SCHOOLS MAY REQUIRE PARENTS TO SUBMIT NOTICE OF THE ABSENCE AHEAD OF TIME. ANOTHER, SPONSORED BY SENATOR ADRIANE JOHNSON OF BUFFALO GROVE, EXCUSES STUDENTS FROM P-E CLASS DURING TIMES OF RELIGIOUS FASTING.

 

 

SHE SAYS WHEN A CHILD IS FASTING, THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE THE STAMINA TO PARTICIPATE IN RIGOROUS ACTIVITIES.

 

 

A THIRD LAW REQUIRES SCHOOL HISTORY COURSES TO COVER THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT FAITHS INCLUDING MUSLIM, JEWISH, CHRISTIAN AND BUDDHIST AMERICANS.

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Local Communities Have Funding Available Through American Rescue Plan

On March 6, the Senate passed a $1.9 trillion rescue plan that will accelerate America’s vaccination effort, cut child poverty in half, extend a lifeline to the unemployed, provide aid to working families, ensure that state and local governments can keep providing needed services, and provide resources to allow schools to reopen safely.

 

Those monies are available to local governments. The City of Clinton has roughly $850,000 while DeWitt County has $3.3-million. The Village of Kenney has roughly $40,000 in relief funding available while Waynesville has around $50,000. Farmer City will receive around $240,000. Weldon can tap into around $50,000. 

 

In Piatt County, $3.17-million is available to the County. In Piatt County, Monticello has around $680,000 available. The Village of Bement can tap into $210,000, Atwood has $140,000 available, Cerro Gordo can access $60,000, Hammond can access $60,000, Cisco can access $30,000, DeLand $50,000, and $120,000 has been designated for Mansfield.

 

Logan County has $5.5-million available in relief funding. Lincoln can tap into $1.67-million, $200,000 is available for Atlanta, $180,000 for Mt. Pulaski, $20,000 for Broadwell, $50,000 for Elkhart, $60,000 for Emden, Hartsburg, Middletown, and Latham have access to $40,000, New Holland has $30,000 designated, and San Jose (joes) has $70,000 in relief funding at their disposal. 

 

Other communities in central Illinois include $140,000 for Warrensburg, $350,000 for Heyworth, $1.06-million for Mahomet, and $210,000 for the City of Maroa.

 

The American Rescue plan was passed by the Senate along party lines. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a hot week in central Illinois. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason has a recap, a look at the weekend, and what's ahead in the next week. 

 

 

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Humidity Should Lessen After This Weekend, Remnants of Tropical Storm Ida Could Target Southern Illinois

The oppressive heat and humidity of this week should reduce as the weekend goes along, reducing the likelihood of a heat advisory being issued this weekend.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio News the heat advisories of the mid-week were primarily issued because of the humidity in the air. He says warm will hang around but the humidity should gradually go away.

 

 

As Tropical Storm Ida makes its way to land, Miller says the remnants of this tropical storm are looking like it will move through southern Illinois. As of Friday, he is not anticipating this storm impacting central or northern Illinois.

 

 

Moving into September, Miller says not a lot will change as it relates to our weather patterns. He says with tropical storms ramping up, we could see slightly wetter weather, but overall temperatures should be warmer and a bit drier. 

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Sen. Durbin Reacts to Afghanistan Situation

12 US troops were killed in a bombing at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan, and more than a dozen were injured. US Senator Dick Durbin says the apparent ISIS attack shows how hard it will be to sort any friends among the enemies in the country.

 

 

Durbin says the US must be squarely focused on securing the safety of US troops and remaining citizens and allies in the county. Durbin’s been told there are about 1,500 US citizens left in the county but all of them might not want to come back.

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Clinton's Kammeyer Bikes Across Iowa

Clinton's Aaron Kammeyer earlier this month biked across Iowa.

 

In recent years, Kammeyer has immersed himself in the world of physical fitness. He explains his journey to biking involved starting with strong-man sports and injuries sidelining him. He says biking became a better option for him and the local 'Tour DeWitt' bike ride got him motivated.

 

 

After completing Tour DeWitt, Kammeyer heard about a bike ride across Iowa and recently participated in that ride. Kammeyer explains the communities along with the route benefit from the economic boom of all the bikers.

 

 

Kammeyer says it took him a lot to prepare and called a lot of it 'mental determination'. He indicates he met his goal of getting across Iowa.

 

 

Kammeyer says initially he had doubts about if he would want to do that again but once he made it to the finish, he started to have a change of heart and would consider doing it again, especially because he knows what he's in for.

 

Kammeyer will join Central Illinois Outdoors with Jared White on Sunday morning at 8 am on WHOW and on TheWinner965.com. You can also catch the podcast on Monday at centralillinoisoutdoors.com. 

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Illinois Corn Growers Association Supporting Next Generation Fuels Act

The Illinois Corn Growers Association touting re-introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act in Congress. The association’s Rodney Weinzierl says Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is pushing the legislation and is getting support from other areas.

 

 

The bill has bi-partisan support, including from central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood.

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IDPH Discusses COVID Surge in Hospitals

THE STATE'S TOP PUBLIC HEALTH DOCTOR SAYS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONCERNS RIGHT NOW IS THE SURGE IN COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS. 

 

ABOUT 220 PEOPLE WITH COVID-19 ARE BEING ADMITTED TO ILLINOIS HOSPITALS EACH DAY, THE HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE MAY. STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS THE SITUATION IS VERY SERIOUS IN MANY AREAS OF THE STATE. TAKE REGION FIVE, FAR SOUTHERN ILLINOIS WHERE THE VACCINATE RATE IS THE LOWEST. EZIKE SAYS ONLY ONE I-C-U BED WAS AVAILABLE AS OF TUESDAY.

 

 

DOCTOR EZIKE (eh-zee-kay) SAYS MOST HOSPITALS ARE REACHING CAPACITY, WITH REGION FIVE, FAR SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, ONLY HAVING ONE I-C-U BED AS OF TUESDAY.

 

 

AND GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT SPACE, THERE ALSO AREN'T ENOUGH HEALTH CARE WORKERS TO MEET THE INCREASING DEMAND.

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Governor Pritzker Announces Indoor Mask Mandate

MASKS WILL ONCE AGAIN BE REQUIRED IN INDOOR PUBLIC SETTINGS STARTING MONDAY. 

 

THE STATE'S MASK MANDATE IS BACK, THANKS TO THE RAPID SPREAD OF THE DELTA VARIANT AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE GETTING THE VACCINE SAYS ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR NGOZI (en-gahzi) EZIKE (eh-zee-kay).

 

 

THE DELTA VARIANT IS SPREADING QUICKLY AND TOO MANY PEOPLE STILL HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

MASKS ARE REQUIRED INDOORS FOR EVERYONE, REGARDLESS IF YOU'VE BEEN VACCINATED.

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Gov. Pritzker Mandates Illinois Educators Be Vaccinated

ALL SCHOOL STAFF AND HEALTH CARE WORKERS WILL HAVE TO BE VACCINATED UNDER A NEW ILLINOIS MANDATE. 

 

THE MANDATE INCLUDES PRE-SCHOOL THROUGH COLLEGE SCHOOL TEACHERS AND STAFF, COLLEGE STUDENTS AND HEALTH CARE WORKERS, INCLUDING WORKERS AT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE NURSING HOMES SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

TEACHERS AND SCHOOL EMPLOYEES IN GRADES PRE-K THROUGH 12, AS WELL AS COLLEGE STAFF AND STUDENTS, WILL NEED TO GET THEIR FIRST DOSE OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE BY SEPTEMBER FIFTH OR SUBMIT TO AT LEAST WEEKLY TESTING. THE MANDATE ALSO APPLIES TO HEALTH CARE WORKERS, INCLUDING THOSE IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE NURSING HOMES SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE MOVE IS NECESSARY TO STEM THE RISING NUMBER OF COVID CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS, ESPECIALLY AMONG THE UNVACCINATED. SINCE AUGUST FIRST, LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS ACROSS THE STATE HAVE REPORTED 27 SCHOOL OUTBREAKS AND HUNDREDS OF SCHOOLS ARE BEING MONITORED FOR POTENTIAL COVID EXPOSURE.

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Heyworth Superintendent Reacts to Vaccination Mandate on Illinois School Personnel

A McLean County Superintendent is reacting to today's announcement by Governor JB Pritzker to mandate vaccines on Illinois school staffers or they must be tested for COVID once a week.

 

Dr. Lisa Taylor is the Superintendent of Heyworth Schools and on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News she anticipates staff that will be upset by this mandate as well as potential union issues. She believes there's a lot of unanswered questions.

 

 

Dr. Taylor believes you could see teachers quit and with an already severe situation facing schools as it relates to the ongoing teacher and substitute teacher shortage, this mandate could make that situation worse.

 

 

Roughly 50 districts in Illinois are pushing back on mask mandates by remaining mask-optional despite threats of reprimand from the Governor's office. Dr. Taylor says this could be part of the power struggle going on as the calls for local control continue to grow louder across Illinois.

 

 

Dr. Taylor says she's watching what other districts are doing that have the capital to fight these mandates and how they fare in the legal battle that proceeds. 

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ALMH CATCH Program Resuming in 2021-22

As school children get back to class in Lincoln, a Lincoln non-profit is resuming a health-centered program aimed at grade school kids.

 

Angie Stoltzenburg with the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital Community Health Collaborative told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, its CATCH program aims to provide lessons aimed at better nutritional habits as well as things the kids can do for better fitness routines.

 

 

According to Stoltzenburg, getting vigorous exercise is also part of the program. She indicates they try to gear the choices for kids in school to be healthy, whether it rewards or meals.

 

 

A popular lunch program in District 27 was interrupted in 2020 by COVID but Stoltzenburg explains this was a simple program that incorporated lots of fresh and whole foods into the cafeteria meals for kids. 

 

 

Data out of Logan County would suggest this should be a priority in the community. Stoltzenburg explains Logan County is the second most obese County in the State of Illinois.

 

 

Stoltzenburg indicates they have received a tremendous response from not only the students about this program but also the staff of District 27. She is very pleased things can resume as normal this year. She believes it is important to establish good habits and knowledge early in the kids. 

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Red Cross Deploying Volunteers

One of the largest Corvette shows in the world is returning to its roots in the Twin-Cities.

 

At a press conference on Tuesday, The Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the national Bloomington Gold Corvette show is returning to Bloomington for the 50th anniversary and the first time since 1973. Here's Crystal Howard, President, and CEO of the Bloomington–Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

 

Bloomington Gold will be held June 10th through the 11th, 2022, at Illinois State University. The event is open to the public, and 15-thousand people are expected at the show.

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One of World's Biggest Corvette Shows Returning to Illinois

One of the largest Corvette shows in the world is returning to its roots in central Illinois.

 

At a press conference on Tuesday, The Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau announced the national Bloomington Gold Corvette show is returning to Bloomington for the 50th anniversary and the first time since 1973. Here's Crystal Howard, President, and CEO of the Bloomington–Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 

 

Bloomington Gold will be held June 10th through the 11th, 2022, at Illinois State University.

 

The event is open to the public, and 15-thousand people are expected at the show.

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Illinois Livestock Industry Showcasing New Facility

The Illinois livestock industry showing off a new facility. Blaine Olson is a fifth-generation farmer near Elkhart in Logan County in central Illinois. He has opened a new hog barn.

 

 

The facility will house 2,400 head of pigs. Illinois is the number four state in the nation for pork production behind Iowa, Minnesota and North Carolina.

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Illinois Bill Takes Aim at Grooming, Sexual Abuse in Schools

SENATE LAWMAKERS ARE DISCUSSING A BILL TAKING AIM AT GROOMING AND SEXUAL ABUSE IN SCHOOLS. 

 

THE LEGISLATION IS NAMED AFTER FAITH COLSON, WHO WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY A TEACHER IN 2001. SHE TESTIFIED AT A HEARING ABOUT THE NEED FOR SCHOOL STAFF TO BE ABLE TO BETTER RECOGNIZE POTENTIAL PROBLEMS.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE MICHELLE MUSSMAN OF SCHAUMBURG SAYS THEY ARE STILL FINE-TUNING THE LANGUAGE OF THE BILL, TO COVER SEVERAL POTENTIAL SCENARIOS.

 

 

THE BILL WILL HAVE THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION CREATE A RESOURCE GUIDE ON THE MATTER, AND REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO SET FIRM POLICIES ABOUT APPROPRIATE CONDUCT BETWEEN STAFF AND STUDENTS. THE MEASURE PASSED THE HOUSE IN THE SPRING BUT STILL AWAITS A VOTE IN THE SENATE. SUPPORTERS HOPE THAT HAPPENS DURING THE FALL VETO SESSION.

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IHSA Readies for State Tournament Series in E-Sports

After nearly three years of discussion, the IHSA moving forward with a state tournament series in esports. The games selected for the inaugural event are NBA2K, Rocket League and Super Smash Brothers says the IHSA’s Kurt Gibson.

 

 

The first ever IHSA state champ crowned in esports will be in April of 2022.

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Gov. Pritzker Stands By School Mask Mandate

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS MAKING HIS STANCE ON SCHOOL MASKING CLEAR.

 

SEVERAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE ON PROBATION WITH THE STATE FOR NOT FOLLOWING A MANDATE FOR ALL STAFF AND STUDENTS TO WEAR A MASK, WHETHER THEY ARE VACCINATED OR NOT. THIS WEEK AT AN UNRELATED PRESS CONFERENCE HE WAS ASKED WHETHER HE REALLY WOULD IMPOSE SANCTIONS SUCH AS LOSS OF FUNDING ON SCHOOLS THAT DON'T COMPLY.

 

 

ASKED THIS WEEK IF HE REALLY WOULD SANCTION SCHOOLS THAT AREN'T FOLLOWING THE MASK MANDATE, THE GOVERNOR SAID, YES WE ARE REALLY GOING TO DO THAT.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS MASKS ARE NECESSARY TO PROTECT STUDENTS WHO CAN'T GET VACCINATED AND THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITY.

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Gov. Pritzker Signs Legislation Increasing Access to Mental Healthcare

A PACKAGE OF NEW LAWS WILL INCREASE ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

ONE MEASURE REQUIRES INSURERS TO COVER ALL MEDICALLY NECESSARY CARE FOR MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, NERVOUS AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE DISORDERS. IT WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR LAURA FINE OF GLENVIEW.

 

 

THE LAW SIGNED BY GOVERNOR PRITZKER REQUIRES COMMUNITIES TO COORDINATE TRADITIONAL 9-1-1 SERVICES WITH THE NEW NATIONWIDE 9-8-8 MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS HOTLINE.

 

 

 THE HOTLINE WILL BE IN PLACE NEXT SUMMER.

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Warner Hospital CEO Concerned About Illinois Hospital Capacity, Encouraging Vaccinations

A DeWitt County healthcare executive is growing concerned about the capacity of Illinois hospitals to handle the surge of COVID cases and is encouraging the public to get vaccinated.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, CEO of Warner Hospital in Clinton Paul Skowron told Regional Radio News Illinois is doing better than some but is growing concerned as more people need hospital beds and the capacity just isn't available in Illinois.

 

 

Skowron continues to be impressed by the community's respect for space in public. He says distancing makes a big difference and continues to push for the public to get vaccinated as well.

 

 

Downstate Illinois' vaccine hesitancy has been well documented and much maligned by Illinois health authorities. Skowron hopes the FDA approval of vaccines this week will give a boost to those who remain hesitant as well as the mandates that will likely be forthcoming in light of the FDA approval.

 

 

Skowron says you can get your vaccine at nearly any pharmaceutical retailer or you can walk into the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department and receive the vaccine there as well. Additionally, healthcare providers have access to vaccines. 

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'Balloons Over 66' This Weekend in Lincoln

Hot air balloon enthusiasts will want to make tracks to Lincoln again in 2021 for its annual 'Balloons Over 66' celebration.

 

Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch says there will be balloons launching Friday and Saturday nights as well as a Saturday night glow.  He reminds this is a revamped version of the wildly popular annual balloon festival that went defunct in the last ten years. 

 

 

The Mayor is excited about the bbq competition. He says it'll be nice to have this event back after it was canceled in 2020 and it continues to be rebuilt.

 

 

Mayor Welch credits former Mayor Seth Goodman for his instrumental role in reinvigorating the balloons aspect of this event. Being a balloonist himself, the former Mayor has helped set a foundation for the event to continue on at perhaps a smaller scale of the annual city-wide event over several decades.

 

 

Find destinationlogancountyil.com or seek out the 'Balloons over 66' Facebook page for more details. 

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Macon County CASA Coming to DeWitt County

Macon County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) recently announced it would be expanding into DeWitt County.

 

Julia Livingston is the Executive Director and on the WHOW Morning Show, Tuesday told Regional Radio News and calls their volunteers an extra set of eyes and ears on the kid's cases. These individuals are community-based volunteers.

 

 

According to Livingston, this program coming to DeWitt County was about a year-long process. She explains they were able to secure funding through grants but they also do a lot of fundraising like most non-profits.

 

 

Many may be familiar with the CASA program through the Child Protection Network that serves DeWitt, McLean, and Livingston counties. Livingston explains this is a program that local judges bring in. She says DeWitt County was identified by Judge Karl Koritz and the Macon County program was selected to oversee DeWitt County.

 

 

Livingston says she is focused on establishing relationships in the community and beginning to build a volunteer base that will walk with the children of their program through the court process. 

 

Get more information about Macon County CASA by visiting maconcountycasa.com. 

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Two New Laws Update Sex Education in Illinois Schools

TWO NEW LAWS UPDATE SEX EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS SCHOOLS. 

 

ONE LAW GIVES SEX ED A MAJOR OVERHAUL, REQUIRING SCHOOLS THAT TEACH THE SUBJECT TO INCLUDE THINGS LIKE CONSENT, HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS, GENDER IDENTITY, SEXUAL HEALTH, PUBERTY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION. IT WAS SUPPORTED ON THE HOUSE FLOOR BY REPRESENTATIVE MAURICE WEST OF ROCKFORD.

 

 

IT'S JUST TOO MUCH ARGUED REPRESENTATIVE TONY MCCOMBIE OF SAVANNAH ON THE HOUSE FLOOR THIS SPRING.

 

 

PARENTS MAY OPT THEIR KIDS OUT OF SEX ED. THE SECOND LAW ADDS LESSONS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF SEXTING TO SCHOOL CURRICULUM.

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Lee Brice To Perform at Farm Progress Show

The Farm Progress Show getting some country music attention next week. Nashville recording artist Lee Brice is debuting his latest song called “farmer” in a performance at the show on Wednesday.

 

 

Brice is a native of Sumter, South Carolina. He has recorded eight number 1 singles in his career. Again, he’ll perform at the Farm Progress Show Wednesday, Sept 1.

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Illinois Lawmakers Back in Springfield Aug. 31 for Maps

Lawmakers are coming back to Springfield at the end of the month to vote on new legislative maps.

 

Republican Senator Steve McClure says incomplete census data drew a map that didn’t follow basic rules. McClure says all Illinois needed to do was to ask for an extension and the current maps would have been drawn with more in-depth census data.

 

 

Lawmakers are scheduled to be in Springfield on August 31st.

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Gov. Pritzker Warns if COVID Numbers Don't Improve, Stricter Mitigations Could Be Put in Place

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS WARNING THAT SIGNIFICANTLY STRICTER MEASURES WILL BE PUT BACK INTO PLACE IF COVID-19 NUMBERS DON'T IMPROVE. 

 

WITH CASES ON THE RISE, THE GOVERNOR SAYS HIS OFFICE IS LOOKING AT ALL THE OPTIONS FOR AGAIN SLOWING THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER DIDN'T PROVIDE SPECIFICS BUT DID SAY THAT COULD INCLUDE SOMETHING LIKE THE PREVIOUS PHASES AND STATEWIDE OR REGIONAL RESTRICTIONS. FOR NOW, HE ENCOURAGES EVERYONE TO WEAR A MASK IN INDOOR PUBLIC SETTINGS.

 

 

ALL BUT ONE ILLINOIS COUNTY, CARROLL, IS CONSIDERED AT HIGH RISK FOR TRANSMISSION OF THE VIRUS. MORE THAN HALF OF THE STATE'S 11 DESIGNATED REGIONS ARE AT WARNING LEVELS FOR THE NUMBER OF I-C-U BEDS AVAILABLE.

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DeWitt County Board Member Nate Ennis Resigns Post

Monday, it was announced DeWitt County Board member Nate Ennis had resigned his post. 

 

Citing his growing family in a written statement, Ennis also pointed to his professional career that is taking up a lot of his time as well. He wrote:

 

I am resigning my seat on the DeWitt County Board effective at noon on Monday, August 23, 2021. 

 

It has been a privilege to serve, however, my family has to come first. Since my election in December 2018: I have changed careers, gotten married, watched the birth of my now almost 9-month-old son, and we are just a few months away from the birth of our daughter. When I started this term, I could serve full-heartedly and without reserve, that has since changed. Someone serving in this role should be able to offer more to it than I have been able to for the last year.  

 

In deep prayer and consultation with my friends and family, I have come to this decision. I really believe in finishing what you start, but life gives you moments where tough decisions have to be made for the good of something else. Today, I choose my family. 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson understands Ennis' circumstances and calls it unfortunate. He says they'll notify the DeWitt County Republicans to fill the vacancy.

 

 

Ennis also led the Public Safety Committee of the County Board. Ferguson told Regional Radio they are in the process of reshuffling their committees.

 

 

The DeWitt County Board has a special meeting set for Thursday, September 9. 

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Local Financial Coach Discusses Credit Score

A DeWitt County financial coach is highlighting some of the things that go into a credit score and raising awareness about improving our credit scores.

 

Connie Unruh with DeWitt County TRIAD and the TS Institute in Clinton says this is becoming a popular topic lately. She points out, the number one way to maintain a healthy credit score is to pay your bills on time.

 

 

According to Unruh, another large portion of your credit score is the amounts owed. She explains creditors want to see that you are using your credit and are paying it. 

 

 

Another 15-percent of your credit score is the length of history along with types of credit used and then new credit. Unruh explains self-control can be key if you have a credit card open to trying to lengthen that history.

 

 

There's a lot more to discuss when it comes to credit scores and things to consider and ways to improve our credit scores. We'll hear more from Unruh in the days ahead on Regional Radio News.

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Maroa-Forsyth Building Project Continues Into School Year

With kids back in class, the focus returns on the classroom and a central Illinois district is starting to see movement on a multi-million dollar building project.

 

Dr. Kris Kahler is the Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools and indicates a lot of groundwork is being done and now some things the public will notice should begin to happen. He says it is a slow process because the materials of their old building will be separated out and recycled. 

 

 

The project embarks on connecting the middle school to the existing high school. Dr. Kahler explains they will have a new auditorium with over a 500-person capacity along with remodeling their industrial tech area.

 

 

Dr. Kahler points the community to their website, mfschools.net for updates and blueprints of the project. 

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University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator Discusses Family Meal Team With Kids Back in School

As kids get back to school, a central Illinois nutrition educator with the University of Illinois Extension office is promoting family mealtimes at the end of the day.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News the dinner table is a good time to talk to your kids and hear about their day but research suggests families that spend time together at the dinner table have children that perform better in school.

 

 

Mellendorf says whatever meals with your kids look like, it is about giving those kids the attention they need. She notes there's a lot of ways to engage with your kids. 

 

 

Children getting the proper nutrition during the school year can be a challenge as school activities and work schedules begin to quickly pick back up. Mellendorf encourages giving your kids some grace when it comes to how much they want to eat.

 

 

According to Mellendorf, if you're having a hard time with children getting enough to eat because of their preferences or other eating habits, you can seek out professional help. The University of Illinois Extension offers other tips on children's nutrition at familyresiliency.illinois.edu. She says that web address offers a great number of resources around family mealtime. 

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A LITTLE WARMER AND DRIER OVER THE PAST WEEK AS WE HEAR IN THE LATEST CROP REPORT.

 

TEMPS WERE ABOUT ONE DEGREE ABOVE NORMAL AND RAINFALL WAS MORE THAN A QUARTER-INCH BELOW. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT SOYBEANS...

 

 

SCHELEUSENER TURNS TO CORN.

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 87 PERCENT COMPLETE AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECLINED TO FIVE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 31 PERCENT SHORT, 56 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND EIGHT PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Sen. Duckworth Meets with Refugees

Thousands of Afghan refugees are already in the country and thousands more are on the way.

 

One US Senator has met with some of those who arrived first. Democrat Tammy Duckworth says she met with the earliest groups to come to the United States.

 

 

As many as 30,000 refugees are expected to be brought to the US.

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Now That Pfizer Vaccine FDA Approved, Gov. Pritzker Hopes More People Will Get Vaccinated

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE'S HOPEFUL MORE PEOPLE WILL GET VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19 NOW THAT THE F-D-A HAS APPROVED THE PFIZER SHOT. 

 

FORMAL FEDERAL APPROVAL MAY GIVE THOSE UNCERTAIN ABOUT THE SHOT A NUDGE SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

SOME HAVE BEEN HESITANT TO GET THE VACCINE SINCE IT HADN'T BEEN FORMALLY APPROVED YET. THAT'S CHANGED NOW SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

61 AND A HALF PERCENT OF THOSE 12 AND OLDER IN ILLINOIS ARE NOW FULLY VACCINATED IN ILLINOIS.

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Labor Shortages Continue to Pressure Meat Industry

Labor shortages across the meat industry have continued to add pressure to the industry. But that problem is sparking innovation says Dan Halstrom with the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

 

 

Just halfway into the year, U.S. beef and pork exports have reached record highs, according to data released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Beef exports are 6-percent better in volume and 15-percent better in value compared to the record year of 2018, but Halstrom says the U.S. could see even more business if it could get its hands on more vessels to ship around the world, another supply chain issue impacting the industry.

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Ground Broken for New I-57/I-74 Interchange in Champaign

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS KICKING OFF A NEW HIGHWAY INTERCHANGE PROJECT IN CHAMPAIGN. 

 

THE NEARLY 217 MILLION DOLLAR UNDERTAKING WILL REBUILD THE INTERSTATE 57 AND 74 INTERCHANGE, WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY CONSTRUCTED MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO. I-DOT SECRETARY OMER OSMAN SAYS THE NEW DESIGN WILL MOVE TRAFFIC MORE EFFICIENTLY AND SAFELY.

 

 

THE CURRENT CLOVERLEAF PATTERN WILL BE TOTALLY REVAMPED, CONNECTING EASTBOUND I-74 TO NORTHBOUND I-57 AND WESTBOUND I-74 TO SOUTHBOUND I-57 SAYS OSMAN.

 

 

THE PROJECT IS EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED IN 2025.

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Governor Pritzker, University of Illinois Celebrating SHIELD COVID Testing Program

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER AND THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA CHAMPAIGN ARE CELEBRATING THE SCHOOL'S SUCCESSFUL SHIELD COVID-19 TESTING PROGRAM.

 

THE GROUNDBREAKING SALIVA TEST CREATED BY THE U OF I PROVIDES QUICK RESULTS AT A LOWER COST, USED NOW IN OTHER COUNTRIES AT BY LARGE CORPORATIONS SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER.

 

 

U OF I SYSTEM PRESIDENT TIM KILLEEN AWARDED THE PRESIDENTIAL MEDALLION TO SEVERAL OF THOSE INVOLVED IN CREATION OF THE TEST.

 

 

WHILE ON CAMPUS, GOVERNOR PRITZKER ALSO ANNOUNCED A MAJOR INVESTMENT IN COMPLETELY RESTORING ALTGELD HALL AND REPLACING ILLINI HALL WITH A NEW FACILITY THAT WILL HOUSE A DATA SCIENCES CENTER.

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Camping Numbers Up in Illinois

Camping numbers are up at state parks across Illinois in 2021. It follows a slow year in 2020 due to the pandemic says Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan.

 

 

Most campsites may be reserved through Oct. 31, but some parks accept reservations year-round. Online information is easily accessible at the ExploreMoreIL website. Most campgrounds have first come, first served sites and a campsite can be reserved for a maximum of 14 nights.

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Congresswoman Bustos Named Co-Chair of Democrats Rural Investment Task Force

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has been named as the Co-Chair of the Democrats Rural Reinvestment Task Force. The goal is to listen to rural voters and develop legislation from their suggestions...

 

 

Bustos and Iowa Representative Cindy Axne will begin a Midwest listening tour in September.

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DeWitt County Brings on Firm to Help Distribute Over $4-Million in COVID Funding

DeWitt County between now and 2022 will have over $4-million to distribute in COVID relief funds.

 

Because of the complications in where the money can or cannot go, the County has decided to bring on a firm to help distribute this money. DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson indicates the process is rather complicated and would be too much for Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister.

 

 

According to Ferguson, the company, Bellweather, will work with the DeWitt County Development Council to help distribute these funds to the community. He says the rules on this are growing and getting more complicated and any violation of those rules could be more costly than bringing on a firm to help.

 

 

Ferguson indicates those funds could start going out as soon as 60 days. 

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Clinton Police School Resource Officer Discusses Benefits of His Role

A Clinton Police Officer who interacts with the youth of our community is highlighting why establishing relationships with our kids can be beneficial over time.

 

Officer Mike Bennett is the Clinton Police Department's School Resource officer and while many may think he's there as a security measure, he points out that is certainly true but believes his presence offers a three-fold function.

 

 

Bringing a personal touch to polarizing issues around law enforcement is also a big part of what Officer Bennett does. He indicates he has had very good conversations with students about topics of the day as it relates to police and for that, he feels brings a unique perspective for his students.

 

 

Officer Bennett also points out those relationships he forms in the schools can pay off when real-life situations come calling. He explains if he responds to a situation that involves a student he has had in school, it can often lead to a diffusion of the intensity or provide a calming presence for that person.

 

 

Last year, the Illinois legislature proposed putting an end to School Resource Officers in the school setting. Not only was Officer Bennett adamantly opposed to that measure, but Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles said he would personally drive to Springfield to testify in front of lawmakers to not move forward with such a move, a ringing endorsement of his support for Officer Bennett and the SRO program. 

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Decatur Area Arts Council Readying for Big Fundraiser Later This Month

A month-long tournament of cups will culminate in a final showdown for area teams that will also serve as a huge fundraiser for a Decatur-area non-profit.

 

There are a lot of moving parts but the Decatur Area Arts Council is hosting its big 'Devon on Tap' Craft Beer and Music Festival from the Devon Ampitheater in Decatur this weekend. Executive Director Jerry Johnson says this stems from an event they did last year when COVID forced the cancellation of the festival.

 

 

This event is a partnership event with the Decatur Park District. Johnson says there will plenty of good libations and food. There is a VIP event Friday to kick things off for the weekend with rare access to unique beers not available in central Illinois.

 

 

The craft beer festival has been an event the Decatur Area Arts Council has hosted independently for about five years but Johnson indicates they were excited to be approached by the Decatur Park District to partner with them to move the event to the Devon Amphitheater this year.

 

 

The Devon on Tap: Craft Beer and Music Festival are from noon to 5 pm on Saturday, August 28. Tickets are $30 per person and include eight tasting tickets. If you are a designated driver, admission is $10. 

 

You can purchase tickets in advance of the event or get more details by visiting decaturarts.org or by calling 217-423-3189. 

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State Fair Wrap-up

THE MANAGER OF THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR SAYS IT'S BEEN GREAT TO BE BACK IN BUSINESS. 

 

AFTER HAVING TO CANCEL THE 2020 FAIR, MANAGER KEVIN GORDON SAYS HE'S THRILLED THEY WERE ABLE TO SAFELY RESUME THIS PAST WEEK. OFFICIAL NUMBERS AREN'T AVAILABLE YET, BUT THERE WERE SOME NICE SIZE CROWDS SAYS GORDON.

 

 

HE NOTES THERE ARE FEWER THIS YEAR DUE TO SEVERAL REASONS INCLUDING GOING OUT OF BUSINESS DURING THE PANDEMIC, NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND ENOUGH WORKERS AND PROBLEMS GETTING SUPPLIES.

 

 

GORDON SAYS THE VENDORS HE'S SPOKEN TO ARE HAPPY WITH TURN-OUT. SOME THAT HAVE BEEN THERE IN PAST YEARS DIDN'T RETURN BECAUSE OF TROUBLE GETTING SUPPLIES AND WORKERS OR WENT OUT OF BUSINESS AFTER NOT BEING ABLE TO OPERATATE LAST YEAR.

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Year Round Use of State Fairground Being Promoted

The 2021 Illinois State Fair has ended, but a master plan being developed to promote year-round use of the state fairgrounds. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello says there is plenty of opportunity for the site.

 

 

The state ag department is collaborating with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln on the effort.

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Seven New Laws Help Domestic Violence Victims

SEVERAL NEW LAWS ARE MEANT TO BETTER PROTECT AND ASSIST SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE FIRST LAW ADDRESES STUDENTS IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR OTHER TRAMAUTIC SITUATIONS, SINCE THE PROBLEMS DON'T REALLY GO AWAY WHEN A CHILD IS AT SCHOOL. IT WAS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE ANNA MOELLER OF ELGIN.

 

 

THEN THERE'S A MEASURE SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE DENYSE STONEBACK OF SKOKIE, WHICH CREATES THE "HOPE CARD" SO THAT VICTIMS CAN EASILY SHOW PROOF OF AN ORDER A PROTECTION.

 

 

ANOTHER NEW LAW CREATES A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TASK FORCE TO LOOK INTO WHAT OTHER CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE.

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New Law Protects Kids With Allergies

A NEW STATE LAW PROTECTS CHILDREN WITH SEVERE FOOD ALLERGIES. 

 

THE MEASURE REQUIRES THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS TO COME UP WITH COMPREHENSIVE GUIDELINES FOR PREVENTING AND HANDLING ANAPHYLAXIS IN SCHOOL CHILDREN. THIS WILL ALSO APPLY TO DAYCARES SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES DEPUTY DIRECTOR BILL MCCAFFREY.

 

 

THE GUIDELINES WILL COVER HOW TO REDUCE EXPOSURE TO FOOD ALLERGENS, IDENTIFYING STUDENTS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES AS WELL AS TRAINING AND EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS.

 

 

THE LAW TAKES EFFECT NEXT SUMMER.

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Heat Returns to Illinois This Week

Very warm air impacting Illinois this week. That means high heat for the first week of Friday night IHSA football.

 

 

That's meteorologist Peter Speck with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities.

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Governor Pritzker Signs New Student Mental Health Awareness Law

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW TO RAISE MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS IN ILLINOIS SCHOOLS. 

 

UNDER THE LAW, I-D CARDS FOR STUDENTS IN SIXTH THROUGH 12TH GRADES AS WELL AS COLLEGE WILL HAVE INFORMATION FOR THOSE WHO ARE STRUGGLING SAYS BILL SPONSOR, NAPERVILLE REPRESENTATIVE JANET YANG ROHR.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY,

 

 

THE IDEA FOR THE LAW WAS BROUGHT TO ROHR BY STUDENTS FROM NAPERVILLE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. IT TAKES EFFECT NEXT SUMMER.

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Gov. Pritzker Continues to Be Concerned Over Rising COVID Cases

NEW CASES OF COVID-19 CONTINUE TO CLIMB IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REPORTING 24 THOUSAND 682 NEW AND PROBABLE CASES OF INFECTION OVER THE PAST WEEK, INCLUDING NEARLY FIVE THOUSAND IN THE LAST DAY ALONE. BUT, THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE GETTING TESTED HAS BEEN INCREASING AS WELL. HOSPITALIZATIONS HAVE ALSO BEEN RISING. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE SITUATION IS CONCERNING.

 

 

EVERY COUNTY IN ILLINOIS IS NOW CLASSIFIED AS AT HIGH RISK FOR TRANSMISSION OF THE VIRUS.

 

 

A LITTLE OVER 61 PERCENT OF THE ILLINOIS POPULATION 12 AND OLDER IS NOW FULLY VACCINATED.

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Meridian School District on ISBE List of Losing State Recognition for Defying Mask Mandate

The Illinois State Board of Education last week placed over 50 Illinois school districts as being non-recognized and on probation, for defying Governor Pritzker’s Executive order mandating school students wear masks.

 

The non-recognition also means these districts face losing participation in all school sports thru the Illinois High School Association.

 

One school district in the Regional Radio listening area was on the I-S-B-E list, which was Meridian in southern Macon County.

 

Initially, schools are placed on 60 days probation and if they don't take corrective action they risk losing recognition. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a warm, dry week in central Illinois this week. What's the weekend and week ahead have in store? State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us more...

 

 

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Gov. Pritzker Continues to Warn Schools Who Defy Mask Mandate

Governor J.B. Pritzker continues to put pressure on schools that choose to defy his mask executive order. He says they will face consequences. The governor reiterated that position again on Friday.

 

 

Several schools that originally said they would defy the order have since reversed course. Initially, schools are placed on 60 days probation and if they don't take corrective action they risk losing recognition.

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Sen. Duckworth Wants to Bring Home Illinois Hostage in Afghanistan

One American citizen in Afghanistan can’t attempt to make his way to the airport in Kabul for a plane ride home.

 

Illinois’ Mark Frerichs was taken hostage by Taliban forces more than a year ago and US Senator Tammy Duckworth says the US needs to secure his safety too.

 

 

The civil engineer, from Lombard, was working the in country at the time of his abduction.

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Clinton Presbyterian Church Opens New 24/7 Pantry

"Take what you want.  Leave what you can." is the motto of a new 24/7 food pantry in Clinton.

 

The Clinton Presbyterian Church opened its new "Community Cupboard" Friday with a ribbon-cutting hosted by the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.  Pastor Paul Stroup explains the cupboard, located adjacent to the church on North Center Street, is a food pantry there for anyone at anytime...

 

 

In addition to offering free perishable food and hygiene products, the community is welcomed to support the Cupboard by stocking donations in it...

 

 

According to Stroup, the cupboard itself was designed and created by church-member, Tom Pickett.

 

 

The Clinton Presbyterian Church is located at 402 North Center Street.  The new Community Cupboard sits across Johnson Street, near the old Save A Lot parking lot.  Again, anyone in need is welcome.

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DeWitt County Board Chair Weighs In On Potentially Costly Thursday DeWitt County Board Meeting

The Chairman of the DeWitt County Board is weighing in after a potentially very costly DeWitt County Board meeting Thursday night.

 

Last month, the Board voted to put a hold on issuing further building permits for the Alta Farms II wind project in northwest DeWitt County until they received an appropriate response from Enel on its ability to curtail the wind towers during severe weather events. A proposal to move forward with issuing the permits Thursday was rejected by the Board and on the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Terry Ferguson told Regional Radio News he believes it is a matter of time before permits are issued.

 

 

Ferguson says the situation will work out but in the meantime, he believes those that voted to keep the moratorium on issuing building permits chose their constituents over the logic of the situation. Estimates are the County could be on the hook for several million dollars in damages along with roughly $100,000 in daily losses due to work not happening.

 

 

Ferguson could not offer any comments on the potential money the County could be on the line for as there is already litigation pending.

 

He did weigh in on the post-meeting confrontation between those in the audience and a couple of board members and called it unfortunate but believes emotions just got the best of everyone in that situation. 

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Heyworth Schools Pleased to Be Able to Fully Utilize Renovated Facilities

If a school district had a renovated school building last year, chances were it was not able to be utilized to the fullest because of social distancing and other COVID mitigation guidelines in place.

 

This year, however, with some of those things not entirely as strict as they were, a rural McLean County school district is going to be able to comprehensively use its renovated spaces. Dr. Lisa Taylor is the Superintendent of Heyworth Schools, she explains there is still that 'first-time' factor for a lot of people when they see the changes.

 

 

While there are some mitigations still in place, Dr. Taylor says they should be able to utilize the renovations more fully compared to last year. The facilities were purposed to have collaborative classrooms and a more 21st-century friendly learning environment.

 

 

Students returned to class in Heyworth Thursday. 

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Illinois Soybean Farmers to Get Face Time With International Soybean Buyers

International soybean buyers will soon have a first-hand look at Illinois farms across the state when farmers meet for the Global Trade Exchange conference later this month.

 

According to Rachel Peabody, Director of Communications for the Illinois Soybean Association, the conference brings hundreds of soybean buyers worldwide. Additionally, the conference offers one-on-one dialogue with farmers about their cash crops.

 

 

The conference is from August 24th through the 26th in St. Louis. All attendees are required to be vaccinated.

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Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs Holding Unclaimed Property Saturday at Illinois State Fair

ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS' OFFICE WILL BE HOLDING AN UNCLAIMED PROPERTY AUCTION AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR SATURDAY. 

 

MORE THAN 15 THOUSAND ITEMS, DIVIDED INTO 250 LOTS WILL BE UP FOR BID AND INCLUDE A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.

 

 

THE AUCTION FEATURES OVER 15 THOUSAND ITEMS INCLUDING COINS, JEWELRY AND SPORTS MEMORABILIA SAYS TREASURER FRERICHS.

 

 

PROCEEDS FROM THE ITEMS ARE HELD UNTIL THE OWNER OR THEIR HEIR CLAIMS THE MONEY. THE AUCTION WILL BE HELD AT 11 A-M SATURDAY ON THE LINCOLN STAGE, BUT YOU CAN START PREVIEWING THE ITEMS AT NINE A-M.

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ComEd Warns of Scammers Demanding Cryptocurrency Purportedly for Power Bill

Scammers are posing as ComEd employees, calling people, and demanding immediate payments so power isn’t shut off. They may claim there’s an overdue bill and that you can avoid any trouble by paying in Bitcoin. ComEd spokesman Tom Dominguez says that’s not how ComEd operates.

 

 

If you actually owe ComEd money and are in danger of having your electricity turned off, you’ll get a letter. You’ll also be asked to work out payments or get into a program that helps pay your utility bills. Dominguez says, unfortunately if you fall for a scam and pay with crypto-currency or a gift card, you can’t expect to get the money back.

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DeWitt County Board Rejects Enel Response Regarding Curtailment, Moratorium on Building Permits To Remain

Just a day after last month's DeWitt County Board meeting where the Board put in place a hold on issuing further building permits for the Alta Farms II wind farm in northwest DeWitt County pending a response from Enel, DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson indicated he had received a response from the energy company regarding curtailment.

 

That response was rejected Thursday night by the County Board at its regular monthly meeting. Board Chair Terry Ferguson supported lifting the hold on the building permits and allowing those to be issued by the Zoning Administrator. In fact, he believes the agreement was met "quite some time ago."

 

 

Ferguson described the situation as a point in life where there are things that you want and there are things that you get. He calls this a moment things you get because it is what they asked for. 

 

 

Megan Myers pointed to specifics in the curtailment agreement and believes it's very vague. She says she is not trying to prevent the project from happening and would hope Enel representatives would sit down with the County to hash things out.

 

 

Myers and Aaron Kammeyer wanted to know about repercussions for non-compliance with the ordinances and agreements as the project proceeds. State's Attorney Dan Markwell explained Enel will either in writing or through demonstration prove they can meet the agreement. He says there are some things in the life of this project that are only going to be able to be proven once the project gets to a certain point.

 

 

During a back and forth with Kammeyer and David Newberg about censuring for non-compliance and recourse that can be taken by the County, Newberg offered his belief the County is telling Enel they cannot have their structures.

 

 

Melonie Tilley, Buck Carter, Jamie Prestegaard, and Myers voted against the measure to resume issuing building permits while Jay Wickenhauser, Dan Matthews, Ferguson, Kammeyer, and Newberg voted for it. Travis Houser abstained. Board members Nate Ennis and Christy Pruser were absent from the Thursday meeting. 

 

Several board members that voted for the measure appeared visibly frustrated by the vote and tensions spilled over after the adjournment of the meeting as Terry Redman confronted several board members and had a brief and tense back-and-forth with Matthews over Redman confronting board members as they were leaving. 

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Miller Media Group, 44i Digital Form New Digital Agency

The Miller Media Group in Taylorville and Clinton, and 44i Digital of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, have formed a new digital agency to assist Central Illinois advertisers get results from the many digital platforms on the Internet.

 

The new division of the broadcast company is called Miller Media Group Digital, and will offer local businesses in both of the company's markets, the ability to effectively advertise on such platforms as Facebook and Google as well as provide other digital services, including web sites.

 

Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller says the partnership is one more way his company can offer a full range of advertising platforms to local businesses thru-out the area.

 

The new Miller Media Group Digital agency will be formally introduced to local businesses in September.

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UPDATED: Pontiac Man Killed in Crash on 51 North of Clinton

An 87-year old Pontiac man is dead after a fatal crash on US Highway 51 north of Clinton Wednesday afternoon.

 

Illinois State Police indicate just after noon on Wednesday, 88-year old Vernon Garmon of Pontiac disregarded a stop sign at Business 51 and US 51 North when his Chevy Malibu was struck by a semi driven by 36-year old Shane Elder of Olney who was northbound on US 51, killing the passenger of the Chevy Malibu, identified as Robert Adcock of Pontiac, formerly of Clinton. 

 

Adcock succumbed to the injuries sustained in the crash and was pronounced dead while Garmon was transported to an area hospital with injuries.

 

Elder was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. 

 

Garmon was issued a citation for disobeying a stop sign. 

 

The Clinton Fire Department and Wapella Fire Department were on scene for extrication. 

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Positive Tax Report, New Fire Truck Among Talking Points at Latest Clinton City Council Meeting

Sales tax figures "were amazing this turn" and a new fire truck for the Clinton Fire Department is close to being announced are among some of the announcements from this last Monday night's Clinton City Council meeting.

 

Clinton Commissioner of Finance Tom Edmonds does not have an explanation as to why sales tax figures continue to be so strong but he called Monday's report "amazing".

 

 

Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger indicated the Fire Department has been searching for a new fire engine and he is close to having something to present to the Council and was pleased to report, it is looking like it will come in under budget.

 

 

The Clinton Police Department recently accepted the resignation of one of its sergeants. Police Chief Ben Lowers told the Council Monday night this is a growing trend in law enforcement and believes this could be just the beginning of the local results of our country's treatment of law enforcement officials. 

 

 

Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements Kenny Buchanan reminded the public, as brush pick-up week continues, brush piles bigger than City regulations are starting to pop up again. He is asking folks with large brush piles to make accommodations to deal with those independently and to not burden city crews with unreasonably sized loads.

 

 

The Council Monday night approved Jim Brady to the Warner Hospital and Health Services Board as well as reappointed Marilyn Black to the Clinton Tree Commission. 

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Vaccine Hesitancy Continues in Rural America

Smaller Illinois counties such as Hancock and McDonough Counties in Western Illinois are struggling with vaccine hesitancy. Emily Hendrickson is the Director of the Memorial Hospital Clinic in Carthage, located in Hancock County where the percentage of vaccinated residents is barely over 30-percent.

 

 

Hancock and McDonough rank near the bottom but Southern Illinois has the largest vaccine hesitancy in the state with Alexander County having only 16-percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated.

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Local County Farm Bureaus Organizing Carbon Market Conference

A local county farm bureau effort leads a Carbon Market Conference in downstate Illinois this month. Farmers and area agronomists are encouraged to attend the event says Doug Anderson with the Wayne County Farm Bureau.

 

 

The conference is on Tuesday, Aug. 24 and will be offered in two locations: One in Lawrenceville and the other in McLeansboro. More information is available through the Wayne County Farm Bureau at 618-842-3342.

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ISBE Hears from Concerned Superintendents, Parents Regarding Masks

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION HEARD FROM OFFICIALS AND PARENTS ABOUT THE SCHOOL MASK MANDATE AT ITS MONTHLY MEETING WEDNESDAY. 

 

SEVERAL PEOPLE SPOKE DURING THE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PORTION OF THE MEETING, ASKING THE BOARD TO LEAVE IT UP TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO DECIDE MASK RULES AND EXPRESSING CONCERNS ABOUT STUDENTS WEARING MASKS ALL DAY, ESPECIALLY THOSE WITH ALLERGIES. SCHOOL OFFICIALS SAID THEY'RE WORRIED ABOUT TEACHERS AND STAFF ENFORCING THE MANDATE AND DEALING WITH ANGRY PARENTS. PRIOR TO THE COMMENTS, STATE SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT CARMEN AYALA DISCUSSED THE IMPORTANCE OF EVERYONE WEARING MASKS AT SCHOOL.

 

 

DOWNSTATE WESTVILLE SUPERINTENDENT SETH MILLER EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT ENFORCEMENT.

 

 

THE MANDATE REQUIRES ALL STUDENTS AND STAFF TO WEAR A MASK INDOORS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT THEY'VE BEEN VACCINATED.

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Sen. Duckworth Talks Afghanistan

As the US continues evacuate US citizens out of Afghanistan it’s clear the size of the air lift is massive. According to US Senator Tammy Duckworth more than 2,000 US citizens are still left in the county. Once they are out, Duckworth says the next step is to secure the safety of Afghan citizens that supported the US mission.

 

 

Duckworth also wants the return of Mark Frerichs, an Illinois native who was taken hostage by the Taliban in January of 2020.

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Congressman Davis Discusses Afghanistan Situation

As the US is still trying to manage the withdrawal of troops and citizens in Afghanistan, US Rep. Rodney Davis says decades of work in the country seems to be lost in just a matter of days and the failure will be felt hard by Afghanistan citizens who will be under Taliban control.

 

 

Davis says 20 years were spent helping create a new government in Afghanistan and now all that work is lost.

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Sen. Rose Blasts Governor Over Attacking Champaign Doctor's Medical License for Basic Disagreement

A Decatur doctor has had his medical license threatened by Governor JB Pritzker's administration and a local lawmaker is livid.

 

A Champaign physician that serves on a local school board has had his medical license threatened by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's Medical Division and State Senator Chapin Rose calls this unamerican.

 

 

This doctor now has to abstain from any votes on the masking matter and cannot weigh in on any discussion. Sen. Rose believes this is a disgrace given he's the one person in the room most qualified to bring input on the subject.

 

 

It was last Monday evening at Clinton High School the Mahomet Republica revealed a strategy of uniting school boards in Illinois and passing a resolution to call on the Governor, ISBE, and IDPH to return local control to Illinois schools. Sen. Rose says there's been a lot of movement on that since last week.

 

 

Sen. Rose is calling on communities and school boards to band together and fight the mandates. He hopes in the next week, there will be even more movement on a potential lawsuit. 

 

He reminds communities the enemy is not your local school boards but rather Governor Pritzker and is calling for civility when addressing school boards. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Hoping for Good Information from Bi-Annual Illinois Youth Survey

A Piatt County agency is hoping to rebound in 2022 and get valuable information from the bi-annual Illinois Youth Survey.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday told Regional Radio News the survey is voluntary and anonymous polling of Illinois youth through the University of Illinois School of Social Work on the challenges kids face.

 

 

The Piatt County Mental Health Center surveys Piatt and DeWitt County youth with a target response of 70-percent. Kirman explains there is almost a four-year gap in data in DeWitt County because the 2020 assessment was not able to take place as schools shut down just a few weeks ahead of the survey getting in front of students. 

 

 

Kirkman believes the 2022 survey is going to give those in the social work space - and specifically the mental and emotional wellness sector - a very good outlook as to just how COVID has impacted our youth.

 

 

According to Kirkman, they will be looking to get a head start on the survey right away come the first of the year, and then by this time next year, County data will be available and administrators like Kirkman will be able to break it all down and start presenting the information to the community and schools. 

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Pritzkers Make Record Bid for Grand Champion Steer at State Fair Sale of Champions

THE GRAND CHAMPION STEER AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR BROUGHT IN A RECORD BID FROM THE PRITZKERS TUESDAY EVENING. 

 

EVERYTHING FROM THE TOP CHEDDAR CHEESE TO THE GRAND CHAMPION BARROW IS AUCTIONED OFF DURING THE SALE OF CHAMPIONS. WHEN OVER 13-HUNDRED POUND BOB THE STEER CAME OUT, THE GOVERNOR AND FIRST LADY ENTERED A BIDDING WAR, WITH M.K. PRITZKER OFFERING A RECORD BREAKING 105 THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR THE ANIMAL.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE'S PROUD OF THE WINNING CONTESTANT, 17 YEAR OLD LANDREY FREEMAN OF WINCHESTER.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE'S SO PROUD OF THE HARD WORK ILLINOIS YOUNG PEOPLE PUT INTO THEIR ANIMALS

 

 

THE PRITZKER SAYS THE MEAT FROM THE STEER WILL BE DONATED TO CHARITY. PROCEEDS FROM THE AUCTION ARE SPLIT BETWEEN THE ENTRANTS, THE ILLINOIS F-F-A AND THE 4-H.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Two New Science Laws

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING NEW SCIENCE-RELATED LAWS, HONORING MEDICAL HISTORY AND THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE EDUCATION.

 

THE MEASURES ADD AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE AND AG EDUCATION CLASSES AS COURSE OPTIONS REQUIRED TO MEET UNIVERSITY ADMISSION STANDARDS. SENATOR DORIS TURNER OF SPRINGFIELD SPONSORED THE CHANGE.

 

 

SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER....

 

 

ANOTHER NEW LAW NAMES PENICILLIUM RUBENS AS THE OFFICIAL STATE MICROBE OF ILLINOIS. IT'S A NOD TO THE WORK OF AN AG LAB IN PEORIA WHICH WAS ABLE TO MASS PRODUCE PENICILLIN IN THE 1940'S.

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464 Area Coda for 708 Region

Chicago’s southern suburbs will receive a new telephone area code in the coming months to meet the demand for new telephone numbers.

 

The 464 area code will overlay the 708 area code, the Illinois Commerce Commission said Monday. The 464 area code will be available only when all assignable prefixes in the 708 code have been exhausted, the panel said. That’s not expected to occur until January.

 

The 708 area code serves most of western and southern Cook County and eastern and southern Will County including Alsip, Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Lansing and Oak Lawn.

 

With an overlay, an additional area code is added to the same geographic area as the existing area code, with all current phone customers retaining the original area code. The 464 area code will be assigned to new customers requesting local phone service, cellular and paging services, and alarms, the commission said.

 

Current 708 area customers will keep their numbers. Consumers seeking additional telephone lines will, in most cases, continue to be able to receive 708 telephone numbers, even after the 464 area code is in service, the commission said.

 

Local calls will remain local calls.

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Ag Meteorologist Talks Harvest Weather

What’s the weather outlook for the fall harvest season? DTN Agriculture Meteorologist John Baranick sizes up September.

 

 

Baranick says there will be a few more 90 degree days in August, but he doesn’t anticipate a lengthy stretch.

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Community Shows Up to School Board Meeting to Oppose Mask Mandate

Roughly 60-to-70-some residents and students of the Clinton School District showed up to Clinton High School Tuesday evening to oppose the mask mandate in place and receive answers to questions. 

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles prior to the public interaction period of the meeting offered an update on the situation and the repercussions the district could face if they decide to oppose the Governor's orders.

 

 

Brian Miller offered a passionate opposition to the mask mandate pointing to his young son in the district that battled acne last year because of the mandate and questioned, where does this end?

 

 

Nettles is a part of a coalition of superintendents that are actively working to reinstate local control. He says the initial response was good and will be in Springfield Wednesday morning in front of the State Board of Education to advocate for not only Clinton but school districts up and down Illinois.

 

 

As the meeting progressed, the Board allowed community members to ask questions and offer suggestions. Among the questions was for Nettles to be specific about the ramifications of defying the Governor's mandate and Nettles offered a very real scenario.

 

 

One resident in attendance asked what happens if students attend day one of school without masks.

 

 

For parents wanting to do something to make a difference and initiate change, Nettles is calling for individuals to send their requests and pleas to lawmakers, the State Board of Education, the State Superintendent, and Governor in both Chicago and Springfield. 

 

 

Board member Sondra Baker offered an inspired endorsement of Nettles and him being in the corner of the portion of the community that opposes this mandate and wants local control back.

 

 

Nettles swung by the Regional Radio studios after the Board meeting to tape his monthly appearance on the WHOW Morning Show, told Regional Radio News he is very appreciative of the passionate yet respectful dialogue of the meeting Tuesday.

 

 

The public went back-and-forth with the Board f Education for a little over an hour. 

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Clinton Family Restaurant Targeting Fall Opening

Those who have driven by the former El Rey's Mexican restaurant location in Clinton in the last eight to ten months have noticed a massive transformation.

 

Jimmy Bekteshi and his family are taking on the transfer as they look to open 'Clinton Family Restaurant' in September or October. If you've wondered why it is taking quite a while, he says supply and worker shortages are keeping him from moving at the pace he hoped.

 

 

Traditional American food with a Greek flavor is how Bekteshi describes the coming food for his restaurant. He says there will be daily Greek specials and they plan to serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 

 

New plumbing, flooring, ceiling tiles, and reorganizing the kitchen were just a few of the challenges the building had facing Bekteshi. He says it was a big undertaking but is excited about the coming finished product.

 

 

Bekteshi is working on getting his staff in place. You can learn more about the restaurant or employment opportunities by finding "Clinton Family Restaurant" on Facebook. 

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Weekly Crop Report

HERE'S THE CROP REPORT FOR THE WEEK ENDING AUGUST 15TH. 

 

ACCORDING TO CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN GIVES AN UPDATE ON CORN...

 

 

PARN LOOKS AT SOYBEANS.

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NOW 82 PERCENT COMPLETE. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE STANDS AT TWO PERCENT VERY SHORT, 12 PERCENT SHORT, 76 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 10 PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Today is Ag Day at State Fair

Tuesday is Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair. The fair opened last Thursday and was impacted by some weather, but other than that it's been a good run thus far says Kristi Jones, who serves as deputy director at the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

 

 

The state fair runs through Sunday.

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Illinois N-REC Continues to Fund Projects Statewide

Another $4-million in funding is being made available statewide through the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council or N-REC.

 

 

Executive Director Julie Hewitt says N-REC was established in 2012 and provides financial support for nutrient research and education programs. The effort promotes practices that address environmental concerns, optimize nutrient use efficiency, and ensure soil fertility.

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Four New Laws Protect Illinois Seniors

FOUR NEW STATE LAWS ARE DESIGNED TO FURTHER PROTECT ILLINOIS SENIORS. 

 

ONE LAW EXTENDS THE SALE OF THE LOTTERY'S ALZHEIMER'S SCRATCH-OFF TICKET WHICH RAISES MONEY FOR AWARENESS AND CARE. ANOTHER, HITS CLOSE TO HOME FOR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON, WHOSE MOM'S ALZHEIMER'S WENT UNDIAGNOSED UNTIL IT WAS AT A VERY ADVANCED STAGE.

 

 

ANOTHER LETS SENIORS TAKE AN ONLINE DEFENSIVE DRIVING COURSE AND STILL GET A DISCOUNT ON THEIR CAR INSURANCE WHILE THE FOURTH ENSURES THAT RESIDENTS OF LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES CAN SPEAK VIRTUALLY WITH FAMILY DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.

 

 

THE OTHER LAW LETS SENIORS TAKE AN ONLINE DRIVING COURSE AND STILL QUALIFY FOR AN AUTO INSURNCE DISCOUNT.

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Data From Land Management Firm Shows Farmland Prices Up 6-to-10 Percent During First Six Months of 2021

Farmland remains a popular item in Illinois, especially with strength in the commodity market. David Klein is with First Mid Ag Services.

 

 

First Mid Ag Services has offices in Bloomington, Decatur, Kankakee, Mattoon, Peoria, and Springfield.

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Clinton City Council Puts Pause on Payments for Center Street Work Until It Is Complete

For months now, Clinton residents have been enjoying a nicely paved North Center Street in Clinton but it is not coming without headaches for City officials.

 

ADA compliant work was not part of original planning on the project until it was brought to light by a concerned resident. Public Works Director Steve Lobb told the Clinton City Council Monday night at their second monthly meeting that work has yet to be complete.

 

 

Commissioner of Accounts and Finance Tom Edmonds indicates he has stopped making payments on the work until it is complete. He was backed by Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements Ken Buchanan.

 

 

The challenge with this approach, and according to Lobb, could trigger a lot of legal work to be done by the City attorney. He says because this is a federally funded project, this type of action was banned but Lobb says it used to be necessary so situations the City finds itself in could be avoided.

 

 

Lobb did mention they continue to be in contact with the contractor about the work needing to be done. 

 

Also at the Monday night City Council meeting:

 

>>Commissioner Buchanan informed the Council it is the monthly brush pick-up week and reminded residents of the size limits on brush piles. He indicates they are seeing residents putting out piles that easily exceed the limits set in place several years ago. 

 

>>Commissioner Edmonds gave another positive update regarding sales tax figures in Clinton.

 

>>Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger offered an update about the Fire Department's search for a new fire engine and says they are close to having something to present to the Council that will be well below budget.

 

>>The Council approved Jim Brady to the Warner Hospital and Health Services Board

 

>>The Council approved Marilyn Black to the City of Clinton Tree Commission

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Clinton YMCA Reminds of Y-Zone for Before, After School Childcare

With school back in session this week, a Clinton non-profit is getting its before and after school programming back up and running.

 

Clinton YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News Y-Zone gives students a safe place to be before and after school. The program has since expanded from Clinton to Monticello, Blue Ridge and Cluver indicates they are working with DeLand-Weldon on something for those families. 

 

 

Y-Zone is successful because it allows kids the freedom to do things that interest them. Cluver says when the weather is nice they'll take kids outside to the playground or they can stay inside and read a book or do homework.

 

 

Because Y-Zone is hosted at the schools, Y-Zone staff will take the time to get kids to the cafeteria for breakfast if they need it. The free breakfast program has been extended to encompass the entire school year so anyone can take advantage of those programs.

 

Cluver points anyone wanting more information about any of their programs in the various districts to its websites, clintoncommymca.org, find the 'Before & After School' tab, and find your school. You can also call 217-935-8307. 

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Clinton School Resource Officer Encouraging Families to Keep School District Updated on Your Family Circumstances

Most kids in Illinois will return to school at some point this week and local authorities are reminding families to keep their schools updated on the latest information for drop-off and pick-up purposes.

 

Clinton Police Department School Resource Officer Mike Bennett says the first thing for families to do is make sure their child knows where their bus pick-up and drop-off locations are. 

 

 

For the district, it is important for school personnel to be aware of who can and cannot pick up their children. Officer Bennett says to make sure contact information is also updated as it can be a point of frustration if someone cannot be reached regarding issues during drop off and pick up.

 

 

As it relates to picking up at school, Officer Bennett implores parents to make sure their students know who will be picking them up each day. Additionally, the school needs to be updated on who can or cannot pick up your child, and any proof or documentation they may need will have to be filed with the district as well.

 

 

Additional pieces of advice as school gets set to return, make sure parents get kids to school on time. It can be disruptive to the learning environment and harmful to the child if they are frequently tardy to class. 

 

Last week, Officer Bennett reminded Clinton parents and people in the community to be aware of the coming influx of traffic around schools and to plan accordingly at the beginning and end of the school day. 

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Monticello Schools Looking Forward to Utilizing New Facilities to Fullest

The 2021-22 school year will give a Piatt County school district its first opportunity to maximize its renovated buildings.

 

Monticello schools over roughly the last two years have renovated significant portions of its high school building improving classrooms and adding a new gymnasium. Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman says it's exciting to be able to look forward to getting to maximize the improvements.

 

 

Teachers return to the buildings today and students will be coming back on the 18th.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman is excited for the students of the district to be able to take advantage of 21st-century appropriate classrooms and learning settings. It was nearly a decade getting to where they are but they are glad finally have the environment kids need to succeed. 

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Social Security and Back to School? Social Security Says 'Yes'

As students head back to school this week, Social Security says it's an odd connection but there is one between them and the back-to-school season.

 

An SSA-1372 is a student's statement regarding student attendance. Jack Myers with Social Security indicates children of disabled, retired, or deceased workers can receive monthly benefits until age 18. These benefits can continue until age 19 if your child is still a full-time high school student. If your high school student receives monthly Social Security benefits as a child and will be turning 18 this school year, they need to take action to prevent the stoppage of their benefits at age 18.  

 

 

Don't be caught off guard if you are a parent that has a student that will be doing driver's education at some point this year. Myers explains they will most likely need their Social Security card to get their driver’s license so start looking now for that card.  You likely know where it is, but in case you don’t, looking now will give you time to request a replacement before they need it. Social Security gets a lot of calls from parents who realize the day before their planned trip to the DMV that they’ve misplaced their child’s Social Security card.  It will take a few weeks to get a replacement, so it’s best to start that process early if you need to.

 

 

If you need to apply for a Social Security card, you can do that online and get the forms online. Myers lays out what you need to do for that process and reminds these forms and process is all free, so do not pay for anything from third party websites. 

 

 

If you need a replacement card, you can learn about how to get it at www.ssa.gov. 

 

Back to the SSA-1372 forms, you should receive an SSA-1372 form in the mail, but if not, you can get one at www.ssa.gov. Complete page 2 and then take page 3 to a school official for certification. Once complete, you can fax or mail the form to your local Social Security office, find it at www.ssa.gov/locator.

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Ideal Weather Week for State Fair, Back to School

A more moderate temperature pattern over the next week. 80’s will be the rule.

 

 

That’s meteorologist Tom Phillip with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. He says rain is in the forecast for most of Illinois in the latter portion of the week.

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Gov. Pritzker Signs Package of Laws Honoring, Protecting Illinois Service Members

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A PACKAGE OF LEGISLATION TO FURTHER HONOR AND PROTECT ILLINOIS SERVICE MEMBERS.

 

ONE OF THE SEVEN NEW LAWS MEANS FAMILIES OF FALLEN NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS KILLED IN ACTIVE DUTY WILL BE PRESENTED WITH THE AMERICAN FLAG WHILE ANOTHER REVERSES DISHONORABLE DISCHARGES THAT WERE ISSUED BECAUSE OF A SERVICE MEMBER'S SEXUALITY SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

OTHER NEW LAWS HELP EXPEDITE PROFESSIONAL LICENSE APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED BY SERVICE MEMBERS OR THEIR SPOUSES AND REQUIRE THE P-O-W/ M-I-A FLAG TO BE FLOWN AT ALL STATE PARKS WITHIN FIVE YEARS.

 

 

THE OTHER LAWS HELP SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR SPOUSES GET A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE APPROVEDS AND REVERSE ANY DISHONORABLE DISCHARGES THAT WERE MADE BASED ON A SOLDIER'S SEXUALITY.

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Chicago Teen Wins Hog-Calling Contest

The winner of this year’s Illinois State Fair hog calling contest is a Chicago youth. The contest was Sunday afternoon at the State Fair Coliseum. The winning call was from 16-year-old Louise Buckingham.

 

 

She wins $350. There was no husband calling contest this year because there weren’t any entries.

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Better Business Bureau Offers Back-to-School Tips

Most area school districts getting students back to class, but some parents may still be finishing up their back-to-school shopping. While there are many deals to be found, the Better Business Bureau wants to make sure you are using all of the tools at your disposal to save as much as you can.

 

One tip is to look in your child’s backpack to see what kind of supplies remain, and then cross those off of your shopping list. BBB Investigator Don O’Brien says another trick that can save you money is buying in bulk if possible.

 

 

He says many stores and software companies offer discounts. Some of them are available to students that have either a .edu email address or a student ID. O’Brien reminds it never hurts to ask.

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IHSA Execuitve Director Discusses Masking

Some schools in Illinois are defying the Governor’s executive order requiring masks for students and staff while indoors. How does that impact their status with the IHSA? The answer involves some direction from the Illinois State of Education says IHSA executive director Craig Anderson.

 

 

Illinois youth sports guidance allows student-athletes to compete without masks while outdoors, but calls for masks during indoor sports.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was a wild week in central Illinois from a weather perspective. Heat advisories highlighted the midweek and things concluded with a rainy Thursday. State Climatologist Trent Ford tells us about a mild weekend...

 

 

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Enel Green Power Sues DeWitt County Over Halting Issuances of Building Permits

Enel Green Power has sued DeWitt County over its action at July's Board meeting where the Board voted to stop issuing building permits for the wind turbines until Enel proves the turbines can be curtailed during severe weather events.

 

The lawsuit, filed this week in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of DeWitt County, claims the refusal to issue further building permits has caused the Alta Farms II wind project to suffer and will continue to suffer substantial damages due to construction delays "each day" until permits are issued. 

 

Currently, 30 building permits have been issued for the turbines out of 57 total. The energy company also claims in the suit they have a clear right to the issuance of the wind turbine building permits demanded in the action and there is no legal or factual basis for DeWit County to refuse issuing the permits for the remainder of the turbines. 

 

Additionally, the suit notes none of the wind turbines for which building permits are being sought are located on any drainage district right-of-ways, easements, or other drainage district facilities. 

 

Alta Farms claims they have submitted all required fees, information, and documentation necessary to obtain the permits for the wind turbines.

 

The company is calling for the Courts to immediately issue the building permits. 

 

In November, Alta Farms applied for 57 turbines. 

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson declined to comment Friday at the recommendation of the State's Attorney. 

 

Enel issued the following statement Friday morning:

 

"While we cannot comment on ongoing litigation, we have taken this action as a last resort after multiple recent attempts to resolve the matter directly with the County. Alta Farms Wind Project II has met all of the terms of the special use permit granted by the County in 2020, including the condition to execute an agreement for a curtailment plan, and applications for the outstanding building permits were submitted more than eight months ago.

 

"Alta Farms represents a long-term investment in DeWitt County, generating tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue, landowner payments, and employment income over several decades – as well as over $9 million to date in spending at local businesses to support construction activities. Resolving this matter will ensure that the project's substantial economic benefits are realized without needless delay."

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DeWitt County 4-H Director Recaps 2020-21, Looks Ahead to New Year

With the 2020-21 4-H year now in the rearview mirror, organizers are readying for the new year that begins in September.

 

Lindsey Burden is the 4-H Coordinator for DeWitt County 4-H and as she looks back admits things were a little difficult as the program navigated the COVID pandemic. She says it was a normal fair but this year's participation was not.

 

 

This year, all the shows welcomed participants from DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties to the DeWitt County Fairgrounds. Burden says that definitely enhanced the atmosphere of this year's fair despite the pandemic.

 

 

According to Burden, the downturn in participation was anticipated, however, as a new year approaches starting next month, they are focused on doing a lot of outreach once the State Fair gets wrapped up.

 

 

As the new year approaches, Burden reminds families in the three counties they serve that 4-H has evolved to encompass so many activities and projects that will interest kids. She indicates the rise of special interest groups like shooting sports and STEM are really drawing a lot more kids to their program.

 

 

Burden indicates if there are families or kids interested in 4-H but are not sure if it is for them, they are welcome to sit in on a meeting and talk to other 4-H-ers about their experiences. Just contact your local Extension office to learn more about 4-H. 

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Illinois Farm Bureau Keeping Close Eye on Regulatory Issues

Where does water stop and land begin? That's a key issue that the Illinois Farm Bureau continues to follow says IFB executive director of governmental affairs and commodities Mark Gebhards. He’s talking about the WOTUS rule.

 

 

The virtual hearings are Aug. 18, 23, 25, 26 and 31.

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Illinois Department of Labor Making Sure State Fair Carnival Rides are Safe

ALL STATE FAIR CARNIVAL RIDES ARE READY TO GO AFTER CLOSE INSPECTION BY THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.

 

MAKING SURE EVERYTHING IS SECURED, BOLTED AND WELL OILED IS A HUGE TASK GIVEN THE NUMBER OF RIDES, BUT INSPECTOR MARGARET ROYER SAYS FAIRGOERS SHOULD FEEL SAFE.

 

 

THAT INCLUDES ENSURING EVERYTHING IS BOLTED DOWN PROPERLY AND THAT STRUCTURES IS SOUND.

 

 

THE STATE FAIR IS THE SECOND LARGEST UNDERTAKING FOR THE DEPARTMENT, RIGHT BEHIND SIX FLAGS GREAT AMERICA.

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Gardening in Very Hot Weather

The heat that has been stifling for much of Illinois this week causing headaches for many gardeners. You need to water your plants religiously during these hot and mostly dry periods, but not to the point of drowning them according to one garden expert. U of I Extension Horticulture Educator Elizabeth Wahle (wally) says the time to fertilize has passed.

 

 

You can move potted plants and hanging baskets to shadier areas, and experts agree you may need to water your vegetables daily, if not more often. Again, the frequency depends upon how quickly the soil dries around their roots.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Law Supporting First Responders Emotional, Mental Wellness

A PACKAGE OF NEW STATE LAWS WILL HELP PROTECT THE MENTAL HEALTH AND PHYSICAL WELLBEING OF FIRST RESPONDERS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE CHANGES INCLUDE MORE OPTIONS FOR SENTENCING SCOTT'S LAW VIOLATORS, A CLARIFICATION THAT DRIVERS NEED TO SLOW DOWN AND MOVE OVER WHEN THEY SEE FLASHING LIGHTS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND A NEW TASK FORCE TO STUDY WAYS TO PREVENT THESE CRASHES SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

THE MEASURES ADDRESS THE ONGOING PROBLEM OF DRIVERS NOT PAYING ATTENTION WHEN APPROACHING A VEHICLE WITH FLASHING LIGHTS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD BY CLARIFYING CURRENT LAW SAYS ILLINOIS STATE POLICE DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY.

 

 

ANOTHER NEW LAW CREATES AN ONLINE RESOURCE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY, NUTRITION, SUICIDE PREVENTION AND OTHER TOPICS.

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Congressman Davis Off Commission for 1/6

A Central Illinois lawmaker is "disappointed" his no longer on the January 6th commission to investigate the deadly capitol insurrection.

 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy picked U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis to serve on the panel. However, Minority Leader McCarthy pulled all five of his appointees, including Davis, in protest to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Taylorville Republican said the investigation committee was "tainted."

 

 

Davis said he wished he was serving on the committee to answer questions that he does not think are going to be asked. The goal of the committee is to determine how and why a capital insurrection occurred.

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DeLand-Weldon Superintendent Hoping Resolution Gains Traction Among Illinois School Leaders

Monday night, a central Illinois lawmaker proposed Illinois schools pass a resolution calling for local control to be given back to Illinois school districts and a rural DeWitt County school leader is hoping it gains traction.

 

In Clinton Monday night, State Senator Chapin Rose called for Illinois school leaders to pass a resolution in special meetings on the same night requesting local control be given back after Gov. JB Pritzker pulled the rug out from schools that had opted for mask-optional policies. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, DeLand-Weldon Schools Superintendent Amanda Geary told Regional Radio News she supports the efforts of Sen. Rose and would hope her peers across the State do as well.

 

 

DeLand-Weldon community members are telling Geary and her board they want to be able to decide if their kids go to school with or without masks. School districts that decide to go against the Governor's mandate risk losing tort funding. A tort fund can be used to pay a variety of liability-related expenses, such as legal fees, insurance premiums, and worker's compensation claims. 

 

 

According to Geary, the concept of this resolution isn't new. She explains school administrators had discussed doing something similar before the Governor agreed in July to allow districts local control on the decision to go back to school.

 

 

When schools across the state decided to move forward with mask-optional policies, or policies that did not require masks to be worn, she believes the Governor stepped in to get what he wanted. 

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St. Louis District Dairy Council Reminding Schools of Resources They Can Provide

As students get ready to head back to class, the St. Louis District Dairy Council is reminding school administrators, teachers, and food coordinators of the many resources they have available.

 

Monica Nyman with the St. Louis District Dairy Council says they are getting things started right away with the 'Adopt-a-Cow' program. They'll also be in touch with foodservice directors and coaches about promotional programs.

 

 

Nyman is excited because the USDA has extended its pandemic free lunch program through the entirety of the 2021-22 school year. These are nutritious meals provided to students and oftentimes might be the nutrients a child gets throughout the day.

 

 

Another way the St. Louis District Dairy Council supports local schools is through its 'Dollars for Dairy' program. Applications for the program have closed for this year but Nyman hopes school administrators will keep the program in mind for the 2022-23 school year. The program has helped fund things like grab-n-go breakfast programs, coffee bars, and smoothie makers. 

 

Visit stldairycouncil.org for the latest in programs for schools and other resources. 

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State Police Looking to Hire More Female Troopers Under 30x30 Initiative

A NEW INITIATIVE FROM THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE AIMS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF WOMEN IN ITS RANKS. 

 

THE GOAL OF THE 30 BY 30 INITIATIVE IS FOR RECRUIT CLASSES TO BE MADE UP OF AT LEAST 30 PERCENT FEMALES BY THE YEAR 2030. WOMEN CURRENTLY ACCOUNT FOR LESS THAN 10 PERCENT OF SWORN LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE STATE POLICE. TROOPER OMOAYEAN (oh-my-eenah) WILLIAMS SAYS IT'S A GREAT CAREER CHOICE, NO MATTER YOUR GENDER.

 

 

SHE SAYS IT'S AN AMAZING CAREER WITH PLENTY OF OPTIONS.

 

 

THE I-S-P IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS. VISIT ILLINOIS TROOPER DOT COM TO GET STARTED.

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McLean County Site Collecting Household Hazardous Waste for State Residents in October

In a change from years past, the Ecology Action Center in McLean County is not asking for household hazardous waste collection donations this year.

 

However, the organization is holding a waste collection day on Oct. 9, with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency covering most of the costs. EAC Executive Director Michael Brown said anyone from across the state could make an appointment to donate.

 

 

The collection event will be held at the Interstate Center in Bloomington from 8:00 a.m. until 3 p.m. The collection is free to the public; however, the center is encouraging those who are participating in scheduling an appointment by noon on Oct. 8.

 

A full list of acceptable materials can be found at HHWMclean.org.

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State Fair Butter Cow Unveiled

A “moving” memory for many at the Illinois State Fair is a trip to see the butter cow. And this year it’s a little more special as the sculpted bovine turns 100. Kelsey Kessler the Illinois State Fair Queen helped unveil the hundreds of pounds of salted Illinois butter that Sarah Pratt’s crafted into a work of art.

 

 

The butter cow contains 13 hidden hearts and is on display every day inside the Dairy Building at the Illinois State Fair.

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IDPH Launches Portal to Show Proof of Vaccination

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS LAUNCHING A NEW PORTAL TO SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION.

 

THE VAX VERIFY SYSTEM LETS USERS CHECK THEIR VACCINATION RECORDS AND THEN SHOW PROOF IF NECESSARY SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD.

 

 

IT'S SECURE SAYS ARNOLD.

 

 

VAX VERIFY USES EXPERIAN TO SECURELY VERIFY YOUR IDENTITY. YOU CAN SET UP YOUR ACCOUNT AT: IDPH PORTAL DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Gov. Pritzker Announces $250-Million Back to Business Grant Program

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING THE NEW 250 MILLION DOLLAR BACK TO BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM. 

 

THE EFFORT IS AIMED AT SMALL BUSINESSES HIT ESPECIALLY HARD DURING THE PANDEMIC SAYS THE GOVERNOR, HELPING OWNERS HIRE BACK STAFF AND COVER OPERATING COSTS.

 

 

THE MONEY CAN BE USED FOR THINGS LIKE HIRING BACK STAFF AND OPERATIONAL COSTS SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ACTING DIRECTOR SYLVIA GARCIA.

 

 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROGRAM IS AVAILABLE ONLINE VIA THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY'S WEBSITE.

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Clinton Police SRO Readies for School To Start Back Up

Clinton school children will return to class next Wednesday for the first day of the 2021-22 school year and the district's school resource officer has some reminders for the community.

 

One of the biggest adjustments for not only families of school kids but people that live and work in the vicinity of Clinton schools is the influx of traffic. SRO Mike Bennet on the WHOW Morning Show told Regional Radio News everyone needs to be patient, give themselves extra time and if necessary, just wait five minutes before embarking towards the schools.

 

 

One of the most congested areas of town is the west side where Clinton Elementary and Clinton Junior High reside across from each other with the High School behind the Junior High. Bennett says that area gets very congested and it can get congested early in the afternoon.

 

 

While Lincoln and Douglas Elementary Schools are somewhat isolated in the community, Officer Bennett says there can still be a backlog of traffic. He encourages parents to know how they want to get to the buildings and know their exit points for leaving.

 

 

Motorists in these areas and near where busses will be picking up and dropping off in our neighborhoods need to be ready for busses to stop. Officer Bennett says do not attempt to go around busses stopped with the arm guards out.

 

 

Officer Bennett had plenty of other tips for parents regarding the information provided to the school like updating information regarding who can or cannot pick up your kids as well as custody papers from the court system.

 

We'll hear more from Bennett next week on Regional Radio News. 

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Warner Hospital Circle Drive Renovation Underway

 

The Warner Hospital Circle Drive in front of the main entrance, is getting renovated.

 

Attempts to patch the drive were unsuccessful so hospital officials decided it was time to completely renovate the pavement.

 

Entrance to the hospital is thru the Emergency area until the construction is completed.

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Atlanta, Illinois Tourism Director Excited for State Fair

A local tourism director is excited for this week's state fair that will feature an exhibit promoting Route 66.

 

Whitney Ortiz is the Tourism Director for Atlanta, Illinois, and is very excited for the special Route 66 exhibit that is debuting at this year's Illinois State Fair. She says this will be a good chance to highlight a special Route 66 event coming to Atlanta in September.

 

 

Ortiz calls the idea cool and is excited to see what the first year looks like. She also looks forward to what it can turn into in the years ahead.

 

 

Ortiz believes the Route 66 community in Illinois trumps them all because of the collaboration and cooperation between all the communities along the historic road.

 

 

You can check out the Route 66 exhibit right inside of 'Gate 2' on the fairgrounds. Ortiz says they'll be to the right and plenty of iconic images from Route 66 in Illinois and she hopes attendees will take time to get to know the communities along the route. 

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August Should Switch to Normal Temperatures, Dry Trend

This week's periodic rain showers should give way to a dry pattern the remainder of August with seasonable temperatures.

 

That's according to Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln. He says we can thank all the rain of this spring and summer for keeping temperatures suppressed and from getting excessively hot.

 

 

Miller explains the wet summer is going to pay off and keep temperatures from becoming oppressively hot. He notes you may have noticed temperatures have not become extremely hot for very long, and that is why.

 

 

According to Miller, the warm weather will likely hang around beyond August and linger into September with a good possibility of making October warmer than normal.

 

 

Miller says the moderating temperatures should arrive starting Friday and set up an ideal weather weekend. 

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Gov. Pritzker Stresses Importance of State's Mask Mandate

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS STRESSING THE IMPORTANCE OF THE STATE'S SCHOOL MASK MANDATE. 

 

A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN FILED ON BEHALF OF A DOWNSTATE CLINTON COUNTY PARENT OVER THE MANDATE, WHICH REQUIRES ALL STUDENTS AND SCHOOL STAFF TO WEAR A MASK INDOORS WHETHER OR NOT THEY'VE BEEN VACCINATED. GOVERNOR PRITZKER RESPONDS:

 

 

THE GOVERNOR POINTS OUT THAT A SCHOOL MASK MANDATE HAS BEEN IN PLACE BEFORE IN ILLINOIS. WHEN ASKED BY REPORTERS ABOUT ENFORCING THE RULE, HE SAID SCHOOLS HAVE HAD DRESS CODES FOR YEARS AND THIS SHOULD BE NO DIFFERENT.

 

 

A LAWSUIT OVER THE MANDATE HAS BEEN FILED ON BEHALF OF A DOWNSTATE PARENT IN CLINTON COUNTY. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE ATTORNEY HANDLING THE SUIT HAS FILED SEVERAL OTHERS DURING THE PANDEMIC AND HAS FAILED EVERY TIME.

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Teachers Union Head Says Vaccine Mandate Should Be Local Decision

The head of a national teacher’s union says there should be a vaccine mandate for educators.

 

The leader of one union in Illinois says any mandate should be discussed district by district. Kathi Griffin President of the Illinois Education Association says research shows about 80 percent of IEA teachers are already vaccinated and discussion to get to a mandate should be done locally.

 

 

Griffin notes that 80% vaccinated figure came from a June survey.

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Maroa-Forsyth Schools Superintendent Talks Monday Town Hall With Local Lawmakers

A central Illinois Superintendent was in attendance for a Monday night town hall hosted by State Representative Dan Caulkins and Sen. Chapin Rose. 

 

The town hall at Clinton High School had several superintendents and school board members from various districts hoping to hear from the lawmakers guiding them through last week's mandate from Governor JB Pritzker requiring masks in Illinois schools after saying districts should have local control on the issue.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Maroa-Forsyth Schools Superintendent Dr. Kris Kahler told Regional Radio News he felt the two Republicans offered some good advice on how to proceed forward. 

 

 

Sen. Rose is calling on Illinois superintendents and school boards to sign a resolution calling for local control from lawmakers and Gov. Pritzker. He believes if 200-300 school boards do this on the same night, it will gain some traction. Dr. Kahler says that could work if they get buy-in from all parts of the state.

 

 

The Maroa-Forsyth board of education will meet next week, as it butts up against the start of school. Dr. Kahler indicates he is gathering all the relevant information for his board to make the best, informed decision regarding the future of masking in school.

 

 

Dr. Kahler was displeased with the Governor's lack of respect for work that went into the decision for its back-to-school plan from July. He was disappointed local control was taken away from local districts in a matter of minutes with the Governor's announcement. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CROP CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO IMPROVE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

IT WAS A LITTLE COOLER AND DRIER THIS PAST WEEK, AND AVERAGE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPEED TO EIGHT PERCENT VERY SHORT, 17 PERCENT SHORT, 70 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FIVE PERCENT SURPLUS. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 93 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING.

 

 

CORN ALSO IMPROVED TO 79 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION WITH 66 PERCENT IN THE DOUGH STAGE AND THREE PERCENT IN THE DENT STAGE. 

 

 

THE THIRD CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS 66 PERCENT COMPLETE AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DECREASED THIS PAST WEEK TO EIGHT PERCENT VERY SHORT, 17 PERCENT SHORT, 70 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FIVE PERCENT SURPLUS.

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State, Public Health Officials Updating House Lawmakers on COVID Vaccinations, Variants

STATE AND LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE GIVING HOUSE LAWMAKERS AN UPDATE ON COVID-19 VACCINATION PROGRESS AND THE DELTA VARIANT. 

 

MORE THAN 59 PERCENT OF THE ILLINOIS POPULATION 12 AND OLDER IS NOW FULLY VACCINATED. ATTEMPTS TO GET MORE PEOPLE THEIR SHOTS CONTINUE, WITH COMMUNITIES HAVING TO GET CREATIVE WITH THEIR EFFORTS. THAT INCLUDES OFFERING THE VACCINE AT CHURCHES, LAUNDROMATS AND FLEA MARKETS AND HAVING "AMBASSADORS" TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT THE VACCINE. CHICAGO PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT COMMISSIONER DOCTOR ALLISON ARWADY SAYS THEY ARE OFFERING HOUSE CALLS AS WELL.

 

 

ONE OF THE SPEAKERS WAS U-I HEALTH INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT DOCTOR RICHARD NOVAK, WHO EXPLAINED WHY GETTING MORE PEOPLE VACCINATED WILL HELP STOP COVID VARIANTS.

 

 

ARWADY ALSO TALKED ABOUT WHILE THEY EXPECT SOME COVID CASES TO ARISE AS A RESULT OF LOLLAPALOOZA, THE EVENT ALSO GOT MORE YOUNG PEOPLE TO GET THE SHOT SINCE IT WAS REQUIRED TO ENTER.

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Looking at Farmers' Input Costs

Gauging input costs getting the attention from the farmdocDAILY team in Illinois. It’s the subject of a recent piece looking at 1990 through 2021 and projecting 2022 says Krista Swanson a visiting research specialist with the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois.

 

 

You can see the data at "farmdocdaily.illinois.edu".

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Local Farm Bureaus to Host Watershed Planning Discussions with Area Farmers on Critical Illinois Watershed

A critical Illinois watershed getting plenty of attention this week. Planning discussion sessions are set for five different counties says Hannah Robinson with the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District.

 

 

Meetings are being hosted this week by Hancock, Henry, Knox, Mercer and Warren-Henderson county farm bureaus.

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House Hearing Discusses How Misinformation Causes Vaccine Hesitancy

PARTICIPANTS OF A SPECIAL HOUSE HEARING ON COVID-19 MONDAY DISCUSSED HOW MISINFORMATION IS A LEADING CAUSE OF VACCINE HESITANCY. 

 

THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO JUST AREN'T GOING TO GET VACCINATED, WHILE OTHERS ARE STILL ON THE FENCE, CONCERNED ABOUT THINGS THEY HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE SHOT SAYS CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVE MARY FLOWERS.

 

 

THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF MYTHS ABOUT THE VACCINE SAYS CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSIONER DOCTOR ALLISON ARWADY.

 

 

STATE AND LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS TESTIFYING AT THE HEARING URGED THOSE WITH CONCERNS TO TALK TO THEIR PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR. THEY SAY SOME COMMON MISNOMERS ABOUT THE VACCINE ARE THAT IT MAY CAUSE INFERTILITY AND THAT IT SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN TO THOSE WITH UNDERLYING CONDITIONS LIKE CANCER OR H-I-V. HEALTH EXPERTS SAY NEITHER ARE TRUE.

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Local Lawmakers Discuss Recent Legislation, Masks in Illinois Schools

Monday night, a good crowd filled about half of the Clinton High School auditorium to hear from State Senator Chapin Rose and Representative Dan Caulkins.

 

The central Illinois Republicans covered topics from the crime bill to redistricting and - what likely drew most of those in attendance - mask mandates in school. State Senator Chapin Rose says these decisions need to be made at a local level and is proposing schools rally together to sign a petition to send to the governor for local control.

 

 

According to Rep. Caulkins, the Governor has put school boards into a bad spot and central Illinois board members are very upset. As school boards convene for their August board meetings, the Decatur Republican is calling on everyone in central Illinois to keep things civil.

 

 

Sen. Rose is calling on residents who know people in areas like Decatur, Champaign, and Bloomington-Normal and call on them to contact their representatives. 

 

 

Sen. Rose is calling on school boards to sign his petition on the same night and believes if 200-300 downstate schools sign it on the same night, it will gain traction with big publications like The Chicago Tribune and will get the attention of downstate Democrats and Gov. Pritzker. 

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Vic Ranney, Long-Time Clinton Businessperson, Dies

A long-time Clinton businessperson has died.  Victor “Vic” Ranney, who owned Border Control Pest Control for over 20 years, died on July 28th.

 

Visitation for Ranney will be held this Friday afternoon from 2 til 4, at First Christian Church, 3350 N. MacArthur Road in Decatur.   A Celebration of Life service will start directly after the visitation at 4 p.m.

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McLean County Hit Hard Again By Rain, Spotty Rain Chances Remainder of the Week

The McLean County area was hit hard once again Sunday afternoon and evening with heavy rainstorms.

 

While that area was hit particularly hard once again, there were areas that received some needed rainfall. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Chris Miller at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio News there were some areas to the south that needed rain and got it.

 

 

Miller says don't be fooled by the cloudy skies of Monday because things are going to clear up starting Tuesday and it is going to get hot and humid.

 

 

According to Miller, when there is a lot of moisture in the ground it actually prevents things from warming up beyond the 90-degree threshold. He is anticipating another round of Tuesday night that will keep temperatures not quite as hot. 

 

The National Weather Service is also predicting a very nice weekend. 

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WEZC, Clinton Chamber of Commerce Hosting Town Hall with Local Lawmakers

95.9FM WEZC and the Clinton Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to host State Senator Chapin Rose and Representative Dan Caulkins tonight at the Clinton High School auditorium for a town hall-style event.

 

The event starts at 6 pm and is open to the public. You can also hear the event on 95.9FM WEZC.

 

WEZC/WHOW's Seth Laurence will moderate the event. There will be no shortage of things to talk about with the local Republican lawmakers. From the latest mandates on Illinois schools regarding masking to redrawn legislative maps, the latest on energy legislation that would impact DeWitt County, and much more. 

 

The event and broadcast will wrap up at roughly 7:30 pm.

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Piatt County's Willow Tree Missions Appreciative of Monticello Football Team's Volunteer Efforts

A Piatt County non-profit is singing the praises of the Monticello High School football team.

 

The Sages football program last Monday night came to the aid of Willow Tree Missions in Monticello for several hours of work its Executive Director says was a huge boost to the progress of renovating a downtown space. Rachel LeJune credits coach Cully Welter for leading by example.

 

 

Willow Tree Missions, a non-profit organization whose mission is domestic violence, recently acquired property in downtown Monticello they hope to transform into an extension of its thrift store and provide temporary housing for victims of domestic violence. June indicates a lot of the work needing to be done is manageable, cosmetic projects.

 

 

Coach Welter indicates helping Willow Tree Missions was something they were approached about. He explains giving back to the community is something he wants to do as a program and appreciates the willingness of his student-athletes to step up and do this.

 

 

Coach Welter indicates they do not do these things for attention and says LeJune and her staff are doing the real work. LeJune says anyone can contribute to Willow Tree Missions through volunteering or fundraising. You can email her rachel@willowtreemissions.org or you can visit willowtreemissions.org and find tabs for volunteering opportunities or donating opportunities. 

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Scovill Zoo Working on Revamping Its Master Plan

A Decatur entity is looking at revamping its roadmap for the future.

 

The Scovill Zoo in Decatur has started modernizing its master plan. Director Ken Frye on the WHOW Morning Show Friday told Regional Radio News they want a plan for the next five to ten years and so they are partnering with a local firm and a St. Louis firm to help in that process.

 

 

For Frye, the last master plan for the zoo had some lofty, if not unattainable goals. He is hoping this time around they can strive for things that would be great with the right donations but also realistic goals that will make the zoo better.

 

 

The biggest fundraiser of the year for the zoo is its annual Gala. This year, the gala will shift to October. Frye indicates it is always a good time to support the zoo and get unique animal encounters. The gala returns this year after it was canceled last year due to COVID. 

 

 

The zoo recently added a couple of new birds to a small, revamped aviary near the front entrance of the zoo. Frye says fundraising helps in efforts like that. 

 

Visit decaturparks.org/scovillzoo for the latest in all things Scovill Zoo in Decatur. 

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State Fair Kicks Off Later This Week

The State Fair starts at the end of the week and there are some changes coming because of COVID. Masks will be required inside of buildings – including the coliseum and dairy building. They will also need to be worn when in the Grandstand for a concert. Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello says he wants everyone that comes to the fair to be ready to stay healthy and have a good time.

 

 

Masks will not be required in barns, beer tents and anywhere else outdoors.

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Beware of Child Tax Credit Scams

Government agency imposter scams have been a frequent tool of scammers in recent years, and the child tax credit payments have given them another angle with which to work. These payments are an advance on the child tax credit, which means eligible people will get up to half of their child tax credit in these monthly payments and the other half when they file their 2021 taxes.

 

The payments will come to eligible parents through the end of the year. But con artists are likely waiting to pretend to "help" you get your payments earlier, get more money, or commit identity theft. Better Business Bureau Investigator Don O’Brien says you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.

 

 

The parents of more than 2.5 million children in Illinois are due to get up to $300 a month from now until the end of the year. Income thresholds are $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a couple. If you have been the victim of this or any other scam, you can make others aware by filing a report on the agency’s Scam Tracker website: BBB.org/ScamTracker

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Illinois State Fair Mandating Masks, Vaccination Cards or COVID Tests to Attend Concerts, Events

Officials at the Illinois State Fair Friday night announced that attendees to all Grandstand and Multi-Purpose Arena concerts and events, must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status, due to the rise in COVID cases.

The Fair added that those holding “Standing Room Only” tickets for the Grandstand track at concerts, must either show a vaccination card, or get a COVID test at one of 6 Illinois Department of Public Health booths on the Fairgrounds to then obtain a Wrist Pass showing they’ve tested negative.

Fair officials said these measures are being taken due to the spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Find the complete mandates announced Friday night, by clicking HERE.

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Piatt County Mental Health Center to Add Support Specialist Thanks to Grant

A grant is going to allow a Piatt County non-profit to expand the scope of its services.

 

Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center, Tony Kirkman explains one day he became concerned about what happens with some of their clients when they receive services and then leave for six days and the challenges they face in that time. It led him to pursue a grant to bring someone who would be almost a counselor for these individuals.

 

 

For Kirkman, this will complete the full circle of aspects of their services. He says recovery is hard and hope is essential. 

 

 

Kirkman is now seeking out someone to take on this role. He notes there is a lot of barriers those in recovery face like faith-based events or events that offer alcohol, which can be problematic.

 

 

The grant is good for three years. Part of the goal of the program will be to find a way to make it a sustainable program beyond the three years and get someone to lead it permanently. 

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Sen. Durbin Wants Bankruptcy Reform for Student Loan Borrowers

Illinois' Senior Senator is working with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to pass bankruptcy reform for student loan borrowers. U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says student loan borrowers' range in ages.

 

 

Senator Durbin added that student loan bankruptcy is often the last resort for students misled by for-profit schools that "fail to provide an adequate education." At the end of 2020, student loan debt topped $1.7 trillion.

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New Laws Increase Access to Feminine Hygiene Products

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A PACKAGE OF LEGISLATION TO INCREASE ACCESS TO FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE FIRST NEW LAW ADDRESSES "PERIOD POVERTY" AND GETS THE STATE READY TO ACT SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT START ALLOWING THESE PRODUCTS TO BE PURCHASED WITH "SNAP" AND "WIC" BENEFITS SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE MEASURE WAS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE KATIE STUART OF EDWARDSVILLE.

 

 

THE OTHER TWO LAWS REQUIRE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO HAVE FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS IN ALL CAMPUS BATHROOMS AND HOMELESS SHELTERS SERVING WOMEN AND YOUTH WILL HAVE TO PROVIDE TAMPONS AND PADS FOR FREE.

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Illinois Lawmakers Hear From Universities on Preparations for Upcoming School Year

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE HEARING FROM ILLINOIS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ABOUT PLANS FOR THE FALL AMIDST COVID-19 CONCERNS.

 

MOST SCHOOLS ARE REQUIRING ALL STUDENTS AND STAFF TO BE VACCINATED. THOSE THAT CAN'T BE WILL HAVE TO BE TESTED REGULARLY. THE VACCINE IS NOT MANDATED ON SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY'S TWO CAMPUSES, BUT IS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED SAYS S-I-U SYSTEM PRESIDENT DAN MAHONEY.

 

 

JOE ROSELIEB WITH WESTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY ANSWERED THE QUESTION...WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A COVID CASE POPS UP?

 

 

COLLEGES WILL OFFER FREE VACCINE CLINCIS AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS' SALIVIA COVID TEST. MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED INDOORS. OFFICIALS SAY THEY ARE DEFINITELY BETTER PREPARED FOR THE VIRUS THIS YEAR BUT ALSO TOLD LEGISLATORS ABOUT THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS LOST DURING THE PANDEMIC.

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Illinois GOP-Gubernatorial Hopeful Blasts Gov. Pritzker's School Mask Mandate

A day after Governor JB Pritzker issued a mandate for masks to be worn in schools and long-term care facilities the push back is starting from many Republicans. State Senator Darren Bailey, who’s running for the Republican nomination for Governor says masks don’t make sense when he says COVID-19 largely spares children.

 

 

Bailey won’t rule out a lawsuit to challenge the Governor’s standing to issue a mask mandate.

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Illinois Farm Bureau Helps Promote Meat Processors

Illinois Farm Bureau developing tools for meat processors. One is called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.

 

 

Tasha Bunting is Illinois Farm Bureau’s associate director of commodities and livestock programs.

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Farmers, Small Businesses Can Apply for USDA REAP Program

USDA is seeking applications for the Rural Energy for America Program. Molly Hammond is the acting director for the USDA Rural Development Illinois office. She says farmers and small businesses can apply.

 

 

Interested applicants can call the USDA Rural Development State Energy Coordinator at 217-403-6200 to discuss their project and ask any questions about the REAP program or the application process. Information is also available online at rd.usda.gov/il.

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Congressman Davis Discusses Jobless Benefits

Enhanced jobless benefits are slated to end in a few weeks and Republican Congressman Rodney Davis says there are millions of good jobs available right now. Davis says those struggling to pay for necessities can find work and begin to afford what they want and need.

 

 

Davis also says the eviction moratorium needs to end and if there are federal dollars available to provide rent assistance those funds aren’t making it to landlords who are also struggling.

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Heyworth Schools Leader Frustrated By Governor's Mask in School Mandate

Wednesday afternoon Illinois Governor JB Pritzker reinstituted a mask mandate in Illinois schools, much to the frustration of Illinois school leaders and families.

 

Among the frustrated is Heyworth Schools Superintendent Dr. Lisa Taylor who on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News every district's situation is different and this is why there are elected local officials in place to make these decisions.

 

 

Dr. Taylor feels similarly to her peers around the area the State drops in with mandates, cajoles about local control but leaves little room for Board level decisions. She was rather frustrated with the Governor's self-righteous grandstanding. 

 

 

Frustration is mounting among downstate families regarding the continued directives from the Government for decisions they believe should be theirs. Dr. Taylor understands the frustration and defends the hesitancy of school districts to go against the orders with the threat of funding and other accreditations being pulled.

 

 

Heyworth schools return to classes on August 19. School leaders hope there will be less restrictive directives as school gets closer. 

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The Vault Hosting 6th Grade Open House Event

Sixth-grade students are invited to The Vault in Clinton later this month to get introduced to The Vault in Clinton.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Executive Director Tammy Wilson told Regional Radio News they are hosting two open house-style events later this month. One is geared to introduced sixth-grade students to The Vault, the other is a community event to highlight some of the things they are doing.

 

 

For prospective students looking to be a part of what The Vault has to offer, Wilson emphasizes their downtown facility is a free, safe place for kids to go.

 

 

According to Wilson, students can do jobs at The Vault and that will earn them credit to use at its cafe inside the facility.

 

 

August 30 the school year hours will start back up at The Vault. Wilson says those are Monday for junior high school students and Tuesday for high school students from 3-6 pm and then Thursday for junior high school students again from 5 pm to 8 pm and then Friday nights for high school students from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm.

 

Additionally, there will also be a bus that will take kids to The Vault throughout the school year. 

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Monticello Schools to Revisit Back to School Policy After Governor's Wednesday Annoucnement

Wednesday afternoon, Gov. JB Pritzker reinstated a mask mandate for Illinois schools, backtracking from last month's guidance that left the decision up to local districts.

 

Like many others, Monticello schools opted for a mask-optional policy strongly encouraging unvaccinated individuals to continue to mask. Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday anticipated a guidance change. 

 

 

According to Dr. Zimmerman, the School Board will reconvene next week to reconsider its policy. He says there is a number of different avenues they could pursue.

 

 

School leaders across downstate Illinois have been clamoring for local control all summer. As of last month, it appeared that would be the situation entering the 2021-22 school. Dr. Zimmerman says it continues to be a situation of Governor Pritzker's administration bringing down mandates while claiming there is still room for local control.

 

 

Physical confrontation was reported to have broken out in a couple of northern Illinois school district board meetings this week over such policies and clashes between people with differing positions on the issue. Dr. Zimmerman is thankful the people of Monticello are civil over their disagreements. 

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Governor Pritzker Issues Mask Mandate for Schools

Mask mandates have been contentious for school districts but now the issue is off the table. Today Governor JB Pritzker is mandating all schools in the state to have a mask mandate for students, teachers and staff. He says he didn’t want to make the broad step, but feels he has no choice as many districts will not follow CDC guidance.

 

 

The mask mandate extends to indoor sports and recreation, but won’t be required for sports and activities outside. The Governor is requiring masks to be worn inside all long term care facilities in Illinois.

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Dan Brady Rips Governor's Mask Mandate

In response to Governor Pritzker issuing a statewide mask mandate in Illinois schools, Deputy Republican Leader Dan Brady (R-Normal) is not happy with the Governor's latest mandate for masks in schools.

 

It was just a few weeks ago, guidance from IDPH and the CDC recommended local control on the issue. In an about-face Wednesday afternoon from IDPH and Gov. JB Pritzker, Brady is calling for local control on the decision.

 

 

Many districts will be forced with the decision to reverse course on masking policies heading into the 2021-22 school year or face repercussions. 

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Illinois COVID Hospitalizations Have Doubled

COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS AND I-C-U ADMISSIONS ARE QUICKLY INCREASING. 

 

IT'S VERY CONCERNING SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER, WHO IS ESPECIALLY URGING TEENS AND YOUNG ADULTS TO GET VACCINATED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR NOTES THAT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THOSE IN THE HOSPITAL HAVE NOT BEEN FULLY VACCINATED.

 

 

AS OF TUESDAY NIGHT, MORE THAN 11-HUNDRED ILLINOIS COVID PATIENTS WERE IN THE HOSPITAL, INCLUDING 246 IN THE I-C-U.

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Gov. Pritzker Institutes Vaccine Mandate for Some State Workers

STATE WORKERS IN CERTAIN POSITIONS WILL HAVE TO BE VACCINATD AGAINST COVID-19 UNDER A NEW ORDER. 

 

EMPLOYEES AT STATE VETERANS HOMES, CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES, DEVELOPMENTAL CENTERS AND PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS ARE NOW REQUIRED TO GET THE SHOT SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS WHILE MOST RESIDENTS OF STATE VETERANS HOMES, DEVELOPMENTAL CENTERS AND OTHER CONGREGATE SETTINGS LIKE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES HAVE BEEN VACCINATED, MANY EMPLOYEES HAVE NOT.

 

 

WORKERS IN THESE FACILITIES HAVE UNTIL OCTOBER FOURTH TO BE VACCINATED.

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Volunteers Needed at Blood Donation Sites

Besides needing blood donors, the Red Cross is always taking “blood donor ambassadors”. Regional Communications Manager Drew Brown says there are a lot of volunteers who make blood drives successful. If the person's not putting blood draw needles in donors' arms, he or she is probably a volunteer. They may greet blood donors, set up the snack table, and even transport blood.

 

 

You don't need medical training to be a blood donor ambassador. And you can volunteer a little of your time once in a while or a lot multiple times a week. Go to the Red Cross web site to find out more.

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Latest Ag Barometer Released

The latest ag barometer is out. Purdue University ag economist Jim Mintert shares the data for July.

 

 

The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer sentiment index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from July 19-23.

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Weldon Springs Foundation Thrilled With Summer of 2021

The Weldon Springs Foundation could not be more thrilled with how the summer of 2021 has gone.

 

That's according to Stephanie Russell who, on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, told Regional Radio her expectations have been completely exceeded as they welcomed students to the schoolhouse and brought in a volunteer educator for the kids at the Clinton YMCA's Camp Osage.

 

 

Pattie Kinder has been working with the kids in the all-day Camp Osage program as well as the pre-k students half-day program. She has had a good time being able to connect with the kids and introduce them to nature.

 

 

The schoolhouse at Weldon Springs is open this summer for kids to come out and see. Russell says the things in the school are very unique to kids, especially the younger kids who probably have not ever known a classroom with a chalkboard and erasers.

 

 

Kinder recently helped the Foundation establish a new Facebook page. You can find it by searching 'Weldon Springs State Park Foundation.' The profile picture is an American flag with 48 stars. 

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Atlanta Tourism Bureau Revamping Website, Promotional Literature

A Logan County entity is looking forward to some facelifts coming to front and center informational material the public sees.

 

Whitney Ortiz is the Director of the Atlanta, Illinois Tourism Bureau explains they are partnering with an ISU program to tour the community and get ideas to refresh the promotional brochures that go throughout the area.

 

 

The refresh is roughly a one-year process. According to Ortiz, this is a project that starts when students return to class. They also speak with community members and come back to the Atlanta City Council with their ideas.

 

 

Ortiz also hopes to at some point this fall, get to revamping the Atlanta, Illinois website. She believes that is another area that could benefit from a refresh. They are again partnering with ISU for this. 

 

 

Ortiz all these efforts will hopefully help Atlanta, Illinois stand out to people who are checking them from all over the state, the country, and even the world.

 

 

As the busy summer season in Atlanta comes to a close, Ortiz looks forward to shifting her focus to these efforts and others that will promote their community. Visit atlantaillinois.org for more information. 

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Canadian Wildfire Haze Not Serious Threat to Illinois

Although many Illinois residents have been able to see the remnants of the Canadian wildfires, there’s no cause for alarm. Haze or even smoke has been part of many local forecasts in the past few weeks, but that should be ending.

 

 

That’s DTN ag meteorologist John Barancik speaking with the RFD Radio Network Tuesday morning.

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New COVID Cases Hit Highest Daily Total Since May 7

NEW COVID-19 CASES IN ILLINOIS TUESDAY HIT THE HIGHEST DAILY TOTAL SINCE EARLY MAY.

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REPORTING 2,682 NEW AND PROBABLE CASES, A LEVEL NOT SEEN SINCE MAY SEVENTH. BUT MORE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN GETTING TESTED AND VACCINATIONS ARE INCREASING AS WELL OVER THE PAST WEEK. MONDAY, GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER REPEATED HIS CALL FOR PEOPLE TO BE CAUTIOUS.

 

 

GOV. PRITZKER ON MONDAY AGAIN STRESSED THE NEED TO GET YOUR SHOT IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY.

 

 

NEARLY 59 PERCENT OF THE ILLINOIS POPULATION AGE 12 AND UP IS NOW FULLY VACCINATED. ALL BUT SEVEN COUNTIES ARE CURRENTLY AT "SUBSTANTIAL" OR "HIGH" LEVELS OF VIRUS TRANMISSION.

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Clinton Residents Can Now Get Paperless Water Bills

For several years now, the City of Clinton has offered online bill paying. Now you can receive your water bill notice electronically.

 

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Public Property, John Wise credited Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter with doing a lot of the leg work on the project. He hopes the community will consider this as it would save the city money on postage.

 

 

Wise reminds residents you can also pay your bills electronically, and can even do automatic withdrawal every month. To get signed for those options, the process is the same as signing up for paperless billing - stop by City Hall.

 

 

The City also put a notice on Facebook regarding the advancements in billing options. Search Clinton, Illinois on Facebook for more information.

 

Also at the Monday night meeting, the Council approved the purchase price of building lots in the Illini Drive subdivision for $20,000 and out lots for $2,000. Additionally, the purchase of an end loader for the sewer department was approved to be purchased for over $112,000 from Altorfer. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Leader Discusses Changes Coming to Healthcare

Federal standards will change how mental health agencies respond to crises. 

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and explains there is a movement to align with the federal government.

 

 

According to Kirkman, Illinois is taking steps to get out in front of the coming changes. He explains the State is asking agencies to respond to the origination of the call. He notes, it is also an effort to get away from law enforcement having to respond to these types of calls. 

 

 

Much discussion has centered around the role of law enforcement in responding to these calls. Kirkman appreciates the security law enforcement can provide to those situations and hopes they would be a part of this new process.

 

 

Kirkman also believes there could be a liability in sending a social worker to an emergency setting as it relates to liability. He wonders if body cameras or something of that ilk would be necessary.

 

 

Part of the changes is having a person who responds with experience in addiction and mental health challenges. Kirkman indicates the Piatt County Mental Health Center recently received a grant that would introduce a similar program for outreach purposes locally. We'll have more on that in the days ahead on Regional Radio News. 

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Mahomet-Seymour Schools Recommending Masks for Unvaccinated Though Plans are Subject to Change

A Champaign County School district is recommending masks for unvaccinated people.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Mahomet-Seymour Schools Superintendent Dr. Lindsey Hall told Regional Radio News they are recommending unvaccinated individuals in schools wear a mask.

 

 

Many central Illinois schools set the back-to-school policies in place in July when the guidance was masks recommended and not required. Last week, new guidance was issued regarding masking in schools though Mahomet-Seymour schools have not altered their plans. Dr. Hall points out one area that still needs a policy is how to handle quarantined students.

 

 

According to Dr. Hall, the community seems to be split on masking or not masking for the return to school plan. She says those opinions need to be respected and were weighed heavily when deciding on the return to school policy.

 

 

Central Illinois school leaders have called for local control on returning to school most of the summer, however, Dr. Hall describes the guidance as government orders disguised as local control.

 

 

Dr. Hall credits her school board's work to manage all perspectives in its return to school plan. Additionally, she expressed appreciation for the collaboration of superintendents of central Illinois in working together in return to school efforts. 

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'Redneck Fishing Tournament' Back This Weekend

After a two-year absence, the Redneck Fishing Tournament is back in Illinois. It’s a fun name, but it plays a serious role in removing the invasive Asian carp from the Illinois River says organizer Betty DeFord.

 

 

The event was canceled in 2019 because of flooding and in 2020 because of the pandemic. The 2021 event is this Friday and Saturday in the Mason County town of Bath. There are no fishing poles in the tourney, teams instead use nets to catch the jumping fish.

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Weekly Crop Report

CROP CONDITIONS IMPROVED SLIGHTLY AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY REPORT. 

 

THERE WERE NEARLY SIX DAYS AVAILABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK, AND TEMPS AND RAINFALL WERE ABOUT NORMAL. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 96 PERCENT OF CORN IS SILKING.

 

 

87 PERCENT OF SOYBEAN ACRES ARE BLOOMING AND 59 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. 67 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS NEARLY COMPLETE AND 54 PERCENT OF THE THIRD CUTTING IS DONE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT THREE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 14 PERCENT SHORT, 76 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SEVEN PERCENT SURPLUS.

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ISU Students Participate in Solar Car Challenge

Illinois State University's Solar Car "Racing" Team is competing in a cross-country 1,000-mile adventure in the 2021 American Solar Car Challenge.

 

Known as Team Mercury, the all-volunteer, student-led team will tackle the American Solar Challenge from today until August 7th. Team President Alex Plumador, who graduated in May with a double major in physics and computational physics, said the race would take them on a four-state tour.

 

 

The race is following the Santa Fe Trail to commemorate the bicentennial of the route. Team Mercury has been building and racing solar-powered vehicles since 2005.

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Illinois Pork Producers Remain on Alert After African Swine Fever Hits Dominican Republic

African Swine Fever inching closer to the U.S. border. And Illinois pork producers remain on alert.

 

 

Ashley Sayers is a swine specialist with Total Livestock Services in Effingham.

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Governor Pritzker Signs Immigrant Protection Laws

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A PACKAGE OF LEGISLATION TO FURTHER PROTECT IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES IN ILLINOIS.

 

ONE NEW LAW MAKES IT A CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION FOR EMPLOYERS TO HARASS OR REFUSE TO HIRE AN EMPLOYEE ON THE BASIS OF WORK AUTHORIZATION STATUS. ANOTHER, SPONSORED BY SENATOR JACQUELINE COLLINS OF CHICAGO, TACKLES VIOLENCE.

 

 

THREE OF THE NEW LAWS ADDRESS IMMIGRANT HATE CRIMES, EXPAND WORKPLACE PROTECTIONS AND REQUIRE LOCAL OFFICIALS TO END PARTNERSHIPS WITH ICE SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE FINAL NEW LAW CREATES A TASK FORCE TO ENSURE STATE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES ARE MEETING THE NEEDS OF IMMIGRANTS.

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Governor Pritzker Signs FOID Card Modernization Bill

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING WHAT HE CALLS THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE REFORM TO STATE FIREARMS LAWS IN OVER A GENERATION. 

 

THE FOID MODERNIZATION BILL LETS THE STATE POLICE CREATE A COMBINED FOID AND CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE AND GRANTS CARD HOLDERS WHO SUBMIT THEIR FINGERPRINTS AUTOMATIC RENEWAL. THE GOVERNOR SAYS THERE ARE SAFETY PROVISIONS AS WELL, SUCH AS UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS ON ALL GUN SALES IN ILLINOIS STARTING IN 2024.

 

 

STATE POLICE DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS IT ALSO COMBINES THE FOID AND CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INTO ONE CARD.

 

 

THE MEASURE ALSO REQUIRES THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE TO REMOVE GUNS FROM THOSE WITH REVOKED FOID CARDS AND CREATES A STOLEN GUN DATABASE.

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Warner Hospital and Health Services to Purchase new CT Scanner

Warner Hospital and Health Services will be proposing a new piece of equipment at the August hospital board meeting.

 

Warner Hospital and Health Services CEO Paul Skowron notes the importance of a new CT scanner and their current open is ten years old. The scanner is used by multiple departments of the hospital.

 

 

Skowron indicates the radiology department has been doing site visits looking at models they will be proposing. He says they have been "blown away" by the differences between these machines and the hospital's current one.

 

 

Skowron says CT scanners can be used for multiple purposes from determining cardiac problems to anything that would not display on an x-ray. He emphasizes preventative care and the new CT scanner will be used for that.

 

 

Skowron advocates the new CT scanner will help the hospital with its mission of providing "quality care close to home."

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Financial Coach on Debt Relief Companies

A financial coach is warning against the promises of debt elimination advertised on radio and television.

 

Connie Unruh with the DeWitt County TRIAD indicates debt relief companies charge a fee to negotiate lower rates with credit card companies but are not as successful as they once were.

 

 

Unruh says individuals can fix debt problems themselves for cheaper with the help of a financial coach. Research shows those who use a debt relief company end up owing more.

 

 

Unruh reminds setting up an emergency fund is essential before you start eliminating debt. She says never use credit for emergencies.

 

 

To signup for financial coaching, contact Connie Unruh at First National Bank in Clinton at (217) 935-7464. The coaching is provided for free and is confidential.

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McLean Museum of History Museum Roof Project Completed

A local museum now has a new roof.

 

Candace Summers with the McLean County Museum of History indicates their building now has a new roof. The project was completed only a couple of weeks behind schedule, courtesy of the weather.

 

 

Summers says the new roof is a welcome addition as it will help with climate control. Now she says the Museum will turn its attention to the inside of the building.

 

 

Funding for the new roof was provided by the County of McLean. Summers notes the Museum has had a great working relationship with the County since the very beginning.

 

 

To stay up to date on all of the McLean County Museum of History's upcoming programs, visit mchistory.org.

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Secretary of State to Launch Pilot Program Dealing With Heavy Volume at Driver's Services Facilities

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE'S OFFICE IS MAKING SOME CHANGES TO EASE HEAVY CUSTOMER VOLUME IN ILLINOIS DRIVER'S SERVICES FACILITIES. 

 

LONG LINES HAVE BEEN A PROBLEM AT SOME D-M-V'S ACROSS THE STATE, SO SECRETARY WHITE IS EXPANDING THE REMOTE RENEWAL PROCESS. THIS WILL LET ONE MILLION MORE PEOPLE RENEW THEIR DRIVER'S LICENSE OR I-D CARD ONLINE, BY PHONE OR MAIL SAYS SPOKESPERSON BETH KAUFMAN.

 

 

NOTICES WILL BE SENT OUT TO THOSE ELIGIBLE FOR ONLINE RENEWAL FROM SEPTEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY. ADDITIONALLY, MORE FACILITIES IN THE CHICAGO AREA WILL OFFER APPOINTMENTS FOR CUSTOMERS TO COME IN AND TAKE CARE OF THEIR NEEDS.

 

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS ONLINE, VISIT CYBERDRIVE ILLINOIS DOT COM.

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Farm Bill Work Sessions Being Held at County Farm Bureaus Throughout State

A new Farm Bill will be crafted in 2023 and local county farm bureaus will soon be hosting work sessions across the state. Illinois Farm Bureau Director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities Mark Gebhards says the implications are huge.

 

 

The sessions start next week and finish up Sept. 13.

 

Note: Stations you can find nearest work session at this link: https://www.ilfb.org/resources/ifb-in-action/ifb-to-host-farm-bill-work-sessions-across-state/

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DNR Announces Open Reservations for Controlled Pheasant Hunting

Illinois officials are set to begin accepting permit reservations for the pheasant hunting season.

 

The online reservation systems opens Monday. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will run 16 hunting sites and 2 additional sites will be jointly run by the department and a private company.

 

Director Colleen Callahan said in a statement controlled pheasant hunting in Illinois is an ideal way for hunters, including young hunters, to have a worthwhile upland hunting experience, and now is the time to make plans for pheasant hunting this fall.

 

On the department-run sites, daily permit fees are $30 for in-state residents and $35 for non-residents.

 

Six of those locations will include opportunities for young hunters between the ages of 10 and 17. Three sites provide special vehicles for hunters with disabilities who need assistance.

 

Reservations will be accepted until 1 p.m. on Aug. 9. Information about the reservations are available on the Department of Natural Resources site.

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