Local News

County Board Approves Sheriff's Office for New Body Cameras, In-Car Cameras, Laptops

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Office received approval for nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars in investments for upgrading technology for officers and their vehicles.

 

Sheriff Mike Walker at the Thursday night DeWitt County Board meeting told the County Board the body cams they have had for around a decade now are starting to become dated and the company they were purchased through will no longer be supporting them.

 

 

At nearly $250,000, Sheriff Walker says this is something his department has been planning for nearly a year with all the new mandates coming down from the State of Illinois.

 

 

According to the Sheriff, there are going to be several benefits to this system they are purchasing that will automatically trigger the cameras turning on. 

 

 

The funds will be used through the American Recovery Act Plan, or ARPA, funds. 

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Tri-Valley Superintendent Offers Thoughts on IL Teacher Shortage

A local superintendent offers his thoughts and suggestions on the teacher shortage plaguing Illinois.

 

Tri-Valley Schools Superintendent Dr. David Mouser believes the state is at a "sound the alarm moment" regarding the teacher shortage. He notes over his tenure in school administration he has seen the applicant pool reach an all-time low.

 

 

Dr. Mouser thinks administrators can do more to nurture current and prospective teachers to make them feel comfortable and to "shield them from the nonsense that goes on." He says teachers should be focused on meeting students' needs.

 

 

Dr. Mouser would like to see the politically charged situations eliminated so schools can provide students with a well-rounded education.

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USDA Releases Corn, Soybean Estimate Statistics

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service has released the 2021 estimate statistics for corn and soybeans in Illinois and across the country. Highlights from state crop statistician Mark Schleusener.

 

 

County-level data available at “nass.usda.gov”.

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Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Impacts Agriculture

What impact will the Russia invasion of Ukraine have on agriculture?

 

 

Mark Gebhards serves as executive director of governmental affairs and commodities for Illinois Farm Bureau.

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Illinois Senate Passes Bill to Let DCFS Investigators Carry Mace, Pepper Spray

STATE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES INVESTIGATORS WOULD BE ABLE TO CARRY MACE OR PEPPER SPRAY UNDER A BILL PASSED BY THE SENATE FRIDAY.

 

THE LEGISLATION WAS PROMPTED BY JANUARY'S MURDER OF D-C-F-S WORKER DEIDRE SILAS IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS. IT'S SPONSORED BY SENATOR STEVE MCCLURE OF SPRINGFIELD.

 

 

SENATOR MCCLURE EXPLAINS HIS PROPOSAL.

 

 

MCCLURE SAYS D-C-F-S INVESTIGATORS CURRENTLY AREN'T ALLOWED TO CARRY MACE OR PEPPER SPRADY. HIS BILL REQUIRES THOSE WANTING TO HAVE SUCH PERSONAL PROTECTION TO FIRST GO THROUGH TRAINING WITH THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE.

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Illinois Senate Bill Would Recognize Dispatchers as First Responders

EMERGENCY DISPATCHERS WOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS FIRST RESPONDERS UNDER A BILL THAT PASSED THE ILLINOIS SENATE THIS WEEK.

 

MOLINE SENATOR NEIL ANDERSON SAYS IT’S A SIMPLE CHANGE, BUT ONE THAT RECOGNIZES THE CHALLENGING JOB OF DISPATCHERS.

 

 

SENATOR ANDERSON IS ALSO A FIREFIGHTER AND KNOWS HOW DIFFICULT THE JOB OF TAKING EMERGENCY CALLS CAN BE. HE WANTS DISPATCHERS TO BE BETTER RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR EFFORTS.

 

 

ANDERSON SAYS BESIDES THE TITLE CHANGE, THIS WOULD LET DISPATCHERS ACCESS THE SOME OF THE SAME BENEFITS FIRST RESPONDERS RECEIVE. THE BILL NOW AWAITS A VOTE IN THE HOUSE.

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Illinois House Passes Bill Creating Statewide Drug Takeback Program

HOUSE LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL CREATING A STATEWIDE DRUG TAKEBACK PROGRAM. 

 

MANY PHARMACIES PROVIDE RECEPTACLES FOR TOSSING OUT OLD MEDICATIONS, BUT THE LEGISLATION AIMS TO MAKE THIS EASIER ACROSS ILLINOIS. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER GONG-GERSHOWITZ OF GLENVIEW.

 

 

THE PROGRAM WOULD BE PAID FOR BY PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND INCLUDE CONSUMER EDUCATION ABOUT WHERE THEY CAN DROP-OFF OR MAIL UNUSED MEDS. THE BILL NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE FOR CONSIDERATION.

 

 

GONG-GERSHOWITZ SAYS THIS WOULD BE FUNDED BY DRUG MANUFACTURERS. THE GOAL IS TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT FROM PEOPLE FLUSHING PILLS DOWN THE TOILET AND CURB DRUG ADDICTION BY ELIMINATING LEFT OVER OPIATES.

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Illinois Department of Housing Authority Announces COVID Assistance for Illinois Homeowners

HOMEOWNERS HIT HARD BY THE PANDEMIC WILL SOON BE ABLE TO APPLY FOR HOUSING RELIEF. 

 

APPLICATIONS WILL START BEING ACCEPTED IN APRIL SAYS ILLINOIS HOUSING DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR KRISTIN FAUST.

 

 

THOSE ELIGIBLE COULD RECEIVE UP TO 30 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN ASSISTANCE, BUT YOU’LL HAVE TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE APPLYING IN APRIL SAYS FAUST.

 

 

FAUST STRONGLY RECOMMENDS GETTING ONLINE NOW AND SEEING WHAT STEPS ARE REQUIRED BEFORE APPLYING. YOU CAN DO THAT AT: ILLINOIS HOUSING HELP DOT ORG.

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Geo-Political Issues Impacting Energy Market

Geo-political issues driving the energy market. There’s the Russian-Ukraine headlines and then there’s a separate matter involving Iran says Scott Wilson, manager of customer risk management for GROWMARK.

 

 

Brent Crude futures closed at 96.84 Tuesday, up $3.30 a barrel. Crude oil futures were up $1.28 a barrel Tuesday, finishing at $92.35.

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Gas Buddy Discusses Gas Prices

Prices at the pump could pass four dollars per gallon in the coming weeks, as oil passed ninety dollars a barrel for the first time since 2014.

 

According to Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at Gas Buddy, geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine are sending jitters through the market on fears of war.

 

 

On Thursday, President Biden issued a warning to Americans to 'understand' the prices at the pump as his administration issued new sanctions on oil producers in Europe. During trading on Thursday, oil passed ninety dollars a barrel for the first time since 2014.

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Illinois Senate Republicans Offer Legislation to Empower Parents of School Children

STATE SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE OFFERING LEGISLATION TO EMPOWER THE PARENTS OF SCHOOLCHILDREN. 

 

ONE OF THE BILLS ADDS FIVE NEW POSITIONS TO THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, TO BE CHOSEN BY VOTERS AS OPPOSED TO APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR. ANOTHER REQUIRES DISTRICTS TO POST ONLINE ALL LEARNING MATERIALS FOR CURRICULUM TAUGHT SAYS SENATOR NEIL ANDERSON OF MOLINE.

 

 

SENATOR JIL TRACY OF QUINCY.

 

 

A THIRD BILL MAKES THE “INVEST IN KIDS” PROGRAM PERMANENT. IT HELPS LOW INCOME FAMILIES PAY FOR PRIVATE SCHOOL THROUGH DONATIONS. DONORS RECEIVE A TAX CREDIT IN RETURN.

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State Officials Offer Thoughts, Legislation in Response to Invasion of Ukraine

STATE OFFICIALS ARE OFFERING THOUGHTS AND LEGISLATION IN RESPONSE TO THE INVASION OF UKRAINE. 

 

SOME LAWMAKERS SPOKE ABOUT THE CONFLICT DURING SESSION AND HELD A MOMENT OF SILENCE. THAT INCLUDES REPRESENTATIVE TOM DEMMER OF DIXON, WHO IS CALLING FOR MILLIONS MORE IN FUNDING FOR ILLINOIS’ REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE STEPHANIE KIFOWIT OF OSWEGO SPOKE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR. SHE’S A MARINE CORP VETERAN AND HAS A SON IN THE NAVY.

 

 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER JIM DURKIN HAS PROPOSED A BILL REQUIRING THE STATE TO DIVEST IN ANY PENSION FUNDS WITH RUSSIAN COMPANIES AND PROHIBITING THE STATE’S TREASURY FROM HOLDING ANY RUSSIAN ASSETS.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Another winter storm rolled through central Illinois this week leaving small amounts of snow and ice. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a recap of the weather week and looks ahead to next week...

 

 

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Illinois Supreme Court Denies Governor's Appeal of School Mask Mandate; Governor Announces Masks Are Off On Monday

Governor JB Pritzker announced that the mask mandate will end for both businesses and schools on Monday. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled on Friday that they wouldn't hear the appeal, challenging the mask mandate, calling it "moot." The court did vacate a lower court ruling that would have banned mask mandates in the future though, so it could be reinstated in the future. 

 

In a statement released by Governor JB Pritzker, he said: "I'm gratified that the Supreme Court vacated the lower court's restraining order, meaning that if a school mask mandate needs to go into effect in the future, we continue to have that authority. I'm also extremely pleased to say that because the CDC has recommended that masks are needed only in areas of high transmission, the State of Illinois will move forward to remove our school mask mandate, effective Monday. We will recommend that all school districts follow CDC guidance and will update our existing guidance in the coming days."

 

 

While the mask mandate is being lifted on Monday, you will still have to wear masks in places like the Dr's office, public transportation, nursing homes and other long term care facilities. Regional Radio News will have more on this story on Monday. 

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Illinois Senate Democrats Discuss Legislative Package to Address Teacher Shortage

SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE PUSHING LEGISLATION TO HELP WITH THE TEACHER SHORTAGE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE BILLS LET RETIRED AND SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS WORK MORE HOURS IN THE CLASSROOM. ONE IS SPONSORED BY SENATOR NAPOLEON HARRIS OF DOLTON.

 

 

SENATOR MEG CAPPEL OF SHOREWOOD.

 

 

ANOTHER MEASURE LOWERS THE AGE FOR TEACHER AIDES FROM 19 TO 18. THE SENATORS SAYS THESE ARE SMALL CHANGES THAT ARE PART OF A LARGER DISCUSSION ABOUT ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TEACHERS.

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DeWitt County Board Chair Reacts to RPC Not Changing Industrial Zone Designation for Solar Energy

 Solar developers looking to install solar panels in DeWitt County currently have no place to develop.

 

It was part of the latest ordinance updates from the Regional Planning Commission of DeWitt County and Board Chair Terry Ferguson indicates the issue is going to have to be taken up by the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

 

 

Ferguson says the intent could be to box developers into a place that isn't available to prevent development but he also could see them thinking they are an industrial development and would need to develop in an industrial zone. 

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County Board Narrowly Approves ARPA Funding for Non-Union Employees

A process to get non-union employees portions of the American Recovery Plan Act funds culminated in a close vote Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting.

 

Board member Aaron Kammeyer believes a lot of other county employees have received hazard pay and feels the non-union employees were continuing to come into work and be front and center with the public during the pandemic.

 

 

The use of the funds was under question by other board members. Melonie Tilley questioned if the funding could be used for the purposes they were targeting and Travis Houser wondered how they arrived at $500 per employee when originally the proposal was for $2,000.

 

 

Board member Dan Matthews also wondered how long employees are going to be asking for hazard pay. He believes we continue to be in a situation where masking is required and with election season coming around this fall, they may end up in the same situation as before. 

 

 

The proposal narrowly passed 7-4 with Megan Myers, Buck Carter, Tilley, Board Chair Terry Ferguson, Jamie Prestergaard, Brian Riddle, and Kammeyer voting in favor while Travis Houser, Jay Wickenhauser, David Newberg, and Matthews voted against it. 

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Vehicle Stolen from Anderson Ford Wednesday

Clinton authorities Wednesday responded to a stolen vehicle incident at Anderson Ford in Clinton. 

 

At approximately 4:57 p.m. on Wednesday, Clinton Police responded to the report of a vehicle theft at the Anderson Ford dealership located at 1001 W. State Highway 10, Clinton.

 

Initial responding units learned that while dealership personnel was maneuvering vehicles around, a white male suspect jumped into a running and unoccupied Ford Mustang and sped away. While fleeing, the suspect struck the victim/vehicle owner, who sustained a non-life-threatening injury, causing damage to the victim's vehicle. The male suspect then fled the scene in the stolen white 2010 Ford Mustang. Attempts to locate the suspect and a stolen vehicle were unsuccessful by initial responding police units. 

 

As a result of an area “BOLO” released by Dewitt County CenCom, at approximately 5:18 p.m. the stolen Ford Mustang was observed by Macon County Sheriff’s Deputies traveling on US Highway 51 near Forsyth, IL. Macon County Sheriff’s Deputies were ultimately able to recover the stolen vehicle and took a male suspect, identified as Matthew J. Cole, 26, Clinton, into custody on charges related to his apprehension and the stolen vehicle recovery in Macon County.

 

Those charges, according to the Macon County Sheriff’s Office website, include Possession of a Stolen Firearm, Possession Firearm/No FOID Card, Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Aggravated Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police and Possession of Stolen Vehicle.

 

The investigation by Clinton Police is ongoing and upon completion, will be forwarded to the Dewitt County State’s Attorney’s Office for review of additional charges in Dewitt County.

 

No other information is being released at this time.  

 

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

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Sen. Rose Reacts to Gov. Pritzker's Fight Over Masks in School

A central Illinois lawmaker is reacting to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's ongoing battle to have children wear masks in school.

 

State Senator Chapin Rose on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio over 80-percent of Illinois school districts have chosen to walk away from the Governor's mask mandate after a Sangamon County judge ruled in favor of Illinois schools.

 

 

The Mahomet Republican calls it a psychosis that the Governor has to be right or someone would disagree with him. He believes the Governor is "thumbing his nose" at those locally elected school boards,

 

 

Sen. Rose says the Illinois Supreme Court can have their ruling and JB Pritzker say and do what he wants, but the people of Illinois are done with COVID.

 

 

The Senator goes back to the mid-February announces by Democratic governors in New York, New Jersey, California, and other places and him falling in line with their announcements and believes it is proof it was not at all about science.

 

 

Sen. Rose believes the Governors of those states that reversed course on masking were following which way the proverbial wind was blowing and realized they were up for reelection in November and decided they didn't want to deal with this in November. 

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Atlanta Public Library Receives $10,000 Grant

A Logan County entity has received a grant for $10,000.

 

The Atlanta Public Library announced this the grant will help them expand its collection and programming. Co-Director Julianna Nordman on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio she is looking forward to expanding on the library's documentary collection and expanding programs to meet what the community wants.

 

 

Atlanta is becoming a younger community as more families move in. Nordman hopes to expand on the programs of the library and the things they have to offer will get more people engaged, and in fact, is seeing some of those things already.

 

 

Nordman hopes some of the programs they'll be adding will be able to be something they offer long term. She explains a lot of expenses are upfront expenses for materials and could be very viable long term.

 

 

Nordman points those in the community interested in the events and happenings out of this grant to follow their social media pages or visit atlantapld.org. 

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Miller Park Zoo Free Fridays in February Concludes This Week

The weather may not be ideal but if you're looking for a free after-school activity with the kids, a Bloomington entity is concluding a yearly promotion for February.

 

Jay Tetzloff is the Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington and says its free Fridays in February promotion is coming to a close this week with the last Friday in February. He explains this is an annual promotion they do as a way to give back to the community.

 

 

Tetzloff is frequently asked why they offer the free admission program during a month when the weather isn't always friendly for zoo visiting and when kids are still in school and while he would love to move the promotion to another time, he has to be accountable to the taxpayers of the community that help support them.

 

 

While the weather may not be the greatest, Tetzloff says there is still plenty to see and take in at the zoo. He says the indoor rain forest is a great place to just sit and relax and listen to the birds' chirp. He also says some outdoor animals might be more active this time of the year than in other parts of the year.

 

 

Get more information about the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington by visiting millerparkzoo.org and find them on Facebook for the most up-to-date information all the happenings at the zoo. 

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Illinois State Police Announce Big Increase in Drug, Weapons Seizures in 2021

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS REPORTING A LARGE INCREASE IN DANGEROUS DRUG AND WEAPONS SEIZURES LAST YEAR.

 

THE I-S-P’S METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUPS OR “MEGS” RECOVERED AN ESTIMATED 71 MILLION DOLLARS IN ILLEGAL DRUGS IN 2021, INCLUDING FENTANYL, HEROIN AND METH. DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS THE NINE MEG UNITS PARTNER WITH STATE INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS, ILLINOIS NATIONAL GUARD COUNTER DRUG ANALYSTS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS TO STOP THE FLOW OF NARCOTICS.

 

 

KELLY SAYS THE MEG UNITS ARE EXPANDING THEIR EFFORTS TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND GUN CRIMES.

 

 

THE MEG UNITS INCLUDE STATE, LOCAL AND FEDERAL PARTNERS AND ALSO FOCUS ON PREVENTION AND TREATMENT AS PART OF THE FIGHT AGAINST THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

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University of Illinois Extension Program Aims to Improve Food Pantries

If you lead or work at a local food pantry, a University of Illinois Extension program next month could be a great resource to boost your operation.

 

Terri Miller-Casey is Extension Director for the U of I Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties. She indicates a program coming next month will provide anyone who may lead a food pantry or volunteers at one with great resources and information on improving its service to its community.

 

 

For Miller-Casey, there are going to be several benefits for this program. From getting connected with other food pantry operators to getting food handlers licenses and even increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables will all be a part of this program.

 

 

Nutrition policy and a mission policy are all part of what Miller-Casey calls 'the power of the P's'. She says it helps food pantries in their overall organizational structure. There will also be a component of food pantry operators and volunteers connecting with some of the most in-need members of its community.

 

 

According to Miller-Casey, this conference also seeks to recognize the most outstanding individuals and their work in the state. She believes amazing people are doing amazing things and those individuals should be recognized.

 

 

SNAP educators within the U of I Extension came together to put this program together. Miller-Casey believes it is going to be a great resource for communities up and down the state as food insecurity is likely to continue to grow as inflation impacts Illinois families.

 

 

The conferences are on March 9 in Oglesby and then March 17 in Springfield. Get more information by visiting extension.illinois.edu for more information. Miller-Casey reminds those nominations for the awards are on February 25. 

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This is Grain Bin Safety Week

THIS IS GRAIN BIN SAFETY WEEK. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S JOE SMALL SAYS ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN WHEN FARMERS BECOME COMPLACENT WHILE DOING ROUTINE TASKS INSIDE AND AROUND GRAIN BINS.

 

 

SMALL URGES THE USE OF A HARNESS WHEN INSIDE THE BIN AND SAYS FARMERS SHOULD HAVE LADDERS INSTALLED WHERE POSSIBLE FOR EMERGENCY EXIT.

 

 

SMALL ALSO RECOMMENDS THE USE OF A SAFETY HARNESS AND CLEARLY DESIGNATED LADDERS INSIDE THE BIN. ALL MACHINERY LIKE AUGERS SHOULD BE OFF AND LOCKED.

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Grain and Feed Association of Illinois Has New President

The Grain & Feed Association of Illinois has a new president. Kent Sorrells is the owner of Sorrells Farm Supply Inc. in Raymond.

 

 

GFAI’s 129th annual convention and trade show was Monday in St. Louis.

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Clinton Non-Profit Eyes New Program

If you have a passion to serve your community but don't know where to start, a Clinton non-profit is hoping a program coming soon will help you direct that passion in a positive direction.

 

Cody Monkman is the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Care Center and on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday told Regional Radio News the root of this is a core belief that there is a stigma that service has to be perfect and professional but he says that can stand in the way of someone making an impact.

 

 

Monkman believes making an impact is not that difficult but for some, they don't know where to start. He hopes to create a safe space of collaboration and connection for someone to get the ball moving on a dream they may have.

 

 

According to Monkman, the network they have created has people that have experience and knowledge in a lot of areas. He envisions this being something to, quote - "breath life into people who have dreams".

 

 

Monkman believes Neighborhood Lab will be right in line with the mission of the Neighborhood Care Center, and that is to connect small-town neighbors to a relational network that supports and inspires them to meet their God-given potential. 

 

He looks forward to sharing more details about this program as it comes together. 

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Red Cross Looking for Home Fire Volunteers

The American Red Cross has responded to nearly 2,000 home fires since the beginning of the year and provided assistance to more than 6,500 people. The agency trains Disaster Action Team (DAT) volunteers that are on the ground at home fires with local fire departments, and they are looking for more people to step up.

 

DAT volunteers provide emotional support, access to financial assistance, and information to help families begin to recover after a fire. Executive Director of the American Red Cross of Greater St. Louis Beth Elders says many people do not know the Red Cross assists families affected by house fires.

 

 

If you are interested in volunteering as a Disaster Action Team Duty Officer, go to redcross.org/volunteertoday. Duty Officers can also sign up to work remotely from the comfort of their own homes.

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Understand Snow Squall Warning

Portions of Illinois heard the words “snow squall warning” last Friday night. An explanation from WEEK-TV meteorologist Chuck Collins.

 

 

The snow squall warning was issued by the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities during the 7 o’clock hour Friday night.

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Illinois FFA President to Sign New FFA Charter During FFA Week

One of the highlights for Illinois FFA president Adam Loker during National FFA Week is signing a new FFA charter in the state.

 

 

Loker’s term as Illinois FFA president finishes up in June.

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Illinois Farm Bureau President Shares FFA Memories During National FFA Week

Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert celebrating National FFA Week. He shares his FFA memories with RFD Radio.

 

 

Guebert is in his fifth and final term as IFB president.

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Sales Tax Up Year Over Year Thanks to Online Sales Taxes

Sales taxes for the City of Clinton are up and it's thanks to a new law in effect that taxes sales on the world wide web.

 

At the Monday night Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Finance Tom Edmunds told the Council the online sales tax is benefiting the City to the tune of nearly $30,000 better than last year at this time.

 

 

The Monday meeting was roughly ten minutes. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers thanked those on snow routes in the community for complying with the request of authorities that vehicles parked on the road of those streets be moved. He noted the City is not issuing citations, but like in the case of many other city ordinances, they are simply asking for voluntary compliance.

 

Commissioner Ken Buchanan applauded City crews for the job they've done during the two snow events of February and a smaller snow event is forecasted for later this week.

 

The Council Monday night put on file a resolution to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds into capital improvements as well as an ordinance amending the gaming license fees. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Administering 'Illinois Youth Survey' This Month

The next several weeks will be immensely instrumental in a Piatt County non-profit's future direction for the community's youth.

 

The Illinois Youth Survey is a biennial self-reporting assessment given to youth in DeWitt and Piatt Counties and Tony Kirkman at the Piatt County Mental Health Center says this year's survey is hugely important for them and the communities they serve.

 

 

Kirkman is so happy to have each district in Piatt and DeWitt Counties participating this year. He explains there is going to be a lot of interest in the results of this survey that encompass everything from drug and alcohol usage to issues of mental and emotional wellness.

 

 

Kirman indicates the results of this survey will return in the early summer months and he is very anxious to see what, if any, results from the pandemic may have had in some of the data points since the last survey that was in 2020 for some Piatt County students, but 2018 for most DeWitt County students. 

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Clinton YMCA Looking Forward to Spring Youth Soccer Season

As we approach the spring months, a Clinton non-profit is looking forward to the next chapter in its youth sports programming.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Clinton YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver told Regional Radio News youth soccer registration will soon be underway for the spring season. The Y is this spring partnering with Lincoln Community High School's soccer program to have those athletes do a one-day clinic with the community's youth. 

 

 

Y soccer breaks down into age groups. With there not being a soccer program at the junior high or high school level, Cluver says their soccer program remains very popular.

 

 

Cluver points those with kids in the community that will be interested in youth soccer to watch its youth sports Facebook page or visit clintoncommymca.org for more information. 

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Next Few Days to Be Warmer than Normal, Starting Trend of Above Normal Temperatures

After this past Thursday's winter storm, the second for February, things are going to warm back up.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says there's a pretty strong signal for warm air this week.

 

 

For some time, the National Weather Service has been discussing a warmer and wetter than normal pattern for the spring. Shimon says that is holding true, in fact, it appears to be that way all the way to the early part of the summer.

 

 

According to Shimon, a normal high for the end of February can be around 45 degrees with lows in the upper-20s and so temperatures in the 50s in the days ahead should not be a surprise. Additionally, Shimon points out, by the end of March, temperatures in the 50s are normal so we could see some really nice weather days in the weeks ahead. 

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Lincoln Approves ARPA Funding for Local Events

The City of Lincoln is using some of its American Rescue Plan Act funding to a couple of local events that are economic drivers.

 

Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch explains they are hoping to give a boost to the annual Balloon Festival and Railsplitter Festivals. He explains those are big economic drivers to the community and having missed out on the full benefits because of COVID, they felt this would be a good use of those funds.

 

 

The events have fallen off in recent years and the Mayor hopes these funds can potentially revive them. The balloon festival has particularly seen a fast deterioration in interest while the Railsplitter Festival has gradually lost interest.

 

 

Some Lincoln residents were not happy to hear the money would be going to those events but Mayor Welch points out those funds cannot go to just any part of the City's budget.

 

 

Lincoln City Hall could use some improvements so the Council is working to try to get those funds to go to that. 

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Illinois Corn Growers to Vote on Increasing Checkoff Next Month

Illinois corn producers will have a vote on whether to contribute more toward promoting their product.

 

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board has scheduled a referendum on increasing the corn checkoff one-quarter, from 5/8 of a cent to 7/8 of a cent per bushel.

 

The vote will be on March 29 with polling at local extension offices. However, extension offices in Brown, Pike, Bond, Henderson and Menard counties will be closed and Grundy County will have reduced hours from 12 to 4 p.m.

 

Growers who sell a bushel of corn in Illinois pay the checkoff to the marketing board to promote the industry. The money is used for research, marketing and education.

 

The referendum follows a public meeting conducted earlier this month by the Illinois Department of Agriculture seeking input on the checkoff. Public comments convinced the marketing board to schedule the vote.

 

The matter will be approved if a majority of those casting a ballot the referendum vote in favor of increasing the checkoff.

 

Eligible voters who live outside Illinois or can’t vote in person may request an absentee ballot. The request must be made in writing to the Agriculture Department.

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Secretary of State Urging Public to Renew License Plate Stickers Online

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE'S OFFICE IS REMINDING THE PUBLIC THEY CAN RENEW THEIR LICENSE PLATE STICKERS ONLINE. 

 

DRIVER'S SERVICES FACILITIES ARE OFTEN INUNDATED WITH PEOPLE ANXIOUS TO RENEW THEIR STICKER, BUT THAT CAN EASILY BE DONE ONLINE SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT. ONCE YOU COMPLETE THE FORM, PRINT OUT YOUR RECEIPT AND STORE IT IN YOUR GLOVE COMPARTMENT.

 

 

HAUPT SAYS THEY'D LIKE TO SEE MORE PEOPLE USE THEIR WEBSITE.

 

 

YOU CAN RENEW YOUR STICKER ON THE WEBSITE: IL SOS DOT GOV.

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Lincoln Senator Highlights SB2942, Protecting Child Victims of Sex Crimes

A central Illinois State Senator has helped advance legislation out of committee that would further protect the privacy of victims of child sex crimes while testifying.  

 

Lincoln Senator Sally Turner explains Senate Bill 2942 clarifies that a judge can use his or her discretion to clear disinterested parties, excluding media, from the courtroom during the victim’s testimony even if the victim is over 18 years of age as long as the crimes were committed while the victim was still a minor. To safeguard the constitutional rights of defendants, the judge must find that particular parties do not have a direct interest in the case and must put their basis for that finding into the record.

 

 

Sen. Turner credits the Champaign and McLean County State's Attorney's offices for the idea for this legislation. 

 

 

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz and McLean County State’s Attorney Don Knapp both testified in support of Senate Bill 2942 during Tuesday’s Senate Criminal Law Committee. The legislation passed out of the committee unanimously and now goes to the Senate floor for further consideration.

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Next Week is 'America Saves Week'

This upcoming week is 'America Saves Week' and a federal agency is promoting the importance of saving.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates since 2007 America Saves Week has been an annual celebration as well as a call to action for everyday Americans to commit to saving successfully. America Saves Week focuses on various aspects of saving and this year they are focusing on different aspects like saving automatically, saving for the unexpected, saving to retire, saving by reducing debt, and saving as a family.

 

The hope is for folks to use America Saves Week as an opportunity to assess their own savings goals and progress. According to Myers, if you don’t have them, use America Saves Week as a launching point to create some. Start however small or as big as you need to but the important thing is to start. He points out, people with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully.  

 

 

Myers indicates older workers tend to find themselves thinking about Social Security naturally, but he stresses they have information for younger workers as well. You can visit www.ssa.gov/people/earlycareer for more information. 

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GOP Criminal Justice Package Aims to Support Police, Reduce Crime

NEW LEGISLATION AIMS TO SUPPORT POLICE AND REDUCE CRIME IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE MEASURES ARE IN RESPONSE TO THE SHOOTING OF TWO BRADLEY POLICE OFFICERS AND ARE SPONSORED BY SENATOR JACKIE HAAS OF KANKAKEE. THEY MAKE TAKING AN OFFICER'S BODY CAMERA AN OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE OFFENSE, CRACKDOWN ON HABITUAL OFFENDERS, AND RAISE THE PENALTIES FOR DOMESTIC BATTERERS WHO STRANGLE SOMEONE.

 

 

HAAS SAYS UNFORTUNATELY, NONE OF HER BILLS HAVE EVEN BEEN DISCUSSED IN A COMMITTEE HEARING.

 

 

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Ameren Offering Rebates for Cutting Electricity Use During Certain Times

While utility bills are rising, Ameren Illinois is reminding customers of a program that could save them money. Using less electricity cuts the bill, but using less during certain times could be worth a rebate. Victoria Bussey with Ameren says customers in the Peak Time Rewards program get notices from time to time about high demand days. If they cut their energy use enough for a few hours on those days, Ameren credits their bill.

 

 

The sign-up deadline to guarantee getting in this year is March 1. After that, you would be put on a waiting list.

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Gov. Pritzker Highlighting Proposed Pipeline for Illinois Healthcare Workers

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS TOUTING HIS PROPOSAL TO EXPAND THE HEALTHCARE WORKFORCE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

IT's CALLED THE PIPELINE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF HEALTHCARE OR “PATH” WORKFORCE PROGRAM. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT WOULD BE RUN THROUGH LOCAL COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND PROVIDE SUPPORT TO STUDENTS FACING BARRIERS TO FURTHERING THEIR EDUCATION.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR IS ASKING LAWMAKERS TO APPROVE 25 MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE EFFORT. IT WOULD FOCUS ON HIGH-NEED PROFESSIONS SUCH AS NURSES, E-M-T'S AND RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS.

 

 

IF APPROVED BY THE LEGISLATURE, THE PROPOSED 25 MILLION DOLLAR PROGRAM WOULD ALSO HELP STUDENTS WITH THINGS LIKE TRANSPORTATION, CHILD CARE AND TUTORING.

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Backyard Bird Count This Weekend

The state’s spring bird count will take place later this month. Hundreds of bird watchers around the state will be trying to identify as many bird species as they can find. The count runs Friday, February 18 through the following Monday. Sarah Ruth, U of I Extension Program Coordinator says this is a highlight for birdwatchers everywhere, but anyone can do it.

 

 

For more information on the Backyard Bird Count, go to https://gbbc.birdcount.org/

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DeWitt County Non-Profit Highlighting First Six Years in Business

Love It Once More Thrift Store in Clinton is celebrating its sixth year of existence this month.

 

Owner Koni Lovett explains she had a vision of opening a store as a service to the community. After a long search, they were able to secure the old Monicals Pizza building on the community's east side.

 

 

The store has been a boost to those in need in the community in many ways in that time. Lovett indicates they have been able to provide young people in need with clothes, shoes, or various other supplies they may need during a transition period. They've helped adults in need and people impacted by personal tragedy.

 

 

During the pandemic, Lovett and her staff were able to help nurses that were working long hours at Warner Hospital and other places find scrubs. Mel Kinney feels they were a huge help to a lot of frontline workers.

 

 

'Facebook Live' posts turned out to be a great way for the store to continue to help the community. Kinney would film Lovett in front of the store highlighting the things they had and people could claim those items and then swing by the storefront for a curbside pick up of those items. 

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Central Illinois Non-Profit Eyeing Return of Biggest Fundraiser

A central Illinois non-profit is eyeing the return of its biggest fundraiser this spring.

 

Community Action had its biggest fundraiser, Cheeseburger in Paradise, canceled in 2020 due to COVID and in 2021 it was a very scaled-back version of the popular event held in Lincoln each year. Breann Titus is the Director for Community Development and indicates they are looking to return to a full-scale event on April 30 at the Lincoln Banquet Center.

 

 

According to Titus, the event is a night of great food, drinks, and lots of music. There is a live auction and a silent auction. She points out so much of the event is donated by local businesses. 

 

 

Titus explains they do not earmark funding from the annual event to specific causes because they often find money that flows in from the government tends to be late and so it helps to bridge the gap between the expenses for programming and the late government dollars.

 

 

Titus says seating is very limited and tables for the event are going fast. You can visit capcil.info for more information on the event, which again is Saturday, April 30. 

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Illinois House Votes to Expel Nine GOP Lawmakers For Not Wearing Mask on House Floor

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE VOTED THURSDAY TO EXPEL NINE REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS FOR REFUSING TO WEAR A MASK DURING SESSION. 

 

CURRENT HOUSE RULES DICTATE THAT LEGISLATORS MUST MASK UP ON THE HOUSE FLOOR, BUT SOME G-O-P MEMBERS REFUSED TO COMPLY. REPRESENTATIVE LAKESIA COLLINS OF CHICAGO ASKED THAT THEY BE REMOVED AND WAS THEN PUSHED TO DEFEND HER REQUEST.

 

 

SOME G-O-P MEMBERS TAKING A STANCE THAT MASKS ARE NO LONGER NEEDED AND THAT THEY’VE NEVER HAD A SAY IN STATE COVID-19 MANDATES. THAT INCLUDES REPRESENTATIVE BLAINE WILHOUR OF EFFINGHAM.

 

 

HOUSE RULES REQUIRE MASKS TO BE WORN ON THE HOUSE FLOOR AND A VOTE WAS TAKEN TO REMOVE THOSE NOT COMPLYING.

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Central Illinois Interstate Pile-Up Involves Several Dozen Cars

Inclement winter weather results in a massive pile-up on Interstate 39 near El Paso. Illinois State Police took to social media around 6:30 Thursday night.

 

 

ISP says nineteen commercial motor vehicles and nine passenger vehicles were involved in the property damage crash. Numerous other vehicles slid off in the area but were not damaged. Several commercial motor vehicle loads were spilled on and around the roadways. 12 tow trucks were on the scene for roadway cleanup which occurred throughout the night.

 

At approximately 6:35 Thursday night., ISP Troopers, with the help of local law enforcement partners, safely escorted all motorists from the area to warming centers. No injuries were reported. All lanes of Interstate 39 from milepost 5 to milepost 22 were closed for an extended period of time, likely well into Friday.

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Authorities: Avoid Interstate 74 Near Farmer City

Multiple multi-vehicle accidents and a jack-knifed semi-truck on Interstate 74 near Farmer City in DeWitt County has shut down that portion of the highway.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker tells Regional Radio News, as he made his way to the scene, it was white-out conditions in rural DeWitt County. 

 

Authorities are asking motorits to avoid that area of the interstate and add, this afternoon if you don't have to go out - do not. 

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Encouraged By JCAR Ruling, Sangamon County Judge Determination

Illinoisans that have been fighting for unmasking kids in school for the last two years are feeling a momentum that they have been wanting for some time. 

 

Two weeks ago, a Sangamon County judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit of numerous Illinois School districts to overturn the mask mandate in Illinois schools. That ruling came as a great relief to Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles who says the district's attorney told him this was the chance to go mask-optional.

 

 

The decision was predictably challenged by the Illinois Attorney General at the direction of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. At the Tuesday night Clinton Board of Education meeting, Nettles made it clear he has no intention to reverse course at this point.

 

 

Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules issued a 9-0-2 vote to block the Governor from imposing a further mask mandate on Illinois schools. Nettles says it feels like there is finally momentum on their side.

 

 

If COVID trends remain the way they did the last few years, Nettles does not foresee a scenario where kids are masked heading into the next school year nor does he foresee a vaccine mandate for kids to attend school next year. 

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Piatt County Mental Health Center Director Discusses 'Upside Down' Nature of Mental Health Funding

A Piatt County mental health professional is hoping to educate the public by peeling back some of the layers that go into the funding of agencies like his.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and explains reimbursement rates for agencies like his, particularly from the state level, are incredibly low for how much goes into maintaining his agency. He's hoping unrolling the layers associated with the costs will help folks realize the problems with current funding models.

 

 

The lack of funding coming into the Piatt County Mental Health Center and others like them keeps them from providing their staff with a competitive wage. He says that makes it challenging to keep their employees.

 

 

Kirkman calls the system completely upside down. He believes there needs to be a more intense focus on community mental health centers because those individuals are on the front lines in each community up and down the state.

 

 

Kirkman says an encouraging development on the front of funding has been the State of Illinois beginning to release the tax dollars from the sales of legalized marijuana, something he's been personally frustrated by since that legalized at the start of 2020. Additionally, lobbyists are working to increase the percentage of funds released to agencies like the Piatt County Mental Health Center.

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Gov. Pritzker Says Illinois Students Should Still Be Masked in School as Original Mandate Still in Effect

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ILLINOIS SCHOOL CHILDREN AND STAFF SHOULD STILL BE WEARING A MASK.

 

DESPITE A LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION VOTING DOWN A NEW SCHOOL MASK EMERGENCY RULE TUESDAY, THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE ORIGINAL MANDATE IS STILL IN PLACE.

 

 

SO, GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS ALL DISTRICTS NOT COVERED BY THE LAWSUIT NEED TO KEEP MASKING UP UNTIL THE APPELLATE COURT MAKES ITS DECISION.

 

 

UNTIL THEN, HE SAYS DISTRICTS NOT INCLUDED IN THE LAWSUIT SHOULD FOLLOW THE MANDATE.

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Bridging Rural, Urban Divide

Working to bridge the rural/urban divide. That’s what the Madison County Farm Bureau is doing says manager Paige Langenhorst.

 

 

Langenhorst served on a panel at this week’s Illinois Farm Bureau Governmental Affairs Leadership Conference.

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Clinton Schools Superintendent Discusses Decision on School With Winter Storm Coming

A second significant winter storm is set to hit central Illinois early Thursday morning and Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles Wednesday morning outlined for the community what his process will be for deciding on school Thursday.

 

The storm is not anticipated to be significantly impactful until after school would be in session Thursday, so rather than call school off ahead of time, Nettles told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, he will probably wait to see how the storm plays out emphasizing the safety of students, staff and families.

 

 

Nettles explains they get very accurate and up-to-the-hour information from the DeWitt County EMA office and the National Weather Service in Lincoln to help them make the most informed decisions they can.

 

 

Nettles says only once in his 15-year career as a superintendent has he called off school before a storm had arrived but generally does not make that a habit. 

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Clinton Grocer Taking Steps to Keep Food Prices Low for Community

A Clinton grocery store owner is trying to plan as much as possible so he can keep rising food prices down at his store.

 

Dave Jackson owns the Clinton Save A Lot and indicates he is using his old store space off Center Street in Clinton to store food he is purchasing while some prices remain low and trying to anticipate what may be short on supply down the road.

 

 

According to Jackson, as much as he's trying to buffer the sharp spike in prices, he indicates there are just things that have to be passed along to the consumer. 

 

 

Jackson predicts you might see some companies begin to back off the price increases but costs across the board are going up. While he admits he isn't an economist, he bases his opinions on his experience.

 

 

Jackson says there are some items in his store he isn't raising prices on even though they are going up and there are other items he's making only pennies from selling. 

 

He adds he is going to try to be better about keeping his social media page updated on the happenings with inflation in his store. You can find the Clinton Save A Lot on Facebook. 

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

 

It's a topic that is most often unreported - concerning for DeWitt County DOVE's Jennifer Tolladay who told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday like domestic violence with adults, teen dating violence often starts slow and subtle.

 

 

With social media being such a large part of the social lives of the 2022 teenager, Tolladay says an abuser will its victim to give them the information for their social media accounts and keep track of everything they do.

 

 

Tolladay admits it can be difficult to spot the signs of a teen in an abusive relationship but she says there are things to keep an eye out for. If a person's interests suddenly change or certain behaviors begin to change, those can be signs of someone in an abusive relationship.

 

 

Tolladay also mentions an individual will say sorry for very small, insignificant things and apologize a lot if they are in an abusive relationship. She says victims will often beat themselves up over small mistakes.

 

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, you can contact DOVE at 217-935-6619 or the DOVE 24/7 hotline is 217-935-6072. 

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Water Utility Seeking Rate Hike

Illinois American Water Company is seeking its first rate hike since 2017. The company filed a request Thursday with the Illinois Commerce Commission to adjust its water and wastewater base rates following what it calls an extensive examination of investments to provide safe and reliable water and wastewater service. Water company spokesperson Karen Cotton says the filing is just a first step in the process.

 

 

If the request is approved, the typical residential customer using 3,500 gallons per month with a 5/8-inch meter would increase between $6 and $14 per month, depending on the service area. The typical residential wastewater bill would increase between $7 and $17 per month, depending on the service area. The request also includes a low-income discount tariff, which could mean a decrease of about $8 to $15 a month, depending on the service area.

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Gov. Pritzker Gives Update on Masking in Schools

Governor JB Pritzker says he’s up for getting rid of the mask mandate in schools but wants to be cautious in the way the decision is made. Pritzker says masking in schools is a key to keeping kids in classrooms where they learn the best.

 

 

The mask mandate for students has been temporarily suspended after a decision by a Sangamon County Judge. But not all schools in the state have lifted the requirement.

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Bill Would Allow DCFS Case Workers to Carry Mace, Pepper Spray

More than a dozen bills have been filed this spring to address worker safety for DCFS investigators. This year a DCFS worker Deidre Silas was killed when she went to a home by herself to check on the welfare of a child. One proposal from Republican Senator Steve McClure would allow DCFS workers to carry mace or pepper spray while on the job.

 

The bill also includes training to use personal defense sprays from the Illinois State Police.

 

 

McClure says he’s getting support on the issue from Democrats both in the Senate and the House.

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DeWitt County Board Approves Hazard Pay for County Clerk Staff

The DeWitt County Board has approved hazard pay for the County Clerk's office staff.

 

Almost every other department within the County received COVID pay for its efforts during the pandemic but Dana Smith and her staff were left out. Board Chair Terry Ferguson says in January, they approved the pay for her office.

 

 

Additionally, Ferguson notes the County Board also approved funding for the Clerk's office to digitize its records. He points out this will allow the public access to the Clerk's records without having to come to the County building.

 

 

Smith had requested her staff receive some sort of extra money for their efforts during the pandemic when they did not have the luxury of working from home like many in other offices. 

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Community Action Reminding Public Food Pantry Program Not Just for Low-Income Families

A central Illinois non-profit is remindings its communities its food pantry program is not just for low-income households.

 

Breann Titus is Director of Agency Development for Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois and wants its communities to know the food pantry coop program is not just for low-income families. She reminds the food pantry coop allows for the community to volunteer within the agency and earn credit to the food pantry.

 

 

Especially at a time where food costs are only increasing and everything across the board is getting more expensive, Titus explains they are trying to make the community aware the food pantry is available to anyone regardless of their income level.

 

 

According to Titus, they partner with 'Ample Harvest' in Champaign for fresh foods but they have a good variety of food for the community to choose from.

 

 

Titus explains volunteers can help out in almost any different area of the agency or even a community partner. She says there are opportunities for anyone of any passion they may have.

 

 

Titus directs anyone interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to capcil.info or calling their Lincoln office at 217-732-2159 and these programs are available in most of the counties in the CAPCIL footprint. 

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February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month and a University of Illinois Nutrition Educator has some things for us to keep in mind for a healthier heart.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf says when discussing better heart health she focuses on four areas including types of fats, sodium reduction, added sugar reduction, and increasing fiber intake.

 

 

For Mellendorf, she breaks down fats into saturated and unsaturated fats. She says saturated fats can lead to higher cholesterol so she encourages trying to find ways to swap out those saturated fats for unsaturated fats.

 

 

Too much sodium can increase your blood pressure which increases your likelihood of things like a stroke. Mellendorf points out sodium often is higher in packaged foods so she encourages watching the labels of those packaged foods you may be purchasing and watching for the sodium levels.

 

 

When it comes to added sugars, Mellendorf notes there is an interesting correlation where people that consume foods with a lot of added sugars have higher risks of heart disease. She encourages keeping track of those things that are high in added sugars and not eliminating all of them but finding areas you could cut back on them.

 

 

Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body does not digest. Mellendorf indicates folks with heart disease or high cholesterol should consider upping their fiber intake. She adds you'll find good sources of fibers in plants. 

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Extension Offering Mental Health First Aid for Rural Communities

The University of Illinois Extension is offering Mental Health First Aid Training for Rural Communities. The program is virtual with sessions on March 2 and 24 says extension specialist Josie Rudolphi.

 

 

To register or learn more, visit go.illinois.edu/mentalhealth2022.

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Dicamba Training Being Promoted by IFCA

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association is promoting dicamba training for soybean producers heading into the 2022 growing season. IFCA’s Kevin “KJ” Johnson says all training will be conducted virtually.

 

 

Again, the website is ifca.com.

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Clinton Grocery Store Owner Blown Away By Inflation

A local grocery store owner says inflation is the worst it has been in 50 years.

 

Clinton Save A Lot owner Dave Jackson says food prices are increasing at rates that he calls out of control and runaway. He says there are legitimate reasons for the rise in prices but he also believes there are companies that are jumping on the trend of rising prices, taking advantage of the situation.

 

 

Jackson indicates he is doing everything he can to keep prices as low as he can but admits he cannot do that forever.

 

 

Jackson explains they sell some items on razor-thin margins but admits they also suppress prices on other items because they are going up so fast he has a hard time raising the prices as much as the manufacturers. He admits a lot of the price increases are out of his control 

 

 

Jackson indicates retaining ownership of the old Save A Lot building has allowed him to stock up on certain items and buy them before they are either short because of supply chain issues or the prices have gone up so significantly. 

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Social Security Continues to Warn Against Scams

Social Security is sending out another reminder to the public about scams and frauds that continue to target vulnerable Americans.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates scammers are always finding new ways to steal money and personal information. He emphasizes one of the most effective ways to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams and to ignore suspicious calls and e-mails.

 

 

If you are faced with one of these calls or e-mails, there are 3 things you should do. Myers stresses again hang up right away or don’t reply to the e-mail and don’t click on any links either. But also refuse to give up your personal information or make a payment of any kind and you can report the scam at oig.ssa.gov.

 

 

To know what not to do, it can be helpful to understand what a scammer might say or do. If the caller claims to be from Social Security, you can identify the scam by understanding that Social Security will never threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee. He adds Social Security will never promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.

 

 

Myers adds Social Security will not ever require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card. Nor will they demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem or send official documents containing personally identifiable information via e-mail. He adds if you owe money to Social Security they will mail you a letter explaining your rights, payments options, and information about appealing.

 

 

A common tactic scammers use is posing as federal employees or law enforcement. Myers points out they may claim that your Social Security number is linked to a crime or they may even threaten to arrest you if you don’t comply with their instructions.

 

He also stresses, if you do not have active or ongoing business with Social Security, it is unlikely they will be contacting you. 

 

You can report any scams you receive to the Office of the Inspector General by visiting oig.ssa.gov.

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Illinois Department of Ag Releases Latest Production Cost Report

The latest production cost report was released by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

 

 

The next report issued Feb. 24.

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Bement Schools Exploring E-Sports

Later this spring, the IHSA is introducing its first-ever competitive e-sports event for high schoolers and a Piatt County district is exploring this possibility for its students.

 

Bement Schools Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood indicates they feel this could be a great activity to add that could engage more students and offer a good cross-over of engagement between students of different social groups.

 

 

Dr. Greenwood says they are also looking into a program around shooting clays with Cerro Gordo. 

 

E-sports became an IHSA sanctioned sport around the start of the pandemic and over 150 schools are participating in the first-ever e-sports sectional in the spring. 

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Cold Weekend Leading to Warmup Next Week

A cold weekend is going to precede a warmer week ahead.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln on the WHOW Mornin Show Friday indicated a cold front is rolling through the midwest for this Super Bowl weekend. He says temperatures this weekend are not going to climb very much at all.

 

 

Looking to next week, a warm-up is coming in the midweek with the possibility of severe weather on Wednesday. Shimon notes they still don't know a lot about this system coming midweek.

 

 

Shimon adds Wednesday things are going to get very breezy and then predictions are showing an above normal temperature pattern to finish out the month of February.

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DeWitt County to Use 'American Recovery Act' Funding to Offer Small Business, Non-Profit Grants

If you are a small business or non-profit in DeWitt County, County leadership is encouraging you to look into grant funding they are making available.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson tells Regional Radio News the funding is thanks to the 'American Recovery Act' and they are welcoming small businesses to apply for the grant funding that could improve your operation.

 

 

Applications are now live on the county website, dewittcountyill.com. Ferguson points out non-profits cannot apply for the grants under the umbrella of things that COVID cost them through a lack of fundraising efforts.

 

 

Again the website is dewittcountyill.com and Ferguson points out, these will be reviewed in April. 

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IRS Tax Refund Scams

The Better Business Bureau wants you to be on the lookout for scams related to income tax refund season. The agency warns there are scammers, businesses that have good intentions but cannot deliver for one reason or another and offers that will charge you to do what you can probably do on your own. BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says many scammers will call you with various threats, trying to get you to send them money. He says some also try to reach you via text message.

 

 

O'Brien says a lot of companies, especially this time of year, claim they have special expertise that help them reduce your tax liability significantly. He says before agreeing to a contract with any business claiming such things, you would probably be just as well to try it yourself.

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IHSA Readies for First Ever E-Sports State Series

157 schools have entered the inaugural IHSA state tournament series in Esports. That update from the organization’s Kurt Gibson.

 

 

The first ever IHSA Esports state champ will be crowned April 30. Sectionals are April 23.

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Women in Ag Conference In Person This Year

The Annual Women in Agriculture Conference hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau will be in person for the first time since 2019. Katie Laleman (La La-men) is the Director of the Henry County Farm Bureau and she says organizers are excited to return to an in-person event after cancellation in 2020 and a virtual event last year...

 

 

To register to attend the annual Women in Agriculture Conference go to womeninagricultureconference.com

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Monticello Schools Shifting to Masks Recommended

Starting today, Thursday, February 10, Monticello Schools are going mask optional until further notice.

 

Superintendent Dr. Vic Zimmerman told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday the decision was made Wednesday afternoon to shift away from the district's original decision to stick with the mandate.

 

 

According to Dr. Zimmerman, because the restraining order was only temporary, he wanted to avoid a situation of unmasking kids but then having to mask them again depending on what the Appellate Court would decide.

 

 

Prior to changing course Wednesday, Dr. Zimmerman indicates he did some thinking and watched other districts make their changes and felt it was time for students to be able to be mask-free if they chose to.

 

 

Several districts, most specifically in the Chicago-land area saw quite a few school board meetings receive a lot of attention for parents attending demanding mask-optional policies be put in place, Dr. Zimmerman appreciates that Monticello families were respectful of the district's decision. 

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Friday is National 2-1-1 Day

This Friday, February 11 is 2-1-1 Day.

 

It's fitting given the numerical date and Ryan Huffer with the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois says it's a chance to promote the fact 2-1-1 is a great resource for anyone in need to get connected to a non-profit or local agency that can help them.

 

 

2-1-1 Day is a good time to remind the community of that service that is available any time. Huffer says they promoted it heavily during the pandemic when a lot of people found themselves who may not have ever been in need in a situation where they were seeking assistance.

 

 

Huffer says 2-1-1 recently added the feature to text with someone about services. He indicates often times 2-1-1 is utilized by first-time help-seekers or those seeking help on behalf of someone else, which he says is perfectly acceptable.

 

 

DeWitt County residents inquired more frequently with 2-1-1 than any other area in the United Way's service area besides Macon County. Huffer indicates a lot of calls came in regarding home maintenance and minor repair service which they found to be an unmet need in the area.

 

 

Huffer encourages anyone who may have a friend or family member that needs a little help to inform them of 2-1-1. 

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Illinois Wheat Producers Gather for Forum

Illinois wheat producers gathered in Mount Vernon on Tuesday. Among those participating in the Double Crop Farmers Forum was David Justison from Montgomery County.

 

 

The forum was hosted by the Illinois Wheat and Soybean Associations.

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Gov. Pritzker Touts Proposed Increase in Funding for Illinois Higher Education Institutions

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HAS BEEN VISITING COLLEGES IN ILLINOIS, TOUTING HIS PROPOSED INCREASE IN HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING. 

 

THE ADDITIONAL 208 MILLION DOLLARS THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO SEE ALLOCATED TO COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES IN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR WOULD COVER THINGS LIKE MORE MAP GRANTS AND HIGHER AWARD AMOUNTS.

 

 

HE’S ALSO LOOKING TO EXPAND MAP GRANTS TO MORE STUDENTS AND AT HIGHER AMOUNTS, AS WELL AS SHORE UP THE STATE’S BELEAGUERED PRE-PAID COLLEGE ILLINOIS PROGRAM.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER ALSO WANTS TO PUT 230 MILLION DOLLARS TOWARDS THE STATE’S COLLEGE ILLINOIS PROGRAM TO PAY FOR EXISTING CONTRACTS.

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Gov. Pritzker to Lift Mask Mandate Feb. 28

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS ILLINOIS IS ON TRACK TO LIFT THE STATE’S INDOOR MASK MANDATE ON FEBRUARY 28TH. 

 

NO MASKS WILL BE NEEDED IN BARS, RESTAURANTS, GROCERY STORES AND MORE COME THE END OF THE MONTH. THE GOVERNOR SAYS THAT’S THANKS TO A RAPID DECLINE IN COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE WILL CONTINUE FIGHTING TO KEEP THE MASK MANDATE IN PLACE FOR ILLINOIS SCHOOLS. 

 

 

ANY FEDERAL AND LOCAL MASK RULES WILL APPLY AND MASKS WILL STILL BE REQUIRED IN PLACES LIKE MASS TRANSIT, HEALTHCARE SETTINGS, LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES, PRISONS AND DAYCARES.

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Ag Groups Concerned Over WOTUS Rule

A number of farm groups are submitting comments to EPA expressing concern over the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule or WOTUS. Alan Bjerga is with the National Milk Producers Federation.

 

 

More than 2,000 Illinois farmers have also filed comments regarding WOTUS.

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Pritzker Lifts Indoor Mask Mandate; School Mask Mandate Continues While Going Thru Legal System

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker Wednesday afternoon lifted the mask mandate for most indoor locations by February 28th.  The Governor kept for now, the mask mandate for schools while that issue continues thru the court system.

In making the announcment about lifting the indoor mask mandate except required by other municipalities or governmental agencies, the Governor said the masking mandate will remain in healthcare, long term care, and congregate settings such as prisons and shelters.  He added business and industries can continue masking of they choose.

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Scooter's Coffee in Clinton Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

December 31, Scooter's Coffee opened its drive-thru to the community and Wednesday morning they held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in conjunction with the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.

 

Scooter's Coffee District Manager Rebecca Flores says Scooter's is an operation that has over 400 locations from California to Florida and in addition to coffee they have breakfast food items and smoothies along with tea.

 

 

Scooter's employs around 20 individuals and Flores says they target those that have good personalities and good people skills.

 

 

Scooter's Coffee is opening Monday through Friday 6 am to 8 pm and then Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 am to 8 pm. They are located at 614 West Van Buren Street in Clinton. 

 

 

 

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Bement Schools to Wait On Appellate Court's Mask Decision

A Piatt County School district is sticking with the mask mandate and will wait on the Appellate Court to decide later this month on a ruling from a Sangamon County Judge regarding masking children in school last week.

 

Dr. Sheila Greenwood is the Superintendent of Bement Schools and told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday she felt the ruling was not very clear in its direction for schools and they have been advised to stay with the mask mandate until a higher court gives direction.

 

 

Upon receiving the news about the ruling from Friday, Dr. Greenwood says she along with her peers began consulting each other but also their Boards of Education. She says they are being advised to continue to follow the mandate by their legal representation.

 

 

Dr. Greenwood appreciates the community's support of their decisions throughout the pandemic and understands a lot of people are tired of the mask mandate. She is hoping later this month there will be more clarity. 

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Local DNR Official Offers Ice Fishing Safety Tips

Clinton Lake and Weldon Springs can be prime places for ice fishing in central Illinois and local authorities have some safety reminders for this niche of outdoorsmen.

 

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police acting Captain John Williamson says the ice, particularly at Weldon Springs, is very thick this winter with all the cold we've had since the first of the year.

 

 

Capt. Williamson recommends a life jacket and an ice pick for any trip you make out on the ice. He implores fishermen to know the thickness of the ice as a trip out can quickly turn deadly.

 

 

Capt. Williamson says the consistent cold is of this winter has made the ice fishing season very accomodating. 

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City of Monticello Rebranding

A Piatt County community is rebranding in hopes of streamlining its messaging and its appearance.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Director of Development for the City of Monticello Callie McFarland told Regional Radio this gets the City and its organizations on the same page. Greater than a new logo, she says rebranding is a lot about messaging and direction.  

 

 

According to McFarland, it was time for a rebrand as in the nearly two decades since the last rebrand in the community, many of its organizations had taken new directions and they felt it was time for one unified direction.

 

 

For the messaging component of the rebrand, McFarland notes they wanted to be more than just the cookie-cutter 'great place to live, work, and play'. She explains they wanted to make the messaging special to the community and to make Monticello attractive to visitors.

 

 

McFarland says they were able to consult with a local marketing owner to guide the city through the process and now they will begin focusing on getting those images and messages in print throughout the community. 

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Maroa-Forsyth Building Project On Schedule

It may come as a surprise for some, but the multi-million dollar building upgrade for Maroa-Forsyth Schools at its Maroa campus is moving along right on schedule. 

 

Superintendent Dr. Kris Kahler explains the district is still on track to move into the addition of the high school in 2023. He notes they did anticipate an issue getting steel and built that into the planning process. 

 

 

Dr. Kahler reminds the district is adding on to the high school with classroom spaces, an additional gymnasium, a multipurpose space as well as classrooms that will ultimately become space for the middle school students.

 

 

For this school year and the first semester of next year, Dr. Kahler says there have been adjustments the middle school students have had to make like going to the high school for choir and some other rooms in the building are being used for other purposes.

 

 

Dr. Kahler says a lot of people drive by the school and see all the exterior walls going up but he says the next step is to get inside those walls and start turning into the spaces they need. 

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Count Cash Rents Survey Mailed This Week

The county cash rents survey was mailed this week. It’s from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service says Illinois State Statistician Mark Schleusener.

 

 

The survey went out Monday.

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IFCA Offers Ammonia Training Starting This Week

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association is promoting ammonia training. IFCA’s Kevin “KJ” Johnson with the details.

 

 

Again, more information is available at ifca.com.

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ISBE Announces $2.1-Million in Grow Your Own Teacher Grants

THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS ANNOUNCING MORE THAN TWO MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS TO HELP DISTRICTS ATTRACT NEW TEACHERS. 

 

THE "GROW YOUR OWN" GRANTS HELP DISTRICTS BUILD A LOCAL PIPELINE OF TEACHERS BY REACHING OUT TO HIGH SCHOOLERS INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN EDUCATION. IS-BE’S DOCTOR JENNIFER KIRMES SAYS THE BEST PROGRAMS INCLUDE COURSEWORK AND HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE.

 

 

KIRMES EXPLAINS WHY THIS IS A VITAL INITIATIVE.

 

 

KIRMES SAYS THE GROW YOUR OWN EFFORT IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE THERE IS CURRENTLY A SHORTAGE OF TEACHERS IN ILLINOIS. DISTRICTS CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE GRANTS ONLINE AT: ISBE DOT NET.

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Gov. Pritzker Says Hospitalizations Key Metric in Lifting COVID Mask Mandate

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATION RATE WILL HELP DETERMINE HOW LONG THE STATE’S MASK MANDATE LASTS. 

 

THE NUMBER OF COVID PATIENTS IN THE HOSPITAL IS SIGNIFICANTLY DOWN, WHICH IS A PROMISING SIGNS SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE WANTS THE MANDATE TO BE LIFTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, WHILE STILL KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE. HE SAYS HE’LL BE ANNOUNCING PLANS SOON.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR WARNS THAT ONCE LIFTED, THE MASK MANDATE COULD BE PUT BACK INTO PLACE IF COVID NUMBERS SURGE AGAIN.

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City Council Approves Brush Grinding Contract, Streets Commissioner Would Like to Find Money-Saving Alternatives

Monday night the Clinton City Council approved a brush grinding and leaf disposal contract for the City's yard waste facility on Cain Street.

 

Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements Ken Buchanan says he would still be interested in finding an area outside of the community and burning as much as they could. He has brought this up before however, it has not gained much steam but the nearly $30,000 cost prompted the discussion from Buchanan. 

 

 

Getting the proper permits could be a challenge. Public Works Director Steve Lobb noted the permit process isn't a guarantee and while he wouldn't speculate on if other communities that burn their brush get the proper permits, he says that is something the City of Clinton should do and noted getting the permits isn't a guarantee.

 

 

For this year, the City approved the nearly $30,000 expense. 

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Central Illinois Lawmaker Reacts to Judge's Friday Ruling on Schools Mask Mandate

A central Illinois Republican lawmaker is offering up his thoughts on last week's decision by a Sangamon County Judge to issue a temporary restraining order agains the mask mandate on Illinois school children.

 

Rep. Dan Caulkins says despite the length of time it took to get to the decision, he says the decisions of healthcare for kids has been restored to where it should be - with the families.

 

 

According to Rep. Caulkins, Illinoisans are fortunate they have access to information that is readily available to stand up and challenge the mandates. He points out every time there is pushback though, the goalposts move.

 

 

The Decatur Republican believes the mandates and other mitigation efforts have resulted in massive amounts of learning loss for Illinois students and kids are falling farther behind than they already were.

 

 

As the campaign season nears, Rep. Caulkins believes Gov. JB Pritzker is going to be spinning COVID narratives to look like Illinois has handled the pandemic as well as anyone. 

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Romance Scam Warnings

The Better Business Bureau says it’s that time of year many of us may go looking for love in some of the wrong places. 

 

Although Valentine's Day only comes once a year, there are scammers in cyberspace that are using the desire for a relationship to separate people from their money 365 days a year. BBB Investigator Don O'Brien says romance scammers use dating websites, apps, Facebook, and other social media. They meet victims, interact with them, and quickly try to get them to move to a different form of communication such as email or texting.

 

 

Criminals posing as potential romantic “matches” may lead victims on for a while, then suddenly claim they’ve got big medical bills, or some other emergency need for money.

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Illinois Farm Bureau Monitoring Carbon Capture and Storage Projects

An update on carbon capture and storage projects impacting Illinois. Bill Bodine is Director of Business and Regulatory Affairs for Illinois Farm Bureau.

 

 

Preliminary designs show the Heartland Greenway pipeline entering Illinois near western Hancock County then traveling north and east through Adams, Brown, Christian, Fulton, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler and Scott counties.

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Gov. Pritzker Reacts to Recent Mask Ruling

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE IS MOVING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE TO GET THE RECENT RULING AGAINST HIS SCHOOL MASK MANDATE OVERTURNED. 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER IS OUT OF STEP WITH PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE AND THAT MASKING IS ABOUT PROTECTING THE PUBLIC.

 

 

HE WANTS IT OVERTURNED.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR URGES SCHOOLS NOT INVOLVED IN THE LAWSUIT TO KEEP MASK RULES IN PLACE. 

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Attorney General Announces Proposal to Fight Retail Crime in Illinois

ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS UNVEILING A NEW PROPOSAL TO FIGHT ORGANIZED RETAIL CRIME.

 

ALONG WITH THE ILLINOIS RETAIL MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION, ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL IS PUSHING LEGISLATION THAT WOULD GIVE PROSECUTORS MORE POWER TO GO AFTER THESE CRIME RINGS AND ALLOW THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE TO CONVENE A STATEWIDE GRAND JURY.

 

 

HE SAYS THE THEFTS ARE NOT ISOLATED INCIDENTS, BUT PART OF AN ORGANIZED EFFORT.

 

 

OFFICIALS SAY ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT HAS INCREASED BY 60 PERCENT OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS. RAOUL SAYS GROUPS ARE STEALING LARGE AMOUNTS OF MERCHANDISE AND THEN SELLING IT TO FUND ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.

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Sheriff Walker Says His Department Will be Fully Staffed This Year For First Time in His Tenure

A DeWitt County law enforcement official says his department has been lucky the staffing issues plaguing law enforcement agencies across the country have spared them and points out his office will be fully staffed this year for the first time in his tenure.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show they have two individuals currently training in Decatur and once they are on board, his office will be fully staffed since he was sworn in in 2018. 

 

 

Sheriff Walker called his department lucky to be able to be in the position they are when there are so many areas of not just Illinois but the country, struggling to keep officers and find officers.

 

 

Small town police departments are touting the overall positivity their communities show towards law enforcement and its police officers. Sheriff Walker believes that is one thing that they also have going for them.

 

 

Sheriff Walker Monday also gave several of his deputies props for the things they did to make sure they would be able to work and be there for the community during treacherous times. During last week's winter, he points out he had several officers go above and beyond to make sure they were on duty when they were supposed to be.

 

 

Like many departments across the state and country, Sheriff Walker says they have changed some things up to recruit potential officers and have joined networks to get their job listings out to those candidates as well. 

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Another Children's Author Coming to Clinton Elementary School

Clinton Elementary School librarian Christina Soberalski last month announced a children's author is coming back to Clinton.

 

Dusti Bowling is coming to Clinton this spring and Soberalski indicates she will be at both CES and the junior high school. A children's author has become a tradition at CES in the last few years. 

 

 

Bowling has only written eight books and Soberalski explains they had their students across the various buildings read one of her books to become familiar with her. She notes they try to alternate authors that have popular books and those that may not be all that familiar to students.

 

 

Children's authors have come to Clinton thanks in part to the support of the Clinton Community Education Foundation. Soberalski says the CCEF is again stepping up to help bring Bowling to the community.

 

 

Soberalski says as of right now there will unfortunately not be the opportunity for the community to meet Bowling, something that has been a staple of author visits in the past. Bowling will be visiting Clinton on May 3 and 4. 

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Clinton American Legion Seeking Interested Youth for Boys and Girls State

The Clinton American Legion is seeking applicants for Boys State and Girls State this summer.

 

District Commander Josh Thielen indicates Boys State started in Illinois in 1935. It is a week-long program where high school students learn about and run a mock government.

 

 

In addition to learning about government, students have plenty of time for recreational activities like sports, band, and choir. Thielen says the post hopes to send at least two boys and two girls but will not turn down anyone that wants to go.

 

 

While the program is usually for students who are juniors they are opening it up to seniors as well due to not having it the past couple of years. Past attendees have raved about their time spent and what they've learned.

 

 

The cost of attendance is fully covered by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxillary.

 

For more information visit illinoisboysstate.org or www.alaigs.org for Girls State.

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National Weather Service Discusses Last Week's Snow Storm Impacts on Future Forecasts

It was just a few weeks ago, weather officials in central Illinois were watching snowfall totals heading into February as we were pacing for one of the least snowy winters of all time. 

 

That quickly changed when nearly a foot of snow fell in central Illinois on Wednesday and Thursday or last week. Other than a small swath of central and east-central Illinois, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says a lack of snowfall is no longer on their radar.

 

 

The large amount of snow pack could impact the future outlooks as well. According to Shimon, all this snow will likely cool things down and make at least the short term outlooks cold.

 

 

As we mentioned on Regional Radio over the weekend, this last week's snow event was one of the more significant snow events in over a decade. 

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Western Illinois University School of Ag Honored

The Western Illinois University School of Agriculture recognized as a top nationwide program. The honor is from the National Association of Agricultural Educators. Andy Baker is the director of WIU’s School of Ag.

 

 

NAAE specifically cited WIU for its Summer Experience in Ag Education, where students are interviewed for student teacher placements.

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Illinois COVID Cases Drop By More Than Half in Last Week

THE LATEST COVID-19 NUMBERS FROM THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SHOW SOME POSITIVE DECLINES OVER THE PAST WEEK. 

 

NEW CASES DROPPED BY MORE THAN HALF, WITH 60-THOUSAND-389 REPORTED SINCE LAST FRIDAY. DEATHS ARE ALSO DOWN, 608 THIS WEEK COMPARED TO 843. THAT'S A NEARLY 28 PERCENT DECREASE. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE'S PLEASED TO SEE THE NUMBERS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

 

 

GOV. PRITZKER WAS ASKED IF THIS MEANS THE MASK MANDATE WILL BE LIFTED SOON.

 

 

HOSPITALIZATIONS HAVE DROPPED BY NEARLY 31 PERCENT IN ILLINOIS. CLOSE TO 71 PERCENT OF ILLINOISANS AGES FIVE AND UP ARE NOW FULLY VACCINATED.

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Double Crop Farmers' Forum This Week

The Illinois Wheat Association and Illinois Soybean Association teaming up for the Double Crop Farmers’ Forum this week. Mike Doherty is the executive director of the Illinois Wheat Association.

 

 

The event is Tuesday, Feb. 8 in Mount Vernon. More info at illinoiswheat.org.

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Clinton Schools to Go Mask-Optional Beginning Monday

Clinton schools students and their families can choose to send students to school with a mask or without a mask as they chose.

 

A judge's ruling in Sangamon County to put in place a temporary restraining order on the mask mandates has allowed Illinois schools the autonomy to decide for themselves a mask policy in regards to COVID.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles sent a letter to district parents Sunday night informing them the district would be returning to its opening day COVID mask policy beginning Monday, February 7. 

 

In the letter to parents, Nettles stressed there could be a time stricter mitigations could be necessary however those would be announced and outlined at that time. 

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Sangamon County Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order Halting School Mask Mandate; Only Districts in Law Suit Are Affected

Several media outlets are reporting that a Sangamon County Circuit Judge has issued a temporary restraining order halting the masking mandate in Illinois schools.

The order came late Friday from Judge Raylene Grischow who said the order came as part of what she called , quoting the judge, "to preserve the rule of law", end of quote.

Governor J-B Pritzker criticized the ruling saying the state's Attorney General's office would appeal.

The ruling only applies to the 146 school districts that filed the law suit against the state, including the Chicago Public School district which was a part of the suit.

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Willow Tree Missions Continuing Progress on Downtown Location

Last summer, a Piatt County non-profit acquired building space on the downtown square in Monticello and the progress towards a partial opening is rolling right along.

 

Jill Maxey took over at the first of the year as the Executive Director of Willow Tree Missions, a domestic violence non-profit group in Piatt County. She indicates the space on the northeast side of the Monticello square is progressing enough they are hoping to have a partial opening of retail space this spring.

 

 

The non-profit will house a retail space in the lower level of the building and eventually plans to have temporary safe spaces in the upper level for victims of domestic violence that need shelter. 

 

You can visit willowtreemissions.org for more information on the agency and follow along with them on social media by finding Willow Tree Missions on Facebook. 

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Weekly Weather Summary

One of the most significant snow events in almost a decade hit central Illinois this week. State Climatologist Trent Ford gives us a recap of the storm and a look at the week ahead. 

 

 

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Governor Pritzker Touting Proposed Illinois Family Relief Plan

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS TOUTING HIS ILLINOIS FAMILY RELIEF PLAN. 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THANKS TO A SURPLUS IN THE CURRENT STATE BUDGET, HE'S PROPOSING ONE BILLIONS DOLLARS IN TAXBREAKS FOR ILLINOISANS. THAT INCLUDES A ONE YEAR SUSPENSION OF THE STATE TAX ON GROCERIES.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER'S PROPOSAL ALSO INCLUDES FREEZING THE UPCOMING INCREASE IN THE GAS TAX AND PROVIDING A ONE TIME PROPERTY TAX REBATE OF UP TO 300 DOLLARS.

 

 

IT WILL BE UP TO LAWMAKERS TO PASS THESE IDEAS INTO LAW.

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Winter Storm Gone, But Extreme Wind Chills Ahead This Weekend

While the winter storm may be over, dangerous wind chills along with blowing and drifting snow, will still be challenges this weekend.

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for the entire Regional Radio listening area thru Saturday morning.   

Then, the rest of the weekend will still see frigid temperatures with wind chills Saturday and Sunday as low as 16 below.

Stay tuned to Regional Radio for the latest weather information and cancellations.

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Warner Library Bringing Back Tax Help

It's an annual program that is wildly popular at the Warner Library in Clinton and it's back again in 2022.

 

Tax Aid through AARP will return to the Clinton library this year says Business Manager Samantha Rusk. As tax season kicks into high gear, appointments are already filling up so Rusk is urging anyone interested to get an appointment made.

 

 

Please call the library at 217-935-5174 to schedule an appointment or for more information. You can also visit vwarner.org for more information on the program. 

 

Appointments are available on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings beginning February

12. Tax filing will be offered as a drop-off site which means participants will be asked to complete a form in advance and wait in a designated area until e-filing is ready.

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11-Inches of Snow Reported at National Weather Service in Lincoln

Central Illinois is digging out of nearly a foot of snow that fell Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio the Wednesday snow set a daytime record for snow on February 2 at the Lincoln office. He adds this was the most significant snow event for the area in nearly a decade. 

 

 

How quickly will this snow melt? Shimon indicates the top layer of this snow could dissipate a little bit over the weekend as the sun is predicted for the next several days but it just isn't going to warm up enough to melt off it, at least right away.

 

 

Shimon indicates a significant snow event can impact the short-term outlooks. Shimon says the next few weeks might be colder than was anticipated by long-term weather outlooks put out around the first of the year. 

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Central Illinois Republicans React to Gov. Pritzker's Wednesday Budget Address

Illinois Republicans are reacting to Governor JB Pritzker's Wednesday budget proposal and a frequently used term is "election-year gimmicks".

 

State Sen. Chapin Rose calls the Governor's budget address disconnected from reality and believes it rivals when Rod Blagojevich was in office.

 

 

The Mahomet Republican believes Gov. Pritzker is using the federal money from the pandemic to push Illinois' problems off until after the election. 

 

 

The Senator says as costs continue to rise for Illinois families, a one-time relief on certain costs is disconnected from reality and is critical of the new $2.5-billion in spending in the Chicago Democrat's proposal.

 

 

State Rep. Dan Brady of Normal called the Governor's tax breaks gimmicks and says the governor’s message was short on solutions. 

 

 

Lincoln Republican Senator Sally Turner in a statement said she agreed with some aspects of the Governor's proposals, she, like Sen. Rose, has concerns about the new spending and what happens when the federal dollars run dry. 

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur also called the Governor's tax cuts and property tax rebates gimmicks and questioned them coming in an election year. He was also critical of the Governor's claims to improving the State's credit rating but believes that is a bi-product of the federal stimulus money and points out the State's credit rating is still far lower than any other state in the nation. 

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Trio of State Trooper Accidents During Snow Storm Prompts Scott's Law Reminder

Three drivers have crashed into Illinois State Police cars during this week’s winter storm.

 

Two troopers were transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. ISP Director Brendan Kelly says Scott’s Law – or the “Move Over Law” is there to protect everyone.

 

 

The accidents were in Sangamon and Coles County.

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More Republicans Disappointed in Governor's Budget Address

REPUBLICAN STATE LAWMAKERS SAY THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET PROPOSAL DOESN'T PROVIDE LONG TERM RELIEF TO ILLINOISANS.

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS OFFERING TAX BREAKS IN THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR, BUT THEY DON'T GO FAR ENOUGH SAYS SENATOR SUE REZIN OF MORRIS.

 

 

SENATOR JASON BARICKMAN OF BLOOMINGTON HAS A FEW CRITICISMS OF THE PLAN, SAYING THE PROPOSED ONE-YEAR TAX BREAKS SHOULD BE MADE PERMANENT, AND THAT THERE'S NOT ENOUGH FISCAL RESTRAINT.

 

 

G-O-P LAWMAKERS ALSO SAY THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN DOESN'T DO ENOUGH TO ADDRESS THE RISE IN VIOLENT CRIME IN ILLINOIS.

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Congressman Davis Discusses Upcoming Budget Talks

Central Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis is not predicting a Government shutdown but is frustrated by the inconsistency in the Government's handling of spending.

 

Congressman Davis chuckles at the spending plans in place are plans developed by President Donald Trump. He points out if they cannot reach an agreement, it costs more to reopen Government and is frustrated Democrats continue to spend more than they have.

 

 

Inflation is hitting almost every family and on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, the Taylorville Republican told Regional Radio they cannot afford the Democrats' strategy of throwing money at the problem as a solution.

 

 

The Congressman says the Biden administration is trying to quote - "gaslight" the American people into believing there isn't a supply chain issue. He's working to pass legislation to find out what products are not being made in America that could be.

 

 

The Congressman says Government came together to pass trillions to get through the pandemic but then accused Democrats of continuing to spend more than was needed and exacerbated the inflation crisis with more spending. 

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Weather Service Cancels Winter Weather Advisory, Roads Still In Bad Shape

The National Weather Service in Lincoln early this morning canceled the Winter Weather Advisory that was issued Thursday night, and was originally set to expire at 6pm today.

The Weather Service says as the winter storm finally winds down, light snow will taper off in the southeast. However, travel hazards will continue across most of central and southeast Illinois today, especially east of I-55. Some improvement in road conditions will be possible thanks to some sunshine. 

They added bitter cold temperatures are expected again tonight, with temperatures dropping below zero. Wind chills will fall to -10 to -20 degrees by morning. A few flurries are possible along and north of I-74 this afternoon and evening, otherwise, dry weather is expected this weekend with temperatures at or below freezing. 

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Weather Service Issues Winter Weather Advisory, Blowing and Drifting Snow Main Concern

 

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has the entire Regional Radio listening area under a Winter Weather Advisory until 6pm Friday.  The Weather Service says that blowing and drifting snow is expected thru early Friday evening.  There'll be little or no additional snow, but brisk north winds gusting to 30 miles an hour could produce deep drifts.

The Weather Service adds east-west roadways may see significant drifting of snow, especially in rural areas, with visibility being reduced.  As a result, travel between now and early Friday evening will be difficult or impossible on problem roadways. 

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Sheriff Walker Says East, West Roads in DeWitt County Still in Rough Shape

East/west roads in DeWitt County remain in rough shape, including Route 10.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker says crews have been battling high north winds as they try to dig the County out of a two-day snow event that has snow blowing and drifting throughout the rural areas. 

 

 

The Sheriff speculates County crews will call it a day at around 7 pm tonight and get back on the roads around 5 am Friday. He's hoping things will start to improve as crews don't have as much wind to battle tomorrow (Friday). 

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DeWitt County Sheriff: Non-Main Roads are Treacherous

If you are not taking a main road this Thursday, avoid travel at all costs.

 

That's the message from DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker who has already been in contact with some of DeWitt County's road commissioners about the conditions of the secondary roads in the County and things are rough as we enter the second day of this winter storm.

 

 

Sheriff Walker says road conditions are much worse from yesterday and says travel is not advised. 

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Willow Tree Missions Highlighting Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

A Piatt County non-profit is promoting Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

 

Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County is promoting February's Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and it is something that many teens deal with in navigating relationships as young but people but not many teens say anything about it. That's according to the agency's Susan Houston on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday.... 

 

 

According to Houston, a healthy relationship for teens should have good communication with respect in several aspects. Digital communication and the boundaries around social media are very important. 

 

 

Houston says unhealthy relationships will be dominated by one party making all the decisions and have everything be the way they want it.

 

 

For parents, guardians, or those that encounter teens regularly, Houston says several things can be a tip-off to a teen that is in an abusive relationship. She points to sudden changes in behaviors that can be a sign of an abusive relationship. Additionally, teens that become isolated from friends can be a sign of an abusive relationship.

 

 

If you suspect your child or a young person close to you might be in an abusive situation, Houston recommends talking with that individual about your concerns. If you need further resources, she points folks to womensrespect.org. She calls this a great resource they recommend frequently to those that come to them with concerns about relationships. 

 

Houston also recommends loveisrespect.org. 

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IDOT Warning of Continued Hazard Driving Conditions

HEAVY SNOW, WIND AND FALLING TEMPERATURES CONTINUE TO MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS ACROSS ILLINOIS. 

 

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AS WELL AS CITY AND COUNTY CREWS ARE TRYING TO KEEP UP WIT THE BARRAGE OF WINTER WEATHER, BUT CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO REMAIN HAZARDOUS FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT DAY OR SAY SAYS I-DOT SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.

 

 

WAPPEL SAYS IT'S BEEN VERY CHALLENGING.

 

 

WAPPEL ENCOURAGES THE PUBLIC TO STAY HOME IF POSSIBLE AND IF YOU MUST TRAVEL, CHECK THE LATEST WINTER ROAD CONDITIONS ONLINE AT: GETTING AROUND ILLINOIS DOT COM.

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DeWitt County Sheriff: Roads, Visibility Worsening as Wednesday Goes Along

The forecasters were accurate and things are deteriorating quickly.

 

That's according to DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker who tells Regional Radio News the road conditions have gotten worse throughout the day and visibility is becoming a real issue in DeWitt County.

 

 

Drifting in rural areas is becoming a problem and the Sheriff foresees issues as road crews battle staffing shortages and faces having to shut down the efforts during the night. Sheriff Walker says that is only going to compound the problem.

 

 

According to the Sheriff, there have been some minor incidents like cars in the ditch and an accident on the highway near Farmer City. He applauds the public for heeding the advice of authorities and weather officials to stay in as he's not seen a lot of traffic on the roads.

 

 

The Sheriff announced early Wednesday they would be closing down the DeWitt County Building again on Thursday. He cites the accuracy of the weather forecasters on this storm so far and the likely continuing deteriorating of area roads to keep the County Building closed. 

 

 

The Sheriff continues to implore the public to cease calling the dispatch center to ask about road conditions. He points out in situations like these, those phone calls keep those folks from responding to someone in an urgent situation. 

 

Forecasters are calling for more high winds through the night and especially on Thursday which could lead to white-out conditions throughout the day. 

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Gov. Pritzker Highlights Tax Relief Measures for Illinoisans in Annual Budget Address

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's latest budget proposal for the next fiscal year aims to provide tax relief to Illinoisans and solidify the state's financial footing.

 

Some of the highlights of the latest budget proposal were released earlier this week. Gov. Pritzker says his budget will leave Illinois in the black to the tune of $1.7-billion.

 

 

The state's bloated pension obligation has been a point of criticism from Illinois Republicans for many years and the Governor outlines his plans to meet the state's pension obligations and then some.

 

 

Wednesday, the Governor also touted his plans to pump money into the State's rainy day fund.

 

 

The Chicago Democrat Wednesday also introduced his 'Illinois Family Relief Plan'.

 

 

During Gov. Pritzker's first year in office, Illinois doubled the gas tax among a host of tax hikes. Wednesday, the Governor proposed suspending the gas tax for a year and it will not impact his infrastructure plans for the state's highways and bridges.

 

 

And finally, Gov. Pritzker proposed property tax relief for Illinois families.

 

 

Among other talking points in the Governor's Wednesday address was a thank you to the healthcare workers of the State of Illinois and for their dedication during the last two years. He also proposed eliminating the licensure fees for frontline healthcare workers for a year as well as providing DCFS with more money to hire workers and provide more care for vulnerable children.

 

The Governor also proposed more grant opportunities for small businesses. 

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Sen. Republicans Introduce Updated Legislative Package to Curb Crime

SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE UNVEILING A LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE TO HELP REDUCE VIOLENT CRIME IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE SENATE G-O-P INTRODUCED A SIMILAR PROPOSAL BACK IN OCTOBER, BUT THE BILLS WERE NEVER CONSIDERED. IT’S TIME FOR THEIR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES TO DEBATE THESE IDEAS AND STOP THE CONTINUED INCREASE IN CRIME SAYS SENATOR CHAPIN ROSE OF MAHOMET.

 

 

THE PLAN REPEALS A NEW STATE LAW THAT ENDS CASH BAIL FOR MANY OFFENDERS AND SETS A MINIMUM SENTENCE OF 10 YEARS TO LIFE FOR VIOLENT FIREARM CRIMES SAYS SENATOR STEVE MCCLURE OF SPRINGFIELD. ADDITIONALLY…

 

 

THE PACKAGE ALSO CREATES A FUND FOR POLICE DEPARTMENTS TO PAY FOR THINGS LIKE BODY CAMERA MANDATES AND HIRING AND TRAINING OFFICERS. G-O-P SENATORS ARE URGING THEIR DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES TO LET THESE IDEAS BE DEBATED AND CALLED FOR A VOTE.

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IDOT, Illinois State Police Urging Public to Stay Off Roads if Possible

STATE OFFICIALS ARE URGING THE PUBLIC TO STAY OFF THE ROADS IF POSSIBLE AS ILLINOIS IS HIT WITH SEVERE WINTER WEATHER. 

 

DEPENDING WHERE YOU LIVE, THIS STORM MAY INCLUDE RAIN, HEAVY SNOW AND VERY ICY ROADWAYS. THAT’S WHY IT’S BEST TO STAY HOME IF YOU CAN SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY OMER OSMAN.

 

 

TRAVEL WILL BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT IN MANY AREAS, SO IT’S BEST TO RECONSIDER BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD SAYS STATE POLICE DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY. IF YOU MUST GO OUT HE HAS A FEW REMINDERS, INCLUDING GIVING SNOWPLOWS PLENTY OF ROOM TO WORK.

 

 

IF YOU DO GET INTO AN ACCIDENT OR SLIDE OFF THE ROAD, KELLY SAYS YOU SHOULD REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE WITH YOUR SEATBELT ON AND CALL FOR HELP.

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Gov. Pritzker Issues Disaster Declaration Ahead of Winter Storm

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ISSUING A DISASTER DECLARATION AHEAD OF THE SEVERE WINTER STORM.

 

THE ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY WILL COORDINATE STATE RESPONSE EFFORTS FROM THE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER IN SPRINGFIELD AND THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS DEPLOYING MORE THAN 18-HUNDRED TRUCKS AND EQUIPMENT TO PLOW SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

ILLINOIS ADJUTANT GENERAL MAJOR GENERAL RICHARD NEELY SAYS ABOUT 130 MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD ARE AT THE READY AS WELL.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR WARNS THAT THE IMPACT OF THIS STORM WILL LINGER WITH BITTER TEMPERATURES AND ICING IN SOME AREAS AND THE THREAT OF FLOODING IN OTHERS.

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Gov. Pritzker Discusses Upcoming Budget Address

THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE HAS GONE HOME DUE TO THE WINTER STORM, BUT GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WILL BE GIVING HIS ANNUAL BUDGET ADDRESS LIVE AT THE OLD STATE CAPITOL TOMORROW.

 

THE COMBINED STATE OF THE STATE AND BUDGET ADDRESS WILL GO ON AS SCHEDULED, WITH THE GOVERNOR LAYING OUT HIS PROPOSAL FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR ONLINE. HE SAYS IT’S DISAPPOINTING NOT TO BE SPEAKING WITH A LIVE AUDIENCE.

 

HE’S EXCITED TO PUT FORTH HIS PROPOSALS FOR THE NEW FISCAL YEAR AS SCHEDULED. THEY INCLUDE NEARLY ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN TAX RELIEF FOR ILLINOISANS.

 

 

YOU CAN WATCH THE ADDRESS ONLINE AT NOON AT: ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH LIVE VIDEO.

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Winter Storm Warning Update: Some Ice, Over a Foot of Snow Expected

The National Weather Service in Lincoln has updated their Winter Storm Warning for the Regional Radio listening area.

 

The Weather Service says Tuesday night into Wednesday morning will be a combination of rain, snow, freezing rain and sleet until around 7am Wednesday when it turns to all snow.

 

Between Wednesday around 7am and Thursday night, the Weather Service says we'll get winds gusting to 31 miles an hour, and a total snow accumulation of at least a foot.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker Tuesday declared a statewide weather emergency, and asked motorists not to travel during the winter storm.

 

Stay tuned to Regional Radio for the latest, and find all the school closings, cancellations, and winter road conditions by finding those icons at dewittdailynews.com.

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DeWitt County Sheriff Issues Safety Reminders Ahead of Winter Storm; DeWitt County Building Closed Wednesday

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker and DeWitt County Circuit Judge Karl Koritz have made the decisions to close the DeWitt County Building for Wednesday, February 2. 

 

Sheriff Walker tells Regional Radio this is a safety precaution and hopes residents will stay in unless travel is absolutely necessary. 

 

 

An issue local first responders often face is the phone lines to local dispatch offices being bombarded with people asking if the roads are safe enough to travel or asking for an update on their condition. Sheriff Walker implores the public to not do this as it keeps those dispatchers from responding to urgent calls and circumstances.

 

 

Sheriff Walker encourages anyone traveling to have their vehicle gassed up and a cell phone charger available. He says let someone know where you will be traveling and when and in the event you get stranded, do not keep your car running. He says to run it enough to warm up and then turn it off and conserve your gas.

 

 

Sheriff Walker encourages just using common sense during this time. He says hopes the public will stay home and stay inside unless they absolutely have to be out. 

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National Weather Service Breaks Down Upcoming Snow Storm

Central Illinois is bracing for one of the most significant snow events we've seen in the last few years in the mid-week.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service says we'll see rain that transitions to snow late tonight into the morning hours Wednesday and then it will snow through to the overnight on Wednesday night.

 

 

Shimon indicates normally around ten inches of snow is the equivalent of one inch of water. The early form of snow will be a little less than that but as it transitions to fluffier snow, it will become a little bit more than that ratio.

 

 

Only slight amounts of freezing rain or sleet are anticipated with this system and that will be limited to Wednesday evening and night as rain transitions to snow.

 

Shimon cautions the public to be cautious if you must travel. He says blowing and drifting snow will be an issue Thursday with near whiteout conditions a possibility. 

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Sangamon Valley CEO Program Starting to Transition to Next Phase of School Year

The community-driven entrepreneurship program in local schools - CEO - divides its year into two-part, a group-created business and then individual businesses.

 

The divide is almost in line with the semester, though some group businesses are completed after the turn of the semester. Sangamon Valley CEO Facilitator Lisa Shepard indicates her group, consisting of students from Argenta-Oreana, Bement, Cerro Gordo, DeLand-Weldon, and Monticello, have had a great first semester and wrapped up the group business on Jan. 2.

 

 

As the students now shift their attention to individual businesses, Shepard indicates they are paired with mentors in the various communities of the program and they get to have a one-on-one interaction with a business owner in their journeys to starting a new business.

 

 

A new exercise Shepard is introducing to her class this year is called '1 to 100'. Students receive one dollar and they have to turn it into 100-dollars. The exercise was done in conjunction with the Central Illinois CEO program that encompasses Blue Ridge, Clinton, Maroa-Forsyth, and Warrensburg-Latham students led by Melanie Brown. 

 

 

You can visit sangamonvalleyceo.com for more information and follow on social media by finding them on Facebook at the same name, Sangamon Valley CEO.

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Illinois State Police Warning About Winter Storm Impacting Travel

A major winter storm is bearing down on parts of Illinois this week.

 

It is expected to severely impact travel. Illinois State Police Lieutenant Jody Huffman says if you must be on a highway during a winter storm you have to be ready to take care of yourself.

 

 

Huffman says look at IDOT’s road conditions website and evaluate if you need to be driving.

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1099-Gs Available for Those Who Received Unemployment Benefits

1099-G TAX FORMS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO COLLECTED STATE OR FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS LAST YEAR.

 

IF YOU RECEIVED UNEMPLOYMENT IN 2021, YOU’RE GOING TO NEED THIS FORM TO DO YOUR TAXES SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY ACTING DIRECTOR KRISTIN RICHARDS.

 

 

RICHARDS SAYS YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY BEEN NOTIFIED.

 

 

LAST YEAR, THE DEPARTMENT SAVED OVER ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN POSTAGE AND PRODUCTION COSTS BY MAKING THE 1099-G FORM AVAILABLE ONLINE. THE WEBSITE AGAIN IS: IDES DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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