Local News

Warner Library Gearing Up for Summer Reading Club

It's summer reading club season at the Warner Library.

 

With the last day of school today, the summer reading club kicks off Wednesday says children's librarian Corey Campbell. He says the summer reading club is all about engaging kids in reading during the summer while having fun.

 

 

This summer, the library will track reading in minutes. Campbell indicates each week there will be prizes and activities for the kids. He says the reading logs will be similar to those that were used last year.

 

 

There are going to be numerous programs throughout the summer. According to Campbell, the programs will be themed and fun and will be geared for all ages.

 

 

Campbell says reading in the summer is very important for the youth because it helps keep the lessons and skills they learned in school sharp and ready to resume learning in the fall.

 

 

Registration opens with the summer reading club on June 1 and runs until July 30 at the library. You can stop by the library at 310 North Quincy Street. You can also contact the library by calling 217-935-5174 or visiting vwarner.org. 

Miller Park Zoo Bringing Back 'Brews at the Zoo'

'Brews at the Zoo' is back in 2022.

 

It's an annual fundraiser at the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington that benefits the non-profit arm of the zoo, the Zoological Society. Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says that before the pandemic, it's going to be a two-night event.

 

 

'Brews at the Zoo' offers those that attend to try out all sorts of beers from all over central Illinois and even the Midwest. Tetzloff indicates there are also some unique to the event animal encounters.

 

 

'Brews at the Zoo' is among several events the Zoological Society hosts including the annual spring 'Stampede 5K' run as well as Zoodoo in the fall. Tetzloff says he works with the Zoological Society on how to best utilize the funds they raise.

 

 

Tetzloff also touts the atmosphere of the zoo after hours. He indicates you'll find there are animals that are much more active as the sun goes down and sets.

 

Get more information by finding the Miller Park Zoo on Facebook or visiting millerparkzoo.org. 'Brews at the Zoo' is June 10-11. 

Energy Costs Going Up

Many residents in Illinois should expect higher energy cost this summer. Ameren Illinois, a major energy supplier in the state says the cost of electricity is going up. During a hearing with state lawmakers, Ameren Illinois’ James Blessing says their customers are going to see prices increase by hundreds of dollars a year.

 

 

Consumers concerned about the rising cost of energy can still apply for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance or LIHEAP. The deadline to apply is May 31.

COVID Rates Continue to Remain High in Parts of Illinois

15 ILLINOIS COUNTIES ARE NOW AT HIGH COMMUNITY LEVELS FOR COVID-19 INFECTION. 

 

NEARLY 37-THOUSAND NEW COVID CASES WERE REPORTED THIS PAST WEEK, WHICH IS AN OVERALL DECLINE FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK. STILL, THERE ARE AREAS WITH INCREASED VIRUS ACTIVITY. THE "HIGH LEVEL" AREAS INCLUDE CHICAGO, COOK, SURROUNDING COUNTIES IN NORTHEASTERN ILLINOIS AS WELL AS COUNTIES AROUND PEORIA. ANOTHER 30 ARE CONSIDERED AT MEDIUM COMMUNITY LEVELS. WITH THAT IN MIND, THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH URGES AT-RISK INDIVIDUALS TO BE CAUTIOUS THIS WEEKEND SAYS SPOKESPERSON MIKE CLAFFEY.

 

 

CLAFFEY SAYS SOME INDIVIDUALS MAY WANT TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS.

 

 

GROUPS ARE URGED TO GATHER OUTSIDE OR IF THEY ARE INDOORS KEEP THE WINDOWS OPEN AND FANS GOING TO CIRCULATE THE AIR. ANOTHER 30 COUNTIES ARE RATED BY THE C-D-C AT THE MEDIUM COMMUNITY LEVEL.

County Fair Season Kicks Off This Week

The county fair season kicks off this week in Illinois. First out of the gate is the Greene County Fair in Carrolton where Jerry Joyce is the county fair board president.

 

 

The Macon County Fair in Decatur also opens this week.

Boaters Reminded About Boat Insurance

Summer means boating for many in Illinois and that also means being up to date on Boat Insurance and boat safety. Jolene Enfor is with Country Financial

 

 

Among Country Financial Insurance's boat safety recommendations, make sure you have life vests for everyone on your boat, larger boats need more than one life preserver, and leave alcohol on the shore, drunk boating is against the law.

Social Security Honors Veterans on This Memorial Day

As we celebrate Memorial Day to honor military service members who have given their lives for our country, Social Security is reminding of the things they do to prioritize veterans and the claims they have with Social Security.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates Social Security disability benefits can help financially if you are unable to return to work. As a thank you for your service, they will expedite disability claims through our Wounded Warrior initiative if you became disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001.

 

 

According to Myers, Social Security can also expedite your disability claim if you have a VA Compensation Rating of 100% Permanent & Total. VA Disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits are different, and eligibility for one does not guarantee eligibility for the other.

 

 

Myers encourages applying for both.  Learn more about our disability programs and the expedited claims process at www.ssa.gov/woundedwarriors.

 

Check out our new fact sheet “Social Security Disability and Veterans Affairs Disability -How do They Compare?" by visiting www.ssa.gov/pubs then type “Veterans” in the filter box.

 

Myers also reminds families who have lost loved ones that Social Security benefits may be payable to surviving family members including spouses and children. You can learn more about those benefits at www.ssa.gov/survivors.

Illinois Judicial Conference Launches Survey on Remote Proceedings

THE ILLINOIS COURTS WANTS TO HEAR FEEDBACK FROM THE PUBLIC ABOUT HOLDING PROCEEDINGS REMOTELY.

 

A TASK FORCE UNDER THE ILLINOIS JUDICIAL CONFERENCE IS LAUNCHING TWO SURVEYS, ONE FOR THE PUBLIC AND ONE FOR LEGAL PROFESSIONALS SAYS STATE APPELLATE COURT JUSTICE MARY ROCHFORD.

 

 

BOTH ASK ABOUT THE BENEFITS AND DRAWBACKS TO HOLDING PROCEEDINGS VIRTUALLY AND THE BARRIERS TO ATTENDING SAYS THE STATE SUPREME COURT ACCESS TO JUSTICE DIVISION’S SARAH SONG.

 

 

YOU CAN TAKE PART IN THE SURVEYS BY VISITING: IL COURTS DOT GOV AND CLICKING ON “ADDITIONAL RESOURCES” AND THEN “REMOTE PROCEEDINGS.” THEY WILL BE OPEN UNTIL JUNE 23RD.

Much Anticipated 'Prairie Flyers; A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County' Opens Saturday

The highly anticipated Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County opened to the public Saturday with a grand opening celebration. 

 

Director Joey Long indicates the day kicked off with the launching of two hot air balloons very early in the morning Saturday and then it was off to highlight a first-class, top-notch history of aviators of all types in DeWitt County.

 

 

Bob Ballenger is among the individuals who are highlighted in the exhibit in the carriage barn at the DeWitt County Museum. While it makes him feel dated, he says it is cool to be a part of such a special project locally.

 

 

John Warner helped bring the exhibit to life with not only the idea but seeing it to fruition and says there are some remarkable stories to be told and the exhibit does just that.

 

 

A number of special events will go along with the exhibit that runs until July 3. Edith Brady-Lunny says there are lots of activities happening weekly at the Museum in addition to the series of special speakers that will present at Clinton's Warner Library.

 

 

Logan Redman, a Museum Board member, is looking forward to the presentations at Warner Library because you'll be able to hear from the men and women that are featured in the exhibit.

 

 

If you're interested in getting more in-depth details about the stories that are on display at the museum, there is a special catalog that accompanies the exhibit. Brady-Lunny says there are about thirty additional individual stories that enhance what is on display.

 

 

Long thanks all the financial supporters of the exhibit as well as those that contributed artifacts and the many aviators that shared their stories and made the presentation possible.

 

Admission to 'Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County' is separate from that of the museum and it is open during regular museum hours. You can find out more about both the museum and the special exhibit by finding searching 'Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County' on Facebook. 

 

 

Clinton's Memorial Day Services Shifting to Downtown Square

The annual Memorial Day services for Clinton are taking on a new location this year.

 

Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marian Brisard indicates the downtown square will be the location for this year's annual memorial service.

 

 

There has been some confusion around the event shifting to the square. Organizers stress there is no parking ban on the square nor is the square shut down for Memorial Day. They are asking able-bodied individuals to cede spots closest to the square to those with disabilities so as many people as possible can attend. 

June Ushers in Hurricane Awareness Month

June ushers in the hurricane season in the south and southeast part of the country.

 

While the severity of those storms often don't impact central Illinois a National Weather Service official says they are always watching those storms. Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the remnants of those storms can reach the midwest.

 

 

Shimon points out there have been some very impactful rains in years past and those can often times be drought-busters during dry stretches for the Midwest. 

Memorial Day Service at Camp Butler Cemetery in Springfield

Ceremonies are again being planned for National Cemeteries. After two years of COVID restrictions Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield will hold a wreath laying, rifle volley and the playing of taps at 2 pm on Monday. Victor Reed – the Director at Camp Butler says starting on Saturday individual American Flags will be placed at headstones.

 

 

Camp Butler is among the original national cemeteries. It was home to a Civil War Prisoner of war camp and holds grave sites from Union and Confederate Soldiers.

Weekly Weather Summary

It was another cool and wet week in central Illinois. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at the holiday weekend weather and the week ahead.

 

 

Sen. Durbin Supports Bill Aimed to Curb Domestic Terrorism

US Senator Dick Durbin is urging the Senate to pass a bill focused on curbing domestic terrorism.

 

The Democrat says the bill will require federal law enforcement to report on domestic terrorism including white supremacist activity. The bill passed the House last year on a voice vote but this year it passed on a largely party line vote.

 

 

Durbin says the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act won’t create any new federal crime or law enforcement agency.

Warner Hospital Prioritizing Projects As Inflation Impacts Costs

Clinton's Warner Hospital and Health Services are prioritizing projects as inflation is greatly impacting projected costs.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, CEO Paul Skowron told Regional Radio prices will likely keep the city-owned entity from completing all three projects this year. He reminds the projects being targeted are a renovation of the emergency room, adding an entrance to the specialty clinic, and building a new wellness center. 

 

 

Skowron indicates inflation is impacting rural access hospitals like Warner Hospital. He leads a network of rural access hospitals and pointed out recently to that group that costs are increasing and it coincides with significant events of the past few years.

 

 

With costs only projected to increase, the message he is sending to his colleagues around the state and will be doing at Warner Hospital is to act now to begin any projects that are of top priority.

 

 

Skowron indicates the hospital will embark on the emergency room renovation first but they could also be held up by approval from the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

Piatt County Mental Health Professional Discusses 'Mental Health Awareness Month'

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and while the focus on mental and emotional wellness has become much more prominent, more still needs to be done.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and indicates stigma still remains around mental and emotional issues people face.

 

 

Data for impacts on mental and emotional wellness coming out of COVID is not yet complete although there is a lot to suggest there is an increase in those cases, Kirkman says there was already a sharp increase in things like depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation before the pandemic.

 

 

Kirkman says it is OK as parents or guardians to talk with your young people about mental health and make sure they have a trusted adult to speak with. He encourages mindful apps on their devices and also monitor what they are consuming.

 

 

With the summer break upon us, Kirkman says it is very important for kids to have fun and be playful. He says this is something a lot of kids lost during the pandemic.

 

 

Kirkman says it is OK to have our children fail and it teaches them to overcome adversity and learn from their mistakes. He believes it is best to let kids learn to fail in the safety of their home before they learn to fail alone in life. 

Overdoing Carbs Could Be Holding Back Your Weight Loss and Making You Feel Worse

If you've been trying to lose weight but are finding it challenging after a certain point, it might be time to consider cutting the carbs.

 

That's according to Dr. Jim LaValle, author of 'Cracking the Metabolic Code' and Clinical Director for the Performance Health Program for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He says a lot of times not only can carbs hold you back in your weight loss journey, but they can also make you feel bad.

 

 

Dr. LaValle says to know for sure if certain foods are contributing to your weight loss challenges is called the elimination diet. He says you remove 'the big three' and see what your progress is after a few weeks and then you can slowly add a few things back to your diet and monitor how you respond both physically and psychologically.

 

 

Another component is dealing with gluten. Dr. LaValle indicates it is important to monitor how you feel after you eat certain foods.

 

 

If you try these things and they do not work, Dr. LaValle says it is important to consult your doctor and maybe get some blood work done. 

Could Gas Reach $6 a Gallon?

$6 gas this summer? That was a headline last week stemming from a report by JP Morgan. We asked GROWMARK’s manager of customer risk management Scott Wilson. He says right now, demand remains up.

 

 

The average gas price in Illinois is $4.96. Diesel is averaging $5.29 in the state.

Governor Signs Carjacking Laws

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING THREE NEW LAWS TO COMBAT CARJACKING IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE FIRST MEASURE WAS SPONSORED BY CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVE OMAR AQUINO. AT A PRESS CONFERENCE LAST MONTH, HE SAID IT’S MEANT TO HELP A PERSON WHO HAS HAD THEIR CAR STOLEN.

 

 

CHICAGO SENATOR ROBERT MARTWICK DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE LAST MONTH.

 

 

ANOTHER LAW BETTER FUNDS POLICE EFFORTS TO PREVENT AND INVESTIGATE CARJACKINGS WHILE THE THIRD UPDATES STATE LAW TO ADDRESS THE LATEST IN VEHICLE THEFT TECHNOLOGY.

Warm Temperatures Could Return Next Week

During the second week of May, most of Illinois was baked with 90-degree temperatures. When will those types of conditions return?

 

 

Trent Ford serves as Illinois State Climatologist.

DeWitt County Museum to Unveil 'Most Ambitious Project' Its Ever Taken On

'The most ambitious project it's ever taken on' is how the Director of the DeWitt County Museum describes an exhibit that opens to the public this weekend.

 

Joey Long is the Director of the CH Moore Homestead and explains there is a lot of excitement for this weekend's opening of the exhibit, Prairie Flyers: A Half-Century of Aviation in DeWitt County.

 

 

John Warner, who brought the idea of the exhibit to the Museum, called it a big city exhibit. His colleague Denis Hambucken says this is a top-notch, professional-grade presentation.

 

 

Edith Brady-Lunny tapped into her journalism background to get the testimony of local aviators and veterans. This Saturday will be a full day of activities to usher in the opening of the month-long exhibit and coinciding events.

 

 

This Saturday, there will be activities for kids including an early morning launching of a hot air balloon on the Homestead grounds.

 

 

Organizers direct anyone interested in more details about the exhibit and opening day festivities to find 'Prairie Flyers: A Half-Century of Aviation in DeWitt County' on Facebook. 

Heyworth Schools Superintendent Offers Thoughts on Texas Elementary School Massacre

A central Illinois school leader is offering thoughts on the elementary school massacre in a small Texas town Tuesday.

 

Dr. Lisa Taylor is the Superintendent of Heyworth Schools says the events from Tuesday are just tragic and make one sick. It leaves administrators up at night wondering what more can they do to prevent those types of things from happening.

 

 

Dr. Taylor says Illinois schools spent a lot of time, money, and resources before the pandemic to upgrade security. She anticipates with the events of Tuesday, those conversations and reviews will start back up again.

 

 

While it remains to be determined if mental health issues with the shooter played a role in the motive for the shooting, Dr. Taylor says there needs to be more done to address the growing mental health needs of young people.

 

 

Dr. Taylor indicates they have recently updated how they conduct active shooter drills and anticipates looking closer at those procedures going forward as well. 

Highlighting Mental Health in Ag Community

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and an initiative taken up highlighting mental health in the ag community is promoting a new component for help.

 

Lynn Weis (Wise) is the Community Health Worker from the Farm Family Resource Initiative at the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development through the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. She says this resource is for anyone in an ag-related field.

 

 

Weis explains the initiative takes resources to the farmers for help. She calls farm families resilient though there are times that some may need to talk to someone and they provide that opportunity.

 

 

Ag is facing some of the most uncertain times in recent memory and farmer suicides have increased so much that it is an industry that is among the highest suicide rate. Weis says farmers face a lot of pressure to continue despite these challenges.

 

 

Weis says the hotline and website have been a go-to resource for a while now but in recent months they've added a text line for those in the ag world to reach out to.

 

 

Those on social media are encouraged to promote the initiative by using the hashtag - #weallneedsomeonewecantalkto or #farmSOS. Again you can call or text -833-FARMSOS (833-327-6767), email farmfamilyfesource-helpline@mhsil.com. There are also a couple of web resources you can find at dewittdailynews.com today. 

Miller Media Group Establishes E-mail Address for Listeners, Readers to Express Grief to Texas Massacre Families

The Miller Media Group in Taylorville and Clinton have established an e-mail address for its listeners and readers to share comments directly to the Uvalde, Texas families affected by the May 24th massacre.

 

Company president Randal J. Miller says the e-mail address was based on an idea from a fellow broadcast group owner in Texas, as a way for Central Illinois listeners and readers to express their condolences to the families, the school staff and superintendent, of the schools in Uvalde that have been affected by this tragedy.

 

Send an e-mail to this e-mail address:  texaskids@randyradio.com.  All e-mail's the Miller Media Group receives will be printed, put in a binder, and sent to the Uvalde, Texas, School Superintendent, so he, his teachers and students, know that Central Illinois is grieving with them.  

 

Please send your e-mail by 5pm June 30th so that the Miller Media Group can get the e-mail's printed, bound, and shipped to the Uvalde, Texas, School Superintendent, so Central Illinois residents can express their condolences and expressions of support, to those affected.

Clinton Schools Approve New Teacher CBA

The Clinton School District and its teachers have a new agreement in place for three years.

 

Superintendent of Clinton Schools Curt Nettles says this year's negotiations were as smooth as he's had in his time at Clinton as they were able to hash out the agreement in a single day.

 

 

Nettles feels the deal they have reached with the teachers union is fair and gives retiring staff a good deal to go out with. He says negotiations are very smooth because there's always communication between himself, the Board of Education, and the union.

 

 

Nettles points out part of the reason Clinton schools are so attractive to incoming educators is not only the strong culture of the district but also the strong union agreements they have in place. 

DeWitt County Board Discusses County Clerk, Treasurer Pay

With a new County Clerk and County Treasurer set to take office later this year, the DeWitt County Board took up the topic of the salary of the two officials.

 

Board Chair Terry Ferguson explains the DeWitt County Board has decided to set the salary at that of the outgoing officeholders. 

 

 

Ferguson notes there's always a spirited debate about this topic because some feel it is a good time to review the starting salary of the two officeholders who will be decided on at the November election.

 

 

Count Clerk Dana Smith and County Treasurer Gloria Wills are retiring from their posts this year. 

DNR Readies for Busy Boating Weekend on Clinton

Local officials are gearing up for a busy weekend of boating on Clinton Lake.

 

In years when there is a slow start to the spring and summer boating season, if the weather holds up, it will bring the crowds out to Clinton Lake this Memorial Day weekend and that's just the scenario this year according to DNR Conservation Police Acting Captain John Williamson.

 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Capt. Williamson told Regional Radio News safety is his top priority and concern when it comes to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Among the top priorities of officials will be sobriety. 

 

 

Capt. Williamson stresses along with sober operators they are focused on life jackets. Life jackets can sometimes be contentious but it's for the safety of everyone on the boat, especially children.

 

 

Capt. Williamson encourages all boaters to get those boats started once or twice before hitting the water for the first time. He explains they frequently encounter boaters with issues who did fire the boat up for the first time on the water.

 

 

There are a lot more safety reminders Capt. Williamson has not just for Memorial Day but the boating season in general. We'll have more with Capt. Williamson later this week on Regional Radio News. 

New State Law Makes It Easier for Domestic Violence Victims to File for Order of Protection

A NEW STATE LAW WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR SURVIVORS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TO FILE AN ORDER OF PROTECTION. 

 

THE LAW PROVIDES SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL OR DOMESTIC ABUSE THE OPTION OF FILING ONLINE. IT WAS SUPPORTED BY AMANDA PYRON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NETWORK: ADVOCATING AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. SHE SAYS SOME COUNTIES HAVE ALREADY ADOPTED THIS PRACTICE IN RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC.

 

 

THE LAW ALSO REQUIRES LARGER COUNTIES IN ILLINOIS TO OFFER SURVIVORS TO ATTEND HEARINGS REMOTELY. SENATOR STEVE STADELMAN OF ROCKFORD SAYS THIS WILL HELP PROTECT SURVIVORS.

 

 

STADELMAN SAYS HE HOPES TO SEE SMALLER COUNTIES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REMOTE HEARINGS AS WELL, BUT KNOWS THAT ACCESS TO BROADBAND IS AN ISSUE IN SOME AREAS.

IDPH Warns About JIF Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS WARNING THE PUBLIC ABOUT A SALMONELLA OUTBREAK LINKED TO JIF PEANUT BUTTER. 

 

THE C-D-C HAS CONFIRMED 14 CASES OF SALMONELLA ILLNESS SPANNING 12 STATES SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MIKE CLAFFEY.

 

 

SEVERAL VARIETIES OF JIF PEANUT BUTTER PRODUCTS HAVE BEEN PULLED.

 

 

YOU CAN CHECK THE WEBSITE: FDA DOT GOV FOR A LIST OF CODES THAT FALL UNDER THE RECALL AND TOSS OUT ANY PRODUCTS THAT MATCH.

Congressman LaHood Discusses Gas Prices

Central Illinois Congressman Darrin LaHood says that the first step toward the current strain of gas prices was the Biden Administration's choice to cancel the Keystone Pipeline. The Congressman, who is running for re-election indicates Keystone would not have prevented the high gas prices but rather it was a symbol of how reliant on foreign oil America would remain under the Biden Administration.

 

 

Formerly the Representative of the 18th District, LaHood is running for re-election to Congress in the newly re-drawn 16th District.

Baby Formula Scams Popping Up

A nationwide shortage of baby formula has created a new opportunity for scammers. Desperate parents are taking creative steps to feed their infants, including seeking formula from private online sellers. The Better Business Bureau says parents need to be cautious about where they attempt to buy formula. BBB Investigator Don O’Brien says there are people getting ripped off through social media postings.

 

 

And then the formula never comes, and the victim is out their money. Online purchase scams – in which consumers pay money over the internet for one thing and receive something substantially different or nothing at all – were last year’s riskiest scam, according to the 2021 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. More than 4,000 online purchase scams have been reported to Scam Tracker so far this year.

Blue Ridge Schools Ready for Summer Programming

Graduation was this past weekend and the last day of school is Thursday for Blue Ridge Schools.

 

As the district transitions to summer, there's still a need for summer programming coming out of COVID says Superintendent Dr. Hillary Stanifer. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Dr. Stanifer told Regional Radio the COVID dollars they received will help fund this effort.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer says while some of the summer is focused on curriculum recovery, there is a component that will simply be transitional for students focusing on things like preparing for an entire school day and the work that goes into being a student at certain levels.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer says the benefits to some of the consequences of COVID that are rearing its ugly head is that they have a small number of students to focus on so they can give them all the attention they need to help them adjust and get back on track coming out of COVID. 

Summer Grilling Safety

The summer grilling season is upon us and a local University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator is offering up yearly reminders to keep ourselves, our families, and guests safe.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf is a Nutrition Educator for the U of I Extension in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties and reminds us the challenge can be keeping surfaces and hands clean is the top priority when considering food safety.

 

 

Keeping surfaces clean from those cooking or cutting boards, utensils, and even any door handle or cabinet handle clean is vital. Mellendorf encourages utilizing help any time necessary if you need to go outside or open a cabinet door.

 

 

Last but most certainly not least is to make sure we are cooking those meats to proper temperatures by standards set by the USDA. Mellendorf recommends a food thermometer no matter how high-tech it is.

 

 

The U of I Extension is working to update its meat safety webpage but if you're interested in that resource or resources for grilling safety you can do a Google search for 'U of I Extension meat safety' or 'U of I Extension grilling safety'.

Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS HAD SOME SOLID DAYS TO CATCH UP ON PLANTING AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.

 

A LITTLE OVER FOUR AND A HALF DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK, OFFERING TIME TO PLANT, APPLY FERTILIZER AND HARVEST HAY SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

 SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT THE WINTER WHEAT CROP.

 

 

78 PERCENT OF CORN AND 62 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE NOW BEEN PLANTED, WHICH IS ABOUT ON PAR WITH THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE.

 

SEVEN PERCENT OF THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS COMPLETE.

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS SEVEN PERCENT SHORT, 70 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 23 PERCENT SURPLUS.

State Joins Border-to-Border Effort

THE STATE IS JOINING THE NATIONAL "BORDER TO BORDER" CAMPAIGN TO ENFORCE SEATBELT LAWS THROUGH THE MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, STATE POLICE AND HUNDREDS OF LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES ARE TEAMING UP THIS WEEK TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS BUCKLED UP SAYS I-DOT SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.

 

 

YOU SHOULD EXPECT TO SEE A GREATER POLICE PRESENCE ON THE ROADS.

 

 

LAST YEAR THERE WERE 11 CRASHES OVER THE MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND IN ILLINOIS, LEAVING 14 PEOPLE DEAD.

How Breastfeeding Moms Can Help in Formula Shortage

Moms who’ve been saving their own breast milk but whose babies are done consuming it can donate it to help ease the baby formula shortage. OSF Healthcare Certified Lactation Counselor Kelly Hert says, depending on how cold it was frozen to, it can be good for up to a year. The Mothers Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes can pasteurize it and distribute it to other moms.

 

 

The milk bank will also take milk from mothers who are currently nurturing their babies the natural way but who are also making more than needed. Hert recommends not giving the milk directly to another mom. Medicine you took and things you ate that another baby could be allergic to could cause problems. The milk bank tests what it gets before distributing it. It can be contacted at its website at "www dot milk bank W G L dot org".

Governor Signs Bill to Protect Persons With Disabilities in Housing, Government

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING TWO NEW LAWS TO PROTECT ILLINOISANS WITH DISABILITIES WHEN IT COMES TO HOUSING AND PARTICIPATING IN STATE GOVERNMENT. 

 

THE FIRST LAW MAKES IT A CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION TO DENY SOMEONE HOUSING BECAUSE OF THEIR "SOURCE OF INCOME" SAID CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD DURING DEBATE. THAT MAY BE DISABILITY CHECKS OR SECTION EIGHT VOUCHERS.

 

 

THE SECOND NEW LAW SETS UP A TASK FORCE TO LOOK AT WAYS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN EVENTS AT THE STATE CAPITOL SUCH AS MEETINGS, LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS AND PRESS CONFERENCES.

 

 

CHICAGO, COOK COUNTY, NAPERVILLE AND URBANA ALREADY A SIMILAR LAW IN PLACE. ANOTHER MEASURE CREATES A SPECIAL TASK FORCE TO DETERIMINE HOW TO MAKE THE STATE CAPITOL GROUNDS MORE ACCESSIBLE TO THOSE WITH DISABILITIES.

DeWitt County Board Discusses Marina Contract, Extends Current Agreement

The DeWitt County at its Thursday night monthly meeting discussed the future of the contract with the current Marina operator, agreeing to extend the contract for another year.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Terry Ferguson told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Friday the discussion Thursday centered around the long-range future of the Marina versus the current agreement in place.

 

 

Some Board members argue the current contract isn't friendly for the County but Ferguson reminds that Joe Caldwell, the current Marina manager, and his group were the only ones to submit a proposal for management during the last request for proposal.

 

 

Ferguson believes the Board has spent a lot of time worrying about the little things. He points out they were going to have an audit done on the Marina at the end of the season.

 

 

Ferguson says the Board is split on the Marina and doesn't believe anyone's mind has changed on the issue. 

Community Action Celebrating Banner 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' Event

It was a banner year for a central Illinois non-profit's biggest fundraiser.

 

Breann Titus is the agency development Director for Community Action of Central Illinois and indicates it was a record-setting year for its annual fundraiser 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' and she is pleased with how the community came out to support them despite thunderstorms that rolled through.

 

 

Titus credits the success of the online auction and several vacation packages they had for the increase in funds raised this year. She is very thankful for the support the community continues to show them.

 

 

Cheeseburger in Paradise funds goes to all corners of Community Action's missions. Titus says several programs could use the boost in funding.

 

 

Titus takes pride in the fact Cheeseburger in Paradise offers an atmosphere that makes it an event that people want to come out for with live music, fresh food straight from the grill, and plenty of great drinks and entertainment for everyone. 

Inflation Impacting Schools and Expenses

It's unlikely inflation has had no impact on you or your budget and whether you handle your household's money or own a business, inflation is touching just about everyone.

 

That would include schools and leaders doing what they can to manage the increase in expenses. Mt. Pulaski Schools Superintendent Fred Lamkey indicates one thing that has provided his district with somewhat of a buffer is the co-op partnerships they have for things like electricity.

 

 

Increasingly in the last couple of decades, schools have been charged with feeding children more meals than just lunch, and the things they are mandated to feed kids have grown as well. Lamkey says those rising costs, again, have forced them to get creative.

 

 

According to Lamkey, the costs of gas are costs they are just going to have to deal with but again points out there are options for co-op opportunities.

 

 

Like other sectors of society, schools are feeling the impacts of inflation but they are taking up some initiatives this summer to help those in the Mt. Pulaski community impacted by the rising costs of everything. 

Older Americans Month Focuses on Aging in Place

THIS IS OLDER AMERICANS MONTH AND THE THEME THIS YEAR IS “AGE MY WAY.” 

 

THE GOAL IS TO PROMOTE SERVICES THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP SENIORS STAY IN THEIR HOMES. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING DIRECTOR PAULA BASTA SAYS THE BEST PLACE TO START IS THE STATE’S SENIOR HELPLINE.

 

 

THE SENIOR HELPLINE NUMBER AND SEVERAL OTHER RESOURCES INCLUDING IN-HOME SERVICES, EMERGENCY HOME RESPONSE, AUTOMATED MEDICATION DISPENSERS AND SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH AGING.

Illinois FFA Convention Next Month

Over 35-hundred blue jackets are expected in Springfield next month. The Illinois State Convention is June 14-16 at the Bank of Springfield Center says Illinois FFA Executive Director Mindy Bunselmeyer.

 

 

Illinois FFA dates back to 1929.

Illinois Department of Ag Extends Emergency Rules to Protect Poultry from Avian Influenza

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IS EXTENDING EMERGENCY RULES TO FURTHER PROTECT POULTRY FROM AVIAN INFLUEZNA. 

 

STATE VETERINARIAN DOCTOR MARK ERNST SAYS THE RULES PROHIBITING THE SALE OR EXHIBITION OF POULTRY WILL CONTINUE AND BE RE-EVALUATED IN 45 DAYS.

 

 

THE AVIAN FLU IS STILL A CONCERN SAYS ERNST, WITH THE VIRUS STILL DETECTED IN ILLINOIS JUST THIS WEEK.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, ILLINOIS 4-H IS MOVING ALL COUNTY FAIR POULTRY SHOWS TO A VIRTUAL FORMAT WHILE THE EMERGENCY RULES ARE IN PLACE. A DECISION ABOUT SHOWS AT THE STATE FAIR IS EXPECTED BY MID-JUNE.

Eight Illinois Counties at High Community COVID Levels

COVID-19 IS RAMPING UP AGAIN IN SEVERAL AREAS OF THE STATE. 

 

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REPORTING MORE THAN 40-THOUSAND NEW CASES OF INFECTION AND 56 ADDITIONAL DEATHS OVER THE PAST WEEK. 39 COUNTIES ARE AT AT THE MEDIUM LEVEL, WHILE BOONE, LEE, STEPHENSON, WINNEBAGO, PEORIA, TAZEWELL, CHAMPAIGN AND FORD ARE AT HIGH. INTERIM DIRECTOR DOCTOR AMAAL TOKARS URGES THOSE WHO HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE VACCINE TO DO SO, INCLUDING THE BOOSTER SHOT. ADDITIONALLY,

 

 

SHE URGES THOSE THAT DO GET SICK TO CALL THEIR DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY FOR THE APPROPRIATE THERAPEUTIC TREATMENT.

 

 

TOKARS SAYS THOSE IN COUNTIES WITH THE HIGH RATING SHOULD CONSIDER WEARING A MASK INDOORS, AS WELL AS ANYONE ELSE WHO PLANS TO BE AROUND A LOT OF PEOPLE OR HAS AN UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITION.

Clinton Schools Approve Ten-Cent Increase

A meal at Clinton Schools next year will cost ten cents more.

 

The Clinton Board of Education Monday night approved the increase. Superintendent Curt Nettles explains the increase comes at the recommendation of an audit done on the school's budget and it would be the first meal increase in several years.

 

 

With costs of nearly everything soaring at this point, Nettles indicates there are a lot of costs the district is simply absorbing and he credits the financial health of the district to be able to do that.

Central Illinois Has Been Spared from Severe Weather So Far This Spring

Severe weather in central Illinois has been very limited so far this spring.

 

That's according to Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln who points out April and May are some of the most active months in Illinois for severe weather. So far this year, those storms have stayed mostly west.

 

 

Just because the peak severe weather season has been mild doesn't mean we're out of the woods. Shimon reminds severe weather can hit at any time so it's best to always be alert.

Weekly Weather Summary

It was a typical week of spring weather in central Illinois. State Climatologist has a recap and looks at the weekend and the week ahead.

 

 

Clinton Junior High School to Ban Cell Phones During School Hours

Clinton Junior High School students will not be allowed to have cell phones on their persons during school hours starting next year.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles and CJHS Principal Jim Peck have been communicating about the possibility and believe it is the right move to make going into the new school year.

 

 

Nettles indicates students having cell phones on their persons is incredibly distracting during the school day and is leading to disciplinary issues sometimes.

 

 

Nettles stresses his comfort with this policy because of the technology the students will still have access to for school work as well as phones and security systems in place in the building. 

Miller Park Zoo Hosting Pair of Events Saturday Themed After Endangered Species

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington is hosting a pair of special events Saturday themed after conservation and endangered animals.

 

Jay Tetzloff is the Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo and indicates they are hosting an event at the zoo that focuses on conservation and its collection of endangered species. Additionally, there will be a competition at the mini-golf course adjacent to the zoo.

 

 

The mini-golf event is raising funds for the conservation fund for the zoo. This is something Tetzloff began at the Miller Park Zoo and it's an effort to promote conservation efforts both locally and abroad.

 

 

Tetzloff indicates his passion for conservation was reignited during COVID. He hopes the Miller Park Zoo can be a leader in showing and teaching how to make a difference in preserving populations of all animals both close to home and across the globe. 

 

Tetzloff points anyone wanting more information on this weekend's activities to find the Miller Park Zoo on Facebook or visit millerparkzoo.org. 

Online Resources for Farmers Market Season

Many opportunities to shop farmer's markets throughout Illinois. Illinois Farm Bureau associate director of food systems development Raghela Scavuzzo is promoting an online resource for consumers.

 

 

Again the web address is specialtygrowers.org/shoplocal.

Illinois Soybean Association Talks B-20 Legislation

Legislation is headed to Governor Pritzker's desk that would help soybean farmers across Illinois.

 

The Illinois Soybean Association is behind the B-20 legislation, sponsored by State Senator Patrick Joyce and State Representative Eva Dina Delgado. Andrew Larson is the Director of Marketing for ISA.

 

 

According to Larson, once the legislation is implemented, biodiesel would reduce Green House Gases emissions by nearly 2-hundred thousand tons.

Harness Racing at Illinois State Fairgrounds This Weekend

Harness Racing is coming to the Illinois State Fairgrounds this weekend. The Sumer Preview will be on the mile track Saturday. Post-time is slated for noon – and State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark says the Grandstand will be open and its free admission to watch.

 

 

There will be no pari-mutuel wagering at the track on Saturday.

IHSA Continues to Discuss Official Shortage

The IHSA continues to bring attention to an officiating shortage in all sports. Patrick Lower hosted an “Officiating 101” session last week. He’d like to see graduating seniors, who will no longer play after high school, consider joining the profession.

 

 

Lower has officiated three IHSA state basketball tournaments. In addition to officiating, he teaches and coaches in Fulton.

 

You can learn more about becoming an official at ihsa.org/Officials.

Truck Driver Shortage Still an Issue

A number of issues continue to impact the trucking industry. Don Schaefer is with Springfield-based Mid-West Truckers Association.

 

 

The Mid-West Truckers Association represents more than 4,000 members in 19 states.

Illinois Bans Ghost Guns

Illinois is banning ghost guns. What is a ghost gun?

 

It’s a firearm that can be made at home, with individual parts and doesn’t include a serial number to track who bought it or sold it. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says the problem of ghost guns is growing across the nation. And Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says they are becoming the first choice of criminals.

 

 

The bill signed today also requires anyone with a gun without a serial number to get it numbered and registered.

Early Voting for June Primary Begins Today

EARLY VOTING FOR THE JUNE PRIMARY BEGINS THURSDAY. 

 

YOU CAN CAST YOUR BALLOT AT YOUR LOCAL COUNTY CLERK OR ELECTIONS OFFICE SAYS ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS SPOKESPERSON MATT DIETRICH.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, LOCAL ELECTION AUTHORITIES CAN START SENDING OUT VOTE BY MAIL BALLOTS TO THOSE WHO HAVE REQUESTED ONE. 

 

 

THE CITY OF CHICAGO WILL START OFFERING EARLY VOTING ON MAY 26TH, AND COOK COUNTY WILL BE JUNE FIRST. DIETRICH SAYS THAT’S DUE IN PART TO COURT CHALLENGES TO SOME CANDIDACIES. YOU CAN CAST YOUR EARLY BALLOT AT YOUR LOCAL COUNTY CLERK OR ELECTIONS OFFICE.

AARP, State of Illinois Teaming Up to Urge Seniors to Get Second COVID Booster

A-A-R-P IS TEAMING UP WITH ILLINOIS OFFICIALS TO URGE SENIORS TO GET THEIR SECOND COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOT. 

 

DURING A VIRTUAL DISCUSSION, STATE EXPERTS SAID THE SECOND BOOSTER SHOT IS RECOMMENDED FOR PEOPLE OVER 50, THOSE 12 AND OLDER WITH A COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEM AND ANYONE WHO ORIGINALLY RECEIVED THE SINGLE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON SHOT. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING DIRECTOR PAULA BASTA WAS ASKED WHERE TO GET THE BOOSTER.

 

 

STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH INTERIM DIRECTOR DOCTOR AMAAL TOKARS WAS ASKED ABOUT POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS.

 

 

YOU CAN ALSO VISIT: VACCINES DOT GOV TO SEARCH FOR LOCATIONS. THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS YOU SHOULD WAIT AT LEAST FOUR MONTHS AFTER YOUR LAST DOSE TO GET THE SECOND BOOSTER.

Central Illinois Lawmaker Still Hoping for Decatur to Champaign Highway 72 to Be Named in Honor of Officer Chris Oberheim

It's National Police Week and a central Illinois lawmaker recently used his platform to honor the Champaign Police officer who was killed in the line of duty nearly a year ago.

 

Officer Chris Oberheim, who had deep ties to central Illinois, was killed responding to a domestic dispute last spring and State Senator Chapin Rose last month proposed naming the corridor of Interstate 72 between Decatur and Champaign in honor of Officer Oberheim.

 

 

According to Sen. Rose, the smear campaign against law enforcement has been disgusting and defends police officers as they are active in the communities they serve and care about their communities.

 

 

Spikes in crime in Illinois are due to several initiatives taken on by Gov. Pritzker's administration. Sen. Rose says Illinois is letting people that should be behind bars on the streets.

 

 

Sen. Rose indicates the Officer Oberheim Memorial Highway proposal will have to be taken up by the Illinois House when they reconvene but is hopeful it will be passed and signed by the Governor. 

Atlanta Tourism Director Readies for Summer Tourism Season

A central Illinois Tourism Director is readying for the busy summer tourism season.

 

Whitney Ortiz is the Director of the Atlanta, Illinois Tourism Bureau and indicates the community sees a big infusion of tourists from outside the country. She points out there are a lot of attractions unique to Atlanta that make it a must-stop on Route 66 but she also encourages stops in other communities along the historic road. 

 

 

Ortiz indicates one of the unique things about working in tourism in Atlanta is the number of tourists from out of the country. She very much enjoys having those visitors back after a couple of years.

 

 

Ortiz is looking forward to having people coming back to Atlanta this spring with a full summer of activities. You can find more about Atlanta by visiting atlantaillinois.org or searching 'Atlanta, IL' on social media. 

Summer Trending Towards Warmer Than Normal

A massive heat trend in the west is setting the midwest up for a warmer than normal summer.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates short-term shifts in the Pacific Northwest can push the heat in the west over the Midwest for three to four days and there could be plenty of notice on those shifts so he says to be on the lookout.

 

 

While the central Illinois portion of the Midwest is trending dry, it is not going to be nearly as dry as the upper Midwest. Shimon expects things to be very dry the farther west you go.

 

 

As we get to the fall, there are currently equal chances of above and below normal temperatures and the same for precipitation. 

Piatt County Sheriff Discusses National Police Week

It's National Police Week and this week we've heard from local law enforcement officials on National Police Week and today a Piatt County Law Enforcement Official is weighing in on the week of recognition.

 

Piatt County Sheriff Mark Vogelzang indicates the last month has allowed him to highlight those that make up the first responders community. In early April, it was telecommunicators week.

 

 

In late April, administrative professionals were recognized, and earlier this month, corrections officers were honored. Sheriff Vogelzang says both play integral parts in the criminal justice process behind the scenes.

 

 

Assaults on police officers in just the last few years have exponentially increased and Sheriff Vogelzang believes there has been a rapid shift away from respecting authorities and unfortunately police and first responders are among those that are experiencing the consequences.

 

 

Sheriff Vogelzang sees a couple of opportunities to rectify the situation. He believes a short-term solution is to hold criminals accountable for their actions but in the long term, there needs to be an emphasis on restoring the family structure.

 

 

Sheriff Vogelzang indicates this National Police Week hits close to home, particularly because of last year's tragic death of Officer Chris Oberheim in Champaign. Officer Oberheim and Sheriff Vogelzang shared residency in Monticello and worked together on the Champaign Police Force. 

Several Factors Go Into Weight Loss Struggles for People

Have you embarked on a weight loss journey and lost an initial ten to twenty pounds but can't seem to lose more?

 

That's a pretty common challenge for a lot of people. Dr. Jim LaValle is the author of 'Cracking the Metabolic Code' and is the clinical director for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Performance Health Program says you will want to count calories. He believes you might just be surprised by how many calories you're taking in.

 

 

Things like a decrease in testosterone for men or hormonal changes in women can often lead to weight gain. Dr. LaValle says stress in everyone can prompt weight gain.

 

 

When it comes to dieting, Dr. LaValle says some foods lead to internal inflammation that we need to look out for. He indicates this is a tricky topic because a lot of people react differently to certain foods. We'll break this down further with Dr. LaValle in the days ahead on Regional Radio. 

State of Illinois to Address Baby Formula Shortage

THE STATE IS TAKING ACTION TO HELP FAMILIES AFFECTED BY THE CURRENT SHORTAGE OF BABY FORMULA. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS WORKING CLOSELY WITH MEAD JOHNSON, THE CHICAGO-BASED MANUFACTURER OR ENFAMIL TO ENSURE LOW INCOME PARENTS HAVE THE FORMULA THEY NEED. RETAILERS ARE ASKED TO DO THEIR PART AS WELL SAYS D-H-S SPOKESPERSON MARISA KOLLIAS.

 

 

KOLLIAS SAYS THEY KNOW HOW STRESSFUL THIS HAS BEEN FOR PARENTS.

 

 

D-H-S HAS TRAINED CASEWORKERS TO ASSIST FAMILIES WITH FORMULA QUESTIONS THROUGH A HELPLINE AT 1-800-843-6154. YOU CAN ALSO GO ONLINE FOR ANSWERS AT: DHS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH BABY FORMULA.

Sen. Durbin Criticizes Energy Companies for Gas Prices

Illinois' Senior Senator is pointing the finger at energy companies for the high gas prices.

 

According to Seate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, energy companies are using their powers to 'price gouge.'

 

 

According to GasBuddy, prices across the state are 47 cents higher than a month ago and more than one-dollar 63-cents higher than a year ago. In central Illinois, gas prices remained high over the week but remained unchanged from last week, sitting at $4.83 a gallon.

More Laws to Protect Illinois Workers

NEW STATE LAWS WILL FURTHER PROTECT WORKERS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE FIRST MEASURE STRENGTHENS THE ONE DAY REST IN SEVEN ACT, WHICH GIVES EMPLOYEES THE RIGHT TO AT LEAST ONE DAY OFF EVERY WORKWEEK SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ACTING DIRECTOR JANE FLANAGAN.

 

 

A SECOND NEW LAW ADDRESSES CHILDREN IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, REQUIRING EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE MORE JUSTIFICATION FOR EXPECTING YOUNG PERFORMERS TO WORK OVERNIGHT HOURS.

 

 

IT ALSO REQUIRES EMPLOYERS TO GIVE WORKERS AN ADDITIONAL 20 MINUTE BREAK DURING A 12 HOUR SHIFT.

Memorial Health Systems Pediatrician Breaks Down Baby Formula Shortage

Some families are struggling to find baby formula and a pediatrician says she understands the panic and stress of fearing you will run out of something to feed your baby. But Dr. Virginia Dolan says resist the urge to water down existing formula.

 

 

Dolan works with Memorial Health Systems and adds that recent good news about the Abbott Labs formula factory being reopened should begin to ease the supply crunch in the next 8 – 10 weeks.

Illinois Schools Now Have to Offer Plant-Based Food Options

SCHOOLS WILL HAVE TO PROVIDE STUDENTS WITH PLANT-BASED MEAL OPTIONS UNDER A NEW STATE LAW. 

 

THE LAW SAYS THAT VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN MEALS MUST BE AVAILABLE TO KIDS WHO SUBMIT A REQUEST AHEAD OF TIME. IT WAS SUPPORTED BY SENATOR MATTIE HUNTER OF CHICAGO.

 

 

CRITICS WORRY THIS MAY BE TOO COSTLY FOR SCHOOLS. DURING DEBATE, BILL SPONSOR, SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER OF PEORIA DISAGREED.

 

 

THIS NEW REQUIREMENT WON’T TAKE EFFECT UNTIL THE SCHOOL YEAR BEGINNING IN AUGUST OF 2023.

Illinois House Republicans Call for Changes at DCFS

ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE CALLING FOR MAJOR CHANGES AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES.

 

G-O-P LAWMAKERS SAY A RECENT AUDIT, CRITICAL OF THE AGENCY, ILLUSTRATES WHY THERE SHOULD BE NEW LEADERSHIP, IMPROVED POLICIES AND MORE TRANSPARENCY AT D-C-F-S. REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS BOS OF LAKE ZURICH:

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WAS ASKED ON MONDAY ABOUT THE PROBLEMS AT D-C-F-S AND WHETHER THE CURRENT DIRECTOR SHOULD BE REPLACED. THE GOVERNOR SAID THE AGENCY NEEDS STABILITY AND THAT MARC SMITH IS A GOOD LEADER.

 

 

REPUBLICANS SAY THERE HAS BEEN PLENTY OF TIME FOR IMPROVEMENTS AT D-C-F-S.

Farm Family Resource Initiative Promoting Telehealth

May is mental health month and a statewide help line is expanding the services it offers. The Farm Family Resource Initiative was started in 2019 as a 24-Hour helpline for those needing mental health assistance and now SIU School of Medicine’s Karen Stallman says once you call 1-833-FARM-SOS looking for help, you can follow up with more personal care.

 

 

Up to six tele-heath sessions are offered free of charge.

In 50th Year of Title IX, Woman Leading IHSA Board

The 50th anniversary of Title IX is being celebrated this year and it has added significance for the current IHSA board president. Katy Hasson is just the second woman to serve in that role since the organization’s inception in 1903.

 

 

Hasson was first elected to the IHSA board in 2016 and this is her second school year serving as IHSA board president. She is the principal at Rockridge High School in western Illinois.

Secretary Vilsack Promoting Rural Development Efforts

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack promoted the rural development arm of his agency. He says the recently approved bipartisan infrastructure plan will help rural areas.

 

 

Vilsack is a former small town mayor, serving in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Communities can learn more about USDA Rural Development Programs at rd.usda.gov.

State FFA Convention Next Month

In about a month the Illinois FFA will hold their annual convention. 

 

Last year the group held outdoor events to accommodate COVID-19 mitigations but this year the convention will be at its traditional home, the Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield. Kara Freebarin FFA State Treasurer says state officers are thrilled be back and they are deep into planning for thousands of students to attend.

 

 

The convention runs June 14 to 16.

Illinois Superintendent of Education Expects State to Turn Around Teacher Shortage

Illinois State Supt. of Education Carmen Ayala feels recent legislation to help more people become teachers will turn around a teacher shortage. 

 

One of the bills Gov. Pritzker signed last month lowers the fee to reinstate a lapsed teaching certificate. Another lowers the age to be a classroom aide. And another increases the number of days a substitute teacher can be in the same classroom in some circumstances. Ayala says there are other things going on in Illinois to develop a pipeline for students to become teachers.

 

 

The shortage is caused at least in part by teachers leaving the profession. Ayala says those teachers are making the kinds of career and retirement decisions everyone makes. 

 

Sometimes, it's just time to retire or move on to another line of work. Education reform is a factor for some. Ayala says with every reform, some teachers decide teaching isn't for them anymore.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $11.2-Million in Funding to Support Family Planning Services

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING MORE THAN 11 MILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING TO FAMILY PLANNING CLINICS AROUND THE STATE. 

 

A FEDERAL GRANT AND MATCHING STATE MONEY WILL HELP BOOST THE EFFORTS OF CLINICS PROVIDING CRITICAL REPRODUCTIVE CARE SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THIS WILL FUND VITAL HEALTH CARE FOR WOMEN.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THESE SERVICES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER AS ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS INCREASE. 

Normal Native in Top 3 of American Idol

After a nationwide vote on Sunday night, Normal native Leah Marlene is headed to the American Idol season finale after being voted into the top 3. Derry Grehan, Marlene's dad and former lead guitarist of the Honeymoon Suite rock band, said he's been blown away by his daughter's success.

 

 

As part of the top 3, the town is holding a parade, and Marlene is performing a concert in uptown Normal at 7:30 on Tuesday. Film crews from American Idol are recording the parade and performance to be displayed during the season finale on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS FINALLY GOT CHANCE TO REALLY GET SOME WORK DONE IN THE FIELDS THIS PAST WEEK. 

 

AFTER QUITE A FEW RAINY DAYS IN A ROW, MORE THAN FIVE DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS PRODUCERS SPENT THAT TIME TILLING FIELDS, APPLYING FERTILIZER, AND PLANTING CROPS.

 

 

SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT SOYBEANS:

 

 

57 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT TWO PERCENT SHORT, 81 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 17 PERCENT SURPLUS.

DeWitt County Sheriff Discusses National Police Week

It's National Police Week and local authorities are taking the opportunity to highlight the work of law enforcement and the positive impacts they have on their communities.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio News law enforcement is a great opportunity to serve the community they work for and it is a noble profession.

 

 

The shift in how law enforcement is treated and regarded has resulted in officers fleeing the profession leaving agencies everywhere struggling to staff departments.

 

 

According to Sheriff Walker, the shift in the views of law enforcement in the last several years has been as rapid of a change as he's ever seen in his 35-plus year career. He believes a lot of the changes are due to 'knee-jerk reactions by the public based on very incomplete information.

 

 

Yesterday on Regional Radio, we heard from Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers that there has been a general increase in hostility towards authority and law enforcement. While the Sheriff agrees with that, contrary to what the Chief has seen, the Sheriff has not seen much of an increase in the number of complaints his department receives regarding stops made by his staff. 

Community Action Welcomes New CEO

Community Action has named its new top executive.

 

Jeniffer DeWeese has been tabbed to the post of Executive Director for the non-profit in central Illinois. On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, the agency introduced DeWeese and outlined her journey to the top spot in the agency and her roots as an educator in the Head Start program.

 

 

Having been named to the post for almost a week now, DeWeese says she is getting the process started by learning about all the aspects that encompass Community Action.

 

 

In her introduction to all the leaders of Community Action and learning all the intricacies of the agency, she credits the leadership in place and will look to them to find out how she can best support them.

 

 

Alison Rumler-Gomez resigned from the agency earlier this year and the search for her replacement took a few months. Rumler-Gomez was instrumental in engineering a philosophical shift within the agency geared towards a mission of getting those in its communities out of poverty and into a thriving, self-reliant lifestyle. 

 

DeWeese says she looks forward to carrying on that mission and vision laid out by Rumler-Gomez. 

Annual May Days Festival Opens This Thursday

The weather is projected to be exceptional for an annual festival in Clinton this weekend.

 

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce's annual May Days Festival saw a banner year in its return from a 2020 COVID year last May and Clinton Chamber Executive Director Marian Brisard indicates there's a new attraction admittance system in place for this year.

 

 

While primarily a fundraiser for the Chamber, May Days is an event they have offered for many years running that gives the community a fun atmosphere to usher in the nice weather of the spring and summer. 

 

 

There are lots of entertainment options for this year's festival. According to Brisard, there will be bands playing on the square, including a throwback to some of the early years of the festival as well as a Clinton school kids competition.

 

 

With the new carnival for this year's festival, pre-sale armbands for the carnival are on sale now. Brisard reminds you can save a good amount of money with a pre-sale armband and they are available at locations throughout the community.

 

 

May Days kicks off Thursday evening with the Carnival going from 5 pm to 10 pm. The Carnival will go from 5 pm to 10 pm Thursday and Friday, from noon to 4 pm then 5 pm to 10 pm Saturday, and finally from 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday. 

 

A flag ceremony opens the festival Thursday at 5:30 pm on Mr. Lincoln Square. Visit clintonilchamber.com/madays-festival for a full list of all the happenings and locations for pre-sale discounted armbands for the carnival. 

State FFA Convention Next Month

In about a month the Illinois FFA will hold their annual convention. 

 

Last year the group held outdoor events to accommodate COVID-19 mitigations but this year the convention will be at its traditional home, the Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield. Kara Freebarin FFA State Treasurer says state officers are thrilled be back and they are deep into planning for thousands of students to attend.

 

 

The convention runs June 14 to 16.

State Superintendent Expects State to Turn Around Teacher Shortage

Illinois State Supt. of Education Carmen Ayala feels recent legislation to help more people become teachers will turn around a teacher shortage. 

 

One of the bills Gov. Pritzker signed last month lowers the fee to reinstate a lapsed teaching certificate. Another lowers the age to be a classroom aide. And another increases the number of days a substitute teacher can be in the same classroom in some circumstances. Ayala says there are other things going on in Illinois to develop a pipeline for students to become teachers.

 

 

The shortage is caused at least in part by teachers leaving the profession. Ayala says those teachers are making the kinds of career and retirement decisions everyone makes. 

 

Sometimes, it's just time to retire or move on to another line of work. Education reform is a factor for some. Ayala says with every reform, some teachers decide teaching isn't for them anymore.

New State Law Targets Retail Crime

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW TO COMBAT ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE LAW GIVES LOCAL PROSECUTORS MORE AUTHORITY TO GO AFTER SMASH-AND-GRAB CRIMINALS IN OTHER COUNTIES AND THE ILLNOIS ATTORNEY GENEAL COULD PROSECUTE VIA A STATEWIDE GRAND JURY SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL HELPED DRAFT THE LEGISLATION AND SAYS WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT PETTY SHOPLIFTING. THE LAW TARGETS ORGANIZED GANG EFFORTS TO QUICKLY STEAL A LOT OF MERCHANDISE AND THEN SELL IT ONLINE. BUT HE SAYS THIS IS ABOUT MORE THAN STOLEN GOODS.

 

 

THE LAW ALSO CREATES THE "INFORM ACT", CRACKING DOWN ON STOLEN GOODS BEING SOLD ONLINE BY REQUIRING THIRD-PARTY SELLERS TO VERIFY THEIR IDENTITY.

Clinton Police Chief Highlights Police Week

It's National Police Week and local authorities are discussing what it means to be able to promote their agencies and officers.

 

Among those is Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers who says there have been four active police officers that have passed away so far this year but only one is a line of duty death.

 

 

Before COVID, law enforcement officials had an initiative titled 'Under 100'. The idea was to bring the number of police fatalities in the line of duty to under 100. That effort has stalled since the spring of 2020.

 

 

Additionally, inflation of the officers killed in the line of duty has been a general disregard for authorities. Chief Lowers believes there are a lot of factors that are playing into this new atmosphere of anti-police.

 

 

Chief Lowers points out since the rise of the anti-police and disregard for authority movements, the complaints about officers doing their jobs have increased exponentially. 

 

 

While the Chief has strong opinions on the environment for law enforcement, he is appreciative to live in a community that is a strong supporter of its law enforcement officers. 

 

We'll hear more from law enforcement officials throughout the week on Regional Radio regarding National Police Week. 

May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month

May is National Osteoporosis Month and an ideal time to consider assessing bone health. 

 

Monica Nyman is a Registered Dietitian and Senior Nutrition Educator with the St. Louis Dairy Council and explains osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become fragile and break easily. 

 

 

Bone health starts at an early age. Osteoporosis is often referred to as a pediatric disease with geriatric consequences and Nyman points out peak bone mass is the greatest amount of bone an individual can attain; reached in the late teens and early 20s.

 

 

Dairy Foods help build bones. Dairy’s unique package provides the right ingredients for building bones.  Calcium and phosphorus fortify the skeleton system, vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, and protein supports the structure of bones. Nyman explains getting more calcium in your diet can be as easy as drinking milk with meals, adding cheese to salads, pasta, and casseroles, or preparing soups and hot cereal with milk instead of water.

 

 

Nyman points out there are easy ways to maintain bone health as you age. She encourages eating calcium-rich foods, getting enough Vitamin D, exercising, and making good lifestyle choices.

 

 

 Children and adolescents today are more likely to break a bone than their parents were. Nine out of 10 girls and 6 out of 10 boys aged 12-19 do not consume adequate calcium in their diet. Nyman encourages helping your kids develop healthy habits for life is to be a good role models by drinking milk with meals, eating calcium-rich snacks, and getting plenty of weight-bearing exercise.

Above Normal Temperatures to Conclude May

The first part of May has been a struggle from a weather perspective with lots of rain and cooler than normal days but things quickly turned around as we experienced record-setting heat that is going to transition us to more moderate weather to conclude May.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates last week's heatwave set records at their sites in Lincoln, Peoria, and Springfield for both daytime highs and overnight lows.

 

 

While today's weather is ideal, Shimon indicates there are chances of showers Tuesday and Wednesday this week before we return to above normal chances for warm weather the rest of the month.

 

 

Outlooks are indicating just a slightly above normal chance for precipitation to conclude the month. Shimon notes when you start talking about increased humidity, that does bring chances of pop showers and even thunderstorms so he implores to be watchful. 

Clinton Police Chief Touts Sunday's 'Peace Officer Memorial Day'

Sunday is Peace Officer Memorial Day. This upcoming week is police week.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers annually recognizes the three officers in DeWitt County killed in the line of duty. 

 

 

This coming week on Regional Radio, we'll hear from other central Illinois law enforcement officials on Police Week. We'll also hear from Chief Lowers more on the increase in the line of duty deaths. 

Piatt County Sheriff Encouraging Caution With Planters Out for Seasonal Work

Farmers are taking advantage of the sudden turn in the weather and are hitting the fields to get that seed in the ground.

 

You've likely encountered a planter on the road whether you're traveling on rural roadways or maybe the occasional planter rolling along the highway or through town. Piatt County Sheriff Mark Vogelzang says slow down and give everyone plenty of space.

 

 

Sheriff Vogelzang indicates you want to be extremely careful when you encounter a planter or other implement because of now only their size but because of how difficult they can be to navigate a roadway with traffic.

 

 

Sheriff Vogelzang credits the farmers of Piatt County for their attentiveness and respect for other drivers during a hectic time. 

Sangamon County Sheriff Discusses Gas Prices Impacts on Budget

Fuel prices are eating into everyone’s budget.

 

Police cars need to be on the road every day and now local departments are paying more than ever to patrol streets. Sangamon County Sherriff Jack Campbell says their fuel bill nearly doubled month over month this spring but the job means being out and about.

 

 

Campbell’s expecting the bill to increase this summer as fuel prices continue to rise.

May Winter Wheat Production Report

ILLINOIS WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTION IS PROJECTED TO BE UP THIS YEAR. 

 

THE MAY REPORT IS OUT AND CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS WHILE THE YIELD IS DOWN A LITTLE BIT, MORE ACRES ARE EXPECTED TO BE HARVESTED.

 

 

OVERALL WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTION IS FORECASTED TO BE 49 POINT FIVE MILLION BUSHELS, AN INCREASE OF THREE PERCENT OVER LAST YEAR. ADDITIONALLY, ILLINOIS PRODUCERS SAY THE AMOUNT OF HAY STORED ON FARMS IS DOWN ABOUT FOUR PERCENT FROM ONE YEAR AGO.

 

 

NATIONALLY, WINTER WHEAT PRODUCTION IS FORECASTED TO BE DOWN BY EIGHT PERCENT.

Weekly Weather Summary

We saw record-setting heat in some place in Illinois this week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more on the past week and the week ahead...

 

 

Rain to Roll Through Parts of Illinois This Weekend

A lot of spring yard work was done this past weekend with exceptionally nice days and depending on where you're at in Illinois, there could be the opportunity for more. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio a line of storms should start to form tonight but will fizzle out as they head east.

 

 

Humidity has been very present with the heat that came through this week. Shimon says dew points could remain high on Saturday but things will cool and create a pleasant day for Sunday and even Monday.

 

 

Tuesday and Wednesday there are more chances for rain in central Illinois but Shimon says things moderate heading into the middle-to-late part of the week with more warm air the last week of May. 

The Vault Leadership Discusses Mental, Emotional Wellness of Youth

Youth in Illinois has returned to a normal school year and masks have been off for a couple of months now but a Clinton non-profit says that doesn't mean kids are well.

 

While some kids are doing just fine, there seems to be a general disinterest among young people says The Vault's Founder Michelle Witzke and Executive Director Tammy Wilson. Wilson points out a recent article that outlined what youth are going through and she says it describes a lot of what they see in the kids.

 

 

According to Wilson, they are trying to get young people to express their feelings through their words. She says their counselors are doing a good job of connecting with the kids to find meaning.

 

 

Witzke says a lot of kids have changed and called them not the same kids they were before the pandemic. Wilson wonders too if kids were disconnected for so long and if they are having a hard time learning to navigate those relationships.

 

 

The Vault held a program this past Tuesday night for the kids on relationships and things like perspective, sex, and even abuse. 

DeWitt County Friendship Center Executive Director Focusing Grant Opportunities

Grant funding is becoming more available and a DeWitt County non-profit leader is focusing on trying to secure grants to help in some areas of need.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, DeWitt County Friendship Center Executive Director Paula Jiles told Regional Radio News the Friendship Center is hoping funding from the ARPA money the County is offering to non-profits and small businesses can help them afford a new van.

 

 

Jiles has discovered that restaurant chain Chik-Fil-A has a grant program that non-profits can apply for. She is seeking $30,000 from that opportunity to upgrade the agency van they have.

 

 

Jiles says her priority is the roof of the Friendship Center but there are other areas of need they will be addressing. She indicates any funding through grants is less of the Friendship Center budget they have to dedicate to those expenses. 

McLean County Museum of History Offering Summer Camp for Young History Buffs

If you or a young person in your life enjoys history and has just a little bit of a passion for it, a McLean County non-profit has a one-week, summer program for them.

 

Candace Summers with the McLean County Museum of History indicates this annual week of exploration in the summer allows young people to get a glimpse of what can be done professionally in the arena of history.

 

 

For the individual that knows they love history but they don't know what they could do with that passion for a career, Summers indicates that was her as a young person and was fortunate to find herself in a career that centers around history and research.

 

 

Summers has been the summer program for the Museum long enough she had a young student stop her in a McLean County School and tell her a presentation she made inspired her to pursue her passion for history. Summers hopes an impact like that is what the program inspires.

 

 

The program runs from July 11-15. Registration opened last week but there are only 16 openings. Summers points anyone wanting more information to visit mchistory.org. 

State Affirming Abortion Coverage to Medicaid Recipients

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS CONFIRMING THAT STATE COVERAGE OF ABORTIONS FOR LOW INCOME WOMEN WILL CONTINUE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

ILLINOIS IS ONE OF ONLY 16 STATES THAT PROVIDES MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR ABORTION CARE. THIS IS A PART OF STATE LAW AND WILL BE VIGOROUSLY DEFENDED SAYS THE GOVERNOR. HE HAD THIS TO SAY ABOUT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS ON WEDNESDAY:

 

 

THE GOVERNOR ALSO SAID:

 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHCARE AND FAMILY SERVICES IS ADVISING MANAGED CARE COMPANIES THAT HELP ADMINISTER MEDICAID ABOUT THE LAW AND THAT THEY MAY BE GETTING QUESTIONS ABOUT COVERAGE.

House GOP Questions Spending in New State Budget

HOUSE REPUBLICANS CONTINUE TO QUESTION SPENDING IN THE NEW STATE BUDGET.

 

THE G-O-P CRITICIZES THE INCREASED SPENDING PLANNED FOR THE NEW FISCAL YEAR, SAYING THE BUDGET RELIES TOO HEAVILY ON ONE-TIME FEDERAL COVID-19 RELIEF MONEY TO FUND PROJECTS IN DEMOCRATIC DISTRICTS. REPRESENTATIVE TOM DEMMER OF DIXON:

 

 

HOUSE G-O-P LEADER JIM DURKIN SAYS THAT’S MONEY THAT WON’T BE THERE IN THE FUTURE.

 

 

DURKIN SAYS ANY EXTRA MONEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN USED TO SHORE UP THE STATE’S UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUND WHICH TOOK A BIG HIT DURING THE PANDEMIC.

 

REPUBLICANS SAY THEY WERE LEFT OUT OF FINAL BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS AND THAT THE NECESSITY OF THESE PROJECTS WAS NEVER VETTED PROPERLY.

Property Thefts on Rise in Clinton

Central Illinois went from feeling like mid-March to mid-August almost overnight and that quick transition has local authorities reminding residents of a few things to remember.

 

While the hot and humid temperatures of the midweek are expected to be short-lived, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday implored residents to keep a lookout for their neighbors, especially elderly neighbors.

 

 

Yearly, Chief Lowers indicates the seasonal transition brings more folks out for walks and gatherings. He indicates this often brings with it an increase in crime and the Chief points out this year in particular, there is an increase in thefts locally.

 

 

The Chief offers his annual reminders for residents to remove all valuables from vehicles and lock those cars up. He reminds they encounter very few forced entries into motor vehicles.

 

 

With May Days just a week away, Chief Lowers reminds residents to be aware of closures that happen on the square and encourages attendees to keep those dogs at home. He becomes concerned with the responses of dogs in big crowds and the safety of others. 

Clinton YMCA Gearing Up for Monticello Y-Zone Summer Camp

The Clinton YMCA in recent years has expanded programming to Monticello and the summer program Monticello Y-Zone summer camp is back again this summer.

 

Executive Director of the Clinton Y, Rennie Cluver indicates Monticello Y-Zone summer camp looks very similar to the Clinton version of Camp Osage with themed weeks, trips to the Monticello community pool, and Allerton Park.

 

 

Monticello Y-Zone summer camp registration is done all online this year. Cluver indicates much of the other aspects of the program mirror Camp Osage for drop-off and pick-up times.

 

 

clintoncommymca.org is the YMCA website and if Monticello folks are in the Clinton area, they can stop by the Y at 417 South Alexander Street or call 217-935-8307. 

State Representative Dan Caulkins Endorses Darren Bailey

State Representative Dan Caulkins is endorsing State Senator Darren Bailey for the Republican nomination in the Illinois Governor's race.

 

The Decatur Republican broke down the five candidates vying for the nomination in the June primary. Rep. Caulkins discussed two long-shots for the nomination in Gary Rabine and Paul Schimpf. 

 

 

Perhaps the three candidates with the best chances at securing the nomination are Aurora Mayor Richard Irvine, businessman Jesse Sullivan, and Senator Darren Bailey. Rep. Caulkins says Sullivan doesn't know why he's running for Governor.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins has blistering criticism for the campaign of Mayor Irvine's campaign calling them despicable, immoral people and accusing them of sending out twisted flyers every week. He says Irvine has no platform to run on. 

 

 

Bailey and Caulkins came to the General Assembly at the same time and Rep. Caulkins believes Bailey will be a solid, conservative with impeccable credentials. 

 

 

Rep. Caulkins announced his support for Sen. Bailey on the WHOW Morning Show Monday. 

Illinois Gas Prices Sixth Highest in US; Diesel Fifth Cheapest

Gas prices jumped 19 cents in Illinois in this week's GasBuddy price report. Prices have seen a constant rise since the beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine, and according to GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan, they are not going down anytime soon.

 

 

DeHaan says that Illinois ranks the sixth highest in average gasoline prices in the nation at $4.80, while diesel is averaged at $5.27 cents, which is actually the 10th cheapest.

Gov. Pritzker Urges Congress to Act to Support Women's Reproductive Rights

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING CONGRESS TO ACT QUICKLY TO PROTECT WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. 

 

ILLINOIS HAS DONE ITS PART TO MAKE SURE WOMEN CAN CHOOSE HEALTH CARE OPTIONS FOR THEMSELVES AND NOW FEDERAL LAWMAKERS MUST DO THE SAME SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR MADE HIS REMARKS AT A PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINIC IN THE METRO EAST AREA, WHERE 75 PERCENT OF PATIENTS SEEKING CARE ARE FROM OUT OF STATE.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS ILLINOIS WILL REMAIN A PLACE WHERE WOMEN ARE FREE TO CHOOSE.

Illinois Farm Bureau President Gets Brief One-on-One with President Biden

Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert gets some one-on-one time with President Biden during his visit to a Kankakee County farm Wednesday afternoon.

 

 

President Biden announced measures to boost domestic fertilizer production and incentives for double cropping during his Wednesday visit at O’Connor Farms in Kankakee County.

Blood Donors Needed Heading Into Summer

The American Red Cross is in need of blood during the summer months at least as much if not more than during the rest of the year, according to an agency spokesman. 

 

As a rule, donations fall off between May and August. When schools let out for summer and families set off on vacation, the American Red Cross typically sees a decline in donors, which can impact patient care. Red Cross spokesman Joe Zydlo (ZID-low) says it’s important that donors make an appointment to give now before heading out for summer activities to help maintain a stable blood supply in the coming months.

 

 

You can find information about how to donate on the organization's website: www.RedCross.org.

Little Galilee Gearing Up for Summer Camp Season

Little Galilee Christian Camp in Clinton is gearing up for its busy summer camp season that will welcome hundreds of youth from across the state.

 

Registration is underway for the summer camp season and on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Camp Activities Director Max Aper told Regional Radio the camp will see an influx of registrations as school gets out for the summer. 

 

 

Last summer was among the most attended summer camps Little Galilee has had. Aper says they are approaching 1,000 registrations for this summer so far. He adds if a student is attending camp for the first time this summer, they will pay for their admission.

 

 

Aper notes Little Galilee is going to offer its family camp three times this year. The first one is the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, then the Fourth of July Weekend, and finally Labor Day weekend.

 

 

Aper points anyone wanting a schedule of the summer camp schedule or information about registration to visit littlegalilee.com. 

Congressman Davis Discusses Potential Overturning of Roe v. Wade

It's been a few weeks since the classified draft opinion was leaked and a central Illinois Congressman recently offered his thoughts on the monumental Supreme Court decision being overturned.

 

Congressman Rodney Davis says the overturning of Roe v. Wade would not change much for Illinois because it is one of the most pro-abortion states in the union.

 

 

The Taylorville Republican is not surprised by the response to the opinion being leaked. He says it is actions like these that promote a dangerous environment for those justices being targeted.

 

 

Political pundits have indicated the overturning of Roe v Wade could energize voters to turn out to support Democrats in the upcoming election cycles but Congressman Davis wonders how much of that is conjecture.

 

 

Congressman Davis hopes there will be an investigation into who leaked the opinion and serious consequences come to that individual. 

Jet Stream Alignment Causing Warm Temperatures

You can credit the alignment of the jet stream for the sweltering May temperatures this week says Freese-Notis meteorologist Dan Hicks.

 

 

Hicks says more moderate temperatures are expected by the weekend.

Illinois State Police Offering New Incentives to Become State Trooper

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS OFFERING A NEW TRAINING PROGRAM TO ATTRACT MORE POTENTIAL TROOPERS.

 

THE LATERAL ENTRY TRAINING PROGRAM IS DESIGNED FOR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT LOOKING TO BECOME A STATE POLICE TROOPER. CADETS WILL SPEND TIME AT THE ACADEMY IN SPRINGFIELD, BUT ALSO COMPLETE SOME OF THE TRAINING AT HOME SAYS I-S-P DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, A NEW STATE LAW LOWERS THE RETIREMENT AGE FOR TROOPERS FROM 60 TO 55.

 

i

 

NEW TROOPERS ARE THEN ASSIGNED TO THEIR HOME DISTRICTS. 

Help for Farmers Struggline With Mental Health Issues

MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH AND HELP IS AVAILABLE FOR FARMERS WHO ARE STRUGGLING. 

 

WHETHER IT BE STRESS OVER PLANTING DELAYS OR UNCERTAINTIES ABOUT THE GLOBAL MARKET, FARMERS MAY BE HAVING A TOUGH TIME RIGHT NOW. BUT KAREN STALLMAN WITH THE FARM FAMILY RESOURCE INITIATIVE SAYS A HOTLINE IS AVAILABLE FOR FARMERS TO REACH OUT 24-7.

 

 

THE CALL IS ANONYMOUS AND RESOURCES WILL BE OFFERED FOR FURTHER ASSISTANCE. FARMERS, THEIR SPOUSES OR KIDS HAVING MENTAL HEALTH CONCERNS CAN CALL OR TEXT THE HOTLINE AT: 1-833-FARM-SOS.

 

 

THE HOTLINE IS AVAILABLE 24-7 VIA TEXT OR PHONE CALL AT: 1-833-FARM SOS.

Fallen Firefighters Honored

A day of honor for firefighters in Illinois. The 29th Annual Fallen Fighters Memorial is in Springfield to recognize four firefighters killed in the line of duty last year. Governor JB Pritzker says everyone in the state stands behind the families left behind.

 

 

Two firefighters from Chicago, one from Sterling and another from the Wabash Protection District were honored and remembered.

Constellation Hosting Open House Next Monday

Constellation Energy, formerly Exelon, is inviting the public out for an open house next Monday at the Clinton Power Plant.

 

Crystal Brinkley is a Training Project Specialist at Constellation in Clinton and indicates this open house will be Monday, May 16 from 4 pm to 7 pm at the training building at the site. She says the public can watch a simulation from a mock control room along with drone footage of the innovations of keeping radiation down.

 

 

Brinkley says there will be something for everyone of all ages. The open house will have refreshments and drinks and there will be activities for kids.

 

 

The open house is again next Monday, May 16 from 4 pm to 7 pm. Brinkley encourages those coming out to follow the signage as they get to the plant. Those will direct visitors to the training facility on the campus. 

Rep. Caulkins Predicts Severe Energy Crisis in Illinois

Could the impacts of Illinois' energy legislation be felt this summer?

 

A central Illinois lawmaker thinks so. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, State Representative Dan Caulkins is predicting Illinois could see impactful power shortages this summer because there will be a shortage of energy to support the state.

 

 

During peak demand times through the summer months, the Decatur Republican predicts calls for scaling back on energy consumption, and families and businesses are going to be shocked when their energy bills are very high.

 

 

The Clinton Power Station is the only supplier of nuclear power downstate and Rep. Caulkins points out the lack of energy supplied to the grid in downstate Illinois has been an issue for a couple of years now.

 

 

According to Rep. Caulkins, Illinois has two coal-fired plants that could supply Illinois with the exact amount of energy needed to power the State but those are getting shut down as part of the Governor's energy initiatives.

 

 

Rep. Caulkins indicates last summer, big energy generators were requested to cut back on power consumption but also requested to produce as much energy as possible. He believes this will be an issue in House, Senate, and even the Governor's races this summer and in November. 

Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS CONTINUE TO FALL FURTHER BEHIND IN PLANTING AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

ON AVERAGE, LESS THAN TWO DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN STEVE PARN.

 

 

JUST 11 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED COMPARED TO 55 PERCENT AT THIS TIME LAST YEAR. 

 

 

PASTURES ARE RATED AT 68 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.

 

19 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 45 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS ONE PERCENT SHORT, 49 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 50 PERCENT SURPLUS.

Illinois Should See Planting Progress This Week

Plenty of planting progress should occur in Western Illinois this week with warming temps. Phil Fuhr (four) farms in lower Rock Island County.

 

 

This is Fuhr’s 30th year of farming.

Heat, Humidity for Most of Illinois This Week

Very warm air impacting much of Illinois this week. Heat index readings will approach the triple digits says meteorologist Tom Phillip with the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities.

 

 

Phillip says some relief should be on the way by this weekend.

Clinton Mayor Updates City Council on Dilapidated Property

The City of Clinton has been working with a couple of property owners on fixing up dilapidated properties and last Monday night, Mayor Roger Cyrulik had an update on the situation.

 

The property in question is on North Quincy Street and has too much asbestos to be razed according to the Mayor. The City will have to find a way to remove it.

 

 

Mayor Cryulik encouraged the Council to take a look at the property to decide how they wanted to proceed forward.

 

 

In the past year, residents in the area have expressed concerns over the appearance of the home's impact on the neighborhood. 

Congressman Davis Worries Next Farm Bill Could Be Full of Green Energy Initiatives

As the next farm bill gets crafted, a central Illinois Congressman is concerned it could be filled with green energy initiatives if Democrats keep control of the House. 

 

Congressman Rodney Davis says the farm bill needs to be crafted with the help of farmers and consider things like rising input costs and what risk management practices are working and can remain in place.

 

 

The Taylorville Republican believes Republicans will retake the House and can craft a farm bill that favors farmers. 

 

 

Congressman Davis believes if Democrats remain in charge they will overhaul programs in a major way that farmers believe are working and have been effective.

 

 

Congressman Davis indicates his concern is about next year's input costs with things like seed, fertilizer, and chemical costs have nearly tripled. 

Social Security Introduces New Fact Sheet for Those With Limited Earnings

You can view your earnings record and get estimates of future benefits via your Social Security Statement at your convenience through your mySocialSecurity account and now there is a section of that statement that is for those with limited earnings.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security explains included with the Social Security Statement are fact sheets that provide useful information based on your age group and earnings situation. Last month Social Security added a new fact sheet specifically for people with limited earnings.

 

 

The new fact sheet  is called Supplemental Security Income and Other Benefits. Myers indicates it covers how you and your family members may qualify for benefits including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security retirement benefits, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

 

 

Myers points out there is also an online benefits screening tool to help you determine which of the benefit programs you may qualify for. It is called the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool or B.E.S.T for short, and it is available at: https://ssabest.benefits.gov.    

 

 

You can view samples of all of the fact sheets including this new one at www.ssa.gov/myaccount/statement.html.

Treasurer Promotes I-Cash Program

The Illinois Treasurer's office is looking to return millions of dollars to Illinoisans. According to Treasure Frerichs, the cash is just waiting to be claimed.

 

 

Frerichs says the average amount claimed is $1,000. To see if you have any unclaimed property, visit icash-dot-treasurer-dot-gov.

FBI Special Agent Discusses Senior Population

Scammers continue to target the senior population. Losses due to elder fraud rose nearly 74% from 2020-2021. But what makes the demographic so vulnerable to fraud? Here's FBI Special Agent Price McCarty.

 

 

McCarty goes on to explain the reason the elderly are such a target is that that's where the money is, due to retirement plans, savings accounts, and the like.

Caring for Spring-Blooming Bulbs After Flowering

TULIPS FADING? A HORTICULTURIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION IS OFFERING SOME ADVICE ABOUT HOW TO CARE FOR SPRING BULBS AFTER THEY BLOOM.

 

FOR THE MOST PART, YOU SHOULD JUST LEAVE THE PLANT ALONE FOR A WHILE SAYS THE EXTENSION'S KEN JOHNSON.

 

 

FOR SMALLER BULBS LIKE SNOWDROPS, THE LEAVES WILL DIE BACK FAIRLY QUICKLY. TULIPS AND DAFFODILS MAY TAKE SEVERAL WEEKS TO TURN YELLOW. JOHNSON SAYS YOU CAN GO AHEAD AND REMOVE THE FADED BLOOMS SO THE PLANT LOOKS A LITTLE NICER AND TO PREVENT SEEDPODS FROM FORMING.

 

 

JOHNSON SAYS IF THAT HAPPENS, YOU CAN DIG UP SOME OF THE BULBS AFTER THEY'VE DIED BACK TO MAKE MORE ROOM. THEY CAN BE REPLANTED RIGHT AWAY OR STORED INSIDE AND PLANTED IN THE FALL. ANY BULBS THAT FEEL SOFT SHOULD BE THROWN AWAY.

Governor Signs Bill Extending State Government Pension Buyout Program

STATE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES NOW HAVE A FEW MORE YEARS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A PENSION BUYOUT PROGRAM. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SIGNED A NEW LAW EXTENDING THE CURRENT BUYOUT PLAN THROUGH JUNE 2026. SENATOR DORIS TURNER OF SPRINGFIELD SAYS THIS SAVES THE STATE MONEY AND GIVES WORKERS A LUMP SUM OPTION.

 

 

THE PENSION BUYOUT IS AVAILABLE TO STATE EMPLOYEES, UNIVERSITY WORKERS AND TEACHERS. 

 

 

MORE THAN 45-HUNDRED PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF THE BUYOUT OFFER.

Weekly Weather Summary

It was unseasonably cool and wet this week but a huge shift is coming next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the latest.

 

 

Taylorville Native Earns Junior Angus Bronze Award

Drew Mickey, Taylorville, Ill., has earned the National Junior Angus Association’s (NJAA) Bronze award, according to Caitlyn Brandt, events and junior activities director of the American Angus Association® in Saint Joseph, Mo.

 

Mickey is the 16-year-old son of Jon and Carla Mickey and attends Taylorville High School. He is a member of the NJAA and the Illinois Junior Angus Association.

 

He has participated in national shows. At the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS), Mickey participated in auctioneering, photography and career development contests. He also participated in the Raising the Bar conference in 2022.

 

He has consigned cattle to the Greenville Spring and Fall Registered Breeding Stock Sales.

 

The Bronze award is the first level of the NJAA Recognition Program that began in 1972. Junior Angus breeders must apply for the award, then meet point requirements in many areas of participation before receiving the honor. Applicants are evaluated in areas of junior Angus association activities and leadership, participation in showmanship, contests and shows, using performance testing to improve their herd and their progress in producing and merchandising Angus cattle.

 

The NJAA promotes the involvement of young people in raising Angus cattle, while also providing leadership and self-development opportunities for the nearly 4,500 active members nationwide. 

National Weather Service Encouraging Illinoisans to Become Checkers for 'cocorahs'

The National Weather Service in Lincoln is encouraging central Illinois residents that keep track of rainfall totals to consider joining the publication cocorahs.org.

 

Ed Shimon indicates 'cocorahs' help weather officials track rainfall totals for the area and submitting rainfall where you are at is relatively easy.

 

 

Cocorahs.org is the website and for producers and residents, it is a great tool to find out how much rain fell wherever you may be in central Illinois. 

City of Clinton Announces Electronic Recycling Day

The City of Clinton announced an electronic recycling day next month.

 

The event takes place just off the downtown square on Saturday, June 4. Commissioner Ken Buchanan reminded Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting there is also city-wide cleanup going on now. Vouchers can be picked up at City Hall. 

 

 

Monday night the Council also approved the re-appointments of City attorney Steve Myers, City Clerk Cheryl Van Valey, City treasurer Clinton Lichtenwalter, Tom Edmunds as budget officer, and Steve Lobb as Public Works Director. 

LaSalle Veterans Home COVID Outbreak Report Released

A report is out on a COVID-19 outbreak at a state Veterans home in November 2020. The LaSalle Veterans home had 36 residents die from COVID at the height of an outbreak.

 

The report from the Auditor General says the Illinois Department of Public Health was slow to react the spread of the virus inside the home – not showing up until 11 days after the outbreak began. Governor JB Pritzker says when the outbreak was at its worst everything was going against keeping residents safe.

 

 

The report notes that the IDPH health region the veteran’s home is located in saw positive cases jump from October to November of 2020 by 212 percent.

May is Invasive Species Awareness Month

Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month is a statewide effort held each May to educate and inform citizens of Illinois about the threat of invasive species. 

 

An invasive species is described as any species not native to an area that does damage to the environment, economy, or human health. There are many common invasives being tracked right now. Sarah Ruth, U of I Extension Coordinator explains what to do if we encounter an invasive.

 

 

Another invasive of the animal variety is the Asian Carp. Efforts to eliminate the fish from Illinois waterways have been unsuccessful, so experts have, in many cases, moved on to a strategy to manage them.

Annual Police Memorial Ceremony in Springfield Honors 11 Officers Killed in Line of Duty

11 MEN AND WOMEN WERE HONORED TODAY (THURSDAY) DURING THE ANNUAL POLICE MEMORIAL CEREMONY IN SPRINGFIELD. 

 

THOSE KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY LAST YEAR INCLUDE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFICER ELLA FRENCH, OFFICER TYLER TIMMINS WITH THE PONTOON BEACH P-D AND CHAMPAIGN POLICE OFFICER CHRISTOPHER OBERHEIM. SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE SPOKE AT THE CEREMONY.

 

 

ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER SUSANA MENDOZA, WHOSE BROTHER IS A CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE.

 

 

THE NAMES OF FALLEN OFFICERS IN ILLINOIS ARE ETCHED ON THE OFFICIAL MEMORIAL ON THE STATE CAPITOL LAWN.

Big Brothers Big Sisters In Recovery From COVID

Organizations that work hand-in-hand with youth to better their lives were challenged throughout the COVID pandemic and some are now starting to return to normal and are on the road to recovery.

 

That would include Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeWitt County and Chief Operating Officer Corey Burrows told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday COVID dropped everything from children enrollment to volunteers and finances.

 

 

Burrows says COVID forced the agency to rethink how they make connections and like so many other agencies and entities, technology became the answer. Now that many mitigations are being peeled back, he indicates they are starting to recover.

 

 

BBBS lost a lot in fundraising in the two years of COVID. Burrows explains they lost almost a third of their budget that relies on fundraising efforts.

 

 

Beyond the funding, volunteers, and enrollment of kids in the program, Burrows says the connections were probably not as impactful as they started to get those back. For matches made during the pandemic, relationships were slower to bond but Borrows felt already formed relationships were not as impacted. 

 

 

Burrows reminds BBBS is a non-profit that seeks to pair youth that could use a positive adult influence in their life with someone in the community that can be that positive influence. It has been a long-running successful model that is in place all over the United States.

 

 

Burrows encourages anyone interested in returning to volunteering or trying out a new opportunity to visit their website, bbbs-cil.org to find out about the chapter near you and about what it takes to become a mentor for a young person in your community. 

Early Summer Months Will Be Warm, Drier

'Rain, rain, go away' has been the theme of May so far but as we look to June and July, outlooks are trending warmer and a little more dry.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates warm air will set up over the west this summer and some of that could creep over the midwest at times.

 

 

There was a time earlier this spring when weather officials worried about the possibility of drought in central Illinois but Shimon says those concerns are going to stay mostly north and central Illinois is looking to be in good shape.

 

 

Shimon says central Illinois residents are good about reporting rainfall totals via the website cocorahs.org, which is a precipitation reporting website that the National Weather Service utilizes. We'll have more information on that this weekend on Regional Radio. 

The Vault in Clinton Using Mental Health Awareness Month to Focus on Teen Relationships

A Clinton non-profit aimed at providing a safe place for teens to congregate is using 'Mental Health Awareness Month' to focus on relationships.

 

Michelle Witzke is the Founder and Community Connections Coordinator for The Vault in Clinton and on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, told Regional Radio relationships are front-and-center for every teenager and how to navigate them so they are focused on how to deal with relationships of all types.

 

 

According to Witzke, Clinton Junior High Principal Jim Peck will speak with students about perspective and his experience of a long-term relationship as a teenager.

 

 

A group called 'Growing Strong' will speak to the kids about sexual violence and finally, Officer Mike Bennett will talk to the kids about the legalities of introducing sex to a relationship. Witzke says sex has become far too normalized for teenagers.

 

 

Witzke says this will highlight 'Mental Health Awareness Month'. The program is next Tuesday, May 10 beginning after school until 6 pm. 

Clinton Farmer's Market Opens This Weekend

The Clinton Farmers and Artisans Market opens this weekend on Clinton Square.

 

This is the 23rd year for the annual market and the co-manager of the market, Elizabeth Burns indicates a lot is going on this Saturday as a part of the first market of the season.

 

 

According to Burns, there are plenty of other activities on the square this summer that will bring people out. Back by popular demand are the ice cream socials where attendees can serve themselves up ice cream with all the fix-ins.

 

 

Burns indicates several vendors offer a wide variety of things for those that come out. They offer everything from farm-fresh food to baked goods and vendors selling wares. She calls it a treasure hunt of goods. 

 

 

The Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market is each Saturday from 8 am to noon on Clinton Square. They pause the Saturday of the May Days Festival. You can follow the Farmers Market on Facebook. 

Ecology Action Center Weighs In On Energy Price Spikes

Costs continue to see an uptick in all varieties of life whether it be the grocery store, the gas pump and now electricity. Michael Brown is executive director at Ecology Action Center in Normal.

 

 

Brown also mentioned a likely cause in higher prices is due to Grid Capacity being underrated while demand soared due to pandemic restrictions.

This is Foster Parent Appreciation Month

MAY IS FOSTER PARENT APPRECIATION MONTH AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS ENCOURAGING MORE FAMILIES TO SIGN UP. 

 

FOSTER PARENTS HELP PROVIDE A STABLE HOME TO CHILDREN IN TROUBLE, BUT MORE ARE ALWAYS NEEDED SAYS D-C-F-S SPOKESPERSON DEBORAH LOPEZ.

 

 

LOPEZ SAYS BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT IS A SERIOUS COMMITMENT AND THE PROCESS CAN TAKE UP TO SIX MONTHS. THOSE APPROVED RECEIVE SUPPORT INCLUDING A MONTHLY STIPEND FOR A CHILD’S BASIC NEEDS. 

 

 

VISIT THE D-C-F-S WEBSITE FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

Resident, Clinton City Council Member Share Contentious Exchange Over City Expenditures

A Clinton resident that has been before the Council for several meetings over the last year questioning the City of Clinton's expenses for a Council member received pushback Tuesday for the claims levied.

 

Seth Reddington is questioning the time and mileage turned in by Dan Ballenger during a trip to Benton for a boat for the Clinton Fire Department among other expenses turned in by the Commissioner of Public Safety. Tuesday night John Wise told Reddington he's gotten the answers to his questions.

 

 

Commissioner Wise offered his perspective on Commissioner Ballenger's fueling of his vehicle and says he's talked to Ballenger about the situation and laid out for Reddington how the situation is typically handled if a personal vehicle is involved in city business. 

 

 

Commissioner Tom Edmunds, the City's Commissioner of Finance, offered some clarity on other issues brought up by Reddington and suggested Reddington speak with Clint Lichtenwalter, the City Treasurer.

 

 

Reddington continued to press about other charges for various items. When it was presented a City-issued card was used and the card had been turned in, Commissioner Edmunds could not tell Reddington why the Commissioner had a City-issued card in the first place.

 

 

Reddington vowed to continue to seek answers and pledged he would be back before the Council and opened the possibility of exploring other areas of the City expenses. 

Clinton Elementary School Holds Special Reading Night

Dozens of grade school kids and their families converged on Clinton Elementary School earlier this week for a special event promoting reading.

 

CES Principal Sacha Young indicates there were folks from the community that came to read to the kids and the library was out with things for the kids to do.

 

 

According to Young, the program was intended to get kids excited about reading and to help continue efforts to get kids books for their personal libraries. She explains this coincides but was not related to a similar effort called 'Read Across Clinton'.

 

 

This week, author Dusti Bowling is in Clinton visiting with students in the district. Bowling has written several children's books and staff has taken the opportunity throughout the school year to help kids become familiar with her work in advance of her visit this week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gov. Pritzker Discusses Roe v. Wade

A leaked document from the United States Supreme Court shows that Roe v Wade might soon be overturned. 

 

That has Republicans celebrating and Democrats worrying about abortion rights being taken away from women. Governor JB Pritzker says Illinois will remain a pro-choice state but elections can change that.

 

 

The governor making his remarks Wednesday morning.

Clinton YMCA's 'Acres for Kids' Underway Again in 2022

It's been a plentiful harvest for a young program at the Clinton YMCA.

 

Darren Moser is the Clinton Y Board President and explains the 'Acres for Kids' idea was seeded about five years ago and it has grown into a very successful yearly campaign that seeks farmers to plant a small plot of seed that will benefit the YMCA but more specifically, the families of the Y.

 

 

'Acres for Kids' was able to secure a plot that showcased the program. According to Moser, the plot was a non-biased, front-and-center showcase for the program that highlighted the companies that were supporting the program.

 

 

The Clinton Y's reach has started to grow beyond just Clinton and DeWitt County. The Y offers a successful youth swim program that has drawn youth from Piatt County but now the Y is offering after-school programming in Monticello Schools as well as summer programming in Monticello. Moser says they are starting to focus on bringing in Piatt County cooperators.

 

 

For more information on this program, you can contact the Clinton Y at 217-935-8307. Moser stresses it is not too late to be a part of this program for the 2022 growing season but if your seed is in the ground, he says to still call the Y now and Moser and his team can get a hold of you in September or October and talk the 2023 growing season. 

Mahomet-Seymour Schools to Begin Public Education Campaign for Upcoming Facilities Referendum

A Champaign County School district will begin engaging the community to inform them of the June referendum to update facilities.

 

Mahomet-Seymour schools are outgrowing their walls as the community's population grows and the student population grows. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Superintendent Dr. Lindsey Hall explains this means they need to expand its current facilities footprint.

 

 

According to Dr. Hall, engaging the community and informing it of all the ins and outs of the referendum and what it means for taxpayers, families, and students will begin this month as the early voting window opens this month as well.

 

 

At these open house meetings, the community will have the opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge about the push for updated facilities in the district. Dr. Hall explains they can tour the facilities, speak with the architects, and hear from teachers who are in these buildings each day.

 

 

Dr. Hall reminds  the upcoming open house is Saturday, May 14 from 9 am to noon and Tuesday, May 17 from 5 pm to 8 pm and both are at Mahomet Junior High School. 

Weekly Crop Report

FARMERS GOT A LITTLE MORE TIME IN THE FIELDS THIS PAST WEEK. 

 

ACCORDING TO THE LATEST CROP REPORT, ABOUT THREE DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK, ALTHOUGH PLANTING REMAINS WELL BEHIND SCHEDULE SAYS STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

12 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 48 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. THAT'S AN IMPROVEMENT OVER THE PREVIOUS WEEK. 

 

 

PASTURE CONDITIONS IMPROVED TO 69 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS TWO PERCENT SHORT, 58 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 40 PERCENT SURPLUS.

This is Arson Awareness Week

THIS IS ARSON AWARENESS WEEK.

 

THE OFFICE OF THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL IS TRYING TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT THE COST OF ARSON AND THE TOLL IT TAKES ON COMMUNITIES. SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ SAYS EVERYONE NEEDS TO DO THEIR PART.

 

 

THE ILLINOIS FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE OFFERS SOME TIPS FOR HELPING REDUCE THE RISK OF ARSON INCLUDING KEEPING THE DOORS AND WINDOWS OF UNOCCUPIED BUILDINGS LOCKED AND BOARDING UP ABANDONED BUILDINGS. FULTZ SAYS YOU SHOULD ALSO LOCK UP ANY FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS.

 

 

YOU CAN CALL THE STATEWIDE ARSON HOTLINE AT: 1-800-252-2947. LAST YEAR, THE ILLINOIS FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE RESPONDED TO MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND ARSON INVESTIGATIONS AND CANINE TEAMS WERE BROUGHT IN ON OVER 200 CASES.

State Officials Urging Homeowners to Apply for Assistance if Needed

STATE OFFICIALS ARE URGING HOMEOWNERS STILL STRUGGLING DUE TO THE PANDEMIC TO APPLY FOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE.

 

THE ILLINOIS HOUSING ASSISTANCE FUND OFFERS GRANTS OF UP TO 30 THOUSAND DOLLARS TO HELP THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN BEHIND ON THEIR MORTGAGE OR WHO ARE HAVING OTHER HOME-RELATED FINANCIAL PROBLEMS SAYS GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER.

 

 

STATE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR KRISTEN FAUST SAYS THE EASIEST WAY TO SEE IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE IS TO START ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS HOUSING HELP DOT ORG.

 

 

TO SEE IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE AND TO START THE APPLICATION PROCESS, VISIT: ILLINOIS HOUSING HELP DOT ORG. THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS MAY 31ST.

IDPH Supports FDA's Proposal to Ban Menthol Cigarettes

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS BACKING THE F-D-A'S PROPOSAL TO BAN MENTHOL FLAVORED CIGARETTES AND CIGARS.

 

MENTHOL IS THE LAST FLAVOR THAT'S CURRENTLY ALLOWED IN CIGARETTES AND THE F-D-A SAYS BANNING IT WILL HELP PREVENT PEOPLE FROM PICKING UP THE HABIT AND ULTIMATELY SAVE LIVES. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH TOBACCO CONTROL PROGRAM DIRECTOR GAIL DEVITO AGREES.

 

 

SHE SAYS IT'S ALSO A HEALTH EQUITY ISSUE.

 

 

DEVITO SAYS THERE IS ALSO AN EQUITY COMPONENT SINCE TEENS, AFRICAN AMERICANS AND MEMBERS OF THE L-G-B-T-Q COMMUNITY ARE MORE LIKELY TO OPT FOR THE MENTHOL VARIETY.

Citizen's Utility Board Responds to Looming Energy Price Hike

The Citizen’s Utility Board wants you to know there are some things you can do to prepare for what looks to be an expensive summer for power bills in Illinois. 

 

Energy prices are dramatically high across the globe, due to a number of factors, so CUB is offering resources to help you in a number of ways. CUB spokesman Jim Chilsen says there are three simple things you can do right now to cut back on your energy use.

 

 

He reminds this will be a health and safety issue for many, and urges you to check in on your family, friends, and neighbors. Chilsen says they have links to several resources on their website: http://cubhelpcenter.com

Clinton Schools Superintendent Discusses Teacher Shortage

At the April Board of Education meeting, the Clinton School Board made a host of hires for open teaching positions.

 

Hiring teachers for open positions is as challenging as its ever been for area schools. Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates they were fortunate to be able to bring on several new hires and fill some open positions.

 

 

Nettles indicates the teacher shortage is very real and is impacting every district. He says one of the benefits Clinton Schools have encountered is the children of current educators coming back to Clinton to teach.

 

 

Nettles believes there is a lot of value in hiring individuals they know because they will uphold the standards of the curriculum. This is valuable because, as he put it, an invasive sexual education curriculum is being put forward and Clinton schools are set to reject it.

 

 

Nettles believes young people are turned off by the teaching profession because of pay and teachers do not always get a fair shake. He points out Clinton Schools are trying to rectify the teacher pay portion of the challenges and says Clinton is a great place to teach. 

Central Illinois CEO Students Run Their Own Business

A highlight of the Central Illinois CEO program is the opportunity for students to learn the ins and outs of running a business.

 

Brook Oakley from Warrensburg-Latham indicated her business is selling bretzels, traditional Swiss cookies, through area coffee shops.

 

 

Warrensburg-Latham student Morgan Jones's business is custom-made t-shirts, sweatshirts, and cups. She notes her most popular products are cups with school logos.

 

 

Reanna Munjoy from Maroa-Forsyth is making organic homemade dog treats. She indicates all of her treats are made with five ingredients or less.

 

 

Boston Hale is from Warrensburg-Latham and his personal business is auto detailing. He says he made his selection because he plans to own his own detailing shop in the future.

 

 

Maroa-Forsyth's Rachel Wisner makes custom greeting cards. She is using Etsy to sell and market her business.

 

 

Blue Ridge student Grace Coffey is running social media pages for local businesses. She says the biggest takeaway for her is learning how to balance school life with work.

 

 

There is an upcoming opportunity for the public to learn more and patronize individual businesses. Rachel Wisner has the details...

 

 

More information on the trade show or the CEO program in general is at centralillinoisceo.com.

Power Prices Expected to Surge This Summer

Officials with Ameren Illinois are warning customers their bills will be going up this summer.  

 

The company says the increases are due to energy costs associated with power bills. They cite significant global events that are causing prices to increase in many areas, including the power sector. Ameren Illinois’ Director of Communications Tucker Kennedy says it is a result of the law of supply and demand.

 

 

Kennedy says if you were ever planning on making your home more energy efficient, now would be the time to do it. Concentrate your AC usage to the rooms that are being used, make sure you have a clean filter on your air conditioner, use celling fans, and install a smart thermostat if you don’t already have one. There are also assistance programs available: https://www.ameren.com/company/energy-efficiency

Morel Mushroom Hunting Leads to Big Social Media Following for Illinois Man

A west-central Illinois man has built a substantial social media following through his love of mushroom hunting. Chris Martin is from Canton. His Facebook page is called Illinois Morel Mushrooms.

 

 

The Illinois Morel Mushrooms Facebook page is currently at 73,221 followers.

Illinois USDA Rural Development Director Promoting Programs

The state director for USDA Rural Development in Illinois out and about promoting various programs. Outreach is important says Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. She began in Macomb last week.

 

 

Londrigan took over as state director earlier this year. To find out more about USDA Rural Development programs visit rd.usda.gov/il.

Governor Discusses Progress Towards COVID Vaccine for Young Kids

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS IT'S GREAT TO SEE THERE MAY SOON BE A COVID-19 VACCINE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN. 

 

MODERNA IS SEEKING F-D-A APPROVAL FOR IT'S COVID SHOT FOR KIDS SIX MONTHS TO FIVE YEARS OLD. THE GOVERNOR'S REACTION:

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE'S PLEASED THERE'S FINALLY SOME PROGRESS TOWARDS PROTECTING LITTLE ONES.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS ONCE A VACCINE IS APPROVED FOR LITTLE ONES THE STATE WILL MAKE SURE IT'S WIDELY AVAILABLE. 73 PERCENT OF ILLINOISANS AGE FIVE AND UP ARE NOW FULLY VACCINATED.

Another Rise in COVID Cases This Past Week

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS ANNOUNCING ANOTHER RISE IN COVID-19 CASES THIS WEEK AND STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE OF THERAPEUTICS FOR THOSE WHO DO GET SICK. 

 

THERE HAVE BEEN MORE THAN 24 THOUSAND NEW INFECTIONS REPORTED SINCE LAST FRIDAY, AN INCREASE OVER THE PREVIOUS WEEK. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THEY ARE KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON THE NUMBERS.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR CONTINUES TO URGE SENIORS TO GET THEIR SECOND BOOSTER SHOT AND FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED TO GET THEIR FIRST DOSE. 

 

 

IF DO YOU TEST POSITIVE, IT'S RECOMMENDED THAT YOU CALL YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY FOR ONE OF THE TREATMENTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE.

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