Local News

DeWitt County Board Sets Date to Discuss ARPA Funds

The DeWitt County Board is going to sit down this month and finally hash out plans for roughly three million dollars of COVID money.

 

The American Recovery Plan Act, or ARPA, funds have been a large focal point in recent months as the County committed to offering a portion of the money up to the community but Board members have contended over the last several months they would like to have a plan in place before checks start getting written. 

 

Board Chair Terry Ferguson earlier this month announced they will hash it all out in August.

 

 

County Administrator DeeDee Rentmeister says once funding has been designated, they will need to consider documentation for the outside firm they have hired to help with distributing the money. 

Weekly Weather Summary

A mild weather week is going to give way to a heat wave to open August. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more...

 

 

1st National Bank & Trust In Clinton Celebrates 150 Years

A 150th anniversary is a big deal in any industry, but for a community bank to hit the milestone is a bit of a rarity.

 

Clinton's 1st National Bank & Trust Company celebrated its 150th anniversary Friday with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony.  President of the bank, Josh Shofner, notes the milestone makes the Clinton institution the 26th oldest community bank in the country...

 

 

Shofner believes the secret to 1st National's longevity in Clinton is consistency, and the partnership between the bank and the community...

 

 

The Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau hosted the Ribbon Cutting Friday.  Chamber Executive Director, Marian Brisard, explains the event acts as a way to help bring attention to local businesses and their milestones...

 

 

In conjunction with the 150th anniversary, 1st National Bank & Trust Company in Clinton currently has several historical artifacts on display in the bank lobby.  Residents are encouraged to stop in to view them, and also if you have bank memorabilia from over the years, you're encouraged to stop in and show it off as well.

 

DeWitt County Highway Department in Midst of Busy Summer Maintenance Season

Rural county roads are in the midst of the annual summer maintenance season.

 

County Highway Engineer Mark Mathon indicates they take care of some mowing around this point of the summer and are preparing a host of roads for annual oil and chipping.

 

 

It was 2019 when the Illinois legislature increased the gas tax in Illinois. While unpopular, Mathon indicates it has allowed them to take on more summer work.

 

 

The Revere Road upgrade has been talked about for a few years now and Mathon says that project is inching forward and hopes to start seeing movement in early 2023.

 

 

According to Mathon, overlay work on County Highway 17 is going to get going soon. A portion of that road was done as part of the agreement with the wind farm and the County is going to finish the rest of the road to make it continuous. 

Springfield Fire Fighter Bringing Electronic Surfing to Clinton Lake

Surf boarding on Clinton Lake?

 

Springfield firefighter Matt Scherer hopes to see it take off on Clinton Lake. He told Regional Radio News on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday electric surfing is an opportunity to learn the art of surfing without the ocean waves.

 

 

Scherer has just two boards for the time being and explains he can train up to a group of four to give all parties a chance to have fun on the back end of the two-hour session. He explains they start very basic and ramp things up as individuals get the hang of the activity.

 

 

As you get on your feet and get your balance, Scherer says the board will actually lift off the water. He says you don't have to be a tremendous athlete to successfully ride a board.

 

 

For anyone that wants to try out electric surfing, Scherer assures they are all about safety first. As a firefighter, he is a licensed EMT and is Red Cros CPR certified. The vessels themselves are DNR certified and are insured.

 

 

surf-springfield.com is the best place to go to find out when Scherer will be in Clinton and offers training or opportunities to use the electronic surfboards. He says if you have gone through the training once, you can sign up for general use in groups of two without having to train with him again. 

 

He hopes to see the operation grow and expand in other parts of central Illinois. 

July Has Been Moderate, Not As Wet As You Might Think

July has not been as warm as anticipated and not as wet as we might think.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln explains the heat of the west largely evaded us, as we only saw three 90-degree days in central Illinois.

 

 

According to Shimon, despite the lack of significant heat this month, we're trending to end the month right about average for temperatures, and rainfall is actually an inch below normal.

 

 

Shimon notes the inconsistency in the rain is largely how summer often plays out but he says the trend of July being moderate for temperatures was somewhat unexpected.

 

 

Coming up on Monday on Regional Radio, we'll hear more from Shimon in August as we turn the calendar next week. 

Volatility Continues in Commodity Markets

Amid a war in Ukraine, commodity prices continue to send investors and farmers on a roller coaster ride.

 

According to Curt Kimmel, a Hedge Specialist at Ag-Market-dot-net, commodity markets are seeing volatile swings.

 

 

Some uncertainty deals with summer weather patterns and inconsistent rainfall in central Illinois.

Demand Destruction Leading to Falling Gas Prices

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $4.27, down from $4.44 a week ago and $4.88 a month ago. Demand destruction is in play says GROWMARK’s Scott Wilson.

 

 

The average price in Illinois is $4.73, down from $4.91 last week and $5.41 a month ago.

Ameren Promotes Safe Digging

Did you know that just driving a stake into the ground is considered a digging project? 

 

It's true, Brian Bretsch from Ameren Illinois says anything you put in the ground could damage underground wires and thus you need to call 811 first. According to Brian, 2022 has seen an increase in damage to underground infrastructure due to digging projects that didn't call 811 first...

 

 

JULIE stands for Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators. Call 811 before you dig to make sure you're digging safely.

Piatt County Mental Health Center Administrator Concerned By Early Returns on Youth Data

A Piatt County mental health professional is concerned by the early information he's getting from a survey of youth in DeWitt and Piatt Counties. 

 

The Illinois Youth Survey was given to Illinois youth for the first time since 2018 and the early returns are alarming for Tony Kirkman - the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center.

 

 

Marijuana use among youth is alarming for Kirkman and he points out many parents are letting kids have access. Nearly 1 in 10 local eighth graders have used marijuana and that number jumps to 1 in 4 12th graders.

 

 

Moving forward, Kirkman hopes to message to parents will be emphasized because the issue of permissive parenting allowing kids unfettered access to marijuana is very dangerous. 

 

 

Kirkman will look forward to what the statewide data says about this issue and hopes there will be a deep dive analysis at the state level. 

Drought Concerns Still Lingering for Portions of Central Illinois

A line from DeWitt County eastward is still dealing with drought.

 

Tuesday's rains did little to provide relief for central Illinois according to Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln. On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Shimon told Regional Radio there are areas still four to five inches below normal.

 

 

We'll be cool the rest of the week but the heat returns next week. Shimon says with that is very little moisture relief.

 

 

Shimon notes there is a very strong signal for above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation in August. 

Sen. Duckworth Ready for Vote on Assault Weapons Ban

US Senator Tammy Duckworth is ready to vote for an assault-weapons ban if one comes to the US Senate. She says the problem with guns like AR-15s are the extra damage they inflict when they hit people.

 

 

The Illinois Democrat says a ban on AR-15’s and other weapons of combat wouldn’t prevent people from owning all firearms.

IRS Reminding Help is Available

Many in Illinois sought extensions on their taxes back in April and many may still be struggling to get their information together. Michael Devine from the Internal Revenue Service wants everyone to know that you should not be afraid to ask the IRS for help...

 

 

Michael says that not asking for help and letting IRS problems continue can only lead to more problems down the road. The deadline for those who sought and received a 6 month extension in April is coming up in mid-October.

Mega Millions Jackpot Over $1 Billion

THE MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT IS NOW OVER ONE BILLION DOLLARS. 

 

THE JACKPOT ROLLED OVER AGAIN TUESDAY NIGHT, BOOSTING AN ALREADY HUGE TOP PRIZE SAYS ILLINOIS LOTTERY SPOKESPERSON LORELL LYNCH.

 

 

MEGA MILLIONS TICKETS ARE TWO DOLLARS EACH AND YOU CAN ADD A MEGAPLIER FOR AN ADDITIONAL DOLLAR TO INCREASE ANY NON-JACKPOT WINNINGS.

 

 

ONLY THREE JACKPOTS OVER ONE BILLION DOLLARS HAVE EVER BEEN WON IN THE U-S. MEGA MILLIONS COSTS TWO BUCKS TO PLAY.

DeWitt County Board Sorts Through Confusion on Marina Work

As breakwater work at the one end of the Clinton Lake Marina gets going this week, last week at the DeWitt County Board meeting, the Board had to sort through some confusion regarding another area in need of attention.

 

Following the Board meeting last Friday on the WHOW Morning Show, Board Chair Terry Ferguson told Regional Radio the Board approved the Marina as an emergency to expedite addressing the issues and explains what the Board was debating. 

 

 

Travis Houser is the Vice Chair of the Marina Committee and explained to the County Board last Thursday the situation at the Marina has gotten much worse and the goal was to use equipment coming this week to help mitigate some of the existing issues.

 

 

According to Houser, the section of Marina not getting worked on this week needs to be protected and feels if they were to split the new breakwater being installed this week, it would be a way to do that.

 

 

The Board rejected the bid they received in favor of breaking up the 300-foot breakwater they are getting this week to have one section of 200 feet and another section of 100 feet. 

 

Ferguson says he is confident the solution they have come up with could keep the County from having to make further investments in breakwaters at the Marina. 

Farmer City Area Approved for Rail Upgrades

A rail crossing in rural Farmer City has been approved for upgrades in money designated by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

 

The ICC approved new signals and other improvements for 25 rail crossings in Illinois. 

 

The agreement gives the crossing on Prairie Chapel Road new automatic warning devices and approach grade improvements for Illinois Central Railway Co.

 

The estimated cost is nearly $328,000.

 

Another four projects have been approved in central Illinois to the tune of $1.2-million in Peoria County. 

Wednesday is Speeding Awareness Day

Wednesday is National Speed Awareness Day and local authorities are offering messages on the dangers of speeding on roadways.

 

Piatt County Sheriff Mark Vogelzang says around a third of all motor vehicle fatalities can be attributed to speeding. Locally he says speeding has been a component of many serious traffic crashes.

 

 

According to Sheriff, deaths grew in 2021 due to speeding and he believes that is because there has been less emphasis on traffic enforcement on the roadways.

 

 

Rural driving can be particularly treacherous, especially in rural areas. Sheriff Vogelzang indicates twisting and hilly terrain along with crops at their full height can make visibility limited.

 

 

Distracted driving is becoming a bigger issue in recent years. Sheriff Vogelzang says distracted driving isn't always about attention being paid to a cell device but about other people in the vehicle or eating and driving among other distractions behind the wheel. 

University of Illinois Extension Offers Tips on Dealing With Japanese Beetle Shortage

Are you seeing Japanese beetles on your property? 

 

They emerge in late June in southern Illinois and early July in central and northern Illinois. They are 1/2 inch long, heavy-bodied, oval beetles that are metallic green with coppery wing covers. U of I Extension Program Coordinator Sarah Ruth says there are both nonchemical and insecticide options for managing Japanese beetle adults and grubs, but timing is important.

 

 

Japanese beetles feed on wide range of plants, preferring smartweed, grape, raspberry, rose, crabapple, linden, and willow. The grubs feed on the roots of grasses, vegetables, and ornamental plants.

IHSA Continues to Highlight Officiating Shortage

The IHSA continues to express concern over an officials’ shortage heading into the new school year. Football is getting much of the attention, but virtually all sports are impacted says the IHSA’s Sam Knox.

 

 

The new high school sports season begins Aug. 8 with fall practices.

Heavy Rains Impacting Southern Illinois

Heavy rain impacting southern Illinois and the St. Louis area today (Tuesday). Some locations are expected to receive over 8-inches says State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

Ford making his comments to RFD Radio Tuesday morning.

DeWitt County State's Attorney: Budgetary Uncertainty Ahead Because of Bail Reform

DeWitt County State's Attorney Dan Markwell had a grim warning for the DeWitt County Board Thursday night as the Board beings preparing its Fiscal Year 23 budget.

 

Dan Markwell says the no cash bail coming January 1, 2023, is going to be detrimental to the County budget. He says there are processing fees and fines that will go away the County is going to have to account for.

 

 

According to Markwell, the County is also going to have to account for overtime and holiday pay because the new Safe-T legislation requires criminals to have a hearing within 24 or 48 hours depending on the offense and that is going to bring with it many requirements.

 

 

According to DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker, the elimination of the booking fee is going to impact his Department's ability to purchase new vehicles. Additionally, they will likely need to explore options on how to cover security for the courthouse when it opened on weekends and holidays.

 

 

The County is underway in its budgeting process for the budget year that begins on Dec. 1. 

Farmer City Aims to Offer Quality Parks

Park installation in Farmer City is part of an effort being taken up by city leadership to make the community a popular destination for leisure. 

 

Manager Sue McLaughlin says there is a new park going up on the far southwest side of the community that will have a lot of great features for kids of all ages. 

 

 

McLaughlin explains the park was paid for with funds from a TIF fund and the City is looking to build around the quality park systems they have in the community by giving people a reason to come and spend time in Farmer City.

 

 

McLaughlin indicates the City Council is taking up improving the downtown portion of Farmer City and will be extending sidewalks that will connect people to different parts of the community. She encourages residents and folks around the area to follow them on Facebook. 

Weekly Crop Report

HERE'S THE LATEST LOOK AT ILLINOIS CROPS. 

 

RAIN WAS DOWN AND TEMPERATURES WERE UP THIS PAST WEEK. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER GIVES A RUNDOWN OF THE STATE'S CORN CROP.

 

 

55 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 20 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. 61 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

87 PERCENT OF THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA HAY IS COMPLETE.

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS 16 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 19 PERCENT SHORT, 60 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FIVE PERCENT SURPLUS.

Record Year for Pot Sales in Illinois

SALES OF ADULT-USE CANNABIS IN ILLINOIS JUMPED BY 50 PERCENT IN THE LAST FISCAL YEAR. 

 

RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA SALES CLIMBED TO ONE POINT FIVE BILLION DOLLARS IN FISCAL YEAR 22...GENERATING MAJOR SALES TAX REVENUE FOR THE STATE SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON MAURA KOWNACKI.

 

 

UNDER ILLINOIS LAW, 25 PERCENT OF SALES TAX REVENUE FROM CANNABIS SALES IS SET ASIDE FOR COMMUNITIES THAT ARE STRUGGLING OR HAVE BEEN DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BY PAST DRUG LAWS. SO FAR, THE STATE HAS AWARDED MORE THAN 113 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS TO SUCH AREAS.

 

 

KOWNACKI SAYS THE SALES TAX REVENUE HAS ALSO BEEN GOOD FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS WHICH RECEIVED DISBURSEMENTS TOTALING OVER 146 MILLION DOLLARS.

Gas Prices Dropping

Gas prices have dropped significantly over the past six weeks.

 

While it gives consumers a break at the pump, the news isn't necessarily great says GasBuddy's Patrick Dehaan .

 

 

High gas prices can be blamed on many factors, including COVID, the war in Ukraine, and inflation among many others.

Law Enforcement From Six States Joining to Combat Speeding for Wednesday's Speed Awareness Day

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS JOINING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS FROM FIVE OTHER STATES FOR WEDNESDAY'S SPEED AWARENESS DAY. 

 

THE CAMPAIGN IS AN EFFORT TO FOCUS ON THE DRASTIC INCREASE IN SPEEDERS DURING THE PANDEMIC AND STATE POLICE TROOPER ELIZABETH CLAUSING SAYS DRIVERS CAN EXPECT TO SEE A HEAVY POLICE PRESENCE THAT DAY.

 

 

THE DAY IS DESIGNED TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE DANGERS OF SPEEDING SAYS TROOPER CLAUSING.

 

 

THE STATE POLICE SAYS SPEEDING IS A FACTOR IN ABOUT ONE THIRD OF ALL MOTOR VEHICLE FATALITIES.

Crop Insurance Getting Attention in 2023 Farm Bill Talks

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos chairs the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. Last week they talked crop insurance and the 2023 Farm Bill and heard from National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Tom Haag of Minnesota.

 

 

The Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management falls under the umbrella of the House Ag Committee, which includes Illinois congressional members Rodney Davis, Mary Miller and Bobby Rush along with Bustos.

Ray LaHood Supports Peoria to Chicago AMTRAK Route

Passenger rail service doesn’t connect Peoria to Chicago – yet. The city and IDOT commissioned a study to highlight the impact the route could have on the city and other stops along the way. Former Congressman and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood says the study shows ridership will be strong and the federal government should get behind it.

 

 

The study indicated that an average of 600 riders a day would take AMTRAK along the route. The new service would have to get right-of-way on existing freight train tracks and billions of dollars in additional government spending.

Macon County CASA Hosting Informational Event in Clinton Tuesday

If you've been hearing about the momentum with Macon County CASA in DeWitt County and have been contemplating getting involved, Tuesday morning is a chance to get to know more in person.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Executive Director Julia Livingston told Regional Radio the agency is hosting an event Tuesday morning from 9-11 am at Coffee Corner in Clinton to get to know more about volunteering.

 

 

According to Livingston, being a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, is how people associate being active in the organization but Tuesday she'll be highlighting the many other ways to support them.

 

 

Again the information meet-and-greet is from 9 am to 11 am Tuesday morning at Coffee Corner in Clinton. 

 

You can also learn more about Macon County CASA by finding them on Facebook or visiting maconcountycasa.org. 

Clinton Sales Taxes Down From 2021, Up from 2020

City of Clinton sales tax figures are down from last year but way up from 2020.

 

That's what Commissioner of Finance Tom Edmonds told the Clinton City Council last Tuesday night. He indicates the reason the community is far ahead of the 2020 figure is because of internet sales.

 

 

The Clinton City Council will meet again Tuesday, August 2 at 7 pm.

Farmer City Fair Recap

This weekend was the annual Farmer City Fair and organizers say despite the heat, they are very pleased with how the weekend went.

 

Fair Board President Curt Homann indicates they added a family night earlier in the week with lots of games and activities. It was a hit and they plan to bring it back again next year.

 

 

Homann has helped organize horse racing at the Farmer City Fair and the Friday night stock car races have helped make the Farmer City Fair unique. 

 

 

Ken Leonard took on the role of show manager for the Farmer City Fair horse show and he indicates there are several classes. He adds participants come from all over the area.

 

 

Lee Birkfield is the Superintendent of the Farmer City Fair goat show and says the goat show has been strong since the Illinois Dairy Goat's Association started in 1927. He says there are several incentives that keep participants coming back year after year.

 

 

Homann appreciates the community support for the show and notes everyone recognizes the economic driver the fair is for the community. 

Nutritionist Weighs In On Skittles Lawsuit

Earlier this month a lawsuit was filed stating the candy Skittles are unfit for human consumption and a nationally renowned nutrition expert says it's great there's finally light being shed on the irresponsible ingredients in candy.

 

Dr. Jim LaValle the author of 'Cracking the Metabolic Code' and the Clinical Director for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Performance Health Program says in moderation, Skittles are not a bad treat but the ingredients in Skittles are not very good in high doses.

 

 

There are a couple of physiological responses to be aware of when you consume a lot of sugar. Dr. LaValle indicates when you consume a lot of sugar, your body needs to flush it out of your system and that creates insulin. Then it creates adrenaline and makes your blood vessels tight.

 

 

Besides the sugar, the other active ingredients are excitotoxins. Dr. LaValle says this is why we get 'wound up' when we eat candy.

 

 

Dr. LaValle indicates there is a particular risk of getting too much sugar in areas where there are food deserts. He indicates this means residents in particular areas do not have access to places that offer nutritious food. 

 

 

You might be interested in scaling back on the sugar. Dr. LaValle recommends starting by cutting the sugars in half and counting carbs and calories. If you do cut the sugars by half, you might find yourself lightheaded. He recommends getting some protein to fight that feeling. 

State Issues First Wave of Adult-Use Cannabis Dispensary Licenses

THE STATE IS AWARDING NEARLY 150 NEW ADULT USE CANNABIS DISPENSARY LICENSES. 

 

THESE 149 CONDITIONAL LICENSES ARE THE FIRST TO BE ISSUED UNDER THE STATE'S RECREATIONAL CANNABIS LAW AND ARE BASED ON THREE LOTTERIES CONDUCTED LAST YEAR. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL REGULATION SECRETARY MARIO TRETO SAYS THEY REFLECT THE STATE'S COMMITMENT TO SOCIAL EQUITY.

 

 

LICENSEES HAVE 180 DAYS TO SECURE A PHYSICAL STOREFRONT LOCATION.

 

 

DISPENSARIES THAT ARE CURRENTLY OPEN IN ILLINOIS ORIGNALLY BEGAN AS MEDICINAL MARIJUANA SHOPS. A TOTAL OF 185 ADULT USE LICENSES WILL EVENTUALLY BE ISSUED.

BBB Offers Tips on Credit Repair

Credit repair, debt consolidation, debt relief, and credit counseling are all options to help right the ship if you’ve found yourself sinking in debt. Some options are better suited to your situation than others. A Better Business Bureau investigator says you should do some research to find out which one is right for you.

 

Although medical debt is not supposed to be reported to the three credit reporting bureaus, sometimes the debt is sold to a collection agency and then reported. BBB Investigator Don O’Brien:

 

 

Of the other solutions, he says credit counseling is the most comprehensive. Debt relief or settlement companies provide help by renegotiating the debt so that the person don’t owe as much. Debt consolidation companies offer loans to pay off debts in all at once. And credit repair companies promise to clean up credit reports for a fee, but the chances that they can do anything account owners couldn’t do on their own are slim. You have the right to correct inaccurate information in your file, but nobody can remove accurate negative information. Only time and conscientious payments will actually repair the credit report.

Rolling Blackouts Not An Issue - Yet

There have been warnings about possible rolling blackouts for electricity customers in Illinois this summer. So far that hasn’t been a problem.

 

Jim Chilsen with the Citizens Utility Board says if MISO, or the multi-state power grid operator in charge of power generation and transmission, would move to approve more than 30 renewable energy projects the grid would be strengthened with 6,000 additional megawatts of electricity.

 

 

6,000 megawatts of electricity could power 4.5 million homes.

Ameren Illinois Warning "Real Time Pricing" Electric Customers of Increased Rates Due to Power Shortage

Ameren Illinois has notified many of its "Real Time Pricing" electric customers, that demand for electricity and supply constraints have led to an energy generation shortage.

In the letter dated July 18th, Ameren says the power shortage has caused the price of wholesale power to increase significantly.

The letter says that its "Real Time Pricing" electric customers may see market changes impacting the price of their energy.

It concluded that customers can take steps to lower energy costs and lessen the impact of higher supply costs, with information shown in their Energy Savings Center at amerenillinoissavings.com.   

DeWitt County Sheriff to Receive ARPA Funds for Radio Updates

The DeWitt County Sheriff's office is receiving American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, funds to update its radio system.

 

Sheriff Mike Walker at the Thursday night DeWitt County Board meeting indicated the system will be similar to what was in place when he started with the Department in the 80s.

 

 

According to Sheriff Walker, the County will be nearly a quarter of a million dollars. He has gotten good reviews from his peers in other parts of the state. 

 

He adds when signals end up going digital, it will allow them to have access to secure radio systems that will not go out over the airwaves to scanner listeners. 

State Senator Discusses Illinois Unemployment Situation

The Illinois Department of Employment Security is touting the state's jobless rate and job growth claims this month but a central Illinois Senator says you can throw the state's narrative out the window.

 

Sen. Chapin Rose says the jobless rate is low because the State of Illinois does not count people that have stopped looking for work. He says much like inflation, he believes most people understand the job situation is much worse than is being reflected in government data.

 

 

According to the Mahomet Republican, Gov. JB Pritzker projects an 'all is well' message but the reality is, Illinois families are hurting at this time.

 

 

Sen. Rose indicates central Illinois is hurting from jobs leaving but big companies like The Citadel, Caterpillar, and Boeing partially relocating their workforces overtime does not right itself. 

Drought Conditions Improving

DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN ILLINOIS IMPROVED OVER THE PAST WEEK. 

 

THANKS TO LAST WEEKEND'S RAINS, THE LATEST U-S DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS SOME RELIEF IN AFFECTED AREAS OF THE STATE SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

FORD SAYS, UNFORTUNATELY, NOT MUCH FELL WHERE IT WAS NEEDED MOST.

 

 

THE DROUGHT MONITOR STILL SHOWS SEVERE DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN EAST CENTRAL ILLINOIS, AND MODERATE DROUGHT IN NORTH EAST AND FAR SOUTHERN ILLINOIS.

Eight Man Football Continues to Grow in Illinois

30-teams will play 8-man football in Illinois this fall. There will be five, six-team divisions and Ridgewood head coach Pat Elder likes the set up.

 

 

The Illinois 8-Man Football Association continues to oversee the sport, but the IHSA is exploring adding an 8-man state tournament series.

DeWitt County Marina Operator in Violation of Lease

Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting it was brought to the attention of the full board that Marina operator Joe Caldwell violates the lease agreement over insurance coverage. 

 

Jay Wickenhauser pointed out the issue is the workers' compensation component of his insurance coverage has not been received by the County. Board Chair Terry Ferguson informed the Board Caldwell is aware of the issue. 

 

 

State's Attorney Dan Markwell says this is a huge liability for DeWitt County. Dan Matthews was not at the County Board meeting Thursday so many of the questions went to vice-chair Travis Houser who admits he was not aware of the issue.

 

 

Buck Carter inquired about taking action based on the fact the County is liable. Ferguson offered an email sent by the insurance agent of Caldwell but the Board still pressed about taking legal action.

 

 

Markwell explained if the Board wanted to direct him to take legal action against Caldwell they would need a special meeting to do so because it was not on the agenda Thursday.

 

 

The Board will meet next Tuesday at 5 pm to take up the issue of Caldwell's insurance.

 

The Board had only eight of its 12 members at the Thursday meeting. 

State Senator Rips Governor For Campaigning for President

In recent weeks, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has made trips to Vermont and Florida and a State Senator says it's obvious at this point the Governor is campaigning for President.

 

State Sen. Chapin Rose says when he made this point two years ago people thought he was crazy. He is calling for the Governor to work on giving relief to Illinoisans at the gas pump.

 

 

Sen. Rose believes if Republicans in Illinois were given the chance, they would give Illinoisans their money back while Democrats would continue to spend it. Additionally, they would focus on reducing energy costs.

 

 

Crime in Illinois is up and there is a lot of crime stemming from habitual criminals that are being released from jail thanks to bail reform. Sen. Rose says the way Illinois went about resolving inequality in the criminal justice system is not right.

 

 

Sen. Rose questions where the equity is for the victims of the crimes that are committed. 

Sen. Duckworth Introduces Price Gouging Legislation

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth says she's working on passing legislation that would end price gouging in the United States during times of crisis. Duckworth says her inspiration for her current bill comes on the record-high gas prices this summer, which she attributes to the oil and gas industry trying to scrape in profits on the heels of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

 

 

In March, Senator Duckworth sent a letter requesting President Joe Biden to direct U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to establish and chair a Gasoline Price Gouging Enforcement Task Force to carefully monitor and investigate oil and gas markets for potential violations of criminal or civil laws, including gasoline and diesel price gouging. Duckworth also helped lead a bipartisan push to prioritize the year round sale of E15 fuel and utilize American agriculture as a less costly energy solution.

June Unemployment Lowest Since Start of Pandemic

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN ILLINOIS HAS REACHED ITS LOWEST LEVEL SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC. 

 

THE JUNE JOBLESS RATE CAME IN AT FOUR POINT FIVE PERCENT, DOWN FROM FOUR POINT SIX IN MAY SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIRECTOR KRISTIN RICHARDS.

 

 

THERE WAS ALSO JOB GROWTH IN JUNE, WITH NEARLY 19-THOUSAND JOBS ADDED OVER THE PREVIOUS MONTH. THE LARGEST GAINS BY FAR WERE MADE IN ILLINOIS’ LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY.

 

 

THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR JUNE CAME IN AT THREE POINT SIX PERCENT.

IDOT Concerned About Distracted Drivers

Distracted drivers are polluting the roadways more than ever before, and the Illinois Department of Transportation is well aware of it.

 

I-DOT Spokesperson, Paul Wappel, says the State of Illinois has a major problem with drivers diverting their attention away from the roads.

 

 

Distracted driving includes texting on the phone, eating or drinking, talking to other passengers in the car, and anything that takes your attention off the road. According to the Highway National Traffic Safety Administration, more than 26,000 people died from 2012 to 2019 due to distracted driving.

Clean Energy Proponents Calling on MISO to Move Forward with More Solar, Wind Projects

CLEAN ENERGY PROPONENTS ARE CALLING ON REGIONAL POWER GRID OPERATOR “MISO” TO MOVE FORWARD WITH NUMBER OF SOLAR AND WIND PROJECTS. 

 

MISO MANAGES THE GENERATION AND TRANSMISSION OF ELECTRICITY FOR PORTIONS OF 15 STATES, INCLUDING CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. REPRESENTATIVE ANN WILLIAMS OF CHICAGO SAYS IT’S TIME FOR THE OPERATOR TO START TRANSITIONING AWAY FROM FOSSIL FUELS AND GET MOVING ON CLEAN ENERGY SOLUTIONS.

 

 

SENATOR CRISTINA CASTRO OF ELGIN SAID THE OPERATORS NEEDS TO STOP RELYING SO HEAVILY ON FOSSIL FUELS.

 

 

CASTRO SAYS IF AMEREN CUSTOMERS EVER FIND THEMSELVES IN THE DARK, MISO’S INACTION IS TO BLAME.

 

WILLIAMS ADDS THERE ARE 34 SOLAR AND WIND PROJECTS THAT COULD RELIABLY POWER OVER FOUR MILLION ILLINOIS HOMES THAT MISO HAS NOT IMPLEMENTED YET.

DeWitt County Mental Health Board Engaging Community Through Needs Assessment

A DeWitt County entity is asking for you to offer your thoughts on the County's response to mental wellness, substance abuse, and much more.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Sharon Mills with the 708 Mental Health Board told Regional Radio the Community Needs and Resources Assessment can be taken now and it is a process that has been months and months in the making.

 

 

According to Mills, they are asking residents to tap into their own experiences and use the survey to help the Mental Health Board to improve the services and response in the County.

 

 

Upon the completion of the survey, Mills indicates they will use the data to help guide decisions on how to best direct funding, and guide them in strategic planning but also she hopes they will continue to focus on the areas of improvement the community identifies.

 

 

There are several ways to find the assessment to participate. Mills points anyone interested to visit their website, dewittmhb.com. You can also get a paper copy at any of DeWitt County's libraries. Additionally, you may see flyers across the community. If you are tech-savvy, you can scan the QR code and it will direct you to the survey. 

 

Mills reminds, they will likely close the survey the first week of August. 

Maroa Police Chief Bringing Unique Approach To Community Policing

Maroa residents that have seen Police Chief Patrick Siemsen (seam-sen) out with his yellow lab Lucy have been introduced to his unique approach to community policing.

 

The veteran law enforcement official has been on the job in the small Macon County community for a little more than a week and told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Lucy provides a great opportunity to simply meet and interact with people.

 

 

After years and years in various roles in law enforcement in Homewood, Illinois, Chief Siemsen found himself as a dog handler and explains his perspectives on the impacts a dog can have on people completely changed.

 

 

Chief Siemsen explains the program, 'The Paws and Stripes College', that Lucy comes from is so popular they cannot train enough dogs for the demand that is across the country for these rescue animals.

 

 

Chief Siemsen envisions Lucy being in the school system a lot. He encourages the community if they see Lucy out with him to come up and give her lots of pets and he hopes they will engage with him as well. 

Atlanta Public Library to Welcome TikTok Star in August

A Logan County entity is excited to announce a special appearance in August from a TikTok star with over a million followers.

 

Julianna Nordman with the Atlanta Public Library indicates they will welcome Caitlin Abrams, known as 'manicpixiemom' on TikTok. Abrams cleans tombstones and tells the story of the individual.

 

 

Nordman says cemeteries experience a lot of disrespect through vandalism. She feels Abrams does good work advocating for the reverence of cemeteries and looks forward to the knowledge she will share with Atlanta.

 

 

Saturday, August 27 Abrams will make a special presentation as part of a free event in Atlanta. Abrams will present her personal story and give some insight into how she does what she does.

 

 

The event, again on Saturday, August 27, is free but tickets are required. You can find the event at eventbrite.com and search 'Meet Caitlin Abrams'.

State Officials Remind School Supplies Sales Tax Scales Back Aug. 5

YOUR FAMILY MIGHT WANT TO WAIT A FEW WEEKS TO START PICKING UP BACK TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES. 

 

MANY STORES ARE ALREADY STOCKED FULL OF FOLDERS, NOTEBOOKS, PENS AND PENCILS. BUT THE STATE’S BACK TO SCHOOL TAX HOLIDAY DOESN’T BEGIN UNTIL AUGUST FIFTH. THAT’S WHEN THE STATE SALES TAX FOR ELIGIBLE ITEMS DROPS FROM SIX POINT 25 PERCENT TO ONE AND A QUARTER PERCENT SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON MAURA KOWNACKI.

 

 

THE BREAK ALSO APPLIES TO SCHOOL SUPPLIES, WHICH ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE COST LIMIT. THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL TAX HOLIDAY RUNS 10 DAYS…FROM AUGUST FIFTH THROUGH THE 14TH.

 

 

DURING THE HOLIDAY, THE STATE’S PORTION OF SALES TAX IMPOSED ON SCHOOL ITEMS DROPS FROM SIX AND A QUARTER PERCENT TO ONE AND A QUARTER PERCENT. 

State Mowing Highways

HIGHWAY MOWING IS UNDERWAY, AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS URGING DRIVERS TO SLOW DOWN WHEN APPROACHING CREWS.

 

I-DOT HAS A SPECIFIC MOWING SCHEDULE SAYS SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL…BALANCING THE NEED TO IMPROVE VISIBILITY WHILE PRESERVING AREAS FREQUENTED BY POLLINATORS LIKE THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY.

 

 

MOWING IS BEING DONE DIRECTLY ADJACENT TO THE ROADS AS NEEDED, AS WELL AS NEXT TO CULVERTS, DITCHES AND OTHER STRUCTURES.

 

 

WAPPEL SAYS I-DOT FOLLOWS A SPECIFIC MOWING PLAN THAT IMPROVES HIGHWAY SAFETY WHILE PROTECTING ROADSIDE HABITATS FOR POLLINATORS LIKE THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY.

Rain, Cooler Temps May Impact Illinois Next Week

Very warm and dry conditions will be in play for much of Illinois for the remainder of the week, but changes could be on the way next week says DTN ag meteorologist John Baranick.

 

 

There were some isolated rain showers last Sunday with some areas of Illinois receiving over two-inches of precipitation.

Mega Millions Jackpot Grows to $630-Million

THE MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT IS NOW MORE THAN SIX HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS.

 

THERE WAS NO GRAND PRIZE WINNER AGAIN IN TUESDAY NIGHT’S DRAWING SO THE JACKPOT ROLLS OVER TO AN ESTIMATED 630 MILLION DOLLARS SAYS LOTTERY SPOKESPERSON LORELL LYNCH.

 

 

THAT’S CAUSED THE JACKPOT FOR FRIDAY NIGHT’S DRAWING TO SWELL TO 630 MILLION DOLLARS.

 

 

MEGA MILLIONS TICKETS COST TWO DOLLARS EACH AND YOU CAN ADD A “MEGAPLIER” FOR AN EXTRA BUCK TO BOOST ANY NON-JACKPOT WINNINGS. 

 

THE LARGEST GRAND PRIZE EVER WON IN MEGA MILLIONS WAS ONE AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS IN 2018.

Car Care in Heat

The stifling heat is apparently socked in for a while, so car care experts say you need to your vehicle some TLC. 

 

Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can test the mettle of any car, so you are being advised to not let the maintenance be an afterthought. Chuck Tucker, owner of Tucker’s Automotive Repair and Tire in Godfrey says there are a variety of things that can be affected by the heat of summer.

 

 

He says you should also consider a cooling system exchange, which involves rinsing out the system, checking the radiator cap, and making sure you are using the proper coolant.

Ag Teaching Openings Heading into New School Year

An update on ag teaching openings heading into the new school year.

 

 

Dean Dittmar is the coordinator for Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education in Illinois.

After Weekend Vandalism, Clinton Police Chief Pleads With Community to Respect Property

Weekend vandalism at a local park prompted Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers to take time Tuesday night at the Clinton City Council meeting to implore the community to respect City property.

 

It was in June, that Commissioner Dan Ballenger reported vandalism at Kiwanis Park. Vandalism at the park has included drug paraphernalia being left near playground equipment and damage to property. This time it was vandalism at Rotary Park and the Chief says destruction of property is unacceptable no matter the age of the offender.

 

 

At Downey Park, Commissioner Dan Ballenger indicates they are in the process of adding a concrete basketball court thanks to leftover funds in the park budget. 

 

Commissioner Ballenger credited city crews with taking care of an issue with overgrown weeds at Webster Park. 

 

Also at the Tuesday meeting, the Council

 

>>Appointed Lloyd Francis as the Assistant Public Works Director for two months

 

>>Re-Appointed Phil Vinson and Francis Jackson to the Zoning Board of Appeals

Peace Meal Starting To Resume Normal Services

If before COVID you relied on Peace Meal, the organization is starting to return to its normal services in much of the area.

 

The service was taken over by OSF and Peace Meal Coordinator Shelly Tolly told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday reminds Peace Meal provides those in our communities ages 60 and up with a healthy meal around lunchtime. 

 

 

Tolly reminds Peace Meal offers both a home-delivered meal for those with limitations and they are beginning to bring back the congregate sites for those that were coming out for those meals.

 

 

For those that receive a home delivered meal, there does need to be a limitation that would prevent a senior from attending a congregate meal.

 

 

For those that can afford it, a meal is $3.50. Tolly emphasizes if you cannot afford it, they are not going to turn you away. She says if you can make any sort of donation, that is appreciated, otherwise, they will cover your cost.

 

She also points out anyone who has the means to pay for a meal is not taking away from someone in need of a meal. She notes the agency's goal is to grow the number of meals they serve next year.

 

To get more information on Peace Meal or get signed up for the program, you can call 309-665-5900 or 833-923-3905. 

University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator Recommends Adding Grill to Cooking Routine

The heat of the summer is back and a University of Illinois Nutrition Educator has some tips on how to add to the diversity of your cooking routines.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf at the U of I Extension in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties explains grilling is starting to take on new forms with flat iron grills becoming popular. She says this increases the options we have at our disposal.

 

 

A standard gas or charcoal grill serves as a great roaster for vegetables. Mellendorf points out frozen pizza manufacturers have promoted preparing their pies on the grill.

 

 

Mellendorf says cooking on the grill offers a great alternate flavor but will save the energy used on the oven or stovetop. In addition, it keeps our homes cooler.

State Fair Butter Cow Sculpted This Week

The sculpting of the 2022 Illinois State Fair butter cow begins this week. Midwest Dairy’s Kendra Anderson helps promote the attraction.

 

 

Sarah Pratt of West Des Moines, Iowa is the sculptor.

Illinois Treasurer Offers Tips on Tapping Into Bright Start Money

ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS’ OFFICE IS OFFERING SOME TIPS FOR USING BRIGHT START MONEY TO PAY COLLEGE EXPENSES. 

 

FAMILIES PLANNING TO USE THEIR BRIGHT START COLLEGE SAVINGS TO COVER COSTS SHOULD LOG INTO THEIR ACCOUNT, SELECT “TRANSACT ONLINE” AND THEN “WITHDRAWAL.” USERS WILL BE ASKED WHAT KIND OF WITHDRAWAL THEY WANT TO MAKE SAYS TREASURER SPOKESPERSON ERIK KROL.

 

 

KROL SAYS FROM THERE YOU WILL SELECT WHAT KIND OF WITHDRAWAL YOU WANT TO MAKE, THE AMOUNT AND WHERE TO SEND THE MONEY.

 

 

SOME SCHOOLS REQUIRE THE MONEY TO BE TRANSFERRED ELECTRONICALLY AND YOU WILL NEED YOUR STUDENT’S COLLEGE I-D NUMBER. KROL SAYS IT’S BEST TO START THE PROCESS EARLY TO ENSURE PAYMENT IS RECEIVED ON TIME.

Gov. Pritzker Tests Positive for COVID

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced Tuesday that the Illinois governor has tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Pritzker is experiencing mild symptoms and has been prescribed the anti-viral medication Paxlovid, according to a statement from his office. He is working from home.

 

The Democrat undergoes a routine COVID-19 testing regimen and received the positive result after he was notified that several close contacts had contracted the illness.

 

Pritzker is vaccinated and has received two booster shots. He has long urged everyone to be vaccinated and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for staying healthy and stopping the spread.

 

As of last Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported that nearly half of all counties in Illinois are at “high community level” for COVID-19 and of the rest, all but eight counties are at “medium community level.” The Public Health Department recommends people use caution and wear a face covering when indoors.

 

Since early 2020, Illinois has recorded 3.496 million cases of COVID-19. The illness has contributed to 34,257 deaths.

Dodgeball Tournament in Clinton Friday to Raise Awareness About Mental Health

A couple of community groups are coming together this Friday for a dodgeball tournament to raise awareness around mental wellness.

 

Heritage Behavioral Health and the Suicide Prevention Workgroup in DeWitt County are coming together to host a dodgeball tournament Friday at Clinton High School. Cory Baxter at Heritage says this is a fun, free event to raise awareness.

 

 

According to Baxter, they are looking for teams of six to ten that are in the high school to adult age groups. Registration is due this week.

 

 

Friday's event is simply designed to raise awareness around mental health. Baxter explains the Suicide Prevention Workgroup does events like this to get in front of the community and bring awareness to suicide and promote prevention.

 

 

Registration for this event closes tomorrow, Wednesday, July 20. Visit heritagenet.org to register.

 

The event again is Friday, July 22 at 6 pm. 

Kenney Fire Department Seeking ARPA Funds for Facility Expansion

The Kenney Fire Department is seeking American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding from DeWitt County to help expand its facility footprint.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Fritz Robinson with the Kenney Fire Department and the Kenney Fire Protection District Board of Trustees told Regional Radio the Department serves as a backup command center for any incident at the Clinton Power Station and the space they have goes quickly.

 

 

The Department will be applying for ARPA funds from the DeWitt County Board. Robinson says they'll be approaching the Finance Committee this week about their plans for expansion at the Department.

 

 

If the Department can secure funding to expand its facility, Robinson notes they plan to create more space for equipment.

 

 

Robinson, who serves on the Fire Protection District Board of Trustees, indicates they just last week passed the Department's budget for the upcoming year and the costs for almost everything are going up. 

Timing When to Receive Social Security Benefits

Would it be better for you to start getting Social Security benefits early at a smaller monthly rate over a longer period? Would it make more sense for you to wait for a larger monthly rate that you will receive over less time because you waited? These are some of the questions individuals grapple with when thinking about retirement benefits through Social Security.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security explains the answer is personal and depends on many factors such as your current and anticipated cash needs or your health and family history on longevity.

 

 

Myers notes it could potentially even impact the amount your surviving spouse gets.  

 

 

In addition to looking at your own personalized estimates through your mySocialSecurity account, you can also find Social Security publications and other general information about benefits at www.ssa.gov/retirement. You can even apply for retirement benefits online when the time comes.  

Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS FARMERS HAVE JUST ABOUT WRAPPED UP WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING. 

 

WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING IS NOW 96 PERCENT COMPLETE, WHICH IS ABOUT ON PAR WITH THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 60 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW SILKING.

 

 

41 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND EIGHT PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. 62 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

ABOUT FIVE DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK. THE SECOND CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS NOW 78 PERCENT COMPLETE AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS NOW RATED 11 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 17 PERCENT SHORT, 67 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FIVE PERCENT SURPLUS.

Southwest Suburbs May Be Home to Illinois Basketball Museum

The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association hopes a home has been found for a proposed basketball museum. The location is in the southwest suburbs says IBCA’s Bruce Firchau.

 

 

The IBCA just celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this month.

Illinois State Police Files Emergency Rule to Broaden Use of Clear and Present Danger Reports in FOID Applications

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS LOOKING TO BROADEN THE USE OF "CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER" REPORTS WHEN IT COMES TO REVIEWING FOID CARD APPLICATIONS. 

 

THE I-S-P HAS FILED AN EMERGENCY RULE TO MAKE BETTER USE OF PRIOR CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER REPORTS FILED ABOUT A PERSON WHO IS NOW SEEKING A FOID CARD. PREVIOUSLY, THE STATE POLICE WAS LIMITED SAYS DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY.

 

 

KELLY SAYS THEY WANT TO MAKE THE RULE PERMANENT. REVIEW OF THE PROCESS COMES AFTER THE HIGHLAND PARK MASS SHOOTING WHERE THE SUSPECT WAS INVESTIGATED FOR BEING A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER TO HIMSELF OR OTHERS. 

 

 

PREVIOUSLY, A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER REPORT ONLY SERVED TO REVOKE THE FOID OF A CURRENT CARD HOLDER.

Clinton Police Chief Discusses Increase in Crime This Summer

Crime is increasing in Clinton and Police Chief Ben Lowers says there is a couple of reasons why.

 

He doesn't have specific data but the reports that hit his desk are more frequent and similar crimes. He says it is a general increase in common crimes they see. 

 

 

Part of the reason for the increase in crime is the 2020 bail reform legislation out of Springfield. The Chief explains crimes that would once keep a criminal in jail for a significant amount of time are now letting those same individuals out much quicker.

 

 

Chief Lowers explains with bail reform when those individuals are not being held in jail, they are back out in the community and continue to commit the crimes they were before.

 

 

Chief Lowers says the coming elimination of cash bail that goes into effect Jan. 1 is going to significantly make things more difficult for authorities and in some cases victims. 

 

We'll have more on that soon on Regional Radio. 

Business Mentors Needed for Central Illinois Business Programs

Leadership for a pair of local business programs at area high schools is in need of mentors.

 

Melanie Brown facilitates the Central Illinois CEO program and Lisa Shepard facilitates the Sangamon Valley CEO program and they are in need of local business owners to guide their students.

 

 

Brown explains mentors are anyone with a business background and who meets with the students once a month in person and they are there to listen to the students guide them through any challenges they may be facing.

 

 

A mentor and student relationship work best when the match is a good fit and Shepard says that's what they try to do. Shepard notes they try to do things before the matches are made to make sure they will be solid. 

 

 

It's not too late to become a mentor. Shepard encourages any local business owner that might like to invest in a young person in their community to reach out to the respective CEO chapter in your area.

 

 

You can learn about the two programs by visiting centralillinoisceo.com or sangamonvalleyceo.com. Both groups are on Facebook as well. 

New Legislation Makes Parents Sponsoring Kids Under 21 for FOID Card Criminally Liable for Any Related Incidents

NEW LEGISLATION WOULD MAKE PARENTS WHO SIGN OFF ON THEIR CHILD'S FOID CARD CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR ANY RELATED DAMAGES.

 

THE BILL COMES FROM REPRESENTATIVE MARK BATINICK OF PLAINFIELD WHO SAYS SINCE PARENTS HAVE TO SPONSOR THE FOID APPLICATION IF THEIR CHILD IS UNDER 21, THEY SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF THAT KID CAUSES HARM WITH A FIREARM.

 

 

HE SAYS PARENTS ARE IN THE BEST POSITION TO DETERIMINE IF IT'S APPROPRITATE FOR THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER UNDER 21 TO HAVE A FIREARM.

 

 

THIS SITUATION WAS SEEN IN THE HIGHLAND PARK SHOOTING WHERE THE SUSPECT HAD OBTAINED A FOID CARD WITH HIS PARENT'S CONSENT DESPITE SOME PREVIOUS WARNING SIGNS.

Plant Care During Summer

The heat that has been fairly consistent this summer has come with it a lack of precipitation in some parts of the state and that is causing headaches gardeners. 

 

You need to water your plants religiously during hot and dry periods, but not to the point of drowning them according to one garden expert. Sarah Ruth, U of I Extension Program Coordinator says if you pay attention, your plants will show you when they need a drink.

 

 

You can move potted plants and hanging baskets to shadier areas, and experts agree you should not fertilize in extreme heat.

Subject of Endangered Missing Person Alert Located

The Piatt County Sheriff's Office in Monticello notified media at 12:30 this morning, that the subject of an endangered person alert has been located.

 

Officials late Saturday night had issued the alert to find 85-year-old Paul Kaufman of Hammond.

 

 

Weather Service Discusses Potential Breaks in Drought

Earlier this week on Regional Radio, weather officials told us the rest of July could be very dry. 

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates after a dry July, August is showing potential for some severe storms to relieve the dry ground.

 

 

Shimon says we're setting up for a pleasant fall season...

 

Shimon indicates the State Climatologist is warning of potential stress in the crops as the drought deepens in parts of eastern Illinois. Earlier this week, Shimon warned we may not get another inch of rain in total for the rest of the month. 

Secretary of State Warning Against Scams

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS REMINDING THE PUBLIC TO BE WARY OF SCAM EMAILS AND TEXTS PURPORTING TO BE FROM HIS OFFICE. 

 

THERE'S A NEW VERSION OF FAKE MESSAGES GOING AROUND SAYS SECRETARY OF STATE SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT.

 

 

HAUPT SAYS THEY WOULD LIKE PEOPLE TO TAKE A SCREENSHOT OF THE TEXT OR EMAIL AND SEND IT TO: SCAM ALERT AT IL SOS DOT GOV FOR INVESTIGATION.

 

 

HAUPT SAYS CLICKING THE LINK OR PROVIDING PERSONAL INFORMATION CAN OPEN YOU UP TO MALWARE AND IDENTITY THEFT.

Weekly Weather Summary

It was an overall mild week in central Illnois. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason has a look at this week's weather summary...

 

 

Illinois Farmer Testifies in Front of US House Ag Committee

An Illinois farmer gets an audience with the U.S. House Ag Committee in Washington. Adam Brown is from Macon County. He addressed USDA programs and how they relate to young farmers.

 

 

The House Ag Committee consists of 52-members, including four from Illinois—Rodney Davis, Mary Miller, Cheri Bustos and Bobby Rush.

Atlanta Public Library Wraps Up Summer Reading Club

The Atlanta Public Library has wrapped up its 2022 summer reading club.

 

While the library in the small Logan County community keeps track of reading for kids and offers prizes for reading milestones, Julianna Nordman indicates they held several programs in June that encompassed the summer reading club.

 

 

According to Nordman, the Library followed the State's recommended theme for the summer and offered a lot of programs that followed the theme.

 

 

Nordman indicates they are continuing to offer programs this summer as they seek to engage kids in fun activities and incorporate reading. She believes if you can make reading fun, it will make kids want to read more. 

Farmer City Beginning Strategic Planning

A DeWitt County community is updating its strategic plan that was put in place about four years ago.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Farmer City Manager Sue McLaughlin told Regional Radio they met recently at the high school library to prioritize its goals. The city is working with the Northern Illinois University Department of Governmental studies.

 

 

2018 was the first time Farmer City has done any sort of strategic planning. McLaughlin indicates in the last four years, they've been able to accomplish several things they set out in that plan.

 

 

McLaughlin was surprised to learn the amount of money they had invested in infrastructure improvements and was also impressed with the number of projects they were able to accomplish in that time.

 

 

Farmer City was able to also afford a major renovation of its community pool unfortunately as reported on Regional Radio recently, they have not been able to keep open as much as they had planned this summer because of the lifeguard shortage. 

 

McLaughlin also points out they are adding a new community park this summer. 

Volunteers at State Fair

Volunteers are a big part of the Illinois State Fair. And they often work at the entrance gates. Kevin Lust with the American Business Club helps to organize them.

 

He says when they look at all the hours groups spend working at the gates the total amount of time spent is pretty staggering.

 

 

For the past 18 years the American Business Club has been organizing the groups to volunteer and then they make donations back to the groups for the time they spent working at the fair.

State Fairgrounds Getting Much Need Improvements

Over $58-million in improvements being made to the state fairgrounds in Springfield. An update from State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark.

 

 

The 2022 Illinois State Fair is Aug. 11-21.

State Expanding Health Care Coverage for Immigrant Adults

THE STATE IS EXPANDING HEALTH CARE COVERAGE FOR ADULT IMMIGRANTS.

 

CURRENTLY, QUALIFYING ADULT UNDOCUMENTED ILLINOISANS AGED 55 AND UP CAN APPLY FOR HEALTH BENEFITS. STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHCARE AND FAMILY SERVICES ASSISTANT DIRECTOR JENNY AGUIRRE (uh-gear-ay) SAYS STARTING NEXT JULY, THAT THRESHOLD WILL BE LOWERED TO 42.

 

 

AGUIRRE (uh-gear-ay) SAYS THE PROGRAM IS SIMILAR TO MEDICAID.

 

 

THOSE INTERESTED CAN APPLY ONLINE AT: ABE DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV OR AT A LOCAL COMMUNITY SERVICE AGENCY.

Sen. Duckworth Calls for Assault Weapons Ban

US Senator Tammy Duckworth is calling for an assault weapons ban. The Democrat from Illinois said Thursday that as a 22 year veteran of the Army she recognizes a weapon of war and that’s why steps need to be taken to limit further access to them.

 

 

Duckworth says hearing the video from the mass shooting in Highland Park it reminded her of being in combat in Iraq.

Illinois Unemployment Claims Continue to Reach Record Lows

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS ARE REACHING LOWS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE CONTINUING TO CERTIFY FOR BENEFITS HAS HIT A HISTORIC LOW OF A LITTLE OVER 65 THOUSAND SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DIRECTOR KRISTIN RICHARDS.

 

 

THAT’S A GREAT SIGN SAYS RICHARDS.

 

 

RICHARDS SAYS JOB GROWTH IN THE MANUFACTURING, TRANSPORTATION AND WAREHOUSING, PROFESSIONAL, TECHNICAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES SECTORS HAS EXCEEDED PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Office Investigating Deceased Dog Found in Rural DeWitt County

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department is investigating a dog that was found dead in a suitcase on a creek bank in rural DeWitt County two weeks ago.

 

Sheriff Mike Walker tells Regional Radio News two weeks ago tomorrow (Friday), they were notified of a suitcase in a creek near Green Valley Road that had a foul odor and discovered a dog that was dead inside.

 

 

In recent days, the amount of speculation and hearsay has become overwhelming and the Sheriff says that is holding the investigation up. At this time, the Sheriff indicates the evidence is lacking to make an arrest.

 

 

The Sheriff implores the public to present credible evidence they can verify. He stresses this has been being investigated for two weeks since it came to light to them.

Clinton Police Chief Reminds of Vacation Watch Program

Local crime has been on the rise this summer and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers is hoping if you're headed on vacation, you'll consider taking advantage of the department's vacation watch program.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Chief Lowers told Regional Radio this is a program the department offers that gives a check over your home while you're away.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, an officer in the Clinton Police Department will drive by your home at least once on their shift. They'll be looking for vehicles that shouldn't be there and or individuals at the residence that are out of place.

 

 

The Chief is sending along his reminders of leaving your home vacant if you're not going to send along your information to authorities. He encourages having your mail and newspaper service stopped if no one is going to be by to pick it up. 

 

 

Chief Lowers emphasizes when a home is burglarized, it is often someone known to the victim. He points out very rarely is a criminal going to enter a home not knowing what kind of security measures are in place.

 

Additionally, the Chief encourages if you're leaving your home unattended, do your best to limit the exposure you give your travels on social media and online so as to not tip off potential criminals. 

Social Security: Scammers Returning to Old Tactics

Scammers are reviving old tactics to gain the public's trust in their nefarious efforts. 

 

That's according to a new report Social Security is highlighting. Jack Myers at Social Security indicates scammers are emailing and texting pictures of doctored credentials to prove their legitimacy.

 

 

These scammers pretend to be from a government agency and say there is a problem you need to take care of or a prize you can win. They pressure you to act immediately and tell you to pay in a specific way. Myers offers a few reminders on how to protect yourself.

 

 

Do not transfer money and do not buy that gift card. Scammers typically request forms of payment that are hard to trace such as gift cards, prepaid debit cards, internet currency, mailing cash, money transfer, or anything else. Myers says it's best to be skeptical. Don’t believe scammers who say they are “transferring” you to law enforcement.

 

 

If you are a victim of a scam you can contact local law enforcement or check out the Federal Trade Commission website at www.FTC.gov. Myers also directs victims to file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov.

Congressman Davis Weighs In On Future

With only six months left in office, a Central Illinois Congressmember said he's 'never running again.'

 

Taylorville Republican Rodney Davis is making his stance clear.

 

 

Congressman Rodney Davis lost his bid for re-election to President Trump-backed Congresswoman Mary Miller. As part of redistricting, the new map process paired Congressmembers Davis and Miller against each other to represent the citizens of the 15th District.

Comptroller Deposits $100 In State's Rainy Day Fund

THE STATE’S RAINY DAY FUND IS GETTING ANOTHER BOOST. 

 

ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER SUSANA MENDOZA SAYS 100 MILLION ADDITIONAL DOLLARS HAS BEEN DEPOSITED INTO THE FUND, BRINGING THE TOTAL TO 854 MILLION. SHE SAYS THE RAINY DAY MONEY IS VITAL IN CASE OF ANOTHER PANDEMIC, ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, OR BUDGET IMPASSE LIKE THE ONE THAT LASTED MORE THAN TWO YEARS.

 

 

THAT’S BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY SHORED UP AFTER THIS WEEK’S 100 MILLION DOLLAR DEPOSIT.

 

 

MENDOZA SAYS THE STATE’S RAINY DAY FUND SHOULD BE UP TO ONE BILLION DOLLARS BY THE END OF THE SUMMER.

BBB Warns of Highland Park Scams

Anytime a tragedy occurs, such as the mass shooting in Highland Park, the outcry of public support and the desire to help inevitably follows.

 

However, it also brings out the vile scammers wishing to take advantage of the emotionally vulnerable who simply wish to help however they can. Here's Better Business Bureau Investigator Don O'Brien.

 

 

Crowd-sourced fundraising such as GoFundMe have become much more diligent in recent times about verifying legitimate campaigns, making the unverified ones stand out with a little bit of research.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul Warns Public About Scams Related to Gun Violence

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL’S OFFICE IS CAUTIONING THE PUBLIC TO WATCH OUT SCAMS RELATED TO VICTIMS OF GUN VIOLENCE. 

 

SEVERAL GROUPS ARE RAISING MONEY TO HELP THOSE AFFECTED BY THE HIGHLAND PARK SHOOTING, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU DONATE SAYS ATTORNEY GENERAL SPOKESPERSON DREW HILL.

 

 

HILL ALSO WARNS THAT A NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF VICTIMS INJURED DURING THE SHOOTING ARE GETTING CALLS FROM POTENTIAL SCAMMERS. THE CALLER OFFERS TO HELP WITH APPLICATIONS FOR AID FROM THE CRIME VICTIM’S COMPENSATION PROGRAM.

 

 

HILL SAYS YOU SHOULDN’T PAY IN CASH AND BE WARY OF ONLINE SOLICITATIONS.

University of Illinois Extension Discusses Food Options for Summer

As we try to find cost-saving measures for meals and limit energy consumption this summer, a University of Illinois Nutrition Educator has some tips for us. 

 

As we seek to be more energy conscious this summer because of a potential energy shortage and being in the midst of a very hot summer, Caitlin Mellendorf at the University of Illinois Extension in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties says something as simple as a fruit salad offers great benefits.

 

 

You can try to make a homemade potato salad. Mellendorf says a healthy alternative is to incorporate cauliflower, a trendy vegetable this summer.

 

 

Mellendorfs indicates transitioning your cooking to the grill can be a great alternative to turning on the oven or using the stove and will help keep your home cool. 

 

She points anyone interested in further summer cooking tips or for more recipes through the Extension to do a Google search for U of I Extension in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. 

Despite Substantial Rains Last Week, Serious Drought Concerns Remain

Despite some substantial rains in parts of Illinois last week, serious drought concerns remain for Illinois.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says the rains of last week were substantial for some areas in the west and northern portion of the state, otherwise, some areas saw minimal rainfall.

 

 

While some places are currently experiencing an easing of drought conditions thanks to last week's rains, the rest of July is looking really dry. Shimon says we'll be lucky to get an inch of rain.

 

 

Looking beyond July, Shimon says a below-normal precipitation signal remains while the western portion of the state is looking at a stronger signal for above-normal temperatures while the rest of the state is looking at equal chances of above or below normal temperatures. 

Lt. Gov. Stratton Testifies Before US Senate Judiciary Committee

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON SPOKE TO A U-S SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE (TODAY) TUESDAY ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE SUPREME COURT’S RECENT DECISION ON ABORTION. 

 

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR STRATTON WAS PART OF A PANEL AND WAS ASKED WHAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD DO MOVING FORWARD. SHE SAID THE PRESIDENT SHOULD USE EVERY TOOL POSSIBLE TO ENSURE REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOMS AND WORK WITH CONGRESS TO PUT THOSE RIGHTS INTO LAW.

 

 

SHE ALSO DISCUSSED OTHER RAMIFICATIONS INCLUDING POVERTY AND HOUSING INSTABILITY.

 

 

STRATTON TOLD SENATORS ILLINOIS IS PREPARING FOR AN INFLUX OF WOMEN COMING TO THE STATE FOR AN ABORTION, SINCE SOME NEIGHBORING STATES HAVE NOW BANNED THE PROCEDURE.

July Crop Production Report, Wheat Yields

THIS MAY BE ANOTHER BIG YEAR FOR WINTER WHEAT IN ILLINOIS. 

 

ACCORDING TO THE JULY PRODUCTION REPORT, HARVESTED WHEAT ACRES ARE ESTIMATED AT 720 THOUSAND, UP 110 THOUSAND FROM LAST YEAR. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS THE YIELD SHOULD BE STRONG.

 

 

IF REALIZED WOULD MATCH 2021’S RECORD YIELD SAYS SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

THE ILLINOIS OATS YIELD IS FORECASTED TO BE 82 BUSHELS PER ACRE, DOWN ONE FROM 2021.

Increase in COVID Cases at Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy

THE ILLINOIS VETERANS’ HOME AT QUINCY IS REPORTING AN INCREASE IN COVID-19 CASES AMONG RESIDENTS AND STAFF. 

 

AT LEAST 20 RESIDENTS AND 10 EMPLOYEES HAVE TESTED POSITIVE SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS DIRECTOR TERRY PRINCE.

 

 

MOST OF THE CASES ARE MILD.

 

 

ALL POSITIVE RESIDENTS HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST TWO DOSES OF THE VACCINE AND THE MAJORITY HAVE ALSO HAD THEIR BOOSTER SHOTS. 

 

PRINCE SAYS THE QUINCY HOME HAS BEEN WORKING WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH TO ENACT PROTOCOLS SUCH AS DAILY HEALTH SCREENINGS AND LIMITING ACTIVITIES IN AFFECTED AREAS.

COPS Bike Ride Across Illinois Starts Today

A group representing the surviving family members of police officers who died in the line of duty will hold a memorial bike ride across Illinois starting today (Wednesday) in Alton. Concerns of Police Survivors, or COPS, will wrap it up with an event on Sunday in Chicago.

 

This is the 18th annual Cycle Across Illinois and the ride will benefit the Illinois Chapter of COPS. Today's ride began with a brief ceremony at 6:45am at the Alton Marina and includes stops in Chesterfield, Waverly, and Springfield. Alton Police Officer Jacob Custer says the riders will have a long journey ahead.

 

 

A special stop will took place this afternoon at the Illinois Police Memorial on the grounds of the state capitol. The ride will continue through towns like Sherman, Bloomington, Dwight, Joliet, Orland Park, and Chicago. The COPS group works to help surviving family members have counseling options available to them across a variety of platforms. The COPS group provides significant support for the children of fallen officers, providing them with summer camps and small group meetings throughout the year.

Clinton Schools Superintendent Addresses Progressive Social, Sexual Standards in Education

Before the end of the 2021-22 fiscal year, the Clinton Board of Education rejected a curriculum for sex education in the district.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles says the stories you see on whatever cable news network you may consume don't reflect the rural communities of Illinois, particularly central Illinois.

 

 

A healthy skepticism remains though as some educators in all corners of the country have independently taken it upon themselves to teach students of their beliefs. Nettles says one way to make sure a classroom remains free of the social agenda being pushed is to be involved.

 

 

Nettles has addressed a good way to shield from these issues is to hire teachers that have a familiarity with the district and share the values of the community and the school. 

 

 

Nettles calls the current school board a great representation of the community's overall values and belief systems. 

DeWitt County Students Competes in National 4-H Air Rifle Competition

A DeWitt County student recently represented Illinois in the 4-H National air rifle competition.

 

Morgan Droz from the Farmer City area had the privilege to represent Illinois at the competition in Nebraska. She felt it was a good time and a really good competition. 

 

 

According to Droz, there is a state competition to join a team. Then there is a year of training and competitors go to the national competition. She was in a fortunate situation to be able to sharpen her skills throughout the year.

 

 

Droz was a team teacher at Blue Ridge and is going to Eastern Illinois University and hopes to become a chemistry teacher.

 

She participated in the 4-H Fair this weekend. 

Warm, Dry Weather to Fire Up Again Next Week

Monday was awfully warm but it will be much more tolerable the rest of the week.

 

That's the message from Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln who, on the WHOW Morning Show Monday, noted some low pressure in the midwest is shielding us from the extreme heat out west.

 

 

As we roll through July, things are showing to be dry throughout the remainder of the month. Shimon says the one thing that could change the outlook is a tropical storm, although at this point they are not showing good chances of a July tropical storm.

 

 

As far as temperatures, the second half of the month is looking at above-normal temperatures though not as hot as it has been out west. Shimon says the cooler temperatures staying bottled up in Canada is going to keep things from getting extremely hot in the midwest. 

Weekly Crop Report

THE CONDITION OF ILLINOIS CROPS IMPROVED OVER THE PAST WEEK. 

 

THE RAIN WAS WELCOME IN MANY FIELDS AND GAVE CROPS A LITTLE BOOST SAYS STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

15 PERCENT OF CORN IS SILKING AND 66 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

 

92 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED AND AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS NOW RATED AS NINE PERCENT VERY SHORT, 22 PERCENT SHORT, 59 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 10 PERCENT SURPLUS.

New State Laws Aim to Bring More Microchip Manufacturers to Illinois

A NEW STATE LAW AIMS TO GROW THE MICROCHIP INDUSTRY IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE MICRO ACT INCLUDES TAX INCENTIVES FOR MICROCHIP MANUFACTURERS SETTING UP SHOP HERE. IT WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR SUZY GLOWIAK HILTON OF WESTERN SPRINGS.

 

 

SENATOR MIKE HALPIN OF ROCK ISLAND.

 

 

HILTON SAYS MICROCHIP PRODUCTION HAS GONE DOWN IN THE U-S OVER THE LAST TWO DECADES, AND ASIA IS NOW THE LEADING MANUFACTURER OF THE CHIPS.

Illinois Lyme Association Seeking County Coordinators

The Illinois Lyme Association looking for county coordinators to help with Lyme disease education and awareness. Jennifer Russell is the executive director of the organization.

 

 

More info is available at "illymeassociation.org".

Illinois' Doodle for Google Winner

The 14th annual Doodle for Google competition is down to 54 contestants, with one from each State and Territory.

 

4th Grader Amelia Winter of Freeport is Illinois' winner, and she dedicated her doodle to her dog Dasher.

 

 

The National Winner’s art will be displayed on Google.com for one day, in addition to a prize of a $30,000 college scholarship, and their school will receive a $50,000 tech package. Voting culminates at the end of the day tomorrow. You can cast your vote for Amelia at doodles.google.com

Sheriff Walker Discusses Coming Crisis Hotline

The State of Illinois is launching a crisis hotline this weekend and a local law enforcement official is here to tell us all about it.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker indicates the hotline will be a division of the Illinois Department of Human Services and gives someone in crisis access to a trained profession 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

 

Encounters for law enforcement with a component of mental health have increased a great deal in recent years and Sheriff Walker says the unfortunate reality is the access to help for those individuals has declined, especially in DeWitt County.

 

 

The 9-8-8 crisis hotline launches Saturday, July 16. The line is confidential and free and will be available 24/7. 

 

If you need help before Saturday, please call 800-273-8255. 

Willow Tree Mission Highlights Annual Campaign

A Piatt County non-profit is highlighting its annual giving campaign that is recently underway. 

 

Jill Maxey is the Executive Director for Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County. She indicates they are looking for both financial and volunteer partners and there are various levels you can contribute as well.

 

 

Willow Tree Missions continues its goal of renovating a downtown space for expanding its retail shop and eventually offering shelter for domestic violence victims. To that end, Maxey indicates they have specific needs for individuals with certain skills and volunteers for general projects.

 

 

You can also support Willow Tree Missions this Saturday evening by attending its trivia night. It will be at 6 pm at the Community Building in Monticello. 

 

Get more information about the campaign or trivia night by visiting willowtreemissions.org. 

Rivian's Impact on Labor Market

Rivian Automotive is on pace to hire 7-thousand employees at its Normal-based manufacturing facility; however, one local farmer reports the major boom is a double-edged sword. Ken Ropp is the owner of Ropp Jersey Cheese.

 

 

According to Ropp, the labor market mixed with inflation and high diesel prices hampers his bottom line. Ropp Jersey Cheese is the only on-farm cheese producer in Illinois.

Gas Prices Declining in Illinois

Gas prices continue to drop across the state as the latest gas report shows prices at the pump are down 14 cents over the past week. Head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, Patrick De Haan provides an update.

 

 

De Haan says that Illinois is without a doubt still the most expensive state when it comes to gas prices in the Midwest, and was once the second most expensive state in the country, but now sit at seventh. The cheapest station in Illinois earlier this week was priced at $4.38 a gallon, while the most expensive was $6.79 a gallon.

DeWitt, Macon, Piatt County 4-H off to Good Start

Despite the rain Friday night, the weather was great for the first day of the DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties 4-H Fair.

 

Doug Harland, U of I Extention Director for the three counties, says in addition to being the second year for the combined fair it is also the first year for the open junior livestock show.

 

 

Harland indicates 4-H saw a decrease in numbers during the pandemic. Currently, they are focusing on retaining and adding more volunteers.

 

 

4-Her Anton Meyen (shown right) was exhibiting his sculptures of an African shoebill and Blue Angelfish made of recycled materials. He says he likes that 4-H lets you try and learn new things.

 

 

Exhibitor Callia Meyen was showing a variety of projects including edible flowers, a short story, and visual arts. She likes that 4-H allows you to meet new people and encourages potential members to visit many clubs before joining one.

 

 

The 4-H Fair continues tomorrow with swine, rabbit, and sheep shows in addition to general project judging. The fair will conclude Monday morning with the beef show.

Clinton Commissioner Updates on City Parks

Tuesday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger updated the community on the status of some of the park's work that has gone on this year.

 

Ballenger says the pickleball court improvements at Rotary Park are done and the new park equipment at Downey Park is installed. He also notes they've seen some vandalism take place at area parks this summer.

 

 

Downey Park equipment was set to go up sooner but COVID delayed that project and the pickleball courts at Rotary Park have seen an uptick in activity in recent summers. 

Gov. Pritzker Announces Grants for Local Parks Projects

Gov. JB Pritzker Friday announced $30.3 million in grants for 87 local park projects that will help communities acquire open space and develop and improve recreational facilities throughout Illinois. 

 

The grants announced today are through the state’s Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). OSLAD grants can provide up to one-half of a project’s funds and, when combined with the investment of local matching funds, will support more than $56 million in local park development projects and land acquisitions statewide.

 

The OSLAD program began in 1987 and has invested $433.5 million in 1,816 local park projects. The program receives dedicated funding from a percentage of the state’s Real Estate Transfer Tax. 

 

Champaign County Forest Preserve District received $294,000 for the Dark Sky Trail and amenities. 

 

Heyworth's Centennial Park will improve playground equipment after receiving $64,700. 

 

The City of Sullivan received $381,000 for Wyman Park improvements.

 

Atwood in Piatt County received $15,000 for its COMBO-village park expansion.

 

And Shelbyville received $324,000 for ballfield enhancement projects. 

 

In a statement Friday, Gov. Pritzker said park projects don’t just create jobs and boost local economic development — they open the gateway for a healthier, happier Illinois. Every family in our state deserves nearby access to outdoor public spaces where they can gather with their friends and neighbors — and enjoy some sunshine, too.

State Fairs Hiring for Seasonal Help

LOOKING TO MAKE SOME EXTRA MONEY THIS SUMMER? THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR AND DUQUOIN STATE FAIR ARE HIRING SEASONAL WORKERS.

 

THE TEMPORARY JOBS PAY 14 DOLLARS AN HOUR AND ARE VITAL TO THE OPERATIONS OF BOTH FAIRS SAYS SPOKESPERSON KRISTA LISSER.

 

 

THE TEMPORARY JOBS PAY 14 DOLLARS AN HOUR AND ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF STATE FAIR OPERATIONS.

 

 

THOSE INTERESTED CAN APPLY ONLINE AT THE ILLINOIS STATE FAIR OR DUQUOIN STATE FAIR WEBSITES.

Weekly Weather Summary

Late in the week, Illinois received some much needed rain. State Climatologist Trent Ford recaps the rain events and looks at the week ahead.

 

 

Warner Library Resuming 'Garden Table' Program

As those garden veggies start to come in, a Clinton entity is getting a garden-share program started again.

 

Business manager of the Warner Library in Clinton, Samantha Rusk, indicates the 'Garden Table' program started before COVID and in 2020 it was paused but is back again in 2022 and gives patrons a chance to take homegrown vegetables home and all the library asks is if you're able, you leave something behind.

 

 

Rusk indicates this is a free program for anyone and there are no income limits. Additionally, you don't need to check-in with the front desk, they just it to be a helpful resource for the community.

 

 

In addition to the 'Garden Table', the library continues to offer its seed library. Some vegetables are a little late to be putting in the ground now but Rusk says if there's anything you might be interested in trying, check-in and see what they have available.

 

 

Rusk reminds the Master Gardeners from the University of Illinois Extension will be back at the library next Thursday, July 14. Get more information by visiting vwarner.org or find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

New Streamlined Process for Getting New Social Security Card

Social Security has introduced a streamlined process for getting a new Social Security card.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Jack Myers told Regional Radio those wanting or needing a new card can visit the Social Security Number and Card page at www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ or you can just look for “Social Security Number” on our homepage www.ssa.gov. Social Security now asks you a series of questions to determine whether you can complete the application process online or start the application process online, then bring any required documents to your local office to complete the application.

 

 

If you can complete the application online - typically at age 18 - you will be directed to do so without needing to visit an office. If you can’t complete the application process online like in the case of a minor child, original SSN, name change, or other reasons, you can now learn what types of documents you need to bring to your local SSA office, start the application online and get an online control number, then ring the online control number to your office within 45 days.

 

 

Myers stresses you don't have to start the application process online, but it will save you time in your office if you choose to do so. He also points out, no matter how you complete the application, the new Social Security card will have to be mailed to you as Social Security does not print cards in the local offices.   

Rivian Hopes to Hit 25,000 Electric Vehicles Built This Year

Electric-vehicle manufacturer Rivian Automotive is on track to build 25-thousand vehicles this year.

 

The Normal-based manufacturer reported the company produced more than 4-thousand vehicles in the first quarter despite supply chain constraints. Here's Chris Ruedi with Savant Wealth Management.

 

 

On the heels of the report, the company's stock soared 11% on Wednesday. Over the past year, the stock has been down by over 71%.

Several Areas of State Experiencing Drought Conditions

SEVERAL AREAS OF THE STATE ARE EXPERIENCING DROUGHT CONDITIONS. 

 

RAINFALL WAS BELOW NORMAL LAST MONTH, LEAVING NORTHERN, SOUTHERN AND PORTIONS OF CENTRAL ILLINOIS ABNORMALLY DRY. OTHER SPOTS ARE CONSIDERED TO BE IN A MODERATE TO SEVERE DROUGHT SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

FORD SAYS HE’S HOPEFUL THE RECENT RAINS HELP REPLENISH SOME OF THE LOST MOISTURE.

Lawmaker Says All Ideas on Table In Preventing Another Mass Shooting

A HIGHLAND PARK AREA LAWMAKER SAYS ALL IDEAS ARE BEING CONSIDERED WHEN IT COMES TO PREVENTING ANOTHER MASS SHOOTING.

 

REPRESENTATIVE BOB MORGAN SAYS HIS OFFICE HAS RECEIVED HUNDREDS OF CALLS FROM CONSTITUENTS OFFERING SUGGESTIONS ABOUT NEW LAWS AND POLICY CHANGES.

 

 

MORGAN SAYS HE’S LOOKING AT SEVERAL PATHWAYS INCLUDING AN ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN, LOOPHOLES IN THE STATE’S RED FLAG LAWS AND HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CAN POTENTIALLY HELP PREVENT SUCH TRAGEDIES.

 

 

MORGAN SAYS NOTHING IS OFF THE TABLE AT THIS POINT.

First African-American Woman Sworn Onto Illinois Supreme Court

THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO SIT ON THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT WAS SWORN IN THURSDAY.

 

AFTER TAKING THE OATH AT THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM IN SPRINGFIELD, NEW JUSTICE LISA HOLDER-WHITE SPOKE ABOUT THE HISTORIC MOMENT.

 

 

HOLDER-WHITE REPLACES RETIRING JUSTICE RITA GARMAN. WHITE’S APPOINTMENT EXPIRES AT THE END OF NEXT YEAR WHEN THE SEAT WILL BE FILLED BY THE WINNER OF THE 2024 GENERAL ELECTION.

DeWitt County Sheriff Struggling With Staffing Issues Again

It was not that long ago DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker was touting having his department fully staffed and now in the middle of the summer, the Sheriff needs more people.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Sheriff Walker told Regional Radio he's all of a sudden down two patrol officers as one has recently departed for the City of Clinton and the other has gone to the State Police.

 

 

According to the Sheriff, the State Police pay more and have better benefits. He will never fault an officer for making a decision that is going to be better for him and his family.

 

 

Sheriff Walker explains State Police has always offered a better pay opportunity and city departments seem to pay more than Sheriff's departments. He says from a union perspective, they do their best to be competitive in pay.

 

 

Making the challenge worse is the fact applicants for law enforcement are drastically down. He indicates for the two openings he had one interview not even show up.

 

 

While adding officers to the State Police force, Illinois is recruiting from its local departments which are the responding officers for local incidents. Sheriff Walker called it 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.

 

 

Sheriff Walker continues to credit his staff for their dedication to the community. He says these challenges are not new for him or his staff. 

Clinton City Councilman Calls for Search For City Administrator to Begin

Since the spring, the City of Clinton has been without an administrator.

 

The City hired long-time Administrator Tim Followell's replacement to begin at the start of the year but Darin Girdler resigned in the spring and since it would appear the search has been stagnant. Councilman John Wise says it's time for the City to resume that search.

 

 

Wise says right now there are several City employees collectively pulling the weight of responsibilities of the administrator. With a lot of things coming soon that will require the knowledge of an administrator, he says the City needs to get moving to find someone. 

 

 

Newly sworn-in City Attorney John Hoblit will get information from the outgoing City Attorney Steve Meyers and will post the position. 

It's Been A Warm, Dry Start ot Summer in Illinois

IT’S BEEN A WARM AND DRY START TO SUMMER IN ILLINOIS. 

 

LAST MONTH WAS THE 30TH WARMEST JUNE ON RECORD, WITH TEMPERATURES ONE TO TWO DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL OVERALL SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

RAINFALL WAS MORE THAN AN INCH BELOW NORMAL IN JUNE. 

 

 

FORD SAYS THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FIRST HALF OF JULY IS CALLING FOR BELOW-NORMAL TEMPS.

Illinois State Police Discusses State's Red Flag Laws

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS DISCUSSING CURRENT RED FLAG LAWS.

 

I-S-P DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY SAYS THEY HAVE CAREFULLY ANALYZED HOW THEY HANDLED THE REVIEW OF A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER REPORT AND ISSUANCE OF A FOID CARD TO THE HIGHLAND PARK SHOOTING SUSPECT. DURING A MEDIA BRIEFING, HE WAS ASKED IF ANY CHANGES TO THE PROCESS ARE NEEDED.

 

 

KELLY STRESSES THAT ILLINOIS RED FLAG LAWS RELY HEAVILY ON FAMILY MEMBERS AND OTHERS REPORTING THEIR CONCERNS ABOUT AN INDIVIDUAL AND THEN COOPERATING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT.

 

 

KELLY WAS SPEAKING DURING A MEDIA BRIEFING WHERE HE TOOK QUESTIONS ABOUT A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER REPORT AND FOID CARD ISSUANCE RELATED TO THE HIGHLAND PARK SUSPECTED SHOOTER.

Ag Barometer Falls in June

Farmer sentiment remained weak in June as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer fell to a reading of 97, 2 points below its May reading.

 

Dr Michael Langemeier is Associate Director at the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture. He spoke with RFD Radio Tuesday and says June’s survey was conducted from June 13-through-17.

 

 

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

DeWitt County 4-H Fair This Weekend

The annual DeWitt County 4-H fair is this weekend in Clinton.

 

Kendra Wallace is the DeWitt County 4-H Coordinator and indicates the annual horse show was this past weekend and now they turn their attention to the other shows of the year. 

 

 

The fair will be almost normal in 2022 except for the poultry show. Wallace explains the bird flu concerns are grounding a lot of the regular happenings for that portion of the fair.

 

 

New this year will include a new livestock judging contest. Wallace explains there will be team and individual judging for beef, swine, goats, and sheep. 

 

 

The 4-H fair kicks off Friday evening with the ag-Olympics and wraps up Sunday night with the annual awards show.

 

Hear live coverage of the 4-H show Saturday morning from 10 am to noon on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Warner Library Reminds Community They Are A Cooling Center

Another wave of extreme heat has descended upon central Illinois and a local entity is reminding if you need a place to cool off, consider stepping into their facility.

 

The Warner Library is one of a small handful of cooling centers in DeWitt County when the DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency activates them. On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Business Manager Samantha Rusk told Regional Radio they hope community members will take the time to check out some of the many things you can do at the library.

 

 

Rusk also encourages checking out the 'Things of the Library'. This program has expanded in recent years thanks to contributions from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation with things like yard games and activities for kids to even basic DIY tools. 

 

 

Rusk feels there's something for anyone of any interest at the library to read about or explore. To cool down at the library, you can visit them at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton. You can call 217-935-5174 or find them on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

Seven Murder Charges Filed Against Highland Park Shooter

Charges have been filed against the suspected gunman in the Highland Park parade shooting.

 

After a 7th person died this week Robert Crimo III is facing 7 first degree murder charges. And Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart says dozens more charges are coming. After celebration of freedom ended in a day of despair Rinehart wants more done to prevent massing shootings.

 

 

Crimo will be arraigned on Wednesday and Rinehart says his office will ask that he be held without bail.

Limited Rain Chances in Illinois

There are some precipitation chances for Illinois this week, but the back half of the month doesn’t look too promising.

 

 

That’s retired DTN agriculture meteorologist Bryce Anderson making his comments to the RFD Radio Network this week.

Authorities Say Highland Park Shooter Planned Attack for Weeks

Authorities in Lake County say the man suspected as the mass shooter at the Highland Park 4th of July parade planned his attack for weeks.

 

And he had prior contact with law enforcement. Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Spokesman Christopher Covelli says starting in April of 2019 they became aware of Robert Crimo III, and in September of 2019 they were told he had dangerous intentions.

 

 

The Illinois State Police say at the time of the September incident Crimo didn’t have a Firearm Owners Identification Card to revoke. And with no one willing to file an official complaint there wasn’t a way to prevent him from applying for a FOID card. And those knives were returned to his father.

 

Crimo later passed a background check and was granted a FOID card after being sponsored by his father.

July is Extreme Heat Safety Month

JULY IS EXTREME HEAT SAFETY MONTH.

 

WHEN TEMPERATURES RISE ABOVE 90 DEGREES AND THE HUMIDITY REMAINS HIGH, IT CAN BE DANGEROUS TO BE OUTSIDE FOR TOO LONG SAYS ILLINOIS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DEPUTY DIRECTOR SCOTT SWINFORD. HE OFFERS THIS ADVICE:

 

 

HE ALSO URGES THE PUBLIC TO “LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK.”

 

 

SWINFORD ALSO SAYS YOU SHOULD AVOID OVEREXERTING YOURSELF AND TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS IN THE SHADE. IN YOUR HOME, I-EMA RECOMMENDS KEEPING CURTAINS AND SHADES CLOSED AND NOT USING THE OVEN IF POSSIBLE.

Clinton Business Owner Expresses Concerns Over Tree on Square

A Clinton business owner says a tree on the square is blocking her clients from seeing her sign as well as another business in the vicinity.

 

Stephanie Scoles is a local attorney and says a tree on the southwest corner of the square blocks the view of her business sign as well as the ReMax Realty signage. At the Tuesday night Clinton City Council meeting, Scoles was seeking a solution.

 

 

Scoles also expressed concern over the number of bird droppings from the birds that congregate in the tree. She is willing to contribute financially for a substitute to the tree if that is what it takes.

 

 

Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Ken Buchanan indicated he could see the sign just fine when he drove by but Scoles contended it was dependent on which angle you looked from.

 

 

Buchanan wondered about taking measures to scare the birds off but Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicated that would be a temporary solution and wondered how effective it would be. Buchanan also noted the Clinton Tree Commission would be in charge of the three in question and they generally are not in favor of bringing a tree down.

 

 

Buchanan also noted the trees on the square are a center point for the beautification during Christmas but Scoles contends what the City does on the square itself and the participation of other businesses during Christmas would be sufficient.

 

 

Mayor Roger Cyrulik charged Commissioner Dan Ballenger to help Scoles and ReMax ownership find an appropriate response. The Mayor felt that fell under Ballenger's department of city parks.

 

Also at the Tuesday meeting, Kody Mair (Myer) was sworn in as the latest Clinton Police Department officer and John Hoblit was sworn in as the new City Attorney.

 

 

 

DeWitt County CENCOM Requests New Work Stations Ahead of Infrastructure Overhaul

The 'Next-Gen 9-1-1' has been on the radar of first responder administrators for several years and a request by DeWitt County's 9-1-1 Director will help usher in that change.

 

At the June DeWitt County Board meeting, DeWitt County CENCOM Director Tony Harris requested replacements for the three consoles 9-1-1 dispatchers use. He explains there is a console currently that does not work well but in addition to that, they are used 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and have been since they were installed in 2014.

 

 

According to Harris, the Next-Gen 9-1-1 is going to require a lot more equipment and this will allow them space for all that equipment.

 

 

As mentioned a few weeks ago on Regional Radio following the June meeting, Harris' request turned into another debate on ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. Sheriff Mike Walker emphasized the importance of this request as well.

 

 

When the equipment gets installed, there is a meeting room adjacent to the 9-1-1 dispatchers' room where equipment will be transferred to. Harris says the Next-Gen 9-1-1 could be in DeWitt County as soon as the fall. 

Gov. Pritzker Reacts to Highland Park Mass Shooting

In the aftermath of a mass shooting in Highland Park, the Governor of Illinois says it could have been much worse if the police didn’t respond quickly and bravely.

 

Pritzker says the Monday shooting will change forever how a community remembers July 4th celebrations.

 

 

The gunman shot and killed six people while wounding at least 36. The shooter was apprehended by local authorities and Illinois State Police hours after the shooting.

Exercising and Aging

Perhaps you've found as you're getting older you cannot exercise at the level you once could but want to still be active.

 

A clinical pharmacist and Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Performance Health Program has some ideas for you. Dr. Jim LaValle also authors the book, 'Cracking the Metabolic Code' and says as you get older you need to take in more protein.

 

 

Dr. LaValle gives props to the DeWitt County Friendship Center for its senior yoga classes because that is an essential part of maintaining balance as we get older.

 

 

Eating well is the way to preserve bones as we age. Dr. LaValle says getting plenty of vegetables. He says metabolic inflation is caused by poor eating habits and triggers a lot of damage to our bodies.

 

 

Dr. LaValle says not only does maintaining a good diet help with your physical health but if you get plenty of sleep, keep your blood sugar down and manage stress - it will also help maintain your memory. 

First Year for DeWitt County Junior County Fair

The DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties 4-H Fair will also be a Junior County Fair for the first time this year.

 

DeWitt County 4-H Fair Board President Dan Enos indicates they received money from the State of Illinois Department of Agriculture to give back to exhibitors who participate. Unlike other junior shows, this is exclusively for residents of the three counties.

 

 

Enos notes this was a three-year process in the making due to the legislative process which requires a bill to be signed by the governor. He says also any project is potentially eligible only livestock this year will participate.

 

 

Enos says at this past weekend's 4-H Horse Show entries were up from previous years with exhibitors enrolling in more classes due to the monetary incentive.

 

 

The deadline to enlist for the livestock Junior Show is Friday, July 8, from 5:30 pm-630pm and Saturday, July 9 from 8 am to 12 noon.

Clinton Elementary School Looking Forward to Normal School Year

The two years of COVID in Clinton Schools took away activities many students and community members looked forward to.

 

Principal Sacha Young says things felt different the last few years because school days were shorter for a year and so much could change at a moment's notice. She is looking forward to a normal school year in 2022-23.

 

 

Young looks forward to the special events like 'grandparent's day' and Veteran's Day celebrations that were staples of the school calendar before COVID.

 

 

School administrators are planning for a normal school year for 2022-23. 

DNR Encouraging Safe Kayaking

A fun day on a local creek with your kayak can quickly turn dangerous.

 

That's why Department of Natural Resources Captain John Williamson is sending out some safety tips for a recreation activity that is exploding in popularity. He indicates where you start on a creek may seem peaceful but if you don't know what's ahead, that's where you can run into trouble.

 

 

Capt. Williamson says like hunters, kayakers need to be aware of private lands they may be wading through. He says the biggest growth of boating has been kayaking.

 

 

Like most recommendations for boating, Capt. Williamson implores kayakers to use a life jacket. He says a day on the water can quickly turn dangerous and a life jacket can be the difference between life and death.

 

 

In the last couple of years, DeWitt County has seen its share of kayak rescues because boaters ended up in waters they couldn't handle and weren't wearing life jackets. He says if you're not familiar with the water or it is moving quickly, do not go. 

Concern continues over energy costs

The increasing cost of fuel is pressuring everyone. That includes farmers who are still moving grain this summer and planning for lots of driving this fall when harvest begins. Len Corzine a farmer near Assumption, Illinois says getting his crop to market is getting more and more expensive.

 

 

Corzine says some of his corn crop is approaching tassel and expects most of his acres to hit that important reproductive stage in the coming week or so.

Social Security Highlights Annual Baby Names List

Earlier this summer, Social Security released its top national and state-specific baby name data from 2021.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security says it's interesting to visit www.socialsecurity.gov/babynames and find your name and how it's fluctuated in popularity over the years.

 

 

Social Security began compiling the baby names list back in 1997, with names dating back to 1880 and Myers points out the information is sought after and the release typically generates a lot of extra visits to our website.  

 

 

Myers indicates getting people to the Social Security website is also a good opportunity to make those individuals aware of the mySocialSecurity account they can set up if they are 18 or older. 

New outreach coordinator for NRCS

There is a new outreach coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Illinois.

 

Jamie Jones with NRCS says she wants to talk to people about their land and any problems they might be having with it.

 

Jones says if you haven’t been around NRCS for a few years – chances are things have changed.

 

 

Jones says for anyone looking for more information about conservation programs with NRCS the best place to start is your local county office.

Food safety tips for the holiday weekend

State health officials are encouraging people to follow some safety tips to reduce the chance of spoiling the holiday weekend by contracting a foodborne illness.

 

Keeping foods cold by using a cooler, avoiding cross-contamination and cooking foods to the proper temperature are some of the big highlights.

 

Darrah Dunlap is a food safety expert with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

 

Also, make sure all leftovers are kept in the freezer, fridge, or on ice within two hours after cooking, or one hour if it is above 90 degrees outside.

 

More food safety tips and information about foodborne illnesses and symptoms can be found on the CDC Food Safety website.

Second Chance for Pets Reminding to Protect Animals From Loud Noise of Fireworks

The 4th of July is among the highlights of the summer for people of all ages as fireworks will be going off all over central Illinois.

 

As much fun as the festivities are for people, most of our pets do not share the enthusiasm. Heather Wantland with Second Chance for Pets in DeWitt County is reminding to find shelter away from the noise for our animals this weekend.

 

 

Wantland says it never fails, the calls for lost pets will start days before the 4th of July as the professional-grade pyrotechnics get set off throughout the community. 

 

 

If you are setting off your own fireworks, she encourages finding the debris from those explosives and cleaning up as much of it as possible as the chemicals in them are very toxic, especially for animals.

Farmer City to Limit Pool Hours Because of Lifeguard Shortage

More workforce shortages are impacting a DeWitt County community's ability to offer a summer service.

 

A lifeguard shortage is leaving residents in Farmer City with limited opportunities this month to utilize its million-dollar-plus pool renovation. Farmer City Manager Sue McLaughlin indicates they will only be able to operate the pool on select dates this month.

 

 

McLaughlin says it's disappointing to not be able to have the pool open as much as they want. They did a $1.6-million renovation of the facility and called it a labor of love.

 

 

McLaughlin says you need to watch the Farmer City Facebook page for the details. She indicates there is a pool page that has been made but it is not associated with the city.

Illinois DNR Accepting Applications for Habitat Fund Project, Pheasant Fund Grant Opportunities

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications for two grant opportunities through Aug. 2: the Illinois Habitat Fund and the State Pheasant Fund grants.

 

The Illinois Habitat Fund Special Funds Grant Program enhances game and non-game wildlife habitat through projects developed by not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities. The State Pheasant Fund Special Funds Grant Program enhances pheasant habitat through projects developed by not-for-profit organizations and governmental entities.

 

Funding for both grants comes from the sale of habitat stamps to sportsmen and sportswomen. This year, all applications for these grants will be accepted online through the Amplifund portal. 

 

Visit dnr.illinois.gov. 

Weekly Weather Summary

After a lot of rain rolled through parts of central Illinois, the week was rather pleasant in central Illinois. 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford has more on the holiday weekend and recaps June.

 

 

Gas Pumps Showing State-Mandated Gas Tax Suspension Notice; Gas Station Owners Have a Message of Their Own

 

Gas pumps across Illinois were mandated to have the top sign above, telling drivers that the General Assembly and the Governor suspended the inflation adjustment to the motor fuel tax thru December 31st.

 

Gas station and c-store owners weren't happy about the mandated move.  They filed suit against the state but apparently lost, as the sign was found posted on gas pumps Friday.

 

But, the bottom sign expressed the owners' dismay in having to post the state-mandated sign, in essence saying it was a political stunt by the Democrats since the suspension ends December 31st.

DeWitt County Board Gets Update on Wind Farm

Last Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board received an update on the wind farm project which is beginning to wrap up before going live this fall.

 

Terry Fountain with Cummins Engineering, the firm selected by the County oversees the project, provided the Board with an update on how things are going. Restoration of the roads is underway.

 

 

As the project wraps up, Enel will begin the restoration process of drainage ditches impacted by its work as well as restoring culverts. Fountain points out there is a lot of coordination between Cummins, Enel, and the County Engineer.

 

 

There is still work to be done as it relates to drainage districts. Fountain explains there could be tiles that need to be replaced.

 

 

Fountain indicates there are issues currently for Enel with the sub-station and connecting to the grid. He indicates that the Cummins Engineer purview but Enel is working with the electric company to correct that. 

 

He anticipates the farm going live in the fall. 

Finally Weekend For Prairie Flyers Exhibit at DeWitt County Museum

This is the final weekend for the exhibit 'Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County' at the DeWitt County Museum.

 

Director of the Museum Joey Long indicates they have seen a great turnout for this exhibit so far this year. She says people are coming from all over the state and midwest to check it out.

 

 

According to Woolridge, they are finding people are learning about the exhibit in all sorts of ways. From the promotion through its radio spots on Regional Radio to learning about the exhibit through printed materials, people are even just simply seeing the signs off the highway and are stopping in.

 

 

Woolridge points out, this time of the year they are not encountering as many group tours but she anticipates that to change when they open the quilt show later this month. 

 

You can learn more about the Prairie Flyers: A Century of Aviation in DeWitt County by finding its Facebook page. The exhibit's final day is Sunday. 

Busy 4th of July in Piatt County

It's going to be a busy weekend in Piatt County for the 4th of July holiday.

 

Monticello Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock indicates things get going tonight with some music and food at Allerton Park. It's the 'Red, White, and Blues' event, or catch the Bement Country Opry. 

 

 

Crawford-Stock reminds that Sunday is Monticello Freedom Fest. It's the annual 4th of July fireworks display with games and vendors and food as well as a shuttle service from the high school to Lodge Park.

 

 

On Monday, Bement will have its fireworks display. 

 

Crawford-Stock notes there are still a few tickets available for the 4th of July fireworks-watching event with the Monticello Railway Museum. 

 

Learn about all the happenings in Monticello and Piatt County by visiting makeitmonticello.org or finding the Facebook page of the same name. 

University of Illinois Extension Conducting Farm Stress Study

The U-of-I extension is in the second year of a five-year Farm Stress Study. They are looking for participants, specifically, youth and adolescents say extension specialist Josie Rudolphi….

 

 

Again, the website is go.illinois.edu/farmfamily2022.

Illinois Suspends Grocery Tax Starting Today

The sales tax on groceries in Illinois will be suspended for a year starting Friday, under the state budget approved in April.

 

The state’s tax relief program will also postpone a gas tax increase until January, and cut school supply taxes from 6.25% to 1.25% from Aug. 5 to 14.

 

The measures are part of a $1.8 billion state tax-break deal signed by Pritzker in April. GOP leaders derided the measures as a campaign tool for Pritzker and other Democrats in an election year.

 

The plan also provides automatic $50 income tax rebates for individuals who made less than $200,000 in 2021, $100 for couples filing jointly who made less than $400,000, and $100 per dependent claimed in 2021, up to three.

 

Additionally, the Illinois state earned income credit will increase from 18% to 20% of the federal credit, and eligible homeowners will receive property tax rebates equal to their 2021 property tax credit, up to $300.

 

Illinois’ 1% sales tax on groceries will be suspended through June 30, 2023, which will net $400 million in consumer savings, the governor’s release said.

 

The state is one of just 13 in the nation that charges a sales tax for groceries.

 

Lawmakers across the country are enacting tax relief measures like the ones in Illinois, in part in response to inflation, according to Tax Foundation senior policy analyst Katherine Loughead.

 

The temporary elimination of the grocery tax represents “just a small amount of relief because there’s only a 1% levy on groceries as it is,” she said. “It will go back into effect July 1 of 2023.”

 

Illinois charged about 55 cents more per gallon for gas than the national average for Thursday, according to the American Automobile Association.

 

The state’s $0.39 gas tax rate was scheduled to increase on July 1, but now will not go into effect until 2023.

IDOT Promoting Online Resources

Looking for the latest information on a highway project or travel conditions around the state, there are a couple of resources to bookmark.

 

 

Paul Wappel is the public information officer for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

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