Local News

New Year's Safety

Local authorities are sending out yearly reminders to be safe this New Year's holiday weekend.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates the New Year's holiday is always a popular time for gatherings of family, friends, and coworkers. In the midst of all of that, he continues to preach sobriety and finding a designated driver if you cannot drive sober.

 

 

Because of the busy nature of the downtown square on New Year's Eve, Chief Lowers reminds they suspend enforcement of snow route parking.

 

 

The Chief encourages anyone who knows or encounters someone who shouldn't be driving but refuses to accept a ride or wait to leave to contact authorities.

 

 

Chief Lowers points out that New Year's Eve is among the deadliest holidays on the roadways and between midnight at 5 am is the deadliest time on the roads. 

Weekly Weather Summary

Much of the state began the week with single digit temperatures and finished it off with springlike weather. State Climatologist lets us know what to expect next week and the rest of winter...

 

 

Safe-T Act react to lower court ruling

A Judge in Kankakee County has ruled against a new state law changing cash bail. The decision leaves the outcome of dissolving the old system and installing a key part of the SAFT-T-ACT in question in 64 counties.

 

The written decision lays out a belief that the new law would in effect amend part of the state’s constitution and it was an improper overreach by lawmakers.

 

Republican Rep. Patrick Windhorst says both parties need to come together and delay implementation of the law prior to counties following different rules.

 

 

The judge’s ruling only addresses the pre-trial detention section of the SAFE-T-ACT.

The Illinois Attorney General will appeal the decision to the State’ Supreme Court.

WEZC 95.9 Again Airing New Year's Party Live December 31st

Miller Media Group radio stations WRAN groovy 97.3 in Taylorville and WEZC “Your EASY Choice!” 95.9 FM in Clinton, will simulcast the 25th annual Bud Light New Year’s Party, from 9pm New Year’s Eve, until 1:00am New Year’s Day.

 

Miller Media Group president Randal J. Miller will emcee the show, which will feature request and dedications of easy and top 40 hits from the 60’s thru the 80’s.  The show will also feature listener contests and give-aways.

 

The show will also feature messages asking listeners to celebrate the New Year with friends, and take precautions to keep yourself and others safe. The show again this year is sponsored by Skeff Distributing, the Central Illinois Budweiser distributor.

 

Miller began doing a New Year’s Show on his stations since the late 1980’s.  

 

The phone number to call in requests or to participate in contests during the show will be toll-free 1-866-500-9726.

The Vault Gives Presentation on the Effects of Social Media

A leader from the Vault recently presented to the Clinton Rotary Club about the effect social media has on children and teenagers.

 

Tammy Wilson, Executive Director of the Vault in Clinton, reports her presentation was based on research as well as working with local students at the Vault. She notes teenagers can develop mental health issues due to devoting too much time to social media.

 

 

Many problems with social media stem from it showing a highlight reel of someone's life. Seeing only positive aspects of someone's life can make teens jealous of others. Wilson gives an example from her research of what social media learned from quitting social media.

 

 

Wilson indicates The Vault has helped several young people dealing with mental health to either take a break from social media or delete their accounts completely. She notes they feel happier and can focus more on what matters to them.

 

 

Wilson encourages parents to talk to their children about social media and the effect it is playing on their mental health. If they report or are showing signs of depression or anxiety, Wilson says talking to a mental health professional can help.

Chestnut Health Systems Community Health Director Outlines Healthy Goal Setting

Whether you are a goal-setter or making a list for the first time but haven't started on your 2023 resolutions, a mental health professional has some tips so you don't get discouraged. 

 

Nadia Klekamp is Associate Director of Community Health at Chestnut Health Systems and explains you want to set goals that are realistic but also measurable.

 

 

When setting a goal that would be considered mental or emotionally health-centered, Klekamp recommends being intentional about your time and making sure you set aside time for yourself.

 

 

Some of the goals we set, we may not master right away, especially if it involved developing a habit. Klekamp says there may be a lot of trial and error, and that is ok.

 

 

Klekamp stresses those incremental goals on the way to a bigger goal but if you should stumble on that journey, give yourself some grace and continue on. 

Ameren Promoting New Google Nest Program

Ameren Illinois encourages customers to take advantage of the Google Nest program. Nick Lovier is with the utility….

 

 

Again the website is amerenillinoissavings.com/cybermonday.

Crown Act Takes Effect in 2023

STARTING IN JANUARY, A NEW LAW AIMS TO END HAIR DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE.

 

THE LAW IS CALLED THE “CROWN ACT” AND EXPANDS PROTECTIONS IN THE ILLINOIS HUMAN RIGHTS ACT TO INCLUDE ETHNIC HAIRSTYLES LIKE BRAIDS, LOCKS OR TWISTS. REPRESENTATIVE JEHAN-GORDON BOOTH OF PEORIA WAS A SPONSOR OF THE BILL AND DISCUSSED IT EARLIER THIS YEAR.

 

 

THIS FOLLOWS A SIMILAR LAW PASSED LAST YEAR PROHIBITING SCHOOL DISTRICTS FROM BANNING CERTAIN HAIRSTYLES IN THEIR DRESS CODE POLICIES. SENATOR MATTIE HUNTER OF CHICAGO SPOKE ABOUT THE TOPIC EARLIER THIS YEAR.

 

 

A 2019 STUDY FROM DOVE FOUND THAT 80 PERCENT OF BLACK WOMEN FELT THE NEED TO CHANGE THEIR HAIRSTYLES TO MEET SOCIAL NORMS OR EXPECTATIONS AT WORK. ADDITIONALLY, BLACK WOMEN ARE ONE AND A HALF TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE SENT HOME BECAUSE OF THEIR HAIR.

Blood Donors Needed

Hospitals are asking you to make sure your giving attitude continues after the holidays. They say this a slow time of the year when it comes to blood donations. The weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years can result in a 20-percent decrease in blood donations. Daniela Hermelin with Impact Life Blood Center says people need blood every day of the year.

 

 

You can begin looking to donate blood at redcrossblood.org

Minimum Wage Going Up in Illinois Again 2023

THE STATE MINIMUM WAGE IS INCREASING JANUARY FIRST. 

 

STARTING NEXT YEAR, THE MINIMUM WAGE IN ILLINOIS WILL BE 13 DOLLARS AN HOUR. THIS IS THE FIFTH INCREASE SINCE A LAW WAS PASSED IN 2019, BRINGING THE MINIMUM WAGE TO 15 BUCKS AN HOUR BY 2025. STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR DIRECTOR JANE FLANAGAN:

 

 

WORKERS UNDER 18 WHO WORK LESS THAN 650 HOURS A YEAR WILL EARN A MINIMUM WAGE OF 10 DOLLARS 50 CENTS AN HOUR.

 

 

THIS IS THE FIFTH INCREASE UNDER A LAW THAT BRINGS THE ILLINOIS MINIMUM WAGE TO 15 BUCKS AN HOUR BY 2025.

New State Law Means Lower License Plat Sticker Fee For Low Income Seniors, Those with Disabilities

A NEW LAW TAKING EFFECT JANUARY FIRST LOWERS LICENSE PLATE FEES FOR LOW INCOME SENIORS. 

 

THE COST OF AN ANNUAL LICENSE PLATE STICKER WILL DROP FROM 24 DOLLARS TO JUST 10 NEXT MONTH SAYS ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE'S SPOKESPERSON HENRY HAUPT. HE EXPLAINS THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.

 

 

A LITTLE GOOD NEWS FOR ELIGIBLE SENIORS AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES SAYS HAUPT.

 

 

TO LEARN MORE, VISIT THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING’S WEBSITE AT: IL AGING DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV, CLICK ON “PROGRAMS” AND SELECT “BENEFIT ACCESS.”

National Weather Service Says Relief From Bitter Cold on the Way

Would it be an Illinois winter if we didn't follow up a major winter weather event with a completely opposite weather system a week later?

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service says after last week's late winter weather event and the bitter cold that followed, things are trending to be above normal as we head to the New Year's weekend.

 

 

According to Shimon, there could be some rain rolling through around the first of the year. He says things are trending to be wet still.

 

 

For the remainder of January, temperatures are equal chances of above and below normal temperatures, which Shimon points out, which means a variety of precipitation forms, including ice.

 

 

All the way into the spring, Shimon says the trends are showing above-normal for precipitation. 

Warrensburg-Latham New Emergency Plan

The Warrensburg-Latham School Board at its December meeting approved a new emergency plan.

 

Cheryl Warner, Warrensburg-Latham Superintendent, details the emergency operation plan is based on FEMA recommendations. The document has information about what to do in just about every crisis that could happen in a school.

 

 

Schools across the nation have seen an increase in active shooter threats. Mrs. Warner says W-L Schools will start ALICE drills when students return in January which is required in the State of Illinois.

 

 

Mrs. Warner says after the Christmas break staff will receive training on a new app that will contain crisis planning and what to do in case of an emergency. The app will also give staff the ability to alert if there is an emergency and to call 9-1-1.

 

 

Tragedies that occur at other schools allow schools across the country to learn what went wrong and what was effective and incorporate that into their plans. Mrs. Warner says ALICE is a nationally recognized and recommended program.

 

 

Warrensburg-Latham and Maroa-Forsyth have been working on a joint reunification plan. Mrs. Warner notes all of the district's emergency plans are constantly being updated and improved.

What To Do With Your Christmas Tree After Holidays

THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION OFFICE IS OFFERING A FEW IDEAS ON WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE ONCE YOU’RE READY TO TAKE IT DOWN. 

 

CHRISTMAS TREES CAN HAVE A SECOND LIFE AFTER THE HOLIDAYS SAYS U OF I EXTENSION HORTICULTURE EDUCATOR CHRIS ENROTH.

 

 

THAT MEANS NOT DUMPING THE TREE ON SOMEONE ELSE’S PROPERTY OR IN A PUBLIC LAKE OR DITCH. ENROTH SAYS MANY COMMUNITIES HAVE A PICK-UP PROGRAM WHERE THE TREES ARE TURNED INTO MULCH. YOU CAN ALSO USE CHRISTMAS TREES AS FIREWOOD BUT ONLY FOR AN OUTDOOR FIREPIT BECAUSE OF THE RESIN IN EVERGREENS.

 

 

ENROTH SAYS ANOTHER IDEA IS TO PUT THE TREE OUT IN YOUR YARD AND USE IT AS A BIRD FEEDER, ADORNING IT WITH STRINGS OF POPCORN AND CRANBERRIES, OR PINECONES WITH PEANUT BUTTER AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS.

State, Local Police Continue 'Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over' Campaign Through Weekend

STATE AND LOCAL POLICE ARE CONTINUING THEIR CAMPAIGN AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING THROUGH JANUARY SECOND. 

 

THE “DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER” EFFORT IS UNDERWAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL SAYS UNFORTUNATELY, D-U-I DEATHS ARE ON THE RISE.

 

 

APPEL SAYS THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS FOR GETTING HOME SAFELY AFTER DRINKING.

 

 

POLICE WILL ALSO USE INCREASED PATROLS TO IDENTIFY SPEEDERS, THOSE NOT WEARING A SEATBELT AND DISTRACTED DRIVERS.

New State Designations Go Into Effect in 2023

THE STATE IS GETTING A FEW NEW DESIGNATIONS IN 2023.

 

AMONG THE NEW LAWS TAKING EFFECT IN JANUARY INCLUDE NAMING DOLOSTONE AS THE OFFICIAL STATE ROCK OF ILLINOIS AND CHOOSING THE EASTERN MILKSNAKE AS THE OFFICIAL STATE SNAKE. SENATOR DALE FOWLER SPONSORED THAT BILL LAST SPRING, SAYING THE NAME CAME FROM A VERY OLD BELIEF THAT THE SNAKES COULD MILK COWS.

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, THE OFFICIAL STATE THEATRE WILL NOW BE THE “THEATRE IN THE PARK” AT LINCOLN’S NEW SALEM HISTORIC SITE AND AUGUST FIRST IS DEDICATED AS SWEET CORN APPRECIATION DAY IN ILLINOIS.

 

 

ALSO, THE THEATRE IN THE PARK AT LINCOLN’S NEW SALEM HISTORIC SITE WILL BECOME THE OFFICIAL STATE THEATRE AND FROM NOW ON, AUGUST FIRST WILL BE CELEBRATED AS SWEET CORN APPRECIATION DAY.

Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Awards $350,000 in Grants Across State

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS IS AWARDING NEARLY 350 THOUSAND GRANTS TO GROUPS AROUND THE STATE.

 

THE GRANTS ARE ISSUED QUARTERLY AND THIS ROUND IS GOING TO SIX DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS SAYS AGENCY DIRECTOR TERRY PRICE.

 

 

THE MONEY IS GOING TO GROUPS LIKE ALLENFORCE IN PLAINFIELD WHICH WORKS WITH WOMEN WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED SEXUAL TRAUMA IN THE MILITARY AND THE FISHING FOR FREEDOM FISHING TOURNAMENT IN QUINCY.

 

 

GROUPS RECEIVING MONEY IN THIS LATEST ROUND OF GRANTS INCLUDE REBOOT RECOVERY WHICH OFFERS PEER-LED TRAUMA COURSES FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION AND REVELATION GOLF’S BI-WEEKLY PROGRAM IN THE CHICAGO METRO AREA.

Clinton Board of Education Truth in Taxation Hearing

Clinton Schools Board of Education held a Truth in Taxation Hearing at last week's meeting.

 

Clinton Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates the school district tax rate will not increase in 2023. Property values increased which will cause some to pay higher property taxes next year.

 

 

The Truth in Taxation Hearing was held because the school district's tax levy is increasing by more than five percent. Mr. Nettles says this was due to the increase in the wealth of property within the school district.

 

 

Some taxpayers may think that the school district should lower the levy to accommodate for the increase in property values. Nettles notes this is not possible due to regular expenses and costs associated with inflation.

 

 

Nettles is not anticipating a large excess of tax money coming into the school district with the property value increases. He says any money the board does find in excess will be earmarked for their facilities plan.

 

 

Nettles reminds the Clinton school district has a lower tax rate than many of the surrounding area school districts.

Farmer City Manager Recaps 2022, Calls It a Good Year

Farmer City Manager Sue McLaughlin is celebrating a very successful year in the small DeWitt County community.

 

As we put a bow on the year, McLaughlin recently highlighted for the Farmer City Council all things they did. She highlights the $1.2-million investments in infrastructure. Some of those were seen and unseen.

 

 

The Farmer City gun range building has undergone some changes and McLaughlin indicates they hope to eventually open it up to other law enforcement agencies in Illinois. 

 

 

Park investments were a big theme in Farmer City this year. McLaughlin highlights the nearly quarter of a million dollar improvement to the Prairie Ridge playground among other improvements there.

 

 

A couple of sidewalk master plans were executed in 2022. McLaughlin explains that master plan revealed the community's desire to connect Business 54 to the downtown area.

 

 

Ahead in 2023, there will be elections for the City Council. McLaughlin points out the levy held steady in 2022 and the budget process starts after the first of the year. 

Better Weather Coming This Week

After cold, snow and wind for much of Illinois last week, things should improve this week.

 

 

That’s Meteorologist Eric Snodgrass.

Snowmobile Safety

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS ISSUING SOME SNOWMOBILE SAFETY REMINDERS. 

 

HUNDREDS OF SNOWMOBILES ARE REGISTERED IN ILLINOIS AND THE STATE HAS NEARLY 25-HUNDRED MILES OF SNOWMOBILE TRAILS. NEWBIES ARE URGED TO TAKE A SAFETY COURSE, WHILE EVEN THE MOST SEASONED RIDERS SHOULD KEEP THESE TIPS IN MIND SAYS D-N-R SPOKESPERSON JAYETTE BOLINSKI.

 

 

BOLINSKI SAYS YOU SHOULD AVOID WEARING A LONG SCARF THAT CAN GET CAUGHT IN THE SNOWMOBILE, AS WELL AS:

 

 

BOLINSKI ALSO RECOMMENDS BECOMING FAMILIAR WITH THE TERRAIN YOU’RE PLANNING TO RIDE AND BE AWARE OF TRAILS THAT MAY BE CLOSED.

Illinois Food, Farmers Market and Specialty Crop Conference Next Month

The Illinois Food, Farmers Market and Specialty Crop Conference set for next month in Springfield. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Raghela Scavuzzo is helping promote the event.

 

 

The conference is Jan. 11-13. You can register at specialtygrowers.org.

Illinois Losing Two Representatives to US House Ag Committee

Illinois is losing a combined 20-years on the US House Ag Committee as Cheri Bustos and Rodney Davis leave Congress in 2022. For Bustos, a 2023 Farm Bill is all about protecting crop insurance.

 

 

Davis wants choices maintained within risk management programs…

 

 

Both Davis and Bustos were elected to Congress in 2012.

Boil Order in Effect

There is a boil order in effect for the area North of 51 Rest Park.

 

If you have questions, please contact the City of Clinton Water Department at (217) 935-3432 during business hours.

Chief Lowers on Holiday Safety Tips

With a recent increase in petty crimes, Clinton Police remind you to be smart when throwing away present boxes.

 

Ben Lowers, Chief of Clinton Police, indicates TV or gaming system boxes sitting outside on the curb or in the dumpster signal to criminals what you now possess in your home.

 

 

The Chief says his department has received calls regarding porch pirates. He notes if you or someone you trust cannot arrange to be home when a package is delivered, it might not be a bad idea to have it delivered somewhere more discrete.

 

 

Hear from Chief Lowers later this week on Regional Radio about being safe on New Year's Eve.

Community Action Recaps 2022

As we put a bow on the calendar year 2022 this coming weekend, a central Illinois non-profit is looking back.

 

Breann Titus is the Executive Director of Community Action and says there were crisis moments they had to navigate especially as the remnants of COVID lingered. She felt they did a good job and started to return to its mission of hand-up help.

 

 

Community Action also dealt with a leadership change. Titus explains they welcomed Jennifer Deweese to the role of Executive Director after many years in the Head Start program. 

 

 

Looking ahead to 2023, Titus believes it will be an interesting year as Deweese has a good hold on her role now and can start to take the agency in the direction she wants.

 

 

One of the most exciting aspects of 2022 was the fact the annualy 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' fundraiser for Community Action was a record-setter. Titus attributes that to the fact it was not held in 2020 and was scaled down in 2021.

 

 

As one of the Directors within Community Action, Titus was glad to see an internal hire of the Executive Director position because there was a level of familiarity. She felt her fellow directors within the agency handled the transition well and is looking forward to 2023. 

Monticello Holiday Hoopla Basketball Tournament This Week

The annual Monticello Holiday Hoopla basketball tournament returns this week at Monticello High School.

 

It's a boy's and girl's round-robin, three-day tournament and Superintendent Adam Clapp points out it is a fundraiser for the Monticello Athletic Booster Club and it is a unique tournament in that all the workers are volunteers from across the various sports programs.

 

 

According to Clapp, this is the one fundraiser the Monticello Athletic Booster Club does that supports the sports programs at the high school level throughout the year.

 

 

In recent years, the Athletic Booster Club has helped fund new press boxes at the baseball and softball fields as well as outfitting the various programs with Hudl. Clapp points out they also help with basic equipment needs as well.

 

 

Holiday Hoopla action kicks off this morning at 10 am. The boy's games take place in the Sievers Center while the girl's action is in Miller Gym.

 

Hear all boy's Monticello basketball games this week on 95.9 FM WEZC and online at dewittdailynews.com. Additionally, hear a special broadcast of Monticello and Clinton girls' basketball on Wednesday at 2 pm on WHOW, its digital platforms, WEZC, and at dewittdailynews.com. 

Weekly Weather Summary

Winter was ushered in statewide with a winter storm the past couple of days. Temperatures are expected to warm up beginning of next week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has this report...

 

Sen. Karina Villa discusses Seasonal Affective Disorder

THIS TIME OF YEAR IS OFTEN FILLED WITH CELEBRATIONS, FAMILY TIME AND FUN, BUT FOR SOME, IT'S AS STRUGGLE AS SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER TAKES HOLD. 

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH, SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER OR "SAD" IS A TYPE OF DEPRESSION. SYMPTOMS IN THE WINTER INCLUDE SLEEPING MORE THAN USUAL, WITHDRAWING FROM SOCIAL ACTIVITIES AND OVEREATING. SENATOR KARINA VILLA OF WEST CHICAGO SAYS THIS IS SOMETHING SHE EXPERIENCES.


SYMPTOMS OF SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER OR "SAD" MAY INCLUDE SLEEPING AND EATING MORE, HIBERNATING AT HOME AND WEIGHT GAIN. SENATOR KARINA VILLA OF WEST CHICAGO SAYS SHE BATTLES SAD BY TAKING WALKS, EXERCISING AND GETTING AS MUCH SUNLIGHT AS POSSIBLE.

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH, SAD OCCURS MUCH MORE OFTEN IN WOMEN THAN MEN, AND IS MORE COMMON IN NORTHERN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE IT'S COLDER AND DAYLIGHT HOURS ARE SHORTER. THOSE ALREADY SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION OR BIPOLAR DISORDER ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE.

ICC offers tips for saving on home energy costs

WINTER IS REALLY STARTING TO SETTLE IN AND THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION IS OFFERING SOME TIPS TO HELP SAVE ON HOME ENERGY COSTS. 

RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE CHANGING THE FURNACE FILTER AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH, USING L-E-D LIGHTING AND SEALING UP DRAFTY WINDOWS WITH HEAVY PLASTIC. I-C-C CHAIRMAN CARRIE ZALEWSKI  SUGGESTS INSTALLING A SMART THERMOSTAT.


THE I-C-C RECOMMENDS INSTALLING A SMART THERMOSTAT, SCHEDULING MAINTENANCE ON YOUR HEATING SYSTEM AND SEALING UP DRAFTY WINDOWS AND DOORS. CHAIRMAN CARRIE ZALEWSKI ALSO HAS THIS ADVICE.


ADDITIONALLY, THE I-C-C SUGGESTS CHECKING WITH YOUR UTILITY COMPANY ABOUT ENROLLING IN A TIME-BASED ELECTRICITY RATE PROGRAM.

The GED is getting a new name in January

A NEW STATE LAW AIMS TO LIFT SOME OF THE STIGMA ABOUT GETTING A G-E-D INSTEAD OF GRADUATING TRADITIONALLY SAYS ILLINOIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD SPOKESPERSON MATT BERRY. STARTING ON THE FIRST, IT WILL BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ILLINOIS HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA.


STARTING IN 2023, THE G-E-D CERTIFICATE WILL BE CALLED THE STATE OF ILLINOIS HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA SAYS COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD SPOKESPERSON MATT BERRY.


REQUIREMENTS TO PASS WILL REMAIN THE SAME. THOSE WHO ALREADY HAVE A G-E-D CERTIFICATE CAN GET A REPLACEMENT WITH THE NEW NAME FROM THEIR LOCAL REGIONAL OFFICE OF EDUCATION.

The Vault Christmas Wishlist

During this season of giving a local non-profit is hoping you will keep them in mind.

Tammy Wilson, Executive Director of The Vault in Clinton, is asking those able to give to visit their website and view their Christmas Wish List

View The Vault's Christmas Wish List at thevaultclinton.org or visit @thevaultclinton on Facebook.

Clinton Elementary Opening In-School Bank January 18

Students at Clinton Elementary School will have an opportunity to open a savings account beginning in January.

 

First National Bank in Clinton and the Clinton Community Education Foundation are opening an in-school bank at CES. Connie Unruh with First National Bank says the school bank will be an extension of the financial literacy programming she already conducts.

 

 

Unruh notes students helped select the incentives that will be given out for depositing and saving money. Prizes will be given out at the end of each month and a grand prize will also be given at the end of the year. Unruh indicates there is no minimum deposit to open an account or deposit each week.

 

 

Tellers for the school bank were selected from the fifth-grade students. Interested students filled out an application and took a math skills test with 12 students being selected. Unruh says having students be tellers instills leadership and customer service skills.

 

 

Unruh indicates students will have a savings goal that they will save for. Once they reach that goal the student will have the opportunity to withdraw money from their account for that purchase or keep their money in their account. Students moving to junior high at the end of the school year will be issued a check for any remaining balances.

 

 

CCEF President Parker Toohill notes they are very excited about their involvement with the program. He says CCEF has been looking for ways to get involved at CES and thought this was the perfect opportunity.

 

 

Unruh needs adult volunteers to help with the program. The commitment would be for a couple of hours on Wednesday mornings. It would consist of helping students fill out deposit slips and assisting the student tellers.

 

 

More information on the in-school bank can be found by visiting the CCEF website, ccef15.org. 

 

Those interested in volunteering can contact Unruh at the First National Bank in Clinton at (217) 935-7464.

DCDC Director Touts Business Assistance Provided in 2022

Earlier this week we highlighted the financial contributions the DeWitt County Development Council made to local businesses in the last year. 

 

First-year Executive Director Curt Homann explains one of the things that sometimes go unnoticed he does is help businesses come up with business plans, funding models, and general business advice.

 

 

Homann hopes going forward, local business owners or prospective business owners will consider utilizing DCDC as a guide or ask if there's someone locally that can help them with their business planning.

 

 

The business community has been reaching out to the DCDC since Homann started as the part-time executive director earlier this year. He indicates they have all sorts of needs.

 

 

Homann encourages anyone to reach out to him by finding the DCDC Facebook page or you can call him at 217-935-5271. 

Piatt County Mental Health Center Hoping to Expand Program Into DeWitt County

A Piatt County non-profit is hoping to bring a successful program into DeWitt County.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and explains its recovery-oriented system of care, or ROSC program, has been very successful in Piatt County. He explains the program destigmatizes a lot of the hangups around addiction.

 

 

According to Kirkman, ROSC came about from a grant opportunity to be self-sustaining. He indicates while some of that is still up in the air, he wants to see this program move into DeWitt County.


 

In the next year, Kirkman will be in DeWitt County a lot to seek out community partners in this effort. He explains the now-defunct DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition and its partners could be a good foundation for this program in DeWitt County.

 

 

For more information about the ROSC program in Piatt County by visiting piattmhc.org or calling 217-762-5371. 

National Weather Service Gives Timeline of Winter Storm

Anticipate early rain on Thursday turning to snow.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio the winter storm should arrive in central Illinois around 6 am to 9 am.

 

 

According to Shimon, DeWitt County is projected to get from 2 to 4 inches of snow.


 

A north-northwest wind will create blowing and drifting snow. Shimon points out it could also create the potential for power outages. 

 

 

If you're traveling this weekend, Shimon indicates the farther north you go, the more snow you'll like encounter although most of Illinois is expected to see the weaker end of this system. 

DeWitt County Sheriff Offers Winter Driving Tips

The first major snowstorm of the winter is upon us and local authorities are imploring the public to be safe during a treacherous stretch.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker says if you're traveling, the first thing you should do is slow down.

 

 

Sheriff Walker explains most of the accidents they encounter during severe winter weather events are simply cars going off the road. He points out they will try to get to all the stranded motorists they can, but as you wait for them or someone to come to get you, stay in your vehicle for your safety.

 

 

With bitter cold temperatures expected in central Illinois as this storm rolls through, Sheriff Walker encourages having that gas tank filled to at least the halfway mark.

 

 

According to the Sheriff, it never fails - with any winter storms, the 9-1-1 dispatchers will be inundated with phone calls asking for road conditions. He stresses dispatchers are not going to tell you not to travel.


 

Gettingaroundillinois.com will have the latest in road conditions. Sheriff Walker also notes, while not so active during winter weather, deer remain active in rural areas even in the winter. 

Clinton Schools In Favor of Football Merger With Heart of Illinois Conference

The Heart of Illinois and Central Illinois Conferences are exploring a merger for football.

 

It was brought up at the Tuesday night Clinton Board of Education meeting. On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Superintendent Curt Nettles told Regional Radio News there is mutual interest in forming a new conference for the high school football season.

 

 

The Heart of Illinois has two divisions, a large school, and small school division. Eureka, Tri-Valley, El Paso-Gridley, Dee-Mack, Tremont, and Fieldcrest are the large division schools. 

 

Ridgeview, GCMS, LeRoy, Heyworth, and Fisher are the small school division.

 

With the exit of Decatur St. Teresa and Sullivan from the Central Illinois Conference, they are down to Clinton, Central A&M, Meridian, Tuscola, Shelbyville, and Warrensburg-Latham. 

DeWitt County Museum's Candle Light Tours Wrap Up Friday; Off-season Next

The DeWitt County Museum hosts its final candlelight tour of the season Friday night and then it's to the Museum's off-season. 

 

Joey Long is the Director of the DeWitt County Museum and CH Moore Homestead and calls it decorated in 'full Victorian splendor'. She says no two rooms are alike and if you've been in years past, it'll look totally different this year.

 

 

The final candlelight tour date is Friday night. Tours are from 5 pm to 8 pm. According to Long, the Museum closes down for the winter season around the first of the year and all sorts of things become a priority for Long and the Homestead board.

 

 

Additionally, it may seem like a ways off still, but Long begins preparations for the fall Apple n' Pork Festival. She also begins research for new exhibits as well as continuing the care of the collection.

 

 

We'll hear more from Long in the weeks ahead about memberships at the Museum. If you'd like more information, visit chmoorehomestead.org or find the CH Moore Homestead on Facebook. 

Willow Tree Missions Celebrating Opening of Downtown Monticello Location

A Piatt County non-profit is celebrating the successful first step of a big vision in Monticello's downtown.

 

Jill Maxey is the Executive Director of Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County and indicates the downtown location has been in the works since around 2020 and they finally opened it earlier this fall. She points out they do not take donations at the downtown Monticello location, so take those to the mission's original space in Monticello. 

 

 

Maxey calls the completion of the thrift store a huge domino to fall and looks forward to focusing next phase of the building renovation, which will be the other parts of the lower level.

 

 

The capital campaign for Willow Tree Missions continues and Maxey feels it has been wildly successful. She thanks all the donors for their financial contributions as well as material donations.

 

 

Over 180 volunteers have made meaningful contributions to the downtown location. Maxey says groups across the community are coming out in support of their mission.

 

 

Maxey indicates while they continue to focus on the development of the downtown location, they continue to serve individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and that has totaled over 60 families and their children. 

 

Learn more about Willow Tree Missions by searching for Willow Tree Missions on Facebook or visiting willowtreemissions.org. 

Logan County 4-H Officers Learning Leadership Skills

4-H officers in Logan County are going through leadership training.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Extension Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties, Terri Miller-Casey told Regional Radio the students learn leadership skills for a variety of areas within the 4-H structure.

 

 

Miller-Casey explains the training is three hours and she feels it packs a lot of information into that short amount of time.

 

 

Miller-Casey believes what the students are learning will help them become well-rounded individuals beyond 4-H, and that is a huge part of the overall program. 

Watch For Scams in Facebook Market

The Better Business Bureau is warning Facebook users that sharing a certain kind of attention-grabbing post might put their friends at risk of falling victim to a scam. You may find a gut-wrenching post about an injured, lost pet or a missing child grabs your attention. You want to help, so you share the post on your own profile.

 

But at some point, the scammer changes the original post to a deceptive rental ad or sometimes to a link pointing to a survey that "guarantees" a cash prize. Now, your friends think you have recommended that content. BBB Investigator Don O’Brien says another one making the rounds right now is one that claims they are trying to bust a catalytic converter thief.

 

 

This scheme has many variations, but the common thread is the emotionality or urgency of the message that encourages concerned people to share the news with their friends. Scammers sometimes also turn comments off on the posts so other group members can't out them.

More Assault Weapons Ban Hearings Held

HEARINGS CONTINUE ON THE PROPOSED BAN ON ASSAULT WEAPONS.

 

A HOUSE COMMITTEE HEARD FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT LEADERS ABOUT HOW OFFICERS ARE OUTMANNED COMPARED TO CRIMINALS WITH ASSAULT-STYLE FIREARMS. COOK COUNTY SHERIFF TOM DART:

 

 

FORMER N-R-A LOBBYIST AND LONGTIME GUN RIGHTS ADVOCATE TODD VANDERMYDE SPOKE AGAINST THE LEGISLATION.

 

 

OPPONENTS TESTIFIED THAT THE LEGISLATION IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, INCLUDING THE PORTION THAT RAISES THE AGE TO GET A FOID CARD FROM 18 TO 21. THEY SAY THAT MEANS A 20 YEAR OLD CAN’T HUNT WITHOUT ADULT SUPERVISION.

Illinois Receiving Funding for Broadband

As Illinois gets set to receive $253 million in direct federal funding to expand broadband access that will go to work on top of state dollars that are part of the Rebuild Illinois Plan. Governor JB Pritzker says stacking federal funds on top of state funding will go a long way to expand access all over Illinois.

 

 

The federal funding is expected to help connect 87,000 homes to high-speed internet that had no connection or only slow ones.

IDOT Urging Public to Utilize Getting Around Illinois Website

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ITS WINTER ROAD CONDITIONS WEBSITE BEFORE TRAVELING. 

 

WITH THE FIRST MAJOR SNOWSTORM OF THE SEASON ON THE WAY, I-DOT’S PAUL WAPPEL RECOMMENDS CHECKING: GETTING AROUND ILLINOIS DOT COM.

 

 

WAPPEL SAYS FAMILIES SHOULD ALSO MAKE SURE THEIR CAR IS WELL STOCKED WITH EMERGENCY SUPPLIES LIKE BLANKETS, A WINDSHIELD SCRAPER, FLARES, A FLASHLIGHT AND FIRST AID KIT.

 

 

AGAIN THE WEBSITE IS: GETTING AROUND ILLINOIS DOT COM.

Gas Prices Dropping

Prices at the pump are dropping just ahead of the holidays.

 

Around the state, prices are about half what they were earlier this summer. However, with an incoming winter storm, refineries could be in trouble. Here's GasBuddy's Patrick DeHaan.

 

 

According to DeHaan, prices in downstate Illinois are down 74 cents compared to a month ago.

Farmer City Prioritizing Planning

The Farmer City Council has prioritized planning in 2022 and has some priorities set out for that planning process.

 

City Manager Sue McLaughlin explains some of the top priorities are infrastructure improvements, focusing on Main Street, code enforcement, and a renewed focus on the Interstate 74 property.

 

 

For the I-74 project, McLaughlin explains they still have hopes of welcoming a developer for an interstate plaza however, promotion of the property is not visible and they want to improve that.

 

 

Updating the water system in the community is a priority going forward. McLaughlin explains the water system is in need of major improvement especially because of issues they have when flushing hydrants.

 

 

According to McLaughlin, other projects the City is looking to tackle are going to have to wait because of supply chain issues but also costs of projects are very high right now.

 

 

Looking to the winter, McLaughlin reassures Farmer City residents materials for winter weather are available this year and there is no issue with those. She does note, security cameras for things like parks and other City properties are on backorder so the wait times are very long.

Monticello Schools Superintendent Wraps First Semester of First Year

Monticello Schools Superintendent Adam Clapp wrapped up his first semester on the job last week and credits the smooth transition to those around him.

 

Clapp, who was the Principal of Monticello High School prior to taking the Superintendent's role, says the people around him and the preparation before assuming the role have helped make it a great first semester.

 

 

For Clapp, he feels being prepared for the role has meant he really is trying to get into the flow of the new role. He explains in the Superintendent's seat, you get one more step away from the students and teachers and he hopes to remain visible to those individuals.

 

 

Clapp and his peers are celebrating having a normal school year so far in 2022-23. He indicates things like winter plays, music performances, and sports are all back to normal and he's thankful for that. 

University of Illinois Looking At Suicide in Farming Industry

RESEARCH OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LOOKS AT THE HIGH SUICIDE RATE AMONG FARMERS.

 

RECENT DATA FROM THE C-D-C SHOWS THAT FARMERS ARE TWICE AS LIKELY TO TAKE THEIR LIVES AS THOSE WORKING IN OTHER PROFESSIONS. U OF I AGRICULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING PROFESSOR JOSIE RUDOLPHI SAYS THERE ARE SO MANY UNCERTAINTIES IN THE FARMING INDUSTRY THAT CAUSE EXTRA STRESS.

 

 

ANOTHER PROBLEM IS LACK OF ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND FARMERS NOT SEEKING HELP. RUDOLPHI SAYS THEY FOUND THAT OLDER FARMERS ARE AT HIGHER RISK OF SUICIDE. SHE SAYS THEY WANT TO CONTINUE THEIR RESEARCH TO IDENTIFY OTHER RISK FACTORS.

 

 

RUDOLPHI SAYS LACK OF ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE IS ALSO A PROBLEM. SHE SAYS THEY ARE HOPING TO IDENTIFY MORE RISK FACTORS THAT LEAD TO FARMER SUICIDE.

Illinois Blood Supplies Low

Illinois is facing a critically low supply of blood just ahead of the holidays.

 

The need is so great, the Chief Medical Officer for several HS-HS hospitals in Central Illinois is pleading with the public to donate. Here's Dr. Ryan Jennings.

 

 

Due to the holidays, Impact Life projects a 20-percent decrease in donations during Christmas and New Year's. To schedule an appointment for a donation, visit blood center dot-org.

Expanded Bereavement Leave Rights Takes Effect Jan. 1

THE “SUPPORT THROUGH LOSS” ACT TAKES EFFECT JANUARY FIRST, EXPANDING BEREAVEMENT LEAVE RIGHTS FOR ILLINOIS WORKERS. 

 

SENATOR MELINDA BUSH OF GRAYSLAKE SPONSORED THE LEGISLATION WHICH ENSURES THOSE WHO HAVE SUFFERED A MISCARRIAGE, FAILED ADOPTION OR FERTILITY TREATMENT AND SIMILAR EVENTS GET TIME OFF TO GRIEVE.

 

 

THE LAW ALLOWS FOR UP TO 10 WORKDAYS OF UNPAID LEAVE. 

 

 

THE LAW ALSO ADDS SPOUSES, DOMESTIC PARTNERS, SIBLINGS, GRANDPARENTS AND STEPPARENTS TO THE LIST OF THOSE COVERED UNDER BEREAVEMENT LEAVE POLICIES.

Don't Leave Your Car Running Unattended

As some of the coldest weather in years takes aim at the Midwest, you are reminded that the temptation to warm your car unattended can have serious consequences. Unless you have a remote car starter, most police chiefs say warming up your vehicle unattended is a very bad idea. Bethalto Police Chief Mike Dixon says most criminals are looking for easy targets, and with colder weather now here, that could include the actual vehicle if you decide to warm up your car and leave it unattended. He says he often hears people say it’s ok, because they have insurance on the vehicle.

 

 

He says some victims of the thefts then have to deal with not only their missing vehicle but have to change locks on their homes if their house key was also on the keychain. And Dixon says an alarming number of firearms continue to be stolen in these types of crimes as well.

DNR Reminds Deer Baiting is Illegal in Illinois

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS REMINDING HUNTERS THAT DEER BAITING IS ILLEGAL IN ILLINOIS. 

 

CONSERVATION POLICE HAVE BEEN ISSUING NUMEROUS WARNINGS AND CITATIONS TO DEER HUNTERS USING BAIT LIKE CORN AND MOLASSES SAYS D-N-R SPOKESPERSON JAYETTE BOLINSKI.

 

 

BOLINSKI SAYS DEER BAITING ALSO VIOLATES AN IMPORTANT HUNTING ETHICS STANDARD, FAIR CHASE. THAT MEANS THE ANIMAL IS GIVEN A SPORTING CHANCE AND IS NOT TRICKED OR LURED.

 

 

ANOTHER REASON WHY BAITING IS ILLEGAL IS TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF C-W-D, WHICH CAN BE TRANSMITTED WHEN DEER CONGREGATE IN ONE FEEDING SPOT.

DCDC Touting 2022 Investments in Business Community

Leadership for the DeWitt County Development Council is highlighting the accomplishments of 2022 and part of those include investments in the business community.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Executive Director Curt Homann told Regional Radio they invested $25,000 in nine businesses locally. He feels that investment is very tangible.

 

 

The DCDC continues to have interest in the USDA revolving loan fund. Homann explains they were able to award two businesses with the gap financing style loans.

 

 

In addition to the grants and loans the DCDC was able to award, Homann has had over 400 business visits in DeWitt County. He has tried to focus on the small businesses of the County in those outreach efforts. 

 

 

Homann began his role as the DCDC Executive Director on a part-time basis earlier this year and shared many more accomplishments from 2022. We'll hear more from him in the next few weeks as we put a wrap on 2022. 

Community Action Promoting 'Foster Grandparents' Program

If you are an older adult looking to make a difference in the life of a young person, a central Illinois non-profit would like you to consider a program they have for that.

 

Breann Titus is the Director of Agency Development for Community Action and explains the 'Foster Grandparents' program pairs an older adult with young people with special needs.

 

 

According to Titus, there is the opportunity for a financial stipend and stresses it will not interfere with any other income sources you may rely on.

 

 

Titus feels the 'Foster Grandparents' program is a great opportunity for older adults who may be struggling emotionally to connect with young people and make a difference. Coming out of COVID where many seniors have been isolated, this is a great opportunity for them to find meaningful connections again.

 

 

Titus points anyone wanting more information to call 217-732-2159 and ask for Melissa. You can also visit capcil.info and follow along for all things Community Action on Facebook. 

New State Board of Education Shows How Pandemic Relief Money Being Spent at Illinois Schools

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IS LAUNCHING A NEW ONLINE TOOL TO SHOW HOW FEDERAL PANDEMIC RELIEF MONEY IS BEING SPENT IN ILLINOIS SCHOOLS. 

 

THE STATE RECEIVED NEARLY EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS THROUGH THREE ROUNDS OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL EMERGENCY RELIEF, OR "ESSER" FUNDING TO HELP GET SCHOOLS AND STUDENTS BACK ON TRACK. THE BOARD'S DEPUTY OPERATIONAL EDUCATION OFFICER KRISH MOHIP SAYS THIS NEW DASHBOARD MAKES IT CLEAR HOW THAT MONEY HAS BEEN USED.

 

 

MOHIP SAYS THE DASHBOARD WAS CREATED TO INCREASE TRANSPARENCY ABOUT HOW SCHOOLS ARE USING THE EIGHT BILLION DOLLARS AWARDED TO THE STATE.

 

 

THE DASHBOARD LISTS SPENDING IN AREAS LIKE TEACHER SALARIES, FOOD SERVICES AND STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT. YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT ONLINE AT: ISBE DOT NET.

Census of Ag Reminders

Illinois looking for another strong response for the Census of Agriculture. Mark Schleusener serves as Illinois State Statistician for the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service.

 

 

More info at nass.usda.gov.

Gov. Pritzker Discusses Marijuana Research

Marijuana research could be coming to higher education.

 

Discovery Partners Institute, an arm of the U of I has a research center underway in Chicago and is searching for an executive director and researchers to lead a marijuana program. The support is there even if the money to back it hasn’t arrived yet. Governor JB Pritzker says Chicago is a great place to lead marijuana research.

 

 

Recreational marijuana has been legal in Illinois since 2020.

Clinton Schools Increase Pay for Sports Officials

Officials that work sports events for Clinton Schools are being paid a little more after last month's Clinton Board of Education meeting.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates the district needs to keep up with other areas that are increasing their pay to officials to keep the best officials coming to Clinton.


 

The IHSA for a couple of years now has been diligently working to address a shortage of officials as many retire or quit altogether. 

Clinton Police Chief Takes Notice of Improved Clinton High School Boy's Basketball Team

It's not often the Chief of Police for the City of Clinton steps outside the bounds of law enforcement discussion but Ben Lowers has taken a liking to the 2022-23 Clinton High School boy's basketball team.

 

Chief Lowers was able to watch their game last Saturday against Heyworth and enjoyed the way the young Maroons played.

 

 

Chief Lowers says calls it electric at the high school for the boy's basketball team this year. The Maroons battle Tri-Valley this afternoon (Saturday) before heading to Monticello for the Holiday Hoopla Christmas tournament Dec. 26-28.

Conservation Police to Join Forces for Holiday Enforcement Efforts

THE ILLINOIS CONSERVATION POLICE IS JOINING OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN BEEFING UP D-U-I PATROLS FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

 

THE "DRIVE SOBER...GET PULLED OVER" CAMPAIGN IS UNDERWAY AND RUNS THROUGH JANUARY 2ND. STATE CONSERVATION POLICE LIEUTENANT CURT LEWIS SAYS THEY WILL HAVE ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DRUNK AND HIGH DRIVERS.

 

 

LEWIS SAYS OFFICERS WILL ALSO BE HELPING OUT WITH HIGHWAY PATROLS. HE ASKS IF YOU SEE AN IMPAIRED DRIVER TO PULL OVER AND CALL 9-1-1.

 

 

THE "DRIVE SOBER...GET PULLED OVER" CAMPAIGN IS ALREADY UNDERWAY AND RUNS THROUGH JANUARY SECOND.

Illinois Lottery Urging Families Not to Buy Kids Lottery Tickets

THE ILLINOIS LOTTERY IS URGING FAMILIES TO AVOID GIVING INSTANT TICKETS TO CHILDREN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. 

 

LOTTERY TICKETS MAKE GOOD STOCKING STUFFERS, BUT NOT FOR KIDS SAYS BILL JOHNSON WITH THE ILLINOIS COUNCIL ON PROBLEM GAMBLING.

 

 

MAYS SAYS SUCH A CASUAL APPROACH TO GAMBLING CAN BE HARMFUL TO KIDS.

 

 

THE GROUP IS WORKING WITH THE STATE LOTTERY PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE GIFTING.

Weekly Weather Summary

Some bitterly cold air will usher in the Christmas weekend. Todd Gleason at the University of Illinois Extension has more...

 

 

Sen. Rose Praises Sen. Turner Who Takes Over Representation of DeWitt, Piatt Counties

A portion of the heart of the Regional Radio listening area will soon be represented by Lincoln Republican Sally Turner. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Sen. Rose praised Sen. Turner for her early work in the Senate and says her constituents will appreciate her as they get to know her. Sen. Turner spent many years in the Logan County Courthouse before her transition to the Illinois legislature.

 

 

Both Sen. Rose and Sen. Turner are getting to know new districts. Sen. Turner is trying to get out to hear from local leaders in her district as well as her new constituency.

 

 

Sen. Rose sent one final thank you to the people of DeWitt County and central Illinois that he represented for almost a decade. He feels everyone came together to help protect the Mahomet Aquifer among several other successes in that time.

 

 

Sen. Rose and Sen. Turner say they are focused on keeping a close eye on the assault weapons ban legislation which they predict will look vastly different after hearings and amendments are made. 

 

Sen. Turner has also introduced legislation to increase the penalties against dealers of drugs laced with fentanyl. 

Second Assault Weapons Ban Hearing Held Thursday

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE GATHERING MORE TESTIMONY ON A PROPOSED BAN ON ASSAULT-STYLE WEAPONS. 

 

THE GROUP HEARD FROM SEVERAL SPEAKERS, ABOUT THE DATA BEHIND THE BAN AND THE NEED TO ACT NOW ON THE LEGISLATION. REPRESENTATIVE KATHLEEN WILLIS OF ADDISON SAID THERE IS NO NEED FOR THESE TYPES OF FIREARMS.

 

 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER-ELECT TONI MCCOMBIE SAID THIS ISN’T THE ANSWER.

 

 

THE NEXT HEARING IS SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY. SUPPORTERS HOPE TO GET THE BILL PASSED IN EARLY JANUARY.

Illinois Department of Employment Security Celebrating Year and a Half of Job Growth

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SAYS ILLINOIS HAS ENJOYED A YEAR AND A HALF OF CONSECUTIVE JOB GROWTH. 

 

NOVEMBER MARKED THE 18TH MONTH IN A ROW FOR JOB GAINS, WITH MORE THAN 17-THOUSAND ADDED. I-D-E-S DIRECTOR KRISTIN RICHARDS SAYS GROWTH WAS SEEN IN SEVERAL SECTORS. 

 

 

RICHARDS SAYS IT’S IMPORTANT TO KEEP THIS IN MIND:

 

 

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR NOVEMBER CAME IN AT FOUR POINT SEVEN PERCENT, AN INCREASE FROM FOUR POINT SIX PERCENT IN OCTOBER.

Food Banks Seeing Increased Demand

Food banks are under all sorts of pressure during the holidays and this year there are even more problems to overcome as the cost of nearly everything has gone up.

 

Pam Molitoris, Executive Director of the Central Illinois Food Bank says they are battling inflation like everyone else.

 

 

The increased cost of diesel has also dented food bank budgets this year.

Firearm Deer Hunting Wrap-up

HUNTERS IN ILLINOIS HARVESTED MORE DEER THIS YEAR DURING THE FIREARM SEASON.

 

PRELIMINARY FIGURES SHOW A TOTAL OF NEARLY 77-THOUSAND DEER. THAT COMPARES TO A LITTLE OVER 70-THOUSAND TAKEN IN 2021. OVERALL, THE SEVEN-DAY FIREARM SEASON SEEMED TO BE SUCCESSFUL SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES WILDLIFE CHIEF MIKE WEFER (wee-fer).

 

 

THERE ARE STILL OPPORTUNITIES FOR DEER HUNTING, INCLUDING THE ONGOING ARCHERY SEASON AS WELL AS LATE WINTER AND C-W-D SEASONS DECEMBER 29TH THROUGH JANUARY FIRST AND JANUARY 13TH THROUGH THE 15TH.

 

 

ARCHERY DEER SEASON IS ONGOING AND LASTS THROUGH JANUARY 15TH.

Bitter Cold Temperatures to Usher in Christmas Holiday

A major shift in the weather pattern is expected to arrive just before the Christmas holiday. For most of the month temps across Illinois have been normal to slightly above. Atmospheric scientist Eric Snodgrass says he’s focused on possible stormy days leading up to Christmas as temperatures are expected to be 30 to 40 degrees below normal.

 

 

Snodgrass says it’s a long way out to forecast but it does look like snow could be in the forecast for many in the state by mid to late next week.

AM Radio and Electric Vehicles

Farm broadcasters across the country are expressing some concern over AM radio in electric vehicles or lack thereof. The issue is starting to gain more attention says Tom Brand, who serves as executive director of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting.

 

 

Brand says those worried about the issue should start by sharing their concerns with local dealers.

Clinton Insurance Agent Helps Outfit Police With Tactical Flashlights

A Clinton insurance agent contributed Thursday morning to the Clinton Police Department for tactical flashlights.

 

Country Financial agent Buddy Wilson explains Country Financials 'Helping Heroes; program allowed him to purchase six flashlights from Seymour-based First Light USA.

 

 

First Light flashlights are a favorite among law enforcement and military personnel across the country and the world. Police Chief Ben Lowers sings the praises of the lights but is also grateful to Wilson for outfitting every officer on the force with a flashlight now.

 

Pictured left to right: First Light USA's Ray Wichus, Country Financial Insurance Agent Buddy Wilson, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers

 

 

Former DNR Officer Ray Wichus represented First Light in the presentation Thursday and says First Light flashlights offer an ease of use that is unmatched for law enforcement and military.

 

 

Buddy Wilson's office is located at 320 East Van Buren Street in Clinton.

 

You can find First Light USA on Facebook and Instagram. 

Illinois Department of Human Services Launches Campaign Targeting Gambling Issues

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS LAUNCHING A NEW CAMPAIGN TO HELP PEOPLE WHO HAVE A GAMBLING PROBLEM. 

 

THE CAMPAIGN IS CALLED “ARE YOU REALLY WINNING?” AND HIGHLIGHTS THE SIGNS OF ADDICTION SAYS D-H-S SPOKESPERSON PATRICK LAUGHLIN. THIS INCLUDES ASKING YOURSELF QUESTIONS SUCH AS:

 

 

LAUGHLIN EXPLAINS THE GIST OF THE MESSAGE.

 

 

THE CAMPAIGN ALSO FOCUSES ON RESOURCES SUCH AS A 24-HOUR CONFIDENTIAL HELPLINE AT: 1-800-GAMBLER AND THE WEBSITE: ARE YOU REALLY WINNING DOT COM.

Enrollment Opens Today for Cover Crop Conservation Program

A popular conservation program for farmers is open today (December 15) for enrollment and it's growing in size.

 

The Fall Covers for Spring Savings program allows farmers to receive a $5 discount on their spring crop insurance if they plant cover crops on those acres. Brian Rennecker with the Illinois Department of Agriculture says this year the program is expanding.

 

 

All acres are filled on a first come first served basis. Enrollment opens today (Thursday December 15) at 8 am - last year the program was filled in less than 24 hours.

Social Security Celebrating 50 Years in 2022

In late October, Social Security celebrated 50 years of the Supplemental Security Income, or SSI.

 

In January 1974, Social Security began paying SSI benefits to people who meet eligibility requirements. Jack Myers with Social Security explains SSI is a needs-based program that helps people who have limited income and resources meet basic needs for food clothing and shelter.

SSI benefits are payable to disabled or blind children whose families meet income and resource limits, disabled or blind adults under age 65 who meet income and resource limits, and adults age 65 or older who meet income and resource limits.

 

 

If a disabled child’s parents have income that makes the child ineligible, it is important to note that we no longer have to count parental income once the child reaches age 18. Myers indicates if you want to apply for SSI you can initiate the process on its website - www.ssa.gov - and click the graphic that says SSI and you will see how to start the process online or make an appointment by phone. 

 

 

The federal limit for SSI benefits is $841 per month in 2022 and is going up to $914 per month in 2023.

 

Visit www.ssa.gov for more information. 

Domestic Violence Advocates Highlight Natural Increase in Domestic Violence During Holidays

The stress of the holidays can lead to an increase in domestic violence and a local advocacy group is highlighting the issue.

 

It isn't easy to talk about during a joyful and happy time of the year but it isn't always those things for victims of domestic violence. Susan Houston at Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County says there are a lot of things that can be a catalyst for domestic violence.

 

 

Individuals can become stressed because money may be tight or they may be recently out of a job. Houston says there are a lot of economic factors that can lead an individual to become abusive.

 

 

For anyone that is in a dangerous situation or a situation they want to break free from, Houston indicates there are plenty of resources available to you to get you out.

 

 

For more information on Willow Tree Missions, you can contact them at 217-631-1018 or visit willowtreemissions.org. 

DeWitt County Sheriff Reflectons on First Term

Last month, DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker was elected to his second term.

 

Sheriff Walker says some of the highlights of his first four years includes a lot of technology improvements but they also did some small things to improve revenue streams for the County.

 

 

Sheriff Walker is also touting the fact he was able to upgrade the Department's armory for a low cost thanks to a trade-in opportunity. Additionally, the Department is in the process of updating body cameras and dash-cams.

 

 

Sheriff Walker was fully staffed for about two weeks in the first four years of his term but battles losing officers to larger agencies and now the State Police as they have increased recruiting efforts. 

Sangamon Valley CEO Hosting Sunday Event for Class Business

The Sangamon Valley CEO students are hosting a Christmas event in Monticello this Sunday.

 

Picture: left to right - Ava Cheatham, Jack Brown, and John Freese

 

Horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa, cookie and cocoa making and much more highlights the day of activities at the Monarch Event Center in Monticello from 2 pm to 8 pm. Ava Cheatham from Argenta-Oreana High School points out ticket sales for the event are going on now.

 

 

Jack Brown from Monticello High School is encouraging those interested in the horse-drawn carriage rides to get tickets now to make sure you get the time you want. John Freese from Cerro Gordo High School indicates they are making ticket sales for the horse-drawn carriage ride so families can plan their day around the event.

 

 

The class business is the highlight of the first semester of the CEO program for the students that come from DeLand-Weldon, Bement, Cerro Gordo, Argenta-Oreana and Monticello High Schools. Brown indicates one of the biggest lessons they have learned is they have to pay attention to the finer details.

 

 

'Miracle Off Main Street' takes place from 2 pm to 8 pm this Sunday at the Monarch Event Center at 212 South Independence Street. Get more information and tickets at miracleoffmainstreet.com or find the Sangamon Valley CEO program on Facebook or Instagram. 

Pork Power Program Hits One Million Pounds in Donations This Week

The Pork Power program hits a million pounds of ground pork donated this week.

 

The Central Illinois Foodbank received a donation of nearly 10,000 pounds of ground pork pushing the total donated since 2008 to 1 million pounds. Mike Haag, past president of the Illinois Pork Producers, says the program has been impressive to be a part of and it backs up his passion as a farmer.

 

 

Along with the Pork Producers, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association and the Illinois Meat Processors all support the Pork Power Program.

It's Still Not Too Late to Get Annual Flu Shot, COVID Booster

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GET YOUR COVID-19 BOOSTER AND FLU SHOT. 

 

THERE WAS AN UPTICK IN COVID CASES AFTER THANKSGIVING AND FLU ACTIVITY IS HIGH IN ILLINOIS. THAT’S WHY IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE VACCINATED BEFORE YOU GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH INFECTIOUS DISEASE CHIEF HEIDI CLARK.

 

 

CLARK SAYS THIS IS IMPORTANT AS YOU GATHER WITH LOVED ONES YOU MAYBE HAVEN’T SEEN IN AWHILE.

 

 

AGES SIX MONTHS AND UP ARE ELIGIBLE TO GET THE FLU SHOT AND COVID BOOSTER, AND BOTH CAN BE GIVEN AT THE SAME TIME. CLARK URGES THOSE THAT DO GET SICK TO STAY HOME AND WEAR A MASK IF THEY ARE AROUND OTHER PEOPLE.

IHSA Could Consider Socio-Economic Factor in Future Classification

Should a socioeconomic factor determine IHSA enrollment classification? 

 

It’s an issue that both Iowa and Minnesota associations are moving forward with. The policy language reduces 40-percent of a school’s free or reduced lunch count from a school’s actual enrollment to determine their final classification number. IHSA executive director Craig Anderson was asked about the subject.

 

 

The IHSA Board will next meet Jan. 11.

High-Impact Tutoring Helping Students Get Back on Track After Pandemic

THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION SAYS HIGH-IMPACT TUTORING IS HELPING STUDENTS GET BACK ON TRACK AFTER THE PANDEMIC. 

 

THE INTENSIVE TUTORING INITIATIVE IS SPEEDING UP LEARNING RECOVERY IN 72 ILLINOIS SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACROSS ILLINOIS SAYS THE BOARD’S JENNIFER KIRMES. SHE SAYS IN THIS TYPE OF PROGRAM, TUTORS AND STUDENTS MEET SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK, FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES AT A TIME.

 

 

KIRMES SAYS IT INVOLVES ONE-ON-ONE OR SMALL GROUP TUTORING SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES AT A TIME.

 

 

MANY DISTRICTS ARE ALREADY USING THIS PROGRAM TO HELP STRUGGLING STUDENTS WHILE OTHERS WILL BE IN THE FUTURE.

Attorney General Raoul Urging FCC To Deal With Robo Text Messages

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS URGING THE F-C-C TO HELP CUT DOWN ON THOSE ANNOYING AUTOMATED TEXT MESSAGES. 

 

THE ROBO-TEXTS ARE OFTEN SCAMS SAYS RAOUL, WHO HAS JOINED HIS COUNTERPARTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN ASKING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.

 

 

RAOUL WANTS TO SEE WIRELESS CARRIERS DO A BETTER JOB OF STOPPING THESE ROBO-TEXTS.

 

 

THE GROUP ALSO WANTS THE WIRELESS INDUSTRY TO DEVELOP CALL AUTHENTICATION TECHNOLOGY FOR TEXT MESSAGES SO PEOPLE KNOW IF THEY ARE REAL OR NOT AND LAW ENFORCEMENT CAN INVESTIGATE THE SOURCE.

Attorney General Announces Settlement With Walgreens, CVS Over Opioid Epidemic

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS ANNOUNCING A 10 POINT SEVEN BILLION DOLLAR OPIOID SETTLEMENT WITH TWO MAJOR DRUG STORES. 

 

RAOUL AND 17 OTHER STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL JOINED IN THE LAWSUIT AGAINST WALGREENS AND C-V-S.

 

 

RAOUL SAYS HE WILL CONTINUE TO GO AFTER INDUSTRIES CONTRIBUTING TO THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

 

 

UNDER THE SETTLEMENT, THE STORES WILL HAVE TO IMPLEMENT A SYSTEM PROVIDING MORE OVERSIGHT WHEN DISPENSING OPIOIDS. ILLINOIS’ PORTION OF THE DEAL WILL BE USED FOR PREVENTION AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Launches 3D Gallery of Historical Artifacts

A WIDE RANGE OF LINCOLN-RELATED AND OTHER ARTIFACTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR VIEWING ONLINE IN 3-D. 

 

THE VIRTUAL GALLERY FEATURES ABOUT 100 ITEMS INCLUDING THE DESK WHERE LINCOLN WROTE MUCH OF THE SPEECH HE WOULD DELIVER AFTER BEING SWORN IN AS PRESIDENT SAYS ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CHRISTINA SHUTT.

 

 

 

 

SHUTT SAYS THEY HOPE THE PUBLIC ENJOYS THE 3-D EXPERIENCE, AND THAT TEACHERS WITH 3-D PRINTERS USE THE ARTIFACTS IN THE CLASSROOM.

 

 

THERE IS ALSO HISTORICAL INFORMATION POSTED FOR EACH ITEM. YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE ARTIFACTS IN 3-D AT: PRESIDENT LINCOLN DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH 3D.

Farmer City Searching for Lifeguards for Next Summer

Farmer City will be seeking out lifeguards for next summer at the community pool to avoid a situation like the summer of 2022.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, City Manager Sue McLaughlin told Regional Radio they are doing several things to entice folks to apply. She indicates they want to pay for the fee for the training to become a lifeguard.

 

 

Last summer, Farmer City wasn't able to keep the community pool open as much as they had hoped due to a lifeguard shortage. McLaughlin hopes starting to recruit lifeguards now will allow them to have robust hours all summer.

 

 

Over a million dollars was invested in the Farmer City community pool to renovate it. McLaughlin says they now have a great facility and want the community to be able to utilize it.

 

 

McLaughlin reminds she is still hoping to get a few more interested individuals to participate in training. If you're interested in getting a job as a lifeguard in Farmer City this summer, contact City Hall at 309-928-3412. 

Blue Ridge Schools to Expand Dual-Credit Course Offerings

Blue Ridge Schools will be expanding its offerings for dual-credit courses.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer indicates dual-credit courses are no longer for just bigger school districts and Blue Ridge is exploring expanding its offerings.

 

 

Dual credit courses have taken on the form of online and in-person offerings. Dr. Stanifer explains they have a teacher on staff that could lead one of the English offerings through the program with Parkland College.

 

 

While some districts have been able to offer dual-credit courses to students for no cost, that is not something Blue Ridge Schools can do at this time, however, Dr. Stanifer indicates it would be less than $50 for students to take these courses.

 

 

Blue Ridge Schools will also consider offering a course to students on learning the basics of being a college student like not having class every day and understanding the requirements of college. Dr. Stanifer feels this will be very beneficial for their students and give them a leg-up and confidence walking into the college atmosphere on day one.

Updates Coming to 'One Day Rest in Seven Act' Jan. 1

UPDATES TO A LAW REGULATING A WORKER'S MEAL AND REST BREAKS TAKE EFFECT JANUARY FIRST.

 

A FEW CHANGES ARE COMING TO THE ONE DAY REST IN SEVEN ACT SAYS THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S MARINA FAZ-HUPPERT (fas-hoopert), MEANT TO CLARIFY THE RULES FOR WORKERS WITH SCHEDULES THAT DON'T FOLLOW THE TRADITIONAL SUNDAY THROUGH SATURDAY WEEK.

 

 

FAZ-HUPPERT (fas-hoopert) SAYS EMPLOYERS SHOULD FAMILIARIZE THEMSELVES WITH THE CHANGES.

 

 

BUSINESSES MUST POST A SIGN ALERTING WORKERS OF THE UPDATES. THE DEPARTMENT WILL HAVE SAMPLES ON ITS WEBSITE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD.

Illinois N-REC Has New Director

There is a new chairman of Illinois N-REC or the Nutrient Research and Education Council. Clark County farmer Don Guinnip has had leadership roles with Illinois corn and soybean interests.

 

 

The Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) was created by state statute in 2012. Funded by a 75-cent per ton assessment on bulk fertilizer sold in Illinois, NREC provides financial support for nutrient research and education programs to ensure the discovery and adoption of practices that address environmental concerns, optimize nutrient use efficiency, and ensure soil fertility.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urging Waterfowl Hunters to Take Precautions Against Spread of Bird Flu

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS URGING WATERFOWL HUNTERS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS AGAINST SPREADING THE AVIAN FLU. 

 

AT LEAST 300 WATER BIRDS, MOSTLY SNOW GEESE, WERE FOUND DEAD OVER THE THANKSGIVING WEEKEND IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. THE SUSPECTED CULPRIT…AVIAN FLU. D-N-R WILDLIFE CHIEF MIKE WEFER (wee-fer) SAYS WITH THAT IN MIND, HUNTERS NEED TO BE CAREFUL.

 

 

WEFER SAYS RUBBER GLOVES AND A MASK SHOULD BE WORN WHEN DISPOSING OF DEAD BIRDS AND CARCASSES SHOULD BE DOUBLE BAGGED IN A SEALED PLASTIC BAG. YOU CAN EITHER BURY THE BAG OR TOSS IT IN THE GARBAGE IF ALLOWED BY YOUR WASTE HAULER.

 

 

WEFER SAYS GAME SHOULD BE COOKED TO AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF 165 DEGREES. AT LEAST 300 WATER BIRDS, PRIMARILY SNOW GEESE, WERE FOUND DEAD IN PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND. THE CAUSE IS BELIEVED TO BE THE AVIAN FLU.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urging Waterfowl Hunters to Take Precautions Against Spread of Bird Flu

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES IS URGING WATERFOWL HUNTERS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS AGAINST SPREADING THE AVIAN FLU. 

 

AT LEAST 300 WATER BIRDS, MOSTLY SNOW GEESE, WERE FOUND DEAD OVER THE THANKSGIVING WEEKEND IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS. THE SUSPECTED CULPRIT…AVIAN FLU. D-N-R WILDLIFE CHIEF MIKE WEFER (wee-fer) SAYS WITH THAT IN MIND, HUNTERS NEED TO BE CAREFUL.

 

 

WEFER SAYS RUBBER GLOVES AND A MASK SHOULD BE WORN WHEN DISPOSING OF DEAD BIRDS AND CARCASSES SHOULD BE DOUBLE BAGGED IN A SEALED PLASTIC BAG. YOU CAN EITHER BURY THE BAG OR TOSS IT IN THE GARBAGE IF ALLOWED BY YOUR WASTE HAULER.

 

 

WEFER SAYS GAME SHOULD BE COOKED TO AN INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF 165 DEGREES. AT LEAST 300 WATER BIRDS, PRIMARILY SNOW GEESE, WERE FOUND DEAD IN PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS OVER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND. THE CAUSE IS BELIEVED TO BE THE AVIAN FLU.

First Hearing on Assault Weapons Ban

 

THE FIRST OF SEVERAL HEARINGS ON THE PROPOSED BAN ON ASSAULT WEAPONS WAS HELD MONDAY. 

 

HOUSE LAWMAKERS HEARD FROM SEVERAL SUPPORTERS OF THE BAN, INCLUDING THE MAYOR OF HIGHLAND PARK, WHERE THE DEADLY FOURTH OF JULY SHOOTING OCCURRED. PARADE-GOER LAUREN BENNETT ALSO TESTIFIED. SHE WAS SHOT MULTIPLE TIMES THAT DAY.

 

 

THE LEGISLATION BANS ASSAULT RIFLES AND HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINES AND RAISES THE AGE TO GET A FOID CARD TO 21. THOSE TESTIFYING IN SUPPORT OF THE MEASURE INCLUDED MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS, FAMILY MEMBERS WHO LOST A LOVED ONE DUE TO GUN VIOLENCE AND 16-YEAR-OLD ELLIE LEVY WITH THE GROUP “STUDENTS DEMAND ACTION ILLINOIS.”

 

 

SUPPORTERS SAYS THE BAN IS JUST ONE COMPONENT IN FIGHTING GUN VIOLENCE IN ILLINOIS. THE LEGISLATION ALSO BANS HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINES AND RAISES THE AGE TO GET A FOID CARD FROM 18 TO 21. LAWMAKERS SUPPORTING THE BILL SAY IT NEEDS TO BE PASSED NOW BUT STRESSED THAT MORE WILL NEED TO BE DONE TO COMBAT GUN VIOLENCE. THE NEXT HEARING IS SCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY.

Could Illinois Expand Legal Marijuana Delivery Options in Illinois?

Could Illinois expand how people get legal marijuana?

 

Other states allow for the delivery of it, but you can’t do that here. Governor JB Pritzker says bringing that service here is a possibility.

 

 

Adult-use recreational marijuana has been legal in Illinois since 2020.

Clinton Schools Superintendent Discusses Schools Report, Flaws in Data

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles recently outlined the school report for Clinton Schools.

 

While there are some findings are positive, there are others that need address. He says the graduation rate is good and some sub-groups need to be focused on.

 

 

Nettles calls the report card a complicated and convoluted system. He believes its biggest flaw is judging a school district on a short period of testing.

 

 

The most recent school report is showing attendance issues almost across the board. Nettles attributes that to the fact we are coming off a time when it was easy for students not to attend school because of the option of remote learning.

 

 

The school report card data is posted on the district website, cusd15.org. 

Community Action Promoting 'Emergency Furnace' Program; Energy Efficiency

Americans are expected to face some of the highest heating costs in recent memory this winter and a local non-profit is promoting a program for low-income residents as well as general energy efficiency tips.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Breann Titus with Community Action told Regional Radio, the 'Emergency Furnace' program gives those that qualify for the LIHEAP assistance the to also make any repairs or replace altogether, the furnace in their homes.

 

 

According to Titus, Community Action has a team that can help its clients with weatherization, which can lead to lower heating and cooling costs. She also has some tips on how to reduce your energy costs this winter.

 

 

Titus points anyone wanting more information regarding the 'Emergency Furnace' program to visit capcil.info or call the Lincoln office for Community Action at 217-732-2159. 

National Weather Service Highlighting Winter Preparedness

Even though the crazy winter weather is still a ways off for central Illinois, the National Weather Service says it's not too early to start thinking about winter preparedness.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln says winter weather usually picks up after the first of the year, at least in recent years. With that in mind, start thinking about those winter preparedness kits for your vehicles.

 

 

If you're worried about how much snow is going to fall and its impact on your travel, he says just a half of an inch of snow can impact roads and driving conditions. He preaches safety, safety, safety.

 

 

Ice and snow can also impact power in central Illinois if there's enough of it. He points anyone wanting home preparedness information for winter power outages to visit the National Weather Service website, weather.gov/lincoln. 

State Ag Pest Coordinator Looks to 2023

What’s on the radar in 2023 for State Ag Pest Survey Coordinator Kelly Estes.

 

 

You can follow Estes on Twitter. Her handle is @ILPestSurvey.

Key to Christmas Tree Care is Lots of Water

THE SECRET INGREDIENT TO HELP YOUR LIVE CHRISTMAS TREE LAST THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS? LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER.

 

TREES CAN DRINK UP TO A GALLON OF WATER A DAY AND DON’T NEED ANY ADDITIVES SAYS UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION HORTICULTURE EDUCATOR CHRIS ENROTH.

 

 

ENROTH SAYS THAT COULD MEAN UP TO A GALLON A DAY.

 

 

OTHER WAYS TO HELP PREVENT YOUR TREE FROM DRYING OUT INCLUDE USING L-E-D LIGHTS, MAKING SURE THE TREE ISN’T NEAR A HEAT SOURCE LIKE AN OPEN VENT AND KEEPING THE ROOM ITS IN COOL.

Governor Signs Law Tackling State's Unemployment Trust Fund

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HAS SIGNED LEGISLATION TACKLING A LOAN TO THE STATE'S UNEMPLOYMENT TRUST FUND INTO LAW. 

 

THE FUND THAT PAYS OUT UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS WAS DEPLETED DURING THE PANDEMIC AS MANY PEOPLE LOST THEIR JOBS. THE STATE HAD TO TAKE OUT A FEDERAL LOAN TO SHORE UP THE FUND AND THIS LAW PAYS THAT MONEY BACK AND ENSURES BENEFITS WILL BE AVAILABLE WHEN NEEDED. THE GOVERNOR ANNOUNCED THE ONE POINT EIGHT BILLION DOLLAR BIPARTISAN DEAL LAST WEEK.

 

 

THE ONE POINT EIGHT BILLION DOLLAR DEAL WILL PAY OFF A FEDERAL LOAN THE STATE HAD TO TAKE OUT WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE WERE CLAIMING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS DURING THE PANDEMIC, AND SETS THE FUND ON A PATH TO FISCAL STABILITY SAID THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THIS WILL SAVE TAXPAYERS NEARLY 20 MILLION DOLLARS IN INTEREST PAYMENTS DUE IN SEPTEMBER OF 2023.

CDC Expands Use of COVID Bivalent Booster to Young Children

YOUNG CHILDREN CAN NOW RECEIVE THE BIVALENT COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOT. 

 

THE C-D-C IS EXPANDING USE OF THE BOOSTER, WHICH TARGETS THE ORIGNAL COVID-19 VIRUS AND THE OMICRON VARIANT, TO KIDS AGES SIX MONTHS THROUGH FIVE YEARS. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH INFECTIOUS DISEASE CHIEF HEIDI CLARK EXPLAINS HOW THIS WILL WORK.

 

 

KIDS NOW GETTING THE PFIZER VACCINE WOULD RECEIVE THE BOOSTER SHOT AS THEIR THIRD DOSE. IF THEY HAVE ALREADY HAD ALL THREE PFIZER SHOTS, THEY WOULDN'T NEED THE BOOSTER SAYS CLARK. ACCORDING TO THE C-D-C, THE VAST MAJORITY OF THIS AGE GROUP HAS NOT BEEN VACCINATED AT ALL.

 

 

74 ILLINOIS COUNTIES ARE NOW AT AN ELEVATED RISK FOR TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19. 29 OF THOSE COUNTIES ARE CONSIDERED AT HIGH RISK.

Ameren Illinois Reminding of 'Warm Neighbors Cool Friends' Program

The Warm Neighbors, Cool Friends program is designed to help low-to-moderate-income customers of Ameren Illinois. 

 

The utility is spreading the word as we head into the cooler months that assistance is available if you are having trouble paying your energy bill. Sue Sams, Executive Director of the program says this is a program for those who may fall through the cracks otherwise.

 

 

And that is also where she says you can find income guidelines. For more information call 1-800-755-5000 or go to: ameren.com.

Central Illinois CEO Hosting 5K Run/Walk Next Weekend

Put next Saturday, December 17 on your calendars for a 5K run/walk at Forsyth Park with the students from the Central Illinois CEO program.

 

Jack Horve and Aiden Toohill explain the event is a part of the class' group business. Horve calls the first semester of his experience things you cannot get inside the classroom.

 

 

Toohill says pre-registration for the event has passed but you can still be a part of the event by registering the day of. He indicates they will start registration at 9 am and the race begins at 10 am. They'll have races for various ages and other activities and attractions throughout the morning.

 

 

Centralillinoisceo.com and the Central Illinois CEO Facebook page have all the details. The event is again, next Saturday, December 17. Registration to participate in the 5K begins at 9 am and the race begins at 10. Toohill and Horve remind you do not have to run in the 5K to be a part of the other activities at the event. 

DNR Officials Turn to Quiet Winter Months

With the shotgun deer season in the books for 2022, DNR Conservation authorities now turn their attention to a slow winter season.

 

Waterfowl, turkey, squirrel, and a few other seasons are still open but DNR Conservation Police Captian John Williamson says the quiet time becomes paperwork and investigation season for their officers.

 

 

Capt. Williamson indicates they are also readying for the ice fishing season. While not cold enough yet in central Illinois, he implores those heading north and elsewhere to be careful. Ice fishing can quickly become a deadly endeavor without proper precautions taken.

Weekly Weather Summary

A cool start to December continued this week in central Illinois. State Climatologist Trent Ford looks at the weekend ahead and more future trends...

 

 

Ice Cream Shop Opening Off Clinton Square

An idea born from COVID will come to fruition this weekend for a Clinton resident.

 

Sweet Mae's Ice Cream Shoppe opens this weekend owner Melissa Morris says it was an idea she had born from COVID while on quarantine in her family garage in 2020.

 

 

Morris says they will offer 16 different flavors of ice cream Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream based in Madison, Wisconsin. A master of sweet treats, Morris will have a sweet treat of the week and has other plans in the works for down the road.

 

 

It's been a long time coming for Morris to open her store with plenty of bumps and interruptions along the way. She appreciates the support of her family, particularly her husband Kyle who put in many hours to prepare the store. 

 

 

Winter hours at Sweet Mae's Ice Cream Shoppe will be Wednesday and Thursday from 4 pm to 7 pm, 12 pm to 7 pm Friday and Saturday, and 2 pm to 7 pm on Sunday, and closed Monday and Tuesday. 

 

Follow the store on Facebook. 

 

 

 

Weldon Springs Holding Christmas Event Saturday

The season wraps for 2023 at Weldon Springs State Park with a Christmas event at the schoolhouse.

 

Stephanie Russell is the President of the Weldon Springs Foundation and indicates the schoolhouse will open this Saturday for a special Christmas event. She says kids of all ages find the schoolhouse fascinating.

 

 

According to Russell, the schoolhouse has a unique story in that it was brought into the springs. Additionally, the land was willed to the city and then it was sold to the state and has expanded to a 500-acre state park.

 

 

The Christmas event is this Saturday from 1 pm to 3 pm at the schoolhouse. You can find the Weldon Springs Foundation on Facebook for more information and more on the activities at Weldon Springs State Park. 

It's Arrival Weekend at Camp River DuBois

The "Arrival at Camp River Dubois" activities at the Lewis & Clark State Historic Site in Hartford will be held this weekend. 

 

Lewis & Clark stopped in this area on December 13, 1803, as they prepared to explore the vast unknown lands west of the Mississippi River. This festival commemorates that event in history. It's a fully operational military camp, and interpreters will be showing off the weapons and even the medical practices that were used at the time. Site spokesman Brad Winn says this event helps illustrate the importance of Illinois in the explorers’ journey.

 

 

The “Arrival” event will be held from 10am - 4pm both Saturday and Sunday. It's free to attend both days. The Lewis & Clark State Historic Site is located along Illinois Route 3 in Hartford. For more information, call 618-251-5811.

New Area Code Coming to Southern Illinois in 2023

A NEW AREA CODE IS COMING TO SOUTHERN ILLINOIS NEXT SUMMER. 

 

THE 730 AREA CODE WILL OVERLAY THE EXISTING 618 COVERAGE AREA BEGINNING IN JULY. GEORGE LIGHT WITH THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION EXPLAINS WHAT THIS MEANS FOR PHONE CUSTOMERS.

 

 

LIGHT WITH THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION.

 

 

LIGHT SAYS WHEN YOU DIAL THE 730 AREA CODE, IT WILL STILL BE CONSIDERED A LOCAL CALL IN THAT REGION. 618 IS CURRENTLY USED IN ALL OR PARTS OF 37 DOWNSTATE COUNTIES AND IS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL AREA CODES ASSIGNED IN THE U-S BY BELL LABORATORIES IN 1947.

Illinois Farm Bureau Highlights Bipartisanship at Annual Meeting

Delegates and members attending the 108th Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting celebrated progress while looking toward the future as the organization’s traditional grassroots process returned for an entirely in-person event for its 2022 annual meeting.

 

Members gathered at the historic Palmer House hotel in Chicago over four days, Dec. 3-6, to conduct annual business, introduce new policies and celebrate the year’s successes says IFB president Rich Guebert.

 

 

The meeting kicked off with Guebert urging the need for bipartisanship during his annual address as IFB members begin negotiating and helping draft a new farm bill in 2023 and advocating for international trade agreements.

Gold Star Families Honored

Gold star families were honored this week with a tree lighting.

 

Families were invited to hang an ornament in honor of their loved ones lost during military service. Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton says the tree will never erase the pain of the loss suffered by gold star families, but it is a way to honor the lives lived by those lost.

 

 

The tree is in a federal office building in downtown Chicago.

Department of Human Services Announces $5-Million In Emergency Shelter Capacity

THE STATE IS PUMPING MORE MONEY INTO INCREASING SHELTER SPACE FOR THE HOMELESS THIS WINTER. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES IS ANNOUNCING AN ADDITIONAL FIVE MILLION DOLLARS TO EXPAND ACCESS TO EMERGENCY SHELTERS SAYS SPOKESPERSON MARISA KOLLIAS.

 

 

KOLLIAS SAYS THE NEED IS ESPECIALLY GREAT IN THE CHICAGO SUBURBS, WHERE EMERGENCY SHELTERS ARE FULL AND OVER 700 PEOPLE INCLUDING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS ARE ON WAITING LISTS.

 

 

IT’S ESTIMATED THERE IS A SHORTAGE OF OVER FOUR THOUSAND EMERGENCY SHELTER BEDS ACROSS THE STATE.

DeWitt County Museum Director Makes Valuable Connection to Artifact on Display

A local history professional is celebrating this holiday season as she has discovered a very valuable connection to one of the artifacts in her care.

 

Joey Long is the Director of the DeWitt County Museum and CH Moore Homestead and recently discovered thanks to a book given to her by a local resident and says the book highlighted a Civil War relick she thought was in the museum.

 

 

According to Long, she found an expert that could help her identify if the relick was authentic. She sent them the requested things they wanted and after a while, she had not heard from them but just this week she heard back and had it confirmed it was authentic.

 

 

Long explains Edward Woodward collected things to make these relicks and gifted them to Civil War Veterans. He was a gunsmith from England and worked during the Civil War but did not want to continue.

 

 

The relicks have unique shapes that are all about the same as the shape of an eagle. Long indicates Woodward moved to Gettysburg with his wife who became a nurse.

 

 

Long feels more of a sentimental value to these relicks but she did come to learn they are worth several thousands of dollars. The end of the year is winding down for the Museum so time to check these relicks out is running short. 

 

 

The Museum's regular hours are 10 am - 5 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 1 pm - 5 pm Sundays. Candlelight Tours still run through Dec. 23 are 5 pm - 8 pm. Get more information about the Museum by finding them on Facebook or visiting chmoorehomestead.org. 

 

 

 

December on Pace to Be Cooler

December is tracking to be cooler than normal but the amount of rain coming to central Illinois is a question still up in the air.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the southern portion of the state is showing a strong trend to above-normal precipitation and the northern portion with northern Illinois showing a below-normal signal and central Illinois stuck right in the middle.

 

 

According to Shimon, we could see some rain rolling in today or this evening but it's going to be dry for the foreseeable future. Towards Christmas, there is a chance of snow they are keeping an eye on.

 

 

Normal temperatures to start December are typically in the lower 40s. Shimon notes those temperatures lend themselves to keeping precipitation in the form of rain.

 

 

Shimon says there are very chances to get those temperatures back above normal, at least through the first few weeks of December. 

Gov. Pritzker Urging Quick Passage of Latest Assault Weapons Ban

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING QUICK PASSAGE OF THE LATEST PROPOSED BAN ON ASSAULT WEAPONS. 

 

THE MEASURE BANS ASSAULT WEAPONS, HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINES AND RAPID-FIRE DEVICES, AND RAISES THE AGE TO GET A FOID CARD FROM 18 TO 21. THE GOVERNOR WANTS LAWMAKERS TO GET IT DONE.

 

 

GUN ADVOCATES ARGUE THE PROPOSAL IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND GOVERNOR PRITZKER ANTICIPATES A LEGAL CHALLENGE.

 

 

THE BILL’S SPONSOR IS PUSHING TO PASS THE BAN WHEN LAWMAKERS RETURN TO SPRINGFIELD THE FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY.

Gov. Pritzker Celebrates Opening of Social Equity Marijuana Dispensary

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS CELEBRATING THE OPENING OF THE FIRST SOCIAL EQUITY MARIJUANA DISPENSARY. 

 

THE STATE HAS AWARDED 192 CONDITIONAL ADULT USE CANNABIS DISPENSARY LICENSES AS PART OF THE SOCIAL EQUITY PROGRAM, AND THREE OF THOSE ARE NOW FULLY LICENSED. FIRST TO OPEN WAS IVY HALL IN CHICAGO. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS THE STATE IS COMMITTED TO ENSURING MINORITIES HAVE A PLACE IN THE THRIVING INDUSTRY.

 

 

CO-FOUNDER NIGEL DANDRIDGE:

 

 

OFFICIALS SAY THEY HOPE TO SEE THE REST OF THE SOCIAL EQUITY APPLICANTS THAT HAVE RECEIVED A CONDITIONAL LICENSE BECOME FULLY LICENSED IN THE COMING MONTHS.

BBB Urging Parents to Be Vigilant in Protecting Children's Identity

The Better Business Bureau is warning that children are at risk of identity theft. Don O'Brien with the BBB says that last year over a million children across the country had their identities stolen.

 

 

O'Brien says you can freeze a child's credit with each of the three big credit monitoring agencies. He says if your young children start getting credit card offers in the mail, start looking into why.

Ameren Illinois Urges Customers If They Smell Gas, Run Fast

Residential natural gas leaks can lead to deadly situations and Ameren Illinois is urging customers that if they smell gas to run fast.

 

Jake Duckett ("DOO-kit"), Public Awareness Supervisor for Ameren says that the biggest concern for folks who detect the rotten-egg smell of gas is static electricity.

 

 

Duckett says to call Ameren after you've gotten to safety. He urges customers to not go back in until Ameren has cleared the house.

Clinton Schools Continue to Move on Facilities Plan

Clinton Schools continue to move forward with its plans for making significant updates to its facilities. 

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles says they still evaluating all the things targeted over the last several months that were recently brought to the Board of Education. He says district leadership needs to find out how much they can spend on these things.

 

 

While the sports complexes have received a lot of attention during public discussions, Nettles believes there are issues within the school walls that need attention first.

 

 

While Clinton Elementary School does not need a lot of attention, he says they have plenty of other areas of need within the other buildings. 

Winter Reading Program Coming to Warner Library

The Warner Library in Clinton is planning to bring a special winter reading program to the library after the first of the year. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Business Manager Samantha Rusk told Regional Radio it's something they've considered for some time and are excited to put it together this year.

 

 

Also coming in 2023, children's librarian Corey Campbell plans to re-arrange the children's floor. He feels there could be better flow with how the space is being utilized.

 

 

According to Campbell, there might be a day or two after the start of the new year when the children's floor is closed to the public. He notes they will still retrieve any materials kids may want from the floor.

 

Rusk indicates the winter reading program was something they've heard from patrons a lot about recently. 

Social Security Highlighting Support for Rural America

Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American and as a member of the Federal Government’s Rural Partners Network program, Social Security wants to continue reaching out to rural communities.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security points out millions of Americans who are retirees that worked hard their whole lives, or people no longer able to work due to disability, and dependents and survivors - count on them.

 

 

Services have expanded in rural America over the years. Myers indicates the Social Security website, www.ssa.gov has a variety of opportunities to do things like apply for retirement or spouse’s benefits, disability benefits, supplemental Security Income (SSI) (in some cases), Medicare, and the Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) costs.

 

 

If you are not able to utilize Social Security's online services, you can call the national toll-free number at 800-772-1213 or your local office in Bloomington at 877-405-4640 or Springfield at 877-279-9504. You can also visit the office from 9 am to 4 pm M-F. The last option may not always be convenient for rural communities because it may involve a drive, so they encourage you to try the website or phone options.

Fall Was Mild in Illinois

LAST MONTH WRAPPED UP A FAIRLY MILD FALL IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THERE WERE SOME PRETTY BIG TEMPERATURE SWINGS IN NOVEMBER, WHICH STARTED OFF WARM UNTIL A COLD FRONT BLEW THROUGH AROUND NOVEMBER 11TH. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD SAYS ILLINOIS FINALLY GOT TO ENJOY A NICE FALL THIS YEAR.

 

 

LEAVING THIS FALL AS THE 28TH DRIEST ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS SINCE 1895.

 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE PRECIPITATION FOR THE PAST THREE MONTHS WAS LESS THAN SEVEN INCHES, MAKING THE 2022 FALL SEASON THE 28TH DRIEST ON RECORD SINCE 1895.

Push to Form New State to Represent Downstate Illinois Gaining Traction

A push to sever connections between the City of Chicago and the state government with downstate Illinois to form a new state is gaining traction.

 

New Illinois is a non-partisan nonprofit that hopes to form a new state to better represent rural Illinois citizens, one of several groups around the state taking up the effort. G. H. Merrit, cofounder and State Chairman of the organization says what matters to her group is the will of the people.

 

 

New Illinois has been holding meetings around the state to spread awareness and information to potential supporters. Merrit says there are currently pushes in other states, including California and Oregon, to give power back to rural parts of the state by forming new states in the union.

Safe-T Legislation Signed Into Law

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HAS SIGNED THE SAFE-T ACT TRAILER BILL INTO LAW. 

 

LAWMAKERS PASSED THE AMENDMENT TO THE ACT LAST WEEK, AIMING TO CLARIFY WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN THE CURRENT CASH BAIL SYSTEM ENDS JANUARY FIRST. SENATOR ELGIE SIMS OF CHICAGO SUPPORTED THE BILL, SAYING IT’S NEEDED TO CREATE A MORE EQUITABLE JUSTICE SYSTEM WHILE PROTECTING VICTIMS.

 

 

HOUSE MINORITY LEADER-ELECT TONY MCCOMBIE SPOKE OUT AGAINST THE MEASURE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR LAST WEEK.

 

 

SUPPORTERS SAY THE MEASURE WILL ENSURE THAT PRE-TRIAL DETENTION IS BASED ON COMMUNITY RISK, NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY BAIL. OPPONENTS ARGUE IT FAVORS CRIMINALS OVER VICTIMS.

DeWitt County Board Swears in New Members, Names New Chairperson

The newest edition of the DeWitt County Board was sworn in on Tuesday night. 

 

Joe Witte was sworn in representing District A. Pat Ryan and John Werts were sworn in representing District B. While Tom Farris and Kristina Deerwester were sworn in representing District C. 

 

Dan Matthews will now chair the DeWitt County Board. In a surprising nomination, outgoing Board Chair Terry Ferguson made the nomination with no other nominations brought forward. Ferguson was voted to the post of vice-chair.

 

Matthews says there's a lot of important business to go get to with this new board.

 

 

Matthews hopes to let the committees set the priorities they want to take up and anything they have, bring to the full board. 

 

 

Matthews hopes to see new Board members get involved right away. He says while there is a lot to learn, he hopes they feel like they can get involved and engaged right away. 

 

He hopes to bring the Board to get together and have fewer close votes which, for him, would signal a Board that is pulling in the same direction. 

 

 

 

 

 

Monticello Schools Celebrating Strong Report Card

Monticello High School received the exemplary designation in the latest Illinois School report card and officials are very pleased with that.

 

First-year superintendent Adam Clapp indicates while they certainly would like the high test scores, they want to focus on making sure students leave Monticello a well-rounded student.

 

 

Leading up to the release of the school report cards from the State Board of Education there was a lot of anticipation because the data had not been collected for a couple of years due to COVID. Clapp, like his peers, indicates he was curious to find out just how Monticello would do this year.

 

 

Clapp points out, the report card highlights the fact Monticello has one of the highest graduation rates in the State of Illinois as well as phenomenal parent and community engagement. 

 

Like many other central Illinois districts, Monticello battles issues with absenteeism and is going to focus on making sure students are in class. 

November Was Dry

November was dry and about average for temperatures.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio there were a few days in early November that were rather warm and then things really leveled off towards the end of the month.

 

 

According to Shimon, the lack of moisture in November is impacting the drought monitor. He explains most of Illinois is trending towards concerning drought conditions.

 

 

Shimon says December for now is tracking to be dry to start however, there is a system they are watching that could bring chances of snow just before Christmas. He indicates it is too early to make predictions but it is something they are watching for. 

State Board of Elections Announces Official Election Night Results

THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS IS CERTIFYING FINAL ELECTION FIGURES AND SAYS TURNOUT FOR THE NOVEMBER MIDTERMS WAS 51 PERCENT. 

 

THAT'S THE FOURTH LOWEST TURNOUT FOR A MIDTERM IN THE PAST 40 YEARS SAYS ELECTIONS SPOKESPERSON MATT DIETRICH. THE HIGHEST WAS 65 PERCENT IN 1982. HE NOTES THAT THERE WAS A SLIGHT DECLINE IN PEOPLE VOTING EARLY IN PERSON, BUT THE NUMBER OF VOTE-BY-MAIL VOTERS DOUBLED FROM 2018.

 

 

DIETRICH ALSO SAYS THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON ILLINOIS WORKER'S RIGHTS PASSED WITH JUST OVER 53 PERCENT OF THE VOTE.

 

 

DIETRICH SAYS 21 PERCENT OF VOTERS CAST A BALLOT EARLY IN-PERSON, A SLIGHT DECREASE FROM 2018. 18 PERCENT OF VOTERS OPTED TO SUBMIT THEIR BALLOT BY MAIL. THAT'S DOUBLE THE AMOUNT THAT VOTED BY MAIL IN 2018.

Raccoon Hunting Underway

A STATE WILDLIFE EXPERT SAYS RACCOON SEASON IS UNDERWAY AND IS OFTEN AN OVERLOOKED OPPORTUNITY FOR ILLINOIS HUNTERS. 

 

RACCOON HUNTING IS AN AMERICAN TRADITION SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES WILDLIFE CHIEF MIKE WEFER (wee-fer). IT'S A VERSATILE ACTIVITY THAT YOU CAN DO IN A GROUP WITH DOGS, OR ON YOUR OWN SHINING FOR RACCOONS.

 

 

SO WHERE CAN YOU HUNT?

 

 

IF YOUR NOT SURE HOW TO GET STARTED, WEFER RECOMMENDS CHECKING OUT COON HUNTING CLUB DOT COM FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO FIND A LOCAL CLUB NEAR YOU. THE ILLINOIS RACCON HUNTING SEASON ENDS FEBRUARY 15TH.

Illinois Farm Bureau Documentary Previews at Annual Meeting

Farmers and the agricultural research community joined forces in a new Illinois Farm Bureau-produced documentary highlighting Illinois’ progress in reducing nutrient loss. Centered around the Ganschow (gan-shaw) family in Bureau County, the hourlong documentary, titled “Sustaining Our Future: A Farm Family Story”, illustrates how three generations of farmers have approached sustainability. During the filming of the documentary, Jim Ganschow unexpectedly passed away. IFB dedicated the documentary in his memory in respect and honor of the values and demeanor he lived by and the legacy he left behind. Here’s his son Michael.

 

 

The documentary also highlights the role of scientific research in the process and includes perspectives from Louisiana Farm Bureau on the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Underway in Chicago

The Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago includes a visit from the State FFA officer team. More from RFD Radio’s Jim Taylor.

 

 

Local county farm bureau efforts are recognized during the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting in Chicago. 

 

 

A local country farm bureau's effort was recognized by the Illinois Farm Bureau for bringing attention to rural mental health issues. 

 

 

The Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting continues this week in Chicago. 

Gov. Pritzker Wants to Move Up Illinois Democratic Primary

A major change might be coming to the way Democrats use primary elections to select their presidential candidate.

 

The Democratic National Committee is considering taking away the tradition of early voting in Iowa and New Hampshire. That leaves Illinois looking to fill the hole in the Midwest as the state that votes first. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says he’d love Illinois to beat out other midwestern rivals – Minnesota and Michigan that are seen as frontrunners to take Iowa’s spot.

 

 

Nevada is pushing to take over New Hampshire’s spot on the calendar and have its primary moved up.

DeWitt County Board to Reshuffle Tonight

The newest edition of the DeWitt County Board will be sworn in tonight.

 

Christina Deerweister, Tom Ferris, Pat Ryan, Joe Witte, and John Wertz will join the Board tonight. Chairperson Terry Ferguson says they all have diverse backgrounds and look forward to the knowledge they'll bring to the table.

 

 

How does Ferguson feel about his chances of retaining his post as Board President? He anticipates a few Board members interested in leading the Board going forward.

 

 

The Board will gather tonight at 5 pm. Hear about the new leadership structure here on Regional Radio News. 

Clinton Schools to Move Forward on High School Kitchen Renovation Despite Significant Cost

Despite a needed project at Clinton High School being much more expensive than anticipated, the Board of Education will move forward with it.

 

Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates the high school kitchen has needed to be renovated for several years now and despite only having one bidder on the project and the cost being well north of what they had hoped, they will embark on the project.

 

 

Nettles explains the kitchen funds are coming from the Government's COVID dollars that streamed in during the pandemic. He credits Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel for writing all the grants from that money.

 

 

The Clinton Board of Education continues to work on its grand facilities plan. We'll hear more from Nettles on that later this week on Regional Radio. 

Chestnut Health Systems Encouraging Parents to Focus on Connecting With Kids During Holidays

The Holidays can be filled with busy schedules for all families but a non-profit is encouraging parents to continue to work to be connected with their kids.

 

Nadia Klekamp is the Associate Director of Community Health at Chestnut Health Systems and indicates this is a good time of year to have valuable conversations with your kids about all sorts of topics.

 

 

Having conversations with your kids about why you get stressed during the holidays and how you cope with that stress can help them understand your behavior. She indicates being a good model of stress management can be helpful.

 

 

When it comes to conversations around substance abuse, Klekamp says the more you talk to your kids about those things, the easier it is, and also notes, you might feel like it's too early to have that conversation but it actually is not.

 

 

Klekamp indicates kids are looking for parents to set boundaries and while they may push those boundaries, they at least know where they are. 

CAPCIL Highlighting Food Pantry Program This Winter

Expenses are up across the board for central Illinois families and a non-profit is highlighting its volunteer-based food pantry program.

 

Community Action offers a volunteer-based food pantry shopping experience to most of its service areas in central Illinois. Director of Agency Development, Breann Titus indicates if you'd like to shop at the food pantry, all they ask is a couple of hours of volunteering within the agency.

 

 

Titus feels the program appeals to a wide variety of people because it is not income based and it allows a variety of opportunities to help the agency out. Additionally, she feels those who volunteer feel empowered because they are earning what they are shopping for.

 

 

The program originated in DeWitt County and has since expanded to every county in the CAPCIL footprint except Fulton. Titus points anyone wanting more information to visit the Community Action website, capcil.info.

 

 

Logan, Menard, Mason, Piatt, and DeWitt Counties are where the program is available. capcil.info is the website to learn more about volunteer opportunities within Community Action.

Social Security Announces Cost of Living Adjustments for 2023

Approximately 70 million Americans will see an 8.7% increase in their Social Security benefits and SSI payments in 2023.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Jack Myers with Social Security told Regional Radio the increase is due to the largest Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) in decades.

 

 

The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and SSI benefits is not eroded by inflation. Myers explains the Federal benefit rates increase when the cost of living rises. The measurement of cost of living comes from the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index for Urban and Clerical Wage Earners (CPI-W).

 

 

When the Social Security COLA is announced, people often wonder about the Medicare Part B premium since it is deducted from the Social Security payment. 

Myers points out Medicare announced that the standard Part B premium will be $164.90 in 2023 (down from 170.10 in 2022).

 

 

Myers stresses there is no need to call to check on this increase. Social Security will be mailing COLA notices throughout December, but the notice will be available within your mySocialSecurity message center in early December if you’d like to see it sooner. Your account had to have been established by 11/15/22 to get this year’s COLA notice within your Message Center.

 

 

If you missed that deadline, there are still many other advantages to having your account.  Create one today at www.ssa.gov/myaccount. You can even sign up for text or e-mail alerts when a new notification arrives in your Message Center. Look for “Message Center Preferences” within your mySocialSecurity account to sign up for those alerts.

 

To learn more about the 2022 COLA, visit www.ssa.gov/cola.

Illinois Milk Producers Association Announces Award Winners

A Montgomery County farmer receives the Dairy Industry Service Award from the Illinois Milk Producers Association. The honor goes to David Ruppert.

 

 

Scheidairy Farm of Stephenson County received the Sustainability Award from the association.

DNR Promoting Fall, Winter Activities

Late fall and early winter bring hunters out to the woods and wetlands in Illinois – but you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy the outdoors this time of year. Dan Skinner with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says hunting or not there are many good reasons to be outside this time of year.

 

 

This weekend marks the final weekend of fire-arm hunting for deer – if you are out in the woods this weekend hunting you are required to wear blaze orange.

Chronic Wasting Disease Surveillance

Deer hunters in 15 northern Illinois counties need to take any deer shot during the firearm season to a Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance station. Dan Skinner with the IDNR says you need to go to one between 8 am and 8 pm.

 

 

The second season of firearm deer season is underway.

COVID, Flu Spiking After Thanksgiving

COVID and flu are back on the rise after the Thanksgiving holiday. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Warner Hospital CEO Paul Skowron told Regional Radio the Monday after the holiday weekend, there was a line at the Family Medicine and emergency room for people with flu-like symptoms.

 

 

According to Skowron, there is COVID fatigue taking place and the public is getting behind in the COVID booster schedule.

 

 

Skowron has a couple of recommendations to help keep the flu at bay this cold and flu season. He recommends washing hands frequently and drinking plenty of water.

 

 

If you plan to visit the hospital, masking is required because the County has reached a certain threshold in the COVID mitigations set by the CDC. 

Dealing With Winter Doldrums

The days are shorter which means seasonal affective disorder will start to impact a lot of people's day-to-day lives.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Center and indicates while seasonal affective disorder is not a DSM-5 recognized condition there is a lack of Vitamin D consumption this time of the year on top of things like the stress of the holidays.

 

 

According to Kirkman, there are ways to help get through this time of the year. There are lightbulbs that will emulate the light of the sun which can be effective. Additionally, if possible, he recommends getting out for a brisk walk when the weather allows.

 

 

Much like his recommendation for dealing with anxiety or depression around the holiday season, Kirkman recommends giving back. He says volunteering or being charitable is a great way to combat seasonal affective disorder.

 

 

Kirkman points out that exercise as simple as a walk around the block or the neighborhood is a great way to get out, clear your mind, and improve your mental health. 

State Ag Director Looks Ahead to New Year

As veto session starts to wrap up and attention turns to the next General Assembly the Illinois Department of Agriculture says they are looking forward to working with lawmakers in the new year. Director of Ag Jerry Costello notes environmental issues will be top of mind.

 

 

Democrats will keep control of both the Illinois House and State Senate.

Space Heater Precautions

Fire department personnel want to make sure you are guarding against fire hazards this fall and winter, especially during cold snaps. 

 

One in seven home fires and one in seven fire deaths involve some form of heating equipment. That’s why it’s so important to be careful with things like space heaters, according to Brighton / Betsey Ann Fire Chief Jason Bowman. He says you should plug the heaters directly into an outlet - not an extension cord or power strip.

 

 

Bowman says if you are using kerosene heaters or generators, make sure they are well-ventilated.

Lawmakers Pass Bill Cutting Financial Ties with Russia

ILLINOIS HOUSE LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL TODAY (WEDNESDAY) CUTTING FINANCIAL TIES WITH RUSSIA. 

 

THE MEASURE HAS BEEN IN THE WORKS FOR MONTHS, AIMED AT SHOWING SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE AS THE WAR WITH RUSSIA CONTINUES. IT REQUIRES DIVESTMENT OF STATE FUNDS FROM ANY RUSSIAN BANKS OR COMPANIES SAYS REPRESENTATIVE LINDSEY LAPOINTE OF CHICAGO.

 

 

SHE ADDS...

 

 

THE BILL ALSO REQUIRES COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO DISCLOSE ANY RUSSIAN-RELATED DONATIONS OR ENDOWMENTS AND CREATES TASK FORCES TO LOOK INTO POTENTIAL REAL ESTATE MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEMES AND RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE IN ILLINOIS ELECTIONS.

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