Local News

Some Fishing Regulations Changing at Clinton Lake, Weldon Springs

Outdoorsmen will want to make note of some changes being made to the fishing regulations at Clinton Lake and Weldon Springs.

 

DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson indicates the changes reflect what has been happening at Lake Shelbyville as it pertains to size limits on what you can keep. 

 

 

Capt. Williamson also highlights some changes coming to Weldon Springs. The new regulations begin on April 1.

 

 

For regulations on bodies of water near you, Capt. Williamson directs the public to dnr.illinois.gov. 

Bement Superintendent on Sex-Ed Mandate

"Relieved" is how one local school leader felt when the Illinois House bill that would mandate sex education was not called for a vote during the lame-duck session.

 

Bement Superintendent Mary Vogt was glad that the mandate was not called for a vote because she feels the topics it discusses should be left for parents to discuss. She notes it may come up again in the new legislative session.

 

 

Mrs. Vogt contends that schools have become caught in a political crossfire on multiple topics including sexual health education. While some school districts say that is for the parents to teach, others note that it is not being taught at home and therefore should be taught in school.

 

 

Mrs. Vogt says with sensitive topics also come down to a parent's comfort level. She notes parents can publicly ridicule schools about what they should be teaching but schools are not allowed to say what parents should be doing or teaching.

 

 

Mrs. Vogt says while the sex ed mandate and other mandates placed on schools may have originated from a place of good intentions, she says it has forced schools to oversee parents' responsibility for their children.

Tips on Staying Healthy as You Age

Longevity is currently a hot topic in the world of health and wellness.

 

NFL Hall of Fame Health Program Director Dr. Jim LaValle indicates an important factor in staying healthy longer is sleep. Sleep apnea can lead to many chronic health issues and with numerous apps and smartwatches, Dr. LaValle says it is easier than ever to find out how well you sleep.

 

 

Dr. LaValle notes longevity is based on reducing metabolic inflammation. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are key to guaranteeing your cells are making enough energy.

 

 

It's never too late to change your lifestyle is the message from Dr. LaValle. He says it's important to have a reason to want to be healthy and stay healthy. With any new diet or exercise routine, Dr. LaValle encourages people to start with a small goal and build so they do not get discouraged.

 

 

Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who will hold you accountable is a great way Dr. LaValle notes to change your lifestyle. He notes to not get frustrated with a new diet, allow yourself to cheat every once in a while and not feel guilty.

IDPH keeping an eye on the new COVID variant

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS KEEPING AN EYE ON THE NEW "KRAKEN" COVID VARIANT. 

 

THE NUMBER OF OVERALL COVID INFECTIONS HAS BEEN DROPPING, BUT THERE'S BEEN A GRADUAL INCREASE IN THE X-B-B-POINT-ONE-POINT-FIVE, OR THE "KRAKEN" VARIANT. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR SAMEER VOHRA:

 

 

COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS HAVE BEEN FALLING, BUT THE PRESENCE OF THE X-B-B-POINT-ONE-POINT FIVE OR "KRAKEN" VARIANT HAS BEEN SLOWLY INCREASING SAYS STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR SAMEER VOHRA. HE NOTES THAT SO FAR, THIS HASN'T CAUSED AN INCREASE IN HOSPITALIZATIONS.

 

 

VOHRA SAYS THE BIVALENT COVID BOOSTER WILL HELP PROTECT AGAINST THE KRAKEN VARIANT. AT LAST COUNT, NO ILLINOIS COUNTIES WERE AT A HIGH RISK FOR TRANSMISSION OF THE VIRUS AND 20 COUNTIES WERE AT MEDIUM RISK. THAT'S AN IMPROVEMENT FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK.

Budzinski to House Ag Committee

Illinois will have three Democratic Representatives on the US House Ag Committee.

 

Nikki Budzinski from Springfield is one of the new members to be slotted on it. She says she wanted to be appointed to it and is ready to get to work.

 

 

All the Democrats on the committee are first time lawmakers including Eric Sorensen and Jonathan Jackson. The lone Republican from Illinois on the House Ag Committee is Mary Miller.

Boil Order in Effect

There is a boil order for the area of W. Adams Street from  the alley on Jackson Street to Elm Street.  If you have any questions, call 935-3432 during business hours. 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Weighs In On Potential Sex-Ed Mandate

A DeWitt County Schools leader calls a potential sex-ed mandate Illinois lawmakers forcing the public to change their minds.

 

A sex-ed curriculum mandate was largely rejected by Illinois schools last year when it became a national standard and earlier this month during the lame-duck session, lawmakers considered a mandate on the curriculum. Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles calls the mandate Springfield trying to for the public to change its mind.

 

 

According to Nettles, a problematic component of the very graphic and progressive curriculum is the absence of an opt-out for families. While he believes parents always have an opt-out option, it is concerning this could be forced on districts and their families.

 

 

Nettles adds he is a rule-follower until the rules don't make sense and would put this mandate in that category.

 

There is some speculation about whether this bill would pass under the new general assembly and if it will be brought back up.

Telehealth Expansion From COVID Now Shifting to Reaching Youth

During COVID, the expansion of telehealth became necessary to continue physical, mental, and emotional care to the public.

 

That expansion has continued beyond COVID and efforts are now underway to make youth more aware of this option, especially when they are not in the school walls. Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and says this is something that will originate in the schools and they will be reimbursed for these services.

 

 

According to Kirkman, making kids aware of this service when it becomes available is all about relationships. He feels the Piatt County Mental Health Center already has a very good foundation built in its communities in Piatt and DeWitt Counties.


 

Kirkman encourages parents to continue to monitor their kids. Social media continues to grow and which allows kids to isolate and not interact with people. He implores parents and guardians to get their kids in the same room with them, even if it is just watching a movie or enjoying a meal. He emphasizes we need that close proximity. 

Dining Out and Eating Healthy

When dining out, it can be challenging to eat healthily. 

 

Dining out can sometimes be the symptom of more than just being busy and having to hit the drive-thru for the convenience factor. Monica Nyman with the St. Louis District Dairy Council explains if you want to eat out less frequently, meal planning is a great place to start.

 

 

Last week on Regional Radio, Nyman highlighted the importance of evaluating nutrition labels. She says there are ways to eat healthier or scale back on how much we eat when do eat out.


 

Monica has a great suggestion for those that enjoy trying out new recipes at home. She suggests finding something you and your family or maybe your kids enjoy when you go out and finding the recipe on Pinterest or somewhere online and trying it out at home.

 

 

Every year, food trends come and go. Nymant points out US News and World Report published that 2023’s food trends will focus on health, sustainability, affordability, and distractions. She believes that means people will be seeking foods to protect their health and the planet, as well as embracing simpler, more humble choices to help save money and time.

Lawyer talks No Cash Bail debate

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed a brief challenging a Kankakee Judge's injunction against the No Cash Bail provision of the SAFE-T Act with the Illinois Supreme Court. That provision is currently under an injunction preventing No Cash Bail from going into effect across the state of Illinois. Author and Lawyer Lance Lorusso says that other states are watching what the Illinois Supreme Court says on No Cash Bail as they prepare their own similar bills...

 

 

There is no set timeline for when the Illinois Supreme Court will rule on the No Cash Bail provision of the SAFE-T Act.

State Fire Marshal's Office warns about carbon monoxide at home

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE IS WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF CARBON MONOXIDE. 

 

C-O IS A COLORLESS AND ODORLESS GAS, AND CAN CAUSE SYMPTOMS SIMILAR TO THE FLU SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

LAST YEAR, LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS FOUND MORE THAN 94-HUNDRED CASES OF LEAKING C-O, WHICH IS A HEALTH HAZARD. THAT’S WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO CHANGE YOUR FURNACE FILTER REGULARLY AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WORKING CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ.

 

 

CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS SHOULD BE PLACED ON EACH LEVEL OF THE HOUSE. ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL FIRE INCIDENT REPORTING SYSTEM, LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS RESPONDED TO NEARLY 20-THOUSAND CALLS LAST YEAR ABOUT CARBON MONOXIDE.

Neighborhood Care Center Secures New Cargo Van

The Neighborhood Care Center in Clinton has a new cargo van.

 

Executive Director Cody Monkman indicates the van has already been put to good use. He explains they were able to afford the new van thanks to money from DeWitt County from the ARPA money that was made available as well as some private donations.

 

 

According to Monkman, they will be getting new decals put on the van in the next few weeks and you should see it rolling around the community as they put it to use. 

Dudley Smith Farmer Winter Meeting Registration Closes Next Week

The Dudley Smith Farm Winter Meeting is fast approaching.

 

Terri Miller-Casey, Extension Director for the University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties indicates producers can improve herd management by learning the latest research on cover crop performance, grazing farms, soil health, and drainage practices. 

 

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 7 at the University of Illinois Extension Christian County Office in Taylorville. 

 

 

Register before Feb. 2 at go.illinois.edu/DSFWinter23.

 

Evan Schulte, a beef producer from Salem, will discuss profitable forage and conservation grazing systems. 

 

Andrew Margenot, University of Illinois crop science assistant professor, will present updated recommendations for phosphorus and potassium tests for Illinois fields. Kristin Greer, U of I crop sciences senior research specialist, will demonstrate new crop rotations for the farm's drainage research.

Weekly Weather Summary

Another winter snow event rolled through Illinois this week. State Climatologist Trent Ford highlights that and looks ahead...

 

 

U of I Extension Nutrition Educator Promotes Crock Pot Maintenance

A University of Extension Nutrition Educator is offering tips for maintaining that crock pot.

 

Crockpot recipes never go out of style, unfortunately, that crock pot may not be as timeless as the popularity of its recipes. Caitlin Mellendorf, nutrition educator with the University of Illinois Extension in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties explains if you suspect your slow cooker may be going bad, there's an easy practice to test it out.

 

 

If you have a newer or older but functioning crock pot, Mellendorf says there are some things that can be done to maintain it. She recommends a gentle approach to cleaning and avoid using metal utensils if possible.

 

 

If you're new to slow cooker food preparation, Mellendor advises never use the 'keep warm' setting to cook. The best practice is to either use high or low.

 

The U of I Extension has a host of resources for slow cookers and other cooking methods at extension.illinois.edu. 

Gov. Pritzker Not Focused on Progressive Income Tax

Senate Republicans are pushing back against one of their Democratic colleagues who wants another chance at voters passing a progressive income tax. One of the big backers of the proposal a few years ago was Governor JB Pritzker. He says this go around his focus is elsewhere.

 

 

Republicans in the Senate want a resolution passed committing to not bringing a progressive income tax structure back up for a vote.

Fight Off That Cold and Flu Bug This Winter

If you've been one of the fortunate individuals to not have gotten the cold or flu bug so far this winter, not only do we salute you but a national renown nutritionist has some tips to help keep it away.

 

Common practices are taking vitamins C&D and maybe growing in popularity is elderberry but Dr. Jim LaValle, author of 'Cracking the Metabolic Code' says a probiotic and a garlic extract supplement can do wonders in warding off the bugs of the winter.

 

 

For a stuffy nose and a case of cough, Dr. LaValle offers the cheat English ivy, which he points out is also kid friendly.

 

 

2023 will be a busy year but an exciting one for the Clinical Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Performance Health Program. Dr. LaValle is releasing a couple of rewrites of previous publications and has a new publication coming out about optimizing your human performance. 

Rep. Miller to Stay on House Ag Committee

Illinois Congresswoman Mary Miller will continue to serve on the House Ag committee as she begins her second term in office. She spoke with the RFD Radio Network this week.

 

 

Miller is from Oakland and represents Illinois’ 15th Congressional District. She’s the only Illinois Republican serving on the House Ag Committee. Democrats have yet to announce their committee members.

Improvements Being Made at Little Galilee Christian Camp This Winter

Staff at Litltle Galilee Christian Camp is in the midst of improvements for security and better technology this winter.

 

Gabe Rutledge is the Executive Director of the camp in rural DeWitt County and indicates one of the top priorities for him in his early tenure as the leader of the camp is to improve security. He is thankful to supporters of the camp for coming through to provide for these upgrades.

 

 

Rutledge indicates the activities center on the campground needs to be updated so they are focusing on that facility. He explains there are some cosmetic things they need to take care of. 

 

 

Little Galilee experienced a very strong finish to the end-of-year giving season and Rutledge is thankful for that generosity. He feels when people are excited about the things happening at Little Galilee, they are more inclined to give. 

 

If there are potential donors interested in supporting the mission of Little Galilee Christian Camp, visit littlegalilee.org/donate. 

Blue Ridge Schools Leader Discusses Potential Sex-Ed Mandate

A sex education mandate that was floated around the Illinois legislature during the Illinois lame-duck session earlier this month was heavily pushed back against by Illinois school leaders.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Blue Ridge School superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer told Regional Radio Illinois is not the same state from top-to-bottom and feels it is unreasonable to mandate curriculum on communities downstate with different values than in northeast Illinois.

 

 

According to Dr. Stanifer, there are a lot of things in the curriculum that normalizes things the community of Farmer City and surrounding areas would not be in favor of.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer says there doesn't seem to be a lot of awareness about the curriculum in the community. She calls it unfortunate because there is a lot of material in it she speculates the community would not want in the classroom and library setting.

 

 

The sex-ed curriculum mandate did not make it through the legislature in the lame-duck session earlier this month and there is some question as to the support it would have if it was to be brought back up under the new general assembly. 

Rep. Caulkins To Join Barrage of Lawsuits Over Assault Weapon Ban

The state is preparing to defend the recently passed assault weapons ban. A lawsuit is even coming from a Republican member of the House – Dan Caulkins. Democrat Governor JB Pritzker says lawsuits were expected.

 

 

Caulkins is expected to file his lawsuit in Macon County on Thursday.

St. Louis District Dairy Council Offers Subtle Changes for Improved Lifestyle

For those that have set New Year's resolutions, how are those going at this point in January?

 

A lot of individuals find a loss in momentum for a variety of reasons their resolutions are because perhaps they were too broad, the goal was too big or there wasn't a good course of action to achieve that goal. Monica Nyman with the St. Louis District Dairy Council recently offered some little changes we can make that will improve our health and overall quality of life.

 

 

According to Nyma, you should also size up your portions and have milk, yogurt, or cheese every day. 

 

 

A good practice to begin taking is up doing a better job evaluating food labels and targeting natural sugars versus added sugars. Nyman explains food labels provide a lot of great nutrition information.

 

 

According to Nyman, other practices we take up this year are trying different food just once a week, using a healthy substitute in a favorite recipe, and trying for healthier options when eating out. 

 

She has more tips ad resources at stldairycouncil.org or find the Dairy Council on Facebook or Instagram. 

Wind, Solar Siting Bill Still Not Signed

A bill that passed the Illinois House and Senate limiting the amount of control county governments can have over the siting of wind and solar projects is still awaiting the Governor’s signature.

 

The new bill would give counites 4 months to change existing zoning laws to come inline with new provisions on setbacks, sound limitations and more issues connected to renewable energy projects. Gov. JB Pritzker was asked if he will sign the bill – he didn’t come out and say yes but he didn’t say no either.

 

 

Dozens of counties have opposed the plan to establish statewide zoning regulations for solar and wind development.

Rep. LaHood Reacts to Classified Documents Scandals

The President of the United States has fallen under scrutiny following the discovery of classified documents in his possession.

 

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood fears that there is a Department of Justice double standard taking shape.

 

 

Additional classified documents were most recently taken by the FBI from the President's house in Wilmington, Delaware. The items confiscated from Biden's residence spanned his time in the Senate and as vice president.

Illinois Secretary of State Announces Settlement with Carvana

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is announcing a settlement agreement with online car retailer Carvana.

 

Last February, Illinois claimed Carvana was issuing out-of-state temporary registration permits. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Giannoulias reported Carvana admitted to violating Illinois law and agreed to abide by new restrictions.

 

 

As part of the agreement, Carvana must adhere to Illinois law in the future, surrender its 2-hundred 50-thousand-dollar bond and allow for inspections by the Secretary of State Police.

Illinois Republicans Denounce Talks of Passing Progressive Income Tax

ILLINOIS SENATE REPUBLICANS ARE HOPING TO STAVE OFF ANY RENEWED ATTEMPTS TO PASS A PROGRESSIVE INCOME TAX. 

 

IN 2020, VOTERS SHOT DOWN AN EFFORT TO MOVE ILLINOIS FROM A FLAT TAX TO A PROGRESSIVE TAX WHERE THOSE EARNING MORE, PAY MORE IN TAXES. THERE’S BEEN TALK OF TRYING AGAIN BUT SENATE G-O-P LEADER JOHN CURRAN SAYS THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.

 

 

BUT SENATOR NEIL ANDERSON OF ANDALUSIA SAYS THIS IS NOT AN EFFORT THAT SHOULD BE REVIVED.

 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WAS RECENTLY ASKED ABOUT THE ISSUE AND HE SAID PURSUING A GRADUATED INCOME TAX AGAIN IS NOT ON HIS RADAR.

Neighborhood Care Center Executive Director Welcomes Intern

Kelly Rempe has been working with the Neighborhood Care Center for a few years now and earlier this month stepped in as an intern at the DeWitt County non-profit.

 

Cody Monkman is the Neighborhood Care Center Executive Director and told Regional Radio Tuesday on the WHOW Morning Show Rempe will be working with him to work closely with what the organization calls 'mission partners'. 

 

 

According to  Monkman, Rempe was able to use her role at the Neighborhood Care Center to connect with seniors, connections she says have blossomed into friendships with a few individuals.

 

 

Rempe hopes to find some direction in this role and Monmkan believes that is the perfect reason for her to be an intern in the organization because it embodies what the Neighborhood Care Center is all about.

 

 

Rempe indicates her interactions so far with the mission partners in the Neighborhood Care Center have been limited to the feed program, so she hopes to get to know more of those individuals in other missions.

DNR Conservation Police Captain Discusses Ice Fishing

The coldest of the winter weather is perhaps still on the horizon so a Department of Natural Resources Police Captain is putting the call out now for outdoorsmen to play it safe.

 

DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson says whether you're headed on the water to ice fish, fish from your boat, or do some waterfowl hunting, have a life jacket, especially in the winter.

 

 

If you're hoping to get out and do some ice fishing whether it's local or elsewhere in the upper-midwest, Capt. Williamson says to watch the weather and make sure the water is going to freeze. He reminds of some of the conditions to be on the lookout for.

 

 

Capt. Williamson says ice fishing is a great recreational activity where you can catch several types of fish that may not be as active during the warm weather months, especially the farther north you go.

 

 

For regulations on fishing in Illinois, Capt. Williamson directs everyone to dnr.illinois.gov.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Millions in Downstate Transit Grants

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING A NEARLY 114 MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT IN DOWNSTATE TRANSIT PROJECTS. 

 

THE MONEY IS AVAILABLE THROUGH THE STATE’S REBUILD ILINOIS CAPITAL PROGRAM AND IS THE THIRD ROUND OF FUNDING FOR TRANSIT SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

PROJECTS INCLUDE MAKING TRANSIT VEHICLES ELECTRIC AND SETTING UP CHARGING STATIONS IN ST. CLAIR COUNTY, HYBRID BUS REPLACEMENT IN CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, NEW BUS SHELTERS IN COLES COUNTY, AND MORE.

 

 

THIS IS THE THIRD ROUND OF TRANSIT FUNDING THROUGH THE STATE’S REBUILD ILLINOIS PROGRAM.

Comptroller Mendoza Announces Payback of Federal COVID Unemployment Insurance Loan

ILLINOIS COMPTROLLER SUSANA MENDOZA IS MAKING GOOD ON A FOUR AND A HALF BILLION DOLLAR FEDERAL LOAN USED TO HELP THE STATE GET THROUGH THE PANDEMIC. 

 

THE LOAN HELPED SHORE UP THE STATE’S UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FUND, WHICH WAS RAPIDLY BEING DEPLETED AS SO MANY PEOPLE WERE OUT OF WORK. COMPTROLLER MENDOZA SAYS THIS WILL SAVE BIG BUCKS IN INTEREST PAYMENTS.

 

 

MENDOZA SAYS OTHER STATES LIKE CALIFORNIA, NEW YORK AND CONNECTICUT HAVE YET TO PAY OFF THEIR COVID-19 UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE LOANS.

 

 

THE EARLY REPAYMENT WAS PART OF AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN BUSINESS AND LABOR NEGOTIATORS, THE STATE AND LAWMAKERS. THE DEAL WILL ALSO PUT MORE MONEY INTO THE STATE’S UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AND RAINY DAY FUNDS.

DeWitt County Looking for Animal Control Administrator, Suspends Agreements for Services with Some Communities

As DeWitt County searches for its next animal control administrator, the County has suspended agreements for animal control services with a few of its communities.

 

Dan Matthews is the DeWitt County Board Chair and indicates the suspension of the agreements is largely because the County cannot fulfill its end. He compliments the Clinton Police Department and the DeWitt County Sheriff's office for agreeing to help in any way necessary when issues with animals arise.

 

 

According to Matthews, the agreements with communities in DeWitt County were last put together in 2016. He envisions revising the agreements for better enforcement and procedures to reflect the latest in State of Illinois regulations.

 

 

Matthews credits Kristina Deerwester and Megan Myers on the County Board for helping at the animal shelter and assisting the County in getting through this period without an administrator. Additionally, he says some Second Chance for Pets volunteers are helping out as well and appreciates their efforts. 

Clinton YMCA Reminds of Y-Zone Extreme, Y-Zone Emergency for Off Days, Snow Days

Many families in Clinton are familiar with the Clinton YMCA's before and after-school program Y-Zone and many of those families are likely aware of Y-Zone Extreme for days when school is not in session but parents have to be at work.

 

Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates Y-Zone is not exclusive to members of the Y and there is the non-profit before and after school program. This year, there were some changes they implemented for Y-Zone locations, which he says has worked out well.

 

 

Y-Zone extreme is for days when school is not in session but parents still need to be at work. Cluver indicates they have added Y-Zone Emergency to their offerings which would allow students a place to be when the weather forces the cancellation of school.

 

 

With wintry weather coming this week and likely still to come this winter, Cluver hopes families will consider the Y for their kids and touts the environment kids will be a part of. 

Farmer City Hoping to Get New Street Shed Approved This Spring

About a year ago, Farmer City lost its street shed in a fire and the City has anxiously been awaiting getting a new one built.

 

If the City Council likes the proposal and the cost is right - things could start to move along this spring. City Administrator Sue McLaughlin on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio the cost for it came in much higher than was anticipated and they decided to wait, and rebid at a later date.

 

 

McLaughlin points out they plan to find some ways to create more storage space for City equipment and hope to have a break room for City employees.

 

 

McLaughlin indicates the cost of the project came in around $600,000 in the most recent bid cycle but she hopes to see it down to around $300,000. Additionally, the City will be fortunate in the fact that insurance will pick up the cost of the facility. 

Secretary of State Reveals Denied Vanity Plates

VANITY LICENSE PLATES CAN BE A FUN WAY TO EXPRESS YOURSELF, BUT SECRETARY OF STATE ALEXI GIANNOULIAS SAYS SOME ARE JUST TOO INAPPROPRIATE TO BE APPROVED.

 

MORE THAN 54 THOUSAND VANITY PLATES WERE REQUESTED LAST YEAR, AND 383 WERE REJECTED FOR VARIOUS REASONS SAYS SECRETARY GIANNOULIAS.

 

 

GIANNOULIAS. THAT INCLUDES REQUESTS FOR PLATES THAT READ "KISS ASH," "DUCK YOU" AND "SUCKER."

 

 

OF THE MORE THAN 54 THOUSAND VANITY PLATE APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED LAST YEAR, 383 WERE DENIED.

New Law Ensures State Prison Inmates Have Access to Menstrual Products

A NEW LAW IN ILLINOIS ENSURES FREE MENSTRUAL PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE AT STATE PRISONS. 

 

ACCESS TO FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS IS SOMETIMES LIMITED BEHIND BARS, BUT THIS LAW WILL MAKE SURE INMATES AT DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FACILITIES HAVE WHAT THEY NEED SAYS SENATOR CELINA VILLANUEVA OF CHICAGO.

 

 

VILLANUEVA SAYS THIS IS ABOUT DIGNITY.

 

 

THE LAW REQUIRES THESE PRODUCTS TO BE OFFERED FREE OF CHARGE.

DeWitt County Board Discusses Getting Out of Marina Business

It's a sentiment that is not uncommon to hear for those passionate about the Marina at Clinton Lake - DeWitt County should not be in the marina business.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Board Chair Dan Matthews told Regional Radio it's a conversation that was had last Thursday night at the County Board meeting. 

 

 

Matthews believes the County being in the Marina business on a day-to-day basis is not what is best for the County or the operator. 

 

 

The current lease with Joe Caldwell and his group expires at the end of the calendar year. Matthews hopes to see the process to begin seeking a long-term manager begin as soon as this summer with something in place at the end of the current lease. 

Lincoln Having to Adjust Plans for Fifth Street Project

The City of Lincoln has been working towards a major overhaul of Fifth Street on the community's west side but a recent development may put a huge wrench in those plans.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch told Regional Radio the city recently received bids bad for the project and they were more than double what was originally projected.

 

 

According to Mayor Welch, something has to be done on Fifth Street, and indicates things are likely to be done internally. They have to consider as well there are State and Federal dollars at stake on the project.

 

 

Fifth Street needs a lot of work. For Mayor Welch, he wants to see better drainage on the road because there are a couple of residential areas that have patiently waited for the drainage issues to be resolved.

 

 

If the City takes up the project on its own, it will not be the expansion it had planned for many years. While disappointing, Mayor Welch says they need to get something done for the residents and motorists in that area. 

Applying for Medicare Before Retirement

If you are not ready to retire, that doesn't mean you cannot apply for Medicare.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security has some important reminders for people over the age of 65. When to start receiving retirement benefits is a personal choice. Full retirement age for people born between 1943-1954 is 66, between 1955-1959 varies from 66 and 2 months to 66 and 10 months, and 1960 and later is 67. Meanwhile, the age to apply for Medicare is still 65.

 

 

This disparity means that some people will choose to enroll in Medicare before starting to receive monthly Social Security benefits. Naturally, people have questions about how to enroll in Medicare and what to do as they approach age 65. Myers explains if you are already receiving Social Security benefits before age 65, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. You will still need to consider enrolling in a prescription drug plan (Part D) and a Medicare supplement, or perhaps a Medicare Advantage Plan, but the Parts A and B enrollment will be automatic. You should receive your Medicare card in the mail several months before you turn 65.

 

 

Your initial enrollment period is a 7-month window that starts 3 months before the month you attain age 65 and extends three months beyond. If you want coverage to start as early as possible, you should apply within the 3 months before the month you attain age 65. Myers reminds if you choose not to enroll in Part B during your initial enrollment period there may be penalties and limited options for future enrollment. An exception to this is if you or a family member is still actively employed and you are covered by a group health plan based on active employment or as long as that active employment and insurance coverage extends past the end of your IEP, you should qualify for a special enrollment period when you want to enroll in Part B.

 

 

If you are not receiving Social Security benefits before age 65, you will not automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B. If you want Medicare to start at age 65 you will need to apply for Medicare Parts A and B through Social Security.  You can do that online in as little as 10 minutes at www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare. You can also make a telephone appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213 or your local office www.ssa.gov/locator. 

Treasurer Frerichs Highlights Illinois Secure Choice Retirement Program at $100-Million

ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS SAYS HIS OFFICE’S SECURE CHOICE RETIREMENT SAVINGS PROGRAM HAS HIT THE 100 MILLION DOLLAR MARK. 

 

MORE THAN 100-THOUSAND WORKERS THAT DON’T HAVE A PENSION OR OTHER RETIREMENT FUND THROUGH THEIR EMPLOYER ARE SAVING FOR THE FUTURE WITH THE PROGRAM. TREASURER FRERICHS EXPLAINS HOW IT WORKS.

 

 

FRERICHS SAYS IT’S ESTIMATED THAT WORKERS ARE 15 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT IF THEY CAN DO SO THROUGH PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS.

 

 

EMPLOYEES ARE AUTOMATICALLY ENROLLED AND THE MONEY IS PUT INTO A ROTH I-R-A THAT THEY CONTROL. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM ONLINE AT: IL SECURE CHOICE DOT COM.

Tips for Planning This Year's Vegetable Garden, Perusing Seed Catalogs

VEGETABLE GARDENERS ANXIOUSLY AWAITING SPRING MAY WANT TO KEEP A FEW THINGS IN MIND AS THEY PERUSE SEED CATALOGS.

 

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD DO IS MEASURE YOUR GARDEN SPACE SAYS UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS HORTICULTURE EXPERT KEN JOHNSON.

 

 

ALSO, CONSIDER WHAT YOU WILL BE DOING WITH THE VEGETABLE, SINCE DIFFERENT VARIETIES WORK BEST FOR EATING RAW OR MAKING A SAUCE FOR EXAMPLE.

 

 

JOHNSON NOTES THAT PLANTS THAT GROW ON VINES, LIKE CUCUMBERS, REALLY TAKE UP A LOT SPACE. HE SAYS YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR FAMILY IS ACTUALLY GOING TO EAT AND ONLY PLANT THOSE SEEDS. 

Secretary of State Announces Transition Group's Recommendations for Improving Office

ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE ALEXI GIANNOULIAS IS ANNOUNCING HIS TRANSITION TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVING THE OFFICE. 

 

IDEAS CAME FROM GROUP MEMBERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND COVER A WIDE RANGE OF AREAS SAYS SECRETARY GIANNOULIAS.

 

 

GIANNOULIAS LISTS WHAT’S AT THE TOP OF HIS TO-DO LIST.

 

 

GIANNOULIAS SAYS OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS HE INTENDS TO MAKE A TOP PRIORITY ARE ETHICS REFORMS AND INCREASING ACCESS TO E-BOOKS AND ONLINE EDUCATION RESOURCES AT LIBRARIES ACROSS THE STATE.

Illinois Municipal League Warning Cities TIF Laws Could Be Changing

Tax Increment Financing laws in Illinois could be changing and the Illinois Municipal League is rallying support for them from area municipalities.

 

Aldermen in the City of Monmouth approved a resolution last week that supports the laws as they currently are on the books says City Administrator Lew Steinbrecher.

 

 

The City of Monmouth has used over 360,000 dollars in TIF funds to leverage over 1.7 million dollars in private investment in the city’s downtown. Steinbrecher says that TIF is the most important tool that Monmouth has to spur economic development and suspects that’s true for many municipalities around the state.

DeWitt County Board Chair Weighs In On Wind, Solar Legislation From State of Illinois

During the lame-duck session earlier this month, Illinois lawmakers interjected themselves into local debates happening all over the state regarding wind and solar energy development.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Dan Matthews less than a month ago told Regional Radio one of his goals as the County Board Chair was to clean up language in the ordinances for wind and solar but now the State of Illinois has stepped in and done it for them. Matthews is not thrilled about that.

 

 

Making the issue further condeluted is the fact the State of Illinois has told local governments they have a final say in the potential development of a project. Matthews says what the state may deem adequate for the County may not be adequate for local leadership.

 

 

Local leaders wonder if the legislation will potentially open them up to litigation if they tell these wind companies no even though they have met all the criteria the State has set. 

Tax Filing Season Begins Monday

TAX FILING SEASON KICKS OFF MONDAY. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE WILL BEGIN ACCEPTING STATE TAX RETURNS ON JANUARY 23RD SAYS SPOKESPERSON MAURA KOWNACKI.

 

 

KOWNACKI SAYS IF YOU FILE AN ERROR FREE RETURN AND CHOOSE DIRECT DEPOSIT, YOU SHOULD GET YOUR REFUND IN ABOUT FOUR WEEKS. 

 

 

LAST YEAR, 90 PERCENT OF TAXPAYERS FILED ELECTRONICALLY. TO GET STARTED, VISIT: MY TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV

Weekly Weather Summary

It was a cold and dreary week in Illinois. State Water Survey Grad Research Assistant Bridgette Mason has more...

 

 

Central Illinois Senator Reacts to Lame Duck Session in Springfield

A central Illinois lawmaker is weighing in on the lame-duck session that wrapped up recently in Springfield.

 

The assault weapons ban highlighted a session of lots of laws - some controversial - passed. Sen. Sally Turner says this legislation is turning law-abiding citizens into criminals and supports the Sheriffs in her district that say they are not going to enforce these laws.

 

 

Sen. Turner is disappointed in legislation that will supersede local control over wind and solar energy. She points out the issues of the weather radar station in Logan County just outside of Lincoln. 

'

 

Sen. Turner indicates the legislation came forward because some parts of the State have been resistant to wind and solar energy allowing no opportunity for development. She did not like the over-the-top approach the State took on that issue. 

Recent Lemur Discovery in Bloomington/Normal Shines Light on Illegal Animal Trade

A lemur was recently found in a Bloomington/Normal garage and the leader of the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington says it is a good opportunity to highlight the horror of the illegal animal trade.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Miller Park Zoo Executive Director Jay Pratte told Regional Radio it is his speculation the animal was illegally owned by a local resident and escaped his captivity.

 

 

The story ended up going viral with national media outlets picking it up. Pratte appreciates the support of the community through the whole process and indicates they worked with the Department of Natural Resources to make sure everything was on the up-and-up for the welfare of the animal.

 

 

According to Pratte, the things illegally traded animals go through detract from them living as they should. He explains this animal is now getting the chance to do the things a lemur should have been doing his whole life.

 

 

Pratt indicates the lemur appears to be a younger male. He might be a little thin although they are not for sure. The Miller Park Zoo continues to work with the Department of Natural Resources on what is best and next for the animal they named King Julien. 

Sen. Durbin Reacts to Debt Ceiling

The United States is about ready to hit the debt ceiling. The country’s $31.4 trillion dollar borrowing limit might be hit as early as today. US Senator Dick Durbin says the government needs to stay open.

 

 

Republicans want to use any vote to raise it to force spending reductions. Democrats in Washington DC aren’t willing to accept massive spending cuts. 

Illinois County Fair Association Holding Annual Meeting

The Illinois Association of County Fairs is holding their annual convention this weekend in Springfield. 

 

A trade show featuring concert acts, carnival companies and the Country Fair Queen Pageant will happen over the next few days. Charlyn Fargo Ware – the Associations Treasurer says the weekend is designed to support everything a fair needs to be up and running this summer.

 

 

The Illinois Association of County Fairs is celebrating its 112th year.

Illinois Higher Education Board Approves Increases for Illinois Colleges, Universities

THE ILLINOIS BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION IS SEEKING A 180 MILLION DOLLAR INCREASE FOR STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. 

 

THE BOARD APPROVED ITS ANNUAL BUDGET REQUEST, WHICH IS SEVEN AND A HALF PERCENT HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR’S PROPOSAL. STATE HIGHER ED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GINGER OSTRO SAYS THIS INCLUDES AN ADDITIONAL 50 MILLION DOLLARS FOR COLLEGE MAP GRANTS AND OUTREACH TO GET MORE STUDENTS TO APPLY.

 

 

ADDITIONAL FUNDS WOULD BE DOLED OUT TO SCHOOLS AND THERE’S ALSO MONEY TO BOOST DUAL CREDIT PROGRAMS AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES. IT WILL BE UP TO LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNOR TO REVIEW THE BUDGET REQUEST.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE WILL CONSIDER THE PROPOSAL.

Freshman Illinois Congresswoman Wants to Be On House Ag Committee

Lawmakers in Washington DC are working out what committees they will be on for the next two years. Freshman Democrat Nikki Budzinski says her leadership is still a few days away from announcing assignments but that she has requested to be placed on a few key committees.

 

 

Budzinski has also requested to be placed on the transportation and veteran’s affairs committees.

Clinton Schools Receive Perfect Rating on Financial Audit

Clinton Schools have received a perfect rating on its most recent financial audit.

 

At the Tuesday night Clinton Board of Education meeting and Wednesday on the WHOW Morning Show, Superintendent Curt Nettles called everything 'in great shape'.

 

 

There are a lot of things that go into the audit and what auditors are looking for when it comes to ethical practices and proper budgeting.

 

 

Also Tuesday night, the Nettles informed the Board they are going to be bidding out its liability insurance. He notes this is something they do every few years. The open session Tuesday lasted 11 minutes. 

Clinton Fire Department Responds to Over 900 Response Calls

The Clinton Fire Department responded to over 900 calls in 2022.

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Public Safety Dan Ballenger told the Council nearly 800 of those calls came within City of Clinton limits.

 

 

Commissioner John Wise updated the Council on the pursuit of finding and fixing water leaks. 

 

 

At its first meeting in February, the Council will take action on a TIF district and a resolution for $1,000 towards the summer maintenance.

Peace Meal Continues Expansion in Post-COVID Environment

A central Illinois non-profit aimed at providing nutritious meals for seniors is continuing to add to its programming coming out of COVID.

 

Shelly Tolly with OSF Peace Meal explains at the DeWitt County Friendship Center in Clinton, congregate meals are back along with home-delivered meals for seniors.

 

 

According to Tolly, Farmer City's program continues as normal. In Weldon, the Weldon Village Hall is hoping to host a congregate site Monday through Friday. The hangup is they need a site supervisor to make that happen.

 

 

Tolly is excited about all the developments in Piatt County. She explains the entire County is going to have hot meals delivered. Right now, things are limited to a select few communities.

 

 

Peace Meal recipients received frozen meals at the start of the winter when the weather turns bad and drivers cannot get out to deliver. 

 

If you or someone close to you would like to receive a meal or learn more about the program, call 309-665-5900. 

University of Illinois Extension Holding Master Gardener Course

If you enjoy being in the garden at your home and would be interested in helping fellow gardeners with their gardens or perhaps you just want to learn more about your hobby, an upcoming course through the University of Illinois Extension office may be for you.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Terri Miller-Casey, Extension Director of the University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties indicates this course offers a lot of good information for potential master gardeners.

 

 

According to Miller-Casey, there's going to be a wide variety of topics covered in these courses. She notes sometimes the lessons are just updates on best practices.

 

 

Master Gardeners offer a great service to their communities. Miller-Casey explains they can be a resource for community members navigating issues in their gardens or they can simply participate to learn more about their hobby.

 

 

Friday, Jan. 27 is the deadline to get registered for the program. Visit extension.illinois.edu for registration information. 

Make-A-Wish Illinois Looking for Volunteers

Make-A-Wish Illinois is looking for volunteers and is hosting a series of online orientations to get more people on-board. Wish granters work with children with critical illnesses throughout their wish journey to help discover, plan, and support the creation of their wish. More than 200 wish children in Illinois are waiting today for volunteers to help grant their wishes.

 

Wishes are shown to give children a boost in reducing hospitalizations, length of stay, compliance with treatment protocols and boosting their overall resilience and mental health at a difficult time. Laura Huerta (WHERE-tuh), Community Engagement Volunteer for Make-A-Wish Illinois talks about what makes a good volunteer

 

 

The next orientations will be:

 

• Wednesday, January 25th 8:00-8:45am

 

• Thursday, February 16th from 8:00 PM- 8:45am

 

• Tuesday, March 7th from 12:00-12:45pm

 

You can sign up at https://wish.org/illinois/our-events

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

THIS IS CERVICAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH AND A GROUP OF ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS IS URGING WOMEN TO GET SCREENED. 

 

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE, THE SURVIVAL RATE FOR CERVICAL CANCER IS 92 PERCENT IF CAUGHT EARLY. REPRESENTATIVE ANNA MOELLER (mole-ler) OF ELGIN SAYS CASES HAVE DECLINED OVER THE YEARS, BUT THAT WOMEN NEED TO BE VIGILANT.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE DAGMARA (dag-mara) AVELAR (av-eh-lar) EXPLAINS, THE TEST IS EASY.

 

 

MOELLER URGES WOMEN TO SPEAK TO THEIR DOCTOR ABOUT THE SCREENING, WHICH INCLUDES A PAP TEST AND POTENTIALLY AN H-P-V TEST. THAT’S THE VIRUS THAT MOST OFTEN CAUSES CERVICAL CANCER. IT’S RECOMMENDED THAT PAP TESTS BEGIN AT AGE 21.

Illinois Department of Human Services Announces SNAP Benefits Will Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels in March

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES SAYS ENHANCED BENEFITS IN THE “SNAP” PROGRAM ARE ENDING NEXT MONTH.

 

SNAP, OR FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS HAVE BEEN GETTING EXTRA BENEFITS DURING THE PANDEMIC, BUT THAT CHANGES COME THE END OF FEBRUARY SAYS D-H-S SECRETARY GRACE HOU (ho).

 

 

D-H-S SAYS THE REDUCTION WILL BE BETWEEN 95 TO 250 DOLLARS PER PERSON, PER MONTH. 

 

 

THE SNAP PROGRAM SERVES MORE THAN TWO MILLION PEOPLE IN ILLINOIS SO HOU SAYS THEY WANT TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT THE CHANGE. YOU CAN LEARN MORE ONLINE AT: ABE DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

Help Available for Specialty Growers

The State Director for USDA Rural Development meeting with speciality growers. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan says there are programs that can help.

 

 

More information available at rd.usda.gov/il. Londrigan was at last week’s Everything Local Conference in Springfield.

DeWitt County Animal Control Administrator Resigns

The DeWitt County Animal Control Administrator has resigned.

 

Regional Radio News has learned Donny Benson provided the Public Safety Committee his resignation this month. The Finance Committee tonight (Tuesday) will update the job description in hopes to have the job posted once the County Board approves Thursday.

 

DeWitt County Animal Control has been under the microscope a few times since the new facility was completed in 2017. The facility has had three administrators in that time. 

 

Additionally, the Public Safety Committee and the DeWitt County non-profit Second Chance for Pets had a brief difference of opinion over access to the facility.

 

Megan Myers, who is the Public Safety Committee Chair, and new Board member Kristina Deerwester bring interest in the facility and Second Chance for Pets to the newest edition of County leadership. 

Clinton YMCA Celebrating Successful 'Strong Kids Campaign'

The Clinton YMCA met and exceeded its fundraising goal for 2022 during this past year's 'Strong Kids Campaign'.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Executive Director Rennie Cluver told Regional Radio they exceeded the $100,00 goal they set at the beginning of the campaign. He believes the success of the 'Strong Kids' campaign is a testimony to the community support they receive.

 

 

As the 'Strong Kids' campaign progresses, Cluver hopes to begin to bring more new donors on board. One area they are targeting is existing members that have the means that contribute as much or as little, but even a small something can make a difference. 

 

 

Cluver reminds the goal of $100,000 or any dollars beyond that goal, does not even cover all the costs of scholarships for youth programs, senior memberships, and camps for kids.

 

 

Cluver indicates the mission of the YMCA emphasizes the importance of fundraising. He explains there are discount programs offered by insurance providers to get customers exercising and sometimes they take a loss on those programs but they just want people in the Y and bettering their health.

 

 

While the 'Strong Kids' campaign runs mostly from the fall up to the end of the year, Cluver says contributions are always welcome. The best way to donate may be to drop off a check at the YMCA at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton or to visit clintoncommymca.org. He notes the Y is looking to expand its online accessibility for potential donors as well. 

Maroa-Forsyth Schools Ready for Grand Opening of New Facility

It's been nearly a year and a half coming and Maroa-Forsyth Schools administration is ready to move into its new facility.

 

Dr. Kris Kahler, Superintendent of Maroa-Forsyth Schools indicates they are working on the finishing touches. Flooring is going down, new bleachers for its multipurpose space, and furniture for classrooms are all the latest processes taking place.

 

 

There are several aspects of the new facility Dr. Kahler is excited about. With art students already using the art room, it offers floor-to-ceiling windows with plenty of light. It offers plenty of tools in the classroom for expanded opportunities. 

 

 

Among the other opportunities offered in the new space, Dr. Kahler points out it is going to have a new auditorium for its band and thespian performances. He also is very excited about the upgraded learning spaces to better fit the 21st-century learning environment.

 

 

Top of mind for Dr. Kahler in the new facility is going to be the presence of stable internet. As the learning environment shifts into the technological age, having reliable internet access is a must.

 

 

Dr. Kahler indicates Feb. 16 students will begin transitioning to the new space and learning the procedures for it. There will be a special community open house on Thursday, Feb. 16. Friday, Feb. 17 students will be out of class to allow for teachers to transition themselves and their materials over to the new space and then the following Monday is President's Day and students will move in full time that Tuesday, Feb. 21. 

Illinois Crop Production Numbers

Breaking down the Illinois numbers from the USDA NASS Annual Crop Production Report. Here’s state crop statistician Mark Schleusener.

 

 

Harvested area for hay in Illinois, at 495,000 acres, is down 1 percent from 2021. The all hay yield is estimated at 2.88 tons per acre, down 0.26 ton from the previous year. Production is estimated at 1.42 million tons, 9 percent below 2021.

Resolutions for Fraud-Free Year

While it’s now mid-January, it’s not too late to make New Year’s resolutions. 

 

The Better Business Bureau hopes you will resolve to be committed to avoiding fraud in 2023 and offers some guidance to help you accomplish that. BBB investigator Don O’Brien says a big goal is to be social media smart and keep your settings to where not everyone can snoop your pages.

 

 

Other resolutions include never sending money to strangers; to do research before making online payments and purchases; to use your best judgment when sharing your personal information; and to be cautious with email.

Still Months Away, Community Action Preparing for 'Cheeseburger in Paradise'

It's still several months away but organizers are preparing for the annual 'Cheeseburger in Paradise' fundraiser for Community Action.

 

Breann Titus - the Director of Agency Development - indicates tickets are already on sale for the April 22 event at the Lincoln Banquet Center. She indicates they are reducing the number of tables they are selling this year and they had to increase prices.

 

 

According to Titus, if you book and pay for the table before the end of January, you are essentially ensuring the price is the same as last year. She says it is a benefit for those that have been supporters of the event for a long time but it also is beneficial for the agency in planning.

 

 

'Cheeseburger in Paradise' is a casual night of food, drinks, and entertainment with items auctioned throughout the night. Titus says everyone that comes out has a good time.

 

 

Last year's event was a banner year for 'Cheeseburger in Paradise'. Titus feels she may have set the bar pretty high for herself this year but hopes to just have a good year and give their supporters a good experience.

 

 

Titus reminds ticket sales for the April 22 event are on sale now. You can get those by visiting capcil.info. Additionally, there is a discount for tickets purchased before the end of the month. 

Central Illinois School Leaders Concerned Over Potential Sex-Ed Requirements Coming from State of Illinois

It didn't make it out of the most recent lame-duck session in Springfield before the new General Assembly was sworn in, but some Illinois school leaders are still concerned over a mandate that may be coming soon regarding sex education in schools.

 

Dr. Lisa Taylor is the Superintendent of Heyworth Schools and explains this is a curriculum most Illinois districts rejected when it was adopted as the national standard but was not a mandate on schools. 

 

 

The curriculum is regarded by many as very graphic and has been under intense scrutiny in districts across the nation. Dr. Taylor indicates the standard blurs the lines of intruding on a parent's responsibility for their child but also makes topics a one-size-fits-all and that can't be the approach for the topic of sex education.

 

 

As students get older, the topics become intensely more graphic and Dr. Taylor again calls into question the role that a school should have in discussing topics like anal sex, oral sex, and masturbation with kids that may be mature enough for the conversation. 

 

 

Dr. Taylor calls it 'mind-boggling' this is the focus of Illinois lawmakers when there are compounded learning issues from northeast Illinois to southwest Illinois and many places in between on top of things like the staffing challenges facing schools. 

Protecting Those Social Security Cards

Attempts to steal your personal information are at an all-time high - that's why you must continue to be vigilant about safeguarding your personal information and documents.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates there aren’t any good reasons to carry the card around with you on a day-to-day basis. You should memorize your number because there may be times you are asked to provide it but don’t necessarily need to show the card. 

 

 

You may need to know your Social Security number for things like credit applications, public assistance programs, health insurance, or for bank accounts. Myers notes you will need to show proof of your Social Security number to the DMV if you are applying for a REAL ID.

 

 

Additionally, you may need a Social Security card if you are starting a new job - your employer will need your SSN along with evidence of your eligibility to work.  Documents they can accept include a birth certificate, permanent resident card or alien registration receipt, and employment authorization document. or a form I-94 or Form I-94A.

 

 

Get more information about the latest scam trends towards individuals and their Social Security accounts by visiting ssa.gov. 

Gov. Pritzker in Switzerland for World Economic Forum Annaul Meeting

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER WILL BE IN DAVOS, SWITZERLAND NEXT WEEK FOR THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM ANNUAL MEETING. 

 

THE GOVERNOR IS PARTICIPATING IN SEVERAL ROUNDTABLE TALKS AND IS EAGER TO HIGHLIGHT ILLINOIS' ACHIEVEMENTS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE WILL ALSO DISCUSS THE STATE'S ELECTRIC VEHICLE INITIATIVES AND THE REBUILD ILLINOIS INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER WILL ALSO VISIT GERMANY FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES.a

Bill Introducing Legalized Psychedelic Mushrooms for Therapeutic Purposes

AN ILLINOIS LAWMAKER IS PUSHING TO LEGALIZE PSYCHEDELIC MUSHROOMS FOR THERAPEUTIC PURPOSES. (two stories, same lead).

 

THE NEW LEGISLATION IS DUBBED THE “ILLINOIS CURE ACT” AND IS SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD OF CHICAGO. IT PAVES THE WAY FOR PEOPLE TO SEEK TREATMENT FOR CONDITIONS LIKE DEPRESSION, P-T-S-D AND CHRONIC PAIN USING PSYLOCIBIN (sill-oh-cy-bin).

 

 

FORD SAYS IT WOULD HAVE TO BE DONE UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A TRAINED FACILITATOR OR THERAPY CENTER.

 

 

THE BILL ALSO CREATES AN ADVISORY BOARD, ADDRESSES RULES AND REGULATIONS AND LIFTS CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR MUSHROOMS.

University of Illinois Extension Offering Tornado Program in February

Last week saw a rare tornado outbreak in parts of central Illinois and an upcoming program through the University of Illinois Extension offers a glimpse at if we're seeing an increase in tornado activity.

 

Terri Miller-Casey is the Director of the U of I Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties believes this program in February will offer great insight into the history of severe weather in the midwest.

 

Get more information by visiting extension.illinois.edu. Miller-Casey indicates like so many of the programs through Extension, if you cannot make it for that class, just check out the website to watch it back at your convenience.

Be On The Lookout for Those 1099s

The tax return season is soon to be in full swing and a Social Security representative has a message for taxpayers.


Those 1099s are going to be going out soon so Jack Myers with Social Security says watch out for those forms in the mail.

 

If you need a replacement SSA-1099 you can get one online via your mySocialSecurity account after February 1st www.ssa.gov/myaccount , or you can call us at 800-772-1213. Myers notes you will not receive an SSA-1099 if you only received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in 2022.

Popular Podcast Featuers Case of Missing Illinois Man

In 2003 Clint Washburn was living in Peoria, Illinois when he is alleged to have sent a suspicious letter to his family indicating that he was cutting ties and changing his name. From there, he was never seen again. 

 

When his father died in 2018 his mother started searching for him, filed a missing persons report and sought help to try and locate him. Recently, the popular podcast The Vanished featured the story of Clint Washburn. Marissa Jones is the host of The Vanished

 

Due to Clint Washburn having lived in multi-jurisdictions in Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky prior to his disappearance, the FBI is involved in the search though it is unknown whether federal authorities are actively investigating his disappearance.

Weekly Weather Summary

Mild weather early in the week gave way to dreary, winter weather by the end of the week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more on this week's weather and what's ahead.

 

 

Clinton Chamber of Commerce Announces Change to Annual Christmas Parade

The annual Clinton Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade will now be a week later.

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Executive Director Janice Peterson told Regional Radio they plan to move the Christmas parade to the Saturday that follows the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.


The Christmas parade was shifted from a nighttime parade to a day parade around 10 years ago.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Among Local Sheriff's Speaking Out Against Assault Weapons Ban

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker is among a host of local Sheriff's who say they will not be enforcing new legislation regarding the ban off assault weapons and regulations surrounding it. 

 

Sheriff Walker says the assault weapons ban is a violation of the rights of Illinois citizens.

 

 

Sheriff Walker indicates the Governor has told the public the Illinois State Police will enforce these laws and local authorities that do not will be removed.

 

 

Sheriff Walker is concerned with some of the provisions in the legislation that could extend to some shotguns for various outdoor activities.

 

 

The DeWitt County Board passed a resolution at its December board meeting opposing the passage of the legislation. 

Recruiting Beginning for Entrepreneurship Program

Recruiting is underway for a program that does a deep dive into the world of business for high school students.

 

The Central Illinois and Sangamon Valley CEO programs are well into the program as the second semester gets underway. On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Facilitator for the Sangamon Valley chapter, Lisa Sheppard told Regional Radio they have five days coming up giving juniors in their schools the chance to experience the class firsthand.

 

 

Melanie Brown is the Facilitator for the Central Illinois CEO program and indicates they take up similar efforts for recruiting students. She notes they are also approaching the school boards of the districts in their program. 

 

 

While the programs give students a glimpse into so many aspects of owning a business and running their own business, Brown says offer so many more opportunities. She touts the growth students make in areas like public speaking or interpersonal communication.

 

 

The deadline to apply for the CEO programs, both Central Illinois and Sangamon Valley, is Feb. 15. 

 

Visit sangamonvalleyceo.com or centralillinoisceo.com for the application. 

 

The Central Illinois CEO program encompasses Blue Ridge, Clinton, Maroa-Forsyth, and Warrensburg-Latham High Schools while the Sangamon Valley CEO program has students from Argenta-Oreana, Bement, Cerro Gordo, DeLand-Weldon, and Monticello High Schools.

Above Normal Temperatures, Rainfall Expected Into February

As we roll through January, the start of the year has not been very seasonable and in fact, that trend is going to keep up.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates above-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation is expected to get into February.

 

 

Once we get into February, the patterns trend back to more seasonable with a cooler signal and still above-normal precipitation. Shimon says that gives us a good likelihood of snow or ice events.

 

 

Shimon points out that the above-normal precipitation trend is taking us into the spring.

 

 

Shimon warns if January does not see many winter events, oftentimes when they come back in February or later, motorists often forget about the caution required when driving in those conditions. He reminds to slow down and give yourself plenty of distance between vehicles on the road. 

Sen. Sally Turner Named to Illinois Republican Leadership Committee

Lincoln Republican Senator Sally Turner has been named to the Illinois Republican leadership committee.

 

Thursday, the Senator spoke about the importance of being on the leadership team and how it will benefit the people of her district.

 

 

Sen. Turner now represents DeWitt and Piatt Counties and was sworn in as part of the new General Assembly this past Wednesday. 

Gov. Pritzker Reacts to Defiance Over Gun Ban By Illinois Sheriffs

Governor JB Pritzker is unmoved by Sheriff’s saying they won’t enforce the recently passed assault weapons ban.

 

 

The ban makes the sale of more than 150 types of guns illegal and requires people who already own those types of guns to register them by the end of the year.

Clinton Police Chief Reacts to Illinois Supreme Court Stay on Ending Cash Bail

The elimination of cash bail is on hold in Illinois - at least for now - and a local law enforcement official is weighing in on the ruling from the first of the year.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers told Regional Radio leading up to the Illinois Supreme Court's ruling, which came on the heels of a ruling in Kankakee County, it had law enforcement agencies across the State wondering what everything meant for them.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, law enforcement now moves forward with the status quo and hopes going forward, the dialogue is a little more thought. He calls it a relief statewide.

 

 

Chief Lowers contends the new regulations do not follow the Illinois Constitution. It is estimated the Illinois Supreme Court will take the issue up again around March. 

Clinton Community Education Foundation Reminds District Teachers of Classroom Grant Application Deadline

Teachers in Clinton Schools are reminded this coming Friday is the deadline for the annual teacher grants.

 

Parker Toohill with the Clinton Education Foundation says this is a great opportunity for district teachers. He points interested district staff to visit ccef15.org to find the application and get those to your building liaison or principal.

 

 

Toohill says grants in the past have gone to very good causes in school building classrooms and some causes in recent years have become an annual line item in the grants.

 

 

Toohill reminds the grants are not limited to just teachers. If other extracurricular programs are in need of funding that the school cannot provide, he encourages those individuals to apply for funding as well.

 

Again, visit ccef15.org for more information and the deadline is by the end of the day Friday. 

Illinois Lawmakers Pass Bill Ensuring Workers Get Five Days of Paid Leave

WORKERS IN ILLINOIS WOULD BE ENTITLED TO FIVE PAID DAYS OF LEAVE UNDER A BILL PASSED BY LAWMAKERS THIS WEEK. 

 

AS MANY AS ONE AND A HALF MILLION WORKERS IN ILLINOIS DO NOT GET ANY TIME OFF TO TAKE CARE OF PERSONAL NEEDS SAYS SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE C-D DAVIDSMEYER OF JACKSONVILLE VOTED AGAINST THE MEASURE.

 

 

WORKERS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO USE THE PAID LEAVE FOR ANY REASON AND UP TO 40 HOURS OF UNUSED TIME COULD BE CARRIED OVER ANNUALLY.

Illinois Manufacturers Association Weighs In On Assault Weapons Ban

Despite Illinois becoming the ninth state in the union to ban assault weapons, the top leader of the Illinois Manufacturers Association is backing gun producers around the state.

 

Even if the bill gets challenged in court, I-M-A President and C-E-O Mark Denzler said he has the manufacturers' back.

 

 

On Tuesday, Governor Pritzker signed the measure, after the state Senate and House approved the legislation. In the legislation, gun manufactures in Illinois can continue producing weapons. The legislation bans the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines across the state.

Gov. Pritzker Asked Abou Compliance of Assault Weapons Ban

As Governor JB Pritzker signs a bill banning assault-style weapons, some Republicans are claiming they won’t comply with the law. 

 

Former Republican Gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey says he won’t, and House Republicans echoed similar feelings on the state house floor. Pritzker says the law will be enforced.

 

 

Illinois is the 9th state to have a ban on assault-style weapons.

Kenney Heritage Association Pancake Breakfast Saturday

The Kenney Heritage Association is holding its annual pancake and sausage breakfast on Saturday at the Kenney Community Center.

 

The Heritage's Bob Marsh on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday told Regional Radio the pancake breakfast is one of the biggest fundraisers the Association has to help in its mission of upkeep of the Kenney Community Center.

 

 

Marsh reminds the Kenney Heritage Association was charged with maintaining the upkeep of the interior of the Kenney Community Center and just recently wrapped up a painting job on the main level.

 

 

If you're looking for a unique step back in time, Marsh indicates the upper level of the building offers some unique artifacts that highlight the heritage of the community of Kenney.

 

 

Again, the Kenney Heritage Association's pancake breakfast comes up this Saturday morning from 6 am to 2 pm at the Kenney Community Center. Tickets can be purchased from any Heritage member or around the community. Marsh says you can also purchase tickets at the event and they will have take-out orders available. 

 

Find the Kenney Heritage Association on Facebook for more on the organization. 

National Weather Service Highlights 2022 Weather

Precipitation and temperatures were below normal for 2022. 

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates temperatures were a few degrees below normal for the year while temperatures were also a few degrees below normal for the year.

 

 

In the first quarter of the year, things were cold and wet. Shimon highlights two major snowfall events that came in back-to-back weeks in February and bookend a short warm-up that melted snow from the first event.

 

 

Spring was cold and wet in central Illinois. Shimon explains it was quite the contradiction to what models offered for so long leading up to March through May time frame.

 

 

The summer was expected to be very hot and dry and while it was mostly dry, Shimon indicates the number of 90-degree days was very low for a typical summer.

 

 

Shimon indicates the fall ended up being rather pleasant with a dry trend. December saw one winter storm event around Christmas. 

Stroke, Heart Attack Victims Encouraged to Wait For Ambulance Rather Than Drive to Hospital

Wait for an ambulance. That’s the message from OSF Healthcare Emergency Department Physician Dr. Kurt Bloomstrand for farmers in rural areas—who may be suffering heart attack or stroke symptoms. He says don’t try to get in the truck and drive yourself to the hospital.

 

 

Dr. Bloomstrand is also stressing the importance of those in rural areas to take advantage of CPR training.

Secretary of State Signs Extensive Ethics Reforms

ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE ALEXI GIANNOULIAS IS KICKING OFF HIS TERM BY IMPLEMENTING NEW ETHICS STANDARDS.

 

SECRETARY GIANNOULIAS SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER THAT LAUNCHES A REVIEW OF STATE VEHICLE USE, STRENGTHENS THE OFFICE’S SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICIES AND PROHIBTS THREATENING BEHAVIOR. THE GOAL IS TO BOOST THE PUBLIC'S TRUST.

 

 

GIANNOULIAS SAYS HE PLEDGED DURING HIS CAMPAIGN TO EARN THE PUBLIC’S TRUST AND KEEP OFFICE OPERATIONS TRANSPARENT.

 

 

OTHER PROVISIONS REINFORCE RULES THAT OFFICE EMPLOYEES AND CONTRACTUAL WORKERS CANNOT DONATE TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S CAMPAIGN FUND.

IHSA Adds Training for Shot Clock Use

High School basketball is underway, and Illinois High School Association members are looking at how some tournaments use the shot clock.

 

Last year the I-H-S-A board approved a 35-second shot clock for only invitational tournaments and shootouts. Kurt Gibson is the Associate Excecutive Director of the I-H-S-A.

 

 

According to Gibson, there was limited training once the I-H-S-A enacted the shot clock. However, the organization implemented training videos for officials and board operators.

Gov. Pritzker Signs Assault Weapons Ban

An assault weapons ban has been signed by Governor JB Pritzker.

 

The bill changed this week, but Democrats eventually settled on banning the sales of assault-style weapons, and expanded gun magazines and rapid-fire devices. Pritzker says he would have preferred a bill that would have tightened down even further but the legislative process leaves room for compromise.

 

 

Republican State Rep. Jim Durkin voted for the bill that was signed by Democratic Governor JB Pritzker.

Warner Library to Begin Children's Floor Rearrangement This Week

Visitors to the Warner Library in Clinton later this week will need to plan for the children's floor to be closed down.

 

The Library has had plans to re-arrange its children's level and librarian Corey Campbell says the plan for that to begin on Friday.

 

 

As more and more children and their families utilize the library, space is becoming an issue on the upper level. According to Campbell, they simply need to move things around to allow for more space.

 

 

For those that frequent the children's floor, Campbell explains there is going to be a lot of re-arranging of the books into other areas. 

 

 

Again, the re-arranging is expected to begin this Friday and be done early next week. He appreciates the support of a lot of helping hands to help make this happen. 

Another Warm Up Coming for Illinois

At the start of the new year, temperatures were very mild and another mild stretch arrives this week.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio the mild weather is going to roll through and top out around 50 degrees on Wednesday.

 

 

Heading through the rest of January, the signal for above-normal temperatures has weakened a bit from recent outlooks but it remains in place nonetheless. Shimon adds, anticipates a wetter than normal pattern in that time. 

 

 

Later this week on Regional Radio, Shimon did a deep dive into the weather from 2022 and we'll hear more on that. 

Illinois Lawmakers Take Up Wind, Solar Oversite

In 2021, DeWitt County officials grew concerned potential legislation at the State level would supersede local control regarding wind and solar energy.

 

With a lame-duck session wrapping up in Springfield, that legislation was brought back up by Illinois lawmakers. State Sen. Chapin Rose says a lot of the regulations coming would override the desire of local residents.

 

 

Sen. Rose says the impacts would be detrimental to the environment, calling out environmental enthusiasts at the State level.

 

 

A fired-up Sen. Rose on the Senate floor over the weekend pointed to storms not just in recent years but this last week that was lost on the National Weather Service Lincoln radar.

 

 

Sen. Rose chided Chicago lawmakers for polluting the Mahomet Aquifer with their natural gas pipeline breaks and not doing anything about it for the people of his district. 

 

The new General Assembly is sworn in on Wednesday. 

Illinois Has New Secretary of State for First Time in More Than 20 Years

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS, ILLINOIS HAS A NEW SECRETARY OF STATE. 

 

IT'S THE END OF AN ERA FOR JESSE WHITE, WHO SERVED AS SECRETARY OF STATE SINCE 1999. THE MAN TAKING HIS PLACE, FORMER ILLINOIS TREASUER ALEXI GIANNOULIS (jih-new-lee-us).

 

 

GIANNOULIS SAYS HE PLANS TO FOCUS ON INCREASING TRANSPARENCY AND USING TECHNOLOGY TO PROVIDE BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE.

 

 

WHITE WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO HOLD THE OFFICE IN 1999 AND IS THE LONGEST SERVING SECRETARY OF STATE IN ILLINOIS HISTORY.

Gov. Pritzker Outlines Priorities Over Next Four Years

AS HE WAS SWORN IN FOR HIS SECOND TERM AS GOVERNOR, J-B PRITZKER DISCUSSED SOME OF HIS PRIORITIES FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. 

 

AFTER TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE THE GOVERNOR EXPRESSED HIS LOVE FOR ILLINOIS AND ITS PEOPLE. HE SAID HE WILL CONTINUE TO FOCUS ON MAKING SURE KIDS GET OFF TO A GOOD START.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS HE ALSO WANTS TO MAKE COLLEGE FREE FOR WORKING FAMILIES, FIGHT HATE CRIMES AND WORK TOWARDS MAKING HEALTH CARE MORE AFFORDABLE.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO SEE REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS BE SOLIDIFIED IN THE STATE CONSTITUTION.

Gas Prices Could Surpass $4 This Summer

Gas prices could be back over four dollars a gallon this summer; at least, that's the word from a petroleum analysis expert.

 

It could be a bumpy road for consumers hitting the highway for summer vacation. According to GasBuddy's Patrick DeHaan, prices are unlikely to hit record levels like in 2022, but the new year could be rough.

 

 

One of the contributing factors to the higher prices is China's economy reopening after significant cases of COVID-19. Another contributing factor is more families needing fuel for summer vacations.

Counties of Excellence Recognized at AFBF Annual Meeting

Local farm bureau work being recognized at the American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting. Champaign County Farm Bureau deemed a county of excellence for their Farm Docs program says assistant manager Bailey Conrady.

 

 

DeKalb, Cook, McLean and a joint effort among Bureau, Marshal-Putnam and Stark also recognized as counties of excellence at AFBF annual meeting.

Congressman LaHood Discusses McCarthy as Speaker

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood explained why he voted to elect Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker of the House.

 

Although it took 15 rounds of voting, LaHood is touting Speaker McCarthy's resume as to why he voted yes on the ballot.

 

 

According to LaHood, the caucus could vote out Speaker McCarthy in six-to-nine months if they disapprove of his work. The Peoria-based Congressman is serving on the ways-and-means committee in the new year.

DeWitt County Board Focusing In On Clearing Up County Codes

Last week on Regional Radio, we heard from the engineer overseeing the Alta Farms II wind farm progress on behalf of DeWitt County.

 

As the project gets slowly closer to going live, language in the current ordinances is making things difficult to interpret for each party. Board Chair Dan Matthews says that is a prime example of why the new Board is taking up the effort to look at ordinances and clean up the language.

 

 

Last year, DeWitt County was approached about a solar farm but the County code only allows development of solar on industrial-zoned ground. With no industrial zone ground available for development, Matthews says that's something that is going to have to be looked at and is optimistic there is a place for solar in DeWitt County.

 

 

As noted on Regional Radio News over the weekend, the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals are now full after action last month by the new Board. 

Decatur Area Arts Council Offering Latest Round of Grant Funding

If you are an entity aimed at furthering arts in your community, a Macon County non-profit wants to help you through its most recent grant cycle.

 

Jerry Johnson is the Executive Director of the Decatur Area Arts Council and explains their grants are good for any organization to help with an event or class or project you may have.

 

 

This is the first of three grant opportunities throughout the year for the Arts Council. Johnson says if promoting the arts is your mission, they want to help you out.

 

 

Johnson believes the DAAC grant applications are not complicated at all and are worth checking out at decaturarts.org. And again the deadline to apply is Feb. 1.

Social Security Numbers for Newborns

When expecting a child, applying for a Social Security number may not be something that you think of. 

 

Jack Myers with Social Security says with a new baby it can be an exciting and stressful time. Luckily there is a simple solution.

 

 

Myers notes you must apply for your baby's Social Security number as soon as possible since it is required to open a savings account, claim them as a dependent on tax returns, and for medical coverage.

 

 

If you apply for the SSN at the hospital, in Illinois it will take approximately 3-4 weeks to receive your card. Myers advises if your baby has a different last name from everyone else in the household to contact the Post Office.

 

 

Myers says if you don't apply at the hospital, you will have to wait until you receive the birth certificate in the mail and visit a Social Security office.

Illinois Lawmakers Approve Legislator Pay Increase

The idea for raising salaries of top Illinois state government officials, which culminated this weekend with the House voting lawmakers an 18% pay hike, began with Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

 

But the Democratic governor said he originally requested that the General Assembly increase pay for his administration’s agency directors to recruit and retain top talent. Pritzker said he wouldn’t presume to tell the General Assembly what its members should be paid.

 

Pritzker said Saturday the Legislature is a coequal branch of government and hasn't had a raise since before the Great Recession and so understands why there’s an interest in doing that.

 

Lame-duck lawmakers are scrambling to act on last-minute — and mostly critical and contentious — issues before the 103rd General Assembly is sworn in on Wednesday.

 

Friday night, the House endorsed a plan to increase spending halfway through the budget year, including $850 million for the state’s “rainy day” fund, $400 million for attracting business, and a $12,904 annual increase in base pay for members of the House and Senate. On top of that $85,000 salary, most members get at least $12,000 or more as stipends for extra duties.

 

The last raise for legislators came in 2008, and concerned about the optics, lawmakers voted against any increase each year until 2019, when the House surprised the Senate by backing out of an agreed-to freeze on cost-of-living increases. A locked-in COLA increase has since been adopted.

 

Pritzker originally commissioned a national salary study of jobs comparable to those of his cabinet. The led to pay raises for 21 agency directors who answer to the governor.

 

Pritzker, a multibillionaire equity investor and philanthropist, began his tenure as governor in 2019 by supplementing salaries of key staff members out of his own checking account.

 

From there, negotiators added in pay raises for six statewide constitutional officers. The proposal awaits action by the Senate, which plans to meet Sunday night. For the constitutional officers’ raises to take effect immediately, they must be signed into law before those officers are sworn in to four-year terms Monday afternoon in the capital.

 

The raises for most are in the 10% range. The lieutenant governor, comptroller and treasurer, for example, would see 10% increases to $160,900. The attorney general and secretary of state will see 9% more in their paychecks, to $183,300. The governor earns $205,700, although Pritzker does not take it.

 

For agency heads, the legislation sets a salary minimum but allows the governor to go above that. And each would receive an annual cost of living adjustment. The top salary set in the bill is $200,000, which would go to chiefs at eight agencies: the departments of Children and Family Services, Corrections, Human Services, Innovation and Technology, Public Health, State Police, Transportation and Veterans Affairs.

Lawmakers Pass Bill Making It Easier to Change Gender on Birth Certificate

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS PASSED LEGISLATION THIS WEEK MAKING IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO CHANGE THE GENDER ON THEIR BIRTH CERTIFICATE. 

 

UNDER THE BILL, THOSE NOT IDENTIFYING WITH THE GENDER ON THEIR BIRTH CERTIFICATE CAN GET IT UPDATED WITHOUT A DOCTOR'S NOTE SAYS SENATOR LAURA FINE OF GLENVIEW.

 

 

FINE SAYS THIS BRINGS BIRTH CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS IN LINE WITH ILLINOIS DRIVER'S LICENSES. THOSE SEEKING A CHANGE CAN CHOOSE THE GENDER DESIGNATION OF MALE, FEMALE OR "X".

 

 

THE BILL STILL MUST BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR. IF THAT HAPPENS, THIS WOULD TAKE EFFECT IN JULY.

Illinois House Passes Abortion Protection Legislation

THE HOUSE IS VOTING TO EXPAND AND PROTECT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE LEGISLATION SHIELDS ABORTION PROVIDERS AND PATIENTS FROM ANY LEGAL TROUBLE AND ENSURES PATIENTS CAN GET OVER-THE-COUNTER BIRTH CONTROL. IT'S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE KELLY CASSIDY OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THE MEASURE IS SUPPORTED BY PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF ILLINOIS' BRIGID LEAHY.

 

 

THE BILL ALSO REQUIRES PUBLIC COLLEGES TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE VENDING MACHINE ON CAMPUS WITH PLAN B EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVES AND MANDATES INSURANCE COVERAGE OF H-I-V PREVENTION DRUGS, GENDER AFFIRMING MEDICATIONS, AND DRUGS TO INDUCE ABORTION. THE SENATE HAS SIMILAR LEGISLATION, ALTHOUGH IT DOES NOT ADDRES GENDER AFFIRMING HEALTH CARE.

Checking FFC Broadband Map

Are you in an underserved or unserved area in terms of broadband? Your voice needs to be heard at the FCC says Bill Bodine—director of business and regulatory affairs for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

 

 

Again, the website broadbandmap.fcc.gov.

DeWitt County Board Fills Vacancies on Regional Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals

One of the first items of action from the new DeWitt County Board last month was to fill vacancies on the Regional Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals.

 

County Board Chair Dan Matthews told Regional Radio there were a few outstanding vacancies that needed to be filled as one of the new Board members came over from the RPC. Additionally, they appointed the ZBA Chair.


 

Jack Young was appointed to the Coon Creek Drainage District. Nelson Thorp was appointed to the DeWitt County Board of Review. Rennie Cluver was appointed to the Sheriff's Merit Commission. 

 

Lynn Atteberry and Elizabeth Burns were appointed to the Regional Planning Commission. Travis Houser, Andy Hedrick, Dave Waters, and John Griffin were appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Waters was also named the Chair of the ZBA. 

Hunters Need to Get Harvest Cards Filled Out

Department of Natural Resources officials are reminding hunters they have until February to get those harvest cards filled out and back to DNR.

 

DNR Conservation Police Capt. John Williamson explains if you hunted or participated in a special hunt on a state site, you need to get those harvest cards back to DNR by Feb. 15.

 

 

Hunters that fail to their harvest cards back to DNR by Feb. 15 could face not being to access the site the next year. 

Weekly Weather Summary

The past week started off warm and ended with a cold snap. State Climatologist Trent Ford let's us know what to expect this weekend and next week...

 

 

Warner Library Highlights 'True Crime' Stories in DeWitt County

If you've found yourself immersed in the 'true crime' craze of the last several years, an upcoming program at the Warner Library is for you.

 

'True crime' is sweeping the country in podcasts, TV docu-series, and much more. According to librarian Corey Campbell, the Warner Library in Clinton has a special program that will be presented this month based on crimes in DeWitt County.

 

 

This program has received so much interest it was originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 and then another date was added for Sat. Jan. 28. Campbell indicates the 21st has a waiting list but you can still join the program for the 28th.

 

 

Get more information by contacting the library at 217-935-5174 or visiting them at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton.

 

You can also follow along with all things Warner Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

DNR Conservation Police Captain Breaks Down New Hunting Rifle Laws in Illinois

At the start of the year, hunters took notice of new regulations regarding hunting rifles in Illinois. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Department of Natural Resources Capt. John Williamson broke down the new law calling it a measure for safety but it also gives hunters more options for firearm use.

 

 

While the new law expands the opportunities for different guns to be used during hunting, it comes with limitations. According to Capt. Williamson, the shell casings have to be a certain length and the guns can only be a single shot. 

 

 

Capt. Williamson indicates questions are flowing in about the change in this law and directs any hunters wanting further details to visit. dnr.illinois.gov. 

University of Illinois Offering Illinois Farm Economics Summit Next Week

Farmers should put next Wednesday, Jan. 11 on the calendar for the annual Illinois Farm Economics Summit in Peoria.

 

University of Illinois Extension Director for Logan, Menard and Sangamon Counties Terri Miller-Casey says the event is from 8 am to noon at the Paradise Casino in Peoria.

 

 

Miller-Casey believes farmers are always living in a crazy time and this can hopefully provide some insight into the craziness of the ag industry and give producers good information.

 

 

Again the Farm Economics Summit is next Wednesday at the Paradise Casino in Peoria. Get more information at extension.illinois.edu. 

Renewed Push to Explore Offshore Wind Energy in Illinois

THERE’S A RENEWED PUSH TO EXPLORE OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY IN ILLINOIS. 

 

SENATOR ROBERT PETERS OF CHICAGO IS SPONSORING LEGISLATION WITH THE GOAL OF SETTING UP WIND PORTS IN LAKE MICHIGAN. THE PROPOSED PILOT PROJECT IS CALLED “RUST BELT TO GREEN BELT” AND WOULD BE A HUGE BOOST TO THE CITY SAYS PETERS.

 

 

HIS BILL SETS THE STAGE TO BUILD WIND PORTS IN LAKE MICHIGAN, OFF THE COAST OF THE CITY’S SOUTHEAST SIDE.

 

 

THE BILL DIRECTS THE STATE TO SEEK FEDERAL FUNDING TO BUILD OFFSHORE WIND PORTS NEAR THE SOUTHEAST SIDE OF CHICAGO. PETERS SAYS IT NEEDS TO BE PASSED QUICKLY SO ILLINOIS DOESN’T MISS OUT ON THE OPPORTUNITY.

Illinois Supreme Court Decision on Safe-T Act Not Expected Until March

The Illinois Supreme Court won’t begin to decide the possible end of cash bail in the state for months. On Thursday, the Court announced that the appeal to the pre-trial detention portion of the SAFE-T-Act wouldn’t be heard until March. Governor JB Pritzker says he’ll wait for the court to do its’ work.

 

 

The Supreme Court stepped in at the end of the year after a judge in Kankakee ruled against the end of cash bail. At that time, cash bail would have been in effect in 62 of the states 102 counites. In order to keep the system equal across Illinois, the Supreme Court put a stay on implementing it and kept all counties operating on the same system.

Illinois Farm Bureau Reacts to Waters of US Ruling

Over 500 pages for ag groups to digest following the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announcing a final rule establishing the definition of the Waters of the U.S. Reaction from Illinois Farm Bureau Director of Environmental Policy Lauren Lurkins.

 

 

The EPA and Corps announced the final rule Dec. 30.

Illinois House Passes Ban on Assault Weapons

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE PASSED A BAN ON ASSAULT WEAPONS EARLY THIS MORNING 

 

SIX MONTHS AFTER THE DEADLY FOURTH OF JULY SHOOTING IN HIGHLAND PARK, LEGISLATION PROHIBITING THE SALE OF ASSAULT RIFLES, RAPID FIRE DEVICES AND MAGAZINES OVER 12 ROUNDS MADE SOME MAJOR HEADWAY. HOUSE SPEAKER CHRIS WELCH:

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES MEIER OF OKAWVILLE ARGUED AGAINST THE BAN, WHICH ALSO LIMITS MAGAZINES TO 12 ROUNDS.

 

 

OPPONENTS ARGUE THE BILL IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND DOESN'T ADDRESS THE MENTAL HEALTH COMPONENT OF MANY MASS SHOOTINGS. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER APPLAUDED HOUSE PASSAGE OF THE MEASURE. IT STILL NEEDS TO BE VOTED ON IN THE SENATE.

Assault Weapons Ban Supported by Gov. Pritzker

As assault weapons ban is still working its way through a lame duck session at the statehouse. JB Pritzker says he fully backs the effort and wants to make the state safer.

 

 

The legislation as it stands would ban the sale and purchase of assault style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

DeWitt County Board Opposes 'Protect Illinois Communities Act'

At last Thursday night's DeWitt County Board meeting, the Board formally voted to oppose the 'Protect Illinois Communities Act'.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Board Chair Dan Matthews told Regional Radio this was brought to the attention of the board by Sheriff Mike Walker and the DeWitt County Sportsman Club.

 

 

The Board's vote was unanimous last Thursday. 

 

Matthews led his first County Board meeting since being appointed Chairman in early December. 

Holidays Proved to Be Hectic for City Public Works Officials

The cold holidays proved to be hectic for Clinton public works personnel.

 

At Tuesday night's Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner John Wise told the Council some water main breaks over the Christmas holiday pushed crews pretty hard but he applauds them for their dedication and City departments working together.

 

 

Other than an ongoing discussion surrounding AirBnBs being allowed in the City limits, Tuesday's meeting was very short with no old or new business to be voted on. 

CENCOM and Constellation to Transition Away from Sirens

The storm sirens known to the citizens of Clinton and DeWitt County will be replaced with texts and emails in the coming years.

 

Tony Harris, DeWitt County CENCOM Coordinator, indicates the sirens owned by Constellation are used by CENCOM to notify the public of storms. Constellation is planning to no longer maintain the sirens.

 

 

Harris says notifications will be done using a vendor similar to what CENCOM is currently using. He notes a big motivation for Constellation to eliminate the sirens is the associated costs.

 

 

Harris notes if someone potentially does not have a cellular device or does not register their phone number they will be contacted through their landline. Harris stresses that currently if someone wants to be contacted by CENCOM for potential storm warnings they will have to register.

 

 

A DeWitt County citizen told Harris that he was concerned about getting the notifications because he was in an area with poor cell service and internet reception. He says that is also a concern with the current siren system and it is being worked on by Constellation and the emergency management agency.

 

 

Harris reminds this project is in the very early stages with Constellation finding a vendor.

 

He says anyone that wants to sign up for CENCOM's Hyper-Reach mobile phone alert system can do that by visiting either the City of Clinton or DeWitt County websites.

Importance of CPR Training Highlighted By Damar Hamlin Incident

After professional football player Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during a game on national television Monday, experts are talking about the importance of knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. 

 

CPR is a life-saving skill, used when someone is unconscious and in cardiac arrest. Jordan Meeks, a pediatric wellness specialist at OSF HealthCare, says it’s a critical skill for young people to learn.

 

 

If someone is having a cardiac event, she says the first thing to do is call 9-1-1. If you’re by yourself, put the phone on speaker while you help the ailing person. Get over the person, interlink your fingers and press hard in the middle of the chest over and over.

Illinois Republicans React to Safe-T Act Ruling

After the Illinois Supreme Court puts the brakes on the pre-trial detention portion of the SAFE-T-ACT, Republicans are lauding the decision.

 

House Minority Leader Jim Durkin says the law needs to go and minor fixes attempted in the past won’t be enough moving forward.

 

 

As no cash bail is paused in Illinois – the Supreme Court is expected to render a final decision on the law in the next few months.

Gov. Pritzker Reacts to Safe-T Ruling

As the Illinois Supreme Court has issued a stay on the decision to change pre-trial detention in the state. Governor JB Pritzker says he is disappointed with the decision but is optimistic that the no-cash bail law will stand the test of constitutionality.

 

 

To start the month Illinois lawmakers are back in Springfield for a lame duck session.

Warner Library Starting Winter Reading Club Next Week

The Warner Library in Clinton will begin a first-time program next week.

 

Last month on Regional Radio News, library officials indicated to Regional Radio they hoped to begin a winter reading club, something its patrons had asked for in recent surveying. On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, children's librarian Corey Campbell indicated this program begins next week for anyone ages five and up.

 

 

Sign-ups for the winter reading club begin next Monday, January 9 when the program also begins. If 15-minute increments of reading are not long enough for you, Campbell indicates they are going to offer the chance for longer reading times. 

 

 

Campbell indicates the program will last for about a month and was born out of surveying its patrons. It's been something the library has wanted to try for some time and they are finally making the program happen in 2023. 

 

Get signed up, again starting next Monday, by stopping into the library at 310 North Quincy Street. 

Clinton High School To Get Multiple Upgrades this Summer

Clinton High School will have a couple of facility upgrades completed this summer.

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles stipulated the finance committee at the December school board meeting asked the board to update the science labs and FACS room at the high school.

 

 

Other facility upgrade priorities include new bleachers for the high school gym and sidewalks between the baseball and softball diamonds. Nettles notes he has heard from many students and community members about wanting a new football/track complex. He says that may be coming but will be several years down the road.

 

 

Nettles says once the board receives the architect's estimate they will know how much the updates will cost and how they want to further prioritize each project.

 

 

Mr. Nettles reports the school board has the cash to pay for some of the projects in full but for other projects they can sell bonds.

 

 

The science labs at the high school and junior high along with the high school FACS kitchen are being prioritized first and are scheduled to be in place by next school year.

Study Finds Increase in Youth Ingesting Marijuana Products

A NEW STUDY OUT OF THE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE FINDS A NATIONAL INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF KIDS INGESTING EDIBLE MARIJUANA PRODUCTS.

 

RESEARCHERS LOOKED AT DATA FROM 2017 TO 2021, NOTING THE NUMBER OF REPORTED CASES OF A CHILD YOUNGER THAN SIX EATING A CANNABIS PRODUCT SHOT UP BY MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND PERCENT. SIU MED SCHOOL’S DOCTOR MARIT TWEET:

 

 

SHE SAYS POSSIBLE REASONS INCLUDE STATES LEGALIZING RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA, THE PANDEMIC AND THE FORM OF EDIBLES.

 

 

OVER SEVEN THOUSAND CASES WERE CONFIRMED DURING THE FIVE-YEAR TIME PERIOD AND NEARLY A QUARTER OF THOSE KIDS ENDED UP IN THE HOSPITAL. MOST INCIDENTS OCCURRED IN A HOME.

December Weather a Mixed Bag in Illinois

ILLINOIS SURE EXPERIENCED A MIXED BAG OF WEATHER TO KICK OFF WINTER LAST MONTH.

 

THE STATEWIDE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR DECEMBER WAS 29 POINT FOUR DEGREES, BUT THAT DOESN’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD. THE FIRST HALF OF THE MONTH WAS WARMER THAN NORMAL, BUT THEN AN ARCTIC BLAST SET IN MID-DECEMBER.

 

 

FORD SAYS IT’S UNUSUAL TO SEE TEMPERATURES GET THAT COLD IN DECEMBER. HE NOTES THAT LAST MONTH WAS THE FIRST TIME SINCE JULY THAT PRECIPITATION WAS ABOVE NORMAL. FAR SOUTHERN ILLINOIS SAW THE MOST, WITH OVER FIVE INCHES.

 

 

THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER IS FORECASTING A LATE-BLOOMING LA NINA EVENT, WHICH MEANS A WARMER AND WETTER START TO THE NEW YEAR. 

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month

THIS IS HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS MONTH. 

 

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES REMINDS THAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING DOES OCCUR TO CHILDREN HERE IN ILLINOIS, AT AN AVERAGE AGE OF 14. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER URGES THE PUBLIC TO FAMILIARIZE THEMSELVES WITH THE WARNING SIGNS:

 

 

SIGNS INCLUDE AN ADULT SPEAKING FOR A CHILD, A CHILD SEEMINGLY OUT OF PLACE GIVEN THE TIME OF DAY OR NIGHT OR PERFORMING WORK INAPPROPRIATE FOR THEIR AGE.

 

 

IF YOU SUSPECT A CHILD IS IN TROUBLE, CALL 9-1-1 AND THE D-C-F-S CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE AT: 1-800-25-ABUSE.

DeWitt County's Alta Farms Wind Farm Closer to Going Online, Still Very Behind Schedule

Mid-summer 2022, Alta Farms representatives hoped to have the Alta Farms II wind farm online by the fall but a recent report from the engineer overseeing the project for DeWitt County indicates things are very behind.

 

Terry Fountain with Cummins Engineering at last Thursday night's DeWitt County Board meeting informed the Board there seems to be some pushback from Enel through the final stages on things that are in the local ordinances as well as their own documents.

 

 

Fountain brought a couple of concerns regarding the local ordinances in terms of enforcement of those ordinances. The first being curtailment of the turbines during severe weather to which he offered a couple of possibilities. Enel faces a $5,000 fine in the event they do not curtail the turbines in certain severe weather events.

 

 

According to Fountain, the County Board may still be able to temporarily hold up the project if Enel comes to the County with a request to go live with the project but there are things not up to par in the eyes of the County.

 

 

Among the final bullet points from Fountain, the decommissioning agreement has several anniversary milestones for funding and review.

 

 

Fountain does not have a firm timeline for when Enel may be ready to go live with the project. Regional Radio's last correspondence with Enel indicated they hoped the project would be live by the first of the year, but obviously, that has come and gone and the turbines are still not in operation. 

National Weather Service on What to Expect Rest of Winter

The National Weather Service is predicting more rain and snow for the rest of winter.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service office in Lincoln indicates current models show above-normal precipitation and equal chances of either above or below-normal temperatures.

 

 

Shimon says the weather for the rest of winter should be similar to conditions for the rest of January.

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