Local News

Two Illinois Teens Die in Ski Accident at Colorado Resort

A central Illinois community is in mourning a day after two local teens were killed while sledding at a Colorado ski resort.

 

Paula Crane, superintendent of the Prairie Central school district in Fairbury, confirmed Monday that two students from Prairie Central High School died in a “tragic accident.”

 

She declined to identity them out of respect for their families. A local church will be offering counseling for any students or staff.

 

The two students, ages 18 and 17, had been on spring break.

 

The young men were riding in tandem down the halfpipe at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Summit County when they launched off a large snowbank at the bottom, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Authorities say both teens then landed on hard ice and suffered blunt force trauma. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

 

The teens’ bodies have been turned over to the county coroner’s office, which will determine the exact cause and manner of death.

 

Authorities did not release further details.

 

Copper Mountain Ski Resort, which lies roughly 75 miles (121 kilometers) west of Denver, is a popular draw for skiers and riders with over 2,500 acres (1,012 hectares) of high alpine terrain.

Clinton YMCA Anticipates New Gymnasium Floor in Next Few Weeks

A Clinton non-profit is excited about the last leg of a recent facility update that should start in the next few weeks.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Rennie Cluver, Executive Director of the Clinton YMCA told Regional Radio the facility anticipates the gymnasium floor to be replaced starting Monday, April 3.

 

 

According to Cluver, all the improvements are going to bring a new dynamic of possibilities for Y programming. He envisions a reduced burden of asking the school district for its facilities and increasing adult opportunities.

 

 

Cluver notes the cost has been pretty reasonable on the project despite the continued reports of increasing costs of supplies and materials for other sectors.

 

 

Cluver reminds this project was made possible thanks to grant dollars DeWitt County made available through the American Rescue Plan Act funds.

 

 

Once the gym project wraps up, the YMCA's strategic planning committee will begin to look at the rest of the facility and where they could improve next. Cluver notes they could target making the flooring across the main level more uniform. He says they could use updated cardio equipment in the wellness center.

 

Cluver notes they are targeting the first week of April for the installation because there will be Y-Zone Extreme next week as it is spring break in the school district so there will be students in the gym at that time.

Lincoln City Council to Approve Cleanup Extension Agreement with Lincoln Speedway

The Lincoln Speedway is requesting an agreement for the extension of the racing curfew during the racing season and the new language will clean things up.

 

That's according to Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch - who anticipates the approval of the agreement this week - that gives the Lincoln Speedway a 30-minute of extension of four races throughout the racing season depending on the day of the week.

 

 

The Mayor indicates Lincoln Speedway is a great partner to the community that brings in some big-time race names and offers a great economic boom to the community.

 

 

Like many issues, the Mayor notes there are residents in Lincoln, and more specifically those that live near the speedway, that understand that the noise is a part of the venue, and those that are opposed to it altogether. 

 

He notes, this was a discussion brought up by Council members that enjoy the events at the speedway. 

Legislation Would Make it Illegal to Drive With Your Pet in Your Lap

LEGISLATION PENDING IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE MAKES IT ILLEGAL TO DRIVE WITH YOUR PET IN YOUR LAP. 

 

THE CONCERN IS THAT PETS CAN BE A DISTRACTION, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE BEHIND THE WHEEL WITH YOU. THE BILL FROM REPRESENTATIVE JAWAHARIAL (jah-wah-harial) "OMAR" WILLIAMS OF CHICAGO MAKES IT AGAINST THE LAW FOR YOUR POOCH OR CAT TO RIDE IN YOUR LAP.

 

 

 HE NOTES THAT CURRENT STATE DISTRACTED DRIVING LAWS DON'T ADDRESS THE PROBLEM.

 

 

THE BILL UNANIMOUSLY PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE AND NOW AWAITS A VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Promoting 'Farm SOS'

The Illinois Department of Agriculture continues to promote the Farm Family Resource Initiative. IDOA Director Jerry Costello says it’s all about making sure mental health services are available to farmers.

 

 

The Farm Family Resource Initiative is administered through the SIU Med School. Again, the Farm Family Resource Helpline is 833-FARM-SOS.

Illinois Attorney General Urging Lawmakers to Pass 'Work Without Fear Act'

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL IS URGING LAWMAKERS TO PASS THE "WORK WITHOUT FEAR ACT."

 

THE BILL AIMS TO PROTECT WORKERS WHO COME FORWARD ABOUT PROBLEMS ON THE JOB. ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL SAYS FEAR OF RETALIATION IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON EMPLOYEES DON'T REPORT ABUSE OR POOR WORKING CONDITIONS, NOTING THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE OF IMMIGRANT WORKERS.

 

 

THIS BILL IS DESIGNED TO FURTHER PROTECT EMPLOYEES.

 

 

THE BILL HAS PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE AND NOW AWAITS A VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.

IDPH Seeing Increase in Serious Strep Throat Cases in Children

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REPORTING AN INCREASE IN SERIOUS CASES OF STREP THROAT IN CHILDREN.

 

IT'S THE GROUP "A" STREP CASES THAT ARE RISING, LEAVING FIVE ILLINOIS CHILDREN DEAD DUE TO STREP-RELATED COMPLICATIONS SO FAR THIS YEAR. THE STATE'S CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, DOCTOR ARTI BARNES SAYS SYMPTOMS CAN COME ON FAST AND INCLUDE A VERY SORE THROAT AND A FEVER. SHE RECOMMENDS GETTING YOUR CHILD A RAPID STREP TEST SO THEY CAN START ANTIBIOTICS IF NECESSARY.

 

 

THE TROUBLE STARTS WHEN KIDS DON'T RESPOND TO THE MEDICATION AND DEVELOP OTHER SYMPTOMS.

 

 

DOCTOR BARNES SAYS IF YOUR CHILD DOESN'T SEEM TO BE GETTING BETTER AND IS COMPLAINING ABOUT A COUGH, STOMACH ACHE, WEAKNESS OR OTHER NEW SYMPTOM, IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO CHECK WITH THEIR DOCTOR TO MAKE SURE THE INFECTION HASN'T REACHED THEIR BLOOD STREAM.

Chilly March Remains

March has turned colder in Illinois and things aren’t going to radically change in the next few weeks. Meteorologist Eric Snodgrass says overall the extended forecast is for chilly weather to continue.

 

 

Snodgrass says the forecast is indicating that there won’t be much opportunity for early field work for farmers.

DeWitt County Museum Season Opens April 1

When the DeWitt County Museum opens for the season on Saturday, April 1, patrons will be able to view a new exhibit as well as building updates.

 

DeWitt County Museum Director Joey Long told Regional Radion on the WHOW Morning Show, while the museum was closed for the winter the carpet on the staircase was replaced and the visitor bathroom was renovated.

 

 

Another update to the house was returning a doll display into a linen closet. Long felt this was appropriate due to the museum's intent and purpose.

 

 

The 'Historic Houses of DeWitt County' is a new exhibit that will be debuting when the new season opens. Long mentions this exhibit could not have happened without the response she received from the community and is thankful for their support.

 

 

The DeWitt County Museum opens for tours on Saturday, April 1. For information on admission and hours visit www.chmoorehomestead.org or call (217) 935-6066.

Head Start Now Accepting Applications for 23-24 School Year

Community Action is beginning to accept applications for its preschool program for next year.

 

Jennifer DeWeese, Executive Director of Community Action, indicates they are currently accepting applications for Head Start for the 2023-24 school year. The selection process will begin in May.

 

 

DeWeese notes Head Start is a preschool program for qualifying families that uses a curriculum comparable to other local preschools. Another program Early Head Start is center-based and operates similarly to daycare.

 

 

To apply for Head Start visit capcil.org or visit any Community Action location. Applications are due May 1.

2023 Master Farmers

The 2023 Illinois Master Farmers are being celebrated. Among the honorees is David Meiss (meese) from Gridley.

 

 

Other 2023 Illinois Master Farmers--Martin Barbre of Carmi, Ron Moore of Roseville, and Curt Strode of Marietta.

March is National Nutrition Month

A University of Illinois Extension Educator is reminding March is National Nutrition Month.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf, U of I Extension Nutrition Educator for Piatt, DeWitt, and Macon counties, says six key nutrients are essential to overall health and wellness. The first three are water, vitamins, and minerals.

 

 

Mellendorf indicates while we need small amounts of water, vitamins, and minerals, the last three key nutrients our bodies require large amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

 

 

Drinking eight glasses of water per day is not always accurate according to Mellendorf. She notes children may not be able to drink that much water, and people working outside during the summer heat may need to drink more than that.

 

 

Mellendorf says it is better to get vitamins from food rather than supplements. She says if you are taking a multivitamin supplement be sure to read the label and make sure it does not contain one hundred percent of any recommended daily values.

 

 

Mellendorf points out anyone seeking more information on nutrition or wanting to work with a registered dietician to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, eatright.org/nnm.

BBB Scam Tracker Stays Busy

Although it’s been around for a while, an investigator with the Better Business Bureau reminds you can take a look at what scams are being reported in your neighborhood or anywhere else in North America just by going to their website. The agency has a tool called Scam Tracker, which maps out the various reports of scammers in near-real-time. BBB Investigator Don O’Brien says one of the riskiest scams being reported is the “employment scam,” with the average loss in 2022 coming in at about $1,500.

 

 

Employment scams topped the list. He says you can search scams by name or type, spot trends, or track scams using demographic data. You can find the Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Health Departments across the state of Illinois are providing information on how early detection is the key to saving lives. RaeAnn Tucker is with the Henry and Stark County Health Department...

 

 

Colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in Illinois

Illinoisan Playing Key Role in Ag Day Event in Washington

An Illinoisan playing a key role in helping organize Tuesday’s National Ag Day event in Washington D.C. Amy Bradford says it’s an important responsibility.

 

 

Bradford works for Bloomington based GROWMARK.

Illinois House Passes Bill Banning Cat Declawing

HOUSE LAWMAKERS PASSED A BILL THURSDAY BANNING CAT DECLAWING.

 

DECLAWING WOULD BE OUTLAWED UNDER THE MEASURE, EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN MEDICAL REASONS. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE BARBARA HERNANDEZ OF AURORA WHO SAYS THE PROCEDURE IS CRUEL.

 

 

BUT OPPONENTS, LIKE REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES MEIER (meyer) OF OKAWVILLE SAY THERE DOESN’T NEED TO BE A BAN.

 

 

VIOLATORS FACE FINES STARTING AT 500 DOLLARS. OPPONENTS ARGUE THAT SOME OWNERS HAVE AN IMMUNE DISORDER AND A SCRATCH FROM A CAT’S CLAW COULD LEAD TO INFECTION. THE BILL WILL NEXT BE CONSIDERED BY THE ILLINOIS SENATE.

House Passes Bill to Better Protect Rideshare Customers

THE ILLINOIS HOUSE PASSED A BILL THIS WEEK THAT AIMS TO KEEP RIDSHARE CUSTOMERS SAFE. 

 

THE LEGISLATION PLACES COMPANIES LIKE UBER AND LYFT UNDER WHAT'S CALLED "COMMON CARRIER" LAWS. THAT MEANS THEY WOULD BE HELD TO HIGHER SAFETY STANDARDS, JUST LIKE TAXI'S ARE SAYS REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER GONG-GERSHOWITZ OF GLENVIEW.

 

 

BUT OTHERS, LIKE REPRESENTATIVE PATRICK WINDHORST OF METROPOLIS, HAVE CONCERNS.

 

 

THE BILL STILL NEEDS TO BE PASSED BY THE SENATE.

CJHS FACS Students Get Real World Experience

Clinton Junior High School Family and Consumer Science students this school year have been allowed to put into practice what they have learned.

 

Michelle Knap, CJHS FACS teacher, indicates her advanced class has been providing food for tournament hospitality rooms.

 

 

Students from the hosting school providing food for hospitality rooms have been a growing trend recently.

Willow Tree Missions Announces Trivia Night April

Trivia Night returns in Piatt County hosted by Willow Tree Missions.

 

Executive Director Jill Maxey indicates it will take place on Saturday, April 1 at the Monticello Community Building. Tickets are on sale now at willowtreemissions.org.

 

 

Maxey indicates Willow Tree Missions is halfway through its ongoing capital campaign and April's fundraiser will help them raise money for egress windows on the second level of the building and a new sign. 

 

 

Doors open for Trivia Night at 6 pm and games start at 7 pm. Find the 'Trivia Night' tab at willowtreemisssions.org. Tickets are $15 for an individual or a table is $150. Tickets are available at the Willow Tree Missions resale shop as well. 

House GOP pushing legislation to prevent fentanyl related deaths

ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE PUSHING LEGISLATION TO HELP PREVENT FENTANYL-RELATED DEATHS. 

 

THE BILL LETS PHARMACISTS AND RETAILERS SELL FENTANYL TEST STRIPS. REPRESENTATIVE BILL HAUTER OF MORTON, ALSO A DOCTOR, SAYS THESE STRIPS NEED TO BE EASILY ACCESSIBLE.

 

 

UNDER THE BILL, RETAILERS AND PHARMACISTS WOULD BE ABLE TO SELL FENTANYL TEST STRIPS, AND COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS COULD DISTRIBUTE THEM FOR FREE. THE STRIPS CAN DETECT THE PRESENCE OF FENTANYL IN A DRUG, WHICH IS VITAL SINCE ONLY A TRACE AMOUNT CAN POTENTIALLY KILL SOMEONE. REPRESENTATIVE JEFF KEICHER OF SYCAMORE LOST A COUSIN TO A FENTANYL-RELATED OVERDOSE.

 

 

THE MEASURE HAS CLEARED A HOUSE COMMITTEE.

State gets another credit upgrade

The State of Illinois has received another credit upgrade. Governor JB Pritzker says it’s a positive financial story that leads to taxpayer dollars being better spent in the state.

 

 

The upgrade was from Moody’s and now it joins S & P with giving the state a rating that begins with an A.

Weekend Weather Forecast

Last week ended with a cold stretch that will linger throughout the weekend. Temperatures will warm up to start the work week. University of Illinois Extentsion's Todd Gleason has this report...

 

 

CCEF Awards 2023 Classroom Grants

Thursday morning the Clinton Community Education Foundation awarded its annual classroom grants.

 

Leslie Creager, a preschool teacher at Douglas School, received $540.07 for independent workstations.

 

 

Shannon O'Conner is the counselor for Douglas and Lincoln schools and she received $700 for the social-emotional learning curriculum.

 

 

The three kindergarten teachers at Douglas School received $1,320 for Osmo Learning. Paula Barton indicates it will allow students to be more hands on about what they are learning in the classroom.

 

 

Lincoln School kindergarten teacher Angela Ball received $450 for hands-on learning kits to help with reading development.

 

 

Second-grade teacher Bethany Coffman at CES received a grant to help with Read Across Clinton.

 

 

CES Reading Teacher Lindsey French received $100 towards purchasing a curriculum for English language learners.

 

 

$320 was awarded to Haley Bevans, a 6th-grade science teacher at CJHS, that will be used for volcano projects as part of the earth science unit.

 

 

CJHS seventh grade science teacher Kristen Cooper received $1,609.62 to help with her classes' STEM Day at the YMCA on May 12.

 

 

Michelle Knap is the junior high FACS teacher and she received $3,914 for a mobile demonstration table with a mirror and cooktop.

 

 

CJHS intervention teacher Kristi Payne received $949.75 for reading games.

 

 

Diana King, a CJHS special education teacher, received $500 to assist her living skills class take field trips.

 

 

Clinton High School shop teachers Fred Knap and Mark Tarbox were able to purchase a CNC plasma arc cutter with a $5,000 grant.

 

 

Joe Scanavino is a German teacher at CHS and he received $500 to start a German American Partnership Program at the high school. 

 

 

Terry Husted with CCEF notes the classroom grants help fill the gap that is left by regular school funding and to enhance the learning experience in Clinton schools.

 

 

Husted indicates in addition to regular classroom grants, CCEF also has recurring grants for projects that occur every year.

U of I Releases New Nitrogen Recommendation

Universities across the Midwest have released nitrogen recommendations for 2023.

 

Doug Gucker, U of I Extension Educator indicates based on field research and tests from last year, 185 pounds of nitrogen per acre was more than enough for corn.

 

 

Gucker says the current recommendation will help producers stay profitable despite the increasing prices of nitrogen.

 

 

The nitrogen rate calculator can be accessed by visiting ifca.com/MRTN_tools.

State getting more revenue than expected

The state of Illinois is expecting to bring in a billion dollars more in tax revenue than first expected for the existing budget year and the next one. So what do to do about the expected surplus is now drawing attention from the Governor and Lawmakers. Governor JB Pritzker says he’s glad to see the extra revenue arrive and its improved the overall fiscal condition of the state, so now might be time to really drill down and see what’s next.

 

 

The Governor and lawmakers have until the end of May to set and vote on a budget.

IDOA promoting Illinois Centennial Farms program

For over 50 years, Illinois has been honoring the heritage of local farms. The Illinois Centennial Farms program is an effort of the State Department of Agriculture says the agency’s Rachel Hettrick.

 

 

Hettrick says 16 Illinois farms have now been certified as Bicentennial Farms.

 

To seek designation, Illinois family farms can reach out at agr.centfarms@illinois.gov or visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s website.

Pritzker touting MAP grant funding

Governor JB Pritzker is stopping at Junior Colleges to tout what recent funding increases to MAP Grants has meant to students.

 

After fully funding the grants in recent state budgets Pritzker says every student eligible for a grant is now receiving one –he says it’s a major change from the way it used to be.

 

 

Pritzker is seeking another $100 million to be dedicated to MAP Grants in the upcoming state budget.

Teacher shortage legislation

A downstate lawmaker is advancing legislation to help schools with the teacher shortage.

 

According to State Senator Tom Bennett, his measure would allow retiring teachers to come back to the classroom.

 

 

Bennett's bill, backed by various groups, would allow teachers receiving retirement benefits to return to the classroom for up to 1-hundred 50-days per school year.

 

The measure also allows teachers to continue in the classroom for up to 1-hundred days after 2026.

Warner Library Seeing Increase in Usage of Materials

The Warner Library is pleased that circulation is starting to increase.

 

Samantha Rusk is the Business Manager at the Clinton library and says they saw an increase in people visiting year-over-year.


 

While a library card gets you access to so many materials in circulation, Rusk notes there are things they offer you do not need a library card for. She notes a library is free though and is valid at any library in the state.

 

 

Nearly 100,000 items were checked out last year alone. Rusk indicates that is on par with years past and a couple thousand of those are digital. They are also happy to see new users coming into the library. 


 

Rusk notes, the library is also more than just books. They have DVDs, BlueRays, videogames, and even a 'library of things' from garden supplies and other home improvement tools for those one-time DIY projects. 

 

Learn more about all things Warner Library by finding them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Or you can visit vwarner.org or stop in at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton. 

LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club Touting New DeWitt County Facility

A McLean County sportsman group is highlighting a new tract of land in northern DeWitt County open to the public.

 

The LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club had a facility that ended up going defunct and found land in northern DeWitt County. Ed Johnson with the Club indicates it is a fully functional indoor range with an outdoor range in the process of construction.

 

 

The LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club has a nearly 50-year history in central Illinois. Johnson explains in that time, they operated out of LeRoy. He says the need to find a new tract of land for a range was something they knew was going to happen.

 

 

Becoming a member of the LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club gets you access to the American Heritage Range. He explains when you join the club, you have access to the facility. There are a few stipulations to becoming a member.

 

 

Americanheritagerange.org is the best way to find more information. Johnson indicates there you will find links to information about the LeRoy Rifle and Pistol Club as well as membership information and much more. 

Scovill Zoo in Decatur Excited to Showcase Remodeled Herpaquarium Building

We're a few weeks away from the Scovill Zoo in Decatur opening up and it won't be ready to showcase opening day, but the zoo is excited about a major project they started over the winter.

 

Executive Director Ken Frye indicates the herpaquarium building was totally gutted and revamped on the inside.

 

 

According to Frye, funding for the project came together from a significant donation and then a grant through the State of Illinois.

 

 

The Scovill Zoo opens on April 1. Frye hopes within the first month of the zoo being open the herpaquarium will open up at some point. 

 

Frye directs anyone wanting more information about the spring season ahead at the zoo to the Scovill Zoo Facebook page. 

Warner Hospital Foundation 'Glo-Bingo' Tickets Selling Fast

Time is running out to get tickets for an upcoming event that is sure to be fun for everyone that attends.

 

Glo-Bingo comes to Clinton next Friday night benefiting the Warner Hospital Foundation. Executive Director of the Foundation Curt Homann indicates this event was a huge hit last year when it was held in Lincoln and bringing it to Clinton at the Georgia Jill this year, they anticipate a huge crowd.

 

 

A Friday night fundraiser is something Homann feels would be a good change of pace for the community and hopefully bring in folks looking to unwind from a long week.

 

 

Tickets are $25 apiece and can be purchased online. Homann directs anyone interested to visit the Warner Hospital Foundation Facebook page for more details. If tickets are still available, they will be $30 at the door the night of the event.

 

Doors open for the event at 6 pm and GloBingo starts at 7 pm. 

Willow Tree Missions Seeing Increase in Domestic Abuse

A Piatt County non-profit reports it is seeing an increase in domestic abuse locally.

 

Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County says the increase is noticeable in the first quarter of 2023. Executive Director Jill Maxey notes the silver lining is victims are at least coming forward.

 

 

Susan Houston indicates they are seeing very complex situations and each one has its own circumstance that makes it unique.

 

 

According to Houston, there could be a variety of factors contributing to this upward trend. She feels the economic situation for a lot of people. Maxey does note, that doesn't mean domestic abuse is an issue exclusive to lower-income households.

 

 

Houston also suspects we're starting to see some of the impacts of the COVID lockdowns trickle down for those individuals stuck in a cycle of abuse that had no outlets the last few years.

 

 

Maxey points out they are concerned about some resources that were available during COVID going away as dollars dry up. She explains Piatt County agencies are hoping to work together to make sure they continue to offer services and support to its communities. 

 

To learn more about Willow Tree Mission, visit willowtreemission.org or find them on Facebook. For domestic violence or crisis services, call 217-631-1018. 

Staying Consistent With Exercise Key to Progress

Staying consistent in exercising is the key to making progress with your health goals.

 

Dr. Jim LaValle, author of 'Cracking the Metabolic Code' and the Clinical Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Performance Health Program indicates doing small workouts to start and build up from there.

 

 

According to Dr. LaValle, the average person struggles with consistency and so developing consistency will develop a lifestyle.

 

 

Dr. LaValle says if we eat too much, don't exercise, are under a lot of stress, and don't get enough sleep, we're not going to live long.

 

 

The nationally renowned author is doing a couple of re-writes of his popular titles in 2023. If you enjoy his encouragement on Regional Radio, check him out at jimlavalle.com. 

Today is Equal Pay Day

TODAY IS EQUAL PAY DAY. 

 

EQUAL PAY DAY MARKS HOW MUCH LONGER A WOMAN MUST WORK TO MATCH WHAT A MAN MADE THE PREVIOUS YEAR. ON AVERAGE, WOMEN EARN 84 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR A MALE GETS. REPRESENTATIVE ANNA MOELLER OF ELGIN SAYS THIS CAN HAVE LONG-TERM ECONOMIC EFFECTS.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE MARY BETH CANTY OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS SPOKE OUT ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.

 

 

ON AVERAGE, WOMEN EARN ABOUT 84 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR A MAN MAKES.

 

MOELLER SAYS WAGE DISCREPANCIES ARE EVEN BROADER FOR MINORITY WOMEN.

Slow Moving Vehicle Sign Celebrates 60 Years

Here is a did you know. The slow-moving vehicle sign is celebrating its 60th year.

 

 

Rodney Knittel serves as Illinois Farm Bureau Assistant Director of Transportation and Infrastructure. He says you’ll be seeing more of the slow-moving vehicle signs on area roadways as spring planting season ramps up.

Illinois State Police Say They Are Seeing More Road Rage

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS SEEING AN INCREASE IN ROAD RAGE. 

 

THERE ARE A LOT OF ANGRY DRIVERS ACROSS THE STATE, BUT ESPECIALLY IN THE CHICAGO AREA WHERE ROAD RAGE IS TIED TO QUITE A FEW EXPRESSWAY SHOOTINGS SAYS TROOPER JAYME BUFFORD (buff-ord).

 

 

SHE OFFERS THIS ADVICE IF YOU END UP NEAR A REALLY ANGRY DRIVER.

 

 

TROOPER BUFFORD ALSO SAYS YOU SHOULDN’T MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE ANGRY DRIVER AND IF THEY ARE FOLLOWING OR HARASSING YOU, CALL 9-1-1.

Gov. Pritzker Joins 14 Other Governors Calling for Major Pharmacies to Clarify Stance on Dispensing Abortion Medication

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS CALLING ON MAJOR PHARMACIES TO CLARIFY THEIR POSITION ON MAKING ABORTION MEDICATION ACCESSIBLE TO CUSTOMERS.

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER AND 14 OF HIS COUNTERPARTS IN OTHER STATES WANT TO HEAR FROM COMPANIES LIKE C-V-S, TARGET, WALMART AND KROGER ABOUT WHERE THEY STAND.

 

 

THAT ONE IS WALGREENS, WHICH ANNOUNCED THAT STORES IN CERTAIN STATES WILL NOT DISPENSE ABORTION MEDICATION. THE GOVERNOR HAS CALLED THAT DEEPLY CONCERNING.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER AND 14 OTHER STATE LEADERS WANT TO HEAR WHAT PHARMACIES LIKE C-V-S, KROGER, SAFEWAY, COSTCO, WALMART AND TARGET PLAN TO DO.

Senior Feeding Program Emphasizing Nutrition

March is National Nutrition Month and a central Illinois non-profit is highlighting its work to offer seniors nutritious meals.

 

Shelly Tolly with OSF Peace Meal indicates in the most recent newsletter they send to their recipients, they were highlighting the importance of nutrition.

 

 

When seniors receive a Peace Meal delivered to their homes, they receive information about the importance of things like hydration. Tolly hopes it helps seniors because nutrition is so important as we age.

 

 

Peace Meal offers lunches to seniors via home-delivered meals for homebound seniors or congregate meals at sites across central Illinois.

 

There is a suggested donation of $3.50 per meal but Tolly hopes that won't deter seniors from seeking out a meal. Get more information by calling 309-665-5900. 

Lincoln High School to Receive Bids on Bathroom Project This Week

A significant project expected to be taken up this summer at Lincoln High School gets its price tag this week.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Lincoln High School Superintendent Dwight Stricklin told Regional Radio they are going to be adding women's bathrooms to the sports entrance of the school.

 

 

The bids for the project get returned on Wednesday. Stricklin is hoping those will come in at a little less than a half-million dollars.

 

 

According to Stricklin, if the bids come in at a reasonable enough cost, they hope to resurface the existing tennis courts on the campus and add a couple more. 

 

 

Once the tennis court project is taken care of, the Lincoln High School Board of Education will sit and re-evaluate what is next for its facilities.

 

The district in the last couple of years has made improvements to the building, added turf to the baseball and softball fields, and flipped the home bleachers and press box on the football field to the opposite side among other sports facilities improvements. 

 

Stricklin would like to see turf added on the football field and turf installed in the outfield of the softball and baseball fields. 

Planning Ahead for Vacation

If you're planning a vacation this summer, the Better Business Bureau is offering some advice when booking a stay. Investigator Don O'Brien says if you are leaning toward a vacation rental, watch out for properties that either aren’t for rent, don’t exist, or are significantly different than pictures.

 

 

He says Air BnB and VRBO both do a good job vetting their listings. Watch out for the promise of low fees and great amenities, especially if your contact tries to create a false sense of urgency.

Illinois Comptroller Supporting COVID Legislation Involving Duty Disability

Lawmakers and the Comptroller are seeking a state law to give duty disability to Chicago Police Officers and Firefighters who contracted COVID-19 during the earliest part of the pandemic.

 

For Comptroller Susana Mendoza this is personal – her brother a Chicago Police Officer got COVID before he could get a vaccine and spent months in the hospital, is now permanently disabled, unable to work and now has to suffer financially.

 

 

Duty disability would have given him 75% of salary and healthcare benefits. The bill has broad bipartisan support and is expected to pass the House and Senate.

Gov. Pritzker Signs Law Guaranteeing 40 Hours of Paid Leave for Illinois Workers

GOVERNOR J-B PRITKZER IS SIGNING A NEW LAW GUARANTEEING ILLINOIS WORKERS UP TO 40 HOURS OF PAID LEAVE EACH YEAR.

 

ILLINOIS IS NOW THE THIRD STATE IN THE NATION WITH SUCH A LAW, ENSURING EMPLOYEES THAT NEED TO TEND TO A SICK CHILD, GO TO A DENTIST APPOINTMENT OR GET THEIR CAR FIXED CAN DO SO WITHOUT LOSING MONEY, OR THEIR JOB. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON, WHO CARED FOR HER MOTHER WITH ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE, SAYS HAVING THIS PAID LEAVE TIME WILL HELP EASE THE BURDEN WHEN LIFE GETS IN THE WAY.

 

 

SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD.

 

 

THE LAW TAKES EFFECT NEXT YEAR AND WORKERS WILL BE ABLE TO USE THE TIME FOR ANY REASON.

Gov. Pritzker Remains Confident Cash Bail, Assault Weapons Ban Will Be Upheld

COURT CASES CHALLENGING TWO MAJOR STATE LAWS ARE NOW BEFORE THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT, BUT GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE REMAINS CONFIDENT THAT BOTH WILL BE UPHELD AS CONSTITUTIONAL. 

 

AFTER A MACON COUNTY JUDGE RULED THE RECENT LAW BANNING ASSAULT WEAPONS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, THE SUPREME COURT AGREED TO AN ACCELERATED SCHEDULE FOR APPEAL. ORAL ARGUMENTS ARE SET FOR MAY, AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE STATE EXPECTS TO PREVAIL.

 

 

ORAL ARGUMENTS IN THE LAWSUIT AGAINST THE NO-CASH BAIL PORTION OF THE SAFE-T ACT WILL BE HEARD TUESDAY (TOMORROW). AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON AN UNREALTED MATTER, THE GOVERNOR WAS ASKED HOW HE THOUGHT THAT WOULD TURN OUT.

 

 

THE LAW BANNING ASSAULT WEAPONS IS ALSO BEFORE THE ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT WITH ORAL ARGUMENTS SCHEDULED FOR MAY.

8th Warmest Winter on Rcord in Illinois

THIS WINTER HAS BEEN THE EIGHTH WARMEST ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS.

 

FOR WEATHER PURPOSES, WINTER RUNS DECEMBER THROUGH FEBRUARY. STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD SAYS THE AVERAGE STATEWIDE TEMPERATURE DURING THAT TIME WAS 33 POINT SEVEN DEGREES, NEARLY FOUR DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.

 

 

FORD SAYS THE AVERAGE STATEWIDE TEMPERATURE WAS 33 POINT SEVEN DEGREES, NEARLY FOUR DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.

 

 

FORD SAYS THIS WAS THE 34TH WETTEST WINTER ON RECORD IN ILLINOIS, WITH AVERAGE STATEWIDE PRECIPITATION ABOUT THREE QUARTERS OF AN INCH ABOVE NORMAL.

Final Days for Business Expo Registration

If you are an area business or non-profit interested in being a part of this year's Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, the deadline to register is this week.

 

Janice Peterson indicates those registrations are due this Wednesday for the March 30 event from 4 pm to 7 pm at Clinton High School.

 

 

Peterson indicates the annual paper shred through Heartland Bank will take place again this year. That is a free offering although there is a limit to how much they will shred. Additionally, the YMCA will do a pickleball showcase and the Clinton High School thespians will be doing a brief production. 

 

 

Peterson encourages anyone interested in being a part of this year's business expo to contact the Chamber this week. Again that registration deadline is Wednesday.

 

The Chamber Business Expo is Thursday, March 30 from 4 pm to 7 pm at Clinton High School. 

Wet Spring Could Precede Wet Summer

A wet spring could lead to a wet summer.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the outlooks for the spring are showing above-normal precipitation levels.

 

 

Given the summer can already be dry, Shimon notes an above-normal precipitation trend still won't offer a significant amount of rain.

 

 

Shimon indicates it's been many years since he's seen the weather signals we're on pace for this spring and summer. 

Social Security Redesigns Website

In December 2022, Social Security updated its homepage with a new design to help you find what you need more easily.

 

SSA.gov is visited by over 180 million people per year and it is one of its most important tools for providing efficient and equitable access to service. Jack Myers with Social Security indicates they serve the number of people who needs them when they greatly outnumber its representatives. 

 

 

Just a few of the many things you can do on our website include checking eligibility for benefits or saving time on an application for a Social Security number or card. Replacement card applications for an adult can be completed to completion online in most states if you have a DL or State ID.  Myers nots even if the application can’t be completed online, starting it online will make your experience in the office faster and easier.  Our interactive tool will walk you through the process and help you figure out which path is best for you including what types of documents you’ll need to bring.

 

 

Many Social Security services can be enhanced by or will need to be used in conjunction with your personal mySocialSecurity account. Check out the redesigned homepage today at www.ssa.gov . 

State of Illinois Looking to Address Shortage of Workers in Behavioral Health Field

A broad effort to address a shortage of workers in the behavioral health field is underway at the Southern Illinois School of Medicine.

 

The state announced last week that $5 million will be used to address the workforce development and training needs of a new generation of healthcare professionals. Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Grace Ho says there aren’t enough workers to meet the needs of the state.

 

 

The SIU Med School is located in Springfield.

Illinois Congressman Opposes National Sales Tax

An Illinois lawmaker is teaming up with Democrats nationwide to oppose a proposed national sales tax.

 

The Congressional resolution, spear-headed by Illinois Congressman Eric Sorensen, looks to roll back a proposed 30-percent tax on taxable purchases proposed by Republicans. The Freshman lawmaker said the proposed measure from Republicans is 'extreme.'

 

 

Congressman Sorensen is joining other Freshmen lawmakers Wiley Nickel from North Carolina and Brittany Petterson from Colorado.

 

In January, House Republicans introduced the 'Fair Tax Act' that Democratic lawmakers say would increase the tax rate by 30%.

Illinois Centennial Soil Archive Project Unveiled

Finding Illinois soil samples that go back to 1899. That’s led to the Illinois Centennial Soil Archive Project. Julie Hewitt is with the Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council.

 

 

The samples come from all parts of Illinois, and information, including a map, is available at illinoisnrec.org.

Clinton Chamber of Commerce Announces Business Award Winners at Annual Dinner

At its annual dinner last weekend, the Clinton Chamber of Commerce announced its award winners for the small, medium, and large businesses of the year as well as the non-profit of the year recipients.

On the WHOW Morning Show, Executive Director of the Chamber, Janice Petersen, told Regional Radio who the award winners were for 2023.

 

 

Petersen was very pleased with the event in 2023. While it came together somewhat late for this year, she hopes to return it to its normal spot on the calendar in January for 204. 

Clinton Junior High School Seeing Positive Results of Cell Phone Ban in School

Clinton Junior High School has seen positive returns on a policy that sent turned a lot of heads not just in the Clinton community, but by school administrators across the area.

 

Clinton Junior High School enacted a cell phone ban during school hours this year and Principal Jim Peck says it has been a completely positive policy thanks to the buy-in from the school's families. 

 

 

Early social media backlash has been overshadowed by the positive outcomes the policy has produced and as Peck noted, the district has been approached by others locally about its policy. 

Kenney Fire Appreciative For Another Banner Daytona 500 Fundraiser

It was another banner year for the Clinton Eagles Daytona 500 fundraiser in late February. 

 

Fritz Robinson with the Kenney Fire Department indicates this year was another record-setter on the heels of last year's record-setting event. He is so thankful for the support of everyone that comes together for the benefit of the local fire departments. 

 

 

The fundraiser this year, in addition to its raffles and food options, also added a reverse-raffle and organizers felt that was a very beneficial addition to the event. 

Bill Takes Aim at Deepfakes

NEW LEGISLATION TAKES AIM AT DEEPFAKES. 

 

DEEPFAKE TECHNOLOGY IS USED TO CREATE VERY REALISTIC DIGITAL IMITATIONS, SOMETIMES FOR A FUN PARODY BUT OTHER TIMES FOR NEFARIOUS REASONS SAYS REPRESENTATIVE MARY EDLY-ALLEN OF LIBERTYVILLE.

 

 

EDLY-ALLEN’S BILL LETS VICTIMS SEEK CIVIL DAMAGES.

 

 

IT PASSED A SENATE COMMITTEE THIS WEEK.

State Fire Marshal's Office Reminds to Check Smoke Alarms This 'Spring Forward' Weekend

THE ILLINOIS STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S OFFICE IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO TEST THEIR SMOKE ALARMS AS THEY "SPRING FORWARD" THIS WEEKEND.

 

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME SERVES AS A GREAT REMINDER TO PRESS THE TEST BUTTON ON YOUR SMOKE AND C-O DETECTORS AND WAIT FOR THE BEEP SOUND. IF YOU HAVE AN OLDER DETECTOR WITH REMOVABLE BATTERIES, IT'S WISE TO REPLACE THE BATTERIES NOW SAYS FIRE MARSHAL SPOKESPERSON J-C FULTZ. HE NOTES THAT YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO FIND THAT SOME ALARMS AREN'T WORKING.

 

 

FULTZ SAYS THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER.


 

WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, FULTZ RECOMMENDS CREATING A PLAN FOR WHAT TO DO IF A FIRE BREAKS OUT, DETERMINING TWO EXIT OPTIONS FOR EACH ROOM AND A MEETING SPOT ONCE EVERYONE ESCAPES THE HOUSE.

Weekly Weather Summary

It felt more like spring this week thanks to cold air brought to the area by a mid-week rainstorm. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more..

 

 

DeWitt County Election Judges to Receive Increased Compensation

Election judges in DeWitt County will receive an increase in compensation starting with this April's election after action from the DeWitt County Board last month.

 

County Clerk Kari Harris told the DeWitt County Board last month election judges have a tough job that spans the entire day and beyond the polling hours.

 

 

According to Harris, finding election judges has been a challenge for a variety of reasons and while bumping pay to $195 a day isn't a lot, she hopes it will bring in more prospective candidates.

 

 

Harris indicates they need between 70 and 75 judges for a general election in even years.

 

 

Harris notes the State of Illinois has discussed increasing the reimbursements to counties for its election judges. Harris does not know if that will be for this April's election but feels it would be beneficial.

 

The Board approved the increase in pay in February. 

March Looking to Be Cooler, Wet

If you were hoping some of the nice days of recent weeks would be indicative of a nice upcoming spring season, you might be disappointed. 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the rest of the month is showing below-normal temperatures with a signal for above-normal precipitation.

 

 

Once we get into April, Shimon indicates things are looking positive that we could see above-normal temperatures. It's not a strong signal but the possibility is there.

 

 

When it comes to snow for March or April, Shimon indicates it isn't out of the question. While snow gets less and less likely the farther into March we get, it can't be ruled out.

 

 

Shimon indicates the above-normal precipitation signal will carry all the way into the summer months. We'll hear more from Shimon on that next week on Regional Radio News.

National Renown Nutritionist Weighs in on Ozempic Craze

You've likely heard the catchy commercials on TV for the diabetic drug Ozempic and in recent weeks, it has become the source of a weight loss craze.

 

Dr. Jim LaValle is the author of 'Cracking the Metabolic Code' and the Clinical Director for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Performance Health Program. He indicates this drug is actually meant for people with diabetes but it has turned into a weight loss drug.

 

 

According to Dr. LaValle, one of the issues with the drug is when an individual stops using it, they regain all the weight they've lost. He says this is not surprising as the drug is not addressing the root causes of a person's poor health.

 

 

Dr. LaValle says if you are using this drug, make sure you are being appropriately evaluated because some of the side effects can be impactful on your organs. He implores users to have a baseline test done before going on Ozembic. 

Sen. Durbin Reacts to Walgreens Decision on Abortion Pill

A major pharmacy chain is finding itself in the middle of political crosshairs in the debate on abortion.

 

This week, Walgreens, the second-largest pharmaceutical chain in the U.S., announced its decision not to distribute an abortion pill. Illinois Senior Senator Dick Durbin called the company's C-E-O to learn about their decision in Illinois. 

 

 

Last February, the Republican state attorney general's threatened legal action against the pharmaceutical company if they distributed the drug.

Legislation Would Require Gas Stoves Sold in Illinois to Come With Warning Label

THERE’S A PUSH IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR GAS STOVES SOLD IN ILLINOIS TO COME WITH A WARNING LABEL. 

 

THE LABEL WOULD ALERT USERS TO THE RISKS OF ASTHMA AND OTHER RESPIRATORY ILLNESS FROM GAS STOVE EMISSIONS. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE ANNE STAVA-MURRAY OF DOWNERS GROVE, WHO SAYS THIS IS NOT ABOUT RESTRICTING PEOPLE’S CHOICES.

 

 

STAVA-MURRAY IT’S A SIMPLE BILL.

 

 

IF EVENTUALLY PASSED AND SIGNED INTO LAW, THE LABEL REQUIREMENT FOR GAS STOVES SOLD IN ILLINOIS WOULD KICK IN NEXT YEAR.

House GOP Calls for Real Ethics Reforms This Session

ILLINOIS HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE CALLING FOR REAL ETHICS REFORMS TO BE PASSED THIS SPRING. 

 

THIS IS ONE OF THE G-O-P’S TOP PRIORITIES, SAYING IT’S TIME TO ENACT REAL REFORMS AND END CORRUPTION IN GOVERNMENT. REPRESENTATIVE BLAINE WILHOUR OF EFFINGHAM SAYS THAT SHOULD START WITH EXPOSING AND ELIMINATING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE RYAN SPAIN OF PEORIA:

 

 

REPUBLICANS PROPOSE A RESOLUTION THAT PREVENTS ANY PORTRAITS OF FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER MIKE MADIGAN FROM BEING PUT UP IN THE HOUSE.

Four Dollar Gas Could Still Happen This Summer

Four-dollar gas is still on the table for this summer, with more vacations planned after the pandemic.

 

That comes on the heels of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's prediction that interest rates could continue to rise. Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy reports prices at the pump still have room to run.

 

 

At last count, prices at the pump around the state averaged $3.50 a gallon. Over the past month, prices are down almost eight cents a gallon, and around 81 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

Bill Would Make Emergency Contraception Available in Kiosks on College Campuses

LEGISLATION IN THE ILLINOIS SENATE ENSURES COLLEGE STUDENTS HAVE ACCESS TO EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION. 

 

THE BILL REQUIRES PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE “WELLNESS” KIOSK ON CAMPUS THAT OFFERS “PLAN B” OR SIMILAR CONTRACEPTION AT A REDUCED PRICE. IT’S SPONSORED BY SENATOR CELINA VILLANUEVA OF CHICAGO.

 

 

THIS MANDATE DOESN’T SIT WELL WITH SENATOR NEIL ANDERSON OF ANDALUSIA.

 

 

VILLANUEVA SAYS THE KIOSK COULD ALSO BE STOCKED WITH THINGS LIKE CONDOMS, TAMPONS AND PREGNANCY TESTS. THE BILL PASSED A SENATE COMMITTEE AND NOW FACES A VOTE ON THE SENATE FLOOR.

Clinton Police Chief: Ebb And Flow of Local Crime Largely Uninterrupted Lately

Generally, when March rolls around and the days get longer and the weather gets nicer, crime in Clinton tends to increase.

 

It's often burglary to unlocked vehicles and other petty crimes as people get out more says Police Chief Ben Lowers. He sums it up noting many people come out of their winter slumber realizing the neighbor they didn't like still lived next door.

 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Chief Lowers told Regional Radio most burglaries of motor vehicles are crimes of opportunity. He reminds residents to shut the windows and lock the doors of their cars.

 

 

Chief Lowers indicates with the changes in the judicial system of the last two or three years, criminals that are committing these crimes are not remaining in jail very long before they are back out on the streets committing similar crimes.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, the lack of incarcerated individuals who are chronic criminals means the typical lull in criminal activity has ceased in recent years.

 

 

Chief Lowers also notes there have been a few more occurrences of home burglaries and so he implores homeowners and renters to lock all doors when they are not home. 

City of Clinton Budget Work Ongoing, Public Works to Resume Brush Pickup

It's budget time for the City of Clinton officials.

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner Tom Edmunds told the Council the budget should be forthcoming from City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter. 

 

 

Commissioner Ken Buchanan notes City crews are out this week picking up tree branches and debris that were brought down by the storm Friday. He indicates the regular brush pickup cycle returns later this month.

 

 

Tuesday night the Council approved a two-year agreement with Encore Developmental Services for City ground maintenance work at a cost of nearly $110,000. 

Clinton High School Thespians Performing 'Wizard of Oz' This Weekend

Clinton High School thespians will be performing the Wizard of Oz this weekend.

 

Savannah Burton is a senior in the show this year and is sharing the leading role as Dorothy. Along with Carley Earle, the two will split the performances of the lead in this production.

 

 

Eli Cooper is Oz in the production and while he plays 'The Great and Powerful' he is also instrumental in the set creation of the performance.

 

 

The production features a group of fourth through eighth-grade students and Cooper says they have been enjoyable to work with during practice.

 

 

Other notable cast members in this weekend's production for the 7 pm shows on Friday and Saturday are Adyson Beebe as Scarecrow, Maddison Koyak as Tinman, and Emma Leimbach as Lion. 

 

For the 2 pm shows on Saturday and Sunday, Evan Hermann as Scarecrow, Ivori Treakle as Tinman, Emma Sanders as Lion, and Eva Thierry as Oz. 

 

Friday night's performance is sold out and tickets are limited for the Saturday and Sunday shows. Adults are $10 and students up to 12th grade are $5. 

 

Find more information on the CHS Wizard of Oz Facebook page. 

Secretary of State Takes Stance Against Cencorship of Books with Legislation

SECRETARY OF STATE ALEXI GIANNOULIAS IS TAKING A STANCE AGAINST BOOK CENSORSHIP WITH NEW LEGISLATION. 

 

SECRETARY GIANNOULIAS SAYS EFFORTS TO BAN CERTAIN BOOKS HAVE BEEN ON THE RISE NATIONALLY, AND IN ILLINOIS. THE BILL HE’S BACKING ENSURES ONLY LIBRARIES THAT REFUSE TO BAN BOOKS WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR FUNDING FROM HIS OFFICE.

 

 

DURING THE LAST FISCAL YEAR, THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE AWARDED MORE THAN 16-HUNDRED GRANTS TO ILLINOIS LIBRARIES, TOTALING OVER 62 MILLION DOLLARS.

 

 

HE SERVES AS THE STATE’S LIBRARIAN AND LAST FISCAL YEAR, HIS OFFICE AWARDED MORE THAN 62 MILLION DOLLARS IN FUNDING.

New Behavioral Health Workforce Education Center Lauching at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield

A NEW EDUCATION CENTER AT THE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE IN SPRINGFIELD WILL TRAIN MORE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. 

 

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER HAS LAUNCHED A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO IMPROVE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES IN ILLINOIS, BUT HE SAYS THAT CAN’T BE DONE WITHOUT A STRONG WORKFORCE.

 

 

THERE CURRENTLY AREN’T ENOUGH WORKERS TO MEET THE NEED SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY GRACE HOU (ho).

 

 

THE GOVERNOR IS INVITING COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS TO JOIN THE EFFORT AND TRAIN MORE WORKERS.

License Plate Manufacturer Celebrates 40 Years

License plates in the state of Illinois have been coming from one manufacturer for decades. Starting in 1983 Macon Resources has made nearly every license plate for drivers across the state. This week they celebrated their 40th anniversary and Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulis toured the facility that employs individuals with developmental disabilities and turns out about 24,000 plates a day.

 

 

Illinois is just one of two states that don’t make license plates in prisons.

Illinois Farm Bureau Promoting 'Pro Ag Resolution' During Local Government Week

Illinois Farm Bureau celebrating Local Government Week by promoting a pro ag resolution at the county level. Ryan Whitehouse serves as associate director of local government for the organization.

 

 

14 counties adopted the resolution in 2022. So far this year, seven are on board. There are 102 counties in Illinois.

Bill Would Protect Child Influencers

LEGISLATION PENDING IN THE ILLINOIS SENATE AIMS TO PROTECT CHILD INFLUENCERS.

 

EVEN LITTLE ONES CAN BE SEEN TESTING AND PROMOTING PRODUCTS ONLINE THESE DAYS, AND A BILL FROM SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER OF PEORIA ENSURES THEY SEE SOME OF THE PROFITS. IT REQUIRES PARENTS TO SET ASIDE A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF THE MONEY MADE BY UPLOADING VIDEOS OF THEIR KIDS, JUST LIKE THE MOMS AND DADS OF CHILD ACTORS ARE REQUIRED TO DO.

 

 

SENATOR LINDA HOLMES OF AURORA SAYS THE BILL REQUIRES A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF ANY EARNINGS TO BE SET ASIDE FOR THE CHILD.

 

 

THE LEGISLATION ALSO LETS CHILDREN, ONCE THEY HIT 18, TO REQUEST THAT THE VIDEOS THEY ARE FEATURED IN BE TAKEN DOWN.

Social Security Highlights Cracking Down on SSA Imposter Scams

Social Security and the Office of Inspector General work together to protect you from scams that use Social Security as bait.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates The Social Security Act allows OIG to impose penalties against anyone who engages in misleading Social Security-related advertising or imposter communications.

 

 

Social Security may impose a penalty against anyone who mails misleading solicitations that appear to be from or otherwise authorized by Social Security, operates an imposter website or social media account designed to look official, sends emails or text messages or makes telephone calls claiming to be from Social Security.

 

 

If you receive misleading or suspicious Social Security-related advertisement or communication, please let the OIG know at oig.ssa.gov. Myers points out it helps if you can gather as much info as possible for a suspicious website or social media accounts, take a screenshot of the page. Note the website address or social media link- and how you came across it. For e-mails and text messages, please capture the entire message and any message links.

 

 

The OIG can impose civil monetary penalties against those who violate section 1140. The penalty rate is adjusted each year for inflation and is currently set at $12,397 for each violative communication.  If the violation is in the form of a generally aired broadcast the penalty rate is $61,982 per airing. Myers points out if the violation is in the form of a postal mailing or a website each piece of mail or each website view is subject to a separate $12,397 penalty.

 

 

Once again, to report this type of activity visit https://oig.ssa.gov or call 1-800-269-0271.

 

To learn more, check out the publication called 'What You Need To Know About Misleading Advertising'. 

This is Problem Gambling Awareness Month

THIS IS PROBLEM GAMBLING AWARENESS MONTH AND THE ILLINOIS LOTTERY REMINDS THAT HELP IS AVAILABLE. 

 

SOME OF THE SIGNS THAT GAMBLING MAY BE AN ISSUE INCLUDE LYING ABOUT THE HABIT, NEEDING TO BORROW MONEY BECAUSE OF LOSSES AND THINKING ABOUT GAMBLING A LOT SAYS LOTTERY SPOKESPERSON MEGHAN POWERS.

 

 

POWERS ADDS:

 

 

YOU CAN SEEK OUT HELP BY EITHER CALLING: 1-800-GAMBLER OR VISITING THE WEBSITE: ARE YOU REALLY WINNING DOT COM. THERE YOU WILL ALSO FIND A TEXT OPTION.

OSF Healthcare Discusses Need for Athletic Trainers at High School Events

There is a need for athletic trainers in high school sports but most schools in Illinois simply cannot afford the expense. In some areas however, OSF Healthcare is helping fill the gap. At Kewanee High School, OSF Healthcare's Emma Corkill also works as the athletic trainer for the school, and she says that the need goes beyond injuries during a game...

 

 

OSF Healthcare is helping a number of schools across the state fill the need for athletic trainers.

Illinois House Committee Passes Bill Banning Cat Declawing

LEGISLATION PASSED BY A HOUSE COMMITTEE TUESDAY MAKES IT ILLEGAL TO GET YOUR CAT DECLAWED. 

 

UNLESS A VETERINARIAN DEEMS DECLAWING IS NECESSARY FOR THE CAT’S HEALTH, THE PRACTICE WOULD BE BANNED UNDER THE BILL. VIOLATORS FACE FINES OF AT LEAST 500 DOLLARS. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE BARBARA HERNANDEZ OF AURORA.

 

 

BUT DOCTOR DENA NELSON OF SPRINGFIELD, REPRESENTING THE ILLINOIS STATE VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION SAYS THE BILL IS UNNECESSARY.

 

 

THE LEGISLATION DOES ALLOW DECLAWING IF MEDICALLY NEEDED, BUT DOCTOR NELSON SAYS THE WAY IT’S WRITTEN IS TOO LIMITING.

Hotel Group Pushing Legislation to Further Help Industry Recover

THE ILLINOIS HOTEL AND LODGING ASSOCIATION IS ASKING THE LEGISLATURE FOR A NUMBER OF CHANGES TO HELP THE INDUSTRY CONTINUE TO RECOVER FROM THE PANDEMIC. 

 

ONE OF THE BILLS THE GROUP IS PUSHING PROTECTS HOTEL WORKERS FROM VERBALLY ABUSIVE GUESTS SAYS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT MIKE JACOBSON.

 

 

THE INDUSTRY ALSO WANTS SHORT-TERM RENTAL COMPANIES TO HAVE TO COLLECT AND REMIT A LODGING TAX, JUST LIKE HOTELS DO SAYS JACOBSON.

 

 

IN ADDITION, JACOBSON SAYS THEY WANT A DEDICATED FUND TO ATTRACT CONVENTIONS TO ILLINOIS AND FOR STATE EMPLOYEE TRAVEL PER DIEM RATES TO BE INCREASED.

Congressman LaHood Discusses Railway Bill

After a horrific train derailment in Ohio leaked toxic chemicals, an Illinois Congressmen is at the forefront of a bill to make railways safer.

 

The bill, with bipartisan support, is designed to provide a federal tax credit for the replacement of freight rail cars. Here's Congressman Darin LaHood.

 

 

Last year, the bill gained more than 50 co-sponsors, and Congressman LaHood expects even more in the coming year.

 

According to LaHood, the rail industry has more than 94 hundred employees working directly for rail suppliers in Illinois. At last count, the Illinois rail industry creates more than five billion dollars in economic value for the state.

The Vault Welcoming Back the Harlem Wizards in April

A non-profit is inviting the community out for a night of fun on the basketball floor. 

 

The Vault in Clinton is welcoming back the Harlem Wizards to Clinton High School for a fundraiser in April. Executive Director Tammy Wilson told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show the Harlem Wizards came to town in early 2020 and put on a great show for the community.

 

 

This will be the major fundraiser of the year for The Vault. Wilson touts the Wizards' ability to engage the crowd and community and feels everyone that came out the last time they were in town had a great time.

 

 

The event is on April 15 at Clinton High School. Tickets can be purchased at thevaultclinton.org. There will be flyers up around the community promoting the event with a QR-code that will link to the tickets on the website. 

 

Wilson looks forward to having a good crowd out again this spring. 

Monticello Schools Continuing Sports Complex Renovations

The renovations are in full swing on the sports complexes of a Piatt County school district.

 

Adam Clapp is the Superintendent of Monticello Schools and on the WHOW Morning Show Monday told Regional Radio they are starting with the soccer complex which is inside the track. 

 

 

The turf being installed inside the track should be complete for the first track meet in April. Clapp says this will relocate the existing soccer fields.

 

 

For Clapp, one of the biggest benefits of the new turf at the sports complex is going to be allowing other school programs and classes access to those fields. He indicates things are pretty limited currently.

 

 

This will be the last spring for the baseball and softball fields on natural grass. Those fields will transition to turf once the season wraps up in May. Clapp notes those who drive by the baseball field will notice some work already starting as there are some trees that have been removed behind the field. 

Normal Teen Honored by NAACP

A Normal Community High School Junior is receiving national attention for his work with racial and social justice.

 

Last weekend, Bradley Ross Jackson received the N-A-A-C-P Image Award for Youth Advocacy, becoming the first teenager and Illinoian to receive the honor. Jackson, a member of the National Honor Society, said he was honored for his work in various non-profits.

 

 

In Normal, Jackson serves as the Vice President of N-C-H-S' Black Student Union and the President of the Bloomington-Normal Youth Council.

 

For his accomplishments, Jackson got to walk the red carpet at the N-A-A-C-P's Image Awards, hosted by actress Queen Latifah.

Congressman LaHood to Serve on House Select Commottee on China

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood has been selected to be a member of the House Select Committee on China. Congressman Lahood says that China has a plan to 'replace' the United States and that this committee will be tasked with developing policy and creating oversight to keep that from happening...

 

 

LaHood is also assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

Another Push This Year Outlaws 'Sweepstakes Machines'

THERE’S ANOTHER PUSH THIS YEAR TO OUTLAW “SWEEPSTAKES MACHINES” IN ILLINOIS. 

 

SWEEPSTAKES MACHINES GENERALLY LOOK LIKE A KIOSK, AND THE PAYOUT IS IN THE FORM OF A COUPON THAT YOU CAN EXCHANGE FOR MERCHANDISE ONLINE OR CASH FROM THE RETAILER. BUT HERE’S THE PROBLEM SAYS ILLINOIS GAMING BOARD ADMINISTRATOR MARCUS FRUCHTER:

 

 

SWEEPSTAKES MACHINES HAVE LONG BEEN USED IN COMMUNITIES THAT DON’T ALLOW VIDEO GAMING. 

 

 

LEGISLATION IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE BANS THESE TYPES OF MACHINES.

CCEF, ADM Help Make Annual Sixth Grade Field Trip Possible

The organizers of an annual field trip for sixth graders at Clinton Junior High School say a lot of thanks is due to two local entities.

 

Haley Bevans is a sixth-grade science teacher at Clinton Junior High School and on Regional Radio last week told us about the 'Challenger Learning Center' at Heartland Community College. She explains this is a great opportunity to show the students the possibilities in the world of STEM, science technology, engineering, and math.

 

 

Principal Jim Peck says the Clinton Community Education Foundation and ADM have been huge supporters of the school's effort to make this a yearly field trip. He applauds the CCEF in particular for making this an annual line item in its funding. 

 

 

Bevens indicates this is the fifth year they have been attending the learning center in Bloomington. She notes in 2021, they weren't able to go in person but returned to the in-person field trip last month. 

USDA Offering Money for Ag Easements

Farmers can be paid for a guarantee that their farms never become subdivisions or factory sites and for flood-prone land being turned into wetlands. Assistant State Conservationist Paula Hingson says the U.S. Department of Agriculture will pay thousands of dollars per acre for an easement.

 

 

The program’s purpose is to preserve farmland against urban sprawl and recreate wetlands for migrating waterfowl. The easement prices range from $3,150 per acre for wetland easements in southern Illinois to $7,560 for cropland easements in the Chicago region. Hingson says interested property owners with at least 20 acres can contact the nearest USDA office.

This is Slam the Scam Week

Social Security and the Office of the Inspector General strive to stop government imposter scams and raising awareness is the goal of this Slam the Scam.

 

The week was started in 2020 by SSA OIG to combat Social Security-related imposter scams but is not expanded to include other government imposter scams as well.

 

 

This week is meant to raise awareness of how to spot a government imposter scam is a key objective of Slam the Scam. Myers explains there are common elements to many of these scams. Scammers often exploit fears and threaten you with arrest or legal action. They pose as Social Security or other government employees and claim there is a problem with your SSN or benefits or they may even claim your SSN is linked to a crime.

 

 

Myers implores you to hang up right away or ignore the message of a scammer and never give personal info or money. If you legitimately do owe Social Security money, they will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights.

 

 

Falling victim to a scam can be embarrassing, and Myers hopes you won’t be ashamed.

 

 

Again, to report a scam, visit https://oig.ssa.gov or www.ssa.gov/scam.

Illinois Public Colleges, Universities to Offer Free College Test Prep Under New Proposal

FREE TEST PREP FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS? THAT'S AN IDEA INTRODUCED AT THE STATE CAPITOL. 

 

CHICAGO REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD WANTS STATE PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES TO PROVIDE TEST PREPARATION FOR EXAMS LIKE THE G-MAT FOR GRAD SCHOOL AND THE L-SAT FOR LAW SCHOOL, AT NO COST TO STUDENTS. HE SAYS THIS WILL HELP EASE NERVES AND IMPROVE TEST SCORES.

 

 

FORD SAYS THIS WILL HELP MORE STUDENTS PURSUE LUCRATIVE CAREERS.

 

 

FORD SAYS HE ISN'T SURE YET HOW MUCH THIS WOULD COST THE STATE.

U of I Professor Touts Overhaul of Five Day Work Week

A UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LABOR PROFESSOR SAYS THE IDEA OF A FIVE-DAY WORK WEEK IS LONG OVERDUE FOR AN OVERHAUL. 

 

ALTERNATIVE SCHEDULES AND WORKING REMOTELY REALLY HAD A CHANCE TO SHINE DURING THE PANDEMIC, SO NOW MAY BE A GOOD TIME TO CONSIDER IF A FOUR-DAY WORK WEEK IS FEASIBLE. PROFESSOR ROBERT BRUNO SAYS PILOT STUDIES HAVE SHOWN IT CAN WORK.

 

 

BRUNO SAYS THE KEY IS DISMISSING THE NOTION THAT MORE DAYS AND HOURS ON THE JOB EQUALS MORE GETTING DONE.

 

 

BRUNO SAYS ALLOWING EMPLOYEES TO HAVE TIME FOR A HEALTHY WORK-LIFE BALANCE CAN LOWER THE RISK OF BURNOUT AND WORKER DISSATISFACTION. HE NOTES THAT A SHORTER WORK WEEK MAY BE DIFFICULT IN SOME INDUSTRIES, BUT THAT CHANGES COULD BE MADE SUCH AS HOLDING SCHOOL YEAR ROUND BUT ONLY MONDAYS THROUGH THURSDAYS.

Gov. Pritzker Touting Teacher Pipeline to Attract, Retain Teachers

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS TOUTING HIS THREE YEAR PLAN TO EASE THE TEACHER SHORTAGE IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE INITIATIVE CALLS FOR INVESTING 70 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TEACHERS ACROSS THE STATE. THE FOCUS WILL BE ON SCHOOLS THAT HAVE THE MOST NEED FOR STAFF SAYS THE GOVERNOR, ALLOWING THEM TO SPEND THE MONEY AS APPROPRIATE.

 

 

HE'S ASKING THE LEGISLATURE TO APPROVE FUNDING FOR THE PROGRAM IN THE NEW STATE BUDGET.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE GOAL IS TO ENTICE MORE PEOPLE TO THE PROFESSION AND TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE ENOUGH GREAT TEACHERS IN EVERY CLASSROOM.

DeWitt County Animal Control Has New Administrator

Last Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting, a new Animal Control administrator was named.

 

Holly Gehlbach was appointed to the post. Board Chair Dan Matthews looks forward to having her take the reigns of the department that has lacked stability in the administrator role for several years now.

 

 

In between administrators, Matthews recently praised a couple of his board members for volunteering at the shelter.

Weekly Weather Summary

After high temperatures were around 60-degrees in the mid-week, things took a turn to the more seasonable with wind advisories and temperatures back to the 30s. 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford has more...

 

 

Clinton Schools Superintendent Discusses Upcoming Transitions

The next several years will have a lot of transition for Clinton Schools.

 

The current school year is long-time principal Beth Wickenhauser's final year at Lincoln and Douglas Schools. Next year is Superintendent Curt Nettles' final year and soon thereafter, high school administrators Jerry Wayne and Bob Svencner retire. Nettles is confident the incoming administrators will do a great job.

 

 

According to Nettles, Jessica Patrick, who will be the new principal for Lincoln and Douglas Schools, was a finalist for the junior high school assistant principal job but did not get that position but still chose to be a part of the district as a fifth-grade teacher at Clinton Elementary School.

 

 

One of the bigger changes for Clinton will be a transition of leadership at the top in the Superintendent's chair. Assistant Superintendent Drew Goebel will transition to the role of Superintendent and Nettles indicates it has been a learning process that has been ongoing for a few years.

 

 

Nettles is confident Goebel will bring values and leadership that reflect the values of the community. As school districts face increased pressure to cave to progressive and aggressive curricula, Nettles is confident Goebel and the board will represent the community well in those battles. 

 

 

Nettles indicates one of the toughest parts about being a superintendent is learning what you don't know. He refers to the Mike Tyson quote, "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." He feels experience will be the biggest benefit for Goebel when he assumes the reigns of the district next year. 

New Guide Highlights State's Protections Against Discrimination Based on Reproductive Health

WOMEN CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS IN A NEW GUIDE FROM ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL KWAME RAOUL AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS. 

 

NOW THAT ROE-V-WADE HAS BEEN OVERTURNED AND OTHER STATES ARE ENACTING VARIOUS REPRODUCTIVE LAWS, THE STATE WANTS TO MAKE SURE WOMEN KNOW THEIR RIGHTS WHEN IT COMES TO PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND ABORTION. HUMAN RIGHTS DIRECTOR JIM BENNETT:

 

 

NOW THAT ROE-V-WADE HAS BEEN OVERTURNED AND OTHER STATES ARE ENACTING VARIOUS REPRODUCTIVE LAWS, THE STATE WANTS TO MAKE SURE WOMEN KNOW THEIR RIGHTS WHEN IT COMES TO PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND ABORTION. 

 

 

THE GUIDE OFFERS EXAMPLES OF DISCRIMINATION IN A VARIETY OF SETTINGS. YOU CAN FIND IT ONLINE AT: DHR DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV, UNDER “PUBLICATIONS.”

DeWitt County Mental Health Board Releases Data From Recent Survey

A DeWitt County entity surveyed the community late last year and the finding from that survey are now available and plans to engage the community on the findings are set.

 

The DeWitt County Mental Health Board's Sharon Mills on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio the assessment was completed with the help of a couple of local groups and engaged a large spectrum of stakeholders.

 

 

According to Mills, the youth and mental health decline is what is most noticeable in this report. She explains while adults are also part of this trend, she feels COVID was detrimental to the mental health decline and increase in suicidal ideation.

 

 

Katy Arnold with the Mental Health Board indicates starting later this month, there are going to be numerous community engagement opportunities. She explains they hope to highlight the findings of the report and highlight the services available in DeWitt County.

 

 

Mills says the Mental Health Board will begin a strategic planning process soon after the community engagement wraps up to come up with plans based on the results of the survey.

 

She reminds the Mental Health Board supports non-profits like Heritage Behavioral Health Center, the Clinton YMCA, Encore Developmental Services, the Children's Advocacy Center, and much more.

 

You can learn more about the DeWitt County Mental Health Board by visiting dewittcountymhb.com.

House Lawmakers Working on Bill Requiring Full-Day Kindergarten

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ARE WORKING ON A BILL THAT REQUIRES FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN. 

 

CURRENTLY, DISTRICTS CAN OFFER FULL-DAY OR HALF-DAY KINDERGARTEN, BUT THIS LEGISLATION MANDATES THE FULL SCHOOL DAY OPTION. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE MARY BETH CANTY OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS WHO SAYS THIS WILL HELP BOOST ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND STRENGTHEN SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL SKILLS.

 

 

BUT THERE ARE CONCERNS ABOUT COSTS IF NO MONEY IS AVAILABLE TO HELP IMPLEMENT THE CHANGE SAYS ALISON MALEY WITH THE ILLINOIS PRINCIPAL’S ASSOCIATION.

 

 

CANTY SAYS THE BILL IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. SHE PLANS TO ADDRESS CONCERNS ABOUT COSTS BY PHASING IN THE CHANGE OVER FOUR YEARS.

Comptroller Pushes for Legislation to Set Up Regular Deposits to State's Rainy Day Fund

COMPTROLLER SUSANA MENDOZA SAYS THE STATE’S RAINY-DAY FUND IS GETTING ANOTHER BOOST. 

 

THE STASH IS VITAL IN TIMES OF EMERGENY AND JUST RECEIVED A DEPOSIT OF 320-MILLION DOLLARS. THAT BRINGS THE LONG-NEGLECTED FUND UP TO MORE THAN 751 MILLION, WHICH IS A BIG IMPROVEMENT SAYS COMPTROLLER MENDOZA.

 

 

MENDOZA SAYS ULTIMATELY, SHE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE RAINY-DAY FUND BE SEVEN AND A HALF PERCENT OF THE STATE’S CURRENT BUDGET. THAT WOULD BE ABOUT THREE AND A QUARTER BILLION DOLLARS.

 

 

MENDOZA SAYS THE STATE’S RECENTLY IMPROVED CREDIT RATINGS ARE DUE IN PART TO EFFORTS TO SHORE UP THE RAINY-DAY FUND.

Bills Would Aim to Improve Student Literacy, Add More School Courses

EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY TO HELP IMPROVE LITERACY AND ADD CLASSES TO ILLINOIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 

 

THERE’S A BIG PUSH IN THE LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR TO BOOST THE READING AND WRITING SKILLS OF SCHOOLCHILDREN. ONE BILL, FROM REPRESENTATIVE MARY FLOWERS OF CHICAGO, GETS BACK TO THE BASICS BY REQUIRING SCHOOLS TO USE PHONICS TO TEACH READING.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE AMY ELIK OF ALTON IS SUPPORTING LEGISLATION THAT REQUIRES PHONICS BE TAUGHT TO KIDS.

 

 

THERE’S ALSO A PROPOSAL REQUIRING HIGH SCHOOL JUNIORS AND SENIORS TO TAKE A COURSE ON PERSONAL FINANCE. ANOTHER BILL MANDATES A COURSE ON RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS OF ANXIETY, DEPRESSION AND OTHER MENTAL ILLNESSES.

Biden Administration Shuts Down Chinese Social Media App

The Biden Administration is striking down a Chinese own social media application.

 

Last week, the White House directed federal agencies they have 30 days to remove TikTok from government-issued devices. Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood thinks the Chinese-owned app threatens democracy.

 

 

According to the Biden Administration, government contractors have 90 days to delete the app from government-issued devices.

DeWitt County Board Chair Weighs In On Board's Stance Towards Carbon Capture

The DeWitt County Board last Thursday night heard from developers seeking to bring carbon capture to the county.

 

During the course of the presentation, one board member offered his opinion carbon capture was not for DeWitt County. Board Chair Dan Matthews wanted to hear from these individuals on the future ramifications of this type of environmental development.

 

 

Currently, DeWitt County does not allow this kind of development and so it would have to be done on industrial-zoned property. Matthews points out private property owners wanting this would have to seek a special use permit to have the ground rezoned. 

 

 

DeWitt County has strengthened its wind ordinances and recently decided to only permit solar on industrial-zoned ground, of which there is none in DeWitt County. Many would say the County is anti-any renewable energy development but Matthews does not believe that is the case.

 

 

Matthews also remains concerned the State of Illinois will still come in over the top with regulation, much like they did earlier this year with wind. With the process still a few year's out, the County will be closely watching the Illinois legislature for more laws on this green energy initiative. 

Farmer City Chamber of Commerce, Blue Ridge Schools Laying Ground Work for Supporting Trades Program

Around a dozen individuals in Farmer City met this week to come up with ideas to support students in Blue Ridge schools in a trades program.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Blue Ridge Schools Superintendent Dr. Hilary Stanifer told Regional Radio the group is hoping to support students in the buildings trade class as costs for the program continue to rise.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer explains part of the reason they want to partner with local businesses to provide support for those programs is they do not want students missing the opportunity because they can't afford it.

 

 

Dr. Stanifer says the partnership with local business people is about the opportunity and helping students realize their gifts and potential. It is her hope young people with talent will be able to take the skills they learn into the workforce. 

Gov. Pritzker Announces $60-Million in Parks, Recreation Projects

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS ANNOUNCING NEARLY 60 MILLION DOLLARS IN GRANTS FOR LOCAL PARK AND RECREATION PROJECTS IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THE MONEY WILL HELP FUND 118 PROJECTS, SUCH AS EXTENDING A HIKING TRAIL AND REPLACING AN OUTDOOR PUBLIC POOL IN PEORIA AND BUILDING A NEW PARK IN BENLD (ben-ELD) SAYS GOVERNOR PRITZKER. HE NOTES THAT 25 PERCENT OF GRANTS ARE GOING TO DISTRESSED COMMUNITIES.

 

 

FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE OSLAD, OR OPEN LAND SPACE AND ACQUISITION DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM, AND THIS IS THE LARGEST ROUND OF GRANTS IN THE PROGRAM’S 36 YEAR HISTORY.

 

 

OTHER PROJECTS INCLUDE REPLACING PUBLIC OUTDOOR SWIMMING POOLS AND BUILDING SPLASH PADS AS WELL AS EXTENDING HIKING TRAILS AND INSTALLING LIGHTS AT LOCAL SOCCER FIELDS.

Body Found Near Lake Hillsboro

A body has been found on Wednesday morning by Hillsboro Police. According to Hillsboro Police Chief Randy Leetham, at 10:15 AM on Wednesday, March 1st, 2023, Montgomery County 9-1-1 received a call of a suspected body near 781 City Lake Road in Old Lake Hillsboro.  Hillsboro Police, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police responded, and requested the services of the Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department Dive and Rescue Team for a body recovery, and also the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. 

 

The body was identified as 56-year-old Robert Miles Harris of Hillsboro.  Harris was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Montgomery County Coroner at 10:20 AM.  A search warrant for a nearby vehicle was obtained through the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.  The warrant was obtained and executed, and a note was recovered from inside the vehicle.  There are no indications of a criminal element involved with the death.  

 

A forensic autopsy has been scheduled for Friday, March 3rd and the investigation continues by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office and the Hillsboro Police Department. 

BREAKING NEWS: Two Clinton Teens Extricated From Tuesday Night Accident, Airlifted to Carle in Champaign

A pair of Clinton teens were extricated and airlifted from a serious car crash outside Clinton Tuesday night.

 

DeWitt County Sheriff Mike Walker indicates the accident occurred in the evening hours on Burns Hill Road outside Clinton. He explains the driver of the vehicle lost control on a hill on Burns Hill Road and the vehicle left the roadway and struck nearby trees.

 

 

As of early Wednesday, Sheriff Walker was not sure of the status of the two individuals involved in the accident.

 

 

Sheriff Walker credits all the entities involved in getting the teens out of the vehicle and into medical care on Tuesday. He says citizens of DeWitt County should be proud of everyone that sacrifices a lot to serve the community.

 

 

Sheriff Walker implores parents to talk with their kids about driving in the country and doing so after dark. 

February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and local domestic violence advocates are imploring parents to believe their kids when they come to you with heavy information.

 

Jennifer Tolladay with DeWitt County DOVE on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday told Regional Radio over 80 percent of parents do not believe teen dating violence is an issue.

 

 

According to Andrea Kocher at Piatt County DOVE, parents can often live in a bubble because they don't see the dating violence taking place and she notes, sometimes teens not telling their parents about their situation are also keeping it from their friends.

 

 

Tolladay indicates Social media is becoming a huge driver of teen dating violence because it gives the abuser access to so many aspects of the victims' life. Kocher notes with the increase in social media use among teens, stalking is becoming a real issue.

 

 

Kocher and Tolladay stress for parents to believe their kids if they bring heavy information of abuse in their relationship or a friend's relationship. They indicate that sets the tone for how they approach you going forward.

 

 

Kocher stresses for parents to be involved in what their kids are doing online and monitor those things. While there is a fine line between monitoring and invading privacy, it is your job to protect your kids. She also implores parents whose children come forward to them to be on the side of the kids and let them know they will work together. 

March Could Start Cold, Will Be Overall Wet

Cold air may not dominate the March weather patterns but it won't be far off either.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the March outlooks are showing things to be cooler but not as cold as other parts of the upper Midwest.

 

 

While it is hard to predict snow events, Shimon just has a hunch we're in for a big-time snow event at some point this month.

 

 

Beyond March, above-normal precipitation is dominating the outlooks all the way into the summer. Shimon notes there shouldn't be any issues with drought this year and hopes producers can find some time to get those crops in the ground this spring. 

2022 Illinois Crop Production Numbers

2022 estimated crop production numbers have been released for Illinois. The data is from USDA NASS.

 

 

Mark Schleusener is state crop statistician.

Lt. Governor Speaks Before US Senate Committee About Equal Rights Amendment

ILLINOIS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON TESTIFIED BEFORE A U-S SENATE COMMITTEE TODAY (TUESDAY), URGING PASSAGE OF THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT.

 

THIS HAS BEEN A LONG ROAD FOR THE E-R-A. AN INITIAL VERSION WAS DRAFTED NEARLY 100 YEARS AGO BUT IS STILL NOT A PART OF THE U-S CONSTITUTION. IT’S TIME SAYS LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR STRATTON.

 

 

STRATTON SAYS WHILE STRIDES HAVE CERTAINLY BEEN MADE, WOMEN STILL EARN LESS THAN MEN AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS CONTINUE TO COME UNDER ATTACK.

 

 

STRATTON SAYS WOMEN STILL BATTLE FOR EQUALITY WHETHER IT BE LOWER PAY THAN MEN OR CONTROL OVER THEIR OWN BODIES.

County Crop Estimates Released for Corn, Soybeans

COUNTY ESTIMATES ARE OUT FOR 2022 ILLINOIS CORN AND SOYBEANS. 

 

COUNTIES WITH THE HIGHEST AVERAGE CORN YIELDS PER ACRE WERE STARK, WOODFORD AND OGLE SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. AS FOR CORN PRODUCTION...

 

 

THE STATE REALLY MADE A STRONG SHOWING WHEN IT CAME TO SOYBEAN PRODUCTION SAYS SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

MCCLEAN WAS ALSO THE TOP COUNTY FOR SOYBEAN PRODUCTION NATIONALLY, WITH 21 POINT TWO MILLION BUSHELS. OTHER HIGH SOYBEAN PRODUCING COUNTIES IN ILLINOIS INCLUDE IROQUOIS, CHAMPAIGN, LIVINGSTON AND LASALLE.

IDPH Launching Coalition to Eliminate Hepatitis in Illinois

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS LAUNCHING A NEW COALITION TO ELIMINATE CASES OF HEPATITIS IN ILLINOIS.

 

THE GROUP IS BACKED BY A FEDERAL GRANT AND WILL COME UP WITH STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS THE RISING NUMBER OF HEPATITIS “B” AND “C” CASES SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MIKE CLAFFEY.

 

 

CASES OF HEPATITIS “B” AND “C” HAVE BEEN INCREASING AND THE PROBLEM NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED SAYS CLAFFEY.

 

 

CLAFFEY SAYS VIRAL HEPATITIS IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF LIVER CANCER AND THE MOST COMMON REASON FOR LIVER TRANSPLANTS.

Bill Banning Sale, Use of Poystrene Foam Food Containers Advances

LEGISLATION BANNING THE USE OF SINGLE-USE STYROFOAM FOOD CONTAINERS IS ADVANCING IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE. 

 

THE MAIN GOAL OF PROHIBITING POLYSTYRENE (poly-sty-reen) FOOD WARE IS TO REDUCE POLLUTION SAYS GLENVIEW REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER GONG-GERSHOWITZ.

 

 

DONOVAN GRIFFITH WITH THE ILLINOIS MANUFACTURES’ ASSOCIATION SAYS IT ISN’T THAT SIMPLE. HE NOTES THAT THE COST TO PRODUCE ALTERNATIVE CONTAINERS AND THEIR PRACTICAL USE NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED.

 

 

THE BILL WOULD BE PHASED IN…TAKING EFFECT IN JANUARY OF 2024 FOR MOST RESTAURANTS AND IN 2025 FOR FOOD PANTRIES, SOUP KITCHENS AND RESTAURANTS WITH LESS THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN SALES. IT PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE AND NOW FACES A VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR.

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