Local News

Clinton Elementary Administrators Recap 2022-23 School Year

Clinton Elementary School administrators are wrapping up the 2022-23 school year over the next few weeks and reflecting on the first normal school year since the 2019-2020 year.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Principal Sasha Young pointed out this year's fifth-grade students had their first normal school year in their building since they arrived for the 2019-20 school year.

 

 

Still, Young thinks it was a great school year that saw many of the programs and activities brought back that make CES special. 

 

 

One of the drawbacks of having fifth-grade students this past year that did not have a normal school year was the routine of school was largely new to them. Assistant Principal Ben Mooney says that was something they had to teach and re-teach.

 

 

Both administrators praise the staff of the building for working hard during COVID but then this past year to get kids caught up. Young says they saw excellent academic growth despite the circumstances and both were glad to see the year end with fun activities for all the kids.

 

Now it's off to new surroundings for Young and Mooney. Young was recently named the Superintendent of Central A&M schools while Mooney has accepted an assistant principal job in the Midwest Central school district. We'll hear more about that next week on Regional Radio. 

Clinton Non-Profit Continues to Explore Options for Building Needs

A DeWitt County non-profit is continuing the exploration of what its facility will look like after some devastating news in 2022.

 

Encore Developmental Services have decided remaining in its current building just outside of Clinton on the community's east side will be what is best but Executive Director Stephanie Coonce points out there's still a lot to be done to address a devastating assessment by the Illinois Fire Marshal's office from late 2022.

 

 

Coonce is pleased to report, a lot of things are starting to fall into place. For instance, they have plans submitted to the Illinois Fire Marshal and a priority list of projects.

 

 

In pursuit of funding, Encore is looking into hiring someone to do grant writing. Coonce is learning a lot in the process of bringing someone on about the pursuit of grants.

 

 

Coonce and her staff are getting creative in coming up with fundraising opportunities this summer. We'll have more later this week on Regional Radio with on an event that is this weekend and simply requires a visit to the thrift store this Saturday. 

Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS FARMERS HAVE HAD PLENTY OF TIME IN THE FIELDS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

VIRTUALLY NO RAINFALL LEFT NEARLY ALL SEVEN DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT THE LATEST WITH SOYBEANS.

 

 

SCHLEUSENER MOVES ON TO CORN:

 

 

93 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT ACRES ARE HEADING AND 66 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE DROPPED TO 14 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 28 PERCENT SHORT, 54 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND FOUR PERCENT SURPLUS.

Lawmakers Pass Cap Costs of Insulin

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS HAVE VOTED TO CAP THE RISING COST OF INSULIN.

 

THE LEGISLATURE PASSED A BILL LIMITING THE COST OF A 30-DAY SUPPLY OF INSULIN TO 35 DOLLARS. IT WAS SPONSORED BY SENATOR LAURA MURPHY OF DES PLAINES WHO SAYS ALTHOUGH MORE THAN ONE MILLION ILLINOISANS NEED THE MEDICATION, SOME JUST CAN’T AFFORD IT.

 

 

 

 

THIS APPLIES TO ALL INDIVIDUAL PRIVATE AND GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE. 

 

 

IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THIS BILL INTO LAW.

BBB Warns AI Phishing Scams are Evolving Quickly

Artificial intelligence is being used by scammers to try and get you to believe their grifts at an ever-increasing rate. 

 

The technology such as ChatGPT has the Better Business Bureau advising you to double down on your scrutiny and skepticism of unsolicited messages wanting your money or personal information. While the technology is evolving, Better Business Bureau Investigator Don O’Brien says there are still familiar methods of protecting yourself.

 

 

In addition, he says you should not believe everything you see online; don’t click links or attachments; scrutinize wording; and report suspected scams to the BBB and local police.

GOP Lawmakers Unhappy State Budget Doesn't Include Extension of 'Invest in Kids' Scholarship Program

A MAJOR COMPLAINT FROM REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS IS THAT THE NEW STATE BUDGET DOESN’T INCLUDE THE “INVEST IN KIDS” PROGRAM. SO, WHAT IS THIS INITIATIVE? 

 

INVEST IN KIDS BEGAN IN 2018 AS A PILOT PROGRAM, PROVIDING SCHOLARSHIPS TO LOW INCOME FAMILIES FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL. IT’S FUNDED SOLELY BY DONATIONS FROM TAXPAYERS, WHO IN RETURN GET AN INCOME TAX CREDIT. 

 

THE PROGRAM IS SET TO EXPIRE AT THE END OF THIS YEAR. REPRESENTATIVE TOM WEBER OF LAKE VILLA SAYS HE WAS STUNNED TO LEARN INVEST IN KIDS ISN’T BEING EXTENDED.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE BLAINE WILHOUR OF BEECHER CITY SAYS TEACHER'S UNION ARE FIGHTING THE PROGRAM.

 

 

THE INCOME TAX CREDIT IS WORTH 75 PERCENT OF THE DONATION. THE LEGISLATURE COULD REVISIT THE ISSUE IN THE FALL VETO SESSION.

'American Pickers' Filming in Illinois

American Pickers on the History Channel is coming to Illinois this July. Jasmina Joseph is a producer for the show.

 

 

Again, collectors interested in being considered for the show can reach out by phone at (646) 493-2184 or email at AmericanPickers@cineflix.com.

 

Also, please note that the Pickers only pick private collections, NO stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auctions, businesses, or anything open to the public.

New Douglas, Clinton Elementary School Principal Brings Passion for Reading to Clinton

Jessica Patrick will take over as the principal of Douglas and Lincoln Elementary Schools in Clinton in a few weeks and is excited to be in Clinton.

 

Patrick was in the Maroa-Forsyth school district before coming to Clinton. She calls becoming a teacher and now an administrator in Clinton a 'happy accident'.

 

 

What was interesting about Patrick's journey to Clinton is she applied to be the assistant principal at Clinton Junior High School but she admits that was not a good fit, however, Sacha Young at Clinton Elementary School saw a fit for her in the building and reached out and recruited her to Clinton before Patrick applied for the principal job at Douglas and Lincoln Schools.

 

 

For Patrick, she is passionate about making sure kids can read and have books to further those reading skills. She hopes to develop a passion for reading in kids and further efforts to do that. 

 

 

Patrick says becoming a principal was never really on her radar but during COVID, she started to be drawn to leadership roles and that is what opened the door to her becoming an administrator. 

Farmer City Heritage Days This Weekend

This weekend is the annual Farmer City Heritage Days.

 

City Administrator Sue McLaughlin indicates things kick off on Thursday evening with a community dinner and then things kick into high gear Friday and Saturday in downtown Farmer City.

 

 

McLaughlin says they've got some good musical entertainment planned for the two nights. She indicates this is an annual event put on by a non-profit community group in Farmer City.

 

 

Farmercityheritagedays.com is the website for a full list of all the happenings this weekend in Farmer City. 

U of I Master Gardener Helpline

Do you have a gardening question that you need to help answering? The U of I Extension has a resource designed just for that.

 

Terri Miller-Casey the University of Illinois Extension Unit Director for Logan, Menard, and Sangamon counties, indicates the master gardener helpline is available once again this summer.

 

 

Miller-Casey says the helpline runs each year from April to October. There is also an email address if you want to send in a picture with your question so the master gardener can get a better idea of what you are dealing with.

 

 

Between the three counties, there are over 150 master gardeners. The helpline can also answer questions about landscaping, diagnose problems, and prevent gardening mistakes.

 

 

The Master Gardener Helpline is (217) 782-4617. The email address is uie-lms@illinois.edu.

 

The helpline is available through October.

Ford Decides to Keep AM on Dash of New Vehicles

Ford will keep AM radio on the dash of all their vehicles. Tom Brand with the National Association of Farm Broadcasting likes the sound of that……

 

 

Brand is hoping other automakers follow suit. He says NAFB membership plans to continue bringing attention to the issue.

Busy Summer Underway at Clinton High School

A parking lot repaving, new gym bleachers, and a kitchen renovation are the highlights of a busy summer coming up at Clinton High School.

 

Principal Jerry Wayne says because there is such a quick turnaround to get all these projects done, everything has to be done all at once.

 

 

Wayne is very excited about the changes in the gym. He indicates there are a lot of big things happening that he believes will have the community excited when it is all said and done.

 

 

Wayne also points out, the pavement that wraps around the school is being redone this summer so those that come out to use the softball fields will see that blocked off starting in the next week or two. 

 

With the renovations to the gymnasium, Wayne says it is no secret they are starting to think about a renovation of the football and track facility. He says there are more exciting things being talked about internally as it relates to the sports facilities at the high school. 

Clinton Police Officer, Mike Bennett, Retires

At last Sunday's Clinton High School graduation, Clinton Police's school resource officer Mike Bennett received a rousing ovation as he was honored for his years of service to the Clinton community and school district.

 

Officer Bennett worked his final shift last week and he calls the roughly 2100 students in the district his kids and when something happens to one of them, it impacts him like he's their parent.

 

 

Officer Bennett says the things kids are going through today are similar to what anyone who has been a kid went through. He points out, the obvious difference for many today is the fact technology plays a huge role in the challenges in kid's life in 2023.

 

 

Kids can cope with so much more than we know. That's what Officer Bennett believes but he also says families and the community need to be there for our kids. This isn't a journey they should be making on their own.

 

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers has a long-time relationship with Officer Bennet, in fact, he was the field training officer for Clinton's Chief of Police when he was a young officer on the force many years ago.

 

 

According to Chief Lowers, Officer Bennett became instrumental in his goal to revamp the school's presence in the school system and connect with the community's youth.

 

 

This Wednesday, May 31, there will be an open house for Officer Bennett at the Clinton High School library from 4 pm to 6 pm. 

NWS Heat Safety Awareness Social Media Campaign

With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of summer, the National Weather Service is reminding us about the dangers of summer weather.

 

Ed Shimon with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates they have been running a social media campaign on heat safety. 

 

 

Shimon says humidity makes the heat more dangerous as it is harder for the body to produce perspiration and cool itself. He suggests keeping the heat index in mind when outdoors on a hot day.

 

 

For more information on heat safety visit www.weather.gov/heat.

DCFS Warning About Dangers of Children in, Near Water

AS POOL SEASON APPROACHES, THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS WARNING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF KIDS NEAR WATER. 

 

LAST YEAR, 15 ILLINOIS CHILDREN DIED DUE TO ACCIDENTAL DROWNING. D-C-F-S SPOKESPERSON DEBORAH LOPEZ SAYS EVEN SMALL BABY POOLS PRESENT A HAZARD.

 

 

OPEZ. SHE ADDS THAT HOT TUBS SHOULD BE SECURELY COVERED WHEN NOT IN USE AND PORTABLE AND INFLATABLE POOLS SHOULD BE EMPTIED AND TURNED OVER WHEN KIDS ARE DONE PLAYING.

 

 

15 CHILDREN DIED IN ILLINOIS LAST YEAR DUE TO ACCIDENTAL DROWNING. NINE OF THE DEATHS OCCURRED IN POOLS. SEVEN OF THE KIDS WERE AGES FIVE AND YOUNGER.

Summer horticulture day next month

Illinois Specialty Growers summer horticulture day set for next month at Randy Graham’s Curtis Orchard in Champaign. He says it’s great to hear from growers throughout the state.

 

 

Summer horticulture day is June 8th.

Annual Funding Applications Through DeWitt County Mental Health Board Begin June 1

The DeWitt County Mental Health Board is accepting applications for FY 2024 funding for mental health, substance use, and developmental disability services and programs serving DeWitt County residents. 

 

Non-profit or governmental organizations must submit applications online during the period June 1-June 30, 2023. Technical assistance sessions will be held on June
6 at 10 am and June 21 at 2 pm via Zoom. Attendance is not required to apply. 
Applicants will be asked to attend a meeting with Board members in July to review their applications. 

 

To apply and request meeting links, request a copy of FY 2024 funding criteria and application procedures, or ask questions, please contact Sharon Mills, Board Administrator, at smills@dewittcountymhb.com. 

 

Application procedures also can be found at the Board’s website at  www.dewittcountymhb.com.

Farmer City Leadership Seeking Community's Input on Burn Ordinance

A DeWitt County community is seeking input from its residents regarding the leaf burning ordinance in the community.

 

City Administrator for the City of Farmer City, Sue McLaughlin indicates the community currently allows limited leaf burning and there is a desire by its City Council to find out how the community feels about that at this point in time.

 

 

McLaughlin says they are noticing a lot of small communities starting to ban leaf burning year-round so they are hoping to find out how the community feels through this survey.

 

You can get a paper copy at the Farmer City Hall or by finding the City of Farmer City on Facebook. And again the survey wraps up on June 2. 

Central Illinois Lawmaker Weighs In On Illinois Budget Agreement

A local lawmaker has mixed reviews about the Illinois budget that was agreed to this week.

 

State Senator Sally Turner applauds the Republican budgeteers for advocating and getting some of the things they wanted in the budget but there were still some things absent that conservatives hoped for.


 

There was a line item in the budget from the settlement with the drug manufacturers filed by the Attorney's General office. The Lincoln Republican is weary of that line item because it gives the State the power to spend however they want.

 

 

That agreement was hammered out during House Democrats’ roughly four-hour caucus meeting Thursday afternoon, which concluded at about the same time the budget amendments were filed. 

 

If all goes according to that plan, the chambers will have approved a spending plan that’s substantially similar to the one Pritzker proposed in February – only with about $1 billion in additional spending. That’s despite April revenues plummeting more than $1.8 billion from one year ago. 

FFA Legislation Wins General Assembly Approval

FFA legislation winning approval in the Illinois General Assembly. The measure is sponsored by State Rep. Dan Swanson from Henry County in western Illinois.

 

 

Swanson was presented with an honorary state FFA Degree from Illinois FFA last year.

Weekly Weather Summary

It was a picture perfect week in central Illinois. State Climatogolist Trent Ford talks the upcoming holiday weekend and beyond...

 

 

Clinton's Lincoln, Douglas Principal Reflects on 25-Plus Years in Education

Beth Wickenhauser is wrapping up her time as the principal of Lincoln and Douglas Schools in the next few weeks and is reflecting on her time in education.

 

Her journey in education started in Texas before she came to Illinois and the Clinton School district. On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Wickenhauser told Regional Radio she bounced back and forth between the classroom and various leadership roles.

 

 

Wickenhauser was instrumental in starting a special education program in Clinton. She explains before that, they were sending students with certain levels of need to Bloomington but her program kept all those students local.

 

 

Many administrators will tell you they didn't plan to get into administration and for Wickenhauser that is the case. She explains she had veterans in education encouraging her to be ready for opportunities in school administration even if it wasn't something she was thinking about.

 

 

Wickenhauser recently became a grandmother for the first time and plans to be with her daughter and her new baby as much as she can. 

 

Jessica Patrick will take over as the Principal of Lincoln and Douglas Schools and we'll hear from her next week on Regional Radio. 

Farmer City Pool Finally Opens Saturday

Farmer City residents and those in the surrounding areas have anxiously been awaiting the opening of the renovated Farmer City pool.

 

City Manager for the City of Farmer City, Sue McLaughlin indicates the pool opens for the season Saturday under management by the Clinton YMCA.

 

 

The last few years have been somewhat frustrating for Farmer City officials and the community. McLaughlin indicates last summer they were never able to open the pool because of a shortage of lifeguards.

 

 

Adding to the frustration was the fact just two summers ago, the City invested a million dollars to renovate the pool. Reflecting, McLaughlin realizes it has been a pretty long three years.

 

 

For those that have never been to the Farmer City pool, McLaughlin explains it is an 'L' shaped pool and it has a shallow end, a few zero entries, and a slide and diving board. Additionally, the Y is going to be bringing some programming with them this summer.

 

 

The Farmer City pool will be open daily from 11 am to 7 pm including holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. 

 

McLaughlin encourages anyone wanting more information to find the City of Farmer City Facebook page, the City website, or the Clinton YMCA website for more on the pool and its activities this summer. 

DNR Sending Out Camping Safety Reminders

The busy summer recreation season kicks into high gear this week Memorial Day weekend and local authorities are sending out reminders to campers.

 

Yesterday on Regional Radio, we highlighted the busy summer boating season which will crescendo this holiday weekend. Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Captain John Williamson says with the dry weather of the last several weeks, concerns around recreational fires are starting to pop up.

 

 

Capt. Williamson indicates a maintenance check on your campers is a must. He says they encounter a lot of problems with campers early in the season because they have sat dormant for several months during the off-season.

 

 

Parking at some sites in Illinois can be very chaotic. Capt. Williamson stresses it is important you follow any parking instructions at each site because there are reasons there are areas parking is restricted.

 

 

Clinton Lake has battled a problem with trash the last few years and Capt. Williamson says that hasn't gotten much better. He reminds, if you bring it in, take it out.

 

 

Camping sites fill up fast by this point in the season but Capt. Williamson encourages a visit to dnr.llinois.gov for a site near you and information about any openings. 

State Adding More Resources to Help Prevent Veteran Suicide

THE STATE IS ADDING MORE RESOURCES TO HELP PREVENT VETERAN SUICIDE. 

 

THE GOVERNOR’S CHALLENGE CAMPAIGN AIMS TO HELP STRUGGLING SERVICE MEMBERS, VETS AND THEIR FAMILIES. THERE’S A FREE, CONFIDENTIAL CRISIS HELPLINE AND NOW ONLINE TRAINING COURSES SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS’ AFFAIRS DIRECTOR TERRY PRINCE. THE COURSES ARE AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS.

 

 

PRINCE SAYS THE COURSES COVER A VARIETY OF TOPICS.

 

 

YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE RESOURCES AT: SAVE VETS DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

Senate Passes Budget

THE ILLINOIS SENATE HAS PASSED A MORE THAN 50 BILLION DOLLAR NEW STATE BUDGET. 

 

THE SPENDING PLAN IS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR THAT BEGINS JULY FIRST. THERE WAS INPUT FROM BOTH SIDES BUT IT STILL PASSED ALONG PARTY LINES. SENATE PRESIDENT DON HARMON:

 

 

BUT REPUBLICANS, LIKE SENATOR JASON PLUMMER OF EDWARDSVILLE, ARGUED THAT IT DOESN’T INCLUDE G-O-P PRIORITIES. THINGS SUCH AS A LARGER RAISE FOR THOSE WHO WORK WITH THE DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED, THE INVEST IN KIDS PROGRAM AND CREATING A BETTER BUSINESS CLIMATE.

 

 

 

 

THE BUDGET BILL NOW MOVES TO THE HOUSE. THE EARLIEST IT CAN BE PASSED IS SATURDAY.

IDOT Construction Season Underway

A busy travel season and a busy road construction season in Illinois. Here’s IDOT’s Paul Wappel.

 

 

Two important websites to follow idot.illinois.gov and gettingaroundillinois.com.

State, Local Law Enforcement Kicking Off 'Click It or Ticket' Campaign

STATE AND LOCAL POLICE ARE KICKING OFF THE “CLICK IT OR TICKET” CAMPAIGN FOR THE MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY. 

 

THE PUBLIC CAN EXPECT TO SEE BEEFED UP PATROLS LOOKING FOR THOSE NOT WEARING A SEATBELT, AS WELL AS DRUNK DRIVERS SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SPOKESPERSON PAUL WAPPEL.

 

 

ACCORDING TO I-DOT, HEAVY TRAFFIC DURING MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND ALMOST ALWAYS LEADS TO AN INCREASE IN FATALITIES. LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS, THERE WERE 14 CRASHES OVER THE HOLIDAY PERIOD, RESULTING IN 15 DEATHS.

Legislature Says Yes to Program to Keep Grocery Stores in High-Need Areas Afloat

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE SAYING YES TO A NEW PROGRAM THAT WILL HELP KEEP LOCAL GROCERY STORES AFLOAT. 

 

THIS IS AN INITIATIVE OF GOVERNOR JB PRITZKER’S, THAT WILL PROVIDE GRANTS TO NEW OR EXISTING GROCERY STORES IN AREAS DEEMED A “FOOD DESSERT.” THE NEED IS GREAT SAYS SENATOR DALE FOWLER OF HARRISBURG.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE RYAN SPAIN OF PEORIA ECHOED THOSE SENTIMENTS.

 

 

EOPLE MUST BE ABLE TO ACCESS HEALTHY FOOD SAYS REPRESENTATIVE MAURICE WEST OF ROCKFORD.

 

 

THE BILL CREATING THE GRANT PROGRAM NOW AWAITS THE GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE.

Gov. Pritzker, Democrats Have Budget Deal

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER AND DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP SAY A DEAL HAS BEEN REACHED ON A NEW STATE BUDGET. 

 

THE FISCAL YEAR 24 SPENDING PLAN IS SIMILAR TO THE ONE THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED EARLIER THIS YEAR. HE SAYS IT INVESTS IN FAMILIES AND IS FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE.

 

 

THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE NEW SPENDING PLAN THEY HAVE AGREED TO IS BALANCED AND SERVES THE PEOPLE OF ILLINOIS.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE DEAL ALSO GIVES HIS OFFICE THE TOOLS TO BETTER MANAGE THE COST OF A HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS. 

 

THE BUDGET PROPOSAL MUST BE PASSED BY THE HOUSE AND SENATE.

Dry Finish To May

Should we be concerned about the stretch of dry weather to finish May?

 

 

Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford says the latest Climate Prediction Center models show above-normal temperatures for June, but “equal chances” of above-normal and below-normal precipitation.

County Fair Season Starts Next Week in Illinois

The county fair season is upon us. It starts next week. The Greene County Fair in Carrollton. A big part of their success is corporate and business sponsorship, says Lisa Meisenheimer, who spoke with RFD Radio this week.

 

 

 

 

The Greene County Fair runs 5/30 to 6/3. More at thegreenecountyfair.com.

Bill Lets Non-Citizen Residents Get Standard Illinois Driver's License

LEGISLATION NOW WAITING TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW WOULD LET NONCITIZENS RESIDENTS GET A STANDARD ILLINOIS DRIVER’S LICENSE. 

 

CURRENTLY, NONCITIZENS CAN APPLY FOR A TEMPORARY VISITOR DRIVER’S LICENSE, BUT THAT CAN’T BE USED AS A FORM OF IDENTIFICATION. THIS PRESENTS A PROBLEM WHEN SOMEONE NEEDS TO SHOW THEIR I-D TO PICK UP A PRESCRIPTION OR OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT SAYS SENATOR RAM VILLIVALUM (villy-vahl-um) OF CHICAGO. HE SAYS THE CHANGE IS NEEDED.

 

 

NON-CITIZENS WOULD HAVE TO TAKE A DRIVER’S TEST AND PROVE THEY HAVE AUTO INSURANCE. THEY WOULD NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE REAL I-D.

Bill Headed to Governor's Desk Eliminates Most Juvenile Court Fees, Fines

NEARLY ALL JUVENILE COURT FINES AND FEES WOULD BE ELIMINATED UNDER A BILL HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK. 

 

THE GOAL IS TO MAKE SURE LOW-INCOME FAMILIES AREN’T BURDENED BY HEAVY COURT FEES IF THEIR CHILD GETS INTO TROUBLE. BUT OPPONENTS, LIKE SENATOR JIL TRACY OF QUINCY, ARGUED THAT MANY FAMILIES CAN AFFORD THE COSTS AND NOTE THE FINANCIAL LOSS COUNTIES WOULD FACE.

 

 

SPONSOR BY SENATOR ROBERT PETERS OF CHICAGO SAYS THAT KIDS AND THEIR FAMILIES SHOULDN’T BE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY THE FINES OR HAVE TO GO INTO DEBT TO PAY THEM OFF.

 

 

MINORS WOULD STILL HAVE TO PAY FINES FOR VIOLATIONS OF TRAFFIC, BOATING, FISHING AND HUNTING LAWS. IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THIS BILL INTO LAW.

Reviewing Wind, Solar Special Use Permits Moving Forward

With wind and solar regulations in place per state mandate, local governments are now faced with the question, who reviews applications to give them the stamp of approval if they meet all the guidelines.

 

According to DeWitt County Board Chair Dan Matthews, that was a question posed at the most recent DeWitt County Board meeting. Matthews says the process is now much more streamlined compared to before.

 

 

Matthews explains with the new laws in place, County governments are now more boxed in on these applications and a 'no' vote opens the County up to lawsuits if these companies are meeting the requirements in the law.

 

 

The County is receiving the most interest in solar development right now but Matthews is not ruling out more wind development coming to DeWitt County. 

DNR Conservation Police Sending out Boating Safety Reminders

The busiest weekend for conservation authorities is this weekend.

 

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police are imploring boaters and those in the state's recreation areas to practice safety this weekend. DNR Conservation Police Capt. John Williamson told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday there's already been a buzz of activity at area recreation sites with the nice weather of the last few weeks.

 

 

Priority number one for authorities when it comes to boaters and their safety is life jackets. Capt. Williamson reminds you want a life jacket that fits properly for each person on board the boat.

 

 

Boating and drinking are permissible on Illinois waterways. According to Capt. Williamson, unlike cars, the operator of a boat can drink and operate but they cannot be over the legal limit. He implores those on the boat to still bring a sober operator.

 

 

For boaters in congested areas with all types of boats around, Capt. Williamson says you want to be aware of the boats around you and be courteous to those that may be on the move. He says whatever type of boating you may be doing, keep those around you in mind.

 

 

When you are parking your equipment, make sure it is in a legal parking spot, and Capt. Williamson indicates they run into problems when individuals are standing in a parking spot to 'reserve' it for someone but there's a boater launching because there's a space open. He says that practice is not allowed and leads to many confrontations throughout the boating season.

 

Additionally, Capt. Williamson also says if you are remaining on your boat during the overnight hours, be aware of your local ordinances about noise, wake, and any lighting you may need to have. 

Rock Springs Finalizes Summer Concert Series

Macon County Conservation District always has great things going on and every day is different. 

 

Alysia Callison, Director of Program Services, says that there really is something for everyone at Rock Springs Nature Park.  For instance, this weekend will be a Rock Springs Ramble 5K. Papa Murphys will be there with pizza and other goodies.

 

 

 Another big event that will be taking place this summer is the Summer Concert Series.

 

 

Another upcoming event is a series on the history of baseball in Central Illinois.

 

 

For more information, visit maconcountyconservation.org.  

Clinton Chapter of 'Skills USA' Recognized at May Board of Education Meeting

A junior high school program in Clinton is introducing kids STEM concepts and it is a bridge to a program offered at the high school.

 

It's 'Skills USA' and Michelle Knap leads it at Clinton Junior High School while her husband leads a similar program at Clinton High School. At last Tuesday's Clinton Board of Education meeting, Junior High School Principal Jim Peck told the Board of Education the students in the program recently entered a competition where they had a good deal of success. 

 

 

Students in the program informed the Board of Education of some of the things they did as a part of the competition piece of the program.

 

 

Knap explains her husband has secured a grant through Constellation Energy and they will be able to outfit their students with jackets for the program, similar to that of an FFA jacket. She had high hopes for her students in the competition despite it being the first year in the program. 

 

 

Earlier this month there was a letter of intent signing event at the high school where students who were certified received job offers right out of high school. It was through the 'Skill USA' program led by Fred Knap at Clinton High School. 

Cerro Gordo Schools Superintendent Reflects on 2022-23 School Year, Time in Education

Brett Robinson is closing the books on the 2022-23 school year and his time in education.

 

The longtime Cerro Gordo schools administrator is set to retire at the end of June and before he does that is closing the books on the 2022-23 school year as students dismissed for the final time earlier this week. On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, he called it a great school year.

 

 

Robinson recognizes the ups and downs of COVID took a toll on everyone. He believes the mental and emotional wellness of his students is in a good place and he credits the teachers and support staff of the district for making sure students are all in a good place.

 

 

For Robinson, one thing COVID reinforced to him as he exits education is the fact in-person learning is still the best form of learning for all students. He explains that is one reason Cerro Gordo Schools have declined the use of e-learning during inclement weather.

 

 

According to Robinson, one of the bigger changes in education in his time as an administrator is how much more involved in bringing up a young person the school system has gotten.

 

 

 

 

Robinson will enter retirement hoping to spend more time with his family. His daughter was recently drafted into the WNBA and he has grandchildren he hopes to be around more often as well. 

 

Dr. Emily Weidner takes over the ranks in Cerro Gordo officially starting July 1.

Social Security Highlights Ongoing Efforts to Help Veterans Through 'Wounded Warrior' Initiative

In May our nation celebrates Memorial Day to honor military service members who have given their lives for our country and at Social Security, they want to remind families who have lost loved ones that Social Security benefits may be payable to surviving family members including spouses and children.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security says you can learn more about those benefits at www.ssa.gov/survivors. They also want to recognize and support our wounded warriors through Social Security disability benefits can help financially if you are unable to return to work.

 

 

As a thank you for your service, Social Security can expedite disability claims through its Wounded Warrior initiative if you became disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001. Myers explains they can also expedite your disability claim if you have a VA Compensation Rating of 100% Permanent & Total. VA Disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits are different, and eligibility for one does not guarantee eligibility for the other. 

 

 

Myers hopes veterans will consider applying for both and notes you can learn more about the disability programs and the expedited claims process at www.ssa.gov/woundedwarriors.

 

 

Myers stresses you need to make sure you are using the URL - ssa-dot-gov. That 'dot-gov' will take you to the official Social Security site. 

Prenatal Care in Rural Areas

OSF Healthcare is working to address issues with providing prenatal care in rural areas. Dr. Haley Ralph is a doctor in Central Illinois and she says that virtual care and providing materials to mothers in rural areas are just some of the ways doctors are reaching out to rural prenatal patients...

 

 

Dr. Ralph says that prenatal care is an urgent issue that access to care is a barrier that must be overcome in order to keep pregnant women and their babies healthy.

Route 66 Upgrades

Route 66 is getting some upgrades as the road is approaching its centennial year in 2026.

 

Grants from the Illinois Office of Tourism will gift the Town a new sign that spans 43 feet, and stands 8 to 10 feet tall spelling out 'NORMAL'. Matt Hawkins with the Bloomington Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says the state is pulling out all the stops ahead of the 100-year anniversary.

 

 

Aside from the large sign planned for the Town of Normal, additional signage showcasing Route 66 is expected for other McLean County communities such as Bloomington, Chenoa, Lexington and McLean. Hawkins expects the signage to be up later this summer.

Nutrient Stewardship Field Days Return in June

Nutrient stewardship field days ready to ramp back up next month. A couple of practices will be on display in Sangamon County says Illinois Farm Bureau Environmental Program Manager Raelyn Parmely.

 

 

The event is June 8. More info at ilfb.org/field days.

Lawmakers Pass Full-Day Kindergarten Bill

A BILL REQUIRING SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO OFFER FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN IS HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK.

 

IT’S IMPORTANT THAT FAMILIES HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO EDUCATION AT ALL LEVELS SAYS SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE HARRY BENTON OF PLAINFIELD.

 

 

MOST SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN ILLINOIS ALREADY HAVE A FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN OPTION, BUT THOSE THAT DON’T WILL HAVE UNTIL THE 2027-2028 SCHOOL YEAR TO COMPLY. THE BILL MUST BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR.

Illinois State Police Opens New Forensics Lab in Decatur

THE ILLINOIS STATE POLICE IS OPENING A NEW FORENSIC SCIENCE LAB IN DECATUR.

 

THIS IS THE I-S-P’S SEVENTH FORENSIC LAB, WHICH WILL UTILIZE ROBOTICS TO HELP QUICKLY PROCESS D-N-A EVIDENCE SAYS DIRECTOR BRENDAN KELLY.

 

KELLY SAYS IT WILL SERVE STATE, LOCAL AND FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.

 

 

THE LAB WILL UTILIZE ROBOTICS TO SPEED UP PROCESSING OF CRIME SCENE EVIDENCE. KELLY SAYS I-S-P’S FORENSIC SCIENCE LABORATORY SYSTEM IS ONE OF THE LARGEST IN THE WORLD.

Congressman LaHood Weighs In On Debt Ceiling

Economic turmoil looms if the country is unable to strike a deal on the debt ceiling ahead of June 1st.

 

U.S. Representative Darin LaHood is hopeful that President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will reach an agreement. LaHood says Republican's are open to compromise.

 

 

June 1st marks the hard deadline for lawmakers to raise the debt ceiling, before the United States defaults on its loans.

Illinois Attorney General Releases Report on Sexual Abuse Inside Catholic Church

A sweeping report on child sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church was released by the Illinois Attorney General. The report took years to gather and reveals the names of 451 clerics who abused about 2000 children since 1950.

 

Attorney General Kawme Raoul says prior to the report, Catholic dioceses in Illinois listed 103 clerics as substantiated child sex abusers. The AG’s report found more after reviewing 100,000 pages of church documents and contact making with victims of abuse by members of the church.

 

 

The investigation covered reports and documents spanning 7 decades and more than 600 confidential contacts from survivors.

Sen. Durbin Gives Take on Debt Ceiling

The debt ceiling debate continues in Washington, Senator Dick Durbin says the nation can’t afford to not pay its bills on time and the impact of a default would be felt by everyone in the US.

 

 

Durbin says the Senate needs to see something with compromise in it so they can pass it and send it onto the President.

Clinton YMCA Excited to Have Gym Floor in Use

The Clinton YMCA has long needed some work on its gym floor and it is finally complete.

 

Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates it was about a month-long process to get the floor complete but it is done and now members are in there using it and he is very pleased with the outcome.

 

 

For the Y, the new gym floor and its features will allow them to expand its offerings. According to Cluver, they will be able to pull the basketball hoops back and set up volleyball nets. In fact, he hopes to start seeing regular volleyball playing happening at the Y very soon.

 

 

According to Cluver, the gym floor fell victim to other another issue within the Y. He explains they had a leaky roof that resulted in part of the floor getting water damage.

 

Cluver notes the new gym floor will also allow them to offer a youth volleyball program at some point, something he is particularly excited about because volleyball has been a sport they've not been able to tap into. 

Monticello Schools Superintendent Reflects on First Year

It's a year in the books for first-year Monticello superintendent Adam Clapp.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Clapp told Regional Radio his first year as the head of the school district went well as he felt he was well prepared and had great support staff around him.

 

 

Clapp explains his predecessor, Dr. Vic Zimmerman took on a consulting role with the Illinois Association of School Administrators, or IASA, and has been someone Clapp could lean on.

 

 

According to Clapp, there are several things as part of the process of being the Superintendent that he is familiar with but there were also things that are new for him. He suggests one of the biggest changes is that he's not around the students as much as he used to be.

 

 

Clapp was the principal of the high school before he became the superintendent this year so it was fun to see many students he had developed relationships with in the last few years graduate this past weekend. 

Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS FARMERS ARE MAKING QUICK WORK OF CORN AND SOYBEAN PLANTING AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

NEARLY FIVE DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK. 85 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 57 PERCENT EMERGED...THAT'S AHEAD OF LAST YEAR'S PACE AND THE FIVE YEAR AVERAGE. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER SAYS 91 PERCENT OF CORN ACRES HAVE BEEN PLANTED.

 

 

SCHLEUSENER SAYS 85 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED.

 

 

84 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 19 PERCENT OF THE FIRST CUTTING OF ALFALFA IS COMPLETE. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW STANDS AT FOUR PERCENT VERY SHORT, 14 PERCENT SHORT, 65 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 17 PERCENT SURPLUS.

State Budget Impacts on Ag in Illinois

Many moving parts to the state budget process in Springfield. Here’s an update from Illinois Farm Bureau Director of State Legislation Kevin Semlow as it relates to a couple of ag issues.

 

 

State lawmakers return to Springfield on Wednesday.

IRS Reminds of Importance Documentation

The IRS wants you to remember your important documents when you are making your emergency go-kits. Lauren Winebrenner is a spokesman for the IRS and she shares some tips for saving your documents in case of an emergency or natural disaster...

 

 

The IRS can help you rebuild your old tax returns if you need them following a disaster but your best bet, according to the IRS, is to secure these documents before you ever need them in an emergency.

Changes to State's Cannabis Industry Proposed

SEVERAL CHANGES TO THE STATE'S CANNABIS INDUSTRY ARE BEING PROPOSED IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE. 

 

COMPREHENSIVE, LAST-MINUTE CANNABIS LEGISLATION EMERGED FRIDAY AT THE CAPITOL. IT'S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE LA SHAWN FORD OF CHICAGO WHO SAYS ONE COMPONENT WILL HELP MARIJUANA CUSTOMERS.

 

 

THE BILL ALSO INCREASES CANOPY SPACE FOR CRAFT GROWERS FROM FIVE THOUSAND TO 14 THOUSAND SQUARE FEET, ALLOWS PROSPECTIVE MEDICAL CANNABIS PATIENTS TO HAVE THEIR DOCTOR'S EXAM DONE VIRTUALLY, REQUIRES CANNABIS TESTING FACILITIES TO BE LICENSED BY THE STATE AND LIFTS A REQUIREMENT THAT MARIJUANA NEEDS TO BE IN AN ODOR-PROOF CONTAINER WHEN IN A VEHICLE.

 

 

FORD SAYS THERE WILL BE FURTHER TWEAKS TO THE BILL. LAWMAKERS RETURN TO SPRINGFIELD ON WEDNESDAY.

Congresswoman Budzinski Discusses Debt Ceiling

Debt ceiling talks are dragging on between the White House and House Republicans. Illinois Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski says big infrastructure projects depend on the federal government honoring its obligations.

 

 

Budzinski is in her first term in office.

Will State Budget Provide Financial Support for Bears Move?

The Bears are exploring a move to neighboring Arlington Heights.

 

That would leave Solider Field along Chicago’s Lakefront without a major tenant and mean that the team would need a new stadium to play in. Will tax dollars or other government support go to help the team move? It’s an ongoing discussion at the statehouse and Democrat Rep. Marty Moylan says early talks this spring will carry over into the summer.

 

 

Hundreds of millions of dollars are still left on the bonds issued to redo Solider Field 20 years ago. Moylan is proposing a $3 fee on tickets sold at a new Bears stadium to help pay that down. The property tax assessment on the land purchased by the team for the new stadium is also being talked about.

Lawmakers Miss Self-Imposed Adjournment Deadline, Plan to Back in Springfield Wednesday

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS HAVE MISSED THEIR OWN SELF-IMPOSED STATE BUDGET DEADLINE. 

 

DEMOCRATIC LEADERS SET TODAY/YESTERDAY AS ADJOURNMENT DAY, BUT A SPENDING PLAN HAS YET TO EMERGE. HOUSE REPUBLICANS, WHO SAY THEY HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS, WANT A SEAT AT THE TABLE. REPRESENTATIVE NORINE HAMMOND OF MACOMB:

 

 

JACKSONVILLE REPRESENTATIVE C-D DAVIDSMEYER SAYS THE DAYS OF GETTING THE A BUDGET AT THE LAST MINUTE WITH NO TIME TO REVIEW NEED TO BE OVER.

 

 

BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE ARE SCHEDULED TO RETURN TO SPRINGFIELD ON WEDNESDAY.

Caring for Spring Bulbs

SPRING FLOWERS FADING? A HORTICULTURE EXPERT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION HAS SOME ADVICE TO ENSURE THEY ARE LOOKING THEIR BEST NEXT SEASON. 

 

IN ORDER TO HELP SPRING BULBS THRIVE, THE EXTENSION’S KEN JOHNSON SAYS YOU SHOULD LEAVE THE FOLIAGE ON THE PLANTS.

 

 

THE FLOWERS CAN BE REMOVED BUT THE LEAVES SHOULD STAY UNTIL THEY HAVE TURNED YELLOW AND DIED BACK. JOHNSON SAYS THAT CAN TAKE SEVERAL WEEKS FOR TULIPS AND DAFFODILS. HE ADVISES AGAINST TYING UP THE FOLIAGE FOR A CLEANER APPEARANCE SINCE THAT WILL REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SUN THE PLANT GETS.

 

 

JOHNSON SAYS IT’S ALSO A GOOD IDEA TO FERTILIZE YOUR SPRING FLOWERS.

DeWitt County Board Passes Wind, Solar Ordinances In Line with State Regulation

Sunday was the deadline for local County governments to get in line with state regulations for wind and solar development.

 

DeWitt County Board Chairman Dan Matthews indicates there is not a lot of area for local control with the new ordinances and anticipates because of that, there could be quick applications for special use permits coming in.

 

 

Setbacks are an area the County has dialed in on that could offer some flexibility on where the state has stepped in. But Matthews notes, one of the biggest changes in the applications for a special use permit is going to be the process of review of that application. 

 

 

Anticipating applications for solar and wind coming in with the change in state law now all but effective, Matthews explains the County wants to identify good companies to work with for those inevitable projects.

 

 

But finding the right company or companies for DeWitt County could leave others out of the circle of preference. Matthews indicates if they can find good partners early and allow them to develop, there likely won't be more development possible for other companies.

 

 

Matthews indicates only one review of a special use application is allowed now and so multiple hearings over multiple months will be a thing of the past. He believes the County Board should be the ones to hold those. 

 

We'll have more on that wrinkle in the legislation later this week on Regional Radio. 

City of Lincoln Hopes Recent Developments Allow for Progress on Fifth Street Road Renovation

Around the first of the year, the City of Lincoln received discouraging news that bids for a long-awaited expansion of Fifth Street Road on the west side of town were way over budget.

 

Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch calls this the project that never ends as they have long been looking to renovate and expand the road in a busy area of town. They had plans for an expansive project until bids earlier this year came in disappointingly high. 

 

 

According to Mayor Welch, since those bids came in very high, the City has done a re-evaluation of where it is at financially, what possible state matching dollars they might lose out on, and what are the utmost priority issues of the road.

 

 

Drainage issues, a narrow road, and a breaking down road are just a few of the issues that road has and Mayor Welch says those will likely be the main priorities for the now partial scope of the project they will be able to complete.

 

 

Mayor Welch does not anticipate widening the road as much as they anticipated. However, they plan to resurface with a lasting material that will likely get done over a couple of phases.

 

He believes while the improvements are not what they had initially planned, they are still going to have a nice road when it is all said and done. 

DeWitt County Animal Control Facility Overwhelmed With Animals

It's an issue that is not unique to DeWitt County but it is somewhat of a new issue for DeWitt County authorities.

 

The animal control facility is frequently maxed out with animals. On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, DeWitt County Board Chair Dan Matthews told Regional Radio it could be over several factors but animal control is currently battling having more dogs and cats than usual.

 

 

Matthews hopes this is a temporary problem, eliminating the need for expansion. He hopes if you lose a pet you will seek to reclaim it and those that have pets keep a close watch over them so they don't end up running loose around the county.

 

 

Second Chance for Pets of DeWitt County is also putting the call out for those interested in adopting a pet or fostering a dog until it finds a permanent home.

 

The group's Facebook and Instagram accounts always have new postings about animals needing urgent placement. Reach out to them there if you're interested in adopting or opening your home to a dog in need. 

Lincoln Mayor Surprised By Outpouring of Positivity Around Recently Opened Dog Park

The mayor of a central Illinois community is surprised by the outpouring of positivity around a recently opened dog park.

 

Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch, who has advocated for the opening of the dog park in a patch of greenspace where the former Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital once was located just off the downtown area, has been pleasantly surprised by the overall acceptance of the small park.

 

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Mayor Welch says the new dog park is among a lot of positive things happening in Lincoln this spring. 

 

Friday night kicked off the 'Third Friday' events that happen between May and August in Lincoln as well as a new prompt care facility coming to the community and much more. 

 

We'll hear more from Mayor Welch next week on Regional Radio about another positive development of a project that has been years in the making.

Gov. Prizsker Plans to Sign Bill Making Gun Manufacturers Liable for Deceptive Marketing Practices

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS HE WILL SIGN LEGISLATION THAT TAKES AIM AT GUN MANUFACTURERS USING DECEPTIVE MARKETING. 

 

THE BILL ALLOWS LAWSUITS TO BE FILED AGAINST FIREARM MANUFACTURERS AND SELLERS IF THEY MARKET TO CHILDREN SAYS SENATE PRESIDENT DON HARMON.

 

 

SENATOR MINORITY LEADER JOHN CURRAN SAYS THE BILL IS TOO BROAD.

 

 

DEALERS ALSO COULD BE CIVILLY SUED IF THEY APPEAR TO ADVERTISE AND PROMOTE ILLEGAL MILITIA ACTIVITY. GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS THE LEGISLATION PROTECTS ILLINOISAN FROM PREDATORY ACTIONS BY THE FIREARM INDUSTRY.

Weekly Weather Summary

It was an ideal weather week in central Illinois. With a little rain in the area to usher in the weekend Friday, things look excellent for a good stretch. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more....

 

 

Advocates Celebrate Passage of Bills Giving Victims of Deepfakes, Doxing Civil Resources

ADVOCATES ARE CELEBRATING PASSAGE OF BILLS GIVING VICTIMS OF DEEPFAKES AND DOXING CIVIL RECOURSE. 

 

THE LEGISLATION AIMS TO KEEP ILLINOIS LAW UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY. SENATOR MARY EDLY-ALLEN SAYS DEEPFAKES ARE DIGITALLY ALTERED SEXUAL IMAGES, USED TO HARASS OR THREATEN SOMEONE.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE JENNIFER GONG-GERSHOWITZ. OF GLENVIEW....

 

 

DOXING OCCURS WHEN SOMEONE PUBLISHES A PERSON’S PERSONAL INFORMATION LIKE THEIR ADDRESS, WITH THE GOAL OF CAUSING HARM. UNDER BOTH BILLS, WHICH MUCH BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR, VICTIMS WILL BE ABLE TO SUE THEIR CYBER-ATTACKER FOR DAMAGES.

Legislature Passes Bill Ensuring Students Can Wear Clothes of Cultural Significance at Graduation

STUDENTS WILL BE ABLE TO CELEBRATE THEIR CULTURE AS THEY ACCEPT THEIR DIPLOMA UNDER A BILL PASSED BY ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS. 

 

THE LEGISLATION PROHIBITS SCHOOLS FROM BANNING CULTURAL, ETHNIC OR RELIGIOUS ITEMS AT GRADUATION CEREMONIES. IT WAS PROMPTED BY AN INCIDENT LAST YEAR IN EVANSTON WHERE A NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENT WASN’T ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE. THE REASON? HE WAS WEARING AN EAGLE FEATHER AND BEADING WITH HIS GRADUATION CAP SAYS ROCKFORD REPRESENTATIVE MAURICE WEST.

 

 

THE BILL WILL NEED TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR.

Department of Public Health Warns of Increase in M-Pox Cases in Chicago Area

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS WARNING ABOUT A RECENT INCREASE IN CASES OF M-POX IN THE CHICAGO-AREA. 

 

THERE’S BEEN A RESURGENCE OF M-POX, FORMERLY KNOWN AS MONKEY-POX IN THE CITY AND SUBURBAN COOK COUNTY. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MIKE CLAFFEY SAYS THEY ARE URGING AT-RISK INDIVIDUALS TO GET THE TWO-DOSE VACCINATION.

 

 

M-POX HAS BEEN SPREAD PRIMARILY THROUGH SEXUAL CONTACT BETWEEN MEN. THE VACCINE IS AVAILABLE AT MANY LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND HEALTH CARE CENTERS.

 

 

THE VACCINE INCLUDES TWO DOSES AND DOESN’T COMPLETELY PREVENT INFECTION BUT CAN SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE SYMPTOMS. IT’S AVAILABLE AT MANY LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND HEALTH CARE FACILITIES.

Debate Over All-Gender Bathrooms Continues in Legislature

DEBATE OVER ALL-GENDER BATHROOMS CONTINUED IN THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE THURSDAY. 

 

THE BILL UNDER CONSIDERATION LETS BUSINESSES CONVERT THEIR PUBLIC RESTROOMS INTO MULTI-OCCUPANCY GENDERLESS FACILITIES. IT WOULD REQUIRE BATHROOM STALLS TO BE FULLY ENCLOSED AND PROHIBITS URINALS. SENATOR CELINA VILLANUEVA OF CHICAGO SAYS THIS WILL BE HELPFUL TO FAMILIES.

 

 

 SENATOR ANDREW CHESNEY OF FREEPORT OPPOSED THE BILL.

 

 

OTHERS RAISED CONCERNS ABOUT A YOUNG GIRL POTENTIALLY BEING ALONE WITH A MAN IN THE BATHROOM. ALL-GENDER BATHROOMS WOULDN’T BE MANDATORY. 

DeWitt County Board Approves Increase in Marina Chairperson's Authority to Authorize Maintenance Repairs

The DeWitt County Board discussed and ultimately approved the Marina Committee Chair's ability to authorize maintenance repairs from $5,000 to $10,000.

 

DeWitt County Board Chair Dan Matthews, who also serves as the Marina Committee Chairperson, indicates to the Board this is a measure to expedite issues at the Marina that need to be addressed.

 

 

Board members wondered why the Marina Chair needed the increase from $5,000 to $10,000. Melanie Tilley pressed Matthews he needed more than $5,000 in expenses to be approved. Matthews says he just wants to keep things moving at the Marina.

 

 

Matthews contends there's nothing on the books on how to approve emergency situations on short notice. Brian Riddle also points out this isn't going to be an issue of the Marina Chair finding $10,000 to spend each month but Tilley insisted there was already a process in place for those occurrences. 

 

 

Tilley also brought up the fact the motion was for 'general maintenance' expenses and not specifically for emergencies. State's Attorney Dan Markwell offered clarity on what an emergency expense should be.

 

 

The board moved to have the provision of "general maintenance" removed from the ordinance but ultimately approved giving the Marina Chairperson up to $10,000 to approve repairs at the Marina. 

Warner Hospital Health Fair Returned Thursday

The Warner Hospital and Health Services Community Health Fair saw a successful return last night marked by terrific weather.

 

CEO Paul Skowron indicated since it has been a few years since the last health fair, organizers decided to hold it in the spring instead of the fall. In addition to the Hospital's departments on site, they had vendors and food available as well.

 

 

Erin Schlosser with the Warner Hospital Pharmacy was highlighting the community drug take-back program. The hospital has a kiosk to help reduce the burden on the Clinton Police Department.

 

 

One of the outside vendors on site was Heritage Behavioral Health Center. Marry Garrison the CEO of Heritage indicates they recently purchased the former Richland Community College  Clinton Center. With the larger building Heritage will expand its offerings to include group services.

 

 

The next community event for the hospital is the Warner Hospital Foundation's pickleball tournament on Saturday, June 10 at Rotary Park. For more information on that event or other community events and programming visit the Warner Hospital and Health Services Facebook page.

Summer Outlook Looking to Be Normal for Temperatures, But Wet

Weather outlooks are indicating we could be in for a pretty wet summer.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the outlooks are showing solid chances for above-normal precipitation this summer.

 

 

The outlook for above-normal rainfall could be welcome as some areas of Illinois continue to deal with drought conditions. Shimon points out the rains of last week did help ease drought in parts of Illinois. 

 

 

Rain showers are possible later on Friday before things clear up and be pleasant heading into the weekend. 

Legislature Passes Bill to Look Into Redesigning State Flag

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS ARE VOTING TO LOOK INTO REVAMPING THE OFFICIAL STATE FLAG. 

 

THE APPROPRIATELY NAMED SENATE BILL 1818 HAS CLEARED BOTH THE HOUSE AND SENATE. THAT’S THE YEAR ILLINOIS BECAME A STATE. REPRESENTATIVE KAM BUCKNER OF CHICAGO SAYS THE MEASURE CREATES THE ILLINOIS FLAG COMMISSION.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD SENATOR DORIS TURNER SAYS THERE HAS ALREADY BEEN A LOT OF EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE PROSPECT OF A REDESIGN.

 

 

THE PUBLIC WILL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE INPUT AND THE COMMISSION MUST ISSUE ITS RECOMMENDATIONS BY DECEMBER OF 2024. THE BILL STILL NEEDS TO BE SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR.

Legislation Requiring Students Learn More About Native American History Headed to Governor's Desk

ILLINOIS PUBLIC SCHOOLCHILDREN WILL LEARN MORE ABOUT NATIVE AMERICANS UNDER A BILL HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK. 

 

THE LEGISLATION ADDS LESSONS ABOUT THE HISTORY OF NATIVE AMERICANS, THE DISCRIMINATION THEY FACED, THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO SOCIETY AND CONTEMPORARY LIVING. IT’S SUPPORTED BY CHICAGO SENATOR RAM VILLIVALAM (villy-vawl-um).

 

 

SENATOR SETH LEWIS OF BARLETT ARGUES SCHOOLS ALREADY HAVE TOO MANY MANDATES.

 

 

IF SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR, THE NEW REQUIREMENT WOULD TAKE EFFECT IN THE 2024-2025 SCHOOL YEAR.

Legislation Would Provide Income Tax Credit for Firefighters

A bill in the Senate that would provide a $500 state income tax credit for volunteer firefighters is picking up steam in the final week of session down in Springfield.

 

The proposal asks for the state budget to include an income tax credit, which would support Illinois’ dire need for volunteer firefighters. State Senator Tom Bennett is pushing this bill forward.

 

 

Senator Christopher Belt of Swansea is sponsoring the bill supporting the hiring of more volunteers.

Illinois County Farm Bureau Maintaining Open Line of Communication with County Governments

Maintaining an open line of communication with local county government continues to be an important mission for the Illinois Farm Bureau. The organization sponsors the Illinois Association of County Officials fall and spring conferences says associate director of local government and political engagement Ryan Whitehouse.

 

 

The spring conference was last week in Springfield.

Illinois Comptroller Makes Another Deposit in State's Rainy Day Fund

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

 

COMPTROLLER MENDOZA IS TRANSFERRING 150 MILLION DOLLARS INTO THE FUND, BRINGING IT TO A RECORD HIGH OF ONE POINT SEVEN-THREE BILLION. SHE SAYS JUST LIKE FAMILIES SHOULD SET ASIDE MONEY IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY THE STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE DOING THE SAME.

 

 

AT ONE POINT IN 2018, THE RAINY-DAY FUND HAD ONLY ABOUT 48 THOUSAND DOLLARS. MENDOZA IS PUSHING THE LEGISLATURE TO AUTHORIZE AUTOMATIC DEPOSITS IN ORDER TO KEEP BUILDING UP THE RESERVE.

 

 

MENDOZA SAYS THE RAINY DAY FUND IS VITAL TO HELPING THE STATE GET THROUGH TOUGH TIMES LIKE A SEVERE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN OR PANDEMIC.

May Days Opens Tonight

The annual May Days Festival opens tonight in downtown Clinton.

 

It is a fundraiser for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce. Executive Director Janice Peterson is excited for this year's event which kicks off with the Clinton High School theater group's sing-off.

 

 

Live music will grace the square stage on Friday night. Peterson indicates they have invited food trucks to come out this year on top of the traditional carnival food and the Am Vets will be serving pork chops throughout the weekend.

 

 

Musical entertainment continues on Saturday of the festival. Peterson also points out there will be other fun games and contests happening on the square this weekend.

 

 

The Chamber of Commerce takes in a portion of the profits from wristband sales at the annual festival. Peterson thanks Second Chance for Pets, whose volunteers helps man the ticket booths throughout the weekend.

 

 

May Days runs tonight through Sunday. Pre-sale wristbands go through mid-day Thursday. Get more information about May Days by visiting clintonilchamber.org or finding the Chamber on Facebook. 

Maroa-Forsyth Schools Searching for New Superintendent

The Maroa-Forsyth School Board will begin a search for a new superintendent this summer.

 

Dr. Kris Kahler, current Maroa-Forsyth Superintendent, indicated Tuesday on the WHOW Morning Show he has taken a position with the Rochester school district.

 

 

Dr. Kahler says the biggest highlight of his tenure as superintendent was building the new middle school. He notes when he took over as superintendent the Maroa-Forsyth schools had recently undergone budget cuts.

 

 

The current financial state of the school district is great according to Dr. Kahler. He says they have worked to make investments for the future so the district can weather a possible recession.

 

 

Dr. Kahler hopes the school district's investments will help keep their facilities in top shape for years to come as well as keep them from having to make severe budget cuts in the future.

 

The Maroa-Forsyth school board will begin looking for Dr. Kahler's replacement within the coming weeks and will have a new hire sometime at the beginning of the new school year.

Clinton Elementary Principal Resigning To Take Central A&M Superintendent Job

Clinton Elementary School will be in search of a principal and assistant principal after Tuesday afternoon's Clinton Board of Education meeting.

 

CES staff found out late Tuesday that Mrs. Sasha Young (pictured right) has accepted the Superintendent's job at Central A&M. Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles found out last night the Central A&M Board of Education approved her hiring last night.

 

 

According to Nettles, when you work hard to make administrators better and grow, the downside is that administrators may leave. He says Central A&M was very impressed with Mrs. Young.

 

 

The School Board also approved the resignation of Clinton Elementary School assistant principal Ben Mooney (pictured right) Tuesday night. Nettles recommended letting the applications for his position to come and letting them sit and seek out a principal first. 

 

 

Also at the Tuesday afternoon board meeting, the Clinton Board of Education approved the retirement of John Hickman as science teacher and baseball coach and Diana King as Clinton Junior High School special education teacher. 

 

The Board approved John Reynolds as the high school golf coach, Torie Moreland as the department head for math and science, and  Jared Wisler as the department head for physical education and health, all effective starting for the school year 2023-24. 

City of Clinton Readies for May Days

Clinton residents who converge on the downtown area of Washington Street will notice parts of the area closed down as the May Days carnival sets up shop.

 

Tuesday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Streets Ken Buchanan told the Council the annual carnival is getting set up and that area will be closed until the carnival closes on Sunday.

 

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers reminds of a few things about the closures and safety precautions for his staff.

 

 

May Days runs this Thursday through Sunday. You can visit clintonilchamber.com for more on all things May Days in Clinton. 

May is the Peak of the Severe Weather Season

It's been an active spring with severe weather and storms and current outlooks say that trend will continue for the rest of the month.

 

Ed Shimon, the warning coordinating meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Lincoln on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday told Regional Radio severe weather began on January 3 and continued with several bouts over the following months. He says May is traditionally the peak of the severe weather season in Illinois.

 

 

Shimon indicates outlooks for the rest of the month are showing above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. He notes warmer air can hold more water, so any cold fronts moving in can result in heavy rain or thunderstorms.

 

 

The months of May and early June are prime time for severe weather or storms. Shimon reminds you should pay attention to forecasts to be weather aware.

 

 

Shimon points anyone wanting more information on current outlooks and predictions to visit weather.gov/lincoln. You can also find information there about how to be prepared for severe weather.

ISU conducting cover crop survey

Illinois State University is leading a cover crop survey. Feedback is sought from Illinois farmers says Dr. Rebekka Darner with ISU’s Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology. She says they’re seeking producers’ concerns, interests, and use of cover crops.

 

 

You can learn more at FarmWeekNow.com.

Weekly Crop Report

CORN AND SOYBEAN PLANTING CONTINUES TO SURGE AHEAD AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 

 

EVEN WITH JUST THREE AND A HALF DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK ON AVERAGE, FARMERS MADE A LOT OF PROGRESS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.

 

 

84 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW PLANTED, UP FROM 73 PERCENT LAST WEEK AND WELL AHEAD OF THE FIVE-YEAR AVERAGE. 45 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP HAS EMERGED. CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT SOYBEANS:

 

 

74 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND THE CONDITION OF THE CROP DECLINED TO 62 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT SHAPE. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AS ONE PERCENT VERY SHORT, SEVEN PERCENT SHORT, 59 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 33 PERCENT SURPLUS.

Sorensen talks debt ceiling

Leaders on capitol hill are huddling this week at the White House to figure out a solution to the debt ceiling crisis before a June 1 deadline.

 

The deadline is when it is estimated the United States will run out of money to pay its bills.

 

Here's Central Illinois Congressman Eric Sorenson.

 

 

Sorenson said Republicans are making the crisis a political issue.

 

For Republicans, they know a President has never been re-elected if a recession occurred while they were in office.

 

President Biden is meeting with leaders from both sides of the aisle at the White House today.

Clinton YMCA to Assume Management of Farmer City Pool

The Clinton YMCA and the City of Farmer City have come to an agreement for management of the Farmer City pool.

 

The City of Farmer City did not open its renovated pool last summer because of a lifeguard shortage and has been actively recruiting lifeguards for the first quarter of 2023. On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Clinton YMCA Executive Director Rennie Cluver told Regional Radio, the Y is assuming management of the Farmer City pool in an agreement between the two entities.

 

 

According to Cluver, the Y will be able to bring back wellness programming to Farmer City. That will be in addition to the pool being a recreation destination for the community.

 

 

Cluver points out the Y and Farmer City already had an existing partnership for lifeguards and training. The Y will take over recruiting and retaining those young people. Cluver hopes they don't ever have to close it down this summer.

 

 

If this inaugural year of the Y managing the Farmer City pool goes well, he hopes to utilize the Farmer City pool as an added benefit for Y members as many Clinton residents will go over to Farmer City to swim throughout the summer. 

Expansion of School-Based Critical Mental Health Services

A school-based mental health program will be expanded after legislation was passed in Washington DC to help Illinois schools afford critical mental health services.

 

It is a piece of legislation Piatt County Mental Health Center Executive Director Tony Kirkman is very excited about. He feels this will allow schools to bring help to students in a growing area of need.

 

 

But for Kirkman, there is a drawback to this program. He explains the bill, as currently constructed, only allows students on Medicaid to access this. He does not feel that is right.

 

 

While this is going to be a great program, Kirkman would like to see a little more local control and more local coordination in implementing this program.


 

Kirkman believes the component of giving students on Medicaid exclusive access to the program is a further example of the lack of funding coming to community mental health centers and feels if they could provide their staff a competitive wage, they could provide more transformational programming for their communities. 

Central Illinois Lawmaker Reacts to Budget Revenue Decline

In the last week, the Governor's budget forecast group has come and noted that Illinois revenues will be roughly a half-billion short than was expected earlier this year.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, State Representative Dan Caulkins told Regional Radio the nearly half-billion dollars they took off the revenue projections is putting a dent in the plans of Illinois Democrats.

 

 

The Medicare program being introduced by Illinois Democrats is not part of the Medicare program that is matched by the federal government. Rep. Caulkins explains this comes right out of the Illinois budget.

 

 

The Decatur Republican does not foresee this budget issue requiring overtime but does not, Illinois Democrats have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks to meet the June 1 deadline. He hopes they can avoid a last-minute bill hitting the House and Senate floors before a vote is taken.

Social Security Promoting Advantage of 'mySocialSecurity' Account

This month, Social Security is highlighting why having a mySocialSecurity account is advantageous for individuals.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security explains the most common reason people visit a Social Security office is for Social Security card-related business. He explains a mySocialSecurity account can save you a trip into one of their offices.

 

 

You can - and should - review your earnings record on an annual basis for peace of mind that your earnings are properly reported. Myers points out if you spot an error, it’s easy for us to fix when you have the proper documents, W-2 or self-employment tax return, and proof of tax payment. You are more likely to have the documents you need if you are closer to the tax year in question.  

 

 

If you are missing earnings from 2021 or earlier, it’s time to contact Social Security. Myers stresses you can visit an office or simply mail in a letter along with copies of your documents proving your income

 

 

Seeing estimates of your future Social Security benefits is a valuable part of your financial planning. When you are eligible to retire or if you need to file for disability benefits, the easiest way to do it is online. Myers indicates having your mySocialSecurity account already established will make that process easier when the time comes. 

Some Areas of Drought Popping Up in Illinois

SOME AREAS OF DROUGHT ARE POPPING UP IN ILLINOIS.

 

LAST WEEKEND'S SERIES OF STORMS BROUGHT RAIN TO MOST AREAS. BUT THE HEAVIEST RAIN FELL IN TIGHT BANDS ACROSS ILLINOIS, MAKING FOR SIGNIFICANT DISPARITIES IN RAINFALL TOTALS SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST TRENT FORD.

 

 

FORD SAYS TIGHT BANDS OF PRECIPITATION BROUGHT THE MOST RAIN TO AREAS STRETCHING ALONG I-74 FROM PEORIA TO CHAMPAIGN, AND FROM MACOMB TO TAYLORVILLE.

 

 

FORD SAYS TEMPERATURES THIS PAST WEEK HAVE BEENN THREE TO EIGHT DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL.

Rodeo State Finals

Yes, you can win a state title in rodeo. It’s through the Illinois High School Rodeo Association, where Addi Wiersema is student officer president for the organization.

 

 

The state finals for the Illinois High School Rodeo Association are June 8-to-10 in Monticello.

Illinois Lawmakers Working on More Gun-Related Legislation

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS ARE DEBATING MORE FIREARM RELATED LEGISLATION. 

 

ONE BILL PENDING IN THE SENATE WOULD HOLD GUN MANUFACTURERS AND DEALERS CIVILLY LIABLE FOR CERTAIN MARKETING PRACTICES AND FOR NOT PREVENING THE SALE OF GUNS TO STRAW PURCHASERS. ANOTHER AIMS TO PROTECT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS BY GIVING JUDGES MORE POWER TO HAVE GUNS SEIZED WHEN ISSUING AN ORDER OF PROTECTION SAYS REPRESENTATIVE MAURA HIRSCHAUER OF BATAVIA.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE DAN SWANSON OF ALPHA DISAGREES.

 

 

THE MEASURE ALSO REQUIRES A FOID CARD TO BUY EXPLOSIVE TARGETS LIKE TANNERITE AND LETS COUNTIES BAN DISCHARGE OF A FIREARM WITHIN ONE THOUSAND YARDS OF HOMES. RIGHT NOW THAT DISTANCE IS 300 YARDS. 

 

 IT NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE FOR DEBATE.

IHSA Again Teaming Up With Midwest Dairy Association

The IHSA teaming up with Undeniably Dairy and Midwest Dairy for a Cheese Pull contest.

 

IHSA teams can produce a TikTok video with a grilled cheese sandwich theme. The winner will have their recipe included in a digital cookbook and the chance to cook with a Chicago Bears player. Junior Cassie Bohnert is a basketball player at United Township High School in East Moline and also lives on a dairy farm. She is helping promote the contest.

 

 

Details on the entering the contest are available on the IHSA Facebook page.

Final Victim Identified in I-55 Pile Up

The Illinois State Police have identified the final victim from the massive pile up on Interstate 55 during a dust storm in early May, now all 7 individuals are known.

 

As many as 80 vehicles were involved in the accident and intense fires burned many vehicles. Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says through all this - officer wellness is also a concern as first responders were sent to a very difficult accident scene.

 

 

37 people were injured in the accident on May 1.

Gov. Pritzker Addresses Budget Shortfall

Even with slowing revenues the Governor remains optimistic that this budget can remain on target.

 

The Office of Management and Budget released new revenue data that indicates current revenues are expected to be about $600 million lower than expected. JB Pritzker says the timing and the size of the short-fall helps in managing money flow.

 

 

Spending for the next fiscal year is still being debated this week at the State House.

Discounted May Days Carnival Tickets On Sale Until Thursday

May Days is next weekend in Clinton and pre-sale carnival tickets at discounted prices are available for purchase until Thursday.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Clinton Chamber Executive Director Janice Peterson told Regional Radio the tickets are for four-hour increments during the four-day festival next Thursday through Sunday, May 18-21.

 

 

The May Days festival will have live entertainment, food trucks, and much more. Peterson directs anyone wanting more information to visit clintonilchamber.com and then find the events tab.

Thursday Was Public Health, Health Care Hero Today

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS DECLARING THURSDAY ILLINOIS PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE HERO DAY. 

 

THE DESIGNATION HONORS THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS WHO WORKED LONG HOURS AND RISKED THEIR OWN HEALTH TO CARE FOR OTHERS DURING THE PANDEMIC SAYS THE GOVERNOR.

 

 

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JULIANA STRATTON....

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS WE OWE HEALTH CARE WORKERS OUR EVERLASTING RESPECT AND GRATITUDE AND THAT SO MANY OF US OWE THEM OUR LIVES.

Little Galilee Christian Camp Ready for Summer Camp Season

The summer camp season is nearly here for Little Galilee Christian Camp in Clinton.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Max Aper with Little Galilee Christian Camp in Clinton told Regional Radio they are at over 12 hundred registrations so far for this year's camp season.

 

 

Memorial Day weekend will be the kickoff of the summer camp season with family camp. According to Aper, this is a good first step for parents to introduce their kids to the camp experience.

 

 

For Little Galilee, recreation activities have come a long way in recent years. Aper explains on top of the classic pool and pond everyone knows them for, they've added a high ropes course, a zip line, and a giant swing.

 

 

Aper also indicates they have taken strides in developing a paintball course on the property. He explains they have three layouts and have brought on camp sessions for paintballing. Those are filled up for this year but you can get on a waiting list.

 

 

Camp leadership hopes to reach 2,023 campers this year and are over halfway there with an anticipated surge in registrations coming soon. Aper says they have plenty of space left for most of their sessions and usually see registrations spike around the end of the school year

 

 

Aper encourages anyone wanting to learn more about camp to visit littlegalilee.org or find them on Facebook or Instagram. 

Law Enforcement Facing Challenges With Finding Vehicles

Law enforcement officials are having to think ahead when it comes to finding vehicles.

 

Piatt County Sheriff Mark Vogelzang indicates finding police vehicles has become challenging in the last year or two because of supply chain issues impacting the auto industry.

 

 

As current vehicles begin to rack up the miles, Sheriff Vogelzang they have to be mindful of vehicles that may be getting close to needing replaced and start to think ahead about any purchases they are going to have to make.

 

 

Sheriff Vogelzang reminds the Piatt County Sheriff has an intergovernmental agreement with Cerro Gordo for law enforcement and has an agreement with all the schools of Piatt County for a school resource officer. 

State Announces Pharmacists Will Soon Be Able to Dispense Hormonal Birth Control

IT SOON WILL BE EASIER FOR WOMEN TO GET HORMONAL BIRTH CONTROL. 

 

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS ISSUED A STANDING ORDER THAT LETS PHARMACISTS DISPENSE CONTRACEPTIVES WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION. SPOKESPERSON MIKE CLAFFEY:

 

 

INTERESTED PHARMACISTS WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH TRAINING BEFORE THEY CAN DISPENSE BIRTH CONTROL SO PATIENTS SHOULD CHECK WITH THEIR LOCAL DRUGSTORE TO SEE IF THIS OPTION IS AVAILABLE.

 

 

BIRTH CONTROL AVAILABLE INCLUDES THE PILL, HORMONAL PATCHES AND VAGINAL RINGS, AND INJECTIONS. 

Gov. Pritzker Reacts to Gov. Desantis Visit

Florida’s Governor and possible Presidential Candidate will be in Peoria today. Ron DeSantis will be speaking at a Lincoln Day Dinner. He and Illinois’ Governor JB Pritzker are polar opposites on the political spectrum.

 

 

Florida’s spring legislative session just wrapped up and DeSantis has yet to officially say if he will be running for President.

COVID Disaster Declaration Ended Thursday

THE STATE’S COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY IS OFFICIALLY OVER TODAY. 

 

THE INITIAL DESIGNATION, WHICH HELPED THE STATE ACCESS FEDERAL ASSISTANCE AND MOBILIZE STATE RESOURCES, WAS ISSUED IN MARCH OF 2020. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER SAYS WHILE MOST ASPECTS LIKE THE MASK REQUIREMENT ENDED SOME TIME AGO, THE EMERGENCY DECLARATION KEPT THINGS LIKE INCREASED SNAP BENEFITS AND EXPANDED MEDICAID COVERAGE IN PLACE.

 

 

STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR DOCTOR SAMEER VOHRA (vor-a) SAYS THE VIRUS CONTINUES TO CIRCULATE AND POSES A SEVERE RISK TO THOSE MUST VULNERABLE.

 

 

SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN, ILLINOIS HAS SEEN MORE THAN FOUR MILLION COVID CASES AND NEARLY 37-THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE DIED.

New Clinton School Resource Officer Getting to Know the District

With less than two weeks left of school in Clinton, district staff and students are getting to know the new school resource officer.

 

Officer Mike Bennett will retire from the Clinton Police force in early June and Officer Kody Mair takes over. Police Chief Ben Lowers says Mair has big shoes to fill but believes he will do a great job in the schools.

 

 

Officer Bennett put together a training manual for Officer Mair. He notes they are going into the school buildings together a couple of days per week to get to know the administration and staff.

 

 

Officer Mair explains he always wanted to be a cop or youth minister and as he enters the role of school resource officer, he feels that will bring both of those together.

 

 

Officer Mair will become the full-time school resource officer for the 2023-24 school year. Officer Bennett's final day on the force will be June 5. 

 

Pictuired left to right: Officer Kody Mair, Officer Mike Bennett, Chief Ben Lowers

Still Time to Sign Up for The Vault's 'Summer Career Camps'

The Vault in Clinton is gearing up for its summer career camps and there's still time to get registered.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, The Vault Executive Director Tammy Wilson told Regional Radio there's still time to get registered for the camps for 7th through 12th-grade students that begin on June 5.

 

 

Paul Stroup leads the culinary summer career camp. It has become a mainstay in the lineup of options and continues to be popular among students. Stroup, who's tabbed himself the 'Rev-Chef', tries to mix up the things kids will learn each year.

 

 

For Stroup, it is great to be able to teach kids about the various culinary styles and flavors from across the world. 

 

 

thevaultclinton.org is the location for information on summer career camps. Wilson indicates the culinary program has been filled up since shortly after registration opened but there are still other camps with openings. She feels this gives young people the opportunity to explore a variety of career options and find out if it is something they are interested in. 

Package of Reproductive Health Rights Bills Advancing

ILLINOIS LAWMAKERS ARE ADVANCING A PACKAGE OF BILLS DESIGNED TO ENSURE WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. 

 

THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL MEASURE CRACKS DOWN ON CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS THAT PROVIDE MISLEADING INFORMATION IN HOPES OF INFLUENCING A WOMAN’S DECISION. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY CASSIDY WORKED ON THE BILL.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE AMY GRANT OF WHEATON OPPOSED THE MEASURE.

 

 

OTHER BILLS REQUIRE INSURANCE PROVIDERS TO COVER ABORTION MEDICATION AND ENSURE LICENSE PLATE READERS AREN’T USED TO TRACK OUT OF STATE PATIENTS COMING TO ILLINOIS FOR AN ABORTION.

County Cattle Estimates for Illinois Released

COUNTY ESTIMATES ARE OUT WITH A TOTAL OF ONE MILLION CATTLE AND CALVES IN ILLINOIS AS OF JANUARY FIRST. 

 

COUNTIES WITH THE MOST CATTLE AND CALVES OVERALL ARE JO DAVIESS, STEPHENSON AND CLINTON SAYS STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. HERE ARE THE TOP COUNTIES FOR DAIRY COWS:

 

 

SCHLEUSENER NAMES THE TOP THREE FOR BEEF CATTLE.

 

 

Follow NASS on Twitter @usda_nass. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the Heartland Regional Field Office at (314) 595-9594 or e-mail: nassrfohlr@usda.gov.

Gov. Pritzker Signs COVID Disability Benefits Legislation

A new law signed today by Governor JB Pritzker will provide full disability benefits to first responders in Chicago who contracted COVID-19 during the earliest days of the pandemic.

 

Line of duty disability benefits haven’t been available to cops and fire fighters who were left disabled due to COVID before June 30 of 2021. The law was championed by Comptroller Susana Mendoza whose brother got COVID on the job and suffered strokes, lost a kidney and is now permanently disabled.

 

 

Mendoza says about 18-20 police officers are in the same position as her brother and they should now be able to receive full benefits that include 75 percent of their salaries and health care coverage.

Citizens Utility Board Opposes Ameren Gas Rate Request; Ameren Responds

One of Illinois’ utility watchdogs says a new rate hike request by central and southern Illinois’ largest energy provider is “unjust and unreasonable.” Ameren Illinois has asked the Illinois Commerce Commission for about $160 million on the natural gas side of the company.

 

Citizen’s Utility Board spokesman Jim Chilsen says they are urging regulators to slash the proposal by at least $59.2 million.

 

 

While CUB has said it thinks the proposed hike is too much, Ameren Illinois spokesperson Marcelyn Love says they are focused on safety and reliability:

 

 

The Illinois Commerce Commission will hold hearings and take comments over the next eight months or so before rendering a decision. If approved, new rates would take effect early next year.

Calls for Ethics Reforms Continue in Springfield

CALLS FOR ETHICS REFORM CONTINUE AT THE ILLINOIS CAPITOL. 

 

HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE AGAIN HIGHLIGHTING THEIR IDEAS FOR CHANGE IN STATE GOVERNMENT. REPRESENTATIVE PATRICK WINDHORST OF METROPOLIS SAYS SO FAR, THEIR IDEAS HAVE FALLEN ON DEAF EARS.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE RYAN SPAIN OF PEORIA.

 

 

ON TUESDAY, FORMER GOVERNOR PAT QUINN WAS IN SPRINGFIELD ASKING FOR A SPECIAL SESSION ON ETHICS LEGISLATION IN LIGHT OF THE RECENT GUILTY VERDICT IN THE “COM-ED FOUR” BRIBERY CASE.

Warner Hospital To Begin Updating Digital Medical Records

Warner Hospital and Health Services will begin the process of updating medical records to a new system that will now allow patient access to those records.

 

CEO Paul Skowron indicates it has been almost a decade since they had to digitize its records and now they embark on the latest development in digital records, and that is to allow patient access to those.

 

 

According to Skowron, this will be a very secure system that will only be accessible to the patient. 

 

 

Skowron indicates accessing your medical records will be very easy and reminds it will be secure. There will be a patient portal on the Warner Hospital website.

 

 

Skowron stresses going forward if you are not comfortable trying to access your medical records digitally, they will always have a live person available to help you gain any access or information you may need. 

Willow Tree Missions Welcomes New Director of Services

A familiar face to Piatt County residents will now be the Director of Services at Willow Tree Missions.

 

Andrea Kocher joins the Willow Tree Missions staff after a couple of years at DOVE Inc. in Piatt County. On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Executive Director Jill Maxey told Regional Radio they could not be more excited to welcome Kocher to their staff.

 

 

Kocher is excited to join the Willow Tree staff. She just started at Willow Tree this week but can pick up right where they needed her.

 

 

Kocher's experience is in working closely with domestic violence victims and that will be her focus with the agency going forward.

 

 

Kocher takes over for Susan Houston who recently took on a new career path to become a school counselor. 

Want an Ameren Power Pole?

What happens to a utility pole when it gets damaged to the point it can no longer stay up or is simply replaced due to age and wear and tear? Brian Bretsch from Ameren Illinois says you can have one if you want...

 

 

Communities or Ameren customers can contact Ameren if they'd like to get an old utility pole for a project. Otherwise, Ameren has a specific process for recycling old utility poles that limits wood waste ending up in landfills.

Nutrient Stewardship Projects

Multi-year nutrient stewardship projects are taking place throughout the state. Knox County, in western Illinois, is having great participation in a cover crop effort.

 

 

Knox County farmer Carl O'Connor says there are currently cover crop plots in 18 of 20 townships in Knox County.

Honoring Fallen Firefighters

For the 30th year a ceremony was held at the Illinois State Capitol to honor fallen firefighters and those that bravely responded to emergencies all over the state.

 

This year was marked without needing to add new names to the memorial from 2022, but two firefighters and EMTs have been killed in the line of duty in 2023. Governor JB Pritzker says first responders all over Illinois deserve our honor and respect.

 

 

2022 was just the third year since 1998 without any line of duty fatalities.

Warner Library Readies for Summer Reading Club

The Warner Library is getting ready for its always-popular summer reading club which kicks off next month.

 

Corey Campbell at the Warner Library says they have been hard at work the last several months in preparation for the summer reading club and is looking forward to a new year of reading and fun.

 

 

The summer reading club opens on June 1. According to Campbell, you can begin registering at that time and there is really no cut-off for when you can begin. Each age group has its own milestones of reading to work towards throughout the summer.

 

 

According to Campbell, once you register, you receive your reading log and each participant embarks on their journey to read throughout the summer and register along the way for prizes.

 

 

Samantha Rusk is the Business Manager of the library and indicates they have great prizes across the board for kids, teens, and adults.

 

 

While the summer reading club gives kids a great outlet for fun this summer, it is also a program that keeps kids on track. Campbell explains the summer reading club is a great way to keep kids engaged in reading and learning and avoid the summer slide.

 

 

Summer reading club begins Thursday, June 1. Campbell encourages a follow to the library's Facebook page or visit vwarner.org to keep up as they continue to add events and activities for the summer. They already have several events planned with more to be announced. 

Piatt County Mental Health Center Director Frustrated With State's Funding Plan

A central Illinois mental wellness executive is frustrated by the State of Illinois' dedication to funding its community-based mental health centers.

 

Tony Kirkman is the Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center and indicates it is frustrating to not be able to pay the people that are dedicating themselves to the community a fair wage compared to the private sector of mental health.

 

 

According to Kirkman, most of the funding for the Mental Health Center is through State of Illinois reimbursements and grant funding. He feels the more affluent an individual is, the better care they get, which is typically not the demographic of person they are dealing with.

 

 

Kirkman has expressed frustration because part of the revenues from the legalization of recreational marijuana were supposed to be directed at mental health issues, but organizations like the Piatt County Mental Health Center continue to be left out in the allocation of the growing profits in Illinois. 

Measurable Rain Impacts Many Parts of Illinois

Many parts of Illinois received some measurable rain over the weekend.

 

Meteorologist James Auten is with the National Weather Service in Lincoln.

 

 

He says portions of central Illinois also received some weekend hail.

CPR Training A Must

If there’s a CPR training certification class near you, an expert in the field advises you to take it. Susie Sweetman teaches a CPR and First Aid class at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony’s in Alton and says whether you are just learning CPR, or this will be a refresher course, it’s important to be comfortable knowing how to do it.

 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, about 9 in 10 people who have cardiac arrest outside a hospital do not survive. But CPR can help improve those odds. If performed within the first few minutes, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

DeWitt County 4-H Looking for Fair Judges

If you have a hobby that you'd like to use to give back to the community, perhaps becoming a 4-H judge would be a good way to do that.

 

University of Illinois Extension 4-H Coordinator in DeWitt County, Kendra Wallace is looking for judges for this year's 4-H fair which is the first weekend of July.

 

 

This is the time of year fair planning starts to ramp up for Wallace and the staff at the Extension office. She explains each year has a checklist of things that need to be in place by the time the fair kicks off.

 

 

Wallace indicates now until June 1, they have the 4-H fair entry program open. Additionally, there is an open house May 24 for 4-H participants to come out and get any questions or concerns addressed.

 

 

The 4-H horse show in DeWitt County is July 1-2 with rain dates of August 5-6. 

 

The livestock and general shows are July 6-9. 

Social Security Highlighting mySocialSecurity Accounts in May

This May, Social Security is highlighting the mySocialSecurity account and why anyone of any age needs one.

 

Jack Myers with Social Security indicates if you already have an account that was created before 09/18/2021, you can continue to log in to that account using your username and password. Upon entering your password you will get a one-time code sent to you via text message or e-mail.  This will happen each time you log in. If you have trouble remembering your password, there is a forgot password option on our login page.

 

 

If you are creating a new account you will still initiate the process through the Social Security website, but they will verify your identity through one of two external partners - login.gov or ID.me. Login.gov is the public’s one account for simple, secure, and private access to participating U.S. government agencies while ID.me is a single sign-on provider that meets the U.S. government’s online identity proofing and authentication requirements. 

 

 

When you go to log in to your account you have to pay attention to which login option you are choosing. If you established your account before 09/18/2021 and you have a username or password, enter that on the login screen where prompted. If you created your account after 09/18/2021 you have to click on the Sign in with Login.gov (BLUE) or Sign in with Id.me (GREEN) button. If you aren’t sure, it was likely Login.gov because that is the default. 

 

 

A mySocialSecurity account is beneficial for anyone at any stage of life. Myers encourages everyone to set up an account and do some exploring to find out more. 

Pontiac Being Honored During National Road Trip Day

The Heritage Corridor Destination group is honoring a Central Illinois town as a national travel destination.

 

In March, the Heritage Corridor Destination group named Pontiac this year's National Road Trip Day. Liz Vincent, the Pontiac Director of Tourism, says the recognition is the second in the U.S. and would bring a lot of pomp and circumstance to the town.

 

 

According to Vincent (VIN-cent), the selection committee is traveling to Pontiac on the last Friday before Labor Day to honor the town.

 

During that Friday, local community groups, such as the United Way, are throwing parties as a celebration.

Celebrating IAA Foundation Scholarships

Celebrating IAA scholarship recipients. Abigail Hoeft is finishing up her sophomore year at SIU Carbondale. She is a recipient of the $1,000 Collegiate Farm Bureau Scholarship. Hoeft says SIU has a strong Collegiate Farm Bureau chapter.

 

 

Hoeft is a graduate of Normal West High School.

 

Overall, 75 students were selected to receive IAA Foundation scholarships based on their academic achievement, participation and leadership in school and community organizations, and overall commitment to success. A total of $144,501 will be distributed to assist with tuition costs for the 2023-2024 school year.

ICC Offers Tips for Hiring A Moving Company

IN NEED OF A MOVING COMPANY? THE ILLINOIS COMMERCE COMMISSION IS OFFERING SOME TIPS ON SELECTING THE BEST ONE FOR THE JOB.

 

IT PAYS TO DO YOUR RESEARCH SAYS I-C-C’S CHIEF OF POLICE RUBEN RAMIREZ.

THAT MEANS READING REVIEWS, CHECKING THE COMPANY’S SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES AND MAKING SURE THEY ARE LICENSED BY THE I-C-C. WHEN IT COMES TO COST, RAMIREZ SAYS YOU SHOULD GET AN OFFICIAL QUOTE, NOT JUST A PRICE JOTTED DOWN ON A PIECE OF PAPER.

 

 

RAMIREZ SAYS A LEGITIMATE MOVING COMPANY WILL NOT ASK FOR CASH UP FRONT AND TIPPING IS NOT REQUIRED.

 

 

RAMIREZ SAYS YOU SHOULD ALSO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS FOR LOSS AND DAMAGE PROTECTION AND GET THE COMPANY’S POLICY IN WRITING.

Civil War Days in Bishop Hill

For the first time since before the pandemic, a popular Illinois historic site will hold its Civil War Days this weekend. The event at Bishop Hill includes family events, live music, and a Civil War reenactment. Todd Dedecker is the Director of the Bishop Hill Heritage Association in Henry County.

 

 

During the Civil War, Bishop Hill was the home base for the Union Army's Company D IL 57th Volunteer Infantry.

Better Business Bureau Discusses Time Shares

Illinois residents might want to think twice about a summer vacation spot - at least, that's the word from the Better Business Bureau.

 

Don O'Brien is a scam investigator with the B-B-B in Quincy, and he says scammers are looking to take advantage of the summer fun.

 

 

According to O'Brien, the biggest thing to look out for is timeshares.

 

Studies from the B-B-B show scammers use the contract in a timeshare to profit thousands. When looking for a vacation spot, O'Brien says to look at the location's reviews before signing the bottom line.

DeWitt County Sheriff Discusses Equipment Updates

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Department has a number of upgrades to its equipment coming up in the next year.

 

According to Sheriff Mike Walker, the department has recently been approved to seek out updates to its tasers. He explains the current tasers they have are well past their expiration but they aren't getting rid of them altogether.

 

 

The Sheriff's office currently has two trucks on order they will await the arrival of later this year. The Sheriff indicates the biggest issue they are dealing with is the cost increase of these vehicles.

 

 

As Sheriff Walker cycles out vehicles, they take an inventory of the department's fleet and asses what vehicles need replaced the most and who might be in line for a new vehicle.

 

 

The equipment on the inside of the vehicles gets reused as much as possible. He explains they try to keep as much equipment as they can to keep from having to buy new. 

 

Sheriff Walker says it is his goal to be as judicious as possible with taxpayer dollars. 

Wednesday Was 'National Bacon Day'

Wednesday was Illinois Bacon Day. It’s being celebrated at the state capital says Lana Shovlain with the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

 

 

Illinois Bacon Day is the result of Senate Joint Resolution 22 sponsored by State Senator Tom Bennett of Pontiac.

Death Toll Up to Seven in I-55 Pileup

Another death has been reported from the pile up of cars and trucks on Interstate 55 this week.

 

The grisly toll is now 7 - after the Illinois State Police and Montgomery Coroner’s Office say they have determined what they originally thought was one set of remains was actually two. ISP Director Brendan Kelley says the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

 

 

Interstate 55 was closed again on Tuesday for blowing dust and dirt. It reopened after a few hours and no reported accidents.

Medicaid Renewal Time

If you are on Medicaid in Illinois you need to re-enroll in the program.

 

More than 100,000 people are up for renewal in June and those individuals need to be ready to act. Health and Family Services Director Theresa Eagleson says over the next 14 months renewals will be sent to everyone in the program.

 

 

The state says if a person is unable to renew their Medicaid coverage then options for affordable healthcare will be available..

Nettles Named 2023 'Superintendent of Distinction' By IASA Abe Lincoln Region

Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles is the Illinois Association of Administrators Abe Lincoln Regional Superintendent of Distinction for 2023. 

 

His fellow superintendents in the Abe Lincoln Region — comprised of Menard, Logan, DeWitt, Sangamon, Macon, Piatt, Christian, Shelby, and Moultrie counties —noted Nettles’ professionalism, advocacy efforts, and desire to serve as a mentor to younger administrators as reasons for selecting him for the award.

 

Superintendents say Nettles was instrumental in support to them during COVID as he worked with the Illinois State Board of Education and the legislature as well as the IASA. They applaud him for not being afraid to step out and go to bad for local schools and call him a coach, mentor, colleague, and friend.

 

It is a peer-voted award. 

 

IASA Executive Director Dr. Brent Clark said in a statement - “Each of these superintendents are great examples of how dynamic leadership can improve the educational environment for students, strengthen communities and continuously push districts forward. Their commitment and dedication to helping students succeed is unwavering, and I applaud each of these honorees for everything they have done to elevate public education in Illinois.” 

 

Nettles was honored at an awards luncheon on May 3 in Springfield. 

Clinton YMCA's 'Camp Osage' Registration Underway

Registration is underway for the Clinton YMCA's 'Camp Osage' summer camp.

 

Executive Director Rennie Cluver indicates summer camp is a great place for kids to be that gives them lots of activities to be a part of. Registration for camp is underway as it opened on April 1.

 

 

Camp prices went to a flat fee per day last year as opposed to a slight discount if you sent your kids all five days in years past. Cluver explains that was a tough decision to make but he still feels like Camp Osage offers great value to families.

 

 

If you are in the Monticello area, Cluver reminds they continue to offer Y-Zone Summer Camp. He indicates registration for that camp is underway now as well.

 

 

Both Camp Osage and Monticello Y-Zone Summer Camp do similar things. There are daily activities and field trips planned for the summer. Cluver feels each camp does something for kids of a variety of interests.

 

 

Registration can be started online this year, the website is clintoncommymca.org. That is the location for both Camp Osage in Clinton and Monticello Y-Zone Summer Camp. 

 

Cluver notes as we start getting close to summer, be on the lookout for the field trip schedule for each camp session. He also notes each week there is a list of things the campers will be doing released for parents. 

April Weather Highlighted By Ups and Downs

Thanks to an up-and-down month of weather, April turned out to be pretty average.

 

Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates April starting out very nice leading us to believe we were in for a pleasant spring.

 

 

A concerning development in April was the well below-average rainfall totals we experienced.

 

 

The high temperature of 41 on April 22 was a record for the coldest high for that day. 

More on I-55 Crash

Work continued on Interstate 55 cleanup Tuesday after a massive pileup of vehicles kills six people on Monday.

 

The accident was south of Springfield and involved more than 80 vehicles and injured at least 30. Illinois State Police Major Ryan Starrick says the interstate will be closed for a portion of today as the investigation and cleanup continues.

 

 

In the aftermath, first responders are sharing firsthand accounts of the tragic accident. ISP Lieutenant Colonel Chris Owen says it was a zero-visibility situation along the interstate.

 

 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelley says the victims are unidentifiable and they are looking for help.

 

 

Starrick says there were more than 30 agencies that came to assist during the crash.

Clinton City Council Speaks Out Regarding Concerns Over Dollar General

Public comment regarding a potential new Dollar General location on Clinton's east side has largely been disregarded but Tuesday night that changed.

 

Residents in the area near the area of Route 54 leaving Clinton towards Farmer City have long been concerned about activity and potential issues with the building site including flooding. Residents' concerns have largely gone unaddressed in the public comment but Mayor Roger Cyrulik Tuesday night - interacting with Glenna Rogers - says concerns about property values are not true.

 

 

Commissioner John Wise says the City of Clinton has not approved anything and is irritated to be hearing accusations of the City approving things that are outside its purview.

 

 

City Attorney John Hoblit indicates accusations of re-zoning are not accurate as the area was annexed into the City of Clinton. 

 

 

Kendra Hunt - who lives in the area - claims her property stands to lose $40,000 in value which the Mayor challenged her on. She laid out issues that Dollar General presents to the community. 

 

 

Regional Radio has reached out to Dollar General multiple times about its plans for the new facility but has deferred to comment on the situation. 

Clinton Police Chief Encouraging High Schoolers to Enjoy Safe Prom

Clinton High School's prom is this weekend and local authorities are hoping young people in Clinton will enjoy the activities safely.

 

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers recognizes prom is one of those significant events for high school students and hopes everyone that attends enjoys a great night that will create memories for years to come.

 

 

Chief Lowers implores young people to steer clear of drugs and alcohol on prom night and try to find somewhere safe to stay for the evening.

 

 

While prom-goers may not be drinking on prom night, Chief Lowers indicates you cannot be sure everyone on the road is sober and oftentimes it is not the drunk driver that is seriously hurt in those incidents.

 

 

Clinton is known for its after-prom gathering that typically draws a lot of prom-goers and offers a safe environment with games and prizes for those that attend. 

Varying Outlooks Leaving May, Summer Weather in Limbo

A transition in the northern hemisphere weather patterns is leaving forecasters scrambling in pinpointing the trends for the long-term outlooks.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio the transition away from La Nina the last three years is giving forecasters fits in pinpointing the long-term outlooks.

 

 

According to Shimon, the short-term outlooks are in direct contrast with each other. One shows May for below-normal temperatures but the other shows above-normal temperatures.

 

 

The three-month outlook shows temperatures being equal chances for above or below normal and precipitation showing above normal. Shimon says we could see some stretches of moderate temperatures in the summer.

 

 

This week is showing temperatures gradually increasing as we get to the weekend. Shimon points out Tuesday night should be the last night we see any threat of frost going forward this spring. 

Medicaid Eligibility Renewal Underway with Notices Starting to Go Out This Week

GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER IS URGING MEDICAID RECIPIENTS TO COMPLETE THE RENEWAL PROCESS AND ENSURE THEY CONTINUE TO RECEIVE COVERAGE.

 

ANNUAL MEDICAID RENEWALS HAVE RESUMED AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS THE FIRST ROUND OF NOTICES ARE GOING OUT. THIS WILL CONTINUE ON A ROLLING BASIS THROUGH MID-2024. SOME CUSTOMERS WILL NEED TO FILL OUT THE FORM, WHILE OTHERS WON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING.

 

 

GOVERNOR PRITZKER SAYS IT'S CRITICAL THAT MEDICAID RECIPIENTS HAVE THEIR CORRECT ADDRESS ON FILE. 

 

 

RECIPIENTS CAN DO THAT ONLINE AT: ABE DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV. THE GOVERNOR SAYS ANYONE DETERMINED TO BE NO LONGER ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAID BENEFITS WILL RECEIVE INFORMATION ABOUT ALTERNATIVE COVERAGE.

Weekly Crop Report

ILLINOIS FARMERS CONTINUE TO BEAT LAST YEAR'S PACE FOR PLANTING CORN AND SOYBEANS.

 

IT WAS ANOTHER COOL, DRY WEEK, LEAVING AN AVERAGE OF FIVE DAYS SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK. STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT CORN:

 

 

SCHLEUSENER LOOKS AT SOYBEANS.

 

 

15 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS HEADED AND 66 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION, A DECLINE FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK. 

 

AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE ALSO DROPPED, TO TWO PERCENT VERY SHORT, 10 PERCENT SHORT, 69 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 19 PERCENT SURPLUS.

Illinois Department of Public Health Announces Recall of Gold Medal Flour Because of Salmonella Outbreak

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS WARNING ABOUT A MULTI-STATE SALMONELLA OUTBREAK CONNECTED TO GOLD MEDAL BRAND FLOUR.

 

GENERAL MILLS HAS ISSUED A RECALL OF THEIR TWO, FIVE AND 10 POUND BAGS OF GOLD MEDAL UNBLEACHED AND BLEACHED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MIKE CLAFFEY SAYS THE USE BY DATES ON THE AFFECTED BAGS ARE MARCH 27TH AND 28TH OF 2024.

 

 

ACCORDING TO THE C-D-C, 13 PEOPLE HAVE FALLEN ILL WITH SALMONELLA INFECTION INCLUDING TWO IN ILLINOIS. 

 

 

SYMPTOMS OF SALMONELLA INFECTION INCLUDE ABDOMINAL CRAMPING, VOMITING, DIARRHEA, HEADACHE, FEVER AND NAUSEA.

Illinois Department of Aging Celebrates Older Americans Month and Highlights Important Programs, Services

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT ON AGING IS CELEBRATING OLDER AMERICANS MONTH IN MAY. 

 

THE DESIGNATION OFFERS A CHANCE TO HIGHLIGHT THE MANY PROGRAMS OFFERED BY THE DEPARTMENT SAYS DIRECTOR PAULA BASTA. THEY INCLUDE THE COMMUNITY CARE PROGRAM, WHICH PROVIDES IN-HOME CARE TO SENIORS, AS WELL AS A NEWER INITIATIVE...ILLINOIS CARE CONNECTIONS

 

 

ADDITIONALLY, THE STATE OFFERS NUTRITION PROGRAMS FOR OLDER ILLINOISANS, PROVIDING HEALTHY FOOD OR JUST SOMEONE TO SHARE A MEAL WITH SAYS BASTA. 

 

 

YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT THE DEPARTMENT ON AGING OFFERS AT: IL AGING DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

Illinois Community College Wins National Title in e-Sports

Two Heartland Community College student-athletes can now call themselves National Champions.

 

After a successful regular season, Jonathan Edmonson and Luke Sherman picked up the title after competing in a nationwide tournament.

 

Edmonson placed first in the NBA 2K competition after a 10-0 regular season.

 

 

Meanwhile, Sherman was able to pull off a victory in the Super Smash Bros Ultimate Invitational.

 

 

Heartland brought home third-place finishes in Rocket League and League of Legends as a team.

IAA Foundation Scholarship Announcement Day

Scholarship announcement day for the IAA Foundation. An exciting time for development manager Jennifer Smith.

 

 

A list of the winners will be available at iaafoundation.org.

Wreckage on I-55 Leaves Six Dead, Cleanup Continues Today (Tuesday)

A pile up on Interstate 55 claims multiple lives.

 

Wind driven dust off of farm fields created a zero visibility situation around Farmersville causing more than 80 vehicles to crash according to the Illinois State Police.

 

And two semi trucks caught fire after the crash that injured more than 30 people. ISP Southern Patrol Major Ryan Starrick says that the interstate will be closed at least through Tuesday morning.

 

Emergency reports are that five medical helicopters were on the scene to move patients to area hospitals. Starrick says Troopers and other first responders have canvassed the area and believe that everyone has been accounted for.

 

 

ISP says the first set of crashes happened on the northbound lanes and then vehicles began to pile up on the southbound lanes. Illinois State Police Major Ryan Starrick notes the interstate will be closed for a portion of today as the investigation and cleanup continues.

 

 

Starrick says there were more than 30 agencies that came to assist during the crash.

Clinton Farmer's Market Opens This Weekend

It's farmer market season in Illinois and the Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market opens this weekend

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Elizabeth Burns told Regional Radio they are excited to have the market back and looks forward to the season ahead.

 

 

According to Burns, the market's first few weeks are slower with offerings for fresh produce so they try to take the opportunity to make the community and county aware they are back and open for the season.

 

 

Burns is seeking out vendors to be a part of the market for the 2023 season. She feels it is pretty easy to become a vendor and there are not a lot of restrictions so anyone with anything to offer can participate as much or as little as they are able.

 

 

Burns also points out if you are a non-profit or wellness group in the community, they are encouraging you to use the market to promote yourself or wellness.

 

 

Get more information about the Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market by finding the Facebook page of that name or you can contact Burns directly at 217-722-2496.

Extension Nutrition Educator Highlighting Cool Season Vegetables, Food Storage Safety

It won't be long and those outdoor gatherings will be happening in our neighborhoods with regularity.

 

That means cooking out and food likely available in abundance. Caitlin Mellendor is the Nutrition Educator for the University of Illinois Extension in DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties. She indicates when you have wrapped up those meals, you want to swiftly get any leftovers to the refrigerator if you plan to keep them for later.

 

 

Mellendorf also indicates it is a good idea to scrape off that grill once you are done cooking. 

 

 

As we start to see the cold season vegetables ready to harvest, Mellendorf says there are a lot of good foods to implement in our spring gatherings.

 

 

Mellendorf indicates the revamped Extension food website has an abundance of great resources. It's extension.illinois.edu/foods.

Four Illinois Counties At Increased Risk of COVID Transmission

FOUR ILLINOIS COUNTIES ARE AT AN ELEVATED RISK OF COVID-19.

 

THAT'S UP FROM TWO COUNTIES THE PREVIOUS WEEK, BUT ALL REMAIN AT MEDIUM RISK. NONE ARE AT HIGH. STATE PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON MIKE CLAFFEY SAYS ALTHOUGH THE OFFICIAL PANDEMIC EMERGENCY ENDS MAY 11TH, THE VIRUS IS STILL CIRCULATING.

 

 

CLAFFEY HAS THE MOST RECENT RISK ASSESSMENT.

 

 

THERE WERE NEARLY FOUR THOUSAND CONFIRMED AND PROBABLE NEW CASES OF COVID REPORTED THIS PAST WEEK. AN ADDITIONAL 19 PEOPLE HAVE DIED. CLAFFEY SAYS THEY RECOMMEND THAT SENIORS AND THOSE WITH A COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEM GET A SECOND DOSE OF THE BIVALENT COVID BOOSTER SHOT.

DeWitt County 9-1-1 Coordinator Lays Out Challenges of 'Swatting' Trend

Last month, Clinton authorities were victims of a 'swatting' call.

 

It's a trend sweeping the country of fake emergency calls that often come with an extreme threat to the safety of an individual or public place. DeWitt County 9-1-1 coordinator Tony Harris is alarmed by this trend for several reasons.

 

 

According to Harris, it is difficult to track the callers and it is adding a layer of uncertainty for dispatchers. 

 

 

While he did not want to give too many details into the specifics of the incident that happened in Clinton, Harris notes though there were several things they recognized after the incident that would indicate it was a swatting call.

 

 

The incident created quite a buzz in the community. School dismissal was delayed that afternoon at the advice of local authorities. 

McLean County Museum of History Summer Camp Registration Opens Tuesday

A McLean County historical group is opening up its registration for its popular week-long summer camp this week.

 

On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Senior Director of Education at the McLean County Museum of History, Candace Summers told Regional Radio the Museum's five-day camp highlights several areas of history, including archaeology.

 

 

Art and architecture, museum studies, and preservation studies are among the other topics for the remainder of the week, and Summers notes, they continue to make trips to various places of interest in the community with plenty of hands-on activities.

 

 

Summers has been leading the camp since 2005 and says it is great to see students that end up studying history come back and tell her about how their experience at the camp helped shape their future passion for the subject.

 

 

Camp registration opens tomorrow, May 2 at 9 am. Visit mchistory.org for more information on the camp and registration. 

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