Local News

Longevity of DARE Program Provides Multifaceted Benefits for Local Authorities

The DARE program is in full swing at Clinton Elementary School and it offers many benefits for local authorities. 


Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates this is a program that has been in Clinton for many years now. The Chief reminds this is also a very beneficial program locally because it gets local authorities in front of kids and allows the kids to get to know law enforcement at a more personal level.



Chief Lowers calls it a great program and in recent years has come under some scrutiny about its effectiveness and questions regarding if the lessons are reaching youth.



Chief Lowers has noted in the past he's been involved in the program long enough that high school kids will come up to him and recall their experience in DARE with him. 

January Weather Saw a Little Bit of Everything

January weather was a turbulent ride through about every type of storm system possible in the Midwest.


Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln explains January started with an above-normal temperature trend that carried over from December but that quickly changed around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.



According to Shimon, after the bitter cold, there was snow that produced anywhere from an inch to two-plus inches in parts of Illinois. And then of course came the treacherous ice storm followed by rain. 



Precipitation for January is predictably well above normal. As for temperatures, the extended cold spell put us about a degree and a half below normal.



According to Shimon, the cold snap of the week of Jan. 14-18 saw a lot of anomalies. He explains one was the length of the cold and then the winds that came with it.



All the precipitation from earlier this month went a long way to ease drought in Illinois. Shimon also has another interesting data point from January that mirrored a rarity from last year.


We'll have more on that coming up later this week on Regional Radio. 

CH Moore Homestead Wrapping Up Annual Membership Drive

January is traditionally when the CH Moore Homestead focuses on its membership and seeking renewals and new members.


Executive Director Joey Long indicates there are several levels of membership with the highest level being a $ 1,000-lifetime membership - which she says they are seeing a few more of those memberships coming in.



According to Long, it is great to see the support the museum has through memberships. She notes - memberships are not just coming in from Clinton or DeWitt County, rather they have members across the state and even the country.



Memberships are a great way to support the DeWitt County Museum. Long explains memberships are a great thing to pass down from generation to generation and continue to help the Homestead sustain itself and keep its doors open.



Membership to the DeWitt County Museum has its perks. Long says they send out a bi-annual newsletter among admission discounts. 


For more information on becoming a member of the DeWitt County Museum, visit chmoorehomestead.org or call them at 217-935-6066. 

Mild Week Ahead

The second half of January has been one for the books as we went from bitter cold to an ice storm to widespread rain across Illinois and now this week we're anticipating a mild stretch.


On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio this week should start what could be a good stretch of above-average temperatures.



Getting to the last half of February, things are trending back to cooler temperatures. Shimon points out we're also trending to below-normal precipitation.



According to Shimon, El Nino continues to have its hand on this winter and the outlook for the next month.



Stay with us tomorrow as we'll have Shimon's recap on January and the wild weather of the last two weeks that saw bitter-cold temperatures, snow, ice, and then substantial rain. 

Sen. Durbin on Trump Ballot Issue

A decision as to whether former President Donald Trump should be on the upcoming primary ballot in Illinois is expected today.


A State Board of Elections committee is weighing if he should be removed from the ballot under the insurrection clause in the 14th amendment. US Senator Dick Durbin says the issue should be addressed by the nation’s highest court.



The election board is comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans.

IDPH Warns of Limited Supplies of RSV Vaccine

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a limited supply of RSV Vaccine that is being distributed to County Health Departments. 


Babies and the elderly are those most in need of an RSV Vaccination and local health departments are working hard to encourage vaccination for those vulnerable populations. RaeAnn Tucker is with the Henry and Stark County Health Department in Central Illinois...



There is a limited supply for local health departments but your so called big box stores with there own pharmacies can also provide the RSV vaccine for those in need.

University of Illinois Extension Highlighting 4-H Programs in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties

The University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties is highlighting some upcoming programs for its 4-H program.


Terri Miller-Casey is the Extension Director for the University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties. She is highlighting an arts and culture program in February.



Miller-Casey is excited to see some new staffers in their offices as well. She feels they will bring some great knowledge to all their communities.



Miller-Casey reminds, the University of Illinois Extension is there for the community for a variety of needs and is a free resource that employs people with a variety of expertise. She encourages anyone to find your local Extension office and reach out with any questions you may have. 

WHOW High School Road Tour: Heyworth High School

The WHOW Morning Show's High School Road Tour stopped in Heyworth Friday to hear from school leaders and students.


Principal April Hicklin touted the district's opportunities for its students. One of the many things they offer is dual-credit courses. She says this not only saves families money, it gives those students a chance to earn college credits in the halls of their high school.



Kate Pickett is the President of the Key Club and she explains a lot of what the Key Club does at Heyworth High School is give back. They've already had a busy first semester and have plenty to look forward to in the second semester.



Jacob Hartwig is the student council president and told Regional Radio one of the things they went all in on this year was a December Winterfest event that was a huge success. That has been the highlight of a busy year for the student council.



Heyworth High School saw a very successful fall sports season, highlighted by its football team's first playoff appearance in nearly a decade. Assistant Principal Nathan Lawlar credits athletic director Nate Albaugh for his dedication to finding good coaches to lead its programs. Additionally, Albaugh has turned around the physical education department.



Lawlar and Hicklin both praised the district's facility addition which has created a great atmosphere for athletics in the district. 

What To Do When a Child Turns 18 with Disabilities

When your child turns 18 they legally become an adult which is an important time, but it is especially important if your child has disabilities and will need additional care into adulthood.


Jack Myers with Social Security says when your child turns 18 you can no longer make certain decisions for them. However, you can stay involved through the Social Security Representative Payee program. If your child needs assistance managing the funds they receive from Social Security or SSI, you can apply to be the payee.  Social Security offices can assist you with this. 



Guardianship is another thing to consider. Myers explains this requires court involvement and would typically be used to help you with other aspects of their life that the payee program can’t assist with.  



SSI is a needs-based program that provides monthly payments to children and adults with disabilities. Myers points outa needs-based means income and asset limits apply. If your child receives SSI, when they turn 18 we will review their eligibility for continued SSI payments based on the disability rules for adults.



If your child was ineligible for SSI because parental income or assets were too high, your income and assets no longer count against their eligibility once they turn 18. Myers adds if your income was the only reason they didn’t qualify, they should apply or reapply once they turn 18. 



For more information about this, please review the Social Security publication 'What you Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income When You Turn 18'. You can also visit www.ssa.gov/youth.

Alton Singing Group Invited to Carnegie Hall

The Great Rivers Choral Society has been invited to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall in June 2025. 


Music Director Raynard Brown recently received an email invitation, but nearly deleted it before he noticed a name that was well-known to him also on the list of recipients. So, he read and re-read the email, and finally asked his son to verify what he was reading.



The five-day residency is scheduled for June 19-23, 2025.

New President of County Fair Group

Getting set for a new county fair season. There’s a new president of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. That’s David Hake from Washington County.



The annual county fair convention was earlier this month in Springfield.

Sen. Durbin Weighs In On Southern Border

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker marked the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade this week.


Saying Illinois will remain a safe place for women seeking abortions and reproductive care. Pritzker says women from neighboring states that have had their right to choose taken away are coming to Illinois.



Pritzker says abortion access will be a major part of the upcoming Presidential campaign.

WHOW Morning Show Road Tour: Lincoln Community High School

The WHOW Morning stopped at Lincoln Community High School Thursday morning. 


It's been an eventful year already at Lincoln High School. The football team made the playoffs in the fall for the first time in 26 years. The volleyball team finished runner-up at the state finals. Now the girl's basketball team is ranked no. 1 in class 3A and athletic director Neil Alexander says it has created quite the buzz in the school.



Lincoln High School student government president Kloe Froebe says they have had a busy year. At Lincoln High School, any student can join student government and it was her goal coming to high school to one day be the president of student government.



Joe Dahmm is the President of the Lincoln High School FFA Chapter and says the second semester for the FFA is going to be very busy. He encourages younger students to try out all sorts of things early on and find what they like and where they fit.



Among other topics talked about on the WHOW Morning Show School Road Tour at Lincoln Community High School Thursday morning was the facility improvements taken up by the district in the last five years.

Central Illinois Lawmaker Looks Forward to Governor Pritzker's 'State of the State' and Budget Address

A central Illinois lawmaker is looking ahead to the Governor's upcoming State of the State and budget addresses.


State Senator Sally Turner anticipates the Governor speaking about the successes of Illinois and his agenda for the year ahead. She notes there are not many details yet about even when the Governor will address a joint session of the general assembly. 



According to Sen. Turner, she believes we may or may not hear about the migrants coming from the southern border because it is largely a Chicago-area issue and says the federal government needs to step up and do its part.



When Gov. Pritzker does announce his State of the State and the budget address, which have been joint addresses the last few years, you will hear it in its entirety on WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

Illinois Farm Bureau President to Serve on AFBF Board

Illinois Farm Bureau President Brian Duncan will take on another leadership role. He has been elected to serve a one-year term on the American Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors. The AFBF Annual Convention wrapped up this week in Salt Lake City. Duncan with an update on the delegate session.



Duncan, who farms near Polo in northwest Illinois, was elected Illinois Farm Bureau President last month.

Professional Hockey Returning to Bloomington

Hockey is officially back in Bloomington thanks to a four-million-dollar investment from Hallet Sports and Entertainment.


At a press conference at Grossinger Motors Arena, Hallet Sports announced the Bloomington Bison as the team's official name. Jim Hallet, the Chairman of Hallet Sports says the venue in downtown Bloomington is the perfect place to start a team.



Regarding a mascot, the team's logo features a Bison with a hat in a nod to President Abraham Lincoln. The mascot also features the Route 66 logo.


The team is apart of the E-C-H-L, an affiliate of the N-H-L. Hallet says ticket prices will range from 20 to 36 dollars.


For the city of Bloomington, leaders hope the team could bring in over 20 million dollars in an economic boost.

DeWitt County Board Chair Gives Update on Marina Sale

The DeWitt County Board could be on its way to selling the Clinton Lake Marina in 2024.


As the request for proposal (RFP) process wraps up in the next month, DeWitt County Board Chair Dan Matthews indicates earlier this month they did a tour of the facility for some interested parties and there was a lot of positive feedback. 



Interested parties can continue to inquire about the marina until the middle of February when the RFP window closes. Matthews believes they are going to receive a lot of good bids for the property.



Ideally, Matthews would like to see the new owner at the Marina ahead of the busy boating season which would mean almost an early spring sale that would have to be approved by the full Board.



One of the appealing aspects of the marina that seems to appeal to potential bidders is its availability for growth and development. Matthews notes they are looking forward to hearing the ideas of potential developers in the next month. 

City of Lincoln Hoping Fifth Street Road Project Continues Path to Ground Breaking

A major issue on one of its busiest roads has long been a focus for the City of Lincoln.


Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch indicates Fifth Street Road in Lincoln on the west side of town has been a difficult road to travel for many years. For many years, repairing it has been discussed but never acted.



At one point in the last few years, there was the opportunity for a multi-million dollar renovation of a very worn-down stretch of road. Mayor Welch explains that is no longer on the table and now the City has to make some decisions on what to prioritize in its repair.



Mayor Welch says even though it is moving slowly, he believes they will continue to make progress towards grounding breaking. He believes that will likely come in 2025. 

Sen Durbin Proposing Oral Health Legislation

Illinois's senior senator proposed new legislation to enhance dental health over the next five years.


The legislation is called the Dental Health Act, proposed by Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Kansas Republican Senator Roger Marshall. Under the act, the Oral Health program could send Illinois a portion of over 20 million dollars to promote oral health. Senator Durbin says...



According to Durbin, Illinois does not receive funding from Oral Health since the program is not adequately funded to serve every state.

Pothole Repairs on IDOT Roadways

With temperature swings and frozen precipitation ravaging area roadways this winter, an IDOT engineer says there is no shortage of potholes on state roads. 


Joe Monroe says crews are staying busy making repairs to their highways, since the frozen precipitation and the freeze-thaw cycle has caused some noticeable damage. He talks about how the freeze-thaw cycle creates potholes.





If you see an area of state highway that needs attention, call your regional IDOT yard to report it. Locally, call your town’s street or public works department.

Gov. Pritzker Marks Anniversary of Roe v Wade This Week

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker marked the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade this week


Saying Illinois will remain a safe place for women seeking abortions and reproductive care. Pritzker says women from neighboring states that have had their right to choose taken away are coming to Illinois.



Pritzker says abortion access will be a major part of the upcoming Presidential campaign.

Congressman LaHood Takes Issue With President Biden Over Migrant Crisis

An Illinois Congressman says more than eight million people have crossed the U.S. border illegally, and it's President Biden's fault.


For Republican Congressman Darin LaHood, President Biden could fix the issue instead of looking the other way.



In Chicago, Democratic Mayor Brandon Johnson called a special meeting with 25 surrounding mayors to find solutions to house migrants. According to reports, the Chicago City Council wants local municipalities to help share the costs associated with the migrant crisis.

Ameren Recognized for June 2023 Derecho

Ameren Illinois has received national recognition for their emergency response to last June's Derecho which left more than 200,000 customers without power. Patrick Smith with Ameren Illinois says the company is honored to have received the Emergency Response Award from the Edison Electric Institute...



Last June's Derecho cut a path across multiple states with Illinois among the hardest hit.

January is 'National Soup Month'

January is 'National Soup Month' and a University of Illinois Extension is promoting some ideas to help make those classic soup recipes a little healthier.


Caitlin Mellendorf is a nutrition educator at the University of Illinois Extension in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties and says a healthy alternative can be to seek out lower sodium options. She encourages making sure you give those lower sodium options a chance and your tastebuds a chance to adjust.



According to Mellendorf, a lot of soups, especially canned soups, tend to be low in fiber and protein. She encourages finding a good partner for that soup that will offer a little fat and some protein.



February is 'National Heart Month' and Mellendorf indicates this topic of healthy soup options will parlay into more conversations next month. She offers an easy tip to reduce sodium in those homemade soups. 



Mellendorf points out, a lot of soups can be low in calories which is why sometimes you find yourself hungry just a few hours after you've eaten. She says that's where pairing that soup with a sandwich or a salad can be beneficial. 


Mellendorf also reminds extension.illinois.edu/food is a great resource for nutrition tips, recipes and much more. She is happy to report they are continuing to add to that site with updated and new content for consumers.

Community Action Already Planning for 'Cheeseburger in Paradise'

A central Illinois non-profit is gearing up for its biggest fundraiser still three months out.


Community Action each year hosts 'Cheeseburger in Paradise', a huge fundraiser in Lincoln. Director of Agency Development Breann Titus explains the event is a very relaxed and fun night with food, drinks, and music.



The event had a brief hiatus during COVID but when it came back in 2021, it was a banner year and Titus notes the next few events were record-setters. 



Cheeseburger in Paradise is the biggest fundraiser for Community Action. Titus explains it is a fundraiser that gives them the ability to help more people that some of their other programs may not reach.



Tickets are on sale now for Cheeseburger in Paradise. Titus reminds those tickets sell quickly so she encourages getting yours now. Visit capcil.info for all the event details. Cheeseburger in Paradise comes up on April 27 at the Lincoln Banquet Center in Logan County. 

Central Illinois Lawmaker Hopes Farmland Legislation Gets Traction in '24

Last year, State Senator Sally Turner introduced legislation that would keep American adversaries from purchasing Illinois farm ground.


Sen. Turner is hoping that legislation picks up some steam in 2024 as she's planning to re-introduce it in the spring legislative cycle.



The Lincoln Republican feels the language in the bill is bipartisan and hopes to see this move forward this year.



Sen. Turner says they are seeing a lot of farmland bought up to set up solar farms and it is not uncommon for it to be developed by a Chinese company. She believes we need to protect ourselves from foreign entities from driving up prices. 

State Senator Wants Gun Owner Registration Rules

As permanent rules are in place for the state’s assault weapons ban, one State Senator says its now up to gun owners to follow the rules and law as it’s written.


Democrat State Senator Bill Cunningham says sign-ups should be going on for banned assault weapons and gun accessories.



Less than 2 percent of the state’s FOID Card holders have completed the registration.

Central Illinois Lawmaker Critical of Gov. Pritzker's Handling of Migrant Crisis

The migrant crisis in the state has resulted in over 34,00 asylum seekers coming to Illinois since August of 2022. The state has spent about $650 million dollars in dealing with the issue. Republican Senator Tom Bennett doesn't believe there is a clear and crystal answer, but discussions need to be had.



Pritzker has requested additional federal assistance for migrant aid from President Joe Biden.

Falls Send Many to Emergency Rooms

Hospitals around Illinois are reporting an uptick in visits to their respective emergency departments on Monday, most of it due to slip-and-fall accidents on the ice. 


When ice makes getting around a challenge, you are advised to stay in if possible. If not, learn to walk like a penguin. That means you should take it slow; keep your arms at your sides and hands out of your pockets; shuffle your feet and take short steps; bend slightly and walk flat footed; and keep your center of gravity over your feet as much as possible. OSF HealthCare family practice physician assistant Amy Henderson says fall prevention is key.



Be sure to be careful and use salt on stairs and slick walkways and ask for help from a family member or friend if you need help getting around. If you experience pain from a fall that lasts more than 48 hours, it’s recommended you visit your nearest emergency room.

DeWitt County Board Continues to Seek Good Faith Conversations With Enel Green Power

The DeWitt County Board continues to seek good faith efforts to address Enel Green Power's shortcomings in compliance with County codes.


Board Chair Dan Matthews tells Regional Radio the flashing red lights at the top of the turbines have been a point of emphasis as a deadline for the company to utilize the flashing lights only when an aircraft is nearby.



According to Matthews, the Board is seeking Enel to address them very soon about the situation. He questions why it may not be until March before they are in front of them.



For Matthews, they hope they will hear from Enel at the February board meeting. He continues to seek a good relationship with the company.



After a long time of waiting, it was June of last summer that the Alta Farms II wind farm finally went live. 

DeWitt County Museum Renovating One of Its Rooms

A room at the DeWitt County Museum will get an extensive makeover this winter.


Joey Long is the Director of the DeWitt County Museum and CH Moore Homestead and explains the music room is getting a facelift this winter.



As the project gets going, the Museum Board will look to uphold the integrity of the historic mansion. Long explains that is coming with its challenges as they are encountering issues with the necessary supplies to make that happen.



For the Museum Board, the window to finish this project is going to be a tight finish. Just in the last week, the Board was able to get everything cleaned up from the Christmas holidays and get the piano moved. Now they are off to get the project complete by April. 

Lincoln to Put Tracking Devices in City Vehicles

A central Illinois community is putting tracking devices on its city-owned vehicles.


Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch explains this simply as an accountability measure for both the City and staff as well as the community.



According to the Mayor, there is a monthly fee for the service and the devices but they already contract with the company that is going to install these devices.



Mayor Welch believes this is a preventative measure more than reactive. While they have had a few issues in the past, this is something they hope will keep from anything in the future causing trouble.



The Mayor says it has been a pretty quiet start to the new year for the City Council in 2024. 

Chicago to Stop Expanding Shelter for Migrants

As migrants continue to arrive and stay in Chicago, the city is preparing to stop expanding shelter for them.


That planned move from Mayor Brandon Johnson has Governor JB Pritzker frustrated that the city intends to either keep capacity where it is or start to reduce the opportunities that currently exist.



The city of Chicago has spent about $150 million on care for migrants, the state has spent about $650 million.

Revised Crop Budgets for 2023

The farmdocdaily team at the University of Illinois has posted revised 2024 crop budgets. Here’s U-of-I’s Gary Schnitkey.



Find the piece at farmdocdaily.illinois.edu.

Clinton Schools to Upgrade Sports Entrance

The sports entrance at Clinton High School will receive an upgrade this summer that is going to make one of the heavier trafficked areas of the school during non-school hours much more accessible.


Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates last Tuesday night, the Board of Education approved the upgrade that will make the entrance handicap accessible.



According to Nettles, this past summer, the drive runs alongside the school and around the back of the school was paved and the parking spaces off that run were paved. He indicates the parking lot is on the radar to be improved as well.



The facilities have come under scrutiny of late. The Clinton Board of Education has done extensive work to target areas of need both inside the building and outside the building.


The community has taken notice of the facilities updates as well. Like anything, some find incredible value in the targeted improvements and others do not. Administrators emphasize, inside the building is receiving just as much attention as those issues outside most visible to the public eye. 

City of Clinton Approves Park Lane West Subdivision Plats

The Park Lane West subdivision development continues to move forward.


Last Tuesday night, the Clinton City Council approved the subdivision's plat. City Administrator Taylor Baxter indicates part of this approval was purchasing a parcel of property from business owner Scott Baum.



Coming up in February, the City anticipates going out to bid for construction in preparation for the area to be built. Baxter adds that will lead them into setting prices for each lot.



According to Baxter, the road itself will be an extension of Summerset Road and will wind to Leander Street. 



Baxter indicates they are sizing the lots differently to meet the needs of a variety of people at various stages of life. He feels it will be a good diverse set of properties.


Baxter hopes construction will begin as soon as this spring or summer with completion by the fall. 

Keeping That Social Security Card Secure

You might think the best way to protect your Social Security card, and by extension, your Social Security number, is to have your Social Security card on you at all times but that isn't actually the case. 


Scams to steal your personal information are at an all-time high. Jack Myers at Social Security says that’s why it remains critical to safeguard important personal documents like your Social Security card.



Myers stresses keeping the card at home reduces the risk of loss or theft and helps you keep your information safe. 



To learn more about keeping your card and information safe, visit www.ssa.gov/fraud.

Utilize 'gettingaroundillinois' During Ice Event

Icy roads are going to make travel difficult today in many parts of the state.


Paul Wappel with the Illinois Department of Transportation says drivers should go to - getting around Illinois dot com - for current road conditions on Interstates and state highways. Those conditions are updated in real time.



Purple is the worst color to see on the map – it indicates roads are covered with ice and or snow. Also visit dewittdailynews.com for a link to the website. 

Gov. Pritzker Says State Ahead of Early Ed Goals

Illinois is ahead of its’ goal to expand spots in pre-k and other early childhood education programs. A year ago, Governor JB Pritzker had a goal of 5,000 new pre-k spots and now he says the numbers are in and more than 5,800 spots have been added.



The state allocated $250 million in new funding to expand early childhood programs in the current fiscal year. The Governor will release his next budget in the coming weeks.

BBB on Weight Loss Scams

The Better Business Bureau has some tips that can help you find ways to lose weight without falling for some common scams. Scammers know that losing weight and getting in shape are two popular New Year’s resolutions.


BBB investigator Don O’Brien says there is no such thing as a ‘secret ingredient’ or ‘breakthrough formula’ that can result in weight loss virtually overnight. He says you can sometimes get hooked into a plan you don’t want.



Before starting any weight-loss program, O Brien says you should consult a doctor for an assessment of overall health risks. The doctor may recommend options for losing weight or exercise programs that fit your health status and your ability to stick with a program.

January is Radon Awareness Month

January is Radon Awareness month and local health departments are getting the word out regarding the second leading cause of Lung Cancer and how you can keep your family safe...



That's RaeAnn Tucker from the Henry and Stark County Health Department. Radon Detection Kits can be found at most hardware stores and many local Health Departments in Illinois.

Interested Parties Check Out Clinton Lake Marina; DeWitt County Board Meets Briefly Thursday

A few interested parties have begun to make visits to the Clinton Lake Marina as the window for RFPs (request for proposal) is open.


At the DeWitt County Board meeting Thursday night, a very brief meeting of the board was highlighted by a few short discussions. Board Chair Dan Matthews, who chairs the Marina Committee, informed the board they are having a few interested parties tour and visit the Clinton Lake Marina.



The DeWitt County Land Use Committee continues to effort Enel for information regarding the lights on the wind towers on its Alta Farms wind farm. Buck Carter chairs the Land Use Committee and indicates they hope to have Enel before the board still in the first quarter of this year.



Megan Myers chairs the Public Safety Committee and gave an update on the animal shelter. 



The animal shelter and the EMS building are receiving generators. Property Committee Chairperson Terry Ferguson notes the cost of the animal shelter generator is just over $11,000 and the EMS building generator is just short of $12,000.



The Board approved slip and mooring agreements for 2024. It was a roughly 15 minute meeting on Thursday. 

Mt Pulaski Schools Wrapping Up Hectic Week

It has been an eventful week at Mt. Pulaski Schools.


On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, school superintendent Fred Lamkey told Regional Radio before the week even started, they had issues with its boiler system and getting heat to one of its buildings.



Mt. Pulaski was fortunate that they ended up calling school off on Tuesday due to the cold temperatures, the first time Lamkey had called off school due to cold. He points out though, the issues didn't end there.



When it comes to making the decision to call off school, Mt. Pulaski schools are like many districts in central Illinois that have to consider all the rural students they have and Lamkey notes sometimes the decision is an easy one and sometimes it isn't.



According to Lamkey, e-learning has added a new wrinkle to the decision to call off school because now, students doing some school work at home on a snow day is an option. He notes though, that it's still sometimes nice to give students that traditional snow day.



Lamkey indicates deciding on e-learning can also be dictated by whether a snow day comes on the heels of a holiday - for instance this last Tuesday when school was canceled the day after MLK Day. 

Illinois Department of Ag Promoting Grants

Millions of dollars in grants are going to be available to bolster the state’s food systems. 


The grants from the Illinois Department of Agriculture are designed to fill needs in the middle of supply chains - after the food has been grown and before it gets to the consumer. Kristi Jones, Deputy Director of Agriculture, says many farmers can grow plenty of food but they struggle to store it or get it to market.



Grants could even be awarded to institutions like schools, who need storage and equipment to begin cooking and preparing more locally grown food for students.

Illinois Farm Bureau Lays Out Local Governmetn Priorities for 2024

Illinois Farm Bureau has laid out its local government priorities for 2024. There’s a new one this year says Illinois Farm Bureau Associate Director of Local Government and Political Engagement Ryan Whitehouse.



The three other priorities include the Allies in Agriculture program, the pro-ag resolution push at the local county board level, and rural development.

Gov. Pritzker Not In Support of Funding for Sox Move

It appears that another pro sports team in Chicago could be thinking about a move and a new stadium. 


A report in the Chicago Sun Times says the White Sox are exploring building on a large empty parcel south of the Chicago Loop. Governor JB Pritzker says no matter if its’ the Sox or Bears he believes that the public shouldn’t be funding the construction of stadiums.



The White Sox current stadium was publicly financed with a bill backed by then Republican Governor Jim Thompson. The stadium opened in 1991.

Clinton City Administrator Hints at 2024 Goals

After just six months on the job, the City Administrator for the City of Clinton has a clear vision laid out for the year ahead.


Rebranding the community is perhaps the most concise descriptor for Taylor Baxter this year. He says while he is only six months into his tenure in Clinton, there are some things he is ready to tackle in 2024.



According to Baxter, the City needs to revamp its website. He says that is objective number one for this year. He also hopes to see messaging about the community improve.



For a couple of years now, the City has needed to clean up some of its ordinances. Baxter hopes to help the City become more efficient in the services it offers.



Baxter has discussed revamping the City's website already but looks to see that be something that gets done in the year ahead. 

Clinton Board of Education Discusses Law Enforcement Access to Security Cameras

Granting access to Clinton schools security footage was a topic of conversation at the Tuesday night Clinton Board of Education meeting.


Schools superintendent Curt Nettles explains the district has upgraded its security camera coverage in recent years and now the police department is hoping to gain access to that system.



Nettles believes the school's cameras do a good job of picking up activities of interest to not only the district but to the police.



Nettles notes the district does monitor its own cameras, including those in the parking lot as they do get some activity there from time to time. 

Gas Prices Outlook

Start budgeting now; prices at the pump could jump over the next several months.


That jump could land up to eighty cents higher for a gallon of gas in Central Illinois. Patrick DeHaan is a petroleum analyzer at GasBuddy.



However, stability remains uncertain in the Middle East with recent attacks on U.S.-owned cargo ships. According to DeHaan, those attacks should not play a role in prices at the pump.

Illinois Rifle Association Says Fault of Assault Weapons Ban, Gun Registry Isn't on Illinois State Police

Final rules will soon be approved for the state’ assault weapons ban.


Part of the ban is a weapon and gun accessories registry that is being kept by the Illinois State Police. That list is short right now, only one point two percent of gun owners have registered any weapons. Ed Sullivan with the Illinois State Rifle Association says the fault of the law and the registry isn’t on the Illinois State Police, but rather the people who wrote and passed the law. But if the law is struck down as unconstitutional, he says the ISP will destroy the records being kept as of now.



Legal challenges remain for the law, but the US Supreme Court did recently pass on stepping into temporarily block the law.

Illinois N-Rec Conference Next Month

The Illinois Nutrient Research and Education Council Investment Insights Live Conference set for next month in Champaign. The date is Feb. 15 says Illinois N-REC’s Julie Hewitt.



More info at Illinoisnrec.org.

Bitter Cold Presents Challenges for City Public Works Department This Week

If you've tried to maneuver through Alexander Street this week in Clinton, you've likely noticed the area is very busy and very wet.


Tuesday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Commissioner of Public Property John Wise informed the Council this has been a hectic week with multiple water main breaks in that portion of town.



Public Works Director Steve Lobb told the Council with these bitter cold temperatures, it isn't uncommon to see water mains break. He gives credit to his crews for battling the extreme elements.



  According to Lobb, the water pressure for that part of town was predictably decreased while crews addressed the situation. He points out you can't overhaul your whole infrastructure at once, but the City has taken steps over the years to make it better.



A break in the extreme cold in the next several days. However, Lobb indicates that doesn't mean they are out of the woods yet. With radical swings in temperatures possible, they could still have a few more main breaks before all is said and done. 

Mental Health Professional Looks Ahead to 2024

A Central Illinois mental health and substance abuse professional is excited about things happening in Central Illinois in the year ahead.


On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Tony Kirkman, Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center, told Regional Radio there are a lot of good things happening in the year ahead in both Piatt County and DeWitt County.



Later this spring, the Piatt County Mental Health Center will help coordinate the Illinois Youth Survey for 2024. Kirkman reminds this is an every-other-year survey of youth on a variety of topics that are of interest to those in the mental health field.



According to Kirkman, there are some alarming trends and he is curious to see how they continue to play out in the year ahead. One is the continued impact of legalized marijuana on youth.



Kirkman also notes in the year ahead, as the stigma around getting treatment for mental health continues to wear away in society, it means more and more people are coming to places like the Piatt County Mental Health Center for treatment, and funding for those institutions are not adequate at all. He hopes that will be noticed and addressed in the year ahead. 

Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders Well Represented AFBF Annual Convention

Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leaders well represented at this month’s American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. Vanessa Wright is IFB Young Leader Program Coordinator.



The AFBF Convention runs January 19-24.


Wright also reminding about the Illinois Farm Bureau Young Leader Conference Feb. 2 & 3 in Springfield.

Red Cross Says The Need for Blood is at a 20-Year High

The need for blood is at a 20-year high as January marks National Blood Donor Month.


Thanks to the bitter cold temperatures, blood drives across central Illinois had to be canceled. That's left hospitals with less than a day's supply of blood. Here's Kirby Winn, a spokesperson for Impact Life.



Blood is not the only need for the non-profit. According to Winn, Impact Life needs volunteers to drive blood from hospital to hospital.


To schedule a blood donation, visit blood center dot-org.

Illinois Secretary of State Promoting 'Skip the Line' Program

The Illinois Secretary of State is hoping more and more drivers don’t go to driver’s service facilities.


Alexi Giannoulias is promoting the “skip the line” program and the opportunity to take care of many needed services on-line. Giannoulias says there are more than 1 million drivers this year that can avoid coming in by renewing their licenses on-line.



The website to see if you need to make an appointment or not is ILSOS dot gov.

Central Illinois Superintendent Outlines School Cancellation Decision Making Process

On a day like today when most central Illinois schools have called off school for the day, the decision to do some can be pretty black and white. 


Monticello Schools Superintendent Adam Clapp explains for days like today, where wind chills are well below zero, the decision often comes down where temperatures are at and considering the scenario of students who utilize busses for transportation.



Snow days can be a different process and Clapp explains there is a lot of collaboration but sometimes decisions district-to-district aren't always the same. 



For Clapp and his peers, the option to implement a remote learning day in the event of a snow day or cancellation has allowed learning to continue. However, an e-learning day is something that needs to be prepared for.



You can get the latest in school closings and cancellations by visiting dewittdailynews.com and finding the cancellations tab at the top of the homepage. 

Snow Shoveling Safety

Shoveling snow puts thousands of people in their local emergency room each year, but there are ways to avoid that. 


While there is no snow in the immediate forecast, a doctor with OSF HealthCare wants you to know what to think about well ahead of time. Some common reasons for a trip to the ER in the winter are falls, heart attacks, back injuries, and hand and wrist injuries from falls. Amy Henderson, a family practice physician assistant for OSF HealthCare offers a few basic tips before getting started with shoveling your sidewalk or driveway.



Other important tips include: Lift with your legs, not your back; push (don’t) lift the snow; stay low to the ground; shovel more frequently; take breaks if you feel winded; and be aware of ice. The bottom line when it comes to snow shoveling, she says, is play it safe, take your time and be sure to let your loved ones and friends know what you’re up to in the event something does happen. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

New President of the Illinois Association of Ag Fairs

There’s a new president of the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. The job goes to Dave Hake of the Washington County Fair in Nashville.



The county fair convention wrapped up Sunday in Springfield.

Gov. Pritzker in Iowa

Governor JB Pritzker stepped outside of Illinois this weekend and into Iowa to support President Joe Biden and his bid for a second term in the White House.


Pritzker used the trip as a way to frame not just the winner of the Republican caucus in Iowa but what will be at stake in the general election.



Democrats pulled stakes from the Iowa caucuses and will hold their first primary vote in South Carolina in early February.

Boil Order Announced in Clinton

There is a boil order for Railroad Street to Isabella Street and Main Street to Van Buren Street.  


If you have questions, call 217-935-3432 during business hours.

Clinton YMCA Announces 'Y-Zone Extreme Emergency' Day

When school gets called off due to weather, the Clinton YMCA sets in motion attempts to get staff in place to host kids for 'Y-Zone Extreme Emergency' days.


On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, ahead of Tuesday's anticipated cold weather that ultimately led to the cancellation of school in Clinton, Youth Program Director Melinda Akers told Regional Radio Y-Zone Extreme is a childcare program for youth on scheduled days off from school.



While school was called off early enough for Akers to get staff assembled for a Y-Zone Extreme Emergency day on Tuesday, she explains for days where school is called off and there is less notice, having an emergency day depends on the availability of staff.



If you are already signed up for Y-Zone, you can simply bring your child to the Y for Y-Zone Extreme or Y-Zone Extreme emergency days. Akers notes it is very easy to get enrolled and the price is the same whether you are a member or non-member of the Y.



For Y-Zone Extreme days, Akers encourages parents to pack things for swimming as the kids oftentimes get to utilize the Y pool at some point during the day. She also says to bring a lunch and a snack for the afternoons.



Visit clintoncommymca.org for more information on Y-Zone and other kids' programs. You can stop into the Y at 417 South Alexander Street in Clinton. Or call 217-935-8307. 

Fire Crews Respond to Sunday Fire in Weldon

Just after 10 pm on Sunday night, fire crews responded to reports of a structure fire in Weldon where those inside were unable to escape.


Upon arrival, crews encountered heavy black smoke coming from the roof of the structure. The fire was upgraded to a second alarm response bringing additional resources and manpower. 


Weldon fire assisted the residents and pets out of the building and began the initial fire attack. The fire was greatly reduced with the initial attack. With the assistance of mutual aid departments, overhaul and further fire suppression duties were performed. 


Two residents were displaced by the fire and are currently being assisted by the Red Cross. There were no in


Authorities applaud the strong work from all departments involved - especially keeping all the equipment working with the -6 degree temperatures. 


The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time. 


Clinton Fire Department, DeLand Fire Protection District, Farmer City Fire Department, and Cisco Fire Protection District were on the scene Sunday night. 

DARE Starts up This Week at Clinton Elementary Schools

The DARE program is almost a staple any more for almost everyone who grew up in rural America.


The latest installment of the program gets underway this week at Clinton Elementary School and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates this is a program that has been in Clinton for many years now.



Chief Lowers calls it a great program and in recent years has come under some scrutiny about its effectiveness and questions regarding if the lessons are reaching youth.



The Chief indicates in years past, School Resource Officer Mike Bennett would help lead it, this year, first-year school resource officer Cody Maer will help lead it. He reminds this is also a very beneficial program locally because it gets local authorities in front of kids and allows the kids to get to know law enforcement at a more personal level.



Chief Lowers points out, for him and whoever does the program with him, they find they get more out of being with the kids of Clinton Schools than they put into it and calls it very enjoyable. 

Social Security Highlights Medicare Part B Open Enrollment Period

The Medicare Part B open enrollment period is underway.


Jack Myers at Social Security says if you did not apply for Medicare Part B - medical insurance - within three months before or after turning age 65, you have another opportunity each year called the General Enrollment Period. It runs from January to March of each year.  



Enrollment is effective the month after you enroll. According to Myers, if you don’t enroll when first eligible, you may have to pay a higher premium once you do enroll.

Your monthly premium will increase 10% for each 12-month period that you were eligible for Part B but did not sign up.



Certain circumstances will qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period which will offer an opportunity to enroll in Medicare without a penalty. Myers explains the most common Special Enrollment Period is for those who were working or whose spouse was working and had group health coverage based on that active employment when first eligible for Part B.  



Myers reminds you can enroll in Medicare Part B through Social Security and find more information at ssa.gov. There's also more information through the Illinois Department on Aging and the SHIP program. Additionally, many local senior centers will have information on this open enrollment period. 

Farmer Input Sought for New CRP Menu Web Tool

Illinois farmers can provide feedback on a new CRP Menu web tool. Input sessions are planned for next month. Brad Thornton with Mississippi State University is leading the project.



Input sessions are planned for the Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau on Feb. 6; DeKalb County Farm Bureau on Feb. 7; and Adams County Farm Bureau on Feb. 8.

USDA Zone Hardiness Zones Change

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which perennial plants are most likely to thrive at a location. 


Recently updated, the map is based on the average annual extreme minimum winter temperature. U of I Extension Program Coordinator Sarah Ruth says the last map from 2012 was updated to reflect data in 2023.



She says the zones do not offer hard and fast boundaries, but rather gray areas in which zones can vary in temperature from one town to the next.

DNR Hosting Meetins on CWD

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources hosting two public meetings in Lee and Bureau counties to provide information about the recent detection of chronic wasting disease in the state’s deer population.



CWD is an important issue that will continue to dominate future deer management discussions in northern Illinois says IDNR’s Chris Jacques (jakes).



The scheduled meetings are in Lee County at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 15, at the Winifred Knox Memorial Library in Franklin Grove. And in Bureau County at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17 at the Hennepin Canal State Trail office in Sheffield.

Congressman Sorenson Calls on Lawmakers to Stop Kicking Can Down the Road

Congressional leaders are avoiding a government shutdown - at least for now.


The House of Representatives and Senate reached an agreement that averts a government shutdown until March. However, Illinois 17th District Democratic Congressman Eric Sorenson says leaders must stop kicking the can down the road.



Under the new deal, Congress buys time to work on 12 appropriation bills before voting on a new fiscal budget. Despite a new short-term spending plan, lawmakers need to find common ground on a continuing resolution - to prevent a partial government shutdown. Lawmakers have until after midnight on January 20 to find common ground.

WHOW School Road Tour: DeLand-Weldon Schools Combining Opportunity With Small School Atmosphere

DeLand-Weldon Schools may be small in student body and facility size, but what they lack in those areas, they make up for with opportunities each student has.


On the WHOW Morning Show as a part of the High School Road Tour, Principal Matt Goldman told Regional Radio one of the ways they do that is by starting up the school's own FFA program.



According to Goldman, the first challenge was finding a teacher for the program. With that individual secured, he says they are now starting to put together all the components for what makes up a strong ag program.



Goldman hopes with a program in-house and students not having to travel to Farmer City to take advantage of the opportunity, it will allow more students to get involved.



Looking ahead to next year, Goldman says they are going to adjust their building layouts to have middle school students join the high school kids in their main building. 


Partnership With News-Gazette Gives Students Chance to Learn About Journalism


A student at DeLand-Weldon is taking advantage of a program with the Champaign News-Gazette.


Emma Westray is a confidential correspondent for the New Gazette and Goldman says this is something the Gazette has approached him about over the years looking for a student to do some reporting on the happenings in the school building.



Westray says the opportunity has been very beneficial for her as she hopes to consider a career in journalism in the future and hopes her next article can highlight WHOW's visit to the school.



Westray is a junior at DeLand-Weldon High School School. 

Eligibility Expanding for Social Security's 'ABLE Program'

December marked the 9th anniversary of the signing of The Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE Act.


The first ABLE program opened in 2016 and today - 46 states and Washington D.C have ABLE programs. Jack Myers with Social Security says ABLE provides a way to save money and build financial independence without affecting eligibility for important benefits like SSI), Medicaid, and HUD Housing Assistance. 



If you are on SSI you can save up to $100,000 in your ABLE account without affecting eligibility for SSI benefits. Myers explains ABLE programs allow people with disabilities to save without losing access to important benefits. 



The range of qualified disability expenses is extensive and Myers indicates it includes everything from day-to-day living expenses like grocery or rent -to bigger expenses like assistive technology and vehicle adaptations. To have an ABLE account a person must have become disabled before the age of 26.



Other people can contribute money to an ABLE Account for a person without affecting SSI eligibility. Myers says the IRS may count gift contributions as income, but they won’t affect the account holder’s SSI eligibility.



That website one more time is illinoisable.com. 

Illinois Congressman Weighs In On Border Issue


The situation at the border could get much worse before it gets better - at least, that's the word from Western Illinois Congressman Eric Sorenson. 


As border patrol ramps up their efforts to stop illegal crossings, busloads of migrants continue to arrive across the United States, including in Illinois. Sorenson says the border needs attention, including a wall in some sections.



Last year, Sorenson proposed legislation to provide funding for additional border patrol agents and to help fentanyl trafficking. However, he says lawmakers did not consider his proposal in a House bill. According to the Pew Research Center, monthly encounters with migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border remain near record highs.

Illinois County Fair Convention This Weekend

County Fairs around Illinois are gathering this week in Springfield at their annual meeting. 


Jill Hardesty, President of the Illinois County Fair Association says fairs are under the same pressures as other businesses, that means local county fairs are dealing with price inflation and rising expenses. So support from local communities is more important than ever.



There are 104 county fairs in Illinois and the convention wraps up with the Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant on Sunday night.

IDOT Promoting 'Getting Around Illinois'

Travel is expected to be difficult in many parts of the state this weekend.


A major winter storm is bringing snow and possible blizzard conditions. If you must travel this weekend in those areas, you can check road conditions on IDOT’s website – Getting Around Illinois dot com. Paul Wappel with IDOT says drivers should use it when traveling.



Once again, the website is getting around Illinois dot com. And it’s optimized to work well on smartphones as well as computers.


You can also visit dewittdailynews.com and access the getting around Illinois road conditions web site simply by clicking the "road conditions"  icon next to the masthead on every page.  

Illinois Committee Discusses Universal Mail-In Voting

Will local election officials be able to mail every registered voter a ballot? A possible change to state law and the opportunity to do that was discussed by lawmakers this week.


The House Ethics and Elections Committee held a hearing about allowing counties to shift to largely mail-in ballot elections. The biggest change would be to allow counties to send every registered voter a ballot – now a voter needs to request one. William Cavecche, an election official from King County in Washington state says that’s what they do and its paid off.





If the law would go into effect and counties switched, polling places would still be open for those who wanted to vote in person.

Local Authorities Discuss Upcoming Wintry Weather

With more wintry of safety and caution for the public.


Rain and snow are likely Friday night into Saturday and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday told Regional Radio with snow, rain, and wind in the forecast, things could get treacherous in central Illinois.



Temperatures are going to fall out starting Saturday and Chief Lowers says now is the time to begin preparing. He implores folks to not only consider their home needs during this time but also be mindful of those pets.



According to Chief Lowers, some smaller measures to take are keeping that gas tank in the car at least half full so your vehicle is more likely to start in the event you need to travel. Additionally, he says it is important someone knows where you are going if you do need to venture out.



Chief Lowers reminds be aware of any emergency vehicles that may be on the roads and give them their space to get to those people in need. 

WHOW School Road Tour: Facilities Hot Topic at Clinton High School

The facilities at Clinton High School have been a hot topic for the last several months as late last year a multi-million dollar renovation of the high school football and track complex was announced on top of last summer's renovation of the high school gymnasium and high school cafeteria.


On the WHOW Morning Show School Road Tour, athletic director Matt Koeppel told Regional Radio while the sports facilities have gotten a lot of attention, he stresses the rest of the building has seen and will see its share of improvements as well.



Principal Jerry Wayne told Regional Radio there are a lot of plans in place to address areas of need inside the building and while they are not flashy nor often visible to the public, they are things that need to be addressed.



As it relates to the football and track complex, Wayne and Koeppel hope to see the home and away bleachers flipped next summer with a new press box that will have individual rooms. Koeppel indicates they hope to model their press box after the renovation at IVC in Chillicothe.


Student Leaders Share Testimony


As a part of the WHOW Morning Show School Road Tour, student leaders at Clinton High School highlighted some of the things they are involved in.


Davis Howell is the FFA Chapter President and told Regional Radio the FFA is gearing up for its always popular strawberry fundraiser.



Karla Ramirez is the Student Council President and says she encourages her fellow students and students coming into high school to get involved and try new things.



Howell and Ramirez are both seniors at Clinton High School. 

Kenney Heritage Assocation Annual Pancake and Sausage Breakfast This Saturday

The Kenney Heritage Association is hosting its annual pancake and sausage fundraiser this Saturday. 


Board Vice President Bob Marsh indicates the annual breakfast comes up this Saturday from 6 am to 2 pm at the Kenney Community Center.



Marsh reminds the Kenney Heritage Association seeks to preserve the history of Kenney through a variety of efforts. 



Marsh reminds the breakfast is from 6 am to 2 pm in Kenney. If you would like a to-go meal, contact him at 607-271-0617 to have those ready when you arrive.


You can also learn more about the Kenney Heritage Association by finding the group on Facebook. 

Four IDOT Snowplows Struck This Weekend

The message from IDOT has always been “don’t crowd the plow” and for good reason.


This week 4 IDOT plows have been struck by vehicles. Paul Wappel, IDOT Spokesperson, says no serious injuries have been reported.



IDOT is getting ready for another strong winter storm that could impact roadways by the end of the week.

Lt. Governor Promoting Financial Literacy Program for Women

The state's second-in-command wants to help women with financial literacy in the new year.


It's part of a program that Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton calls 'We Thrive.' The goal - is to bring diverse groups of women together to listen and learn from one another.



As the spearhead of the program, Lieutenant Governor Stratton is hosting a series of 'We chats.'


The small group discussions are designed to bring everyone to the table to learn about financial freedom and well-being.

More Snow Expected This Month

If this week's snowfall wasn't up to your liking, January is likely to see a few more snow events.


That is according to Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln who indicates winter is going to be in full display over the next several weeks.



According to Shimon, oftentimes people hear 'El Nino winter' and automatically think of a winter that is warm without snow but that couldn't be farther from how El Nino winters often play out.



Shimon indicates because snow events can change quickly, be ready by making plans in advance and give yourself plenty of time in the event the forecast changes. 

Red Cross Emergency Blood Shortage

The Red Cross is running low on blood, and the blood donation shortage is nationwide. 


Fewer donors than needed gave over the holidays, drawing down the national blood supply and reducing distributions of some of the most needed blood types to hospitals. Sharon Watson, spokesperson for the American Red Cross, says this has resulted in an emergency blood shortage.



Anyone who gives blood, platelets, or plasma in January will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. For details on the contest or to find a list of area blood drives, click here: www.redcrossblood.org

Busy Start to 4-H Year in Logan County

The University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon County is taking a running start into the new year for its 4-H members.


It kicks off with a free leadership seminar in Springfield says Terri Miller-Casey who is the Extension Director. She hopes 4-H students will take advantage of this opportunity.



Coming up later this month, the 4-H family cooking night returns and Miller-Casey explains it is held on Zoom and gives families a chance to cook a meal in their kitchens.



Mark your calendars for Feb. 24 when there will be a poultry and rabbit seminar to get students ready for the 4-H show this summer. Miller-Casey believes this will be a good opportunity for first-time or newer 4-H students.



A program for early March annually fills up fast so Miller-Casey is making her communities and families aware of their dates and times. Additionally, they are trying a new arts and culture program in late February. 



Visit extension.illinois.ed/lms then find the 'events' tab and you'll find registration information for these events and many more.

Stay Scam Free

Staying scam-free may be a challenge in 2024 with new technology.


However, one Central Illinois scam investigator wants to help you remain scam-free in the new year. That means avoiding phishing emails, unsolicited texts, robo-calls and cryptocurrency. Don O'Brien is with the Better Business Bureau.



According to O'Brien, some of the biggest scams 2023 involved cryptocurrencies and gift cards. Often, scammers ask for crypto or gift cards since the transaction is irrevocable. Last year, Americans lost almost three billion dollars in social media scams.

The Vault Adds New Leadership Amidst Continued Growth

The Vault in Clinton began the new year by welcoming a new executive to its leadership.


Connie Unruh joins The Vault staff as its COO. On the WHOW Morning Show, former Executive Director, now CEO Tammy Wilson told Regional Radio, Unruh brings a great deal of experience to The Vault.



Unruh is excited about this next chapter in her professional career and says while she has a lot of experience already within The Vault, she is also learning a lot.



Wilson and Unruh stress what makes The Vault unique is the fact its leadership that is making decisions about the future of the organization are also in front of the kids they serve regularly and is helping lead the organization at a micro level.



Unruh knows many students already from her time in the schools when she was with First National Bank and looks forward to getting to know them more now that she will see them more regularly. 

Decatur Area Arts Council Promoting Grant Cycle

It is the first of three grant cycles at the Decatur Area Arts Council for 2024.


Jerry Johnson is the Executive Director and explains grant cycles come around three times a year and now is the time to apply for the first of 2024 and reminds of the service area of the art council.



According to Johnson, the Arts Council gets a lot of requests from groups and schools putting on stage productions and the money they release in grant funding has a couple of sources.



Johnson is pleased to announce there is a little more money to distribute this year and with the first grant cycle deadline coming up soon, he encourages anyone interested to get more details and get an application filled out.



decaturarts.org is the website to find the application on the grant cycle and to find more details about who can apply for those grants.

Use 'Getting Around Illinois' for Latest in Road Conditions

With the first snowfall in Central Illinois, the Illinois Department of Transportation is reminding the public to visit and bookmark gettingaroundillinois.com for continually updated information on road conditions.  


Weather can change quickly and whether you’re driving for 2 miles or 200 miles, gettingaroundillinois.com is a great resource that is up-to-date 24/7/365.  


Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman says that while IDOT is ready for whatever winter has in store, preparation and planning always are your best protection in keeping you and your family safe during the snow-and-ice season. 


Gettingaroundillinois.com is available on a computer and works well for smartphones.  The site includes the ability to identify and zoom into a location, travel route, or destination on a state map. 


Road conditions are reported by plow drivers out in the field and relayed to gettingaroundillinois.com through a cloud-based system to provide a general overview of IDOT-maintained highways.  


The road conditions map averages more than 2.5 million pageviews during the snow-and-ice season, featuring a color scheme of pinks and blues to differentiate from the red, yellow, and green of traffic congestion reporting as well as to increase accessibility for those who have difficulty distinguishing colors.  

New Miss Illinois County Fair Queen to be Crowned This Weekend

A new Miss Illinois County Fair Queen will be selected this weekend. Paige Van Dyke is winding down her time with the crown. She loves reppin’ the county fair scene.



Van Dyke is an ag communications student at Oklahoma State. The Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Pageant runs Thursday through Sunday in Springfield.

Late Payments Impacting Senior Centers Across the State

An Illinois Senior Center is raising the alarm about late payments from the State of Illinois. 


Cassandra Schmoll from the Henry County Senior Center says that Area Agencies on Aging across the state are waiting for late payments from both the state and federal government and they are hoping people will contact representatives to get the money to move...



Area Agencies on Aging like the Western Illinois Regional Council have also been waiting to receive assigned grant money from the state. The WIRC is among several organizations across the state that disburse grant money from the state and federal government to local agencies like your local senior centers.

Social Security Highlights Top Webpages

Socialsecurity.gov is frequented a lot by the American public and Jack Myers with Social Security is outlining some of the top webpages.


Myers says if you haven't already, you'll want to get a mySocialSecurity account. It is your portal to Social Security to verify earnings, view your Social Security statement, get benefit estimates, replacement documents, and more.



Retirement applications can be completed and submitted online benefits in as little as 15 minutes. Myers adds for disability application -you can apply for benefits at your own pace with the ability to save progress and return later to finish. 



Visit the Social Security blog at blog.ssa.gov. Additionally, Myers points those interested to the Frequently Asked Questions page at www.ssa.gov/faq. For more information, be sure to check out the online publication library  - including audio versions - at www.ssa.gov/pubs

December Was Fifth Warmest on Record in Illinois

December was the fifth warmest on record.


According to Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln, only two days were actually below average for the month - something he says is very rare.



El Nino remains at its peak right now and Shimon indicates as we continue to roll through the traditional winter months, forecasters anticipate El Nino weakening.



If you enjoy the snow, January may be packing some more wintery systems. We'll have more with Shimon on that in the days ahead on Regional Radio.

Latest on Snow Outlooks

Snow has been anticipated this weekend and next week but forecasters have had a difficult time pinning down how much, when, and where, the snow would fall.


While there's still some uncertainty, Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln told Regional Radio this Friday evening into Saturday should bring around an inch, maybe more local higher amounts to central Illinois.



According to Shimon, whether this system produces snow or not, models are consistent in showing it is going to be a wet weekend in the Midwest.



As for the snow event next week, Shimon anticipates it being wet and heavy snow with it eventually impacting roads and sidewalks. If you must travel, be aware of the conditions on your route, slow down, and give yourself time to and from your destination. 

DeWitt County Board Chair Reflects on 2023

It was another eventful year in DeWitt County in 2023.


DeWitt County Board Chair Dan Matthews recently ran down some of the highlights of the previous year - including improvements made to the County building thanks to COVID dollars. Additionally, those dollars have helped numerous groups in DeWitt County



Another hot topic from the previous year was the Clinton Lake Marina and the County Board moved quickly to begin the sale of it. Matthews hopes to see that issue settled in the first of the year and stresses any proposal accepted will keep the marina open to the public permanently.



Also coming up in the fall of 2024 will be more County Board elections. 

Challenges for Rural Domestic Violence Victims

When it comes to treatment and care for a variety of issues in rural America, access is one of the greatest challenges and a domestic violence advocate is highlighting the challenges for victims.


Andrea Kocher is the Director of Services at Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County and indicates it isn't unique to domestic violence victims but she hopes their victims don't get lost in the shuffle of the conversation.



When it comes to access, specifically in Piatt County, Kocher says Piatt County is unique in that Willow Tree Missions is the only on-call provider for domestic violence and Kocher is alone in her ability to help and respond to victims.



Anonymity is extremely important for victims of domestic violence and Kocher explains that the issue alone has many, many challenges.



According to Kocher, domestic violence victims more often than not need more services than those offered by an agency like Willow Tree Missions. And for victims in rural areas, access to those services, again, becomes a challenge.



Finally, Kocher indicates an individual's relationship with a local law enforcement official in a small, rural community can often come into play. She explains this can be in the form of a personal relationship or their relationship in previous encounters.



Kocher indicates those are just a few of a long list of challenges facing a victim of domestic violence in a rural community. If you want to get a hold of Willow Tree Missions to learn more about its services or find help, visit WillowTreeMissions.org or call 217-762-2350. 

DeWitt County Development Council Director: 2024 The Year People Will Take Notice

The executive director of a DeWitt County non-profit aimed at boosting the local community is excited about the year ahead with a bold proclamation.


Curt Homann is the Executive Director of the DeWitt County Development Council and indicates his excitement for the year ahead because of the work they have been doing in the last few years.



Homann calls 2024 a year people will take notice.



The City of Clinton and the City of Farmer City have some things happening that Homann indicates will mean development and whether or not the DCDC had a hand in those things, any development is worthy of highlighting.



We'll have more with Homann in the weeks ahead as a record year of grant funding for the community is already underway. 


Follow the DeWitt County Development Council on Facebook to keep up with the latest for an anticipated busy year ahead. 

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Gaining More Attention Among Ag Groups

The subject of sustainable aviation fuel getting attention at this month’s American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention. Kevin Semlow serves as Illinois Farm Bureau Executive Director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities.



The American Farm Bureau Annual Meeting is January 19-24 in Salt Lake City.

University of Illinois Extension Promoting Upcoming Webinars

The winter meeting season is in full swing for those in the world of ag and the University of Illinois Extension is hoping you'll keep several programs coming up on the radar.


Terri Miller-Casey is the Extension Director at the Extension office in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties. She is highlighting a program coming up in a week on the spotted lantern fly.



On January 30 at the Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield, there will be a certified crop manager training and Miller-Casey indicates this is for those with more than 300 animals and she says there is going to be a lot of good information.



Looking ahead to February, there will be a crop management conference in Champaign and Miller-Casey points out there will be a wide variety of experts presenting really good information.



One of the most popular programs of the off-season for producers is the Dudley Smith Farm winter meeting and that comes up again on Feb 16 in Christian County outside Taylorville.



On Feb. 8 there is a webinar about strategy to reduce nutrient pollution and protect waterways at 1 pm and then on March 14, there is a webinar on eliminating light pollution. 


Miller-Casey reminds if you cannot make some of these webinars or attend them in person, many are archived at the Extension website, extension.illinois.edu. 

Warner Library Welcomes Pet Bearded Dragon

The Warner Library starts the new year with a new addition to the children's floor.


On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, children's librarian Mel Snow told Regional Radio the library has adopted a pet bearded dragon and they could not be more excited to have a pet again in the library.



While a bearded dragon might be a bit out of the norm for a library pet, Snow indicates bearded dragons are very similar to domestic animals like dogs or cats in that they bond with their owners, learn their names, and are very responsive.



According to Snow, the bearded dragon is going to spend its first month at the library without a name. She explains they have open voting to name the bearded dragon and that concludes at the end of the month.



Snow says the bearded dragon is a fascinating animal in that she enjoys toys and is very responsive to them and changes in her environment.



The bearded dragon will also be somewhat of a mascot for this year's summer reading club where Snow explains they will be promoting a lot of conservation and things like that. 


Find the Warner Library on Facebook or Instagram for pictures of the bearded dragon and updates on all things Warner Library. 


Images courtesy of the Warner Library




Will Social Security Be There For You When You Retire?

Will Social Security be there for you when you retire?


It's a topic that interests most Americans and there are many myths out there. Jack Myers with Social Security indicates the short answer is yes but many times when people think about Social Security, they think about their future retirement benefits.



Myers continues to encourage young workers to look at their mySocialSecurity accounts to see what they and their family members could potentially qualify for if something happened to them. Personalized information is available in monthly benefit estimates and is a great financial planning tool that is unique to you.  



To find the podcast Myers discussed, visit www.ssa.gov/news.

Or just got to SSA.gov and look for the “Communications Corner” then Audio Series.

Is Illinois in the New Tornado Alley?

Is Illinois in the new tornado alley? That’s a question University of Illinois Extension State Master Naturalist and Climate Change Specialist Duane Friend is evaluating.



Friend is featured in a U-of-I Extension webinar this week discussing the subject.

Light DeWitt County Board Meeting Wraps Up 2023

The DeWitt County Board wrapped up its 2023 meeting schedule with its final meeting of the year right before Christmas.


It was highlighted by the approval of a 40-acre solar project - a trend Board Chair Dan Matthews anticipates continuing going into 2024.



According to Matthews, projects like the solar project in the northeast part of the County are sometimes tough because the landscape of renewable energy can change quickly whether that be because of state or federal regulation changes or because companies come ready to develop and then something happens and they have to pull back.



For Matthews, good partners in the renewable energy landscape are important for areas like DeWitt County and the small, close-knit communities that comprise it. However, he has been disappointed in the lack of a good partner that Enel has had in the last few years with its Alta Farms Wind Project being complete and online in the last year. 



Issues like the ones with Enel consume a lot of the Board's time. Matthews points to the previous board's decision on the wind farm and not giving the County much in the way of authority to move issues along as they come up. 



Matthews indicates the County has not had any official discussions regarding any further wind development in DeWitt County but he notes you always hear rumors or rumblings of something that could be on the horizon. 

Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage

Medicare Advantage open enrollment has begun.


Kim Castillo with Community Care Systems explains Medicare Advantage is much like the Medicare Part B open enrollment period that just wrapped up in that the plans change yearly so it is a good idea to get in and review those plans.



Castillo indicates the changes every year to Medicare Advantage can be difficult because one year a senior's doctor may be covered under a plan but then not the next.



Castillo adds Medicare Advantage open enrollment is not nearly as busy as the Part B open enrollment - so there is plenty of opportunity to catch her throughout DeWitt County in the next several weeks to review your coverage.



To get a hold of Castillo to schedule an appointment or ask any questions you may have, you can reach her at 217-518-8010. Castillo notes she can also help with numerous other senior assistance programs. 

Significant Snow Possible Next Week

Bracing for a significant snow event in January? There’s a chance.



Meteorologist Paul Otto is with Freese-Notis Weather.

St. Louis District Dairy Council Reflects on 2023

The St. Louis District Dairy Council is reflecting on the last year and a program that was really a big hit and has a lot of momentum going into 2024.


Monica Nyman with the STL Dairy Council indicates the fiscal year has wrapped up for the organization which means they put a bow on the previous year and start planning for the year ahead.



The mobile dairy classroom with their dairy cow Louise was a huge hit this past year. Nyman indicates she was set up at the State Fair this summer and made visits to classrooms and youth programs across the state.



For the STL Dairy Council, most of its programs just roll over to the next year with some minor changes. Nyman explains they always get excited for National Dairy Month and National Nutrition Month and a few other initiatives.



stldairycouncil.org is the central spot for all information about the Council's programs and events and opportunities for groups, organizations, or schools. You can also follow the St. Louis District Dairy Council on Facebook or Instagram. 

Gauging New Market Year

Moving into a new market year. Sherman Newlin is with Risk Management Commodities. What is he hearing from farmers?



Newlin also farms in Hutsonville in Eastern Illinois. He expects both corn and wheat acres to be down in 2024.


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