Local News

Severe Storms Bring Hail to Regional Radio Listening Area Sunday Night


Severe storms Sunday night brought a trail of hail across the Regional Radio listening area.


The National Weather Service in Springfield received numerous reports of hail coming down in Logan, Macon, and Moultrie Counties between 6:30 and 8:30.

Hail as large as one-and-a-quarter inch in diameter fell across Logan County, then in Macon County the hail measured as large as 2-and-a-half-inches in the Forsyth-Decatur area.   Hail was still one-and-three-quarter inches in size by the time the storms reached extreme northern Moultrie County.


Damage reports received by the Weather Service indicated thunderstorm wind damage in Middletown in Logan County at 6:54 Sunday night.


The storms continued pounding east central Illinois the rest of last night.

City of Clinton in Early Stages of Facility Analysis, Starting Parks Department

The City of Clinton is in the early stages of doing an analysis of its facility and what the future holds for Clinton City Hall.


City Administrator Taylor Baxter explains the Clinton City Council has had to hold its last few meetings in the bay of the Fire Department due to an elevator malfunction that is an ongoing issue.



In addition to evaluating the City facilities, Baxter notes they are in the early stages of exploring a parks department. He was in the parks and recreation department in Pontiac and notes doing something like that in Clinton would have to be almost a grassroots effort.



Baxter explains it is quite a process to get that effort going and to eventually get it on a ballot as a referendum item.


Many years ago the City of Clinton sent a referendum to the ballot to start a parks and recreation department but it failed. 


The Clinton City Council meets again on Tuesday night. 


Clinton Chamber of Commerce Hosts Annual Business Expo

The 2024 Clinton Chamber of Commerce annual Business Expo could not have dialed up a better weather forecast the community was there ready for the annual showcase right at 4 pm.


Executive Director Janice Peterson feels the early crowds were encouraging but admits things slowed down quickly as the show drew to a close.



Ed Cicenas is the Chamber Board President and owns EMC Photography in Clinton. He calls the annual expo a connection to the community. He feels it gives the business community a chance to showcase itself.



The Chamber now turns its attention to the May Days Festival at the end of May.


Visit clintonilchamber.com or find the Chamber of Commerce on Facebook. 






Neighborhood Care Center Readies for First Major Fundraiser

A DeWitt and McLean County non-profit is gearing up for its first big fundraiser as an organization.


The Neighborhood Care Center is hosting what it is calling the 'Inspire Gala' next month and Communications Director for the Neighborhood Care Center, Mandi Ries says this is going to be something new for their organization.



According to Ries, the event is in Heyworth on Friday, April 19. There will be entertainment from dueling pianos. 



A desert dash will be a fun but entertaining way for everyone in attendance to support the Neighborhood Care Center. Ries feels this will be a unique experience for some that come out.



Network Director Cody Monkman told Ries when they started planning the event to make it a memorable event. However, while he hopes it is something people come out enjoy, the goal is to obviously raise money but also celebrate the things the Neighborhood Care Center is doing.



The organization hopes to raise $20,000 and Monkman points out the Neighborhood Care Center hasn't been immune to the rising costs of the last few years. He points out while they have small buildings in Clinton and Heyworth, those small buildings need upkeep.



The event is again Friday, April 19 at the Hesed House Venue in Heyworth. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at neighborhoodcarecenter.net. 

University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator Highlights Food Waste Prevention

Next week is 'Food Waste Prevention Week' and a University of Illinois Extension Nutrition Educator has some tips for us in hopes of reducing food waste in our homes.


On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Caitlin Mellendorf, Nutrition Educator Caitlin Mellendorf says preventing food waste can be simple and every household can do something to prevent it.



According to Mellendor, each food has its own shelf-life. The Extension website has lots of recommendations and Mellendorf has her techniques for preserving foods in her home.



In addition to food preservation, there are things that you can do to better store foods and even re-grow food. We'll have more on that next week during food waste prevention week on Regional Radio. 

IDOT Address Bridge Integrity

In the aftermath of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore this week, a spokesman from the Illinois Department of Transportation says they work hard to ensure Illinois’ bridges and roadways are as safe as they can be.



IDOT's Paul Wappel says the agency has overseen the improvement of more than 530 bridges statewide over the past four years.

Congressman LaHood Addresses Government Funding Vote

An Illinois Congressman wants his constituents to know why he voted against a new government funding package.


Republican Congressman Darin LaHood is for the spending towards the border crisis. However, he believes it's important to send a message to other lawmakers about checks and balances.



In the new trillion-dollar spending bill, Head Start programs received a billion-dollar increase, and cancer research received one hundred twenty million dollars.


The new spending plan extends government funding until October.

Clinton Board of Education Approves Federal Grant Application

Last week at the Clinton Board of Education meeting, the Board approved the district's federal grant applications.


Superintendent Curt Nettles explains the district applies for several grants and they have to consolidate those into a single application and that was the action they took last week.



According to Nettles, those grant applications are very important to the district. They fund numerous programs to the tune of roughly $ 1 million.



While the district will get the grants, Nettles points out they do have to fill out all the paperwork that comes with them.



Also at last week's Board of Education meeting, the district approved the purchase of a white activity school bus. We'll have more on that purchase coming up on Regional Radio. 

Reunification Drill In Piatt County Wednesday

Several central Illinois entities will be participating in a multi-agency reunification drill on Wednesday in Piatt County.


It's part of an effort led by Bement Schools and on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Monticello Police Chief Rob Bross told Regional Radio this isn't necessarily geared toward responses to school violence, it could be any type of emergency that requires organized reunification of students and families.



According to the Chief, over the past year this process took many meetings and getting all the parties at a table to hash things out. Now it is time to practice the plans they have come up with.



Chief Bross indicates if you are in the Monticello area on Wednesday, you'll likely notice a few street closures and a few extra first responder vehicles. He notes this will be a part of this drill they are conducting, in hopes of having it wrapped up by late morning.



Chief Bross anticipates finding things as they go that will need improvement or more clarification but believes they have a good plan in place and looks forward to doing a practice execution of it on Wednesday. 

Illinois Manufacturers Assocation Promoting Makers Madness

It’s March Madness for everyone, including the Illinois Manufacturers Association.


Their Makers Madness is underway and headed to Elite 8. It’s a competition to find the coolest thing made in Illinois. IMA President and CEO Mark Denzler says they started with 250 unique products and even he gets awed at the “cool” things that are made right here in Illinois.



Elite 8 voting is now open at makers madness i-l dot com.

Mushroom Hunting Season Right Around the Corner

The mushroom hunting season will soon be in full swing as those spring temperatures start to warm things up and make mushroom growing conditions ideal.


Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Capt. John Williamson reminds that there is often an overlap between the turkey hunting season and the mushroom hunting season. At Clinton Lake, they have specific rules for those who will be out for both.



Capt. Williamson anticipates the mushroom hunting season coming a little sooner this year with the warmer spring we've experienced but he notes it is all about the conditions being right for the mushrooms to grow.



Turkey hunting season opens on April 16 statewide. Capt. Williamson points those wanting more information on mushroom hunting or turkey hunting in aIllinois to visit dnr.illinois.gov for more. 

BBB Warns of Wedding Scams

For those looking to tie the knot in 2024, the Better Business Bureau advises newly engaged couples to research vendors.


Don O'Brien from the B-B-B has some tips before saying 'I do' to the contract line.



According to the B-B-B, most wedding-related scams deal with vendor delays or a failure to deliver quality products on time. Last year, more than 66 hundred people were scammed out of wedding-related business scams.


A list of trusted wedding-venue businesses can be found on B-B-B dot-org.

Earthquake Disaster Drill Coming This Summer

A disaster exercise is coming up this summer, and the City of Grafton will play a role. 


The Missouri National Guard Mobile River Bridge Company will be in the river town just north of St. Louis between July 15 -17 as part of a mock New Madrid Fault earthquake response exercise. Grafton Mayor Mike Morrow explains the scenario.



He says the company will use float bridge, ribbon bridge trucks, and Chinook helicopters as part of the exercise. The ferry landings on both sides of the river will be used, and Morrow says this will be a fairly big exercise over the three days.

Illinois Department of Corrections Partnering with Northern Illinois Community Workforce Progam

The City of Kewanee in Henry County is leading the way in a partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections. Via an agreement between the City and IDOC, inmates at the Life Skills Re-Entry Center in Kewanee are given jobs with the City, in a public works capacity, cleaning cemeteries, picking up trash and so on. These are paid positions and the inmates will have the money waiting for them once they are released says Kewanee Mayor Gary Moore...



The Mayor says the program has proven so successful that other cities are considering a similar IDOC partnership for Life Skills Re-Entry Center inmates.

Chamber of Commerce Business Expo is Thursday

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce annual business expo is this Thursday at Clinton High School.


Executive Director Janice Peterson says this year's Chamber Business expo will have returning demonstrations and the Easter Bunny will be at this year's expo. She says the goal of the expo is to get businesses and non-profits in front of the community.



This year, the expo will conclude 30 minutes earlier than in years past. Peterson says this is a response to their exhibitors who told them the crowds diminish a lot after about 6:30 pm.



The Business Expo is from 4 to 6:30 on Thursday evening at Clinton High School.


Hear live coverage from the Business Expo this Thursday from 3 to 5 in the evening on WHOW and all its digital platforms then updates from the Expo on 95.9 FM WEZC from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. 

University of Illinois Extension Offering Financial Instruction Courses Starting Next Week

The University of Illinois will begin a couple of separate financial education courses next week.


Director of the U of I Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties Terri Miller- Casey indicates the first series begins on April 3 and this course will focus on student loans and managing those loans.



Another course comes up on May 1 and Miller-Casey points out this course will highlight unhealthy and bad habits around our finances.



And then finally, April 10 will be a course on financial credit and the pros and cons of it. Miller-Casey explains that is the kickoff an entirely separate but equally as informative series on money.



Extension.illinois.edu will have these two courses and many others for you to participate in. Miller-Casey reminds many offerings like these are documented and posted to the Extension website so you can revisit them if you missed out when they were offered.

April Showing Warm, Wet Trend

If we can make it through this week of up and down temperatures and only one or two pleasant days, April could be much more pleasant.


Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the outlooks are trending for a warm and wet month.



An above-normal precipitation signal can be somewhat misleading. Shimon explains in April you start to see an uptick in severe weather and so you may get an inch or more of rain from one system that rolls through.



The above-normal temperature trend will continue through the summer months. We'll hear more on that later this week on Regional Radio. 

Illinois Farm Bureau Promoting Docuseries

A three-part Illinois Farm Bureau docuseries highlights the diversity of agriculture in the state. It’s called Fields Apart: Rooted Together. IFB Senior Video Producer Scott Anderson involved in the project.



You can find all three episodes at ilfb.org.

More on Clinton's Water Tower Project

The City of Clinton plans to build a new water tower in the next year and plans are moving along a little quicker than anticipated.


City Administrator Taylor Baxter indicates the City will be utilizing EPA loans to help pay for two projects - one at the City's water plant and the other for the new water tower site. Additionally, they plan to use just short of a million dollars to pay for the water plant work.



According to Baxter, there are a couple of different locations the City could turn to for the site of the new water tower. He explains they are currently working through where would be the best location for it.



Last week on Regional Radio, Baxter indicated to Regional Radio the architects of the project recommended separating the projects which they felt would give them access to more loan forgiveness opportunities. 


He indicates they need to keep in mind timing on the EPA side of the project so they can access those dollars which is moving the project along at a good pace to this point. 

Stalking Increasing in Cases of Domestic Violence

A couple of weeks ago on Regional Radio, we highlighted the increasing occurrences of stalking in domestic abuse situations. 


Andrea Kocher is the Executive Director of Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County and explains stalking can have short and long-term impacts on the victim. She notes short-term behavior changes include isolating themselves so friends and family do not get stalked or changing jobs and routes they take every day.



According to Kocher, roughly 13 million individuals are victims of stalking and roughly one in three women are victims of a stalker. She indicates you're most likely to be stalked between the ages of 18 and 24.



Kocher is not only seeing an increase in cases of stalking lately but she is also noticing victims downplaying the situation. She hopes to raise awareness that these behaviors are not normal nor acceptable.



Stalking and harassment can sometimes be hard to differentiate but Kocher says stalking has four telltale signs that cross over from harassment to stalking.



Kocher hopes if you suspect you may be a victim of a stalker, contact Willow Tree Missions to receive help and talk through your situation. You can find out more about Willow Tree Missions by finding them on Facebook or visit willowtreemissions.org. 

Women's History Month and Social Security

March is Women's History Month and Social Security says there are some things women specifically should consider when it comes to their benefits.


One of the biggest financial fears people face in retirement is running out of money. Jack Myers at Social Security says due to longer life expectancies than men, women are at greater risk of this. 



Good retirement planning is important for everyone, but arguably even more important for women. Myers indicates the longer average life expectancy for women increases their likelihood of exhausting other sources of retirement income, making the inflation-protected Social Security benefit even more important.



We also have great publications called “What Every Woman Should Know” and “Survivors Benefits”.  You can find them at www.ssa.gov/pubs.



Myers reminds it is never too early to start your retirement planning. He stresses Social Security was never meant to be your sole source of income in your retirement years so you must consider setting money aside and saving for retirement independent of Social Security. 

Miss Illinois County Fair Queen Enjoying Tmie With Crown

The reigning Miss Illinois County Fair Queen enjoying her time with the crown. Natalie Evans from Morgan County tells RFD Radio that it’s not just about promoting the state fair, but also remembering the roots of the local county fairs.



Evans is a student at Murray State.

Gov. Pritzker Discusses Sustainable Aviation Fuel at Conference

At a first-of-its-kind conference in Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker recently welcomed leaders in the world of sustainable aviation fuel to the Chicago suburbs.


Pritzker says S-A-F has a bright future right here in Illinois.



The conference featured Illinois manufacturers, the Illinois Corn Growers, and leaders from the nation’s oil companies and the aviation industry.

Warner Library 'Weeding' Collection Ahead of Spring Book Sale

The Warner Library is weeding its collection ahead of this spring's Friends of the Warner Library bi-annual book sale.


Executive Director Bobbi Perryman explains this is something they do to their collection to keep from having too much inventory. While it can sometimes come under scrutiny, she believes it is a good thing for the library and the community.



The Friends of the Warner Library's book sale comes up next month so be on the lookout for specific dates by finding them at vwarner.org/friends-of-the-library.

Clinton Community Education Foundation to Bring Back 'Derby Day' Fundraiser

A signature event of a Clinton non-profit is returning this year.


The Clinton Community Education Foundation has announced it is bringing back its 'Derby Day Fundraiser - a fundraiser surrounding the happenings of the Kentucky Derby. CCEF Secretary Chris Shaffer explains they did not host the event last year but are prepared to make it happen. 


For tickets visit ccef15.org. The Kentucky Derby runs May 4. 

Clinton City Council Hears Latest on Water Tower Project

The Clinton City Council heard Tuesday night from engineers who are heading up the new water tower project.


On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, Clinton City Administrator Taylor Baxter told Regional Radio the details of this project are starting to come together rather quickly with a potential 2025 target date.



According to Baxter, the Council has been pondering breaking the project into two separate projects or making it one big project. He indicates they got some clarity on how to proceed forward on Tuesday.



Baxter adds the water plant project will likely be covered by just short of a million dollars from ARPA money from COVID. He points out - these improvements are not only necessary but if they don't make them and use the ARPA dollars, it won't matter how new or great the new tower is. 



Up next in the process is getting updated pricing for the project and then approaching the Illinois Environment Protection Agency, EPA, for funding. Baxter points out while the initial timeframe was likely the project getting underway in 2026, things are moving forward quickly enough that it could be 2025. 

Clinton Board of Education Hears About Staff Recognitions

Several staff within Clinton Schools will be recognized coming up this spring both regionally and at a state level.


At the Tuesday night Clinton Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Curt Nettles highlighted those individuals, including their food services director who he describes as a hard worker who leads by example and was recognized by the Regional Office of Education.



On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday Nettles told Regional Radio there will be several staffers that will be recognized by the State Board of Education at its annual conference next month, including the district's early elementary and junior high school principals.



Nettles credits first-year principal Jessica Patrick and the preparations she took to be prepared for that role this year. 

University of Illinois Extension Hosting Saturday Gardening Seminars in Lincoln

The University of Illinois Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties is offering gardeners a chance to get some great information with a morning gardening seminar in Lincoln.


Terri Miller-Casey is the Extension Director for the U of I Extension in Logan, Menard, and Sangamon Counties and indicates this Saturday morning they have some great presenters coming to Lincoln to offer some great gardening information.


Other topics include master gardeners and a horticulture educator speaking. Miller-Casey indicates between sessions will be one-on-one conversations.



According to Miller-Casey, you can register for the event in advance or at the door. For those who register ahead of time, the price is reduced.



For registration information or more on Saturday's seminars, visit extension.illinois.edu/lms. 

GasBuddy Analyzes Gas Prices Headed to Memorial Day

For those gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, prices at the pump could come down.


Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, reports that's because more refineries come online after summer maintenance.



According to DeHaan, prices at the pump in Illinois stand at three dollars 68 cents a gallon.


The average price in the U.S. is about three dollars 44 cents a gallon.


Over the past year, prices at the pump are up seven cents a gallon.

Farmers Asked to Participate in Nutrient Management Practices Survey

The University of Illinois in partnership with Illinois Farm Bureau launching a survey to better understand farmer decisions about nutrient management practices. Dr. Andrew Margenot is an associate professor with the U of I.



The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. You can find it at ilfb.org/PandKSurvey.

Clinton Police Chief Watching Legislation in Springfield

More legislation in Springfield could impact Illinois law enforcement.


Clinton Chief of Police Ben Lowers says one piece of legislation that - for now - is not being pursued is limiting law enforcement in what violations they stop vehicles on the road. 



While on the back burner for now, Chief Lowers says any law like this in the future would prevent preventative action from being taken by law enforcement that would potentially allow criminals on the streets to be taken into custody.



Quotas is renewing its conversation in Springfield and Chief Lowers points out quotas were banned several years ago and he notes it has never been a practice in Clinton under his administration.



Chief Lowers says that law is like many others and takes away power from police departments and agencies to effectively do their jobs. 

Local Mental Health Professional Reflects on Four Years Since COVID Lockdowns

As we hit the four-year mark of the lockdowns from COVID, a local mental health professional is doing a stop, look, and listen on the impacts of those decisions four years ago.


On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Tony Kirkman - Executive Director of the Piatt County Mental Health Center - told Regional Radio he is watching where young adults are at right now because of all the impactful milestones they were not able to experience.



Right now, data tells us those young adults are suffering from higher rates of depression and anxiety and Kirkman also points out, they are becoming less and less social.



According to Kirkman, young kids were greatly impacted by the pandemic and the traditional developmental milestones they hit as they grow up. He explains those kids in late elementary and junior high school experienced new environments largely skipping over important lessons they should have learned when they were younger.



Social-emotional learning has become a prominent subject in junior high and high school. Kirkman hopes this helps break the stigma of young people processing their emotions - particularly for young boys.



Kirkman and the folks at the Piatt County Mental Health Center are currently in the school systems in Piatt and DeWitt Counties administering the bi-ennial Illinois Youth Survey and Kirkman will be closely watching the results of that survey. 


We'll have more on that with Kirkman on Regional Radio. 

Deering Wins Over Erickson

Regan Deering has been elected as State Representative for Illinois' 88th House District.


The Mt. Zion republican beat out Chuck Erickson of McLean County. 


In a statement Tuesday, Deering says she's really grateful for a win in the primary. She described herself as 'really humbled' by the trust of the 1000s of voters that she met and talked with throughout the 88th district.


Deering is currently on the Mt. Zion school board and touted her record standing up to Gov. JB Pritzker for the COVID mandates on schools during the pandemic. 


Former state Sen. Darren Bailey conceded to U.S. Rep. Mike Bost in a competitive Republican primary in southern Illinois, according to Bailey’s campaign.

Over 30 Ag Teaching Vacancies in Illinois

An update on Illinois ag teaching vacancies as we look ahead to next school year. There are 37 right now says Casey Bolin—District 5 Program Adviser for Facilitating Coordination in Ag Education.



More information at ilaged.org.

Illinois Challenged in Attracting New Doctors

Wallethub is out with a new study that ranks the state of Illinois 9th worst in the country when it comes to attracting new doctors. 


The study compared salaries as well as policies related to malpractice insurance and the competitiveness among specialties to determine the state rankings. Cassie Happie is an analyst on the study and says that there are some positives for the state, despite the low ranking...



Montana ranked number one in the study with metrics like salary and how much hospitals are competing for the best available doctors, determining their number one overall rank.

Farmer City Planning for Summer at City Pool

The warm summer days will soon be upon and planning is underway in a DeWitt County community for its city pool.


Farmer City Administrator Sue McLaughlin already has the summer on her mind as she makes preparations for the summer at the community pool. Top of mind right now is getting lifeguards to staff the pool for the summer.



Two summers ago, the Farmer City pool never opened because they struggled to find lifeguards to staff the facility consistently. McLaughlin says they learned to begin that process earlier and it helped last year and indicates this year has been even better.



McLaughlin points out, the pool usually opens Memorial Day Weekend and then they try to make it to Labor Day but she says with most of their lifeguards being college students, they find staffing difficult once kids head to college for the fall.



cityoffarmercity.org has applications for lifeguards this summer. McLaughlin reminds they plan to do training during spring break for Blue Ridge and Clinton Schools March 25-29. 

Monticello Schools Looking at Restructuring Middle School Scheduling

The Monticello Board of Education will hear this week about what district staff have come up with to restructure its middle school schedule.


On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Superintendent Adam Clapp told Regional Radio the district a small group of staff looked into what other districts in the area do for middle school schedules in hopes of coming up with ideas to do things better in Monticello.



According to Clapp, one of the target areas is to offer ag in the middle school. He indicates this week, his Board of Education will hear from the committee that took this on.



One of the issues the school encounters is students having to choose electives and programs to participate in because of the limited schedule. Clapp explains the goal is to open up more opportunities so students do not have to make those difficult choices going forward.



Clapp indicates any decisions made by the Board of Education would not be implemented until the 2025-26 school year but is very thankful for the work done by the individuals in the district and looks forward to what they have to present later this week. 

March is Kidney Disease Awareness Month

March is Kidney Disease Awareness Month. More than 1.4 Million Illinois residents have some form of Kidney Disease. It could be related to Diabetes or stress-related issues. Regardless, your diet is an important aspect in treating kidney ailments. Sara Umphleet is an award-winning dietitian for OSF Healthcare...



Making sure you stay on top of your screenings, blood tests, and general labs is the best way to stay conscious of your kidney health while consulting a dietitian can help you find the right diet to manage your kidney health effectively either before or after a diagnosis with Kidney Disease.

DeWitt County Museum Recognizing Impact of Women on CH Moore Homestead

The DeWitt County Museum is promoting women who have had an impact on the CH Moore Homestead during this Women's History Month.


Joey Long says the conversation starts with Minerva Moore-Bishop, CH's sister, who was the first to reside in the home. Long indicates CH Moore actually lived outside of Clinton before moving into the mansion on Clinton's north side.



According to Long, the second woman to live in the house was CH Moore's second wife. Long explains upon the passing of CH Moore's sister, Minerva, CH bought the property and then moved in.



CH Moore's son's widow also lived with Rose after CH's passing. According to Long, finding information on Nellie, Moore's son's widow, was limited. While she did not have children when she was married, but several years later married an old friend who had five children. 



Long points out, when the Museum re-opens in April, the story of these three women and a few others can be told by taking a tour of the Museum.


For re-opening dates, museum hours, and admission prices of the Museum, visit chmoorehomestead.org or find them on Facebook. 

Spring Trout Season Coming Up

The spring trout season is right around the corner.


April 6 opens the annual spring trout season and DNR Conservation Police Capt. John Williamson encourages fishermen to get a jump on things and get that fishing license renewed and that trout stamp.



According to Capt. Williamson, Weldon Springs has a spring trout season and a fall trout season. He indicates other than the middle of the summer, trout fishing is generally good at the Springs.



Trout season opens April 6 and those fishing licenses come up for renewal on April 1. Visit dnr.illinois.gov for more information on the closest trout fishing site near you. 

Social Security Addressing Misleading Advertising, Communications

Just a few weeks ago was 'Slam the Scam Day' and Social Security was heavily promoting imposter scams - those impersonating a Social Security representative.


A similar, nefarious effort is often made to impersonate someone from Social Security to help you with services that are otherwise free. Jack Myers with Social Security says those types of efforts can come with penalties of the individual, or individuals, are apprehended.



Myers explains Social Security may impose a penalty against anyone who is charging a fee for a service that Social Security provides free of charge without providing clearly visible notice that Social Security provides the service for free. 



If you receive misleading or suspicious Social Security-related advertisement or communication, please let the Office of the Inspector General know at oig.ssa.gov or send an e-mail to OIG.1140@ssa.gov.



It helps if you can gather as much info as possible like a a screenshot of the page, the website address or social media link- and how you came across it. For e-mails and text messages, please capture the entire message and any message links.


For telephone solicitations, please note caller ID number (may or may not be spoofed) and any company name or call back number that the caller or recorded message provides. 


To learn more, check out the publication called 'What You Need To Know About Misleading Advertising' available at www.ssa.gov/pubs.

Illinois FFA President Wants to See Ag Education Line Item Increased

Illinois FFA President Thaddeus Bergschneider making the most of his Illinois Ag Legislative Day experience. He wants to see the ag education line item increased. He spoke with the RFD Radio Network about the issue.



Bergschneider will finish up his term in June. Illinois Ag Legislative Day was held last week in Springfield.

Warner Library Welcomes New Video, TV Streaming Offering

If you're a library card holder at the Warner Library in Clinton and enjoy movies and TV shows, a new service they have is something you are going to want to check out.


Bobbi Perryman is the Executive Director of the Warner Library in Clinton and says the new service is called 'Kanopy' which is a video and TV show streaming library.



According to Perryman, you will need a current library card with a pin set up. You can contact the library to update those, otherwise, the app is available on most formats, and again, you receive a certain number of streams per month. 


Visit vwarner.org or more information or call the library at 217-935-5174. The library is at 310 North Quincy Street in Clinton behind the DeWitt County building.  

Clinton Police Reporting Positive Staffing News

Staffing at the Clinton Police Department is improving.


Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers is excited to report they have three new hires they are bringing on and starting the training process for.



The Clinton Police Department - like other agencies - has to heavily compete to not only attract but retain police officers as a nationwide police officer shortage has impacted agencies large and small. 

Lincoln Mayor Reacts to Announcement From State for Corrections Facilities Improvements

The State of Illinois announced Friday morning plans to rebuild its two corrections facilities in Lincoln, Illinois but local officials are uncertain about the future of one of them.


On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Lincoln Mayor Tracy Welch told Regional Radio the Governor's announcement leaves some questions regarding whether one of the facilities will be rebuilt in Logan County or elsewhere.



According to the Lincoln Mayor, the Logan Correctional Facility employs over 400 people and it is a huge piece of the economic footprint of the City of Lincoln.



In the Governor's press release Friday morning, the Governor notes the funding is included in the capital proposal the governor presented to the General Assembly as part of his FY25 budget proposal.


Rebuilding Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln and Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill addresses critical infrastructure needs at both facilities.


The plan estimates construction costs will total between $805 to $935 million. Governor Pritzker's proposed FY25 capital budget included $900 million in new funds to demolish and rebuild these facilities. 

Clinton Police Add Body Cameras

Clinton Police Officers will patrol with body cameras moving forward.


On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers told Regional Radio his officers started wearing the cameras about three weeks ago. He explains it took about a year to get the cameras in their possession and reminds - it is a response to the Safe-T legislation in Illinois.



Some law enforcement officials - Chief Lowers included - early on scoffed at the idea of body cameras on officers, however, body cameras to the surprise of many, have become a tool that in a lot of cases exonerates police in the actions they take in most cases.



While he was resistant to the idea of body cameras but then discovering their benefits, Chief Lowers believes it is still a shame there is the necessity for these devices and the deterioration of the trust in an officer's word in the court of law.



According to Chief Lowers, the effort to get body cams on its officers was quite the undertaking because they were simultaneously working on upgrading the dash cams on their vehicles.



While some critics of body cameras have been silenced, others still will say officers are behaving differently because of the accountability of body cameras. Chief Lowers believes that is not the case at all and feels it re-enforces the consistently good work of law enforcement in our communities. 

Clinton Community Education Foundation Awards Annual Teacher Grants

Teachers across Clinton schools were surprised this week when leadership from a non-profit showed up with grant money for their classrooms.


The Clinton Community Education Foundation recently awarded its annual teacher grants. CCEF Secretary Chris Shaffer says this is an annual effort they do that helps bridge the gap that can enhance school classrooms but may be things the district cannot afford to fund.



Shaffer notes they awarded 15 individual grants across the various Clinton school buildings late last week and early this week.



Shaffer reminds they also sponsor recurring grants - most notably for the Challenger program at Heartland Community College and for 'Read Across Clinton'.



In total, the CCEF awarded 15 individual grants across the various school buildings totaling just over $20,500. 


The CCEF also recently announced it is bringing back its annual Derby Day - Kentucky Derby-themed - fundraiser in May. We'll have more on that next week on Regional Radio. 

Local Domsetic Violence Advocates Say Rates of Stalking Increasing

Stalking is increasingly becoming more common in cases of domestic abuse.


Director of Services for Willow Tree Missions in Piatt County, Andrea Kocher says stalking is always an intentional action directed at a specific person. Oftentimes the victim is fearful for their safety and experiences a great deal of emotional stress.



One might think that stalking is growing in its occurrences thanks to the advent of social media but Kocher says social media is actually only a tool. Stalking is much more of a sinister activity than harassment through social media.



Stalking is not unlike other forms of abuse in that when a victim is sharing its experiences, the stories can often sound unbelievable. Kocher explains a person who has never experienced this before is likely to think the situation is exaggerated. 



A victim of stalking changes a lot both during and after abuse happens through this method. We'll have more on that in the days ahead with Kocher on Regional Radio News. 


To learn more about Willow Tree Missions, visit willowtreemissions.org and find them on Facebook. 

Illinois Farm Bureau Promoting IVET Program

Demand remains strong for large animal vets in Illinois. And the Illinois Farm Bureau continues to promote the IVET program says the organization’s Tasha Bunting.



Information on the program can be found at ilfb.org/IVET.

Looking at Advanced Placement Exam Results in Illinois

The State of Illinois continues to see high achievement in Advanced Placement Exams. 


That is from new numbers released by the Illinois State Board of Education. New data shows Illinois’ Class of 2023 achieved the second largest state 10-year increase in the percentage of graduates scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam. Erica Thieman (Tee-Mon) is the K through 12 Curriculum and Instruction with the Illinois State Board of Education...



The Illinois State Board of Education is seeing so much success in Advanced Placement Exams that the state will soon add more Advanced Placement exam subjects including African American Studies.

Local Fire Departments Celebrate Successful Daytona 500 Fundraiser

The Daytona 500 may have been put off the Monday after the scheduled race date but local residents still came out in force to support local fire departments that Sunday.


The Daytona 500 was rained out until Monday, Feb 19 but the Clinton Eagle's annual fundraiser for area fire departments went off without a hitch. Kerry Coles, or KC, from the Kenney Fire Department, says the day was incredible despite not having a race to watch.



Fritz Robinson is on the Kenney Fire District Board of Trustees and says the funds raised and distributed to their department always help bridge the gap from what the department cannot afford but needs.



According to KC, the fundraiser is a great time and is open to the public at the Eagle's each year. He explains they have everything from reverse raffles, 50/50s, auction items, and food and drinks.



The Clinton, Kenney, and Wapella Fire Departments split the funds raised from the Daytona event each year. Those funds will be distributed in the next few weeks by the folks from the Eagle's. 


The Clinton Eagle's was recently named the Chamber of Commerce's non-profit of the year. 

State Senator Sounding Alarm on 'Dangerous' Legislation Proposal

A central Illinois lawmaker is sounding the alarm on what he describes as dangerous legislation every parent should know about.


State Sen. Chapin Rose says some of the upcoming legislative proposals in Springfield are ridiculous and he calls some ridiculous like a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers. But others are more serious like a ban on trucks built before 2010. 



Sen. Rose says those ideas aren't even the craziest that are coming up this year. He points to a Naperville lawmaker who is proposing having parents removed as legal guardians if they do not approve gender-affirming care for their minor children.



The Mahomet Republican says this proposal should send a chill down the spine of every parent in the State of Illinois. He says there are people now in the Democratic Party in Illinois that believe the government is better suited to parent a child than its parents and calls it 'insane'. 

United Way Teaming Up with Cardinals Legend

St. Louis Cardinals legend Adam Wainwright and United Way of Greater St. Louis are teaming up to increase community service across the nation in towns where Major League Baseball visits. 


Wainwright and his nonprofit organization, Big League Impact, will offer opportunities for players to serve nationwide, providing local people with basic needs such as food, healthcare, education, and more. United Way spokesperson Katie Felts says Wainwright is a very philanthropic person.



United Way’s Volunteer Center connects people to thousands of volunteer opportunities to serve the community every year. This opportunity in particular will give the nonprofits they’re helping more bandwidth to provide better support and resources to the people who look to them for help.

Congressman Sorenson Weighs In On TikTok Issue

House of Representatives passed a bill early Wednesday morning that could ban the social media application TikTok.


The bill received widespread support from both Democrats and Republicans. However, some feel the ban could destroy their businesses. Democratic Congressman Eric Sorensen says the move is not a ban but instead forces Bytedance, the app's owner, to keep data in the United States.



The bill now heads to the Senate, where the future is yet to be determined.


If the Senate passes the bill, it will head to President Biden's desk for approval.

Costello Leads Illinois Ag Legislative Day

Illinois Ag Legislative Day taking center stage in Springfield on Wednesday. Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello plays a key role in the event.



Wednesday marked the 54th Illinois Ag Legislative Day.

BBB Warns of Rental Scams

Those looking for housing in Illinois should think twice about putting down a deposit on an apartment.


The reasoning is that scammers want to take advantage of the housing crunch by creating a false sense of urgency. Don O'Brien with the Better Business Bureau sees this scam far too often.



From there, scammers ask for a downpayment on the home. Once they receive the money through an app like CashApp or Venmo, they stop responding to messages and disappear.

Farmer City Maintenance Shed Nearing Completion

It's been two years in the works and later this spring, the City of Farmer City is hoping to be moved into its new maintenance shed.


On the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, City Manager Sue McLaughlin told Regional Radio the former maintenance shed was destroyed in a fire and they are almost ready to move into the new shed later in April.



According to McLaughlin, not a whole lot will be new about this new shed but she points out, it should be much safer. 



One aspect of the City losing all its equipment in that fire was the fact so many communities around them stepped up to offer up their equipment to Farmer City. McLaughlin says as they restock what was lost, they are very grateful for so many surrounding communities and their generosity.



McLaughlin points city residents to its Facebook page to follow the latest updates on the building's progress and for when they will be able to check it out upon its completion. 

Above Normal Temperature Trend To Last All The Way Into Next Winter

An above-normal temperature trend should take us all the way into next winter.


Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the short-term outlooks show a little bit of a cool down next week, even some snow possible, but overall, the outlooks are solid for an above-normal temperature signal throughout the rest of the spring.



According to Shimon, El Nino is definitely driving some of the above-normal temperature trends. He says this trend is holding strong until next winter.



Despite the short cool down next week and the early part of the final week of March, Shimon anticipates March being warm enough that it ends up above normal for temperatures. 


2024 Nutrient Stewardship Field Days Begin This Month

Illinois Farm Bureau continues to support and promote nutrient stewardship field days throughout the state. The first two in 2024 are set for this month—hosted by the Greene and Calhoun County Farm Bureau and Montgomery County Farm Bureau. IFB started the Nutrient Stewardship Grant Program in 2015 says Environmental Program Manager Raelynn Parmely.



More info at ilfb.org/field days.

Warner Hospital Preparing Fiscal Year 25 Budget

Next month, Warner Hospital will present its FY25 budget to its ownership, the Clinton City Council.


CEO Paul Skowron says this upcoming budget will include a big budget item for more advancements to health records which he indicates was a big talking point among Hospital Board members.



Skowron calls the budget this year the tighest he's had in eight years in Clinton which he indicates shows the magnitude of the project they are taking on with the electronic medical records.



While the hospital is going to have to tighten things up a little bit in the year ahead, Skowron points out they also have to be mindful of things like increasing wages with minimum wage and other factors in their expenses.



According to Skowron, the hospital board is hoping to see more foot traffic at the walk-in clinic. With the transitioning season in Illinois, he anticipates more people coming in for allergies and seasonal illnesses. 

Getting Enough Protein in Our Daily Diets

Protein is a buzzword in the world of health and content creators are rather innovative when it comes to ways to get protein into tasty meals and snacks.


Monica Nyman from the St. Louis District Dairy Council reminds March is National Nutrition Month and the superfood - cottage cheese - has become the theme of many meal plans out there these days.



Cottage cheese is one of those foods that has so much protein per serving but Nyman reminds it also packs a great deal of other micronutrients that are so good for us.



Nyman reminds the dairy case at the grocery store has something for everyone. She points out like milk, cottage cheese has several versions and there is likely something there to fit your dietary needs.



stldairycouncil.org has all those recipes, nutrition tips, educational resources, and much more. Nyman notes this month the Dairy Council is also promoting staying nourished on a budget, seeing a registered dietician, and using a variety of foods from all food groups. 

Five Dead in West-Central Illinois Collision

Three children are among five people killed in a traffic crash involving a school bus near Rushville. 


The bus was from the Schuyler-Industry Schools and the Illinois State Police say all children on the bus, the bus driver and the driver of a semi-truck were killed. ISP Troop 6 Captain Jody Huffman says the accident happened as the bus crossed into on-coming traffic.



The Illinois State Police are conducting the investigation.

Former Illinois Governor Touting Illinois Ethic Initiative

A former Governor and current lawmaker are joining up to press the General Assembly to allow voters to have a say in the state’s ethics laws.


Democrat and one-time Governor Pat Quinn and Republican Rep. Ryan Spain say the Illinois Ethics Initiative would change the state’s constitution to let voters approve ethics laws. Quinn says past indiscretions showcase the need for a change.



The ComEd case convicted a former lawmaker who was working for the utility. Connected to that case will be ex-Speaker of the House Mike Madigan trial that starts in October.

Total Solar Eclipse Can Be Seen in Southern Illinois Next Month

Another total solar eclipse is coming. 


On April 8th the path of totality will again cross over southern Illinois. Daniel Thomas is the Deputy Director of Tourism says plan ahead for any trip to the path of totality. And as you do – why not stay an extra day to avoid the crush of traffic that snarled trips back home in 2017.



For more information about staying in Southern Illinois or things to do surrounding the eclipse, visit enjoy Illinois dot com.

February Was Well Above Average for Temperatures, A Bit Dry

February was warm and dry.


Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates February was very warm - to the tune of nearly eight degrees above normal for temperatures with very little snowfall.



February saw some severe weather in Illinois with a couple of tornadoes in the northern part of the state. It's a reminder, says Shimon, severe weather can strike at any time.



A strong El Nino signal this winter most likely had an impact on the crazy weather of the last several months.



An above-average temperature signal is going to carry us through the spring and straight through the summer. We'll have more on that in a few days with Shimon on Regional Radio. 

Central Illinois Lawmaker Reacts to Gov. Pritzker's Budget Proposal

A central Illinois lawmaker is disappointed in the priorities Gov. JB Pritzker has for his latest budget proposal.


State Sen. Chapin Rose says the state prioritizing illegal immigrants to the tune of a billion dollars and likely cutting funding to social services where the most vulnerable Illinoisans are is disappointing.



The Mahomet Republican says Illinois liberals complain about having funding cut from politicians in Springfield and continue to vote to send them to Springfield to cut their funding.



According to Sen. Rose, it is the moral obligation of society to take care of the people who through no fault of their own, rely on the generosity and compassion of their communities and state to care for them.



Sen. Rose says the Governor is proposing grocery tax relief but the same proposal wants to increase taxes in other areas. The central Illinois Republican did credit Gov. Pritzker for his ideas to break up DCFS and looks forward to passing legislation he started to do something similar. 

More From 'Slam the Scam' Day

Last Thursday was 'Slam the Scam Day' and Social Security took a particularly heavy interest in promoting scams involving Social Security imposters.


According to Jack Myers at Social Security, scammers pretend to be from an agency or organization you know to gain your trust and claim there is a problem or a prize. He reminds Social Security will never threaten you with arrest or legal action because you don’t agree to pay money immediately.



If you owe money to Social Security, they will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal information. Myers adds they also only accept payments electronically through Pay.gov, Online Bill Pay from your bank, or by check or money order. 



Scammers are turning to tactics like offering a badge number impersonating being from an agency or just a badge number absent of identifying with an agency. Myers says Social Security will never do that and will not offer to send proof of their identification of being with Social Security.



If you fall victim to an SSA imposter scam you should report it immediately at www.ssa.gov/scam. Report other scams to www.reportfraud.ftc.gov. 

Illinois State Fair Looking for Vendors

The Illinois State Fair always looking for new vendors. State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark tells RFD Radio it’s an easy process to get signed up.



Again, the website is statefair.illinois.gov.

Getting Ready to Garden This Spring

Many gardeners are getting the itch to get dirty, as the weather has been teasing a start to spring-like weather for weeks. You don’t want to jump the gun yet, but University of Illinois Extension Service SNAP Educator Hannah Gravot (GRAV-it) says there are some vegetables you could start to get in the ground pretty soon.



Around mid-May, you can start to plant your warm-season vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, and then come back to the cool-season plants heading into fall.

Clinton Elementary School Needs New Principal

Clinton Elementary School has a job posting for a new Principal for next year.


Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles confirmed Kelly Morrisson's resignation effective at the end of the year.


Morrisson was hired by the district last summer after the building went through a unique transition, simultaneously in need of two administrators at the end of the school year.


Morrisson's resignation will be on the School Board agenda for approval later this month. 


Nettles could not release any further details noting it is a personnel matter.

Fantastic Weather to Welcome Spring Outdoor Sports Season

Next week should be ideal for the opening of the outdoor spring sports season in central Illinois.


Baseball and softball seasons open up and after a bit of rain and cool weather to start the weekend, things quickly turn around says Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln on the WHOW Morning Show Friday.



The outlook for the remainder of March is trending strongly above normal for temperatures. Shimon points out, there will be a bit of a cool down the week of March 18-22 but it will still be above normal for temperatures.



That above-normal temperature signal remains in the three-month outlook all the way into the winter of next year. We'll hear more from Shimon next week on Regional Radio. 

Clinton Schools Open Pre-K Screening Registration

Registration is underway for Clinton youth to be screened for the preschool program.


Program Coordinator for Clinton Schools Lauren Johnson explains the Clinton preschool program is a state-funded grant. She encourages parents to still have their students screened for preschool even if they have arrangements made for preschool at a private program. Screening dates are Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22. 



Johnson calls the screening process very detailed and explains even if you don't think your child may qualify because of this reason or that reason, it doesn't hurt because they score each student based on a variety of factors.



According to Johnson, if a student has not been through some sort of preschool or pre-k program, it is noticeable once that child gets to the school setting for kindergarten.



Again, screening dates are Thursday, March 21, and Friday, March 22. Get more information by emailing Johnson at ljohnson@cusd15.org. You can also call or text her at 217-650-9382.


Additionally, you can contact Lincoln School at 217-935-6383 or Douglas School at 217-935-2987. 

DeWitt County Circuit Clerk Announces New App

The DeWitt County Circuit Clerk has announced a new app.


Michelle Van Valey says she was able to secure a grant that helped modernize several aspects of her office and the Courthouse.



According to Van Valey, the app is available to users for both Apple and Androids and they were able to secure the grant for nearly $150,000 which covered the entire cost of development plus the additions to the courthouse.


Van Valey says the app is going to allow the public to do a lot of things they would need to do at the courthouse now online. She believes it will not only be a big time saver but also a much more convenient way of conducting business.



Van Valey reminds civil cases are all e-filings. If that is something you cannot do from your home or don't have access to the things you need, there is a computer in the Circuit Clerk's office at the courthouse that is available for those. That change is from 2018.


Van Valey reminds the new app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. 

Thursday Was 'Slam the Scam Day'


Thursday was 'Slam the Scam Day' and Social Security is promoting awareness of imposter scams.


On the WHOW Morning Show Thursday, Jack Myers with Social Security told Regional Radio this is the fifth annual 'Slam the Scam Day' which is a collaboration between Social Security, our Office of the Inspector General, and other government agencies to try and raise public awareness of government imposter scams. 



In 2023 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 228,282 complaints of government imposter scams. Myers notes Social Security was the most frequently impersonated agency and in over 14% of those reports, people said they lost money to a scammer. The total amount of money reported lost to Social Security related scams alone was over $126.5 million. 



Scammers try to take advantage of fears by threatening you with arrest or legal action. Myers adds they may tell you your savings or Social Security benefits are in jeopardy.



If you owe money to Social Security, we’ll mail you a letter with payment options and appeal information. Myers adds Social Security only accepts payments electronically through pay.gov, online bill pay from your bank, or by check or money order.  


If you fall victim to an SSA imposter scam you should report it immediately at www.ssa.gov/scam. You can report other scams to www.reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Clinton KFC Closes Doors for Good

Clinton KFC has closed its doors for good.


According to signage at the restaurant Thursday, the location appears to be out of business.


Regional Radio News received information there were movers at the store Thursday clearing the location out of all chairs, tables, and kitchen equipment from the kitchen. 


By late afternoon, the facility had been shut down and the doors closed.


Clinton's KFC location underwent a significant renovation just a few years ago. City of Clinton officials told Regional Radio Thursday they became aware of the closure much like everyone else - through word of mouth. 


There is no indication of what could be next for the facility. 

Urban to Illinois State Fair

The Illinois State Fair has another act booked for the Grandstand.

Keith Urban will play the first Friday of the fair – August 9th.


It’s the county music star’s first appearance at the ISF. Tickets for Urban go on sale this Saturday (March 9th). But State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark says for this concert and others, “insiders” often have an early opportunity to buy tickets.


Other announced concerts include Jason Isbell and Motley Crue.

County health departments promoting International Women's Day


County Health Departments in Illinois are using International Women's Day, March 8th, 2024, to promote women's health. RaeAnn Tucker is with the Henry and Stark County Health Department in Central Illinois...



Breast exams, gynecological exams, health exams that are specifically for women are just a few of the things that County Health Departments are encouraging women to consider on International Women's Day.

Duckworth State of the Union Address guest is fertility and IVF doctor

Duckworth State of the Union Address guest is fertility and IVF doctor--March 7

US Senator Tammy Duckworth’s guest at this week’s State of the Union is a fertility and IVF doctor.


Duckworth is bringing her to highlight her and other Democrats’ efforts to federally protect IVF access after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through IVF should be considered children.



Duckworth used IVF to have her daughter.


Her bill to bring federal protections for fertility treatments was blocked from a vote on the Senate floor by a Republican Senator from Mississippi.

ISU AD reacts to unions in college sports

Dartmouth men's basketball became the first college team in U.S. sports history to form a union.


On Tuesday evening, 15 student-athletes voted to join the S-E-I-U Local 560 union.

For Illinois State University, the move, if deemed legal, could hinder the future of many athletic programs.


Interim Director of Athletics, Dr. Jerri Beggs says the University has around 450 student athletes.


If deemed legal, the University and others across the country would be forced to cut programs.



If deemed legal, student-athletes would be considered employees, forcing Universities to pay for health care and other benefits.

University of Illinois Extension Releases Local Fair Book

This year's 4-H Fair Book is now available.


Kendra Wallace is 4-H Coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension in DeWitt County and explains the 4-H fair book gives an overview of all the rules and regulations for the various fair shows and projects. 



July is when the annual show comes up and Wallace explains while it may seem like a ways off still, 4-H students need to start preparing as it will come up fast. Additionally, to show at this year's fair, you must be enrolled in 4-H by April 30. 



4-H is a great program to involve a young person in because when a college or employer sees that on a resume, it is a ringing endorsement of a person. Wallace believes there are so many skills that a person learns that will pay off later in life.


The horse show kicks off the 4-H fair season in DeWitt County on July 6-7. The general projects and livestock show is set for July 11-14. Visit extension.illinois.edu/dmp for more information on this year's 4-H show in DeWitt County. 

DCDC Director Returns from Rural Economic Development Conference Rejuvinated

A DeWitt County economic development leader returned from a recent conference rejuvenated and inspired by what could be some great opportunities locally.


Curt Homann is the Executive Director of the DeWitt County Development Council and explains the Rural Economic Development Conference in Springfield is annually the best event he attends.



One of the breakout sessions from this conference was about tax credits that are available for building rehab and what that could mean for local developers or business owners.



According to Homann, he encountered a group that rehabs buildings and then makes money off the businesses that end up in those rehabbed buildings. He was quite blown away by the possibility of that for DeWitt County.



Homann calls it a mindset shift and believes it is not only a revitalization of rural America but it is part of what he sees as a growing shift in people migrating to small, rural communities.



While Homann returned from the conference inspired, he reminds many initiatives and the fruits of those efforts are going to be felt several years down the road. However, he feels very positively about the possibilities for development in DeWitt County after his experience in Springfield. 

Warner Hospital Construction Moving Along - Milestone Reached This Week

Construction at Warner Hospital and Health Services expansion of its emergency room services is hitting a major milestone this week.


On the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday, CEO Paul Skowron told Regional Radio one half of the renovation is now complete and they will begin working to get staff over to the new, top-of-the-line workstations.



According to Skowron, the facility's emergency room has seen quite the transformation. He explains they had to knock down walls and add glass barriers and other features to bring the emergency room into the 21st century.



Now the hospital turns its attention to the other half of the emergency room. Skowron says that will begin once they have moved everything into the expanded, renovated space.



The emergency room renovation is just the tip of the iceberg for construction for the city-owned hospital. Skowron points out that construction by Donnelly's on the southeast side of town is set to become a medical storage facility and they will soon see the new entrance on the west side of the building, by family medicine, get underway with a completion date of roughly Labor Day. 

CITY GOVT - Clinton City Council Approves Naming of Arboretum

The Clinton City Council approved the renaming of its arboretum on the community's east side.


At the Tuesday night Clinton City Council meeting, the Council approved the naming of the city's arboretum on Jefferson Street to the 'Carol Thompson-McFeeters Arboretum'. Commissioner John Wise read the resolution Tuesday...



Edith Brady-Lunny and John Baker were on hand representing the Clinton Tree Commission on Tuesday.



Other tree talking points from Tuesday, Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Ken Buchanan reminded it is tree removal season for the City and he noted the great weather crews have been able to take advantage.



Also Tuesday night, the Clinton City Council approved Kamren Wilford (Right) as the new City Clerk. She will serve a two-month vacancy left by the retirement of Cheryl Van Valey. Wilford's re-appointment will come up again in May with the other appointed city positions.


The Council meeting took on a new venue for the evening. The firehouse bay hosted the brief meeting as work on City Hall's elevator was not complete until after the agenda had been posted. 

Monticello Police Initiating Traffic Details This Month

A Piatt County law enforcement agency will be dialing up its patrols for special enforcement this month.


Monticello Police Chief Rob Bross explains his department is going to be doing traffic details focused on what he calls the fatal four. He indicates this is through a traffic safety grant. 



In recent years, adding to the distracted driving conversation was the element of cell phones in vehicles. Now, Chief Bross indicates there's a new element to sobriety details with the legalization of adult-use marijuana.



Chief Bross hopes you'll follow the Monticello Police Department on Facebook. 

March is National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and the St. Louis District Dairy Council has a unique tip for adding a superfood to your diet.


Cottage cheese is growing in popularity and on the WHOW Morning Show Tuesday, Monica Nyman with the St. Louis District Dairy Council told Regional Radio cottage cheese has a lot of versatility.



According to Nyman, cottage cheese is very versatile, and notes once you get to a puree form, you can do all sorts of things with it.



Cottage cheese is also an incredible source of protein and other nutrients. Nyman explains cottage cheese has an incredible amount of protein per serving and emphasizes the various ways you're able to get cottage cheese into a meal.



Stldairycouncil.org has a great wealth of information about cottage cheese and its versatility. 


You can also follow the Dairy Council on Facebook and Instagram. 

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is colorectal cancer awareness month, and healthcare professionals say it’s a good reminder to schedule a colonoscopy and keep an eye on your overall health. 


Colorectal cancer is now the leading cause of cancer deaths for men under 50, and number two for women under 50, according to Fight Colorectal Cancer, a colorectal cancer patient advocacy group. Yvette Blancas, a registered nurse in the gastrointestinal lab at OSF HealthCare, says the procedure is not something to push off.



The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 107,000 new cases of colon cancer will happen in 2024, and just over 46,000 new cases of rectal cancer will occur.

Increase in Fraud-Related Losses in Illinois

A newly published study by LendingTree indicates that fraud-related losses in Illinois increased by more than 15% from 2022 to 2023 according to numbers gathered from the Federal Trade Commission. Matt Schultz of LendingTree is a co-author of the study and explains why Illinois residents may be getting targeted more often...



The most losses to scams in Illinois in 2023 came in the form of text message scams. Links in Text Messages that when clicked can lead to the data on your phone being stolen, including banking information, sensitive passwords, or any identifying details you knowingly or unknowingly have stored on your smartphone.

Richland Community College Continues to Resolve IT Problems After Cybersecurity Breach

Richland Community College in Decatur continues to resolve problems after a cybersecurity attack on February 17th.

The college’s web site is still down as is their phone system.

College officials posted on their Facebook page that the college experienced a network security incident that caused a disruption to their systems. Upon learning of this issue, the college's IT security team immediately initiated comprehensive security measures to assess the interruption. As part of this investigation, they’re working closely with external cybersecurity professionals to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

This incident required Richland to shut down parts of their network as they work to remediate the issue. As a result, some of their IT assets may not be fully available. 

In-person classes continue as normal, and students can access online courses through Canvas by going to this website: richland.instructure.com. Network servers, phones, some department emails, and the college website richland-dot-edu are currently inoperable until the servers can safely go back online. Student and faculty/staff emails are still available.

Students are being directed to the Student Success Center for in-person assistance.

Officials at Richland are working around the clock to resolve this cybersecurity breach, but didn’t post a timeline as to when normal service will be restored.

Space Running Out for Warner Hospital Foundation's Popular Fundraising Event

The Warner Hospital Foundation has found something in its annual spring fundraiser and space for this weekend's big event is quickly running out.


On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, Executive Director of the Warner Hospital Foundation, Curt Homann told Regional Radio, the Foundation's annual GloBingo event is this weekend and they are hoping for an even bigger event this year.



Glo-bingo.com is the website to purchase those tickets online or you can call the Warner Hospital office and ask for Melissa to get those directly from the Hospital. 

DNR Conducts Controlled Burns at Weldon Springs

In the last week, the Department of Natural Resources has conducted controlled burns of its land in DeWitt County. 

On the WHOW Morning Show Monday, DNR Conservation Police Capt. John Williamson tells Regional Radio the controlled burn for parts of Weldon Springs is part of a plan to control invasive species and their spread. 



According to Williamson, controlled burns are very effective because they do not kill off living vegetation. He notes it makes for good fertilizer for the natural grasses you want to grow.



Capt. Williamson says activity at Clinton Lake is starting to pick up with the nice weather outside. We've got plenty more coming with him in the days and weeks ahead on Regional Radio. 



Clinton Chamber of Commerce Hosts Annual Dinner

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner Saturday night at the Clinton Country Club.


Chamber Board President Ed Cicenas highlighted the previous year of activities for the Chamber. From a great Business Expo last March to another successful May Days event, the Chamber's biggest fundraiser, the haunted house, remains very successful.



Cicenas is excited about the year ahead. Saturday night kicked off the Chamber's annual raffle for the year and he looks forward to positive changes to some of its events.



According to Cicenas, the Chamber of Commerce is looking to revamp its website this year and the benefits for its members.



The Clinton Chamber also announced the winners of its annual awards. 


The non-profit of the year award went to the Clinton Eagles.


The small business of the year award, which is between 1 and 11 employees, went to Sweet Mae's Ice Cream Shoppe.


The medium business of the year, for businesses with 12 to 75 employees, went to Calvert Funeral Home.


The large business of the year was Baum Chevrolet Buick/Baum Chrysler Jeep in Clinton. 



Photos courtesy of EMC Photography.

Women in Ag Conference later this month


The meeting season continues. The Women in Agriculture Conference is set for Friday, March 22 at Bally’s Quad Cities in Rock Island. Bureau County Manager Jill Frueh helps organize the day.



More info at Womeninagricultureconference.com.

DEA offers parental toolkits

The Drug Enforcement Agency wants you to know they are about more than just catching the bad guys. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph Dixon says they have toolkits available to help you educate your kids about the dangers of drug use.



He says the toolkits are good for teachers or anyone that comes into contact with children. Dixon reminds that while marijuana has been decriminalized at the state level, it is still legal at the federal level.

Pritzker react to Supreme Court ruling on Trump ballot issue



A ruling from the Supreme Court prohibits states from using the 14th Amendment to bar candidates from appearing on ballots for election.


The decision was directed at a case from Colorado, but should impact a judge’s ruling on Donald Trump being on the primary ballot in Illinois.


Governor JB Pritzker says he expects the former President to be on the ballot in Illinois.



The state’s primary election is March 19.

Clinton Police Looking to Get Jump on Vehicle Ordering Process

The Clinton Police Department is hoping to get a jump on purchasing vehicles in its next cycle of purchases.


Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers explains they are set to receive two new vehicles this spring but they are almost a year late getting them. 



While the next vehicle purchasing cycle is still a little ways off for the department, Chief Lowers explains they wanted to get a jump on those vehicle purchases. Last month, the Clinton City Council approved the department to purchase two new vehicles, and the Chief notes that will allow them to purchase those when they become available.



Mostly gone by the wayside are police riding around in sedan-style vehicles and now police vehicles are much larger. Chief Lowers says these new vehicles are much more equipped to handle all the equipment an officer requires but they seem to be minimizing the wear on the bodies of the officers themselves.



Chief Lowers adds - they are going to be selling off two of its vehicles as they add new vehicles to the fleet.

March is Frozen Food Month

March is Frozen Food Month and a University of Illinois Nutrition Educator has a wealth of information on a variety of food preservation through freezing.


Caitlin Mellendorf is a Nutrition Educator at the University of Illinois Extension in DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties. If you are making any more soups still this year, you can preserve any extra ingredients by freezing them.



Mellendorf explains as we start to transition away from the soup season, you can preserve those for another time by freezing them. She points out you may notice the textures of some of the ingredients of various soups won't be the same when you thaw them.



According to Mellendorf, the other method of freezing is the preservation of fruits and vegetables. She explains while the canning season is mostly behind us, you can preserve extra meat in the freezer and pull it out later when you need it.



Keep to Regional Radio as over the next several weeks, we'll continue to hear from Mellendorf on the variety of freezing foods talking points she recently presented with us. 


In the meantime, for more information on food preservation by freezing, visit extension.illinois.edu/dmp for more information and advice from experts like Mellendorf. 

University of Illinois Professor Studying Nursing Shortage

The state of Illinois is facing a nursing shortage. 


University of Illinois Professor, Dr. Robert Bruno is the co-author of a new study that indicates that 34% of current Illinois nurses are considering leaving the profession due to what the study calls, Unsafe Staffing, that is to say, understaffing and overwork.



The study titled Illinois Nursing in Crisis was published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and is available on EPI's website.

Illinois Farm Bureau Continues Push for Permanent Farm Bill

Illinois Farm Bureau and American Farm Bureau continue to push for a permanent Farm Bill. IFB Executive Director of Governmental Affairs and Commodities Kevin Semlow.



Illinois has five reps on the House Ag Committee—Democrats Eric Sorenson, Nikki Budzinski, and Jonathan Jackson; and Republicans Mike Bost and Mary Miller.

Sen. Duckworth Wants Federal Law to Shield Women, Families Who Use Victro Fertilization

US Senator Tammy Duckworth wants a federal law to shield women and families who are using in vitro fertilization.


Sen. Duckworth is seeking federal protections after an Alabama Supreme Court decision upended the process in that state. Her efforts failed Wednesday after a Republican Senator from Mississippi objected to the bill and blocked it from passing. Sen. Duckworth says women’s reproductive rights are under attack.



After the ruling, several clinics closed in Alabama. The bill would have federally protected the right to IVF and other fertility treatments.

Scovill Zoo Undergoing Leadership Transition

The Scovill Zoo in Decatur is in the midst of a leadership transition.


On the WHOW Morning Show Friday, Executive Director Ken Frye told Regional Radio he is transitioning out of the Executive Director's role to a new role within the Decatur Park District.



Heather Purdeu will become the next Executive Director of the Zoo and she has been with the zoo for over 25 years in various capacities. She looks forward to stepping into the Executive Director position.



Purdeu says one of her favorite parts of working at the zoo is interacting with the public and promoting conservation. 


The transition for the zoo will become official in April. 


The Scovill Zoo opens for the season on March 30. Visit scovillzoo.com or find them on Facebook for more information on the season ahead. 

This Week is Severe Weather Preparedness Week

This week is severe weather preparedness week.


Ed Shimon at the National Weather Service in Lincoln is encouraging Illinoisans to have those severe weather plans updated as we move closer to the most active of the storm seasons.



Shimon reminds us of the differences between watches and warnings when they are issued by the National Weather Service.



Keep up with the latest in weather forecasts by visiting weather.gov/lincoln. Also, keep it tuned to Regional Radio for the latest information in watches and warnings as they are issued by the National Weather Service.

Clinton Rotary Club Hosting "Charity Mania" Fundraiser

The Clinton Rotary Club's "charity mania" fundraiser is quickly coming to a close.


President Tim Holl explains this is a fundraiser where individuals buy a ticket and each ticket is essentially a bracket for the NCAA tournament.



According to Holl, the fundraiser will help support funds for a new scholarship the Rotary has established in honor of long-time Rotarian Phil Lamkin, who passed away earlier this year.



Holl indicates they dropped off all their scholarship information to the Clinton High School guidance office late this week. You can also email Holl at tmholl@gmail.com for more information on that scholarship.

DeWitt County Sheriff's Office Purchases Drones

The DeWitt County Sheriff's Office has purchased a pair of new electronics that they hope will help them better respond to certain emergencies in the future.


Sheriff Mike Walker tells Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show they have purchased a pair of drones that they are currently in the process of getting staff trained to operate. He explains having the department's own drones is going to make for better response times for some emergencies.



According to Sheriff Walker, there are many circumstances they could use these drones for and they have a lot of great features that will not hold up the primary uses but help with an overall investigation of certain crimes. 



The Sheriff explains these were purchased in response to last year's events in Kenney but he notes, that isn't the only instance they've encountered where a drone would have been beneficial.



Sheriff Walker points out drones are becoming increasingly popular among local law enforcement agencies and last year, Illinois passed laws around their use. The Sheriff notes there are a lot of rules and regulations they have to follow when using a drone to respond to emergencies. 

Local Students Reaching Milestones for Business Startups

Central Illinois high school students in a unique business class are hitting milestones as they embark on starting their own businesses.


The Central Illinois and Sangamon Valley chapters of the CEO programs are starting the process of securing funding for their business startups. Melanie Brown is the facilitator for the Central Illinois CEO program and explains the next few weeks are significant for her students.



For the Sangamon Valley CEO program, this was a big for them. Facilitator Lisa Sheppard explains this week they did individual business pitches to secure funding.



Once the students receive funding for their businesses, they will continue the hard work to get the business off the ground and have it ready for the trade show in May. Sheppard is excited about the businesses her group of students is working on.



The Central Illinois CEO program will hold its trade show on May 1 from 5 to 7 pm at Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth. The Central Illinois CEO program brings in students from Blue Ridge, Clinton, Maroa-Forsyth, and Warrensburg-Latham schools. You can learn more about their chapter by visiting centralillinoisceo.com, or find them on Facebook and Instagram.


The Sangamon Valley CEO program welcomes students from Argent-Oreana, Bement, Cerro Gordo, Deland-Weldon, and Monticello schools. You can learn more about them by visiting sangamonvalleyceo.com, or find them on Facebook and YouTube. 

Richland Community College Working Through Network Disruption

On February 17, 2024, Richland Community College experienced a network security incident that disrupted its systems. 


Upon learning of this issue, the college's IT security team immediately initiated comprehensive security measures to assess the interruption. As part of this investigation, the Decatur-based school is working closely with external cybersecurity professionals to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.


This incident required Richland to shut down parts of its network as they work to remediate the issue. As a result, some of its IT assets may not be fully available. 


In-person classes continue as normal, and students can access online courses through Canvas by going to this website: richland.instructure.com. Network servers, phones, some department emails, and the college website (www.richland.edu) are currently inoperable until the servers can safely go back online. Student and faculty/staff emails are still available.


All of Richland’s faculty and staff are working diligently to support students - ensuring it can continue to provide quality education and support services.

Illinois Product Expo This Weekend

The Illinois Product Expo set for this weekend at the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Katie Lemenager is with the Illinois Department of Agriculture.



The times are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. This marks the 25th year for the Illinois Product Expo.


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