Local News

Ameren Illinois is partnering with the City of Clinton to upgrade neighborhood streetlights with more energy-efficient LED streetlights.


Ameren Illinois is replacing 250 existing sodium vapor, mercury vapor, and metal halide streetlights to LEDs to help the City save energy. Replacement is already underway and, weather permitting should be completed by June 15. Ameren Illinois has contracted with a vendor, Pro Electric, to perform this replacement with the help of local trained electrical workers.


In a release, Daetta Jones, senior director of Division Operations, Ameren Illinois, said quote- "Energy efficiency benefits everyone by reducing the amount of energy that is produced and expended. The new LED streetlights will provide the City of Clinton with public safety, environmental and financial benefits for many years."


LED streetlight benefits include saving money with enhanced reliability and 3x longer life expectancy, LED lights use 55-65% less energy than the older technology and reduce maintenance and operational costs.


Additionally, LED lights protect the environment by decreasing energy generation and cutting carbon emissions, improving nighttime visibility, and produces a cool white light similar to moonlight.


Later this summer, Ameren Illinois will be replacing 75 streetlights in Cerro Gordo. By the end of this year, Ameren Illinois will have replaced 10,000 streetlights throughout central and southern Illinois.

The Monticello Chamber of Commerce and Monticello Main Street office has reopened to the public

Executive Director Shelly Crawford-Stock tells Regional Radio they are excited to be opened again and look forward to seeing the community come in with questions and materials for the things happening around the community.



Crawford-Stock says CDC and IDPH guidelines are in place for those that want to enter their facility...



Crawford-Stock continues to point residents and those in surrounding communities interested in coming into Monticello for restaurants and retail shops to visit makeitmonticello.com or find 'Make It Monticello' on social media at Facebook. 

The Decatur Area Arts Council is excited to be able to reopen its facility to the public starting Monday.


Executive Director Jerry Johnson says they have a great gallery ready to go to welcome back the community and their supporters.



The exhibit, 'Decatur: Our Hometown' will have lots of things on display that will somewhat nostalgic for residents of the area. Johnson indicates there will be artifacts combined with the displays of local artists.



Check decaturarts.org for the latest in all the happenings at the Decatur Area Arts Council. Johnson says they will be asking those that enter the building to wear masks and maintain social distancing per the CDC and IDPH guidelines. 

State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) is requesting the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) to extend the deadline allowed for farmers to use the pesticide ‘dicamba’ if permitted by federal court. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled dicamba illegal for use as of June 3, 2020, seventeen days ahead of the deadline for farmers to apply the pesticide used by most farmers in Illinois.


In a Friday release, the Decatur Republican says quote - “The last couple years have been rough for farmers. With trade wars, low crop prices, and low production, this is another blow to the Ag industry. It’s ridiculous to have this pesticide taken away after it has already been paid for and there is not a reliable alternative at this time.”


Many farmers choose to plant crops that are dicamba resistant, a product that has been utilized by farmers for over 50 years. Dicamba is one of several tools used by farmers today.


He added quote - “I am advocating for farmers to be able to use this product until the issue gets resolved. This is why I have requested the State to extend the deadline for farmers to use dicamba if the federal government extends the timeframe. If the federal court ends up allowing the use of dicamba for a specific period, then our state needs to extend the deadline for farmers past June 20th as fifteen days does not provide ample time for farmers to use this product to protect their crops.”


Before the ruling was made by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) allowed the use of dicamba until June 20, 2020.


Caulkins added quote - “It’s critical for farmers that choose to use dicamba are allowed to use it on their crops this year due to the fact their crop is resistant to dicamba. Otherwise, our nation’s food supply will be put at risk because farmers will end up harvesting fewer crops this fall.”

Scovill Zoo to Reopen Monday

The Scovill Zoo in Decatur is reopening Monday.


Friday morning on the WHOW Morning Show, Director Ken Frye told Regional Radio News they received word just late this week and are getting everything inside the zoo ready for guests to return. Some things inside the zoo, like train rides, will not be available yet and they are now doing ticket sales online.



Social distancing markers of about ten-feet will be marked off outside the zoo, however, once inside, guests can police themselves on social distancing. Frye indicates if their guests want to wear masks, they are encouraged to but that is not going to be a requirement. 



For the staff of the zoo, some last-minute projects will be finished and there will be some changes guests will notice as well. 


Frye points out, there will be no access to the petting zoo initially and they also have a baby penguin and four new cheetahs. 


Get tickets to the zoo at Scovillzoo.com. 

IFB & IFCA Release Statements On Dicamba Ruling

Two Illinois agriculture organizations have issued statements in regards to this week's federal court ruling on the sale and use of Dicamba herbicide in soybeans....


The Illinois Farm Bureau released the following statement to Regional Radio Thursday afternoon...


"On June 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision that vacated the registrations of three dicamba herbicides – Bayer’s Xtendimax, BASF’s Engenia and Corteva’s FeXapan. The ruling does not appear to address Syngenta’s Tavium.

Illinois Farm Bureau remains in communication with the U.S. EPA, Illinois Department of Agriculture, American Farm Bureau Federation, and the registrants. We will work to minimize any potential sudden disruption to Illinois farmers’ planting and growing season."


In addition, the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association issued the following statement Thursday evening via their web platforms...


"IL Department of Agriculture legal counsel has looked at the US 9th Circuit Court ruling on dicamba, and believes it clearly calls for the stop of use, sale and distribution of all uses of the three products: Xtendimax, Engenia and FeXapan effective immediately.   The Tavium registration is not affected by this ruling.  We are expecting a statement from IDOA very soon but this is the situation in Illinois, and we ask for our members to abide by this determination and help communicate this serious message.  More information will be forthcoming and we will communicate as soon as we have more details from IDA or US EPA on the management of product already in the supply chain. "


USDA Director Sonny Perdue Thursday called for the courts to allow farmers to go ahead and use dicamba they have purchased for this growing season.


It's expected that Bayer, and others named in the suit, will attempt to appeal the ruling.

On top of lost instruction in the last quarter of the school year due to the coronavirus shut downs combined with the summer slide, the term for reading skills that decline in youth over the summer, a local teacher is encouraging the community to work with kids this summer on their reading skills.


Sam Rybacki (rye-back-E) is a reading teacher at Clinton Elementary School and expressed her concerns for the potential severe declines kids could see as a result of all the lost classroom time between the coronavirus shutdowns and the current summer vacation.



Rybacki has several ideas for families to engage their kids in reading during the summer. She recommends making regular visits to the library if possible and reading alongside your child. That could be as easy as reading to them, your child reading to you or you read while your child reads.



Some kids may be reluctant to want to read and Rybacki engaging kids in a fun activity like cooking or building something. She also points out, kids are returning to comic book reading.



Rybacki stressed the importance of kids continuing to read over the summer because it is a skill that declines if not exercised it will go away. She also encourages making reading as fun as possible and less of a chore. She says kids tend not to want to do chores, so it is important for it to be something they have fun with. 

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