Local News

Last week DeWitt County was named to the Illinois Department of Public Health's warning list for COVID due to a recent spike in cases.


The DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department attributes the spike in cases to Labor Day gatherings. Executive Director Dave Remmert says while it sounds alarming the County made the warning list, residents are doing a good job protecting vulnerable populations from this disease as hospitalizations and fatalities are very minimal in the two-county area.



Remmert is encouraged Piatt County saw a similar spike and avoided the IDPH warning and now they are seeing case numbers stabilize again. Last week on Regional Radio News, he discussed the ebb-and-flow nature to the virus and maintains that stance despite the recent spike in cases.



Labor Day gatherings being the most likely source of the spread of this virus locally prompted Remmert to implore the public to avoid large gatherings, especially large gatherings indoors. 



Making the warning list alarmed many in the community and Remmert says that is a good thing. He hopes making the warning list will prompt action like more mask-wearing, increased awareness around social distancing, and people avoiding large gatherings.



As contact tracing efforts increase for the local agency, Remmert indicates they were able to hire three additional staff for those efforts. 


Last week, testing for DeWitt County dropped from 308 to 214 helping contribute to the spike in positivity rate. 

Normally this week, the City of Clinton would be buzzing in preparation for tens-of-thousands of visitors for its annual Apple n' Pork Festival.


Thanks to COVID, nearly the entirety of the festivities are being canceled but that isn't slowing down a few groups who are forging ahead with plans to try to make something of this pandemic centered year. The CH Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum Board have decided to return to its roots. Director Joey Long says they are going to simply offer their ham n' beans and smoked ham sandwiches.



To make things safe for their volunteers and the public, the food will be served in a drive-thru fashion. Long explains they are still finalizing how they will arrange for traffic flow but those wishing to purchase meals will pull up, pay for their food, and have it delivered. 



The ham n' beans and ham sandwiches are a staple of the festival. Long points out they will be serving from 3 pm to 7 pm, or until they sell out. They will be preparing around 450 servings of food, and ham n' beans will be served by the quart. 



According to Long, follow the Apple n' Pork Festival Facebook page for details on the way they will directing traffic. Also, follow the Facebook page for updates on all things Apple n' Pork Festival. 


Also, this Saturday tune in to The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM and 95.9 FM WEZC, along with all Regional Radio News' online platforms including the WHOW mobile app and Amazon Alexa, for virtual coverage of the Apple n' Pork Festival. 


You'll hear from over a dozen groups who are annually at the Homestead grounds and set up in the community and benefit greatly from the tens-of-thousands of visitors that make tracks to Clinton for the annual festival. Groups include the Boy Scouts, the Clinton YMCA, the Clinton Am-Vets, and the Clinton Athletic Boosters among many more. 


Coverage Saturday begins at 10 am and will go until 6 pm.

Built on the booming railroad industry, Rail Safety Week means a lot to a Clinton native and now high-ranking law enforcement official. 


The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police is sponsoring Rail Safety Week from September 21-27 and Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers notes Illinois Rail Safety Week is intended to increase awareness of railroad safety as it pertains to the general public.



The railroad system has had its impacts Clinton residents as some families have deep ties to the rail system many generations ago, and while the Chief cannot recall any major accidents, they do receive minor calls about individuals disregarding railroad crossing signs.



Chief Lowers reminds the public that railroad tracks are, contrary to popular belief, private property. Walking or biking along railroad tracks is illegal and unsafe.



The ties to the rail system in Illinois don't end in Clinotn - the City of Chicago has one of the country's biggest rail hubs. Chief Lowers encourages the public to view rail safety education material on the Operation Lifesaver website at www.oli.org.

Weekly Weather Summary

Things were a little cooler this weekend. State Climatologist Trent Ford Discusses what is ahead as we hit the backstretch of September



It's budget time for Illinois schools and a McLean County school district leader says a lot is uncertain this year as so much hangs in the balance with Governor JB Pritzker's graduated income tax proposal.


According to Superintendent of Heyworth Schools, Dr. Lisa Taylor, the graduated income tax proposal has strings attached and among those is school funding. Shes says overall, expenditures are flat but revenues are giving her some anxiety this year.



Dr. Taylor is frustrated by the situation that holds school funding over the heads of taxpayers. She explains in Heyworth, they already were planning to make cuts, and to not know exactly what funding will be coming their way is making the matter worse.



Evidenced-based funding was a proposal lawmakers began using just a few years ago but Dr. Taylor indicates this year that the funding model to be greatly altered, especially for her district. She indicates the evidence-based funding model, however, continues to neglect categorical payments.



Dr. Taylor says it feels as though the Governor is keeping schools and its funding hostage to get his tax reforms passed, which she calls unfair to the kids of Illinois. 

Soybean Markets Rally

A nice rally in the soybean market last week, but not near the push in corn futures. AgriVisor’s Karl Setser says there are different dynamics in play for both commodities.



November bean futures were up 15 cents Friday and 47-and-a-half cents for the week. December corn was up three-and-a-quarter cents Friday and 10-cents for the week.

Researchers hope to learn some of the economic, legal and community aspects and impacts of leasing solar panels and infrastructure on farmland. Rod Bain has more...



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