LEAF PICKUP: TODAY, CITY CREWS WILL START WHERE THEY LEFT OFF IN ZONE 4 YESTERDAY AND MOVE IN TO ZONE 5.          
Local News

Angel Tree's Annual Pancake Breakfast

The DeWitt County Angel Tree is hosting their annual pancake breakfast this Sunday in Clinton.
 
Director Sue Calvert says this is the only fundraiser they do and this year it is a big one because the program has changed.
 
 
The annual Angel Tree pancake breakfast is Sunday morning from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Clinton United Methodist Church. 
 
The registration deadline for this year's program has passed. If you'd like information on how you can be a part of Angel Tree this year, contact Calvert via email at suecalvert13@gmail.com.
 
Stay tuned to Regional Radio News in the coming weeks for more details on this year's Angel Tree program and ways you can participate this holiday season. 

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AG Urges Consumers Who Lost Money to Scammers Using Western Union To File Claim For A Refund

ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN IS URGING THOSE WHO SENT MONEY TO A SCAMMER THROUGH WESTERN UNION TO FILE A CLAIM FOR A REFUND.
 
THE REFUNDS ARE PART OF A NATIONWIDE SETTLEMENT WITH WESTERN UNION…WHICH ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN SAYS KNEW PEOPLE WERE BEING CONNED AND DIDN’T DO ENOUGH TO PROTECT THEM. THIS INCLUDES CONSUMERS WHO FELL FOR PHONY LOTTERY, PRIZE, I-R-S AND FAMILY EMERGENCY SCAMS AND WIRED MONEY THROUGH THE COMPANY.
 
 
MADIGAN SAYS IF YOU USED THE COMPANY BETWEEN 2004 AND 2007, YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET SOME OF YOUR MONEY BACK.
 
 
YOU MUST FILE YOUR CLAIM BEFORE FEBRUARY 12TH. VISIT THE WEBSITE: WESTERN UNION REMISSION DOT COM FOR ALL THE DETAILS.

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Governor Touting Apprenticeship Programs

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS TOUTING THE VALUE OF APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THERE IS NO ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH TO A CAREER…AND THAT APPRENTICESHIPS ARE A GREAT PATH FOR MANY YOUNG PEOPLE.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HIS OFFICE HAS BEEN WORKING WITH BUSINESSES TO CREATE MORE APPRENTICE OPPORTUNITIES IN ILLINOIS. HE NOTES THAT APPRENTICESHIPS ARE AVAILABLE IN MANY FIELDS INCLUDING I-T…FINANCIAL SERVICES…MANUFACTURING AND RETAIL.
 
 
THERE ARE CURRENTLY 412 REGISTERED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS IN ILLINOIS…AND THE GOVERNOR SAYS HIS OFFICE HAS BEEN WORKING WITH COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND BUSINESSES TO CREATE EVEN MORE.

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Public Health Officials Remind Public Don't Always Need Antiobiotics When Sick

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH IS REMINDING THAT YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED ANTIBIOTICS WHEN YOU ARE SICK. 
 
IT OFTEN MAKES US FEEL BETTER WHEN A DOCTOR PRESCRIBES AN ANTIBIOTIC…BUT THEY AREN’T ALWAYS NECESSARY. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS OVERUSE OF ANTIBIOTICS CAN BE DANGEROUS…AS BACTERIA BECOME MORE RESISTANT.
 
 
SHE NOTES THAT ANTIBIOTICS CANNOT CURE VIRAL INFECTIONS SUCH AS THE COMMON COLD, FLU AND MOST SORE THROATS AND COUGHS.
 
 
ARNOLD SAYS IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REGULAR COLD AND A BACTERIAL INFECTION. SOME SIGNS INCLUDE SYMPTOMS LASTING LONGER THAN 10 DAYS WITHOUT IMPROVEMENT AND SEVERE OR UNUSUAL SYMPTOMS.

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Weekly Weather Summary

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go. Will it be a wet trip? Jim Angel tells us what to expect if you're traveling for Thanksgiving...
 
Cut: wx1117 1:31 CUE: 

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Demand For Propane Up Over Late Harvest, But Not Impacting Prices or Supply

There’s still plenty of corn to dry and still plenty of corn to harvest in northern Illinois and areas to the north. 
 
And even though that will drive demand for propane, supply and price should not be impacted. So says Harry Cooney manager of Customer Risk Management with GROWMARK.
 
 
Rail is second in terms of demand in the diesel fuel market, but Cooney says it accounts for only about 10-percent—well behind the over-the-road-trucking industry.

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Hunters Need To Register Deer Kills

It’s a big weekend for hunters. Firearm season opens across Illinois. 
 
And as hunters pick out the perfect spot for their deer stands the Department of Natural Resources is reminding them that they have to register their kill each day with the state. 
 
 
That’s Ed Cross with IDNR. He also stresses firearm safety this hunting season. The second season is November 30 to December 3.

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Northern Illinois Hunters Have To Take Extra Steps

Hunters are filling the woods and wildlife areas this weekend for the start of firearm deer hunting season. But a few extra steps need to be taken if you shoot a deer in northern Illinois. 
Every hunter has to register the deer they kill with the IDNR but in northern counties where chronic wasting disease is a concern Ed Cross with DNR says you need to go to a state check in point before processing the deer. 
 
 
For hunters in areas where chronic wasting disease isn’t a problem you can check your deer online or by calling 1-866-IL-CHECK

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County Public Safety Committee Recognizes Local Partners

A pair of community businesses were recognized by the DeWitt County Public Safety Committee Thursday night at the DeWitt County Board meeting for their recent service to the public.
 
Chairperson of the Public Safety Committee, Cris Rogers, presented CEO of Warner Hospital and Health Services, Paul Skowron, with a certificate of appreciation for a recent effort where the hospital housed EMS ambulances while pavement work was done at the facility on the east side of town. Rogers says it exemplifies their commitment to being a good community partner.
 
 
Additionally Thursday night, Rogers recognized the Clinton Walmart for their partnership and donations to the DeWitt County Animal Shelter.
 
 
Also at the Thursday night Board meeting, Melanie Kinney was approved as the Animal Control Administrator. She has been serving in the role in the interim.

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Fresh Thanksgiving Ideas

If you're looking to mix things up for Thanksgiving this year, the University of Illinois Extension has some ideas for you.
 
Health and Wellness Educator Caitlin Huth says if you do homemade pumpkin pie, she has some ideas at their 'Bushels Blog' on how to use all of that can of pumpkin filling, and it goes well with some peanut butter.
 
 
Huth hosts a couple blogs on the University of Illinois Extension website. She updates them a couple times a week and has some recipes and tips and tricks for food preparation.
 
 
Just do a Google search for University of Illinois Extension and search DeWitt, Macon and Piatt Counties for Huth's blogs.
 
Next week on Regional Radio News, Huth will discuss food preparation safety tips for Thanksgiving and some good, practical practices for preparing your Thanksgiving feast.

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Latest Shotgun Weekend Is Here

The latest shotgun deer hunting weekend is upon us and DNR authorities are again remind hunters of the basic safety tips as they hit the rural areas.
 
DNR Conservation Sargent John Williamson says it is a good idea before you get settled in to your tree stand, make sure you give it a complete once over and check all the straps and harnesses and make sure they are in good shape, especially if this is your first hunt of the season.
 
 
Williamson says with so many things in season right now, DNR officials most often deal with hunters on someone's property without permission. He reminds anyone out hunting to check in with the landowner and verify permission.
 
 
If you're venturing into a new area that you might be unfamiliar with, like a state park or recreation area, visit the DNR website for all the regulations for that area. The website is dnr.illinois.gov.

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Rauner Signs Sexual Harassment Laws, Wants More

Given a crisis the Illinois Legislature can react quickly and that’s what they have done to get laws passed to stem the tide of sexual harassment claims at the Capitol. 
 
The Governor signed legislation today (Thursday) that will require lawmakers, staff and lobbyists to go through training that is designed to recognize harassment and avoid actions that can be harassment. The bill also takes steps to better identify procedures for reporting harassment and the investigation of it. 
 
Another bill signed today will extend the amount of time that Legislative Inspector General has to investigate claims of harassment. There are currently 27 claims at the office that have piled up for the 3 years there was no Inspector General investigate. 
 
Rauner says that more has to be done to make sure that individual can address the complaints. 
 
 
Another bill creates training for lawmakers, staffers and lobbyists to go through to identify what is harassing behavior and a 1-800 hotline to report bad behavior.

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October Unemployment Down

THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS DOWN AND JOBS ARE UP ACCORDING TO THE OCTOBER REPORT FROM THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY.
 
THE STATE JOBLESS RATE DROPPED TO FOUR POINT NINE PERCENT LAST MONTH…DOWN FROM FIVE PERCENT IN SEPTEMBER. I-D-E-S SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff) SAYS THERE WAS ALSO AN INCREASE OF 34 HUNDRED JOBS IN OCTOBER.
 
 
GOUGH (goff) SAYS IT’S A GOOD SIGN.
 
 
JOB DECLINES WERE SEEN IN CONSTRUCTION AND GOVERNMENT. THE NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR OCTOBER CAME IN AT FOUR POINT ONE PERCENT.

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Durbin, Duckworth Weigh In On Franken Scandal

Illinois' U.S. Senators aren't exactly giving their colleague Al Franken a free pass after claims Franken groped a female radio eleven years ago during a USO tour. 
 
Senator Tammy Duckworth says "These types of actions are simply unacceptable and should be reviewed by the Ethics Committee. Women across America should be able to feel safe in their workplace, and they deserve our support when coming forward with allegations of misconduct.” 
 
Senator Dick Durbin also weighed in. There is never an excuse for this behavior—ever. What Senator Franken did was wrong, and it should be referred to the Ethics Committee for review.

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Parking Meters Removed From Downtown

A subject that has come and gone over the years in Clinton is now resolved.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates his staff has removed all parking meters from the downtown Clinton square after instruction from the Clinton City Council early last week.
 
 
According to Chief Lowers, the City will hold on to the meters for around a year. They could possibly be sold to another community who needs them or even sold to private citizens.
 
 
With the removal of the meters, most of the support polls have also been removed. 

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Clinton Chamber Celebrating Another Successful Haunted House

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce recently put a bow on their 2017 Haunted House season and organizers say it was another great turnout.
 
Roughly 4-thousand visitors came to Clinton this year and Chamber Executive Director, Marian Brisard, says that is a number they are very happy with.
 
 
The Friendly Ghost Tours, which allows younger participants to check out the haunted house in a less stressful environment, is a draw several times throughout the season but Brisard says the three events they offered this year could be decreased next year.
 
 
The Chamber also issued commemorative license plates to celebrate 24 years of the Haunted House. Brisard says since those have expired, the Chamber will sell a few for souvenirs. If interested, contact the Chamber at 217-935-3364. 

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Social Security Offering Seniors Help With Prescription Drugs

According to 2016 data, 8.8% of Illinois seniors live in poverty, the 27th highest rate in the country.
 
Open enrollment is underway for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug coverage portion of Medicare, and Social Security officials are reminding seniors of their program called 'Extra Help'.
 
 
That's Jack Myers with Social Security who points out with Medicare Part D covering prescription drugs, 'Extra Help' helps reduce co-pays and deductibles.
 
 
Visit socialsecurity.gov for the application or to find an office near you to contact to apply. 
 
Myers points out, Social Security cannot help seniors enroll in Medicare Part D prescriptions drug plans. 

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Long Time Trader Expects Boom in Farm Economy

Is the agriculture economy ready for a boom? A longtime trader says yes. 
 
Jim Bower with Bower Trading in Lafayette, Indiana says it may not be this year, but it’s coming.
 
 
Bower says either the stock market has to come down or commodity market has to go up because it’s the widest spread he’s seen in his 41 year career. 

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AFBF Chief Says Farmers Need NAFTA

The chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation says the Illinois farmer needs the North American Free Trade Agreement. 
 
Dr. Bob Young believes the U.S. should maintain its role with NAFTA.
 
 
NAFTA talks are taking place this week with trade representatives from the U.S., Canada and Mexico all meeting in Mexico City. 

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Frerichs Endorses Pritzker

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker locks up another key endorsement in the race for Governor. 
 
State Treasurer Michael Frerichs endorsed him this (Wednesday) morning at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. The location was no accident.
 
 
On the other end of the educational spectrum, Frerichs is saluting Pritzker for his support of early childhood education.
 
 
Pritzker previously locked up the endorsements of Secretary of State Jesse White and Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

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New Exelon Communications Manager Discusses Exelon Year After Legislation

The new Communications Manager at the Clinton Power Station presented the Clinton Rotary Club with an update on how things are going since the signing of legislation about a year ago.
 
Gabe Goldsmith has been the communications manager for the station for about a month now. He says it has been a lot to take in but is excited about the opportunity.
 
At the Tuesday afternoon Rotary meeting, he calls the plant's mentality, full speed ahead.
 
 
Because the plant is running at near capacity, Goldsmith indicates the upcoming outage in the spring is going to bring the plant up to full capacity.
 
 
Earlier in the month, the power station completed an emergency preparedness drill. Goldsmith says they passed that with flying colors.
 
 
Exelon has a great relationship with the Clinton and DeWitt County community and Goldsmith says they will continue to maintain those relationships. 
 
 
Goldsmith indicates since the passage of the energy legislation last year, the plant has re-hired or hired 150-plus employees to positions that were reduced because of the anticipated closure. 

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Clinton K-8 Teachers Receiving Instruction On iPads

Clinton K-8 students work with iPads in the classroom, then it's off to using the Microsoft Surfaces at the high school.
 
For the educators of K-8 students, they recently went through some professional development training to optimize the potential of the devices. Principal of Clinton Junior High School, Drew Goebel indicates it gives their staff more possibilities for their classrooms.
 
 
While only a select number of teachers went through the training, they will take that information to other teachers in the district.
 
 
Each student across each level of the district goes to class with a device in their possession throughout the school year. The K-8 levels have been working with Apple products for about five years now but the high school only recently introduced the Microsoft Surface to their students. 

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National Winter Preparedness Week

It is National Winter Preparedness week and the National Weather Service is promoting driving safety in winter conditions after a couple consecutive mild winters.
 
Chris Miller says they use the week before Thanksgiving to promote their messages because the holiday travel season traditionally really picks up this time of the year.
 
 
After two consecutive mild winters, Miller says the push this year is for drivers to slow down and arrive safely as the forecast is calling for a return to wet and cold conditions on the roads.
 
 
Those who drive in a four-by-four vehicle or big trucks often times will be more aggressive but Miller says while they can move along fine in bad weather, the issue is always stopping and if you are too close to someone who loses control or you lose control in that vehicle, you could be putting yourself and someone else in harms way.

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Oral History Project Highlights School Consolidations in Illinois

An oral history project details the story of school district consolidation in Illinois. 
 
The work is through the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum says oral historian Mark DePue.
 
 
54 interviews were conducted for the project. You can find them at “oralhistory.illinois.gov.” 
 

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Kennedy Ad Tackles Gun Violence, Cites Family Legacy

Chris Kennedy’s campaign for governor has rolled out its first television ad of the campaign. He's connecting the impact of gun violence on his legendary family with the blood on the streets of Chicago and elsewhere. 
 
Kennedy's ad immediately notes the impact of the events of June, 1968 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
 
 
Kennedy doesn't just draw on tragic memories in the ad.
 
 
The campaign has also rolled out a new digital ad as well as the Kennedy camp tries to gain traction in the social media realm.

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Durbin Blasts GOP Tax Plan

Senator Dick Durbin blasted Senate Republicans for supporting what he calls a partisan tax plan. Durbin says the tax plan would noticeably hurt middle income families.
 
 
Durbin says there will be greater problems down the road.
 
 
Durbin says under the House Republican plan, which will be voted on this week, the medical expense deduction will be eliminated. He says that means seniors will no longer be able to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses. 

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Duckworth Opposes Confirmed US Department of Transportation Nominee

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth spoke out against a nominee for General Counsel of the US Department of Transportation. 
 
The former military aviator told fellow Senators they should reject the nomination of Steven Bradbury, but he was was confirmed before the day was out. Duckworth says he authored legal memos that paved the way for American forces to use torture in the war on terror.
 
 
Duckworth says torture authorization has only made war zones more volatile.
 
 
Duckworth says she's fearful Bradbury might endorse actions that could hurt traffic safety if the President so chooses.

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More Details Available On Saturday Fatal Accident in Rural DeWitt County

A semi car accident north of Clinton Saturday evening claimed the lives of a Clinton couple. 
 
At approximately 5:30 pm Saturday evening, a semi grain truck was turning from Autumn Road crossing 51 north headed southbound when a Chevy Cruz driven by 57-year old Karen Hable of Clinton colided in the northbound lane on US 51. Her husband, 57-year old Anthony Hable was also in the car at the time of the accident. 
 
The couple was pronounced dead at the scene at 5:58 pm.
 
The driver of the grain truck, identified as Andrew Johnson of Decatur, was cited with failure to stop and not wearing a seatbelt. 
 
The DeWitt County Sheriff's office, the DeWitt County Coroner, and Illinois State Police were on scene along with Clinton and Wapella fire departments. 
 
Traffic was redirected throughout Saturday night and crews were on scene into Sunday morning. 

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Founder of Clinton FFA To Be Inducted Into Wall of Honor

The founder of the Clinton FFA Chapter is going to be posthumously honored at this year's Wall of Honor induction at Clinton High School.
 
Principal Jerry Wayne, who is a part of the selection committee, says Clyde E. Frye was selected as this year's inductee. He was responsible for bringing FFA to Clinton High School.
 
 
Fry will be inducted on Friday, January 12, 2018 starting at 6:30 PM with a reception in the west gym of Clinton High School and unveiling of a plaque on the wall in the sports entrance. The recognition ceremony will be between the junior varsity and varsity basketball games in the main gym. 
 
 
Wayne says they have gotten some very good nominations and wants to make sure the Wall of Honor is recognizing individuals who have gone above and beyond in service to the community or in their accomplishments.

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Clinton Crews Readying for Leaf Clean Up Season

It's about time for City Public Works crews to hit the neighborhoods in an effort to get the falling leaves picked up.
 
Public Works Director Steve Lobb indicates the conditions are taking shape for their crews to start dedicating most of their time to this effort.
 
 
When it gets into the thickest of the cleanup efforts, it could take almost an entire day to get through one of the five zones in the community. Lobb also notes the weather can slow them down when it consistently rains.
 
 
Lobb says when you get the leaves to the edge of the curb, his crews will be by within a week to get those, provided the weather cooperates. He notes they use primarily two crews but if things become too much, he has on occasion, turned to a third crew to provide support.
 
Lobb adds the community yard waste facility is now open all day Saturdays and Tuesday and Thursdays. 

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DNR Handicap Hunt Successful Again

Department of Natural Resources officials along with numerous volunteers again hosted a successful handicap hunt this past weekend at Clinton Lake.
 
DNR CPO John Williamson indicates the handicap hunt allowed hunters to get into ACA compliant stands and hunt while controlling the deer population at Clinton Lake.
 
 
The handicap hunt is one of the few that takes place across the state and only a select few are allowed to participate. The event closes off Clinton Lake and the surrounding area for the three days. 

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National Weather Service Says La Nina Winter Developing, Bringing Varying Temperatures

The things happening at the equator this time of year can give weather officials a good idea of what will happen during the winter months.
 
Chris Miller with the National Weather Service in Lincoln indicates the water temperature of the ocean near the equator can dictate the weather patterns La Nina and El Nino. He says right now La Nina is developing.
 
 
According to Miller, a La Nina weather pattern will bring variable temperatures. He notes that pattern has already been prominent in the fall.
 
 
The last few years have brought warmer than normal conditions at times but with the fluctuation in temperatures expected, Miller indicates that could leave us with some nasty conditions when the precipitation comes around.
 
 
A lot more information is available at weather.gov/lincoln. You can find the National Weather Service on Facebook and Twitter as well. 

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Sen. McCann Wants To Make It Easier To Stripe Roads

State Senator McCann is tired of blurred lines and we're not talking about political viewpoints. 
 
He has filed legislation giving local road authorities the potential for financial assistance to stripe dangerous roadways. 
 
McCann says road authorities often aren't able to use state and federal funds to stripe roads because of complicated financial rules. 
 
Currently only motor fuel taxes can be used for striping but increased fuel efficiency and heavy state use of motor fuel taxes has limited those dollars. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN HARVESTING LAGS BEHIND, ESPECIALLY IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
90 PERCENT OF THE CORN CROP HAS BEEN HARVESTED…BUT PROGRESS VARIES BY LOCATION SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. JUST 80 PERCENT HAS BEEN HARVESTED IN NORTHWESTERN ILLINOIS AND 73 PERCENT IN THE NORTHEAST. 
 
95 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 85 PERCENT EMERGED. 
 
 
95 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN HARVESTED…JUST BEHIND THE AVERAGE PACE. 
 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS RATED AT NINE PERCENT SHORT, 84 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND SEVEN PERCENT SURPLUS.

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Pritzker Still Pushing For Progressive Tax But Plans Still in the Works

Democratic Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker continues to call for a progressive tax structure in Illinois, but as of last week he had no hard numbers just yet for his push to have wealthier Illinoisans pay more.
 
 
A progressive tax would require a constitutional amendment because the Illinois Constitution calls for the current flat tax system in the state.

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Governor Calls Mendoza 'Bank Robber Calling The Cops'

Billions of unappropriated spending was going on last fiscal year and lawmakers and the public just found out about it. Last week more than $2.8 billion in new unpaid bills showed up on the state’s ledger. 
 
That revelation had Comptroller Susanna Mendoza upset at the ability of Governor Bruce Rauner and the current administration to hide extra spending during the budget crisis. After a stinging rebuke on the spending and a veto override on a debt transparency bill Rauner fired back at the Comptroller
 
 
Mendoza said in a statement that Rauner still needs to provide full details about when he knew about the unappropriated spending of $2.8 billion, what his plan is for taking care of it.

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Future Role of US in NAFTA Remains Unclear

What’s the future role of the U.S. with the North American Free Trade Agreement? 
 
That’s a tough read says reporter Jenny Hopkinson. She covers the issue for POLITICO.
 
 
NAFTA talks take place Wednesday in Mexico City with representatives from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. all scheduled to be in attendance. 

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Bustos Not A Fan of GOP Tax Reform Plan

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos expressing deep reservations with the GOP House and Senate tax reform plans. 
 
 
Bustos says she doesn’t have a major issue with lowering the corporate tax rate, but she quote “doesn’t believe corporations should be treated like royalty and the rest of us like peasants.” 

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Homes For Heroes Helping Veterans, First Responders Among Others

If you are an educator, healthcare worker, veteran or first responder and are looking for a new home, a local realtor has a program that might interest you.
 
Jessica DeVore, owner of Green Acres Real Estate in Clinton, explains she was introduced to the program 'Homes for Heroes' which honors law enforcement, firefighters, educators and veterans among others.
 
 
DeVore indicates the program offers a discount and she also donates 30% of that commission.
 
 
DeVore says she is very dedicated to making sure anyone who falls into one of those categories gets the help they deserve. To learn more, visit her website, jessicadevore.com. 

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Friendship Center Director Discusses Retirment

Two weeks ago the leader of the DeWitt County Friendship Center announced her intend to retire at the beginning of 2018.
 
Sissy Leggett has been at the Friendship Center 10 years and says she has enjoyed her time at the senior gathering place in Clinton but just wants to take a step back. 
 
 
Leggett says any accomplishments at the Friendship Center a result of the support they receive from the community and nothing she could do on her own. She points to the industrial kitchen they were able to install as something that was a great showing of the community supporting them. 
 
 
Leggett says one thing she could have seen accomplished was an expansion of their parking space behind their facility. A grant through the State of Illinois was in the works until the budget crisis and since it was been on the back-burner but she would not dismiss the idea it won't ever happen. 

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Social Security Helping Veterans Through Various Programs

Veterans Day has been a time to highlight those who have served and honor them through various ways.
 
Social Security takes part in honoring service members and Jack Myers with Social Security says it's not just something they do in November, but all year round.
 
 
Myers indicates if you were injured on or after October 1, 2001, your claims are eligible to be expedited. Additionally, if you are on active duty but incapacitated, that doesn't mean you can't receive social security benefits.
 
 
When filling out a disability application, Myers says to make a note on your application that you are veteran rated 100% permanent and total. 
 
 
For more information on both these programs or to apply, visit socialsecurity.gov. 

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Senator Manar Says JB Pritzker Good For Democrats

State Senator Andy Manar is endorsing J.B. Pritzker for Governor. Manar doesn't just say Pritzker would be the right fit for Governor, but he believes his intense statewide campaign could lift up the state Democratic party in key spots...
 
 
Manar once was liniked to the Governor's race but opted not to join to focus on his work in the State Senate.

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Ag Secretary Perdue Reveals USDA Priorities

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says increasing trade, having a legal agricultural labor workforce, and reigning in federal regulations represent the top three issues his department has prioritized. 
 
During a press conference Thursday held at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City, Perdue tried to calm farmer-fears that President Trump will pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement;
 
 
Perdue says NAFTA negotiations, in his words, “may go to the brink,” but that ultimately the administration will secure a better trade deal that will include agriculture. On the challenge many farmers face to find a stable and legal source or labor, Perdue says U-S-D-A is working on that too;
 
 
On regulatory reform, Perdue told farm broadcasters U-S-D-A has submitted several for review by the White House for possible repeal.

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Ag Industry Facing New Challenges From Expanding Global Environment

An ag economist says it’s a global environment for agriculture more now than ever and farmers are facing more challenges as a result. Bill Tierney is with Chicago based Ag Resource Company….
 
 
Tierney has been following the commodity market for 30-plus years. He was in Kansas City this week for the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention. 

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Governor Taking Veto Sessions Setbacks in Stride

Gov. Bruce Rauner suffered a number of setbacks during the just completed veto session. 
Lawmakers achieved overrides on most of the votes taken, but Rauner is taking the votes in stride and he says he doesn't believe it indicates that GOP lawmakers are backing away from him a year before Rauner faces re-election.
 

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Rauner Blasts Veto Override of Debt Transparency Bill

The Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner's veto of debt transparency legislation calling for monthly reporting of incoming bills. 
 
Rauner blasted the override vote and says his plans to boost the state's internet technology would be more helpful.
 
The state will switch from yearly reporting of bills to monthly reporting January first. It's a switch State Comptroller Susana Mendoza has called for since taking office. 

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Governor Pushing Military Card Drive

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS URGING ILLINOISANS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS YEAR’S MILITARY HOLIDAY CARD DRIVE. 
 
THE “CARDS FOR HEROES” PROGRAM COLLECTS HOLIDAY CARDS AND SENDS THEM OFF TO SERVICE MEMBERS TO HELP KEEP THEIR SPIRITS UP SAYS GOVERNOR RAUNER.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS THE “CARDS FOR HEROES” PROGRAM IS NOW UNDERWAY.
 
 
CARDS CAN BE MAILED TO THE U-S-O OF ILLINOIS OR DROPPED OFF AT YOUR LOCAL STATE VETERANS’ AFFAIRS OFFICE. THEY MUST BE TURNED IN BY NOVEMBER 20TH.

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Michelle Witzke Named Grand Marshal of Clinton Christmas Parade

The leader of a movement in Clinton to bring a youth center to the community has been named the Grand Marshal of this year's Clinton Christmas Parade.
 
Michelle Witzke has been working on The Vault for a couple years now and has been named the Grand Marshal of the upcoming Christmas Parade in Clinton. Clinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marian Brisard congratulates her on a well deserved honor.
 
 
Witzke will ride in the back of a convertible with her husband, who will drive the car. Witzke has been rallying support for the planned youth center at the former 'Indecent X-Posure' location on the square, which is currently being renovated. 
 
The Clinton Christmas Parade is Saturday, November 25 at 2 pm. 

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Governor Weighs in On Sexual Harassment at Statehouse

Governor Bruce Rauner says when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment at the Statehouse, there has been a pattern of failure.
 
 
He hasn't called for State Senator Ira Silverstein's resignation after sexual harassment allegations were leveled against him. 

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Department of Revenue Introduces Invest in Kids Act

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IS GETTING READY TO ROLL OUT THE STATE’S NEW TAX-CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. 
 
THE INVEST IN KIDS ACT LETS INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES TAKE A TAX CREDIT FOR MONEY DONATED TO HELP LOW INCOME STUDENTS GO TO PRIVATE SCHOOL. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SPOKESPERSON TERRY HORSTMAN SAYS THE PROGRAM OFFICIALLY BEGINS JANUARY SECOND.
 
 
HORSTMAN SAYS IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE, YOU NEED TO FIRST APPLY ONLINE.
 
 
THE AMOUNT OF THE TAX CREDIT WILL DEPEND ON WHICH REGION OF THE STATE YOU’RE SENDING YOUR DONATION. MORE DETAILS ARE ONLINE AT: MY TAX DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV.

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Weekly Weather Summary

November has been cooler than normal. This weekend will be cool as well but a mild week is ahead. State Climotologist Jim Angel has more....
 

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Secretary of State Dispelling Myths About Giving Blood

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE, CHURCH LEADERS AND ORGAN RECIPIENTS ARE RECOGNIZING NATIONAL DONOR SABBATH AND TRYING TO DISPEL SOME OF THE MYTHS ABOUT ORGAN DONATION. 
 
SECRETARY WHITE SAYS PEOPLE OFTEN EXPRESS CONCERNS ABOUT THEIR FAITH WHEN CONSIDERING ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION.
 
 
TO JOIN THE STATE’S ORGAN DONOR REGISTRY…VISIT LIFE GOES ON DOT COM. WHITE REMINDS THAT 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS CAN NOW SIGN UP.

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State Passes Law to Require Writing Cursive

SCHOOLS WILL HAVE TO TEACH STUDENTS CURSIVE WRITING UNDER A NEW STATE LAW.
 
THE HOUSE AND NOW SENATE HAVE OVERIDDEN THE GOVERNOR’S VETO OF A BILL REQUIRING PUBLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS TO TEACH AT LEAST ONE UNIT OF CURSIVE. SENATOR KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD OF MAYWOOD SAYS IT’S A PRACTICAL SKILL THAT STUDENTS NEED TO LEARN.
 
 
THE NEW LAW WILL TAKE EFFECT IN THE 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR.

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WHOW Local Farm Broadcaster Wins Award At National Convention

Jared White, local farm broadcaster for WHOW THE BIG 1520 AM and 92.3 FM in Clinton, was given the “Excellence in Ag Reporting” Award Friday, at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual convention in Kansas City.

White was given the award for the most used story on the N-A-F-B News Service in 2017.  Farm broadcasters from around the country, share stories with each other on the News Service.

White was presented a certificate for his work.

White has been WHOW's local farm broadcaster since 2011, and has been with the station since 2007.

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Local Realtor Teams Up With Clinton Elementary School To Honor Local Heroes

Clinton Elementary School students will be honoring local heroes this Veterans Day thanks to the efforts of a local realtor.
 
Jessica DeVore, owner of Green Acres Real Estate in Clinton, explains a program she is affiliated with, Homes for Heroes has a program for youth to honor their local heroes and she reached out to CES Principal Sasha Young to get the program in the community.
 
 
Young says once she learned about the program, she introduced it to her teachers and had them give the assignment to their students. She says the teachers came up with good ideas for ways for their kids to do this.
 
 
The winners will also be recognized on Veterans Day in the afternoon during a special student assembly. 
 
The coloring contest winners are: 
 
2nd Grade
Preston Howell
Riley Keelin
Charlie Adams
Addi Groves
Sophia Peterson
Emma Tool
Bella Bryant
Lexi Merriman
Aubrey Roberts
Savannah Wheeler
Sophia Goff
Peyton Mills
Emma Rempe
 
3rd Grade
Ben Goebel
Sierra Sickles
Robbie Reid
Seth Trimble
Josie Blakely
Justin Droke Jr.
Curtis Harweger
Audrey Toohill
Kailee Ramirez
Rylie Senters
Briley Carter
Ethan Carter
Ethan Ayers
 
4th grade
Clara Demspey
Leah Mills
John Gentry
Gage Harr
Abel Koritz
Bailey Rhoades
Zack Potts
Bella Tuttle
Savanna Williamson
Halle Wrage
Bella Hoffman
Laney Weaver
Cameron Carter
Adrien Riley
 
5th Grade
Shirley Flores
Brielle Morrison
Andrew Brown
Elijah Soberalski
Adyson Beebe
Mackenzie Peek
Natasha Fatheree
Addison Prothero
Riley Adams
Teyha Spallinger
Regan Filkin
Jasmine Gentry

 

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CHS, CJHS To Host Veterans Day Assemblies

Clinton and DeWitt County veterans will be served to a breakfast at Clinton Elementary School to start the day today and then it is off to the junior and senior high schools for more recognitions.
 
Starting at the Junior High School, the students and staff have their annual assembly to honor the veterans that day. Principal Drew Goebel indicates the Boy Scouts will be involved in the ceremony along with the Am Vets.
 
 
Then it will be off to the high school for their annual gathering where Principal Jerry Wayne says they will do something similar as the junior high school.b
 
 
Being a veteran himself, Goebel feels it is a very good thing the way the school district embraces the veterans of the community and honors them. He believes it is a good thing the district has the students come to school for the day to actively honor veterans.
 
 
Also this weekend for Veterans Day in DeWitt County:
 
A brunch has been planned to honor area veterans and their guest on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, at Clinton Community High School, Commons Area, 1200 Route 54 West, starting at 9:00 am. 
 
This year commemorates the 100th anniversary of World War I and so the program following the brunch will include a dance, "Belleau Wood," presented by members of Dance Xtreme, directed by Kim Alexander, followed by a program on World War I: The Great War, given by Gary Simpkins of Heyworth, IL. 
 
Hosting the event will be DeWitt Clinton Chapter DAR and the Clinton American Legion Auxiliary.
 
The Veteran's Assistance Commission of Macon County, Inc. invites you to join them as they "Honor Our Veterans" and remember the men and women who fought for our freedom and our country!
 
Startin at 7 pm at the Salvation Army at 229 W. Main St. in Decatur, family, and friends are invited to be a part of the program. 

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Clinton Public Works Crews Busy In November

November is one of the busiest months of the year for the crews that maintain the cleanliness and beautification of the community.
 
Public Works Director Steve Lobb indicates November brings the heavy leaf cleanup season, finishing touches on summer and fall projects and getting Christmas decorations ready downtown.
 
 
Lobb indicates the fall leaf cleanup season has not quite yet hit full swing. He explains the fall has been out of the ordinary and it hasn't allowed the trees to shed all their leaves yet but anticipates the leaf cleanup season hitting full swing very soon.
 
 
If residents do have the means, the city yard waste facility on Clay Street is open for the season and can be taken their all day on Saturdays and Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

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Sen. Rose Supports Transparency Legislation

A local lawmaker is supporting legislation that would require state agencies to submit their bill to the comptroller for review.
 
Sen. Chapin Rose supports the bill that was vetoed by the governor. Gov. Rauner claimed that an upcoming computer system would make this task unnecessary. Sen. Rose says the system is not yet operational, and thinks there should be transparency in Illinois government.
 
 
Sen. Rose originally supported the governor's view in the original vote, but has changed his mind since new information regarding the computer system has become available. He believes there are too many glitches in the system currently, and it cannot be trusted at this time.
 
 
 
The legislation would require state agencies to send their bills to the comptroller after thirty days and would improve transparency. 

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Western Illinois University Judgeting Team Having Banner Year

Western Illinois University’s Livestock Judging Team having a strong run. They’re coming off a fifth place finish at the American Royal in Kansas City last month. 
 
The WIU livestock judging coach is Mark Hoge.
 
 
The Texas Tech team is coached by Aledo, Illinois native Jon DeClerck.

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Illinois Native Speaks Up About Food

Kevin Folta grew up in the leafy Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, but has become an outspoken advocate of biotechnology and other modern farming practices. 
 
Folta now leads the horticulture program at the University of Florida and believes Illinois farmers and others need to become more visible and vocal as well;
 
 
Folta holds two degrees from Northern Illinois University and secured a doctorate degree in molecular biology from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He says most people like farmers, but many don’t like farming;
 
 
Folta returns to DeKalb on Monday, November 27th to participate in a discussion about farming and food. The panel takes place following a screening of the recently released "Food Evolution" documentary at 7:00 p-m at the historic Egyptian Theater. It's free and open to the public.

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Former US Ag Secretary, Illinois Native Eyeing Tax Reform

Former U.S. Agriculture Secretary and Illinois native John Block wants to see a tax reform deal completed by this year. 
 
He’s hoping for repeal of the estate tax and a reduction in the corporate tax rate. 
 
 
Block served as the nation’s ag secretary during the Reagan administration. He was born in Galesburg and has a farm just outside of Knoxville. 

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Governor Rauner Launches Honor 200 Program

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS ANNOUNCING THE HONOR 200 INITIATIVE FOR VETERANS.
 
HONOR 200 WILL BE THE SIGNATURE PROGRAM OF THE ILLINOIS BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION. GOVERNOR RAUNER EXPLAINS HOW IT WILL WORK.
 
 
STATE OFFICIALS WILL WORK WITH VETERAN’S ORGANIZATIONS AROUND ILLINOIS TO PROMOTE HONOR 200 AND TAKE NOMINATIONS. YOU CAN ALSO NOMINATE A VET ONLINE AT: ILLINOIS DOT GOV SLASH VETRANS.

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Department of Employment Security Encouraging Veterans To Take Advantage of Services

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY IS REMINDING VETERANS ABOUT THE SERVICES THEY OFFER. 
 
I-D-E-S STRIVES TO HELP RETURNING SOLDIERS GET A JOB…AND RECEIVES FEDERAL FUNDING FOR A VARIETY OF OUTREACH INITIATIVES SAYS SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff).
 
 
THE AGENCY CAN HELP VETERANS OVERCOME OBSTACLES TO EMPLOYMENT SUCH AS DISABILTY AND LACK OF AN EDUCATION.
 
 
VISIT THE WEBSITE: IDES DOT ILLINOIS DOT GOV FOR MORE INFORMATION…AND ILLINOIS JOB LINK DOT COM TO SEARCH FOR JOBS.

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State Farm Bank Offers Sponsorship Opportunity to DeWitt County Non-Profits

State Farm Bank offered a sponsorship opportunity to DeWitt County non-profits at the DeWitt County Coalition meeting Wednesday afternoon.
 
State Farm Bank is looking for non-profit organizations to gather a minimum 15 low to moderate income adults to attend a vehicle lending workshop.The non-profit that believes it can accomplish this before the end of November and will be giving a sponsorship of $1,500. More than one non-profit can work together to make this workshop happen.
 
 
The same workshop opportunity will be offered in McLean County.

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Monticello Schools Looking To Wrap Up Plans For Facilities Future

Almost a half decade has been dedicated to what the future of Monticello Schools facilities should look like and officials are hoping to wrap up the planning process in the spring with a referendum.
 
Dr. Vic Zimmerman, Superintendent of Monticello Schools, explains the recommendation will likely not include a new high school, instead it will likely include an addition to the high school and classroom improvements, among other upgrades across the district.
 
 
After a pair of failed referendums, school officials and the Board went back to the community and Dr. Zimmerman points out, the proposed upgrades are what the community told them they  want.
 
 
Current outdoor facilities would remain the same. Dr. Zimmerman says Miller Gym can hold around 800 maximum attendees. He says when they build a gym for Washington School, they will build it big enough for high school competitive events, to hold around 1200 to 1500 people. 

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Decatur's Scovill Zoo Celebrating Strong 2017 Season

The Decatur Scovill Zoo is closed for the winter now but officials indicate 2017 was another strong year. 
 
Thanks to a great turnout for their annual Halloween event, Boo At The Zoo, Director Ken Frye says it took them over the 100,000 attendees threshold this year.
 
 
While it wasn't a banner year for the zoo from an attendance perspective, Frye indicates it was still a solid year as he likes to achieve that 100-thousand number as often as possible.
 
 
The Zoo will reopen in the spring as several of the animals in their collection now head indoors for the winter season. Frye indicates they have several animals that actually enjoy the winter season. We'll have more on the winter at the Scovill Zoo in the coming days on Regional Radio News.
 
You can find Scovill Zoo on Facebook. 

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Senate Calls for Monthly Reporting of Incoming Bills

The Illinois Senate has voted to override Governor Rauner's veto of legislation calling for monthly reporting of incoming bills to the state. 
 
State Senator Andy Manar is singing the praises of the "debt transparency act" which takes effect New Year's Day.
 
 
Mendoza says yesterdays development will help her prioritize bill-paying with the state facing nearly $17 billion in overdue bills.
 

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Many Factors Worldwide Playing Into Gas Price Spike at Home

Gas prices have taken a noticeable jump in recent weeks, and multiple factors are playing into the price increase. According to GasBuddy.com, gas prices are averaging at $2.70 a gallon in Illinois, up almost 20 cents from last week. That is up 52 cents from the same time last year.
 
Tim Sutton with Christian County F-S says many factors worldwide are making American oil more attractive to export.
 
 
Sutton says once the supply of gasoline products gets back in line with the demand, he believes gas prices will drop considerably.

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Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association Promoting Required Dicamba Training

Farmers planning to use crop protection products containing dicamba in 2018 must receive training prior to application. It's a new label requirement says Jean Payne with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association.
 
 
In addition to monetary penalties, Payne says a farmer could also lose his or her certified applicator license if using dicamba without required training.

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Gubernatorial Candidate, Chris Kennedey, Isn't Singing Praises of State's Handling of Sexual Harassment

The Illinois General Assembly took an aggressive stance on sexual harassment Tuesday but Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said "what took you so long".
 
 
Kennedy says taking a soft line on sexual harassment makes it harder to draw the best and brightest.
 

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Farmer City Christmas Parade Next Saturday

One of central Illinois' biggest Christmas parades is a week from Saturday and there is still time to be a part of it for groups or organizations around central Illinois.
 
The annual Farmer City Christmas parade is Saturday, November 19 at 2 pm and Chad Wills says it's not too late to participate. He notes he'd like to have a list finalized by the end of the week but they will accommodate last minute entries the day of. 
 
 
Wills indicates over 100 entries make up the parade each year which can last around an hour and a half. He says they have entries from antique cars and tractors, businesses and local celebrities.
 
 
This year, Lance Speaker and David Holt are this year's parade grand marshals. Wills explains those two do great for the Farmer City Raceway, a great asset to the community.
 
 
To get more information about the Farmer City Christmas Parade or to get entered, contact Wills at 309-386-2791. It is free to enter the parade and the route is the Farmer City Fairgrounds, through downtown and ending at Heartland Bank. 

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Veterans Get Free Admission To Lincoln Musuem

Vets looking for something a little different to do on Saturday can tour the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum for free. 
 
The downtown Springfield landmark will grant passes for vets, current service members and Gold Star families. Chris Wills with the museum says they will host a special speaker on November 11.
 
 
The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be at the museum to get vets the latest information about programs and support they are eligible for.

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Children's Advocacy Center's Darknesss To Light Next Week

If you interact with youth in any capacity, a local children's advocacy support is hoping you'll consider taking a brief seminar that can help you identify abuse in kids you may be interacting with.
 
Judy Brucker is the Executive Director of the Children's Advocacy Center in DeWitt, Livingston and McLean Counties indicates the Darkness to Light program, set for Wednesday of next week, is part of a national curriculum they offer their communities.
 
 
If you cannot make the seminar, Brucker indicates they also have the program available to speak to community groups so the information is always available. This is a program that is opened up to the community a couple time per year.
 
 
To get more information on the Darkness to Light seminar, contact Brucker at 309-888-5656. And again the training is next Wednesday, November 15 in Normal. 

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Senate Approves Harassment Measures

The Illinois Senate debated and discussed topics today surrounding sexual harassment at the Capitol. The first step taken was to approve the appointment of a Legislative Inspector General. 
 
That office, in charge of looking into complaints like sexual harassment had sat empty for 3 years. Now that Julie Porter has been approved the Senate also voted in favor of extending the statute of limitations on misconduct claims. That allows for all 27 claims made since the office was vacated to be up for review. 
 
Senator Karen McCounnaughay says it’s a valuable first step but more can be done.
 
 
There is also a pending sexual harassment task force to be assembled by the Senate. One Senator has been publicly named in a harassment case; Ira Silverstein was at the Capitol but told reporters he would not be talking about the allegations against him until he spoke to the new Inspector General.

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Kennedy Pushing New Gun Control Measures

Democratic Governor Candidate Chris Kennedy is calling on lawmakers to rethink gun laws after the latest mass shooting in Texas. 
 
Kennedy is upset that the shooter in the Texas church shooting had a record of domestic abuse. Kennedy would like to see laws here like other states where a gun owner forfeits the right to own the firearm if they are involved in a domestic dispute. 
 
Kennedy expressed disappointment with last month's defeat of legislation banning so called bump stocks. Kennedy also spoke in support of a measure that imposes stricter regulations on gun dealers, and closing gun show loopholes. 
 
Lawmakers are back in Springfield today to start the final week of the fall veto session. Legislation calling for licensing of gun dealers could surface.
 

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