WARMING CENTERS IN CLINTON FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW: FRIENDSHIP CENTER, 8 AM - 3 PM, AND WARNER LIBRARY, 9 AM - 8 PM          
Local News

Warming Centers Open Today and Tomorrow

Due to the extreme cold today and tomorrow morning, two local entities will be open as Warming Centers as announced by the DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency Tuesday morning. 
 
The DeWitt County Friendship Center, on 410 E. Main St in Clinton, is open today and tomorrow from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM.
 
The Warner Library, on 310 N. Quincy St in Clinton, is open today and tomorrow from 9:00 AM until its new closing time at 8:00 PM.
 
The library also has a bin of hats and gloves if you need them to take warm. It is located at the front of the library and is free to take advantage of. 
 
Local officials say stay indoors as much as possible and limit strenuous outdoor activities.

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Clinton Board of Education Approves High School Introductory Technology Course

The Clinton Board of Education Tuesday night approved a semester long technology course for high school freshman. 
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles brought the idea to the Board of Education at their monthly meeting. He explains it will give freshman an introductory course to the technology used by high school students.
 
 
Dorothy Harrold indicates there is an option for students to opt out of the introductory course and advance to another course after they pass a pre-test.
 
 
Principal of Clinton High School, Jerry Wayne believes the course will give their students the tools early to get the full impact of the devices.
 
 
The measure passed and will be implemented starting next year. 

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Clinton First Christian Church Hosting Huge Speech Competition

A group of home-schooled students are in need of approximately 300 volunteers to judge a speech and debate competition next week at Clinton's First Christian Church.
 
Amy Joy Tofte spoke before the Clinton Rotary Club Tuesday and indicates around 150 students from six states will converge on Clinton for a speech and debate competition at First Christian Church.
 
 
Tofte indicates the event needs around 400 people to volunteer to be a judge. She says they are about a quarter of the way to their 400 volunteers they need.
 
 
With all the families of those in attendance, it is estimated 400 people will be in the community for the weekend, and FCC Pastor, Greg Taylor, says it will be a big deal for the local economy.
 
 
The event is next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Anyone is welcome to be a judge for this event. Things start as early as 7:15 am and conclude as late as 10 pm. You can stop by the church during these times if you're interested and meals are provided for volunteers. 
 
Click HERE to learn more, or to sign up.

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Local Health Network Available for Addictions, Mental Health Issues in Central Illinois

A central Illinois health network is hosting a March event aimed at equipping parents with proper tools to help their kids avoid drugs and introduce central Illinois to a great resource for addictions of several types. 
 
Sandra Beecher explains her new position at Rosecrance Health Network allows her to serve the community still. She says her office in Champaign has residential treatment.
 
 
Beecher indicates Rosecrance has facilities scattered across the midwest and they are facilities that are very nice. She indicates they do treatments of all types for all ages.
 
 
Rosecrance and The Vineyard Church in Champaign are partnering to host an event called Stairway to Heroin on March 6. It will feature speakers discussing recovery, law enforcement officials and health administrators. The event is free and open to the public.
 
To learn more, contact Beecher at 217-722-6174 or email her at rbeecher@rosecrance.org. 

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IAA Foundation Has 76 Scholarships

The IAA Foundation reminding current and prospective agriculture students about over seventy scholarship opportunities. The deadline to apply is February 1.
 
 
IAA Foundation Director Susan Moore says specific guidelines are available at “iaafoundation.org”. 

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Durbin Stands By Expletive Claims

Senator Dick Durbin is sticking to his guns, saying there is no doubt that he heard President Trump say expletives comparing African countries and Haiti to something akin to a toilet. 
 
He says claims that the President referred to houses of excrement rather than holes, makes little difference.
 
 
Durbin also expressed certainty as to which word he heard.
 
 
In a Tweet, President Trump referred to Durbin as "Dicky Durbin". He said “Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military,”'

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Durbin Presses Homeland Security Secretary for Answers on 'S-Holes'

Senator Dick Durbin had a number of questions for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on the future of the Dream Act and her memory of last Thursday's White House meeting between President Trump and a number of Senators, including himself. Durbin asked Nielsen if she heard the President use an expletive to describe Haiti and African nations.
 
 
 
Durbin noted Graham used an expletive to refer to the word he claims President Trump said.

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One Injured in Crash Near Maroa Tuesday Afternoon

At least one person was injured in a two vehicle crash south of Maroa in Macon County from late Tuesday morning. 
 
The crash took place near Wise Road on US Highway 51 just after 11 am. 
 
The Macon County Sheriff's office indicates one of the vehicles was torn in half and one victim in the crash was injured and taken by ambulance to a local hospital. The injuries are considered non-life threatening. The driver of the other vehicle was also taken to the hospital. 
 
Authorities say the two cars collided when one lost control and went across the median, hitting the second vehicle and it was cut in half. 
 
Traffic was diverted for a little more than an hour.
 
Authorities from the Maroa Police Department, Maroa Fire Department and Macon County Sheriff's office responded. 

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DeWitt County Development Council Introduces New Executive Director

Elizabeth Fulks is the new Executive Director of the DeWitt County Development Council.
 
Monday morning, President of the DCDC Board, David Torbert, introduced her and says she comes highly recommended with a lot of connections to DeWitt County.
 
 
Fulks indicates she has worked primarily in the Farmer City area. She hopes to bring her experience and connections from that part of the County along with her.
 
 
For now, Fulks is focused on getting an understanding of the DCDC as an organization and getting to know all the community players. Long term, she wants to start to get in front of them and get to know their needs and learn how DCDC can be an asset to them.
 
 
To get in touch Fulks about anything going on with the DCDC, including their revolving loan fund and leaders breakast coming up next month, visit DCDC-illinois.org or find them on Facebook. 

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University of Illinois Extension Offers Indoor Plant Tips For Winter Months

Are those plants you brought in for the winter months starting to look a little droopy? 
 
University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Candace Miller says while watering is always recommended, she says some plants looking a little down isn't necessarily a bad thing.
 
 
Some plants are going to need to be near your windows with lots of light, but it can vary from plant to plant.
 
 
Miller encourages a phone call or email to your local U of I Extension office and the Master Gardener in that office can help you through any issues you may have. Just visit extension.illinois.edu. 

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Governor Discusses Veto of School Funding

The State Board of Education warns Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the school funding reform bill may bring “further disruption and confusion” for all school districts in the state. 
 
The State Board issued a statement last week indicating efforts to install a new school funding formula depend on lawmakers. Rauner explained his use of amendatory veto powers to rewrite the bill.
 
 
Rauner pinpointed areas that need the most help.
 
 
Lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield later this month and could attempt to override Rauner’s amendatory veto.

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Double Crop Forum Set For February 7 in Mt. Vernon

Farmers would be well served to look at the ‘triple threat’. So says Illinois Wheat Association Executive Director Jim Fraley. He’s referring to double-cropping wheat and soybeans to generate income from three different sources—wheat, wheat straw and soybeans. 
 
And Illinois Soybean Association’s Dan Davidson says double–crop opportunities are expanding in the state because of new seed varieties.
 
 
The wheat and soybean associations are teaming up to host a double-crop forum February 7th in Mount Vernon. You can register at “Illinoiswheat.org.” The fee is $20. 

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Monday Accidents Bring Advisory From Local Authorities

Nearly half a dozen accidents because of poor road conditions in DeWitt County today have prompted local authorities to remind motorists to slow down
 
Poor driving conditions and blowing snow on the roads has been the cause of a half dozen accidents in DeWitt County and DeWitt County Sheriff's Deputy John Gaffney indictes there have been no major injuries and most of the accidents are due to driving too fast for the conditions.
 
 
Deputy Gaffney says things aren't expected to warm up much Monday afternoon so he's advising drivers slow down and if you can, stay in. Road conditions are slick with the wind blowing snow across major roads.
 
 
Deputy Gaffney also warns against following to close to snow plows. He says give them their space to work as well. 
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 3 pm this afternoon. A Wind Chill Advisory goes into effect at 6 pm Monday evening and remains in effect until Tuesday at noon. Temperatures are expected to drop all through the night and into the morning and could see wind chills as low as 18-below zero overnight and wind chills between 10-15 below zero during the morning commute. 

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Seniors Invited To Online Safety Seminar Wednesday

DeWitt County seniors are invited out this week to be a part of a seminar about online security.
 
Connie Unruh with DeWitt County Triad is leading the seminar that will focus on keeping your identity and important information safe and secure online.
 
 
That is Executive Director of the Friendship Center, Sissy Leggett. 
 
The seminar is this Wednesday. Get more information by contacting the DeWitt County Friendship Center at 217-935-9411.

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2018 Crucial Year for Potential CEO Program in Central Illinois

2018 is going to be a critical year in the development of the CEO that has nearly a dozen central Illinois districts participating.
 
Warrensburg-Latham Schools are among the districts that are working to get the program off the ground and started. It will likely be a 2019-2020 start but there's a lot of work to be done leading up to that and W-L Superintendent, Dr. Kristen Kendrick-Weikle indicates the program is too good of an opportunity to pass up.
 
 
2018 will be crucial for these schools as they are going to need to get a good amount of the support rallied together. Dr. Kendrick-Weikle explains there's a lot of moving parts to the development of the program.
 
 
Dr. Kendrick-Weikle indicates the schools have raised about half the money they need and they hope to have the fundraising wrapped up by May. The next step will be to put together board of directors, who will essentially take over the functions of the program from there. 

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Congressman Davis Expects Trump To Tackle Infrastructure in 2018

The farm bill and infrastructure are two key things Congressman Rodney Davis believes President Trump will focus on in 2018.
 
With the tax bill overhaul in place, the Taylorville Republican believes the President will shift his focus to the American infrastructure in 2018.
 
 
As for Congressman Davis, he would like to see the House budget appropriations passed but those currently are held up in Congress.
 
 
Congressman Davis is also focused on getting a farm bill passed this year and feels it will at some point this year. 

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Governor Rauner Meeting With Small Business Owners Around The State

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS MEETING WITH SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AROUND THE STATE ABOUT THEIR CONCERNS AND SUGGESTIONS. 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS SMALL BUSINESSES ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE ILLINOIS ECONOMY AND THE STATE NEEDS TO HELP THEM THRIVE. HE HEARD FAMILIAR COMPLAINTS FROM OWNERS IN ROCKFORD.
 
 
HE ALSO SAID THE STATE NEEDS TO HELP PROP UP THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY.
 
 
RAUNER SAYS SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS ALSO EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT WORKER’S COMPENSATION ABUSE AND FRAUD AND HIGH PROPERTY TAXES IN ILLINOIS.

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LaHood Named To Ways and Means Committee

Congressman Darin LaHood has been tabbed to serve on the House Ways & Means Committee. 
 
The Peoria area Republican received the appointment, replacing Ohio's Pat Tiberi. LaHood looks forward to the post on chief tax writing committee in the House.
 
 
LaHood believes the new committee assignment will give a boost to the 18th Congressional District.
 
 
The Committee has jurisdiction over all taxation, trade and tariffs, and other revenue-raising measures. The appointment will be confirmed by the full House Republican Conference in the coming days.

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Rauner offers short but direct response to Trump's alleged comments on Africa, Haiti

Governor Bruce Rauner is responding to claims President Trump used a (toilet like) expletive to describe Haiti and African nations during a bipartisan meeting.
 
 
Rauner was visiting Rockford to speak with small business leaders.

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Clinton High School Receives Bomb Threat, Saturday Activities Undisturbed

A bomb threat was found at Clinton High School Saturday during a day of competition but authorities deemed the threat non-credible and activities went on undisturbed.

 

Via the high school’s Twitter feed, a threat was detected during a day of dance competitions. Authorities and school officials gathered and decided the threat was not credible, though the building was searched to ensure the safety of all students, coaches and attendees. Activities went on without stoppage and the buildings were not evacuated.

 

Authorities on scene included Clinton Fire Department and Clinton Police.

 

The Clinton M-Squad took first out of 18 teams. They are headed to Sectionals at Mescoutah.

 

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Illinois Attorney General Candidate Victim of Armed Robbery on Campaign Trail

A Democratic candidate for Illinois Attorney General has new motivation to get tough on crime. 
 
Chicago Precinct Committeeman Aaron Goldstein was taking part in publicity photos on the city's Northwest side when he and his campaign team were approached by three suspects in their 20s in broad daylight.
 
One suspect flashed a handgun during the incident in the 4600 block of North Albany Avenue in Albany Park. 
 
The suspects demanded camera equipment and other personal belongings, including cell phones. 
 
No one was hurt and Goldstein campaign officials don't believe the suspects had any political motivation. 
 
Goldstein is among eight Democrats seeking the nod for Illinois Attorney General.

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Lt. Governor Launches New AP Program for High School Students

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR EVELYN SANGUINETTI IS LAUNCHING A PILOT PROGRAM TO GIVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN RURAL AREAS MORE ACCESS TO ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES. 
 
A-P CLASSES ARE IMPORTANT SINCE A GOOD GRADE ON THE A-P EXAM CAN EARN STUDENTS COLLEGE CREDIT AND SAVE MONEY ON TUITION. LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR EVELYN SANGUINETTI SAYS THE PROBLEM IS, KIDS IN SOME AREAS CAN’T TAKE THE COURSES.
 
 
THE ONE SEMESTER PILOT PROGRAM IS GIVING 75 STUDENTS FROM 10 RURAL HIGH SCHOOLS ACROSS THE STATE THE CHANCE TO TAKE AN A-P CLASS ONLINE.
 
 
SANGUINETTI SAYS A-P CLASSES ARE VITAL SINCE A GOOD GRADE ON THE A-P EXAM IS WORTH COLLEGE CREDIT WHICH WILL SAVE FAMILIES ON TUITION COSTS.

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Durbin Blast's Trump's Alleged Comments About Haiti, Africa

llinois Senator Dick Durbin says President Trump said things that were "hate-filled, vile and racist." during bipartisan immigration talks. 
 
He also says the Commander in Chief isn't being truthful when he denies using an expletive to describe Haiti and African nations.
 
 
Senator Durbin., speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast in Chicago, also took issue with the President's choice of immigration terminology.
 
Durbin says his hope of getting a bipartisan agreement approved by the White House died yesterday.

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Final crop estimates are out and include some new records

THE FINAL ESTIMATES FOR THE 2017 CROP IN ILLINOIS INCLUDE SOME NEW RECORDS.
 
THE SOYBEAN YIELD IS ESTIMATED AT 58 BUSHELS PER ACRE, DOWN ONE BUSHEL FROM 2016. BUT PRODUCTION HIT A RECORD HIGH AT 612 MILLION BUSHELS, UP THREE PERCENT FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
PRODUCERS HARVESTED 470 THOUSAND ACRES OF WINTER WHEAT…AND THE YIELD IS ESTIMATED AT 76 ACRES PER BUSHEL. THAT TOPS THE PREVIOUS RECORD BY TWO BUSHELS.
 
THE CORN YIELD IS ESTIMATED AT 201 BUSHELS PER ACRE…UP FOUR BUSHELS FROM 2016 AND A NEW RECORD SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER. AS FOR SOYBEANS…
 
 
ILLINOIS WHEAT GROWERS BEAT THE PREVIOUS RECORD WITH AN ESTIMATED 76 ACRES PER BUSHEL LAST YEAR. OAT PRODUCTION WAS DOWN TWO PERCENT.

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Boil Order Issued in Clinton

A boil order has been issued in Clinton.
 
The area is basically the full northeast quadrant of Clinton plus an area from Jackson St. on the west to Jefferson St. on the south to RailRoad St. on the east to the Washington St.
 
If you have any question call 217-935-3432 during business hours. 

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Local Veterans Groups Hosting Chili Competition

Come out to the American Legion building this Saturday and enjoy some homemade chili and old-fashion entertainment while supporting your local veterans.
 
A friendly chili cookoff competition will take place early Saturday afternoon at the American Legion and Josh Thielen with the Legion indicates you can help decide the chili cookoff winnner and support the Legion, Am-Vets and VFW.
 
 
Former-WHOW broadcaster, Ozzie Pearl, will be the entertainment. He says it's an honor to do this for our local veterans. He'll be doing a Grand Ol' Opry type of show.
 
 
Pearl indicates it takes a lot for the local veterans to do the things they do. He indicates supporting them was the reasoning for the event.
 
 
Chili will begin being served at the American Legion building at 11 am. The event is free but to be a part of the chili cookoff, it will $5 a bowl of chili and $3 for a hot dog. Get more information by searching 'Clinton American Legion' on Facebook.

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Local Financial Institution Reflects on Giving Back in 2017, Excited for 2018

A local bank was very active in giving back to the community in 2017 and hopes for more of the same in 2018.
 
Market President for First National Bank in Clinton, Josh Shofner, indicates the bank went through some transitions in 2016 and in 2017, that allowed them opportunities to give back to the community.
 
 
Shofner indicates the bank did a lot to give back to the community. From a sizeable donation to The Vault to helping the local hospital, the institution was very active.
 
 
To promote a new checking account program, the bank did a gas giveaway during the fall months. During that same time period, they did an investment program for local small businesses and gave away $10-thousand.
 
 
The bank also is in the schools teaching the community's youth about financial responsibility. Shofner says Connie Unruh is in the schools with the kids among other things she'll be doing in the community.
 
 
According to Shofner, the bank hopes to more giving back in the community and groups can reach out to them via their website. 
 
 
Shofner also points out they've been able to be in the community through one of their executives, who is an military veteran, and spoke to local students about his experiences on Veterans Day. 

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Soybean Summit Talking Producation Numbers

They’re talking numbers at the 2018 Illinois Soybean Summit in Springfield. 
 
Champaign County farmer Kris Ehler was part of an agronomy team that reached 108 bushels per acre in soybean production in 2015.
 
 
The world record for soybean production is 171.1 bushels per acre in Valdosta, Georgia. 
 

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Route 66 Legislation Moves Forward in Washington DC

A victory for Route 66 backers in Congress. Peoria area Congressman Darin LaHood says efforts to boost federal recognition of the "Mother Road" are closer to reality.
 
 
The legislation passed out of the National Resources Committee by a unanimous vote. 
LaHood currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the National Resources Committee.

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Raid At Madison County Administration Building

The Madison County Board Chairman says he does not know what prompted a raid Wednesday afternoon at the County Administration Building. 
 
State's Attorney Tom Gibbons confirms the newly formed Madison County Public Corruption Task Force investigated possible illegal conduct by county officials which resulted in the execution of search warrants yesterday. Chairman Kurt Prenzler says he is also looking for answers.
 
 
According to multiple media reports, computers were removed from the office of Madison County Administrator, and the office of the Public Relations Manager. 
 
In a statement to the media, Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons said because of the highly sensitive nature of the investigation, no comments will be made by investigators or others until such time as is legally appropriate. 

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IDOT Promoting Getting Around Illinois Website

The Illinois Department of Transportation boasting its Getting Around Illinois digital platform. IDOT’s Kelsea Gurski says there’s plenty of information to digest. 
 
 
Gurski says there’s also a radar layer on the map plus winter weather road conditions. The site is www.gettingaroundillinois.com. 

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Campaign ad exchanges get a little more stinging with Rauner and Pritzker

Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker still have primaries to worry about in the race for Governor, but the financial titans continue to duke it out on the airwaves. 
 
Rauner has launched a new TV attack ad featuring wiretapped audio of Pritzker talking to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich about possible jobs, including Attorney General if he chose Lisa Madigan to become former President Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate. 
 
Pritzker's counterpunch ad criticizes Rauner in connection with deaths and illnesses at the Quincy Veterans Home. The ad samples newscasters from around the state questioning the Rauner administration’s handling of incidents of Legionnaire’s disease at the Quincy Veterans Home, where 13 people have died since a 2015 outbreak.

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State Senator Calling For Health Director To Resign

State Sen. Sam McCann is offering the strongest response yet to the ongoing concerns about Legionnaire's Disease at the Quincy Veterans' Home. 
 
The Macoupin County Republican is calling on Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah to resign, citing communication issues with the newest cases at Quincy.
 
 
He is also calling for a capital plan to help upgrade the infrastructure of the state's veterans’ homes and finish the stalled veterans’ home project in Chicago.

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Rauner Wants Quincy Veteran's Home To Remain Open, Get New Plumbing

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has wrapped up his week-long stay at the troubled Quincy Veterans Home. 
 
He says the state will install new plumbing at the facility, which has been plagued by deadly bouts with Legionnaires' Disease. However, he isn't interested in closing the doors.
 
 
Rauner says he didn't cut corners in his visit. 
 
 
Legionnaires' has contributed to the deaths of 13 residents at the home since 2015. In addition to installing new water pipes, Rauner says he'll look into the construction of a new dorm facility. 

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Rauner Talks Changes To Quincy Veteran's Home

After staying a week at the Quincy Veterans Home the Governor says the entire water system needs to be replaced after continued outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease at the home. But the specifics of how to pay for it or just what a complete tear out looks like - are unknown.
 
 
The Rauner administration has taken plenty of criticism on how they responded to the first outbreak that killed 12 people. Rauner says that he still has confidence in the two people leading agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs the Department of Public Health, who were on the front lines of the response to the outbreak.

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Trump Touts Regulatory Reform During Speech To Farmers

President Donald Trump told Illinois and other farmers attending the American Farm Bureau convention in Nashville his administration has rolled back more federal regulations than originally promised. Farmers listening gave the president rousing approval;
 
 
Trump also touted recently approved legislation designed to cut taxes, including the estate tax. He also pledged to work with Congress to achieve approval of a new federal farm bill before current law expires.

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Lawmakers Discussing Quincy Veterans Home During Panel

In order to get more answers as to why Legionella bacteria remains a problem at the Quincy Veteran’s home the Illinois House and Senate held a joint committee hearing on the matter. 
 
In 2015, 12 people died of Legionnaires disease and in October another person died of Legionnaires. Erica Jefferies the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs says that they have taken multiple steps to address Legionella bacteria in the water system.
 
 
Jefferies says that despite all of those steps they still do have Legionella bacteria in the home’s water system but they know about it because of the increased testing efforts. 

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Lawmakers Discussing Quincy Veterans Home During Panel

In order to get more answers as to why Legionella bacteria remains a problem at the Quincy Veteran’s home the Illinois House and Senate held a joint committee hearing on the matter. 
 
In 2015, 12 people died of Legionnaires disease and in October another person died of Legionnaires. Erica Jefferies the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs says that they have taken multiple steps to address Legionella bacteria in the water system.
 
 
Jefferies says that despite all of those steps they still do have Legionella bacteria in the home’s water system but they know about it because of the increased testing efforts. 

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Duckworth Joines Colleagues in Fight Against FCC Net Neutrality

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Senate colleagues in calling for restoration of net neutrality rules. 
 
Duckworth talked about the fallout she believes the end of net neutrality would cause a number of troubles.
 
 
Senator Duckworth is teaming up with over 30 of her Senate colleagues in cosponsoring a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would undo action by the FCC and restore the 2015 net neutrality rules.

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Around 250 Attend Church Security Seminar in Clinton Tuesday

Roughly 250 people from all over Illinois attended a special church security seminar at Clinton's First Christian Church Tuesday night.
 
The event was hosted by First Christian Church Pastor Greg Taylor and DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner. Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers also shared at the Tuesday evening seminar which ran from 6 pm to 9 pm. The Chief says with recent events around the globe, churches are becoming a target of mass violence and church leaders need to be prepared.
 
 
The Chief indicates the unfortunate events of other places were analyzed and discussed. He says the best way to prepare is to look back on things that have already happened and learn from them.
 
 
Clinton First Christian Church Pastor Greg Taylor indicates religious leaders from all over Illinois converged on the Clinton sanctuary to be a part of the meeting.
 
 
Pastor Taylor says churches need to be prepared for unfortunate events and they need to be able to keep their congregations safe.
 
 
Pastor Taylor is inviting any religious leader that could not attend the meeting or did not know about the meeting to contact him at the Clinton First Christian Church and they have literature available they are wanting to distribute so all places of worship can have it and better prepare themselves. 

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House Fire Claims Life of Clinton Woman; Another Man and Firefighter Injured

Just after 9 pm on Tuesday night, Clinton Fire officials were dispatched to 417 North Elm  Street after a report of a garage fire with possible entrapment. 
 
Clinton Engine two arrived at the scene at approximately 9:15 pm finding an approximate 1,200 square foot, 1 story home with an attached garage that had fire and smoke emitting from it. 
 
Firefighters immediately began searching the interior of the home pulling two occupants from the structure. Both occupants were transported by ambulance to Warner Hospital and Health Services. 
 
One later was pronounced dead and the other is being treated by Springfield Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. 
 
One Clinton Firefighter was injured in the rescue efforts and was transported by ambulance to Warner Hospital and Health Services and is being treated for minor injuries.
 
The fire was contained to the one home. Clinton Fire Department units remained on the scene till 23:58. 
 
Aall Clinton Fire Companies along with Kenney Fire Protection District, Wapella Fire Protection District, Maroa Fire Protection District were called out and the Waynesville Fire Protection District to cover Clinton’s Fire Station.
 
The fire is under investigation by the State of Illinois Fire Marshal’s Office.
 

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Health Officials Implore Public To Take Flu Seriously

WITH MORE CASES OF THE FLU BEING REPORTED THIS YEAR…THE STATE’S CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO TAKE THE THREAT SERIOUSLY. 
 
PREVENTION IS THE FIRST STEP SAYS DOCTOR JENNIFER LAYDEN…WHO ADDS THAT IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO GET YOUR FLU SHOT.
 
 
DR LAYDEN ALSO RECOMMENDS WASHING YOUR HANDS A LOT AND STAYING HOME WHEN YOU’RE SICK SO YOU DON’T CONTAMINATE OTHERS. AND WHEN YOU DO GET ILL…
 
 
LAYDEN SAYS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN AND SENIORS TO THE DOCTOR TO GET CHECKED OUT SINCE THEY ARE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO COMPLICATIONS FROM THE FLU. SYMPTOMS TO LOOK OUT FOR INCLUDE A VERY HIGH FEVER, DIFFICULTY BREATHING AND NOT BEING ABLE TO EAT MUCH.

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State Police Watching For Drivers Staying Too Close

One of the pet peeves that many motorists have is when another vehicle comes up from behind, and rides the tail end of the lead motorist and often times simply will not pass no matter the conditions. 
 
Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson says there is a specific law that addresses that situation.
 
 
Wilson says offenders can be ticketed if caught.

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Blood Supplies Running Low

Seasonal illnesses and the holiday season are two of the reasons the blood supply dwindles this time of year. 
 
American Red Cross spokesman Joe Zydlo (ZIHD-low) says they are issuing an urgent call for blood and platelet donors.
 
 
Tad Middleton with Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, says the flu has impacted their ability to collect donations.
 
 
You can donate at any of a number of blood drives coming up this month throughout Illinois. You can find out where to give blood by doing a quick search using your favorite internet search engine.

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DeWitt County Land Use Committee Discusses Concerns of Opponents of Potential Wind Farm During Contentious Meeting

An unusually large crowd filled the DeWitt County Courtroom Monday evening for the monthly land use committee. 
 
The land use committee Monday discussed the changes a group of DeWitt County residents in opposition to the proposed wind farm in northern DeWitt County are proposing. The group wants to have notification changes in place for the public and DeWitt County Zoning Administrator, Angie Sarver, feels a change in the notification for the public would single out wind energy.
 
 
The heighth of the wind turbines is also among the nearly dozen changes to the ordinance those in opposition are requesting. The information Sarver has indicates the taller the wind towers are, the  fewer that get installed, however, the group wants to have the tower height be reduced to avoid the red-flashing lights required by the FAA.
 
 
The Committee decided they would not give a recommendation to the Board but allow them to decide on the height of the structure. 
 
The biggest talking point among the opposition to the wind farm is the setback distance from a property line. Committee Chair for the Land Use Committee, Sue Whitted says the proposed 32-hundred feet is too much but would like it to be greater than the ordinance's 15-hundred feet.
 
 
In discussing the setback distance change recommendation for the full DeWitt County Board, Board member Jay Wickenhauser pointed out the arguments had mostly come from the opposition but he pointed out there were land owners with signed agreements who needed to be thought of in this process.
 
 
The committee ultimately decided to also send this issue back to the full board to discuss without a recommendation as there was not a consensus among the five-member committee. 
 
Sarver recommended adding an ordinance clarifying zoning jurisdiction and incorporated areas of the county where the County controls the zoning. She explains this allows them to have a say in the process, stemming from much of the community's opposition to the project.
 
 
Sarver indicated throughout the meeting, many of the concerns voiced by the oppositions are already addressed in the ordinance in place. 
 
The Board sent the ordinance change proposals back to the full DeWitt County Board to be discussed next Thursday night at 6 pm.

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New Director at DeWitt County Friendship Center Hopes To Increase Community Involvement

The DeWitt County Friendship Center will officially have a new leader at the start of February and she hopes to increase community involvement at the DeWitt County senior gather spot.
 
Paula Jiles is taking over for the retiring Sissy Leggett, and Leggett is confident Jiles will come in and make some headway and take the Friendship Center to new heights.
 
 
Jiles knows she has big shoes to fill but has some ideas she's ready to run with when the reigns are officially turned over to her.
 
 
One of Jiles' biggest goals is to increase participation from seniors of the center, seniors of the community and from the community as a whole.
 
 
Jiles has been working with Leggett to learn the ins-and-outs of the Friendship Center and she'll officially take over February 1 and looks forward to continue on with the relationships in place and forge new ones. 

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Warner Library's New Director Excited For Opportunity

Earlier this month, the Warner Library announced a change atop their leadership ladder.
 
Bobbi Perryman has been with the Warner Library in Clinton almost 18 years and was officially named Director as Joan Rhoades stepped down for health reasons. Perryman credits a lot of the progressive things the Library has taken on in recent years to Rhoades and her leadership.
 
 
If you follow the library on social media, you will probably start to see some live streaming of their events and happenings. Perryman wants to give those things a try this year.
 
 
 Perryman indicates she has taken on a lot of the roles of the Director of the Library but not in an official capacity until the first of the year, when the move was announced. 

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Heyworth Schools Looking Forward to 2018

With a new calendar year upon us, local school leaders are excited about the opportunities ahead and that is the case in Heyworth.
 
Superintendent or Heyworth Schools, Lisa Taylor says they have a lot of exciting things happening, so the new year is a time to reflect on the things they are doing well and to also look ahead. 
 
 
Looking ahead to 2018, with all the things good happening in Heyworth, the State of Illinois' situation is not looking as great as it could be. She says the challenge for Heyworth is to make due despite what they will or won't get from the State.
 
 
In 2018, Heyworth Schools are embarking on a faciltiies planning process and partnering with the City of Heyworth to improve the shared facilties. 

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Rotering Calls For Illinois To Get Tougher on Sexual Harassment

The Golden Globes Awards Show became as much a public service announcement aimed at sexual harassment as it was a show honoring achievement in film and television. 
 
Meanwhile, Democratic Attorney General candidate Nancy Rotering believes Illinois needs to rewrite the script when it comes to its sexual harassment laws. She says laws would focus on the worst of the worst, the repeat offender.
 
 
Rotering also believes another idea that might help is a confidential phone line at the Attorney General's office for sexual harassment complaints.

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University of Illinois President Wants To Hold The Line On Tuition

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen wants tuition to stay put for University of Illinois students at the three system campuses. 
 
Killeen says he will recommend the school freeze its base tuition for incoming, in-state freshmen for a fourth consecutive year. He hopes to slow the exodus of Illinois high school grads to college outside the state's borders. 
 
If the University Board agrees, Champaign-Urbana tuition would stay at 12-thousand dollars, Chicago 10-thousand-6-hundred and in Springfield the tuition level would remain at 94-hundred dollars.

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Infrastructure Key in Helping Reverse Downward Farm Income Trend

The farm economy has faced four years of record low income, but a senior economist at the Illinois Farm Bureau says there are several factors that can help reverse that trend. 
 
One is a significant investment in transportation infrastructure, according to Mike Doherty. 
 
 
Doherty says another key to the ag economy is maintaining and advancing trade agreements. He also believes the recently adopted tax reforms should help the balance sheet of farmers.

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Flu Hitting Illinois A Little Harder This Year

INFLUENZA IS HITTING ILLINOIS A LITTLE HARDER THIS FLU SEASON. 
 
THERE IS CURRENTLY WIDESPREAD FLU ACTIVITY IN ILLINOIS…WITH MORE CASES BEING REPORTED NOW THAN AT THE SAME TIME LAST YEAR SAYS STATE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DOCTOR JENNIFER LAYDEN.
 
 
DR. LAYDEN. SHE SAYS MANY EMERGENCY ROOMS AND DOCTOR’S OFFICES REPORT BEING SWAMPED WITH FLU PATIENTS.
 
 
LAYDEN SAYS IT’S TOO EARLY TO SAY IF ILLINOIS FLU CASES HAVE PEAKED. SHE NOTES THE MOST COMMON STRAIN GOING AROUND OFTEN CARRIES MORE SEVERE SYMPTOMS.

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DeWitt County Development Council Looking Forward to 2018

With a pair of successful fundraising campaigns in the books, a part time employee hired and plenty of momentum behind them, the DeWitt County Development Council, or DCDC, is looking forward to a new year.
 
David Torbert is the President of the DCDC and indicates there's plenty to be excited about for the new year, including being a big donor for the developing CEO program through Clinton High School and many other central Illinois schools. 
 
 
The DCDC has hosted Leaders Breakfasts for local business leaders with topical information presented and Torbert indicates another is planned for next month.
 
 
Many would wonder what DCDC is doing to further economic development in Clinton and DeWitt County, and Torbert is hopeful as they continue to get themselves re-established, they can take on more and start to work to grow the business community.
 
 
Torbert says their Board is in good shape as they are almost full and they are very appreciative of the support they received again this year through their State Farm Challenge fundraising campaign. 
 
To learn more about the DCDC, visit dcdc-illinois.org or find them on Facebook. 

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DeWitt County Triad To Offer More Senior Seminars This Year

The group DeWitt County Triad, aimed at protecting local seniors through a variety of avenues, is planning a proactive year to be more active in front of seniors.
 
Connie Unruh indicates her involvement through Triad is to get in front of seniors and teach them about avoiding scams and falling victim to identity fraud. 
 
 
Teaching seniors the ins and outs of technology and what are real notifications and what are scams has been a focus for Triad in recent months. Unruh indicates that will likely be their starting point in early sessions and they will progress from there.
 
 
According to Unruh, Triad is trying to direct seniors, but also their families, to their Facebook page to keep as many people informed of the things coming up so they can keep their loved ones in the loop.
 
 
January 17 is the first targeted seminar at the DeWitt County Friendship Center. Contact the Friendship Center at 217-935-9411 for more information. 

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Sen. Rose Talks Upcoming Budget

The upcoming election cycle in Illinois could provide the base for another showdown in Springfield as budget time in Illinois looms on the horizon.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose knows the election may be the hold up in the budget process this spring but he's hopeful lawmakers will come together and put something together that will work for the people of Illinois.
 
 
The Governor will address the state later this month and then deliver his budget address in February.

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DeWitt County Roads in Good Shape After Winter Weather

With wintry weather past central Illinois, DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner updated DeWitt County drivers this morning on road conditions.

 
 
Today's highs are expected in the 30s and by the end of the week we will see temperatures in the 50s. 
 
He notes primary roads are in good shape, secondary roads are a little slick but should improve.
 
He reminds motorists this is still winter weather, so slow down and give yourself a few extra minutes to get to your destination. 

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Arkansas Plant Board Rejects Proposed Changes to Dicamba Regulations

The Arkansas State Plant Board, as well as the board’s pesticide committee, made no changes to its proposed regulations on dicamba use in the state. 
 
An Arkansas Department of Agriculture spokesperson says, quote - “The  board met on Wednesday to consider a request from a subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council to reconsider its recommendations on ‘scientific-based evidence,’ as well as creating northern and southern zones in the state, and ambient temperature and humidity as they relate to nighttime temperature inversions.” 
 
Both the plant board and the committee voted in favor of retaining the recommendations as they are currently written. The current recommendations prohibit the application of dicamba-based herbicides after April 15th of this year. 
 
However, according to Arkansas policy, the discussion isn’t done yet as the rule-making process in Arkansas is a little more complicated than many other states. 
 
The proposed regulations once again will head to the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee for consideration on January 16th.
 

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USDA Wants More Done to Combat Crop Insurance Fraud

The Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Risk Management Agency hasn’t done enough to combat crop insurance fraud. 
 
Since 2001, the RMA has contracted with the Center for Agribusiness Excellence at Tarleton State University in Texas to collect data on producers who have unusual crop insurance claims that merit further review. Every year, the center produces lists of producers that might need to be spot-checked by the Farm Service Agency, as well as by private insurance companies.
 
Most farmers that wind up on the spot-check list reduce their claims after a review. In 2015, those lowered claims saved about $61 million. However, the USDA says the Risk Management Agency needs to expand its use of the data turned up by the Center for Agribusiness Excellence. 
 
For example, the inspector general says the RMA hasn’t collected information from the insurance reviews to identify any possible weakness in the insurance program. The IG also found that the Farm Service Agency is more likely to find fraud than most insurers are. 
 
The RMA is also going to finalize some changes in their review processes to better identify the root causes of insurance claim errors.

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Lincoln High School To Name Basketball Floor After Hall of Fame Coach, Neil Alexander

If you're a high school basketball fan in Illinois, when you talk about Lincoln Railers basketball the name Neil Alexander is likely not far behind.
 
The Hall of Fame basketball coach is going to have the floor he's coached on for a couple decades named in his honor this Saturday night at the Lincoln High School basketball game against Chicago Harlan. Superintendent of Lincoln High School, Bob Bagby says it's an honor well deserved.
 
 
Bagby says Alexander is always willing to do what is best for his student athletes but also the students of Lincoln High School. Alexander retired from teaching last year. 

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Keep That Furnace Maintained During Bitter Cold

Below-freezing temperatures have gripped the Midwest for about two weeks, and the weather taking its toll on many homes. 
 
Keeping the heat at a comfortable level may be overworking your furnace. Jay Barrett, Sales Manager at Barrett Heating and Cooling in Alton says properly maintaining your unit is important in getting efficient use out of the equipment.
 
 
Barrett says there are fewer parts that can break in electric heat exchangers, so they are seeing more calls for repairs coming in for furnaces powered by natural gas or oil.

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EPA Encouraging Public To Be Aware of Vehicle Recalls

THE ILLINOIS ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY IS URGING THE PUBLIC TO MAKE SURE THERE AREN’T ANY PENDING RECALLS FOR THEIR VEHICLES. 
 
THE I-E-P-A AND THE NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL ARE LAUNCHING THE “CHECK TO PROTECT” CAMPAIGN SAYS AGENCY SPOKESPERSON KIM BIGGS. THEY’RE ASKING MOTORISTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHECK TO PROTECT DOT ORG WEBSITE.
 
 
IT’S ESTIMATED THAT ONE OUT OF FOUR CARS OUT ON THE ROAD TODAY IN ILLINOIS HAS AN OPEN RECALL WHICH YOUR LOCAL DEALERSHIP WILL FIX FOR FREE. 
 
THAT WEBSITE AGAIN IS: CHECK TO PROTECT DOT ORG.

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Keeping Your Chimney Maintained Could Prevent House Fires

Illinois has seen deep cold in recent weeks, and some residents have the luxury of having a chimney for their home to keep warm. But one central Illinois fire official is reminding residents of the importance of proper chimney maintenance. 
 
Andy Goodall is the Assistant Fire Chief in Taylorville. He says homeowners should have their chimney inspected by a professional annually to make sure it is in working order.
 
Goodall says it’s also important to avoid using corrosive firewood in chimneys, as that will create buildup in the chimney that could spark a fire.

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Tax Credit Program Stirs Up $36-Million in Donations

One day after being able to donate to a new tax credit scholarship program the state says tens’ of millions have been pledged. The program was created during the process to reform school funding and it allows donors to apply a 75 percent tax credit up to 1 million dollar donation. Individuals or corporations are eligible to donate. 
 
So far $36 million has been donated to scholarship granting organizations around the state. The scholarships are to private K-12 schools and the application process to receive one begins on January 24th. Eligibility requirements maintain that students must come from homes that have an annual income below 300 percent of the federal poverty level. 
 
The dollars won’t be spread equally around the state. Donations are made in predetermined regions selected by the donor. 

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'Smart Street Lighting' On The Way in Illinois

THE STATE IS HELPING COMMUNITIES UPGRADE THEIR STREET LIGHTS TO ENERGY SAVING L-E-D’S. 
 
THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY IS URGING MUNICIPALITIES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STATE’S NEW MASTER CONTRACT FOR SMART STREET LIGHTING. ACTING SECRETARY KIRK LONBOM SAYS SWITCHING TO L-E-D LIGHTS WILL BENEFIT LOCAL BUDGETS.
 
LONBOM SAYS THEY WILL BE REACHING OUT TO LOCAL OFFICIALS.
 
 
THE CONTRACT GIVES LOCAL OFFICIALS ACCESS TO BETTER PRICING AND LONBOM HOPES TO OFFER MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP COMMUNITIES UPGRADE TECHNOLOGIES IN THE FUTURE.

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Weekly Weather Summary

A brief break in the cold could be on the way but not before more wet, wintry weather. State Climotologist Jim Angel has more....
 

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Clinton High School Hosting Second Annual New Year's Shootout Saturday

The Clinton Maroons boys basketball program is going to be on display with some excellent basketball squads Saturday at Clinton High School and their coach calls this squad "the team Clinton has been waiting for for a long time".
 
At 8-3 overall and a matchup with Shelbyville Friday, the Maroons will take on Bloomington Central Catholic Saturday night in the cap of a day of basketball at Clinton High School. Coach Clay Haurberg indicates leading up to their contest, there is going to be some really good teams in town.
 
 
Coach Haurberg believes BCC is going to give the Maroons a good test and provide them with a good barometer for where they are as the postseason starts to get closer and closer.
 
 
Before the Maroons host BCC Saturday, they take on a tough Shelbyville squad on the road. Coach Haurberg calls it a big weekend for his team but has been pleased with their offensive effort most of the season and says their breakdowns come usually on defense and rebounding.
 
Game time Saturday night is at 7:30 pm and can be heard on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM WHOW and online at dewittdailynews.com. 

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U of I Extension Offers Tips on Reusing Christmas Trees

If you haven't taken down your Christmas tree yet, or maybe you have and it remains out in your yard waiting to be collected, there's plenty of things to do with it if you wanted to pull it back.
 
Candace Miller at the University of Illinois Extension Office indicates there are a lot of things you can do with a leftover Christmas tree. She explains simply setting it up in your yard can give natural wildlife a habitat this time of the year.
 
 
Repurposing your tree into a winter wreath can be an option. Miller explains just about any evergreen type works well for whatever you might end up doing with it.
 
 
If you're simply looking to discard the tree, Miller encourages a call to your local municipal building and inquiring about a recycling program they may offer or if they'll come and pick the tree up for you. 

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Expert Says Being Pro-Active Key To Farm Succession

The main key to passing the family farm from one generation to the next is being pro-active, according to Oklahoma State University professor, Dr. Shannon Ferrell.  NAFB Farm Broadcaster, Jared White, has more...
 

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Sears Closing More Illinois Stores

Sears Holdings is closing more Sears and K-mart stores. 
 
Kmart stores will close in West Frankfort, Mt. Vernon and Rockford. 
 
Sears stores will shut down in Orland Park, Bourbonnais and Marion. 
 
The stores are among more than a hundred that will close in March and April.

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Landmarks Illinois Seeking Nominations for Most Endangered List

Landmarks Illinois looking to add to its endangered historic places list. The deadline to nominate a site is January 15th says the agency’s Frank Butterfield. 
 
 
The list has been compiled since 1995 and recent additions include the Central High School and Neighborhood in Champaign, Marbold Farmstead in Greenview and the Massac Theatre in Metropolis.
 
To see the complete list or make a nomination visit www.landmarks.org.” 

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Governor Staying in Quincy

Governor Rauner is taking an up close look at the issue of health and safety at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. 
 
He spent Wednesday night there and plans to stay there several days. 
 
The facility has seen 13 residents die after repeated outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease since 2015. Legionnaires is caused by bacteria in contaminated water. 
 
Legislative committees plan hearings next week into the issue.

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Independent Seed Dealer Sees Signs of Life in Ag Economy

Despite a rough planting and growing season, it still wasn’t that bad of a year in some parts of Western Illinois. That assessment from John Hennenfent—owner of Munson Hybrids in Galesburg.
 
 
Even though there’s been a stretch of depressed commodity prices, Hennenfent says the farm economy is not all doom and gloom in his part of the state. 
 
 
Munson added a Wisconsin warehouse in 2017 to better serve customers in the upper Midwest. 

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Gander Mountain Stores To Reopen in Four Illinois Locations

The roller coaster ride for the shuttered Gander Mountain is taking an upturn. 
 
The rebranded Gander Outdoors will open in Springfield, Peoria, Rockford and O’Fallon. 
 
The outdoors store was acquired last year by Camping World, which is slightly retooling the store's format.

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Durbin Continues Push for Dreamers To Stay Put

Senator Dick Durbin continues to lead the push for legislation that will keep young immigrants in the DACA program from being deported. 
 
He says public opinion is swinging in favor of keeping the dreamers in the US, whether the state is red or blue.
 
 
Last month, Republican Illinois Congressmen Rodney Davis and Adam Kinzinger and 30 of their GOP colleagues signed a letter to Paul Ryan stressing the need for legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation. 

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Congressman Davis Says Farm Bill Top Priority in 2018

One of Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis’ top priorities for 2018 is a new farm bill. He wants to keep the many effective parts of the current farm bill in place while strengthening the bill’s weaknesses.
 
 
Davis says the government also needs to promote agricultural research in higher education to encourage young people to fill future high-paying agricultural jobs. The existing farm bill expires later this year. 

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