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Local News

EquiFax Breach Being Felt Locally

The recent breach of information from the lending agency EquiFax is having an impact locally.
 
That's the message from DeWitt County Clerk Dana Smith who says her office has fielded calls and emails about the issue and what to do. She is directing residents to the DeWitt County website, dewittcountyill.com to get signed up for alert if someone files a lean in your name.
 
 
Because EquiFax holds the vital information for millions of people, it would not be hard for someone to file for a loan or credit card in your name.
 
 
Smith has literature at her office about the service. She says be informed and be alert so you can be notified. 

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Clinton Schools Leader On Board With Aide Pay Changes

Increasing spending on teachers and aides has been the theme for a number of months now within the Clinton Board of Education and Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says it's something he thinks needs looked at as well.
 
Tuesday morning Nettles told Regional Radio News it's about the time they should do a routine look at their salaries and see where they can improve.
 
 
Nettles agrees that starting pay for aides at $11 an hour is not sufficient and will look into creating a more equitable pay scale, especially for aides they ask more of.
 
 
In addition to assignments, the district will also look at the education level of their aides. He says they hope to attract well qualified staff for their kids, especially students in the formative years. 

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Two small children among three dead in Bloomington house fire

Three people are dead after an early-morning Bloomington house fire that has been labeled suspicious. The West Side fire on Chesapeake Lane has claimed the lives of an infant, toddler and middle aged man. A woman is hospitalized with injuries. Police and fire investigators aren't discussing a cause or starting point of the fire.

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Davis Sponsoring Bill to Fight Growing Student Loan Debt Crisis

Central Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis sponsoring legislation aimed at encouraging private businesses to help their employees pay off student loan debt. 
 
 
Davis says it’s not just an important issue for the country’s younger generation, it’s an issue for the financial stability of the country.
 
 
Davis says student loan debt will be a key issue as lawmakers look at federal tax reform in the coming weeks.

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China demand should help boost corn prices

A change in China’s ethanol blend policy could provide a boost to corn prices. It’s all about demand says trading expert Doug Werling
 
 
Werling says bottom line is that demand for corn will increase with stocks peaking and as those stocks draw down, that should help push price.

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West Nile Death In Illinois

The state recorded its first death in connection with the West Nile virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health says this week a person in Kankakee died after testing positive for the virus that is typically brought on by a mosquito bite. Public Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Layden says most anyone who winds up bitten and infected with the disease won’t be very ill, but for some it’s a different story.
 
 
Overall cases West Nile cases are down in Illinois. The very dry late summer weather is being cited as a possible reason why.

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Ag haulers seek flexibility with hours of service trucking regulation

The agriculture industry seeking flexibility when it comes to hours of service trucking regulations, especially when it comes to hauling grain and livestock. Don Schaefer is with the Midwest Truckers Association.
 
 
The Midwest Truckers Association represents truckers in 15 states, including Illinois. 

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Illinois Farm Bureau promoting local government resource called LINK

The words “local government” are big words in Illinois. That’s because there are nearly 7,000 units in the Land of Lincoln, most of any state in the nation. The Illinois Farm Bureau offers a resource for the local taxpayer—to help them understand or get involved in the local government process. It’s called LINK—Local Information, News and Know-How says Kevin Rund, Senior Director of Local Government for IFB.  
 
 
LINK is distributed electronically at the county farm bureau level or the latest edition can be accessed by going to “ilfb.org” and type the word “LINK” in the search box. Topics addressed in the last release included such issues as local government accountability, landowner rights, rural development and strategic planning. 

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Rauner Won't Commit To Bonds To Pay Down Debt

The state is billions behind in paying bills and some lawmakers and constitutional officers are asking the Governor to borrow to help pay down the backlog. Bruce Rauner says much has been made out of using bonds to dig out of the hole but that doesn’t fix the fundamental problems of being more than $16 billion behind.
 
 
Rauner says current state budget is going to run a $1.7 billion deficit and so cuts will have to be made before going to make a bond offer.

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UPDATED BREAKING NEWS: School Shooting At Mattoon High School

A shooting has been reported at Mattoon High School Wednesday.
 
At approximately 11:45 am this morning, authorities were called to the scene of reports of several shots were fired. One person has been shot with one person in custody.
 
Mattoon Schools released the following statement about the shooting early Wednesday afternoon:
 
Mattoon High School officials were made aware of an active student shooter at approximately 11:33 a.m. this morning on the Mattoon High School campus. 
 
The School Resource Officers and school officials headed to the cafeteria where they heard shots fired.
 
The suspect fired shots in the school cafeteria, before he was subdued and disarmed. 
 
Emergency procedures were activated and students and staff exited the high school. As a result of shots being fired, one student was injured.  
 
First responders arrived, secured the facility, and transported the student to the hospital. The injured student’s parents were notified and all students were transported to Riddle Elementary School to be released to their parents.  
 
We are saddened that this event has happened and we will provide counseling to students in need. We will continue to work with emergency personnel to determine what happened. 
 
We appreciate the quick response of school staff and first responders. Most importantly, we offer our thoughts and prayers to the injured student and all who are affected by this tragedy.

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Raising Aide Pay Discussed By School Board

Pressure is mounting from Board members on the Clinton Board of Education to raise the bar for the compensation of staff at the district.
 
For several months, Ron Conner has been an outspoken proponent to raise the levels of pay for Clinton staff and Tuesday night at the Board of Education meeting, the pay of aides in the district was the subject of discussion.
 
Conner contends the pay for aides in Clinton is not up to par of area schools.
 
 
Conner says many districts have a pay scales that their districts follow and implores district staff to explore their scales and see how Clinton compares.
 
 
According to Superintendent Curt Nettles, the district is exploring a scale for aides. He indicates the work aides do is very intense based on their assignments.
 
 
Board member John Blythe indicates the district has looked at the disparity before and says the current pay is something that fits the district.
 
 
The Board will continue to explore a teacher aide scale and hope to implement something for the start of the next school year because of financial challenges of making a change mid-year.
 
The Board approved the hiring of four additional aides for kindergarten and first grade.

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Warner Hospital And Health Services CEO Discusses Cardiac Rehap Expansion With Clinton Rotary

Expansion of programming at Warner Hospital and Health Services in Clinton was the topic members of the Clinton Rotary Club heard about Tuesday afternoon.
 
CEO Paul Skowron indicates they need more space for their cardiac rehab facility because their demand is growing beyond the space they have available.
 
 
Suzanna Legner is the Chief Nursing Officer at Warner Hospital and Health Services. She explains they are in the process of getting quotes in for the expansion and there are three phases to the expansion.
 
 
Additionally, Skowron explains there is also a component coming for prompt care. Skowron explains this is going to be a service that would expand the clientel for their business.
 
 
The Warner Hospital Board and Health Services Board recently gave Skowron and the administration at the city-owned facility the thumbs up to move forward in pursuing same day care. 
 
The Dr. John Warner Hospital Foundation is going to help back the expansion in the cardiac rehab department. Skowron indicates they are going to soon be fundraising for that effort. 

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New DeWitt County Recovery Program in Formation Phase

A new face in the community is trying to start a recovery program in Clinton.
 
Brother Randy Myers, Leading Minister at United Methodist Church, is looking to start a local Celebrate Recovery (CR) program. The program is faith based and is for people with hurts, habits and hang-ups.
 
 
Myers adds that they are in the formation phase of this program. A venue is not a problem; however, they do need 12 people, who are not clergy, to lead the program.
 
 
A training event for CR is scheduled to start September 30th from 9 am to 11 am at Decatur First Church of the Nazarene. The training will take several weeks.
 
 
To learn more about the program, you can call (217) 820-0907.

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Miller Park Zoo Mourns Loss of Sunbear, Candy

A central Illinois zoo is mourning the loss of the oldest sun bear in North America.
 
Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington was home to Candy the sun bear and Site Superintendent Jay Tetzloff says it is a tough loss for their staff and guests she was part of the zoo for over 20 years.
 
 
Tetzloff says the zoo is asking anyone wanting to remember Candy the sun bear to direct those memorials to the Zoological Society, the fundraising arm of the City owned entity. 

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In Wake of Illinois Earthquake, IEMA Reminds of Scheduled Drill

On a day when an earthquake shook Southeastern Illinois and a major quake has caused destruction in Mexico City, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is asking residents to prepare for a potential earthquake with a statewide drill one month from now. 
 
On Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m., Illinois will join other states and countries in practicing three simple actions that could save your life in a major quake: drop, cover and hold on. 
 
Next month's drill is dubbed The Great ShakeOut earthquake drill. Southern Illinois has two seismic zones, making it the biggest area of concern. 
 
A half million people took part in the drill last year. 300,000 people are signed up so far this year. 
 
Schools, businesses, government agencies, families and others can register to participate in the drill at www.shakeout.org/centralus.

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Rauner To Support Both Ends of State in Amazon Bid

Internet retail giant Amazon is looking for a location to build a second headquarters. It’s seen as a huge opportunity to land thousands of high paying white collar and technical jobs. 
 
Governor Bruce Rauner and others from Chicago are working on a bid to bring them to the city. But Rauner says he will also be working to see that other parts of the state are being supported.
 
 
Rauner says a group of industry and state leaders are in Seattle today laying groundwork to support bids made on behalf of Illinois.

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Durbin Criticizes Latest 'Trumpcare' Plan

Senator Dick Durbin is speaking out against the latest version of what he calls Trumpcare. Durbin accused his Republican colleagues of trying to ram through the latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare without sufficient analysis.
 
 
Durbin says there is opposition from the medical community to the latest concept, Cassidy-Graham.
 
 
Durbin is also calling for extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides health insurance coverage for more than nine million children and pregnant women nationwide. 

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Democratic Race for Attorney General Could Be Wide Open

The sudden pending opening in the Attorney General's office has set off a flurry of activity. 
 
Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Pearson reports one of Chicago Alderman Ed Burke's two lawyer daughters is circulating petitions to run for the Democratic nomination for A-G now that Lisa Madigan has announced she won't seek another term. 
 
Burke informed the Cook County Democrats his daughter was circulating petititions but wouldn't identify which one. 
 
State Representative Elaine Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat, who recently announced she was leaving the General Assembly, is also circulating petititons. 
 
There is also word State Rep. Scott Drury could leave the race for Governor and run for Attorney General instead. Reports out of Chicago also indicate former Comptroller and one time Democratic rising star Dan Hynes could rise from the political ashes and make a run for A-G.

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Ameren Taking Part in National Farm Safety Week

Ameren Illinois working to keep all farmers safe out on the fields. 
 
The utility’s George Justice says some power lines can contain so much energy that you don’t have to touch it to feel the effects of the electricity in the line.
 
 
Justice says all farmers or anyone looking to dig should always call 8-1-1 because it could save lives.
 
 
Calling the Julie 8-1-1 system is free. This is National Farm Safety Week. 

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Alleged Racial Incidents At SIU-E

A pair of alleged racial incidents at SIU Edwardsville are being investigated by campus police. 
 
A note containing a racial slur was left on a student's on-campus apartment door last week. 
The weekend before, a boulder in the SIUE quad was discovered with the Confederate flag painted on it. SIUE Spokesman Doug McIlhagga (MAC-ill-HAY-guh) says these two incidents are being taken very seriously.
 
 
He says the university "will not tolerate that kind of activity and behavior on this campus."

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Clinton Police Department Promotes Officer To Sergeant

Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting, Officer Sean Crissey was officially promoted to Sergeant.
 
Police Chief Ben Lowers introduced Crissey to the Council Monday and he was officially sworn in. Sgt. Crissey has maintained several designations in his two years with the department.
 
 
Monday's meeting was relatively quiet. 
 
The Council approved a Water Treatment Plant purchase for filter media at a cost of just over $42-thousand. 

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Local Authorities Prepare For Tens of Thousands of Visitors This Weekend

As the DeWitt County and Clinton community prepares for thousands of visitors this weekend, local authorities will be out monitoring what is traditionally a very mild crowd.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates authorities station themselves just off Center Street in Clinton and are active around the community as the crowds make their way to the CH Moore Homestead grounds.
 
 
According to the Chief, the event has rarely seen major incidents that require their attention. He explains the problems remain minor like traffic congestion, maybe a fender-bender or other minor vehicle trouble.
 
 
Chief Lowers explains the nature of the festival lends itself to a crowd that comes for the flea market and food. He notes with the absence of alcohol at the event, that can generally keep crowds from getting out of hand.
 
 
Chief Lowers indicates locals who wish to not participate in the festival generally know the areas of town to avoid but he says the western half of the community becomes very congested and indicates avoiding areas like Van Buren Street and Grant to Highway 51. 

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DeWitt County Angel Tree Keeping Name, Other Parts of Program

Don't call it a face lift, it's more like a reboot. 
 
That's the message from Sue Calvert who heads the DeWitt County holiday program, Angel Tree, aimed at providing area youth with Christmas presents. She explains after an initial round of changes, the community reaction was strong enough to force them to re-think how they want to proceed with the program going forward.
 
 
According to Calvert, the program this year will allow for the community to continue to shop for youth in the community. She says the amount of shopping they will ask of the community will be much less compared to years past.
 
 
Calvert indicates much of the criticism towards the program surrounds abuse from people who are on the receiving end and she assures this public this is something she works very hard to monitor and prevent.
 
 
Registration for this year's Angel Tree program is underway. There are several income and other criteria to meet to be a part of it. To get more information, contact the school office your child attends.
 
You can also learn more about the volunteering opportunities within Angel Tree by contacting Calvert at suecalvert13@gmail.com. 

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Clinton City Council Discusses Weekend's Apple and Pork Festival

Members of the Clinton City Council made brief remarks regarding this weekend's Apple and Pork Festival.
 
Commissioner of Streets and Public Improvements, Nan Crang, reminded residents of the street closures for the weekend.
 
 
Commissioner of Public Safety, Dan Ballenger indicates the cooling tent that was up at the festival last year will be up again this year. With temperatures expected near 90-degrees and heat index values in the upper 90s, it could be a resource for a number of visitors.
 
 
This weekend's Apple and Pork Festival will also have the usual first responder command post set up at the corner of Woodlawn and Center Street if attendees have any issues they need taken care of. 

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Youth Ag Safety Expert: No Extra Riders on Tractors During Harvest Season

National Farm Safety and Health Week underway and the message from a youth ag safety specialist is to not have extra-riders on the tractor. Marsha Salzwedel is with the National Farm Medicine Center in Wisconsin.
 
 
Salzwedal says there are many ways to nurture a young child’s interest in farming—including Lego’s, barn sets, toy tractors, gardening and even video game simulators.

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Weekly Crop Report

IT WAS A WARM, DRY WEEK FOR ILLINOIS CROPS AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
 
TEMPERATURES WERE ABOVE NORMAL AND RAINFALL WAS PRETTY SPARSE. CROP STATISTICIAN BRAD SUMMA SAY 89 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW IN THE DENT STAGE.
 
 
70 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE TURNING COLOR AND 32 PERCENT ARE DROPPING LEAVES. 53 PERCENT OF THE SOYBEAN CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.
 
 
89 PERCENT OF SORGHUM IS TURNING COLOR AND 58 PERCENT IS MATURE.
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT 31 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 44 PERCENT SHORT AND 25 PERCENT ADEQUATE. 

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Rauner Recaps Trade Mission

Gov. Bruce Rauner has wrapped up a nine-day trade mission to Japan and China. Rauner said Illinois faces familiar obstacles to business investment from overseas.
 
 
Illinois continues to get face time with top Chinse officials. 
 
This week, Congressman Darin LaHood is visiting China. The Peoria Republican will lead Members of Congress on a trip to promote trade, business, and cultural exchange between the United States and China. He serves as co-chair of the US-China Working Group. 
 
The trip’s 8 day itinerary includes high level meetings with government officials and U.S. companies operating in China, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Defense, U.S. embassy in China, and Boeing. 

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Movement on Rauner, AFSCME Dispute Not Expected Until 2018

The labor dispute between AFSCME represented state workers and Governor Bruce Rauner has gone quiet of late and it will remain that way a while longer. 
 
A court decision that blocked Governor Rauner from imposing labor terms has been on appeal for sometime, but it appears oral arguments won't occur until early next year. 
 
AFSCME has been working on an expired contract since mid 2015. 

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Rauner Discusses Themes on Overseas Trip

The Governor returned from an overseas trip that took him to Japan and China to reinforce trade relationships and to build new ones. 
 
Bruce Rauner says he didn’t want to travel overseas until the state had a budget. Rauner says though he heard plenty about Illinois troubles but there are companies that are looking to the bright spots that Illinois has to offer.
 
 
Rauner says he touted the benefits of the state’s transportation network. 

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Apple and Pork Festival Still Going Strong Headed Into Year 49

As the Apple and Pork Festival enters it's 49th year, the yearly festival continues to remain a staple of the community and central Illinois.
 
Director of the DeWitt County Museum, Joey Woolridge indicates the festival started in modest fashion with a booth with a couple of kettles and a few sandwiches and now it is an event that draws anywhere from 75,000 to 100,000 people to DeWitt County.
 
 
As Saturday and Sunday go along, parking comes at a premium. Woolridge encourages those coming into town to stop outside of town at the high school and take the trams to the homestead.
 
 
As the festival has evolved, the Festival grounds are full of non-profit groups that do fundraising for the weekend. Woolridge indicates there are numerous groups that make their budgets for the year, and if they don't, they come very close.
 
 
The Apple and Pork Festival is this weekend in Clinton.
 
We'll have plenty more on the Apple and Pork Festival this week on Regional Radio News. 

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DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department Reaches Out to Community Mothers

The DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department has seen a decrease in their case load in their Family Case Management Program.
 
Tara Wickline indicates that the program helps educate expectant mothers about their pregnancy, delivery, newborn care, and development. 
 
 
With the drop in their case loads they are currently doing outreach and have a commercial that will air before the movies at the Clintonia Eagle Theater, a facebook page and a potential cookbook in the works.
 
 
Wickline adds that the decrease in cases could be because of an unfair stigma that people attach to the program.
 
To find out more information about the program by searching for DeWitt Piatt Bi-County Health Department on facebook.

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Ag Leaders Continue Efforts To Save KORUS

Pressure from the Ag community continues to build, as the President and his administration continue to toy with the idea of withdrawing the U.S. from the Korea-U.S. free trade deal, KORUS.
 
President Trump and his trade advisers are still considering if the U.S. should ditch KORUS, but farm groups are not waiting around to find out if the administration will.
 
Hundreds of farm leaders from heartland states like Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and others are descending on Washington, D.C. to make ag’s case for keeping KORUS and expanding farm trade.
 
National Pork Producers Council spokesman Dave Warner says help is coming from inside the administration, as well…
 
      
 
South Korea is now the number five U.S. pork market, at valued at $365 million last year. The U.S. beef industry took in about$1 billion, making Korea its number two market, as KORUS tariffs move to zero.
 
Ag leaders in Congress are not sitting still, either. Longtime Ag Senator Chuck Grassley…tape
 
        
 
As for renegotiation of KORUS, Grassley isn’t sure. He says, with NAFTA, the U.S. and Mexico were both willing to make improvements. The suggestion of course, is that South Korea may not be so willing to change its deal with the U.S.

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Crop Conditions and Yield Projections Not Correlated in 2017

Despite unfavorable crop conditions reports earlier this week, USDA “doubled-down” on its yield analysis, raising both corn and soybeans yield projections in September’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates on Tuesday.
 
Does September’s yield data suggest that the crop conditions reports are irrelevant for projecting yields on the US crops during the pre-harvest time period? Mike Zuzolo is a Market Analyst with Global Commodity Analytics…
 
 
For instance, Zuzolo points out that Illinois yields for corn was pushed one bushel higher in the September report to 189 bushels per acre, but…
 
 
If the correlation between crop conditions and yield projections continue to not add up for Zuzolo, the way he sets a marketing plan will change dramatically…
 
 
That’s Mike Zuzolo from Global Commodity Analytics.

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Lisa Madigan Won't Seek Another Term

Sources reported late Friday morning that Attorney General Lisa Madigan would not seek another term. Now her father's office confirms the news.
 
House Speaker Michael Madigan's office has released a statement on Lisa Madigan's decision to not seek a fifth term as AG.
 
Throughout her life as an individual and as a public servant, Attorney General Lisa Madigan's achievements have been the result of her determination to fight for her convictions and to stand up for what she believed was right. I've always been proud of her desire to fight for those who need help the most, which has driven her sense of duty as a person and as Illinois' attorney general.
 
“It has been my privilege to watch her fight for the people of Illinois and do the right thing every day. She has authored tougher laws against criminals who prey on children and victims of sexual assault, fought for homeowners faced with losing their homes, and worked to ensure a more open and transparent state government.
 
“No father could be prouder of his daughter's personal and professional accomplishments, and I look forward to watching her continue her commitment to helping people in a new capacity.”

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New Legislation Freezes Your Credit Report Cost

THE MASSIVE EQUIFAX DATA BREACH IS PROMPTING NEW LEGISLATION IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE. 
 
ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN SAYS FREEZING YOUR CREDIT REPORT IS THE BEST WAY TO SAFEGUARD YOUR INFORMATION…BUT FOR MOST PEOPLE, THAT COSTS 10 DOLLARS FOR EACH REPORTING AGENCY.
 
 
SHE SAYS CURRENTLY THERE IS A 10 DOLLAR COST FOR MOST PEOPLE.
 
 
THE BILL ALSO REMOVES THE COST FOR LIFTING THE FREEZE. MADIGAN URGES AFFECTED CONSUMERS NOT TO WAIT FOR THE LEGISLATION, AND TO CONTACT EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN AND TRANSUNION TO BLOCK YOUR REPORT IF YOU AREN’T PLANNING ON TAKING OUT A LOAN OR GETTING A NEW CREDIT CARD RIGHT AWAY.

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Cash Rental Rates for Illinois Farmland Declining Slightly

Like farmland values, cash rental rates are declining slightly statewide, but there’s still a lot of variability says Ray Brownfield, owner and managing broker of Land Pro LLC.
 
 
The highest cash rent average in Illinois is $289 per acre in Logan County and the lowest at $71.50 in Johnson County. The statewide average at $218 per acre. 

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Ninth US Constitution, Citizen Day Recognized in Illinois

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS CELEBRATING THE NINTH ANNUAL U-S CONSTITUTION AND CITIZENSHIP DAY.
 
THE CELEBRATION IN CHICAGO INCLUDED THE SWEARING IN OF NEARLY 60 PEOPLE FROM 25 COUNTRIES TO BE U-S CITIZENS. SECRETARY WHITE URGED THE NEW AMERICANS TO GET INVOLVED IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.
 
 
U-S DISTRICT COURT JUDGE JOAN GOTTSCHALL PRESIDED:
 
 
SUNDAY MARKS THE 230TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SIGNING OF THE U-S CONSTITUTION.

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Weekly Weather Summary

It was another mild week in central Illinois with more cloudy days than sunny days as parts of the state felt the remnants of Hurricane Irma. University of Illinois Extension's Todd Gleason has more....
 

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New DeWitt County 4-H Year Underway

While the registration period officially opens today, DeWitt County 4-H groups are already meeting to s tart the new year.
 
That's the message from Kim Gibbons at the University of Illinois Extension office who indicates the new year is a great time for youth to join, but it isn't limited to just the fall, as someone can join at any time.
 
 
Joining a club is very easy and Gibbons says a lot of clubs are geared towards the interests of the youth. She notes just because you're in a certain club doesn't mean you can't take on other projects.
 
 
Leaders and officers in the clubs plan meetings, projects and community service projects. The big end of year 4-H Fair in DeWitt County is generally the most visible time for 4-H but Gibbons indicates throughout the year very little emphasis is put on the 4-H Fair.
 
 
Shooting sports and the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) have really taken off in DeWitt County. Gibbons notes students interested in being a part of those groups don't have to be in 4-H to participate.
 
 
To get more information on 4-H and getting into a club, contact the DeWitt County University of Illinois Extension office in DeWitt County at 217-935-5764. 

 

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Monticellobration this Weekend

Monticello Main Street is throwing their annual Monticellobration this weekend.
 
Kerry Redshaw indicates that this year's theme is Festifall. This celebration of Fall will include 50 vendors selling everything from pottery to  pumpkins.
 
 
Saturday will start off with the Pet Parade that's put on by the animal shelter in Monticello where participants will be given prizes for best dressed pet, best tricks and the pet and owner who look the most alike. There will also be pony rides, amish buggy rides, face painting, and joyful bubbles among other family friendly events.
 
 
Redshaw adds that there will be a scarecrow walk, where people can reserve and decorate a lampost for 25 dollars and the money from that will go to Willow Tree Missions in Monticello.
 
 
Tune in this Saturday to 95.9 AM WEZC 10 am to noon for periodic updates at Monticellobration.

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Report Indicates Illinois' Tate Leaving

It's the end of an era for Fighting Illini sports and we're not talking about the demise of "War Chant". 
 
The Alton Telegraph reports the athletic program's unofficial historian, Loren Tate, is stepping away from the keyboard, ending his Tatelines column based out of the Champaign News Gazette. 
 
Reports out of Champaign say Tate, a longtime fixture on Illini broadcasts here, will continue some radio duties. The 86-year-old Tate played basketball at the U of I after graduating from Monticello High School. 
 
He left the area in the mid 50s to serve as Sports Editor for the Hammond Times in Hammond, Indiana then returned to Champaign to work for the News-Gazette in 1966. 
 
He continued writing for the paper while he served as sports director of WICD TV through the late 70s. He later migrated to radio working on WDWS, he moved up to Executive Sports Editor of the News-Gazette in 1987. 
 
He also is a member of the IHSA Basketball Hall of Fame, the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame, and the Monticello High School Hall of Fame and he received the University of Illinois honorary Varsity I award. 
 
He also authored the book "A Century of Orange and Blue: Celebrating 100 Years of Fighting Illini Basketball".

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State Group Examining Food Transparency

Many surveys show consumers want to know more about where food comes from, how it’s produced, and who produced it. 
 
The Food and Agricultural Road Map – or FARM Illinois – held an event this week in Chicago to explore what it called, “From seed to shelf,” and how Illinois food companies and farmers can improve transparency. Tyler Strom serves as the managing director for FARM Illinois;
 
 
Strom explains what else FARM Illinois has in store to help ensure food and agriculture continue to be major drivers of the state's economy.
 
 
FARM Illinois aims to keep the state - and Chicago in particular - as a major regional, national and global food hub. You can find more information online at farmIllinois - that's one word - farmillinois-dot-org.

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Chicago Lawmakers Participates in 'Adopt a Legislator' in Downstate This Week

A local Farm Bureau “Adopt a Legislator” program brought Chicago State Senator Laura Murphy to three downstate farms this week. 
 
Western Illinois State Rep. Dan Swanson helped with part of the tour.
 
 
Swanson is involved in a family farming operation near Alpha in Henry County. 

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UIS Among Hardest Hit By Loss of International Students

There's been lots of talk about the impact of the extended state budget crisis on Illinois colleges and universities. 
 
Now that money is flowing again and MAP grant dollars are going out to students, new trouble arises, a decline in international students. The University of Illinois at Springfield has depended on international students for its continued growth. Chancellor Susan Koch reports fall enrollment is down by 8.69 percent and a decline in students with visas has played a huge role.
 
 
Some blame President Trump's push for a travel ban on some Islamic nations as one reason international students are staying away. 
 
Some reports indicate students from nations not impacted by the ban like China and India are going to other countries because they no longer believe Americans are as accepting of all foreign students. 

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Illinois Not As Dry As Other Parts of Midwest

Certain parts of Illinois are very dry, but nothing like Montana. The state has been ravaged by drought and wildfires and the impact has impacted virtually every farmer and rancher says Hans McPherson with the Montana Farm Bureau. He spoke with the RFD Radio Network Thursday.
 
 
McPherson describe the smoky conditions he's been experiencing. 
 
 
In addition, McPherson says the Montana winds are not relenting this summer, which has escalated the problem. He adds that growth of hay and alfalfa in irrigated fields has also been stalled because there has been very little sunlight with all of the smoke in the air. 

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Unemployment Up In August

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE INCREASED SLIGHTLY LAST MONTH. 
 
THE JOBLESS RATE ROSE FROM FOUR POINT EIGHT PERCENT IN JULY, TO FIVE PERCENT IN AUGUST. STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff) SAYS THERE WAS A LOSS OF 37 HUNDRED JOBS LAST MONTH AS WELL.
 
 
JOB GROWTH FOR AUGUST WAS SEEN IN TRADE, TRANSPORTATION AND UTILITIES, AS WELL AS EDUCATIONAL AND HEALTH SERVICES AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
 

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Warner Hospital and Health Services Health Fair Highlights Mammography Upgrades

The Warner Hospital and Health Services annual health fair provided the community the opportunity to learn about all the departments and services within the city owned entity.
 
The biggest highlight of the afternoon was the updates within the radiology department and the mammography area. Cathy Varvel says they got a lot of people through to see the updates and many were asking great questions.
 
 
She says the 3D image is providing a more complete scan of the breast which is providing better results at the same time.
 
 
Board member Nate Ennis says the addition of the 3D mammography service is all about offering services so the community can stay close to home.
 
 
Organizers of the Health Fair were pleased with the turnout. Along with Warner Hospital and Health Services staff, there were other area healthcare providers, non-profit groups and activities for youth. 

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DeWitt County Farm Bureau Providing Information on Wind Farms To Area Landowners

Wind energy and wind farms are among the hot topics locally and a local entity is providing landowners with information they might need very soon.
 
It is a possibility a wind farm could come to DeWitt County and the DeWitt County Farm Bureau is providing their member landowners with information to make a decision on if that is something they'd like on their properties.
 
DeWitt County Farm Bureau Manager Janel Baum-Thomas says they are focused on landowner rights as the Farm Bureau has not taken a position on this issue yet.
 
 
According to Baum-Thomas, you'll want to make sure any future agreements cover an entire property and how the removal of those wind towers would be covered if it ever came to that.
 
 
Finally, the Farm Bureau is discussing ag impact mitigation returns. She says this is a requirement for developers in Illinois.
 
 
Members of the DeWitt County Farm Bureau were presented with information earlier this month. Anyone can join the Farm Bureau and will be kept up on the latest happenings. There are different levels of membership within the Farm Bureau. To learn more, contact Baum-Thomas at 217-935-2126 or visit facebook.com/dewittcountyfarmbureau. 

 

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Congressman Davis Discusses Opioid Epidemic Sweeping Illinois

US Congressman Rodney Davis recently spent several hours in DeWitt County meeting with local leaders and first responders and health care professionals discussing the opioid epidemic sweeping the country.
 
Finding treatment in rural America was a common theme among the many things that came up in his meetings and Davis says the federal government is making record investments into getting those battling substance abuse help.
 
 
While getting someone help when they are ready for it is a big point of emphasis, Congressman Davis believes there has be investments into discussing the dangers of drug and substance abuse.
 
 
Additionally, Davis discussed criminal justice reforms. He hopes to see reforms with how law enforcement deals with those that come in for abuse. 

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Community Action and the Community Services Block Grant

The Community Services Block Grant is what allows Community Action to be what it is.
 
According to Alison Rumler-Gomez, executive director of Community Action, the program is used to teach career readiness, financial literacy and give housing counseling as well as energy assistance to help people figure out why they're below the poverty line.
 
 
Rumler-Gomez adds that classes in DeWitt County start at the end of September and are filling up quickly. She indicates that you should contact them as soon as possible if you'd like a spot.
 
 
To learn more about Community Action and their programs you can contact them at (217) 732-2159 or for general inforamtion you can visit their website at capsil.info.
 

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Sente Joins General Assembly Exodus

There's another departure from the Illinois General Assembly. House. Democratic State Rep. Carol Sente of Vernon Hills says she won’t seek re-election next year. She recently notified House Speaker Michael Madigan that she wouldn't run for another term in 2018.

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State Police report decline in Labor Day Weekend Fatalities

Illinois State Police say there was a steep drop in fatal traffic crashes over the Labor Day weekend this year compared with last year. State police released figures Tuesday showing five fatal traffic crashes this year, compared with 19 last year, and five fatalities this year compared with 23 in 2016. State police handled nearly 200 crashes during the holiday weekend. Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz says it was one of the safest Labor Day travel weekends in the last six years.

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Blagojevich speaks

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has delivered a blunt assessment of his time behind bars, saying he takes it “one day at a time” 5 1/2 years into a 14 year prison term. Chicago tv station WMAQ has begun airing two hours of interviews with Blagojevich, who is spending his days at a Colorado lockup. Blagojevich says his career change has been humbling....
 
 
Blagojevich still takes issue with his 14 year sentence, which was upheld after some of his corruption convictions were thrown out by Judge James Zagel...
 
 
He continues to express hope for exoneration.

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Ameren Illinois Crews Headed To Florida

Crews from Ameren Illinois headed to Florida. The utility's Brian Bretsch says help will be provided in restoring power to areas hit hard by Hurricane Irma storm…
 
 
The power crews will likely be in Florida for at least two weeks.

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Bustos hopes for movement on infrastructure

Quad Cities Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has drawn national attention for her ability to succeed as a Democrat in a district that heavily supported Donald Trump for President last fall. While she isn't exactly aligning herself with the President, she finds common ground with the President on a key issue, improving the nation's infrastructure.....
 
 
Bustos works closely with the infrastructure situation as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. 

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U-of-I makes revisions to farmland management policy

The University of Illinois moving forward with revisions to its farmland management policy. The school has acquired around 10,000 acres of farmland through various gifts over the years, but moved to an open bid format for cash leases back in 2004. U-of-I College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Dean Kimberlee Kidwell wanted to see that changed—using a “best candidate” approach instead.
 
 
Illinois Farm Bureau president Rich Guebert Jr expressed support for the revisions earlier this summer. 
 
Kidwell says the policy change also means the most qualified applicants for U-of-I farmland will be offered operating contracts at a predetermined rate based on local market conditions.

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Anderson Ford, Clinton Athletic Boosters Teaming Up For DriveOne Event

The partnership between a local car dealer and a school group in Clinton continues this week.
 
The Clinton Athletic Booster Club's partnership with Anderson Ford in Clinton continues this Friday when Anderson hosts another Drive One For Your School event at their Clinton dealership location. Booster President Brian Ennis explains this is a huge fundraiser for their group.
 
 
Being Homecoming weekend, Ennis is hoping plenty of folks will be around and stop by and take a drive. According to Ennis, only one person per address can stop by and drive and drivers must be 18.
 
 
The goal for the test drives is 300 and Ford Corporation donates $20 per drive. Ennis says that money, combined with funds raised from their home game pork chop and apparel sales all go back into the Clinton Schools sports programs.
 
 
The Drive One For Your School event is Friday from 9 am to 6 pm at Anderson Ford in Clinton. The event has traditionally taken place in conjunction with the Homecoming activities at Clinton High School. 

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Clinton Chamber Prepping for Annual Christmas Parade

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is beginning their preparations for the annual Christmas Parade. 
 
Executive Director Marian Brisard says the preparations are underway for this year's afternoon parade which is set for the last Saturday of November. 
 
 
The parade is free for anyone to enter. Along with preparations for entries, the Chamber is starting to prepare for their annual Grand Marshall designation. Brisards explains those nominations can start to be made, and forms are available on the Chamber website.
 
 
Visit the new Clinton Chamber website, www.clintonilchamber.com to find the newsletter, which has the entry forms for the parade and the Grand Marshall nominations. 

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Blue Ridge Schools Excited About CEO Program Potential

A group of about a dozen central Illinois schools are organizing to create a business opportunity for their seniors in high school.
 
Among the group of districts will be Blue Ridge Schools and Superintendent Susan Wilson, they have formed a steering committee to get things going.
 
 
According to Wilson, the program is going to require a certain amount of funds to be raised but notes it is not coming from the districts. She explains it will be a partnership with the community.
 
 
Wilson feels the way the program is set up, it will create a community effort to give students the opportunity. 
 
Students will learn the basics about business from business leaders in each community. They will create their own business and take that business to a trade show. 

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Labor Day Traffic Fatalities Down By 78%

TRAFFIC DEATHS DROPPED BY 78 PERCENT OVER THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND IN ILLINOIS.
 
ALTHOUGH ONE DEATH IS TOO MANY…ILLINOIS STATE POLICE SERGEANT MIKE LINK SAYS THEY ARE PLEASED WITH THE DECLINE.
 
 
LINK SAYS STATE POLICE ISSUED MORE THAN THREE THOUSAND TICKETS FOR SPEEDING AND 765 TICKETS FOR NOT WEARING A SEATBELT. 
 
 
LAST YEAR IN ILLINOIS…19 PEOPLE DIED IN 23 CRASHES DURING THE LABOR DAY HOLIDAY.

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Crossbows To Be Allowed Archery Deer Season

HUNTERS WILL BE ABLE TO USE A CROSSBOW DURING THE ARCHERY DEER SEASON UNDER A NEW STATE LAW. 
 
THE LAW REPEALS PAST RESTRICTIONS ON USING A CROSSBOW SAYS ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS.
 
 
CROSS SAYS YOU WON’T HAVE TO DO ANY SPECIAL PAPERWORK TO USE A CROSSBOW.
 
 
ARCHERY DEER SEASON RUNS OCTOBER FIRST THROUGH JANUARY 14TH IN ILLINOIS, EXCEPT FOR THE TWO FIREARM DEER HUNTING WEEKENDS IN NOVEMBER AND EARLY DECEMBER.

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BBB Advice For Victims of Data Breach

At least 143-million people have been victimized in a sweeping security breach. The credit-reporting bureau Equifax was hit by hackers earlier this year. The Better Business Bureau is offering some advice if you have been impacted by the breach. The stolen information includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. BBB spokesman Shellie Kreter (KRAY-tur) says freezing your credit is one of the more reliable ways to protect yourself from identity thieves from establishing new lines of credit in your name.
 
 
Equifax has set up a website just to deal with the breach and the public's questions. You can find that link at "equifaxsecurity2017.com."

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Clinton Chamber Special Haunted House License Plates Available Now

The first order of a specialty license plates is out commemorating the Clinton Chamber's Haunted House.
 
The specialty Terror on Washington Street's Haunted House 24th anniversary commemorative plates are available now and Chamber Executive Director, Marian Brisard says those plates can be order for $20.17 at the Chamber office, good until the end of  October.
 
 
According to Brisard, this is the second time the Chamber has done this fundraiser before. She notes it is through the Secretary of State's Office and while it is a fundraiser for the Chamber, it also promotes the dates of this year's Haunted House.
 
 
To order you plates, contact the Clinton Chamber of Commerce at 217-935-3364 or visit them in Suite 101 on the South Side of Mr. Lincoln Square. 

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Local Lawmaker Fighting for Fair Maps in Illinois

A central Illinois State Senator is taking the fight for fair mapping districts in Illinois to the Supreme Court.
 
State Senator Chapin Rose says the people of Illinois should be choosing the lawmakers to represent them through the maps that are drawn up, not the political party that is in power at the time. He points to a petition a half-million people signed at the last election to get legislation passed as further reason this should happen sooner rather than later. 
 
 
Should the Supreme Court should rule in their favor, he is hopeful the ruling would take effect when the next mapping process takes place in a few short years.
 
 
Senator Rose explains computers are drawing the maps and essentially guaranteeing a certain political party has dominance in an area for an entire decade. 

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Weekly Crop Report

CORN HARVESTING HAS BEGUN IN ILLINOIS. 
 
AFTER ANOTHER COOL AND DRY WEEK…82 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW IN THE DENT STAGE SAYS STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
 
 
47 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE TURNING COLOR AND 13 PERCENT ARE DROPPING LEAVES. 57 PERCENT OF THE CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 
 
 
84 PERCENT OF SORGHUM IS TURNING COLOR AND 13 PERCENT IS DROPPING LEAVES. 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS NOW RATED AT 19 PERCENT VERY SHORT, 45 PERCENT SHORT AND 36 PERCENT ADEQUATE.

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McCann Gets Another Challenger in Senate Race

A downstate senator will likely face another challenger from his own party next spring. 
 
The Sangamon County GOP central committee has unanimously voted to back Steve McClure, an assistant state's attorney, for the seat in the 50th state senate district that has been held by Sam McCann since 2011. The State Journal-Register reports party leadership doesn't think McCann is "true to our core principals anymore." 
 
McClure says he believes that to be true.
 
 
McCann is no stranger to opposition from within the party. In 2016, Governor Bruce Rauner backed another candidate after McCann voted against the governor on a labor arbitration issue. 

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US Beef Industry Says Trump Withdrawal From KORUS Will Cost Millions

The U.S. beef industry says if President Trump withdraws the US from the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, millions of dollars and thousands of jobs will be lost throughout the Midwest and other regions.
 
As the president tries to appeal to blue collar workers in the rust belt who voted for him, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association tells the White House, scuttling KORUS is also a ‘job killer’ in the heartland. NCBA’s trade adviser, Kent Bacus…
 
 
Bacus says NCBA’s told the president and his staff, it’s not just urban manufacturing that’s on the line with KORUS…
 
 
U.S. beef sales in number-two buyer Korea are up over 80-percent or to around one-billion dollars under KORUS, as tariffs move to zero over ten-years.  But there’s more…
 
 
Walk away from KORUS and Bacus says the Koreans have no incentive to keep that, and could even raise the levy on U.S. beef, back to its pre-KORUS 40-percent. Bacus says his industry fears a NAFTA-style renegotiation of KORUS could result in gains for other sectors at the expense of farm trade.

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Illinois Farmers Continue To Push For Support of Korean-US Trade Agreement

Trade continues to have the attention of Illinois farmers. They responded to a call to action last week concerning “KORUS” (chorus)—the Korean-U.S. Trade Agreement, according to Mark Gebhards, the director of Governmental Affairs for the Illinois Farm Bureau.
 
 
Illinois Farm Bureau President Rich Guebert also authored a letter to the Illinois congressional delegation last week lobbying for continued support of the five-year-old agreement with South Korea. 

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FARM INCOME PROJECTED TO INCREASE SLIGHTLY

The recent projections of farm income released by USDA’s Economic Research Service in their 2017 Farm Sector Income Forecast suggest that while farm income may have hit rock bottom in 2016, there will be an uptick in both net farm and net cash income in 2017 American Farm Bureau. Federation Chief Economist Dr. Bob Young says livestock sales are driving the slight increase…
 
      
 
Forecasts for both livestock and crop cash receipts are promising. Livestock cash receipts will increase by 4.8 percent and crop cash receipts will increase by 1.6 percent in 2017. With an increase predicted though, Dr. Young cautions that the year’s overall farm income is hard to predict…
 
 
Given recent projections, Young offers this planning advice to farmers…
 
 
That’s AFBF chief economist Bob Young.

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Eastern Illinois Numbers Down, But Slightly

Eastern Illinois University continues to see declining enrollment but the bleeding may be slowing. 
 
Fall semester enrollment is down by five percent at the Charleston based school but that's the lowest decrease from fall to fall in six years. Enrollment for the school sits at just over 7-thousand students, nearly 400 fewer than a year ago. 
 
Eastern officials believe the extended budget impasse and a statewide decline in college enrollment have contributed to shrinking numbers.

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DeWitt County Habitat For Humanity Refocused, Optimistic

The DeWitt County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity has started construction on their latest home and already has an additional two approved families for more homes in the next few years.
 
That's just a few of the reasons leaders in the DeWitt County non-profit are extremely optimistic about the future of the organization. Rick Heath indicates the turn around has stemmed from a refocused effort by their board to make sure the organization can be sustainable.
 
 
Exelon has long been a supporter of Habitat for Humanity. Heath notes they not only provide financial support but a lot of man power and feels it is great to have them staying in the community.
 
 
Earlier this year, Habitat was among several DeWitt County non-profits to receive funds from the William Davenport Estate and Heath says that was a very generous gift but it also allows them to be sustainable for years.
 
 
Habitat has two additional approved families for builds after their current project taking place on Isabella Street in Clinton. After recent years of hard searches for families, Heath credits the diligence of their Board to put in hard work to get their message out.
 
 
At the home at 220 Isabella Street in Clinton, the work has started and Habitat is seeking volunteers to come out each Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm and help out with the build. For more information on getting involved in Habitat, contact them at 217-935-4663. 

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Cub Scout Pack 142 Accepting New Members All Year Long

This past Tuesday was Recruitment Night for Cub Scout Pack 142.
 
And according to Ed Cicenas, it's no problem if you missed recruitment night because the Cub Scouts accept new members all year long and, if you're interested in joining, to check out their new facebook page.
 
 
Cicenas adds that the goals are to learn things, instill leadership skills and have some fun along the way.
 
Cut 2: cubnotboy2 :53 CUE: create tomorrow's leaders
 
If you'd like to join Cub Scout Pack 142, you can contact them via facebook by searching Cub Scout Pack 4142 Clinton, IL.

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Ameren Introducing Drones Into Everyday Operations

Drones are becoming an increasingly popular way for businesses to conduct business and the same is true for the Illinois utility company, Ameren Illinois.
 
Riley Adams is Manager of Electirc Initiatives with Ameren and indicates drones are being used on every day jobs like inspections of power poles across the state.
 
 
Drones have good cameras and are efficient to use. Adams indicates though, while Ameren is using a standard drone you can purchase at most retail outlets, they have to get approved by the FAA and their staff has to get trained.
 
 
Ameren continues to seek ways drones can be best used in every day operations. Adams indicates their line crews could soon be using drones.
 
 
Adams indicates the drones have already proven to be useful to their staff in emergency situations and power outages as well. 

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Senator Duckworth Talks Infastructure

Senator Tammy Duckworth isn't impressed by a report card on the nation's infrastructure. 
 
She believes now is the time for Congress to act on recomendations from the Blue-Green Alliance, which represents the nation's largest labor unions and environmental organizations.
 
 
Duckworth says improving the nation's infrastructure could serve as the elixir for many ills.
 

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Secretary of State Warning About Cars From Houston Flooding

SECRETARY OF STATE JESSE WHITE IS WARNING CONSUMERS ABOUT FLOOD-DAMAGED CARS ON THE MARKET.
 
AFTER ALL THE FLOODING FOLLOWING HURRICANE HARVEY AND LIKELY IRMA…SECRETARY WHITE SAYS YOU NEED TO BE WARY WHEN BUYING VEHICLES FROM THOSE AREAS.
 
 
WHITE SAYS HIS STAFF WILL BE KEEPING AN EYE OUT FOR CARS FROM STATES WHERE FLOODING HAS BEEN BAD. APPLICANTS WILL HAVE TO SUBMIT A HURRICANE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT IN ORDER TO OBTAIN A CLEAN ILLINOIS TITLE.
 
 
SIGNS OF FLOOD DAMAGE TO A CAR INCLUDE A MUSTY ODOR IN THE INTERIOR, RUST AROUND THE DOORS AND UNDER THE HOOD, UPHOLSTERY OR CARPETING THAT DOESN’T MATCH AND MUD OR SILT IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT.

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