The DeWitt County Sheriff's Office is seeking information in the theft of about 25 veteran flag holders from last weekend.
Sheriff Jered Shofner explains the holders were stolen shortly before the Memorial Day ceremony that was held at the Waynesville cemetery. He says they are seeking any information about the thefts.
Sheriff Shofner says it's a despicable crime and wants to hold the person responsible accountable.
If you have any information on this crime, contact Clinton Crimestoppers at 217-935-3333.
Sheriff Shofner reminds the public Crimestoppers phone line is anonymous and does not utilize caller identification. Crimestoppers wants your information, not your name.
Being a holiday weekend, central Illinois residents are likely to be out and enjoying what should be very nice weather.
However, there is the chance of some pop-up threatening weather and National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Miller reminds anyone planning to be outside, be aware of what the weather might bring for the day.
With a predominantly wet and cool spring to this point, time outside has not been prominent. Miller explains if a storm is to pop up this weekend, get inside. He says just because you might be on a porch with an overhang or in a garage, that does not keep you from getting struck by lighting.
Miller says if you are out somewhere without shelter, he says the best place to get for safety is your vehicle and to wait to get out and resume what you are doing until after the storm passes.
Miller says a lightning bolt that is within five miles could be a threat especially if a particular system is moving quickly. He notes it is even more dangerous if you're out in an open area.
He reminds those planning to be outside, lightning tends to strike the tallest object around.
Memorial Day weekend is the traditional kick off to the summer boating season for many and local authorities are promoting safety on the water.
Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police Officer John Williamson indicates they are focusing on life jackets again this summer. He says there should be a life jacket for each person on board and all passengers under the age of 12 are required to wear one.
If this weekend is going to be the first time you'll have the boat out on the water, Williamson notes a quick check of the boat's engine and life jackets that are on board is a good idea. He says rotted life jackets or ones with holes are not safe.
Authorities recommend if you're going to drink on the lake, bring a designated driver. Williamson notes alcohol consumption and operating a boat do not mix. He says there are just too many scenarios where having an impaired operator puts everyone on board at risk.
DNR officials say they anticipate a big crowd on Clinton Lake, especially with warmer weather expected for the holiday weekend.
Williamson encourages everyone to slow down, especially around other boaters, and get to your destination and home from your destination safely.
The Memorial Day Weekend gets underway today and Illinois Transportation officials, the State Police and local police agencies are teaming up to enforce the state's seat belt law. Former State Representative turned IDOT Assistant Secretary Rich Brauer was sold on the effectiveness of seat belts in his younger days. He credits being buckled up with likely saving his life in an early 1970s car crash in Menard County....
Through Memorial Day, motorists can expect to see increased patrols and enforcement zones statewide as part of IDOT’s “Click It or Ticket” mobilization.
Officials with the Illinois State Police are currently investigating a car versus train crash that occurred approximately three miles west of Macomb off of U.S. Highway 136 at approximately 11:03 a.m Thursday. The preliminary investigation indicates that a car was on a private drive crossing railroad tracks when the car was struck by an Amtrak Train. The driver, and lone occupant of the car, is confirmed deceased. The Amtrak train had 20 passengers and four employees on board. One passenger on the train was transported to an area hospital with an injury that is not life-threatening. There is no additional information available at this time.
Medical marijuana has been highly debated within and outside of the medical community for several decades.
The side effects of cannibis are not as intense as side effects of other medications being prescribed to patients according to Bret Bender of the Maribis of Springfield dispensary. Effects that cannabis tends to have on people are mild and include hunger, dry mouth, distractedness, and increased blood flow and additional release of dopamine and endorphins causing "giggliness."
Cannabis has been repeatedly referred to as a "gateway drug," but that doesn't seem to be the case. Bender adds that most people on cannabis tend to stay on it and the real danger is from other habit forming drugs such as opiates.
While there are some doctors that are firmly against prescribing medical cannabis, Bender says that doctors in the area are starting to be more open to the practice.
Illinois officials say Memorial Day visitors to Starved Rock State Park should monitor social media for reports on traffic delays and parking closures.
Department of Natural Resources officials say large crowds are expected at the recreation area near Utica in LaSalle County.
Illinois River flooding closed some parking this spring. But officials say all lots should be open for Memorial Day weekend.
Rafael Gutierrez is chief of the state agency's office of law enforcement. He says motorists should be patient and follow directions from conservation police and park staff around Starved Rock this weekend.
Police will enforce Starved Rock rules. They include no alcohol anywhere in the park until June 1; no off-trail hiking or trail-walking after dark; no rock- or cliff-climbing; no swimming; no defacing sandstone walls or littering.
The new fiscal year is just underway for Warner Hospital and Health Services and Monday night at the Hospital Board meeting, the Board was informed of the record breaking year at the City owned facility.
CEO Paul Skowron indicates the cash reserves are over $9-million after they wrapped up their fiscal year at the end of April. He notes they were $2.2-million in the black.
Skowron explains they are going to be conservative with the $9-million in their reserves, the primary reason being the State of Illinois' fiscal mess.
Finishing in the black can be attributed to adding a local physician to their team. Skowron says that was a great contributor to their bottom line.
Skowron says Fiscal Year '18 should be another positive year again. He points to their addition of 3D mammography later this summer and then the addition of a pulmonary specialist they plan to add as well.
Heavy rains in the southern half of the state have farmers dealing with nitrogen loss. Tim Laatsch works for Growmark.
And Laatsch says the soil sample will determine a farmer’s best course of action.
Laatsch farms near Altamont in Effingham County. He says his area of the state has seen rain in “the teens” this spring.
The Illinois Senate recently passed the Right to Know Act, which is designed to protect the online privacy of Illinoisans while promoting online transparency.
Senator Michael Hastings says the most personal of information is at stake, and it's a highly prized asset.
Online companies would have to reveal what they're sharing under the act. Proponents say online personal info has been used to determine insurance rates and verify loans. The bill is being considered in committee in the Illinois House.
A number of Democrats have expressed interest in running against Congressman Rodney Davis next year in the 13th Congressional District.
The man who represented Dems last year might be hard pressed to get a rematch with Davis.
Former Macon County Board member Mark Wicklund is charged with DUI and hitting a police officer at Decatur Memorial Hospital, where he was being treated after a rollover crash last month.
Wicklund is free on $10,000 bond.
Legislation being debated in Springfield that would require Illinois public universities to admit first-time freshman applicants that finish with a grade-point average in the top ten percent of their high school graduating class.
State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb has Western Illinois University in her district. She voted against the measure.
The bill was turned down in the Illinois House, but did receive enough votes for the sponsor to utilize a parliamentary procedure called “postponed consideration” meaning the legislation can be considered again.
A Henry County farmer who also serves in the Illinois General Assembly supports industrial hemp as an alternative crop.
The measure would allow a farmer to get licensed with the Department of Agriculture to plant and harvest industrial hemp. State Representative Dan Swanson farms near Alpha, he says the plant has a short growing season, grows to 15 feet tall, needs little maintenance and starves out other weeds.
He says a neighboring state already allows farmers to grow industrial hemp.
A bill awaits a House committee vote following unanimous Senate approval.
Swanson says industrial hemp would also give farmers an additional revenue stream to help offset current weak corn and soybean prices.
You'll soon be able to consult with healthcare professionals about medical cannabis in Clinton.
That's because Medical Cannabis Outreach is coming to the square in the former DCDC office. Owner and CEO Eric Sweatt explains they will sit down and pre-screen someone interested in getting into the Illinois medical cannabis program. He says they have a high rate of success because they know the Illinois laws.
The Medical Cannabis Outreach office in Clinton is the latest location in central Illinois. Sweatt explains they recommend patients see their doctors before they come to them. They want doctors to be on board.
Sweatt emphasizes they are not selling medical cannabis in Clinton. He says it simply a way for someone to get additional assistance getting on the Illinois program.
The first appointment date for Medical Cannabis Outreach in Clinton is set for Thursday, July 27.
To make an appointment and get more information, contact them by phone at 309-338-8900 or visit medicalcannabisoutreach.com.
If a new program at Clinton High School is going to get off the ground, it seems a partnership with a local construction group is likely.
Habitat For Humanity of DeWitt County could be instrumental in getting a building trades program going at Clinton High School. Superintendent Curt Nettles says it appears there is the makings for a great relationship between the two.
One thing that makes the two great partners is the fact Clinton High School has plots available and Habitat is in need of space to build. Given the fact Habitat is a natural fit for what the program hopes to accomplish, he sees great things ahead for the two.
Early on, the program would be small but it would build up as the partnership grows. Nettles says there is still a lot of planning to be done but things seem to be very promising.
Nettles notes there are lots of great building trade programs in the area to model after but he comes back most often to the program at Lincoln High School.
The Summer Concert Series at Allerton Park in Monticello has been a huge success and continues to gain traction as they enter their 2017 season.
Derek Peterson says the lineup for this year is another good one with plenty of food and drinks to go along with their variety of genres. The Friday concerts get going in June.
Peterson explains they have really committed to the first Fridays of each month for the concerts and says because of that, people block those out on their schedule so they can attend. He attributes that to a large portion of the success they've had.
Looking ahead, Peterson sees the park being able to balance continuing to have local flavors but then adding a national act or two at different points during the year.
For a full list of concerts and activities happening at Allerton Park, visit allerton.illinois.edu or visit them on Facebook and Twitter or call 217-333-3287. If you are at the park, stop in to their visitors center and pick up a hard copy of their schedule.
Senate President John Cullerton appears to have given up for his quest for a Grand Bargain budget deal with Republicans.
Democrats went their own way, approving a $37.3 billion spending plan that features a $5.4 billion tax increase. The additional revenue would come from boosting the personal income tax to 4.95 percent and the corporate rate to 7 percent. Sales tax would be added to a number of services.
Governor Rauner says he'll fight the budget plan because it lacks a long term property tax freeze.
No Republicans voted for the budget bills Tuesday.
State Senator Chapin Rose is blasting his coleagues in the Senate for pushing bills through before they were ready.
The Senator anticipated good faith talks Tuesday and then came to Springfield to find bills with plenty of mistakes.
Senator Rose also blasted the tax hike that passed the Senate Chambers yesterday.
Rose was critical of his coleagues for not addressing workers compensation. He says the implication it has nothing to do with the budget is false.
A downstate lawmaker speaking out against legislation that raises the state income tax.
The State Senate approved Senate Bill 9 on Tuesday by a 32 to 26 vote. State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria opposed.
Senate Bill 9 increases the individual income tax rate to 4.95 percent from 3.75 percent and the corporate income tax rate will increase to 7-percent from 5.25 percent.
The legislation also imposes a 6.25-percent tax on tattooing and body piercing and new taxes of 6-percent on satellite and streaming services.
Illinois’ crop protection industry has a voice in Washington.
It’s through the group CropLife America where Missouri native Kelly Bray serves as senior director of governmental affairs.
Bray says the organization has just launched a new campaign—called “Give a Crop”.
You can learn more about the campaign at “giveacrop.org” Bray says the site also features a popular section called myth vs. fact--comparing conventionally grown food to organically grown food.
Senator Dick Durbin isn't looking for a political bedfellow to head up the FBI after the firing of James Comey.
Durbin isn't offering names or endorsements, but he is looking for a true independent streak.
Durbin was a guest on MSNBC.
The state’s farmers are making progress on planting corn and soybeans.
The United States Department of Agriculture says that 89 percent of the corn crop is planted and 48 percent of the soybean crop is in. Those numbers are close to average. Overall the health of the corn crop isn’t good as last year. USDA’s Mark Schleusener…
Cool and wet weather is blamed for lagging crop health.
It's something that has been needed in DeWitt County for almost a quarter-century, and it is finally getting addressed.
The comprehensive plan for the County is long over due and while there's been a few attempts at an update, DeWitt County Board Chair David Newberg says it time to the County direction.
Newberg explains a comprehensive plan can be a very important resource for an entity. He says it gives potential businesses an idea of what a community has planned and a lot changes in 25 years.
For Newberg, things like schools, businesses, and services need to be addressed in the comprehensive plan. He indicates the Land Use committee will oversee the assembly of the plan.
There will be public input opportunities as a part of the planning sessions. Newberg indicates those will be announced as the process moves along but emphasizes the Board is very serious about getting this put together.
Clinton school leaders will investigate the possibility of more teachers in classrooms but their leaders says Clinton Schools are already in good shape and it may cost them financially.
Superintendent Curt Nettles says Clinton Schools are in a very good position with the number of students in a classroom, however, he will assemble his administration team and look into it.
Nettles warns against the suggestion of dipping into reserves. He says when you dip into reserves too much, your reserves aren't reserves anymore. He also cautions getting too wrapped up in the fact the power plant will continue to be an asset in the community.
Nettles also points outs classroom sizes in Clinton are very favorable. When area schools could have classroom sizes regularly in the 30s, he indicates he feels fortunate to have classroom sizes that average 20 students.
Nettles cautioned the board last Wednesday, getting so close to the start of a new school year, it would be difficult implement any findings.
Tax day may be in the rear view mirror but that doesn't mean scams are as a local group aimed at protecting the community's seniors tells us.
Pam Schwartz with the DeWitt County TRIAD says the IRS scam continues to be the top scam they hear about through their fraud abuse hotline.
The most common scam, and perhaps one of the most well known, is called 'the grandchild scam'. Schwartz indicates the person on the other end of the line will deliver bad news about a grandchild, or even pose like the grandchild, to a senior and will gradually get more and more information from the senior voluntarily.
The other popular scam right now is the Publisher's Clearing House scam. Schwartz indicates Publisher's Clearing House never calls, they only show up at your door by surprise.
Schwartz says the best way to deal with scam calls is to just hang up.
If you do find yourself in a sticky situation, contact the DeWitt County Sheriff's office at 217-935-9507. You'll talk with Schwartz and she will get the information and get you in touch with a detective who will help you through it.
DESPITE ALL THE RECENT RAIN, CORN PLANTING IN ILLINOIS IS ABOUT ON PACE WITH PREVIOUS YEARS.
FOUR DAYS WERE SUITABLE FOR FIELDWORK THIS PAST WEEK…AND SOME PRODUCERS HAD TO REPLANT FLOODED FIELDS SAYS CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER.
48 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS HAVE BEEN PLANTED AND 18 PERCENT HAVE EMERGED.
23 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 94 PERCENT OF THE WINTER WHEAT CROP HAS HEADED. 44 PERCENT OF THE WHEAT CROP IS RATED IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE NOW STANDS AT ONE PERCENT SHORT…64 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND 35 PERCENT SURPLUS.
A long lost war medal has been returned to a family that didn’t know their father left it behind. It’s the work of the Illinois Treasure’s unclaimed property division.
The story begins with an abandoned safety deposit box and a purple heart inside. It belonged to a Peoria area decorated war veteran Edward Dunn, but it was a medal that Constance Barr said never knew he father had been awarded for his service in World War II.
So needless to say she was taken aback once she believed that the person she was talking to on the phone was really from the Treasurer’s office.
Barr says that she knew her late father had served but he didn’t offer up the whole story to his family and now she wishes she could talk to him about it.
The medal had been unclaimed since 1993. Barr says that everyone should check the I Cash website and see if anything is destined to be returned. The office currently has more than 100 unclaimed medals.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich makes another bid for early release.
His attorneys are seeking another hearing before the same three-judge panel that chose to keep his 14-year prison term intact last month.
The three judge panel overturned five of Blagojevich's original 18 criminal convictions two years ago but Judge James Zagel refused to reduce his prison term.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request to hear Blagojevich's case.
Blagojevich's last hope could be his former boss, as in television boss, former Apprentice Host, President Donald Trump.
The state’s non-profit job creation group, Intersect Illinois has a new leader.
Governor Bruce Rauner announced Mark Peterson as the CEO. Peterson worked in job development and recruitment in Rochester New York. The Governor says that Intersect has helped secure 11,000 new jobs to be created in the state.
Peterson says focus will be placed on finding employers of all sizes but cultivating start up culture and helping small businesses grow is among the most important thing they can do.
The former CEO of Intersect Illinois Jim Schultz will be staying on as a board member of the organization.
What’s working in the current Farm Bill and what’s needed in the new one?
Those questions being answered by University of Illinois ag policy expert Jonathan Coppess.
Coppess has been receiving input on the issue from farmers across the state and met with the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors last week in Bloomington.
And Coppess says low commodity prices have also been a dominant part of the discussion. The deadline for ushering in a new Farm Bill is September 2018.
The foundation is still laid for a business course with great potential to come to Clinton schools, however, the details of such a program could be adjusted soon.
Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles says he still believes in the program but he and his colleague, Dr. Vic Zimmerman at Monticello, are going to reach out to other potential districts in the DeWitt and Piatt County areas and see who else might be interested in the opportunity.
Nettles indicates this could delay the implementation of the program but feels it needs to be done right rather than rushed.
According to Nettles, the program still remains very much on the table for Clinton schools, but geography of the partnerships created will play a big role in what it looks like moving forward.
The CH Moore Homestead was recently awarded a grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation.
The $2,000 will be used for a photograph preservation project that Joey Woolridge says they've wanted to impliment for quite a while.
She adds that the Bloomington based foundation is there to help non-profit organizations like the Homestead with funding such as the grant they received.
This money will help stabilize photographs of DeWitt County history so that the generations to come can view and enjoy these snapshots of the past.
Woolridge hopes to have the preservation project up and running by the end of the summer.
The Warner Library's Summer Reading Club is about to start up for this year. There will be three different clubs divided up by age. The youngest for 3-5 year olds called The Bee Team, the K through Junior High reading club and the Teen and Adult club.
Wonderful Wednesday will bring different programs for children to participate in according to Paula Lopatic.
Professional entertainers will are also on deck including Rockin' Rob, Silly Safari's, a ventriloquist, and Mermaid Chelsea.
Registration begins today and goes through the summer. If you'd like to register you can visit, call 935-5174, or check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
A south-eastern Illinois farmer hopes key decision makers are hearing from his industry.
Dennis Green farms outside of Lawrenceville—near the Indiana border. He says it’s important for his colleagues to speak up, especially to state and federal lawmakers.
And Green says farmers also need to listen and learn from other farmers on various practices, like no-till. Steve Stallman of Chester knows about that.
Stallman has received almost a foot of rain in his area of the state, but still has 85-percent of his corn planting complete.
A Quad City area state lawmaker criticizing costly memberships within the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology.
State Representative Mike Halpin says the agency’s consulting memberships have already cost taxpayers $208,000. He says the Governor needs to take a stand as well.
Halpin says in April, the memberships made headlines when $71 million was transferred by then Comptroller Leslie Munger out of the General Revenue Fund and deposited into various other funds, some of which went to pay for the agency’s memberships. Halpin was just elected last November.
Shaky commodity markets continue to be on the minds of some Illinois farmers as spring planting marches on in many parts of the state. The weak markets concern McHenry County farmer Michelle Aavang (AY-vayng – end rhymes with fang).
The northern Illinois farmer has been watching new farm bill discussions and debate closely. But, she says there’s still a long way to go in developing what could serve as a farm safety net for her and other farmers beyond next year.
Aavang represents DeKalb, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties on the Illinois Farm Bureau Board of Directors. She, her husband and son raise crops and livestock near the northern Illinois town of Woodstock.
The Trump administration has officially notified Congress it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Agriculture groups have reacted to the news with caution. The National Pork Producers Council is urging the president to make sure that tariffs remain at zero for pork traded throughout North America. Tariff-free access to Canada and Mexico last year were worth $799 million and $1.4 billion respectively. “Canada and Mexico are our top export markets,” says NPPC President Ken Maschoff, “and we absolutely must not have any trade disruptions.” U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers are also hoping for caution in the upcoming negotiations.
While the groups welcome the chance to improve the agreement, they oppose changes that would limit benefits to wheat growers, especially in the Mexican food processing industries. American wheat imports began surging in Mexico after NAFTA, and Mexico is now the largest buyer of American wheat. “I cannot emphasize how important our Mexican customers are to U.S. wheat farmers,” says Jason Scott, USW chair. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is also urging the administration not to jeopardize gains made in NAFTA. The National Farmers Union says the negotiations are a chance to make NAFTA work better for family farmers and ranchers across the country.
Uncertainty remains on long-awaiting funding for locks modernization on the Upper Mississippi
and Illinois Rivers, reflected in testimony this week by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. Perdue hedged this week on whether he’d press for funding for new 12-hundred foot locks on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, key for Midwest grain producers.
The Secretary’s comments added new uncertainty to the fate of seven new locks on the rivers, authorized 10-years ago in the 2007 WRRDA bill, dashing optimism raised early in the Trump Administration that a leaked unofficial list may have included inland waterways projects. Illinois Democrat Cheri Bustos at this week’s Perdue hearing…tape
Which the Obama Administration didn’t do and which Bustos is now asking Perdue to press for in any Trump infrastructure plan. But the Secretary would not commit…tape
Apparently referring to the timing and planning of construction. But Midwest lawmakers have been pursuing new locks for decades and Bustos reminded Perdue the locks in her northwestern Illinois district were built in the 1930s. She invited Perdue to come to her district and look for himself, at the ancient locks. Perdue visited a grain barge loading facility last week in Ohio.
The Clinton Community Unit School District 15 will raise their breakfast and lunch prices next school year in accordance with federal guidelines.
Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles explains the decision to increase lunch and breakfast prices were to meet federal guidelines. Approximately half of the students in the district qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. The federal government wants school districts to use their own funds and then they will reimburse the districts for their lunch program.
Lunches will increase from $1.75 to $2.00 for kindergarten through eighth grade, $2.00 to $2.25 for high school, and breakfast will increase from $1.25 to $1.50.
The Warner Library has three different Summer Reading Clubs that you can register for starting Monday the 22nd.
The theme of the Adult Summer Reading Club is Heroes vs. Villains according to Bobbi Perryman. As you read, you'll choose a side and vote for your favorite heroes or villains from literature.
Every book, e-book, or audio book you read counts toward getting your name into the drawing for an as yet unannounced grand prize.
Though registration starts on Monday the 22nd, you can sign up until the program ends.
Richland Community College is hosting a summer college readiness math program in partnership with Workforce Investment Solutions and the Education Coalition of Macon County.
Karen Lockhart with the Richland Math Enrichment Center indicates that the College Readiness Math Plus program is designed to help students with math courses in college. Students also have an opportunity to earn an internship at the end of the program.
During the five week program, students can expect to learn about career readiness as well as getting help with their math skills. Lockhart says the students will explore the Richland campus and will learn about the different degree options available at Richland.
Richland works with area school guidance offices who can refer students to the program. Interested students or parents of interested students can contact Karen Lockhart at 217-875-7211 ext. 6383 or visit www.richland.edu for more information.
The University of Illinois Extension is offering a Junior Master Gardener Summer program for students 8 years and above.
DeWitt County Extension Master Gardener Candace Miller indicates that the program begins June 6 and will feature a multitude of gardening topics to get kids interested in gardening.
The program will focus on vegetable garden aspect. Students will be able to plant vegetables in a garden and will learn how to harvest the crop. Miller says students involved in the program will also learn recipes to use their produce that they grew.
The program will start June 6 and run every other week from 10am to noon. Students can register online on the DeWitt County University of Illinois Extension office website. The cost to attend is three dollars per session.
For almost two months, the DeWitt County Board has heard from a company to come in and make energy improvements to the County's facilities.
After Thursday night's DeWitt County Board meeting, it is apparent there are more unanswered questions than answered questions. Lance Reece, who is a part of the Property Committee, says a presentation from Smart Watt left him with more questions than answers.
County Board Chair David Newberg says they've been considering the partnership with the company for six weeks but he does not feel rushed to make a decision. He says he wants to make the right decisions.
Board members questioned how the payments to Smart Watt would work. Ferguson explains this company would allow the County Board to borrow money from them to pay for the work. Reece says the company then makes money through marking up the bidders quotes.
According to Reece, there could maintenance that would not be covered by the contract. He indicates new units such as air conditioning may not be covered under what Smart Watt does.
The Board ultimately decided to send the proposal back to the Property Committee for further investigation.
It's not the teachers. It's the Board. It's not the students. It's the sports.
That is what several School Board members say they hear about the most when they encounter community members and that is why they approved a new athletics committee Wednesday night at the Board of Education meeting.
Board President Mike Walker says the committee would work with the Superintendent, administrators and athletic director and would correspond with the athletic booster club.
Walker feels this would be a good committee to have in place. He explains there is not a lot of communication between the board of education and the athletic booster board.
Board member Dan Matthews says the committee would also be in place to set good hiring and evaluation practices and not do something different each time a position opens up.
Matthews emphasizes the committee would not be involved in making the coaching decisions. He notes it would be in place to set the policy for those actions.
Matthews and Walker will be on the committee.
The Clinton Youth Initiative's program's annual summer garden at Alexander and Jefferson Streets has been planted.
It's part of the yearly work of the program which gives Clinton High School students work opportunities and then a chance at a college education. Susan Cooper indicates the students get a salary and work around 30 hours per week.
The Clinton Youth Initiative garden is probably the most visible sign of the program. Cooper says they just recently got their plants in the ground and says the students will periodically work at the site during the summer months.
There have been isolated instances of the public stealing from the garden and Ginny Carter asks the community to be respectful of the work that is done by the students.
The program employs about a dozen students and the leaders indicate they try to keep a balance of equal freshman to seniors so when the seniors graduate they do not have a big void to fill.
To get more information, high schoolers can find Carter at the high school or parents can inquire to the high school guidance office.
The ag industry remains focused on hiring and retaining top talent. That’s the mission of Champaign based Agrible, Inc. They’re home to agronomists, scientists and developers—who work for the grower in the field says the company’s Cynthia Bruno.
Luke Zwilling has been with the start-up since the beginning and says their location provides a great advantage.
The company opened in 2012 and now features a staff of 53 employees.
Theodore Cox Jr.
Braden Cross Mariah Crutchfield
Camdyn Alsup 2
Olivia Benton 2
Dylan Benz 2
Olivia Bierbrodt 2
Gracie Boughton 2
Katherine Broden 2
Lauren Broden 2
Zayin Calvert 2
Callie Champley 2
Sydney Clifton 2
Tess Cooper 2
Ryty Dupont-Barlow 2
Mason Foster 2
Kaitlyn Fought 2
Kayeden Fryman 2
Casey Goergen 2
Peyton Haynes 2
Gillian Henson 2
Clara Hickman 2
Sarah Hicks 2
Lindsey Holtman 2
Annmaree James 2
Allison Kinder 2
Christine Lindquist 2
Brandon Long 2
Emma Lux 2
Amelia Lyons 2
Anna Mills 2
Jordan Murphy-Leach 2
Matthew Overton 2
Kady Patelski 2
Kane Patterson 2
Logan Petersen 2
Zoie Polen 2
Savanah Polen 2
Riley Pruser 2
Christian Reynolds 2
Alexandria Shaw 2
Abigail Stone 2
Emily Taylor 2
Spencer Toohill 2
Amanda Tool 2
Jake Torbert 2
Sydnee Underwood 2
Kinser Wargel 2
Hannah Williams 2
Evelyn Wood 2
Claudia Workman 2
Addison Ayers 3
Joshua Burton 3
Nicole Chaney 3
Emily Ervin 3
Savannah Ettien 3
Madison Filkin 3
Megan Finfrock 3
Danye Hennenfent 3
Dayle Hennenfent 3
Mac Hickman 3
Jonathon Kane 3
Blake Karr *
Breanna Lane 3
Adreana Leblanc 3
Katelyn Maxwell 3
Kathleen Overbey 3
Kyli Patterson 3
Glenn Phillips *
Austin Rauch 3
Bryce Reeves 3
Chase Reynolds 2
Alyssa Saulsbery 3
Breanna Thayer 3
Sophia Waters 3
Maggie Werts 3
Emma Wertz 3
Seth Westfall 3
Millie White 3
Gregory Aughenbaugh 4
Claire Benton **
Quinlan Calvert 4
Grace Clark *
Wesley Conn 4
Riley Donelson 4
Isaac Fabris 4
Aaron Gamsby 4
Meghan Glass **
Noah Griffin 4
Livia Harmon **
James Harrold III 4
Juana Hernandez 4
Chelsey Hickman 4
Maggie Inman 4
Alexandra Johnson **
Sabrynn Karr 3
Jacob Kroeger 4
Deborah Lindquist 4
Makenzie McDonald 4
Taylor Moore 4
Sydney Musselman 4
Levi Nettles 2
Braden Newman 4
Amber Obermeyer 3
Allison Oswald 4
Alexis Peterson 4
Julia Sterr 4
Jena Thomas 4
Jazmin Valencia **
Landon Wargel 4
Lucas White 4
Victoria Wilson 4
Lillian Wood 4
A Clinton Board of Education member says Clinton Schools need smaller class sizes.
Ron Conner, a former administrator at Clinton High School, says he is not impressed with some of the class sizes. He says it is something he has wanted changed for better than 20 years and feels it's time he start doing something about it.
Conner says the students most impressionable ages for learning are between kindergarten and about fifth grade. He questions how students are supposed to learn and teachers are supposed to teach when there is better than 20 students in a classroom.
Working with the Board of Education on this is the goal for Conner. He believes kids in classrooms need more help and attention.
Getting more teachers in classrooms is going to cost the district. That was pointed out by John Blythe who calls it a great idea but wonders where the money is going to come from.
Other board members supported the idea. Chris Hammer says there's good teachers to be had that are not employed. He says he's willing to work with the administrators of the various buildings to get them in.
Superintendent Curt Nettles says he will work with his administrative team to find ways to get help in classrooms but cautioned, starting the process so close to a new school year would be difficult to get things done in time for the next year.
For the safety of everyone attending this weekend's May Days Festival in Clinton, local authorities are reminding attendees of some things to keep in mind for the weekend.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates the square will close briefly Thursday night for the festival, and then come Friday afternoon, it will completely close down as vendors move in for the weekend.
With large crowds expected on the square, Chief Lowers says they are asking attendees to keep the pets at home. He also asks folks to not bring their bikes to the square as well.
May Days opens tonight on the downtown Clinton Square and runs through Sunday. It is a fundraiser for the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.
For more information about the festival. Check out the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
Maroa Public Library's annual Summer Reading Program is coming up within the next few weeks.
The theme of this year's program is "Read by Design" according to Sara Gentle and will include activities for the children to participate in through the week.
There will be several guest speakers, each speaking on a different design theme, such as industrial and graphic design, to encourage a creative spark among participants.
The program's goal is to combat the "brain drain" that tends to happen between the end of the school year and the start of a new one with the intention of keeping those skills sharp.
Registration for the Maroa Public Library Summer Reading Program is on Thursday, June 1st between 10am-5pm and Friday, June 2nd from 10am-3pm.
The Illinois Senate spent several hours in debate Wednesday afternoon and voted on a number of bills that are part of a broader legislative package that could become Illinois’ next state budget. Not all of the bills were approved.
Sen. Chapin Rose was asked during a Wednesday evening press conference why, after months of negotiations, Republicans insist more time is needed before they consider the legislation.
Senate Republicans argued the bills they didn’t support needed more work.
Senator Bill Brady, who has been involved in state budget talks for weeks, took part in a Capitol press conference Wednesday to provide an update about the progress of the negotiations.
Sen. BradyBrady was asked if time is running out to reach an agreement before the May 31 deadline.
Sen. Brady was asked whether there is agreement on an income tax increase.
Sen. Brady was also asked about proposals to increase sales taxes.
Brady responds to a reporter’s question about the ongoing budget talks and how soon can those talks conclude with an agreement.
The General Assembly faces a May 31 deadline for a state budget.
Governor Bruce Rauner has good things to say about one chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, the other not so much.
On one hand, he says he's cheering on the Senate as the chamber continues to consider the Grand Bargain series of bills.
The temperature in the room cools a little when Rauner offers his opinions on the Illinois House.
The Senate is expected to renew voting on bills tied to the Grand Bargain.
A request to support reform the federal government's process to create and enforce environmental regulations stirred some 11-hundred farmers into action.
Illinois Farm Bureau asked farmers to actively support a so-called "back to basics” effort by new federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt. I-F-B President Rich Guebert explains what it's about.
And as for Springfield, Guebert says farmers await action on a state budget just like many other interests throughout Illinois.
Guebert farms in Ellis Grove in Randolph County.
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos looking for a defined infrastructure plan from President Trump, but says his administration remains too riddled with questions concerning ties to Russia.
Bustos made her remarks on the House Floor Wednesday.
The National Weather Service in Lincoln has again extended their wind advisory for Central Illinois, until 4 o'clock Thursday morning, after continued high winds blowing dust, caused almost zero visibility, closed several highways, and caused numerous accidents.
As of 9:15 Wednesday night, gettingaroundillinois-dot-com reported that Interstate 72 was closed from just east of Jacksonville to Springfield, and from Buffalo to Illiopolis.
The Weather Service reported that a dust storm at 5 o'clock 2 miles east of Tuscola on Route 36 in Douglas County, caused an accident with a semi and 6 cards due to zero visibility and blowing dust.
The Weather Service said that dangerous winds would continue through the overnight hours, due to the strong winds blowing dust and lowering visibilities to less than one quarter mile.
Loose, lightweight objects may be blown around. Minor tree or property damage is possible. Driving may be difficult especially in high profile vehicles and on east- west roads.
The Regional Radio listening area is also in the "marginal" category for possible severe weather on Thursday. Stay tuned to this Regional Radio station and dewittdailynews.com for the latest in weather information.
The National Weather Service in Lincoln extended their wind advisory for Central Illinois, until 9 o'clock Wednesday night, after continued high windsblowing dust, caused almost zero visibility, closed several highways, and caused numerous accidents.
The Illinois Department of Transportation closed Interstate 72 between the Sangamon-Morgan County line and Springfield, during the 5 o'clock hour Wednesday afternoon, due to the limited visibility. The eastbound lane of Illinois Route 104 between Auburn and Interstate 55, was also closed at 4:57.
Law enforcement also reported to the Weather Service, that a dust storm at 5:20 Wednesday afternoon caused lane closures on Interstate 55 near McLean due to poor visibility from blowing dust.
The Weather Service reported that a dust storm at 5 o'clock 2 miles east of Tuscola on Route 36 in Douglas County, caused an accident with a semi and 6 cards due to zero visibility and blowing dust.
Blowing dust from the strong winds was lowering visibilities on some east west roads to less than one quarter mile, adding that numerous car accidents have been reported.
Motorists were urged to use caution when driving Wednesday evening, especially on east-west roads due to the strong south wind.
14% of the general revenue to the community could on the line if a piece of legislation passes in Springfield.
City Commissioner of Finances, Tom Edmunds, informed the City Council that 14-percent could be around a half-million dollars the state would withhold.
The Senate's revenue committee will consider the bill. Edmunds says that is something the City will watch very carefully.
While you're out enjoying all the carnival rides and food available during the May Days Festival, be sure to stop by the Mr. Lincoln Square stage for what is happening with the live music.
Marian Brisard, Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce says Friday night 'Always Jammin' DJ' will set the mood. Saturday on the square, Protege will perform.
With the festival winding down on Sunday, Brisard says they are welcoming back a group of ucelele players who were a big hit last year.
The May Days Festival opens tomorrow night (Thursday) and runs throughout the weekend. For more information about all things May Days, visit the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
The utility company dealing with power is the hold up for what will eventually be a new gas station in Clinton.
City Administrator Tim Followell says the owners of the MachOne gas station planned at the block bordered by Van Buren, Grant, White and Jackson Streets are waiting on Ameren to get things situated for construction to start.
In early April, area fire crews used the block as a training site but since there has been little movement.
Authorities say there could be passenger train delays in central Illinois after a late night freight train derailment.
Union Pacific spokeswoman Calli Hite says no one was injured and no hazardous materials were involved. Eighteen of 77 cars carrying automobiles and other materials derailed near Elkhart around 10:30 p.m. Monday. The train was traveling from East St. Louis to Proviso, which is outside Chicago.
Amtrak officials say some passenger trains could be delayed Tuesday and buses will be used to transport passengers where needed. Amtrak didn't specify which services would be affected.
The Logan County Sheriff's Department says some area roads are closed and crews have been called to assist with cleanup.
Hite says the derailment's cause is under investigation.
Elkhart is about 20 miles northeast of Springfield, Illinois.
Springfield's Memorial Medical Center and HSHS St. John's Hospital will stop providing athletic trainers for area high schools by this summer because of the state budget holdup.
Reports indicate the hospitals will end the 30-year tradition because the state is $130 million behind in paying bills for the state's group health insurance program.
Dr. Charles Lucore is St. John's chief executive officer. He says the budget crisis "is causing all of us to make difficult decisions."
The decision affects eight area high schools and their major sports programs - including football.
The Illinois High School Association doesn't require trainers to be at games or practices. But high schools have come to count on them.
A northern Illinois farmer pushing back against a proposed railroad project.
If approved, the Great Lakes Basin line would run within ten feet within Tammy Wakeley’s free stall barn in Winnebago County.
Wakeley says she’s frustrated because it could take the Surface Transportation Board several years to make a final decision. She also would have liked to see more time for public input on the issue.
The farm Wakeley’s own dates back to 1884.
The team of four Illinois House Democrats tabbed by Speaker Michael Madigan to work with Governor Rauner on ways to end the budget stalemate is getting down to business.
State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie says they are taking his demand for business friendly reforms head on.
Democrats are seeking reforms that would prohibit insurance companies in Illinois from eliminating an insurance policy due to a pre-existing condition and would also create an Insurance Rate Review Board to prevent insurance companies from unfairly gouging consumers.
The House negotiators also plan to ask Rauner to join them and help close corporate loopholes that allow large businesses to pay nothing in taxes.
They're concerned that impacts revenue and makes it harder for small and medium businesses to survive.
Progress on an evidence based education funding formula has taken a hit.
State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb says an amendment was offered Tuesday in Springfield that throws a wrench into things.
Hammond believes the amendment is being motivated by Chicago special interests.
The Governor’s Education Funding Reform Commission offered a report to the state legislature earlier this year.
President Trump's sharing of classified information with Russian officials is getting response from one of his most outspoken critics, Senator Dick Durbin.
Durbin is expressing fears the developments will hurt the battle against terror threats like ISIS.
Durbin once again turned back the clock to the early 70s and made comparisons to Watergate.
Durbin also renewed his call for a special prosecutor and independent commission to investigate possible ties between the President’s inner circle and Russia.
An 18 year old from western Illinois getting some impressive recognition for building his own egg business. Jim Taylor reports.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce's May Days Festival will have plenty to offer the community.
From the carnival to food to entertainment, the May Days festival has something to offer everyone when things kick off Thursday. Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Marian Brisard indicates their traditional flag raising ceremony and blessing will be done on Friday even though the festival starts Thursday.
The Chamber this year is bringing back their Pokemon Go event. Brisard says this was a big hit last year and feels Pokemon Go is still popular enough to do it again.
According to Brisard, First Christian Church will host their '5K to Raise 5K' to kick the day off Saturday. Like last year, there will be an Abraham Lincoln impersonator at the Race as well.
The American Legion will have a pork chop sandwich fundraiser on Saturday night and Brisard says it goes to a great group for a great cause.
There will be even more stage entertainment throughout the weekend as well.
Tomorrow on Regional Radio News, Brisard will tell us more about what to expect on the Mr. Lincoln Square Stage during the four-day May Days festival in Clinton.
For more information about May Days, visit the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
The Clinton Community Education Foundation (CCEF) is once again sponsoring the Clinton High School scholarships and awards banquet.
Ruth Lowers with CCEF, indicates that the Foundation is sponsoring the Gold Star Banquet for a third year. The banquet is run by the high school guidance office and the Foundation takes the expenses away from the high school and the students.
Lowers says the Foundation felt compelled to sponsor the banquet so that recognized students could attend with their parents regardless of their financial situation. CCEF fundraisers help the Foundation sponsor the Gold Star Banquet.
The Gold Star Banquet is open to invited students and their parents. Students must maintain a 3.51 GPA or receive a scholarship to attend.
Freshman through seniors will be recognized for their academic achievement along with seniors awarded scholarships.
A bipartisan group of more than 30 Illinois House members are tired of sitting on the sidelines when it comes to the budget process.
With the Grand Bargain seemingly stuck in neutral in the Senate, State Representative Tim Butler and others want to see the Senate craft the best compromise they can so the House can go to work.
Butler says the bipartisan group will have more to say if there isn't progress toward a budget.
Lawmakers face a May 31 deadline to pass budget bills with simple majority votes.
A University of Illinois tax policy expert says too many questions remain unanswered with the Trump administration tax reform plan.
Don Fullerton isn’t calling the plan good or bad. He says it’s just basically a one-page list of bullet points.
The last significant tax reform occurred in 1986, and although it intended to simplify the tax code, Fullerton says special interests got in the way.
Fullerton says just like lawmakers, he’s awaiting analysis on the Trump reform plan from the Congressional Budget Office and Treasury Department.
Get out those old printers and computers and VHS players because you officially have a place to take them to get recycled legally.
The Clinton City Council Monday night announced a pair of free recycling days coming to Clinton June 9 and 10. City Administrator Tim Followell doesn't need to remind the public this is a huge need. You can even dispose of your televisions of any size for just ten-dollars.
Clinton, like numerous other communities across the state, have been in search of a viable option for electronic recycling, especially once HRC East ceased to offer it. Followell says the company from northern Illinois approached the City about having this come to Clinton.
There will be no residency requirements for participation in the electronic recycling days.
Again the dates are June 9 and 10 at the Clinton High School parking lot.
Also at the Monday night City Council meeting...
>>The Council approved a donation of $5000 to the Celebrate Clinton Association for their fireworks display.
>>The Council approved a new vehicle for the police department at a cost of just over $38-thousand.
>>The Council also approved the motor fuel tax summer maintenance bids through Illiana Construction Company for just short of $176-thousand.
The annual outage at the Exelon Nuclear Power Station is underway.
The outage is annual refueling of the power plant. According to Brett Nauman, Communications Manager, the outage brings hundreds of additional workers for maintenance that can only be done with the plant is offline.
In addition to providing maintenance to the power plant, Nauman says the 1500 additional workers are staying in local hotels and eating at restaurants. He says it's a huge economic boom to the area.
Had it not been for the efforts of local lawmakers, an outage right now may not be happening. Nauman says the workers and other employees are still grateful for the Clean Energy legislation that was passed in Springfield.
Nauman says the outage should last another few weeks. He says contractors are from local unions and total over 1500 additional workers.
The annual May Days Festival is here.
By Tuesday you'll start to see the rides for the carnival setting up on the square. Executive Director Marian Brisard says they have their usual carnival returning for 2017 along with plenty more entertainment options for everyone.
The Chamber makes money on the weekend through the carnival ride ticket sales. Brisard explains purchasing tickets early not only saves money for attendees but it also provides a bigger return to the Chamber of Commerce. Brisard notes the pre-sale tickets are available at several local businesses.
The Festival kicks off on Thursday and runs until Sunday, all on the downtown Clinton Square.
For more information on the Festival and all the activities, find the Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.
The DeWitt County Museum Association's annual "Quilted Keepsakes" quilt show will take place starting June 1st through June 30th at the C.H. Moore Homestead DeWitt County Museum.
Several contemporary loaned pieces from private collections will be displayed for your viewing pleasure. According to Joey Woolridge, there is at least one "crazy quilt," a design that was popular in the 1870s and 80s.
This particular quilt has souvenir ribbons that tie it to DeWitt County.
The quilts can be viewed Tuesday through Saturday 10am-5pm and 1pm-5pm on Sundays. If you'd like to arrange a large group tour, contact the museum at 217-935-6066 or send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.