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Local News

DeWitt County Activates Cooling Centers Ahead of Expected Heat

A heat advisory goes into effect Wednesday at noon and will last until late Saturday which has resulted in DeWitt County safety officials activating its cooling centers for the second straight week.
 
The DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency Office has announced cooling centers will be available at the Warner Library and DeWitt County Friendship Center.
 
The Friendship Center is open from 8 am to 3 pm Wednesday through Friday at 410 East Main Street.
 
The Warner Library is open from 9 am to 9 pm Wednesday and Thursday, 9 am to 5pm Friday and from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday at 310 North Quincy Street.
 
The library does not allow drinks or snacks. 
 
Increasing heat and humidity are forecasted, with temperatures over 90 degrees and high humidity. This mix of heat and humidity will push Heat Indexes to 100 to 110 degrees from Wednesday to Saturday. 

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Clinton Cares About Bringing the Community Together

Bringing the community together to support the fight against substance abuse is the goal of a Saturday event on the downtown Square in Clinton.
 
The DeWitt County Coalition is helping host Sober Jai, Jamie Smith, a recovering addict from Champaign, and the event Clinton Cares. Pam Schwartz with the Coalition explains the day starts at 11 am with narcan training at the Warner Library and that is open to the public.
 
 
The days features various musical performances on the square and special guest speakers. Schwartz indicates they will have food and drinks available and there are going to be several kids activities.
 
 
Schwartz indicates the narcan training is a great opportunity for anyone that works with the public. She notes you never know when you might need it.
 
 
To get registered for the narcan training at 11 am Saturday at the Warner Public Library, contact Schwartz at the DeWitt County Sheriff's Office at 217-935-9507. 
 
Clinton Cares then opens on the square at noon and goes until 7 pm. 

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Clinton Chamber Officially Unveils New Website

The new Clinton Chamber of Commerce website is up and running.
 
While not quite perfected yet, Executive Director Marian Brisard indicates they have a new format that is going to be very user friendly for their members and the community.
 
 
According to Brisard, members will be able to update their own information and make payments there. She adds it was a much needed update in a cyber-driven world.
 
 
Brisard is excited about the community calendar feature. She explains a business can add an event they are having for anyone in the community to see.
 
 
The URL is the same for the website. Brisard says visit clintonilchamber.com to see the new layout and check out what is happening in the community. 

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Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Seeks Local Non-profit For Grants

There are about 700 Community Foundations across the nation, Illinois alone boasts 40. The Illinois Prairie Community Foundation (IPCF) serves McLean, DeWitt, Livingston, and Logan counties.
 
According to Cathy Davis, the IPCF's goal is to carve a space for the future and the non-profit sector to continue to do the work that keeps our communities viable.
 
 
Davis adds that there are five categories for grants, but the most accessible are the Arts and Culture and General grants. There is also a program within the IPCF called Youth Engaged in Philanthropy which gave to Read Across Clinton this year.
 
 
To learn more about apply for the grant programs, visit their website at www.ilprairiecf.org, call them at (309) 662-4477, or email Michelle Evans at mevans@ilprairiecf.org.

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State Streamlining Teaching Requirements

There are plenty of young teachers out looking for jobs this summer and now landing a teaching gig might be a little easier.
 
The State Board of Education says that there are one thousand open teaching jobs and a new law to streamline the licensing requirements for those jobs should help fill some of them. 
 
ISBE’s Emily Fox says that the new law will lower the minimum age to apply for an educator license and remove a coursework requirement for existing teachers looking to renew provisional career and technical education licenses. Fox says this should help out some specific areas of the state. 
 
 
Districts around the state also say they are often faced with shortages of substitute teachers.

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Trade Expert Calling For Farmers To Be Patient in Volatile Weather Market

As farmers follow the numbers on the Chicago Board of Trade this summer, a trading expert advises them to be patient, especially those with old crop in storage. 
 
Doug Werling with Bower Trading says there’s been much volatility already this week, but…….
 
 
Bower says that was evident Tuesday, the market was “bullish” in the morning and then by midday it was cooler and wetter and there was a sell off. He calls it a “trader’s market” right now. 

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Durbin Leads Charge Against Appeals Court Nominee

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is fighting the nomination of John Bush to serve a lifetime appointment on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. 
 
Durbin told colleagues Mr. Bush has made dozens of provocative comments during his legal career that call into question his temperament and judgment.
 
 
Durbin says he's getting little evidence that Bush can be a fair and impartial judge.
 
 
Bush is an attorney based in Louisville.

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DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition Discusses Website

Being a resource for the community is the goal for the online presence being developed by a group who's aim is to help battle substance abuse in the community.
 
The DeWitt County Substance Abuse Coalition is working to develop a website that would be a community resource for anyone impacted in any way to substance abuse. Warner Hospital and Health Services Nick Rousseau has been working on the site for the coalition.
 
The coalition hopes the website can be a guide for the community on resources available for substance addictions of all types.
 
 
Rousseau indicates he will take suggestions on what should be on the website and how it should be layed out. Members of the coalition discussed using Facebook as a driver to get people to their website.
 
 
The format for the website is going to be mobile friendly. The web provider for the time being is Wix and the free format available allows for a mobile friendly page but Sheriff Jered Shofner feels if investing in the web page is something they want to do, he feels it might be worth it.
 
 
The substance abuse coalition meets the third Tuesday of each month at 10 am at the Warner Public Library.
 
They will be hosting an event on the Clinton Square Saturday, Clinton Cares. Get more information on that event tomorrow on Regional Radio News. 

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Area Schools Partner for CEO Program

After roughly six months of exploration into a program that would introduce high school seniors to the world of business, area schools have come together and formed two different partnerships based on geography.
 
Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles updated the Clinton Board of Education Tuesday night on the CEO program that looked to be in limbo just a few months ago. He explains there are nine schools that will partner in two different groups based on geography.
 
 
According to Nettles, the next step is to start to work to build support from the respective communities. 
 
 
As the momentum starts to build in the community, Nettles indicates he will begin to present the program to more potential investors and says they already have a number of investors ready to jump in.

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Southern Illinois Eclipse Now Includes Soda

As Southern Illinois prepares for next month's box seat view of the total solar eclipse, a Breese based bottling company known for the popular Citrus drink Ski is adding some flavor. 
 
Carla Baublitz with Excel says they have launched a short term soda flavor in preparation for the August 21st cosmic event.
 
 
Baublitz says it won't take ice cubes for the soda to be truly chilling...
 
 
Excel is preparing to produce more Darkest Hour soda on Tuesday. The company has already received bulk orders from a summer camp and several schools planning eclipse parties.

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Rauner Dismisses Attention Given To Staff Shakeup

Governor Bruce Rauner's staff has seen turnover in key positions since he suffered defeats on the state budget and tax hike votes, but Rauner maintains it's standard operating procedure.
 
 
The shakeup now extends to Rauner's political operation. Former Rauner Chief of Staff Mike Zolnierowicz (zohl-nehr-oh-whitz) ,was expected to run Rauner's re-election campaign but he has resigned. 

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State Budget Has Minimal Impact On Clinton - For Now

The State of Illinois' budget from earlier in July will have a minimal impact on the City of Clinton.
 
That was the message Monday night at the Clinton City Council meeting from Commissioner of Finance Tom Edmunds (pictured right). He explains they will lose around $6,600 from sales tax revenues.
 
 
The state will be reducing payments of taxes to local governments, but according to Edmunds, in Clinton's case, the City will actual come out ahead because of the way the state is distributing the funds.
 
 
There was no tax freeze in the budget but Edmunds says there is a lot to be done and the tax freeze could be a negotiating item going forward.
 
 
While the City of Clinton knows what their revenue will be from the State of Illinois, Clinton Schools still do not as the state budget only appropriates money to schools when a new funding formula passes and lawmakers have until August 1 to pass that, or they jeopardize the start of school for many districts. 

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Local Authorities Discuss Upcoming Heat Wave

More hot weather is anticipated this week and local authorities are promoting safety precautions again this week.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers says the name of the game is do what you have to do to stay cool. Drink plenty of cold water, stay indoors when possible and wear light weight clothing.
 
 
During the winter months, the Chief encourages those traveling to keep their car maintained for the elements, but the same goes for the summer. Chief Lowers encourages getting your car checked out if you plan to make any long trips.
 
 
Additionally, Chief Lowers reminds residents to think of your pets during this time. He encourages bringing outside animals in to a cooler area and providing them with fresh water consistently.
 
 
Chief Lowers says local authorities take the calls of neglected animals seriously. He encourages if you see an animal in distress to contact local authorities and they will take action immediately. 
 
Temperatures mid-week are expected to be hot and humid again with triple-digit heat indexes and more temperatures in the 90s. 

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Weekly Crop Report

MOST CROPS AROUND THE STATE RECEIVED SOME MUCH NEEDED RAIN AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT.
 
SOME AREAS SAW JUST A LITTLE RAIN AND OTHERS EXPERIENCED FLOODING THIS PAST WEEK. 63 PERCENT OF CORN IS NOW SILKING AND THE CONDITION OF THE CROP STAYED ABOUT THE SAME WITH 62 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION.
 
 
56 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND 17 PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS. THE CONDITION OF THE CROP WAS NEARLY UNCHANGED AT 67 PERCENT IN GOOD TO EXCELLENT CONDITION. 
 
 
AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE INCREASED SLIGHTLY TO SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 28 PERCENT SHORT, 63 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND THREE PERCENT SURPLUS.
 
WINTER WHEAT HARVESTING IS NOW COMPLETE.

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Trucking Industry Expert Advising Farmers To Be Aware of New Electronic Log Regulation

A new U.S. Department of Transportation rule is set to be implemented later this year, but it shouldn’t have a significant impact on farmers. 
 
Beginning December 18th, many truckers will be required to have an electronic log system instead of a paper log, but Don Schaefer, with the Mid-West Truckers Association, says there are exemptions that come into play for farmers and other small owner/operators.
 
 
Other exemptions to the new electronic logging rule include the covered farm vehicle exemption, the agricultural season exemption and the older truck exemption for trucks prior year 2000 models. 

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Senate Ag Chair Looks To Crackdown On Fraudulent Organic Imports

Ag Chair Pat Roberts says he knew a year before a media report that the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program was not intercepting fraudulent imports of organic food. 
 
Roberts may now be ready to seek a fix in the next farm bill. He says the Washington Post reported recently that millions of pounds of shipments of possibly fraudulent “organic” products were imported into the US. But that was not news to the Senate Ag chairman…
 
                 
 
Roberts told a farm bill hearing last week that lawmakers need to ensure that "overregulation and antiquated government processes" are not keeping farmers from succeeding in tough economic times…
 
 
Roberts says the Board is not keeping up with the huge growth and new technology in the organic market, while an influx of fraudulent “organic” corn and soybean imports meantime, is cutting into domestic producer profits.
 
Kenneth Dallmier operates the Clarkson Grain Company, based in Cerro Gordo, and he told the Senate Ag Committee the threat is huge…
 
         
 
USDA recently decertified two of three firms involved in fraudulent shipments, while three key Senate Democrats have asked USDA’s inspector general to boost enforcement of organic import standards.
 
Dallmier recommended the Ag Committee consider adding staff at vulnerable ports, imposing tougher enforcement on shippers and recall requirements for end-users, and use of electronic farm- to-customer tracking devices that have less tampering risk than paper documentation.

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Rauner's 'Body Man' Fired Shortly After Hire

The Governor’s office is cleaning house. In the past few days more than 20 administration staffers have left on their own or have been fired by the Governor. And a newly hired one didn’t stick around long after people started reading his tweets. 
 
Ben Tracy was hired to be Bruce Rauner’s “Body Man” an assistant that travels with the Governor and moves between him and people he interacts with while out in the public. Once Tracy was brought on tweets he’d made in the past include homophobic slurs and other insensitive comments came to light. Tracy started Monday working for the Governor but was out of a job by the afternoon – but on Monday - Rauner said his team was hiring the very best people they could find.
 
 
Rauner also defended making hires from the Illinois Policy Institute saying it isn’t showing any turn in his administration to a more conservative tone.

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Illinois Public Universities Receiving Money

For the first time since 2015, the check is actually in the mail for Illinois public universities. 
 
The Illinois Board of Higher Education says the new budget will provide the state's 12 public universities with about $1.1 billion for the 2017-18 academic year. 
 
That's welcome news, but the funding level represents a 10 percent decline from 2015.

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Leader of Illinois Group That Backed Controversial Film To Speak in Normal

The leader of a controversial new documentary about food and farming plans to discuss why the Chicago-based group backed it during an upcoming conference in Normal. 
 
John Coupland (COOP-lend), who heads the Institute of Food Technologists, says the film's theme, which examines opponents and supporters of biotechnology or G-M-O's, needed a fair examination;
 
 
In addition to serving as president of the food tech group, Coupland serves as a food scientist at Penn State. He's been invited talk about the "Food Evolution" film at the Illinois Farm Bureau's Farm Income and Innovations conference on Tuesday, July 25th;
 
 
Both The New York Times and L-A Times praised the new film that had its Illinois debut in Chicago last week. If you're interested in hearing Coupland, contact your county Farm Bureau or go to I-l-f-b-dot-org.

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Current Farm Downturn Not Likely to Reach 1980’s Crisis

A report by a Farm Credit Administration economist told the Administration’s board members last week that the current downturn in the farm economy is not likely to reach a 1980s-style crisis. 
 
Farm Credit chief economist Stephen Gabriel said the “likelihood of this is very low,” adding that a confluence of adverse factors led to the crisis that occurred in the 1980s. 
 
He says it would take a similar combination of adverse developments to create another crisis in the farm economy. While the two periods are similar in some respects, Gabriel points out that interest rates were very high in the 1980s, and today’s interest rates are historically low. 
 
The price of oil is another major difference, according to his report. In 1979 and 1980, the price surged, while today it is declining. 
 
Also, the general economy is in better shape today than it was in the 1980s. The country experienced two recessions during the 1980s' crisis whereas today we're in an "extended, if lackluster, economic expansion," according to Gabriel.

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Governor Calls on Lawmakers To Send Him Senate Bill 1

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER IS CALLING ON THE LEGISLATURE TO SEND HIM THE EDUCATION FUNDING REFORM BILL THEY PASSED, SO HE CAN ISSUE AN AMENDATORY VETO.
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HE SUPPORTS MORE EQUITABLE FUNDING FOR SCHOOLS…BUT NOT A BAILOUT FOR CHICAGO’S TEACHER PENSION SYSTEM. HE SAYS HE WILL CUT THAT PART OUT OF THE LEGISLATION ONCE LAWMAKERS SEND IT TO HIS DESK.
 
 
HE CRITICIZES LAWMAKERS FOR HOLDING ONTO THE LEGISLATION.
 
 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS UNDER HIS AMENDATORY VETO…MOST SCHOOL DISTRACTS ACROSS THE STATE WOULD GET MORE MONEY.

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Ag Lending Expert Says Farmers Need To Think Like Their Banker

The farm economy runs in cycles and an ag lending expert recommends farmers to not only get to know their banker, but also understand their own business. 
 
That’s the message from Curt Covington—Senior Vice President of Ag Finance at Farmer Mac. He says it’s a good practice for farmers to “think” like their bankers.
 
 
Covington says bankers need to stay with farmers in the bad economic times if they were with them in the good times because farmers have good memories. 
 
Last year, Farmer Mac purchased a record $1-billion in first mortgages through 1,500 applications from rural community banks throughout the U.S. 

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Clinton Chamber Unveils New Haunted House License Plates

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce has unveiled a specialty license plate that will be a short promotion for their annual Terror on Washington Street Haunted House.
 
Executive Director of the Clinton Chamber, Marian Brisard (right) explains it is a commemoration of their 24th year.
 
 
The plates are good for two months and Brisard indicates it is a promotion of the Haunted House.
 
 
The plates are $20.17 and for more information or to get your plate, contact Brisard at the Chamber at 217-935-3364. 

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Lincoln Mayor Hopes To Bring People Together

The recently elected Mayor of the City of Lincoln, Seth Goodman, hopes to bring people together in his first time in the local political arena.
 
Never imagining himself getting into politics, Goodman, a realtor in Lincoln, explains he wanted to bring a young and fresh perspective to the community. 
 
 
One of Goodman's biggest goals is to bring the community together. He explains Lincoln has people that can't seem to see eye-to-eye but wants to get everyone on the same page despite the differing perspectives.
 
 
According to Goodman, people need to get involved and hopes community leaders will make themselves accessible to residents.
 
 
Many communities struggle with finding development, especially downtown. While Goodman hopes to bring in more businesses, he hopes to support what is already in Lincoln. He wants to make the community more aware of what is already in Lincoln and keeping business local instead of people going to Springfield or Bloomington/Normal and other places. 

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Social Security Discussing Medicare in July

This July, Social Security is reminding Americans of the various Medicare parts and what they mean to you.
 
According to Megan Foristall, from Social Security, you can enroll in Medicare Parts A and B with Social Security; however, Parts C and D of medicare are taken care of through private companies.
 
 
The three ways to qualify for Medicare are age, disability and End-Stage Renal Disease.
 
 
If you are qualifying for Medicare by age, you have the three months before you turn 65, your birth month and the three months after to enroll in the program. The general enrollment period is January through March.
 
 
To learn more you can call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website, ssa.gov. For more information regarding Medicare visit medicare.gov.

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Rauner Vows Schools Will Open in the Fall As State Works on School Funding

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS SCHOOLS WILL OPEN THIS FALL. 
 
ALTHOUGH THE STATE NOW HAS A BUDGET, THE PLAN REQUIRES THE STATE TO HAVE A NEW EDUCATION FUNDING FORMULA BEFORE MONEY CAN BE SENT TO SCHOOLS. LAWMAKERS PASSED A REVAMPED FORMULA, BUT GOVERNOR RAUNER OPPOSES THE MEASURE, CALLING IT A BAILOUT FOR CHICAGO SCHOOLS. STILL, HE SAYS SOMETHING WILL BE WORKED OUT.
 
 
HE SAYS HE WILL CONTINUE TO PUSH FOR EQUITABLE FUNDING FOR ALL ILLINOIS SCHOOLS.
 
 
THE LEGISLATURE HASN’T SENT THE GOVERNOR THAT BILL YET, WHICH HE COULD VETO IN PART, OR IN ITS ENTIRETY.

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Moody's Has Concerns

The state hasn’t wowed anyone just yet at a credit rating agency but the state also hasn’t been downgrade to junk. 
 
Moody’s has offered an opinion on what Illinois did with a budget and tax increase. 
 
The extra revenue is going to generate $5 billion more dollars a year but the state’s short term is three times that and that concerns Moody’s. In a report released Friday Moody’s questions the state’s ability to generate sustained surpluses that would be needed to reduce the pile of bills. 

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Rauner Brushes Off Recent Hires As Political Learnings

The Governor has been making a number of changes in the highest spots of his administration.  
 
Last week Bruce Rauner brought in a new chief of staff, and made changes to policy staffer and communications people. Many of those hires were made from a very conservative group called the Illinois Policy Institute. Rauner won’t say if those hires will signal a shift to a more conservative tone from his administration.
 
 
He says the only thing that matters is focusing on turning around the state and not who he’s hiring.

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Ag To US Senate - Export Programs Key In Farm Bill

Agriculture Department export program are key to keeping conventional and organic producers in the black, as lawmakers write the next farm bill. That was the message from producers and ag lawmakers at a Senate farm bill hearing.
 
39 USDA export assistance programs have no funding guarantee when their 2014 farm bill authority runs out in 2019. Programs including Market Access, Foreign Market Development and Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops are among them, returning more than  $28 for every dollar invested, or more than $2 billion a year in net farm income, based on a study by Informa Economics.
 
Greg Haines with the U.S. Meat Export Federation…
 
          
 
Haines, meanwhile, says red meat exports add some 45-cents to a bushel of corn.
 
Kenneth Dallmier (dall-myer) operates the Clarkson Grain Company in Cerro Gordo, Illinois and told Senate Ag lawmakers USDA also needs to combat fraudulent imports of organic grain by boosting domestic production, legal liability for fraud, and verification tracking…
 
      
 
But verification is not enough. Ag Chair Pat Roberts says the National Organics Standards Board is plagued by “uncertainty and dysfunction,” hampering regulations needed to keep up with rapid growth and innovation in a sector, many growers now depend on to boost sinking margins.

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Weather Radar in Lincoln Gets an Upgrade

The weather radar used by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Lincoln will be out of commission for the next three to four days, starting Monday, July 17th, for a tech upgrade.The work will be delayed if hazardous weather is forecast.
 
A crew will install a new signal processor, which replaces obsolete technology, improves processing speed and data quality, provides added functionality, and increases IT security.
 
This will be the first of four major upgrades planned over the next 5 years. The $150 million investment is being made by the three organizations that use these radars, the NOAA National Weather Service, United States Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration.

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Assistant State's Attorney Weights in on Underage Drinking Problem in DeWitt County

The Coalition for Brighter Futures, which serves DeWitt County, is in its third year of a five year grant to educate people about and prevent underage drinking.
 
According to Assistant State's Attorney, Lars Dunn, the underage drinking statistics in DeWitt County are staggering.
 
 
Dunn adds that scare tactics are more useful in preventing the use of harder drugs, but it's more difficult to get those tactics to work with drinking because of the familiarity surrounding alcohol in our culture. The coalition's goal is to get parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of consuming alcohol.
 
 
Usually, for a first time offense, community service is enough to stop the offender from drinking again, but if it's not, the punishments only get worse and more expensive.
 
The Coalition for Brighter Futures is looking for members of the community, especially those who work with and have influence with community youths to help them in their objective. If you'd like to reach out, they encourage you to call Divah Griffin at (217) 570-0198.

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Northern Illinois Lawmaker Points Out Backdoor Gas Tax in Budget

You could wind up paying more for a gallon of gas in Illinois as a result of the budget that was recently approved by state lawmakers. 
 
While not a gas tax, the budget deal eliminated the final year of a sales tax reduction retailers were receiving from the state on ethanol blend fuel. And that, according to State Senator Dave Syverson of Rockford means the retailers will likely pass the cost along to consumers.
 
 
The increase could be between 2 1/2 - 3 cents per gallon, according to Syverson. 
As to when the increase could be expected, he says that is still being negotiated. 
Another consideration is that another gas tax isn't out of the question, as roads are crumbling around the state.

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State Historical Preservation Agency Moved Under DNR

THE STATE’S HISTORIC PRESERVATION AGENCY IS MOVING UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES.
 
I-D-N-R IS WELCOMING THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION AGENCY TO ITS NEWLY CREATED DIVISION OF HISTORIC SITES SAYS SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS.
 
 
THE SHIFT IS A GOOD FIT SAYS CROSS.
 
CROSS SAYS THIS WILL IMPROVE EFFICIENCY AND SAVE TAXPAYER DOLLARS. THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM WILL NOW OPERATE AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE AGENCY.

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Early Start to High School Football Season

The 2017/2018 IHSA calendar means an exceptionally early start to the high school football season. 
 
The first games are played in just six weeks Friday, August 25th. 
 
The first official day of practice is just three weeks from Monday, which is August, 7th. 

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Tennessee Joins Other States limiting Dicamba Use

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced new limits on the use of dicamba-based herbicides this week. 
 
The move follows practical bans issued by Arkansas and Missouri for using dicamba for row crop applications, as concerns and drift damages mount. 
Missouri, however, released its “stop sale, use or removal” order Thursday on dicamba-based herbicides. 
 
The new rule in Tennessee restricts application to certified private applicators or licensed pest control operators, certified by the state. The rule also prohibits the use of older formulations of dicamba products for the rest of this growing season and restricts application hours to between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
 
The new rules, according to the state’s Department of Agriculture, is in response to farmer-to-farmer complaints of suspected dicamba drift damage to crops. The measures are in effect until October first of this year, and violators could be fined up to $1,500 per violation. 
 
With removal of its ban, Missouri announced similar limits on dicamba use Thursday, which includes wind, time and applicator restrictions, as well as required notification of planned dicamba applications online.

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Weekly Weather Summary

While this past week saw significant amounts of rain, the trend won't continue next week. State Climatologist Jim Angel has more...
 

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Exelon Sends Out Yearly Informational Booklet To Neighbors of Power Plant

If you live near the Clinton Power Plant, it is likely you'll soon, if you haven't already, receive a yearly mailing with safety information about the plant.
 
Brett Nauman, Communications Manager with Exelon Nuclear Power Station in Clinton explains the information is centered around safety in the event of an emergency.
 
 
The information is mailed to residents in DeWitt County and Nauman indicates if you don't receive the information, contact him and he'll get you what you need or you can access it online. 
 
 
Federal law requires the company to develop response plans for their facility. Visit exeloncorp.com for more information. 

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USDA Releases July WASDE, Crop Production Reports

The recent World Agriculture Supply and Demand report by the Department of Agriculture projects corn and soybean farmers will grow more crop than previously anticipated. 
 
USDA on Wednesday increased 2017-18 corn production to an estimated 14.255 billion bushels and soybean production to 4.26 billion bushels. 
 
Corn production came in slightly above the highest pre-report estimates while soybean production came in higher than the pre-report average estimate as well, according to DTN-The Progressive Farmer. 
 
The farm price for the 2017-18 soybean crop was pegged at an average of $9.40 a bushel, a 10-cent bump from last month's estimate. 
 
For corn, USDA estimated an average of $3.30 a bushel, down 10 cents from earlier estimates. 
 
USDA also raised All-Winter Wheat production to 1.279 billion bushels, up 29 million bushels from the June report estimate.    

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Clinton Farmers Market Seeking Vendors For Rest of Summer

If you grow produce in your back yard as a hobby or do it hoping to find some extra income, the Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market is hoping you'll consider setting up on the Clinton square on Saturday mornings with them.
 
Elizabeth Burns indicates they have implemented a small change for vendors the rest of the summer. She explains they have changed their fees to a flat fee for the rest of the year from their weekly fees of the past.
 
 
Burns notes, there's also an option for someone who does not want to set up at the market, they will take that extra produce and sell it for you. She adds they will also sell the produce for charity.
 
 
In an effort to bring more variety to the farmers market on a weekly basis, Burns explains they are seeking local entertainers to come to the square. She notes they've had a number of local residents express interest in performing on the Mr. Lincoln Square stage from 8 am to noon on Saturday mornings.
 
 
Burns expects the interest in the farmers market to grow as the season moves along. She says they are getting a good response from vendors and the community each week. To get more information about the Farmers Market, visit them on the Mr. Lincoln Square on Saturday mornings from 8 am to noon, or contact Burns at 217-722-2496. 

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Irrigated Farms Increasing in Illinois

The number of irrigated farms in Illinois has risen by nearly 500. 
 
State Climatologist Jim Angel says the latest data shows 1,590 farms—up from 1,091 in in 2008.
 
 
Angel says for farmers, one or two doses of irrigation can make a big difference in yields in those dry years. 

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IDOT Sends Out Warning Against Driving Through Flood Waters

HEAVY RAINFALL IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS HAS THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION REMINDING MOTORISTS TO “TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN.”
 
IT CAN TAKE AS LITTLE AS SIX INCHES OF WATER TO CAUSE DRIVERS TO LOSE CONTROL OF THEIR CAR, EVEN IF IT’S A HEAVY VEHICLE LIKE AN S-U-V SAYS I-DOT SPOKESPERSON GIANNA URGO. SHE SAYS THAT’S WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO BE CAREFUL.
 
 
URGO SAYS DRIVERS SHOULDN’T RISK IT AND INSTEAD FIND AN ALTERNATE ROUTE.
 
 
FOR THE LATEST ROAD CLOSURES DUE TO FLOODING…VISIT THE WEBSITE: GETTING AROUND ILLINOIS DOT COM.

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Full House To Consider Proposed Ag Budget That Reverses Many Trump Cuts

House appropriators have sent to the full House, the FY '18 Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration spending bill, reversing many of the president's proposed cuts.
 
The $145 billion bipartisan House bill is $4 billion above the president’s request, but $8.6 billion below current spending.
 
Still, it restores many of President Trump’s cuts to rural development, research, crop insurance and international feeding programs.
 
Appropriations Chair, New Jersey Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen (free-ling-high-zen)…
 
 
SNAP is still cut by almost $5 billion, to $74 billion, but an amount that meets SNAP enrollment and Democrats can live with. The minority offered few amendments directed at production agriculture. Riders dealing with horse slaughter and e-cigarette advertising failed…swaps regulatory relief passed earlier by the full House was adopted…and sugar program reform was withdrawn.
 
Democrats embraced the bill’s inclusion of key trade measures. Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro…
 
         
 
The House USDA spending bill includes $1.8 billion for the new USDA trade mission headed by an Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. The bill reverses the president’s proposal to eliminate funding for the nation’s two international feeding programs, fully staffs county Farm Service Agency Offices, and keeps open 17 USDA research facilities the administration wanted to close.
 
The bill includes $2.8 billion for Ag research, more than $900 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, about the same for conservation programs, and just over $1 billion for food safety and inspection.

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Former Senate Minority Leader Talks Mike Madigan

House Speaker Mike Madigan has once again proven you can expect the unexpected as he oversaw the successful push for a new budget and tax increase. 
 
One man who has seen Madigan's work behind the scenes is former Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson. The Greenville Republican says Madigan speaks softly and carries a big stick.
 
 
Watson is still amazed how Madigan has stood the test of time.
 
 
Watson served as Senate Minority Leader from 2002 until suffering a stroke in 2008.

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CME Group Helping Youth Understand Markets, Agriculture

Chicago based CME Group having great success setting up shop at county fairs throughout the country. They have partnered with 4-H to offer a Commodity Carnival. 
 
CME’s Tim Andriesen says the goal is to have youngsters better understand the role of the farmer and agriculture and how markets operate.
 
 
This year the carnival will be set up at 120 county and state fairs in Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Illinois.

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Attorney General Issues Guide To Better Respond To Sexual Assaults

ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN’S OFFICE IS ISSUING A NEW GUIDE TO HELP POLICE BETTER RESPOND TO SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE CASES. 
 
THE MATERIALS WILL ASSIST POLICE DEPARTMENTS IN COMING UP WITH NEW POLICIES AND TRAINING. ILLINOIS CHIEFS OF POLICE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ED WOJCICKI (woe-jis-ski) SAYS THE EFFORT IS PART OF A NEW LAW THAT AIMS TO GET MORE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE TO COME FORWARD.
 
 
THE INFORMATION WILL HELP POLICE DEPARTMENTS SET UP POLICIES AND ADDITIONAL TRAINING REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES AS REQUIRED UNDER A NEW LAW.
 
 
THE GUIDE IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL DOT GOV.

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Warner Library Upcoming Programs, Summer Reading Registration

There are several programs on the docket at the Warner Library this summer, including the three reading clubs which are still open for registration.
 
According to Children's Librarian, Paula Lopatic, registering for and participating in the summer reading clubs couldn't be easier.
 
 
You are invited to attend any of the programs that the library offers, such as "What Can You Do with Water?", Brent Allen, Space Station Mars, and the Heartland Mini-Hooves are all on the agenda for the coming weeks.
 
 
For more information, you can visit the library, give them a call at 935-5174 or visit their website www.vwarner.org.
 

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Trade Retaliation Worries Ag Groups

18 agriculture groups representing the majority of production agriculture sent a letter to the Trump administration recommending it avoid placing restrictions on steel and aluminum imports. 
 
The groups are worried that such a move would negatively impact U.S. food and agriculture exports. The groups said in the letter that, “the aftermath of those restrictions could be disastrous for the global trading system and U.S. agriculture in particular.” 
 
The letter points out that many of those countries exporting steel and aluminum are also the same countries that import a large amount of U.S. agricultural goods. The letter stresses that “potential retaliation from those trading partners is very real.” 
 
The 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade says national security can be a reason to restrict trade but is rarely done. 
 
The organizations point out that no other country can dictate what another’s national security needs are. 
 
“Now, every country with a sensitive industry would know it could follow the example of America and find a national security reason to circumvent trade agreements, no matter how flimsy the reason,” they said. 
 
The farm groups urged the administration to “avoid igniting a trade war” through the imposition of restrictions on steel and aluminum imports.

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USDA Financing Will Extend 100-Miles of Rural Broadband in Illinois

The USDA extending over $43-million in financing this summer to expand broadband in rural areas. 
 
Over $3-million of that will go to Illinois and will be used to construct 104-miles of fiber cable by the Viola Home Telephone Company. 
 
 
The company’s Jay Barton says the USDA funding will also provide supporting equipment to deliver enhanced telecommunication services to customers. 
 
The USDA is also funding broadband projects in Texas, California and Iowa this summer with the goal of adding 1,000 miles of fiber cable in rural areas, including the Illinois project. 

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Missouri Ag Department Wants Dicamba Ban Lifted Quickly

The Missouri Department of Agriculture issued an order Friday afternoon stopping the sales and use of Dicamba herbicides in the state. Products currently impacted by the order include Engenia (in-G-knee-uh), FeXapan (fecks-uh-pan) plus VaporGrip, and XTENDIMAX (extend-uh-max) with VaporGrip. Director Chris Chinn says the three manufacturers – BASF, DuPont and Monsanto – have been working on new Special Local Use labels, with the hope to quickly lift the order when her department receives them...tape
 
 
Chinn says as the delay was under consideration, department officials were in regular contact with Dicamba manufacturers and farmers who suspected damage from its use. Those conversations included touring one of the over 100 fields where damage from Dicamba usage is suspected...tape
 
 
Interesting to note, Chinn isn't calling the order a 'ban', but instead 'hitting the pause button'. She adds that the department, Dicamba manufacturers, and Missouri farmers all want a product that effectively manages weeds without harming cash crops...tape
 
 
Discussions have also taken place with neighboring states, including Arkansas, where a 120-day ban on Dicamba took effect Tuesday. Chinn says she’s hoping those discussions will yield ways to better utilize this and other pest management technologies...tape
 
 
The products impacted by the order were recently approved for use on cotton and soybean plants with traits making them resistant to Dicamba.

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Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation CEO Stepping Down

Adult learning important in the agriculture industry too. That’s the message from outgoing CEO Don Norton of the Illinois Ag Leadership Foundation.
 
 
Norton has been with the organization for seven years and is leaving for a similar role in South Dakota.
 
The IALF is a non-profit educational corporation. The funds raised provide for a 19-month development program that focuses on building the skills, knowledge and character of leaders in the ag industry. There have been over 500 graduates from the program since its inception in the 1980s. 

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House Appopriations Committee Includes Funding For Peoria Ag Research Lab

An effort to keep the Peoria Agriculture Research Lab open cleared its first hurdle today. 
 
Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says the House Appropriations Committee included funding for the facility in their markup of the agriculture appropriations bill. 
 
 
Bustos and Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood sent a letter last month urging the Appropriations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member to maintain federal funding for the lab, which was proposed for closure under President Trump’s budget. 15 other members of the Illinois congressional delegation signed the letter. 

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Durbin Weighs In On ACA Repeal Effort

Senator Dick Durbin continues to speak out on the Senate Floor against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
 
 
Durbin says all parties involved need to attack some of the biggest issues driving up health care costs.
 
 
Durbin says the Republican repeal plan would lead to one million Illinoisans losing health insurance and he says that would cause more woes for the state economy.

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CBO Expects Baseline Farm Bill Savings

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its latest estimate of baseline funding available to write the next farm bill. 
 
The CBO says the last farm bill saved much more than expected on food stamps and crop insurance. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the budget office expects more baseline savings on farm and nutrition programs over the next ten years…
 
 
As producers seek a more certain price-floor amid continued low prices and as crop insurance remains a popular safety net program…
 
 
7-point-5 billion a year less than the last farm bill. But Grassley points out, funding for 37-farm bill programs will expire without new funding, while numerous groups are calling for new spending in other areas…
 
   
Especially since budget writers could demand additional savings in government programs. House Ag appropriators have already proposed a 5-billion dollar cut in FY ’18 food stamp spending.

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DeWitt County EMA Announces Cooling Centers To Open Through Friday

With a heat advisory in effect Wednesday and more heat expected Thursday, the DeWitt County Emergency Management Agency has announced they are activating their designated cooling centers Wednesday until Friday.
 
The DeWitt County Friendship Center and the Warner Public Library are designated cooling centers locally. 
 
The Friendship is available from 8 am to 3 pm located at 410 East Main Street.
 
The Warner Library is available Wednesday and Thursday from 9 am to 9 pm and then Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. 
 
The library does not allow drinks or snacks.
 
Temperatures Wednesday are being predicted in the mid-90s with heat index values hovering around 105. 
 
Thursday is calling for temperatures in the upper-80s and heat index values around 100 with high humidity both days. For more information, contact the DeWitt County EMA office at 217-935-7790. 

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Celebrating New Sign

The DeWitt County Friendship Center has a new addition to the front of their building.
 
Executive Director Sissy Leggett explains they were the recipient of the William Davenport Estate and they are very appreciative of what that money is going to allow them to do at the Center.
 
 
According to Leggett, this will be another resource for them to utilize to get information out to the community. She says the messages are very customizable.
 
 
The messages will be welcoming and informational from things like the daily activities to their support groups going on. Leggett says the sign will definitely pop with the features it comes with.
 
 
Leggett says what to do with the remainder of the funds from the Davenport Estate funds is still being worked out. She indicates they are still hopeful to receive a grant from the State of Illinois for a new parking lot, a need and a goal for the Friendship Center for a number of years now. 

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E. ON Energy Wind Farm Progressing in Macon County

The Radford's Run Wind Farm is what E. ON Energy is calling their project in northeast Macon County and it continues to advance.
 
Matt Tilus is communications manager with E. ON Energy and indicates the farm features 139 wind turbines across parts of Macon County. As the project continues this summer, all foundations are in and the true look of the turbines are starting to take shape.
 
 
According to Tilus, the environmental impacts of the wind farm are significant. He explains when running at full capacity, the wind farm can power 90-thousand homes.
 
 
The turbines will start to come online as construction continues. Tulis notes they are expecting the farm to be running at full capacity by the end of the year.

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Illinois Department of Revenue Updating Public About Tax Increase

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IS OFFERING SOME GUIDANCE TO NAVIGATING THE STATE’S NEW INCOME TAX RATES.
 
THE RATE FOR INDIVIDUALS INCREASED FROM THREE POINT SEVEN FIVE TO FOUR POINT NINE FIVE PERCENT, AND THE CORPORATE INCOME TAX RATE WENT UP AS WELL. REVENUE SPOKESPERSON TERRY HORSTMAN SAYS ALL THE DETAILS ARE NOW ONLINE.
 
 
THE TAX IS RETROACTIVE TO JULY FIRST. HORSTMAN SAYS IT’S UP TO EMPLOYERS TO COLLECT THE DIFFERENCE AND REMIT PAYMENT TO THE STATE.

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Red Cross Seeking Donations As Blood Supply Low

The American Red Cross has an emergency need for blood and platelet donations. Blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past couple of months, and a Red Cross official says that's typical for this time of year. 
 
American Red Cross’s Joe Zydlo (ZID-low) reminds the process takes an hour or so to complete, and you don't want to give blood on an empty stomach. He says new blood donors are always welcome.
 
 
Donation appointments can be quickly and easily scheduled by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by going to redcrossblood.org.

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Syngenta Settles Nebraska Complaint, Minnesota Trial Next

Syngenta has reached a confidential settlement with a Nebraska farmer who claims the company mishandled marketing of its genetically modified seed, which in turn caused corn prices to plummet. 
 
Bloomberg says a settlement heads off a trial that was to start this week. Terms of the settlement were not made public. It was just two weeks ago that Syngenta lost a jury verdict worth $218 million dollars because of a class action suit brought by Kansas farmers alleging similar claims against the company. Syngenta will next face a class action suit, which starts in August, up in Minnesota. 
 
Farmers there are seeking more than $600 million dollars. The farmers allege that Syngenta rushed its seed into the marketplace before getting approval from China to export the grain over there. 
 
China stopped bringing in shipments of corn in 2013, calling the grain shipments contaminated by the GMO seed. The farmers say that set off a five-year depression in corn prices. They also say Syngenta misled them on when China would approve the seed for import. 
 
Syngenta disputes the damage claims, saying it did nothing wrong. The company says it didn’t sell the seed until approved in the U.S. and didn’t need China’s approval to do so.

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Mexico is No Longer Top Destination for U.S. Corn

U.S. corn shipments to Mexico have slipped in recent months and Mexico in no longer the number one buyer of American corn. 
 
A Bloomberg article says it may be a sign that trade tensions are forcing the country to look elsewhere for corn in case the U.S. is no longer a reliable supplier. Sales through May of this year were down almost seven percent from last year, coming in at $1.04 billion. Japan has become the biggest importer of U.S. corn after boosting its purchases by 53 percent, totaling $1.19 billion. 
 
Mexico began looking for other corn suppliers after President Donald Trump’s criticism, which began on the campaign trail when he said Mexico has taken advantage of the U.S. through the North American Free Trade Agreement. 
 
Mexican corn purchases are picking up as the peso rebounds from a record low against the dollar in January. Lesly McNitt, Public Policy Director for the National Corn Growers Association, says the sluggish pace of U.S. corn shipments to Mexico shows the trade relationship may be at risk.
 
“They’re preparing a Plan B,” she said to Bloomberg. 
 
Mexico has initiated discussions with suppliers in Argentina and Brazil.

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Missouri and Arkansas Halt Dicamba Sale and Use

The Missouri and Arkansas Agriculture Departments both halted the sale and usage of dicamba in their respective states. Those two states have been in the middle of hundreds of misuse complaints. 
 
The Arkansas ban is effective for 120 days while the Missouri Ag Department would like to reinstate product usage this growing season after their investigation is concluded. 
 
The Missouri Soybean Association issued a statement saying over 200,000 acres of soybeans show at least some level of dicamba damage. The state’s soybean checkoff issued a statement saying it’s clear some type of action is necessary. 
Missouri Ag Director Chris Chinn said in a statement on the department’s YouTube channel that they’re actively working on the issue. “I’ve asked the makers of these approved, post emergent products and farmers to work with us to determine how we can expeditiously allow applications to resume this growing season,” she said in the video. 
 
Monsanto released a statement saying they’re complying with the order and they encourage all growers to do the same. The 120-day ban goes into effect at midnight on Tuesday, July 11th. 
 
Arkansas farmers have filed nearly 600 complaints in which dicamba is the suspected pesticide.

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Farm & Livestock Groups Continue Manure Reporting Fight

Farm and livestock groups will continue to fight for an exemption from emergency reporting of manure emissions, after the EPA lost a federal court decision to environmental groups that sued over the exemption.
 
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit denied a request by pork, poultry and other livestock and farm groups to rehear its rejection of an EPA exemption from 2008 U.S. manure emission reporting regulations. American Farm Bureau’s Andrew Walmsley argues that hazardous substance reporting is unnecessary for manure…
 
 
Walmsley and other ag leaders expect EPA to ask the court to stay its decision and give the agency more time to figure out a way forward. Without a stay, AFB, National Pork Producers, poultry and cattle groups fear more lawsuits by environmentalists…
 
 
Walmsley adds, there’s no way scientifically, to measure manure emissions, creating a reporting ‘headache’ for producers, while possibly overwhelming emergency call centers. AFB, NPPC and other groups hope EPA can come up with a regulatory way out of the manure reporting mess.

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EU & Japan Trade Deal Spells Loss For US

The E.U. and Japan have struck a trade deal in principle that if finalized, could put U.S. agriculture and other products at a competitive disadvantage in the huge Japanese market. 
 
The deal still needs technical work before the E.U. and Japan can implement it but this week’s announcement in the lead-up to the G-20 economic summit in Germany signals a possible loss for the U.S. and U.S. agriculture. D.C. Ag trade consultant and a former USDA trade chief, Paul Drazek…
 
 
Drazek suggests the US could have had from TPP, what Europe will now get from Tokyo…
 
 
Including U.S. beef and pork, which spurred the National Pork Producers Council to redouble its request to the White House to get going on a bilateral deal with Japan, the top market for U.S. pork at 1-point-6 billion dollars last year. Drazek says Tokyo may be in no rush after TPP to do a deal with the U.S.…
 
 
Drazek says Tokyo is watching how the U.S. handles NAFTA and whether it tries to add new trade-balancing import restrictions, ones that would also apply to Japan.

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DeWitt County Friendship Center Helping Seniors Beat the Heat

Off their annual June fan drive, administrators at the DeWitt County Friendship Center are reminding seniors of DeWitt County, they are there for you to beat the summer heat.
 
Temperatures are expected back in the 90s this week with triple-digit heat indexes and Sissy Leggett, Executive Director of the DeWitt County Friendship Center, seniors can stop by and cool down and enjoy games and activities as well.
 
 
Leggett reminds seniors of the many activities going on at the center throughout the week. They play cards and have a Nintendo Wii and everything is done with drinks and refreshments on hand.
 
 
The Friendship Center sends out a monthly newsletter to keep anyone informed. To get signed up for that or for more information on the DeWitt County Friendship Center, contact Leggett at 217-935-9411.

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Weekly Crop Report

TOPSOIL MOISTURE IS DECLINING IN SEVERAL PARTS OF THE STATE AS WE HEAR IN THE WEEKLY CROP REPORT. 
 
PRECIPITATION WAS BELOW NORMAL, AT UNDER HALF AN INCH LAST WEEK. THAT LEFT AVERAGE STATEWIDE TOPSOIL MOISTURE AT SIX PERCENT VERY SHORT, 32 PERCENT SHORT, 61 PERCENT ADEQUATE AND ONE PERCENT SURPLUS. 
 
CROP STATISTICIAN MARK SCHLEUSENER PROVIDES A CROP UPDATE:
 
 
31 PERCENT OF SOYBEANS ARE BLOOMING AND FIVE PERCENT ARE SETTING PODS…WHICH IS ABOUT ON PAR WITH LAST YEAR.
 
 
 93 PERCENT OF SORGHUM HAS BEEN PLANTED AND 95 PERCENT OF WINTER WHEAT HAS BEEN HARVESTED.

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U of I College of ACES Having Success With Monthly Twitter Chats

Monthly Twitter chats have been paying off for the University of Illinois College of ACES. The latest one is this Tuesday from Noon-to-1 p.m. and features the topic “From Toys to Tools: Robotic Vehicles in Agriculture.” 
 
 
That’s Jennifer Shike--ACES Director of Communications & Marketing. She says go to “@ACESIllinois” and punch in “#askaces” to participate in the chat.
 
 
Shike says the monthly Twitter chats have been ongoing for the last year-and-a-half.

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Treasurer Discusses State Avoiding Junk Bond Status

ILLINOIS TREASURER MIKE FRERICHS IS OFFERING SOME SUGGESTIONS TO HELP MAKE SURE THE STATE AVOIDS JUNK BOND STATUS. 
 
ALTHOUGH ILLINOIS NOW HAS A BUDGET, THE STATE’S FISCAL CONDITION REMAINS ON VERY SHAKY GROUND AND A RATING DOWNGRADE COULD STILL HAPPEN. TREASURER FRERCIHS SAYS FOR STARTERS, THE GOVERNOR NEEDS TO PAY A VISIT TO THE BOND HOUSES IN NEW YORK.
 
 
ADDITIONALLY, FRERICHS SAYS SCHOOLS NEED TO OPEN ON TIME AND THE STATE MUST QUICKLY WORK TO ADDRESS THE CURRENT 15 BILLION DOLLAR BACKLOG OF BILLS.
 
 
FRERICHS ALSO SAYS THE STATE SHOULD REACH OUT TO ILLINOIS EMPLOYERS TO EXPLAIN THE NEW TAX RATES.

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DCFS Reminds Not To Leave Kids in Hot Cars

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES IS RELEASING A NEW SET OF PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS REMINDING PARENTS TO “LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK.” 
 
ON AVERAGE, ABOUT 37 KIDS DIE IN HOT CARS EACH YEAR IN THE U-S…A TRAGEDY THAT IS EASILY PREVENTABLE ACCORDING TO THE D-C-F-S CAMPAIGN.
 
 
D-C-F-S SAYS THE SAME GOES FOR PETS…ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY CAN’T COOL DOWN AS QUICKLY AS PEOPLE CAN. THE GROUP, KIDS AND CARS DOT ORG SAYS EVEN WITH THE WINDOWS CRACKED, THE INSIDE TEMPERATURE OF A CAR CAN HIT 125 DEGREES IN JUST MINUTES.
 
 
ABOUT 37 KIDS DIE EACH YEAR IN HOT CARS, AND ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS IS THAT MOMS AND DADS DON’T THINK IT CAN HAPPEN TO THEM. 
 
D-C-F-S IS URGING PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS TO PUT SOMETHING IN THE BACKSEAT THAT THEY WILL NEED LIKE A PURSE, WALLET, BRIEFCASE OR PHONE TO MAKE SURE THE CHILD ISN’T LEFT BEHIND. 
 
ACCORDING TO THE GROUP, KIDS AND CARS DOT ORG, A CHILD’S BODY OVERHEATS THREE TO FIVE TIMES FASTER THAN AN ADULT’S, PUTTING THEM AT EVEN GREATER RISK IF LOCKED IN A HOT CAR.

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DeWitt County 4-H Fair Recap

In live coverage of the DeWitt County Fair heard on WHOW this past weekend, we caught up with several active 4-H members.
 
Jake Franklin led the Iron Core DeWitt County robotics team to their first State win in their second year as a team. The theme this year was Health Bot.
 
 
Maddie Franklin adds that being a part of 4-H offers various opportunities to learn how to sew, build robots, as well as the well known agricultural aspects.
 
 
4-H Federation President, Reed Jostes got to help put the pieces together to make the DeWitt County Fair happen and run smoothly.
 
 
For a full list of results, check our Fair Tour page. 
 
To learn more information about DeWitt COunty 4-H, you can visit their website at web.extension.illinois.edu/dmp/dewitt4h.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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IDOT Announces Illinois 54 Closure Starting Monday

The Illinois Department of Transportation announces that work will begin Monday, July 10, weather permitting, to replace a culvert on Illinois 54 from 600 E Road to 670 E near Stage Coach Road southwest of Clinton. The area will reopen July 25.
 
A detour will be in effect utilizing U.S. 51, Illinois10 and Illinois 121. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to changed conditions and signs in the work zone, obey the posted speed limits, restrain from using mobile devices and be on the alert for workers and equipment.
 
For IDOT District 5 updates, follow us on Twitter at @IDOTDistrict5 or view area construction details on IDOT’s traveler information map on GettingAroundIllinois.com.

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Community Action Ready To Unveil New Food Pantry Program

Community Action of DeWitt County is ready to unveil their new food pantry program that will help serve hundreds in the community.
 
Executive Director of Community Action, Alison Rumler-Gomez indicates the new program is thanks to the William Davenport Estate donation of $100-thousand. She explains that is going to be enough to sustain the program for a long time.
 
 
Rumler-Gomez explains there will be three levels of service for the new program. It starts with a basic emergency need but the big component of the program will be a co-op approach for the community.
 
 
A program in Bloomington, The Daily Loaf, is what Community Action is modeling their program after. She indicates some concerns of hers were put to ease when that program exceeded their expectations after they launched it.
 
 
Rumler-Gomez says with the proposed cuts from the state and federal governments possible, it makes a program like the one proposed all the more important. 

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Master Gardeners Discuss Mid-Summer Gardening

Weeds. Japanese beetles. Lack of water.
 
Those are just a few of the challenges gardeners face as we hit the mid-summer and local master gardeners are hoping you'll consider some tips as the weather gets hotter and dryer. University of Illinois Master Gardener, Candace Miller, says right now, your garden needs about an inch of water per week.
 
 
Miller indicates right now, the most common questions she is receiving are about weeds. She says there are many kinds of weeds gardeners are dealing with so far this summer.
 
 
Over the next few weeks, start looking out for your veggies to ripen. According to Miller, weeds and watering will continue to be an issue.
 
 
Miller reminds the public, the University of Illinois Extension has master gardeners at almost all their offices. To reach Miller in DeWitt, Macon or Piatt County, contact 217-935-9764. 
 
You can also visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dmp. 

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Areas of Illinois Getting Dry

RAIN HAS BEEN HIT OR MISS ACROSS ILLINOIS…LEAVING SOME AREAS PRETTY DRY. 
 
SOME COMMUNITIES ARE SEEING PRECIPITATION…WHILE OTHERS AREN’T SO LUCKY SAYS STATE CLIMATOLOGIST JIM ANGEL.
 
 
ANGEL SAYS AS A RESULT, CROPS AND VEGETATION ARE HAVING TO RELY ON SOIL MOISTURE TO GET A DRINK, SO THE TOP EIGHT INCHES IS RAPIDLY BEING DEPLETED IN SOME AREAS.
 
 
ANGEL SAYS THE MOST RAIN IN COMING DAYS IS EXPECTED IN NORTHERN ILLINOIS.

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Soybean Checkoff Board Offering Online Resources for Farmers

The Illinois Soybean Association promoting a valuable on-line tool for farmers in the field. It's something John Longley of Aledo uses.
 
 
Longley serves on the Illinois Soybean Association Board. He says the organization is hosting two field days this month--one on the 19th in Roseville and the other is in Belleville on the 20th. 
 
The events are free and you can register on-line at "ilsoy.org".

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Weekly Weather Summary

The week of the 4th of July started wet and finished hot and humid. State Climotologist Jim Angel tells us what to expect as we enter a new week.
 

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