Local News

Two Killed in Crash on Route 54 Monday Morning

Authorities say two people are dead after a crash on Route 54 early on Monday morning in DeWitt County.

 

The crash took place near Route 54 and Spirit Road around 1 am, claiming the lives of both drivers.

 

The crash is under investigation by the DeWitt County Coroner, DeWitt County Sheriff's Office and the Illinois State Police.

 

This story will be updated. 

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County Board Approves Solar Energy Ordinances

With a resolution on a wind farm in DeWitt County in sight, the DeWitt County Board approved an ordinance for solar energy in the county.

 

County Board member Terry Ferguson indicates this is something the RPC and ZBA have worked on for a year now and it was quite a process because of how complex solar energy can be.

 

 

Ferguson feels solar energy could be a source of renewable energy that continues to grow. He feels it is friendly to landowners and non-participating landowners.

 

 

The state has a lottery for who gets a solar garden, something the County has been approached with recently. With the ordinance being updated, a solar garden or commercial sized field could be built in DeWitt County. 

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Clinton High School Principal Talks Changes in School Testing This Year

The State of Illinois has again changed how schools are to test their students this year and the Principal of Clinton High School discusses what that looks like for his building this spring.

 

Jerry Wayne says in years past only juniors were tested but now the whole building is going to be tested.

 

 

According to Wayne, the building staff working through their plans for everyone to get their testing in. He indicates they are probably going to have to dedicate a whole day to testing and lose the teaching for that day.

 

 

Wayne indicates the PAARC testing was in place for one year, eliminated and only juniors took the SAT, and now the state has mandated testing back in place.

 

 

Wayne says he is very pleased with the plan they have in place to meet the needs of the students. He understands the frustration of testing from a teacher perspective, especially because a one time test can sometimes lack information to make valuable. 

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Vespasian Warner Public Library Hosting Spring Break Make & Takes This Week

Looking for something to do with the kids over spring break? Stop by the Vespasian Warner Public Library in the afternoons for a make and take craft.

 

Children's librarian Paula Lopatic indicates that Monday through Thursday, March 25-28, kindergarten through fifth graders are invited to make a drop-in craft anytime between 2-4pm. Lopatic says they are requesting parents to supervise their students for the crafts.

 

 

Lopatic indicates the other crafts include paper sculpting, interviews with parents or grandparents, and a crayon cup. The crayon cup activity will require a 15 minute cooling period before being taken home.

 

 

Again the make and take drop-in crafts are from 2-4pm Monday through Thursday. For more information contact the library at (217) 935-5174. Preregistration is not required.

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IDNR Says Leave the Wildlife Alone

WHEN IT COMES TO CUTE BABY DEER, BUNNIES AND BIRDS…THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SAYS IT’S BEST TO KEEP YOU HANDS OFF. 

SPRING IS A BUSY BREEDING SEASON FOR WILDLIFE, WHICH MEANS A LOT OF YOUNGINS RUNNING AROUND. D-N-R- SPOKESPERSON ED CROSS SAYS PEOPLE OFTEN PUT THE BABIES AT RISK…THINKING THEY HAVE BEEN ABANDONED.

 

 

CROSS SAYS IT MAY ALSO LOOK LIKE A BABY BIRD HAS FALLEN OUT OF THE NEST, BUT THE FLEDGLINGS LIVE ON THE GROUND FOR A FEW DAYS WHILE THEY GROW THEIR FLIGHT FEATHERS.

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Weldon Springs Foundation Sets Spring Meeting Date

The Weldon Springs Foundation will hold its spring meeting on Friday, April 5, 2019, in the parlor of the Clinton United Methodist church.  

 

The social will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 6:30.  Support the park by attending the meeting and become an active member. If you plan to attend, organizers ask you to bring a snack to share.

 

Additionally, the Foundation will have a booth at the Clinton Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on March 27th at the Clinton High school.  

 

The IDNR is seeking seasonal summer help at Weldon Springs State Park. One position is Conservation Educational Representative.  Also, three workers for outdoor maintenance of the park.  Working: May 1 - Aug 31, age 18 and older.

 

For further information, visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources web site at illinois.dnr.gov.

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Piatt County Soil, Water Conservation District Sets July Date for Oil, Tire Recycling Event

The Piatt County Soil and Water Conservation District Foundation is excited to announce their Oil and Tire Recycling event will be held on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at the Piatt County FS located at 427 W. Marion St. in Monticello. 

 

Jonah Totten, Resource Conservationist for the Piatt County SWCD, says if you plan to recycle tires, you must be a Piatt County resident and must be prepared to show ID with address. Also, you must be able to unload your tires.

 

Tires must be off the rims or they will not be accepted and no more than 10 tires per person will be accepted. 

 

A donation of two-dollars per car tire is recommended and for larger tires, it's just based on size. 

If you have tires larger than car size tires you must call 217-762-2146 x 3 or 309-831-7558 on or before July 1 and have your tire dimensions ready. 

 

You can bring as much oil as you wish. 

 

Recycling and reusing used motor oil is the preferred disposal method and can provide great environmental benefits. Recycled used motor oil can be refined into new oil, processed into fuel oils and used as raw material.

 

Again, the recycling day will be on Wednesday, July 10 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Piatt County FS. If you have any questions or want more information, please contact the Piatt County SWCD office at 217-762-2146 x3.

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New Illinois Supreme Court Restricts Use of Restraints

The Illinois Supreme Court says defendants can’t be shackled in hearings on involuntary commitment into state care unless they’re proven to be a danger or at risk of fleeing. Rule 296 went into effect Thursday. LaSalle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly says the rule requires some extra legwork.

 

Donnelly says it’s about protecting people’s rights.

 

 

The rule says even in cases where a court deems that someone needs to be restrained, it should be done with the least restrictive restraints possible.

 

No one should be shackled to a wall, piece of furniture, or other person.

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Lawmakers Working on Bills to Promote Organ Donations

STATE LAWMAKERS ARE WORKING ON A COUPLE OF BILLS TO HELP INCREASE ORGAN DONATION IN ILLINOIS. 

 

THERE’S A REAL NEED FOR LIVE ORGAN DONORS TO PROVIDE KIDNEYS AND BONE MARROW TO THOSE WHO ARE SICK SAYS VILLA PARK REPRESENTATIVE DEB CONROY. HER BILL MAKES SURE DONORS AREN’T DISCRIMINATED AGAINST WHEN IT COMES TO LIFE INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND TAKING TIME OFF OF WORK. ADDITONALLY:

 

 

A SECOND BILL OFFERS A TAX CREDIT TO EMPLOYERS WHO GIVE WORKERS 30 DAYS PAID LEAVE FOR AN ORGAN DONATION SAYS MEGAN CRAIG WITH THE NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION OF ILLINOIS.

 

PEOPLE WANTING TO DONATE A KIDNEY OR BONE MARROW TO HELP SAVE A LIFE OFTEN RUN INTO ROADBLOCKS AT WORK.

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Monticello Schools Seeking To Power Middle School Through Solar Power

The Monticello School district is seeking power their middle school via renewable energy.

 

Superintendent of the Piatt County district, Dr. Vic Zimmerman says they are waiting to hear from the State of Illinois on renewable energy credits that would set up solar panels near the building.

 

 

According to Dr. Zimmerman, the school could be completely powered by the solar farm but if it could not be, they could supplement what they will need by going back out to the grid. He feels it is a worthwhile investment to lower costs.

 

 

Dr. Zimmerman points out, this would be one of the more recent efforts to lower energy costs. In years past, Monticello has been among other schools to enter into agreements for fixed rates on energy at lower rates. He says the opportunity to create green energy in a space that doesn't have much use for the district would be a good look for the school and the community. 

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State Representative Reacts To Recent Bills from Illinois Democrats

Hypocritical is how a state lawmaker describes two pieces of legislation proposed by Illinois Democrats.

 

State Representative Dan Caulkins indicates he voted no on a recent proposal surrounding the age for purchasing tobacco in Illinois. The law bumps the age from 18 to 21 and he feels most teens are aware of the consequences of tobacco and have their minds made up by the time they turn 18.

 

 

According to Caulkins, a no-consent bill is coming that allows teens to get an abortion without having to get consent from a parent or guardian. Caulkins says this very hypocritical of the Democrats in Springfield.

 

 

Right now, there is a dynamic in Springfield where Democrats are getting everything they want with super-majorities in both the House and the Senate and an elected Democratic governor. Caulkins says the left in Springfield does not care about anyone else's opinions and is rushing everything through.

 

 

As for the abortion law, Caulkins says Democrats are ruling under the assumption that Roe vs Wade is going to be overturned at the United States Supreme Court level. He would like to wait and see and make sure that is what happens before pushing legislation through under the assumption it will be. 

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State Unemployed Rate Held Steady at 4.3% Last Month

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HELD STEADY AT FOUR POINT THREE PERCENT IN FEBRUARY.

 

THE JOBLESS RATE HAS BEEN THE SAME SINCE NOVEMBER SAYS STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH (goff).

 

 

GOUGH (goff) SAYS AFTER SOME BIG GAINS IN JANUARY… ILLINOIS WAS DOWN MORE THAN 12 HUNDRED JOBS IN FEBRUARY.

 

 

THAT NATIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE CAME IN AT THREE POINT EIGHT PERCENT LAST MONTH.

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IHSA Considering Change in State Basketball Finals Format

The IHSA will make a final decision later this spring on changing the state basketball tournament format for both the boys and girls. 

 

Under consideration is a plan to have one state tourney weekend (Thursday through Saturday) for the girls and another weekend for the boys effective in 2021. The IHSA’s Kurt Gibson says new site contracts will also be under consideration for 2021.

 

 

The IHSA Board of Directors will make a final decision on the tournament format June 10.

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DeWitt County Board Discusses Date for Special Meeting For Special Use Permit

The DeWitt County Board Thursday night tossed around a number of dates and times to hold a special meeting for a decision on the special use permit for a wind farm in the northwest corner of DeWitt County.

 

Pictured right: Board discusses date and time for special meeting for special use permit for wind farm proposal. 

 

The Board tentatively set Tuesday, April 23 at 5 pm for the meeting date and time pending availability at Clinton High School. 

 

Board Chair David Newberg opened up the discussion with his intention to hear from both sides but reminding the board they can only consider testimony heard at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

 

 

As for the public comment portion of the meeting, Newberg sought input from the Board on how much time they wanted to allow for those to speak. While individuals are allowed five minutes before the board, Newberg was open to modifying that for this meeting and giving each side a limited amount of time to talk. 

 

 

Newberg ultimately decided to give how the meeting will work more thought because the public can contact the County Clerk and get on the agenda but if limitations were set for how long each side could speak, it could open up the possibility those on the agenda might not be able to speak.

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Clinton Schools To Bring STEM Curriculum to Junior High

Clinton Junior High School students will have the option of taking STEM classes next year.

 

Superintendent of Clinton Schools, Curt Nettles indicates they are working to bring science, technology, engineering and math classes, or STEM, to their junior high school students next year as those become increasingly popular across the state and the country. April 26 will be a STEM day in the school. 

 

 

Some districts are fully involved in STEM curriculums while others are increasing the offerings they have. Nettles says Clinton is not as far along as others, so this is one step in moving forward.

 

 

Because most children possess such a great deal of knowledge and know-how with technology in today's world, Nettles believes a lot of teachers are going to have to take on a role of facilitator rather than a teacher.

 

 

Right now, the curriculum is in the planning stages but Nettles indicates this will be a very hands-on course for students. 

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Decatur Area Arts Council Seeking Artists For Murals in Decatur

The Decatur Area Arts Council is calling on artists who would like to take on a mural in downtown Decatur.

 

Jerry E. Johnson, Executive Director of the DAAC, indicates they are seeking designs from area artists who might like to submit a design and then put up their work on a downtown Decatur building.

 

 

Johnson believes it is not as complicated or as hard as it may sound. He feels the hardest part is actually coming up with the design.

 

 

According to Johnson, the owner of the buildings to get some input and do have to give the thumbs up for the design, but the designer gets a lot of say in the mural. He feels it has been a great partnership with the downtown Decatur community. 

 

 

Visit decaturarts.org for more information or find the Decatur Area Arts Council on Facebook. You can also call 217-423-3189. 

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Right To Life Advocates Rally at State Capitol

RIGHT TO LIFE ADVOCATES ARE RALLYING AT THE STATE CAPITOL AGAINST ABORTION LEGISLATION.

 

A COUPLE OF BILLS ARE UNDER PROTEST…ONE REPEALS A LAW REQUIRING TEENS TO NOTIFY THEIR PARENT OR GUARDIAN BEFORE GETTING AN ABORTION. ANOTHER OVERHAULS STATE ABORTION LAWS AND LIFTS A BAN ON PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTIONS. REPRESENTATIVE AVERY BOURNE OF LITCHFIELD SAYS THESE CHANGES ARE EXTREME.

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE TERRI BRYANT OF MOUNT VERNON SAYS THE LEGISLATION GOES TOO FAR.

 

 

SUPPORTERS OF THESE MEASURES SAY LAWS NEED TO BE UPDATED TO BETTER PROTECT A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOSE.

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New License Year Approaching for DNR

The new license year approaching for hunting and fishing in Illinois. 

 

 

IDNR’s Tim Schweizer says more information is available online at “dnr.illinois.gov.”

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Flooding Impacting Spring Planting Outlook

Flooding in the Corn Belt this spring could mean plenty of acres will not get planted. Consultant Bill Biedermann with AgMarket.Net is hearing that concern. 

 

 

Biedermann making his comments Wednesday morning on the RFD Radio Network.

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Bustos Says Trump Budget Bad For Illinois Farmers

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos expressing concern over President Trump’s budget proposal. She says local farmers would really be hurt under the plan. 

 

 

Bustos says despite a recent high profile appointment to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, she decided to remain as a member of the House Ag Committee with the intention of keeping a close eye on farm policy. 

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Bill Would Let Schools Teach Students About Hunting Safety

STUDENTS MAY LEARN ABOUT HUNTING SAFETY UNDER A BILL PENDING IN THE ILLINOIS HOUSE. 

 

THE LEGISLATION LETS SCHOOLS ADD HUNTING EDUCATION LESSONS TO CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION. IT’S SPONSORED BY REPRESENTATIVE MONICA BRISTOW OF ALTON.

 

 

BRISTOW STRESSES THIS IS NOT A REQUIREMENT, BUT CURRICULUM THAT SCHOOLS CAN ADD IF THEY WISH. REPRESENTATIVE CHARLES MEIER OF HIGHLAND SAYS THIS WILL BE GREAT, ESPECIALLY FOR DOWNTOWN SCHOOLS.

 

 

THE BILL PASSED A HOUSE COMMITTEE AND NOW AWAITS A VOTE BEFORE THE FULL HOUSE.

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Ag Legislative Day in Springfield

TUESDAY WAS AGRICULTURE LEGISLATIVE DAY IN SPRINGFIELD. 

 

FARMERS, LAWMAKERS, F-F-A MEMBERS AND MORE DESCENDED ON THE CAPITOL TO DISCUSS SEVERAL ISSUES AFFECTING THE AG COMMUNITY. ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE DIRECTOR JOHN SULLIVAN TOLD A CROWD THAT THE INDUSTRY NEEDS TO PROMOTE ITSELF BETTER. HE ALSO CALLED FOR MORE AG EDUCATION, INCLUDING ADDING MORE AG TEACHERS AND STUDENTS.

 

 

PRODUCERS ALSO TALKED ABOUT GROWING HEMP AND ARE ANXIOUSLY WAITING FOR RULES TO BE ADOPTED SO THEY CAN START PLANTING. GOVERNOR J-B PRITZKER JOINED IN, SAYING HE WILL HEAVILY PROMOTE ILLINOIS’ AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY.

 

 

FARMERS ARE ALSO TALKING ABOUT GROWING INDUSTRIAL HEMP, EXPANDING AG EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS AND THE NEED FOR A CAPITAL BILL TO PAY FOR ROAD AND BRIDGE REPAIRS.

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Clinton City Administrator Talks Sales Tax Figures

The sales tax numbers were not encouraging in the latest report from Clinton Commissioner of Finance, Tom Edmunds but a city official says things are not as bad as they might seem.

 

City Administrator Tim Followell explains the sales tax figures, which came in almost $10,000 less than this time last year, were for the period that includes late-November to late-December.

 

 

At the March 4 City Council meeting, Edmunds put the Governor on blast for a proposal to cut funding to small communities. While the proposal isn't great, Followell says it's just a trend in Springfield to roll back the money that goes to each community.

 

 

According to  Followell, the city is doing well financially. He credits the stability financially to Edmunds and City Treasurer Clint Lichtenwalter. 

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Clinton American Legion Seeking Boys State Applicants

The Clinton American Legion is hoping to send interested juniors to Boys State this summer.

 

Josh Thielen, Clinton American Legion commander, indicates Boys State is a program for boys that have completed their junior year of high school. The program allows them to spend a week at Eastern Illinois University and learn how to run a government firsthand.

 

 

Thielen says the program is offered free to participants as each post covers the cost of tuition. The Clinton post has funds to cover two students but Thielen is hoping to send as many as interested.

 

 

The American Legion Illinois Premier Boys State will be held from June 8-14 at Eastern Illinois University. Thielen encourages those with just the slightest interest to contact the Clinton American Legion post at (217) 935-5183.

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University of Illinois Extension Wellness Educator Hosting Diabetes Classes in central Illinois

Whether you currently battle diabetes or it runs in your family and you want to know how to try to prevent it, you will want to be sure to check out a class coming to several communities at the end of the month and into April.

 

Caitlin Mellendorf, Nutrition and Wellness Educator at the University of Illinois Extension office is hosting a series of classes coming up later this month and into April. She indicates this is a program they experienced success with, in the past helping folks deal with and prevent diabetes.

 

 

According to Mellendorf, the American Diabetes Association indicates one in four adults has pre-diabetes. She says this has become a great awareness class for those that come out.

 

 

Mellendorf indicates their focus is on dieting and how meals can impact blood sugar. She explains they will focus on meal planning and also fitness. 

 

 

The classes are on Thursday, March 21 at the Warrensburg Library from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Then again on Monday, April 1 from 1 pm to 2 pm.

 

To get registered, you can contact the Barclay Library in Warrensburg at 217-672-3621 or the Maroa Library at 217-794-5111. 

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