Local News

Some Lanes Being Reopened for Holiday Weekend

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today the reopening of lanes where possible for the busy Memorial Day weekend to minimize travel disruption. Non-emergency roadwork will be suspended from 3 p.m. Friday, May 25, through 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, May 29.

 

Work zone speed limits will remain in effect where posted. Motorists should be alert, as lane closures in the following locations will remain in place during the holiday weekend:

 

District 5

Champaign County

• I-74 westbound between mileposts 188 and 186; lane reductions continue.

 

District 7

Macon County

• U.S. 36 over U.S. 51 at the U.S. 36/U.S.51 interchange west of Decatur; closed, detour posted.
• Cantrell Road over U.S. 51 west of Decatur; lane reductions continue, controlled by traffic signals.

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New Report Shows Many Illinoisans at Risk from Exposure to Nitrates in Drinking Water

A new report indicates the issue of nitrates in Illinois drinking water may be larger than previously thought.
 
The Prairie Rivers Network, the Illinois affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, has issued the report titled Illinois’ Ignored Water Crisis: Preventing Nitrates from Contaminating Illinois Drinking Water.  In it, the organization finds that, since 1980, over 322-thousand people in Illinois have been exposed to nitrate levels in their drinking water that exceed federal standards.  Macon County is the most affected area in the state, where 77.6% of residents on public water systems have been exposed to elevated
nitrate levels exceeding the federal standards at least once.
 
Catie Gregg, Agricultural Programs Specialist with PRN, explains that agriculture is one of the largest contributors to nitrates finding their way into drinking water.  She says despite recent steps in the right direction with the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy there's still a lot of work to do.
 

 

 
According to the report, the instances of communities dealing with elevated nitrate levels are increasing.  Gregg also notes that communities are at times dealing with levels that don't exceed federal standards, but yet those levels are still believed to cause adverse health effects.
 

 

 
Gregg believes farming operations are the first line of defense in the fight against nitrates.  She says local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and other federal programs, offer incentives to bring nutrient management practices onto the farm.  However, Gregg notes those agencies and conservation funding are under attack in the current political climate.
 

 

 
Gregg says edge of field practices, such as filter strips, or in-field practices, such as cover crops, are ways that Illinois' ag sector can help to limit the amount of nitrates finding its way into drinking water.
 

 

 
Increasing numbers of central Illinois communities, like Decatur, Moweaqua and Taylorville, have had to purchase expensive nitrate treatment facilities to reduce nitrate levels in their community water supply.  The Prairie Rivers Network believes conservation is a much less costly way to improve the state's water quality.

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DeWitt County Museum Welcomes Lincoln Chairs To Collection

A pair of well-traveled chairs with purported ties to Abraham Lincoln have recently made their way home to DeWitt County.
 
Joey Woolridge, Director of the DeWitt County Museum, explains that a family recently donated a pair of chairs to the C.H. Moore Homestead that have been passed down for generations.  According to family legend, the chairs originated from a now defunct hotel in Clinton that was visited many times by Abraham Lincoln.  Woolridge says from there the chairs have been across the country.
 

 

 
Woolridge admits that it's almost impossible to prove the nation's 16th President actually sat in the chairs, but she says passing on the story of the chairs is crucial.
 

 

 
These "Lincoln Chairs" join several others in the DeWitt County museum.  Woolridge says early details are starting to come together for an event in the near future to show off all of the collection.
 

 

 
In the meantime, the new Lincoln Chairs are being put on display inside the C.H. Moore Homestead.  You can learn more about the DeWitt County Museum at chmooreshomestead.org.
 

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Vespasian Warner Public Library Asking Residents to Participate in Survey

 
The Vespasian Warner Public Library is asking residents of the library district to participate in a survey.
 
Janet Ward with the Vespasian Warner Public Library indicates that the survey consists of general questions to help the library better plan for its future.
 

 

 
The survey is available at all of the circulation desks in the library and online at www.vwarner.org.
 

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Madigan spokesman weighs in on sports gambling potential

House Speaker Mike Madigan is recusing himself from the discussion on potentially bringing sports wagering to Illinois. His spokesman Steve Brown isn't discussing the reasons for that but he believes the stalled discussion about gambling expansion in Illinois has likely prevented the state from being on the fast track to bring a sports book to Illinois wagering facilities......
 

 

 
 
The Supreme Court recently threw out the nation's ban of sports wagering in most states.

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University of Illinois Extension leads tick surveillance program

 
Tick-borne illnesses being tracked in Illinois. A surveillance program is being led by the University of Illinois. It’s called the I-Tick Network and the coordinator is Beth Gilliam.
 

 

 
Participants from around the state are generally those who are outside on a regular basis. They will keep a record for five days during a two-week period about the ticks they find on themselves. The ticks collected are sent to the University of Illinois for evaluation. 
 

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U of Illinois board approves $263M in construction projects

The University of Illinois is moving forward with more than $263 million in construction projects at its campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago.
 
The Board of Trustees voted last week to approve funding for 10 projects, including new or renovated residential, research and classroom buildings.
 
The projects are financed without state funding, using donations, borrowing and institutional funds. They are part of 1.2 billion dollars in construction improvements the University of Illinois system has made over the past five years.
 
Eight of the projects are at the Urbana-Champaign campus. They include an addition to expand small animal surgery at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the replacement of track and field facilities.
 
The Chicago projects include new research facilities at the Medical Sciences Building.

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List of top baby names in Illinois includes Noah, Olivia

The most popular baby names in Illinois last year? Noah and Olivia.
 
The Social Security Administration has released Illinois' top five boys and girls names for 2017.
 
For boys, the top five were: Noah, Liam, Benjamin, Logan and Alexander. The most popular girls' names were Olivia, Emma, Ava, Sophia and Isabella.
 
Nationwide, Liam and Emma topped the list. The Social Security agency says pop culture has also had an effect on naming trends. There's been an increase in girls named Melania in a clear nod to the first lady of the United States. There's also been an increase in names after 'Bachelorette' contestants.
 
The Social Security Agency complies a list of baby names every year and has name records dating back to 1800.

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Syngenta Settlement Details Announced

Syngenta and plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the company have announced a $1.51 billion settlement to resolve class actions and individual cases regarding Agrisure Viptersa. The cases allege that Syngenta sold its "Agrisure Viptera" and "Agrisure Duracade" corn seeds before it should have because new insect-resistant genetic traits in those seeds had not yet received import approval in China. The lawsuits argued that China rejected shipments of U.S. corn because the genetic traits were not yet approved there, causing the U.S. corn industry to lose access to the Chinese market and resulting in lower corn prices. Syngenta denies that it did anything wrong. If the United States District Court of the District of Kansas approves the settlement, then Syngenta will pay $1.51 billion into a Settlement Fund to pay corn farmers, grain handling facilities, and ethanol production facilities who submitted eligible claims. The court will hold a hearing in November to consider whether to approve the settlement.

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Bustos blasting Trump administration for "trade war" with China

Western Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is blasting the Trump administration for the current state of trade negotiations with China. 
 

 

 
Bustos made her remarks on the House floor last week. She serves on the House Ag committee. 

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Farm Income, Credit, Weakening

Farm income and credit conditions continued to weaken in the first quarter of 2018, but at a slower pace than in previous quarters. According to the Tenth District Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions, compiled by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, reduced farm income contributed to intensifying cash-flow concerns and tightening lending standards. Cash-flow shortages continued to limit the availability of working capital, and financing needs continued to rise. The report released last week says the decline in the first quarter makes 2018 the fifth consecutive year that bankers have reported lower farm income than the year before. The report says reduced farm income also restricted cash flow and contributed to more farm loan denials than in recent years. In the first quarter, more than eight percent of farm loan requests were denied because of customer cash-flow shortages. And, despite a recent uptick in commodity prices, cash-flow shortages have reinforced concerns about liquidity in agricultural lending.

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DeWitt County Board Meeting Rescheduled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the DeWitt County Board meeting has been moved from Thursday, May 24 to Wednesday, May 30 at 5:30 pm.

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Clinton High Students Win Illinois State Envirothon

A group of local high school students recently brought home a state championship to Clinton.
 
A five-member team from Clinton High School were named the winners of the 2018 Illinois State Envirothon earlier this month.  Sondra Baker, Program Coordinator for the Illinois State Envirothon, explains the Clinton team beat out 13 other teams from across the state in the conservation themed competition.  
 

 

 
According to Baker, the students compete in written tests in four environmental categories during the two-day competition.  She says a fifth category requires a group presentation on a topic that changes each year.  This year's presentation was on range land management.
 

 

 
The 14 teams that took part in the state event all advanced to the competition by winning local events hosted by Soil and Water Conservation Districts across the state.  Baker says the Clinton team earned the opportunity to represent Illinois in the national competition in mid-July in Idaho, however they will not be able to attend due to previous commitments.  Instead, Baker says the second place team from DuPage County will be given the chance to make the trip to nationals.
 

 

 
The state champion Envirothon team from Clinton High School is comprised of: Megan Finfrock, Tennyson Kern, Anna Mills, and Erin McGee.  
 
The 2018 Illinois Envirothon was made possible by numerous volunteers and corporate sponsorships.  To learn more about the event, visit www.illinoisenvirothon.org.

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Community Action Teaching Entrepreneur Class Across Central Illinois

Community Action is teaching a three-week crash course based on the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.
 
According to Executive Director of Community Action, Allison Rumler-Gomez, the class is to help people figure out if they're up to starting their own small business.
 

 

 
Rumler-Gomez adds that the response to the class has been overwhelmingly positive and that part of the class is developing a sense of discipline.
 

 

 
The class is tied to the Community Action thrift store in that they're teaching basic job skills to volunteers while the store generates unrestricted funds for Community Action.
 

 

 
She is currently teaching in Monticello and calls the class "crazy effective," and adds that the class has also helped people realize that starting their own business is not for them.
 

 

 
After Rumler-Gomez finishes the class in Monticello, she'll head to the otherside of the state to teach in Havana and Canton.

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Christian County Becomes the Latest to Declare Themselves as 'Sanctuary County' for Gun Owners

 
Christian County has joined the growing list of counties to declare themselves as a “Sanctuary County” for gun owners in Illinois. The resolution passed unanimously at the May county board meeting.
 
Vicki McMahon is a second district county board member and the chair of the Christian County NRA. She says she hopes the growing number of counties passing this type of resolution is sending a loud and clear message to lawmakers in Springfield.
 

 

 
McMahon says the state is infringing on the rights of legal gun owners by passing law restricting the use or possession of specific firearms.

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Lawmakers Pass Ashley's Law

PARENTS WOULD BE ABLE TO GIVE THEIR KIDS A DOSE OF PRESCRIBED MEDICAL MARIJUANA AT SCHOOL UNDER A BILL HEADED TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK. 
 
THE LEGISLATION HAS BEEN DUBBED “ASHLEY’S LAW” AFTER AN 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO WASN’T ALLOWED TO TAKE MEDICAL CANNABIS AT SCHOOL FOR HER SEIZURES SAYS SENATOR CRISTINA CASTRO OF ELGIN.
 

 

 
SENATOR JASON BARICKMAN OF BLOOMINGTON SUPPORTED THE MEASURE AND SAYS THIS IS WHAT THE LEGISLATURE IS THERE TO DO.
 

 

 
IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THIS BILL INTO LAW.

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IDOA Announces 2018 Ag Chem Container Recycling

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is offering the ag community an opportunity to be good environmental stewards through its annual agrichemical container recycling program.  Farmers and agrichemical facilities are encouraged to start saving their empty agrichemical containers for select recycling days that will take place later this summer throughout the state.  
 
  Collection sites will accept only high-density polyethylene, #2 plastic agrichemical containers that are clean and dry.  Participants are responsible for rinsing them and removing all caps, labels, booklets and foil seals.   Metal and household pesticide containers are not eligible for the recycling program.
 
The program is a cooperative venture between the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Container Recycling Council, GROWMARK, Inc., Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association, G. Phillips and Sons, L.L.C., Illinois Farm Bureau, and University of Illinois Extension.
To obtain a free brochure about the program, call the Illinois Department of Agriculture toll free at 1-800-641-3934.
 
The collection sites in the area and dates for the 2018 Pesticide Container Recycling Program are as follows:
In Logan County on August 7th from 1-3pm at Ag-Land FS in Lincoln;
In Tazewell County on August 8th from 9-11am at DCM Crop Care in Deer Creek;
In Champaign County on August 10th from 9-11am at United Prairie in Champaign;
In Christian County on August 23rd from 1-3pm at Effingham Equity in Pana.
 

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Clinton City Council Meeting

Doug Graves, owner of Graves' Stationers on Mr. Lincoln Square for 32 years, addressed the Clinton City Council at a special meeting held Tuesday night.
 
Graves previously requested money from the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) fund to pay for replacing his roof and his application was denied based on the fact that it was not a facade repair. Graves cites several buildings that were given money from TIF funds that were not used for facade repairing.
 

 

 
Graves adds that TIF literature states that one of the redevelopment costs eligible for funding is the "rehabilitation or repair of existing public or private buildings." He indicates that without these funds, his building will be condemned and become a financial burden on the city.
 

 

 
Tom Edmunds indicated that the TIF money that went to the McGill Hotel and the Spurgeons building is different from Graves' business because the city owned those buildings. He goes on to say that TIF money is much more limited than it used to be.
 

 

 
All parties agreed on wanting to uphold the integrity of Mr. Lincoln Square.
 
To learn more about TIF and it's guidelines, you can visit www.clintonillinois.com/home/government/economic-development/.

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Local Boy Scout Troop Working to Reclaim Black Locust Camp

A local "hidden gem" of DeWitt County is being polished and reclaimed through the hard work of local students and volunteers.
 
For decades, the Black Locust Group Camp at Weldon Springs State Recreation Area has laid hidden, unused, and unkempt on the southern edge of the park.  However, a group of local Boy Scouts, and their leaders, have been working hard to bring the camp back to its former glory.  
 
Ed Cicenas, Assistant Scout Master to local Troop 142, explains there have already been countless hours of labor devoted to re-claiming Black Locust Group Camp.
 

 

 
According to Cicenas, the hard work is already starting to pay off.  He notes the local troop has been able to us Black Locust for its own events, as well as hosting other troops from around the area.  In fact, he says earlier this month Black Locust hosted the first Scouting Camporee to be held at the campground in more than 20 years.
 

 

 
Despite the tremendous progress, Cicenas notes there is still more work to do at Black Locust.  He says one major need is to raise thousands of dollars to upgrade the existing, non-operational water and sanitary systems.
 

 

 
The local Boy Scout Troop 142 is continuing its work at Black Locust this summer.  If you'd like to be involved in the project, or perhaps donate to the cause, contact Scoutmaster Donald Husted at 847-345-3818.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photos courtesy of Ed Cicenas

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Heyworth Schools Exploring Expanding Curriculums

The Heyworth school district recently got the nod of approval for moving forward with crafting plans for updates in facilities.
 
Superintendent of Heyworth Schools, Lisa Taylor, indicates part of the community engagement process, was passing along the success of academics and the possibility of expanding academic opportunities. 
 

 

 
Taylor feels the district is getting creative in getting their students these opportunities. Teachers have stepped up to get their certification to lead the classes and provide dual-credit courses at a very low cost.

 

 
According to Taylor, they do have to bring in two Heartland Community College professor's to lead their dual-credit courses. Additionally, they do offer reimbursements for their teachers to get their masters degrees. 

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ALAH FFA Alumni awards $5,000 in scholarships

The Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond (ALAH) FFA Alumni has recently selected six students to receive scholarships in 2018. 
 
The chapter, chartered in 2014, has over 100 members with the purpose “to provide leadership, mentoring, and financial assistance to the agricultural education program at Arthur Lovington Atwood Hammond High School.”  The scholarship fund receives donations, fundraising, and proceeds from the variety test plot hosted by Jeff Davis of Hammond. Students fill out an application and are interviewed by Alumni prior to selection. 
 
Receiving $750.00 scholarships are Janette Comstock, Zane Crist, and Colton Romine. 
 
Janette is the daughter of T.G. and Dawn Redfern of Lovington. She will be enrolled at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville majoring in business. 
 
Zane Crist is the son of Richard and Ericka Crist of Atwood and will attend the University of Illinois in the College of Agriculture and Consumer Economics. 
 
Colton Romine is the son of Tedd and Amanda Romine of Atwood. He will major in Business Management at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. 
 
Receiving a $500.00 scholarship is Kimberly Davis of Hammond. She is the daughter of Scott and Monica Davis. Kimberly is enrolled at Parkland College in Applied Sciences. 
 
The Alumni awarded two scholarships for students to attend the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, DC later this summer. Receiving scholarships are Katie Gingerich of Sullivan and Makenna Green of Arthur. 
 
Since its inception, ALAH FFA Alumni has invested 3,600 volunteer hours and 65-thousand dollars in the lives of FFA members in District 305.   

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Social Security Promoting Benefits For Veterans, Active Duty Soldiers

Helping those in the armed forces is always something Social Security offers but with Memorial Day right around the corner, the government agency is taking this month to highlight some of the things they do especially for veterans.
 
Jack Myers with Social Security first has some general reminders about the pay and benefits for those in the armed forces.
 

 

 
According to Myers, if a soldier sustains an injury while on active duty, Social Security will expedite their disability claims.
 

 

 
Myers points out this effort is simply one way they can say thank you for their service and sacrifice. 
 
Visit socialsecurity.gov for more information. 

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DCDC Donates Half of CEO Program Startup Funds

A local organization is pledging its support for a program aimed at creating an innovative business experience for local high school students.
 
The DeWitt County Development Council recently presented a check to Central Illinois CEO, helping the program toward its goal of 25-thousand dollars.
 
In a release, David Torbert, DCDC board president said their organization believes the CEO program will be a great benefit to local students and to our local business community. 
 
Through Midland Institute’s CEO program, high school seniors are introduced to the entrepreneurial experience.  Students learn through special projects, regular site visits to area businesses, mentorships, and an intense focus on thriving in a business-like environment.  The students even create individual and group businesses and coordinate all aspects of a year-end trade show to finish out the year-long program. 
 
Central Illinois CEO brings together students from Clinton High School, Blue Ridge High School, Maroa-Forsyth High School, and Warrensburg-Latham High School. The first class will begin in Fall 2019.
 
Central IL CEO was formed in 2017. Funding comes from local businesses who become partners with CICEO for $1,000 a year for three years.  Businesses who wish to participate will become mentors, host site visits, and are guest speakers for the class throughout the year. Supporters of the program can also make donations without being directly involved.

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Congressman Davis Working on Soldiers' Family Bill

Congressman Rodney Davis is working on legislation to change a military policy.
 
Davis says he was inspired to craft this bill after hearing about the Palmer family's troubles...
 

 

 
Congressman Davis hopes to change the military's policies to provide transportation to Dover Air Force Base for families of soldiers who die outside of the U.S.

 

 
Davis recently introduced the bill in the House and it was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services.
 

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Cerro Gordo Students Earning Double Diplomas

There's a few Cerro Gordo students that are earning double diplomas at graduation this weekend.
 
Superintendent Brett Robinson explains there are three students in the Cerro Gordo district that will not only be graduating high school Saturday, but have also earned their Associate's Degree while still in high school.  He explains a program in conjunction with Richland Community College, and some extra hard work, has allowed it to happen.
 

 

 
According to Robinson, prospective students must meet strict guidelines, and there's also a nominal fee involved to enter the program, but he says it is proving to be a popular option for some students.
 

 

 
Robinson notes the benefits for students able to complete the program are pretty obvious.  He says a student leaving high school as a college junior has a clear jump start on their career path.
 

 

 
Superintendent Robinson hopes the program continues to grow in the future.  Graduation for the Cerro Gordo School District is set for Saturday, May 26th.

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Summer Programs at Warner Public Library

Summer reading club sign-up for adults and children are right around the corner and with it comes summer programs. 
 
The Vespasian Warner Public Library once again has big programs planned for the community on Tuesdays during the summer. Some of the programs are magician Jonathan May, animals from the Exotic Wildlife Sanctuary, and the popular mini horses from Heartland Mini Hooves.
 

 

 
Other programs for the children's reading clubs will also be taking place during the summer. They are Whatever Thursdays, where members of the Reading Takes You Everywhere club will do whatever, from reading aloud to kite making. There will be Monday morning story time for Rocket Readers and Toddler Time every Friday for newborns to 36 months.
 

 

 
Sign-up for summer reading clubs starts Monday, May 21 and programs start Tuesday, June 5. To learn more you can contact the library at 217-935-5174.

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Governor & First Lady Moving Back To Executive Mansion

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS HE AND HIS WIFE, FIRST LADY DIANA RAUNER WILL BE MOVING BACK INTO THE EXECUTIVE MANSION ON MONDAY. 
 
RENOVATIONS BEGAN IN 2015 AND INCLUDE STRUCTURAL REPAIRS, MAKING THE HOME A-D-A COMPLIANT, SETTING UP A VISITOR’S CENTER AND SHOWCASING ILLINOIS PRODUCTS, ART AND MORE. DURING CONSTRUCTION THE RAUNERS HAVE BEEN LIVING AT THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS.
 

 

 
GOVERNOR RAUNER SAYS HE’S LOOKING FORWARD TO LIVING IN THE COMPLETELY RENOVATED HOME.
 

 

 
THE PROJECT HAS BEEN FUNDED ENTIRELY THROUGH PRIVATE DONATIONS. THE MANSION IS SLATED TO OPEN TO THE PUBLIC ON JULY 14TH WITH A BIG CELEBRATION.

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Illinois Unemployment Hits 12 Year Low

THE ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HIT A 12-YEAR LOW LAST MONTH. 
 
THE APRIL JOBLESS RATE CAME IN AT FOUR POINT FOUR PERCENT...DOWN SLIGHTLY FROM MARCH AND THE LOWEST LEVEL SINCE 2006. STATE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY SPOKESPERSON BOB GOUGH SAYS JOBS INCREASED BY 47-HUNDRED LAST MONTH.
 

 

 
GOUGH SAYS THE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO PICK UP.
 

 

 
LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY AND CONSTRUCTION ALSO ENJOYED SOME JOB GAINS IN APRIL. LOSSES WERE SEEN IN THE GOVERNMENT SECTOR.

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Equipment Sales Sluggish, but Positive

The latest monthly tractor and combine sales report from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows increased combine sales. U.S. retail sales of combines jumped almost 59 percent last month, compared to April of 2017. However, total tractor sales in the U.S. rose less than one percent, versus this time last year. AEM Senior Vice President of Ag Services Curt Blades notes that the downward trend in net farm income “obviously is a concern” since it is such a big factor in equipment sales. He says there is still a lot of uncertainty with the year one-third over. The report goes on to show that while sales of tractors over 100 horsepower jumped almost 18 percent in Canada, they fell about seven percent in the U.S., compared to a year ago. Meanwhile, Canadian retail sales of combined didn’t fare quite as well as the U.S., as they rose just 9.2 percent, compared to a year ago.

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Farmers Union Urges USDA to Proactively Address Farm Suicide Crisis

The National Farmers Union says many farmers and ranchers are coping with alarming levels of stress, and that farmers and ranchers commit suicide at a rate five times that of the general population. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, NFU President Roger Johnson urged the Department of Agriculture to “develop a response to the farm suicide crisis.” Johnson noted that financial risk, volatile markets, unpredictable weather, social isolation, and heavy workloads can all place significant strain on farmers’ and ranchers’ mental and emotional well-being. Johnson highlighted USDA’s vast network, including more than 2,100 Farm Service Agency offices that interact with farmers and ranchers on a daily basis. He proposed that USDA develops training materials to help FSA personnel better identify and respond to the signs of mental stress, and assess the causes of mental stress in farmers and ranchers, and identify best practices in responding to that stress.

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House Fails to Pass Farm Bill

The Friday attempt to approve the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 failed in the U.S. House, 198-213. 30 Republicans voted against the bill, along with 183 Democrats, without a Democrat supporting the legislation, as expected. The House Freedom Caucus refused to budge on its demand that the House considers immigration issues before passing a farm bill, thus voting against the bill. The House Freedom Caucus consists of roughly three-dozen conservatives that have made immigration a signature issue. Democrats in the chamber cheered as the bill failed as the minority party says it was given no chance to provide input on the bill, and objects to changes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway disagreed, stating on the House floor that Democrats refused to provide input before lawmakers voted down a motion by Democrats to send the bill back to committee.
 
Conaway calls the vote a setback that follows a streak of victories throughout the week leading up to the vote. He says: “We may be down, but we are not out.” The Republican says lawmakers will deliver a new farm bill to the President on time, adding farmers and ranchers “deserve nothing less.” Meanwhile, Ranking Democrat of the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson, says the failure provides “a good opportunity for us to return to the table” and “fix” the bill before moving forward.

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Clinton High School Graduation Sunday, Eighth Grade Promotion Monday

The end of the school year is here and with that comes high school graduation and eighth grade promotion.
 
According to superintendent of Clinton schools, Curt Nettles, the goal of Clinton schools is to provide students of all grade levels with the best education and opportunities that they can.

 

 
High school graduation is this Sunday at 2 pm and Nettles says that this is a particularly proud moment for parents and the students making that walk across the stage.
 

 

 
Eighth grade promotion is scheduled for the evening after high school graduation. It will start at 7 pm.

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St. Louis Fed Survey Shows Farm Income Down Once Again

Farm income declined in the first quarter of 2018, the 17th-consecutive quarter of lower income numbers. The latest Agricultural Finance Monitor, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, shows quality farmland values and cash rents were also slightly lower than in 217. The St. Louis Fed surveyed 24 agricultural banks in the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which includes several Midwest and Mid-South States. The majority of the bankers reported income declines compared to a year ago. Quality farmland values were 1.4 percent lower than in the first quarter of last year. That’s the first decline since the second quarter of 2017. Ranchland or pastureland values rose sharply for the second consecutive quarter. In similar fashion, cash rents for quality farmland dropped slightly in the first quarter of this year when compared to 2017. Cash rents for pastureland or ranchland increased. Other questions in the survey included the number of farmers using off-farm income to maintain cash flow. 41 percent of the banks said that 25 percent of their farmer-customers had off-farm income. More than half of the banks said that a quarter of their farmer-clients were in severe financial difficulty.

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Weekly Weather Summary

May has been warmer and drier than normal, and it looks like the trend will continue into June. State Climatologist Jim Angel has more...
 

 

 

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Three Arrested In Counterfeit Bills Investigation In Bloomington

he Bloomington Police Department reports three Chicago residents were recently arrested following an investigation into counterfeit $100 bills.
 
On Saturday, May 12, 2018, officers received forgery complaints at five retail stores located in east Bloomington.
 
A short time later, after receiving the complaints, officers located a vehicle matching the same description given by witnesses as the suspect vehicle. Officers stopped the vehicle near the intersection of Eastland Drive and Prospect Road. Officers conducted a search of the vehicle and recovered items matching those purchased with counterfeit money as well as several counterfeit $100 bills.
 
As a result of their investigation, Kayonna D. Howard, age 18, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested for multiple counts of Burglary without Causing Damage, multiple counts of Theft by Deception with Intent less than $500, and multiple counts of Obstruction of Justice/Destroy Evidence.
 
Denokey K. Midderhoff, age 18, of Chicago, Illinois was arrested for Obstruction of Justice/Destroy Evidence.
 
A 17-year-old male, of Chicago, Illinois was also arrested for Theft by Deception.
 
Howard and Midderhoff were transported to the McLean County Jail. The juvenile was released.  

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Grand Opening of Frozen Yogurt Shop This Friday in Monticello

A new business is opening in Monticello tonight (Friday).
 
According to the Director of Community Development for the City of Monticello, Callie Jo McFarland, an independently owned frozen yogurt shop called FroYo Factory will occupy a former gas station that has been empty for over a decade.
 

 

 
McFarland adds that the family run business will be on Market Street and with it's eye-catching colors, it would be difficult to miss. 
 

 

 
FroYo Factory will open at six in the evening with a ribbon cutting where the Mayor of Monticello, Larry Stoner, will officially welcome the business to the community.
 

 

 
To learn more about FroYo's grand opening tonight, visit their page on Facebook by searching fyfactory.

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Brews at the Zoo Fundraiser Tonight

The Miller Park Zoo is having a unique fundraiser tonight (Friday).
 
According to Superintendent of the Miller Park Zoo, Jay Tetzloff, Brews at the Zoo is back for its third year. It is an adult only fundraiser for the Miller Park Zooilogical Society. There will be local brews from local breweries, wine, and some food available.
 

 

 
Tetzloff adds that there will be animal encounters and indicates that this will be the perfect time to view nocturnal animals.
 

 

 
Tetzloff says that the numbers for Brews at the Zoo have almost doubled every year and hopes to keep that growth going. He adds that a few drinks come with your ticket and if you'd like more, there will be additional drinks available for purchase.

 

 
To purchase tickets for the Brews at the Zoo fundraiser before Friday, you can visit millerparkzoo.org and click on the link to the Miller Park Zooilogical Society or you can call the zoo at 309-434-2250.

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University of Illinois Extension Hosting Summer Gardening Programs

If gardening is something that interests you, then the University of Illinois Extension have some programs for you this summer.
 
Candice Hart, University of Illinois Extension master gardener, indicates she has been doing a hands-on horticulture project every month and the series continues into the summer months.
 

 

 
Hart says the price for each project varies depending on the supplies. To register for the events there are a variety of options...
 

 

 
To register visit the Extention's website, go.illinois.edu/dmp, or call the DeWitt County office at (217) 935-5764.

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Millikin University to break ground on new Center for Theatre and Dance

Millikin University in Decatur is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony today (FRI) for its new Center for Theatre and Dance. The ceremony will take place on the Miller Quad located behind Shilling Hall next to the Richards Treat University Center construction site on Millikin's campus.
 
Millikin President Dr. Patrick White, Millikin Trustee Phillip Blankenburg, Dean of the College of Fine Arts Laura Ledford and Millikin students will be on hand for remarks.
 
Millikin University announced on Oct. 11, 2017 that it would break ground on its new Center for Theatre and Dance in 2018 with plans to open the building in fall 2020. The $29 million facility will include a 260-seat flexible theatre, collaboration spaces, four acting studios, two dance studios and two design classrooms as well as a costume studio, costume classroom, and offices and support facilities for current staff. The architectural partner for the project is Decatur, Ill., firm BLDD.
 

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Illinois Visitors Hit High In 2017

GOVERNOR BRUCE RAUNER SAYS 2017 WAS A RECORD YEAR FOR TOURISM IN ILLINOIS. 
 

NEARLY 114 MILLION PEOPLE VISITED ILLINOIS LAST YEAR…UP THREE PERCENT FROM 2016. GOVERNOR RAUNER HOPES TO SEE EVEN MORE TOURISTS THIS YEAR AS THE STATE CELEBRATES IT’S 200TH BIRTHDAY.

 

 

 
STATE TOURISM DIRECTOR CORY JOBE CREDITS THE INCREASE TO NEW MARKETING EFFORTS.
 

 

 
17 PERCENT OF TRAVELERS CAME TO ILLINOIS FOR BUSINESS IN 2017…AND 83 PERCENT FOR PLEASURE. THE STATE’S TOURISM INDUSTRY SUPPORTS MORE THAN 335 THOUSAND JOBS.  VISITORS TO ILLINOIS SPENT MORE THAN 39 BILLION DOLLARS IN 2017. 
 

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Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Immediate Family Members Cancel Fallen Service Members Leases

IT’S A SIMPLE BILL, BUT ONE DESIGNED TO MAKE THE LIVES OF FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST A SOLDIER A LITTLE EASIER.
 
FAMILIES HAVE ENOUGH TO WORRY ABOUT WHEN A PARENT, SIBLING OR CHILD IS KILLED IN ACTIVE MILITARY DUTY SAYS SENATOR DAVE KOEHLER OF PEORIA. HIS BILL, WHICH HAS NOW PASSED THE HOUSE AND SENATE, LETS IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS OR DEPENDENTS CANCEL THE FALLEN SERVICE MEMBER’S LEASE IF NECESSARY.
 

 

 
IT’S NOW UP TO THE GOVERNOR TO SIGN THE BILL INTO LAW.

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Defending the Farm from Fraud and Identity Theft

Identity theft is a well-known threat that can be costly to farmers and ranchers. NAFB's Micheal Clements has more…

 

 

 

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Senator Rose's Staff to Hold Open Office Hours in Clinton on Friday

Staff for DeWitt County's local state senator will be in town on Friday.
 
The Office of State Senator Chapin Rose will host traveling office hours in Clinton tomorrow (FRI).
 
Constituents are welcome to come to Rose’s Traveling Office Hours Friday morning from 9 to 10:30 am at the Friendship Center in Clinton.
 
Staff will be available to take citizen’s concerns, answer questions, and provide information on several issues. Appointments are not required.
 
The DeWitt County Friendship Center is located at  410 East Main Street in Clinton.

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Richland Community College Commencement Ceremony This Friday

Richland Community College will hold its Commencement Ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, May 18, at the Decatur Civic Center. For anyone unable to attend the ceremony, a live video stream of the event can be found at www.ustream.tv/channel/richland-community-college. 
 
Prior to commencement, the Health Professions pinning will be held at 5 p.m. in the auditorium of the Civic Center.

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Clinton Board of Education Approve School Safety Resolution; Change Liability Insurance

The Clinton Board of Education approved a resolution on school safety at their monthly meeting Wednesday night.
 
Superintendent Curt Nettles indicates that the resolution will give the Illinois School Board Association the ability to discuss it at their November meeting and possibly use it as their own resolution. The resolution is for giving school districts the ability to make their own school safety policy.
 

 

 
Nettles stresses that the resolution just makes it a discussion item at the School Board Association meeting. The Board also approved joining the Prairie State Insurance Cooperative for district liability and workman's compensation insurance. Nettles says the move will a money saving one.
 

 

 
The Board also approved the appointments of Matt Koeppel as district athletic director and Josh Maxwell as CJHS principal.

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May Days Returning This Weekend

The annual May Days festival returns to Clinton this weekend, with new additions along with longtime favorites.
 
Marian Brisard, executive director of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, reminds community members that presale carnival tickets are available for 22 tickets for $20 through 3 pm today at many local businesses. 
 

 

 
Brisard indicates this year that the outlay of May Days will look a little different this year...
 

 

 
Brisard reports that the festival has a packed schedule this year. The carnival opens today (Thursday) at 5 pm for Family Day and the CHS Thespian troupe has a sing-off fundraiser from 6-8pm.
 

 

 
Saturday features many new activities including Trunken Treasures and wrestling, as well as the waterball competition and the American Legion porkchop supper. The carnival concludes on Sunday with a Dance Xtreme performance.
 

 

 
Brisard would like to thank the sponsors for allowing them to provide live entertainment on the square during the festival. May Days starts today at 5 pm and runs until Sunday at 5 pm.

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Congressman Davis Continues To Be Critical of Democrats in Farm Bill Process

Central Illinois Republican Congressman Davis continues to be critical of his colleagues across the aisle in the process of crafting a new farm bill.
 
Both sides have battled in recent weeks about the crafting of the new farm bill as the current bill expires later this year. Democrats say they were not invited into the process while Republicans contend Democrats had no intention of being involved.
 
Davis continues his criticism of his colleagues' objection to measures that would help those on government benefits programs get into the workforce.
 

 

 
Congressman Davis says the bill, in its current form, would allow for individuals on welfare programs to get into programs to find good employment opportunities. He feels Democrats objection to the measure is a sign of their desire to grow government programs.
 

 

 
Congressman Davis hopes the bill gets to the House floor by the end of the month so it can be sent to the Senate. The next step will be a conference committee that will likely craft the bill in its final form. 

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Shooter Injured After Shootout at Dixon High School

A man confronted a Dixon police officer at Dixon High School just after 8 o'clock (this) Wednesday morning.  The suspect fired shots at the officer, who then returned fire.  Dixon Police say the man was injured and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The police officer was not injured, and no students or staff were injured. 

Dixon High School and all Dixon Public Schools were on lockdown as a result of the incident.    Dixon is located in northern Illinois, about 2 hours west of Chicago.

Dixon Police believe the suspect acted alone.

The suspect's name has not been released.

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Heavy Rain Causes Flooding Problems at Warner Hospital Tuesday Afternoon

A heavy rain Tuesday afternoon caused some problems at Clinton's Warner Hospital.

C-E-O Paul Skowron told Regional Radio News that some 3 inches of rain came down in that area of the city.  The storm sewers couldn't handle that much rain in a short time, so the drains outside the main entrance, and the drain outside the emergency room door, all turned into gushers.

As a result, water seeped into both the reception area and the emergency room.

Hospital crews were able to begin clean-up immediately after the rain ended, and ServPro of Clinton was then called into do the heavy clean-up and de-humidify the area.

Skowron hopes that all will be back to normal in that area of Warner Hospital in a few days.  Both the reception area and the emergency room continue to function as normal.

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Clinton Police Chief Talks Upcoming May Days Festival

May Days Festival is here and that means an increase in activity in the downtown area of Clinton.
 

Local law enforcement is reminding the public they are not allowed to bring bikes or pets to the festival going area. It doesn't matter the reason, Chief Ben Lowers says it puts too many people at risk. 

 

 

May Days is this Thursday through Sunday. The footprint of this year's festival is going to be a little different. Organizers indicate this year's carnival will be located just off the square, allowing for better flow of traffic around Center Street.
 
Additionally, law enforcement will have extra patrols out this weekend, specifically looking for bikes and pets around the square and carnival. 

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Clinton Elementary School to Host Fourth PBIS Day

With the school year coming to a close, most students are ready for summer.  This anticipation for summer break can sometimes lead to poor behavior in the classroom.  
 
For those students who do act properly, Clinton Elementary School has been rewarding students for excellent behavior throughout the school year with their PBIS program...
 

 

 
Assistant principal Ben Mooney explains the Positive Behavior Intervention System has had different themed events with the upcoming celebration being centered outdoors...
 

 

 
Assistant principal Mooney also believes the PBIS program has shown a more well-behaved student body...
 

 

 
PBIS is scheduled to take place at the end of the month. 

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Area Student Wins State Art Contest

A local high school student's artwork has won a statewide contest.
 
Cerro Gordo High School and the Cerro Gordo HS Art room would like to congratulate Jean Srichoo who was the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the State of Illinois Poppy Poster Contest sponsored by the American Legion.  This honor means that Jean's poster design was chosen over all the posters in the State of Illinois and it received the top award.  He also received $500.  

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Veterans Affairs to Hold Town Hall on Wednesday in Effingham

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has scheduled a town hall in central Illinois to discuss the Veterans Administration health care system.
 
The town hall will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1769 in Effingham.
 
VA spokesman Kevin Harris says the town hall is being held to allow feedback from veterans, their families and other beneficiaries of the health care system.
 
Veterans Affairs is the government's second-largest department, responsible for 9 million military veterans in more than 1,700 government-run health facilities.
 
Many issues in the department need attention, including a multibillion-dollar overhaul of electronic medical records aimed at speeding up wait times for veterans seeking medical care as well as expanded mental health treatment for veterans at higher risk of suicide.

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Pritzker Won't Support Death Penalty Coming Back to IL

Governor Rauner wants the death penalty back in Illinois. It’s part of a plan of action he has along with some gun control measures to increase public safety. His Democrat challenger for Governor, J.B. Pritzker says the death penalty debate shouldn’t be tied to gun control and it shouldn’t become part of Illinois’s justice system again.
 

 

 
Rauner’s move to reinstate the death penalty comes as part of an amendatory veto that will be debated and voted on by lawmakers.

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Congressman Davis Proposes Bill To Deal With Nuclear Waste

Disposing and storing nuclear waste is the focus of a bill Congressman Rodney Davis is working on in the nation's capital.
 
The 13th Congressional District Republican says his bill proposes shipping nuclear waste to a depository in Nevada. 
 

 

According to Davis, the footprint of nuclear waste is very small and he feels it needs to be in a safe, isolated area.
 

 

Davis says the storage is actually going to be more environmentally safe in an isolated area than it would be in nuclear plants across the country. 

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WHOW Gets OK to Build Local FM Signal in Lincoln

The Miller Media Group's Kaskaskia Broadcasting, Incorporated in Clinton, has announced that the Federal Communications Commission has approved its application to build a new FM signal at 106-point-5 in Lincoln, for its Central Illinois newstalk and agriculture station WHOW.

Company president Randal J. Miller is hopeful that the new signal will go on the air this summer.

The new Lincoln FM signal for WHOW will cover all of Logan County, so that listeners there can hear WHOW's local news and sports coverage, over 6 hours a day of agriculture programming, and weekend sports programming from the CBS Sports Radio Network.

WHOW at 106-point-5 FM in Lincoln will operate 24 hours a day, and join another FM signal WHOW has at 92-point-3 in Clinton, and the BIG 1520 AM signal that covers Central Illinois.

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Clay Wheeler Appointed Bloomington Chief of Police

Chief Clay Wheeler was appointed Chief of Police during the City Council meeting last night. Chief Wheeler is a 27-year veteran of the Bloomington Police Department.
 
Chief Wheeler joined the department in 1991 as a patrol officer.  Chief Wheeler served as a member of the Bloomington Police Department's Crisis Response Team, as a hostage negotiator, Field Training Officer, and as a Detective in the Bloomington Police Department's Criminal Investigation Division.
 
Chief Wheeler was promoted to Sergeant in 2007.  While a sergeant he was instrumental in the adoption of Problem Oriented Policing within the Bloomington Police Department.  He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2011, and Assistant Chief in 2011.
 
During his tenure, Chief Wheeler received 1 Distinguished Achievement Award, 1 Exemplary Performance Award, 2 Meritorious Service Awards and 5 Unit Citations. He also has been awarded the Education Ribbon and several Letters of Commendation regarding his exemplary work and service to our community.
 
Chief Wheeler holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from the College of the Ozarks.

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Tour DeWitt Returns For Fourth Year

Tour DeWitt is returning to DeWitt County in 2018 and organizers are ready to welcome riders of all types.
 

Steve Lobb took over the event around four years ago and indicates have a long ride and a short ride anyone of any level can tackle.

 

 

According to Lobb, Tour DeWitt had fallen off for a few years after a long run. H explains he got involved and turned it into a ride for the Child Protection Network, which helps the Children's Advocacy Center in DeWitt County.

 

 

This year's Tour DeWitt is set for Saturday, June 30. Get more information by finding the Tour DeWitt Facebook and get links to registration pages and information about the event as well.

 

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4H Youth Educator Shares Overview of Programs

4H has been around for over 100 years, aiming to help guide children through different aspects of learning.  As 4H Youth Coordinator Jamie Boas (base) says its a very hands on learning experience...
 

 

 
 
While Boas explains there are plenty of programs for those under the age of eight, there are a variety of different offerings for those ages 8-18...
 

 

 
 
Along with all the activities offered each year, a new program is being offered for the 4H in Clinton...

 

 
Boas also explains there will be a new program sprouting up in a nearby city...
 

 

 
 
For more information on 4H visit DewittCounty4H.com.

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Help Mom Save Money Through Social Security

Did that Mother's Day gift fall a little short this year? If your mom is on Medicare Part D, perhaps she wouldn't mind if you helped her save a couple thousand dollars this year.
 

Social Security offers a program to help save those on the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan roughly $4,000 a year and Jack Myers says that is a gift that can keep on giving.

 

 

 
For those already on Medicare Part A and B, you are already enrolled in Part D. Myers points outs there are some limits to the program.
 

 

 
To get more information on the Extra Help program, visit socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or you can call 800-772-1213 and that application can be done over the phone.
 
Myers points out it reduces deductibles, co-pays, and premiums and help those prescription drug costs become more affordable.

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Rauner Calls For Death Penalty In Illinois

The Governor says he wants to reinstate the death penalty. The proposal is part of an amendatory veto focused around a gun bill. Rauner wants mass murderers and anyone who kills a law enforcement officer to be able to face capital punishment. 

 

 

 
Rauner also wants to place a 72 hour waiting period for purchases of any type of gun, ban bump stocks and have a plan to authorize restraining orders to disarm violent individuals. Rauner calls it a thoughtful proposal. And it now heads to the house for consideration. 
 

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House Expected To Take Up Farm Bill This Week

Kevin McCarthy, the House Majority Leader, says Congress will take up the farm bill debate sometime within the week. The House schedule has the week’s session running from Tuesday through Friday. The House Rules Committee has issued a notice that it expects to “grant a rule that may provide a structured amendment process for floor consideration of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.” The Hagstrom Report says it’s not clear yet if Republicans have the required 215 Republican votes they’ll need to pass the bill. House Democrats say no Democrat will vote for the bill because of the changes it would make to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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Young Beekeepers Encouraged to Apply for Award

Young beekeepers have a little extra time to apply for an award by Bayer that recognizes their work.
 
The Young Beekeeper Award recognizes youth who are working in their community supporting honey bee focused initiatives. This year, the three prizes will be awarded to the next generation of beekeepers. Becky Langer, Project Manager for Bayer’s North America Bee Care Program, explains who can apply for the award…
 

 

 
First prize will receive $3,000, with prizes for second and third place winners, as well. Langer says protecting bee’s is a priority for Bayer, along with developing the next generation of beekeepers…
 

 

 
 
Jake Residorf won the award last year. He says his project focuses on educating others about bee health…
 

 

 
Learn more about the award and submit applications before May 31, 2018 by visiting the Bayer bee health website, www.beehealth.bayer.us.

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Threat Leads To Evacuation Of Clinton Junior High Monday Afternoon

Another threat at Clinton Junior High School led to students being evacuated late in the day Monday.
 
In a School Reach call to parents, Clinton Junior High Principal Drew Goebel indicated that at approximately 3:10 Monday afternoon a student reported to school staff that a threat was found inscribed in a bathroom stall.  Per protocol, students were evacuated from the building.  The Clinton Police Department and school officials conducted a search of the building, but no evidence was found to substantiate the threat.  The school was deemed safe and extra-curricular events proceeded as planned.
 
Clinton Police and the school district are investigating the source of this most recent threat, as well as threats made earlier in the month. Also in the message, Goebel encouraged parents to discuss the false threats with their students.  Parents or students with any information regarding the incidents are asked to contact school officials.

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Local Law Enforcement Celebrating National Police Week

It is National Police Week across the country and our local law enforcement are taking time this to remember officers that have fallen in the line of duty both locally and across the country.
 
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers indicates there have been three law enforcement officials that have lost their lives while on patrol. He says the most recent was in 1993. 
 

 

 
The relationship between the public and the police has seemingly been deteriorating in recent years and Chief Lowers indicates the statistics would indicate respect for law enforcement is also on the decline.
 

 

 
According to Chief Lowers, being a police officer or law enforcement official is a tough profession to be in and he feels a lot of the controversy around police and the public is driven by the media.
 

 

 
Chief Lowers says he enjoys helping people and finds the few opportunities to better someone's life worth it. 

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Read Across Clinton Looks to Provide Home Libraries for Students

Clinton Elemantary school is striving to keep students reading over the summer with their Read Across Clinton campaign...

 

 

 
Principal Sasha Young explains that the books are purchased through donations made over the year...
 

 

 
Young also explains that the campaign looks to help those families who finically may struggle and can't afford to have reading material in the home...
 

 

 
No matter the skill level of the reading material, Young says just getting students to enjoy reading is the main goal...
 

 

 
This summer marks the fourth year of the Read Across Clinton campaign.

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YEP Initiative Strives to Give Back, Seeking Youth From DeWitt, Logan Counties

Wanting to give back to the community is a big goal for the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, or Y-E-P, and they want to engage youth in other parts of their service area.
 
Y-E-P is an initiative for the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, as each year they are given 10,000-dollars from an anonymous donor and that money is given out to local non-profits that affect youth. 
 
Maddisan Murphy of the Foundation gave some examples of non-profits that received money from the YEP initiative...

 

hree mentors help to oversee the efforts of the youth in Y-E-P, but all fundraising and efforts to get money donated are done by the Y-E-P members...

 
 

 

With plenty of involvement from youth in the McLean County area, the group is calling on youth in other parts of their service area to join them. Murphy and fellow member Calise Lim explained how to join the Y-E-P...


 

n order to join the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, members must be incoming freshman through seniors in high school.  For more information visit www.ilprairiecf.org.    

 

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Missing Veterans Legislation Moving Forward in Springfield

There are Amber Alerts to find missing children and Silver Alerts for seniors and earlier this year, Wisconsin became the first state to issue an alert for vulnerable veterans….now Illinois wants to follow suit with a bill sponsored by State Representative Dan Swanson of Alpha. 

 

 

 
The measure was approved in the House Veterans Affairs Committee and now heads to the full House for consideration. 
 
The legislation amends the Missing Persons Identification Act to add veterans suffering a physical or mental health condition that is related to their service to the definition of a “high-risk missing person” for the purposes of an immediate search.

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West Nile Virus Surveillance Underway

THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SAYS NOW IS THE TIME TO START TAKING PRECAUTIONS AGAINST THE WEST NILE VIRUS. 
 
WEST NILE IS THE MOST COMMON MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESS IN ILLINOIS…AND PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS SURVEILLANCE IS UNDERWAY.
 
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ARNOLD SAYS THE BEST WAY TO REDUCE THE RISK OF WEST NILE IS TO ELIMINATE STANDING POOLS OF WATER AROUND YOUR HOME WHERE MOSQUITOS CAN BREED AND WEARING INSECT REPELLANT WITH DEET, PICARIDIN OR OIL OF LEMON EUCALYPTUS.

 

 
ARNOLD SAYS WEST NILE SURVEILLANCE IS UNDERWAY AS COMMUNITIES ARE URGED TO SEND IN BATCHES OF MOSQUITO POOLS AND DEAD BIRDS FOR TESTING. THE FIRST SIGNS OF THE VIRUS USUALLY SHOW UP IN MID TO LATE MAY.

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Clinton Elementary Students Learn About Agriculture At Annual Ag Day

The CH Moore Homestead and the DeWitt County Farm Bureau team up each spring to provide elementary students in Clinton a chance to learn about agriculture in an up-close and personal way.
 
The event is in the month of May and Farm Bureau Director Janel Baum-Thomas says they get to talk to farmers and check out some old-school machinery along with modern machinery.
 
 
Organizers indicate the youth are always intrigued by the farm equipment but they say the biggest hit is always the farmers that come out and do presentations. 

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CHS Principal Talks End of Year Activities

The end of the school year is around the corner and Clinton High School Principal Jerry Wayne says it's always a busy time.
 

Between sports wrapping up and graduation on the horizon, there's also plenty of other things happening that recognizes their students. Wayne says a big event is their Gold Star Banquet, next week.

 

 
The end of the semester is also later next week and then graduation follows Sunday, May 20.

 

Prom was April 28 in Clinton and the final day of classes in the district is May 18. 

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CJHS Principal Talks End Year

The end of the year is near for local students and Clinton Junior High School Principal Drew Goebel indicates they are starting wind things down at his school building.
 

A new field trip is being taken by seventh-grade students to a Civil War re-enactment in Downs. Goebel indicates a number of schools are participating and he looks forward to going on this trip with them.

 

 

Goebel indicates there are still some spring assessments they are doing with their students. Last night, junior highers gathered at the school for a dance and then things conclude with their promotion ceremony May 21.
 
You can follow all things Clinton Junior High School by visiting the district website, www.cusd15.org, find the Junior High School and use the social media icons to follow the things happening.

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Congressman Davis Backs President's Decision To Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

Congressman Rodney Davis is praising President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran Nuclear deal earlier this week.
 

Davis called the deal 'short sited' and did not think it was a good deal. He feels Iran is not committed to disarmament and was never behind the deal originally.

 

 

This was a big week in foreign affairs news in the United States and Congressman Davis says President Trump has committed to trying new tactics with North Korea. 
 

 

Congressman Davis remains pessimistic North Korea will de-nuclearize but is pleased the Trump administration continues to pressure them. However, he believes Iran has no intention to give up any nuclear weapons or working with world powers in doing so.

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Avoid Tick Born Illnesses This Year

CASES OF TICK-BORNE ILLNESS HAVE BEEN INCREASING…AND THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH HAS SOME TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY. 
 

TICKS CAN CARRY DISEASES LIKE LYME DISEASE, SPOTTED FEVER…AND NEW ON THE SCENE…THE BOURBON VIRUS. PUBLIC HEALTH SPOKESPERSON MELANEY ARNOLD SAYS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT A BITE IS TO WEAR INSECT REPELLANT CONTAINING AT LEAST 20 PERCENT DEET. SHE ALSO ADVISES CHECKING EVERYONE FOR TICKS BEFORE THEY COME INSIDE.

 

 

ARNOLD SAYS TICKS CAN ALSO CARRY THE FAIRLY NEW BOURBON VIRUS.

 

 

SYMPTOMS OF TICK-BORNE ILLNESS INCLUDE FEVER, CHILLS, ACHES AND PAINS AND THE TELL-TALE BULLSEYE RASH.

 

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MS Talk to Host Fundraiser this Saturday

Have a pizza pie and help a DeWitt County non-profit this weekend. 
 
Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord.  In order to help those who suffer from this catastrophic disease, MS Talk looks to help those who suffer from MS in Dewitt County...
 
 

 

 
 
Tammy Lippert is one of the MS Talk co-founders.  She explains that in Dewitt County there are quite a few that suffer from this disease...
 
 

 

 
 
In an effort to help make Multiple sclerosis more of a talking point, MS Talk will host a fundraiser this coming weekend at Monicals Pizza...
 
 

 

 
 
Guest speaker Sherell Dement is a physical therapist as she will look to provide expertise and opinions on how to battle MS.  MS Talk also looks to help just about anyone in the community, not only those who suffer from one specific disease...
 
 

 

 
 
Part of the proceeds from Saturday sales at Monicall's Pizza will benefit the MS Talk foundation. You must present the flyer for the event for the proceeds of your sale to go to MS Talk. Find it at the Monicals website or at local retailers in Clinton.  

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