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  • Area school leaders have discussed skepticism towards Governor Bruce Rauner's proposal to fully fund education and fully fund transportation and special education.
     
    At the Tuesday night Clinton Board of Education meeting, Clinton Schools Superintendent Curt Nettles says the state remains on time with their general state aid payments, however, they are still well behind on the transportation and special education reimbursements. 
     
     
    While the Governor's promises would be somewhat groundbreaking in Illinois, Nettles points out there is a lot of disagreement on how to balance the Illinois budget, leaving a lot of questions for educators.
     
     
    According to Nettles, the Governor will address school leaders at a special conference Nettles will be at Wednesday. Nettles says he will be curious about what hte Governor has to say to his peers.
     
     
    Also at the Tuesday night Board of Education meeting, the Board approved the hiring of Sacha Young as Principal of Clinton Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year as Principal Mary Diener is set to retire.
     
    Nettles updated the Board on the CDL program and says the first round of students are set to complete their coursework this week.
     
    We'll have more on those stories soon on Regional Radio News. 

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  • FFA chapters across the nation this week will be hosting festivities to celebrate FFA Week.
     
    The Maroa-Forsyth FFA chapter places an emphasis on business outreach during FFA Week. Reed Jostes, treasurer of the Maroa-Forsyth chapter, indicates their chapter makes sure that members get to meet business leaders that are in the area that they are interested in.
     
     
    Jostes says business development is a year-round outreach program for the Maroa-Forsyth FFA chapter. He emphasizes the importance of this outreach due to only having a majority of members who wish to have careers in the agribusiness field.
     
     
    The Blue Ridge FFA chapter hosts an annual petting zoo for elementary students to promote FFA. Nick Becker indicates that the petting zoo will feature many different farm animals, and the agribusiness class will have a project that will coincide with the petting zoo.
     
     
    Every FFA chapter highlights FFA week differently with many chapters celebrating with spirit dress up days and various outreach programs.

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  • An Illinois farmer proved you can run for a seat in the General Assembly and grow a record-sized crop all at the same time -- and live to tell. 
     
    Marengo farmer John Bartman did it last year and thinks more farmers belong in the Illinois statehouse.
     
     
    Bartman entered the race late after the McHenry County Democratic Party slated him to run due to former Representative Jack Franks' decision to run for a county office. Bartman came up short, but hasn't ruled out another run. He plans to share his experience next week at an Illinois Farm Bureau conference in Springfield. You can still attend. Contact your county Farm Bureau.

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  • Health insurance plans can be expensive and confusing to sign up for. And even when you keep the same plan from year to year your plan may change without you knowing. 
     
    That has the potential to leave patients breaking long relationships with doctors. And Representative Chad Hays of Danville in favor of a bill that would set up a grace period to allow patients to work with existing doctors while they look for a new one.
     
     
    The bill would also make sure that health insurance providers have up to date information on in-network doctors on their websites. 

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  • It's national FFA week this week and our afternoon Farm Show on WHOW kicked it off with officers from the LeRoy FFA chapter. 
     
    President MacKenzie Brackett and Reporter Taylor Spiker indicate the week is aimed to spread the message of FFA to their classmates and they have plenty planned for this week, not only for FFA members, but for the entire school.
     
     
    LeRoy FFA has a busy spring ahead as the two indicate there will be a Farm Day where the grade school student can get up close and personal with some animals in May. And for the FFA members themselves, the warmer weather means it's time for district proficiencies, job interviews and public speaking. 
     
     
    The two emphasize the importance of joining FFA and the impact it's made on their high school careers. They say though farming is a part of being in the organization it is not the only part. It teaches responsibility, leadership and life skills. 

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  • Four scores and seven innings ago. On President's Day, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum shifted its focus to a Civil War with much smaller stakes, the the rivalry between Cubs and Cardinals fans in Illinois. 
     
    State Historian Samuel Wheeler says the exhibit will debut March 24th. He says the new exhibit will feature interactive fun that will allow rival fans to make their mark.
     
     
    Wheeler says baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and both organizations are giving the exhibit a boost.
     
     
    The exhibit will remain open through the rest of the year. Items featured will include a cap worn by Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, the second-base bag stolen by Lou Brock to break the modern record for steals in a season, gear worn by Albert Pujols, Sammy Sosa, Rogers Hornsby, Fergie Jenkins, and much more.

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  • The votes have been cast, and all eyes are on AFSCME Council 31, as they prepare to release totals on a state worker strike authorization vote. 
     
    The largest state employee union will reveal their results before the week is out. AFSCME officials say thousands upon thousands of members voted during the three week period. 28-thousand of the union's 38-thousand members are eligible to take part in a walkout while Corrections personnel are forbidden from striking. 
     
    The Rauner Administration insists a strike would be illegal for all state workers based on an agreement signed last fall. A strike authorization vote doesn't necessecarily mean the union will strike. 
     
    The union is currently challenging Governor Rauner's attempts to implement contract terms in court. AFSCME officials recently announced they would accept a four-year wage freeze and higher health insurance costs but the Rauner Administration rejected the proposal. 

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