Local News

The annual Apple n' Pork Festival has been canceled.


The Museum Board announced the decision Friday afternoon. Director Joey Long tells Regional Radio News given the state of the coronavirus pandemic in other parts of the country paired with the fact the guidelines for Illinois' Phase 4 Restore Illinois guidance would likely not allow the festival to work.



The Apple n' Pork Festival is the largest fundraiser of the year for not only the Homestead but also so many non-profits that set up on the grounds and raise money during the weekend as well. While it will be difficult to raise all the money, Long anticipates smaller fundraisers having to help supplement those losses.



Long confessed her tone is one of disappointment but hopes we all make it through this time in good health and looks forward to bringing back the festival in 2021.



DeWitt County Museum Association President, Daniel Hauffee, in a release Friday said, quote - “Orders issued at the state level as well as the local level will be adhered to.  Thus, the festival, which draws an average of 80,000 attendees from DeWitt County, across the state of Illinois, as well as the country, and involves the volunteer labor of hundreds of local residents, would pose an elevated risk to those visitors, volunteers and vendors in attendance as well as our home community.”  


Held annually the last full weekend of September, this fall festival was established in 1967 by the DeWitt County Museum Association to provide the funds necessary to restore, maintain, and operate the C.H. Moore Homestead DeWitt County Museum.  The Apple ‘n Pork Festival was officially trademarked by the DeWitt County Museum Association in 2018.  While originally serving as a means to generate funds for the DeWitt County Museum Association, the festival has grown and evolved to include numerous local non-profit organizations that serve DeWitt County and rely heavily on the event to carry out their own mission statements as well.  

Earlier this week the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported difficulty in compliance in contact tracing with a Farmer City family that had contracted the coronavirus. 


Director of the Health Department Dave Remmert says contact tracing is a vital step in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, especially as there has been a small uptick in cases in DeWitt County in the last week. He indicates most of the time there is good compliance in contact tracing but they do encounter individuals that do not participate in the vital step from a public health perspective.



According to Remmert, contact tracing is highly recommended for those that contract the coronavirus, and not cooperating is very risky. While it is strongly encouraged, if individuals refuse to take or return phone calls from health department officials, there is very little they can do.



When the Health Department is informed of a positive test, they receive information about the individuals to contact them, attempt to contact them, and work through a lengthy questionnaire to determine close contacts and those that live within their household. Prolonged exposure is determined as someone they were in an enclosed area for more than 15 minutes. The process continues with the individuals identified by the infected person. He points out it can become a lengthy process. 


Remmert also continues to promote mask-wearing. He says studies are showing it is a good measure to slow the spread of this virus. 

If you're planning on attending the Tuesday evening meeting of the DeWitt County Board for their vote on the special use permit for the Tradewind Energy Alta Farms II wind project, social distancing will be up to each individual.


According to Board Chair David Newberg, they are asking those that come out to police themselves in efforts to social distance. He says mask-wearing won't be a requirement to sit on the square.

Individuals that want to can wear masks. 



The square will get closed down to traffic at about 5:30 pm. Those wanting to attend are encouraged to use the City lots around the square plus the Christian Church and the State Bank of Lincoln are making their lots available to the public.



Tuesday's meeting gets underway at 6 pm. Hear it in its entirety on The Big 1520 AM/92.3 FM/106.5 FM WHOW, online at dewittdailynews.com, at the WHOW mobile app and Amazon Alexa.

Weekly Weather Summary

Central Illinois received some much-needed rain Thursday night and a nice weekend will be followed by another dry week. State Climatologist Trent Ford has more...



Tonight the Atlanta Public Library and Museum will be hosting an Award-winning musician and folklorist for a remote performance. 


Chris Vallillo will perform via a live stream performance at 7:00 PM on the library's Facebook page. The library has hosted him twice to great acclaim in the Library’s Loft at Union Hall, and this concert offers a timely look at the music of the Civil Rights Movement.  


The performance is possible thanks to a grant from the Illinois Humanities through its Road Scholars program. Community programs of the Atlanta Public Library are also supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation Mirza Arts & Culture Fund.


The Civil Rights Movement has been described as one of the greatest singing movements this country has experienced.  From We Shall Overcome to This Little Light of Mine, music played a vital role in that historic struggle both as an inspirational rallying point and as a way to spread the message of equality and justice.  


The live-streamed event features pivotal songs from the music that inspired and sustained this landmark movement.  Intermixed with the music, Vallillo also will share first-hand accounts and historic images of the historic struggle and discusses the impact of music on our nation’s most important social cause.


For more information, contact the Library at 217-648-2112.  Check their Facebook page. 

Bement schools are planning on having students in their buildings full time come the start of the new school year, however, they will be reducing class hours.


Superintendent Dr. Sheila Greenwood on the WHOW Morning Show Thursday told Regional Radio News the reduction in hours is to reduce the amount of mask-wearing time for their kids and also to allow them additional time to clean. The announcement comes after the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois School Board Association put out guidelines to return to class amid the coronavirus pandemic.



Dr. Greenwood indicates they received around an 80/20 split of parents that would have their students comply with the mask mandate to those that say they would not. She indicates they are still working through how to handle the situation of a student that may not return to class in the fall for whatever reason.



Bement school teachers told district leadership they were all in for a reopening of schools in the fall. Dr. Greenwood says not one teacher gave them a dissenting vote and so that gave them a leg up in a return to class strategy. She notes though, there is more guidance likely to come from IDPH regarding any outbreaks in school.



Dr. Greenwood asks everyone to quote - "chill out" because school is still a month or more away. She points out while children are at low risk to high-level complications from the coronavirus, there are adults who will come into contact with the kids that could be at risk and they are going to do their best to keep everyone as safe as possible. 

Farm Safety Being Promoted

It’s growing season in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean farm safety isn’t any less important. Megan Schossow (shaw-so) is with the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH).



UMASH is promoting a safety initiative called "Stop-Think-Act" while working on the farm.

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