(Dewitt County--jc)  -- A number of meetings has started this week in Dewitt County, the topic is wind farms. Dewitt County business owners, farm property owners and concern citizens are talking about a 300 million dollar wind farm proposed in the county. Trade Wind Energy has applied for a special-use permit to place the wind farm in north east Dewitt County. Tuesday’s meeting was the first. The meetings continue tonight and tomorrow night at Clinton High School. More one hour meetings are planned for the 19 through the 22nd. Each meeting starts at 4pm. The county zoning committee is expected to make a recommendation to the full board next month and the Dewitt County board is expected to make their decision on the wind farm, aslo in March. In Ford County, the board continues to revise its wind ordinance. The recent moves have placed any new wind farm projects in limbo.


(Dwight--jc)  -- A federal detention center could be coming to one area town. The Dwight Planning Commission will consider an annexation agreement later this month that could be the first step in bringing a federal detention center for illegal immigrants to the Livingston County village. The commission meets next on the 19th. The area in question is just west of Dwight. The Dwight village  board will look to annex the property in the village when they meet on February 28th.



(Washington--ab)  The President had his 2nd State of the Union Address earlier this week. Reaction and comments from  Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue...


Ag Secretary Sonny Purdue




(Champaign--jc)--  Do you know how to love your “soils.” You have a chance on week from today on Valentine’s at Parkland College. The Parkland College Ag program and Ag Club are hosting the public on the importance of soils to farmers and the public.  The event runs from 8-15am to Noon at the Tony Noel Ag Technology Applications Center. The event is free and a lunch will also be served.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A First aid class is set for later this month in Paxton The Paxton Park District is the host venue for the certification class. The date is February 23rd starting at 10-30 that morning for the First Aid class. A C-P-R Class begins at 1pm. Cost per class is 25 dollars. The fee is 40 dollars to attend both classes. More information is found by calling the Paxton Park District at 217-379-4203.



(Gibson City--jc)  --The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 7th at the Kruse Center in Gibson City. The social hour begins at 6pm with a catered meal at 7pm. Several awards will be handed out including 20-18 Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year awards. Comedian Drew Hastings will also perform that eventing. The event is free for Chamber members, but is also open to the public. Registration is opening through Feburary 15th.



(Washington--jc)  -- TheU-S-D-A is delaying release of the 2017 Census of Agriculture to make sure that it gets all the information right. Stephanie Ho reports.




ASHKUM – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announces the results of Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols held in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford Counties on the first weekend in February. These OREPs provided extra patrol coverage for the ISP so officers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up. 10 seat belt citations were given and 14 total written warnings.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker says the 2019 mobile home privilege tax bills will be mailed out the first week of March. Owners of mobile homes are asked to call the treasurer’s office in Paxton is their address has changed, or if the mobile home has been moved or destroyed. Shoemaker says anyone who has recently purchased or sold a mobile home are asked to bring a copy of the title to the treasurer’s office. Mobile Home tax bills are due May 3rd.


MAYWOOD, Ill. (AP) — The extreme cold last week activated the science experiment gene in a number of people, resulting in injuries for those who tried the "boiling water challenge." The challenge was to fling boiling water in the air and watch it turn into frozen vapor. The burn center at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood reports it treated eight people who attempted the exercise. Temperatures in Illinois plummeted to double-digit subzero readings last week.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Senate committee has OK'd increasing the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 in six years. Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford's measure won approval 13-6 on a party-line vote Wednesday in the Executive Committee. The Maywood Democrat hedged on calling it for a floor vote immediately. The plan would increase the minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2020 and after going to $10 on July 1, 2020, increase $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An adult and an alleged teenage accomplice are charged with setting fire to an abandoned central Illinois food processing plant. Twenty-four-year-old Richard L. Thomas of Springfield and a 17-year-old boy were charged Wednesday with arson and criminal damage to property in connection with a fire at the abandoned Pillsbury Mills factory. The building was deemed too unsafe to enter, so crews fought the fire from a stairwell and from ground la



(Watseka--jc) When Iroquois County leaders meet next week, they are expected to approve a new sexual harassment policy for Iroquois County workers. The local board will also consider purchasing two new squad cars for the Iroquois County Sheriff’s department and approve a travel expense for Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagan in the amount of 464 dollars. A fertilizer bid from United Prairie for 18 thousand 221 dollars is also on the agenda. The Iroquois County Board meeting is set for next Tuesday at 5pm at the Iroquois County Administrative Center in Watseka.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- The way it works in Springfield, is the House Speaker decides which bills come up for discussion and debate. Local State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City supported a different reform package, which would have changed the rules to allow ample time to review amendments and also create a way for legislators to force a vote on a bill…


State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

However, with Madigan’s super-majority in the House the Democrat sponsored legislation was approved.



(Washington--ab)  An expert says those crafting the new Farm Bill listened to complaints from farmers about some provisions of the old bill. Gary Crawford reports...




(Springfield--jc)  --Bipartisan efforts to change how the state draws political boundaries got a booster shot from Illinois Senate Republicans.State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, filed a constitutional amendment that would change how the state draws political district maps by forming an independent commission to decide the boundaries.Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, called all Senate Republicans together Wednesday to sign on to Morrison’s bill. After the census every 10 years, political boundaries get redrawn to account for population migration. Illinois’ boundaries have been criticized for years as being politically drawn, leaving many districts with only one choice every election. With this amendment, voters could get a say in changing that come 2020.



(Springfield--ab) The State Board of Education is announcing improvements to the student assessment test. Gone is the previous “PARCC” test…although the questions on the new Illinois Assessment of Readiness will be about the same. The board's Rae Clementz says it will be a little shorter this year…with more changes to come. That includes moving to a computer-adaptive design in 2021.



 State Board of Education Rae Clementz

Other future plans include quicker results and making sure all schools can give the test online. It's given to third through eighth graders each March.




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