Center will extend hours

– Parkland College Child Development Center officials say the facility will extend its hours of operation beginning January 3.

Officials say the facility’s new hours will be from 7:30 a.m. until 5:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting next year. Parkland College Child Development Center Director Nancy Kemna says the changes were made due to a recent survey, which showed “an overwhelming interest for us (the center) to stay open later.”

Dredging the Lake

The single largest public works project since Lake Decatur was built has reached its midway point.

The $91 million dredging of the lake, which started in 2014, remains on track to be completed in 2020, city officials said. About 55 percent of the material that is expected to be removed from the bottom of the lake has been taken out, Department of Water Management director Keith Alexander said during an update at the Dec. 5 city council meeting.

“We have more clarity about what it’s going to take for the rest of the project,” City Manager Tim Gleason said. “Most of the heavy lifting was on the front end of the project.”

Progress is being made toward the goal of adding the equivalent of 60 Willis Towers into the lake’s capacity as contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock has led work on the project, Alexander said. The project started with a lake capacity equaling 202 Willis Towers, he said.

Winter Driving Tips

Illinois State Police officials are offering several tips to help keep motorists safe while traveling in winter weather.

ISP officials say residents are urged to prepare for inclement weather now in order to make potential problems a little easier to deal with. ISP District 12 Commander Captain Cory Ristvedt adds, “winter weather brings additional challenges and responsibilities for drivers.”

Motorists are being reminded of the following safety tips:

– Make sure someone is aware of your travel route
– Dress warmly
– Keep your gas tank at least two-thirds full to prevent the vehicle’s fuel line from freezing
– Don’t crowd snow plows
– Watch out for “black ice” when approaching intersections, off-ramps, bridges, and shaded areas
– Have an emergency car care kit in your vehicle containing jumper cables, a flashlight, a small ice scraper, blankets, gloves, food items, water, and a first aid kit
– Bring a cell phone and charger with you when you travel
– Always wear a safety belt

New Energy policy

The debate over a new energy policy that Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Wednesday focused largely on whether utility customers, from individual families to large industrial companies, should be asked to pay billions of dollars over a decade to subsidize two unprofitable nuclear plants owned by a highly profitable corporation.
But supporters say the argument about the $235 million in annual subsidies Exelon Corp. will be eligible to receive in exchange keeping open the Clinton and Quad-Cities nuclear power plants for another 10 years has overshadowed the legislation’s long-term environmental and climate benefits.

Golf Focus Group Meets Monday in Decatur

The public is invited to the annual Decatur Park District Golf Focus Group Meeting, Mon afternoon at 5:30. It’ll be held in the Banquet Facility at Scovill Golf Course.

Judge Keeps Aaron Schock’s Trial in Springfield

A federal judge in Springfield has denied former US Rep. Aaron Schock’s request to move his federal corruption trial out of Springfield to Peoria. The judge said keeping it where it is won’t hurt him.

United Way Adding 2-1-1 Service

The United Way of Decatur is adding 2-1-1 Information and Referral Service early in Jan. UW Decatur Executive Director, Debbie Bogle, says it’ll provide several benefits to Macon, DeWitt, and Moultrie Counties.

Winter Break Day Camp at the DISC

Winter Break Day Camp at the DISC for ages 5 to 14 runs Dec. 21 to 23, 26 to 30, and Jan 2 and 3. The kids will enjoy games, arts and crafts, special activities, or field trips every day, from 6:30am to 6pm.

Gov. Wants Budget Proposal from Lawmakers

Gov. Rauner wants a budget proposal from Democratic leaders before meeting for another round of negotiations. Rauner had a planned meeting with legislative leaders yesterday – but he cancelled it.

Part of S. Oakland Ave. Closed Through this Afternoon

The 100 block of South Oakland Ave. in Decatur, between West Main and West Macon St, remains closed until around 3 this afternoon. Crews are repairing a water main.