Top stories of 2023, part 2

A selection of local stories from the past year

Posted 1/2/24

A selection of the top local stories from the past year / Part 2: July-December

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Top stories of 2023, part 2

A selection of local stories from the past year



The county board’s land use committee debated potentially fining Enel Green Energy for failing to curtail turbines during a June 29 tornado warning.  “Curtailing” is the practice of slowing or stopping wind turbine rotation during severe weather events.  They fear the rotation of the turbines could interfere with weather radar used to identify tornadoes.

As the county’s land use committee mulled leveling a fine against Enel Green Energy, the company announced it took immediate corrective action to prevent a June 29 failure to curtail its wind turbines.

Roger Cyrulik resigned unexpectedly as Clinton mayor.  Cyrulik said he felt it was time for him to leave office.  Commissioner Tom Edmunds, for the third time in his history as an elected official, became acting mayor until the April 2025 local election.


The county board put forward a plan to ease workload and improve efficiency at the county animal shelter.  Employees at the shelter complained about the high volume of work at the shelter and that they felt insufficiently supported by the county.

The City of Clinton hired a new administrator in August.  Taylor Baxter joined the city staff after a lengthy search process on the part of the city.  The city had two failed attempts at filling the vacancy left by Tim Followell, who retired at the end of 2021.

Clinton held its second Founders Day event, organized by Celebrate Clinton.  Commissioner Tom Edmunds spoke about the history of his family in Clinton and his own history as an elected official.  Warner Library executive director spoke about the history of Vespasian Warner Public Library.  A short play written by Edith Brady-Lunny featured three actors portraying Abraham Lincoln, C.H. Moore and Jesse Fell talking about their personal and business relationship involved in the founding of Clinton.


The county board voted to ban carbon capture wells in all zoning districts in DeWitt County.  One company had announced its plan to send CO2 from Iowa ag production plants through a pipeline to wells in northwest DeWitt County.  Injecting CO2 a mile down into specified geological formations is a technology intended to remove the climate-damaging element from the atmosphere.

Tera Kaupraun, president of the Sangamon Valley Beekeepers Association addressed the Clinton City Council urging commissioners to change the city ordinance to allow beekeeping in the city limits.  Kaupraun’s organization teaching beekeeping classes in the winter, and she promoted the environmental benefits of bees and the value of beekeeping as a hobby.

The city council passed a plan to create a 10 percent tax on movie theater tickets.  The entire tax would be rebated to Clintonia Eagle Theater for three years and then would rebate 95 percent of the tax thereafter.  The plan would help keep the theater in town during a time when movie theaters face competition from multiple sources.

Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers reported about 85,500 people attended the annual Apple ‘N Pork Festival over its two-day run.


After about a year of dealing with fiber optics digging crews hitting natural gas lines on a regular basis, the city laid down the law with regard to future digging.  Officials temporarily banned one company from any further boring for violating city code regulating after hours digging.  Two other firms were told violating safety practices to expedite work would not be permitted.

Navigator CO2 withdrew its permit application with the state for a sequestration pipeline leading to proposed wells in DeWitt and other Illinois counties.  Regulatory obstacles were largely responsible for the withdrawal.

The DeWitt County Board voted to reject a proposed moratorium on CO2 pipelines in the county that state’s attorney Dan Markwell advised would likely be unenforceable.  Markwell said a moratorium would not be enforceable because regulatory power over the pipelines lay with the federal government.


Navigator CO2 cancelled its plans for a 1,300-mile carbon capture pipeline reaching to Illinois.  The company cited the “unpredictable nature” of the regulatory process as the deciding factor in their decision.

The Clinton Festival of Trees organization announced its first Festival of Trees planned to set up on Mr. Lincoln’s Square for the holiday season.  Businesses, organizations and residents each made a $50 donation to the group to set up, light and decorate 50 trees on the square to run through New Year’s.

The C.H. Moore Homestead & DeWitt County Museum announced its annual candlelight tours through December.  “Christmas Ball” was the theme for the 2023 event.

Holiday events scheduled through the end of 2023 included the Clinton and Farmer City Christmas parades, Santa at the Museum, hosted by the DeWitt County Museum, the musuem’s candlelight tours, Hot Cocoa with Santa, hosted by Vespasian Warner Public Library, and An Old-Fashioned Christmas with Santa Claus, hosted by the Weldon Springs Foundation at Union Schoolhouse, Weldon Springs State Recreation Area.

First National Bank & Trust announced its annual REV competition winners, which included C&P Custom Printing, Dance Xtreme, Jumpstart Nutrition and Leading Men Fiber Arts.


A $12.50 per month increase in residents’ water and sewer bills took effect to help pay for upgrades to the Clinton Sanitary District.  The improvements are intended to replace the aging facility, improve treatment performance and comply with upcoming IEPA discharge requirements.

Meta, parent company of Facebook, announced its new Illinois data center, powered by a DeWitt County wind energy facility, was now in operation.  Meta broke ground on the data facility in 2020 in DeKalb, Ill.

DeWitt County officials weighed the possibility of implementing battery storage restrictions on wind energy facilities that mirror those on solar energy plants. 

The county board approved an application from Blue Iris Solar for a 40-acre solar electric generating facility near Farmer City.  The board concluded the application met the requirements for the ordinance that was in place at the time the application was submitted.

The Clinton school board approved nearly $3 million to renovations to the high school football complex to include the football field, track and lighting.