Thursday March 22 2018

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois will get its second African American attorney general in state history after this fall's general election. Roland Burris was elected as Illinois Attorney General in 19-90. State Senator Kwame Raoul and former Miss America Erika Harold will face off in November. Both African American, Republican Harold and Democrat Raoul have  different views of the issues facing the state of Illinois.Raoul used his victory speech in the Democratic race for attorney general to attack President Donald Trump and Harold's ties to the Governor. Harold, from Champaign, says she was humbled to know that her message to voters resonated with them and that she is ready to get to know all the voters in the state. The fall General election is set for November 6th.  



(Washington-jc)  -- Sustainability in Agriculture, what does it mean. Rod Bain has the story…



(Champaign-rb) Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten released information about this weeks Primary election.. More than 31,000 people voted in Champaign County, but the number is only 25 percent of registered voters. Percentages in Champaign County over the last decade have changed drastically. In 2008, only 15 percent of voters cast a ballot. In 2016, that number was 49 percent. Hulten believes it depends on issues and contested elections.



(Leroy--jc)  -- School leaders across Illinois are going to need to get serious about tracking their spending in 2018 due to a a pair of new requirements.First, the state's new evidence-based school funding formula will have schools figure out their adequacy target and their extra needs, and then ask the state to fill in the gap. Also, the new Every Student Succeeds Act,for the first time requires individual schools, to let parents know school expenses from teacher salaries to the amount of money spent of kids. LeRoy Superintendent Gary Tipsord says there are unanswered questions on both issues. School districts across the state are wondering how to report, what the report means and how much money will come to each local district.



(Paxton-rb) One local heating and air company has moved into the city of Paxton. Dogtown Heating & Air has recently moved to a new location at 109 S. Railroad in Paxton. Company spokesperson Brad Houchens (Hutchins) talks about what the company is known for and also what services  they provide…


Dogtown Heating and Air spokesperson Brad Houchens



(Gibson City-rb) Wanted, volunteers for the auxiliary. The Gibson Area Hospital Auxiliary is inviting the public to an “OPPORTUNI-TEA”  today at the Moyer library in Gibson City. Anyone interested may stop by between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. or from 4 to 7 p.m. to learn more about the local hospital auxiliary. Light refreshment will be served. More information is also found by calling 217-680-5029.



(Gibson City-rb) The Gibson City Rotary Club Ball is this Saturday.  Club President Susie Tongate says a popular group from Chicago will provide music at this year’s event…



Gibson City Rotary Club President Susie Tongate



(Paxton-rb) Free developmental screenings are being offered to families with children ages 3 to 5 in Ford and Iroquois counties on Friday, March 23, at the Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church in Paxton. The church is located at  260 South Union Street in the city.. Children will receive screening for vision, hearing, speech and overall preschool skills. Free preschool classes are available to children who qualify. More information is found by calling Clara Peterson Elementary School in Paxton at 217-379-2531. The screenings are a service of the Ford-Iroquois Preschool Cooperative.



(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois is celebrating its 200 birth as a state this year. Here is today’s Bi-Centennial minute…


(Chicago--jc) --  The race has begun for November’s gubernatorial election, and it’s sure to be a big-spending affair with two independently wealthy men leading the major parties. Republican incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner is looking for a second term.  Rauner says the state can not keep spending and taxing and relying on career politicians if we want a better tomorrow for Illinois. Democratic challenger J B Pritzker says he wants to work for a graduated income tax, and better health-care options as two major issues. Voters go to the polls in the fall general election on November 6th.



(Rantoul--jc)  Village of Rantoul officials are looking to make cuts to their annual budget.  Rantoul Village Administrator Rick Snider says they are looking to cut 700 thousand dollars from the just over 9 million dollars to help balance the budget. One idea to save a good portion of that money is to close the maintenance office. On average, it costs the village over 5 thousand dollars per vehicle to maintain its fleet of 112 vehicles. Those fees are for vehicles ranging from from fire trucks, landscaping equipment  to mowers. Snider says cuts are needed due to the much higher costs of health insurance…



Rantoul Village Adminstrator Rick Snider.

Village officials are set to meet in early April to go over ideas to cut dollars from the next fiscal year’s budget.



(Springfield--jc)  One State representative with a bill to increase the cap on annual gym membership fees says he is open to lifting the cap altogether. Illinois State Representative Jaime Andrade,a democrat from Chicago, says current law caps health club fees at  25 hundred dollars annually. The law and amount were enacted in 1965. Andrade’s bill would increase the cap health clubs can charge to 65 Hundred dollars per year. Andrade says a doing away with the cap would allow the free market to determine health club fees.



(Rantoul--jc)  Illinois state troopers were called to a fatal accident last night just before 11. Police say the accident happened in the northbound lanes of I-57 just north of Rantoul.  One lane of traffic was closed for several hours.WPXN news will update this story as more official news becomes available. State police also were called to an seperate accident at mile marker 243 around 11pm last night. That accident involved a commercial motor vehicle..


(Chicago--jc)  --Accidental medicine poisoning sends a child under age six to an emergency room every nine minutes in this country – and every 12 days, a child dies. Last year, the Illinois Poison Center handled nearly 77-thousand cases of potentially harmful substances, and more than 40-percent involved children age five and younger. Senior director of the center, Carol DesLauriers, says most of those calls are because of accidental ingestion of drugs and medications…


Illinois Poison Control Center Senior Director Carol DesLauriers.The state toll free hotline number for poison is case of emergencies is 800-222-1222.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is set to deliver remarks at the opening of an exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield tonight. The new exhibit is called, “From Illinois to the White House--Lincoln, Grant Reagan and Obama.” The event is set for 6-30 tonight in the state capitol.


(Chicago--jc)   -- Today is the 25th annual United Nations World Water Day. Fundraising events are set for later this spring to inform and inspire the public about the access to water. The Global 6K for Water walk or run is happening May 19th. Ashley Colquitt with World Vision says it's a 6K race because that's the average length that women and children in other countries have to walk each day to water that's safe to drink…


World Vision’s Ashley Colquitt.  Large-scale Global 6K for Water races are being held in several U S Cities including Chicago on May 19th More information is found on-line.




(Springfield--jc)  -- The state’s retailers are coming out strong against a measure at the statehouse they say could mean confidential business information ends up in the hands of competitors. State Representative Chris Welch, a democrat from Westchester, says the measure aims to help local governments capture all the sales tax they are owed. Welch says his measure would disclose business information to local governments and others. Illinois Retail Merchants Association President and C-E-O Rob Karr says  giving confidential sales tax data to a third party is a horrible idea. That information can provide insight into how a business is doing financially and even business operating margins.


(Champaign--jc)  - Parkland college is moving to integrate the Institute of Aviation into an academic department. Trustees voted to make the move at meeting this month. Parkland College took over running the Institute of Aviation from the University of Illinois in 20-14 and training classes the same year. Currently there are 67 students enrolled with the program. An additional 6 credit hour course will be offered later this year.



(Gibson City-rb) Shepherd’s Closet in downtown Gibson City, a nonprofit store, is accepting donations of gently used prom dresses, shoes and accessories. With local proms approaching, the store has a mission to make every girl’s prom day a special one by offering affordable formal wear. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Two authors are coming to the Paxton Carnegie library on Saturday. The pair will make a presentation on writing and publishing books. Kris Condi has written a book entitled N is for Noah and Bill Milan wrote the book “Sunshine.” The event is set for 1pm at the Paxton Carnegie Library.




Tuesday March 20 2018

(Undated-jc)  --Be prepared to publicly declare a political party in front of the election judges, and others in line, when you go to vote in Illinois’ primary Today.  Drew Penrose, law and policy director of the non-partisan group Fair Vote, believes that primaries are held to help the voters decide, not the party leaders, who should represent them in the general election. Most states have a closed primary, where the voter is registered to a party before voting. Polls are open as Illinois voters will elect party nominees for Governor to Attorney General to Congressman, county officer holders and county board members.



(Springfield--jc)  - One state Senator who plans to retire soon says lawmakers have to lead the way on pension and retiree benefit reforms.Illinois taxpayers are on the hook for $130 billion of unfunded pension liability with the worst funded public sector pensions of any state. State lawmakers, who serve 8 years in government, also get free health care for life. State Senator. Tim Bivins, Republican from Dixon wants some changes. He has introduced legislation to have retiring lawmakers take the lead and only receive 50 percent of their health insurance be paid by the state and the other half by the lawmaker.The measure passed in committee and is now in the hands of the full Illinois Senate for consideration.



(WashingtonDC-jc)  The first day of Spring is also a celebration for the Ag Community. Rod Bain reports…




(Springfield--jc)  -- Three out of four Illinois voters want to balance the state’s budget by somewhat shrinking the size of government and more than half said no taxes should be raised at all, according to recent poll results. Even after a 5 billion dollar income tax increase in July, the state’s budget is several billion dollars in the  red. A survey by the Paul Simon Institute for Public Policy at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale showed 51 percent of the polled voters want the state to balance its budget by cuts alone, while another 28 percent said the budget could be balanced using a combination of cuts and higher taxes. Ten percent said the budget should be balanced with tax increases alone.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- The village of Rantoul has sold some airport property in the hope of positive economic development. Rantoul Village Administrator Rick Snider talks about the re-use of the hangers…



Rantoul Village Administrator Rick Snider



(Springfield--jc)  -- When the cost of commodities fall, so do farmland values. That has been a problem in Illinois and other states across the Midwest for the past five years. Now, with the slight uptick in commodity prices, prices are leveling off. Soy Capital Ag Services Managing Broker  David Klein says farmland values last year did not vary much, but farmland in 2018 should be a stable year for farmland values. Stabilizing factors include expected prices for commodities like corn and soybeans and the fact that Illinois is a state that does not allow Non U-S citizens to buy farmland.



(Springfield--jc)  Coming this year to the Illinois State Fair...Foreigner, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Plus Brett Eldredge and more. Illinois State Fair Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says those are some of the performers and state fair officials remain committed to making the entertainment affordable…



Illinois State Fair Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.

This year’s Illinois State Fair runs from August 9th through the 19th in Springfield.



(Rantoul-rb) The Rantoul Public Library will host its annual Easter Eggstravaganza for children 8 years old and younger. The event is set from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 24. There will be stories, crafts and a hunt for eggs in 50-minute programs. Registration is required in advance at the children’s desk or by calling the library at 893-3955. People are asked to arrive at least 10 minutes earlier than their assigned time so their registration can be checked. Children must be accompanied by an adult.



(Springfield--jc)  Illinois is celebrating 200 years as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…



(Undated--jc)  Today voters go to the polls to elect party nominations for offices like Governor and State’s Attorney.  Voters will also choose candidates for Congress and state Senators and Legislators. Also on today’s ballot are races for countywide offices from Sheriff to Treasurer candidates. In Paxton, one ballot question is whether to reduce the size of the Paxton Park District board from 7 to 5 members. Monticello school district voters are being asked to support a school referendum.


(Chicago--jc)  Illinois universities are offering students more opportunities to learn about digital currencies such as bitcoin as interest in cryptocurrencies and the technology behind them grows.Gib Bassett, head of the Finance Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says the subject is driven as much by the students as it is the faculty.  The subject cryptocurrency is the subject of a panel, at the University of Illinois at Chicago next month.



(Springfield--jc)  -- As part of Illinois’ Bicentennial celebration, through the Top 200 project, Illinoisans are choosing the best in a variety of categories. Today’s list is the top companies in the state. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills says A-D-M, John Deere and Caterpillar have deep roots in the state…



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills.

One can participate in the survey by going on-line at Illinois-Top-200-dot-com.



(Paxton--jc)  A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Paxton Buckley Loda School building project will take place sometime over the next month. District officials are moving forward with the 32 million dollar renovation project at Clara Petersen School along with work at the High School and Junior High. School officials will provide more information as that event is finalized.



(Kankakee--jc)  -- State police announced the results of a night patrol in Kankakee County from Saturday. Police say they made 32 citations with the patrols. They included 8 seat belt violations and 7 alcohol related violations.  State police conduct the Nite patrols to remove dangerous drivers from the road. 30 percent of all fatal crashes on Illinois roadways happen at night.



(Dekalb--jc)  -- Predicting tornado outbreaks could get a bit easier thanks to research taking place at Northern Illinois University.Victor Gensini, assistant professor of meteorology at N-I-U, says he has developed a model that can identify weather patterns most likely to cause multiple tornados. Gensini says they look at historical records to find a  tornado event. Then they look at the jet stream pattern and atmospheric ingredients or what they call the fingerprint. After studying the results they are able to make better weather predictions.



(Washington--jc)  -- Easter is under two weeks away and egg prices are on the rise. Some federal officials are trying to determine the cause of the egg price spike. Gary Crawford has the story…





(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says that 178 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators from her office will be monitoring primary election throughout Illinois today. The efforts are to ensure that voters’ rights are protected and polling places are accessible. Madigan urged voters to call her office if they encounter suspected improper or illegal activity. The number for downtate voters is  1-866-559-6812. The polls are open now.






Monday March 19 2018

(Paxton--jc)  -- A Champaign woman was fatally injured in a two vehicle accident along route 9 near Paxton on Saturday morning. State police say 33 year old Christina Curtsinger was traveling  west along route 9 when she lost control of her vehicle and crashed into an eastbound vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle,62 year old Pam Goff of Gibson City was transported to Carle Hospital in Urbana with injuries. Curtsinger was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Ford County Coroner.



LUDLOW — U.S. 45 will be closed to traffic between Paxton and Rantoul from April 2 until Sept. 28. The two-lane highway will be closed to all traffic starting about three miles south of Paxton as workers repair a bridge over the Big Four drainage ditch. Drivers are advised to use an alternate route.



SPRINGFIELD – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is joining state officials to conduct damage assessments in Iroquois, Kankakee and Vermilion counties this afternoon. Governor Bruce Rauner and his team at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) submitted the request for federal support after the three counties experienced severe flooding in February. County officials conducted initial damage assessments and found that 126 homes were destroyed or suffered major damage. Another 850 homes were also impacted by flood waters. Personnel from FEMA, IEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local emergency management agencies are expected to begin assessing damage to homes and businesses in Watseka today. The assessments will continue until complete.




(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton is moving forward to sell its airport and at the same time look at an old landfill project. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the process continues…




The local landfill has been closed for several decades, but the process takes a long time to complete.



(Springfield-dg)-The Senate approved a ban on bump stocks and raising the legal age to have  an assault rifle to 21. Senator Neil Anderson of Moline opposes that measure…



State Senator Neil Anderson of Moline



(Chebanse--jc)  -- State police have released information on a traffic stop late Thursday that resulted in the arrest of a Chicago woman on possession of cannabis.

Police say that a state trooper stopped a vehicle in northern Iroquois County just before 10 Thursday night and upon investigation found suspected cannabis. Police announced the arrest of 19 year old Vanessa Ferjado for possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.



(Gibson City-dg)-The Gibson City City Council will hold a special Council meeting on tonight to Discuss the Performance, Employment and Compensation of One or More City Employee. The meeting will be held at 7pm.



(Rantoul-dg)-The Rantoul Township High School District Board of Education will meet in regular monthly session tonight. The board will hear comments from the public then go into Executive session to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee of the public body or against legal counsel for the public body to determine its validity. They will also discuss a student disciplinary case. The meeting gets under way at 6:00 PM at the Rantoul Township High School Boardroom.



(Bloomington-dg)-The Life Center for Independent Living in Bloomington will host the 10th Annual Wheelchair Basketball game on April 7th at Kingsley Junior High School in Normal. Life’s 10th Anniversary Dream Team will take on Members of the University of Illinois Men & Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team. Doors open at 10am with the game at 11am. A silent auction will take place, with face painting, and 50/50 raffle taking place. Funds raised will go towards life CIL services and 2 scholarships for the U of I Youth Wheelchair Sports Camp this summer. Admission is just $5. Children 5 and under are free.



(Springfield--jc) --  Not all charitable donations are tax deductible, and the IRS is warning that some are trying to take advantage of filers looking for last-minute write-offs at the filing deadline.Taxpayers that don’t take the standard state and federal deduction will itemize their taxes often donating to charities or nonprofits for a deduction. But the Internal Revenue Service must approve of a charity for a filer to get the write-off. If not, there’s no tax credit.IRS Spokesman Raphael Tulino says to always check a charity’s tax status so that you aren’t giving money to some scam artist.You can check to see if a charity is legitimate at i-r-s-dot-gov.. Legitimate charities should be willing to give their Employer Identification Number  or E-I-N which can be used to verify their legitimacy through the I-R-S.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state this year. Here is today’s BiCentennial minute…



(Springfield--jc)  -- After cancelling session and committee hearings in Springfield this week, the Illinois General Assembly is off for the next few weeks. When they come back, they'll have about a month's worth of working days to pass a plan to spend about 37- billion in taxes. The House was off this week. The Senate adjourned Wednesday and canceled Thursday. Both chambers aren’t back in session until the second week of April.When they come back, they only have about 30 business days scheduled to pass a budget before the May 31 deadline. State Senator. Andy Manar says he does not agree with every aspect of Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget, Manar said this year's is on better footing than previous years.




(Watseka-dg)-William "Bill" Nutter from Watseka has announced his candidacy for Iroquois County Treasurer in November, by means of a write-in candidate in the March primary. Bill served on the Watseka City Council from 2000-2014 has been involved with Toys for Tots and a former Watseka Kiwanis president.


CHICAGO–Unemployment rates decreased over-the-year in January in all of Illinois’s metropolitan areas for the eighth consecutive month, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough says several cities showed positive gains…


Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough

The unemployment rate dropped 1.4% in Bloomington, and 1.3% in Champaign. Illinois businesses lost jobs locally in Danville at 1.4 percent.  The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work, and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.


(Urbana--jc)  The next court date for a Ford county man accused  of a weapons charge and also of bombing a mosque in Minnesota and a women’s clinic in Champaign is Wednesday. Michael Hari was arrested earlier this month and is facing several charges. Two other men, Ellis Mack and Joe Morris had court appearances last week. Mack is accused of a weapons violation and Morris on the weapons violation and also the two bombing incidents. Mack and Morris remain in custody at two seperate jail locations.


(Paxton-dg)-The Market Street Theater group presents "Get Off My Cabbage!" The show's 2nd weekend plays at the Paxton Market Street Theatre (120 N. Market St., Paxton) Friday March 23rd and Saturday the 24th (7 p.m.), also Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m.  Call 217-379-7028 for reservations (not required, walk-ins welcome). Prices are $12 per show.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says that 178 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators from her office will be monitoring primary elections throughout Illinois on Tuesday. The efforts are to ensure that voters’ rights are protected and polling places are accessible. Madigan urged voters to call her office if they encounter suspected improper or illegal activity. The number for downtate voters is  1-866-559-6812. The polls open at 6 a m on Tuesday.




(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County Board of Review will hear county property tax appeals on Tuesday and Wednesday in Paxton. The appeals are by appointment only, in the small courtroom  at the courthouse in Paxton.



(Rantoul--jc)  Champaign County crimestoppers is seeking information about a robbery in downtown Rantoul.  Sometime between Noon on March 10th and 7-30PM on March 12, someone broke into A House of Flowers in downtown Rantoul. Money was taken from the register in the robbery. If you have information on this crime you are asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers  at 217-373-8477. You do not have to give your name and you could receive a reward of up to 1 thousand dollars.





Friday March 16 2018

(Springfield--jc)  -- An expert on fraud and corruption says there is enough to the quid-pro-quo claims against House Speaker Michael Madigan by a Democratic state representative to warrant a special counsel investigation. State Rep. Scott Drury, Democrat from Highwood, who's running for the Democratic nomination for Illinois Attorney General, shared documents that he says shows in late 2016 Madigan asked him for campaign contributions in exchange for advancing legislation Drury was pushing.  Drury said he and Madigan he had dinner in Chicago in the fall of 2016. Drury says that is when Madigan asked about the status of the bill and also asked for 20 percent of Drury’s campaign funds. That figure was around 50 thousand dollars. Drury says that Madigan asked for the donation at a later meeting. Drury says he donated the money to a different PA.



(Rantoul—jc)  -- Village of Rantoul officials are looking for a new insurance carrier. For the past several years, village workers have been insured through I-P-G-A.  It’s a group that works with towns and cities for group insurance. Rantoul Village Administrator Rick Snider says options offered and cost have not worked for Rantoul…



Rantoul Village Administrator Rick Snider. Village leaders have looked at several options and expect to go with a new insurance company at the April meeting.




(Paxton--jc)  Voters go to the polls on Tuesday to elect party candidates for the Fall General election. Offices range from governor to county office holders. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick reminds voters that her office will be open on Saturday for early voting from 8am till noon. Clerk offices are open today and Monday  early voting.



(Clarence--jc)  -- No word has been given about a potential protest by a militia based group will take place in Clarence on Saturday. 4 men, who police say, are part of the White Rabbit or Illinois Militia, were arrested on a weapons charge earlier this week. The four are currently in four different jail cells in four different locations. The group, according to media reports, were planning a protest in Clarence tomorrow.



(Springfield--jc)  -- After bipartisan success on gun regulation in the Illinois House, Senate Democrats added so-called “poison pills” that Republicans say won’t get their vote.Rather than send bills that would tighten Illinois’ gun laws to Governor Bruce Rauner’s desk, Illinois Senators changed them and sent them back to the House.  An amendment to legislation banning a gun part called bump stocks would allow local towns to ban assault-style weapons, potentially creating local gun bans that would vary from town to town. Some Democrats like that idea. Mattoon Republican Dale Righter said  Democrats are playing politics in the days before an election. Under one measure, Mahomet Republican Chapin Rose says a legal gun owner could be charged with a felony. The measures continue to be discussed in Springfield by both parties.


(Champaign-dg)-Parkland College students eligible for the Pell Grant may be able to receive a third disbursement of the award, based on a  recent Department of Education announcement. Students who already received a full Pell Grant during the fall and spring semesters may now qualify for for Year-Round Pell and thus receive a full Pell Grant during the summer semester as well. Students are encouraged to contact the Parkland College Financial Aid office for more information.



(Springfield-dg)-1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale is made by Hand of Fate Brewing Company in Petersburg. Owner Mike Allison says he is thrilled with the honor.



Hand of Fate Brewing Company Owner Mike Allison



(Paxton--dg)  -- The Paxton Community Sale will take place on Saturday April 7th at 10am at Paxton Park District’s Coady Park. A variety of items will be auctioned off including tools, furniture, antiques, collectibles, Lawn & Garden items, primitives, appliances and much more. If you would like to consign your items you may drop them off to get tagged and registered on Friday April 6th from 1-6pm, or Saturday morning of the sale from 6-9am. A $1 fee will be charged for each buyer’s number.



(Buckley-rb) Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley is hosting a Trivia Night on March 24th. Executive Administrator Sandy Spitz has more on this years annual event…



Christ Lutheran High School Executive Administrator Sandy Spitz



(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…



(Springfield-dg)-Legislation requiring a 72 hour cooling off period for buying an assault weapon is headed to the Governor’s desk.  A ban on bump stocks and raising the age to purchase an assault rifle go to the House. Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park says he’s hopeful this is the year to change gun laws…



State Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park



( Champaign County--jc)  -- When Champaign County voters go to the polls on Tuesday, one of the two major parties, has a choice for County Sheriff. The Democratic ballot is blank, but Republicans have a choice. They are Rantoul Resident Allen Jones Junior and Thomasboro resident Greg Worrell. Current Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh is retiring. Even though the Democratic ballot is blank, the party can appoint someone to run for Champaign County Sheriff in November..



(Fisher-rb) The City of Fisher is considering building a new Garage for the village’s emergency vehicles.  Fisher Mayor Mike Baylor provides insight on the issue....



Fisher Mayor Mike Baylor


(Ford County--jc)  -- A Michigan woman was fatally injured in a two vehicle accident in northern Ford County on Thursday morning. Police say 66 Rosemary Posekany of Greenville Michigan was going east on Route 24 when her car was struck by a second vehicle going south on a local Ford County road. Authorities say 39 year old Edwardo Rodreguiz of Merriville Indiana failed to stop his vehicle at the  stop sign. He was taken to Riverside hospital in Kankakee with non-life threatening injuries. Posekany was pronounced dead at the scene. Rodreguiz was ticketed for disobeying a stop sign. .



(Washington-dg)- The National Young Farmers Coalition applauds the introduction of a bipartisan bill HR5259 that would provide critical resources for farmers experiencing emotional, physical, and financial distress. The STRESS Act, led by U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer and Tom O’Halleran, would establish the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance NEtwork to coordinate stress assistance programs for farmers and ranchers, including hotlines, educational and outreach services, and training for farmer advocates.  The program was authorized by Congress in 2008 but has never received funding.


(Rantoul-rb) State Senator Scott Bennett is at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce every other Tuesday. Chamber of Commerce Director Belynda Allen has more on what the Senator does there…



Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Director Belynda Allen


(Iowa-dg)-Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa is Celebrating 125 years as an American-based, family-run insurance provider. One of the oldest crop insurers in the United States, FMH was founded by farmers for farmers base on the need to protect each other’s livelihood from the devastation of severe weather to crops. President and CEO Ron Rutledge, says “We are proud to call ourselves America’s Crop Insurance Company.”



(Iroquois County--jc)  -- A Fowler Indiana man was not injured in a car versus train accident on Thursday in Iroquois County. Iroquois County Sheriff’s police say 89 year old Richard Woodlock was going west on Route 24 near Route 52 and the train was going northbound around 15 miles per hour. Woodlock lost control of his vehicle and it struck the train. The accident happened just before 1pm, yesterday.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics is now accepting applications for membership on the 2018-19 Fighting Illini Fan Council. The D-I-A is looking for passionate members of the Illinois Family to provide the fan’s perspective on Illinois Athletics. The council will be comprised of two focus groups concentrated on the Chicagoland and Central Illinois areas. These fan councils are designed to provide fans from various backgrounds a platform to express their ideas and opinions surrounding Fighting Illini Athletics. The groups will include donors, season-ticket holders, single-game ticket buyers, students and alumni. The primary focus of the Fighting Illini Fan Council is to address specific issues the department faces directly impacting the fan. The group meets about 4 times annual and will consist of 15 members in each group. Applications are available on-line.




(Paxton--jc)  -- The Clara Petersen School Pit-Crew is preparing for their annual Spring Carnival. The event is set for Saturday May 12th from 10am until 2pm at the school in Paxton. The group is seeking donations for the event. Those wanting to help may contact the school or a member of the group. The carnival raised over 3 thousand dollars and the money goes to school programs and activities for the kids at Clara Petersen School.



Thursday March 15 2018

(Paxton--jc)  -- A Ford County man accused of several bombings and weapons violations appeared in Ford County court on Wednesday. According to a Channel 3 report, police say Michael McWhorter admitted to bombing a mosque in Minnesota, trying to bomb  a Women’s Health Center in Champaign and taking part in a home invasion and robbing several Wal Mart stores. McWhorter, along with Michael Hari, Joe Morris, and Ellis Mack were initially arrested on possession of assault rifle charges on Tuesday. WPXN news will continue to update this story as official news becomes available.



(Champaign County--jc)  -- Two Illinoisans were seriously injured in a two vehicle accident along Interstate 74 just west of St Joseph, just before noon Wednesday. Police say the driver of a Toyota was traveling east on I-74 and then tried to use the authorized vehicles only U-Turn, when her vehicle was struck in the rear by a second vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle was a 22 year old woman from Georgetown. The driver of the first vehicle is from Chicago. Both were taken to an area hospital with serious  injuries. The investigation continues.



(Springfield--jc) — Governor Bruce Rauner on Wednesday joined state Representative Tim Butler and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder , both Bicentennial Commissioners, to debut the first cans of the Official Bicentennial Craft Beer at Binny’s in Springfield.

‘1818 Prairie State Farmhouse Ale’ is now available at most Binny’s, Jewel-Osco’s, HyVee’s and other select retailers statewide. Hand of Fate Brewing Co. of Petersburg was chosen to create the special birthday brew after winning the Bicentennial craft beer contest at the Illinois State Fair in August.  The beer is distributed by Breakthru Beverage Illinois. Governor . Rauner applauded the growing craft beer industry in Illinois.


(Paxton-rb) The Paxton Buckley Loda School District will hold its Board Meeting tonight at 7 pm. On the Agenda tonight is Consideration and Action on Summer Maintenance Project for this year, Action on 2017/2018 PBL School district Seniority list and Action on Reduction in Force of Educational Support Staff.



(Iroquois County--jc)  -- A Champaign man was involved in a two vehicle accident on Tuesday night in Iroquois County. Police say Roland Arafiles was driving northbound in the southbound lanes of Interstate 57 just after 8pm Tuesday night and struck another car. After  being released from a local hospital Arafiles was arrested and taken to the Iroquois County jail and is facing a DUI charge and several traffic violations.


(Washington--jc) The turkey industry is still reeling after the 20-15 bird flu outbreak. Gary Crawford reports…




(Watseka-dg)-The Watseka Show Choir Boosters and The Watseka Sensations would like to take a moment to recognize the El Paso Gridley High Show Choir. The El Paso Gridley show choir heard about the devastating flood that the Watseka community recently experienced and organized a food drive to help. They arrived this past weekend at the 40th Anniversary Watseka Show Choir Invitational with a trailer load of food and household items for the Wateska Food Pantry.


(Rantoul-rb) Legislative Assistant for Senator Scott Bennett, Michelle Gonzales was in Rantoul earlier this week. She had time to sit down and talk with WPXN and had this to say about what they are doing for the community of Rantoul…



Legislative Assistant for Senator Scott Bennett,Michelle Gonzales


(Detroit-dg)-Ford is recalling almost 1.4 million cars across North America. The recall covers certain Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ models from 2014 to 2018. The recall is issued, because the steering wheels can detach due to the loosening bolts. This will more than likely cause drivers to lose control. Ford is aware of 2 accidents and one injury that are believed to be tied to the defect. About 6,000 Ford Focus models are also being recalled due to a separate issue. It covers models from 2013-2015. There is a potential clutch pressure plate fracture. It can pose a fire risk.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinoisans shoulder the heaviest state and local tax burden in the nation, according to a report  released  this week by financial site WalletHub.In the site's annual ranking of taxpayer burden by state, WalletHub found that Illinois households spend nearly 15 percent of annual earnings to pay state and local taxes. That comes out to 8 Thousand 299-dollars per Illinois household. That does not include federal taxes. This is the second consecutive year that Illinois has been ranked as the top taxing state in the nation. .



(Paxton-dg)-The Pheasants Forever Illinois Pioneer Chapter 69 is having its

33rd Annual Banquet this Saturday at the Roberts Gym. Doors open at 4pm with dinner at 6pm. There will also be a silent auction. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Call Fred Magers at 217-379-4726 to reserve your meal.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Your office's five dollar  N-C-A-A pool is technically illegal. And that's one reason why sports betting supporters hope to be able to change Illinois' laws. Gambling experts say people will bet 10 billion dollars on the N-C-A-A basketball tournament this month, almost all of it illegally. A good chunk of that betting comes Five dollars  at a time in offices, at taverns, and among friends who fill out brackets. State Senator. Napoleon Harris, Democrat from Harvey says because so many people want to bet on the games that the state needs to legalize sports betting Harris says the state should make money from sports gaming.



(Springfield--jc) --  Freezing your credit would be free under legislation headed to the governor’s desk today. Currently, most consumers must pay a 10 dollar fee to freeze their credit and protect themselves from Identity Theft. The measure passed by the Illinois Senate yesterday prohibits Credit agencies from charging consumers, and is sponsored by Democratic Senator Bill Cunningham of Chicago…



Illinois State Senator Bill Cunningham of Chicago. The measure still needs to be signed by the governor to become law.




(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…





Wednesday March 14 2018

(Urbana--jc)  -- Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested for local men on a complaint of possession of a machine gun. News reports say the four arrested and charged are, 47 year old Michael Hari, 22 year Joe Morris, 29 year old Michael McWhorter and 18 year old Ellis Mack. All four are from the small Ford County town of Clarence. Hari and and Morris had court appearances yesterday in Paxton. Court appearances for McWhorter and Mack will take place this week.  The F B I report says Hari, Morris and McWorter may be responsible for a bombing at a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota along with an attempted bombing at a Women’s Health Practice Center in Champaign last year. Federal officials along with numerous local police agencies are continuing the investigation. WPXN news will continue to update the story as more official news becomes available.


(Springfield--jc)  -- In the wake of sexual harassment scandals sweeping the nation, an Illinois state representative’s bill banning tax dollars from being used to pay out settlements sailed through committee.State Representative. David McSweeney’s House Bill 42-43 would prohibit tax dollars from being used to settle harassment claims against state lawmakers. McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills, said the stories out of the U.S. Congress, where millions of tax dollars went out to settle claims, are outrageous.McSweeney said as more accusations are made against members of the General Assembly, lawmakers must make sure taxpayers aren’t paying for secret slush funds to protect legislators.Last month, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan revealed nine cases of alleged wrongdoing within his office, but that list excluded an unknown number of complaints against lawmakers.


(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…



(Paxton-rb) Voters go to the polls is less than a week as the two major parties elect their candidates for Governor to local county offices. 106th District Representative Tom Bennett provides some information about next week’s primary election…



106th District Illinois State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



(Mahomet--jc)  -- Mahomet Seymour school leaders are holding a special meeting this afternoon and will start with a tour of the the phase two project area in the district. The meeting to follow is set for the meeting room at Middletown Elementary school at 6pm.


(Undated--jc)  -- Some high school students across Illinois plan to walk out of class today as part of a national protest for gun control in the wake of a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.Others will stay in school. But almost every school in the state is talking about protests, engagement, and school safety as part of that national conversation that's followed the latest Parkland shooting. Each Illinois school is deciding how it will handle the 17-minute protest. Some schools are forbidding students from walking out, some are scheduling assemblies instead and some are allowing students to walk out. Normal Schools Superintendent Mark Daniel is one of those allowing students to participate. He said the national protest is a learning experience. School walk outs locally include Rantoul township high school and Armstrong-Potomac High School.



(Fisher-rb) The City of Fisher is working on its Drainage System on the North Side of town. Fisher Mayor Mike Bayler provides an an update on the project.



Fisher Mayor Mike Bayler



(Springfield--jc)  -- House-hunting season in Illinois is around the corner, but real estate agents say property taxes are putting a damper on sales.Real estate agents in Illinois say they often see homes going undervalued or not selling because they carry a hefty price tag for local government. Zillow and Financial site WalletHub reports that Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the nation, costing homeowners more than $4,000 annually for an average size home.Defenders of high local taxes say they typically translate into better local services. Illinois ranks 22nd among states with the best schools and also has 7-thousand units of local government, higher than any other state.



(Paxton--jc)  --The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Coffee & Connections event this morning in the city The event runs from 7:30 to 9 a.m.  at the Country Thyme Tea Room.


SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois Democratic candidates for governor say it's time for the state to legalize recreational marijuana, while Republican candidates oppose the idea. Nine states and Washington, D.C, have already legalized recreational marijuana. Democrats seeking their party's nomination for governor say it's time the state follow suit, arguing the move would bring in needed revenue and would be a major step toward criminal justice reform.

On the other side, the two GOP primary candidates have opposed legalization and raised questions on the future of Illinois' medical marijuana pilot program, which is set to expire in 2020. Gov. Bruce Rauner implemented the pilot program in 2015, but he has recently fought in court attempts to expand the list of qualifying conditions. He is against legalization for recreational purposes.

His primary competitor, Rep. Jeanne Ives, has consistently railed against any type of legalization.



(Joliet--jc)  --Support for an Illinois youth tackle football ban for kids younger than 12 is falling off as members of the community defend the safety of the sport, but the bill’s sponsor says she’s just calling a timeout to huddle with others. The bill’s sponsor is Democrat State Representative Carol Sente of  Vernon Hills. Sente says the bill is not dead. She adds her office is looking at options on the best way to move forward on the issue.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul City school leaders are expected to address non-union and administration pay raises when they meet in monthly session on Thursday. The sale of property on Maplewood avenue is also on tomorrow nights agenda.

Setting kindergarten registration times for April and looking at next year’ school calendar are also topics for the local board. The Rantoul City School board meets at 6-30 Thursday evening at Broadmeadow school.

(Watseka--jc)  - Officials with the Citizens Utility board will be in Watseka this morning to talk with area residents on electric and gas bills to energy efficiency programs. Those wanting information are asked to bring a utility bill. The event takes place from 11am until 1pm at the Watseka library on 4th street.


(IQ County-rb) The Iroquois Federal Foundation has made a 20 thousand dollar contribution to the Iroquois County Long Term Recovery Committee to assist with their efforts in helping Iroquois County residents affected by the current flooding disaster. As the damage assessment continues, initial estimates indicate that over 225 homes throughout Iroquois County have been impacted by this disaster.


(Springfield-rb) A New instant lottery ticket benefiting MS research is now available. Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith has more on the need for this new ticket…


Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- The Cissna Park Sons of the American Legion are sponsoring a scholarship that is open to Cissna Park High School Class of 20-18. The award is for 500 dollars and the local service group invites all Cissna Park High School Seniors to apply. Applications are available at the high school and are due back to the school by April 10th.



Tuesday March 13 2018

(Springfield—jc)  -- Surrounded by Republicans and Democrats, Governor Bruce Rauner on Monday signed legislation that updates the state’s hospital assessment program, an effort that could bring  three and one half Billion dollars in federal funds to Illinois, but also raise hospital bed and outpatient taxes by 140 million dollars annually. The existing Hospital Assessment Program is set to expire at the end of June. Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Falisia Norwood said the new measure signed Monday updates the state’s hospital assessment program by having more Medicaid dollars follow more beneficiaries.



(Rantoul-rb) A Chicago teen whose childhood was marked by violence has been sentenced to 15 years in juvenile prison for his role in a Rantoul business robbery last year. The teen, who will be 18 in two months, cannot be held past his 21st birthday in juvenile prison. He pleaded guilty last month to the Nov. 9, 2017, aggravated robbery of Fashion Nails, 1279 E. Grove Ave., Rantoul.



(Watseka—jc)  -- Iroquois County leaders will look to move some renting offices when they meet in monthly session at 5 this afternoon. With a recommendation from the Iroquois County management committee, the board is expected to vote on moving the IKAN office into the V A Office. The Veteran’s Assistance office would be relocated to the I-E-D-A office and would go into the board chairman’s office.  Another recommendation is to raise the rent for the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission office rent by one dime per square foot to 6-dollars and 30-cents. The Iroquois County board may also go into executive session to talk about salary issues with the telecommunications office.



(Paxton-rb) Illinois State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City stopped by the WPXN Studios on Monday morning. The 106th district  representative talks about the process for pending bills...




106th district State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-rb) Soybeans are the second most planted crop in the United States, with fields covering more than 80 million acres. Illinois Produces the most, and an effort is underway to help Farmers save the pollinators that frequent their fields. Veronica Carter  reports...




(Urbana-rb) Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, a Ukrainian immigrant and University of Illinois computer science alumnus, will deliver the keynote address at the May 12 UI commencement. Levchin, a 1997 UI graduate and tech entrepreneur, helped create the worldwide online payments system Paypal, chaired the board of the crowd-sourced business reviewer site Yelp, and is now CEO and founder of the consumer-financing platform Affirm. News Gazette Reports.


(Springfield-rb) Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs opposes SB 2901 which is prohibiting the use of auditors making sure businesses are reporting unclaimed property correctly. Treasurer Frerichs talks about why he opposes the bill…



Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs


(Potomac--jc)  -- Village of Potomac voters will go to the polls to support its local library next week. The library system in Potomac will not be supported by the town, due to limited local funds. The Potomac library has been in operation for nearly 80 years. A yes vote would cost the owner of an average home around 45 dollars annually to keep the library open.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County service organization is selling onions as a fundraiser.  Gibson City based Corn Belt Shrine Club is selling sweet vidalia onions in a 10 pound bag for 10 dollars. Pre-orders can be made by calling Matt Lindelof at Bradbury Auto Service Center at 217-784-4055. The onions will be deliver in the middle part of May.


(Paxton-rb) Keeping schools safe is an issue in front of lawmakers in Illinois with the recent amount of school shooting incidents around the country. 106th district  State Representative Tom Bennett was a guest on the WPXN morning show with Derek Bohlmann on Monday morning. Representative Bennett talks about school safety…

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton area Chamber of Commerce is inviting local businesses to a coffee and connections networking event tomorrow. The event takes place at the Country Tyme Tea Room on route 9 in the city from 8am until 9am.  Coffee and juice and breakfast burritos will be available. Chamber leaders say to remember to bring your business cards


(Undated--jc)  - Pension costs will continue to be a cost of doing business for towns and cities across Illinois. Joel Cluver has the story…

(Gibson City-rb) National Nurses week is May 6-12th and is celebrated each year to recognize the Role Nurses play in delivering the highest level of quality care to their patients. To Celebrate Gibson Area Hospital is hosting a 5k and 2 Mile Walk to promote wellness, have fun and give back to the community. The event will take place on May 12th at 8am and Registration will be online at  and Cost to Participate is $25 for the 5k and $20 for the 2 mile walk.


(Washington-rb) Supermarkets are facing competition from all sides in what has become a fierce competitive environment with new challengers to supermarket dominance in the food retailing world. Gary Crawford has more on the story…



MAHOMET, IL--The Mahomet-Seymour Board of Education is pleased to announce that Mr. Nathan Mills has been selected to be the new principal of Mahomet-Seymour Jr. High School. Mr. Mills was introduced at last night’s monthly meeting. His first day on the new job will be on July First.. Mills has been employed with the Mahomet-Seymour Schools since 2003, when he started as a vocational/career education teacher at Mahomet-Seymour High School. In 2011, Mr. Mills became an assistant principal at the junior high before being hired as principal on Monday night




(Iroquois County--jc)  -- State police arrested two Chicago area women on a  traffic violation. Upon investigation, police found alledged stolen credit cards. State police made the arrest of  Jaliel Bernard and Naketta Johnson. Both were placed under arrest and transported to the Iroquois County Jail for processing.  Bernard and Johnson are facing charges of Possession of Another’s Credit/Debit Card and Possession of an Altered or Counterfeited Card. Johnson was also issued a citation for speeding. The arrested stemmed from a traffic stop along Interstate 57 near Ashkum on Sunday night.


(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County Historical Society will begin its local celebration of Illinois’ BiCentennial when they meet later this week. The group is expected to look at the Illinois Chronicles book that hilites the 100 key moments in Illinois History.  The museum is located in the old water tower building just behind city hall in downtown Paxton. The meeting is open to the public.




Monday March 12 2018

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are looking to end the state's substitute teacher shortage by making it easier to get subs into classrooms. Some don't want to make it too easy. The numbers behind Illinois' teacher and substitute teacher shortage are well known by now. Nearly 90 percent of Illinois schools had trouble finding someone to cover a class. Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of schools President Mark Jontry says there is a concern across the state and that is not a surprise to anybody. The greatest needs is in the western and southern part of Illinois and in rural areas. Rules and regulations could be one area of concern in getting subs in the classrooms, but Jontry adds that the state needs teachers not just anyone teaching classes.


(Moline-rb) Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner made a stop in Moline on Friday. Governor Rauner spoke to a crowd and said exactly what he thinks the state needs to do to help the most vulnerable…



Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner



(Cullom--jc) -- There will be a police presence today at Tri Point Schools after school officials investigated a potential school threat on Friday. Media reports say the threat was was not credible. Classes at the school will operate as usual today, with the extra police help.



(Springfield--jc) --  For the first time in about a decade, identity theft topped the list of consumer complaints filed to the Illinois Attorney General’s office in 2017.Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she thinks  the Equifax national breach might have been the cause for the surge in complaints..Madigan said more than 2,500 residents filed complaints in 2017. She said most identity thefts involved unauthorized usage of credit cards through cyberattacks, but also could be people the victim knows. Advice from the Illinois Attorney General is to put a credit freeze on your credit report while using one of the three major credit reporting bureaus in this country. Monitoring your credit, using a free credit report was also suggested.



(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City leaders are expected to approve sign lettering at the cities Jordan Park when they meet tonight in monthly session. Council members may also approve Beth Tabor to the Recycling Board and also consider an agreement with Donohue and Associates for the sewer separation project. Other genda items include consideration of additional costs to paint the cities water tower. The Gibson City council meets at 7 tonight at city hall



(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a Champaign man who has died from multiple gunshot wounds he received during a shooting incident that occurred in the early morning hours of Sunday in Champaign. Thirty-four year old Montrez Vonner was pronounced dead at the Carle Foundation An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility. This death is remain under investigation coroners office and Champaign Police department. Police are seeking the public’s input in the investigation. They say several people were involved including two women from Rantoul. If you have information on this crime you are asked to call Champaign police or Champaign County Crimestoppers. You could receive a 1 thousand dollar reward.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois' comptroller Susana Mendoza says Governor  Bruce Rauner is spending twice what he should on workers in his office,  even though on paper, the governor is holding the line on the budget. Mendoza told reporters, the governor officially has a budget of just under 5 million dollars a year. But Mendoza said Rauner is actually spending twice as much on twice as many employees.  Mendoza says thanks to off-shoring, the governor is actually spending over 10 million a year. Governor Rauner’s office counters that all state agencies report to the governor and the governor has power over those agencies. And the figures for the governor’s office hold the state budget line and those listed, perform necessary functions of state government.



(Gibson City--vl)  Gibson Area Hospital and  Health Services is proud to announce that C-E-O Rob Schmitt has been named the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year at the Annual Chamber dinner held in Gibson City last week. In a release to media, hospital officials say Schmitt’s leadership abilities inspire others to follow him, and is one of the reasons he has served as Chairman for several local organizations. Schmitt is a leader who has a true passion for helping others and volunteering. He serves the community by assisting with the food pantry, volunteering as a football coach, and in the past has served as an officer with the GCMS band boosters and as a Ford County youth soccer coach. He is an active with several local clubs and a church volunteer.


(Washington-rb) The Agriculture Secretary appreciates flexibilities given to some U.S. trading partners within recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Rod Bain has more on the story…





(Harristown--jc) Police are investigating how a 25 pound wild turkey crashed into a car window in Harristown over the weekend.  The accident happened just after 7am on Saturday along Route 51 near the Sangamon River Bridge area. The driver received facial cuts in the accident.


(Springfield--jc)  --- Illinois manufacturers could see both benefits and drawbacks to new tariffs put in place by the Trump administration. President Donald Trump announced a 25-percent tariff on steel and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imported into the U.S. .Mark Denzler is vice president and C-O-O of the Illinois Manufacturers Association. He says this state could be affected more than others.Denzler says some companies will benefit from the move. For example, U.S. Steel has announced it will rehire about 500 workers in Granite City due to the new tariffs. Others, like car manufacturers could pay more for steel and aluminum and that could mean higher costs to consumers.



(Springfield--jc) --  A state representative wants the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs to notify veterans’ home residents and workers within 24 hours of a Legionnaires Disease outbreak, but others think the measure should be more clear and more broad.Over a three-year period, 13 residents of the Quincy Veterans Home died of Legionnaires Disease and dozens were sickened. New cases have popped up in the past few weeks.State Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said when she heard of the most recent cases, she went into action to begin drafting House Bill 4278.



(Champaign-rb)  Despite a feasibility study recommending downtown Champaign be where a potential Division I Illini hockey team play its games, Fox Development Corp. is still holding out hope for its proposed site on St. Mary's Road. Fox's plan included a 5,000-seat hockey arena attached to a community sports facility with another two ice rinks, along with an expansion of the conference center at the I Hotel. It completed its own feasibility study in November, which favored its site over the downtown location but never heard back from the stakeholders involved.




(Urbana-rb) The tentative agreement between the University of Illinois and striking graduate employees provides a five-year contract with three years of wage increases, expanded health coverage and guaranteed tuition waivers for any teaching assistant or graduate assistant. The details were provided by union leaders Thursday evening as members of the Graduate Employees' Organization voted on the agreement, announced earlier in the day after a marathon 26-hour bargaining session. GEO Co-President Gus Wood reported that 98% of voting members voted in favor. He did not disclose the total number of union members who voted.


(Champaign-rb) University of Illinois alumnus and film director Andrew Davis will be a guest as his movie "The Fugitive" opens the 20th annual Roger Ebert Film Festival. Hosted by Chaz Ebert, this year's event runs April 18-22 at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign. Three black female directors, including Ava DuVernay, whose "A Wrinkle in Time" is now in theaters, will also be guests and show their films. At least eight additional films will be announced in the coming weeks, festival organizers said. Ebertfest passes are available for $150, plus processing. Attendees will receive a 15 percent discount when they buy a four-pack. Students discounts are available. 

(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…


(WASHINGTON—vl) -- The American Soybean Association has voiced strong opposition to a cap on the price of Renewable Identification Numbers, an action that would significantly impact the Renewable Fuel Standard . The concept of a cap on R-I-N prices has been proposed in Congress and is in discussions at the White House. Biodiesel is a significant market for domestic soybean oil,  and A-S-A President John Heisdorffer, a Keota, Iowa farmer, says caps on prices would destroy demand for bio-diesel.




Friday March 9 2018

(Springfield--jc)  -- A state representative hopes to get enough support for his measure opposing a change to the state’s constitution for a progressive income tax to kill any such move.There are two measures in the Senate for an amendment to change Illinois’ flat income tax rate. One such proposal in the House is from state Rep. Christian Mitchell. His proposal would amend the constitution by getting a ballot initiative through that says that we can have a graduated income tax where we can charge higher-income people higher rates and lower income people lower rates. On the opposite side is Republican David McSweeney of Barrington Hills, said he’s looking for more support on his bill opposing a progressive income tax.   McSweeney says that a progressive income tax would lead to a major increase in taxes for most Illinoisans.



(Danforth-rb) Authorities in Iroquois County are investigating a fatal accident on Wednesday afternoon about five miles west of Danforth. Iroquois County Coroner Bill Cheatum said 64 year-old Gregory Ainsworth of rural Danforth was killed in the crash at the intersection of County Road 2300 North and County Road 300 East. The Iroquois County Sheriff's Office said Ainsworth was traveling westbound when he was hit on the driver side of his car by another vehicle that was traveling northbound. Both the driver and the passenger of the other vehicle were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Ainsworth was pronounced dead at the scene.  



(Buckley-rb) Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley is hosting a Trivia Night on March 24th. Executive Administrator Sandy Spitz has more on this years annual event…



Christ Lutheran High School Executive Administrator Sandy Spitz



(Chicago--jc)  -- A former girlfriend of state Representative Bob Rita says her late father asked House Speaker Michael Madigan to intervene in a domestic case she brought against Rita more than 15 years ago. She said it was met with deaf ears, a claim Madigan's spokesman disputes. Rita, a democrat from Blue Island, was acquitted in April 2003 of domestic violence charges stemming from altercation with then-girlfriend, Liz Hogan. She claimed he threw her to the ground and threatened to rape her. A jury later acquitted Rita of the charges.

Hogan, now a married preschool teacher, said Thursday that her father, former state Rep. Andy McGann Sr., went to Mike Madigan,, two weeks after the incident, before the case went to trial, begging Madigan to protect Hogan.  At a news conference on Thursday, Hogan says that Madigan told her father, he could not do anything about the allegations. Madigan denies ever having the conversation.



(Urbana-rb) The University of Illinois has reached a tentative contract agreement with its striking graduate assistants. Graduate Employees Organization Co-President Gus Wood said a ratification vote is scheduled for union members Thursday and Friday. The terms of the agreement were not released. The two sides had been at odds over language on tuition waivers, wages and other issues, and union members went on strike Feb. 26.



(Washington-rb) Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the Administration continues to support the Renewable Fuels Standard and the renewable fuels industry. Gary Crawford has more on the story…




(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…



(Danville-rb) Danville police are still investigating a burglary 2 1 / 2 weeks ago, during which more than $10,000 in alcohol and cigarettes were taken from a local liquor store. The burglary occurred around 2 a.m. Feb. 19 at The Spirit Shop, 614 E. Voorhees St. Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said at least two people punched a hole in the wall and stole the merchandise from a storage room. He said video surveillance from the business captured them leaving the area in a minivan.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois manufacturers need about 27-thousand  workers a year, for the next five years, just to keep up with retirements. The only problem is, there aren't 30,000 workers with the skills to fill the jobs.  Illinois Manufacturer Association spokesperson says the companies need 22-thousand production workers and 5-thousand engineers every year, for the next five years between now and 2027 just to cover retirements of the baby boomers.  Nelson adds that jobs are available. Jobs needed include those for truck drivers, welders, craftsmen, manufacturers, and supervisors.



(Springfield--jc)  --- A new report of Illinois public employee pay by government transparency advocate-- Open the Books-- shows 144 local government employees in the state making more than 190,000 dollars, out-earning every governor.This is according to records they received from the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. Some got raises of more than double their salaries from the previous year of work.  Open the Books C-E-O Adam Andrzejewski says this is purely and simply public employee greed and the public needs to start paying attention.


CHICAGO (March 8, 2018) – The Governor’s Office Thursday published the first of a series of blogs on the fiscal year 19 state budget. It argues that by enacting a budget with structural reforms, the state would have a surplus this year that it could use to start paying down its backlog of unpaid bills. The reforms would also ignite the Illinois economy, create more jobs and increase personal income. If legislators passed true pension reform, taxes could be reduced by one Billion this year.




(Colfax--jc)  -- An animal shelter in Colfax will be shutting down soon. According to Channel 3, the Central Illinois Small Animal Rescue is trying to find homes for all of its animals before it closes. The owners are retiring. They are trying to stay open as long as possible. The shelter along Route 9 has around 48 dogs and 52 cats, currently  You can adopt an animal by calling 309-724-8241



(Buckley-rb) Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley is now open for registration for next school year. Executive Administrator Sandy Spitz talks about the benefits of registering now…




(Clarence-rb)A man who was reported missing has been found dead. 47-year old Daniel Starkey was last seen Sunday night, in Penfield. Friends and family couldn't find him, but a passing driver saw his truck in a 20-foot drainage ditch Wednesday afternoon.  Officials say he drove off the road into the ditch in rural Ford County, near Clarence. Starkey was ejected and was found under his truck with three feet of water in the ditch. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


(Urbana-rb) Urbana’s hoping the third time’s the charm for a property it’s owned since 2011. Urbana issued a request for proposals Thursday for the block north of its City Building and across from the federal courthouse, previously occupied by Urbana True Tires. The city bought the tire shop’s property at 202 S. Vine St. in 2011 for $400,000, completing its purchase of the block, and continued to lease it until 2014. Altogether, the city spent about $950,000 to buy the properties on that block. After two previous plans fell through, Urbana is now hoping developers can turn that block into a residential mixed-use, multi-story residential or high-density townhome development, though all proposals will be considered.



(Springfield-rb) ?Hunters and trappers harvested 318 bobcats during the 2017-2018 hunting season. Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross talks about how they keep the total of Bobcats harvested down to reasonable number...



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross


(Gibson City-rb) The 2018 Ford County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner will be held on Wednesday, May 9th at 5 pm at the Kruse Center in Gibson City. There will be Guest Speakers and Dinner will Start at 6 pm. Tickets are 35 dollars per person and are available from any Republican precinct committee men or women. For information on becoming a sponsor of the Lincoln Day Dinner contact Rob Pacey at 217-493-6692


(Peoria--jc)  - Daylight Saving Time is this weekend and the American Red Cross reminds remind everyone to TEST the batteries in their smoke alarms as they TURN their clocks ahead an hour. American Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Lyn Hruska says It’s important for everyone to make sure their household is read for all emergencies. Make sure to put your clocks ahead one hour before you go to sleep Saturday night. 



Thursday March 8 2018

(Champaign-rb) As University of Illinois striking graduate assistants camped out in two university executive offices, negotiators reported progress in contract talks that consumed most of the day Wednesday. Graduate Employees' Organization Co-President Gus Wood said last night he was hopeful after the union presented a comprehensive counter-proposal to the university. He said the proposal covers wages, tuition waivers and other issues. Working with a federal mediator, negotiators began Wednesday's session at 9 in the morning and continued through the late hours last night. The strike continues today.



(Watseka--jc)  -- A person was fatally injured in a two vehicle accident in Iroquois County on Wednesday. Iroquois County Sheriff’s police say the accident happened at 23-hundred north and 300-hundred east yesterday afternoon. One driver has died and the other was taken to Riverside Hospital in Kankakee. More details are coming, pending the notification of family. Danforth Fire Department volunteers assisted local police at the scene.



(Watseka--jc) The waters have receded, but flooding issues continue to Iroquois County. The American Red Cross shelter at Trinity Church in Watseka has closed, along with the  animal shelter. Iroquois County E-M-A has been performing damage assessment to compile and attempt to apply for federal aid. As of now, FEMA is not here, and there is no promise of FEMA assistance. Iroquois County officials continue to work with local and state officials to pursue federal assistance.


(Springfield-rb) The Illinois Bicentennial Coin Contest is now open for submissions.  Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs talks about the contest…



Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs



(Paxton--jc)  -- Early voting continues in the state of Illinois with the primary election set for Tuesday March 20th. In Ford County, the clerk’s office is open for voting and the Paxton facility will also be open on Saturday March 17th from 8-30 a m until noon. The last day to early vote in Ford County is the 19th. Voters go to the poll to elect party candidates from Governor to several county-wide offices.


(Gibson City-rb) Jordan Industrial Park in Gibson City may be getting a sign makeover. Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey says the issue is one before the city council…



Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey



(Champaign-rb) A Chicago man was shot and killed in Champaign yesterday afternoon.  Police are investigating the city’s first homicide of 2018, which took place around midday Wednesday in the northwest part of the city. Police were called at about 12:30 p.m. to the 1300 block of Sunset Drive, just north of Bloomington Road, where a Chicago man was found in the street, the apparent victim of a shooting. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said 26 year old Michael White  was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, where he was pronounced dead from his injuries just after 1 p. m.



(Champaign-rb)  An area Champaign man, arrested last month on sex crime charges, was arrested again and faces more charges. 25-year old Terrez Collins was arrested Tuesday for two counts of criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse and two counts of traveling to meet a minor. His bond is $250,000. February 22, Collins was taken into custody on a $200,000 arrest warrant for grooming/harmful material. Authorities say he sent pornographic pictures and videos to females under the age of 18 in an attempt to establish or illicit a sexual relationship.




(Washington-rb) Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says he thinks the United States is serious about wanting to rejoin the multilateral trade deal known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, although he doesn't see that the way will be easy…



Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue




(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson City Area Chamber of commerce is set to host the annual chamber banquet tonight at the Kruse Center in the city. University of Illinois network play-by-play announcer Brian Barnhart is the guest speaker. The Chamber will also announce winners of several awards including, citizen of the year and a Gibson City lifetime achievement award.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul village officials will be asked whether to sell some properties on the former Chanute Air Force base when they meet next week in monthly session. Three of the larger buildings in the area are up for sale. A California company is looking to buy the three properties and then lease them out for factory use. Chanute Air Force base closed in 19-93. Village leaders have been working with the U S Air Force since that time on re-development of properties in that area of town.


(Urbana-rb) Tuesday night's Urbana school board meeting was standing-room-only as members of the public and district employees came to discuss a controversial plan proposed by district officials earlier this week. Educators told board members they felt blind-sided when, during a staff meeting Monday, it was announced that the district plans to eliminate its deans at Urbana High School, as well as overhaul the district's disciplinary system.Superintendent Don Owen said the district does not plan to leave the deans out of a job. "We are not firing these individuals," he said. "And we are not saying they have not done an excellent job." But Owen said the district's use of restorative practices, which focus on solving student issues instead of punitive discipline, means the position may have to evolve into something different.



(Gibson City--jc) Local Illinois House Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says legislation passing through Springfield will help benefit hospitals in the state.  Bennett says the Hospitals Assessment act was done in cooperation from both major parties…

106th District Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



(Springfield-rb) In response to recent mass shooting’s around the country The Illinois Association of the Chiefs of Police, the Illinois Sheriffs' Association and Illinois State's Attorneys Association released a statement. The Statement says “When a person, regardless of age, makes a threat to harm students or faculty at a school, it may seem to some like a youthful prank, but to the Illinois law enforcement community it is no laughing matter.  Threatening violence at a school, personally or through social media, is a crime that is punishable by years in prison. The havoc and fear created when someone threatens a school community is real, no matter the intentions of the person who communicates that threat. All threats are taken seriously, and investigating them diverts precious resources. The law enforcement community stands united in making our schools safe.  In Illinois that means that threats of violence are no joke and those that make them will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”


(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…


(Champaign-rb) A Champaign man who admitted he struck a man with a baseball bat in a dispute over work done on a car has been sentenced to two years of probation. The News Gazette reports that Thomas Ross, 42, pleaded guilty Wednesday before Judge Roger Webber to aggravated battery. He admitted that on June 26, he struck a St. Joseph man in the head, arms and legs with an aluminum baseball bat. The fight happened at the victim's house.




Wednesday March 7 2018

(Springfield--jc)  -- There’s an effort underway to give the Illinois Legislative Inspector General more independence in investigating ethics violation complaints against lawmakers, and one member of the commission says he’s open to suggestions. As it is now, the L-I-G, who takes ethics complaints about lawmakers, must get permission from the ethics commission to subpoena subjects in any investigation.Following Tuesday’s House Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Task Force hearing in Springfield, state Representative. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, Republican of  Lealand Grove, says that needs to change because the commission, made up of a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers, only meets once a month.



(Loda-rb) A 20-year-old Loda man was sentenced Monday to two years of probation for a weapons offense.The News Gazette reports that Austin Flessner pleaded guilty before Judge Heidi Ladd to misdemeanor possession of a firearm without a valid firearm owner's identification card after his arrest for allegedly firing a gun out the window of a sport utility vehicle on Thanksgiving in rural Rantoul. More serious felony charges of reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of weapons were dismissed.


(Springfield-rb) ?Illinoisans chose The Blues Brothers as their favorite movie in state history as part of the Illinois Top 200 project. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum spokesperson Chris Willis has more on the list…


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum spokesperson Chris Willis


(Champaign-rb) 2,547 warrants have been quashed in Champaign County by Judge Tom Difanis in the past year. Most of the Warrants that were set aside are from the last few years. At least 150 warrants were quashed from the years 2017 thru 2009. The news gazette reports that Of those who had warrants quashed, 62 percent were black and 28 percent white. About two-thirds were men. The violation that was set aside most was possession of Cannabis which was thrown out 436 times.



(Springfield--jc)  --Lawmakers in the Illinois House are back today after three weeks of continuing scandal within House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political and legislative operations. Despite some high-profile calls for him to step down, many rank-and-file Democrats are standing by the state's most powerful politician.The scandal started last month when Madigan’s office announced Kevin Quinn, a long-time political operative within Madigan’s political and legislative operations, was being let go. The announcement preempted public accusations by campaign staffer Alaina Hampton that Quinn made repeated unwanted advances toward her. Just last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission gave Hampton a notice of the right to sue Madigan’s political operation.



(Springfield--jc)  -- A state lawmaker hopes once people see in writing how much of their tax dollars are going to pay for public sector pensions, it will force a conversation about finding solutions to the state's growing pension debt. From Springfield to Mattoon to Marion and beyond, local governments in Illinois are seeing their share of property taxes, to the tune of millions of dollars, being eaten up by local public employee pension benefits. State Representative. David Olsen, Republican from Downers Grove, has a measure, House Bill 287, to require property tax bills for each taxing district to show taxpayers how much is going into local public employee pensions.



(Springfield-rb) It is never the wrong time to talk about foodborne Illnesses but March is the perfect time to start. Veronica Carter has more …




(Springfield--jc)  Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 54 other state and territorial attorneys general Tuesday called on Congressional leaders to pass legislation supporting victims of child pornography.  Madigan called on House and Judiciary Committee leaders to support the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017 that would make it easier for victims of child pornography to obtain restitution. A similar bill passed the U.S. Senate in 2015 but failed to pass the House of Representatives. Joining Madigan in signing the letter were attorneys general from all 50 states, along with attorneys general from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Lawmakers want to put redistricting reform on the ballot, hoping to succeed where a popular initiative failed. State Representative Ryan Spain has introduced a proposed Constitutional amendment that would take lawmakers out of the political map-drawing business. Should it pass into law, the lawmakers that previously drew the legislative boundaries for not only the Illinois General Assembly but the U.S. Congressional districts would be replaced by a 16-member group of independent Illinoisans.



(Washington-rb) Deputy Ag Secretary Steve Censky talks about a new set of resources USDA is making available to help schools around the country run their nutrition programs as efficiently as possible.



Deputy Ag Secretary Steve Censky



(Champaign-rb) A Champaign teen who pleaded guilty to having a loaded gun in a car in Champaign about six weeks ago was sentenced this week to juvenile prison. The News Gazette reports The 17-year-old pleaded guilty in early February before Judge Heidi Ladd to aggravated unlawful use of weapons, admitting that he was present Jan. 22 when another man in the car pulled a gun on a third man and demanded cash from him. A more-serious charge of armed robbery was dismissed in return for the teen's guilty plea.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Lawmakers in the Illinois House are back in Springfield but continue to hear about a  continuing scandal within House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political and legislative operations. Despite some high-profile calls for him to step down, many rank-and-file Democrats are standing by the state's most powerful politician. The scandal started last month when Madigan’s office announced Kevin Quinn, a long-time political operative within Madigan’s political and legislative operations, was being let go. The announcement preempted public accusations by campaign staffer Alaina Hampton that Quinn made repeated unwanted advances toward her. Hampton is reviewing her options on litigation against Madigan’s office..



(Paxton-rb) Criminal damage to property was reported on Friday, at the Paxton Emergency Management Agency’s building in downtown Paxton. Upon investigation,  a keypad on the outside of the building was damaged. The damage was found March 1 and reported the following morning. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173. Informants do not have to give their name and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.



(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…




(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City leaders have approved a larger donation to help with a city fall festival. The council will give 5 thousand dollars for the Harvest Fest that takes place from September 7th and 8th. Country Music duo Walker McGuire is scheduled to appear at the annual event. The event has activities for all ages.



(Bloomington--jc) State Farm says 890 jobs will be cut from its Bloomington operations. Some of the jobs will be moved to Arizona. The local insurance company adds that is has increased jobs in its McLean County operations in other departments as they are committed to 15 thousand jobs in Bloomington.



(Springfield--jc)  Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 54 other state and territorial attorneys general Tuesday called on Congressional leaders to pass legislation supporting victims of child pornography.  Madigan called on House and Judiciary Committee leaders to support the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2017 that would make it easier for victims of child pornography to obtain restitution. A similar bill passed the U.S. Senate in 2015 but failed to pass the House of Representatives. Joining Madigan in signing the letter were attorneys general from all 50 states, along with attorneys general from the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.



Tuesday March 6 2018

(Springfield--jc)  - -One Illinois university is asking lawmakers for hundreds of millions of dollars more than it received last year, calling the requested funding “critical.” Four of Illinois’ public universities presented their budget requests to a Senate committee this month. Illinois State wants $65 million in state dollars, Northeastern asked for $33 million, Eastern Illinois asked for $38 million. But Western Illinois University president Jack Thomas told the committee that his school needed $430 million next year. He said the funds, largely for capital improvements, and are needed to keep the W-I-U campus competitive.



(Springfield-rb) Identity Theft is at the top of list of consumer complaints that reach Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s desk. Attorney General Madigan talks about what you can do to prevent Identity theft…



Illinois State’s Attorney General Lisa Madigan



(Springfield--jc)  -- Don't look for much action from the Illinois Capitol this month. In fact, don't look for much of anything, lawmakers from both parties said, because the General Assembly is pretty much taking the month of March off. Both the Illinois House and Senate are scheduled for just four days of sessions this month, and they could cancel some of them. State Representative. Tom Bennett of Gibson City, says Illinois lawmakers haven't done much all year.  According to Bennett, if you look at the calendar, in January the Illinois House met just a few days, the same was true last month and only four days in March, not much can get accomplished. Bennett says with the primary coming, no one wants to give the opposite side a victory. No one seems to know though, whether that will be a full state budget, a six-month state budget, or if there will be a budget at all.



(Ford County--jc)  The 20-18 March primary is two weeks away. Voters will go to the polls to elect  their party candidates for statewide offices from governor to attorney general. County voters will elect party candidates for sheriff to treasurer. In the city of Paxton, voters will decide on the number of members on the city’s park district board. Currently, the board sits 7 members. The question to voters in two weeks, should that number be reduced to 5. The March primary is set for the 20th.



(Springfield-rb) 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 40 seconds, and heart disease is also the number one killer in Illinois. Veronica Carter reports…



(Champaign-rb) Area High school and middle school teams advance to statewide scientific competition next month after winning the recent Parkland College Regional Science Olympiad tournament. In the middle school division St. Matthew Catholic School got 1st place and Glenn Raymond in Watseka got 2nd. In the High School division University High from Champaign got 1st, Mahomet Seymour got 2nd place, Centennial got 3rd and St. Thomas More placed 4th. These schools will compete at the Illinois Science Olympiad State Tournament on April 1st at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


(Paxton-rb) The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Coffee and Connections event one week from tomorrow. Paxton  Area Chamber of Commerce Director Madison Duden talks about the connections…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce  Director Madison Duden



(Champaign--jc)  - Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking help from the public to solve a retail theft that happened in February in Champaign. On February 13th, officers  responded to a retail theft at the Target Store on North Prospect in Champaign. Upon further investigation, cameras at the store revealed a male, armed with a handgun,taking electronics. Store officials say around 32-hundred dollars in merchandise was taken from the store. Police also  believed four suspects were involved, three inside and one waiting outside in a white 4-door passenger car. The four suspects are believed to be black males and black females. The three subjects inside were wearing hooded sweatshirts, black jackets, and some type of white-washed jeans. No clothing description is available for the fourth suspect who was waiting in the vehicle. If you have information about this crime, you are asked to call Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS. You will not be asked your name and you could receive a 1 thousand dollar reward.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul village officials will look at a revolving loan for a local restaurant when they meet in monthly study session. Duane and Jennifer Smith are asking for 55 thousand dollars to purchase and upgrade the Family Table restaurant located at the East Side Plaza in the village.  A proposal to purchase in-squad computers at a cost of nearly 35 thousand dollars also hilites tonight’s agenda for the Rantoul village board. An engineering agreement for the Chandler Road area for 19 thousand dollars is also a topic for local leaders. The Rantoul Village Board meets tonight at the municipal building on Tanner Street  at 6pm.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has received an anonymous donation of $1 million toward the Fighting Illini Football Performance Center project.The donors, who wish to remain anonymous, provided insight on their decision to support the project. They have a strong commitment to the vision for the future of the Fighting Illini football program that has been established by Director of Athletics Josh Whitman and Head Coach Lovie Smith.  In addition, the family is excited by the ability to provide improvements to the sports medicine capabilities available to Illinois student-athletes in a state of the art facility to be built. University of Illinois officials say the goal for pledges for the center is 30 million dollars.


(Washington-rb) United States Dairy Supplies are coming in at very high levels. Gary Crawford has more on how exports this year assist in reducing US dairy supplies, already at high levels…



(Gibson City--jc)  A Meet the Candidates Forum is set for later today in Gibson City. Two candidates are running for the Republican position for Ford County Treasurer. They are Kasi Schwarz and Krisha Shoemaker. The forum takes place at Railside Golf Club in Gibson City. Doors open to the public at 5pm with the candidates speaking around 6pm WPXN will be airing the candidates portion of the event at 6pm on our WPXN City Link page on our wpxn-radio-website..



(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…




(Champaign--jc) Graduate Assistants at the University of Illinois want tuition waivers written into any contract they sign  at the Urbana-Champaign campus. The group of several hundred teachers at the school are in the second week of a strike. About a dozen classes have  been cancelled since the strike began and some classes have been moved to other rooms on the local campus.



(Kankakee-jc)  State police in Ashkum held an ACE patrol last week. In a release to media, police say the Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement patrol netted a total of 42 citations. They included six for insurance violations and two for seat belt violations The ACE patrol was held in Kankakee County this past Friday.



Monday March 5 2018

(Springfield--jc)  --  Illinois lawmakers moved a step closer to passing an official revenue estimate for the first time in years.The Illinois Senate passed one last year, but the House neglected to even bring one up for a vote, despite a constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget every year. The Illinois Constitution says the General Assembly by law shall make appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year. Figures with the recent tax increase for the coming fiscal year is 37-point-7 Billion dollars. The democratic majority passed the additional funds for the state and Governor Bruce Rauner continues to run on a platform to reduce the state income tax rate.



(Melvin-dg)-The organizers of the Ford County Fair announced on Saturday that Country Music Star Travis Tritt will headline the Fair on June 29th. Rising Star Craig Campbell will be the opening act and Jordan Davis is set to play the after party. Tickets start at $25 and are on sale now. For more information check out the fair online at WWW dot ford county fair dot org.




(Springfield--jc)  --  Fishing license sales have been either flat or declining in Illinois for the past 10 years.The loss of sales have a direct impact on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' ability to enhance environmental habitats and Illinois’ multi-billion dollar fishing industry. Around 700-thousand  fishing licenses are sold every year.  The cost for a fishing license is 15 dollars. State officials are looking at ways to increase the number of fishing licenses.



(Springfield--jc)  The proposed Fair Agricultural Reporting Method or Farm Act gives farmers one less regulation to follow and one less burden to bear. Under the FARM Act, which was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate, farmers nationwide would be exempt from having to report emissions from the natural process of manure breaking down on their land and one expert said that’s a good thing.Tasha Bunting, the assistant director of Commodities and Livestock for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said she supports this bipartisan bill, which intends to protect farmers from being burdened by unnecessary reporting.



(Springfield--jc)  --  The casino industry is disputing a new study that claims Illinois’ smoking ban hasn’t had an effect on gaming revenue.The report, in the journal Tobacco Control, examined the effects of the Smoke-Free Illinois Act on casino admissions and adjusted gross receipts using 18 years of data, 10 years before and eight years after the Illinois law went into effect. Its conclusion is the ban has had no significant negative economic consequences for casinos in terms of per-capita admissions or revenues. Casino industry officials claim the smoking ban has caused a loss of 22 percent venue decline since the ban went into effect 8 years ago.



(Champaign-rb) After multiple mass shootings have taken place in schools already this year, what do local educators think about arming school officials. The News Gazette surveyed 70 school teachers on the subject.  Of the 70, 57 were opposed to any plan to arm school teachers with guns. Five said they strongly support the idea and Three backed a version that doesn't include every teacher being armed. The issue of arming school teachers came from the president and some leaders in the nation’s capital.



(Champaign-rb) After 56 years, the Bradley Avenue bridge over Interstate 57 could be coming down. The Champaign City Council will vote Tuesday on an Illinois Department of Transportation project to completely replace the bridge, renovate its approaches and improve the surrounding area. If approved, construction is slated to begin in 2019. The plan is to create two 11-foot traffic lanes, according to a city staff report, with a 6-foot bike lane and 6-foot sidewalk on each side.

(Undated-jm) -- To celebrate the state's 200th birthday and explore its history, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Mid-West Family Broadcasting and the Illinois State Museum are teaming up to present "bicentennial minutes" throughout 2018. Here’s today’s bicentennial minute…




(Champaign--jc)  --  Unofficial Saint Patty’s day was one of good weather on the Champaign-Urbana campus over the weekend. City officials continue to closely monitor the event which has seen tragedies over the 20 year run of the college town event. Initial estimates show less people participated with Unofficial this year.


(Iroquois County-rb) Iroquois County, the  City of Watseka, and the State of Illinois have all declared disasters. Watseka extended their declaration on Friday and Iroquois County’s declaration was extended at a special county board meeting. The Iroquois County Emergency Operations Center is open to coordinate recovery efforts. If your home was damaged by flood, please report it to the E-O-C at (815) 432-6997. Damage assessment teams have been going around to gather information to attempt to apply for federal aid. The American Red Cross shelter at Trinity Church is open, and currently has 9 occupants. The animal shelter at Jefferson Plaza is open, and currently has 6 pets.



(Gibson City--jc)  Several train cars carrying grain derailed in Gibson City. the incident happened on Sunday in the Ford County town and officials believe a buckle in the train tracks was the cause of the accident. No one was hurt in the accident and the crossing is open again for traffic. Clean up in the area does continue this morning



(Paxton-rb) Tri County Players is performing the comedy “Get off my cabbage” Starting Friday March 16th at the Market Street theatre in Paxton. The show dates are Friday through Sunday, March 16, 17, 18 and March 23, 24, 25. Show times are 7:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $12. Call the Market Street Theatre, 120 N. Market Street in Paxton at 379-7028 for reservations. Walk-ins are always welcome.



(Champaign-rb) Striking graduate assistants at the University of Illinois wrapped up a week of picketing over the weekend, as talk a negotiations could bring the two sides back together. The Graduate Employees Organization says the sent a message to University officials, requesting a meeting. Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said UI negotiators received a call Friday morning from the federal mediator assigned to the contract talks, who conveyed that the GEO wanted to meet. The strike continues this morning.



(Washington-rb) As round seven of the NAFTA negotiations nears its end, a top USDA official says he's optimistic that a new agreement will eventually crafted. USDA’s Gary Crawford has more on the story…




(Rantoul-rb) Eden Park Cemetery in Rantoulwill start it’s spring clean-up on March  15th. Any Decorations that you would like to save, must be removed no later than March 14th. The cemetery management cannot be responsible for anything left after that date. After March 22nd, you are free to place flowers at the grave sites.


(Champaign-rb) The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging people to prepare for severe weather. IEMA spokesperson Patti Thompson talks about  weather radio’s and what they  do to help…

Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Patti Thompson.


(Rantoul-rb) The Bethany Park Church clothing center in Rantoul is open on Monday evening’s from 7 to 8 pm. And Wednesday afternoons from 3-4:30 pm. They are in need of sheets, pillowcases, blankets, towels and washcloths. Call Rita Buenting at 217-893-0850 with any questions.







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