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WPXN Blog

Power Outage Leaves Around 4,500 Homes and Businesses Without Power in Rantoul.

(Rantoul--jc)  -- A failed underground cable is believed to be the cause of a power outage Thursday afternoon they left around 4 thousand 5 hundred homes and businesses without power in Rantoul. Authorities say the power outage happened for about 30 minutes for most and for another 100 or so residents the outage lasted about one hour. The underground cable was located on Rantoul’s west side south of the McDonald’s restaurant near the Rantoul Walmart.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  What do Clark street, Fairlawn, Eater Drive and Penfield streets have in common in the village of Rantoul? The answer is that all have available lots for sale from the village of Rantoul. Rantoul leaders are proceeding with their vacant lot purchase program. Rantoul officials are looking at how to put the vacant lots back on the tax rolls. If successful, village leaders want to put more lots up for sale.

 

(Illinois--ba)-The state unemployment rate rose slightly last month. The state jobless rate went from four point two in November to four point three in December. Illinois Department of Employment Security spokesperson Bob Gough  says jobs were up last month by about 71-hundred.

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough

 

(Springfield--ab)  Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law requiring gun dealers in Illinois to be licensed by the Illinois State Police. The law also mandates dealers provide annual training to employees, have video surveillance in stores and be open for inspection by law enforcement says the governor...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker

Additionally, the law requires dealers to attach a copy of a buyer’s foid card or i-d to documents recording each gun sale.

 

(Gibson City--jc)  -- A process at the water treatment plant in one Ford County city could help with rust in the water. Gibson City leaders are looking at how to fund an injection of phosphate process into the city’s water supply. Estimates for the process would cost the city around 10 thousand dollars per year. The idea remains in front of Gibson City leaders. The dollars could be allocated for the next fiscal year.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  4 downtown apartments on the second floor of the Remembrance Clark building were dedicated Thursday morning in Paxton. The Royce Baier family owns the building and the remodel took around 2 years to complete. The building was originally dedicated on January 6 18-67 and was the largest building between Chicago and Cairo in the state of Illinois. The Building has held everything from a concert hall, the Index store to today with the Edward Jones company, Kief Realty and the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce. Owner Royce Baier says the Clark building is the oldest in the county…

 


Clark Building downtown Paxton Owner Royce Baier

 

(Springfield--jc  East Central Illinois experienced more snow on Thursday morning and that experience is expected to re-appear this weekend. Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jessie Decker says travel will again be hazardous…

 

I-DOT Spokesperson Jessie Decker

 

 

(Potomac--jc)  -- An annual carnival is set for one local grade school two weeks from today. The Potomac  P-T-O is sponsoring the 6th annual carnival at the Potomac grade school from 5-30 until 8pm on Friday February first. Kids games, food and raffles are all part of the event. Money raised goes to help the Potomac P-T-O with school projects. The public is invited to attend.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  A fundraiser for the Ford County Relay for Life is set for this evening in Gibson City. A Euchre party sponsored by Chic Merediths Ford County Relay for Life team is set for 6-30 tonight at the Moyer District Library. There is a 10 dollar entry. To sign up call 217-784-5267. Snacks will be provided..

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinoisans are beginning to brace themselves for a storm the National Weather Service says could bring a half-foot of snow to parts of the state. National Weather Service forecasters say the storm is expected to start tonight near midnight. The storm is due a week after parts of Illinois received double-digit snow accumulations. A winter storm watch was issued for late this afternoon  through Saturday morning.

 

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of rural bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests banks are growing increasingly concerned about farm loan defaults in 2019. More than 4 of every 10 bankers questioned for the Rural Mainstreet survey for January said they expect farm loan defaults to be the year's biggest challenge.Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says their outlook is being negatively influenced by tariffs, trade tensions, weak commodity prices and the partial federal government shutdown.

The survey's overall index dropped to 51.5 from December's 54.2. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Illinois is among the 10 states participating in the monthly survey.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  What do Gracyn Allen of Champaign County, Lyndsey Neukomm of Iroquois County, Kaity Zbinden of Ford County, Alyssa Wilcoxon of the Fisher Fair and Megan Brown of Vermilion County have in common? They all are contestants for the 2019 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen pageant in Springfield this weekend. The competition begins today and the new queen will be crowned on Sunday.  The 2018 Miss Illinois Fair Queen is Samantha Hasselbring of Cissna Park. She will be presiding over the ceremonies in Springfield and will give up her crown as a new queen is selected.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — News coverage of last month's 40th anniversary of serial killer John Wayne Gacy's arrest has meant dozens of more tips for Illinois investigators trying to identify victims. The Cook County sheriff's lead investigator tells the Chicago Sun-Times that about 10 of the 25 tips he's received are worth pursuing. Gacy was convicted of killing 33 young men and executed in 1994. The Cook County sheriff reopened the case in 2011. So far, two more bodies have been identified but six remain nameless.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Are you ready for round two? The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has some tips to keep your family safe and warm during this weekend’s storms. I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says now is the time to fill in any gaps in preparedness plans that you notice during last weeks blast of snow.

 

 

I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.

Emergency kits include water, blankets,  a flash light, batteries, jumper cables, first aid supplies and food.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge has acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Judge Domenica Stephenson said Thursday that after considering all of the evidence, including police dashcam video of the killing, she didn't find that officer Thomas Gaffney, Joseph Walsh and David March conspired to cover up the shooting. The officer who shot McDonald 16 times, Jason Van Dyke, was convicted of murder in October and is due to be sentenced today.

 

(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Cissna Park School leaders are seeking bids on a flooring replacement project. Information on the project and bid requirements are found by contacting the school. Bids will be received until 2pm on January 24th at the superintendent’s office.


 

(Undated--jc)  -- No surprise, but the  Illinois’ 2018 gubernatorial race broke a national spending record, according to the newly launched Center for Illinois Politics, and it may reshape the state’s Democratic Party. The Center’s editor Kerry Lester said Illinois’ total spend was $280.21 million, slightly more than California’s 2010 gubernatorial race of $280 million. Leading Illinois’ historic spending was Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who used $173 million of his own money. That makes Pritzker, whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion, the richest elected official in the country. In the 2018 race Rauner spent $78.6 million.

 

(Paxton--jc One Paxton Church is hosting a family game night tonight. The event is set for 6-30 tonight at the Paxton Church of Christ. Board games, snacks and fellowship hilite the evening. The community is invited to attend.

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Two of Three Militia Members Accused of Bombing a Minnesota Mosque Have Hearings Scheduled Next Week in Federal Court

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two of three militia members accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque have hearings scheduled next week in federal court to change their pleas.Online court records show hearings for Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris on Jan. 24. The two men, along with Michael Hari, are accused of driving from Clarence, Illinois, in August 2017 and attacking Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. McWhorter allegedly said the men did it to scare Muslims from the country.McWhorter and Morris have pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges. A change of plea hearing typically means that the defendants plan to enter a guilty plea before the court.McWhorter's and Morris' cases have been combined in Minnesota, while Hari's cases remain separate

 

(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has yet to figure out how much the raises he announced Tuesday will cost taxpayers, though estimates from his predecessor show step increases for about 14,000 state employees could add 200 million to the state's existing budget. The governor did not address the cost earlier this week. A spokesperson for the governor says the cost of the raises was still being calculated. The governor’s office is dealing with multiple unions representing workers across the many state agencies. The democratic leader says  it will take several weeks to provide an accurate picture of both cost and timing of the restoration of the step increases for the affected state employees.

 

(Springfield--ab) Today marks the 99th anniversary of the beginning of prohibition in the United States.  An expert at the Illinois State Museum talks about when the country went dry. Museum Art and History Curator Erika Holst says supporters believed the booze ban would reduce crime, make families stronger and improve the nation as a whole. She says some parts of Illinois were slower to adapt….

 

 

Illinois State Museum Curator Erika Holst. Holst says enforcement was tough and bootlegging was common, leading to the growth of organized crime. that included Chicago’s own Al Capone, a top gangster of the prohibition era.

 

(Champaign--ab) February begins Black History Month and a local Community College is having events the public can participate in. WPXN News reporter Austin Burklund has the report.

 

 

 

(Buckley--jc)  They are in need of donations and your appetite for an event on Sunday February 17th. The annual fundraiser for St. John’s Lutheran School in Buckley is the fundraiser for the school. A carnival, silent auction and live auction also hi-lite the event. To donate items, you may call the school in Buckley. All donations are tax deductible. Event Spokesperson  Kari Stachura says its an event for the whole family...

 

 

St John’s Lutheran School Buckley Auction Spokesperson Kari Stachura

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago says it's closing its undergraduate seminary at Loyola University Chicago due to changing priesthood demographics.

The archdiocese said in a  release that St. Joseph College Seminary had 20 students enrolled and officials expected a small incoming class. The archdiocese says "the need to steward" resources led officials to decide to close the seminary. Officials say there is trend toward men choosing to enter seminaries after finishing undergraduate studies and gaining work experience, reducing the need for undergraduate seminaries.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — The teen birth rate has decreased in Illinois and Chicago, with the city recording a new historic low. There were 24.6 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in Chicago in 2016. That's the most recent year for which data are available. That's a 10.5 percent decrease from 2015.Rates have been falling across the U .S. and statewide. Illinois recorded 18.7 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in 2016, down from a rate of 22.8 in 2014.

 

 

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Funeral services are set for an Illinois State Police trooper killed when he was struck and killed by a vehicle along Interstate 294 in suburban Chicago during a snowstorm.The funeral for Trooper Christopher Lambert is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington. The 34-year-old Lambert was headed home on I-294 near Northbrook when he pulled over and got out of his squad car to respond to a three-vehicle crash. A car then struck him.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  Those with kids participating in Youth Center Basketball in Rantoul, the dates have been approved for team pictures. Rescheduled pictures for basketball players in the Rantoul Park District are set for January 19th for teams that play at Youth Center and January  26th for teams that play at the Forum. Recreation officials ask that you have your child ready for pictures at least 15 minutes prior to your game

 

 

(Loda--jc)  One local church is cancelling a concert this weekend due to the threat of snow and wintery weather. Officials with the Loda United Methodist Church say the Sunday concert featuring the  Dysart Family at the Loda United Methodist Church has been cancelled. No word was given on any rescheduling of the event.

 

(Chicago-jc)  The lawmaker who is expected to lead an Illinois House transportation committee said the state needs an infrastructure plan to address aging roads and bridges across the state said that all other funding options will be considered before talk turns to higher taxes. Illinois Governor  J.B. Pritzker wants a new infrastructure plan. The Illinois Economic Policy Institute said last year that roads in Illinois are so bad that motor fuel taxes should be set as high as 85 cents per gallon in addition to raising vehicle registration fees from 101 dollars per year to 578 dollars per year. The national Tax Foundation puts Illinois’ tax per gallon in 2017 eleventh highest at 34 cents. Increasing Illinois’ gas tax to 85 cents a gallon would make it nearly one-and-a-half times Pennsylvania's 58 cents a gallon.State Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, who is expected to lead a House committee on infrastructure, said he’s glad a bill wasn’t rushed through because a thorough debate is needed on the issue. He said there’s a lot of talk about taxes.

 

(McLean County--jc) A move by former  Illinois Governor  Bruce Rauner will provide nearly 10  million dollars in capital funds for emergency repairs to fine arts buildings at Illinois State University.  Heating repairs, plumbing work and other repairs. This money is in addition to the 3 million dollars to repair a fine arts complex and 2 million dollars for a new roof at Turner Hall.

 

(Springfield--ab)  Illinoisans are urged to donate their time during Monday’s Martin Luther King Junior “day of service.” Serve Illinois Executive Director Scott Mcfarland says the day is a great time to give back, especially in honor of Doctor King who said “life’s most persistent and urgent question is… what are you doing for others.”

 

 

You can find volunteer projects in your area any time of the year on line at Serve-dot-Illinois-dot- gov.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- The 31st annual Paxton Buckley Loda F F A toy show is set for the first Saturday in February.  P-B-L F-F-A spokesperson Mikayla Jones says this year’s show provides something for everyone…

 

 

PBL FFA Spokesperson Mikayla Jones

The show is set for PBL High School in Paxton on Saturday February 2nd.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- No bingo on Saturday in Paxton due to the promise of snow. The event sponsored by the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce at St Mary’s Church is cancelled.  WPXN will continue to bring our listeners information about closings and cancellations due with the winter storms. Information is also found on line at WPXN radio-dot-com

 

(Paxton--jc)  The National women go red day is set for February first. The Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a heart health event at the Ford County courthouse in Paxton. Free heart health information, free blood pressure screenings and prizes are part of the two hour event from 10-30 until 12-30. The event is also free to attend on February first at the courthouse in Paxton.


 

(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City leaders say at public hearing is set for mid-February to consider annexation of some land into the city.  The date for the hearing is February 11th, 6pm, at the Villas of Hollybrook dining room. Rezoning some property from agriculture to manufacturing will be discussed. Bringing some property into the Gibson City limits is also on the agenda.

 

 

(Cissna Park--jc)  The P T O of one local school is raising money to help with school transportation costs for field trips among teacher requests. The Cissna Park Parent Teacher Organization is using a calendar raffle to raise the funds needed. A donation of ten dollars provides a chance to win some cash prizes. The efforts are to raise money for classrooms projects, field trips to tables and school room items.  Tickets are available at several Cissna Park businesses and at home basketball games. The giveaways start on February first.

 

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Governor JB Pritzker getting Busy on His First Day on the Job

(Paxton--jc)  -- Some new apartments will be open soon in a historic building in downtown Paxton. Local businessman Royce Baier says his group has worked on the apartments for around 2 years. The former Remembrance Hall in the downtown area now hosts the Edward Jones company, Kief Realty and the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce offices on the first floor. The apartments will be available on the second floor of the three story structure says Baier…

 

 

Paxton Businessman Royce Baier.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Thursday morning at 11 and members of the local chamber will get a look at the building. An open house for the public will be held later this month.

 

(Springfield--ab) There are some new and some very familiar faces among Illinois’ constitutional officers. Secretary of State Jesse White continues in the office he’s held since 1999…while two former lawmakers are now taking on a statewide role. they are Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton and Attorney General Kwame Raoul…who says he will work to fight crime in Illinois.

 

 

Returning constitutional officers also include Comptroller susana Mendoza and Treasurer Mike Frerichs.

 

(Champaign--ab) Although Parkland College's full-semester classes are now in session, another range of classes is available to students who still wish to enroll. Registration is now open for Parkland's Late-Start Class Session, which begins the week of Feb. 4.Residents can earn full-semester college credit in just 13 weeks, in classes taught at a slightly more accelerated pace than full-semester classes. Students can select from a wide variety of classes ranging from math and biology to aviation and  computer science. Registration for the 13-week session ends Feb. 3. More information is found by contacting Parkland College at 217/351-2482 or

Admissions-at-parkland-dot-e-d-u.

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County board has set aside two more meetings to talk about wind farms. A 9 a m meeting tomorrow at the Ford County courthouse in Paxton is the first meeting. The second meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday January 24th in the large courtroom, also at the Ford County courthouse in Paxton. Several wind farms are in operation in Ford County and a couple are in the process to operate within county borders. Its a zoning meeting on Thursday and the full county board on the second wind meeting. The public is urged to attend.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- A documentary dealing with suicide will be shown at one local school tonight. The film will be shown at Rantoul Township High School at 6-30 tonight.  The public is invited to attend the film. A question and answer session follows the presentation. The same event also takes place on Friday at Parkland College  and Saturday at the Mahomet Public Library.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- What to do about three distressed properties in the city of Paxton. Paxton leaders spent just under 22 thousand dollars to demolish two houses in the city. A third property is in the bankrupt stage with the potential of demolition in the near future. The consensus of Paxton council members is to sell the two properties to build new homes in the city of Paxton. The mayor’s office and city council continue to weigh their options on the distressed properties.

 

(springfield--jc)  -- Sworn in for his second term, Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, formerly of Gifford, is touting his record on investing. Frerichs says his office has increase returns with huge rewards for the state of Illinois and its taxpayers…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — A report by the American Civil Liberties Union says African-American motorists in Illinois are more likely than others to be stopped and searched for routine traffic violations.The report says police asked to conduct searches of vehicles driven by black motorists nearly twice as often as those driven by whites in 2017. Police asked to search cars driven by Latinos 1.4 times more often those driven by whites.The study examined data collected by the Illinois Department of Transportation between 2015 and 2017 from more than 900 law enforcement agencies statewide. Police made about 6.5 million traffic stops and performed more than 283,000 searches in that time.The study found that in certain cities, such as Aurora and Champaign, African-American drivers were stopped at rates more than twice that of the African-American population.

In Chicago, African-American drivers accounted for 61 percent of all traffic stops in 2017 while making up 31 percent of the city's population.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says his administration is moving to make government more transparent. The newly sworn in governor, used his first day in the job to to sign an executive order directing the Illinois Department of Labor to quickly address claims of wage theft…

 


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

 

(Springfield--ab) Governor J-B Pritzker is getting right to work on his first full day in office. Governor Pritzker is signing an executive order to help make state government more transparent. Another aims to help close the gender pay gap.

 

 

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The order also makes fighting wage theft in Illinois a priority. Additionally, Pritzker says his administration is moving to restore step increases for many state union workers.

 

State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) will once again take on extra responsibilities as a part of the Senate Republican leadership team. He was appointed to the role of Assistant Republican Leader. Barickman has served in the Illinois Senate since 2013, after serving one term in the House. Barickman has also served in a number of leadership roles on committees, including as Republican Spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as the Co-Chair of the bicameral, bipartisan Legislative Audit Commission.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Snow is on the ground and more snow is projected on its way this weekend. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is offering some snowmobile safety tips. I-D-N-R spokesperson Tim Schweizer says not to drink and drive on snowmobiles..

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Tim Schweizer

 

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge in central Illinois has denied defense motions to suppress evidence in the case of a 28-year-old man charged in the kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China. The judge accepted FBI assertions that agents obtained the voluntary consent of Brendt Christensen's wife to search their apartment.

 

 

(undated--jc)  When politicians make decisions to shift public money in one direction or another, a new report says it’s rarely effective and usually means lost value, costing taxpayers in the long run.The report from Virginia-based Institute for Pension Fund Integrity estimates that politically-charged investing such as pension fund managers pulling money from tobacco companies, for example, costs public retirement pensions billions of dollars.Cited in the report is the now-infamous decision of the California Public Employees' Retirement System to divest from tobacco corporations costing the fund nearly $3 billion over a 14-year period. As of February 2018, the fund had 68 percent of what it would need to fund retirements.Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs found the national spotlight last fall when he joined other treasurers in calling for Facebook to force founder Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish his dual role as board chairman and CEO of the social media giant, threatening the company with the divestment of the funds he controlled.

 

(Cullom--jc)  The annual scholarship auction for F-F-A members at Tri Point High School in Cullom is set for today. A silent auction and meal start the event at 5 this afternoon at Kempton American Legion Hall. The live auction portion of the fundraiser begins at 6-30 tonight.

 

 

(Ford County--jc)  --The trials for 3 Ford County men charged with several crimes as part of a terrorist group will continue in early February. 47 year old Michael Hari, 29 year old Michael McWhorter and 23 year old Joe Morris, all from Clarence, face charges including the bombing of a Champaign women’s clinic and bombing a mosque in Minnesota. They all appeared in various courts in November.  More court appearances are expected as trials could begin on February 5th.

 

 

(Mahomet--jc)  -- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker pledged to deliver a balanced budget, a promise that one Republican state senator said could make it difficult for the governor to keep the spending promises he made during his campaign. The governor says a balanced budget won’t be easy, but he wants to confront the challenge. Local State Senator Chapin Rose, Republican from Mahomet, says with the current fiscal year already out of balance, and sectors like higher education asking for an additional $314 million, plus $814 million more for pensions, the majority party and the governor will have to tighten their belts. Rose says the democrat super majorities  have a problem to keep all they have promised during the campaign. But Rose said Pritzker won the right to deliver a budget and he’ll wait to see what is proposed.Pritzker is expected to give his budget address next month.

 

(Buckley--jc)  They are in need of donations and your appetite for an event on Sunday February 17th. The annual fundraiser for St Johns Lutheran school and carnival is set and organizers are looking for donation items for the silent auction . A chicken dinner and carnival also hi-lite the day’s events. To donate items, you may call the school in Buckley. All donations are tax deductible.

 

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J-B Pritzker is Now Illinois' 43rd Governor

(Springfield--ab) J-B Pritzker is now Illinois' 43rd Governor…and is outlining a vision of what he calls “possibility and promise.” At the inauguration ceremony…Governor Pritzker talked about some of his goals, including moving to a graduated income tax system, legalizing recreational marijuana, and raising the minimum wage in Illinois.

 

 

Pritzker also discussed the need for road and bridge repairs, making government more efficient and passing a truly balanced state budget.

 

 

(Buckley--ab) Start Super Bowl Sunday with a “Taste of Italy” in the Crusader Hall of Buckley Christ Lutheran High School. The lunch on February 3rd of Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread, drinks, and dessert is at the cost of a freewill donation. The donation is ensuring that students get the same opportunities as every other student says Buckley Christ Lutheran Executive Director Sandy Spitz

 

 

Buckley Christ Lutheran Executive Director Sandy Spitz

 

 

(Illinois--ba)-A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and and affecting patient care. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett reports.

 

 

 

 

(Undated--ab) Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement in response to Governor J.B. Pritzker's inaugural address: Schneider contends that Governor Pritzker’s agenda will be the same agenda that has dragged our state down for decades - borrow, tax, spend, repeat. Over the course of the election and again yesterday, Pritzker promised billions of dollars in new spending, programs, and regulations, all of which our state cannot afford. Schneider added that he feels the promises by Pritzker to support legislative leadership term limits and an independent redistricting commission - two initiatives supported by the Illinois Republican Party  are just empty promises. The Republican leader says its a wait and see for his party as they will hold the democratic leaders accountable for the promises they made during the campaign.


 

(Rantoul--ab) Approving a 10,000 micro loan to A House of Flowers is on the table for tonight’s Village of Rantoul’s Board of Trustees meeting. Other items that require action will be a micro loan of 30,000 dollars at a 2% interest rate. to Elite Pro Lawns and approve the purchase of an Asphalt Patching Trailer valued at 34,415.00 dollars.

 

(roberts--jc)  Liquidating the books at the Roberts Library remains a topic for local leaders in the Ford County community. Roberts Village President Rick Flessner says an open house to have the public stop in to get books will take place sometime this Spring…

 

Roberts Village President Rick Flessner.


 

(Ford County--jc)  -- A large swine operation is being proposed for a rural area in western Ford County. The Ford County board is hosting a meeting on Thursday  at the Sullivant Township Hall in Sibley beginning at 5pm. The purpose of the meeting is to get public input about the proposed swine operation. The meeting will be ran by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

 

(Paxton--ab) Paxton Illinois used to be named Prospect City and the town in 2019 is seeing all sorts of business prospects opening up in the Ford County town. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says 53 out of 59 storefronts have businesses inside of them.

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Springfield--ab) 53rd district State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington has the task of being part of the minority party in Springfield. Democrat J B Pritzker was sworn into office on Monday. Barickman says regardless of who

took his oath of office last week and looks ahead to the problems that need solved no matter the party of the Governor.

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington

 

(Springfield--ba)-With the inauguration completed, lawmakers continue to expand gambling in the state and legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults, and while both seem to have strong support and the backing of the next governor, approval could hinge on the details. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.

 

 

(Champaign--ab) A Parkland College arts department received the major gift of a $150,000 donation from a local physician who had taken classes in the department. On Jan. 7, family members of the late Dr. Victor Feldman presented the Parkland College Foundation with the gift, designated to support Ceramics, a studio-art department within the college's Art and Design program. A longtime Champaign-Urbana ophthalmologist who passed away last May, Dr. Feldman began taking Parkland Ceramics classes after his retirement, discovering a new skill he enjoyed for many years thereafter.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Former Gifford resident Mike Frerichs was inaugurated again as the State Treasurer on Monday in Springfield. Frerichs took the oath of office again and talked about life, story telling of Mark Twain  and the financial gains of the office under his leadership. The Champaign County resident also was thankful for a strong family…

 

 

Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs.

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- A ribbon cutting ceremony for newly renovated apartments in downtown Paxton is set for Thursday at 11am. The event for the 2nd floor apartments above the Edward Jones-Kief Realty-Paxton Chamber offices. The Royce Baier family has completed the renovations and an open house is also set for Thursday.

 

(Paxton--jc)  One local church is hosting a family night on Friday. The Paxton Church of Christ is the venue for board games, pizza, and snacks. The event starts at 6-30 pm at the Church on Paxton’s west side. More information is found by contacting the church. The public is invited

 

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It's Inauguration Day in Springfield

( Undated--jc)  -- Parts of central Illinois have registered record snowfalls after a winter storm struck and then lingered for much of the weekend. Springfield broke a 55-year record for daily snowfall on Saturday. It cites the National Weather Service as saying the 8.4 inches of snow that fell on the capital, Total snowfall at the state capitol is 12 inches. Nearby Jacksonville led the snow totals with nearly 16 inches. In the McLean County town of Normal 10 inches of snow fell over the weekend.

8 inches fell in Tuscola, 9 inches fell in Dwight. In Chatsworth 7 inches of snow fell. In Odgen 6 inches of snow hit the ground. The same for the Champaign Urbana Rantoul area and just over 6 inches fell in the Paxton area and into Southern Iroquois County.

 

 

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Leo P. Schmitz regretfully announces the line of duty death of ISP District 15 (Downers Grove) Trooper Christopher Lambert. On January 12, 2019, at approximately 4:45 p.m., Trooper Christopher Lambert #6527, was on scene of a three-vehicle traffic crash, in the left lane on I-294 near Willow Road. While handling that crash another vehicle in traffic failed to stop and struck Trooper Lambert while he was outside of his patrol car. Trooper Lambert sustained serious injuries as a result the crash and was given CPR by an off duty nurse, before being transported to Glenbrook Hospital. At approximately 7:24 p.m., Trooper Lambert succumbed to his injuries

 

SPRINGFIELD – In his final clemency review, Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday granted ­­­­­­30 clemency requests and 4 commutations. He denied 268 requests. It is important to note that the backlog from previous administrations has been cleared and there are currently no pending clemency petitions in the Office of the Governor. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police  Law Enforcement Agencies Data System.



 

(Paxton--ba) The Paxton Buckley Loda Show Choir is in their competition season.

P-B-L Show Choir Director Christina Mauck talks about their first competition, and what audiences can expect to see from the students of PBL for this season.

 

 

PBL Show Choir director Christina Mauck

 

(Gilman-jc)  --  COUNTRY Financial along with Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau will host an informational crop meeting on January 23rd beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Farm Bureau Building in Gilman.  A light breakfast of rolls, juice and coffee will be served.     Doug Yoder, COUNTRY Financial Crop Agency Manager, will discuss changes to the Federal Crop Insurance Program for 2019.    Reservations are not needed. For more information, call 815-265-4712.

 

SPRINGFIELD – Friday, Governor. Bruce Rauner signed into law legislation eliminating unnecessary and impractical barriers to important sun protection methods for children in Illinois.Current law requires students to bring a physician’s prescription to possess or use sunscreen at their school or camp due to sunscreen’s classification as an over-the-counter drug by the FDA. House Bill 4685 will allow students to possess sunscreen while on school property or at a school-sponsored event without a physician's note. In addition, schools must implement a curriculum that teaches students about skin cancer and how to reduce the risk for it.

This legislation will go into effect immediately.

 

(Buckley--ab) Buckley Christ Lutheran is hosting a free will donation spaghetti Dinner in early February. The event is set for February 3rd from 11 AM to 2 PM. Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz provides some details for the fundraising event...

 

 

C-L-H-S Executive Director Sandy Spitz

 

 

(Paxton--ab) Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold represents  the city for the “Grand Ole Flag” project. The idea was initiated by Paxton Fire Chief Dennis Kingren. Mayor Ingold talks about the city council’s role in making this dream into reality...

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Paxton--jc)  The next step in the process to place a 150 foot pole structure to fly a huge American Flag on Paxton’s west side  is a meeting with the local school district. The Grand Ole Flag committee organizer Denny Kingren is set to meet with Paxton Buckley Loda High School school board member Dave Bachtold on Wednesday to look at possibilities for the site and a proposed path to a site for the structure. The Paxton Grand Ole Flag committee continues to meet to find ways to fund the project, look at the possibilities for place, liabilities, start up and yearly costs maintain a huge American Flag near Interstate 57.

 

(Springfield--jc)  --The partial government shutdown means some visitors to see the Abraham Lincoln sites may see the museum, but not other sites. Visitors to Lincoln's home in Springfield are leaving disappointed, but the managers at Lincoln's presidential museum are looking to change that. Lincoln's Home is a National Park. Meaning the federal government oversees it. Lincoln's presidential library and museum is a state asset. Meaning it's not closed during the partial government shutdown.Chris Wills with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum said officials are considering a plan to have employees from Lincoln's museum head over to Lincoln's home so both can stay open. Willis says there are a lot of details to work out for the sites to open with volunteers.

 

 

(Chicago--jc) --- Illinois' next governor plans to match the state salaries of his top employees with his own money, a practice that one Republican lawmaker said raises enough ethical questions that he's considering filing legislation to prohibit it.Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker created a private entity called East Jackson Street LLC to funnel private dollars to match the taxpayer-funded state salaries of his top aides such as deputy governors and communication staff, according to multiple media reports. State Representative  Grant Wehrli, Republican -Naperville, says he has concerns about augmenting state employee salaries with private dollars.

 

(Paxton--jc)  State police and Paxton Firefighters were on the scene of multiple crashes in the southbound lanes of Interstate 57 on Sunday afternoon. Police say the snow covered roadway, motorists traveling too fast and a high volume of college traffic was the cause. Paxton firefighters were called out  several times to help with the accidents. Traffic in the Paxton area was opened back to full traffic around 7 last night.

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Residents of a central Illinois city can glimpse what it's like for those whose only shelter is their car while raising money for a group that supports homeless people. The third annual Night In A Car homelessness simulation will be held in February at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bloomington. The program, organized by Trinity Lutheran and Home Sweet Home Ministries — which provides services for the homeless— aims to highlight the difficulties faced by homeless people who sleep in their cars by having participants do the same for one night. Up to 250 people are homeless on any given night in Bloomington-Normal, and some of those live in their cars, said Mary Ann Pullin, CEO of Home Sweet Home.

 

DANVILE, Ill. (AP) — Police in the Eastern Illinois community of Danville have arrested an 18-year-old man in the slaying of a woman whose body was found in a motel room earlier this month.  Danville police detectives arrested Henry D. Graham of Danville on Friday afternoon on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 29-year-old Tara Jackson of St. Joseph. On Jan. 3, the woman's body was found in a Danville motel after having apparently been strangled. Police determined that Jackson and Graham knew each other but have not provided any details about why they believe Graham killed her.

 

(Springfield--ab) Despite the federal government shutdown…state officials says snap benefits will be available through February. Snap benefits…which used to be called food stamps, will be distributed around January 20th. Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas says that allocation is for February food needs.

 

 

Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas

About one point eight million Illinoisans receive snap benefits.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  The state capitol will be busy today. Its inauguration day in Springfield. Democrat elect J B Pritzker becomes governor in ceremonies that begin at 11 this morning in Springfield.

 

(Urbana-jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a deceased female discovered inside a burning garage in the 600 block of South Church Street in Homer, Illinois on the evening of January 11, 2019. Angela Lewis, age 57, of Homer, Illinois was removed from the burned garage by Homer Firefighters and pronounced dead at the scene by the coroner at 5:55PM, on January 11, 2019. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility. The Champaign County Coroner’s Office, Champaign County Sheriff’s Department, Homer Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal are investigating this death. An inquest may be held at a later date.


 

(Iroquois County--jc)  -- This years officers for the Iroquois County Fair are set for 2019. Elected to the board are Paul Ahlden, Dave Arseneau, Harold Copas, Dave Perzee, and Marvin Perzee. Jayme Senffner of Clifton and Larry Haigh of Chebanse were elected to serve their first two year term on the Fair Board, John Brassard of Milford retired after 8 years and Don Wilken of Loda retired after 60 years. Long serving fair President Marvin Perzee announced that he was stepping down as President due to health issues. An election was held and Paul Ahlden was elected President, Marvin Perzee, First-Vice President and Kathy McTaggart 2nd Vice President. Contracts were renewed for Brian Zecher, Treasurer, Pat Ward, Secretary, and Debbie Krones, Competitive Exhibits Coordinator.

 

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Winter Storm Coming to Parts of Central and Southern Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for parts of central and southern Illinois with as many as 7 inches of snow forecast.Weather service officials say the snow is expected to begin late Friday in central and southern Illinois developing from a winter storm system in the southwestern U.S. Snow is expected to continue into Saturday, sometimes mixed with rain. The heaviest amounts are expected to be between 5 and 7 inches west and southwest of Springfield to Shelbyville to Olney. Slippery road conditions are expected. No weather watches or warning were in effect for Illinois north of Bloomington. But weather service forecasters say from Ford and Iroquois County to northern Illinois can expect between 1 and 3 inches of snow late Friday and into the weekend.

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Residents who live with daily pain or who have difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities can get help from a free clinic at Parkland College starting Tuesday January 29th. The Learning Information for Everyday or Life Clinic, offered by the Parkland College Occupational Therapy Assistant program, offers simple strategies to conserve energy or can recommend or construct an assistive device to help residents navigate their activities better.  The LIFE Clinic will offer services Tuesdays, 9 to 11 a.m., from Jan. 29 through March 19. For more information or to seek assistance through the clinic, please call O-T-A Program Director Michelle Roberts at  217-353-2782.

 

(Springfield--ab) As Governor Bruce Rauner’s term comes to a close…he’s talking about his future plans. Spending time with friends and family is first on the governor’s to-do list when he leaves office. He says he will also return to the private sector, building businesses and backing entrepreneurs…

 

 

Rauner says the best part of being governor has been meeting people all over Illinois. The worst part was not getting done all he hoped to accomplish.

 

 

(Springfield--ab) The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging the public to get ready for this weekend’s cold and snow. IEMA spokesperson Rebecca Clark says now is a good time to make sure your home is winterized to prevent frozen pipes…and that you have an emergency kit on hand with things like water, a first aid kit and spare batteries.

 

 

Clark says Illinois averages about five winter storms each season. Parts of central and southwestern Illinois are forecasted to possibly get several inches of snow.

 

 

(Farmer City--jc)  -- A State trooper who was fatally injured in an accident near Farmer City in June of 2017 will be honored by his high school on Saturday. State Trooper Ryan Albin was killed in an accident while on duty. The Blue Ridge School District along with State Police will honor his memory by retiring his high school jersey at the Blue Ridge Knights game on Saturday. The J-V game starts at 5-30 Saturday afternoon and organizers invite classmates, family and friends to wear jerseys and come to honor the memory of Albin.

 

 

(Springfield--ab)More reaction coming from state legislators as the 101st General Assembly was sworn in this week.  State Representative Chris Welch of Westchester says priorities include down the state’s backlog of bills and addressing pension payments and a new income tax system…

 

 

State Representative Chris Welch of Westchester

 

(Piatt County--jc)  A Social Security scam has appeared again in the local area.Officials in Piatt County and Farmer City say local residents have received a phone call from someone posing as a Social Security representative. Police say the number that pops up seems to be legitimate but it is not. Police remind the public, to not give out personal information. Any questions about this or any suspected scam may be made to your local police department.

 

SPRINGFIELD – First Lady Diana Rauner announced Thursday that the Illinois Governor’s Mansion received a LEED Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. The designation, which follows a full $15 million privately-funded renovation, addresses multiple categories related to sustainability, including energy efficiency, green cleaning, and air quality. Mrs Rauner says the LEED Silver certification is an accomplishment of which the entire state can be proud.

 

(Paxton--ab)This is  Radon Awareness month.  Christy Wallace with the Ford County Public Health department says Radon presents many dangers to the public...

 

 

Christy Wallace with the Ford County Public Health department

 

 

(Watseka--jc)   Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers has announced that Mobile Home privilege tax bills will be sent out the first week of March. Those with address changes or mobile homes that have been destroyed are asked to call the  Iroquois County Treasurer’s Office at 815-432-6985.


 

(Illinois--ba) 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington heads back to Springfield as a member of the minority party. The Republican says with the super majority of Democrats in the State Senate, his commitment continues to be those living in East Central Illinois...

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman

 

 

(Paxton--ab) The City of Paxton Streetscape program is taking some positive steps.  Paxton will be getting a minor facelift in upcoming months as part of a cityscape project. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says he has been in contact with people to get the project started.

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

 

(Ford County--jc)  -- A large swine operation is being proposed for a rural area in western Ford County. The Ford County board is hosting a meeting on Thursday January 17th at the Sullivant Township Hall in Sibley beginning at 5pm. The purpose of the meeting is to get public input about the proposed swine operation. The meeting will be ran by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

 

 

(Bradley--ba)-A credit union in Bradley is warning residents and businesses about fake currency floating around the area that looks strikingly real except for a couple key tipoffs that show the paper is prop money used in movies after a rash of similar incidents throughout the state. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.

 

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation giving the Illinois Department of Corrections authority to sell the closed Hardin County Work Camp to Hardin County for $1. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports the move will let officials move forward with plans to reopen the Cave in Rock facility as a multi-county jail.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials have accepted a more than $10 million bid from a contractor to repair the deteriorating Illinois State Fair Coliseum. The State Journal-Register reports that Springfield-based R.D. Lawrence Construction Co. was awarded the contract Friday. The company hopes to begin construction in the coming weeks. A large focus of the renovation will be on the roof.

 

During Wednesday’s inauguration of the 101st Illinois General Assembly…lawmakers provided a glimpse of some of their priorities for the new year. While some talked about the need for a progressive income tax system and fighting crime…House Minority Leader Jim Durkin touched on the increasing number of people leaving Illinois.

 

 

Durkin says it’s time to work together to address the issues. Lawmakers also face more than seven billion dollars in unpaid state bills and a massive pension burden.

 

 

One local community’s school is having their monthly school board meeting. Rantoul public schools has their meeting on January 14th. Beyond reading various reports they will have items such as a. Track Team Trip Proposal b. Appoint Superintendent to Prepare FY20 Budget c. Approval of additional English Learner Teaching Position for 2019-2020 School Year.

 

 

(Fithian--jc)  Republicans find themselves in a similar position in state government, in the minority to the democratic party. 101st District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian was sworn into the 101st General Assembly on Wednesday. Marron talks about working for the benefit of his constituents  in the local area…

 

101st District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian

 


 

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Illinois Has The Most Democratic Lawmakers serving in Springfield In More Than Five Decades

(Springfield--jc)  --  The new session of the Illinois Legislature is underway with the largest percentage of Democratic lawmakers serving in Springfield in more than five decades.Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton and GOP House leader Jim Durkin and Senate leader Bill Brady all were re-elected Wednesday to their leadership posts.Outgoing Governor Bruce Rauner presided over the Senate swearing-in. He leaves office Monday, when Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritkzer will be inaugurated.Democrats now have a 74-44 House majority and a 40-19 majority in the Senate. That's the largest percentage of Democrats since 1964.

 

MANTENO, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs says it's taking action after a case of Legionnaires' disease was confirmed at a home for veterans.The department says it was alerted early Tuesday by hospital medical staff that a resident of the Manteno Veterans' Home had tested positive for the flu-like illness.IDVA Director Stephen Curda says he directed staff to notify all residents or their next of kin or power of attorneys. The department also is activating a water safety response plan, which includes testing the water and checking residents' vital signs more often.Thirteen residents died and dozens of others were sickened after a 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the veterans' home in Quincy. Gov. Bruce Rauner faced heavy criticism for not immediately alerting residents or the public.

 

 

(St Joseph--jc)  A car crash blocked the east bound lanes of Interstate 74 early Wednesday morning . Police say that traffic was re-routed around the accident scene just east of St Joseph from 4-30am to around 7am.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- If you received unemployment benefits in 20-18, keep an eye out for your tax forms.Unemployment recipients have to pay taxes on their benefits and need the 10-99-G form in order to file. State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough says if you requested an electronic copy, it should be in your email…

 


State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough.

The State paid more than 1 point 73 Billion dollars in unemployment benefits to more than 346 thousand people last year.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  -- Notice is hereby given that a public hearing will be held by the City of Gibson City Planning Commission on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Villas of Hollybrook Dining Room located at 1400 N Melvin Street, Gibson City, Illinois. The hearing is a continuation of the January 7, 2019 meeting and will involve the discussion of changes to the City of Gibson Zoning Ordinances for residential and commercial districts as they relate to wind and solar power energy.

 

 

There will be no shortage of milk for hungry families in Illinois – in fact, there may be too much. Food banks across Illinois are facing a unique challenge. They have just a few months to hand out over 315,000 gallons of milk.The United States Department of Agriculture is donating the milk because it wasn't sold due to the tariff tit-for-tat. The U-S-D-A donations have started to arrive and  will keep coming through March.

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- Continued population loss means Illinois will have to say goodbye to one at least one of its 18 congressional representatives after the 2020 Census. Election Data Services recently released its annual projections of which states will gain and lose U.S. Representatives at the next turn of the decade. The projections show Illinois’ 18th Representative will almost certainly be removed and given to another state, said Kimball Brace with Election Data Services.Other states projected to lose seats include Alabama, California, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, according to EDS. New York is projected to lose two representatives.

A new Illinois legislative session got underway Wednesday with Democrats firmly in control but both parties pledging to turn the page on years of budget stalemates, government dysfunction and name-calling.Democrat Michael Madigan, already the longest-serving state House speaker in U.S. history, was easily elected to his 19th term. Other leaders — Senate President John Cullerton and GOP leaders Rep. Jim Durkin and Sen. Bill Brady — also were re-elected.It was Madigan who was the target of most of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's attacks during a years-long state budget impasse

 

Ashkum, IL. – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announced activity and enforcement figures for December 2018. Illinois State Police District 21 Troopers issued 572 citations, 801 written warnings, including 13 DUIs, 23 seatbelt citations, 31 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 128 motorists, conducted 108 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 85 traffic crashes. There was one fatal crash investigated by District 21 in December.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  – Gibson Area Hospital Baby Central welcomed Harper Ann Hills as the first baby of 2019.  Harper Ann arrived January 7, 2019, at 2:20 p.m. weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. Harper Ann was welcomed into the world by her parents Jaymee Smith and Danny Hills from Hoopeston and joins two siblings at home. Harper Ann was delivered by M-D Doug Lanoue.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders will look to approve several micro loans for local businesses. On the 15th, the Rantoul village board will take official action on a 10 thousand dollar loan and 10 thousand dollar facade grant for A House of Flowers and a 30 thousand dollar micro-loan for Elite Pro. The village board regular monthly meeting comes to order on Tuesday at 6pm

 

(Gibson City--jc)  Republicans find themselves in a similar position in state government, in the minority to the democratic party. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City was sworn into the 101st General Assembly on Wednesday. Bennett says his hope is the majority party will work for all Illinoisans…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Ford County--jc)  Do you want to be a member of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association? One local county is pushing for new members. Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran says association dues notices were sent out this month and the group is looking for new members. Individuals can join the Illinois Sheriff’s Association for 20 dollars. The dues for businesses is 50 dollars. The mission statement of the group is to continue to make communities in Illinois safer places to live and work.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- One bill passed on Wednesday morning before the new assembly was sown in at the state capitol will let the governor appoint new members to the Illinois Tollway board.  The second measure is to raise the salaries of nearly 50 department heads. Senate President John Cullerton says spending an additional 700 thousand dollars plus extra benefits is good for Illinois…

 

 

State of Illinois Senate President Democrat John Cullerton.

The measure will be one of the first for newly elected Illinois Governor J B Pritzker. He will be inaugurated on Monday in Springfield.

 

(Loda--jc)  -- On Southern Iroquois County town is hosting a family gospel group at one of its local churches on Sunday January 20th The Dysart Family Gospel Group is set to perform at the Loda United Methodist Church. Refreshments will be served and a free will offering be collected. The Dysarts are a mom and dad group that performs with their 5 children.

 

 

(Champaign--jc ) Champaign Police are investigating a car crash into a local business this morning. Police say the driver of a car crashed into the Manzellas restaurant along First street in Champaign earlier this morning. Police are on the scene at this hour. WPXN news will update this story as more official information is given.

 

 

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101st General Assembly to be Inaugurated Today

(Chicago--ab) Nearly one-in-three American households experiences a dramatic change in income each year, and new research reveals this volatility could have a serious impact on health. Researchers collected data over a 15-year period from nearly four thousand people living in four diverse U-S cities, including Chicago. Study author Tali Elfassy says they found a connection between unpredictable variations in personal income during young adulthood and an increased risk of heart disease, or dying from any cause.

 

 

Study author Tali Elfassy

The research was published Monday in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- While no legislation has been filed, Gov. Bruce Rauner and some politicians have said that lame duck lawmakers could spring a gas tax hike at the last minute, but that idea seems to be fizzling out. However, a motor fuel tax increase could dominate the next legislature that’s seated Wednesday. Rauner's former Transportation Secretary, Randy Blankenhorn, recently said that raising the gas tax would raise money needed to maintain and modernize the state's infrastructure. Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also recently called for a 20 to 30 cent per gallon gas tax increase to pay for roads. Midwest Truckers Association Executive Vice President Don Schaefer said it’s not a matter of if, but when, the gas tax hike debate is coming. But he said it needs to be addressed fairly.

 

 

(Springfield--ab) House lawmakers are approving two bills requested by Governor-elect J-b Pritzker. The first would boost the salaries of 49 state agency directors and assistant directors by 15 percent. Representative Christian Mitchell of Chicago is sponsoring the legislation.

 

 

Representative Christian Mitchell of Chicago

The second bill removes current Illinois tollway board members so the new governor can appoint replacements. Both measures now need senate approval.


 

(China--ab)  -- Trade relations with China is really souring US Soybean farmers. WPXN News reporter Austin Burklund has the details.

 

 

 

(Watseka--jc)  -- There are two tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early. The Pap test looks for precancerous cells, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately. The H-P-V test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes. Women should begin having regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21. In addition to these screenings, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention  recommends that pre-teens should get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12. This vaccine can prevent HPV and therefore provides protection against cervical cancer. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can get the vaccine. More information is found by calling your county public health department.


 

(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is reflecting on his accomplishments and is offering  some advice for the new assembly that meets today in Springfield. He submitted an end of term report to the legislature on Tuesday. In the report, the governor hi-lighted strides made in education, government red tape and moving the state into the digital age…

 

 

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

The governor says he would like to see lawmakers pass term limits and work to reduce property taxes in the state.

 

(Decatur--jc)  --The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has confirmed that it has launched two separate investigations into explosions at ADM corn processing plants in Iowa and Illinois over the weekend.One firefighter was killed and one other was injured Saturday in a fire and explosion at the ADM facility in Clinton, Iowa. Hours earlier, an explosion occurred at another ADM corn plant in Decatur, Illinois. No one was hurt.The explosion at the Illinois plant comes just two months after another fire and explosion in the grain elevator that serves the company's corn and soybean plants at the Decatur complex.

 

 

(Clifton--jc)  Iroquois County Fair will be looking for a new president this year. Longtime Iroquois County Fair President Marvin Perzee is stepping down from the position he has held since 1972. He has served the fair since 1966. Under his guidance, the fair has grown  and draws thousands of exhibitors and thousands of spectators to the annual event at the fairgrounds north of Crescent City along Route 49.

 

 

(Roberts--ab)  -- The Village of Roberts board meeting had a town vs. county showdown on Monday night. The issue is whether Ford county will ever enact the resolution brought by the village of Roberts regarding a windmill ordinance. Village Mayor Richard Flessner has the details on the encounter.

 

 

Roberts Village Mayor Richard Flessner

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has concluded the legislative session by thanking lawmakers for persevering through an "epic struggle" over the budget with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. The House finished its two-year term Tuesday. The 101st General Assembly will be inaugurated today. Rauner will be replaced Monday by Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker. Democrat Madigan credited Republican as well as Democratic members for bucking Rauner in July 2017 to adopt a tax hike and approve a budget.

 

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears received another possible lifeline Tuesday when the company's chairman and largest shareholder promised to line up the necessary financing to keep the struggling department store chain afloat. The reprieve came after what Sears lawyers described to a bankruptcy judge in New York as "round-the-clock" negotiations following the company board's initial rejection of Eddie Lampert's proposal, which sought to preserve 425 stores and 50,000 workers. According to lawyers close to the matter, one of the main sticking points was that the bid didn't include cash. The revised version now requires Lampert to deposit $120 million by 4 p.m. Wednesday through his ESL hedge fund.

 

 

 

(Champaign-jc)  - You may see some mobile trailers in Champaign awaiting firefighters this morning. 4 mobile trailers have been  delivered to the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign. The trailers and items inside will be used for training purposes. Many fire departments throughout the WPXN listening area will get the chance to use the trailers for fire protection training. A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for 10 this morning at the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign. The 4 trailers and contents were purchased for 175 thousand dollars  of state funds. Fire Marshal Matt Perez was instrumental in lobbying for and getting the funds. The equipment will be shipped to various parts of Illinois for training purposes. They will be made available to local fire departments at no cost.

 

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Lawsuit Filed over Fatal Bus Crash in McLean County

(McLean County---jc)  -- A lawsuit was filed over a bus versus semi crash in McLean County. The accident happened on December 5th near Downs along Interstate 74. Bloomington resident Kathleen Crabtree is suing the Jason Farrell Trucking company.  Her husband Charlie Crabtree was fatally injured in the mishap. Crabtree is suing the company for 50 thousand dollars plus court costs


 

CHICAGO (AP) — World War II fighter pilot John Lyle, a Tuskegee Airman, has died at the age of 98.Lyle died Saturday at his home on Chicago's South Side, his wife, Eunice, said Monday. She added that Lyle had been battling prostate cancer. The members of the nation's first black fighter squadron won acclaim for their aerial prowess and bravery, despite a military that imposed segregation on its African-American recruits while respecting the rights of German prisoners.

Lyle, who named his plane "Natalie" after his first wife, was credited with shooting down a German Messerschmitt. The Tuskegee Airmen trained at the Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul during the 1940s.

 

 

(Loda--ab) The Loda American Legion is hosting an all you can eat chicken and fish fry on Friday January 11th from 4:30-7:00 PM. Cost is 8 dollars for adults. Children 8 and under eat for free.

 

 

(Paxton--ab) One local diner has closed its doors.  The Little Chef Diner at 560 S. John Street on Paxton’s west side officially closed their doors. The diner which served American staples with a Spanish flair opened in Paxton in late March of 2018. No word was given on the future of the former Pizza Hut building that has hosted two failed restaurant ventures.

 

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker wants to offer cabinet members salaries 15 percent higher than current law allows to lure top talent. Legislation to bump the salaries of the agency directors and assistant directors is under consideration in the General Assembly. Jordan Abudayyeh is spokeswoman for the incoming Democrat. She says current salaries are not competitive.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Grand Ole Flag committee met last night at the Paxton Firehouse to look at ways to raise the 45 to 50 thousand dollars to get the project of placing a  large community on the city’s west side. The local group has already received several donations. The project is seeking the approval of the Paxton Buckley Loda School District along with the City of Paxton. The group will have to get approval for the project from the F-A-A and state due to the height of the proposed flag and its proximity to Interstate 57.


 

(Illinois--ba)

WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the information you need to know about the 60th Miss County Fair Queen Pageant.

 

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois State Police Merit Board have partnered to produce a recruitment video, which displays the virtues of public service and aims to inspire men and women to join the ISP ranks.

The unique six-minute film was commissioned by ISP Merit Board member and Chicago-based businessman, Andrew T. Berlin. Berlin envisioned a tool that would help recruit high-caliber cadets.

 

(Lincoln--jc)  --The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for East Central Illinois from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Today. Gusts up to 45 mile per hour are possible. So be careful while driving, and bring your lawn items inside. Doug Quick will have a full look at today’s Storm team Forecast following this news cast.

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- Almost 180-thousand former students at for-profit adult education schools headquartered in Illinois will not have to pay back almost a half-billion dollars in student loan debt, under a settlement won by 49 state attorneys general, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The company, Career Education Corporation, is based in Schaumburg and currently runs mostly online schools under the names American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University. Eileen Boyce, a spokesperson for Attorney General Madigan, says the company misled many students about their job prospects after graduation, pressured them to enroll, and deceived them about costs and the ability to transfer credits.  Boyce says Illinois' new Student Loan Bill of Rights should prevent many of these problems going forward.

 

 

C-E-C has closed or phased out a number of its schools, including Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design and Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College, and Sanford-Brown.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton City leaders are expected to rescind an ordinance that would have given a helicopter located at the local airport to a armed services group in Vermilion County. The helicopter was believed to be abandoned by a former fixed-base-operator at the Paxton airport. After several inquiries the plan was to give the helicopter to the Westville Legion. Since that time the owner of the helicopter has come forward to claim the machine. Also on Tuesday’s agenda for the Paxton City council is a proposal for new home building incentives in the city. The Paxton City council meets at 7 Tuesday night on the second floor of city hall.

 

 

 

(Springfield--ab) --  Opponents of a proposed gas tax increase are rallying at the capitol. A group gathered in the capitol rotunda…urging lawmakers to say no to raising the motor fuel tax in Illinois. That includes Representative Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee.

 

 

No specific legislation has been introduced yet but a 20 to 30 cent per gallon hike has been suggested. supporters say the money is needed to pay for transportation projects.

 

 

Illinois is lagging behind in terms of adolescent anti-smoking campaigns WPXN News’ Austin Burklund has the story.

 

 

 

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — For the second time in three years, the lower Mississippi River is flooding in January. High water is moving downriver from the junction with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio crested over the weekend. The river is predicted to crest at Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday, at Vicksburg on Monday, at Natchez on Jan. 18 and at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by Jan. 20.Flooding of low-lying areas unprotected by levees will be widespread. Relatively few buildings are unprotected.  National Weather Service hydrologist Marty Pope says rainfall across the Ohio and Mississippi valleys caused the flood. Springtime is historically the river's flood season.


 

(Illinois--ba)-Illinoisans already pay among the highest gas taxes in the nation. But drivers in Illinois could be paying more taxes at the pump than any other state. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.

 

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former Democratic leader in the Illinois House has resigned his seat. Lou Lang announced Monday that he's ending his 32-year legislative career. The 69-year-old from Skokie has joined the lobbying firm Advantage Government Strategies. Lang resigned as deputy majority leader last May when a legislative activist accused him of sexual harassment. But legislative Inspector General Julie Porter announced in September that there was insufficient proof that Lang harassed or intimidated Maryann Loncar . Porter noted at the time that Loncar did not cooperate with the investigation. Lang sponsored legislation to create Illinois' medical marijuana program. He was also a leader on legalized gambling, capital construction and more.

 

 

(Champaign--ab)  High school and home school students and their families can learn more about an early college program that could reduce the time it takes to earn an associate's degree or bachelor's degree after high school. An informational session on the Early Transfer Academy (ETA) has been set for Monday, Jan. 28 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room U140 of Parkland College's Student Union. College faculty and administrators will be on hand to discuss the academy, its benefits to students, and the eligibility requirements for participation.

 

 

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Republicans Feel Process of Impeachment for President Donald Trump is Coming

(Springfield--jc)  --A central Illinois congressman now in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives is guaranteeing Democrats move to impeach President Donald Trump, a move he says will bring the nation’s capital to a halt. Democrats took over the U.S. House on a wave of anti-Trump sentiment in November.Now back as House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California was asked on the Today Show about possible impeachment of the president. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican from Taylorville says he expects impeachment proceedings regardless, and that will be a disservice to the American people.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A body pulled from a vehicle discovered submerged in a central Illinois lake has been identified as a 37-year-old man who's been missing since November. The Sangamon County Coroner's Office identified the body as Doug Cortelyou of Springfield. The coroner says there were no signs of foul play or injuries and lab tests are pending.A fisherman's sonar device detected the Chevrolet Silverado truck near a boat launch on Lake Springfield early Saturday. The man's body was found after the truck was removed from the lake.

Cortelyou had been missing since November 18.

 

 

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire students who attended certain for-profit schools and online courses will get nearly $5 million in debt relief. The Office of the Attorney General announced that New Hampshire is among 47 states included in the settlement involving Illinois-based Career Education Corp. CEC, a for-profit education company that operated schools nationwide, is required under the settlement to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and to forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally.

In New Hampshire, the company won't collect $4.6 million from 1,572 students. CEC has also agreed to pay $5 million to the states and New Hampshire will get $50,000.

 

(Monday--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are congratulating local Officer Austin Rosenbaum on his graduation from the Police Academy.  Officer Rosenbaum will start his active duty field training this week and will also then join the Gibson City Police Department.

 

NEW YORK (AP) — The federal agency tasked with guaranteeing U.S. airport security acknowledged an increase in the number of its employees calling off work during the partial government shutdown. Employees of the Transportation Security Administration are expected to work without pay during the shutdown because their jobs are considered essential. The T-S-A said in a statement,  that call outs that began over the holiday period have increased. The agency did not say how many of its employees have called out, but it said the call outs have had "minimal impact given that there are over 51 thousand 700 employees supporting the screening process." Wait times have been affected, but remain within T-S-A Standards.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has approved plans for enhanced safety at underground natural gas storage facilities. The Republican signed legislation Friday which authorizes the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to implement federal regulations for minimum safety standards.The Natural Resources Department and the Illinois Commerce Commission will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to monitor tank safety. Republican Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet  sponsored the legislation. He says it protects the Mahomet Aquifer in east-central Illinois. It supplies drinking water for 500,000 Illinois residents.

 

(Springfield--ab) Flu season is picking up in Illinois. There’s been an increase in flu cases the past couple of weeks and State Department of Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah says that's pretty typical for this time of year.

 

 

Shah says it’s impossible to tell if the flu has peaked in Illinois yet…since flu season can run through may. He notes that it’s definitely not too late to get your flu shot.

 

(Champaign--ab) Parkland College will host a free showing and panel discussion about a recently released documentary on suicide survival and loss.

"The S Word" will be shown Jan. 18 from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. in Room C118. Rattle the Stars, an organization focused on youth suicide prevention, is hosting the showing at Parkland College and other locations in the district. The film screening is open to the public, with Spanish subtitles available. Donations are appreciated.

.Other showings of "The S Word" will be held at these locations on the following dates:

  • Jan. 12, 9:30–11:45 a.m., Champaign Library Robeson Rooms A and B

  • Jan. 16, 6:30–8:45 p.m., Rantoul Township High School Cafetorium

  • Jan. 19: 10 a.m.–12:15 p.m., Mahomet Public Library Edgar Meeting Room

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- A Ford County man is facing 5 felony counts of aggravated battery from an incident last month. 45 year old Toby Price of Melvin was charged with the counts in Ford County court last week. Bond was set at 50 thousand dollars.

 

 

BRAIDWOOD, Ill. (AP) — A Will County teacher has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy. A not-guilty plea was entered Friday on behalf of Dayna Chidester, who was a teacher at Reed-Custer High School. The boy wasn't a student at the school. The 50-year-old cried in court as the charges were read. She's accused of having sex with the boy over four months, at her home, in her car and at motels. Investigators say they exchanged nude photos and explicit text messages. Chidester is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and other crimes. Bond was set at $1 million.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — American Airlines says a passenger's electronic cigarette caused a small fire on a flight from Las Vegas to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott says the e-cigarette's battery overheated shortly after Flight 168 landed Friday night. Scott says flight attendants stamped out the fire. No one was injured. The 138 passengers and crew of six taxied to a gate. The U.S. Transportation Department has banned e-cigarettes from checked bags because of the potential for them to catch fire. Passengers may put then in carry-on bags, but cannot use them aboard planes.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois General Assembly convenes this week, ushering in the Prairie State's third century with historic numbers of Democrats running the show and pent-up demand for action. Can they get any work done? Democrats have not surrendered control of either chamber of the Legislature for more than 15 years, but progress has been overshadowed by scandals that sent two successive governors to federal prison, backed-up bills and a long-overdue pension debt coming home to roost, and, in the past four years, ideological stalemate with the governor’s office that stalled the states basic spending plan. Governor elect J.B. Pritzker has  promises of a revamped and fairer income-tax structure, a capital construction plan to bolster roads and bridges, legalized marijuana use to help pay for it, and a boost in the minimum wage. The Senate seats 40 Democrats to 19 Republicans

 

 

(Wateka--jc)  Work on the new site of McDonalds  in Watseka has started. After a remodel at the Route 24 location and a second major flood event, the future of the  franchise was uncertain. The owners of the Watseka based business have chosen a site from two former businesses located several blocks east  along route 24 in Watseka. The properties of a flower business and burger king store were torn down last week and the new McDonalds is expected to open sometime this Spring.

 

 

(Springfield--ab) Entries are now being accepted for the  Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s radon awareness student art contest. The annual poster contest asks students to use their creative talents to promote radon awareness says the state’s Radon Program Manager Pat Daniels.

 

 

There’s also a video contest for high schoolers, where students are asked to create a 30 second you tube video about radon. The deadline to submit a video is March eighth.

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he will once again run for re-election. The announcement comes just days after a state representative from the same party threw her hat in the ring for his seat.The 74-year-old Springfield Democrat has said he’s "raising money and trying to lose some weight,” joking that’s what most politicians say when they’re running for re-election.  Durbin told C-N-N’s John Berman he is running for a 5th term

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that it must delay the release of key crop reports due to the partial government shutdown, leaving investors and farmers without vital information during an already tumultuous time for agricultural markets.The USDA had planned to release the closely watched reports Jan. 11 but said that even if the shutdown ended immediately , the agency's staff wouldn't have time to release the reports as scheduled. Congressional leaders met with President Donald Trump on Friday but there were no indications the shutdown would end soon.

 

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police say a state trooper who had been on unpaid leave since a 2015 shooting outside a restaurant has been fired.State police spokesman Lt. Matt Boerwinkle says  that the agency's merit board discharged Cody Garza for cause. Garza had been on unpaid leave since the August 2015 shooting outside a restaurant in Danville, as he was in town for a high school reunion. Prosecutors say Garza was off-duty when he fired his gun during an altercation with another man. No one was injured.

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Railway commuters traveling between St. Louis and Chicago have yet to see faster rail journeys, despite most of the Amtrak corridor's  nearly 2 Billion dollar upgrade concluding a year ago. Delays in installing and testing new GPS-related safety technology kept Amtrak trains from hitting high speeds of 90 mph during 2018, as the Illinois Department of Transportation originally projected.  Trains are not allowed to travel faster than 79-mph on the route.The Illinois agency projects that 90-mph speeds will be in place for Amtrak by the summer, with trains in the Bloomington area getting that speed later in the year.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Senate has confirmed a new U.S. attorney for central Illinois five months after President Donald Trump nominated him. John Milhiser has been the acting U.S. attorney for the 46-county region since that nomination. The Senate's unanimous voice vote solidifies his position as central Illinois' top federal prosecutor. Milhiser's office is overseeing several high-profile cases. That includes the pending trial of Brendt Christensen, who is awaiting trial on charges he kidnapped and killed a scholar from China, Yingying Zhang.Milhiser is a former Sangamon County state's attorney.

 

(Urbana--jc)  -- Bond for a Rantoul man accused of a marijuana possession and a handgun charge is due back in court today. Police say 47 year old Charles Hood was in possession of the controlled substance on Friday in Urbana. His bond was set at 30 thousand dollars on Saturday in Champaign County court.

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Can Apps Detect Depression and Suicidal Urges in Teens?

(Chicago--jc)  -Rising suicide rates and depression in U.S. teens and young adults have prompted researchers to ask a provocative question: Could the same devices that some people blame for contributing to tech-age angst also be used to detect it? The idea has sparked a race to develop apps that warn of impending mental health crises. Call it smartphone psychiatry or child psychology 2.0. Studies have linked heavy smartphone use with worsening teen mental health. But as teens scroll through Instagram and Snapchat, tap out texts or watch YouTube videos, they also leave digital footprints that might offer clues to their psychological well-being. Changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice and how often kids stay home could signal trouble, according to preliminary studies.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A court-appointed expert would guide the overhaul of health care for Illinois prison inmates in a proposed federal consent decree filed Thursday. Lawyers for approximately 40,000 state prison inmates announced that the Illinois Department of Corrections' agreement would settle an eight-year-old federal lawsuit alleging that prison health care is so inadequate it has led to needless deaths. A U.S. District judge in Chicago must approve the consent decree, in which the state admits no wrongdoing. It provides for a court-appointed monitor to oversee the complete reconstruction of prison-system health care. The monitor would assist in creating a plan for adequate staffing of medical and dental professionals and an outline for implementing other system-wide changes.

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- A company that owns two national for-profit college chains said Thursday that it will erase nearly $500 million in debt incurred by former students as part of a settlement with 48 states and the District of Columbia. The deal with Career Education Corporation will resolve allegations that it lied about job placement rates and misled potential students to get them to enroll. State attorneys general began investigating the company in 2014 following complaints from students and a damning report by the U.S. Senate.Company officials on Thursday said they deny any wrongdoing but called the settlement an "important milestone."

 

(Springfield--ab) December was warm and stormy in Illinois. The statewide average temperature last month was 34 degrees…which is more than four degrees above normal. Precipitation was also above normal says State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner.

 

 

The January forecast calls for below average precipitation for most of Illinois. temperatures are expected to be above average over the next week but then more typical for this time of year for the rest of the month.

 

(Paxton--ab) The Ford County Sheriff's office released the December 2018 action report. Ford County police issued 52 traffic citations . Of those 52, 40 were for speeding. Inmates had 399 mandays at the Ford county jail.

 

 

(Champaign--ab) The Parkland College Foundation and the Parkland College Athletics department have announced the newest members of the Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2018 will be honored at festivities Saturday, Jan. 26 in the Dodds Athletic Center, in conjunction with the Cobras Men's Basketball game versus Danville Area Community College. The game begins at 3 p.m. This is the 12th Hall of Fame class chosen since the inaugural induction ceremony in 2007.

The 2018 Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame class includes:

  • Marty Kirby '76, Baseball

  • Brittany Fallis Perez '09, Volleyball

  • Hannah Ohl Cronk, '11, Basketball

  • Heidi McKean Wlezien '09, Basketball of Cissna Park

  • Lennox Forrester '89, Basketball

  • Denise McGrath '02, Volleyball

  • Rebecca Koets '02, Softball



(Loda--ab) On Sunday January 20th at 7 PM The Loda United Methodist Church will host a free will donation concert featuring a family of singers. The Dysart Family offers Gospel Music fans unique, tight family harmonies, with a diverse and powerful selection of music. The Dysart Family, based out of Macon, Missouri, received several nominations for the Singing News Fan Awards and the Diamond Awards. They saw multiple radio singles do well in the Singing News Charts and other Gospel Music radio charts, reaching the Top 80 and Top 40.

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- “We are one Illinois.” This was a refrain from Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker during campaign season. It’s a nice sentiment. The state is short on pride and solidarity. But now that campaign season is over, how can Pritzker actually bring Illinois together?Take Chicago. In parts of Illinois, Chicago bears the brunt of the blame for all the state’s problems. The blame game arises from many factors: cultural, political, economic, racial and historical. Sometimes the criticism is warranted. Other times, 2.7 million Illinoisans near Lake Michigan are just convenient scapegoats.Either way, Illinois does not thrive when its largest city fails.Chicagoans know well the problems they face. Chicago’s homicide rate is the highest among major cities. Its municipal debt per capita is the highest, too. When it comes to the city’s schools, parent and teacher unrest often boils over.But oftentimes, Chicagoans are left powerless to bring about the structural change necessary to fix these problems.

 

Pope Francis is encouraging U.S. bishops meeting near Chicago to unify as the Roman Catholic church deals with a "crisis of credibility" stemming from the clergy sex abuse scandal. In an 7 page letter addressed to the bishops and released to the media Thursday,the pope  acknowledged that "no response or approach seems adequate" to the crisis. Still, he wrote, all church leaders must reckon with parishioners' pain, heal internal divisions and devise specific approaches that go beyond "creating new committees or improving flow charts."

 

BLOOMINGTON — The Jan. 14 bench trial of a Bloomington man charged in a triple homicide was postponed Thursday to May 13 as the state waits for DNA test results and McLean County judges juggle a busy spring calendar of murder cases. Sydney Mays is charged with the murders of two people. Fatally injured were 22 year old Nate Pena and 22 year old Cory Jackson. A small boy was also injured in the shooting in Bloomington.

 

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  One local pharmacy is being sold to a local buyer. Doug’s Compounding Pharmacy is being sold to Jenna Vogel. Vogel is originally from Gibson City. Doug Higgins will remain with the company as an employee. The company will continue to be a locally based business in the downtown area of Paxton.

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- The state’s Teachers Retirement System is offering the first round of pension buyout plans for Tier I pensioners as a way to lower the system's unfunded liability, but there’s no money yet, and a public finance watchdog worries things could go south.State lawmakers included pension buyout plans as part of this year’s budget, Lawmakers said the buyouts could save hundreds of millions of dollars over time. The plans would vary, but essentially would give the option to different classes of employees to accelerate some pension payouts in exchange for lesser overall benefits over time.TRS Communications Director Dave Urbanek said the first round of accelerated pension benefits is being offered with a second round later this year, but those opting in after getting all their benefit changes calculated will have to wait for the check.

 

(Springfield--ab) It’s radon awareness month and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is warning the public about the dangers of the gas. Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless so if your home has it, you’re probably unaware says State Radon Program Manager Pat Daniels. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer…and you should test for it about every two years.

 

 

There are also companies that will perform the test. You can find a list online at: radon dot illinois dot gov.


 

(Springfield--ab) Illinois State Police District 10 Captain Louis Kink wants to remind motorists to drive safely in the new year. In 2019, Illinois State Police in District 10 will be doing their part to keep the roadways safe by continuing to aggressively enforce all Illinois laws with an emphasis on the four most common causes of fatal traffic crashes “The Fatal Four”. “The Fatal Four” includes: DUI, Speeding, Seat Belt, and Distracted Driving. District 10 will begin aggressively enforcing two additional violations that contribute to road rage incidents and traffic crashes: Improper Use of the Left Lane and Following Too Closely. Improper Use of Left Lane  While traveling on an Interstate, vehicles must travel in the right lane, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when moving over for disabled vehicles parked on the shoulder and all stationary emergency vehicles.

 

(Rantoul-dg)-A fire in Rantoul has caused over $90,000 damage to a home on Kenneth Drive. Rantoul Fire Chief Ken Waters sais crew were called at around 9:30 yesterday morning to the 1400 block of Kenneth Drive where flames were coming from the kitchen. He said the cause was an electrical skillet that was left on in the kitchen.


 

 

 



 

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Growing of Hemp Gaining Ground

(Springfield--ab) The State Department of Agriculture is releasing details and proposed rules for growing industrial hemp in Illinois. The public will have 45 days to comment on the regulations…and then a legislative committee will discuss and approve the rules. Then the Department of Ag will start accepting license applications to grow industrial hemp says Medicinal Bureau Chief Jeff Cox.

 

 

Cox says he’s been receiving a lot of calls from farmers anxious to grow hemp. Even before the new farm bill was signed legalizing industrial hemp production nationwide…Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law back in august allowing it in Illinois.

 

(Springfield--ab) Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded over $1.3 million in FY19 School District Library Grant Program awards to 694 public school districts. More than 1.6 million Illinois students served by school library media programs have benefitted from the grants. Local Schools in the WPXN area got these amounts respectively.

Cissna Park Cissna Park Community Unit School District #6 $750.0

Gibson City?Melvin?Sibley Community Unit School District #5 $750.00

Iroquois West Community Unit School District #10 $750.00

Paxton?Buckley?Loda Unit #10 $989.25

Rantoul City Schools District #137 $1,201.50

Saint Joseph?Ogden Community High School District #305 $750.00


 

(Springfield--ab) Among the new laws now in effect in Illinois are two gun control measures. One new law lets family, friends and police petition a court to take away a potentially violent person’s guns for up to six months. It was sponsored by representative Kathleen Willis of Addison.

 

 

A second new law requires a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of all guns. that cooling off period previously only applied to handguns.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say a 12-year-old boy who was wounded by gunfire as people were ringing in the new year was the first person shot in the city in 2019. Police say the boy was looking out of a second-floor window in the city's Englewood neighborhood about 12:10 a.m. Tuesday when a bullet struck his left hand. He was treated at a hospital and released.

 

(Springfield--ab) 59 new state police troopers have been hitting the roadways of Illinois. They survived 27 intense weeks at the State Police Academy…learning about firearms, cultural diversity, domestic violence and more. Class president Marcos Diaz addressed the group at their graduation in Springfield.

 

 

The graduates will be stationed around the state and will work with a mentor for the next 14 weeks.


 

(Evanston-dg)-It's that time of year when many people resolve to give up nicotine for good, but researchers in Illinois want participants for a study looking at how a dose of nicotine could help some people with memory health.While most people associate nicotine with smoking, researchers are focusing on how the drug affects the brain. Some of that research focuses on how nicotine can combat memory loss.Northwestern University in Evanston is one of 30 institutions taking part in the study. Nonsmokers interested in taking part in the study can visit the website MINDStudy.org. Participants won’t get paid, but may be eligible for travel assistance.


 

(Springfield--ab) Most Illinois metro areas enjoyed an increase in jobs last month. All but two of the 14 metro areas saw job growth in November compared to year-ago levels says State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough (goff).

 

 

The unemployment rate was also up in eleven metro areas compared to this time last year. Gough says that’s due to more people out looking for work as the job market improves.



(Springfield-dg)-A handful of laws that went into effect Jan. 1 will make it easier to get rid of select units of governments, but reducing the number of taxing bodies in the state isn't guaranteed. Illinois has nearly 7,000 units of local government, nearly 2,000 more than Texas, a much larger and more populous state. Illinois has school districts, fire protection districts, library districts, townships, municipal governments, mosquito abatement districts and even cemetery districts and street lighting districts, among other types of local government. Most have the authority to levy property taxes. Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the nation. State lawmakers made some progress in cutting down on the number of local units of government, but some say more needs to be done.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — A group of African-American veterans is seeking donations to help save their longtime Chicago chapter hall from a mounting tax debt. The Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. Chicago Chapter No. 2 has operated out of a building in Englewood for 35 years. But the Chicago Sun-Times reports the group is saddled with more than $75,000 in back property taxes and will lose the building if they don't come up with that money by Feb. 1, or get an extension from Cook County.

 

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Proposed Plans for the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Use in Illinois Have Shifted from "When" to "How."

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Proposed plans for the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Illinois have shifted from "when" to "how."Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker campaigned on the legalization issue and its corresponding tax revenue of as much as $1 billion a year. And Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is on board . Two key Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, have been meeting with interest groups ahead of the legislative session that begins in January. Both have worked on the issue for years.Marijuana has been federally outlawed since 1937, but its surrounding stigma has been eased in the past few decades. President Jimmy Carter called for its national decriminalization 40 years ago, and 10 states now allow the recreational use of marijuana after voters in Michigan approved such a measure last month.

 

ROCK FALLS, Ill. (AP) — Planning officials in a northwestern Illinois community are opposing a proposed community solar farm just outside its city limits. The Rock Falls Plan Commission recommended that the city object to the project, saying it is incompatible with comprehensive plans of the city and Whiteside County. The proposed project site is in an agricultural area. The city contends the site should continue to be used for farming until it can be developed for more traditional commercial purposes.The idea of solar farms has surfaced at several locations locally including Champaign and Fisher.

 

 

Most Illinois metro areas enjoyed an increase in jobs last month. Jobs were up in 12 of the 14 metro areas in November compared to year-ago levels. But state department of employment security spokesperson Bob Gough (goff) says the unemployment rate was also up in 11 metro areas.

 

 

Areas with the most job growth compared to November of last year include the Chicago area, Lake County, Elgin and Kankakee. Over the year job losses were seen in the Carbondale-Marion area and in Springfield.

 

 

59 new state police troopers are on the  roadways of Illinois. The group of cadets just graduated after completing 27 rigorous weeks at the academy in Springfield. State Police Director Leo Schmitz congratulated the new troopers and said this career is a calling.

 

 

The troopers begin Monday around the state and will be mentored by seasoned officers for the next 14 weeks.


 

DODGEVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Residents in a rural Wisconsin county are split over a Chicago developer's plan to work with two Wisconsin utilities to build a solar farm that would include more than 1 million solar panels. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Badger Hollow Solar Farm proposed by Invenergy would cover 2,700 acres in Iowa County and could power more than 70,000 homes. Some residents believe it's a good opportunity while others fear that it'll hurt the area.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A private investigator wants Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to free a man serving life for a woman's 1989 slaying. The Springfield State Journal-Register reports that Investigating Innocence founder Bill Clutter asked Rauner in a Dec. 14 letter to grant executive clemency to 68-year-old Thomas McMillen. Jan. 14 is Rauner's last day as governor.

Melissa Koontz disappeared after leaving work in 1989. Her body later was found west of Springfield. McMillen was convicted of her murder. Clutter says two people never called to testify at McMillen's trial would have contradicted testimony that McMillen abducted and stabbed Koontz.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Among Illinois' 250 or so new laws for 2019 are a pair of hotly debated new gun laws. A shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee in April drove one of Illinois' new gun laws for the new year. Travis Reinking is from Tazewell County, he had a history of mental illness, but got his guns back, and went and killed four people. Illinois lawmakers wasted little time in using his case to craft a new law that allows for a temporary order of protection to take away someone's guns. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the law in July The other gun law that saw plenty of debate and headlines is a new law for 2019 that will require people to wait three days to buy any gun.  It used to be one day for rifles, and three days for pistols. But opponents, like state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, said the new law will only apply to legal gun buyers. And he said they already go through rigorous background checks.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County Fair Association has an organizational meeting set for Saturday. The meeting is set to elect a board and continue to plan for the 20-19 Ford County Fair. The Fair will be held in June and the organizational meeting is set for 8am on Saturday at the Arcade Restaurant in Paxton.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- Fundraising continues for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project. The efforts have been started by Paxton resident Denny Kingren and the city, PBL schools, Paxton Chamber, Paxton Pride, local businesses and WPXN have jumped on board for the idea. The group will meet on Monday for the first time to look at options to raise around 40 thousand dollars to get the project built on Paxton’s west side. Funds have already been given to the project. The group hopes to raise the money by Spring.

 

 

(Undated--jc)  In 20-18, 85 firefighters lost their lives battling blazes, trying to rescue people and in vehicle accidents. The local and area fire departments, local and area volunteer fire officials urge to the public to thank those first responders, fire fighters and rescue officials for what they do to keep the area safe. Those in the area put their personal lives on hold to respond to an accident along Interstates 57 and 74 to a field fire, or building fire. Sometime soon, thank a local fire department, first responder or rescue person for their continued service.

 

 

The State Department of Agriculture is releasing details and proposed rules for growing industrial hemp in Illinois. There’s a lot of excitement that industrial hemp production is now legal in Illinois and nationwide, but Medicinal Plant Bureau Chief Jeff Cox says producers won’t be able to start up right away.

 

 

Cox says they plan to have an online license application system. Prior to that though…the public will have 45 days to comment on the proposed rules, followed by a hearing for lawmakers to weigh in and approve the regulations.

 

 

Kiss, The Beatles and Aerosmith are expected to be represented when Rantoul Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts its Bowl for Kids’ Sake. At least the groups’ music will be.The event will be held in two sessions — from 5 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. March 9 at Country Tyme Lanes, in  Rantoul.The fundraiser will include t-shirts, prizes, food, drinks and, of course, rock music and bowling.For more information, 217-417-3860

 

 

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is going to get some new flying classrooms.The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the university is about to spend more than $2 million to purchase five new Cessna 172 planes to teach students how to fly. The chair of the school's aviation programs, Mike Burgener, says the planes will replace eight decades-old aircraft that are becoming outdated and expensive to maintain

 

(Washington--jc)  Food shoppers may see a little bit more food price inflation in 2019. Gary Crawford has the numbers…

 

 

THEBES, Ill. (AP) — A historic southern Illinois courthouse once visited by Abraham Lincoln is getting an $83,000 renovation with help from a private donor. The Old Thebes Courthouse overlooking the Mississippi River was built in the 1840s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dred Scott, the slave whose fight for freedom became a landmark Supreme Court ruling, was held in its jail. The structure fell into disrepair after the county seat moved in 1860.

 

 

(Fisher--jc)   A January blood drive is set for tomorrow in Fisher. The event takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. at River Valley Church of Christ. Snacks will be available.

 

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Illinois Farmers are Hoping Tensions Between the U.S. and its Trade Partners Dissipate After Record-Yielding Harvests in 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois farmers are hoping tensions between the U.S. and its trade partners dissipate after record-yielding harvests in 2018. Illinois produced the most soybeans of any state in the country while ranking second in corn production. But farmers have been significantly affected by the government’s tougher stance on trade and retaliatory tariffs.Illinois Farm Bureau official says that  unfortunately, the farming community has to rely on international markets to move their commodities.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that $6.7 billion of Illinois exports are threatened by the emerging trade war. In 2017, China accounted for 25 percent of the state's agricultural exports, including $1.75 billion in soybeans and more than $500 million in corn. When China wasn't buying this year, many farmers had to store excess crops for winter and hope the tariff situation is resolved.

 

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — The father of a U.S. Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan says it's a "tremendous honor" to have a post office in the community of Normal renamed in honor of his son.Sgt. Joshua Rodgers was a 2013 graduate of Normal Community High School, where he was on the football and track teams. The 22-year-old was on his third tour of duty as a member of a special operations unit when he was killed last year during a raid on an ISIS headquarters.

Kevin Rodgers says the family is looking forward to the renaming ceremony. A date for the ceremony hasn't been set. President Donald Trump signed the measure, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and co-sponsored by each member of Illinois' congressional delegation.

 

 

(Illinois--ba)-It’s New Year’s Eve and a time to State and local police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers over the new year’s holiday. Last year in Illinois…six people died in vehicle crashes over New Year’s. Four of those deaths were alcohol related. Cops are boosting patrols but there are plenty of options for staying out of trouble and getting home safely on New Year’s says I-DOT spokesperson Jessie Decker.

 

 

I-DOT spokesperson Jessie Decker

 

 

Springfield – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Leo P. Schmitz commissioned 59 Troopers Friday, during the Cadet Class 128 graduation ceremony at Hope Church in Springfield, Illinois.  The new Troopers will report to ISP patrol districts throughout the state on Monday, December 31, 2018. Director Schmitz and ISP command staff welcomed the new Troopers after delivering the Oath of an Officer before family and friends.  District 21 in Ashkum has 3 new troopers, Pesotum has 8 new officers and 3 will be placed in the Pontiac district, locally.

 

 

(Illinois--ba)-A new report on Illinois underfunded pension systems says the state needs to put more money into the benefits programs before they become unsustainable and consume an even larger share of the state's tax revenue. The state will be required to contribute $9.39 billion to six pension funds in fiscal 2020, about $845 million more than the previous year, according to the report. In addition to being underfunded, the state's pension systems are susceptible to a volatile stock market, the report found. Two public finance watchdogs said the report underscores the need for changes moving forward, including some changes that won’t be popular.

 

 

 

(Chicago--jc) --A new Illinois law regarding gym and health club memberships goes into effect as many people resolve to join gyms and spend more time working out.A lawmaker who got a measure passed that becomes law Tuesday said his bill will help keep consumers from being nickel-and-dimed. An Illinois state law from the 1965 capped gym membership fees at $2,500 a year. In today's dollars, that’s $20,000.State Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, said the cap was out of date. After talking with the industry, the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and legislators from both sides of the aisle, they decided to lift the cap entirely.The measure was supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, and several other health club companies and groups.

 

 

 

ROSEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Hemp could be the next big cash crop in Illinois, according to a farmer who was among the first to legally grow the plant in the state after it became legal this year.Hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana but doesn't have THC, the compound that causes a high. Hemp can be turned into clothing, textiles, building materials, paper and food.Illinois lawmakers authorized hemp production in the state this year. A new federal farm bill signed this month legalized the plant's production nationwide. The move will give hemp farmers access to interstate commerce, crop insurance, standard business loans and tax deductions, giving the hemp industry an advantage over medical marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law.Andy Huston was among the first to grow hemp in Illinois on his Roseville-area farm. He told the Chicago Tribune that he believes the crop could be more profitable than corn and soybeans once farmers learn how to raise and sell it.

 

 

(Illinois--ba)-As Illinois celebrates its Bicentennial, WPXN’s Braedon Arnett talks about the top ten musicians from Illinois.

 

 

 

(Iroquois County---jc)  Slick roads caused numerous accidents along area roads on Saturday. In Iroquois County, local police handled dozens of accidents, along Interstate 57 and along Route 49 and 45. Kankakee police also reported a plethera of ice road accidents in and around the Kankakee area.

 

 

(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…

 

 

(Bloomington--jc) A Champaign County man was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to a drug-induced homicide. 24 year old Troy McBride of Rantoul was sentenced on Friday in McLean County Court from an incident on March 23 when he sold the fentanyl-laced heroin to James Dingman, 41, of Bloomington, in Champaign. Dingman later died from the drugs at his home in Bloomington.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in Chicago has refused to toss a lawsuit accusing an Illinois investigator of violating privacy rights of two patients by seizing their files from their psychotherapist. Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo's ruling stemmed from a suit brought by the patients. They were patients of a psychotherapist who gives court-ordered counseling after convictions of alcohol-related driving offenses. The DuPage County State's Attorney's Office investigator was looking into whether the psychotherapist properly accounted for such sessions.The suit says the investigator should have only taken business records, not patient files.

 

(Undated--jc)  --The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has remained the same since 2009. Since then, 29 states and the District of Columbia have set minimum wages above the federal level. Twenty states have minimum wage increases taking effect around the start of the new year. California goes up to 12 dollars an hour,  Washington state also goes to 12 dollars per hour. Rhode Island goes to 10-50 and Ohio jumps to 8-55. Illinois’s rate remains at 8-25 with the start of the new year.

 

 

(Urbana--jc)  --Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a male subject who has died from injuries he received during a shooting incident early Sunday morning in Urbana. Thirty-year-old Renese D. Riley was pronounced dead just after 3 Sunday morning  in the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department. An autopsy is scheduled for today at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility. An inquest may be held at a later date. This death is under investigation by the Urbana Police Department, the Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  -- Fundraising for the 20-19 Ford County Relay for Life event set for August, continues. A euchre party for the  Chic Meredith Relay for Life team  is set for Friday January 18th, at the Moyer District Library in  Gibson City. There is a 10 dollar entry fee. Snacks and water will be provided. To sign up, you may call 217-784-5267.

 

(Rantoul--jc)  A business in the downtown area of Rantoul has received a facelift. Falling debris from a close by property caused damage to the building that houses, A House of Flowers by Paula in downtown Rantoul. A microloan of 10 thousand dollars was approved earlier this month. The money was used to repair the property and will be repaid back to the village over a 5 year period. The building had over 30 thousand dollars in damages. The project will help bring several more jobs to the downtown area.

 

 

(Coles County--jc)  A Coles County man faces two to five years in prison after being arrested for a bomb threat at the Mattoon Wal-Mart. 49 year old James Brigham  was arrested on Friday. He faces a charge of disorderly conduct. Investigators say Brigham called the Mattoon Walmart on a cell phone and said there was a bomb with the building. .

 

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a body found inside a central Illinois home more than 14 hours after it was destroyed by fire was that of a 67-year-old woman who lived there.The Macon County Coroner's Office says the preliminary cause of death for Bertha Harden was carbon monoxide inhalation from the smoke and soot generated by Friday's fire in Decatur. An autopsy performed Saturday found no signs of foul play.  Officials say the fire's cause remained under investigation.

 

DETROIT (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has rejected Michigan's offer of $8 million to support a project to keep invasive carp from establishing themselves in the Great Lakes, saying the money wouldn't be useful for at least 10 years.

Rauner said in a letter to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder that the offer to support operations at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, wouldn't help until after an upgrade there is completed in 10 years.Experts consider the area a good location to block movement of Asian carp, which have infested the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Scientists warn that if the voracious fish become established in the Great Lakes, they could ruin native species and harm the region's $7 billion fishing industry.

 

 

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State and Local Police Will be on the Lookout for Drunk Drivers over this New Year's Holiday.

CHICAGO (AP) — Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has named an outgoing Republican state representative and a former Democratic state senator to key positions in his administration.Pritzker said Thursday that GOP Rep. David Harris of Arlington Heights will be director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, the department responsible for collecting state taxes.Harris served in the state House from 1983 to 1993 and was elected again in 2010. He chose not to seek re-election in November.Pritzker, who'll be sworn in next month, also named John Sullivan of Rushville director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Sullivan served in the Senate from 2003 to 2016 and was a chairman of the Senate's Agriculture and Conservation committee.Ann Spillane, longtime chief of staff to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, was named Pritzker's general counsel.

 

LINCOLN — A transgender female inmate, whose alleged mistreatment by male correctional officers led to a federal judge ordering training for prison staff, has been moved to a women's prison in Lincoln. In the federal lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Corrections, Hampton has detailed her allegations of confinement and sexual harassment.She said she was threatened with rape and other violence while held in men's facilities. According to attorneys for Hampton, she has been moved from Dixon Correctional Center, an all-male facility, to Logan Correctional Center for women in Lincoln.

 

(Paxton--ba) 20-18 has been a positive year for new business in the city of Paxton Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says new business means more reasons to stop by the Ford County city....

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


 

(Rantoul--ba) In the job for just over a month,Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower says there are similarities  between the village of Rantoul and city of Danville.

 

 

Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower

 

(Lewsiston--ba)-A central Illinois man faces felony charges after allegedly concocting a story his car being stolen with a 13-month old child inside that triggered a statewide Amber Alert. Police say Mitchell Dutz of Mason City reported to police that he was inside a gas station when three people stole his car. But police soon determined Dutz made up the story to cover up a drug deal. There was never a missing child and gas station surveillance video didn't reveal any vehicles matching the one Dutz described.

 

 

(Peoria--ba)-Peoria's police chief says investigators don't see connections between numerous recent shootings that have pushed the city's number of criminal homicides for 2018 pass the combined total for the two previous years. The city saw its 22nd criminal homicide of the year early Wednesday when police say a 43-year-old man was fatally shot during a birthday party. The city's had three deaths among 10 shooting incidents since Dec. 18, including early Tuesday gunfire that wounded a 12-year-old and another person. Peoria police Chief Loren Marion says his officers are working long hours to make arrests in the cases but need the community's help.

 

(Illinois--ba)-An Illinois-based internet provider is planning to spur broadband development in rural areas across five states in the central U.S. Wisper ISP Inc. is set to receive money from the Federal Communication Commission for broadband development in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas. Malinda Heuring, marketing director at Wisper, said the company will need help locating areas to install the technology and in getting the word out to potential customers.

 

 

(Chicago--ba)  U.S. District Court in Chicago is among the federal courts nationwide suspending civil cases where one party is the federal government. Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo issued an order suspending all such civil litigation for two weeks because of the government shutdown that began last week. Among the suspended cases are ones where people are suing the U.S. government to get Social Security money they say they are owed. Asylum and some extradition cases also fall under the order.

 

(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…

 

 

(Springfield--jc) State and local police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers over this New year’s holiday.  Officials say it’s everyone’s responsibility to make good decisions, before getting behind the wheel. Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jessie Decker says the New Year’s holiday can be dangerous…

 

 

I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker.

 

 

(Urbana--jc)  --Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a woman who has died from injuries she received in a shooting incident earlier this month. 29 year old Marlene M. Brown, of Danville,  was pronounced dead early on December 25 at Carle Foundation Hospital. Ms. Brown was reportedly shot by a male subject in the 300 block of North Washington Street in Danville, Illinois at approximately 10:30PM on December 15, 2018 following a domestic dispute. An autopsy was performed on Wednesday of this week and an inquest  may be held at a later date. This death is being investigated by the Danville Police Department and the Coroner’s Office.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  It’s graduation day for some Illinois State police troopers.

Illinois State Police Officials will welcome 59 cadets to their ranks this morning.  Illinois State Police Director Leo P. Schmitz will formally address Cadet Class 128, followed by the oath of an officer ceremony. The 10am ceremony is set for Springfield. The new troopers will be assigned to districts throughout the state beginning on Monday.

 

Chicago--jc)  – Attorney General Lisa Madigan Thursday released guidance on the impact of immigration status on employees’ rights in the workplace. Recent policy debates and court cases regarding changes to federal immigration programs have left many employees and employers in Illinois with questions about workers’ rights and obligations under federal immigration law, state and federal workplace laws, and the intersection between the two. Madigan’s office drafted and issued Guidance for Illinois Residents: Impact of Immigration Status on Employees’ Rights in the Workplace as a resource for Illinois employers.


 

(Urbana--jc)  A Champaign County womans bond was set at 1 thousand dollars on a charge of felony aggravated battery in a public place after an incident at Carle Foundation hospital on Thursday. 20 year old Rashaya Brown of Champaign was ordered by Champaign County court officials  to have no contact with the alleged victim and a new court date on the charges is set for February 12th.

 

(Watseka--jc) Iroquois County leaders are looking at ways to increase revenue for the county. The county board  policy and procedure committee met on Thursday in Watseka and the topic was revenue. Iroquois County, like most counties in the state, continue to look at funds to run county programs. The full board meets in January to continue the look into the future.

 

(Champaign--jc)  If you travel along North Mattis Avenue in Champaign, your commute to work, college or shopping will be somewhat slower through the weekend. Champaign City workers continue to fix a water valve in the area. Mattis between John and Henry streets is down to one lane northbound traffic through Monday.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Did you get a drone for Christmas? The Illinois Department of Transporation is reminding  the public on some rules you need to follow. One rule is you can not fly your drone within 5 miles of an airport says I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker…

 

 

Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jessie Decker.

 

(Gifford--jc)  It’s everything agriculture at Gordyville USA next month. The 20-19 Midwest Ag Expo is set for Wednesday January 24th and Thursday January 25th. The even offers over 175 exhibitors to showcast farm, industrial, outdoor power equipment, dairy and farmstead mechanization industry. The event is free to attend.. Hours of the 20-19 Midwest Ag Expo are from 8am to 4 pm on Wednesday January 24th and 8am to 3pm on Thursday January 25th. WPXN will be broadcasting live to help kick off the annual event.

 

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Hundreds of New Laws Go Into Effect January 1

(Springfield--jc)  --Hundreds of new laws go into effect Jan. 1, but the one that will save you time at the Secretary of State's Office isn't among them.Governor Bruce Rauner signed legislation in the fall that will allow vehicle registration to be paid for two years at a time. It won’t save vehicle owners money on the $101 annual cost. but it would save time. Drivers would pay $202 for the two-year registration. Trailer owners would be able to register for up to five years at once.State Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorne Woods, said his father inspired the bill.

 

(Washington--ba) U-S-D-A will be proposing regulatory reforms to tighten the ability of states to grant work waivers to SNAP recipients. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — An Australian commodities trader pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Chicago to manipulating market prices by placing orders in the millions of dollars, then canceling them within milliseconds so that he could sell smaller orders at a profit. Jiongsheng "Jim" Zhao pleaded guilty to one count of spoofing in a deal with prosecutors, who say that from 2012 to 2016, the 31-year-old executed trades on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange online from Sydney.Spoofing carries a maximum 10-year prison term,


 

 

(Springfield--ba)-Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is reminding the public about two new laws for 2019.The first law requires children under two years old to be secured in rear-facing car seats says Secretary of State spokesperson Dave Druker.

 

 

Secretary of State spokesperson Dave Druker.

 

(Washington--ba) At the Farm Bill signing ceremony, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said USDA provided to lawmakers as much requested input as it could, as Congress worked to draft the legislation.

 

 

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue

 

(Buckley--ba) -- An E-M-T basic initial education class will be held at Christ Lutheran High School Tuesday and Thursday nights January 15th to May 7th. The cost is $700 per person with a $350 deposit due at registration. However, if you live within 10 miles of Buckley and can help out, Buckley Ambulance Service will pay 100% of all your education costs. For more details, contact Ron Lenington at 217-394-2335.

 

(Farmer City--jc)  -- One area city is looking for a new police chief. Officials at Farmer City say current Farmer City Police Chief David Betz has resigned from the position. Farmer City City Manager Sue McLaughlin says her office has started the process to hire a new police chief for Farmer City. Her phone number is 309-928-3412.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants to public wastewater treatment plants to improve energy efficiency. The agency has announced $3 million in grant funding. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $1.5 million will reduce energy consumption at treatment plants. EPA Director Alec Messina says the department has worked with 15 Illinois municipalities for no-cost efficiency assessments. The grant program uses U.S. Department of Energy funds to upgrade plants where the most cost savings will be. Applications for the grant are available online from the EPA . Applications are due by Feb. 12, 2019.The applications will be ranked according to energy savings per dollar invested, energy rate paid by the facility and the energy cost to treat one million gallons of water at the plant.

 

 

(Undated--jc)-- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…

 

 

(Washington---jc) Issues that have an impact on ag in East Central Illinois will be discussed on a national stage in early 20-19  World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Seth Meyer talks about the upcoming Ag Outlook Forum in February in Arlington Virginia….

 


World Ag Outlook Board Chairman Seth Meyer.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. District Court in Chicago is among the federal courts nationwide suspending civil cases where one party is the federal government. Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo issued a Wednesday order suspending all such civil litigation for two weeks because of the government shutdown that began last week.Among the suspended cases are ones where people are suing the U.S. government to get Social Security money they say they are owed. Asylum and some extradition cases also fall under the order.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  Ford County Board officials cancelled a meeting one week ago with the subject of wind farms. Several wind projects have popped up over the last several years. Setbacks,  positive economic development and jobs to tax help for local schools. Flicker and height remain issues for project managers. Ford County officials say a new meeting on wind farms could take place sometime in  January.

 

(Washington--ba) How will 2018 end up for food shoppers? USDA’s Gary Crawford Reports.

 

 

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- A new fitness center is coming to the downtown area of Rantoul Koru Fitness is expected to open to the public next Wednesday. The business will be located inside the Lindsey Lane Bridal business in downtown Rantoul. Koru Fitness uses dance as   a motivational factor. A similar business called CURVEs is leaving the downtown area of Rantoul

 

(Bloomington--jc)  -- Country Financial and the Illinois Farm Bureau are teaming up to host a series of winter crop meetings for local farmers across Illinois. Farmers and landowners across the state have attended similar meetings in the state. Officials with the two companies say topics include updates on the new Farm Bill will be provided. One area meeting coming up is on January 10th at 11-30am at the Fairbury Golf Course. More meetings are planned over the next two months across Illinois.  Each of these events are free and open to all farmers and landowners.

 

 

(Champaign County--jc)  -- State police were called to a property damage crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 57 on Wednesday afternoon. The crash occurred just before 2pm yesterday. The left lane was closed for several hours. State Police say no one was injured in the mishap and traffic was back to normal after a 2 hour clean up period.

 

 

  

 

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Bill Daley Wants Dan Ryan Expressway to be Changed to Honor Barack Obama

JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Some smart students at the University of St. Francis in Joliet who are short on money will be getting a nice gift courtesy of the National Science Foundation.In a news release, Illinois Congressman Bill Foster is announcing that the school in Joliet will be getting a $649,677 award from the foundation to fund 12 scholarships for low-income students from local high schools who are pursuing bachelor's degrees in biology and biochemistry. The money will be provided to the school through the foundation's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.Foster says the money is important to make sure that low-income students can pursue their education.

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — A member of Chicago's first political family running for mayor is suggesting that an expressway on the city's South Side be renamed after former President Barack Obama and the family of the man it's named after now isn't happy. Daniel B. Ryan III 's feelings are hurt that Bill Daley would suggest changing the name of the Dan Ryan Expressway. It's named in honor of his grandfather, a former Cook County board president.Daley — the brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and the son of legendary Mayor Richard J. Daley — says that renaming the stretch of roadway would be an appropriate way to honor the 44th president whose political career started as a South Side community organizer.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is offering grants to public wastewater treatment plants to improve energy efficiency.

The agency has announced $3 million in grant funding. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $1.5 million will reduce energy consumption at treatment plants.

EPA Director Alec Messina says the department has worked with 15 Illinois municipalities for no-cost efficiency assessments. The grant program uses U.S. Department of Energy funds to upgrade plants where the most cost savings will be.

 

 

(Springfield--ab) The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is urging anglers to keep safety in mind when they are ice fishing this winter. The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re on solid footing says D-N-R Spokesperson Tim Schweizer...

 

 

D-N-R Spokesperson Tim Schweizer

Anglers are also advised to carry a rope or flotation device with them in case someone falls into the water and it’s recommended to wear a life jacket as well.

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  --Nearly a third of people in America are expected to travel between now and New Year's. In Illinois, that number is closer to half.Almost six million people from Illinois are expected to travel somewhere this holiday season. That's in-line with the record-breaking travel expectations across the rest of the country, according to Triple A Chicago Motor Club's Beth Mosherd.Nationally, more than 112 million people – one-third of the country – are expected to travel between now and New Year's.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  -- It will be an easy decision for Gibson City leaders tonight. They are expected to vote to put up signs for the 2-A Football State Champion Gibson City Melvin Sibley Falcons. Its a move leaders in Gibson City did last year.  An ordinance on sexual harrassment, and appointment of Paul Phillips to the Pool Board and appointment of Dave Crow to the Planning Commission also hilite the agenda. The Gibson City council meets at 7pm this evening.

 

 

Watseka--jc) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has designated January 2019 as National Radon Action Month. The purpose of the designation is to remind everyone of the serious danger that radon gas poses to us in our homes. According to Terry Eimen, Director of Environmental Health for the Iroquois County Public Health Department, it is estimated that radon causes about 21,000 deaths from lung cancer annually in the United States. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. The U.S. Surgeon General warns that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoking and the number one cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Eimen describes radon as a natural radioactive gas that is released in rock, soil, and water from the natural decay of uranium. Eiman sys one of the problems with radon is that it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless and the only way to tell if you have radon gas in your home is to test for it with a test kit. 26 percent of the homes in Iroquois county tested this year tested around or above 4 percent Picocure. That means you should fix the radon problem in the home

 

 

(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- A recently-retired Republican lawmaker is searching for leadership inside his party. Former state Senator Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, represented the 45th District in far northwestern Illinois for the past ten years. He announced last year he would not run for re-election and stepped down from his seat earlier this month.Bivins is hard-pressed to identify who's leading the Illinois GOP, following disappointing results at the ballot box in NovemberTim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, said in a statement that the party has clear priorities for the future that include picking new leaders..

 

(Washington--jc)  -- Its just the start of winter, but  Forrest Service researchers and engineers are working on something that could save lives when tornadoes hit. Gary Crawford has the story…

 

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -A new law that takes effect in the new year aims to cut down on how much boards can approve to pay someone when a high profile public employee severs employment with a taxpayer-funded institution.Back in 2015, the College of DuPage Board voted to fire President Robert Breuder in the wake of a spending scandal and deny him a $763,000 severance package. Breuder later filed suit against the college. The college has since spent more than $500,000 fighting Breuder in court, according to media reports. Reports about other executive payouts from public entities followed.Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, said it just kept stacking up


 

(Washington-jc)  Some changes are needed in the SNAP program. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue has several reasons why USDA's proposals to reform some SNAP work requirements are needed..

 

 

USDA Ag Secretary Sonny Purdue.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)0  High school football in Illinois is changing. Eventually.High schools across the state recently voted 324 to 307 to move from a conference system for football to a district system.The first thing that they need to do is wait.And secondly, he said, some small schools in the state may drop football by then.The change to districts starts in the 2020-21 school year.Matt Troha says the IHSA has to figure out how to group more than 500 high school football teams into eight districts in each of the state's eight classes

 

(Undated--jc  -- In 2017, 28 percent of shoppers returned a holiday giftt, with clothing topping the list.  But with holiday returns also comes holiday return fraud. Return fraud comes in many forms, including purchasing merchandise for short-term use and then returning the item, returning stolen merchandise, or using reused, stolen or falsified receipts to return merchandise for a profit. But in most cases, consumers are just trying to return wrong sizes or items. Many retailers, both online and brick and mortar, have return policies in place to not only protect the consumer but their businesses as well. If you have something that doesn't fit, or you already have the item or it's just the wrong thing, the Better Business Bureau offers some tips which include to

Know and understand the seller’s return policy.

Keep original packaging and ask about restocking fees

Bring Identification

Red Product warranty

Don’t delay any return

And Read the fine print

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Message from Local Police Agencies is to Make Sure Your Vehicle is Locked to Prevent Burglaries

(Undated--jc)  -- One main message from local and area police during the Christmas shopping season is simple.-- Make sure you lock your vehicle. Bloomington police have reported a number of vehicle burglaries this week. The incidents have happened around  business parking lots, fitness centers and shopping centers. Local police officials remind the shopping public to be aware of your surroundings, be aware of suspicious activity and to always lock your car and take precaution with your gifts. In Bloomington vehicle thefts were reported on the city’s east side including several on Wednesday.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has named former state Comptroller Dan Hynes as deputy governor among top staff picks. The Democrat also announced Thursday that state Rep. Christian Mitchell and education advocate Jesse Ruiz will serve as deputy governors.Hynes was elected comptroller in 1998 and served three terms. He finished second to Barack Obama for the 2004 Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate and unsuccessfully challenged Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010.

 

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says preliminary findings of her office’s investigation into the catholic church are shocking. While the church has made the names of 184 clergy accused of child sexual abuse public…Attorney General Madigan says her office has found at least another 500 cases. many have never been looked into…and Madigan says it’s time for reform.

 

 

Madigan says her investigation will continue but hopes these initial findings will be discussed at next month’s u-s conference of catholic bishops’ retreat in Mundelein.


 

Republicans in the Illinois house say raising the gas tax in Illinois is a bad idea opponents worry a big increase in the gas tax could be come up for a vote during the final days of the legislative session in early January. Representative Jeanne Ives of Wheaton says taxpayers don’t need to be burdened with a proposed 20 to 30 cent per gallon hike.

 

 

Supporters say the state gas tax hasn’t been raised in 28 years and that funding for road repairs is desperately needed across Illinois.

 

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Parkland College officials approved curricula for three new career credentials and learned more about a new student start-up cohort coming this spring. Yesterday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the school’s new Advanced Unmanned Aircraft Systems certificate, the Agriculture Retail Operations certificate, and the Advanced Applicator Technician AAS degree. The programs will go through a final review for approval with the Illinois Community College Board and, in the case of the AAS degree, Illinois Board of Higher Education in the new year.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Park District approved its annual tax levy at their meeting this week The tax levy is just over 102 thousand dollars. The board will not use general obligation bonds for 20-19. The board will meet next on January 16th.

 

 

UNDATED (AP) — Lawmakers introduced the Shut Down Child Prison Camps Act Thursday hoping to close two mass detention facilities holding more than 4,000 migrant teens in Texas and Florida. Most of the 14,300 migrant toddlers, children and teens in government care are in detention centers and residential facilities packed with anywhere from hundreds to thousands of children. Experts say the deep anxiety and distrust children suffer when they're institutionalized can cause long-lasting health problems.

 

 

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Travelers in Grand Junction soon will be able to fly directly to Chicago.  United Airlines officials say they will start a seasonal flight between Grand Junction Regional Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport in June. The flights will run on Saturdays from June 8 through Oct. 26. Tickets for some of the flights are already on sale.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Jonathan C. Wright as a resident Circuit Judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. Mr. Wright is being appointed to fill the vacancy created by the election of Justice Thomas M. Harris to the Fourth District. The appointment takes effect on January 7, and will conclude on December 7, 2020,  The 11th circuit district includes Ford, McLean, Woodford, Livingston and Logan Counties.

 

 

(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…

 

 

CHICAGO — Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 55-93 Thursday, establishing a pilot program for school districts to use the design-build construction delivery method. The method allows architects, engineers and construction contractors to pick their partners and be hired as a team, expediting project completion by allowing early phases of construction to begin as the building design is still being developed. This legislation permits up to five design-build demonstration projects to be undertaken in Illinois. Each must be shown to be in a school district’s best interest as determined by the State Board of Education.

 

 

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of rural bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests the regional economy is growing. The overall index of the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet survey for December climbed back above growth neutral to hit 54.2, compared with 49.9 in November . Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Illinois participates in the 10 state survey.

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- A meeting with the Ford County board concerning wind farms was cancelled last night.The announcement came from  Ford County Board Chairman Bob Lingren. Chairman Lingren says the meeting to discuss the future of wind farm projects in Ford County will be rescheduled in January.

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  Champaign County authorities are seeking information about Christmas light damage and reports of stolen lights in the village of Savoy. The incidents happened around December 19th. Champaign County police are seeking information. If you have information on this crime, you are asked to called Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-TIPS.

 

(Springfield-jc)  --  A new Illinois law will soon allow schools to use recruitment agencies to find substitute teachers.The program opens the door for school districts to work with temp agencies to supplement the search for substitute teachers for elementary and secondary schools. It will be available January first.  Most school administrators will pull from the surrounding school districts to fill an open substitute teaching position. But when that pool of teachers is tapped out, they are stuck. The new law will change that by allowing schools to pull from a larger group. Rural schools especially are struggling to find teachers for sciences or foreign language.

 

 

(Undated--jc)  -- No injuries were reported in a bus vs vehicle accident along Interstate 74 near mile marker 148. State police say a bus struck a trailer being pulled by a Ford truck in the west bound lanes of I-74 around 2-40 Thursday afternoon. No children were on the bus at the time of the accident.

 

 

(Paxton--ab)  --The Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church is hosting a Christmas dinner on Christmas day. What’s on the menu? Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church spokeswoman Amanda Nelson has the details.

 

Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church Spokesperson Amanda Nelson

 

(Bloomington-jc)  State Senator Jason Barickman has been recognized for work on education funding reform, while also being honored for his support of manufacturing businesses.Barickman was recently presented with the “Friend of Education” award from the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents.  The award was largely based on the Senator’s work in advancing the concept of an evidence-based model for school funding.

 

(Gifford--jc- Gifford grade school board members learned that the repair work on the south wall of the old gym has not started. The reason has been the weather. School officials hope the project can proceed  in the very near future.

 

(Taylorville--jc)  --A federal lawmaker wants to know why Governor Bruce Rauner's administration helped nearly every county in the state sidestep work requirements for food stamps users. Taylorville U.S. Representative Rodney Davis applauded President Donald Trump administration's move to reform rules governing the waivers that states seek from work requirements for food stamps. And he wants to know why Rauner’s administration sought another waiver from the federal rules for 2019 despite low unemployment .Last month state officials said they requested a waiver from the federal work requirements for able-bodied adults without kids to get food stamps. The request included all counties in East Central Illinois. Davis says with plenty of jobs available, he questions the qualifications of some to work with the SNAP program. The Foundation for Government Accountability estimates of 346,000 able-bodied adults without kids in Illinois, Only 9,000 were subject to work requirements.

 

The 2018 Farm Bill is signed into law. Stephanie Ho reports...

 

 

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New Law Making it Easier to Submit Required Mortgage Activity Reports to Authorities in Illinois Signed by Governor Bruce Rauner

SPRINGFIELD — A new law making it easier to submit required mortgage activity reports to authorities in Illinois has been signed by Governor Bruce Rauner. Enactment of House Bill 55-42 will exempt nonprofits focused on affordable housing from having to obtain a residential mortgage license while also fostering reallocation of resources for improved tracking of market trends.

Instead of filing separate reports, mortgage professionals now can use the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry  to comply with state reporting requirements.

 

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — A 20-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a 12-year-old central Illinois boy. Twenty-year-old Avante M. Flesch of Decatur entered the plea Wednesday. He is being held at the Macon County Jail in lieu of posting $100,000 bond.Decatur police have said Flesch told investigators he was playing with a handgun when it accidently fired and fatally wounded Marqueius Gray on Nov. 12. He said he found the gun lying on a couch and removed its magazine before it accidentally discharged.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's O'Hare Airport is getting a new security scanner that officials hope will make going through security checkpoints more efficient. The new scanner may not be used to screen passengers until after the holidays because the Transportation Security Administration is still testing it and training employees to use it. The new CT scanners have been tested in Boston and Phoenix and are now being rolled out to other airports.The technology is already used on

checked luggage. It could give TSA agents at security checkpoints a better view of items, eventually allowing passengers to leave liquids in their carry-on bags. Agents also may need to do fewer hands-on searches.In Chicago the scanner will be in the Terminal 1 checkpoint open to some United Airlines passengers.

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Wednesday issued a blistering report about clergy sexual abuse, saying that Catholic dioceses in Illinois has not released the names of at least 500 clergy accused of sexually abusing children.The preliminary report found that the church's six archdioceses have done a woefully inadequate job of investigating allegations and in some cases did not investigate them at all or notify the state's child welfare agency. Madigan's office said that while the dioceses have disclosed 45 more names of those credibly accused, the total number of names disclosed is only 185 and raises questions about the church's response to the crisis.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Illinois' population shrunk by more than 45,000 over the 12 months ending July 1. The estimates released Wednesday show that loss was more than any other state except New York, which lost more than 48,000. The estimates have Illinois remaining as the sixth most populous state with more than 12.74 million residents, behind California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania.

 

 

The Illinois State Police is reminding parents about a new car seat law effective January first. Starting in 2019…all kids under the age of two must ride in a rear facing seat unless they weigh more than 40 pounds. it’s about preventing injury and death during a crash says Lieutenant Matt Boerwinkle.

 

 

Violators face a 75 dollar fine for the first offense and up to 200 bucks for the second offense.

 

(Paxton--jc)  --The Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church on South Union Street will be busy on Christmas Day. The local church is hosting a  free Christmas dinner from 11 AM to 1 PM on the 25th. To get a ride to the church or to arrange a Christmas meal delivery, you may call the church.


 

 

(Paxton--jc)  The subject of wind farm regulation is on the agenda for a special meeting of the Ford County Board tonight in Paxton. At stake, is the future of jobs, economic development with several wind farm projects proposed for Ford County. The meeting comes to order at 7 at the courthouse in Paxton.

 

 

 

Members of the 2018 Parkland College Cobras Baseball team will receive their NJCAA-D2 World Series Runner-Up rings in a ceremony Saturday, Jan. 12.

This recognition will take place at halftime of the 1 p.m. Cobras Women's Basketball game against Kankakee Community College, in Parkland's Dodds Athletic Center (gym). The ring ceremony is open to the public.

 

 

Illinois home prices moved higher in November while home sales slowed slightly as consumers began to turn their attention to the holidays, data from Illinois REALTORS® show.Statewide home sales (including single-family homes and condominiums) in November totaled 11,608 homes sold, down 1.6 percent from 11,800 in November 2017.The statewide median price in November was $190,000, up 2.7 percent from November 2017, when the median price was $185,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

 

 

(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…

 



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge overseeing the case of a man accused in the 2017 kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China must rule soon on a defense motion to suppress evidence seized from the suspect's apartment. Brendt Christensen's lawyers contend Christensen's then-wife, Michelle Christensen, never validly consented to a search. That contradicts investigators at the apartment on June 14, 2017, two weeks before Brendt Christensen was charged in Yingying Zhang's death. They say they interviewed the wife, got her consent and then searched.But the ex-wife, who since changed her last name to Zortman, told a Tuesday hearing agents searched during the interview. She asked how she could object to a search that had already been done. Christensen's trial is set for April.

 

 

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says preliminary findings of her office’s investigation into the catholic church are shocking. The six dioceses in Illinois have publicly identified 185 clergy members accused of child sexual assault. But Attorney General Madigan says her office has identified at least another 500 potential cases...many of which were never investigated.

 

 

Madigan says her office has received about 300 calls, emails and letters regarding clergy abuse since her investigation began in august.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An ongoing project to digitize all of Abraham Lincoln's papers has received a grant. Officials announced Tuesday that the Abraham Lincoln Association has given a $6,000 grant to the digitization project at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The grant will pay for software for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln to track hundreds of thousands of documents related to the 16th president.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Wednesday that companies and individuals interested in expanding demand for food and other products using Asian carp caught in Illinois waters are invited to apply for grant funding to assist their marketing efforts. Grants are now available through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Asian Carp Market Value Program (MVP) to support current Asian carp processors and product-makers in expanding existing markets and developing new markets and sales opportunities for Asian carp products. Governor Rauner says  taxpayers will save money, the fishing industry benefits along with those who consume the fish.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  -- The American Lutheran Church located on route 9 in Gibson City is hosting its 43rd annual Christmas Day Dinner at noon on Tuesday. The free meal includes turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, vegetables, desserts and beverages. A free-will offering will be received. Although tickets are not necessary, a call to the church to arrange a meal is suggested.

 

 

There's a special U-S-D-A web page that can help Santa and other international holiday travelers and gift givers avoid some potential hassles. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  --An anti-abortion group is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to consider the legality of the procedures lawmakers used in 2017 to approve a law that allowed taxpayer-funded state health insurance and Medicaid coverage to be used to cover abortions.The Thomas More Society, a nonprofit that advocates for anti-abortion policies, has formally requested the state’s highest court take the case to decide if House Bill 40, which Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law last year, was approved within the legal boundaries of the Illinois Constitution.

 

 

(Fisher--jc)  -- The Holiday time is also a time that phone scams increase. The Fisher Police Department says they have responded to local residents who have reported phone call from scammers claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service, seeking money. Fisher police remind the public not to give out any personal, banking or credit card information.

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IHSA Switches From Conferences to Districts in 2021

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois High School Association says member schools have voted to move to district scheduling beginning in 2021 and abandoning current conferences.The I-H-S-A said Tuesday schools had voted 324-307-69 to move to the new format in which schools from each class will be placed into eight geographic groups and play a round-robin schedule. The top four teams in each of the eight groups qualify for the playoffs, based upon games played within each group. Districts will be in place for two years to allow for home-and-home scheduling for competing schools.Remaining games on the nine-game regular season schedule will be arranged by schools at their discretion.

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  -- Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance regarding a theft at Dick's Sporting Goods at Dick's Sporting Goods that happened on December 12th.  Police say two suspects stole merchandise from Dick’s Sporting Goods located at 2000 N. Neil St. in Champaign. A male and female entered the store together and after selecting several items,  the male ran out of the store without paying. The stolen merchandise was valued at over $1000Anyone with information can contact Champaign County Crime Stoppers anonymously at 217-373-8477.

 

(Paxton--ab) The city of Paxton has 53 out of 58 store fronts filled. That’s good news for the local holiday economy.  Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold is excited about the economic development of Paxton…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois State Police  have announced changes to the Child

Passenger Protection Act, which will become effective  next month. Effective January 1, all motorists traveling on Illinois roadways  will be required to secure children under the age of 2 years old in a rear facing child restraint system. State Police officials say the  are hopeful the change in law will reduce infant injuries and fatalities if they are involved in a traffic crash.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Republicans in the Illinois House say raising the gas tax in illinois is a bad idea. There’s been talk of increasing the state gas tax to help pay for road construction projects by as much as 30 cents per gallon. State Representative Allen Skillicorn of Crystal Lake says lawmakers should wait and see if an infrastructure program develops at the federal level first…

 

 

State Representative Allen Skillicorn of Crystal Lake.

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — The largest Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found is ready to go back on display at Chicago's Field Museum in a new exhibition space.

The skeleton named Sue, after her discoverer, Sue Hendrickson,  is now in a second-floor gallery near other dinosaurs. It opens to the public Friday.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  -- The 75th performance of “The Messiah” was performed in Gibson City earlier this month. The Gibson City Music Club helps with the annual performance. Group Spokesperson Cheri Friedman says this year’s director has a huge amount of experience…

 

 

Gibson City Music Club Spokesperson Cheri Friedman. You can hear a performance of The Messiah by those with the Gibson City based group at 6pm on Christmas Eve and again at 6pm on Christmas Day.


 

 

(Champaign--jc)  -- A Champaign County man who fired a gun into the air in downtown Champaign in June of last year has been sentenced to a year of probation. The News Gazette reports that 44 year old Malcom Comer pleaded guilty before Judge Roger Webber on Tuesday. With the guilty plea, several other weapons related charges were dropped against Comer.

 

 

(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…

 


 

(Springfield--jc)  --A new survey from two Illinois law enforcement groups provide anecdotal evidence that more teens are using marijuana as state lawmakers draft legislation to legalize recreational use of the drug for adults.An advocacy group has questioned the value of the law enforcement survey and pointed to statistics in other states that show teen cannabis use declined after recreational use became legal.The Illinois Sheriffs' Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police surveyed 104 school resource officers and found 75 of them dealt with a pot issue in the past month, an increase from the year before. The survey also found more reports of teenagers vaping, which can be a delivery mechanism for nicotine, THC or other substances. THC is an active ingredient in marijuana that produces a high.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  About 6,200 federal employees in Illinois could be affected by a partial government shutdown if some federal agencies aren’t funded by midnight Friday. It’s a situation that a central Illinois congressman said he'd like to avoid while talks on funding a border wall continue. Most of the federal government is funded. The Friday deadline to get a deal to fund the rest appeared to be contingent on funding for a southern border wall President Donald Trump wants, though he seemed to waiver some on his demands Tuesday.Some Republicans want to act now, and on the opposite side of the issue, some Democrats say the wall is a waste of money.

 

(Washington--jc)  -- Should you be dreaming of a white Christmas? Stephanie Ho has the details…

 

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- Wind farms will be the subject again on Thursday night in Paxton. The Ford County board is set to meet at 7pm at the courthouse in Paxton. Thursday nights meeting is the second for the board as they consider setbacks, heights and the positive economic benefits of wind farms in Ford County.

 

(Washington--jc)  -- A potential federal government shutdown  would not stop the process to certify U.S ag products for export. Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Kevin Shea says that ag exports would continue…

 

 

USDA Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Kevin Shea.

 

(Paxton--jc) As we close out 20-18 and look forward to a new year, city of Paxton officials  look to the future and a streetscape program for the Ford County city. Local leaders are looking to use just over 1 million 4 hundred thousand dollars to do improvements to the downtown area. The money comes from a fund that the city of Paxton returned to the state of Illinois from a revolving loan fund program that recently ended.

 

 

(Ottowa--jc)  -- Several area residents have been nominated for Military Academy admission. U-S Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Republican in the 16th Illinois district hosted a reception earlier this week. Among the nominees include Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School Senior Nathaniel Garard to West Point and Central Clifton High School Senior Nolan Ahlden of Ashkum to the Naval Academy.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  --Democrats who soon will retake full control of Illinois government are expected to push for a sweeping overhaul of the state income tax, but if history is any guide prospects for success range from don’t-get-your-hopes-up to fat chance. Replacing the current single tax rate structure in Illinois with a menu of graduated rates that charge more to the wealthy would require a Constitutional amendment that to pass requires an extraordinary majority of voters. Similar proposals in other states have fared poorly at the ballot box.In November, voters in Colorado defeated a referendum that would have replaced that state’s Illinois-like flat tax with several new brackets for higher income wage earners The measure was rejected 55 percent to 45 percent.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  A committee nominated a retired judge to handle complaints against state lawmakers after a number of high-profile harassment cases emerged while the post was vacant.The Illinois legislature has been hit over the past 14 months with allegations of harassment and intimidation toward employees, lobbyists and others who work under the dome in Springfield.The Legislative Inspector General’s Office, the body meant to field complaints against lawmakers, had been vacant for several years. Legislative Ethics Commission Chairwoman state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Raymond, said after reviewing 20 applications, a selection committee winnowed the list of names down. A bipartisan panel of lawmakers is now recommending retired Judge Carol Pope to be the next Legislative Inspector General.

 

 

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Illinois State Police Remind Motorists to be Safe When Driving This Holiday Season

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Attorneys for the man charged with kidnapping and killing a Chinese University of Illinois scholar say the FBI searched his jail cell when he was in court. Brendt Christensen's attorneys now want a judge to force the FBI to divulge what they found in Friday's search at the Livingston County jail. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Christensen, who's charged in the 2017 abduction and death of 26-year-old Yingying Zang. Authorities haven't found her body. Another court appearance is set for Today.

 

(Dewitt County--jc)  -- Farmer City police are warning the area about an e-mail scam. Officials say the scam is claiming to be from Fed-Ex. The scam wants the person  to send money for an unclaimed package. Police officials say that if you receive such an e-mail, do NOT respond or send money. Alert your local police agency about any suspicious activity.

 

 

(Springfield--ab)  --Illinois State Police  Director Leo P. Schmitz is reminding motorists to enjoy the holidays responsibly and take the necessary safety precautions to prevent senseless tragedies from occurring. The ISP will be doing their part to keep Illinois roadways safe by strictly enforcing all laws, with an emphasis on the four most common causes of fatal traffic crashes.   “The Fatal Four” includes: DUI, Speeding, Seat Belt, and Distracted Driving. Throughout the holidays, the ISP will conduct extra patrols and roadside safety checks with an emphasis on removing impaired drivers from the roadways and a goal of reducing traffic crashes. ISP encourages the public to do their part to make travel safe this holiday season.  If you will be attending an event where alcohol is being served, please make sure to designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a ride-sharing service.


 

(Washington--jc)  -- Land-grant university researchers and Christmas tree farmers work together in genetic breeding efforts of seed desirable for grower needs and consumer wants. Rod Bain reports.

.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Recreation Department officials say they are planning their next Broadway Musical trip. The trip to the Fox Theatre in Saint Louis will be to see the musical “Come From Away” which won the Best Musical award. The cost is expected to be around 85 dollars per person. More information is found by contacting the Rantoul Recreation Department.

 

(Gifford--jc)  -- Gifford School leaders will talk about a contract for the schools new superintendent when they meet tonight in monthly session. School board members are expected to talk about the contract for Jay Smith. Smith was hired this past Spring to replace current Superintendent R Grimsley, who is retiring at the end of the school year. A new contract could be in place in early 20-19.

 

(Ford County--jc) Ford County Republicans are planning one of their main events for next year. The local political group will hold a “Mega Town Hall” event rather than the Lincoln Day Dinner. More details will be provided in the near future as the event could be set in July in Gibson City.

 

(Urbana--jc)  If you see Elmo and some of his pals in Urbana this afternoon, there is a good reason. The characters from the Sesame Street Live Show that are performing locally, will make the appearance at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana starting at 1 this afternoon. Elmo and friends will be visiting with children at the hospital which include songs and one on one meet and greets.

 

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  -- Christmas is one week away, and the chances for a White Christmas in East Central Illinois remain slim. As we close out fall and the beginning of winter on Friday, State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kershner says temperatures are expected to be above normal and that means above freezing…

 

 

State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kershner.

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's O'Hare Airport is getting a new security scanner that officials hope will make going through security checkpoints more efficient. The new scanner may not be used to screen passengers until after the holidays because the Transportation Security Administration is still testing it and training employees to use it. The new CT scanners have been tested in Boston and Phoenix and are now being rolled out to other airports. The technology is already used on checked luggage. It could give TSA agents at security checkpoints a better view of items, eventually allowing passengers to leave liquids in their carry-on bags. Agents also may need to do fewer hands-on searches.In Chicago the scanner will be in the Terminal 1 checkpoint open to some United Airlines passengers.

 

 

(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  --Illinois' senior U.S. Senator said a judge's ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional means that Republicans are going to once again have to talk about healthcare. Dick Durbin says he's not sure that the U.S. Supreme Court will save the Affordable Care Act. Durbin  says Republicans in Washington D.C. now face a future where they will have to have another debate on healthcare. A judge last week.ruled that without Obamacare's individual mandate, the rest of the law was unconstitutional. Challenges are expected

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- A Chicago man is expected to be returned to Ford County today to face a charge of stealing more than 700 dollars in cigarettes from a Paxton business in November. Cook County police say they arrested 26 year old Rakeem Burris. Burris is awaiting transfer to Ford County.  The Class 2 felony, upon any conviction, has a sentence range from probation to 7 years in prison.

 

(Mahomet--jc)  -- Mahomet Seymour school leaders will hear about the Fieldhouse project when they meet tonight in monthly session.  Approving a fuel bid and the annual tax levy are also agenda items. The meeting comes to order at 7 tonight at the Middletown Prairie board room.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has a plan to use more paper. The state agency is taking a small step away from digital records. Returning to paper records in some cases could potentially save businesses money. The move is part of an initiative of Governor Bruce Rauner, who often used government paperwork as an example bureaucratic inefficiency during his time in office. It’s part of the governors, cutting the red tape initiative and the changes will result in savings for businesses and taxpayers.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois State Police are increasing patrols and urging the public to be safe for busy holiday travel. I-S-P Sergeant Jacqueline Cepeda says with all the celebrations, motorists need to be extra careful at this time of year…

 

 

Illinois State Police Sergeant Jacqueline Cepeda

 

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College officials announced Monday that four candidates have filed to run for positions on the Parkland College Board of Trustees.Bianca Truitt Green of Champaign, Jonathan Westfield of Savoy and Douglas Jones of Champaign have filed for the two six-year trustee terms that are expiring next April. Green and Westfield are incumbent trustees who have served on the board since 2015 and 2017, respectively. Jones is a surgeon at Christie Clinic in Champaign. James L. Ayers of Monticello, also an incumbent, has filed for the four-year term expiring in April. Ayers has served the on the board since 1989. The two six-year terms will run through April 2025, while the four-year term will run through April 2023. The election will be held April 2, 2019.

 

 

(Washington--jc --  U.S. soybean farmers welcomed news from President Trump Monday confirming a second payment under the United States Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program. American Soybean Association President Davie Stephens, a soybean farmer from Clinton Kentucky says that while the 2nd payment will not make losses whole, it will help offset the drop in prices.

 

(Illinois--jc)  Make sure to protect your vital information when shopping and giving this holiday season. A-A-R-P of Illinois Terri Worman says be prepared and be alert…

 

 

A-A-R-P of Illinois Spokesperson Terri Worman

 

(Champaign--jc)  -- The Champaign County Association of Realtors is planning it’s One Winter Night in February. WPXN’s Austin Burklund has the story..

 

 

 

(Champaign--jc)   The Prairielands Council, Boy Scouts of America  has hired Jared White as its’ new Scouting Executive; Jared will begin his career with Prairielands Council on January 16. Jared began his Scouting career as a District Executive for the Greater St. Louis Area and is also an Eagle Scout. Prairielands Council President Randy Kangas calls White, a winner for scouts in East Central Illinois

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Mysterious Noise Heard By Many Saturday Night

(Undated--jc)  It was a sound, maybe a streak in the sky. A phenomenon happened around 9-15 on Saturday night. Ford County Sheriff’s police were among the law enforcement groups that received calls about the noise. Reports about the noise were taken from several communities throughout the WPXN listening area.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is looking at clemency cases. This is the 27th set of petitions the governor has reviewed since taking office. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System.A granted clemency request for a pardon with expungement allows the petitioner to seek expungement of their conviction through the court system.Gov. Rauner has acted on 3,829 petitions since taking office, clearing the backlog left by previous administrations.For additional information on the granted clemency cases, please contact the Prisoner Review Board at (217) 782-1610.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Tel Aviv University is the first international partner in a research center led by the University of Illinois. Officials from the Israeli school signed the agreement Friday. The university will help guide development and participate in educational and research programs at the Discovery Partners Institute.The facility in downtown Chicago will house more than 100 researchers who will conduct work in health care, cybersecurity, food supplies and the environment. Tel Aviv University joins other academic partners including Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. All rank on Reuters' list of the world's 100 most innovative universities.


 

 

(Clinton--jc)  -- The final “200 Years of Statehood” Christmas Candlelight Tours, themed in honor of the Illinois State Bicentennial, will take place Friday  at the C.H. Moore Homestead DeWitt County Museum in Clinton. Friday night, the mansion will be illuminated by candlelight and holiday music will be enjoyed by all.  Doors open at 5pm Guests are asked to enter at the front door. No reservations are needed. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for ages 11 to 18 years, and free for children aged 10 years and under.

 

GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) — Communities across Illinois are receiving a combined $13.7 million to reduce hazards from lead-based paint in low-income housing.

About $3.6 million will be used for remediation at 200 housing units in Galesburg, where the Illinois Department of Public health has reported high rates of elevated blood lead levels in children. A 2015 study found 14.4 percent of tested children showed elevated levels — one of the highest rates in the state. Lead-based paint has been proven to harm children and cause behavioral and cognitive problems.U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth said three other communities will receive grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.Chicago is receiving $4.1 million, Moline is receiving $2.4 million and Kankakee is getting $3.6 million.

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- Property owners in the Paxton Buckley Loda School district will have to wait officially till the first quarter of next year, but taxes for the local school could be cheaper next year. P-B-L school officials say property value in the district increased by nearly 10 million dollars from a year ago and that could mean a lowering of taxes.


 

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois has fired a professor who was accused of falsifying research.Fei Wang worked in the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He has been at the university since 2005 and was granted tenure in 2012.The investigation and its aftermath lasted nearly five years. Wang was accused of applying for research grants with information from experiments that hadn't been performed. He included images of mouse cells, not human cells.

Spokeswoman Robin Kaler says the university has returned $355,000 in grant money to various agencies.

 

(Champaign--ba)-The tree is up and decorated…now here’s some tips for keeping it looking fresh through christmas. The best thing you can do is make sure your tree has plenty of  fresh, clean water says U of I Extension Horticulture expert Richard Hentschel.

 

 

U of I Extension Horticulture expert Richard Hentschel

 

 

VALMEYER, Ill. (AP) — Environmentalists in southern Illinois have raised concerns that a proposed wind turbine project will diminish the area's natural beauty and hurt animal habitat. Developer Joe Koppeis, who owns Southern Illinois Wind, hopes to construct 50 wind turbines along 15 miles of bluffs south of Valmeyer and Waterloo,  Koppeis expects the project to cost $220 million and says the reason he is in the wind industry is for his family and belief in renewable energy. The wind turbines reduce the need for the burning of fossil fuels and also generate alternative energy and raise tax revenue for government services, such as local schools.On the opposite side is  Heartlands Conservancy that contend the wind farm could change the character of the rural landscape and harm wildlife and make the area more industrial.

 

(Undated--jc) --  Illinois is celebrating its anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…

 

 

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Lawyers for the man charged with kidnapping and killing a Chinese University of Illinois scholar have argued the case should be heard in state court, where the death penalty isn't an option.Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty  against former graduate student Brendt Christensen. He's charged with the 2017 abduction and death of 26-year-old Yingying Zang. Authorities have not found her body. A federal judge in Peoria is holding several days of pre-trial hearings.Defense attorney Robert Tucker said Friday he believes the main reason federal prosecutors are trying the case is to seek the death penalty. Illinois abolished it in 2011 for state cases. Prosecutor Eugene Miller denied Tucker's claim. He argued there are several valid legal reasons to try the case in federal court.

 

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University will buy about 80 acres of land to expand the central Illinois farm operated by the university's agriculture department.

The ISU board of trustees on Saturday authorized the university to purchase the land adjacent to University Farm for $810,000, including closing costs. The money will come from university reserves. The farm is located about 20 miles northeast of Normal, and provides students with hands-on farming experience. The 360-acre University Farm produces corn, soybeans, alfalfa, beef, sheep and swine. It was dedicated at its site near Lexington in 2002. In addition to student employees it has eight full-time employees.

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  The weather for the final days of fall and heading into the Christmas holiday are expected to be warmer. That is according to  State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner..

 

 

State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The city of Springfield is the winning bidder for a historic neon sign that's one of the city's remaining Route 66 landmarks.An online auction was held for the Sonrise Donuts sign, which went up along Route 66 in 1949.At one point the top bidders were in Chicago and California. But Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau director Scott Dahl revealed Friday the city made the winning bid of $22,000. The money will come from city hotel-motel tax.Dahl says buying the sign "ensures our visitors will continue to experience Springfield's story as it relates to Route 66." Plans for the 6-by-8-foot sign weren't announced.The sign remained on the Sonrise Donuts building even after the shop closed in 1998 and other businesses moved in.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Governor.-elect J.B. Pritzker's inaugural celebration will raise money for a Chicago-based legal aid organization and the foundation that supports the state fairgrounds in Springfield and Du Quoin The inauguration committee released information Friday about two events scheduled for Jan. 14.The swearing-in will occur at Bank of Springfield Center in Springfield at 11 a.m. People interested in attending may request up to two free tickets starting Dec. 28 through the inauguration website. The celebration will begin at 7 p.m. at the Exposition Building of the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Tickets are currently available by invitation only but may go on general sale depending on availability. The committee says all ticket purchases and donations will be given to the Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton joint review board is set to meet this week. The subject is Paxton’s Tax Increment Finance District. THe meeting comes to order on the second floor of city hall on Tuesday evening at 6.

 

 

(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City officials have set up a special meeting on Tuesday at 7pm. On the agenda includes an Ordinance Approving an Addendum to the Agreement by and between the City of Gibson City, One Earth Energy, Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Community Unit School District #5, Gibson City Fire Protection District, the Ford County Supervisor of Assessments, and the Ford County Board of Review. A second agenda item is an Ordinance Approving and Authorizing the Execution of a third Amendment to the Intergovernmental Agreement by and between the City of Gibson City and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Community Unit School District #5.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- The chairman of the Illinois Republican Party said he didn't know Governor  Bruce Rauner had asked other people to take his spot in the governor's race after a narrow primary victory and ahead of the November election contest with J.B. Pritzker. The governor told a Chicago TV station that he talked with four people about taking his place in the lead up to the midterm elections. Rauner said they all turned him down. Republican Party leaders said they weren't aware of it.

 

 

(Buckley-dg)-Goat’s Christmas Charity in Buckley has been operating for the last 15 years. This time of year can be especially hard on some and the donations received at Goat’s goes to help those in need. This year is no different. A woman in Buckley is need of helping to pay her water bill. There was a leak that took some time to be fixed and the village said they wouldn’t be able to help out. The charity is trying to raise $1000 to help with repair costs and take the burden off this Christmas. If you would like to donate to this cause please send your donation to Goat’s Christmas Charity at P O Box 207, Buckley, Il 60918.

 

 

 

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New Data Shows the Number of Uninsured Children in Illinois Rose About Eight Percent Last Year

CHICAGO (AP) — A county public guardian in Illinois is suing the state's Department of Children and Family Services over what it contends is the "immense harm" the agency is doing to mentally ill foster children that are kept in psychiatric hospitals beyond their medical discharge dates. The federal class-action lawsuit filed by Cook County's public guardian contends that keeping the children so long at the psychiatric hospitals is "inhumane" and costs taxpayers more than $125,000 a month.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has welcomed governors-elect from both parties to the White House. Among those in attendance on Thursday were Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, Georgia Republican Brian Kemp, Illinois Democrat J.B. Pritzker, Wisconsin Democrat Tony Evers and newly inaugurated Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican. The visitors also met with Cabinet members as part of a broader White House outreach effort to local officials.

 

 

(Springfield, IL--ba)  -- New data out yesterday show the number of uninsured children in Illinois rose about eight percent last year, and advocates say they worry that federal policies could thwart future progress. Researchers with the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found that for the first time in a decade, the number of children without health coverage in the U-S has gone up - with five percent of kids now uninsured. In Illinois, it's almost three percent. Kathy Waligora with EverThrive Illinois contends that with an improving economy and low unemployment, the backslide is the result of messages at the national level.

 

 

Ever-Thrive Illinois Spokesperson Kathy Waligora


 

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — A former administrator may serve as interim chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale while the university conducts a search for the campus' next permanent leader. The Southern Illinoisan reports the SIU board of trustees will vote today to name John M. Dunn interim chancellor, a role he previously held from 2006 to 2007.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- 52 Classes, 17 thousand participants. Those are the numbers the Lincoln Challenge Director Peter Thomas had been involved with the local program that began July First 1993. Thomas has been a leader, challenging and changing the lives of at-risk teens for the past 25 years. When the latest group graduates this month, Thomas has stated he will retire. The local program will name a new director in the very near future. Thomas will be missed by those with Lincoln’s Challenge, friends and the community of Rantoul and surrounding area.

 

 

(Undated--ab) Football safety is on the minds of a lot of government officials, Superintendents, Coaches, and parents. Matt Troha Assistant Executive Director of the IHSA says that the Illinois High School Association is making a lot of changes to make the game safer.

 

 Assistant Executive Director of the IHSA Matt Troha

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- As more cases of hepatitis A pop up in Illinois, State Public Health Officials urge those most at risk to get vaccinated. So far this year in Illinois there have been 75 cases of Hep-A, which can cause liver damage. The recent outbreak is concerning, says Illinois Public Health Department Director Doctor Nirav Shah…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah.


 

Gibson City--ab) a public hearing will be held by the City of Gibson City Planning Commission on Monday, January 7, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the Villas of Hollybrook Dining Room located at 1400 N Melvin Street, Gibson City, Illinois. The hearing will involve the discussion of changes to the City of Gibson Zoning Ordinances for residential and commercial districts as they relate to wind and solar power energy.

 

(Rankin-dg)-Grace Lutheran Church in Rankin will be having it’s Annual Breakfast and Bazaar tomorrow from 6:30am-12:30 at the Rankin Lion’s Club. The Biscuit and Sausage Gravy Breakfast begins at 6:30 with a free will donation. Carry outs will be available. You’ll be able to find homemade baked goods, hand- crafted Farmhouse decor’ and other homemade items at the Bazaar.


 

(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- You have until Saturday, but there is still time to check out your options for insurance in 20-19. Illinois Department of Insurance Acting Director Karin Zosel says the best place is the get-covered Illinois, website…

 

 

Illinois Department of Insurance Acting Director Karin Zosel.

 

(Paxton--jc)  With the annual parade complete and a bag sale earlier this month, the city of Paxton has a lot to offer Christmas shoppers. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley says it’s good to see the variety of shops in the city..

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley

 

GRIDLEY, Ill. (AP) — A company that's the largest employer in the small central Illinois village of Gridley has closed because not enough people were buying the cereal it made.  Kerry, Incorporated. closed its doors at the end of the day Wednesday. Company spokesman Gene Grabowski says that that Kerry remains hopeful that the plant will re-open someday but that the fact that "the demand for cereal has dropped" forced the move. Grobowski says that 115 employees were affected by the closure. He says they were offered severance packages and that some of them were offered positions at other Kerry facilities.Kerry Inc. is based in Ireland. Its United States headquarters is in Beloit, Wis.

 

(Watseka--jc_  -- A merger remains a possibility between Riverside Hospital in Kankakee and the Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka The two facitlies have been in talks since October. Riverside Hospital officials announced yesterday that they will take over the Iroquois Memorial Hospital Ambulance service starting on January First. The announcement was made by both hospitals on Thursday and the two sides continue to look at merger possibilities.

 

(Springfield--ba)--The holiday season is ramping up, and while most people look forward to festivities with friends and family, for others this time of year can worsen stress, sadness and depression. Some people have increased anxiety due to travel obligations, or the expenses of gift-giving. Others neglect self-care trying to make the holidays special for family or loved ones.  Nancy Molitor is a clinical psychologist with the Illinois Psychological Association. She explains the holidays can be especially tough for people who have experienced a recent loss or have struggled with depression. She adds this is not the time to cancel therapy sessions...

 

 

Illinois Pshcholigical Association Psychologist Nancy Molitor

 

(Paxton--jc)  The “Grand Ole’ Flag” project continues to gain momentum in the city of Paxton. The efforts are being spearheaded by a group of citizens that represent the school, city government, chamber,  fire department, Pride in Paxton and concerned citizens. The idea was started by local resident and Paxton Firefigher Denny Kingren. The city is looking into the feasibility and regulations of putting up a large flag on the city’s west side. School officials are looking at the possibility and regulations on placing the structure on school property. Fundraising for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag has started. Donations may be brought the the Frederick Community Bank. The goal is to raise 40 thousand dollars.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc) --  The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Rantoul Rudolf Retail Rally ends at the end of business hours today. The Chamber, through the 10 businesses, are offering a 500 dollar prize for those who have found the “rudolf” in each of the participating stores. Rantoul officials will give away the prize on Saturday .

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County Republican Central Committee will meet at 830 tomorrow morning at the Arcade Restaurant in Paxton. Among items on the meeting’s agenda are a discussion about 2019 activities, a look at the recent elections and updates on state and National issues. The public is welcome to attend.

 

Santa Claus will be meeting with children from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and again from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Santa Hut next to Majestic Park in downtown Paxton.

 

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Governor Bruce Rauner's Team Will Help Make it a Smooth Transition for Governor Elect J.B. Pritzker

(Springfield--ab) Governor Bruce Rauner says his office is working to make it a smooth transition for the new administration for governor-elect J-B Pritzker. Pritzker will be sworn into office on january 14th, and until then the governor says his team will help guide the newcomers..

Governor Rauner says he also wants to make sure there is no clemency petition backlog when he leaves office and says he will not be issuing a bunch of executive orders or appointments during his final days.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Investment Policy Board is scheduled to meet for the first time since Gov. Bruce Rauner called for an investigation into Airbnb's lodging-listings policy toward the occupied West Bank. The policy board meets Wednesday in Chicago. The Republican governor requested the Airbnb review last month because the online private-lodging marketplace de-listed 200 participating properties in Israeli settlements in the disputed West Bank.

 

(Washington--jc)  -- What are some of the notable aspects found in the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill reported to, and under consideration by, Congress this week? Rod Bain has the answer…

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- Several suburban mayors joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to ask Illinois lawmakers to raise the state's gas tax by 20 to 30 cents a gallon, a proposal that could make Illinois' motor fuel tax the highest in the nation. The request would also ensure that per gallon taxes increase yearly with the rate of inflation. Outgoing mayor Emanuel joined other mayors from suburban Chicago this week to push the General Assembly should pass a gas tax hike in January. The money would be used for roads and bridges in the state.. A 30-cent hike would make Illinois’ total gas taxes the highest in the nation. Illinois’ total average tax burden on a gallon of fuel is just over 37 cents per gallon now.e. At the proposed 67.32 cents per gallon, Illinois' taxes would be higher than Pennsylvania’s average of 58.7 cents per gallon, the highest rate in the nation.

 

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with a coalition of 11 attorneys general, opposed a rule change proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor that would allow young people to operate power-driven patient lifts without training or supervision. This change would endanger the health and safety of young workers and residents in health care facilities that rely on these lifts. Madigan and the other attorneys general contend that the proposed change to Hazardous Occupation Order 7 is based on an unscientific online survey with only 22 respondents, instead of being based on reliable science. The U.S. Department of Labor currently allows 16- and 17-year-old workers to operate power-driven patient lifts, but only after they have been trained and only under the supervision of an adult caregiver. These lifts are used in nursing homes, residential facilities, and hospitals to lift and move patients who are unable get up without assis

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- A new Illinois Governor’s Mansion curriculum guide contains scores of suggestions for activities, online resource links and ways to engage today’s students in yesterday’s lessons for a better tomorrow. The 44-page guide, released Wednesday, provides a variety of learning activities connecting K-12 math, science, art, music, reading and writing lessons with the rich history surrounding some of the movers and shakers who occupied the Governor’s Mansion dating back to the Civil War and through the early 1900s. First Lady Diana Rauner wrote the prefacing letter stating that the Rauners want  everyone in Illinois to visit the People’s House, a site of history, culture and civic pride

 

 

(Buckley--jc)  -- The Buckley American Legion Post #432 will be participating in a nation-wide ceremony on Saturday by laying wreaths in honor of America’s veterans. Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate. There will be a brief ceremony at the Buckley American Legion hut at 11am. Then on to the Buckley cemetery where the public is invited to assist in laying the wreaths on graves of veterans.

 

(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute…

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  --The state's pension system is unsustainable and lawmakers in Springfield need to amend the state's constitution to cut out a clause that protects pensions, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday. Emanuel, who leaves office in the spring, criticized Illinois’ retiree benefits in a speech Wednesday in front of the Chicago City Council. He said the automatic 3 percent annual pay bumps given to retirees are “raises” rather than cost-of-living adjustments. Emanuel echoed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s call to amend the state constitution to eliminate the pension protection clause. Under the terms of many of the state’s public pension agreements, retirees receive a three percent annual compounded increase. Emanuel said the annual pay increases were designed to help pensions keep pace with inflation. Emanuel says automatic raises for retirees don't make sense when city workers have to take furlough days because of tight budgets.

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  --The Governor’s Health Care Fraud Elimination Task Force showed that it successfully avoided or recouped 218 million dollars in wasteful or fraudulent Medicaid spending. The effort resulted in 39 fraud convictions including $27.8 million in recoveries through criminal prosecutions, civil actions, and/or administrative referrals. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) saved or recouped an estimated $190 million in FY18.  The task force has saved the state more than $665 million since its inception in 2016. Governor Rauner made the announcement in Chicago this morning.

 

 

(Urbana--jc)  --The University of Illinois has taken out a $60 million insurance policy to protect against a sudden drop in enrollment from students from China.When Gies School of Business Dean Jeff Brown took his post in August 2015, his first faculty meeting addressed what he called a “serious risk” of having such a large portion of department tuition come from Chinese studentBy 2017, they’d found a willing underwriter to insure their potential loss for a competitive price. Since July of that year, the school has paid $424,333 annually for a three-year specialty contract with Lloyd’s of London, insuring the Chinese contingent of the business and engineering schools’ student population for $60 million, the amount Brown said would cover potential losses in the two colleges. The final payment is due in May 2019. The policy expires in 2020. Should the revenue drop by any more than 20 percent for identifiable reasons outside of the school’s control, Lloyd’s of London would have to pay out under terms of the policy.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker is starting to plan his inaugural festivities. Pritzker and Lt. Gov.-elect Juliana Stratton announced Tuesday they've formed an inaugural committee that will plan events surrounding their Jan. 14 swearing-in ceremony. Events will begin Jan. 12-13. The committee will be led by future Illinois first lady M.K. Pritzker and Bryan Echols, who serves as senior adviser to the Illinois treasurer.

 

 

(Watseka--jc)  It was a night of shopping for some Watseka area kids last night. Members of the Watseka Police Department went on a “Shop with a Cop” detail at the Watseka Walmart. The local police officials helped some area kids get some gifts for Christmas.

 

 

(Joliet--jc)  One plant in Joliet is set to close by mid 20-19. The Herald Review reports that  Caterpillar may close its Joliet plant by June. The company’s latest layoff notice with the state reports that 285 workers at the factory will lose their jobs starting in early January.Caterpillar would not confirm when the plant is closing. A Caterpillar spokeswoman would not specify when the company plans to close the plant or how many people still work there.

 

 

U by Kotex tampons are being recalled because there is a chance they could unravel or fall apart. Kimberly-Clark is recalling some lots of the tampons made before Oct. 16 of this year.  In some cases, pieces of the tampon left in the body have caused customers to seek medical attention. The tampons were sold broadly across the U.S. and Canada by many retailers.Call Kimberly-Clark at 1-888-255-3499 for more information.

 

 

(McLean County--jc)  -- A Phone Scam.....McLean County law enforcement officials say they  had a report of yet another telephone scam. This time it is an automated call from the Social Security Administration advising the recipient that there is going to be "Some Legal Enforcement Actions" filed on your social security number. The message goes on to threaten to suspend your SSN. It leaves a number to call back as 760 230-5498. After listening to the message, its obvious that it is a computer generate voice and the grammar on the recording is not very good. Remember the Social Security administration will never call you or leave a message such as this. Be smart, Don't be a victim of identity theft.

 

(Loda--jc)  -- A benefit is set for Sunday. A concert  for Gabe Fairchild, will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Loda United Methodist Church. The benefit concert will feature performances by Bluegrass Demolition, Andy Kaufmann and Mickey Matthews. A free-will offering will be collected to help with medical expenses for Gabe Fairchild, a local musician and member of the Prairie City band. Refreshments will be served after the concert.

 

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A Ford County Man from Cabery Sentenced to 120 Years in Prison on Possession of Child Pornography

(Urbana--jc)  A Ford County man from Cabery was sentenced to 120 years in prison on possession of child pornography.  Broadcast reports say 78 year old Toetim Cizmar of Cabery was sentenced in federal court on Friday on charges stemming from June of 20-17 to four counts of sexual exploitation of three children, ages 3 to 6 years old.

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  -- A driver in a vehicle versus train accident in Champaign on Monday afternoon was taken to a local hospital. The accident occured on the tracks at Bradley Avenue and Chestnut street. The driver is expected to survive from the injuries. The tracks were block for several  hours on Monday

 

 

(Joliet--jc)  -- The Unlock Our Jobs Coalition is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct complete regional and national economic development studies in addition to further risk and safety analyses following the release of its proposed plan to install new structural barriers at Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet.The Corps' proposed plan includes untested technologies and costly structural barriers, even though commercial fishing and existing electric barriers have proven to be effective in preventing Asian carp from advancing north over the last 27 years, successfully cutting the population of Asian carp at the leading edge by 93 percent. Shipments and maritime activity between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River system generate billions of dollars in economic investment each year, supporting a vast array of industries including steel, agriculture, manufacturing, chemical, energy, construction and tourism in Illinois and throughout the Midwest. The plan put forth by the Corps would greatly restrict traffic at Brandon Road Lock and Dam and could have a detrimental impact on thousands of people who work and live along the waterways.


 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Media personality and political commentator Glenn Beck is pitching in to keep a trove of artifacts related to Abraham Lincoln in the 16th president's hometown. Beck's charity called Mercury One has donated $50,000 toward a $9.2 million debt owed for a collection of 1,400 artifacts purchased a decade ago for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

 

(Washington-ba)-Soybean traders are reportedly eager for USDA's  World Supply and Demand forecast later this morning.  USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.

 

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  The old helicopter at the Paxton Airport is probably not going to a Vermilion County legion post. As local leaders in the city of Paxton approved the donation, the owner of the helicopter has contacted city officials and the property is in the process of being moved. The city council is expected to take proper action when they meet tonight in monthly session. The council meeting comes to order at 7 tonight on the second floor of city hall.

 

(Champaign--jc)  Those with layaway items at Walmarts in Champaign, Urbana and Savoy received a surprise on Monday. They had their layaway items paid in full. The bill was paid by John Liautaud, owner of Jimmy John’s Restaurants.

 

 

(Paxton--ab) The Paxton-Buckley- Loda School district has their latest School board meeting this Wednesday night at 6 PM. One item is about the School levy. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure gives the latest details on the topic.

 

 

The board will also listen to Denny Kingren from the Paxton Fire Department. Other items include a vote on a new art class, and bids on transportation services.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- They want you to bring your appetite. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes at one local high school are gearing up for their annual free community feed. The group at Rantoul Township High School are hosting the event on Wednesday December 19  from 5-30 to 7-30 at the Rantoul Township High School cafetorium.

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Struggling to find the perfect present? The Illinois Emergency Management Agency suggests giving the gift of preparedness. The recent tornadoes, foggy weather and pending snow, show that you need to be ready for ever-changing Illinois weather. I-EMA’s Rebecca Clark says preparedness items make great gifts..

 

 

I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.

 

 

(Illinois-ba)-Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute.

 

 

(Watseka--jc) --  Iroquois County leaders are expected to approve their meeting schedule when they meet this afternoon at 5. Iroquois County leaders are also expected to learn more about bids for around 30 acres that are projected for use with a solar farm in Beaverville township. Moving dollars from the safety tax fund to the Joint Dispatch fund is also on the agenda.

 

(Washington-ba)- If you are shipping or receiving holiday gifts of perishable food items, here are some tips for keeping those foods safe through the entire process. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.

 

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul village leaders are expected to approved an engineering service agreement. The 43 thousand dollar fee would be  with the Burns and McDonnell group concerning the sale of some airport property. Also at tonight’s monthly meeting, village leaders will look to extend the contract with  O-S-F Healthcare Systems and approve the 20-19 meeting dates. The Rantoul Village Board meets at 6pm at the municipal building on Tanner Street.

 

(Gibson City--jc) With two State Football titles, does one local high school have to now move up in competition class. The Falcons of Gibson City Melvin Sibley have won state titles in 2-A football. IHSA Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha says there is no automatic move up in classes with schools with boundries…

 

 

I-H-S-A Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha

 

 

(Chicago--jc)  --– Attorney General Lisa Madigan and a coalition of attorneys general and attorneys general-elect Monday opposed the federal government’s latest effort, what they believe, is  to attack, demonize and marginalize immigrants in Illinois and around the country. The federal administration has proposed a radical overhaul of so-called “public charge” rules that could make it easier to deny adjustment of status to lawful immigrants, reject green card applications, or even remove lawful immigrants from the country if they utilize certain healthcare, nutrition or housing programs.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  The start of fundraising has begun for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project. An account has been opened with the Frederick Community Bank in Paxton. The Paxton area Chamber of Commerce made the initial donation in the amount of 5 hundred dollars. The group is looking to raise 40 thousand dollars to place the giant American flag on the city’s west side near Interstate 57. Donations are to be made out to Pride in Paxton with a memo line of Paxton Grand Ole Flag project.  

 

 

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