Former Rankin Grade School Building is a Total Loss in Early Morning Fire

(Rankin--jc) --  The State’s Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the fire of a former grade school building in the village of Rankin. The structure caught fire in the early morning hours of Saturday. The building was completely engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.  The building is a total loss.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Torrential rain this spring prevented most Midwest farmers from planting their crops but while the federal government provides help to growers of corn and soybeans, those who grow specialty crops are largely on their own. Although the lack of federal safety net programs for farmers who grow everything from arugula to zucchini isn't new, one of the wettest springs in U.S. history has focused attention on the special status of commodity crops, primarily corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and wheat.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials are warning people who plan to recreate in lakes and rivers to be cautious about blue-green algae that can cause sickness or other health issues. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Public Health say water conditions are ideal for the algae growth.


(Onarga--jc)  -- The Idea Garden is the location for an open house on Saturday in Onarga. The University of Illinois Extension’s Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners will be showing the colors of summer at the event which runs from 10 til Noon. The Idea Garden is at the Onarga Public Library at 209 West Seminary in the village.


(Sibley--ba) --One annual event is focusing on honoring veterans as well as fighting cancer. Sibley Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks says the event is set for July 7th....



Sibley Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks



(Bellflower--jc) --  McLean County Sheriff released information about a fatal house fire in Bellflower. A house in the 400 block of first street in the village was observed engulfed by fire just after 5 Sunday morning. Assisting with the blaze, were fire departments from Bellflower, Saybrook and Farmer City. Upon investigation, a female was located deceased in the residence. The cause of the fire and fatality remain under investigation by McLean County authorities.


DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) — The DuQuoin State Fair in southern Illinois is dropping a $2 entry fee. The admission fee for people 13 and older was started in 2016. Fair manager Josh Gross and John Sullivan, the head of the Illinois Agriculture Department, said they heard many complaints. Sullivan says he's "thrilled" to make the fair free again. The Southern Illinoisan reports that parking at the fairgrounds will be $15 while parking near the Southern Illinois Center will be $10.


(Gilman--jc)  Iroquois West School Board members will let bids for Bread, Milk and Fuel when they meet tonight in monthly session in Gilman. Iroquois West school leaders will also look to approve the amended fiscal year 20-20 calendar and approve its commercial insurance policy. The meeting comes to order at the high school board room in Gilman at 7.



(Springfield--jc)  -- In the past ten years since the end of the Great Recession, Pew Charitable Trusts says Illinois increased overall spending 11 percent, but its pension funding dropped from 54 percent funded in 2008 to 35 percent in 2016.The report also says higher education spending per student increased 32 percent, the largest increase of any state reviewed.But Pew says Illinois' spending on K-12 education was down 22 percent per student since 2008.



(Mahomet--jc)  -- The 2019 Big Brothers Big Sisters Golf Outing is set for June 21st at Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet. The donation is 125 per golfer. Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins says that includes the golf and more…


Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois woman who admitted to seriously injuring a 5-month old boy at her home-day care business has been sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison.  59-year-old Debbie May of Champaign was sentenced on Friday. In April she entered what is called an Alford plea to aggravated battery, a plea that allows criminal defendants to maintain their innocence while acknowledge that there was enough evidence to persuade a jury to find her guilty.



(Gibson City--jc) Gibson City Melvin Sibley School board members will look at costs to repair the elevator at its Middle School in gibson City when they meet in monthly session.  The estimated cost will be just over 46 thousand dollars. School board members are also expected to approve bids for bread, dairy and trash collection. The G-C-M-S school board meets at 6-15 tonight at the middle school board room.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — An exhibit of unique typewriters, including one used by the founder of Playboy, will open later this month at the University of Illinois. The university's Rare Book & Manuscript Library will feature typewriters used by Hugh Hefner and Roger Ebert. Both men were alumni of the university. Hefner's Underwood Standard portable typewriter that he used in college and to write for Playboy is one of the main exhibits. It is on loan to the library after being sold at auction in December for $162,500.The typewriters used by poet Carl Sandburg and novelist James Jones will also be featured.


(Melvin--jc)  -- The 20-19 field of candidates for the Ford County Fair Queen Pagent is set. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the details…


(Pontiac--jc)  -- Illinois State Police (ISP) Zone 5 Investigations is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing 51-year-old woman, Beatrice Field, of Jasper, Indiana. On June 13, State police Investigations responded to an abandoned vehicle (Kia) at the Limestone Rest Area near Pontiac. The vehicle had been abandoned since May 29.  Field was identified on a rest area surveillance video walking from the vehicle on May 30. Field,is described as 5’ 0” and approximately 100 pounds. Foul play is not suspected. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Beatrice Field, please contact I-S-P Pontiac Communications Center at (815) 844-1500.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Tri-County Players theater group is presenting the show “Wonderland”  this weekend and next weekend at the Market Street Theater in downtown Paxton. The Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m., while the Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Seats  are available by callingt 217-379-7028. You can hear more about the Tri County Players production of Wonderland with an interview with Brandon Irish on our Noon news today.



(Rankin--jc)  --Rankin’s Fourth of July celebration will be held Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6, at Centennial Park on the village’s southwest side.A truck and tractor pull takes place on Friday July 5th at Centennial Park starting at 6pm. On Saturday,  food, a water ball fight, music, pie eating contest, joke-telling contest, watermelon seed spitting to an egg tossing contest hilite the day. Fireworks take place around 9 that evening.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The latest class for the Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge program graduated over the weekend. The ceremonies were held at the Decatur Civic Center. Lincolns Challenge Program Public Information Director Michael Camacha says the program continues to grow in its partnership with the village or Rantoul and area…



Lincoln’s Challenge Program Public Information Director Michael Camacha



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul area Chamber of Commerce Movies in the park was postponed Friday night due to inclement weather. The movie Ralph Breaks the Internet will be shown this Friday at Willow Pond Golf Course.


Bricks Can Now be Purchased to Support Paxton's Grand Ole Flag Project

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Testimony in the trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student accused of killing a visiting scholar from China revealed that the defendant bought Drano and garbage bags three days after the slaying. The detail came Thursday during the second day of the federal murder trial of Brendt Christensen in the June 2017 death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.


(Springfield--ba)-Thanks to a wet spring there are plenty of mosquitoes and gnats to contend with this summer. Bugs are always annoying but this year the buffalo gnats seem particularly nasty. State Public Health Director Doctor Egozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay) says they are attracted to the air we breath out, perfumes and even our deodorant. They also aren’t fended off easily.



State Public Health Director Doctor Egozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay)



(Wasington--ba)  -- A 2018 Farm Bill program securing scholarship funds for 1890's land grant universities received recognition and created celebration at USDA headquarters this week. Rod Bain reports...




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Museum has named a new director.

The state's Department of Natural Resources says Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko has been appointed after a nationwide search. She has served in leadership posts at the Abbe Museum in Maine and the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Indiana, which won awards during her tenure.




(Buckley--ba) Buckley fun day is set for tomorrow at Buckley Lake.  Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura says there are lots of activities to enjoy...



Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura

WPXN will be broadcast live Saturday from 10 until noon at Buckley Fun Day. It’s Summer Fun Tour Stop number 4.



(Springfield--jc)  The State F F A Convention is complete for the year. On Thursday Gage Miller of Cambridge in Henry County was elected as the new Illinois F F A President. He succeeds Sophia Horton of Fisher in the position.


(Springfield-jc)  -- Come the end of September, 370 million dollars in back pay will be going to tens of thousands of state employees from early career raises from a contract that expired back in 2015. The courts sided with unions in a fight with former Governor Bruce Rauner that the raises must be paid. The State Journal-Register reports the interest on the back pay has yet to be calculated. The AFSCME union, which endorsed Governor. J.B. Pritzker, is voting to ratify its first new contract with the state since 2015.


(Paxton--ba) This Saturday on Scotts Tips for Success, Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental talks about Julie. Allen says it is important to know Julie  8-1-1 before digging on your property.



Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen



(Watseka--jc)  July 16th is the deadline for Iroquois County property owners to  pay their first installment of 20-18 taxes due in 20-19. Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers also announced that the second installment is due on September 16th.


(Springfield--ba)-A bill awaiting the governor’s signature aims to better protect students from sexual abuse at school. The legislation creates an alternative hearing process for students reporting sexual abuse or harassment, so they don’t feel intimated or further traumatized. State. Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Plainfield is a co-sponsor of the measure...


State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Plainfield


(Buckley--jc)  -- Running, eating, fishing, tractors and a duck race hilite Saturday’s Buckley Fun Day at Buckley Lake. The 5-K race and walk starts the day at 7-30 Saturday morning. The Ladies Aid bake sale begins at 9. The annual fishing derby runs from 8am until 10am. Golf cart parade is set for 10-30. Food stand opens at 11 and the annual Buckley Fun Day Duck race takes place at 4-17 Saturday afternoon.



(Rantoul--jc)  It’s graduation time for the next class at Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge. Class 52 will go through the pomp and circumstance tomorrow in Decatur. Saturday’s ceremony begins at 11am at the Decatur Civic Center.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is the only state in America that has yet to release its official report from fiscal year 2018 and state officials don’t yet know when it will be released.Every state, most cities, and other forms of government must have a comprehensive annual financial report, or CAFR, done as a way for not only citizens to better understand their local government finances, but also to give officials a better idea on the baseline costs for upcoming budgets.Illinois is often one of the last states to finish its report and this year, state officials have yet to do it, making it the latest since 2011 when Comptroller-turned Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes released it on June 30, 2012, a full year after the fiscal year ended.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Organizers with the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project are announcing a brick paver project today. Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren says the bricks are available starting today…



Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kinrgren

Again,the bricks are  4-by-8-inch bricks, dedicated with a donation of 1 hundred dollars. 8 by 8 bricks will be sold for 250 dollars each. The bricks are available at the My Brick’s website. It’s online at Thats-my-brick-dot-com-forward slash-paxton-flag. We will have this information on our website too.

WPXN, in conjunction with the fundraiser, will play the national anthem each day in the 5pm hour. Listeners may provide a donation to the flag project and dedicate the National Anthem to a family member, veteran, or message. Call the radio station at 379-9796 for more details or message at news-at-wpxnradio-dot-com



(Milford--ba)-- Milford Fun Days is this weekend in the southern Iroquois County town.  Milford Fun Days’ Spokesperson Jason Reed says a parade games music and more hilites the day on Saturday....



Milford Fun Days Spokesperson Jason Reed


(Ford County--jc)  Ford County Health Department Officials expect lots of mosquitoes this summer. Joel Cluver has the details…




(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA Cookout tomorrow is pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda. This week’s proceeds go to the United Methodist Womens Group. The cookout runs from 10am until 2 pm at the IGA on Saturday.


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Has Signed Sweeping Abortion Protections into Law

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed sweeping abortion protections into law that establish women's access to the procedure as a "fundamental right." The legislation signed into law Wednesday puts Illinois at odds with Republican-led states that have been embracing steep abortion restrictions....



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The measure voids old abortion regulations that were on the books but had never taken effect because of court orders. It also requires insurance coverage for abortions, contraception and related medical care.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — As a federal prosecutor on Wednesday shared with jurors grisly details of how they claim a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped a visiting scholar from China, then beat her to death with a baseball bat , defense attorneys intent on sparing their client a possible death penalty offered an exceptional claim: He did it. Opening statements began Wednesday in the federal death-penalty trial of Brendt Christensen, who is accused of killing 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Pope Francis has deemed the first known black Roman Catholic priest in the United States to be "venerable," positioning the former slave for possible sainthood. The Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, says the pontiff's designation Wednesday of the Rev. Augustine Tolton as venerable means the church intensely scrutinized his life and recognizes it as one of "heroic virtue." The designation puts Tolton two steps away from possible canonization.


(Paxton--jc)  One group continues to seek another use for the Eastlawn School Building. The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board says they have already made plans to tear down the building as part of a new school project. No one came to the board during the referendum process and planning stages concerning the future of the aging building. A group wanting to save the structure made their pitch at last nights school board meeting. The consensus of the board is to continue with their plans.


(Milfor--ba) The annual Milford Fun Days are this weekend. The weekend is full of activities says Spokesperson Jason Reed...


Milford Fun Days Spokesperson Jason Reed


(Springfield--jc)  -- Some success stories with the Paxton Buckley Loda F F A from the state convention in Springfield. The local chapter had 3 students compete in the state Agriscience fair. Autumn Bruens and Lizzy Ruetter won their area of Plant Systems and were announced as National Finalist candidates. Christina White also competed. Mikayla Jones was named one of the top 10 chapter presidents. Kelsey Vaughn was recognized as one of Illinois' American Degree candidates. PBL was also recognized multiple times for National Chapter Awards.Today is the final day for the F F A convention. Fisher High Schools Sophia Horton will serve her last day representing the state as F F A President. A new slate of officers will be elected later today.

Paxton, IL—06/19/19—The Ford County Sheriff’s Office is excited to announce the implementation of the Medical Priority Dispatch Systemto better serve the residents of Ford County in emergency situations. With this new system, emergency dispatchers will follow nationally recognized standards and research-based protocols to identify life-threatening situations and to safely prioritize calls for fast response. The protocols guide emergency dispatchers through a series of questions they ask callers in order to identify the issue so they can send the correct help to the victim.  Emergency dispatchers will also use the questions to provide responders with accurate information so they can more effectively give care once they’re on the scene. Additionally, with the MPDS® emergency dispatchers can provide lifesaving and safety instructions to callers and victims before responders arrive. For example, by using the MPDS, the emergency dispatcher can instruct a caller on performing CPR or delivering a baby.



(Paxton---jc)  -- Officials with the Paxton Ole Fashioned 4th of July Celebration are looking for the next Little Mister and Little Miss for the annual celebration. Entry forms are found on  the Paxton Chamber of Commerce website. The contest is set for 6pm July 3rd at Pells Park in the city. WPXN will be sponsoring the annual watermelon eating contest on the 4th of July at the park.

(Springfield--jc)  --A case challenging Illinois’ Firearm Owners Identification card law is headed to the Illinois Supreme Court, but a gun rights group said it could end up in the nation's highest court. Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said the case out of White County involved a disabled woman who had a single-shot .22 caliber rifle. Pearson says the judge in White County said the FOID card is unconstitutional in the home. The case now bypasses the appellate court because it deals with constitutional issues If the state Supreme Court agrees with the White County judge's decision, Pearson said it means people could keep a firearm in the home without a FOID card.


(Springfield--jc)  --New polling found Illinois’ proposed progressive income tax ballot initiative may be off to a rocky start in terms of public opinion.A  We-Ask-America poll of 800 likely Illinois voters shows support for changing the state’s flat income tax to one that would allow lawmakers to tax higher earners at higher rates stood at 51 percent as of the last days of May. While 51 percent would be just enough for the measure to succeed in November 2020, it has dropped eight percentage points since February. Governor. J.B. Pritzker says that groups like Ideas Illinois, which funded the poll, have spread misinformation about what his income tax proposal would do.


(Springfield--jc)  --With Fathers’ Day just around the corner, consumer finance website WalletHub ranked the best and worst states for dads. Illinois came in just above the middle of the pack at No. 21. The highest ranked subcategory was daycare quality, where Illinois ranked No. 7. Illinois ranked No. 47 for the unemployment rate for dads with children younger than 18.



(Paxton--jc)  A food distribution event is set for one local church today. St Marys and St Joseph Parish Center Spokesperson Judy Popel has the details…



St Marys and St Joseph Parish Center Spokesperson Judy Popel


FAIR OAKS, Ind. (AP) — Authorities have arrested one of three people charged with animal cruelty following the release of video showing workers kicking and throwing young calves at a northwestern Indiana dairy farm that's an agritourism destination. The Newton County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday 36-year-old Edgar Gardozo-Vasquez of Brook is being held at the Newton County Jail on a felony charge of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and misdemeanor animal cruelty at Fair Oaks Farms.


(Gibson City--dg)  -- The seventh annual Mid-Summer Fun Run, sponsored by the American Legion Riders Post 568 in Gibson City and the Ford County Old-Timers, will be held Saturday, July 13. The event starts at the Urbana VFW post with signups starting at 10:30 a.m. The ride leaves the VFW post at noon. Food, beverages and entertainment will be provided at the final stop, the Carter household. There will also be 50/50 drawings, live music, an auction, a bonfire after dark and free camping. Donations of $20 per person will be accepted for the poker run ($15 at the gate). All profits and donations will benefit local veterans in Champaign County. Participants must be at least 21 years old. For more information or to make a donation, contact Larry Carter (217-841-6357), Ted Kaiser (217-249-4556) or Steve Bemount (217-841-8181).



The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce annual Fish Fry is today from 5-7 pm at North Park Pavillion. Musical Entertainment will be provided by the Gibson City Community band from 6-7pm.  Menu included all-you-can-eat fish along with baked beans, coleslaw, macaroni salad, chips, bread and drink. Cost is $5. Carryout orders will be available. Desert provided by the G-C-M-S Band Boosters.




Illinois lawmakers Looking to Free Up some Money to Cover the Cost of Emissions Testing

(Springfield--jc)  --After lawmakers accidentally removed the five-hour minimum for a school day in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation to restore it while still allowing schools more flexibility than before. The law  allows apprenticeships, dual-credit, career development and blended learning days to count toward a student’s required attendance total.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A jury has been selected in the trial of a former graduate student accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China. A federal judge in Peoria, Illinois, told jurors to return today for opening statements. Brendt Christensen could be sentenced to death if convicted in the 2017 slaying of Yingying Zhang, whose body hasn't been found.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are looking to free up some money in the state's budget by using some motor fuel tax revenue to cover the cost of emissions testing, but the state’s Constitution may not allow it. The last change to Illinois’ Constitution was the Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment, which voters passed in 2016. It forbids lawmakers from using transportation funds for non-transportation spending. State Sen. Heather Steans’ bill, which passed both houses and now only needs Governor J.B. Pritzker's signature, would allow for the state’s emission testing done by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to be paid for using revenue generated by the Motor Fuel Tax, the state tax levied on each gallon of gas.


(Washington--ba)  -- Where does the Winter and Spring wheat crop stand as we close in on the middle of June. Gary Crawford has  the latest....



(Springfield--jc)  --Hundreds of FFA members from all over the state are in the capital city for the organization's annual convention.The event will culminate with the selection of a new state board. That board will replace the first all-female board, which was elected last year. The state leaders for the past year included Sophia Horton from Fisher…



Current State F F A President Sophia Horton of Fisher


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The National Punkin Chuckin’ Festival is on its way to Rantoul. The three day event will be the first three days of November this year. Rantoul Village Administrator Scot Eisenhauer says the local area can expect 35 to 40 thousand people to attend this three day festival…



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer



(Roberts--jc) --  One Ford County Church is helping  sponsor a dance and show in July. The Living Word Church of Roberts is hosting the band Statesboro on Saturday July 20th in the park pavilion.



(Washington--ba)-- What to eat and what is good for you.  Hayden Stewart of the Economic Research Service has the  affordability of produce in meeting USDA dietary guidelines...



Hayden Stewart of the Economic Research Service


(Springfield--jc)  --One of the hundreds of bills Governor J.B. Pritzker is set to consider would allow victims of revenge porn to sue the person who posted the images online for up to $10,000 in civil damages. Posting sexually explicit content of someone online without their consent is already a crime in Illinois. State Representative. Mary Edly-Allen, Democrat from Libertyville,  helped Senate Bill 15-0-7 pass to give victims the ability to file a civil lawsuit. The bill creates a civil remedy for non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images.


(Paxton--jc)  When the Paxton Buckley Loda School Board meets tonight, a group that wants to save the  Eastlawn school building may be in attendance. During the entire process of a new school project and after a voter referendum, no one has come forth to save the aging building until earlier this Spring. The group  is looking at several Historic organizations to potentially help their cause. It is not -- certain how many signatures may be brought before the school board tonight. The concensus of the board from a media release earlier this month is to proceed with the school project as planned.


(Washington--ba--  )Soybean planting remains far  behind normal. Gary Crawford reports.


(Paxton--jc)  - Those with the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project say they are just days away from launching fundraising efforts. The group says they will launch on Friday, which is Flag Day.  The project is a 30 by 60 foot flag on a 150 foot pole to be located on Paxton’s west side near Paxton Buckley Loda High School. A brick fundraiser will officially start on Friday as the group looks to raise an initial 40 thousand dollars for the “grand ole flag.” WPXN radio will also make an announcement on Friday with a fundraising idea for the flag.



(Spirngfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers have said the state budget they passed and Governor J.B. Pritzker enacted was balanced and properly contributes to public pension accounts, but an accounting watchdog said that’s misleading. Senate President John Cullerton, Democrat, from Chicago, says the  state's budget is balanced and makes payments to the state’s pension funds as required by law. Truth in Accounting Research Director Bill Bergman said state law requires a payment below what it would cost to actually start reducing the state’s billions of dollars in public retiree debt.  He refers to a 440 million dollar bond offering in April.


TREMONT, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say the remains of a central Illinois Marine have been recovered, months after he died in a plane crash off Japan's southern coast. Cpl. Daniel Baker of Tremont was one of six Marines who died in the Dec. 6 crash. The 21-year-old was aboard a refueling plane that collided with a fighter jet. The Marine Corps says Baker's remains were found during a salvage operation conducted from May 27 through June 7.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The public is urged to watch out for blue-green algae in Illinois lakes and rivers. Most algae is an important part of the ecosystem, but blue-green algae can produce dangerous toxins. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Biologist Teri Holland describes blue-green algae…


E-P-A Biologist Teri Holland


(Springfield--jc)  -- The new Illinois budget has more money for mental health treatment. Governor J-B Pritzker says most everyone knows someone who is dealing with a mental health issue. The governor says an 80 million dollar increase in state funding, will help more people…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker

We will hear more from the governor on the topic on our Noon news today.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Chamber of Commerce officials say they hope to name a new Executive Director by the first of August. Current director Belynda Allen has left the office to take an Economic Development position in Hancock County in western Illinois.




Corn and Soybeans Well Behind 5 Year Average

(Springfield--jc)  -- Farmers finally got some time in the field this past week. 73 percent of corn and 49 percent of soybeans have now been planted, but they are well behind the 5 year average says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener..



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

The first cutting of alfalfa is 41 percent complete. Average Statewide topsoil moisture is 54 percent adequate and 42 percent surplus.



CHICAGO (AP) — The trial of a former graduate student charged with kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China is the first federal death-penalty trial in Illinois since it abolished capital punishment in 2011. Activists who fought to end executions in the state are dismayed. A leader in Illinois' anti-death penalty movement, Rob Warden, says federal authorities are "imposing capital punishment on a state that abolished it." He calls that "morally offensive."


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul police are seeking assistance in locating a Rantoul woman. 87 year old Lela O’Brien was last seen around 1-30 Monday afternoon  in the front lobby of Eagles View Supportive Living and Memory Care in Rantoul. O’Brien is described as a white female, Five feet--two inches tall, weighing around 130 pounds. She has dementia, but will answer to her name. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Rantoul police.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois city is defending a popular meteorologist who has been absent from local television newscasts since he criticized a corporate weather-alert brand. Joe Crain noted community criticism on live TV June 5 over "Code Red" weather alerts implemented by station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair did not respond to a request for comment. Several local businesses have pulled advertising from WICS. Even U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says people should speak up for Crain.



Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says many farmers hit by disasters will start to see help from the new disaster bill in "weeks, not months". USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.


The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board is meeting tomorrow and will hear the latest on the new Clara Petersen School project. Additional agenda items include, the process  of the Eastlawn Elementary demolition, and seeking proposals for waste services for the next school year. The meeting is set to take place at 6:00pm.


(Undated--jc)  -- A new report indicates Illinois is doing better than the rest of the country when it comes to food insecurity.The annual study from Feeding America says just under 11 percent of the state’s population struggle to afford nutritious meals on a regular basis.That compares to the national average of 12.5 percent. North Dakota has the lowest rate in the country at about 7 percent, while Mississippi has the highest at nearly 20 percent.



(Rantoul--jc)  It’s graduation time for the next class at Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge. Class 52 will go through the pomp and circumstance on Saturday in Decatur says Public Relations Director Michael Camacha…



Lincoln Challenge Public Relations Director Michael Camacha

Saturday’s ceremony begins at 11am at the Decatur Civic Center.



(Rantoul--jc)  The International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame has two area nominees. They are Mark Hall and Tim Hall.  The brothers are part of the Raminator Monster Truck. The local group travels, competes and offers the Raminator for events and shows across the country. The Hall Brothers and Raminator will be in Wyoming on July 6 for a Tailgating for Hope event in Pinedale Wyoming.


 (Springfield--ba)-It’s been 100 years since Illinois moved to give women the right to vote. At a ceremony honoring the 19th Amendment in Chicago, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton spoke of how far the country has come…and pledged to continue fighting for women’s rights.



Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton


MOMENCE, Ill. (AP) — A man and a dog are presumed drowned after their boat crashed into a logjam on a river in Kankakee County. Momence Fire Chief Jim Spoon tells The Daily Journal that the logjam on the Kankakee River is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide, near the Illinois-Indiana border. Another man who was thrown from the boat Saturday survived.Spoon says the river was too swift for divers Sunday. Indiana authorities were helping Illinois police in the search.

James Hubona says he was lucky: Kayakers heard his calls for help and threw him a life jacket. He identified his missing friend as Mike Stefano, a former Chicago police officer, and his dog Buster.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois is among the most fun states in the country.Coming in at No. 11, the Land of Lincoln ranked high for performance arts, restaurants and fitness centers per capita, according to consumer finance website WalletHub.Illinois ranked No. 30 for casinos per capita, but that could change with a pending law to create 6 new casinos along with other gambling expansion measures. One of those casinos is projected for Danville.


(Watseka--jc)  Iroquois County Relay for Life officials have announced that the event this past weekend raised almost 90 thousand dollars. Money raised through August will go on the current year’s total. Those with the local relay say thanks to all who helped with this year’s event.



(Ford County--ba)-Ford County has completed their tax deed proceedings on real estate properties that were delinquent for 2015 and mobile homes that were delinquent for 2016 and prior real estate taxes. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has that story.




FAIR OAKS, Ind. (AP) — Three people have been charged with animal cruelty following the release of video showing workers kicking and throwing young calves at a northwestern Indiana dairy farm that's an agritourism destination. The Newton County Sheriff's Department said Monday that misdemeanor charges have been filed against three people related to the Fair Oaks Farms case. The department didn't identify those charged or release details of the allegations.


(Springfield--jc)  State lawmakers aren’t expected back in Springfield until this fall but when they’re in session a couple of freshman say things can be chaotic.Decatur Republican state Representative Dan Caulkins says the place “runs like a circus with a hidden ringmaster.”.Rockford Democratic state Representative Maurice West said it’s similar to the HBO series “Game of Thrones” where he’s running full force toward an unknown goal with competing groups either chasing or attempting to block him.





Illinois Dispensaries Preparing for the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana.

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois dispensaries are staffing up and remodeling in preparation for the legalization of recreational marijuana. The General Assembly approved the marijuana legislation last week and it now awaits a signature from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. If he signs, Illinois will become the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to permit recreational use. Companies already in the medical marijuana market said expansion to meet recreational needs could result in a hiring boom.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has mobilized its third round-the-clock team to assist the flooding fight in Monroe County. IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said Saturday that the latest Joint Quick Reactionary Task Force will be based in Valmeyer along the Mississippi River. The other two are in Hardin and Jerseyville. Tate-Nadeau says the teams are responsible for monitoring levees, providing manpower to bolster levees and assist the community in an emergency setting.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A group is recommending that the University of Illinois erect a plaque or monument to commemorate the history of Chief Illiniwek, the mascot who was dropped amid much criticism in 2007. The Chancellor's Commission on Native Imagery says the site outside Memorial Stadium, as well as a public retirement, could provide "healing and reconciliation." The group also recommends regular activities involving the university and Native Americans who consider Illinois to be their ancestral home.


(Undated--jc)  -- Students from across Illinois who are members of Future Farmers of America will descend on the capitol city Tuesday for their annual convention.There’ll be new executive officers selected for the coming year.This year’s FFA executive officers in Illinois were the first all-female board. The FFA President  this year has been Sophia Horton from Fisher.



(Champaign--jc)  The May numbers are in for May weather. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says May was one of the wettest on record…



Illinois Water Survey-Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner


(Springfield--jc)  -- If Illinois voters approve a constitutional amendment to change the state’s flat income tax to a structure with higher rates on higher earners, a tax professional says it will hurt jobs. Leonard and Associates Managing Partner Michael Leonard said higher taxes on small businesses will hurt their offerings to employees and may trigger them to invest in other states. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the proposed rates that would only take effect if voters approve the idea at  the ballot box in November of next year.


(Urbana--jc)  --University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign finished first in a ranking of best library and information studies programs by U.S. News The local school’s peer assessment score was 4.7. The study ranked master’s degree programs on a scale of 1 being low and 5 being outstanding.Deans, directors and senior faculty members provided the assessment information. U.S. News calculated the numerical rank for these programs but did not publish the information for editorial reasons.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has its first Summertime Free movie coming on Friday night. Executive Director Belynda Allen says they will show the movie Ralph-Breaks the Internet…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen


CHICAGO (AP) — An unusually wet spring resulted in a delay in the planting of the Illinois corn crop.The U.S. Department of Agriculture says as of June 2, Illinois farmers have sown corn seed in 45% of the acreage dedicated to the crop. That is 53% below the five-year average. Of the seeds that have been laid, only 32% have emerged.Rodney Weinzierl of the Illinois Corn Growers Association last Wednesday counted three rainstorms moving over the Bloomington area. Each narrowly missed his 500 acres of farmland, allowing him his first opportunity to plant this year. He worked through the day to get two-thirds of his corn seeds in the ground.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Local governments in Illinois can now see just how much they, and their neighbors, are getting in tax money from the state. The Illinois Department of Revenue's latest addition to its website is designed to let officials cities, towns, and counties know exactly what they're getting from the state.  The MyLocalTax section provides the latest numbers on the local share of sales taxes, gas taxes and dozens of other taxes collected by the state and sent back to local governments.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A drainage Water Way  cleaning and M-F-T Bids hilite the Paxton City Council meeting Tuesday night. City council members will also look to approve some street repairs and patching. Purchasing a new pump for the Vermilion Street Lift Station, approving a collections day for PRIDE in Paxton on July 27th and a solar energy savings program are all agenda items. The Paxton City Council meets at 7 tomorrow night on the second floor of city hall.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- One reason that the village of Rantoul is set to host the World Punkin’ Chuckin’ Contest is the organizers were actively seeking a new site.  A portion of the former Chanute Air Force base in the village was a perfect site. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says the village and area are glad they chose Rantoul…


Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer

Officials from the group continue to develop their plans for the November First through Third event that will bring 10 thousand plus visitors to the local area from around the state, national and several foreign countries.



(Melvin--dg)  --Tickets are being sold for the Melvin fire department’s annual raffle, which will award as prizes either $500 in cash or a choice of one of five guns or a gun safe. The drawing will be held June 29 in conjunction with the Ford County Fair’s demolition derby. Raffle tickets cost $10 each and can be purchased at RTD Auto in Roberts at 217-395-2180, AHW in Melvin, BCS in Gibson City or from any Melvin firefighter.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Lottery could soon offer sports betting at retail locations as part of recently passed gambling legislation in Springfield. Senate Bill 690, approved at the tail end of the legislative session, would create a pilot program to allow the Illinois Lottery to offer sports wagering. Additionally, the bill also allows for six new casinos in Illinois and legalizes sports wagering. The Illinois Lottery pilot program would allow for up to 2,500 sports betting locations across the State of Illinois in the program’s first year. An additional 2,500 locations could open in the second year, for a total of 5,000 locations in the first two years of the program. The locations would be Lottery retail outlets.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members will look to set wages for bus drivers at their monthly meeting on Monday night. An awning project, bus purchase and the approval of a band trip will also be discussed. The Rantoul Township High School Board meets on Monday night at 7 at the high school.



(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County board members are looking to provide a 75 percent tax abatement for one county business when they meet this morning in monthly session. Gilman based Incobrasa has requested the abatement for a 10 year period. County leaders are also expected to vote on a solar ordinance and vote on a resolution to oppose a firearms Identification Owners Card Act. The Iroquois County board meets at 9  this morning in Watseka.



Taxes Going Up on Many Items as July 1

(Springfield--jc)  -- People who buy gas in Illinois, pay to park , buy a new car, register a vehicle, smoke or buy things online, will soon be paying more in taxes to the state of Illinois.A slew of tax increases are coming July 1 with the various budget, gambling expansion and public works construction bills lawmakers passed in the final days of session last weekend. Drivers will pay higher taxes and fees. For those who drive about 12,000 miles a year, the doubling of the gas tax from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon would mean an additional $114 to the state, but that will vary depending on gas mileage. Car owners will also pay $50 more for annual registration. For those buying a new car, the vehicle documentation fee nearly doubles to $300.  Smokers will also feel the pinch because there’s an extra $1 per pack tax, bringing the total tax to nearly $3 a pack. Shopping online will also have a sales tax tacked on, in part because of new language passed by the state legislature this session.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge at the trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing a visiting Chinese scholar says jurors should be ready to deliver opening statements mid the middle of next week. Thursday is the fourth day of jury selection at Brendt Christensen's trial in Peoria. Judge James Shadid says the final selection of 12 jurors and six alternates could happen Monday, with openings on Wednesday.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are set to consider a special license for Rick’s Recreation Center for the Corn Belt Shriners Golf Event when they meet on Monday night at 7. Planting new trees and working on the downtown planters, and an amendment to Gibson City’s  second Tax Increment District also are topics for city officials. Council members will also hear about traffic options as a railroad crossing reconstruction project is set to begin soon. The Gibson City city council meeting comes to order at 7 Monday evening.


(Rantoul--jc)  A Rantoul resident will become the commander of the Illinois V-F-W next week. Brad Gould will also be the grand marshall of the local Rantoul Freedom Festival Parade on July 4th in the village. Gould has family ties to the local area, but grew up in Indiana….



Rantoul resident and soon to be Illinois V-F-W State Commander Brad Gould.



(Cissna Park--jc) The Cissna Park community, Illinois State Police, family and friends are mourning the death of a popular state trooper, American Legion member, civic leader and friend. 75 year old Francis Thompson passed away on Wednesday at his home in rural Buckley.  Thompson was a member of the Illinois State Police for over 31 years and also a Vietnam war veteran. His funeral is set for 11am Monday at Ash Grove Church in rural Onarga



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Police Department’s shooting range will be open to the public on Saturday from 10am until 1pm. The daily fee is 10 dollars. Those attending are to provide their weapon, ammunition along with ear and eye protection Paxton Police officers will be on hand for safety purposes.


(Washington--ba)-With tension rising between two economic superpowers, USDA’s Gary Crawford

reports on the current state of trade talks between the US and China.




(Springfield--jc)  -- A decree from Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois on Thursday banned House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from receiving Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield."In addition, Illinois Catholic lawmakers who voted for either of these abortion bills are not to present themselves to receive Holy Communion," according to a news release.


(Springfield--ba)  -- Vape shop owners are up in arms over an effort to prevent them from allowing customers to sample products in their stores. The proposed legislation is described by supporters as regulating an unregulated and possibly dangerous industry of electronic cigarettes and vaping products. Adding vaping to existing Tobacco 21 laws would ban vape shops from allowing customers to sample products in their stores. The bill awaits a full vote in the Senate, something that could happen during fall session.



ASHKUM – Illinois State Police  District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announces the results of Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols held in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford Counties on June 4,. These OREPs provided extra patrol coverage for the ISP so officers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up.  State police handed out 16 seat belt citations and 10 warnings during the patrol



(Paxton--jc)  -- It’s townwide garage sale days today and tomorrow in Paxton. Over 100 sales take place around town and nearby in the country. Maps are available at Casey’s locations and Village Pantry in Paxton.


Ashkum, IL. – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announced today activity and enforcement figures for May 2019. Illinois State Police District 21 Troopers issued 919 citations, 904 written warnings, including 7 DUIs, 132 seatbelt citations, 23 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 205 motorists, conducted 204 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 83 traffic crashes. There was one fatal crash investigated by District 21 in May.




(Paxton--jc)  The riders made it through the city of Paxton. The Illinois State Police sponsored runners   went past the WPXN studios around 1pm on Thursday afternoon. The group started in northern Illinois, stayed in the Kankakee area on Wednesday night and moved through the local area on Thursday. The group is raising money for Special Olympics. The end of the run will be in Normal tomorrow with the opening of the Special Olympic games.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Emergency Management Agency is looking for dedicated volunteers to join their group Duties include but not limited to traffic control, storm spotting, group activities, also includes meetings and trainings. No felonies or major traffic violations. Must have valid driver license.  Look them up on facebook for more information.



(Springfield--ba)-A new World War Two exhibit is now open at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. The exhibit is called “In This Great Struggle…The Greatest Generation Remembers World War Two.” Museum Executive Director Alan Lowe says it includes interviews with veterans who served during the war.



(Paxton--jc)  On the menu at the weekly Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday is Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda. The meal is offered from 10am to 2pm. Money raised goes to the Paxton Emergency Management Agency.




Paxton Police Looking for Help on Damaged Windows at The Frederick Community Bank Plaza

(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Crimestoppers is seeking information about windows being shot at in downtown Paxton. Officials now say the incident happened previously to the alarm going off at the Frederick Community Bank Plaza building in Paxton on Friday. Upon arrival, Paxton police found that several of the windows had been damaged with B-B- gun pellets.  The damage to the building was estimated to be 1 thousand dollars.If you have any information on this crime, you are asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173. You do not have to give your name and you could receive a 1 thousand dollar reward.


(Springfield--jc) --  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker plans to spend $29 million to help ensure all of the state's residents are counted in the upcoming Census, which could have broad implications for the state in terms of federal funding and representation in the U.S. Congress.He announced an executive order to help ensure an accurate count. He also blamed the state's flat income tax for Illinois’ declining population.Speaking Tuesday to the Forefront group in Chicago, Pritzker said an inaccurate Census count could have “truly dramatic consequences” for Illinois.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — A newlywed Illinois prison guard has been charged with assault after his wife recorded a fight that ended with her being found dead at the bottom of a parking garage near the St. Louis stadium where the Cardinals play. Thirty-year-old Bradley Jenkins, of Taylorville, was charged this week with third-degree domestic assault. After his wife, 27-year-old Allissa Martin, was found dead over the weekend, police found her cellphone, its camera still recording.


CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in central Illinois will continue vetting would-be jurors at the death penalty trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing a visiting Chinese scholar. Tuesday will be the second day of a process to pick a jury to hear evidence against Brendt Christensen. Prosecutors say he lured Yingying Zhang into his car in 2017 and later killed her.


(Springfield--ba)  -- State lawmakers are expanding the state’s medical cannabis program. The program began in 2013 as a pilot venture and was set to expire next year. The legislature voted to make it permanent and to add more ailments marijuana can be used to treat. House G-O-P leader Jim Durkin says he initially had doubts, but was convinced after hearing the stories of people who benefited from medical marijuana.



Illinois House G-O-P leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs



(Rantoul--jc)  What is the future of the four air hangers on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul. Village of Rantoul leaders put that on last nights agenda. The reason is that a Californica businessman has pulled out of his efforts to buy the properties. Local leaders say they are getting some interest in the 4 hangars and the aviation center. The subject was one in executive session and more on the subject is expected to continue this Spring and Summer



DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Howard Buffett's foundation plans to build sober housing apartments as part of the $30 million drug treatment campus he's funding in the central Illinois city of Decatur. Buffett is the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett and the former Macon County sheriff.  The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has pledged $2.8 million to build two 10-unit apartment buildings for the campus.


(Iroquois--ba) --The Iroquois County Relay for Life is this Friday, American Cancer Society Spokesperson Carrie Robinette says  several different events are planned for the relay at Watseka High School.



Iroquois County Relay for Life Spokesperson Carrie Robinette

WPXN will be broadcasting live Friday at the Iroquois County Relay for Life.  It’s summer fun tour stop number 2.



(Undated--jc)  A popular medical official who passed away in May from a recent illness will be remembered at an open house memorial later this month.  Family medicine practitioner Lisa Oakley will be remembered during the memorial set for Saturday June 15th from 1 until 4pm at the Fire Service Institute in Champaign. Oakley was part of the Paxton Clinic for over 25 years.


(Saybrook--jc)  The event schedule for the Saybrook Stars and Stripes Festival has been announced.  The annual parade steps off at noon. Carnival games begin at 1 on the 22nd. Craft vendors, kiddie tractor pull, Simon Sez game, Inflatables, and food hilite the day A beer garden opens at 1 and runs through 11pm at The Shed. A pie eating contest, cake walk and music by Seasonal Disorder are additional events. Fireworks are planned for dusk in Saybrook on the 22nd.



(Paxton--jc)  Members of the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project are looking to a Flag Day launch date for their fundraising efforts. The plan is to place the giant flag on Paxton’s west side on Paxton Buckley Loda School property near Interstate 57. The group will be selling pathway bricks to help pay for the project. More information will be released on Flag Day.


(Springfield--ba)-The summer food service program provides healthy meals and snacks to low income children. The goal is to make sure kids don’t go hungry while they aren’t in school says the state board of education’s Megan Kuchner.



ISBE Principal Consultant Megan Kuchner


(Springfield--jc)  -- When Governor J.B. Pritzker signs the various bills to enact the next state budget for Illinois, local school districts and public universities will be able to increase end-of-career employee pay up to 6 percent in one year without being required to pay the higher pension costs directly into the pension funds. The pension-spiking cap was lifted from last years’ 3 percent level to 6 percent.State Senator. Jim Oberweis said that will compound the state’s $136 billion unfunded pension liability. Teachers say it will help save their profession.


(Springfield--ba)  -- Some new business reforms and expansion are set to take place in Illinois.  106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City stopped by the WPXN studios on Tuesday. Bennett says  the impact that these plans will be positive for his district and the state of Illinois...



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett Republican from Gibson CIty


(Springfield--jc)  -- Smoking in cars with kids could soon be illegal in Illinois.Smokers in Illinois are one signature away from not being able to light up with kids in their car. Lawmakers approved a plan to ban smoking in cars with kids during their last-minute push at the statehouse last week.State Senator Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, said the idea is to protect kids from secondhand smoke.



(Fisher--ba)  -- Fisher’s Lucky Foot Festival is set for this Saturday. Lucky Foot Spokesperson Joe Wier says music will be a large part of the day…



Fisher Lucky Foot Festival Spokesperson Joe Wier

WPXN will be broadcasting live at the event from 10am until noon on Saturday. It’s Summer Fun Tour stop number 3.


(Rantoul-jc)  104th District State Representative Mike Marron will be meeting with constituents today in Rantoul. The local state representative will be at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office from 10 until 11-30 this morning.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- Kankakee County officials are seeking the public’s help in finding a person who stole an American Flag at the Kankakee County Courthouse. The incident happened late night on May 29th. Anyone with information is asked to call Kankakee County Crimestoppers at 815-93207463.


(Melvin--jc)  --Looking for something different to do this summer? Why not show off your talents by making an entry in the Ford County Fair. Whether your talent is in photography, cooking, art or gardening, the fair offers a number of exhibit classes you can enter for a chance to win a blue ribbon and prize money. Classes are offered for people of all ages including junior classes for kids through 18 years of age. There are even men only baking classes to enter.  Livestock classes are also available.



SPRINGFIELD, IL, - Ford County has been issued a final property assessment equalization factor of One, according to David Harris, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue. The property assessment equalization factor, often called the "multiplier", is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law.  If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among taxpayers with comparable properties would result.



Corn Farmers Have a Huge Decision to Make as the June 5th Deadline Approaches

(Springfield--jc)  --Corn farmers in Illinois have a decision to make: Do they plant or do they punt?Federal crop insurance programs start paying less and less soon. Farmers in Illinois, and the rest of the country, need to decide if they will try and plant a corn crop this year, or if they will simply take the payout. Illinois Department of Agriculture boss John Sullivan said it’s an important decision to make. The preventive plant date for most of Illinois is June 5.About 35 percent of Illinois’ corn crop had been planted as of last week. Last year, it was 99 percent.Farmers are facing a similar crop insurance deadline for soybeans on June 15 or June 20, depending on where they live.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge in central Illinois is questioning would-be jurors at the death-penalty trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. One potential juror told the judge on the first day of jury selection Monday that she opposed capital punishment because she said God didn't approve of vengefulness. The selection of jurors to hear evidence against 29-year-old Brendt Christensen is expected to take more than a week.


(Undated--jc)  -- Federal prosecutors are seeking to postpone Michael Hari’s July trial until after his trial in Minnesota. The Record reports that the Minnesota trial is expected to continue through the month of September. Hari is charged in Federal Court in Urbana  with alleged acts of terrorism A June 18th status hearing will decide which case goes first.


(Washington--ba)  The Agriculture Secretary spoke Monday about some of the topics discussed earlier in the day between himself and Mexico's Ag Secretary visiting the Nation's Capital.  Rod Bain reports.



(Paxton--ba) -- The position of the Paxton Buckley Loda Board is clear on the demolition of Eastlawn Elementary school. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has that story...



(Iroquois--ba) --The Iroquois County Relay for Life is this Friday, American Cancer Society Spokesperson Carrie Robinette says  several different events are planned for the relay at Watseka High School.



Iroquois County Relay for Life Spokesperson Carrie Robinette  

Friday afternoon at 5pm is WPXN Summer Fun Stop Number 2. Becky Puetz will be broadcasting live to help kick off the Relay For Life Event at Watseka High School.



(Springfield--jc)  Planting continues to lag behind as we hear the the weekly crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 45 percent of corn is in the ground, compared to 98 percent normally…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

Just 30 percent of the winter wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition.



(Undated--jc)  -- A former University of Illinois and now professional sports gambler’s time on Jeopardy has concluded. James Holzhauers played 33 games, but lost to a Chicago librarian on Monday. His average daily winnings was 77 thousand dollars and he finished 58 thousand dollars short of Ken Jennings record of 2 point 52 million dollars


(Watseka--jc)  The Watseka McDonalds store is expected to open this morning. As of 10-30 this morning the Watseka McDonald’s is officially open. Store hours will be from 5 am to 11pm Mondays through Thursdays and 5am to midnights Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday hours are 6am to 11pm. The store has a modern urban look. Watseka city leaders were given a private look at the new store last night.




(Springfield--jc)  --More reaction from area lawmakers after the passing of a new budget, infrastructure package, gambling bill and marijuana bill over the weekend 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says  the reforms in the budget are good for Illinoisans.



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett, Republican of Gibson City



KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — Prosecutors in Kankakee County have dropped charges against a man who spent nearly two decades in prison for a murder conviction in a case he says was self-defense. The Chicago Tribune reports Terrence Haynes' attorney told him when he arrived at court Monday morning that he wouldn't be retried in the 1999 shooting death of 18-year-old Cezaire Murrell. Last month prosecutors said they were reconsidering whether to retry Haynes after a child witness recanted testimony.



CHICAGO (AP) — The MacArthur Foundation plans a $5 million grant to create a new Chicago Public Library branch at the Obama Presidential Center. The Chicago-based nonprofit made the announcement Monday, saying the money will help pay for construction at the planned site of former President Barack Obama's $500 million presidential center in Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side.



(Joliet--jc)  -- A Joliet worker who wants to kick the Teamsters out of her workplace is taking her complaint to the National Labor Relations Board after a regional ruling blocked a union decertification vote. Angelika Van Meeteren, who works at the Langer Transport Corp. facility in Joliet, asked the National Labor Relations Board to review a ruling that prevented workers at the company from holding a decertification vote.


(Undated--jc)  --Who is the largest employer in Illinois. The answer is Walmart.

Walmart employs 52,603 workers in Illinois, making it the largest employer in the state,State governments are often the largest employers in individual states, but the 24-7 Wall Street  group include public entities that operate as companies, such as hospital groups and state university systems. Walmart was classified as being in the retail industry in the study. Walmart was found to be the largest employer in 22 states.



(Fisher--jc) Fisher’s 3rd annual Lucky Foot Festival is set for Saturday. The day starts with  a 5-K run and a Pig Out day for youth baseball and softball. Event Spokesperson Joe Wier says the smells of a Barbeque contest and other food like pork chops will also be part of the celebration..



Fisher Lucky Foot Festival Spokesperson Joe Wier.

WPXN will be broadcasting live from the event on Saturday between 10 am and noon.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois state lawmakers repealed a measure that was intended to curb pension spiking for public educators as the state's unfunded pension liabilities continue to grow. The bill enacting the next budget for the state of Illinois that is on the way to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk would allow local schools and public universities to give teachers end-of-career pay bumps of up to 6 percent without having to pay for the increased pension costs of those raises. As part of the budget implementation bill for the coming fiscal year lawmakers passed

in overtime session by the Senate Sunday, language was included to repeal last year’s 3 percent cap on pension spiking.



Sunday Through Thursday Admission at State Fair Just $5 This Year

(Springfield--jc)  -- One local Republican lawmaker says some jobs reform measures moved through the state legislature before they adjourned on Sunday. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says it was a positive from the weekend..



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett, Republican of Gibson City



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are in line for a $1,600-a-year pay hike after what was described as a paperwork mix-up that was never reversed. The House approved a $39.9 billion budget and adjourned Saturday night without taking action on a measure that would have prohibited a 2.4% cost-of-living increase in legislators' base $67,836 salary. It would be the first pay increase for legislators since 2008 and would take effect July 1 if Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the budget agreement.


CHICAGO (AP) — A former University of Illinois graduate student is set to stand trial in the 2017 disappearance and suspected killing of a visiting scholar from China whose body hasn't been found. Jury selection starts Monday in the federal trial of Brendt Christensen, who could get the death penalty if he's convicted. Prosecutors allege that he abducted, tortured and killed 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. Her family has flown in from China for the trial.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Secretary of State has a public education campaign on Illinois’ move over law. When  you get your driver’s license and vehicle registration renewal notices, you will be asked a test question about slowing down and moving over says Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White



(Springfield--jc)  --In an effort to attract more visitors, the Illinois State Fair has lowered this year’s admission prices. Illinois State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon said the adult admission prices for Sunday through Thursday was lowered from $10 to $5 for this year’s fair, which is set to open in August.When he started working with the Illinois State Fair, Gordon said he took five years of audited data for gate and parking and determined that higher prices lead to fewer visitors.Gordon said the lower admission prices allow visitors to pay for their tickets and still have money for other things inside the fair.



(Washington--ba) USDA’s Agriculture Secretary Perdue is urging China to live up to its commitments to buy U.S. soybeans.  Stephanie Ho reports.



BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — The president of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington has stepped down. Eric Jensen announced Friday that he was retiring and resigning effective immediately. Jensen says he's about to turn 64 and the time was right to leave the job he's held since 2015.  A national search will be conducted in the hopes of having a new president in place by the fall of 2020.


(Gibson--ba) One local committee is getting together soon to discuss a upcoming presentation. The Gibson City pool Committee is gathering on June 6th at 7:00pm to begin working on a presentation in hope of bringing it forward to the Gibson City council.



(Rantou--jc)  -- One local police department is looking for officers with experience. The Rantoul Police Department posted the job offer. Officials say the starting salary is just over 60 thousand dollars, and for officers with 3 or more years of service the starting salary is over 73 thousand dollars. Additional incentives come with the job. More information is found on line at police-dot-my-rantoul-dot-com-forward slash-careers.



(Paxton--ba) -- The City of Paxton has will be misting for mosquitoes this summer. This process will start on Tuesday, June 4th in the evening and will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays until no longer needed. It is advised that residents of Paxton plan and take necessary action during the times of the misting  process.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers have wrapped up their spring session after a whirlwind week that produced a budget, a state construction plan and billions of dollars in tax increases to fund it, more gambling, legalized marijuana use and protections for abortion. The Senate took final action Sunday on a $39.9 billion budget and a $45 billion infrastructure improvement plan. It doubled the state's gasoline tax to 38 cents per gallon. Future increases would be tied to inflation but legislation ensures that the road fund where it's deposited can't be used for other purposes. Local state Representative Mike Marron, Republican of Fithian says his negative vote was due to the limited time to actually view the budget…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


(Springfield--jc) --  On your things to do this summer, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum is hosting a new train exhibit. Its a possible summer destination.. The exhibit  is called, All-Aboard--America’s Love of Railroads. The exhibit is housed across the street from the museum in Springfield in Union Station says Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum spokesperson Chris Wills…



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum spokesperson Chris Wills

The exhibit runs through the end of the year.


MACON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in central Illinois say a Decatur man has died after his motorcycle collided with a deer. Macon County Coroner Michael Day said Saturday that 67-year-old George L. Hampsten died Friday on U.S. 51 in Macon, about 10 miles south of Decatur. The coroner says Hampsten was riding north when a deer ran across the roadway, striking the motorcycle.



KIRKLAND, Ill. (AP) — A northern Illinois couple who wanted their farmland turned back into prairie after they died will see it done while still living. The DeKalb County Forest Preserve District already is converting 57 acres  donated by Jim and Joretta Chambers of Kirkland into prairie. Over the next five years, the same will be done with another 236 acres purchased by the district earlier this year. Preserve district Superintendent Terry Hannan says the couple told him when they first came up with the idea -- about 20 years ago -- that they didn't think they'd live so long. The Chambers now are both 90 and want to go forward with the plan. The land is along the Kishwaukee River between Kingston and Genoa, northwest of Chicago.


(Paxton--ba)-Summer is here, and that also means it’s time to relax and swim in the pool. Scott Allen of Paxton Hardware and Rental has some advice for pool owners who are just setting up their pools or have kept them out through the winter.



Paxton Hardware and Rental owner Scott Allen


CHICAGO (AP) — Faculty and graduate student workers at Illinois universities are protesting as college unions seek improved wages, benefits and job security. This spring, employee strikes took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago and Loyola University. At least three protests were planned at other campuses in the state during the school year but were stopped.

Another protest is now likely, as graduate students at the University of Chicago voted last week to allow a walkout in protest of the administration's unwillingness to recognize them as a union



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — About 20 attorneys plan to volunteer this fall to help people expunge or seal their criminal records. The Sangamon County Expungement and Record Sealing Summit is scheduled for October 19th in Springfield.  The attorneys will assist with cases where a person was arrested but not convicted. Petitions are filed with the circuit clerk, state police, prosecutors and the arresting and booking agency. Only about 15% of petitions are denied.



(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Chamber of Commerce has set the date and theme for this year’s golf outing. The event is set for Friday August 23rd at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. This year’s theme is “Back to the 80s.”  The money raised goes to the Community Improvement Fund. Register your foursome for 350 dollars. Hole sponsorships are also available by contacting the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce



People Who Have Firearm Owner Identification Cards May Soon Need to be Fingerprinted

(Springfield--ba)  -- People who have firearm owner identification cards may soon need to be fingerprinted under legislation passed this week in the Illinois House. Under legislation approved in the Illinois House  this week, fingerprints would be required for anyone who applies for or renews a Firearms Owners Identification Card.   The fingerprint data base would be available to the Illinois State Police investigating other cases. The measure passed 62 to 52 and now goes to the Senate. 106th district State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson voted against the bill and spoke against it during floor debate.



State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur voted against the bill and spoke against it during floor debate.



State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur

The issue is now in the Illinois Senate today


Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is below the middle of the pack when it comes to best and worst states for jobs.Consumer finance website WalletHub ranked Illinois No. 31.Of the factors reviewed, Illinois had the 45th worst commute time, was 39th for unemployment rate, 38th for job satisfaction, 35th for job opportunity and 30th for employment growth.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The state of Illinois is looking to start putting away some money for kids to go to college.The Illinois Senate on Wednesday approved a plan that would set aside $50 for all kids born or adopted in the state after Jan. 1, 2021. State Senator Pat McGuire said the idea is to save something for college.State Senator Jacqueline Collins said $50 isn't much, but anything helps. The state is setting aside $10 million to start the saving accounts. The plan now goes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk.



(Washington--ba)-Severe weather events are bad enough, but when the bad weather keeps coming, it's really a problem. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.





(Springfield--ba)-Governor J-B Pritzker has activated the Illinois National Guard to help with flooding along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.  Historic flooding is affecting many communities and the forecast continues to call for more rain. Governor Pritzker says this is a grave situation and that the state is here to help.



Governor J-B Pritzker


(Paxton--ba) --  A local mobile food pantry event is being held in Paxton next month. Paxton Mobile Food Pantry Spokesperson  Judy Popel says to sign up and make sure to bring boxes for the food...



Paxton Mobile Food Pantry Spokesperson Judy Popel


(Gibson City--jc)  --One local church has made its last payment on the church property and they are celebrating on Sunday. The Gibson City Bible Church has been located along Route 47 since 2003. Church goers will take part in a lunch and free concert in the 26 thousand square foot facility on June 2nd.Church services begin at 10-30 on Sunday morning



(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday is pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda.The money raised goes to the Knights and Columbus. The cookout runs from 10am to 2pm.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Democrats who control the Illinois House on Thursday approved tiered income-tax rates that would take effect if voters opt for revamping state taxation to hit higher incomes harder, a plan they say is aimed at attacking the state's crippling debt. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Senate will take up expanded protections for abortion after committee endorsement. The Public Health Committee approved Grayslake Democratic Sen. Melinda Bush's measure Thursday. Abortion is legal in Illinois because decades-old statutes restricting it have been overruled by court rulings. But at least six Republican-leaning states have curbed abortion rights. Conservatives hope that legal challenges on the issue will persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal legalized abortion.


(Springfield--ba)  --People who have firearm owner identification cards may soon need to be fingerprinted under legislation passed this week in the Illinois House. Under legislation,  fingerprints would be required for anyone who applies for or renews a Firearms Owners Identification Card.   The fingerprint data base would be available to the Illinois State Police investigating other cases. The measure passed 62 to 52.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — The man who became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent for crimes in Illinois has admitting abusing two boys in Missouri. Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts for crimes that occurred in the early 1990s. He was serving at a parish in north St. Louis County at the time. The 74-year-old now lives in suburban Chicago. Church and court files say he has admitted abusing as many as 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California. He was removed from the ministry in 2002.


(Paxton--ba) --  The Grand Ole Flag project is proceeding with a June 14th launch date for fundraising. Paxton Fire Chief Denny Kingrien says the plan is to start the paver bricks fundraiser on flag day in June....


Paxton Fire Chief and Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Midwestern farmers are enduring a spring like no other. Most of the nation's corn and soybeans are grown in the Midwest, and farmers in the region have for years struggled with low prices that got even worse due to a trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Amid those problems, farmers haven't been able to plant because of seemingly endless storms. President Donald Trump promised $16 billion in aid but that led to confusion because details about the payments won't be released until later.


(Springfield--ba) Students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class will be automatically admitted to some state universities under a bill headed to the governor’s desk. The idea is to help keep students in Illinois and increase minority enrollment. Graduates in the top 10 percent who also meet a college’s S-A-T or A-C-T requirements will be accepted automatically. Representative Andre Thapedi of Chicago says it only applies to Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Illinois universities.



Representative Andre Thapedi of Chicago


(Melvin--)  --Appearing tomorrow at the Melvin Community Hall is Stillgrass. They provide a celebration of song with foot stompin’ fun, back porch harmonies and a harvest of tone. Doors open at 5:30pm. Show starts at 7pm. Adults $10 kids 10 and under are free. Food will be served by the melvin United Methodist Church.


(Potomac--jc)  --- The Potomac library will be closed starting Monday and running through Thursday next week. The reason is so Director Elizabeth Osborn can attend a workshop in the state capitol. Summer hours at the library starting the following week will be 10am to 3pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays/


World Punkin Chunkin Championship Coming to Rantoul

(Springfield--jc)  --Restrictions on home cultivation and a tightened process for clearing past pot convictions helped move the plan to passage. The Democratic-led chamber approved it 38-17 Wednesday night.The measure would allow residents 21 and older to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries. Possession of up to once ounce (30 grams) would be allowed for residents. Non-residents could possess 15 grams.


(Urbana--jc)  -- A Rantoul man was sentenced to 6 years in prison for his 15th conviction for driving under revocation.  Judge Brett Olmstead sentenced 34 year old Edward Duckworth to the prison term on Wednesday in Champaign County court.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The cost of a sports court in Rantoul will be 150 thousand dollars. 30 thousand dollars has been given by Rantoul City Schools. The new courts will be for tennis, volleyball and pickleball. The local Rotary club has also pitched in 5 thousand dollars. Rantoul Park Board officials say they will be issuing 120 thousand dollars in bonds to help pay for the project.


(Washington--ba)-The newest USDA forecast continues to project a small price hike for grocery store food this year. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports...




(Buckley--jc)  The 67th Buckley and Buckley Loda High School Alumni Banquet takes place on June 8th at the 103 Restaurant and Bar in Buckley. Tickets are 25 dollars. A social hour starts at 5 with dinner at 6. Tickets are available by calling the Buckley State Bank. Reservations are needed by June First.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The parents of a visiting University of Illinois scholar who disappeared two years ago have arrived in Illinois from China for the trial of the man accused of abducting and killing her.  Ronggao Zhang and Lifeng Ye arrived in Champaign with their son. Their daughter, Yingying Zhang, vanished from the Urbana-Champaign campus in June 2017. Former student Brendt Christensen is charged with killing Zhang, whose body hasn't been found.. Christensen is due back in court today.


(Sibley--jc)  -- The Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive is set to make another run this summer. The event takes place on July 7th. Event Spokesperson Russ Tjarks says this year’s run will take the drive to the Fairbury area…



Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks.

More information is found by calling 217-249-2377



(Springfield--jc) -- Continued wet weather is leaving corn and soybean planting more than 50 percentage points behind the 5 year average. One day was suitable for fieldwork this past week says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

14 percent of soybeans are now planted. Last year 89 percent of soybeans were planted by this date.


(Rantoul--jc)  The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting several free movies this Spring and Summer. The first movie is set for June 12. The feature film is “Ralph breaks the Internet-2.” Those attending the showing at Willow Pond Golf course have the opportunity to win a cool prize from WPXN radio. One lucky person will win 4 passes to Knight’s Action Park in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are winding down their spring session facing several outstanding issues. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Friday until the fall. Legislators must adopt a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Other prominent issues include a multibillion-dollar state construction plan and proposals for sports betting. Lawmakers also want to set rates for a proposed graduated income-tax structure that goes to voters late next year.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Some Illinois lawmakers want to change how much money fired college coaches can collect.A bill has been approved in the House and the Senate that would amend the state’s Government Severance Pay Act, signed into law last August by then Gov. Bruce Rauner. The measure came in the wake of large exit packages for former Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker and former College of DuPage President Robert Breuder.The existing law ends severance for executives fired for misconduct and limits severance packages to 20 weeks’ salary for others. The pending proposal would exempt from that provision any college athletic department employees who are paid through non-state-appropriated funds. University officials who support the bill have said the change would only apply to employees who are not paid via taxpayer dollars. Jonathan Lackland, director of governmental relations for Illinois State University, said the amendment helps to close “loopholes” in severance packages.



(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Senate has voted to legalize recreational  marijuana. The bill allows Illinoisans 21 and over to possess up to 30 grams of pot starting in January of next year. Those with a medical marijuana card could grow their own marijuana at home. The bill is supported by 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. The issue now goes to the Illinois House for consideration today


(Onarga--jc)  An idea garden is the focus of an open house in June in Onarga. The Ford  Iroquois Master Gardeners are holding the event from 10am until noon on Saturday June 22nd at the Onarga Library. Those attending the open house will learn about things like composting, weed control and bees. More information is found by contacting the extension office in Onarga.



(Rantoul--jc) --  The World Punkin Chunkin Championship is coming to Rantoul. In updating our story from Wednesday, the event will take place on the location of the former Chanute Air Force Base in November.  Officials with the event say it will draw tens of thousands of spectators and participants from around the world. The event will run November first, second and third. Reaction to the news from Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen



(Rantoul --jc)   The village of Rantoul received more positive news on Wednesday. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says Rantoul was chosen as one of 15 supersites for its 500 acre tract to get help in development…



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer



(Watseka--jc)  The 20-19 Iroquois-Ford Relay for Life event is set for Friday June 7th. The event takes place in Watseka at the high school track. The day begins at 5pm. A luminaria ceremony, survivor lap, and caregiver walk will be part of the event. Several Ford County teams are raising money for the event including those with the Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois, Gibson Area Hospital and the Sibley Burr Oaks Tractor Drive team. Help your favorite individual or team by donating on line today.



More Severe Weather Hits the Area

(Vermilion County--jc) --  Some severe weather occurred Tuesday night in Vermilion County.  Several Tornado touchdowns were recorded in the county near Danville and Henning. Also golf ball size hail was reported in Fisher and Northern Champaign County. No word on damage reports was provided.


(Springfield--jc) --Illinois was ranked the 35th best state in the nation, based on criteria such as health care, public education and economic growth, according to a new analysis by U.S News. The ranking included more than 70 metrics aimed at measuring how well states are working on behalf of their residents. Weighted most heavily in the analysis was health care quality, access and affordability, followed by the performance of their K-12 schools and higher education systems. Illinois ranked 22nd among the states on health care, 19th on education, 41st on its economy and 24th on infrastructure.


(Springfield--jc)  - More reaction from Springfield, after a vote to send a progressive tax issue to the voters in November of next year. Supporters say taxing people based on their income is fairer than taxing  everyone at the same rate. Additionally, State Representative Robert Martwick, Democrat from Chicago says this tax will generate new revenue..



Opponents, like Republican State Representative Mark Batinick of Plainfield

argue this will be bad for business and make it easier for lawmakers to continue to raise income tax rates…




Republican State Representative Darren Bailey of Louisville agrees with Batinick…



Voters will be asked about moving to a graduated tax on the November 20-20 ballot.



Washington--jc)  -- There are three parts of USDA's trade relief strategy for farmers hurt by trade disruptions. Stephanie Ho reports..



(Paxton--jc)  -- A resolution passed in Springfield will designate a section of Illinois route 9 in Paxton after a police officer fatally injured in the line of duty. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says resolution 77  names Route 9 in Paxton between Washington and High as the “Trooper Marvin C Archer Memorial Road”...



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

On June 18, 1946 Illinois State Police Trooper Marvin C. Archer, a World War II veteran, was killed in a gunfight while attempting to apprehend two vehicle thieves at the intersection of Illinois Routes 6 and 9 near Paxton. WPXN News will have more from Representative Bennett on our Noon news cast today.


(Paxton--ba)-One local school district is looking for sponsors for an upcoming running event.

The Paxton Buckley Loda Booster Club is organizing an running a Do or Dye 5k run on July 4th, and is looking to have any local associations or businesses to help sponsor the event. There are 3 different tiers of sponsors, and some benefits include having an advertisement along the course as well as large ads on the competitor’s T-shirts. You can visit the PBL Booster Club’s Facebook page for more information.




(Ford County--jc)  Want to be a County Fair Queen?  Then the place to be tonight at 6 is Kief Realty downtown Paxton. The 2019 Miss Ford County Fair Queen Pageant will be  held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, at the Ford County fairgrounds in Melvin. Any female at least 16 years old and not older than 21 by Jan. 1, 2020, is eligible to participate.   


(Springfield--jc)  --The Illinois House has endorsed expanded abortion protections as a half-dozen other states strive to restrict the procedure. Chicago Democratic Representative Kelly Cassidy's Reproductive Health Act was approved 64-50 this week.  It rescinds 45-year-old regulations on abortion which court injunctions have long blocked. It requires insurance coverage for abortions, contraception and related medical care Cassidy repeatedly maintained that the measure simply codifies existing practice. She says restrictions in other states will become tests for a U.S. Supreme Court with two recent appointees who oppose the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing abortion..  Rockford Representative Maurice West is a minister. He says he has received death threats because he supports the measure…




Representative Avery Bourne of Raymond opposed the abortion expansion measure…





CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Chicago says it will be the first U.S. university to create a school of molecular engineering, thanks to a $100 million donation. The university announced Tuesday that the new school will be known as the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. It will be supported by a gift from the Pritzker Foundation. It's the university's first engineering school and its first new school in three decades.


(Paxton--ba)-What's expected this year, in terms of hurricanes? USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) — After several quiet years, the central United States is seeing an unusual surge in tornadoes thanks to persistent cold in the Rockies and warm, moist air from the Southeast that keeps churning into a volatile mix. The U.S. has experienced a lull since 2012, with tornado counts tracking at or below average each year and meteorologists still working to figure out why.


(Springfield--jc)  Continued reaction from Springfield after lawmakers approved a progressive tax measure that will be put to the voters next year. Decatur Republican Dan Caulkins says the graduated tax is a jobs costing tax…



State Representative Dan Caulkins-Republican from Decatur.



ASHKUM – Illinois State Police  District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announces the results of Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols held in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford Counties on May 20. These OREPs provided extra patrol coverage for state police, so officers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up. During the detail, troopers handed out 17 seat belt citations.



(Rantoul--jc)  Summer vacation has just begun, but one local school is set to remind parents and guardians of registration for the 20-19 20-20 school year. The J W Eater school will host centralized registration on August first from 8am until 8pm.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County town will be cleaning up in mid June. Gibson City leaders have set June 15th as community clean up day. More information is found by contacting city hall .



Illinois House voted to Pass An Amendment That would Eliminate Illinois' Flat Income Tax Protection.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 27, 2019) – The Illinois House voted 73-44 Monday to pass Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1, an amendment that would eliminate Illinois’ flat income tax protection. The measure will allow lawmakers to double or triple tax the same dollar earned, and open the door for the nation’s highest tax on business income. Now, an amendment to change Illinois’ income tax structure will appear on the November 2020 ballot.  Reaction from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A House Democrat is reviving a plan to expand casino gambling in Illinois by linking it to a popular sports betting measure. Blue Island Democratic Rep. Robert Rita got Executive Committee approval Monday to proceed with the long-discussed plan. It would allow a land-based casino in Chicago and riverboat casinos in Rockford, Lake County, the south suburbs of Chicago, Danville and southern Illinois with additional gambling at existing sites including horse racing tracks.


CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago Tribune investigation suggests that tens of thousands of Illinois residents whose gun licenses have been revoked could still have firearms The problem was underscored in February when a man killed five former colleagues and wounded five police officers in Aurora, using a gun he kept despite the revocation of his Firearm Owner's Identification card in 2014. The Tribune reports that since 2015, nearly 27,000 Illinois residents whose FOID cards have been revoked haven't updated authorities on what they have done with their guns. Local police departments are supposed to ensure those whose licenses have been revoked surrender their permits and transfer firearms to police or a legal gun owner.Acting Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says he's shocked by "the depth and breadth of the problem."



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — People who have records of extraordinary service to improving conservation efforts and outdoor recreation in Illinois are eligible for induction into the state's Outdoor Hall of Fame . The Illinois Conservation Foundation announced this week that it's accepting nominations for the 2019 Hall of Fame class. The foundation since 2002 has recognized people who have promoted fishing, hunting, conservation and safety education, led efforts to preserve or enhance fish and wildlife habitat or to protect and restore state lakes and rivers.Nominees will be inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame this fall at the annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Gala.Nominations must be submitted on the official form by June 30.


(Gilman--jc)  -- Farmers continue to try to get the corn and soybeans planted this Spring. One potential cash crop new to the area and state is hemp. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says there is opportunity, but with opportunity a place to take a crop is also needed…



Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.


Champaign--jc)  Local craft beer could soon be more expensive in Illinois under the governor’s proposal to increase alcohol taxes to help pay for infrastructure projects.As a way to increase revenue for new statewide construction projects, some at the statehouse are looking to increase taxes on a range of things. Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office has proposed doubling the motor fuel tax, increasing vehicle registration fees, placing a surcharge on ride-sharing services, imposing a 7 percent tax on streaming media services and even increased taxes on alcoholic beverages, including beer.Matt Potts of Destihl Brewery in Normal and Champaign said Illinois craft beer industry brings economic activity to the state and shouldn't be subject to a sin tax.Potts says increasing taxes is the wrong approach. He said lower taxes allow businesses to grow, which helps fill state coffers through increased payroll taxes and other economic activity. He said that was evident when the federal government recently lowered excise taxes for beer.



(Decatur--jc) --  Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Reaction to the day from State Representative Dan Caulkin, Republican from Decatur…



State Representative Dan Caulkins, Republican from Decatur.



(Paxton--jc)  - Volunteers with the Paxton Auxiliary and Paxton American Legion Post say the donations were above what they expected during the Poppy Days collections in the downtown area of Paxton and the Paxton IGA Friday and Saturday. The money raised will be deposited later today. All those with the collection efforts say “Thanks” to all who donated and helped.


(Undated--jc)  There were hundreds of Memorial Day Observances throughout the area on Monday. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the day is the day to remember those who served…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are expected to address an ordinance proposal concerning  solar and wind energy when they meet tonight. Another agenda items is a facade grant for Syd and Sadie’s Boutique at 102 North Sangamon in the city. City council members will also look to amend a loan agreement with Gibson Area Hospital and a special license for the Bayern Stube for the Friday Night Under the Lights events. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 tonight



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois House Monday passed a bill to require protections on closed ash impoundments, a measure long sought by environmental advocates in the state with the nation’s most coal ash repositories and it is good news for Vermilion County. Senate Bill 9 orders the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to develop rules regarding the closure of coal ash repositories and creates a process for public input on individual closure plans that must be filed with the state. House bill sponsor, State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian says the process will provide more safeguards than exist under federal coal ash rules…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian


(Paxton--jc)  -- This week is the scheduled start for Carle Hospital to begin to tear down the former Paxton Hospital Building. The local health care company has announced no new plans for the space, but helping the city reclaim the area along route 9 in the city.



(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West school board members will look at an interim superintendent position when they meet this afternoon in special session. The meeting comes to order at 5-30 this afternoon in the high school board room in Gilman. Also at 7 tonight, the Iroquois West School Board will continue negotiations with employees of the district concerning a new contract. That meeting will be in closed session



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — House Democrats in Illinois have advanced a measure to replace the state's abortion law with less restrictive language that gives people "a fundamental right" to make decisions about their reproductive health. A House committee approved the legislation on a party-line vote, sending it to the House floor today. All committee Republicans voted no. Among other provisions, the bill requires private health insurance companies that cover pregnancy-related benefits to cover abortion. Supporters say the measure is necessary to counter other states' action to restrict abortion procedures and the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion.Republicans criticized Democrats, who control the Legislature and the governor's office, for holding the hearing on the Sunday night of a holiday weekend and posting notice just one hour before the hearing.


(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County E-M-A officials continue to provide updates on properties in the Watseka area devastated by the recent straight line winds and severe thunderstorms earlier this month.on the recovery. Power outages have been restored caused by storms on May 23rd. Lutheran Church Charities continues to help with crews with clean up efforts. Roads are almost all back to normal this morning.



(Melvin--jc)  The group Stillgrass is set to perform in Melvin at the Community Center on Saturday night at 7.  Tickets are 10 dollars. The doors open at 5-30. Food will be available for purchase from the Melvin Methodist Church.


Pools in Paxton and Rantoul Set to Open This Weekend

(Springfield--jc)  -- Legislative leaders met with the governor Thursday for the first time since April 11 to discuss the budget and infrastructure, but sticking points remains as the end of the legislative session approaches.With a week left before the end of the session and deadline to pass a budget with simple majorities, leaders from both chambers met with Gov. J.B. Pritzker in his office late Thursday. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and the governor did not comment after the meeting.Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, emerged from the governor’s office after the hour-long meeting and said they talked about the budget. He said he thinks it’s close thanks to April’s revenue windfall and projected increased money captured from taxpayers.


(Washington--ba)  -- If you're a military veteran engaged in farming or ranching, you now can get more crop insurance benefits. Stephanie Ho reports...



(Springfield--ba)-Lawmakers passed a bill ensuring all single-occupancy restrooms are gender neutral. Supporters say this will benefit transgender people, parents taking their opposite-sex children to the bathroom and adults needing help from a caregiver. The measure is sponsored by representative Sam Yingling of Round Lake Beach.



State Representative Sam Yingling of Round Lake Beach


(Undated--jc)  Work to repair downed power lines along route 24 just east of Watseka in Iroquois continues this morning. Workers were on the scene early Thursday after storm damaged the poles. Damage of downed power lines also occurred in Vermilion County near Muncie. Route 150 was also closed on Thursday in that area. Area police agencies say to check your routes this morning to make your commute to avoid roads that remain closed or have power line issues.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Researchers involved in an Illinois tick research and surveillance program are hoping the public will be generous in passing on to them the little bloodsuckers. The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine says the Illinois Tick Inventory Collaboration Network received more than 900 ticks last year that people from 28 counties pulled from themselves or their animals.Rebecca Smith, a program coordinator, says researchers are still in the process of testing ticks that were sent to them last year. She says researchers are hoping to learn more about where and when ticks are active and spreading disease in Illinois.Because the research program is expanding this year, researchers are seeking more volunteers to take part.


(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Evangelical Church is hosting their 37th annual chicken and pork Memorial Day Cookout on Monday. Event Spokesperson Andy Schaumburg says  anyone can also donate a meal or two to the Hands of Christ food Pantry in Paxton…



Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church of Paxton Spokesperson Andy Schaumburg.

The number for the church is  379-3554. The cookout runs from 11am to 1pm on Monday at the church.


(Springfield--ba) Pro-choice advocates are hoping for a vote on an abortion bill before the end of the legislative session. The reproductive health act has been languishing in the legislature…but may soon be discussed in a house committee. Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago says it’s important to protect women’s rights...



State Representative Kelly Cassidy Democrat from Chicago



(Paxton--jc)  Several structures that have been a part of the Paxton City skyline are set to be razed this Spring and Summer. Carle Foundation Hospital officials have announced the former Paxton Hospital Building will be demolished starting next week. The East Lawn Grade school is also set to be torn down in August of this year. The school is currently being used for this school year and Thursday was the last day of school at East Lawn  and the PBL School district.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The pool is filled, the chemicals are ready and we await some warmer eather as the Rantoul Hap Parker Aquatic Center is set to open this weekend.  It takes about 350 thousand gallons of water to fill the pool on Rantoul’s west side. Opening day is Saturday and those who bought passes during a recent sale will be able to enter the pool at 11-30 Saturday morning. The pool opens to the public at Noon.


(Paxton--jc)  -- This Saturday’s I-G-A cookout features ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda. Money raised goes to St Peter’s Lutheran Church. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm at the Paxton I-G-A parking lot.


(Washington--ba)-Events involving China are having profound effects on U.S. hog and pork markets.

Gary Crawford reports...



(Pesotum--jc)  -- While a District 10 State Trooper was  was conducting a traffic Thursday afternoon around 2-30 along Interstate 72, the trooper was approached by a motorcyclist who stated that a road rage incident had just occurred and a weapon was displayed in his direction. The Trooper immediately caught up to and identified the suspect vehicle and conducted a felony traffic stop.. An investigation was conducted and a handgun was located in the vehicle. The driver, Billy B. Ashlock of Lead Hill Arkansas, was arrested for the Unlawful Use of a Weapon and was taken to Macon County Jail. The investigation is still ongoing.


(Undated--jc)  The 20-20 Census, home rule and declining population. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Paxton--jc) City of Paxton leaders continue to look at putting new stop signs at several locations in the city.  The areas are Maple and Pells, Maple and Orleans and Ottawa and Union. The city council is expected to vote on the new stop signs when they meet in June.


(Springfield-jc)  The Wall of Remembrance is open now through the 4 of July in Springfield. The wall is located in the Capitol Rotunda and features pictures, stories and memories of those who have served our nation. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman was in attendance on Thursday and says this is a small but important way to honor veterans…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman-Republican from Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  -- Drivers who violate right of way rules and injure pedestrians in crosswalks could soon receive a 1 year driver’s license suspension, due to legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) in the Senate and filed by Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) in the Illinois House. House Bill 2383 would require a 1-year suspension of an individual’s driver’s license if they commit a right-of-way violation at a crosswalk or a crosswalk in a school zone that results in bodily harm or death. The legislation was filed by Parkhurst in response to the death of Iroquois County resident Mason Knorr, who was killed in a traffic crash when a semi failed to obey a posted stop sign.



(Paxton--jc) Volunteers with the Paxton American Legion will be located at some street corners today and Saturday. It’s Poppy days in the city of Paxton. Donations will be taken for veteran’s  to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Poppy Spokesperson Pat Milchuck says this is a way to honor veterans and get younger people some knowledge about our veterans…


Paxton Poppy Days Spokesperson Pat Milchuck


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Memorial Day Holiday weekend is here and among the activities for the unofficial start to summer is at the local pools. The Paxton Park District pool is filled and ready to go. Paxton Park District Board members voted to open the pool Mondays-Wednesdays-and Fridays from 1pm to 5pm. Evening hours are Tuesdays-and Thursdays 6 to 9pm. Pool passes are also now on sale on the Paxton Park District website or by calling 379-4203.



High Winds Cause Damage and Power Outings in the WPXN Listening Area

High Winds of over 80mph were reported in northeastern Iroquois County. Several reports of damage came in from east of Loda to Watseka. Damage included snapped trees, down limbs to scattered debris and damaged buildings. Power was also knocked out in the WPXN Listening Area.


(Undated--jc)  -- Memorial Day is coming up, which means more people will be hitting the roads in Illinois, but they won't be alone.Memorial Day is traditionally the start of the summer driving season. It's also traditionally the Illinois State Police's busiest time.The state of Illinois is one of the states taking part in a national "Border to Border" campaign this weekend. The effort is organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign. The goal is to use the power of 10,000 agencies around the country to increase seat belt use and save lives.The unofficial start to summer is 5pm on Friday.



(Washington--ba)-U.S. beef is once again granted full access to the Japan market. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Legislation clearing the Illinois House Wednesday would allow school districts to take additional measures to lock classroom doors to protect students and staff in the event of an active shooter situation. State Representative Dan Brady says the legislation can literally be a lifesaver--if a gunman gains entry to a school building…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the summer movie series set for WIllow Pond Golf Course. This year’s summer movies are ;Ralph Breaks the Internet on June 14; Captain Marvel July 12 and the Lego Movie August 9th. All movies will start around dusk. The Chamber also has sponsorship opportunities for each movie. Businesses interested may call the chamber office at 893-3323.


(Springfield--jc)  With time running down to pass a balanced budget in Springfield, lawmakers continue to go along party lines with Democrats favoring a graduated tax, to pass on funding pensions, pending a state constitutional amendment and Republicans seeking to use the 1 point 6 Billion dollar surplus to pay on pensions and some bills. Reaction from 105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington.




106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says if the two sides work together over the next week, a balanced budget can be reached…


106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Gifford-jc)  -- The Gifford School district has no plans for an amended budget for the current fiscal year. With the next year’s budget, local school officials say there should be little effect of the Champaign County Property Tax bills being mailed out later than usual. Superintendent Rod Grimsley says the school’s budget is not prepared annually needing early tax money



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Seward Johnson’s monumental sculpture of Abraham Lincoln was installed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday in a joint initiative by the presidential library and the City of Springfield. “Return Visit” – which stands 31 feet tall and weighs 37,000 pounds – depicts Lincoln discussing the Gettysburg Address with a modern man. It will be displayed in Springfield until September of next year. “The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is home to one of the five copies of the Gettysburg Address written in Lincoln’s own handwriting.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The pool is filled and ready to go. Officials with the Paxton Park District say the pool is filled and now is the time to purchase pool passes for the year. Several options are available. More information is found on the Paxton Park District website or by calling 379-4203.





(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor J.B. Pritzker’s $41 billion, six-year capital construction counts on revenue from doubling the state’s gas tax, increasing vehicle registration fees, higher alcohol taxes, imposing a surcharge on ride-sharing services and levying a 7-percent tax on streaming media services.Pritzker defended those plans Wednesday amid renewed criticism from across the aisle. A Republican state Representative said that instead of increasing taxes to pay for infrastructure projects the state needs, lawmakers should find efficiencies in how the state spends what it already collects from taxpayers.Lawmakers have a deadline of May 31 to pass legislation with simple majorities. After that, for anything to take effect immediately, it will take super majorities in both chambers.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- On your things to do this summer, put the Half Century of Progress on your calendar. The 4-day event starts on August 22nd and runs through August 25th at the Rantoul Airport area. The show starts with the raising of the largest U.S. flag each day. Demonstrations for broom corn, corn shelling, field tilling and more. Tractor and farm displays, vendors and plenty of food also hilight this years Half Century of Progress Show August 22nd through August 25th in Rantoul


(Springfield--jc)  -- Good news from the Illinois State Fair, -- Adult admission is dropping to just 5 dollars on most days. It will cost 5 bucks instead of 10 to get into the fair on Sunday through Thursday says Illinois State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon…



Illinois State Fair in Springfield Manager Kevin Gordon

The state fair runs from August 8th through the 16th at the fairgrounds in Springfield.



CHICAGO (AP) — CEO Oscar Munoz says he will be aboard United Airlines' first flight of a Boeing 737 Max once regulators agree to let the aircraft fly again. Munoz made the promise after Chicago-based United's annual meeting with shareholders. In crashes in Indonesia in October and Ethiopia in March, an automated system called MCAS mistakenly turned the noses of the planes down in response to faulty readings from a single sensor. 346 people died. As a result, regulators grounded the plane.



(Springfield--jc)  -- State lawmakers will get a chance to ride along with their local deputies under a new program. The Illinois Sheriff’s Association is launching the new effort in hopes of building better relationships between police and policy makers. Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell says he wants legislators to see what they face everyday…


Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell


(Fisher--jc)  Fisher village leaders are looking to move forward after agreeing to purchase two and one half acres of farm land adjacent to Richmond Park. The new part of the park will be used for the local softball program.  Village leaders will look to pass an ordinance to finalize the land purchase. Local residents are expected to help with the project.


(Rantoul--jc)  Congress Avenue and Garrard Street is the location for the upcoming farmer’s market in Rantoul. The first one will be next Wednesday. The farmer’s market will run from 4pm to 7pm. Markets will run every other week.


(Springfield--ba)House Republicans are on board with an insurance tax to generate hundreds of millions that could benefit the state. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story...




A Second Lawsuit Filed Against People's Gas

MAHOMET, Ill. (AP) — A second lawsuit has been filed against a gas supplier in connection with a 2016 gas leak in central Illinois that contained private wells. The lawsuit filed in Champaign County Circuit Court accuses Peoples Gas of contaminating drinking water when a large amount of natural gas was leaked into the Mahomet Aquifer. The action Monday by 21 residents brings to 38 the number of people who are suing Peoples Gas because of the leak from Manlove Field, an underground natural-gas storage facility.


CHICAGO (AP) — The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother but was later charged with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb. Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold would not provide any details on Tuesday about the investigation of Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.



(New York--ba)  -- Nearly two dozen states and municipalities are suing the federal government to stop a new rule letting health care clinicians object to providing abortions and other services that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




PESOTUM – Illinois State Police  District 10 Commander, Captain Louis Kink, announces the results of Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols in Champaign County on May 18. These sTEPs allowed the ISP to provide increased enforcement for impaired driving, occupant restraint, speeding, and distracted driving violations during the National “Click It or Ticket” Campaign. State Police handed out 25 speeding citations and warnings during the patrol.


(URbana--jc)  A ticket against an East Lynn resident was dismissed in Champaign County Court. The incident in question is a fatal crash along Route 45 between Thomasboro and Urbana. The News Gazette says that authorities view this as a tragic accident that claimed the life of 23 year old Shana Outlaw in 2018



WATSEKA, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials  joined members of the Watseka City Council, other local and state officials and community representatives in a ceremony commemorating the start of the Watseka Flood Mitigation Project last night. The project includes the planned acquisition and demolition of 65 structures located in floodplain, along with the clearing of the property. The acquisition and clearing of the floodplain property will reduce the need for future federal and state disaster assistance to affected residents in Watseka.  By removing these structures, the project will also reduce the need for public rescues and emergency services during flood conditions within the watershed. The project will also allow the City of Watseka to expand its public open space.The IDNR is providing more than $5.3 million in flood mitigation funding for the project.



(Springfield--jc) -- While the Illinois House Revenue Committee passed a progressive tax measure along party lines and the issue is in the hands of the entire Illinois House today, one Republican leader says property tax relief needs to be address. Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs says property tax relief needs to be addressed, but no property tax relief is on the horizon…



Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs



(Gifford--jc)  -- Gifford School Board members were updated on the gym project at the school. The masonry work has been completed. The next steps to paint the entire gym. School leaders in Gifford also  were informed that one summer project is on the calendar and that is the parking lot at the school.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Officials of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria say their counterparts in the Archdiocese of New York are trying to halt the transfer of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's remains to Illinois. Earlier this month, New York's Court of Appeals rejected the archdiocese's argument that lower courts erred in giving permission to a Sheen relative to transfer his remains to Peoria, where he was ordained 100 years ago. The Peoria diocese wants to inter Sheen's remains this year in St. Mary's Cathedral.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Monday is Memorial Day. The Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church is hosting their 37th annual cookout  Cookout spokesperson Andy Schaumburg talks about the event..



Evangelical Covenant Church Memorial Day Cookout Spokesperson Andy




(Rantoul-jc)  -- Business owners and professionals are invited to a Community Coffee this morning at  7:30. at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bring your business cards, ideas, and network with other business owners and professionals or members in downtown Rantoul.


(Washington--ba)-Both corn and soybean plantings and development are far behind the usual pace. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are one step closer to putting Governor J.B. Pritzker's signature campaign promise on the 2020 ballot: A proposed change to the Illinois constitution that would allow for higher income tax rates on higher levels of income. The House Revenue Committee passed the measure along party lines with Republicans, who are a super-minority in the chamber, unanimous in their opposition.  Reaction to the bill from 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Springfield--jc)  Earlier this month the Illinois Senate passed the bill, which was crafted through discussions among environmental groups, power plant owners and other stakeholders.   The House Energy and Environment committee passed the bill on May 16, and it now needs to pass a full House vote before the session closes at the end of May. Senate Bill 9 orders the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to develop rules regarding the closure of coal ash repositories and creates a process for public input on individual closure plans that must be filed with the state. The bill is sponsored by 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The pool is filled, the chemicals are ready and we await some warmer eather as the Rantoul Hap Parker Aquatic Center is set to open this weekend.  It takes about 350 thousand gallons of water to fill the pool on Rantoul’s west side. Opening day is Saturday and those who bought passes during a recent sale will be able to enter the pool at 11-30 Saturday morning. The pool opens to the public at Noon.


(Champaign--jc)  With the Spring semester complete, work on parking lots begins at Parkland College in Champaign. Summer long resurfacing is planned for the B-1 and B-7 parking lots at Parklands B wing starting on Tuesday May 28th. Those using the area the area are asked to use caution and look for alternative routes to classes and programs.


(Gilman--jc)  -- The wet weather continues to hamper local planting efforts. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Director David Treece says there is still time for farmers to complete their original acreage plans



Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Director David Treece


(Rantoul--jc)  Among the schools with graduation services set for Friday night is Rantoul Township High School. School officials have announced that the commencement exercises will be held in doors this year. The Pomp and Circumstance ceremony begins at 7-30. You can hear the names of the Rantoul Graduates on our High School Senior salutes now on WPXN.



(Undated--jc) --  Do you want to serve Illinois as an Illinois State Trooper.  Those interested have until the end of May to apply. Cadet Class 130 will start in October.  Applications and more information is found online at illinois-trooper-dot-com


(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County property tax bills were expected to be mailed out this week, but more delays have occurred. Now the bills are expected to be mailed out on Tuesday. The due date for the first installment, if the bills are mailed out on May 28th would be June 28th. Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers says bills are being delayed in his county. Ford County property taxes are also on the wait to mail list


(Paxton--jc)  Among the Memorial Day observances in the area is one at Glen Cemetery in Paxton. The annual program begins at 11am on Monday Memorial Day. The Paxton Buckley Loda Marching Band will provide music and the parade begins at 10 Monday morning at Eastlawn School. The Paxton American Legion Honor Guard will lead the parade on Monday morning. This Saturday, legion members are asking the public’s help to place American Flags on the graves on veterans. Those interested in helping are asked to be at the Glen Cemetery gazebo at 9 Saturday morning



Seatbelt Enforcement Increased for Memorial Day Holiday

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — It's "border to border" seat-belt enforcement for Illinois police agencies through Memorial Day.Officials from the Departments of Transportation and State Police joined more than 200 local law enforcement agencies in Monday's announcement. The "Border to Border" campaign will feature stepped-up enforcement of mandatory seat-belt use with increased patrols and enforcement zones through next week's holiday.


(Springfield-ba) The Illinois Department of Public Health is working to stop the spread of measles and get more children vaccinated.  The number of measles cases continues to rise across the country…so acting Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike says the state is tackling the problem from several angles...



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike


(Paxton--jc)  Next year’s Paxton Buckley Loda F-F-A leadership team has been announced. They include President Autumn Bruens. Vice President-Austin Jones,

Secretary Jasmine Miles, Treasurer Landon Wilson and Reporter Lizzy Reutter. Others on the officer team area Sentinel Dalton Busboom Historian Christina White, and vice presidents Maci Kingren and  Gracie Wagner.



(Roberts--jc)  THe village of Roberts in Ford County has two events coming up this summer. Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner says one is a music celebration and the other is a clean up day…



Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ponied up $50,000 of his own money in the search for a new director for the Department of Children and Family Services.The Chicago Tribune reports Pritzker paid a Massachusetts company for the search before he took office


(Iroquois County--jc)  Area police agencies reported a serious vehicle crash that happened around 7-30 last night. The accident occurred on the Kankakee-Iroquois County line along route 45-52. The intersection was blocked due to the accident. Other details are sketchy at this time.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Bradley University in Peoria has announced President Gary Roberts will retire next year. Roberts will depart when his contract expires at the end of May 2020, capping a 4 1/2-year stint heading his alma mater. The brief tenure for Roberts was not unexpected. He was planning his retirement when he was recruited by Bradley University



(Springfield--jc)  Things will probably start getting a little testy as lawmakers returned to Springfield for House session on Monday  afternoon. There are only 11 scheduled days remaining before the May 31stdeadline, 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the minority Republican party sees a plan to balance the budget without raising taxes…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

Fellow Republican Dan Brady of Bloomington agrees that a balanced budget can be achieved without new taxes…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  --Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for a vacancy in the Eighth  Judicial Circuit. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Judge Mark A. Drummond on August 5. Judge Drummond has been an At-Large Circuit Judge in the Eighth Circuit since 2004. Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul police continue to seek information about multiple shots fired in the 13 hundred block of Harmon Drive on Sunday. Police believe shots were fired from a person getting out of a white colored vehicle. No additional information was provided. Police found 6 shell casings in the area. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers or Rantoul Police. That number is 893-56-hundred.


(Springfield--ba)-Legislation headed to the governor’s desk aims to better protect animals in kennels. The bill requires kennels that aren’t staffed around the clock to be equipped with a fire alarm that automatically notifies first responders. Senator Don Dewitte of St. Charles says it was prompted by a tragic fire in west Chicago back in January.



Senator Don Dewitte


(Kankakee--jc)  Kankakee Police are attempting to locate missing seven (7) year old juvenile Jahriese Jones. The young boy was last seen talking to his mother on May 11th. Police are canvassing the area in an attempt to locate Jahriese or his mother Portia Coble since being notified yesterday. Kankakee Police are seeking the public’s help in locating the 7 year old.  If you have seen them or know their whereabouts please call police at 815-933-0417.



(Buckley--jc)  The 67th annual Buckley and Buckley-Loda High School Alumni Banquet is set for Saturday June 8th at the 103 East Restaurant in the village. Social hour starts at 5 with dinner at 6. Cost is 25 dollars per person.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- A continued look at some on-going and future economic development in the village of Rantoul. The A-Trel group, associated with the University of Illinois is on a portion of the village on the the former Chanute Air Force Base. If an agreement is reached, the group would be working with local, national and potential some international companies on road surface to autonomous vehicles says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith


(Springfield--ba)-Illinois has some of the highest workers’ compensation in the nation, according to a study from the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker will decide if the state will get tougher on people who injure others while texting and driving.  The fine for texting while driving in Illinois is currently 75 dollars. The Illinois Senate agreed with the Illinois House to raise that fine to 1 thousand dollars and loss of license. The measure is now in the hands of the governor.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Farmers finally got a little time in the fields over the past 7 days. Around 2 and one half days were suitable for  fieldwork, giving some producers a chance to start catching up says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

9 percent of soybeans have been planted and the first cutting of alfalfa hay is 5 percent complete.



The Paxton Swine and Dine Committee is pleased to announce Nashville recording artist, Jerrod Neimann as the 2019 Festival headliner.  Johnny McGuire will be the opening act. The event takes place at 7pm September 21, Downtown Paxton. General Admission is free and pit passes are available at Paxton Chamber dot com.





Illinois Hit harder Than Any Other State by Ongoing Trade Battle

(Undated--jc)  The ongoing trade battle between the U.S. and China has hit Illinois harder than the rest of the nation. The Trump Administration has been engaged in a months-long trade war with China that has included retaliatory tariffs slapped on exports to each country.  Senior vice president at the U.S. China Business Council Erin Ennis, says that U.S. exports to China declined by more than $10 billion compared with 2017. Ennis adds that Illinois saw the largest decline of any state. Illinois exported $5.6 billion worth of goods and in 2018, Illinois only exported 3.8 billion. The biggest sector hit was Illinois soybean and soybean byproduct industries. This is reflected in lower commodity prices for farmers selling their crop on the market.The Trump administration said the Chinese government has been manipulating trade and currency get a better deal with the U.S.



(Mahomet--jc)--  A closed door session will start the Mahomet Seymour School Board meeting tonight at 6. The board is then expected to hire Dustin Day as an assistant principal for the Middletown Prairie school, approve Marissa Hill as the Coordinator of Student Services and Chad Benedict as High School Principal. The board will also hear a medical cannabis update, approve the handbook and meal prices for the next school year. The meeting begins at 6 tonight


(Washington--ba) -- High water is continuing to be a problem for the Mississippi River. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.



(Gibson City--jc) When the Gibson City Pool Committee meets tonight. the main topic of discussion will be the process to hire an assistant manager for the local pool. The committee meeting comes to order at 6 tonight at city hall.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Poppy days in Paxton will be  Friday and Saturday at several downtown locations. Volunteers from the American Legion will also be at Paxton IGA. Paxton American Legion Poppy Sales Spokesperson Pat Milchuck says it’s a tradition  in the city…



Paxton American Legion Poppy Sales Spokesperson Pat Milchuck



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Like to garden, like to volunteer, Then the Rantoul Youth Center needs you. Andy Graham with the Rantoul Recreation Department leads the way to provide fresh vegetables for local youth with the garden project. Those wanting to help are asked to call the Youth Center in the village.



(Gilman--jc) Just a few farmers are back in the fields today throughout the entire WPXN listening area. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau manager David Treece says even a small shower continues to delay area farmers from planting corn and soybeans…



Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago health officials say they've confirmed a measles case and are working to contact those who may have been exposed to the infection. The Chicago Department of Public Health said Saturday they confirmed the case Friday and exposures may have occurred Thursday at O'Hare International Airport and in downtown Chicago and Friday at the University of Illinois-Chicago. This is at least the second confirmed case in Cook County since March. The confirmations come amid a measles outbreak in the U.S.


(Springfield--ba)-Some “SNAP” recipients may soon be able to use their benefits in restaurants.

Lawmakers passed a bill setting up a program where the elderly, homeless and disabled can use their benefits to get a good meal at a restaurant. It’s supported by Senator Dan Mcconchie of Hawthorn Woods who uses a wheelchair.



Illinois State Senator Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods



(Gibson City--jc)  A Coffee and Conversation event is set for Thursday in Gibson City. Curt Homan with the Gibson Area Hospital is the featured speaker. The event runs from 9 til 10am at the American Lutheran Church on Route 9 in Gibson City. Homan will talk about current expansion and future plans for Gibson Area Hospital.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois would pour $41.5 billion into state construction projects over six years to rebuild and maintain roads, mass transit, schools and affordable housing, raise recreation areas, expand broadband and more under a plan Gov. J.B. Pritzker sketched out Friday. It would mean a doubled motor fuel tax, to 38 cents per gallon at the pump, and registering a car less than three years old would cost $199 a year, up from $100.


(CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University Arena has a new name, thanks to the largest corporate naming rights agreement in the history of the Carbondale campus. The Southern Illinoisan reports after 55 years, SIU Arena is now the Banterra Center. The basketball arena is now named for Banterra Bank, which has 40 branches across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. The naming agreement guarantees $4 million to SIUC in the first 10 years.


(Springfield--jc) One Republican leader in Springfield says the state has the ability to get to a balanced budget without raising taxes. Republican House Leader Jim Durkin says the surplus from April is the proof…



Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs


(Paxton--jc)  -- The brick fundraiser for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project has started. The group is selling bricks of 4 by 8 for 100 dollars and 8 by 8 for 250 dollars. The bricks can be personalized. More information is found by contacting the Frederick Bank in Paxton or on line at thats-my-brick-dot-com-forward-slash-paxtonflag

These bricks will line the walkway to and the area surrounding a special flagpole behind the Paxton Jr. High/High School. All proceeds from these bricks will go towards the purchase of a flagpole that will measure 150 feet, and will be the tallest structure in the city of Paxton. The flag hanging from the pole will measure 30 by 60 feet.


CHICAGO (AP) — Two generations of an Illinois family have worked to recreate grassland habitats in an effort to save the endangered prairie chicken. The Chicago Tribune reports that the birds once numbered in the millions across the state but there are now about 200 left. The United Nations' Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services published a pioneering scientific study this week on biodiversity. The study found that 1 million species, including the prairie chicken, remain imperiled.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A 31-foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln will make its debut this week in Springfield after stops in Chicago and Peoria. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports the 19-ton sculpture named "Return Visit" will be located in front of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum starting Wednesday. It is scheduled to stay there through September 2020. The statue depicts Lincoln standing with a modern-day man holding the Gettysburg Address.


(Rantoul--jc)  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign and Ford Counties has several mentoring programs from school to community based mentoring. Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins says the group uses various ways to help area kids…


Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins

(Paxton--jc) -- The Academic Awards program at Paxton Buckley Loda High School is set for tomorrow night at 7. The awards will be handed out  in the high school commons area. A reception begins at 6-15 on Tuesday night.


Sponsors Needed for Paxton Buckley Loda Education Foundation's Programs

(Paxton--jc)  -- Wanted, sponsors for Paxton Buckley Loda Education Foundation’s programs for the next school year. The local nonprofit helps with the bookfair, book of the month, teacher requests to the Senior awards program. Businesses interested may contact the foundation online at secretary-at-p-b-l-foundation-dot-org


(Rantoul--jc)  -- One business in the Rantoul Plaza on Rantouls east side is closing due to the health concerns of one of its owners. The Diamond Sports Training Facility will close by the end of the month. The space will be available for rent and more information is found by calling Ron Minch at 892-5959.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is embedding a new geothermal heating and cooling system within the foundation of a building addition on its engineering campus as part of an effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.The project will install geothermal heat exchanger loops in the foundation of a novel "smart" pedestrian bridge. The bridge will link the 13,000-square-foot Hydrosystems Laboratory extension to the Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory. Officials say that by using the 50-foot-deep rods currently being drilled for the foundation, the project will reduce general geothermal installation expenses in addition to providing for on-site research.



(Washington--ba)-- It's been about a year and a half since leaders from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. signed the USMCA trade deal. It still hasn't been approved by lawmakers in the three countries. What's the holdup? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.


(Washington--ba)-Jobs were up last month in Illinois. The state gained nearly 21 thousand jobs in April…and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at four point four percent. Overall it was a pretty good month says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro.



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro


(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are reminding the motoring public about some exits along Interstate 57 between Tuscola  and Champaign that no longer have fuel, even though some signs show active gas stations. Tuscola has several fuel station options, but mile marker 220 at Pesotum, 229 at Monticello Road and 232 Curtis Road have no gas stations along the Interstate. The Champaign exits of 235 and 237 have options off the Interstate.  The Olympian and Market Street exits have fuel options.



(Washington--ba)-Illinois State Police Troopers issued more than 560 tickets during a special distracted driving effort. During Distracted Driving week last month…troopers across the state focused on drivers who weren’t paying attention because of texting or talking on their cellphones. Troopers issued 569 distracted driving citations during that time…and another 57-hundred tickets for other violations. Lieutenant Joe Hutchins says they hope people realize how dangerous their behavior is.



State Police  Lieutenant Joe Hutchins


(Cissna Park--jc)  The Country Theatre Workshop located along Route 49 north of Cissna Park is presenting a variety show called “Peace, Love and a Parking Lot” Saturday night at 7-30 and Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Tickets are 15 dollars. The project is set to raise money for a parking lot at the Theatre.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Buckley Loda High School band is hosting the 20th annual Salute to Veterans Concert on Saturday Night at 7. The concert takes place in the high school gym. At 5-30 tomorrow afternoon, the PBL Band Parents are offering a lasagna dinner

(Washington--ba)Local Farm Service Agency offices are scheduled to accept applications for continuous Conservation Reserve Program sign-up starting June 3rd. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.



(Springfield--jc)--  Paying restitution is usually the last thing to be paid in court cases. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has sponsored House Resolution 20, that urges restitution be paid to the victim  before any court or law fees. Representative Bennett said the resolution passed the Illinois House on Thursday.


(Gibson--ba)-One school district is talking about future funding for field trips. Gibson City Melvin Sibley board members discussed to trips to Six Flags for the senior class as well as the FFA. They have also discussed a Lee Farms trip for the students who are enrolled into the Functional Life Skills class.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is embracing recommendations from the independent report on the agency. The report came from the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall group and the governor says it’s time for an overhaul…



Illinois Govenor JB Pritzker.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The first monthly car cruise is set for Gibson City today.  The Friday Nights under the Lights starts at 6 and runs through 10 tonight. Cruising Sangamon Avenue, a cookout at the American Legion, along with music and the Ed Day Skate Park doing a Queen of Hearts contest are all part the the monthly celebration.



(Melvin--jc)  -- The movie “Ralph Breaks the Internet” will be shown for free at the Melvin Community Hall tonight at 7pm.  Those attending are asked to bring a blanket for seating.

(Lake Iroquois--jc)  -- Garage Sales this weekend at Lake Iroquois Loda. Hours today are 8am until 5pm and Saturday from 8am til 1pm


(Paxton--jc)  -- The weekly cookout at the Paxton IGA is from 10am til 2pm on Saturday. The money raised this week goes to the Loda Truck and Tractor Pull Association. On the menu is pork chop sandwiches, chips and pop.



Paxton- Buckley- Loda Hires New High School Football Coach

(Paxton--jc)  Paxton Buckley Loda High School has a new Football Coach for the 20-19 season. P-B-L School board members hired Joshua Pritchard from the Petersburg Porta school district. Pritchard will replace popular coach Jeff Graham who resigned from the P-B-L school system at the end of this fiscal year to take a Superintendent’s job in the Ludlow School district in northern Champaign County.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he will quickly adopt "every recommendation" made in a report on suggested improvements to the Department of Children and Family Services. The Democrat and DCFS Director Marc Smith faced reporters Wednesday after releasing a review of the child-welfare agency by the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall research center. The report found that DCFS often endangers children with its focus on keeping troubled families intact.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A preservation group is on the side of some local residents who would like to see Eastlawn school building saved. Landmarks Illinois is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve historic buildings in the state. The aging facility is scheduled to be razed this summer. The Paxton Buckley Loda school board moved earlier this year to hire Lee Excavating from Thawville to tear down the school at a cost of 1 point 1-5 million dollars. An auction for items at the school was set for July 13th.


(Undated--jc)  -- Ford County real estate tax bills are set to be mailed by the middle of June. The first installment will be a due date 30 days after the mailing. Champaign County Treasurer office officials are working to get real estate tax bills out by the end of this month. In Iroquois County, issues beyond the control of the local treasurer’s office, have delayed the printing and calculation of the bills for Iroquois County real estate owners. Bills in Iroquois County will be mailed out once the issues have been resolved.


(Urbana--jc)  -- The Native American Guardians Association is hosting a meeting at the University of Illinois-Springfield campus this afternoon at 1. The group is revealing the newly proposed authentic Fighting Illini Athletics American Indian Half-time Unity celebration. The “In their Honor” video includes some Peoria Tribe Indians from Oklahoma.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Drivers who ignore Illinois’ Move Over Law may soon face tougher penalties. New legislation raised the fins for not switching lanes when a vehicle with flashing lights is on the side of the road. Democrat State Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago says with 16 state police officers struck so for this year, they need to do something…



Democrat State Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago

Under the bill, the first offense would be 250 dollars and the second would be 750 dollars. An additional fee of 250 dollars will be added on top of the fins to help pay for public education efforts concerning the move over law.



HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A semi-trailer hauling honey overturned on a northwestern Indiana highway, spilling some of the sticky substance and restricting travel for hours. State police say the truck was hauling about 41,000 pounds of amber honey along Interstate 80/94 through Hammond when the driver lost control and the truck overturned about 6 a.m. CST Wednesday. At least four containers of honey were leaking and mixing with diesel fuel from the overturned vehicle. Three of the highway's eastbound lanes remain closed.


(Rantoul--jc)  In the third part of our series on the A-Trel Company, operating in Rantoul, today we look at what they are doing now. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says it’s more than road testing…



RantouL Mayor Chuck Smith.

It is the hope of Rantoul village leaders that a new project with A-Trel, the University of Illinois and the village will lead to autonomous vehicle testing in Rantoul. The investment from Rantoul would be around 15 million dollars for the state of the art facility.


(SPringfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers have taken some initial steps to protect taxpayers from what local units of government can spend on weekend trips to Chicago for training conferences, but a couple of lawmakers said that getting enough support to advance further legislation won't be easy. State Representative David McSweeney, Republican from Barrington Hills, got legislation signed into law that bans local officials in Illinois from spending public money on entertainment but says bills to keep them from spending on travel, meals, and lodging expenses falling on taxpayers have not been successful because or lobbyist groups. Training conferences don't have to be lavish affairs at luxury hotels in Chicago He was also able to require taxing bodies to disclose budgets for convention spending.State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, said local taxpayers can’t attend every meeting because there are so many units of

government in the state – nearly 7,000.


(Bloomington--jc)  The hope of one local lawmaker is that the 2 major parties work together to get a balanced budget this month. That would include no new taxes and stabilizing pensions says 105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  --Proponents of a plan to tax and regulate recreational marijuana use for adults in Illinois plan to address a growing list of concerns, including how the tax money will be spent and how the state should treat people who were convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past.The bill includes provisions for expunging criminal convictions for certain marijuana-related crimes. State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said that could wipe out past convictions for acts that could still be prosecuted even if the bill were to pass as written. He said the legislature could just stay out of expungement, and leave it in the hands of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.



(Springfield--jc)  Even inmates at Stateville Correctional Center are graduating. Kim Howard reports.



(Rantoul--jc)  The village of Rantoul  continues to look into the possibility of joining the Vermilion County Land Bank.  The village is using a 150 thousand dollar grant to provide more insight in the positives or negatives in a land bank. Several meetings on the issue have already been held with more meetings to come in the near future.



(Washington--jc) What is the latest on the topsoil moisture picture are the area, state and nation. U-S-D-A meteorologist, Brad Rippey, has the  details…



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey



(Rantoul-jc)  -- Another reminder about a free benefit for Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce members. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allens says members are invited to place business card fliers, and business cards at the chamber office in the downtown area.



(Paxton--jc)  A ribbon cutting for another new business in the city of Paxton was held on Wednesday afternoon. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold along with officials from the chamber of commerce welcomed Chakra Studio to the downtown area of the city. Classes also started at Chakra Studio on Wednesday.




Paxton Native Sets Guinness World Record

(Springfield---jc)  --Lawmakers have two weeks to finish crafting a proposed $39 billion spending plan for the next state budget, which begins July 1.While lawmakers have had session days off and on throughout the year since January, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget isn’t expected to be finalized and sent to the governor until the last minute.Details on the fiscal year 2019 budget only became public last year in a Senate committee hours before it was pushed out of that chamber and into the House. That was with a House and Senate with Democratic majorities and a Republican Governor. Even though Democrats hold the governor’s mansion and have supermajorities in the House and Senate, the new budget could follow the same last-minute trajectory as last year.


(Urbana-jc)  -- You may not want it yet, but Champaign County tax bills will be mailed out soon. Officials with the Champaign County Treasurer’s office say the bills will be mailed out around May 28th. The first due date, once the tax bills are mailed will be 30 days later.



(Paxton--dg)  -- Have you seen the footage online yet for a world record. A Paxton Native set a Guinness World Record over the Weekend. Colton Eichelberger who drives for the Maximum Destruction Monster Truck team based in Paxton jumped seven Monster Jam Trucks at the World Finals in Orlando on Saturday. After the feat, he said it looked like there was room to clear a few more. We’ll have to wait and see if he can improve on the jump.


(Gibson City-jc)  -- City of Gibson City’s Ed Day Skate Park committee will meet tomorrow night. The group will look at their Queen of Hearts fundraiser, garage sale and gun raffle. A look at finances for the proposed park and plans to visit other skate parks are also on the agenda. The Ed Day Skate Park committee meets at 6-30 Thursday evening at the Gibson City, city hall.



(Springfield--jc)  A new instant lottery ticket will benefit police memorials around the state. The “Blue” ticket joins the specialty games, and all the proceeds support memorials honoring fallen officers. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says some of the money raised will also go towards the costs of bulletproof vests…


House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.


CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A historic site in southern Indiana is now part of a new 1,200-mile expansion of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail. The News and Tribune reports national, state and local leaders gathered Monday at the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center in Clarksville to officially recognize the trail's expansion. The expanded recognition includes areas in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and new portions of trail in in Illinois and Missouri.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has joined with state lawmakers in promoting legislation that would increase penalties for drivers who don't slow or change lanes to avoid vehicles on the side of the road. The proposed legislation to strengthen Scott's Law is a reaction to the deaths of two Illinois State Police troopers this year as they performed their duties. The proposal, filed Tuesday, would increase the minimum fine for a first violation of the move-over law to $250 from $100.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is working on producing a Paxton restaurant brochure that will be distributed regionally.  If your food establishment would like to be included, please either email the chamber office p-a-c-c-director-at-outlook-dot-com or call 379-4655.  The cost for a full color spot is $100 but no charge for chamber members.


(Paxton--jc)  Work on the proposed Streetscape program in the city of Paxton continues to move forward. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says an environmental study to a plan to bids and construction are coming together…


Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

The entire project needs to be completed by the end of 20-20 in Paxton.


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating the Mother's Day birth of a newborn western lowland gorilla. Zoo officials say the male infant was born at about 2 a.m. Sunday to mother Rollie and father Kwan, who weighs in at more than 400 pounds. The newborn has no name. He'll make his public debut Wednesday when the zoo's Regenstein Center for African Apes reopens. His weight is estimated at 4 to 5 pounds.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton Buckley Loda School board members are expected to name a new high school football coach when they meet tonight in monthly session. An update and approval for some lighting and signage at the new Clara Petersen School, summer projects and school fees for the upcoming school year will also be discussed. The P-B-L school board meets at 6 tonight in the board room at the High School Junior High Complex on Paxton’s west side.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is launching a public education campaign on Illinois’ move over law. Reminders will be added to driver’s license and vehicle registration renewal notices and a test question about the move over law will be added to the driver license exam says Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White


(Washington--jc)  What are the global supply and demand estimates on U-S corn with China in the mix. U-S-D-A World Ag Outlook Board Chair Seth Meyer looks at the latest numbers….


U-S-D-A World Ag Outlook Board Chair Seth Meyer



(Watseka--jc)  With Spring comes some bridge projects in one area county. Some work is moving forward on several bridges in Ash Grove and Milford townships. New bridges are coming to Danforth, Ashkum and Beaverville townships.


(Springfield--jc)  Budget talks continue in Springfield, and one area Republican says an April surplus shows that no new taxes are needed. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the two sides need to work together with no new tax on things like bags and more…




106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



(Rantoul--jc)  In the second of a three part series, WPXN news takes a look at the A-Trel group and the University of Illinois College of Engineering as they occupy a portion on the former Chanute Air Force Base in the village.  A-Trel stands for Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory. The group is a transportation research, educational and test lab located in Rantoul. The village of Rantoul and the of I are proposing to work on autonomous vehicles, testing road surfaces and partner with national and international vehicle companies. The idea is in the idea stage. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says under the proposal, cars would be tested in tunnels, and all types of roads on the closed course…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.


(Springfield--jc)  --  Following heavy rain and flooding throughout Illinois, Attorney General Kwame Raoul Tuesday warned Illinois residents to be on alert for scammers looking to exploit homeowners and business owners who may be in need of repairs from storm-related damage. Earlier this month, a state disaster proclamation was issued for 34 counties related to flooding, and residents in communities along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have been asked to prepare for possible evacuations due to floods. Raoul cautioned Illinois residents that scammers often move quickly into communities to take advantage of people with damage to their homes or businesses. Raoul noted these “storm chasers” use the opportunity to pressure people into making quick and often expensive decisions about cleanup and construction work. Raoul also warned residents that scam artists may be operating as insurance adjusters or public adjusters.



(Rantoul--jc)  On Saturday, those with the Rantoul Public Library are having a Vehicle Day from 10am until 2pm. Those attending the event will be able to learn about all types of vehicles. Laser tag, face painting, crafts and food will also be part of the event at the local library



Farmers Continue to Bear the Brunt of Trade Wars

(Undated--jc)  --- Farmers continue to bear the brunt of trade wars. That’s according to the Illinois Farm Bureau. In a statement Monday, the I-F-B said corn and soybean prices are depressed already and with a huge grain inventory, they are worried export markets will be further diminished. U.S.  President Donald Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods are expected to be met with similar tariffs from China on U.S. goods, including agricultural products.


(Urbana--jc)  -- An Urbana High School student was arrested on Monday for allegedly threatening another student on social media. School officials called Urbana police about the situation. The student was arrested and taken to the Champaign County Youth Detention Center on a disorderly conduct and illegal possession of ammunition charge



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — An 18-year prison sentence has been handed a central Illinois man found guilty but mentally ill of attempted murder and child abduction. Thomas Boitnott of St. Joseph was accused of taking his then-6-month-old daughter from her home in 2015 and abandoning her in a soybean field in a rural part of town. In handing down an 18-year sentence on Monday,  Champaign reports Judge Jason Bohm said Boitnott's daughter, now 4, should be an adult when he gets out of prison and can decide if her father is a part of her life.



(Washinton--ba)  -- What are the details from the latest National Interagency Fire Center wildfire outlook for this May. U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey has the latest..



USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey


(Gibson City--jc)  More reaction coming from some state lawmakers over the 1 point 6 Billion dollar surplus of funds into the state’s coffers in April. The consensus of Republican Party leaders is that Illinois is showing the ability to get to a balanced budget without a progressive tax or other additional tax on Illinoisans. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the two sides need to work together for the budget…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



(Springfield--jc)  -- State lawmakers are back Today for the final two weeks of legislative session. In addition to a proposed $39 billion spending plan and tax and fee increases proposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, lawmakers may also deliberate legalizing cannabis for recreational adult use, expanding gambling to include sports betting and a gas tax hike to pay for statewide infrastructure projects.Session ends May 31.  



(Cissna Park-- jc) --  Some road construction in Southern Iroquois County began on Monday. The area is Route 49 just south of Cissna Park . Illinois Department of Transportation officials says to expect delays in the area. The construction on Route 49 will run from the second curve to the Vermilion County line. Work is expected to be completed in late June.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The A-trel group, associated with the University of Illinois, continues to work on a 47 acre tract on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul.  In the first part of a three part series, WPXN News looks at the economic development benefits for the village and area. Officials with the U of I College of Engineering are using the facilities to  seek better roadways, airports and rail systems. Rantoul Village leaders are hoping to expand with work on autonomous vehicles. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says one reason Rantoul works for the proposed project is all the weather for all the seasons…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

WPXN News will have more on the subject on Wednesday’s am news.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A member of local State Senator Scott Bennetts office will be at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office today from noon til 1. They will answer questions and hear concerns of constituents.


(Vermilion County--jc)  -- A Williamsport Indiana man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for molesting a child in Vermilion COunty last year. The News Gazette reports that 29 year old Johnathon Trammell plead guilty to the class x felony on Monday. Under the truth in sentencing law, he must serve 85 percent of the sentence.


(Springfield--ba)-- Over 600 Illinois farmers have applied for hemp licenses as a crop. WPXNs Braedon Arnett looks at the history of hemp and its practical purposes in the marketplace today...



(Springfield--jc)  -- Wet conditions continue to plague Illinois farm fields. In updating the weekly crop report, corn planting advanced by just one point last week, to 11 percent complete. No progress on soybean planting in Illinois over the past 7 days. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 35 percent of winter wheat has headed…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

Just a few fields in Champaign, Vermilion, Ford and Iroquois Counties have been planted. The consensus of area farmers is that several more days need to be warm and dry before planting can begin. Some farm field prep work continues today in the WPXN listening area.



(Undated--jc)  Maybe some good news are area farmers, some sun and somewhat warmer weather this week as the planting season continues to stall. Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says some mostly dry weather is here…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders are expected to give their o-k to purchasing two transformers for the village at a cost of around 111 thousand dollars when they meet in monthly session tonight. Local leaders are also ready to approve an investment in body cameras for the Rantoul Police department. Local leaders will be asked to approve 28 Axon body cameras at a cost of 21 thousand  447 dollars. An agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police, and a grant agreement with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are also agenda items. The Rantoul Village Board meeting comes to order at 6 Tonight in the meeting room on Tanner Street.



(Rantoul--jc)  Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Rantoul and Ford County Director Kristian Hopkins says the program is seeking additional “Bigs” to help with area kids. Hopkins says the process takes a little time, but it is worth it…



Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rantoul and Ford County Director Kristian Hopkins. Big Brothers-Big Sisters plans a fundraiser golf outing on June 21st at Lake of Woods Golf Course in Mahomet


(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Department of Revenue is offering some relief to flood victims struggling with their state taxes. Taxpayers in 34 flood ravaged counties can request a waiver from penalties and interest  for income taxes, withholding, sales, specialty and excise taxes. Department of Revenue spokesperson Sam Salustro says those seeking a waiver should e-mail Rev-dot-disaster-relief-at-Illinois-dot-gov…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro


(Watseka--jc)  -- A flood mitigation meeting is set for the Iroquois County town of Watseka later this month. The meeting is set for Trinity Church in Watseka on May 21st.The meeting starts at 7pm. The city of Watseka is also receiving  some federal funds to use for flood prevention.


(undated--- Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Louisville, Tulsa, Austin and Ft. Worth are among the stops planned for the fall continuation of the “Imagine Nation Tour.” Multi-platinum selling MercyMe will spearhead the run alongside fellow GRAMMY® nominee Crowder and GMA Dove nominee Micah Tyler. They all will perform at the State Farm Center in Champaign.  Tickets go on sale on Friday



No New Taxes Needed, Says Some in Springfield

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is planning to name its Micro and Nanotechnology Lab after an engineering visionary who made the first practical LED. Professor Emeritus Nick Holonyak Jr. found a new alloy in 1962 that would emit light in the red part of the visible spectrum.  U-I trustees will vote this week on whether to name the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory after Holonyak. Energy-saving LEDs are universal, used in everything from flashlights to spacecraft.


(Springfield--jc) A 1 point 6 Billion dollar surplus in revenues provided for April has some in Springfield saying the state does not need more taxes from its businesses and citizens. Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs says a balanced budget can be reached without a tax increase…



Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The former Paxton hospital is set to be demolished, starting later this month. The property owners say the process could take about a month to complete. Carle Hospital officials do not have immediate plans for the property along Route 9 in the city.



PORTER, Ind. (AP) — Indiana Dunes National Park says visitors can reserve campsites, beginning Wednesday. In past years, all 66 sites at Dunewood campground were distributed on a first-come, first-served, basis. Under the new system, 34 sites can be reserved up to six months in advance. The remaining 32 sites will remain first-come, first-served. The price is $25 per night. The campground is open April through October.

(Watseka--jc)  the 20-19 Iroquois County Relay for Life is set for Friday June 7 in Watseka. The annual event kicks off at 5 in the afternoon. Teams that have been fundraising for the year will bring their dollars in to donate to the American Cancer Society. Teams will walk the track a Watseka High School. A lumineria ceremony and family activities are planned. This year’s event also includes money raised from Ford County teams.


(Undated--jc)  -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released results of its 2018 census of every farm in the country. That includes the more than 72 thousand farms in Illinois, which generated 17 billion dollars in revenue that year, a 3 billion dollar increase from 2012, the last time the once-every-five-years census was conducted.That report concludes that the agricultural sector is the most lucrative industry in the state. Acting Agriculture Director John Sullivan points to a variety of factors that contribute to the success: Illinois is the Number  1 producer of soybeans and Number 2 producer of corn in the country. In addition, the report includes processing that goes on in the state, including turning soy and corn into livestock feed, and growing and processing the livestock in Illinois, as well as keeping production of ethanol in Illinois.


(Springfield--ba)-- Several groups visited the state capitol to express their opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. Opponents like Representative Marty Moylan of Des Plaines cite several reasons that smoking pot for fun should not be allowed...



State Representative Marty Moylan of Des Plaines



(Bloomington--jc)  -- No tuition increases for incoming freshmen at Illinois State University for the 20-19- to 20-20 academic year. One increase will be a 10 dollar fee per credit hour. The decision was made  by the I-S-U board of trustees on Friday.


CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Urban League says Illinois should spend $33 million to spread the word about the 2020 census. The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois could lose billions of dollars in federal funding and one or two congressional seats if there's an undercount next year. An undercount happens when the census counts a smaller number of people or homes in a population than shown by an independent estimate. At least $34 billion in federal subsidies for Illinois is tied to census data.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers and Gov. J.B. Pritzker have learned that the state's take from income taxes in April was 60% higher than anticipated. Now there's disagreement on how to use that unexpected $1.5 billion windfall. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says it is reason enough to call off the Democratic governor's revenue-raising plans. But Pritzker and Democratic legislators say it's far from a solution to Illinois' shaky financial position. Reaction from 104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron -Republican from Fithian


ARTHUR, Ill. (AP) — Volunteers are planning to add a marker at the grave of a Douglas County woman that recognizes her relationship to a Revolutionary War veteran. The ceremony Sunday comes more than 100 years after Arthur housewife Florinda Wood Martin died. The  Tuscola chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will add the marker at Martin's grave in Arthur Cemetery on Mother's Day. The group says Martin's father, Alexander Wood, fought in the American Revolution.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a 14-year-old boy was fatally shot inside a Champaign home where an older teenager suffered a gunshot wound. The Champaign County coroner says Elijha James Booker of Champaign died soon after he was shot about 1:30 a.m. Saturday at a home he was visiting. Police say a 17-year-old boy was also shot but was treated and released from a local hospital. Police are investigating what happened. Police are looking to the public for information in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County authorities or crime stoppers.


(Paxton--jc) City of Paxton leaders are set to meet tomorrow night and hear some figures for the proposed “Paxton Streetscape” program.  Local leaders will also hear a report on the Paxton “Grand old Flag” at Tuesday night’s meeting. Dealing with some raises, hiring summer help and a donation to the Show Bus also are agenda items. The Paxton City Council meets at 7 Tuesday night on the second floor of City hall.


CAIRO, Ill. (AP) — The former director of a southern Illinois housing authority is unlikely to face federal criminal charges for wrongly using agency money on personal expenses. Federal prosecutors have spent several months reviewing the case against James Wilson while he led the housing agency in the city of Cairo. A federal prosecutor says he believes a $500,000 civil settlement Wilson reached last year is "a just resolution to the serious allegations."



(Washington--ba) What is the latest on pastures, rangelands and conditions.

USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey, has the details...




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Fair karaoke contest is returning this summer, and the winner will get to perform on the fair's biggest stage.

Organizers said Tuesday that nine regional county fairs will host qualifying rounds of State Fair Karaoke this summer. The top two winners from the regional contests will compete at the finale at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on Aug. 11. The overall winner will be chosen that day. Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says it's a great opportunity for local talent to perform on the grandstand stage. It's also another type of free entertainment for people attending the fair.


(Gibson City-jc) --  Gibson City Street and Alley committee members along with the Water and Sewer committee will talk about a proposed storm sewer project at Gibson Area Hospital when they meet tomorrow night. The group will also hear about the cities water plant filters. The two committee meeting comes to order at 7 Tuesday night in the Gibson City Council Chamber office.



Eastlawn-Clara Petersen school Pit Crew carnival is set for 10am until 2pm on Saturday

(Arcola--jc)  A car versus bus accident was reported near Arcola on Thursday afternoon. Police say a car vs school bus accident happened just before 3pm along Illinois Route 133. 19 year old Korbin Barrett of Arcola lost control of his vehicle and struck the bus head on.  Barrett was taken to a hospital with non life threatening injuries. The driver of the bus and one passenger received minor injuries.


(Washington--ba) -- How does the 2019 corn planting progress for early May compare to other years. Rod Bain has the numbers...




URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man who expressed remorse for killing a man while trying to collect a drug debt has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Cornelius Freeman was convicted of second-degree murder for the March 2018 fatal shooting of 26-year-old Michael White of Chicago. The 40-year-old Freeman said he thought White was about to shoot him, prompting him to fire as White reached into his car. Freeman was captured later in Kentucky. Prosecutors argued Freeman deserved at least 27 years in prison.


(St Joseph--jc)  -- The Village of St Joseph  will hear a report on some donated benches when they meet on Tuesday night at 7. Also  on the agenda is a look at costs to repair some playground equipment at the Sports Complex in town.  A sewer line project and the the annual budget will also be topics for discussion. New board members will also be sworn in at Tuesday nights meeting

CHICAGO (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union says investigators assigned to look into the well-being of an Illinois boy beaten to death were overloaded with child abuse cases. An ACLU attorney told a federal judge Children and Family Service investigators assigned to AJ Freunds' case were juggling caseloads exceeding limits set forth in a federal consent decree. The decree mandates DCFS investigators shouldn't be assigned more than 153 new cases per year, with limits of 12 to 15 per month.


(Washingtondc--jc)--  Two Paxton business owners were in the nation’s capitol this week attending a committee hearing on internet usage. Alan and Marcia Meyer are owners of Mom and Pop’s Kettle Korn Stop in downtown Paxton. They met with Republican Congressman John Shimkus among other national leaders to talk about the importance of developing an internet privacy policy law. The hope of the meeting was to help set a nationwide policy for the internet used by small businesses across the nation.


(Watseka--jc)  The Iroquois County Transportation and Highway Committee is set to meet this morning at 9 in Watseka. On the agenda is to open bids for a slab road project near Ashkum. Other topics include preliminary engineering agreements in Stockland and Milford townships, a resolution for a bridge in Woodland and the state’s capital bill.



(Paxton--jc)  The cookout at the Paxton IGA on Saturday will benefit the Paxton Buckley Loda band program. The cookout runs from 10 am to 2pm  On the menu is ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and pop.


(Paxton--jc)  The Eastlawn-Clara Petersen school Pit Crew carnival is set for 10am until 2pm along the blacktop at Eastlawn school tomorrow. Games, inflatables, raffles, prizes and food will all be part of the local fundraiser. A 5 dollar wristband covers all the inflatables and carnival games cost just a quarter. A silent auction will take place. WPXN’s Joel Cluver is serving as the events master of ceremonies.



(Washington--ba) More rain means topsoil moisture is on the rise too. Rod Bain reports....



(Springfield-jc)  Today’s State House session is canceled. The Illinois House also canceled Monday. The Senate was not scheduled Monday.That leaves the House with only 16 session days and the Senate with 14 days before the May 31 deadline to pass a balanced budget with simple majorities.


(Springfield--jc--)  -- Businesses in Illinois that are open to the public may soon be required to have diaper changing tables available to both mom and dad. State lawmakers are close to sending a bill to the governor’s desk. House Bill 37-11 requires all public restrooms in a public building to have a baby changing facility that is physically safe, sanitary and usable for the purpose with certain exemptions and requires signage at or near the entrance to the baby changing station indicating the location.


(Paxton--jc)  What will some of the streets and corners look like with the proposed Paxton Streetscape program. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says  the blocks along Market Street in the downtown area will be part of the project…

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

The start up process for the streetscape program is underway. The project is set to be completed by the end of 20-20.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A surplus is showing in the current fiscal year. That is good news says Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs…



Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.

Durkin added that he and the republican party believe no new taxes are needed to get to a balanced budget by the end of this month. The next fiscal year begins July First.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is the 11th best state in the country to be a police officer and, of its neighbors, is behind only Indiana. But Illinois’ ranking is down over several years. Part of Illinois’ rankings for 2019 include the state being 3rd for median income for law enforcement, 9th for protection expenses and 14th for officers per capita.Overall for police, WalletHub ranked Illinois 7th in 2018 and 4th in 2017.



(Springfield--ba)-Lawmakers are passing a bill aimed at helping more students go to college. The retention of Illinois students and equity, or “RISE Act” makes sure students who may not qualify for federal college aid, like undocumented immigrants and some transgender people, can apply for state aid. Senator Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove spoke against the proposal.



State Senator Jim Oberweis



(Gibson City--jc)  A meeting of the city of Gibson City personnel committee has been cancelled. The committee was set to meet next Tuesday.


(Buckley--jc)  -- One local community has a painting party,  movie night, and fun day coming up. Officials with the village of Buckley says the village paint party is set for May 13th, 7pm, at Christ Lutheran High School. The first movie night of the season is June 8th and the annual Buckley Fun Day takes place on June 15th at Buckley Lake. WPXN will be broadcasting live at the Buckey Fun Day as part our our Summer Fun Tour 20-19.


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