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

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


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



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



Ever-Thrive Illinois Spokesperson Kathy Waligora


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



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



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


 Assistant Executive Director of the IHSA Matt Troha



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



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah.


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


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


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



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



Illinois Department of Insurance Acting Director Karin Zosel.


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


Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley


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


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


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



Illinois Pshcholigical Association Psychologist Nancy Molitor


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



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


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


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



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

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

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



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


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



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




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



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



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


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



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



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



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


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



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



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



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



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


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



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

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



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



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



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


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




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


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



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



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



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



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



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.



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



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


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




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


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



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



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



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




Identity Thieves Smarter About Accessing Information and Using it to Steal Tax Rebates

(Springfield--jc)  -- Government officials are warning tax filers that identity thieves are getting smarter about accessing information and using it to steal tax rebates.An investigator with the Internal Revenue Service joined officials from the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois and the Illinois Department of Revenue to speak out about the growing dangers of identity theft in a month where this type of criminal activity are known to spike.The number of fraudulent tax claims has dropped slightly since 2016, largely thanks to new systems in place to recognize when a scammer is trying to illegally get someone’s tax return, said Gabriel Grchan, special agent in charge with the IRS Criminal Investigation Chicago Field Office.


(Springfield--jc)  -- From gambling expansion to a tax based on how many miles you drive, Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has said he’s open to all ideas to find revenue to pay for infrastructure projects.Outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner said last month that he's heard talk that an infrastructure bill could come up during lame duck session in January. Governor Rauner says he has been recommending an infrastructure bill – a big one – for four years  Rauner adds the infrastructure bill is long overdue and with this measure, we do not need new taxes to pay for it.



(Illinois--ba)   --If you haven’t picked out your Christmas tree yet, one expert has some tips. University of Illinois Extension Horticulture expert Richard Hentschel says use your eyes and senses... 



U of I Extension Horticulture Expert Richard Hentschel


(Illinois--ba)  -- The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs hosted the 77th pearl harbor remembrance ceremony Friday. The event in Springfield paid tribute to Pearl Harbor survivors and the more than 24-hundred americans who lost their lives that day. U-S army chief warrant officer Bobby Edwards has been deployed overseas over 20 times and was the guest speaker. He spoke about the need for stronger patriotism these days….



U-S Army Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Edwards



(Paxton--jc)  -- A ribbon cutting ceremony for a business in downtown Paxton was held on Friday afternoon. The Mom and Pops Kettle Stop is located at 119 South Market in downtown Paxton. The business is owned by the Alan Meyer Family of Paxton. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold and several representatives of the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce were in attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday afternoon. Mom and Pops Kettle Stop  features popcorn, kettle corn, caramel corn, cheese corn along with gifts and tins. Catering is also available.


(Rantoul--ab) Recently, two former and one current Rantoul Police Department Officers were recognized for their service and dedication to the METRO SWAT Team. The officers receiving recognition were: Retired Lieutenant Jeff Wooten was honored as the first “Career Award” for his twenty-one years of service to the METRO SWAT Team. Also, retired Officer Chuck Casagrande received a plaque recognizing his twelve years on the team. During that time Officer Casagrande served as an Operator from 2003-2008 and a Negotiator from 2010-2018. Sergeant Will Stuckemeyer received a plaque and leadership award recognizing his ten years on the team. During his time, Will served as an Operator, CART Operator and Assistant Team Leader.




(Northern Illinois--jc)  --Amazon is set to expand its air cargo operation in Illinois.The e-commerce giant has been operating at the Chicago Rockford International Airport facility for about a year. Officials now say they’ll more than double the company’s footprint at RFD and plan to increase the number of cargo flights in and out of the facility.Amazon currently runs seven flights each day at the airport. Dunn expects that number to increase. A 120,000-square-foot addition is planned for the company’s existing 72,000-square-foot building.The Rockford airport already is UPS’s second-largest air hub in North America. Dunn said RFD is becoming a key player in the cargo industry.


(Gibson City--jc) A gift basket program needs names. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 62-89 in Gibson City continues to accept names of people in the community to receive a Christmas basket. Names will be accepted through Saturday. Those with names can call the V-F-W in Gibson City at 217-784-4210.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Seniors that want to attend the Rantoul Recreation Department holiday luncheon have to sign up by today. The event is set for 11-30 Thursday morning at the Rantoul Youth Center.  Reservations are made by calling 893-5700.



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



(Villa Grove--jc)  An accident east of Villa Grove that took the lives of two area people, has ties to the city of Paxton. Authorities say 2 two people have died in a traffic accident near Villa Grove just before 5pm on Friday night. The accident happened east of Villa Grove on a local county road. The two killed in the accident were 75 year old John Jones and 66 year old Kristine Trudeau.  The Heritage School district says Jones was a substitute teacher. Jones wife is originally from Paxton. Jones also has a twin brother, Tom, also from Paxton. Jones was highly regarded and respected in both communities. Heritage School officials say counselors will be at the high school today for students and staff.



(Rantoul--jc)  A fire caused significant damage to an apartment complex in Rantoul on Friday afternoon. Fire officials say a smoldering cigarette is likely the cause of the fire along Harmon Drive. Fire Chief Ken Waters says around 50 thousand dollars damage was done to the structure. With the fire, three families lost their apartments.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The next two Saturdays, Santa Claus will be meeting with area children in downtown Paxton. Pride in Paxton officials say the jolly old elf will be at the Santa Hut in downtown Paxton from Noon until 2pm on December 15th and December 22nd. Area merchants also invite you to shop Paxton this Christmas season.



NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — A man driving a bus carrying a high school girls' basketball team that was struck head-on by a semitrailer traveling the wrong way in central Illinois this week remains in critical condition. O-S-F HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria has identified the bus driver as 64-year-old Mark Kuhn of Heyworth.



NEW YORK — A New York City man who served as an aircraft technician with the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen died Saturday at age 100.   DeFour passed away at his Harlem apartment. A postal worker, after the war, DeFour was honored just last month at a ceremony to rename a Manhattan post office after the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen trained at Rantoul Chanute Air Force Base for a time in the 1940s.



(Bloomington--jc)  -- Rural landscapes have always captured the imagination of photographer Ronald Douglas Frazier of Bloomington, but says that once the photography got off the ground,  with a drone-based camera, his interest truly soared. Now, an exhibit of his photography from an aerial point of view, is on display at the Joe McCauley Gallery at Heartland Community College through Feb. 15. His drone photograph recently was shown at Joann Goetzinger's Studio and Gallery in downtown Bloomington.



(Washington--jc)   One federal officials says if you still have crops in the field, you need to contact your crop insurance agent.  U-S-D-A UnderSecretary Bill Northey says ask for an extension for the reporting deadline which officially ends today…



U-S-D-A Under Secretary  Bill Northey



(Rantoul--jc)  -- An electrical problem on Sunday afternoon caused a Rantoul business to close for a short time.  Firefighters were called to the Rural King Store on the east side on Rantoul on Sunday just before 3pm. The Rantoul Press reports that an electrical system shorted out causing a transformer to blow. The store was filled with smoke. The store is expected to re open later today. No damage estimates were given to WPXN news.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers have created the nation's toughest test for admitting testimony from jailhouse snitches into criminal trials. Inspired by reform of the state's notorious and now-discarded system of capital punishment, it requires judges to make pre-trial inquiries into the veracity of testimony by incarcerated informants before allowing or barring it. Testimony by snitches has helped convict 19 criminal defendants who were later exonerated during the past three decades in Illinois.


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — The son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he remains committed to his central Illinois community after his unlikely term as sheriff. Howard Buffett was a longtime volunteer before being appointed Macon County sheriff late last year to fill the vacant post. His term ended Nov. 30, but he says he has no plans to leave Decatur. His foundation has donated about $100 million to local projects.



(Paxton--jc)  -- One local high school has a group of students wanting to “get involved” with area communities. The  Paxton Buckley Loda High School group called “Get-Involved-Value-Everyone-Club is set to host a concert on Saturday. The event starts at 2pm on Saturday at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Roberts. The group is asking the public to bring a new toy the the concert and that toy will be donated to Ford County’s Toys for Tots program. Monetary donations will also be accepted.


 Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 38 States are Joining Forces to Crack Down on Annoying Robocalls

(Springfield--jc)  -- Democrats in the General Assembly, flush with super majorities in both chambers and a friend in the governor's mansion, will take a different approach to fostering investment and job growth.Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker has said he plans build the state's economy by revitalizing small business growth with improved access to capital, infrastructure improvements and investment in higher education, among other efforts. He's also said he favors a graduated income tax and increasing the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.Pritzker's new administration and Democrats in the House and Senate have an opportunity to reshape Illinois’ business climate in the next year. Among the issues expected to arise are workers’ compensation costs, property taxes and the state’s debt load.


(Paxton--ba)  One local Paxton group is helping those  who have less this Christmas. The group is made up of church members, teachers, and others in the city.  The Christmas Helpers are planning a meal and gift exchange next week, according to spokesperson Kaye Harper…



Christmas Helpers Spokesperson Kaye Harper


NORMAL, ILL. – As part of the 10th anniversary of Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, the Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program presented the Midwest Food Bank with 10,000 pounds of ground pork. Since 2008 Pork Power has generated over 625,000 pounds of pork - enough for nearly 2.4 million meals - for families throughout Illinois. Farmers and partnering commodity groups give pork and monetary donations all year round.


(Washington--jc) -- USDA is coming out with new rules designed to help schools serve nutritious meals that students will be less likely to throw in the trash. Gary Crawford reports…



(Rantoul--jc)  - The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce and officials with the village of Rantoul are hosting an open house event for long time Lincoln’s Challenge  Director Peter Thomas. The event is set to honor Thomas for his 25 years of service to the Rantoul community. Thomas is set to retire after the current class of cadets graduates later this month. The open house takes place on December 16th from 4-30 to 5-30pm at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Rantoul.


(Crescent City--jc)  -- Those in the Crescent City area are invited to a school topic meeting tomorrow morning at 10. The community meeting  is set to talk about a consolidation possibility with the Watseka school district. A time for questions from the public will be taken at the meeting.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking the public to take a new travel survey. The annual Illinois traveler opinion survey seeks public input on a variety of issues says I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker…



I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker

The on-line survey is available at I-Dot-Dot-Illinois-Dot-Gov.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Newly elected state representative Mike Marron will hold traveling office hours in Rantoul on Monday. The local state representative will be at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Rantoul from noon to 1pm to talk with constituents.



(Cissna Park--jc)  One local school has a Christmas time event set for tonight. Students at Cissna Park High School are performing at 6pm. A dinner will be served, but those who just want to go to the performance will be asked for a 5 dollar donation



(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute..



(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 38 states are joining forces to crack down on annoying robocalls. Attorney General Madigan says her office receives  a lot of complaints about robocalls. She says the multi-state coalition is addressing the issue…



Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan


(Springfield--jc)  --A member of the Legislative Ethics Commission said the panel is getting closer to selecting an inspector general to handle ethics complaints against lawmakers, but the post won't be filled this year.Lawmakers appointed Julie Porter as the temporary inspector general in late 2017 after it was revealed the post had been vacant for several years while allegations of wrongdoing by lawmakers sat on a shelf.Members of the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission wanted to secure a new inspector general during veto session that wrapped up last month. That didn’t happen.


(Washington--jc)  -- The attack 77 years ago on Pearl Harbor sent U.S. farmers into production overdrive, helped by civilian victory gardens. Gary Crawford reports…



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Christmas programs will continue at Rantoul City Schools. Several classes at Northview Elementary school were held last night. Next up is a program at Broadmeadow Elementary at 6 on Tuesday night for pre-K through 2nd grade and then on Thursday at 6 for third grade through 5th grade. A Christmas program and dinner for the Boys and Girls Club at Pleasant Acres Elementary school takes place at 4-30 in the afternoon on December 18th.


(Rantoul--jc)  If you see a lot of Rantoul police officers at the Rantoul Wal-Mart tomorrow, there is a good reason. It’s the annual “Shop with a Cop.” event. Local officers did fundraising earlier this year and the money raised is being used for the local shop with a cop event. Wal-Mart officials also donated money to help with Saturday’s Christmas gifts.


SENECA, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in Illinois are appealing to people in northwestern Indiana to help them solve a 42-year-old cold case. The body of a woman who was shot in the head was found in a ditch in Grundy County in 1976. The body was buried after investigators failed to confirm an identity. Grundy County coroner John Callahan says the case has troubled him since he joined the office in 1994. Deputy coroner Brandon Johnson says a group of psychics recently said the woman may have been from Gary, Indiana.


(Cissna Park--jc)  It’s a shopping day with buggy rides, a lighted Christmas parade in one Iroquois County town on Saturday. The day in Cissna Park begins with shopping in the downtown district at 9am. Santa Claus will be at the Cissna Park American Legion Home from 10am until noon with numerous holiday vendors with Christmas gift ideas. The twilight parade steps off at 5pm on Saturday in downtown Cissna Park.


(Gibson City-dg)-The CN IC Santa train will make scheduled stops in the area again this year. Tonight it will be in Onarga from 6:30-8:30 pm. On Saturday the Santa Train will make stops in Gibson City from 8am-10am, Melvin from noon until 1:30pm, Roberts from 1:45-3pm, Thawville from 3:30pm-5pm and Gilman from 6pm-8pm. On Sunday it will be in Danforth from 10:30-noon, Ashkum from 1-2:30pm, and in Clifton from 3:30-5:30 pm. 



(Buckley--jc)  If you like to sing, like hymns and good fellowship, then one local church should be on your list of things to do on Sunday. A Christmas hymn sing starts at 3 Sunday afternoon at St John’s Lutheran Church in Buckley. Refreshments will be served after the event. A free will offering will be taken for the churches organ fund.



Normal West School Bus Returning from Girls Basketball Game in Champaign Involved in Accident, Leaving 2 People Dead

(Normal--jc)  A McLean County school bus was involved in an accident along Interstate 74 near downs last night. Authorities say the bus was carrying members of the Normal West girls basketball team. The bus collided with a semi tractor trailer around 8-30 Wednesday evening.  Two people have died in the accident and several people on the bus were airlifted to area hospitals. The semi struck the bus head-on. WPXN will update this story as more information is released.


(Illinois--ba) Hunters harvested nearly 81 thousand deer during the firearm season. Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross says hunters harvested 59 thousand during the first week and 22 thousand in week number two..



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross


Springfield--jc)  -- A credit ratings agency is warning that states like Illinois could be pushed to raise taxes because lawmakers haven't set aside money to pay for retiree healthcare costs.S&P Global Ratings reported that total unfunded state liabilities that aren’t pensions have increased significantly for the third year in a row. The agency said this is largely due to states like Illinois underfunding the issue.State employees with at least 20 years of work qualify for state-sponsored retiree healthcare. Those premiums are covered by taxpayers. This is the retiree’s primary coverage when they’re eligible to retire as early as 55 with it becoming supplemental once they qualify for Medicare ten years after.


(Springfield--ab) Attorney General Lisa Madigan Wednesday filed a lawsuit against a California woman who has used dozens of aliases and assumed business names to create and sell tickets for fake events in Illinois and throughout the country that never occurred. In Illinois, the scammer stole over $30,000 from unsuspecting consumers. Madigan’s lawsuit was filed today in Cook County Circuit Court against Kristen Yvette Martin, individually and doing business as Expo Network,



(Washington--jc)  -- Area farmers could get financial aid from the federal government due to the trade disruptions. U-S-D-A Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says some farmers have been hit hard by the tariffs…



U S D A Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue


(Springfield--ab) Last month was the eighth coldest November on record in Illinois. The statewide average temperature last month was 35 degrees. That’s more than seven degrees below normal says State Climatologist Jim Angel.



State Climatologist Jim Angel

Snowfall ranged from about an inch in southeastern Illinois to 15 inches in the quad cities. Angel says there’s an increased chance of above normal temperatures and precipitation for December.


(Fisher--jc)  -- Who is going to do it?.  The choices are three. The Fisher Bunnies Relay for Life will hold a fundraiser tomorrow night at the Fisher Bunnies basketball game. Three people from the Fisher area have agreed to a public vote to determine who will get the opportunity to kiss a pig to raise money to fight cancer. You are asked to  help raise money to fight cancer and vote for Jim Moxley, Jon Kelly or Jake Palmer. Money raised goes to the American Cancer Society.


(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute..



(Springfield--jc)  -- Just a few days are left in the medicare open enrollment period.  The illinois Department on Aging says help is available for seniors. Senior Health Insurance Program Director Sandy Leith says to ask yourself a few questions…



Senior Health Insurance Program Director Sandy Leith.


(Rantoul--ab) A few Rantoul businesses are coming together for a cool shopping experience. Shop and Hop is this Saturday and will feature multiple businesses on Sangamon St. in downtown Rantoul. The event is a multifaceted experience with sweets and giveaways says Paula Hopkins owner of House of Flowers in Rantoul.



Paula Hopkins owner of House of Flowers in Rantoul.

WPXN will be broadcasting live on Saturday from downtown Rantoul from 9am to 10am to help kick off the event.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois  Attorney General Lisa  Madigan Wednesday announced she is joining with a bipartisan group of 38 other attorneys general to stop or reduce annoying and harmful robocalls. Madigan says that robocalls are an  obnoxious form of consumer harassment. Madigan and the multistate group has had in-depth meetings with several major telecom companies about technological capabilities currently in existence or in development that would reduce robocalls. The coalition of states is pushing the carriers to, among other things, quickly develop and implement technology to help identify and block potential unwanted robocalls for their customers.


(Washington--jc)  Soggy and cold weather, that is not a good combination for winter wheat. Stephanie Ho reports…



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Cissna Park village merchants are planning a Christmas event on Saturday.  Along with the shopping opportunities, horse and buggy rides will be available from 10am until 1pm on Saturday. Holiday vendors will be set up at the Cissna Park American Legion and visits with Santa Claus are set from 10am until 1pm. A parade with lights is set for 5 on Saturday afternoon in Cissna Park.



(Springfield--jc)  The man who cast the lone “no” vote on a proposal for Illinois’ public universities to get a double-digit funding increase in the coming state budget said Illinois can't afford it. The Illinois Board of Higher Education voted 13-1 this week to approve a proposed request for an additional $314 million for the state’s public universities for fiscal year 2020. That's a 16.6 percent increase over the previous year. Illinois Board of Higher Education Chairman Tom Cross said the total $2.2 billion request is a commitment to ending out-migration of Illinois students. Board member John Bambenek was the only “no” vote. He said the request wasn't based on clear metrics. He wants to see future budgets for higher education work from defined metrics because some schools have increased enrollment while others are teaching fewer students.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced the winners of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award in the 14th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition for 2018. The winners are from Saunemin, Evanston and Jacksonville. Donna O’Shaughnessy of Saunemin was awarded first place for her poem “In the Kitchen They Danced. The contest winners read their poems during a ceremony at the state library earlier this week.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Repair work on several downtown buildings in Rantoul continues.  Work on the Kiefers Photography building and on A House of Flowers by Paula began this week and continues from damage that happened this past June. New glass and facade work is expected to continue for the next several days. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce officials also say a new restaurant called E-Ts Barbeque is getting closer to a soft opening. That could happen later this month.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The 75th annual performance of “The Messiah” was completed this past Sunday in Gibson City. The Gibson City Music Foundation is the group that puts together the event each year. Group spokesperson Shari Friedman says the group has members from Gibson City and Paxton, but also Savoy, Colfax, and Saybrook, among others. Friedman says celebrating 75 years of performances in Gibson City is a great accomplishment…


Gibson City Music Foundation Spokesperson Shari Friedman

WPXN will be airing this year’s version of the Messiah during Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A Children’s Christmas party is set for tomorrow night in Rantoul. The event is set for the Rantoul Public Library. The party starts at 7 with activities and a movie at 8pm.



The Debate on Wind Farms in Ford County Continues

(Paxton--jc)  -- The debate continues on wind farms in Ford County. Local leaders met last night and heard from officials from wind farm operations, local citizens and business people. At stake are jobs and economic growth to quality of rural life. One suggestion is to leave the existing height of 500 feet on wind turbines and to put setbacks at 2 thousand 250 feet from property lines. The increase in setbacks would hamper several wind farm operations, according to some of the wind farm operators that are wanting to come to the local area. County leaders could decide on the issue in the near future.


(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois is now officially 200 years old. Illinois Governor elect J B Pritzker says the states history is one of many accomplishments, but the best is ahead for the Land of Lincoln.



Illinois Governor elect J B Pritzker


(Vermilion County--jc)  Foul play is not suspected in the death of a man in Vermilion County. Police say the man was found deceased inside a truck south of Rossville. The vehicle was partially submerged. Police continue to investigate the incident.


(Springfield--ab) Attorney General Lisa Madigan Tuesday announced a $17.25 million settlement with Wells Fargo as a result of the bank’s misconduct in its marketing and sale of risky residential mortgage-backed securities  leading up to the 2008 economic collapse. Under the settlement, Wells Fargo will pay $17.25 million to the state that will be distributed among the Teachers Retirement System of the State of Illinois, the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois, and the Illinois State Board of Investment, which oversees the State Employees’ Retirement System.The settlement is the ninth settlement addressing the sale of mortgage-backed securities during the lead up to the economic collapse. Attorney General Madigan has led the country in taking legal action against banks, lenders and other financial institutions for unlawful financial misconduct that contributed to the country’s economic collapse.



(Undated--jc)  -- A former Rantoul High School student had the honor to guard the casket of George H W Bush earlier this week. Family and friends of Chris Deaville caught a view of him on several media outlets late Monday. The 24 year is part the of United States Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard.


(Washington--ab)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that the biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes will be increased above previous year levels, which is good news for the soybean industry. The increase, however, is mitigated by the absence of reallocation of the significant gallons that were waived under exemptions issued previously by EPA to refineries. The final rule sets the 2020 requirement for biomass-based biodiesel (BBD) volumes at 2.43 billion gallons, a 330-million-gallon increase over the 2018 and 2019 levels. Total advanced biofuel volumes, which are largely filled by biodiesel, are increased to 4.92 billion gallons.


(Springfield--ab) Thousands of Illinoisans will soon be getting checks in the mail thanks to round two of treasurer Mike Frerichs’ money match program. Money match uses technology to cross-reference information and find people who have long forgotten funds in the treasurer’s i-cash database says Frerichs.



63 thousand people will be getting checks for anywhere between five and 50 dollars as part of the latest money match effort. You can search to see if you have any unclaimed money or property online at: illinois treasurer dot gov.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The local chapter of The Satanic Temple has been allowed to place a statue in the Illinois Capitol alongside holiday displays of a Nativity scene and a menorah. The State Journal-Register reports the sculpture depicts the forearm of a woman who is holding an apple. The statue is called "Knowledge is the Greatest Gift." In its application for the display, Satanic Temple-Chicago calls itself a nontheistic organization that aims to "encourage benevolence and empathy among all people."



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials have allocated the first grants to buy cleaner-burning engines from an emissions lawsuit settlement Volkswagen reached with federal officials. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that $19 million will finance cleaner-burning public-transit trains and buses. Illinois is receiving $108 million from Volkswagen's multibillion-dollar settlement after allegations that the automaker sold 60,000 vehicles with software designed to cheat air-quality tests.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Some in state government are looking into why the backlog of D-N-A samples have yet to be processed. The samples are from crimes committed in the state over the past several years. Colonel Sean Cormier (‘Core-meer) with the Illinois State Police Forensic Sciences Command  says its a staffing and funding issue…



State Police Colonel Sean Cormier.


Parkland College invites the public to its fall Greenhouse Plant Sale, Dec 5–7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.This annual event will include poinsettias, succulents, and house plants and kalanchoes. Plants can make great holiday gifts or make a home more inviting.Parkland College's greenhouse is located on the west side of the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center, on the west side of campus.


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



(Springfield--jc)  -- With 5 cases of hepatitis A recently diagnosed in Illinois, The state Department of Public Health is urging people to make sure they are vaccinated. Hepatitis A is an infection that can damage their liver and is easily passed from one person to another through food, water, drug use and sex says Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah…



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah.

There have been 69 cases of Hepatitis A in Illinois so far this year, including 5 most recent in East Central Illinois, locally.


(Washington--jc)  -- Where in the country are the soy and corn crops still not fully harvested yet?Stephanie Ho has the story…



(Chicago--jc)  -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan Tuesday announced a $6 million settlement that resolves an investigation she led with 41 states and the District of Columbia into one of the nation’s largest debt buyers, Encore Capital Group Inc., and its subsidiaries, Midland Credit Management Inc. and Midland Funding LLC. Madigan led an investigation into Midland’s debt collection and litigation practices and its pattern of signing and filing affidavits in state courts against consumers in large volumes without verifying the information. The practice of debt buying involves buying and selling overdue debts from creditors and other account owners



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A senior lunch event is coming to one local village. Those in the Rantoul area are reminded that the  Annual Senior Holiday Luncheon will take place December 13th starting at  11:30 at the Rantoul Youth Center. Reservations must be made by Monday. Call the Youth Center for more information



(Kankakee--jc) A crash along Interstate 57 near Kankakee slowed traffic for several hours on Tuesday afternoon. Authorities say a crash in the southbound lanes and clean-up were the reasons for delays in the southbound lanes of I-57. Traffic was delayed for several hours.



(Chicago--jc)  -- A financial adviser says some residents preparing to retire are eyeing moving out of the state entirely, and it’s not just for better weather. Although Illinois doesn't tax retirement income, that doesn't mean it's the best place for all retirees according to Buffalo Grove-based financial planner John Bever He adds that Illinois property taxes are extremely high, the 2nd highest in the nation. That is another reason to go elsewhere.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker this week announced his Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee, which features members of the labor and business communities.  One member, the president of an Illinois business group, is asking state policymakers to consider the full effects of a proposed raise to the state's minimum wage. Pritzker says increasing the minimum wage in Illinois is important to him, but didn't say how high he thinks it should be raised. He said he’d like to get something done within the first six months of his term.Illinois Retail Merchants Association President and CEO Rob Karr, who’s on Pritzker’s Job Creation and Economic Opportunity Committee, said he didn’t want to speculate about what Pritzker’s minimum wage would be, but said it will likely affect two-thirds of the state’s consumers.



The National Weather Service Says the 23 Tornadoes That Touched Down Saturday in Illinois was a Record for December

(Urbana--jc)  A Ford County man was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday in U-S District Court. The Ford County Record reports that 32 year old Kenneth Slater was sentenced on Monday for receiving and possessing child pornography The sentence was handed down on Monday by, Chief U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid.  Slater was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of 6 thousand dollars.



(Rantoul--ab) The high of the retail and business is during the holiday season in Rantoul. Speaking at the annual parade last week,  Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says talking about the positives of Rantoul is the key to keeping the momentum in Rantoul.



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer


(Springfield--ab) Senate lawmakers are looking into the backlog of d-n-a samples waiting to be processed in murder investigations. Recent reports have found hundreds of D-N-A samples waiting to be tested in crimes committed over the past couple of years. That includes the murder of 20-year-old Jeremy Tang, a college student taking a semester off from school who was shot in chicago in 2017. His mother, Carmia Tang, spoke to a senate committee on the issue.



Officials from the Illinois State Police’s forensics unit also testified, saying they need more staff and funding to help speed up D-N-A processing times.



CHICAGO (AP) — American Airlines is investigating how a 67-year-old woman in a wheelchair was left alone overnight at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport when her flight was canceled. The incident, first reported by CBS 2 in Chicago, started Friday night when Olimpia Warsaw's flight from Chicago to Detroit was canceled and a porter was assigned to take care of her.


LINCOLN, Ill. (AP) — The National Weather Service says at least 23 tornadoes touched down Saturday in Illinois, making the outbreak the state's largest on record for December. Meteorologist Dan Smith says crews had confirmed 23 tornado touchdowns across central Illinois by Monday afternoon. He says that number may grow because crews continue surveying three other sites to determine if storm damage there was caused by tornadoes. Illinois' previous December tornado record was 21 tornadoes during a 1957 outbreak.


(Gibson City-dg)-The new Santa train will make scheduled stops in the area again this year. Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner says one stop is in Roberts…



Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner

Friday Dec 7th it will be in Onarga from 6:30-8:30 pm. On saturday December 8th the Santa Train will make stops in Gibson City starting at 8am. Then its off to Melvin, Roberts, Thawville and Gilman by 6pm. On Sunday December 9th, the Santa Train will be in Danforth from 10:30-noon, Ashkum from 1-2:30pm, and in Clifton from 3:30-5:30 pm. Check out our facebook page for the list.



(Paxton--jc  The Paxton Park District’s annual Breakfast with Santa event takes place on Saturday. The event runs from 8am to 10-30am at the Civic Center on Fall Street. Santa will be there and a free breakfast will be served by park district officials.



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



(Springfield--jc)  -- Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, so it makes sense to get vaccinated if you have not already says the state’s chief medical officer. Doctor Jennifer Layden says there are other things you can do to protect yourself from the flu…



Illinois’s Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Layden.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois Representative LaShawn Ford wants to bar law enforcement agencies from releasing photos of people who have been arrested for low-level crimes until after a conviction. Ford says having a mug shot posted and shared on social media can ruin a person's life long before a judge or jury settles the matter.The Chicago Democrat's new bill would require a conviction before law enforcement agencies could release a person's jail booking or arrest photo. He said the repercussions of having a mugshot posted online can be more severe than the punishment for a crime, like getting turned down for employment years later.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The state legislature approved a bill that requires fire chiefs to have specific qualifications over a veto from the governor and objections from municipal management groups. State Representative  Kathleen Willis, Democrat from Addison says Senate Bill 26-19 establishes requirements for the fire chief post that local governments must follow. Willis says her bill is not mandating an increase in pay, but certain training or on the job experience is needed.The Illinois Fire Chiefs Association, the Associated Firefighters of Illinois and the Illinois Association of Firefighters supported the measure. The Illinois Municipal League, opposed the bill because it removed local control over fire chiefs. The measure is now law in Illinois.



(Taylorville-jc)  Governor Bruce Rauner Monday declared Christian County a state disaster area after severe storms and tornadoes ripped across Illinois. More than 20 people were injured in the storm and hundreds of structures were damaged or destroyed. Rauner said that our heart and thoughts go out to those impacted.  The State is providing resources and necessary personnel to the affected area. The state disaster declaration makes available a wide variety of state resources that can help affected communities respond and recover from the storms. The state of Illinois has mobilized personnel and assets to help local government officials with disaster recovery.



(Springfield--jc )  --Between 2003 and 2014, the state operated under single-party control with two different Democratic governors and sizable Democratic majorities in the General Assembly. A report released on Monday stated that over that span, the state’s credit quality deteriorated considerably. In that 11-year span, Illinois made various poor fiscal decisions. The new report also flagged some ideas majority Democrats have floated to deal with the state's long-term debt. The Fitch report gave Illinois' credit a B-B-B rating with a negative outlook, which it says reflects an ongoing pattern of weak operating performance and irresolute fiscal decision making The report was entitled... "Illinois: What Happens Next,"  and ratings analyst Eric Kim wrote that “Illinois' fiscal pressures may accelerate in the near term given implementation risk for the fiscal 2019 budget and uncertainties around ongoing fiscal management and decision-making. Kim said the fiscal 2019 budget is already hundreds of millions out of balance and it could go further into the red if the state-owned Thompson Center in Chicago isn't sold and if savings from a yet-to-be-fully-implemented pension buyout plan don't materialize


(Watseka--jc)  The Iroquois County Tax and Planning committee will look at an application for a solar farm project. It’s a application by Microgrid Energy for a Conditional Use for a Solar Farm in the county. The Committee mets at 9 this morning in Watseka.



(Washington-jc) Reaction coming on the forecast for 20-18 farm income. U-S-D-A  Chief Economist Rob Johansson says the report reveals several items…


U-S-D-A Chief Economist Rob Johansson


(Gibson CIty--jc)  -- Monday was the official day for Illinois’ 200th anniversary as a state. A star filled gala took place at the United Center in Chicago. Reaction to the celebration and anniversary from 106th State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Assessed the Tornado Damage in Taylorville

(Taylorville--jc)  -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner assessed the tornado damage in Taylorville on Sunday.  More than 30 structures were damage by a tornado. Power lines were down, trees pulled up by the roots and now clean up has started. The governor says several areas were hit by Saturday night’s storms..



Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner


CHICAGO (AP) — A report from the Illinois Department of Public Health says more women have been crossing state lines to get abortions in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports that the findings released this week show more than 5,500 women from other states traveled to Illinois last year for the procedure, up from about 4,500 women in 2016. A Planned Parenthood of the Heartland spokeswoman says increasing abortion restrictions have forced women to incur additional expenses to access a safe abortion procedure.



(Rantoul--ab) Rantoul was celebrating the Christmas holiday on Friday night with a lighted Christmas Parade. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says it was awesome seeing all the businesses and organizations on the grand stage...



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer



(Washington--ba)-The Environmental Protection Agency Friday announced its final rule for next year's Renewable Fuel Standard for ethanol and biodiesel production volumes.

USDA’s Rod Bain reports.




(Urbana--jc)  -- A Rantoul man is due back in court today to face charges after a traffic stop in Champaign on Friday. The News Gazette reports that 32 year old Mantonia Duncan of Rantoul could be charged with a gun possession by a felon and a drug possession charge. He is also wanted on an outstanding warrant from Tennessee. Formal charges could come later today



(Hoopeston--jc) An extension on one local tax increment financing district has been approved by lawmakers. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the measure to extend the city of Hoopeston was passed in Springfield this week….



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Rantoul--ab) Looking for a cool Christmas gift that comes from the heart? Try your hands at woodworking, the Rantoul Recreation building woodworking shop is hosting woodworking sessions ran by skilled woodworkers. Hours are 6-9 PM on Tuesday and Wednesdays; Saturday from 8-11 AM, then starting on December 3rd a new session will start from 10 AM to 2 PM. Cost is 4 dollars an hour or 10 dollars per session.



(Paxton--jc)  Paxton Firefighters, police officers, E-M-A volunteers are invited to a pizza party tomorrow night at the Paxton Firehouse on North Market Street. The event is sponsored by Pride in Paxton as a thank you for the service the Paxton community and area received from these groups. In conjunction with the party is a cookie bake-off competition. Those attending will have the opportunity to judge the cookies.


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


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois turns 200 today. And the state has a gala celebration planned. The Chicago party organizers have arranged will be at times solemn, like a solstice at Cahokia Woodhenge observed by some of the state's earliest inhabitants 1,000 years ago near St. Louis, and at times raucous, like a 2016 street party after the Chicago Cubs won the  World Series. A celebration is planned for the United Center in Chicago this evening. Governor Bruce Rauner will serve as host.



NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Interest is growing in central Illinois about  Rivian Automotive’s electric pickup truck unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show.Normal Mayor Chris Koos says his city already has pre-ordered one of the R1T electric vehicles that are expected to launch in 2020.Rivian plans to manufacture electric vehicles in a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal. The plant was shut down by Mitsubishi in November 2015.  Rivian plans to hire as many as 1,000 employees to make electric vehicles in the area.The R1T is expected to travel between 250 and 400 miles (402 kilometers and 644 kilometers) on a single charge, depending on the model. The price starts at $61,500. The vehicle will be sold at a factory store in Normal.



(Washington--jc) --  A framework for a 20-18 Farm Bill has been agreed upon by House and Senate Ag Committee leaders. What is the next step to get the bill passed? Rod Bain has the report…




(Watseka--jc) Even though the holiday season has begun, it is not too late to get a flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established this week as  National Influenza Vaccination Week It highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccination throughout the holiday season and beyond. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination should continue throughout flu season in order to protect as many people as possible against flu.



(Washington--jc)  -- What are the trends of rural population growth in Illinois and around the nation? A “Rural America at a Glance” study has been released and U-S-D-A economist John Cromartie say those in rural areas face unique challenges…



U-S-D-A Economist John Cromartie.


(Bloomington-dg)-Schools are considering a new proposal that could change the high school football schedule in Illinois.Illinois' high school football conferences could soon be a thing of the past. Schools will vote next month on a plan from the IHSA to replace conferences with districts. The districts would be based on size and location, said Matt Troha, assistant executive director of the The Illinois High School Association, the organization that oversees high school sports in the state.


(Gibson City-dg)-The CN IC Santa train will make scheduled stops in the area again this year. Friday Dec 7th it will be in Onarga from 6:30-8:30 pm. On saturday December 8th the Santa Train will make stops in Gibson City from 8am-10am, Melvin from noon until 1:30pm, Roberts from 1:45-3pm, Thawville from 3:30pm-5pm and Gilman from 6pm-8pm. On Sunday December 9th, the Santa Train will be in Danforth from 10:30-noon, Ashkum from 1-2:30pm, and in Clifton from 3:30-5:30 pm. Check out our facebook page for the list.



Illinois Lawmakers are Voting to Bring Back the Possibility of Parole for Youth Offenders

(Springfield--ab) Illinois lawmakers are voting to bring back the possibility of parole for youth offenders. Illinois hasn’t had the option of parole since 1978…but a bill approved by the house and senate lets those who were under the age of 21 when they committed a crime seek parole from the state prisoner review board. representative Barbara Flynn Currie of Chicago says this is not a get out of jail free card.



State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie of Chicago

Young offenders could seek parole after 10 or 20 years behind bars, depending on the crime. cop killers and similar criminals would never be eligible for parole. the bill needs to be signed into law by the governor to take effect.


Springfield--ab) Illinois Supreme Court Justice Rita B. Garman announced Thursday the formation of a judicial screening committee for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. The screening committee was formed for the purpose of assessing the qualifications of those persons who have applied for appointment to the Office of Judge of the Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit created by the election of Justice Thomas M. Harris to the Fourth District Appellate Court.



Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees said on Thursday they’ve reached an “agreement in principle” on the 2018 Farm Bill.In a joint statement, lawmakers said they still have more work to do to finalize the bill before it heads to President Donald Trump’s desk to be signed into law, but they are “committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible.”

With the 116th Congress preparing to adjourn for the year, possibly as early as Dec. 7 if funding to keep the federal government operating in FY-2019 can be agreed to, pressure has increased on leaders of both the Agriculture Committees and the House and Senate to finish the legislation to allow time to write the legislative text and prepare the bill for final passage. O



Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is debuting a new name and a fresh, new look in its brochure of spring 2019 classes.The department's new name, "Community Education," encapsulates its overarching goal to provide high-value personal and professional development opportunities to all residents, from career-enhancing workshops and certification programs to educational travel, personal enrichment, classes for kids, and more. Programs are designed to work around busy schedules, with many online options.


SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner Thursday asked the Illinois Investment Policy Board to investigate the listing practices of home-sharing company Airb-n-b to determine if there is a violation of Illinois state law prohibiting investment in companies engaged in boycott, divestment or sanction (BDS) against the Jewish state. Airb-n-b , the San Francisco-based online marketplace that its members use to list properties for lodging or other tourism experiences, recently decided to remove all listings in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a development that Rauner called “abhorrent and discriminatory.”



(Buckley--jc)  -- Wanted, licensed emergency medical technicians for the Buckley Ambulance service. The answer is a call to the public for those in the Buckley area to participate in E-M-T classes that start in January. O-S-F Healthcare will provide the instructors for the classes that will run from January 15th through May 7th at Christ Lutheran High School. The cost for the classes is 700 dollars. Those that want to learn to be an E-M-T and will join the Buckley Ambulance Service, the  700 dollar class will be free. Those interested may call Ron Lennington at 217-249-4888.


(Rantoul--jc)  The lighted Christmas parade returns to the village of Rantoul tonight at 6. The parade will start along Twin Lakes Drive and move west making the turn onto Sangamon Avenue and into the downtown area. The Chamber of Commerce office will serve as a Santa’s workshop complete with visits with Santa. WPXN will be broadcasting live from the parade from Santa’s workshop starting around 5-45 this afternoon.



(Paxton--ba)-The city of Paxton is seeing the growth of several new businesses. Paxton Chamber of Commerce director Ashley Tolley says it’s good to see local business activity grow....



Paxton Chamber of Commerce director Ashley Tolley



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



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says he is disappointed in some of the action taken during the fall veto session. The governor says some of the vetoes lawmakers overturned will end up being costly to Illinois taxpayers, which includes the huge raise in the amount of damages someone suing the state can receive…


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

The cap of settlements went from 100 thousand dollars to 2 million dollars.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan Thursday issued a statement regarding her ongoing investigation into the Catholic Church that has prompted Illinois dioceses to disclose additional names of priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse against minors.  In response to Madigan’s investigation, her office has been given access to Church files for review in each of Illinois’ six dioceses. So far, the Archdiocese of Chicago has disclosed 10 additional names, the Diocese of Peoria has disclosed three additional names, and the Diocese of Rockford has disclosed 11 additional names. The investigation continues.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois House and Senate closed out the fall veto session yesterday. During the session state lawmakers considered over 130 bills and resolutions. In the final hour of action, members took time to salute members who will not be returning in January. Republican Norine Hammond of Macomb talked about the positive service of 104th District State Representative Chad Hays…



State Representative Norine Hammond of Macomb.

State lawmakers return to Springfield on January 7 for a 2 day lame duck session before the new session begins.


(Washington--jc)  -- Check your Christmas tree before you take it inside your home. That is the advise from Pennsylvania Plant Industry and Consumer Protection Agency’s Fred Sthrathmeyer…



Pennsyvania Plant Industry and Consumer Protection Agency’s Fred Sthrathmeyer.



(Gibson City--jc)  Handel’s Messiah will be performed on Sunday in Gibson City. This is the 75 anniversary of the performance in the Ford County town. The event is set for 3pm Sunday afternoon at the Gibson City Bible Church along Route 47 in Gibson City. The event is free to attend. A free will offering will be used to cover expenses.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Rudolf Retail Rally is underway. As part of Holiday marketing in the village of Rantoul, the local chamber has teamed up with some businesses on a seek, find and win contest. 10 businesses have a hidden rudolf in their stores. The public is invited to stop by the stores, find rudolf, and then return the card to the chamber office in downtown for a chance to win a 500 dollar prize. Rantoul VIllage Administrator Scott Eisenhower says the hope of the contest is to create more traffic for Rantoul businesses…



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower

Businesses where you can find Rudolph are: Jill's Creative Expressions, Willow Pond Golf Course,Furniture World, Hardy's Reindeer Ranch, The Whistle Stop Resale Shop, Shield's Auto Group, Seek and Find Thrift Store, Rantoul Ace Hardware, A House of Flowers by Paula, and Butcher Boys Burgers.



(Rantoul--jc)  The annual lighted parade is set for tonight at 6 in Rantoul. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen says Santa will be at the chamber office after the parade…


Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen.

WPXN will be broadcasting live from the Chamber office in downtown Rantoul today starting around 5-45.


(Fisher-dg)-There will be a Holiday Vendor Expo at the Fisher Community Building on Saturday from 10am-3pm. Over 20 vendors will be there with amazing goods for sale.  The 9th Annual Fisher Christmas Parade will also be Saturday at 5pm. Line up starts at 4pm at the Fairgrounds. The Fisher National Bank will hold an event after the parade at the Fisher Community center.





Paxton-Buckley Loda School System and the Paxton Area Mourn the Death of a Popular Educator and High School Coach

(Shelbyville--jc)  -- The Paxton-Buckley Loda School system along with the Paxton area are mourning the death of a popular educator and high school coach.  George Young was a teacher at Paxton High School and then Paxton Buckley Loda High school from 1966 to 1995. He was a girls basketball coach that took two teams to the state tournament. A memorial service for Young is set for Saturday at 1pm at the Howe and Yockey Funeral Home in Shelbyville. Visitation is one hour before the service at the funeral home.


(Washington--jc)  -- Farmers in the nation's mid-section are already having trouble with too much wet and cold weather, but there's more of that on the way. Gary Crawford reports…




(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton has a new vehicle. Ameren Illinois has donated a 2009 Ford F-550 Bucket truck to the city. The vehicle was part of the Ameren fleet. Ameren Community Relations Spokesperson Karly Combest says donating vehicles to cities in the state has been going on for several years with Ameren…



Ameren Public Relations Spokesperson Karly Combest

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the city has several uses for the bucket truck…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold



(Bloomington--jc)  --  The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) has announced its 2019-2020 Soy Ambassador Leadership Program participants. Seven individuals will take part in the training sponsored by the ISA checkoff and membership programs.The two-year schedule of events gives participants opportunities to gain leadership expertise, industry exposure and a global perspective. Ambassadors discover challenges and opportunities facing the soybean industry by attending and engaging at key soybean events, including an international trip to see first-hand how ISA invests checkoff dollars outside the country. They include Chandler Bane of rural Arrowsmith and Jake Heeren of rural Sheldon.


(Paxton--ba)--  A holiday business bag sale is coming to the city of Paxton starting on Friday. Paxton Chamber of Commerce director Ashley Tolley says lots of holiday deals await shoppers this weekend in Paxton...



Paxton Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley.



(Gilman--ab) Enjoy a great show  at Inside Out located in downtown Gilman in early December  The show is called "The Chicago Farmer" and the show is set for Friday December 7th  or Saturday December 8th, OR both! Its a Different show each night. Come early to enjoy Todd Pheifer, opening at 6pm.



(Paxton--ab) Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce  is hosting two ribbon cutting ceremonies. The first is for  the Bijoux Hair boutique ribbon cutting and open house on November 30th at 5pm. Attendees can Sign up for a chance to win a gift card provided by the paxton area chamber of commerce.  The next is for Mom and Pops Kettle Korn Shop in Paxton. Their ribbon Cutting and open house takes place on December 7th at 5pm. Those Attending can Try some Samples and enter to win a gift card to their store.



(Paxton--jc)  Today’s WPXN business of the day is Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop. The business has been a mainstay in the downtown area of the city for 3 generations. Owner Andy Hudson says the time is now to get your annual flu shot and it is an easy process at Hudson’s in Paxton…



Hudson's along with several businesses in Paxton are participating in an open house weekend from Friday through Monday. Hudson says the tradition for an early December sale has been going on at Hudson’s since he was a young boy…



Hudson Drug and Hallmark Store of Paxton owner Andy Hudson.

The open house sales begin on Friday and run through Monday. A special event at Hudson’s Drug and Hallmark takes place on Sunday.



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





(Springfield--jc)  - Illinois House lawmakers failed to override the governor’s  veto on a bill that would raise the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. Illinois Representative Camille Lilly of Oak Park sponsored the measure. Lilly says its about protection…




Illinois Representative Camille Lilly of Oak Park

Governor Rauner vetoed the bill saying Illinois cities already have the power to raise the age to 21 in their own communities.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The V-F-W in Gibson City wants to know the names. The names of those who would like  to receive a Christmas basket. The local armed services group is taking names as well as donations for the Christmas baskets now through the middle of December. V-F-W members will be distributing the holiday baskets closer to Christmas. More information about the program is found by contacting the post in Gibson City or any member of the Gibson City V-F-W.



(Springfield--jc) --  Illinois lawmakers did override the governor’s veto of a bill designed to help immigrant crime victims. The legislation speeds up paperwork for undocumented immigrants who report a crime says State Representative Lisa Hernandez of Cicero…





State Representative Lisa Hernandez of Cicero

The bill now becomes law in Illinois



(Paxton--jc)  The effort to bring a giant flag pole and flag to the city of Paxton is gaining ground. The idea came from Paxton firefighter and resident Denny Kingren. Kingren says with the giant cross near Effingham and similar flags in out states, its seemed like a good project for the city of Paxton…





Paxton Firefighter and resident Denny Kingren.



(Onarga---jc)  A fundraiser is set for an Iroquois County man battling cancer. The benefit of Ken Hanford is set for Saturday December 8th  from noon until 3 at the Onarga Christian Church. A soup lunch will be served for a freewill offering. Raffles will also be part of the efforts.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Following months of delay, State Representative. Art Turner and State Senator Antonio Muñoz are encouraged to learn opponents of Senate Bill 26-41 are ready to come to the table to reach an agreement to extend safety and tax regulations to the entire car rental industry. The pair say they did not  pursue an override of the governor's veto in the hopes an agreement that can be voted on in January.






Video Poker Machines Are More Prevalent and Profitable Than Ever Before

(Springfield--jc)  Video poker machines are more prevalent and profitable than ever before, according to a new state report.That has some lawmakers and local leaders looking to do something about them. The video gambling report comes as lawmakers consider the largest expansion of brick-and-mortar gambling facilities in the state in years.In 2013, the first year Illinois lawmakers allowed for video gaming, almost 8,000 machines did $121 million in business. Just five years later, almost 30,000 machines did $1.4 billion in business. That's enough gambling machines to fill 24 full-sized casinos.Video gambling revenues have increased 75 percent in the past three years alone, according to the report "Wagering in Illinois” from the state’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.


(Washington--jc)  -- The corn and soybean crop are 99 percent completed in Illinois, but some other states are behind yearly averages. Stephanie Ho reports…



(Springfield--jc)  -- As the cold and flu season gets into full swing, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reminding that antibiotics are not always the answer. Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah says the overuse of antibiotics is dangerous…



Illinois Department of Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — American farmers still working to get out their remaining soybeans after a weather-plagued harvest season are struggling to figure out what to do with a record crop now their traditionally dominant export market is largely closed. China, a leading soybean consumer, has all but stopped buying American soybeans in response to President Donald Trump's trade tariffs, and economists are warning some farmers could be forced out of business by the export crisis.



(Washington--jc)  In homes and communities across the area state and nation, millions of Americans quietly care for older parents, spouses and others, helping them remain at home. The unpaid care that they provide is valued at 479 Billion dollars, each year. A-A-R-P’s Nancy LeaMond says they need help from government agencies…


A-A-R-P spokesperson Nancy LeaMond (‘La-Mond)



(Calumet Park--jc)  -- A village of 8,000 people in northern Illinois has decided to outsource its fire department to save money, a move that the village's attorney said other small municipalities will soon replicate. Calumet Park taxpayers will save about $500,000 a year after ending its contract earlier this month with the Service Employees International Union that represented part-time firefighters. The village has instead signed a five-year deal with Kurtz Ambulance Service for fire suppression and ambulance services.Kurtz provides various services to hospitals, nursing facilities, municipalities, fire protection districts and industrial facilities. It has positions in Will, Cook, Grundy, Kankakee, McHenry and Lake counties.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Some Illinois House Republicans say a Democratic lawmaker wished legionella on the family of a Republican lawmaker during debate on a veto override attempt of legislation that would increase the cap on claims the state can pay out to those wronged by Illinois government.The Illinois Court of Claims cap was at $100,000. A measure lifting that cap to $2 million passed the General Assembly but was vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner. A veto override passed the Senate earlier this month.During an override debate In reference to the 14 legionella deaths at the Quincy Veterans Home, Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Aurora, said she wants to give a mix of legionella to Republican Peter Breen’s family. Some democrats say the comments were taken out of context and Republican leaders want an apology or a resignation.



(Gibson City--ab) The Gibson City police department is looking for volunteer Salvation Army bell ringers Dec 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22nd. Times are 10AM-6PM and volunteers ring 2 hour blocks. Locations will be at ACE, Big R and County Market. Funds raised will stay local. Contact the department at 1-217-784-8666 if interested.



(McLean County --jc)A portion of Interstate 55 near Towanda is being designated as the Sergeant Anthony R. Maddox Memorial Highway in honor of the McLean County native who died while serving the U.S. Army in Afghanistan in 2013. Maddox attended Chiddix Junior High School and Normal Community High School. No date has been set yet for the dedication ceremony. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman and State Representative Dan Brady sponsored legislation in Springfield to re-name the portion of I-55 in Maddox honor.



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



(Springfield-jc)  -- A new state law raises the amount people suing the state can get for damages. The cap in the Illinois Court of Claims is now 2 million dollars. That figure is up from the previous cap of 100 thousand dollars. State Representative Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora supports the huge increase…



State Representative Stephanie Kifowit of Aurora

State Representative Peter Breen of Lombard says the huge increase could hit the state hard…



Republican State Representative Peter Breen of Lombard

Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the original bill setting the cap at 300 thousand dollars, citing the states major fiscal problems.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- An open house is set from 11am to 1pm at the Early Childhood Education Center in Rantoul. The group is the host for the area Head Start program and is under the guide of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission. The Center is located on the former Chanute Air Force Base and has been in operation since 2003. Officials with the center work with children from 6 weeks old to 5 years of age.



(Washington--jc)  Snow, sub-freezing temperatures and high winds across the nation's mid-section are causing some problems for livestock. Gary Crawford reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  Some downtown Rantoul businesses are gearing up for a new holiday shopping event. It’s the first Holiday Shop and Hop event set for 10am until 1pm on Saturday December 8th. Lindsey Lane Bridal will host several vendors in the shop.  Anywhere, Anytime Journeys is providing hot beverages that also includes a hot chocolate bar. Pictures with Santa Claus will be provided at A House of Flowers by Paula. And its’ Apple Dumplings at a Whistle Stop Resale Shop.


A professional recruiting company says the nation’s public schools aren’t giving students the opportunity to learn skilled vocational trades.As unemployment hits record lows and the nation’s pool of workers to be hired thins, Express Employment Professionals’ franchise owners say local high schools are graduating kids who lack many of the skills that employers are having the greatest difficulty finding – specifically, high-skilled jobs in trades.Terri Greeno owns a number of Express franchises in northern Illinois. She says schools are so geared toward college enrollment that technically talented students often miss out.


(Paxton--jc)  -- One Paxton resident is spearheading an effort to place a 150 foot tall flagpole on Paxton’s west side. Denny Kingren says placing the American Flag near  the interstate would be like the giant cross near Effingham and similar flags in southern Wisconsin. Kingren has received a huge swell of support for the idea that is expected to cost somewhere around 35 to 40 thousand dollars with upkeep at several thousand dollars annually. The size of the flag would be a 30 foot by 60 foot flag on a 150 foot flagpole. Kingren has met with several local groups about the idea. Fundraising has not officially been started. WPXN news will update this story as it develops.


(Gibson City--jc)  Handels Messiah will be performed on Sunday in Gibson City. This is the 75 anniversary of the performance in the Ford County town. The event is set for 3pm Sunday afternoon at the Gibson City Bible Church along Route 47 in Gibson City. The event is free to attend. A free will offering will be used to cover expenses.


Today is GIVING TUESDAY. Many Give Money, Time, or Their Resources. What Will You Give?

(Undated--jc  -- The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, better known as #GivingTuesday, is a national holiday founded on social media to celebrate a day of giving back. It leverages the reach of social media to encourage Americans to donate their time, money or resources. Last year, #GivingTuesday raised an estimated 274 million for nonprofits. The state of Massachusetts gave the most while Louisiana gave the least. Illinois was number 6 on the list, per capita.


(Gifford--jc)  -- Work on the south wall at Gifford Grade School will have two contractors completing the job. R.D. Cox Masonry will do the block repair work and Borchers Decorating will powerwash and paint the area. The project is pat of repair work on the old gym area at the school.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Police say 24 year old Henry Boykins has been arrested concerning a break-in at the Rantoul Rural King. That break-in and theft occurred on November 21st. Boykins is the third person arrested in the incident. Upon investigation, Rantoul police made the arrest following the execution of a court-issued search warrant. Police continue to look for a firearm that was stolen in the incident. Boykins was transported to the Champaign County Correctional Center on charges of Burglary, Unlawful Use of Weapons, Motor Vehicle Theft and Criminal Damage to Property. The Rantoul Police Department continues to investigate the incident. If anyone has any information on this case, please contact Crimestoppers at 373-TIPS or by calling  Rantoul Police l


(Springfield--jc)  The fall harvest is ending as we hear in the final weekly crop report for 20-18. Most crops, including corn and soybeans are out of the ground. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener some sorghum fields have not been harvested…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener


(Chicago--jc)  -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with 14 other attorneys general, today challenged the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General of the United States. In an amicus brief filed in a Maryland case, the amici states argue that the appointment of Whitaker, previously the Chief of Staff to the Attorney General, to serve as the nation’s top legal officer violates laws clearly indicating that the Chief Deputy Attorney General takes over when an Attorney General steps down or is removed prior to Senate confirmation of a replacement.



(Washington--jc)  -- Diversifying U.S. ag export markets to avoid relying on one particular nation is a strategy some commodity organizations have utilized long before recent trade disruptions. Rod Bain has the story…




(Paxton--ba)  --The Clara Petersen School project is moving ahead as planned. P-B-L School Superintendent Cliff McClure says the weather is one factor.....



P-B-L School Superintendent Cliff McClure


(Paxton--jc) One week from today, Paxton Fire Department members, those with the Paxton Police Department and the Paxton based E-R-S officials are invited to a free pizza party at the firehouse on Market street in Paxton. The reason for the party is to thank the local groups for their service to the city of Paxton and area. The event is also a cookie baking contest. Those attending will have the opportunity to participate in the judging. Pride in Paxton is hosting the event for the group at 7pm next Tuesday.

(Champaign--jc)  -- For one night only, STYX and Larry The Cable Guy will put on one helluva show on March 30th at Champaign’s State Farm Center Theatre, billed as “Laugh. Rock. Seriously.” One of the greatest rock bands of all time combined with a comedy legend together for the first time ever to rock and GIT-R-DONE. Two forces come together on stage for one unforgettable night of hits and jokes. Tickets start at just $39.50 + fees and go on sale Friday, November 30 at 10 AM at the State Farm Center Box Office at 866-ILLINI-1 and



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



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois General Assembly convenes today for the final three days of its fall legislative session.The focus this week is on the House. It is poised to take override action on vetoed legislation which the Senate voted to reverse two weeks ago.The list includes a measure vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to set a deadline for local police to sign paperwork to help immigrant victims of crime . Victims of certain violent crimes who cooperate with police qualify for visas to let them stay in the country. The legislation requires police to act within 90 days to sign necessary paperwork.



OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois priest who spent time in prison for manufacturing and selling a date-rape drug has been removed from ministry again for getting involved in a criminal case without telling his superiors. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Peoria Diocese bishop removed the Rev. Jeffrey Windy from his post serving three Ottawa parishes in March. Officials found that Windy had involved himself in a criminal court case by visiting a crime victim with the suspect's father, who is a parishioner.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The fall harvest is ending as we here in the final weekly crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 86 percent of the winter wheat crop has emerged…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average topsoil moisture is rated 2 percent short,  72 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus.


CHICAGO (AP) — Former President George W. Bush will receive a prestigious leadership prize from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. The foundation announced Monday that Bush will receive the 2019 Lincoln Leadership Prize during a ceremony on April 1 in Chicago. The annual award recognizes people for a lifetime of service in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, the nation's 16th president.


(Springfield--ab) In the final poll conducted as part of the Illinois Bicentennial celebration…voters chose top moments in the state’s history. The top 10 moments in Illinois history include tragedy and a huge victory says Abraham Lincoln presidential library spokesperson Chris Wills.


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library spokesperson Chris Wills.

Other moments making the top 10 include ending slavery in 1865, the Lewis and Clark expedition, women being able to vote in 1913, the election of Barack Obama to the White House and the arrest of former governor Rod Blagojevich.


(Washington-jc)  A Noble fir from Oregon is now in Washington, D.C., being prepared to be this year's Capitol Christmas tree. It arrived Monday. The lighting is set for December 5th.  Rod Bain reports…



(Paxton--ab) Pack 35 and Troop 32 in Paxton are collecting non-perishable food and hygiene supplies for the Hands of Christ food Pantry. The collection will be on December 9th from noon to 4 PM. Those interested can deliver the supplies to the Scout Hut behind Dollar General in Paxton. If there are questions call 309-530-3757 for more information.


(Rantoul--jc)  No one was injured in an accident between a Rantoul City Schools bus and a mini van on Monday morning. The Rantoul Press reported the accident happened just after 8am Monday in the village. Both vehicles were on Eater Drive when the accident happened.  Slick roads were the cause of the accident.



With the busy holidays and the Paxton Christmas Parade, Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock discusses preparation for this year as well as next year.


Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock


(Rantoul--jc)  Who is responsible for a drainage problem along Illinois Avenue in Rantoul. That is the subject again today for a village of Rantoul committee meeting this afternoon.  Stormwater issues have plagued several properties along Illinois Circle Drive in the village. At issue is what taxing body is liable to help correct the situation. That remains a disagreement between the village and the Rantoul City Schools. The next meeting on the issue is 5 this afternoon at the conference room on Tanner Street.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton is getting a Christmas time gift tomorrow afternoon. Ameren Illinois is donating a 37 foot aerial bucket truck to Paxton. The Ford F-550 vehicle was part of the Ameren fleet. The vehicle is valued at around 13 thousand dollars and will be used to make repairs in areas too tough to reach. The event is set for 1pm Wednesday afternoon at the city garage on North Railroad Avenue.



The Ford County Board is Set to Meet and Discuss the Moratorium on Future Wind Farm Projects December 4th

(Paxton--jc)  -- Could water-sewer rates be going up in the city of Paxton. City leaders have been discussing the rates, citing an upgrade of equipment, a look at water flow and some new environmental protection agency requirements. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold has started a conversation with I-P-E-A to look at ways to maintain compliance with the state. The topic is expected to be addressed at the next public works committee meetings and the full council.



(Paxton--jc)  -- December 4th is a very important date for wind farms in Ford County, The Ford County board is set to meet and discuss the moratorium on future wind farm projects. Local leaders are set to continue to discuss the balance between positive economic growth in the rural Illinois county, benefits to the local tax base for schools and towns to the potential nuisance to some. The meeting date is one day after the new county board will be set. There are several changes in the make up of the local Ford County board.



(Washington--jc)  -- Farm equipment experts offer some advice to help producers properly maintain their machinery over the winter months. Rod Bain reports…




(Undated--jc)  Several area American Legion Posts are participating in the Wreaths Across America effort again this year. Cissna Park Legion Post 527 and Buckley’s Byron Hickerson Post 432 are offering their services to area. For a donation of 15 dollars area volunteers will place a wreath at area cemeteries to honor U.S Veterans. The program runs through November 29th and the wreaths will be placed on the graves on December 15th. Contact your local American Legion post members for more details.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Unemployment rate was up slightly in most Illinois Metro areas in October. 12 of the 14 metro areas saw a small rise in the unemployment rate. Illinois State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough says jobs were added…



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Holiday program called “Shop Rantoul First” began on Saturday. The effort is sponsored by the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce and the village of Rantoul. At a brunch on Saturday, Chamber officials unveiled a

is a national day the promotes shopping at small businesses throughout the area, state and nation. Rantoul leaders are also unveiling a shopping giveaway today. More details are found by stopping by the chamber office.



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



CHICAGO (AP) — A wintry storm is battering much of the central Midwest Monday, with blizzard conditions and freezing temperatures from northeast Missouri into southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois, including the greater Chicago area. The blizzard-like conditions at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend grounded hundreds of flights and forced the closure of major highways.


(Rantoul--jc) A Rantoul business was robbed of some cash early Saturday morning. Police say someone entered the Rantoul Pizza Pub on Congress Avenue just after closing and forced a female employee to open the business safe. The person took some cash and coins and fled the scene Rantoul police say the person wanted for the theft is described as a black male, 5 feet 8 inches tall, around 200 pounds. He wore a ski mask and hooded sweatshirt. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Rantoul Police or Champaign County Crimestoppers. That number is 217-373-8477.



(Sibley--jc)  -- One Ford County town is set to celebrate its business district restoration project on Saturday. It’s a “Night on the Town” in Sibley. The event is from 5 til 7 pm and will feature carriage rides, a women’s barbershop quartet, and a business open house. Sibley Historical Society members will also be selling ornaments. Refreshments will also be served.


MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois city will help partially demolish a historic shoe factory. Mayor Will Stephens says Murphysboro will lend roughly $50,000 to the owner of the old Brown Shoe factory site. The goal is to demolish portions that are unsafe and erect a fence around the property. The building is more than 100 years old. Brown Shoe employed hundreds of people and produced thousands of shoes a week.


(Washington--jc)  What does a new poll show about how American consumers feel about GMO foods? Gary Crawford has the answer…




(Chicago--jc)  --Shopping for kids toys isn’t always child’s play, especially toys that have been recalled or could be dangerous.The Illinois Public Information Research Group and the Illinois Attorney General’s office warned consumers about issues associated with slime, internet-connected devices, loud toys, balloons and other items.Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan her Annual Safe Shopping Guide, which highlights hazardous toys and includes all the toys that have been recalled in the past year. The toys included rattlers that could be choking hazards, tents that could cut and a flashlight hat that could overheat creating fire and burn hazards, among others.



(Saybrook--jc)  It’s the Jinglebell Junction from 9 until 2 on Saturday in Saybrook. The event is set for the Wesbein United Methodist Church in the village. Children are invited to shop for gifts for family members. A bake sale and free lunch are also available. Santa will also be there to hand out treats. Photos are also available.



The 2018 Holiday Shopping Survey recently released by Wallet Hub shows 35 percent of Americans plan on spending more than $500 this holiday season, compared to 33 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, 15 percent say they will spend more than $1,001 and 19 percent say they will spend less than $100.The survey also showed more people are better off financially this year compared to last year, with six in 10 people reporting that now versus five in 10 in 2017.Electronics leads the list of most desired holiday gifts at 31 percent followed closely behind by gift cards at 30 percent.



Rantoul Police Have Arrested Two of Three Individuals Believed to be Involved in a Rantoul Rural King Break-in

(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul police have arrested two of three individuals they believe were involved in a break in at the Rantoul Rural King on Wednesday morning. Police say they arrested a 14 year old and 15 year old Rantoul residents in conjunction with the break in, stolen car and gun theft. A third individual is still being sought in the case. WPXN news will continue to update this story as more official news becomes available.


(Springfield--jc)  Secretary of State Police will be looking for those illegally parked at shopping malls across the state starting today and going through the holiday season. Secretary of State police will be at selected malls in Illinois to crack down on those abusing disability parking placards and license plates. Secretary of State Investigator Glenn Florkow says they take this effort seriously…



Secretary of State Investigator Glenn Florkow.

Fines are heavy for these parking violations.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Holiday gatherings often include fun, reminiscing, but also provide an opportunity  to discuss which health conditions run in the family. Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah says take some time over the holiday to talk health…



Illinois Public Health Diretor Doctor Nirav Shah.



ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police continue to step up patrols by troopers as they seek to ensure compliance with seat-belt and other laws during the on going Thanksgiving travel period. The Click It or Ticket campaign  includes seat-belt enforcement zones around the state. State police say they will also aggressively enforce speeding, drunk-driving and distracted-driving laws.



(Rantoul--jc)  --The Rantoul Police Department Shop with a Cop program was awarded a 3 thousand dollar grant from Walmart- Giving  this week. Store Manager, Nathen Vock, presented the check to Shop with a Cop Coordinator, Terri Neil. This year Shop with a Cop will be held on December 8th at the Rantoul Walmart. Last year, Shop with a Cop helped thirty Rantoul families put presents underneath their tree. This program would not be possible without the support from organizations like Walmart.


(Washington--jc)  -- During this first big weekend of the holiday sales season retailers are offering some incredible deals, but experts still say we should not bite at the first bargain deal we see. Gary Crawford has the story…




(Gibson City--jc) --  Gibson City council members are set to meet next week to look at revisions for solar power uses and wind power zoning classifications. Solar projects and wind farms continue to be topics for local units of government. The meeting for Gibson City leaders is set for 7pm Thursday November 29th.



(Paxton--jc)  It’s the Christmas Express in downtown Paxton on Saturday. The annual Christmas parade steps off at 1-30 Saturday afternoon. Prizes will be awarded to several entries this year courtesy of Pride in Paxton and sponsors. WPXN will broadcast the parade live on Saturday starting around 1-15.


Paxton Market Street Theatre's production of "The Little Town of Christmas," a compilation of Christmas skits for young and old by Pat Cook. Show dates are: Nov.  30, Dec. 1, 7, 8, and 9. Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:00 pm; Sunday show is at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 each. Reservations suggested but not required by calling 217-379-7028.


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



(Undated--jc)  The malls and box stores and local shops are busy for the start of Black Friday today. Several of the national stores are offering on-line deals for the Christmas Shopping season in hopes of capturing the 4th quarter retail dollars. Locally, shopping has begun in East Central Illinois in areas from Paxton and Rantoul to Gibson City, Gilman, Cissna Park to Watseka and Hoopeston. Tomorrow is also Small Business Saturday. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce officials have set up a brunch from 10 until noon on Saturday to celebrate the event.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are set to meet on Monday night and one topic of discussion is an ordinance to authorize the execution of a Tax Increment Financing District Redevelopment Agreement between the city, Ford County and Dreams Come True Trucking. Additional topics for Gibson City leaders on Monday night include truck bids and truck bed bids. Council members are also expected to consider hiring Donohue and Associates to help the city prepare an application with the I-E-P-A loan.  The Gibson City council meeting comes to order at 7 on Monday night at city hall.



(Washington--jc)  The latest cattle on feed report came out this week. U-S-D-A livestock analyst Shayle Shagam provides some of the key numbers from Wednesday’s report…


U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam.



(Champaign--jc)  Champaign County Crimestoppers is offering a one thousand dollar reward to the arrest and conviction concerning a shooting in Champaign on Wednesday night. Anyone with information is asked to call crimestoppers at 217-373-TIPS.


PRINCETON, Ill. (AP) — A county coroner has been dispatched to the scene where an Amtrak train collided with a farm tractor near the community of Princeton in north central Illinois. Authorities have not confirmed there was a fatality but The (LaSalle) News Tribune reports that about a half hour after Thursday morning collision, a call to a LifeFlight helicopter was canceled and the Bureau County Coroner was called.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — The plastic is piling up in Rockford. The Rockford Register Star reports that Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful finds itself with more than 7 tons of plastic at its recycling center with no place to send it after a decision made by China nearly a year ago to refuse shipments of recyclable plastics from the West.


WASHINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A relief group is finishing up work five years after a tornado destroyed or damaged about 1,000 homes and killed one person in a central Illinois city. The Journal Star reports the Washington Illinois Area Foundation has less than $10,000 of the roughly $1.6 million donated to help area residents, churches and governments rebuild after the Nov. 17, 2013 tornado. Washington is near Peoria.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined a coalition of 14 state attorneys general to file a comment letter urging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to maintain rules requiring banks to help low income people. The comment responds to the O-C-C’s efforts to weaken oversight of bank compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act.  The C-R-A encourages banks to help meet credit needs of all segments of their communities. The law was enacted in 1977 in response to banks persistent and systematic denial of access to credit for historically disadvantaged communities, often communities of color. The groups proposal would undermine the purpose of the Community Reinvestment Act and result in less access to banking service, loans, and investment for disadvantaged populations.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- An I-T company has expansion plans for the village of Rantoul. A company called Colocation-Plus is set to open sometime in December. The company distributes and processes I-T data. The company will be located in the Rantoul Business Center on the former Chanute Air Force Base. A sister company Prominic Net opened a data center in Champaign around 20 years ago. In Rantoul, the company plans to build several one room data centers.



(Washington--jc)   Sweet potato growers are working to get more of their product consumed all year long, instead of just at the holidays  Gary Crawford reports..




Beefed Up Enforcement and Roadside Safety Checks Will Run Through November 26th

(Springfield--ab) Expect to see more police on the roads over the Thanksgiving holiday. Beefed up enforcement and roadside safety checks will run through November 26th. State Department of Transportation spokesperson Jessie Decker says they want people to make good choices when they are celebrating.



State Department of Transportation spokesperson Jessie Decker

Last year…15 people died on illinois roads over the Thanksgiving holiday.


(Hersher--jc)  A Bradley man and two residents of Herscher were injured in a two vehicle accident along Illinois Route 115 in Kankakee Tuesday afternoon. State police say 66 year old James Earleywine of Bradley ran through a stop sign and struck a truck driven by 31 year old Jeremy Berns of Herscher. Both men and a two year old in the Berns vehicle were taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee. All three were injured. No word on their conditions was given in the release.


(Springfield--ab) Secretary of State police will be looking for those illegally parked at shopping malls across the state this holiday season. Secretary of State Jesse White says they will hit several malls including those in Schaumburg, Springfield, Carbondale, Bloomington, Chicago and Fairview Heights...looking for those abusing disability placards and parking spaces.



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White

Fines range from $350 for parking in a disability space without a placard or special license plate to 25-hundred dollars and one year license suspension for using a dead person’s disability placard.


(Rantoul--jc)  November 30th, that is the designated date for the Village of Rantoul to close on a deal for a California man to buy a hanger on the former Chanute Air Force base in Rantoul. John Van Der Velde of Los Angeles is set to buy Hanger three and the A-T-and-T Call center. Van Der Velde will also be making interest only payments on the other 3 hangers for a period from closing to June of 2020. The purchase price of Hanger three and the call center is 5 point 745 million dollars. After making the interest payments on the final three hangers, a payment of 2 point 7 million dollars will be made under the lastest proposal.


(Springfield--jc)  --During the fall veto session, the Illinois  Senate voted to override Senate Bill 2481 which increases the cap on awards through the Illinois Court of Claims. That is the body of government that takes cases from people claiming they’ve been wronged by the government. Right now that cap is 100 thousand dollars. The bill would increase the cap to 2 million. Sponsor Democrat State Senator Michael Hastings of Tinley Park says the bill was thoroughly negotiated. Current governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the initial bill saying the cap should be around 3oo thousand dollars and no more.



(Paxton--ab) The City of Paxton community Christmas tree  has been placed in the downtown area. The Paxton Service Club has the honor of helping to choose the tree for the city. Paxton Service Club spokesperson  Judy Onchero says she loves the history of the Paxton Christmas tree...



Paxton Service Club spokesperson  Judy Onchero.

The lighting of the tree will take place at 7 PM on Friday at the corner of Market and State streets in Paxton



(Springfield--jc)  The fall harvest is wrapping up in Illinois, as we hear in the weekly crop report. Temperatures were about 12 degrees below normal this past week, with only 3 days suitable for farmwork. Corn Harvest is complete and other crops are just about done says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…


State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average topsoil moisture is rated at 4 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus.


The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is ramping up efforts to hire new food safety inspectors. Gary Crawford reports




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


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Public health officials report that two Illinois residents are among nearly three dozen people affected by a strain of E. coli bacteria in romaine lettuce. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported Tuesday on the results of research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports that 32 people in 11 states have been infected with the same Shiga-toxin strain of E. coli. Officials advise consumers not to eat romaine lettuce.


ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police will step up patrols by troopers as they seek to ensure compliance with seat-belt and other laws during the busy Thanksgiving travel period. The Click It or Ticket campaign will include seat-belt enforcement zones around the state. A Tuesday statement from state police says they'll also aggressively enforce speeding, drunk-driving and distracted-driving laws.


Whether there’s a class action lawsuit against a theme park for collecting fingerprints of minors without parental consent may depend on how the Illinois Supreme Court rules on a case it heard Tuesday.The question of whether someone is harmed if they didn’t consent to having their biometric data taken was heard Tuesday by the Illinois Supreme Court. Alexander Rosenbach was 14 years old when he went to Six Flags in Gurnee for a school field trip in May 2016. Alexander’s mother bought him a season pass before he got to the park he was required to give a fingerprint. His  mother didn’t consent to the fingerprint scan. Illinois law regulates how biometric information is handled. After making its way through the lower courts on the question of whether someone can sue over the issue. Defending Six Flags in front of the Supreme Court was Kathleen O’Sullivan. She asked the court to rule only on when someone has the right to sue.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, along with a coalition of 15 states, opposed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s  proposal to roll back important protections from harmful greenhouse gas pollution. Madigan says the agency’s plan to throw out a rule designed to protect against the release of extremely potent greenhouse gases, such as hydrofluorocarbons, is unlawful and poses a serious threat to public health and the environment. The EPA published its proposal to roll back the rule, claiming that the agency does not have the authority to require maintenance and leak-repair for appliances that contain HFCs. The EPA also sought comment on whether it should roll back its technician training and certification programs.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Want to learn more about the Shop Rantoul First program. You are invited to a brunch from 10 til noon on Saturday. The event is set for the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office in downtown Rantoul. Saturday is also Shop Small business Saturday.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- The wreaths across America program has a local event in one Southern Iroquois County town. That will take place in Cissna Park in mid-december. Family, friends or community supporters may purchase a wreath to place on a grave of a veteran. Those wanting to help with the December 15th event at the Cissna Park American Legion are asked to contact a member of the local legion or inquire at King-Danforth Insurance in Cissna Park.


(Springfield--jc)  -- House Republicans say they are having to play by different rules to get public works grants to their local districts.The budget passed in May included guaranteed funding for millions of dollars in grants for local infrastructure projects. For example, the budget included $500,000 for infrastructure in Belleville. The 1,200-plus page budget enacted this summer grants $75.3 million for “grants and loans to local governments to get their projects going.  There’s no direct line item appropriations for that grant funding. A list obtained Tuesday by Illinois News Network has different projects for districts held by House Republicans totaling $12.6 million.


Peas and Carrots. They are not vegetables, but rather two lucky turkeys to be saved from the oven by a Presidential pardon.




Intent to Strike Notice Filed by Champaign Unit 4 School Teachers.

(Champaign--jc) The intent to strike notice has been filed by Champaign Unit 4 school teachers. That means teachers could strike  on Monday if a new deal is not reached. That would also mean no school for kids in the school district once a strike would begin. Class size and wages remain two subjects the two sides need to solve. There is a meeting between the two sides later today


(Springfield--jc)  --The Illinois Department of Public Health has launched an antibiotic awareness campaign to get people to think twice before taking the commonly overused medication.While antibiotics can save lives, people tend to use them when they’re not needed. As much as 50 percent of all antibiotics prescribed are not needed or are not as effective as prescribed, according to an IDPH news release. Such overuse can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Each year in the U.S., at least two million people become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and at least 23,000 die.To fight symptoms of the common cold,  state health officials recommend acetaminophen, nasal sprays, getting plenty of rest and drinking tea with honey for a sore throat.


CHICAGO (AP) — Many American parents are on a mission to limit how much time their kids spend on phones and other devices. It's a constant battle, as many kids see screen-time limits as unjustified punishment. Experts say parents should set some limits, but also consider whether their child is healthy, making good friends and doing well in school. And parents need to put down their own devices, too, for screen-free family time.


(Paxton--ab) PBL parents with children in grades K-5th grade, Paxton Park District youth basketball early Registration is due by this Wednesday, November 21st and Final Registration is due by 

If you need a new form you can find them on the park district website: or stop by the park district office! Call the Paxton Park District with any questions at 379-4203


(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton’s annual Christmas Tree in downtown Paxton was set up on Monday morning. The lighting of the tree will take place on Friday at 7 PM. Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock says there will be hot cocoa and more at the lighting.



Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock

The event is sponsored by Pride in Paxton.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will join Illinois P-I-R-G for the release of its 33rd annual “Trouble in Toyland” report. It lists recalled toys from the past year, including toys that may be available for sale online. Madigan also will release her annual Safe Shopping Guide, detailing toys as well as children’s products and furniture that have been recalled in the past year.



(Paxton--ab) The state of Illinois released their latest report cards and the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School district discussed those results and more at the last school board meeting for the district. One major improvement the district needs to address is chronic absenteeism says Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.



Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.



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



(Paxton--jc)  -- The merger between a local bank and a bank in Joy Illinois has gone smoothly. Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois Vice President Nick Reutter says the merger allows more services and the same professional staff remains…



Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois Vice President Nick Reutter



(Urbana-jc)  -- A Champaign police officer will be honored for his duty to the village of Rantoul and Champaign County law enforcement.  A reception for Champaign County Chief Deputy Allen Jones is set for this afternoon. The event is for the Champaign County Sheriff’s office from 2pm to 4pm. WPXN News would like to thank Jones for all his police service to the area.


(Washington--jc)  -- For hog producers 2019 could end up being a lot like 2018, only more so.Gary Crawford reports…




(Thomasboro--jc) We now know the names of three Champaign County men who were passengers in a fatal accident from Friday afternoon near Thomasboro. They include 33 year old Brandon Rush of Savoy, 23 year old DaDreon Carter of Rantoul and  Kamereion Barber of Urbana. The driver of the vehicle, 23 year old Johnterrieon Carter of Urbana was fatally injured in the mishap. No medical conditions on the passengers was provided.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The City of Paxton’s Christmas tree has been placed in downtown at the intersection of State and Market streets. Workers from the city and Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative placed the tree in downtown on Monday morning.  The Colorado blue spruce was donated by Wes and Pat Dodd from their property on West Orleans. For the city tree the local Paxton Service Club selects a tree to be used by the city. The lighting of the city of Paxton Christmas tree is 7pm Friday night.


(Rantoul--jc)  One popular downtown Rantoul business is relocating to the Champaign area. Jill’s Creative Expressions selling its downtown building in Rantoul. Store owners say they are moving the operation to the Champaign area. The business will remain open and will continue to serve the Rantoul area. The building is listed at 99 thousand dollars. Those interested may contact Herman Fogal with Realty 2000.



(Watseka--jc)  The Iroquois County  Old Courthouse Museum in Watseka, will be closed Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week, for the Thanksgiving holiday. During December, the museum will be open Sunday December 2nd from 1-4 that afternoon. This will be the regular first-Sunday-of-the-month opening; however, this will also be the time of an open house to celebrate the opening of Christmas Tree Lane and Christmas House Gallery. The general public is invited to come view all the trees and houses and cast their votes for their favorites. Light refreshments will be served during this time, and holiday music will play throughout the museum. On Sunday December 16th,  the museum will again be open 2-7 p.m., which will be perfect for those attending the Iroquois County Christmas Cantata.



A Second Watseka Man has Died from Complications Related to Traumatic Injuries Sustained in a Three Vehicle Crash in Iroquois County

(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a second Watseka  man, who has died from complications related to traumatic injuries sustained in a three vehicle crash in Iroquois County on Saturday night. 56 year old  Michael Strong of Watseka was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle driven by Howard Kissack that was struck head on by another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana late Saturday night. No autopsy will be performed however an inquest may be held at a later date. This death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police.



(Springfield--jc)  -- As crews continue clean-up from recent snowfall, the Illinois Department of Transportation is launching is annual “winter-weather...get it together” campaign. The best advice is when roads are bad to stay home if you can says I-DOT Spokesperson Jessie Decker…


I-DOT Spokesperson Jessie Decker.

Please give snow plows plenty of room to do their job too.


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois officials are looking for a 16 percent state funding increase to make up for stalled faculty hiring while its enrollment has grown during the state's two-year budget impasse. Administrators say the Urbana-Champaign campus is now last among its 10-member national peer group with a student-faculty ratio of 18-to-1. The campus ranked sixth in 2008. Officials say the school is losing competitiveness because of larger class sizes.


(Mahomet--jc)  Mahomet Seymour School District board members are expected to approve the name of its weight room when they meet tonight in monthly session.

A look at some new courses to be offered, renewing the health and dental insurance, and adoption of the 20-18 tax levy also are agenda items. The Mahomet Seymour school board meeting comes to order at 7 tonight in the middletown prairie conference room.



(Champaign--jc)  --A Federal Graduation Rate report released by the NCAA shows good news on graduation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.. The Fighting Illini earned an overall score of 91 percent, a new University of Illinois record during the 14-year history of the report. Data reports a 6 year period that began in 20-12.The eight Illini programs that posted perfect GSR scores of 100 were baseball, men's golf, women's basketball, women's gymnastics, softball, soccer, swimming and diving and women's tennis.



(Urbana--jc) Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of an Urbana  man who has died after being involved in a motor vehicle versus garbage truck crash near Thomasboro on Friday afternoon. 23 year old Johnterrieon Carter, died later at the  Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department as a result of traumatic injuries he received from the incident. Carter was driving southbound on US Route 45 with 3 other passengers when his vehicle crossed the median. He entered the northbound lanes of US Route 45 and collided head-on with a Mack Garbage truck. Mr. Carter and his passengers were reportedly ejected from the vehicle.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting in downtown Paxton is set for 7 on Friday night. The event is sponsored by Pride in Paxton. . Hot cocoa and cookies and story time will be provided by Vineyard Church immediately following the tree lighting. The public is invited to attend the annual event.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — High school and home school students and their families can learn more about an early college program that could reduce the time it takes to earn an associate's degree or bachelor's degree after high school. An informational session on the Early Transfer Academy  has been set for Monday, December 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Parkland College's Student Union, Room U140. College faculty and administrators will be on hand to discuss the academy, its benefits to students, and the eligibility requirements for participation.


(Undated--jc)-- The busiest travel day of the year is coming later this month as we head toward the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Companies Hopper and Insure-My-Trip have some tips on what airports and flights to avoid. The busy travel days are Wednesday  November 21st and Sunday November 25th around Thanksgiving. Chicago O’Hare Airport will be busiest at 6pm on Wednesday the 21st and the 3rd busiest airports are L-A-X in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Those traveling over the upcoming holiday are asked to be prepared for long lines and long waits at all airport. Over a million travelers will be flying out of  the airport over the Thanksgiving holiday period.


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



CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker's campaign have asked a judge to toss out a racial discrimination lawsuit filed a few weeks before the November general election by 10 campaign workers. A motion to dismiss the lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court. The current and former campaign staffers are African-American and Latino. They said in the lawsuit that they were harassed and discriminated against because of their race.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Documents provided to The Associated Press show that the death of an inmate following an "altercation with correctional staff" at Western Illinois Correctional Center in May has been ruled a homicide. Sixty-five-year-old Larry Earvin died from blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen. The death certificate was issued by Clinton County in southern Illinois. The FBI is investigating the May 17 incident at the prison in Mount Sterling. Corrections officials will not release details.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Fire Marshal is warning about the dangers of deep fryers and smokers this Thanksgiving. If you are cooking your turkey in a fryer or smoker outside, the best thing to do is make sure it’s away from the house and that you keep a close eye on it says Illinois Fire Marshal Matt Perez…



Illinois Fire Marshal Matt Perez

Perez adds to keep children and pets away from the cooker and have a fire extinguisher close.



(Fisher--jc)  --The 9th Annual Fisher Christmas Parade will be Saturday December 1st at 5pm. Line up starts at 4pm at the Fairgrounds. Decorated floats and golf carts, antique cars and tractors are needed. The Fisher National Bank will hold an event after the parade at the Fisher Community center.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Two public defenders from Peoria County say requiring permits to carry firearms outside the home is unconstitutional. The Peoria Journal Star reports that defense attorneys Chandra Justice and Mark Rose have filed motions in several cases in which defendants are charged with felony aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Illinois allows carrying concealed firearms with a permit. Justice and Rose argue requiring a permit violates the Second Amendment right to bear arms.


ANTIOCH, Ill. (AP) — A woman doing landscaping on her suburban Chicago property unearthed the bones of a man who died more than 800 years ago. The Lake County News-Sun reports that the woman was digging in Antioch Township near Fox Lake in September when she unearthed some bones. She called authorities when she found a human jaw. Crime scene investigators, anthropologists and other experts secured the area and recovered 75 percent of the skeleton of a man of about 20 to 30 years old who died at least 800 years ago.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — A Southern Illinois University official says one of the Carbondale campus's iconic 17-story towers will reopen to students next fall. The Southern Illinoisan reports that the university has decided to close University Hall and reopen Neely Hall. Neely Hall was one of three high rise dorms that were closed for the 2018-2019 school year after an enrollment decline left the university unable to fill them.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The new exhibit called ‘Holidays at the White House’ is now open at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential museum in Springfield. The exhibit features ornaments, decorations, clothing and more from Christmas celebrations with Presidents Johnson through Bush says museum director Alan Lowe…



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Director Alan Lowe


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- The Cissna Park News office was the center for gathering  shoeboxes for the past month. Operation Christmas Child is another huge success in Iroquois County. Members of Trinity Lutheran Church as well as hundreds of donors filling shoeboxes with items for needy children around the world. The local effort is part of Operation Christmas Child, an evangelical Christian relief effort. In the Cissna Park and Iroquois County area more than 1 thousand 500 shoeboxes are being delivered from the Cissna Park News office to the regional drop off area to then be distributed to needy kids. Other areas that had drop off sites included the Meadowbrook Community Church in Champaign, Danville Alliance Church, First Baptist Church in Rantoul, Calvary Baptist Church Monticello and Gibson City Bible Church. Officials say thanks to all who helped and donated this year



Eavesdropping Charges Filed Against Urbana District 116's Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Instruction

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Eavesdropping charges have been filed against a central Illinois schools administrator who allegedly intended to secretly record a closed session of the school board.  Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz alleged Thursday that Samuel Byndom used a device disguised as a pen to record an October 28th closed session of the school board. The 35-year-old Byndom is Urbana District 116's assistant superintendent of learning and instruction.


(Springfield--jc)  --Counties would have more flexibility with sales tax dollars meant for public safety under a bill that has been sent to the Illinois House. In counties were voters had previously approved tax hikes to fund public safety, the bill would give local officials the ability to use that revenue for other purposes, including to address mental health and substance abuse issues. Chief Senate sponsor Dave Syverson says amended House Bill 4560 clarifies how counties can use sales tax increases meant for public safety.Syverson adds the new version provides more options..The public safety money the bill frees up will allow counties to focus resources on a major driver of crime.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois General Assembly has convened to conclude the first week of its fall session. The House and Senate were in session Thursday to continue working through consideration of Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes of legislation from earlier in the year. It took up and voted to override vetoes of legislation to help immigrant victims of crime get visas to stay in the U.S. and to restrict tobacco sales to those 21 or older.


(Washington--jc)  What size turkey should you buy to feed your Thanksgiving guests? Gary Crawford has the details…




CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Illinois board has approved a $100,000 bonus to system President Tim Killeen for the third straight year. Board of Trustees members voted during Thursday's meeting in Chicago to award the performance bonus to Killeen. The university says that bonus gives Killeen a total compensation of $700,000 for this year, the same as last year.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Senate is overriding the governor’s veto of an immigration bill aimed at fighting human trafficking. The measure encourages illegal immigrants who are victims of a violent crime to report that incident. They could do this without fear of being deported. Human traffickers need to be stopped says Illinois Senate President John Cullerton…



Illinois Senate President John Cullerton

The Illinois House must also override the measure for it to become law.


(Urbana-jc)  -- A Champaign police officer will be honored for his duty to the village of Rantoul and Champaign County law enforcement.  A reception for Champaign County Chief Deputy Allen Jones is set for Tuesday afternoon. The event is for the Champaign County Sheriff’s office from 2pm to 4pm.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton Christmas parade steps off  at 1-30 in the afternoon on Saturday November 24th. The theme for this year’s parade is “Christmas Express in downtown Paxton.”Paxton Parade Spokesperson Teri Hancock says its a great way for the community to get together.



Paxton Parade Spokesperson Teri Hancock

Information about the parade is found by calling Paxton Pride Director Teri Hancock at 379-4245. WPXN will be broadcast the parade live on the 24th.


(Potomac--jc)  One Vermilion County town is set to decorate its utility poles. Officials in Potomac say individuals will adopt of pole to decorate starting on Thanksgiving. The Holiday decorations will remain on the poles through the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday.



(Undated--jc)-- The busiest travel day of the year is coming later this month as we head toward the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Companies Hopper and Insure-My-Trip have some tips on what airports and flights to avoid. The busy travel days are Wednesday  November 21st and Sunday November 25th around Thanksgiving. Chicago O’hare airport will be busiest at 6pm on Wednesday the 21st and the 3rd busiest airports are L-A-X in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Those traveling over the upcoming holiday are asked to be prepared for long lines and long waits at all airport. Over a million travelers will be flying out of  the airport over the Thanksgiving holiday period.



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



OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — For the first time this year, a monthly survey of bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states indicates the regional rural economy is shrinking.The overall index of the Rural Mainstreet survey for November sank to 49.9, the first time it's dipped below 50 since January and down from October's 54.3. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the farm sector continues to be weakened by tariffs and low commodity prices.Bankers from 10 midwestern states, including Illinois, were surveyed for this report.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- An Illinois teen won't face felony eavesdropping charges for recording a talk with a school principal after prosecutors decided to drop the matter Thursday after the case got national attention .Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe dismissed the charges against 14-year-old Paul Boron. When Boron was 13, he was called into Manteno Middle School Principal David Conrad’s office. Boron told Conrad that he had been recording with his phone. The principal told Boron that he was committing a felony and ended the meeting. Two months later, Boron was charged with eavesdropping, which is a Class 4 felony in Illinois.

Again, those charges have been dropped



The annual Paxton tree lighting ceremony is one week from today. Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock has the details...



Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock  



With Democrats mostly in control of Illinois government, funding for certain programs could be cut. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



(Undated--jc)  -- Hunters hitting the fields this weekend for firearm deer season are urged to take basic safety precautions. There were 19 hunting accidents reported last year in the state. Three were fatalities involving hunters falling from tree stand. Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross says safety harnesses are a must…



I-D-N-R Spokesperson Ed Cross

Cross says hunters are also advised to wear blaze orange while hunting



(Champaign--jc)  Champaign unit 4 teachers have filed an intent to strike notice. The local teachers union and school board have been meeting for several months to try and reach a new deal. The two sides have agreed to meet on Tuesday to try to hammer out a new contract. By filing the notice, teachers in the Unit 4 district could go on strike after Thanksgiving



(Woodworth--dg)  -- You are invited to attend a auction and meal fundraiser on Sunday in the Southern Iroquois County town of Woodworth. The  9th Annual Ford-Iroquois 4-H auction will take place Sunday November 18th at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Woodworth. A pork burger meal starts at 1:30 with the Auction starting at 2pm. Proceeds benefit 4-H groups in Ford and Iroquois counties.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The state’s unemployment rate increased slightly last month to four point two percent. The October jobless rate rose a tenth of a point over September. Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough says the good news is that more than 10 thousand jobs were added in October in Illinois…



I-D-E-S Spokesperson Bob Gough


(Rantoul--jc)  A meet and greet with new Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower was a huge success. Dozens of local officials, dignitaries and citizens got to meet the new administrator at the municipal building on Thursday afternoon. Eisenhower has been getting acclimated to the new job for a couple of weeks.



(Gibson City--jc) A lighted Christmas parade is set for Gibson City tomorrow night.  The 24th annual event steps of around 6-30 from the County Market store along route 9 and moves to the downtown area. Stores will be open for the holidays and food and additional activities also hi-lite the event in Gibson City on Saturday.



(Champaign--jc)  Parkland College has a new peace officer She is Somphon "Sam" Penland. Penland has been with the local junior college just shy of 10 years. She was sworn into her new position at Parkland College trustee meeting this week.



Senate Has Voted to Reverse the Governor's Veto on Legislation Prohibiting the Sale of Tobacco Products to Those Under 21

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Senate has voted to reverse the governor's veto on legislation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to those under 21. Deerfield Democratic Sen. Julie Morrison's proposal was OK'd 36-19. The veto override required 36 votes. It moves to the House. The ban would include cigarettes and cigars, snuff and chew, e-cigarettes and vaping materials. Morrison says smoking "is not a right or a benefit, it's an addiction."


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says she's running for Chicago mayor. The Democrat announced her bid Wednesday, about one week after she won re-election as the state's top fiscal officer. In a campaign video, the 46-year-old Mendoza says the February election "is about the next generation, not just the next four years." Mendoza joins a field of more than a dozen candidates vying to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who's not seeking a third term.


CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago-based U.S. attorney has declared that prosecuting cases tied to gun violence is a top priority and that his office has new resources to pursue them. John Lausch told reporters Wednesday that more Chicago federal prosecutors are dedicated to violent-crime cases than ever. The President Donald Trump appointee said that includes 12 additional prosecutors over the past year.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning several repairs projects for Illinois River dams that could interrupt barge traffic for much of summer 2020. The six projects announced by the Corps of Engineers extend from the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet to the LaGrange Lock and Dam near Versailles. Locks near Peoria, Ottawa and Marseilles will face closures.



(Springfield--jc)  With the fall veto session underway in Springfield, one new face is 104th district State Representative Mike Marron a Republican from Fithian in Vermillion County. Marron says he was in “awe” when he arrived in Springfield to represent the people of the 104th district…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron. Marron had served as the Vermillion County Board Chairman before being elected to the Illinois House last week.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- One local church has set up a worship service and church decorating event.  The American Lutheran Church in Rantoul will be the venue for the “Church Family” afternoon on Sunday November 25th. That Sunday the church will have a combined service at 9am. The Church Family event begins in the afternoon with decorating activites, a potluck, cookies and fellowship. More information about the event is found by calling the American Lutheran Church in Rantoul.



(Springfield--jc)  -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers is looking to override the governor’s veto of car-share legislation. The measure addresses peer-to-peer car sharing, where people can rent their personal vehicles to consumers. State Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago says it applies many of the same state regulations as car rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise…



State Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago.

The governor has vetoed the measure saying it would stifle an emerging industry



Gibson City, IL—November 15, 2018 – Today, on National Rural Health Day, one local hospital is being recognized for excellence. Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services officials say the local facility has been recognized by The Chartis Center of Rural Health and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health for overall excellence in patient perspectives, which, reflect top quartile performance among all rural hospitals in the nation. Gibson Area Hospital C-E-O Rob Schmitt says the award continues to represent yet another example of how the staff, physicians, volunteers, and board live the mission and vision of Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services. Schmidt added the hospital is honored to received this award and recognition.



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


(Paxton--jc)  School is expected to back in session this morning for those in the Clara Petersen school in Paxton. The school was closed on Wednesday due  to a water main break. Officials say the issue has been cleared up and its back to a normal schedule today.



Pesotum – Illinois State Police District 10 Commander, Captain Louis Kink, announced the results of a Roadside Safety Check held in Vermilion County this past weekend. The roadside safety check  was conducted at U.S. Route 150 Eastbound at Henning Road, Danville, by District 10 Troopers. 15 citations were handed out including 5 alcohol violations and 10 driver license tickets.


(Chicago--jc)  -- What makes a state a great place to live? A new report narrows it to three factors and ranks Illinois in the middle of the pack at number 21.The financial and opinion website 24/7 Wall Street used three socioeconomic factors to rank all 50 states' livability. Those factors are poverty rate, life expectancy at birth and percentage of adults with a college education.Jeffrey Brown, a former senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers and Dean of the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said education often determines a community’s standard of living. Illinois was ranked 21st on the list with a life expectancy of 79 years and a poverty rate of 12.6 percent. But Brown said the report didn't take into account other economic factors.



INDIANAPOLIS- Foreigner, one of the biggest-selling bands in history and creator of some of rock's most enduring hits, will headline the Miller Lite Carb Day Concert on Friday, May 24, 2019 to conclude one of the most exciting days in the Month of May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The concert starts at 3:30 p.m. on the Miller Lite Stage inside Turn 4 of the IMS oval. An opening artist will be announced in the coming weeks.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The merger of the Farmers Merchants Bank has gone smoothly. The local financial institution  has a slight name change and also has a sister bank in the western Illinois community of Joy, Illinois. Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois Vice President Nick Reutter says the merger was a smooth one…



Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois Vice President Nick Reutter.

Staff remains the same and the addition of the new corporation allows even more services locally at the banks in Paxton, Melvin and Piper City.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —  Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the 2018 property tax levy during its monthly meeting last night. Trustees approved an increase to the school's property tax levy  that will allow the college to capture additional tax revenue generated by an increase in the equalized assessed value  within the district. Officials assured the board and community that, based on the projections, district homeowners and businesses should still see an overall decrease in the college's tax rate on next year's bill. Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles say with the proposal, an increase with the new tax and E-A-V overall will see a slight decrease on tax bills for homeowners..



(Washington--jc)  -- The U.S. Agriculture Secretary says it's up to China as to if, or when, U.S. and China trade negotiations might resume. Gary Crawford has the details..




(Rantoul--jc) -- The date is today. The time is 5pm to 7pm. The place is the municipal building on Tanner Street in Rantoul. The purpose of the event is a time for the public to meet new Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower and his wife Amy. Eisenhower has been on the job as the new Rantoul Village Administrator since earlier this month.


The 9th Annual Ford-Iroquois 4-H auction will take place Sunday November 18th at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Woodworth. A pork burger meal starts at 1:30 with the Auction starting at 2pm. Proceeds from this auction are used to cover participation fees, totaling over $14,000 for all 4-Hers in Ford and Iroquois County. There will be a wide variety of items to bid on including TV’s, tools, Chrome Laptop, John Deere Toys, seed corn, craft items, food and more. Items for sale are donated by local businesses, individuals, and 4-H Clubs. You can find a list of items on the Ford & Iroquois Counties 4-H Facebook page.



(Champaign--jc)  Champaign Unit 4 teaches and the local school board made some progress in a major meeting last night, but the teachers may still file an intent to strike later today. The two sides are expected to meet on Tuesday November 20 to try and reach a new deal. If an intent to strike notice is given, teachers could walk off the job after Thanksgiving.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The city of Paxton Christmas parade steps off  at 1-30 in the afternoon on Saturday November 24th. The theme for this year’s parade is “Christmas Express in downtown Paxton.” The Christmas parade committee and Pride in Paxton are looking for entries for this year’s event. Information about the parade is found by calling Paxton Pride Director Teri Hancock at 379-4245.

WPXN will be broadcast the parade live on the 24th.



Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Supports Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker's Plans to Legalize Recreational Marijuana and Create a Graduated Income Tax

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says he supports Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker's plans to legalize recreational marijuana and create a graduated income tax.The Chicago Democrat said Tuesday he's had several "very friendly and very productive" conversations with Pritzker since the Democrat beat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in last week's election.Madigan said he believe Pritzker would pursue the marijuana and tax platforms he campaigned on. Pritzker believes taxes on legalized marijuana could bring in $700 million to $1 billion a year. The graduated tax ideas would  require a constitutional amendment.


(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois legislature is in fall veto session. Dozens of measures are being looked into. WPXNs Austin Burklund has the story…




(Springfield--jc)  -- Corn and soybean harvesting is nearing completion as we hear in the weekly crop report. Temperatures were 7 degrees below normal and rain was almost an inch above normal this past week. State Crop Statistician Brad Summa says producers are wrapping up harvest…



State Crop Statistician Brad Summa.

90 percent of winter wheat has been planted and 74 percent has emerged. As for statewide topsoil moisture, 4 percent is short, 70 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus.


(Paxton--jc)  A Clarence Illinois man was due in court yesterday to face a misdemeanor battery charge. 47 year old Michael Hari did not make a court appearance on Tuesday in Ford County Court because his public defender was unable to make the court appearance due to an illness. Ford County judge Matt Fitton set a pre trial hearing for 11-30 am on January 29. Hari is being held in Livingston County jail. Hari faces federal charges concerning the bombing of a mosque in Minnesota. That trial is expected to start on February 5th.



(Washington--jc)  -- Producer group and ag organization members believe a new Farm Bill will be completed and signed into law before Congress ends its current session this year. Rod Bain talks with national group leaders…



(Chicago--jc)  --J.B. Pritzker, Illinois' next governor, promised higher taxes on the wealthy would provide for new state revenue to spend on everything from roads to schools, but some tax experts say other states have sometimes had trouble collecting from wealthier residents who own property and businesses elsewhere.Pritzker, along with other Democratic lawmakers, have proposed changing Illinois’ Constitution to allow for graduated income tax rates that would require people who earn more to pay higher income tax rates.If lawmakers succeed in taxing the state’s wealthy residents more, some could choose to move elsewhere. It’s relatively easy for well-to-do residents to declare a winter address in Florida as their main homestead, said Zach Gray with Wall Street Financial Group, a financial planning firm with locations in Bourbonnais, Bloomington, and other towns across Illinois. Such tax avoidance schemes have been problematic in other states, including New York.


SPRINGFIELD — A federal judge has ordered state corrections officers to undergo training on transgender issues, stemming from a lawsuit filed by an inmate who wants to be transferred to the women's prison in Lincoln.Inmate  The Pantagraph reports that Deon Hampton, who is known as Strawberry Hampton, identifies as a female and is being held in the segregation unit of Dixon Correctional Center, an all-male prison. Hampton, 27, has sued the state and I-D-O-C officials, claiming she was subjected to harassment and sexual assault while housed at four male prisons during the past two years. She is serving a 10-year sentence for residential burglary in Cook County.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Officials with the Champaign County coroner’s office believe the death of an 11 year old boy from Mahomet was due to natural causes. Officials say a rare heart defect was the cause of death.  Joel Roberts passed away over the weekend. Services are set for Friday morning at 11am at the Mahomet United Methodist Church. A visitation takes place from 3 until 7 Thursday at the church


(Springfield--jc)  -- New legislation would make metal detectors available to all Illinois Schools. State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago says the use of metal detectors would greatly help prevent mass school shootings..



State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago



(St Joseph--jc)  The road project between Champaign and St Joseph will be complete tomorrow. The project has slowed traffic along Interstate 74 for months. Illinois Department of Transportation officials say a few minor items will remain, but the signs and equipment will be gone. State Police remind the motoring public to please drive defensively on all roadways.




CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he is not sorry the city and the state of Illinois didn't offer Amazon more than $2.25 billion to bring its second headquarters to the city. Amazon announced Tuesday it will divide its second North American headquarters between Crystal City, Virginia and the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, New York. Emanuel acknowledged subsidies are part of the reason Chicago lost the Amazon sweepstakes.


CHICAGO (AP) — Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker says he will live at least part time at the Illinois governor's mansion in Springfield. Pritzker says he and his wife will do a lot of commuting to their Chicago home as their 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son will stay at their current schools. The billionaire Democrat will take office in January. The mansion built in 1855 underwent a $15 million renovation that was completed this year.


(Watseka--jc)  A southern Iroquois County man plead not guilty to an aggravated arson charge. 36 year old Ronald Camp the second made the not guilty plea in Iroquois County Court on Tuesday. The charge stems from a fire at a downtown business and apartment complex in the village of Loda. That fire occurred on October 23rd. . The next step in the case is a status hearing on January 3rd at 9-30am



(Washington--jc)  -- Soybean crop may be lower than most analysts had expected. Gary Crawford reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Chamber officials  are inviting area businesses for a Community Coffee this morning. The event is set for the chamber office in downtown Rantoul. The coffee time runs from 7-30 until 9. Those attending are asked to bring business cards, talk about promotions, issues and ideas.. Coffee and light refreshments will be served.



DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a 20-year-old man has been arrested following the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy in central Illinois. The shooting happened Monday evening near downtown Decatur. Police say officers responding to a report of shots fired found the boy, who was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports Macon County Coroner Michael Day identified the boy as Marqueius N. Gray. Police say additional arrests were possible.


(Naperville--ab) Thanksgiving is almost here and the folks at Butterball Turkey are ready for your questions to make the best Turkey possible. Butterball Hotline Host Nicole Johnson says there a lot of ways to interact with the Butterball hotline for your holiday prep….


Butterball Hotline host Nicole Johnson

You can hear the entire interview with Johnson during the 8am hour today.



(Champaign--jc)   – The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced today that it will break ground on a new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility for the Fighting Illini baseball program, and that a lead naming gift of three million dollars  has been pledged by Susie Atkins. The facility, which will go before the University of Illinois Board of Trustees for final approval at its January meeting, will be named the Susan and Clint Atkins Baseball Training Center.

This donation, which makes the Illinois baseball building a reality, is the second major Illinois Athletics facility gift from the Atkins Family. The first was the $2.5 million donation for the Atkins Tennis Center, completed in 1991. The Atkins Tennis Center's creation sparked the beginning of the great national and Big Ten success the Illinois tennis programs enjoy today.


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





Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Observed Veterans in Chicago and Says All Veterans Should Be Honored

(Chicago--jc)  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was in Chicago Monday morning to help observe Veterans Day activities. The governor says all Illinoisans and Americans should honor all veterans…



Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Stephen Curda says veterans are the role models we all need…



Illinois D-V-A Director Stephen Curda



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A state House committee will take up contentious questions surrounding the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in a hearing later today. The Tourism, Hospitality & Craft Industries Committee will review a $26 million collection of Lincoln artifacts the organization's fundraising foundation purchased and the more than $9 million remaining on the loan. The collection includes an iconic stovepipe hat purportedly belonging to Lincoln, but secret tests on it failed to produce a concrete link.


CHICAGO (AP) — Preventing heart attacks and other problems dominates top news from an American Heart Association conference that ended yesterday in Chicago. One study finds that fish oil in the amount and type contained in many dietary supplements gave no clear benefit for generally healthy people but a prescription version in people at higher risk for heart problems did. Vitamin D pills gave no benefit.


(Paxton--ab) The Paxton-Buckley-Loda Education Foundation made an announcement that an anonymous donor has given a gift of 250,000 dollars. Foundation Spokesperson Carl Hudson Jr. says the gift ensures that all donations will go straight to the school district instead of waiting for the donation pool to reach 250,000 dollars the legal amount it takes to trigger endowment status.



PBL Education Foundation Spokesperson Carl Hudson Jr.



CHICAGO (AP) — Move more, sit less and get kids active as young as age 3, say new federal guidelines that stress that any amount and any type of exercise helps health. The advice is the first update since the government's physical activity guidelines came out a decade ago. Since then, the list of benefits of exercise has grown, and there's more evidence to back things that were of unknown value before, such as short, high-intense workouts and taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Preventive Medicine expert Doctor Donald Lloyd-Jones says  doing something is better than doing nothing, and doing more is better than doing something. Lloyd-Jones adds that only 20 percent of Americans get enough exercise now, and the childhood obesity problem has prompted the push to aim younger to prevent poor health later in life. Highlights of the advice released Monday at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.




(Chicago--jc_  Small businesses in Illinois and across the country can't find enough workers to fill open positions That’s the word from the latest national survey from the National Federation of Independent Business. That report showed nearly 90-percent of respondents reported few or no qualified applicants for job openings. Illinois Director for the N-F-I-B Mark Grant says the problem is worse in certain sectors


(Bloomington--jc)  --Sustainable farming practices in Illinois designed to improve water quality also face a financial test.Through emerging projects like Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, farmers are working to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels in their soil to prevent runoff into what will become the potable water supply. Illinois Farm Bureau’s Lauren  Lurkins says it’s really been an effort in place since 2015. It’s for large municipalities and wastewater treatment plants to work alongside agriculture to be able to reduce our nutrient loads into our water that ultimately makes their way to the Gulf of Mexico.


(Washington--jc)  -- U-S-D-A Deputy Chief Economist Warren Preston says record crops for soybeans are a growing thing. Preston says the list continues…



U-S-D-A Deputy Chief Economist Warren Preston.



OAK PARK, Ill. (AP) — A 14-year-old boy has been charged with sending a swastika image to the smartphones of other students during a suburban Chicago high school assembly. Oak Park police say the student at Oak Park and River Forest High School faces a misdemeanor charge of disseminating harmful material. The school said last week that someone in the auditorium sent the image using the AirDrop function of an Apple device during the Friday assembly.




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



CHICAGO – Governor. Bruce Rauner and Governor-elect JB Pritzker will make a joint appearance at the state’s 200th Birthday Party on Dec. 3rd in Chicago. That is the day in 1818 when Illinois became the nation’s 21st state. Both men rallied around a unity theme in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election.  Rauner says there is no better place to start uniting than at an event that celebrates the greatness of Illinois.


(Springfield--jc)  As part of the 10-year anniversary of the Pork Power-Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign, the Illinois Pork Producers Association , along with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and the Illinois Soybean Association Checkoff Program  is set to present 6 thousand 400 pounds of ground pork to the Central Illinois Foodbank. The event is set for 10am Friday in Springfield.. The donation will go to agencies in 15 counties across central and southern Illinois.


(Paxton--ba)-The PBL Education board received an anonymous donation of $250,000.

PBL Education Foundation spokesperson Carl Hudson Jr. lets us know how this will impact the PBL School district.  



PBL Education Foundation spokesperson Carl Hudson Jr.


(CHampaign--jc)  Champaign Unit 4 teachers and those with the school district are set to meet again tomorrow, and if no new agreement is reached, a strike could follow. The two sides have met 10 times to try and reach a new contract. The consensus of the teachers is that if no agreement is reached on Wednesday, they will file an intent to strike. That means a strike could occur in the district following the Thanksgiving holiday.


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a 20-year-old man has been arrested following the shooting death of a 12-year-old boy in central Illinois.The shooting happened Monday evening near downtown Decatur.Police say officers responding to a report of shots fired found the boy, who was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. His name wasn't immediately released.Police say the man was being held on a preliminary charge of involuntary manslaughter. The Macon County State's Attorney's Office was expected to review the case. The Decatur Police Department says additional arrests were possible amid the ongoing investigation.



(Onarga--jc)  -- Students interested in a career in agriculture are invited to a career night tonight in Gilman. The event is set for the Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau in Gilman. Those attending will have the opportunity to talk with ag officials starting at 5pm. A formal program begins at 6pm. Learning about the duties of ag jobs and also what type of education is needed also hilites the event. Light refreshments will be served.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- The next one is number 24. The event is the lighted parade in Gibson City. The Gibson CIty Area Chamber of Commerce lighted parade steps off at 6-30 on Saturday night. The parade begins at the County Market parking lot before heading to the downtown area from route 9. One entry will win 300 dollars in Gibson City Bucks. Chamber officials say some types of lights should be part of all entries in the event.

(Rantoul--jc)  -- Today is the day for one local state senator to meet with constituents in Rantoul  State Senator Scott Bennett will be in the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office from  noon 1 pm to talk with area citizens about issues that are important to them


(Gibson City--jc) Gibson City authorities are looking for the owner of a pit bull dog. A brown pit bull was found near a local home on Monday. Anyone missing this dog is asked to call Gibson City police at 217-784-8666.


New Chancellor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will be on an Interim Basis

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — A search for a new chancellor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale after last month's death of Chancellor Carlo Montemagno should lead to someone holding the position on an interim basis within about a month. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan says that SIU Interim President J, Kevin Dorsey and the SIU Board of Trustees announced Friday that whoever is chosen will likely hold the job for about 18 to 24 months while a national search for a permanent chancellor is conducted.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Township High School board members will look to set its tax levy hearing when they meet tonight. Local board members will also hear a report from it’s Student Threat Assessment Team on updating  policy on any issues with students. The consensus of the board is to remain proactive and make safety a top priority for students, teachers and support staff. Rantoul Township High School leaders will also be given a presentation on the schools report card and hear a report on the Eagle Academy. The Rantoul Township High School board of education meets at 7 tonight at the high school


EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge in Southern Illinois is ordering state prison officials to develop training for all staff on transgender issues. The order handed down this week by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Rosenstengel comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a transgender prison inmate that claims repeated abuse and sexual assaults involving guards and inmates.


(Bloomington--jc)  -- A Rantoul man faces prison time after he plead guilty to a drug-induced homicide. 24 year old Troy McBride appeared in McLean County court on Friday and entered a plea deal. McBride faces 14 years in prison and must pay 13 thousand dollars to the family of  the victim to the man’s family for funeral costs. Prosecutors in the case proved that McBride sold drugs to a Bloomington man who took the drugs and died. Sentencing in McLean County court is set for December 28th.


(Washington--jc)  -- A top U.S. trade negotiator says there are several non-farm issues that the U.S. and China must resolve to get to addressing ag trade concerns Rod Bain Reports…




Watseka, IL – The American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout will take place on Thursday. The goal of the event is to set aside a day to help smokers quit smoking or using tobacco products for at least one day with the hope that they will quit for good.  Tobacco Coordinator for the Iroquois County Public Health Department Chris Wisniewski says, lots of smokers attempt to quit a number of times before they actually achieve quitting. Wisniewski says that what smokers call the Quitline, they will speak with a medical professional who will assist them in their quit attempt.  . The idea of the Great American Smokeout began in 1971 when Arthur Mullaney, a Massachusetts resident, asked people to give up smoking for a day and to donate the money they would have spent on tobacco to a local high school.


(Kankakee--jc)  --It’s no secret that Illinois is losing population, but a new report found that one Illinois town is losing its educated people at a faster clip than every other town in the nation except one. Local officials say the report doesn’t tell the whole story. They say the area is now gaining jobs faster than any other in the nation. Bloomberg News publishes an annual Brain Drain Index every year. The index shows cities across the country that are losing people with higher education degrees in greater numbers than other areas. .This year Kankakee was listed as the second highest in the nation on the Brain Drain Index for losses, only behind Hanford, California.Tim Nugent with the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County said those numbers were real, but only a snapshot of a moment in 2016 when the area had just lost two major employers.“The NutraSweet Merisant plant had closed back then along with the Bunge facility,” he said.Those two businesses accounted for more than 300 well-paid job losses.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Officials with the proposed Ford Ridge Wind Farm in Ford County have set up a vendor and open house for later this week in Gibson City. The event takes place on Thursday November 15th from 3pm to 8pm at the Kruse Center on Gibson City’s East side.  The group is looking for local businesses and to be vendors for the wind project. Fuel supply and hardware supplies, to gravel needs and heavy equipment operators and many more. Ford Ridge Wind Farm officials tout the fact that wind energy in Ford County  will bring more than revenue for area farmers. The wind farm is also expected to bring in jobs in Ford County and a positive economic growth.



(Paxton--jc)  -- A Veteran’s Day event is set for Paxton Buckley Loda High School this morning. The ceremony takes place at the high school at 10.  The public is invited to attend. Grade school and Junior High School children will be treated to a ceremony for Veterans Day is 8-45 this morning.



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



(Chicago--jc)  -- Employers in Illinois will see reduced payroll taxes in 2019 as unemployment continues to decline.The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced lowering unemployment insurance taxes for more than 90 percent of employers in 2019. Nearly 300,000 businesses will see lower rates with the move.Illinois Department of Employment Security Public Information Officer Bob Gough says it's a good sign for the state's economy


CHICAGO (AP) — Preventing heart attacks and other problems dominates top news from an American Heart Association conference that ends today in Chicago. One study finds that fish oil in the amount and type contained in many dietary supplements gave no clear benefit for generally healthy people but a prescription version in people at higher risk for heart problems did. Vitamin D pills gave no benefit.


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pabst Brewing Company and MillerCoors are going to trial over Pabst's charge that the brewing giant is trying to undermine its hipster competitor by breaking a contract to make their products. Pabst's lawyers argue the company's very existence relies on its business relationship with MillerCoors because it has produced nearly all its beers since 1999. MillerCoors says it's not obligated to continue brewing for Pabst. The trial in Milwaukee begins Monday.


(Champaign--jc)  --Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing preliminary autopsy results for Robert W. Chambers, 28, of Champaign who was pronounced dead at early Thursday morning  at the Carle Foundation Hospital’s Emergency Department. Preliminary results from the autopsy performed Friday indicate a wound on Mr. Chambers’ leg was not a fatal injury. Mr. Chambers’ death most likely resulted from pre-existing natural causes however; final autopsy results will not be completed until additional lab results are received. Mr. Chambers’ death is under investigation by the Coroner’s Office and Champaign Police Department.



(Washington--jc)  -- Corn price prospects get a boost as USDA cuts its corn crop forecast more than had been expected. Gary Crawford reports..




(Urbana--jc)  Champaign County Sheriff elect Dustin Heurerman has made a choice for chief deputy. She is 43 year old Shannon Barrett. She is an Urbana police officer and has served the city since 2005.



(Paxton--jc)  -- One local school funding group wants to know if you have school spirit. The Paxton Buckley Loda PIT Crew is selling Clara Petersen spirit wear and Paxton Buckley Loda Eastlawn commemorative shirts. Funds raised will go to the Clara Petersen playground fund. Orders must be made by November 16th and more information is found by calling any member of the PIT crew or Clara Petersen School in Paxton.


(Paxton--jc) When the city of Paxton leaders meet on Tuesday night, one agenda items is to approve the library tax resolution. City leaders will also look to finalize the revolving funds with the state. The city of Paxton council meeting gets underway at 7 tomorrow night on the second floor of city hall.



(Gibson City--jc)  One area legislator says school funding under Governor Bruce Rauner has helped local school kids and those around the state, test better. 106th District Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the A-C-T  scores are up…



106th District Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

(Fisher--dg)  -- The 9th Annual Fisher Christmas Parade will be Saturday December 1st at 5pm. Line up starts at 4pm at the Fairgrounds. Decorated floats and golf carts, antique cars and tractors are needed. The Fisher National Bank will hold an event after the parade at the Fisher Community center.



Illinois Voters Go to the Polls Today to Make Their Choice for Several Statewide Offices

(Undated--jc)  --- The polls are open. Illinois voters are going to the polls today to make their choice for several statewide offices. They include Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Illinois Treasurer. Voters will also elect Congressional representatives. Closer to home Ford County Republican offices are running unopposed. There is a contested race in the 2nd Ford County board district as Ann Ihrke and Cindy Irke are running as Republicans and are being opposed by Democrats Marcia Penowski and Lori Reinhart. Ford County voters have the choice to approve a quarter of one cent sales tax for public safety.

In Iroquois County voters have a choice for Iroquois County Treasurer between Kurt Albers and William Nutter. Iroquois County voters are also voting on an advisory question. That question is...Should the Illinois General Assembly refrain from passing any additional legislation limiting a citizen's right to keep and bear arms as defined by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. In Champaign County voters are making their choice for County Executive between Republican Gordy Hulten and Democrat Darlene Kloeppel. The choice for Champaign County sheriff is Republican Allen Jones and Democrat Dustin Heuerman. Running in the race for a 2 year un-expired term for Champaign Auditor are Republican Diane Michaels and Democrat George Danos. The choice for Champaign County clerk is between Republican Matt Grandone and Democrat  Aaron Ammons. The polls are open until 7 tonight.



(Rantoul--ab) On Monday, morning around 10 AM Rantoul Township High School Administrators and the Rantoul Police Department were advised that a student at Rantoul Township High School had a weapon in his possession at the school. RTHS Administrators worked with the Rantoul Police Department to safely remove the student from class. While speaking with the 17 year old male student, he admitted to having a bb gun in his backpack. The bb gun was recovered and the student was later transported to the Champaign County Youth Detention Center on preliminary charges of Disorderly Conduct.



(Undated--ab) A lot of questions usually pop up on election day. here’s some of the answers…yes, you can still register to vote, just bring two forms of i-d, and yes you can undervote if you want to skip choosing a candidate in a certain race. Additionally, it’s also okay to take a selfie, so long as your pic doesn’t included your completed ballot says State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich.



State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich.

Dietrich says the ballot can’t be in the photo since it could be offered as proof of voting a certain way in exchange for money. Find your local polling place and election day information online at: elections dot il dot gov.


(Chicago--ab) Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Monday issued an advisory to local election authorities and state’s attorneys’ offices on voter identification requirements. Madigan also announced that 187 teams of assistant attorneys general from her office will monitor the General Election to ensure that Illinois voters’ rights are protected and polling places are accessible.Madigan urges voters to contact her office if they encounter suspected improper or illegal activity on Election Day: Central and southern Illinois voters should call 1-866-559-6812.


(Springfield--ab) Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that all offices and facilities will be closed today in observance of the General Election Day. All offices and facilities will reopen tomorrow. Individuals can visit the Secretary of State’s website,, to locate the nearest Driver Services facility and the hours of operation. In addition, drivers can change an address, register to become an organ and tissue donor or renew license plate stickers online.


(Washington DC--ab) Users of a USDA web page featuring soil health online tools and data should expect a more streamlined and convenient layout after a recent update. Rod Bain of the USDA has the report.




(Champaign County--jc)  -- A Jacksonville Illinois semi driver was injured in a one vehicle accident along Interstate 74 in Champaign County Monday morning. Police say Jonathan Reynolds lost control of his rig in the west bound lanes of I-74 just before 10 Monday morning. The semi blocked the west bound lanes for several hours. Reynolds was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.



(Illinois--ba) Illinois Farm Service Agency State Executive Director William Graff announced that The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin mailing ballots to eligible agricultural producers for the 2018 FSA county committee elections.  Graff says county committee members represent the farmers, ranchers and foresters in our Illinois communities.



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





(Washington--ba) What is the history of the Natural Resources soils tools web page. N-R-C-S Spokesperson  Drew Kinney explains....



Natural Resources Conservation Service Spokesperson Drew Kinney



(Woodworth--dg)  -- The 9th Annual Ford-Iroquois 4-H auction will take place Sunday November 18th at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Woodworth. A pork burger meal starts at 1:30 with the Auction starting at 2pm. Proceeds from this auction are used to cover participation fees for all 4-Hers in Ford and Iroquois County. There will be a wide variety of items to bid on including tools, seed corn, craft items, food and more. Items for sale are donated by local businesses, individuals, and 4-H Clubs. You can find a list of items on the Ford & Iroquois Counties 4-H Facebook page.


(Buckley--dg)  --Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will be having it’s 11th Annual Deck the Halls local shopping event on Saturday November 11th. There will be plenty of local home businesses and crafts this year. This will be a great opportunity to jump start your Christmas shopping. The event runs from 9am-2pm and the CLHS Lunch stand will be open.



(Washington--ba)  What is the future for Agriculture. Stephanie Ho talks with  U-S-D-A Secretary Sonny Purdue on insights into the future of agriculture...




(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School’s annual Veterans Day ceremony will be Friday, Nov. 9, at the school. As in previous years, a slideshow of local veterans and current service members will be shown. People can see the current slideshow at a link on the school district’s Facebook page. If any additions or corrections should be made to the slideshow, people can email The school would prefer to receive digital copies of any pictures, but if necessary hard copies can be dropped off at the elementary school.


(Farmer City--ba) The Farmer City Chamber of Commerce Annual Christmas Parade will be Sunday, November 18th at 2:00pm. The theme for this year is “Christmas in the Wilderness,” and there are nearly 100 participants in this year’s parade. Individuals who still wish to enter are asked to call Chad Wills, Parade Chairman at 309-386-2791


(Springfield--jc)  -- Rainy weather slowed harvest progress a bit, as we hear in the weekly crop report. Just three days were suitable for fieldwork and average statewide topsoil increased to three percent short, 75 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus, says state Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

85 percent of winter wheat has been planted and 66 percent has emreged

(Undated--ab) Through Nov. 4 Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 26,530 deer, compared to 25,848 for the same period in 2017, according to a news release. Harvest for the past week was 8,048, peaking on Saturday with 2,665 deer, and slowing with the widespread rain and wind on Sunday. Harvest  to date has consisted of 55 percent does and 45 percent males. Sixty percent of the harvest has been taken using compound bows; 39 percent by crossbows; and one percent by traditional bows



Illinois' Largest Public Pension System Says the State Needs to Contribute 10 Percent More to its Fund Next Year

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' largest public pension system says the state needs to contribute 10 percent more to its fund next year, an increase of roughly $400 million over this year. The State Journal-Register reports the Teachers' Retirement System says the state needs to put more than $4.8 billion into the retirement fund for the budget year that begins July 1. Illinois' pension systems are more than $100 billion short of what's needed to pay promised benefits.


PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore says it has closed beach access at one of its most popular sites because recent storm waves eroded part of a sand dune and a trail. The park said this week the waves eroded the only designated trail to the beach at the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk area. It says beach access will remain closed until a safe way to the beach can be re-established.



(Mahomet--jc) Mahomet Seymour school leaders are set to meet in monthly study session tonight. On the agenda is an updated of the instructional and behavioral coaches update. The board regular monthly meeting is set for 19th. Tonights study session gets underway at 7 tonight in the board conference room in Mahomet.



(Undated--jc)-- The busiest travel day of the year is coming later this month as we head toward the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Companies Hopper and Insure-My-Trip have some tips on what airports and flights to avoid. The busy travel days are Wednesday  November 21st and Sunday November 25th around Thanksgiving. Chicago O’hare airport will be busiest at 6pm on Wednesday the 21st and the 3rd busiest airports are L-A-X in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Those traveling over the upcoming holiday are asked to be prepared for long lines and long waits at all airport. Over a million travelers will be flying out of  the airport over the Thanksgiving holiday period.



(UNDATED--ab) November is winter weather preparedness month and the Illinois emergency management agency is urging families to get ready for the cold. Winter weather in Illinois can include everything from tornadoes and rain to ice storms and heavy snow. A good place to start preparing is your car says I-EMA spokesperson Rebecca Clark....



I-EMA spokesperson Rebecca Clark

Clark says a similar kit should be set up at home since a power outage can last several days. A battery-operated weather radio is also a good idea to keep up with the latest watches and warnings.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Mother Nature threw a little bit of everything at Illinois in October. State Climatologist Jim Angel says October started warm, saw a frost, and was an Illinois into fall month…



State Climatologist Jim Angel with the Illinois Water Survey in Champaign



(Washington--jc)    The surge in weeds that are resistant to herbicides is bringing more attention to the problem of weed seeds in U.S. soybean shipments. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Rankin--jc)  One local church is hosting a holiday bazaar this Saturday. The Rankin United Methodist Church says the “Angels Among Us” event takes place from 8am until 1pm. Featured at this year’s event are crafts, a country store to trash and treasures. Rolls are available for the morning and a lunch will also be served.



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


HUDSON, Ill. (AP) — A woman's body has been recovered from a car found submerged in a central Illinois lake. The Pantagraph reports that McLean County sheriff's police received a report Friday night of a car that traveled down a boat launch and into Evergreen Lake in rural Hudson. The McLean County Coroner's office said the woman was pronounced dead late Friday, but declined to release further details.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Organizers say the Illinois State Fair relies on sponsorships to not only provide visitors with unique offerings and services but also to keep the event running. The State Journal-Register reports that organizers had more than a couple dozen sponsorship agreements for this year's state fair, which saw a decline in attendance by 8 percent from last year. The fair in Springfield attracted about 369,140 attendees this year.



(Gibson City--jc)--Rehearsals for this year’s performance of Handel-The Messiah start this evening at 7. The project is sponsored by the Gibson Area Music Foundation. Rehearsals are being held at the First Presbyterian Church in Gibson City. Dress rehearsal is December First and the 75th annual performance is set for Sunday December 2 at the Gibson City Bible Church.



(Springfield--jc)  -- An outbreak of E-H-D has claimed the lives of more than 400 deer in Illinois. The state department of Natural Resources is reporting 432 case of Epizootic Hemorrhagic disease. Illinois Department of Natural Resource spokesperson Doug Dufford says sick deer have been found in 49 Illinois counties…



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Doug Dufford.



CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago television station has obtained a video of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, who's seeking re-election Tuesday, announcing she's running for Chicago mayor. Mendoza's campaign says the ad was made in preparation for a potential run and she is still considering her options.



(Fisher--jc)  Fire drills proved to be a safety measure for kids and day care workers at a home in Fisher on Friday morning. Fisher, Cornbelt and Rantoul firefighters were called to the blaze.  The home was used by its owner as a daycare for 8 children. The owner and day care operator practiced safety with fire drills on a regular basis. Fire department officials say around 100 thousand dollars in damages was done to the home.



(Washington--jc)  -- Thanksgiving is coming and consumption in one course in the traditional meal is on the rise. Rod Bain reports…




(Springfield--jc)  -- Chairman of the National Milk Producers Foundation recently requested more cash aid for dairy farmers across the country, who he said have missed out on more than $1 billion in profits since May. Tasha Bunting, president of the Illinois Milk Producers Association, said tariffs on exports to Canada can reach up to 270-percent. That’s forcing some farmers to make tough decisions.Bunting added that several dairies have closed in Illinois. Illinois had around  600 dairies and now the state has 560.


(Calumet--jc)  -- A school board has fired the state's highest-paid superintendent for allegedly falsifying his own pay and attendance records to get a $1.7 million end-of-career payout. The Calumet City School Board fired Superintendent Troy Paraday just days before he was set to retire. Paraday earned $430,000 a year. On top of that, he tried to cash in 885 unused personal, sick and vacation days worth more than $1.7 million, according to his calculations. After news coverage of the potential payout, the board investigated. The board said it found alleged misconduct regarding Paraday's pay and fired him.



(Chicago--jc)  When the state of Illinois officially celebrates its 200th anniversary as a state. They will honor 200 Illinois veterans. That honor goes to several in the WPXN listening area. They include Bradley Gould of Rantoul, Julius Hegler of Danville,  Bruce Voges of St Joseph, The state’s celebration will also contain music by REO Speedwagon and Styx, plus a sports commemoration and more. The event takes place at the United Center in Chicago.





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