Illinois Spends More on Public School Administrators Per Student Than Any Other State in the Nation.

(Springfield--jc)  Illinois spends more on public school administrators per student than any other state in the nation. A new analysis of public school spending by the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council found Illinois spends $544 per student on administrative, non-teaching costs. That’s more than double the national average. Illinois was the only state that spent more than $1 billion in administrative costs in 2016. Illinois has 852 school districts. That's more than any other state.


(Chicago--jc)  Will Governor. J.B. Pritzker have to stop pushing for his graduated tax plan if the constitutional amendment makes it to the ballot? Illinois state law bans the use of public funds to promote a ballot initiative as well as a constitutionally-elected officer from “campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question The Daily Herald Editorial Board criticized Pritzker for traveling the state to promote what he calls a "fair tax" and for posting a calculator on Illinois’ public state website asking people to find out how their taxes would be different under his proposed rates should the income tax change the way he wants it to.


(Undated--jc)  Metro areas in the state are losing population. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the numbers…



(Gibson CIty--jc) Gibson City leaders will hear a special use liquor permit for a local festival when they meet on Monday night.  A live music festival is scheduled in the city on May 17th. The council will also hear an announcement concerning the “Friday Night Under the Lights In Downtown Gibson City”. An update on the Ed Day Skate Park and a look at the local ball diamonds is also  on Monday night’s agenda. The Gibson City Council meeting comes to order at 7 on Monday at the meeting room on 8th street.


(Ludlow--jc)  -- Ludlow village leaders want to hear from residents on a proposed water main and pump house replacement project. A public hearing is set for Tuesday April 23rd at 6pm, One proposal for the village is a 2 point 8 million dollar renovation project. Just under 70 percent would be paid for by the U S Department of Agriculture. The hearing is an informational meeting and public input is wanted.



(Bloomington--jc)  As Illinoi Governor JB Pritzker continues to push a graduated tax through the House and Senate in Springfield, one local state senator has some concerns. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the issue needs more safeguards before a constitutional vote takes place…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington

The issue is expected to move forward when lawmakers return to Springfield after the Easter holiday



(Washington--ba)-Measuring portion size is one way to limit the candy and sugary treats in Easter baskets. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.



(Washington--ba)-Egg producers are seeing prices falling at a time when those prices would be expected to go up. UDSA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Paxton--jc)  At the Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday, its pork chops, chips and soda. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm . Funds raised help the Paxton Peace Meal Program.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- It’s Easter Egg hunting time on Saturday in Rantoul. The Rantoul CORE group is hosting the event at noon on Saturday at Wabash Park. Some prizes will be awarded and the Easter Bunny will also be in attendance. The event is open to all children


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois education officials are considering whether the cost of teacher licensure tests may be contributing to the state's teacher shortage.The Illinois State Board of Education discussed  how to solve the problem while still maintaining high quality in classrooms. Higher-education partners and teacher candidates have told board members that one basic skills test costs $113 and another test is $300. The board indefinitely has put on hold the Test of Academic Proficiency starting June 30 while it studies other ways to test teachers' basic skills. Three bills are pending in the Illinois General Assembly that would eliminate the test or refund the cost to certain teachers. A board lobbyist says it has taken a neutral position on bills eliminating the test.




(Washington--ba)-Since Easter lilies in the ground don't bloom until summer, how are they produced to be available for the Easter holiday? USDA’s Rod Bain reports.




(Paxton--jc)  -- It’s Draggin’ Main in Paxton Saturday evening. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the details…





(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Department of Transportation is giving out 5 thousand trees to local school districts. Handing out seedlings to some schools has become  a tradition in honor of Earth Day on April 22 says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jessie Decker…



I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker


CHICAGO (AP) — The year's Chicago Gospel Music Festival will include a tribute to the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin. The 2019 festival runs May 31 to June 1 in Chicago's lakefront Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. City officials say the first night of the festival will feature artists honoring Franklin with a program called "Amazing Grace." Franklin died last summer at age 76.


(Springfield--jc)  --Craft distillers in the state have received good news from the Illinois House.A measure recently approved would license them based on size, giving smaller distillers some advantages. The system is modeled on the way craft brewers and winemakers currently are treated in the state.State Representative Tom Demmer of Dixon, is the lead sponsor of the bill in the House. He said the industry is small, but growing in Illinois.



(Paxton--jc)  -- One local company in Paxton is hosting an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday. Officials with Accolade Healthcare Paxton Senior Living Facility say the event is set for Saturday starting at 10am. The event is open to kids ages 1 through 10.  The Easter Bunny will also be in attendance for pictures



Some Democrats are Unhappy with J.B. Pritzker's Plan to Short the State's Teacher Pension Fund

(Springfield--jc)  --Some Democrats are unhappy with Gov. J.B Pritzker’s plan to short the state’s teacher pension fund for several years.On the campaign trail, Pritzker said the state should pay more into pensions, likening it to paying down a credit card debt earlier. But in his first budget proposal, he said the state should restructure payments and pay less than what’s required in the coming years. The state would pay more after voters approve his proposed graduated income tax structure, which would hike rates for those making more than $250,000 a year.Speaking on "Chicago Tonight," Deputy Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, said not all Democrats are on board with that idea.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A Champaign-area bus company sued last year for an ad that the state's top law enforcement official said harassed and discriminated against Chinese students at the University of Illinois will be allowed to keep operating. The consent decree approved by a federal judge to settle former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's lawsuit calls for Suburban Express to make a six-figure payment for customer refunds, implement anti-discrimination training for employees, and be closely monitored by the attorney general's office for three years. In adding to the story, the News Gazette reports that Suburban Express may have violated the consent decree. The Attorney General’s office is seeking a 10 thousand dollar fine. A hearing on that issue is set for next week.


(Undated--jc)  -- The American Alliance of Museums recently re-accredited the Illinois State Museum, giving the facility one of the highest distinctions available to museums.There are an estimated 33,000 museums in the U.S. About 1,070 museums nationwide qualify for accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.Robert Sill, interim director of the Illinois State Museum, said the museum had to go through a rigorous process to get its accreditation.



(Gibson City--jc)  Two bills that that were stopped in committee during the first part of the Spring session in Springfield dealt with gun laws. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the 2nd amendment would have come into play with the measures…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson city


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School board has set its reorganizational meeting. The local board will meet on Wednesday April 24th at 6pm. At that time, two new board members will be sworn in and board officers will be appointed for a two year period.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging the public to be prepared for strong spring storms. After a recent April snowstorm, the forecast calls for severe storms and  code red warning today. I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says its important to be prepared…



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark


(Washington--jc) Are you hunting eggs this year? We hear from Gary Crawford…



(Saybrook--jc) One local American Legion Post has a new way to welcome legion members and guests. The Saybrook  American Legion Post has placed a new sign at the David Humphrey Daniel Legion Post 427.


(Rantoul--jc)  The Rantoul Recreation Department has announced a special sale for pool passes at the Hap Parker Aquatic Center. The sale will run from May 1st through May 8th. One special is a family of 4 season pass is 250 dollars. During the special sale dates, the family season pass is 200 dollars. Other deals are also available. More is found by contacting the Rantoul Recreation Department.


(Springfield--jc)  When it comes to fatal crashes on Illinois roads, the top reason is distracted driving. Kim Howard reports…



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to honor former state agriculture director and former U.S. Agriculture Secretary John Rusling Block. The agency said Wednesday that it plans to dedicate a plaque with Block's likeness on Monday morning at the Illinois Department of Agriculture building in Springfield. Block served at U.S. agriculture secretary under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1986.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City Melvin Sibley School board members will meet on Monday for its reorganizational meeting. The new board will elect a board chairman and other officers. The board will also look at donations for the Gibson City Melvin Sibley Boosters Club. The reorganizational meeting comes to order at 6-15 on Monday night at the meeting room at the high school.


CHAMPAIGN — The Parkland College Foundation has announced its selection of David J. Downey, founder and president of The Downey Group, as the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year. Mr. Downey will receive the V. Dale Cozad Entrepreneur of the Year Award during Parkland College's 10th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Banquet, presented by SUPERVALU, Inc. An annual fundraiser for the Parkland College Entrepreneurial Program, the banquet will be held Wednesday, June 12, at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.  


(Gifford--jc)  A work conflict is the reason the Gifford Grade school board has changed its meeting date. The date for this month’s meeting is 6pm on April 24th at the school board meeting room.


(Washington--jc)  -- It will cost the Easter Bunny considerably less to bring us those eggs this year. Gary Crawford reports…




(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Public Health Department is now offering Shingrix vaccine to adults 55 years of age and older. Shingrix helps protect against shingles, a painful rash that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.  According to the Centers for Disease Control , two doses of Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles. About one in every three people in the United States will get shingles. The risk of shingles increases as you get older.  The Ford County Health Department has set a charge of 160 dollars per per dose. Staff members at the Paxton office can help you determine whether your insurance company will cover any of that cost. Contact office at 217-379-9281 to schedule an appointment.


(Chicago--jc)0 A pro-progressive tax group has released more commercials that will run statewide to convince Illinoisans and their lawmakers to support a graduated income tax.Think Big Illinois announced three new ads  that are set to run on radio and television in markets across the state.The ads say a progressive tax that takes higher percentages of a wealthier person's income is fairer than the flat tax the state currently has.


In case you were on the fence about what type of candy to hand out to the kids this Easter, go with the Reece's.Retail research site says Illinoisans' favorite Easter candy remains Reece's Peanut Butter Chocolate Eggs.Twenty-eight other states also had the non-cupped peanut butter chocolate treats as their top confection for the holiday.  


Illinois Lawmakers say That State Workers Should Live in Illinois

(Springfield--jc)  Should Illinois’ state workers be required to actually live in Illinois?Illinois lawmakers in the state Senate gave that question a resounding “yes” .The legislation would give a new employee not living within the state's boundaries three months to establish residency in Illinois. Under the issue, any position filled after December 31 of this year, any person may be appointed to a position based in the State of Illinois but they would need to become a resident of the State of Illinois within 3 months


(Paxton--jc)  Around 90 Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce members attended the annual meeting last night at the Engelbrecht Farm Event Center. Those attending enjoyed a meal catered by the Pueblo Lindo Restaurant and heard from several speakers including Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold who provided an update on the Paxton Streetscape program. Alan Meyer was elected as the new President of the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce.


(Springfield--jc)  --Hundreds of political groups across the state of Illinois are likely missing the deadline to file paperwork with the Illinois State Board of Elections.ISBE said Monday that 1,143 political committees still had not filed required quarterly reports, which were due by midnight. The agency said that figure accounts for more than a quarter of all the active political committees in the state.


(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois senate unanimously passed a bill this week to raise awareness about the state’s move-over law. The legislation requires the secretary of state’s office to include a reminder about the law in registration renewal notices…and to include a question about it on the written driver’s exam. It’s sponsored by Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet and prompted by the increase in state troopers being hit by passing motorists.


51st District State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet


(Paxton--jc)  -- A group called “Save the Paxton Pool” has been formed after officials with the Paxton Park District gave notice on reduced hours for the local pool this summer. The group is looking to find its leaders and have met once to find direction and to initially plan strategies. WPXN News has talked with group members and will continue to follow them on future newscasts. Anyone interested  in helping with the group are invited to a meeting on Monday night at 6pm at the Cobblestone Hotel on Paxton’s westside.



(Watseka--jc)  After devastating floods in the Iroquois County seat of Watseka, one business has its sign back up at a new location. The Watseka McDonalds sign was erected on Tuesday at the restaurant’s location along Route 24 near the downtown of the city.


CHICAGO (AP) — The cardinal of the Archdiocese of Chicago is offering prayers for the people of France after fire engulfed parts of Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral. Cardinal Blase Cupich asked others to join him in offering prayers for first responders, renovation workers and cathedral staff. It took firefighters more than 12 hours Monday and Tuesday to extinguish the blaze. Cupich says Chicago Catholics stand "arm in arm" with the people of France. 


(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a woman who reportedly fell from the roof of a home located at 54 E. John Street in Champaign, on the early morning hours of April 13. 21-year-old Destyni Thomas of Urbana, was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at just before noon on the 13th. Thomas died from a traumatic head injury she received from the fall. This death is under investigation by the Coroner’s Office and the Champaign Police Department.


(Springfield--jc)  - Most people may soon be able to get booze delivered with their groceries. The State Senate passed a bill setting a statewide standard for alcohol delivery. It’s sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar…



State Senator Andy Manar



(Paxton--jc)  -- Should 5th grade students be allowed to participate in Paxton Buckley Loda cross-country and track and field programs. That is one question for the P-B-L School board. The issue came before the board at this month’s monthly meeting. The board is looking for input on the subject and the request will be part of a future board meeting.


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The College of Engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign will be renamed in honor of alumnus William Grainger. School officials say The Grainger College of Engineering name recognizes a new $100 million gift from The Grainger Foundation. The foundation has committed more than $300 million to the school. UI officials say that's the largest amount ever give to a public university to name a college of engineering. The new name is pending approval from trustees.


(Springfield--jc)  Have you seen the don’t drink, don’t text signs along the Interstate 57 and Interstate 74 corridor? As a part of a promotional campaign, the Illinois Department of Transportation has been posting clever phrases to its digital information boards. WIth the spirit  of Tax Day, the department's latest anti-drunken driving initiative sign reads "Think taxes are expensive? A DUI costs $18,000."


(Springfield--jc)  --As Illinois lawmakers prepare to vote on a constitutional amendment to change the state's flat income tax to a graduated one, debate on the topic continued Monday even with the legislature off for a two-week break.The City Club of Chicago hosted four lawmakers this week, two Democrats and two Republicans, to make their case regarding a progressive income tax, which would have higher rates for higher earners.Peoria Republican Senator Chuck Weaver said the biggest reason Democrats want a progressive tax is to make it easier to raise taxes on a small number of high-earners.


(Springfield--jc)  Farmers are struggling to get time in the fields as we hear in the initial weekly crop report. Just over 1 day was suitable for fieldwork this past week says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener



(Rantoul--jc)  - Rantoul police and Champaign County Crimestoppers are seeking information about an armed robbery in Rantoul that happened early Tuesday morning. Authorities say a subject entered the Casey’s store on Route 45 and Route 136 around 4-30 Tuesday morning. The suspect showed a knife and demanded cash. The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police or Champaign County Crimestoppers


(Champaign--jc)  -- What are the prospects of more flooding this Spring both locally and statewide. Illinois water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says we can look forward to above average wet conditions…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner.


AURORA, Ill. (AP) — Autopsies on the five employees killed when a gunman opened fire in February at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant determined that all of them had been shot more than once. The (Aurora) Beacon-News reports that the reports released on Tuesday by the Kane County Coroner's Office concluded that none of the five victims was shot at close range.


(Gibson City--jc)  The proposed graduated tax issue continues to move forward in Springfield. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says he is opposed to giving a blank check to raise taxes…


106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Bennett was in attendance of last nights Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Banquet held at Engelbrecht Farms in rural Paxton.



(Rankin--jc)  -- Rankin village leaders continue to work with owners of the property that housed the former Rankin school on the east side of Route 49. Owners of the property have paid fines from the Vermilion County Public Health Department. Owners of the property have a purpose for the land with a special needs school. Rankin Village leaders want to see the matter resolved without using town funds.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Freedom Festival Celebration and Parade plans continue. This years event in the village will feature a Freedom Festival Sundowners Car Show. The Car Show will run 4 to 8 pm on July 3rd,t and will include cars as well as trucks and motorcycles. The event is sponsored by Reynolds Towing. Greg’s Truck and Auto is another sponsor for this years car show. The 2019 Freedom Festival Celebration will begin at 4 pm and continue until 11 pm at the Hap Parker Aquatic Center in Rantoul with live bands , an expanded  and free Kids Zone , Beer Tent and Garden and the legendary grilled BBQ by the Rantoul American Legion. Other attractions this year are numerous food vendors, activities at the Hap Parker Aquatic Center , ending with the famous Rantoul Freedom Celebration Fireworks Extravaganza sponsored by the Village of Rantoul at dusk.There is no charge for parking. One fundraiser at the event are rides on the Hall Brothers Racing Monster Truck Raminator. The money raised will help support the RantouL Veterans’ Memorial.Then on July 4, you can start the day with the  Rantoul Rotary Breakfast starting at 7-30. The annual parade steps off at 10am on July 4th. Those wanting to help or participate with the local festival are asked to contact Belynda Allen at the chamber office at 893-3323.


(Paxton--jc)  The city of Paxton is set to launch its new website today. The announcement was made at last night’s Paxton Chamber event. More information is found on line at city-of-Paxton-dot-com.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Need help learning how to meditate?  A program at a local library can help. Learn the basics of mindfulness meditation, and how to get the most from your practice at the Mindfulness Meditation Group in Rantoul every Sunday afternoon from 1:30- 3. There will be instruction, discussion, and meditation. You will learn how to: overcome stress and depression, improve your relationships with loved ones, heal and transform the wounds from your past, enhance your spiritual development, and realize true inner peace and happiness. It is ideal for both beginner and experienced meditators. The cost is FREE and there is no need to register. More information is found by calling the Rantoul Public Library.



Nutrien Ag Solutions Announces an Increase Sponsorship of the National FFA Organization

(Mahomet-jc)-Mahomet-Seymour Community Unit School District #3 is proud to announce that in recognition of his significant accomplishments as an educator, coach and friend of the students of the Mahomet – Seymour Schools, the weight room at Mahomet-Seymour High School will be named in honor of Jim “Riz” Risley. Earlier this year, the Mahomet-Seymour Board of Education took action, per Board Policy, to name this facility in honor of Coach Risley. A presentation ceremony to recognize Coach Risley and to dedicate the room in his honor will be held on Friday May 10.


CHAMPAIGN – The State Farm Center Theatre presents Diana Ross on Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 22 at 10 a.m. Diana Ross is considered one of the most successful recording artists and entertainers of all time. 2019 will be remembered as a milestone in history with a year-long Diamond Diana Celebration marking the 75th birthday of the iconic superstar.From her landmark solo career to the early days as the leader of The Supremes, Ross helped shape the sound of popular music, changing the landscape and paving the way for contemporary music.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson City Exploratory Pool Committee is set for a road trip. Members of the committee are expected to go to Flanagan and Pontiac on Thursday afternoon to view indoor pool facilities in the two communities. The committee is looking at ways to improve or replace the current pool and pool facilities. WPXN News will continue to follow this story as it develops.



INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, April 15, 2019/National FFA Organization) – Nutrien has just announced an increase in their sponsorship of the National FFA Organization. In the past, the company has worked with FFA to ensure the future of agricultural education by their generous support that provided student members with the opportunity to grow into the world’s future leaders. This year, Nutrien Ag Solutions will serve as a silver sponsor to the National FFA Organization. They will support areas such as the New Century Farmer program; Washington Leadership Conference, Ag Sales- Entrepreneurship Proficiency; support for the National FFA Expo, to name a few. In addition, they fund FFA Alumni and Supporters grants as well as the National Association of Agricultural Educators.


(Gifford--jc) There will be lots of bidding and more at Gordyville U S A later today. A kickin’-cancer event includes University of Illinois Men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood. Auctions food and surprises hilite the event near Gifford and starts at 5-30 this afternoon.



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois senate unanimously passed a bill this week to raise awareness about the state’s move-over law. The legislation requires the secretary of state’s office to include a reminder about the law in registration renewal notices…and to include a question about it on the written driver’s exam. It’s sponsored by Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet and prompted by the increase in state troopers being hit by passing motorists.



Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet



(Springfield--jc)  --The sponsor of legislation that would allow some immigrants in Illinois to enroll in Medicaid said lawmakers will vote on the matter later this spring.The bill would allow legal immigrants in Illinois via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and on permanent work visas, known as I-766 Employment Authorization Documentation, to enroll in the state’s Medicaid program that now accounts for more than a quarter of state spending and serves more than three million people. Medicaid spending totaled about $19.3 billion in state and federal funds in 2016.Sponsor Delia Ramirez said most of these immigrants are taxpayers in the country legally who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid.


(Champaign--jc)  Those traveling along Bradley Avenue in northern Champaign, may want to take another route to get to their destinations. Overnight construction work started last night and into this morning,  and runs through the remainder of the week on the bridge that carries Bradley Avenue over Interstate 57. The work takes place from around 10pm each night and run through 6 in the morning this week


(Washington--jc) How did the spring tradition of decorating eggs get started? The answers vary. Gary Crawford has the story…




(Watseka--jc)  Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagen announces that the annual Sheriff’s police scholarship applications are now available. The scholarships are funded by the department’s golf outing each year. Applications are available on the county’s website. Applications are due by May 17th


(Springfield--jc) --   The Illinois Senate is voting to lower the age that children have to start school. The legislation changes the compulsory school age from 6 to 5 years old. Proponents say children need a solid start to learn, but critics, like State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria says some are just not ready…



State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria.

Under the bill,  kids born after May 31st of the school year could wait to start until they are 6. The measure is now in the Illinois House


(Washington--jc) Some loan limits are higher for ag professionals. U-S-D-A Undersecretary of Agriculture Bill Northey cites some higher loan examples.



U-S-D-A Undersecretary of Agriculture Bill Northey



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is opening a new simulation center in Chicago to provide hands on training to workers. The center helps expose caseworkers and investigators to potential scenarios they may face out in the field says Governor J-B Pritzker.



Illinoia Governor J-B Pritzker



(Paxton--jc)  When indoor activities begin again for the Paxton Park District, the facility they will use, will be a new one. The local park district and the Paxton Buckley Loda school board have finalized another agreement to use the gym in the new Clara Petersen School this fall and winter.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is making another move in its effort to reverse declining enrollment by stationing additional recruiters in Chicago and St. Louis. Associate Chancellor Jennifer DeHaemers notes out-of-state institutions have increased their presence in Illinois, upping the competition for students. She says the additional recruiters in the cities will help SIU be more competitive. The campus's enrollment is about half of its 1991 peak of 24,869 students.



(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s on to the state House for legislation that would require towns that hire part-time firefighters to pay part of their full-time pensions.Should the bill become law, any town larger than 5,000 people that hires a part-time firefighter would be required to pay into the pension system of their full-time employer. State Senator Melinda Bush said larger departments are beginning to keep their full-time firefighters from taking extra work. Bush says this is a liability issue. The bill was opposed by dozens of fire departments and firefighters. State Senator Craig Willcox said the bill could result in no part-time work for firefighters across the state. The bill would also allow the state comptroller to withhold state distributed funds from towns until they’ve paid what they’re supposed to for pensions. State Senator Don DeWitte said the bill would force property tax increases or service cuts to pay for unexpected pension bills.



(Springfield--ba)-The public may soon have a place to report potholes. The Senate unanimously passed a bill creating a new website where motorists can log potholes and other road dangers in Illinois. It’s sponsored by Senator Dan Mcconchie of Hawthorn woods.



Senator Dan Mcconchie



(Springfield--jc)  -- Fines for illegally passing a school bus in Illinois may be doubled House lawmakers passed a bill raising the fine for driving around a school bus with it’s arm extended from 150 dollars to 300 dollars. Repeat offenders would pay 1 thousand dollars instead of the current 500 dollars. State Representative Darren Bailey of Louisville says the stiffer penalties are meant to be a deterrent…


State Representative Darren Bailey of Louisville.

Those on the other side of the issue say enhanced penalties do not work



Gibson City, IL, April 15, 2019 –Trade publication Becker's Healthcare has released its 2019 list of leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. This year’s featured CEOs lead hospitals consistently recognized by the National Rural Health Association and  American Hospital Association as top institutions. .For the sixth year in a row, Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services CEO Rob Schmitt has been named among these top 60 rural hospital and health system CEOs to know, one of only two CEOs selected from Illinois. Schmitt, who has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare leadership, is a fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.



(Boston--jc)  Daniel Romanchuk, 20, is the first American man to win the Boston Marathon wheelchair division since 1993 and the youngest to have done so thus far. He won the race in 1 hour, 21 minutes and 36 seconds, repeating a feat he accomplished at the New York Marathon in November and the Chicago Marathon in October. Last year, Romanchuk also placed third in marathons in Boston and London. Romanchuk is a Parkland College student with plans to transfer to the University of Illinois.


(Paxton--jc)  How many people in Paxton use the “Show Bus” public transportation service. That is the question before Paxton City leaders. The City of Paxton has made donations to the group that has routes through 9 area counties, including Ford. Paxton leaders are seeking input from Show Bus. Donations to the group and information on usage is an expected topic when the Paxton City Council meets in May.

(Paxton--jc)  -- One local company in Paxton is hosting an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday. Officials with Accolade Healthcare Paxton Senior Living Facility say the event is set for Saturday starting at 10am. The event is open to kids ages 1 through 10.  The Easter Bunny will also be in attendance for pictures


Hog Farm West of Sibley in Ford County, Given the Go-Ahead From Illinois Department of Agriculture

(Undated--jc)  Today is tax day. Today is the final day to file your taxes on time. Those needing more time can get an automatic extension.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Department of Agriculture officials have given the go-ahead for a hog farm west of Sibley in Ford County. At stake is a 5 thousand 600 number hog operation. The Hartman Family Farm where the hog operation is set to be located is one and one half miles west of Sibley along State Route 165.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A  measure which would prohibit any public or private college or university in the state from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history during the admissions process was defeated in the Illinois House of Representatives Friday morning.The bill, sponsored by Chicago Democrat Mary Flowers, provided exceptions to comply with federal law and a state law that requires medical schools to check the criminal history of applicants, but that wasn’t assurance enough for many members, especially those who have colleges, universities, and community colleges in their districts. Local State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington was one who also opposed the measure…



Republican State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington

Several local community colleges and universities also opposed the measure.


CHICAGO (AP) — Wintry weather in northern Illinois has forced the cancellation of flights at Chicago's two major airports. By late Sunday afternoon, around 1,000 flights had been canceled at O'Hare International Airport. Delays at O'Hare averaged nearly an hour and about 30 minutes at Midway. Flights are back to near normal this morning.


(Undated--jc)  Could Chicago become its own city-state? One downstate lawmaker wants that to happen. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Loda--jc)  4 Rantoul residents were injured in a van versus semi-tractor trailer accident on Saturday night, Police say that 37 year old Petana Meteo of Rantoul was traveling south along Interstate 57 near Loda when her vehicle was struck from behind by a semi driven by  58 year old Pamela Owens of Michigan. The impact of the crash caused both vehicles to cross over into the northbound lanes. Traffic was rerouted through Buckley and Paxton for several hours on Saturday night. Meteo, 40 year old Felipe Juan-Felipe of Rantoul and two juveniles in the van were all taken to a local hospital with injuries. State Police continue to investigate the accident this morning.


(Chicago--jc)  For all of the outcry and political promises to help property taxes, Illinoisans still pay the second highest rates in the nation. A report from ATTOM Data Solutions says the state’s 3.2 million homeowners paid 2.2 percent of their home’s worth in local taxes in 2018. That’s higher than any other state in the nation except New Jersey. The average Illinois homeowner paid $5,000, but it’s still common for homes in some suburban counties and the Rockford area to see taxes be the majority of their monthly mortgage payments.Illinois’ 7,000 units of local government and low state investment in education often gets blamed for high property taxes.



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul leaders are providing more information about a proposed 257 acre tract on the south east side of the village that would be used by a partnership of universities including the University of Illinois for automatic vehicle testing. The facility would use a near 2 mile test track and would involve students workers and also bring business to the village. WPXN news will have more on this issue all next week on our news casts.


SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Eastern Illinois University has launched a program that encourages students training to be teachers to consider looking for employment in rural communities.Doug Bower, dean of education at Eastern Illinois, says the program is called Teacher Corps. The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports that under the program, students are taken to rural districts to tour schools and talk to teachers about their experiences working there.



(Ludlow--jc)  -- Ludlow village leaders want to hear from residents on a proposed water main and pump house replacement project. A public hearing is set for Tuesday April 23rd at 6pm, One proposal for the village is a 2 point 8 million dollar renovation project. Just under 70 percent would be paid for by the U S Department of Agriculture. The hearing is an informational meeting and public input is wanted.


(Urbana--jc)  An overturned semi loaded with cows caused an issue with traffic on Sunday afternoon east of Urbana. Authorities say the driver lost control of his rig and several animals were roaming along  Interstate 74. Traffic was slowed for several hours as the animals were gathered by authorities.


(Mahomet--jc)  When the Mahomet Seymour School board meets tonight they will look to hire a Principal for the Middletown Prairie School in the district. School board members could also adjust the school calendar as only 2 winter days were used this year. The last day of school could be May 29th. The board will also honor outgoing board members at a reception at 6-30 Monday night at Middletown Prairie School before the 7pm meeting


(Undated--jc)  April is National Donate Life Month, and all across the country agencies are mounting campaigns to educate people about organ and tissue donation and encourage them to sign as organ donors.In Illinois, the Life Goes On campaign is a project of Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. This year’s ads feature 11-year-old Sofia Sanchez, who was awaiting a heart transplant when the popular rap artist Drake visited her. Sanchez’s transplant was successful, and White says her charm and Drake’s popularity are bringing the message to a huge number of people.According to White, 4,700 people in Illinois are awaiting transplants, and each year 300 people die in the state because they don’t receive an organ transplant in time.


(Joliet--jc)  --About 35 percent of inmates serving time in the Illinois Department of Corrections are mentally ill and up to 13 percent are considered seriously mentally ill.  A new treatment center in Joliet wants to help these inmates get treated both inside and outside the corrections facility. The 180,000-square-foot inpatient treatment center is currently under construction and is expected to open its doors in 2021. The pricetag on the project is 150 million dollars.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The state is getting some federal dollars to help fight the opioid crisis in Illinois. D-H-S Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin says the 15 million dollars in federal funding will be used to expand substance abuse treatment at jails and hospitals and also community outreach programs..



Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin


(Springfield--jc)  - The Illinois Senate is voting to lower the age that children have to start school. State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood says the state has place so much emphasis on early childhood education, it’s important that kids are in school by age five…



State Senator Kimberly Lightford



(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West School District school board members will look at the vote on a failed referendum when they meet on Wednesday night in Gilman. Voters in the district voted down a 25 million dollar new school and athletic facility project. Among other items,  the board will honor out-going Board Members – Domitila Garcia, Vicki Killus and Kyle Kraft. The Iroquois West School board meeting comes to order at 7 on Monday night at the high school in Gilman.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Despite a law signed Friday to have the state dictate collective bargaining policy to local governments, the U.S. Supreme Court could take up the issue of so-called right-to-work zones. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court Case case from Illinois – Janus v. AFSCME – ruled public employees can’t be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. Before that, the village of Lincolnshire Illinois passed an ordinance giving that freedom to all workers, including in the private sector, in its jurisdiction. Lawmakers last session passed the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, but former Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the measure. Rauner said local jurisdictions should be allowed to pass such measures to help shore up costs.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- It’s Easter Egg hunting time on Saturday in Rantoul. The Rantoul CORE group is hosting the event at noon on Saturday at Wabash Park. Some prizes will be awarded and the Easter Bunny will also be in attendance. The event is open to all children



Taxes Need to be Filed By April 15th

(Springfield--jc) The tax deadline is almost here and one fact to know is that Illinois taxpayers paid a higher percentage of their income in taxes than residents of all but eight other states, and that was before the most recent income tax hike. Using 2017 income tax data and the latest property, sales and excise taxes, financial data firm WalletHub found that Illinoisans paid 9.67% of their annual income in local and state taxes. This also considers that Illinois residents earn a median income that’s $2,600 higher than the average American. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said Illinois’ property taxes are the main driver.


(Urbana--jc) Urbana police are seeking information about a car vs pedestrian

fatality that happened just before 4 Thursday afternoon. Police say a pedestrian was struck at the corner of Main and Vine in Urbana when the pedestrian was struck by a truck. Authorities are seeking information from anyone who may have seen the accident. The driver of the vehicle was questioned. Those with any information may call Urbana police.


Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of an Urbana,  woman who has died as a result of injuries sustained after being struck by a motor vehicle near the intersection of Main Street and Vine Street in Urbana on Thursday  49 year old Shelly Taylor of Urbana died at Carle Foundation Hospital . An autopsy has been scheduled for later today at the Champaign County Coroner’s Regional Autopsy Facility. This death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Urbana Police Department.


(Washington--ba)-Presidential candidates will have to make their tax returns public under legislation passed by the Senate. The bill requires candidates running for President and Vice President to release their income tax returns if they want to appear on the ballot in Illinois. It’s sponsored by Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago.



Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago



(Normal--jc)  With a demonstration earlier this week, two American Federation of State County and Municipal Union members at Illinois State University continue to look for a new contract. The two unions, representing more than 500 workers have been working without a contract since last June. The Pantagraph reports that a meeting between the union and the university will take place next week.



(Washington--ba)-Students may soon be learning about hunting safety under a bill passed by the house. The measure allows schools to offer curriculum about safe hunting practices to students. It’s sponsored by Representative Monica Bristow of Alton.



Representative Monica Bristow of Alton


(Springfield--jc)  -- Noncitizen students and transgender individuals not eligible for federal student loan aid because they’ve failed to register for the selective service would be able to access tuition assistance in Illinois under a plan passed by the House.  State Representative, Elizabeth Hernandez, Democrat from Chicago, has the Retain Illinois Students Act which would give Monetary Award Program money to noncitizen students who have not obtained lawful permanent residence. Hernandez says they are residents of Illinois.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Aspiring student entrepreneurs from Parkland College will soon pitch their ideas before local venture capitalists, startup experts and community members as they vie for 3 thousand dollars in seed money. Parkland College's Entrepreneurial Network   will hold its first-ever CobraVenture Pitch Showcase Monday, May 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Parkland College Student Union. The contest will highlight students from the CobraVenture program's pilot student accelerator lab, which launched in January.


(Gibson CIty--jc)  It’s a baseball theme for one local fundraising event tonight in Gibson City. the Gibson Rotary Club is hosting the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”  fundraiser at the Sand Trap on Route 9 in Gibson City. Tickets for prizes, music and a meal are 25 dollars. The festivities begin at 5-30. The band Libido Funk Circus will perform.



(Paxton--jc)  -- At the Paxton IGA cookout tomorrow it’s Ribeye Sandwiches, chips and pop. Profits from the cookout go to the Prairie Champions 4-H Club. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm

(Washington--ba)-Less than 4 days are left to file your taxes. Taxes need to be filed by Monday, April 15th, and help is available if you need it says Illinois Department of Revenue spokesperson Terry Horstman.



Illinois Department of Revenue spokesperson Terry Horstman


(Champaign County--jc)  -- Rural Sidney yes and rural Ludlow no. A site near Sidney was chosen for a rural solar site. A 37 acre tract of farmland near Ludlow was not. 1 thousand sites proposed to net the solar projects, but only 10 percent  could see that happen with the Future Energy Jobs Act. The News Gazette says the Sidney a 2-megawatt project is the only one in Champaign County. Forefront Power is the project leader.



(Washington--ba)-The 2017 Census of Agriculture looks for the first time at farmers with military service. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.



USDA’s Stephanie Ho


(Washington--jc) --Two experts say the more farmers do to keep cropland soils in top condition, the less damage those fields will suffer from weather disasters. Gary Crawford reports…






(Springfield--jc)  -- Two area legislators have teamed up to sponsor legislation on behalf of Kankakee area leaders to allow for the expansion of the Kankakee River Conservancy District to help address the area’s destructive flooding issues. The Kankakee District already exists but contains only a small territory along the river, and does not cover a large enough portion of the flood basin to effectively mitigate flooding. A bill passed the House on Wednesday Sponsored by 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.  79th District State Representative Lindsey Parkhurst of Kankakee says the measure is a positive for the flooding issues…



79 District State Representative Lindsey Parkhurst of Kankakee

The bill is now in the hands of the Illinois Senate.


Pecatonica, IL – Illinois State Police  officials announce the arrest of Craig W. Dittmar  for his involvement in the March 28th, fatal crash which resulted in the death of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story. While inspecting a vehicle on Route 75, she was struck and killed


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The annual J W Eater Junior High School production is set for this weekend. The play is called Jolly Roger and the Pirate Crew. The performances are set for tonight at 7 and Saturday afternoon at 2. Local Theatre Director Jessica Holmes is helping with the play.


(BUCKLEY-dg)-The Buckley Lion’s Club is hosting Bingo tonight at the Buckley American Legion Building. Bingo starts at 6:15 with sandwiches available at 5pm.



(Rantoul--jc)  - Its hunting for Easter Eggs time. The Rantoul Public Library is the venue for the Easter Eggstravaganza. The event with various age groups begins at 10 Saturday morning at the library.


(Champaign--jc)  Champaign Counties next free electronics recycling collection is set for May 18th. The event takes place from 8am until Noon at Parkland College. On line registration is going on now to bring items. Residents must go on line and get a ticket to participate.



The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce and Insurance Providers Group of Paxton is hosting Bingo on Saturday evening from 6-8pm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Center.



World Pork Expo 2019 Cancelled

(Springfield--jc) -- A bill sponsored by local state Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City deals with electronic monitoring in a community integrated living center or a state-operated developmental center. Representative Bennett says House Bill 3-44 also residents to used the surveillance system in their rooms. Co Sponsor State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville says there is no cost to the state.…



State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville


(Paxton--jc) --  The next step to place a 150 foot United States American Flag in Paxton on school property is complete. The Paxton Buckley Loda School board on Wednesday night agreed to lease the ground near the high school football field to the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce for the project.



(Des Moines-Iowa)  -- The National Pork Producers Council's board of directors announced its decision to cancel World Pork Expo 2019 out of an abundance of caution as African swine fever  continues to spread in China and other parts of Asia. World Pork Expo, held each June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, hosts approximately 20,000 visitors over three days, including individuals and exhibitors from ASF-positive regions. African swine fever affects only pigs and presents no human health or food safety risks. There is currently no vaccine to treat the swine disease.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A bill in the Illinois House would allow at-risk minors as young as 12 to independently get and take HIV prevention medication. The legislation would allow minors as young as 12 to see a doctor and receive contraceptives, including an HIV prevention drug, without the notifying or getting consent from a parent. Sponsoring state Rep. Lamont Robinson Jr. said the bill was designed to help at-risk youth with either abusive parents or no parents at all.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Lawmakers are trying again to raise the minimum salary for teachers in Illinois. The House passed a bill to gradually boost the base teacher salary over the next 5 years, up to 40 thousand dollars. The current minimum, set in the 1980s, is 11 thousand dollars annually. State Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville says the hope is this bill be help address the state’s teacher shortage…



State Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville.

A similar measure was vetoed by then Governor Bruce Rauner


(Rantoul--jc) Cadets at the Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge program are participating in a jobs-education fair today at the local campus. It’s a opportunity to look a job choices, college education to military options says Lincoln’s Challenge Public Relations Spokesperson Michael Comacha…



Lincoln’s Challenge Public Relations Spokesperson Michael Comacha.



(Kankakee--jc)  -- The future of one Kankakee County mall remains uncertain. The Kankakee Journal reports that a portion of the Northfield Square Mall may be razed as part of a redevelopment for the mall. The decision is in the hands of the Greater Waukegan Development Coalition. Owners of the property is Namdar Realty Group of New York.  



(Springfield--j)  The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices will host a series of public hearings as it works towards its final report and recommendations in December. The Commission recently released its preliminary report concerning pretrial reform in the Illinois criminal justice system. One hearing is set for Springfield on April 22 and another in Urbana at the I-L-E-A-S Training Center on May 6th.



(Farmer City--jc)  -- If you heard racing at the Farmer City Raceway on Wednesday morning there was a good reason. The University of Wisconsin-Stout S-A-E Baja team stopped by to use the track for practice and testing the Baja vehicle. The group was on their way to Tennessee for a competition with the Society of Automotive Engineers.


CHICAGO (AP) — Measles outbreaks across the country have prompted several Illinois health systems to pressure parents who haven't vaccinated their children to do so. Department of Pediatrics vice chairman Dr. Matthew Davis said Lurie Children's Hospital decided to step up its efforts to reach unvaccinated children because the current spread of measles. The Centers for Disease Control and recommends all children get two doses of measles vaccine, which it says is 97% effective. A measles outbreak occurred locally in Champaign County in January and February of this year.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Demolition work on a building in Paxton that was completely destroyed by a fire began this week.  The building owned by the Baier family in the city also housed numerous antique vehicles, and a vintage fire truck.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City Fire Department volunteers helped with a garage fire in the city on Wednesday night. Firefighters were on the scene for several hours and had the blaze under control by 8-30 last night. No world on damage to the building was provided.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman and his wife, Hope, have pledged a 100 thousand dollar donation to the construction of the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Center, the new state-of-the-art training facility for Fighting Illini Football. The gift will name a corridor in the building that recognizes all former letterwinners as the Josh and Hope Whitman Alumni Hall.Whitman joins a growing number of former Illinois football players who have made investments into the facility. Former offensive lineman Stu Levenick kicked off the fundraising with a $5 million gift. The project has also seen significant donations from, among others, the family of former offensive lineman Kai Anderson, former offensive linemen Bill Castonzo and Bob Noelke, and former wide receiver Chad Ruskey and former quarterback Rich Erickson.



(Springfield--jc) Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says his proposals that includes the shift to a graduated income tax  will help Illinois back on a better fiscal path. The issue is moving through the state legislature in Springfield…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Springfield--jc)  It’s “Work Zone Awareness Week” and the Illinois Department of Transportation wants motorists to “Drive Like You Work Here.” Drivers need to slow down, stay off their cell phones, obey the signs and be alert says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Guy Tridgell…



I-DOT Spokesperson Guy Tridgell

Big fines and jail time await those who do not follow the law. Each year in Illinois, more than 53 Hundred crashes occur in zones.



Changes could be coming to the state’s high school basketball tournaments. Officials with the Illinois High School Association currently are accepting feedback from school administrators across the state about a proposal to adjust the schedule of the organization’s state championship games. Under the plan, all four classes of girls would play in the state finals on a single weekend and all four classes of boys would play on the following weekend.I-H-S-A Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha says school leaders are looking to reinvigorate the state basketball tournament. The Boys tournament would fall on the first weekend of March to avoid the college tournament.



(Paxton--jc)  The Ford Town and Country Art Show is set for Sunday in Paxton. Organizer Shawn Fairchild says entries for school age children is free, for adults just a small charge…



Ford Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild

The event starts at 2, Sunday afternoon at the Paxton Park District Building


(Washington--jc) U-S-D-A has a first look at corn planting locally and nationally. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  -- The annual J W Eater Junior High School production is set for this weekend. The play is called Jolly Roger and the Pirate Crew. The performances are set for Friday night at 7 and Saturday afternoon at 2. Local Theatre Director Jessica Holmes is helping with the play.



Governor JB Pritzker Announces Amendment to the State's Constitution Moving Illinois to a Graduated Income Tax Structure

(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor JB Pritzker is announcing an amendment to the state’s constitution moving Illinois to a graduated income tax structure. The constitution currently requires a flat tax system, where everyone pays the same rate. Governor Pritzkers proposal, taxes workers based on how much they earn. The governor says 97 percent of Illinoisans will see tax relief under his plan…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

Some Republicans believe that the proposal then would give Democrats the ability to raise taxes again. If the amendment is approved by the legislature, voters will then get a chance to say yay or nay to it on the November 2020 ballot


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Attorney General Kwame Raoul is noncommittal about a proposal to create a statewide investigative unit to review claims of innocence by those convicted of crimes. The Democrat said through a spokeswoman Tuesday that ensuring a conviction is correct by evaluating new evidence or circumstances "is the responsibility of every prosecutor." Private investigator Bill Clutter wrote Raoul to suggest a statewide "conviction integrity unit" to investigate innocence claims.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A former Illinois State Trooper was found guilty Tuesday in Ford County court in Paxton of felonious disorderly conduct for calling 9-1-1 and falsely reporting someone was assaulting him.  61 year old Bradley Cluver of Gibson City was found guilty yesterday. He is set to be sentenced on May 14th.


(Washington--jc)  -- One ag meteorologist is looking at spring wheat. U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey says this is a first look at planting wheat…



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey



(Springfield--jc)  Concerns have quieted over artifacts connected to Abraham Lincoln possibly going to auction if millions of dollars aren’t raised for a private foundation, a couple of state lawmakers say.The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation is a private entity created by state statute and meant to support the public museum, which houses valuable artifacts connected to Lincoln and other figures with Illinois connections. The private foundation reportedly owes $9 million for the artifacts and the loan comes due later this year. Last year, the private foundation was lobbying state lawmakers for a taxpayer bailout to pay off the loan.


(Undated--jc)  Two counties will help replace on bridge this year. The Ford County Board and Iroquois County board are sharing the costs of a bridge replacement project on a bridge that spans to two counties. The bridge is located between Milks Grove Township in Northwestern  Iroquois County and Rogers Township in the northern part of Ford County. The cost for Iroquois County putting is 560 thousand dollars and Ford County 286 thousand dollars.


(Springfield--jc)  It’s work zone awareness week and the Illinois Department of Transportation wants motorists to “Drive like you Work Here.” Kim Howard reports…



(Gibson City--jc)  Several bills did not make it out of an Illinois House committee in Springfield this month. 106th district State Representative Tom Bennett talks about two abortion type bills that failed to get support…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Rantoul--jc)  -- It’s a Community Coffee on this morning at 7-30 at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office. Business professionals are asked to bring business cards, ideas and use the time to network with other business owners in the Chamber.



MARION, Ill. (AP) — The Marion Veterans Affairs Medical Center in southern Illinois will be the home for several days in May of The Moving Wall. The wall is a half size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and will be on display in Marion beginning May 2 through May 5. The Moving Wall travels across the country to commemorate the war, which dramatically divided the nation in the 1960s and 1970s.



(Washington--ba)-Ever wonder what the date label on your food packaging really means?

USDA’s Stephanie Ho explains.



USDA’s Stephanie Ho


CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for an ex-University of Illinois student accused of killing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang say school counselors didn't offer him adequate care when he sought help for homicidal thoughts months before Zhang went missing. In a filing unsealed this week, Brendt Christensen's attorneys said he told campus counselors he'd been "ruminating" about committing murder but that his treatment by counselors had been substandard.  Prosecutors say that claim would be inaccurate and irrelevant.



CHICAGO (AP) — Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, has filed for bankruptcy in a federal court in Chicago. In announcing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the company said it was "caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome." The company was founded in 1942.


(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Department of Human Services, which has one of the largest line items in the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, is seeking additional money to cover the cost of the state's new minimum wage and expand access to child care assistance. A Senate appropriations committee discussed Senate Bill 2228 this week. The measure asks for a total of $6.8 billion for DHS. Among the various line items is $28.5 million to help the aged, blind or disabled, $134.2 million for temporary assistance for the needy. There's another line item is $431.7 million for Child Care Services.Included in the increased funding request is $107.4 million for increasing the minimum wage of certain caregivers paid with tax dollars.


(Champaign--jc)  Warm temperatures yesterday and some cooling coming today, especially in the northern part of the WPXN Listening area. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner has the look at the next several days…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner

The Doug Quick weather forecast calls for rain this morning. There is a Code Red Weather advisory for Thursday



The Governor's Graduated Income Tax Plan May Not Have Enough Support in the Legislature

(Springfield--jc)  --The debate over how Illinois should tax income is getting heated amid reports that the Democrats, who control both chambers of the state legislature with supermajorities, may not have enough support to pass the graduated tax plan that Governor J.B. Pritzker's is counting on to stabilize the state's finances and pay for the promises he made on the campaign trail. The governor is pushing to change the state constitution’s flat income tax to a structure that taxes higher earners higher rates. Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment One would pose the question to voters, but has yet to advance out of a Senate committee.  No public hearing has been scheduled on the amendment yet. The deadline for bills to pass out of their originating chamber is April 12. After that, the House and Senate take two weeks off before coming back to finish out Spring session that ends May 31.The measure would have to be passed by both chambers to put the question to voters on the November 2020 ballot. To become law, three-fifths of those who vote on the amendment would need to approve it.



(Washington--ba)-Other than some potential dryness in the Deep South, the latest U.S. Drought Monitor reports some of its lowest overall totals in months. USDA’s Rod Bain Reports.


(Rantoul il--jc)  -- A Rantoul juvenile has been arrested in a shots fired incident in the village on Saturday. Authorities say th 16 year old was arrested at Rantoul Township High School Monday morning. Rantoul police investigations reveal that 3 male youth were running from the scene. No one was hurt in the shooting. The youth faces felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon, mob action and possession of a stolen firearm.



The state of Illinois may soon provide the seed money for kids in the state to go to college.The Illinois House last week approved a plan to create a college savings fund for every child born or adopted in Illinois starting in 2021. The state would provide an initial $50 investment. That $50 could grow, and families could access the money starting when a child turns ten.The program to cost about $10 million a year. Some Republicans said the state can't afford it. And state Representative Grant Wehrli said he worried that Illinois would squander the money.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The lease amount is expected to be one dollar per year. The Paxton Buckley Loda School board is set to discuss the lease of school property near Interstate 57 when they meet on Wednesday night at the high school in Paxton. The efforts to build a spot near I-57 to fly a 30 by 60 foot American flag. The exact location would be just north of the P-B-L football field. The P-B-L School board meets at 7 on Wednesday evening.



Tomorrow is the Day !! A Representative from Senator Scott Bennett's office will be at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Office from Noon to 1 pm answering his constituents questions about issues. All are welcome.



(Kankakee--ba)-An opportunity to dispose of old prescription drugs is coming later this month. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett reports.



(Paxton--jc) Wanted children ages 3 to 5. A developmental screening is offered on Thursday at the Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church in Paxton for kids in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School district. They will be tested for vision, hearing, speech and preschool skills. Parents interested may call the Clara Petersen School in Paxton at 379-2531. The preschool screening is a service of the P-B-L school district, the Ford County Public Health Department and the Ford County Special Education Cooperative.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders are expected to purchase pump station equipment for just over 144 thousand 800 dollars when they meet tonight in monthly session.  Purchasing utility cable and materials from Anixter for 59 thousand dollars is also on the agenda tonight. Rantoul Village board members will also look at a resurfacing project on Maplewood Drive. Tonights meeting gets underway at 6 tonight in the municipal building on Tanner Street.


SPRINGFIELD - Illinois small business owners and local Veterans of Foreign Wars , Disabled American Veterans  and American Legion posts and chapters launched the Bet on Main Street coalition Monday, telling lawmakers in Springfield that a proposed massive tax increase on video gaming would hurt communities across Illinois. Bet on Main Street members will be vocal advocates for policies related to video gaming, which has supported Illinois small businesses, spurred hiring in local communities and provided much-needed revenue for DAV chapters, American Legions and VFW posts, which support Illinois veterans. More information is found on line at bet-main-street-dot-com.


(Washington--ba)-If you're not quite sure what the dates on your food packages mean, then USDA has the answers to your questions. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.


(Springfield--jc) Commuters who use a portion Interstate 80 could soon be paying tolls for the repair and expansion of the busy highway. Legislation filed in the Illinois House of Representatives would give a portion of I-80 between the 294 interchange and Route 47 in Morris to the state’s tollway authority.P.S. Sriraj, director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the transfer would expedite the process of repairing some of the most dilapidated bridges in the state in comparison to funding construction through a capital bill that would need to address other state projects as well.



(Fisher--jc)  -- Some national acts are coming to this years’ Fisher Fair. Mark Chesnut will peform on Friday July 12th featuring Drew Baldridge and the Fuedin’ Hillbillies. Show starts at 7pm. Tickets available at Fisher Fair dot com.



CHICAGO (AP) — Striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians have rejected a contract proposal management described as its "last, best and final" offer.

The members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association voted on and rejected management's offer on Monday. Union officials said the offer would leave musicians' salaries "further behind the orchestras of Los Angeles and San Francisco."Association lead negotiator Steve Lester says the union's proposal addressed management's concern about pension funding "while guaranteeing the Musicians and the Orchestra the security deserved."



(Gibson City--jc)  -- Wanted, card players to help raise money for the Ford County Relay for Life. The Chic Meredith team is hosting a euchre party on Friday night at the Moyer Library. The dealing begins at 6-30 Friday night. There is a 10 dollar entry fee and snacks will be provided. To sign up call 217-784-5267 and leave your name and phone information.



(Cissna Park---jc)  They play volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter, and are also part of the F F A,  but now is the time to hit the stage in Cissna Park this weekend. High School students at Cissna Park High school will perform the musical “Beauty and the Beast on Friday and Saturday. Julian Stadeli plays the beast and Anna Jennings is Bell.

Christian Stadeli was cast as Gaston. Other performers are Connor Lober as Maurice,  Keegan Boyle as Cogsworth, Gavin Speers plays Lumiere. Also Bridgett Beltran as Mrs Pots and the Feather Duster played by Kristen Walder. Anna Hylbert is the Dresser. The performances are Friday and Saturday at 7pm You also will see Janette Beltran as LeFou and Miss Lillyana Verkler as young Chip.



You Must be 21 to Buy Tobacco Products, Beginning July 1

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a bill banning the sale of tobacco products to minors. Pritzker on Sunday signed legislation raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. With Pritzker's action, beginning on July 1, Illinois will join six other states and Washington, D.C. in banning sales to those under 21. The legislation also does away with penalties for underage possession. Businesses will face fines for selling to underage customers.


(Springfield--jc)  Young farmers in Illinois are getting a chance to develop skills with help from the Illinois Farm Bureau. Mike Doherty, senior economist and policy analyst at Illinois Farm Bureau, says  the bureau’s Young Leaders Program has become popular The program is for young farmers and farm couples and gets them involved in agriculture, exposing them to the decision making and the business of agriculture. The program is  geared toward men and women 18 to 35 years old who have a passion for all aspects of agriculture. Farm Bureau also has similar programing in several universities and community colleges.



(Roberts--jc)  -- A Car Show and dance is set for one Ford County town this July. The event is sponsored by the Living Word Church of Roberts on Saturday July 20th. The band Statesboro will be performing



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has denied an ex-University of Illinois student's request to be granted his master's, withheld after allegations he sexually assaulted another student.  A due-process lawsuit was filed last month for the Indian citizen. It said he could lose his job if he didn't have the degree by April 15 and could be unable to extend his visa. The accusations were made after he graduated but before he got the degree. A school panel ended up dismissing him.



(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Friday that the state's Medicaid program will use state and federal funds to cover sex reassignment surgery, but the governor's office hasn't said how much the policy change could cost. Pritzker’s administration said the state’s Medicaid program will begin covering gender-affirming surgeries for members under new policies being established. The proposed rule, the administration said, would allow Medicaid members 21 and older diagnosed with gender dysphoria to be eligible for genital and breast-related surgeries.About 1,400 of the state's 3.1 million Medicaid members are diagnosed with gender dysphoria, according to a news release from the governor's office. Last year, about 2,500 prescriptions for hormone therapy were covered.Coverage could be available starting this summer after a public comment period.


(Springfield--jc)  -- This is alcohol awareness month and the Illinois Department of Human Services says help is available for those struggling with addictions. It’s estimated one in every 12 adults suffer from alcohol dependence,which can lead to long term health problems says D-H-S Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin…



Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin



(Watseka--jc) -- Iroquois County leaders will look to approve a resolution and deeds for the sale of property in the delinquent tax process when they meet on Tuesday morning at 9. County leaders are also expected to join the city of Watseka in an electronic recycling event on June 1st.  Lease renewals will also be a topic for Iroquois County board members.



(Gibson CIty--jc)  106th District State Representative Tom Bennett continues to work from his home in Gibson City. Bennett reminds motorists to be safe and obey Scott’s law…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Paxton--jc)  Let the negotiations begin. Members of the Ford County Board will meet later this month or in early May to hammer out a new deal for the County’s Sheriff’s department. Local leaders say the state’s rising minimum wage could be a factor in negotiations. Board representatives will be meeting with reps from the Fraternal Order of Police Illini Lodge 17..


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul police continue to investigate reports of shots fired on Saturday morning around 11. Police says the shots were fired in the 15-Hundred block of Kessler Drive. Police believe an hispanic male was the target. Police are searching for a handful of high school aged males in connection with the incident.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A bill that would ban colleges from asking applicants about their criminal history would hurt campus safety efforts, according to police chiefs at several Illinois universities.The Democratic lawmaker who sponsored the Criminal History in College Applications Act said there's no proof that including such a question on college applications improves public safety and that it deters some people from applying. "Everyone deserves a second chance," said state Representative Mary Flowers, of Chicago. Aaron Woodruff, the police chief at Illinois State University, is among those who oppose the measure.


(Paxton--jc)  Paxton City Council members will look at the repair project for the Pells Park Pavilion when they meet tonight in monthly session. City leaders will also discuss stop signs at Franklin, High and Meridian Terrace. Motor Fuel tax money and road repair is also on the agenda. The Paxton City Council meeting comes to order at 7, on the second floor of city hall.


(Champaign--jc)  -- The local area and the state of Illinois has seen above precipitation since December. Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says that is the main reason that Spring flooding remains a possibility…



Illinois State Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kershner

(Rantoul--jc)  It’s Spring, so let the road construction begin. Work along Interstate 57 starts today on northbound and southbound lanes of I-57. The patching work also continues on I-74 in Champaign County. Illinois Department of Transportation officials remind motorists to slow down, do not used mobile devices  and move over so all workers can do their job safely.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- The United Fund Drive begins on Friday in Southern Iroquois County. The Ash Grove, Pigeon Grove and Fountain Creek townships are the area for the drive to fund 10 non for profit agencies. Officials with the United Fund Drive are looking for volunteer help in the Fountain Creek area. The fundraising then will continue through the month of April


(Springfield--jc)  -- One area Republican lawmaker is blasting the Democratic majority in Springfield over a measure to give money to all babies for a college tuition program. Republican State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur says Democrats have ignored suggestions from Republicans. Caulkins says lawmakers need to cut the budget, and get the Illinois economy back on track. In addition to reforming medicaid, Caulkins says that voters should have the opportunity to amend the state constitution to enact meaningful pension reforms. The Republican also said that raising taxes on everything is not the way to solve our fiscal problems.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Senate Democrats are stressing the need for an accurate cout in the 20-20 census. New legislation would provide 25 million dollars in grants for census education and local outreach efforts says Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood…



State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood

(Paxton--jc)  -- With a recommendation from it’s buildings and grounds committee, the Paxton Buckley Loda school board is expected to provide a date for a live auction of items at the soon to be razed Eastlawn School.  The local Ford County Historical Society will also save some items from the school. The PBL School board meets on Wednesday night at 7 at the high school in Paxton.


Paxton Community Sale set for 10am Saturday Morning

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A man who was upset that a landlord didn't return his security deposit has pleaded guilty to setting a fire that killed two brothers in Kankakee.  Alex Sawyer will be sentenced to 20 years to 30 years in prison after his guilty plea Thursday. A fire killed 4-year-old Justice Stewart and 2-year-old JuShaun Watson in 2016. The boys' mother, Crystal Ward, says she favored a plea deal instead of a trial because she didn't want "any chance" for Sawyer to be acquitted.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Supreme Court says a union lobbyist who worked just one day as a substitute is entitled to a teacher's pension, reinforcing its previous opinion that retirement benefits promised to public workers can't be "diminished or impaired." The 4-3 decision Thursday affected just one member of the Teachers' Retirement System. The court's opinion that pension cuts are unconstitutional has flummoxed lawmakers attempting to close a $134 billion shortfall.



(Washington--ba)-Many farmers in flood areas may be using the prevented planting features of their crop insurance policies this spring. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Springfield--jc)  -- As 2 Illinois State Police Troopers are laid to rest this week, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says more must be done to get the public to obey Scott’s Law. 16 troopers have been struck this year and the governor says these are senseless tragedies…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker




(Melvin--jc)  On your things to do list on Saturday, the band called Battle Creek Country is set to perform in Melvin.  The venue is the Melvin Community Hall at 7pm. Admission is 10 dollars and food will provided by those raising funds for the  Piper City Sesquicentennial Celebration.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinoisans already pay some of the highest taxes in the country at the pump. But a political problem for Gov. J.B. Pritzker could mean they’ll pay even more. How? Pritzker’s tax plan doesn't have enough support to pass the General Assembly. But some gifts, wrapped in a capital spending bill, could change that. Despite Democratic supermajorities in the House and Senate, Pritzker has thus far failed to push through one of his key campaign promises: a graduated, or progressive, income tax hike. The governor needs lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment eliminating the state’s flat income tax protection, which would then head to voters on the 2020 ballot. But scheduling in the General Assembly indicates Pritzker will fail to get his amendment before a key deadline: April 12, when lawmakers leave Springfield for a two-week spring break. He’ll have to make another big push before session ends on May 31.



(Urbana--jc)  -Crimestoppers in Champaign County say that with the amount of shootings in the county, an initiative for a cash reward has started. The new idea is that anyone who contacts Champaign County Crimestoppers that leads to the arrest of a person who uses a gun during a felony crime will receive the maximum 1 thousand dollar rewards. To date three people have received the award and several more are pending. This deal runs through the end of the month. More information is found on the groups website.




(Gifford--jc)  -- A Coaches versus Cancer event is coming to one local venue later this month. Gordyville USA is the venue to for this years event on April 16th. It starts at 5-30 in the afternoon. U of I Basketball Coach Brad Underwood and other Illini coaches are expected to attend. Other activities with a silent auction, pictures and surprises hilite the event. Tickets may be purchased online at Coaches-versus-cancer-dot-Illinois-dot-com. Gordyville USA is donating the venue for the fundraiser.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The 20-19 Paxton Community Sale is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow, at Coady Park, located at the intersection of Fall and Summer streets on Paxton’s east side. Sponsored by the Paxton Park District, the Community Sale features live auctions and a flea market, along with food vendors.  Items may be brought to the sight starting at 1 this afternoon. Also starting again at 6 Saturday morning. The sale starts at 10 am sharp


(Springfield--jc)  -- Teens will learn more about giving consent in their sex education classes under a bill that pass the Illinois House on Thursday. The legislation provides a clear definition of what constitutes consent for teachers to talk about with students. It’s sponsored by State Representative Ann Williams of Chicago..



State Representative Ann Williams of Chicago


(Washington--ba)- The latest example of new meat cuts to generate consumer demand and sales involves a pork product using a rarely used muscle of the animal. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members will look at the golf co-op with Paxton Buckley Loda when they meet on Monday night in monthly session. Board members are also expected to post bid specs for the districts roof project and also look at summer hire positions. The Rantoul Township High School Board of Education meets on Monday night at 7 at the high school.



Champaign, Ill. – The State Farm Center announced Thursday that one of the most popular and indelible rock acts of all time, FOREIGNER, will perform on Sunday, June 23. FOREIGNER has sold over 80 million albums worldwide, with ten albums certified as multi-platinum, making them one of the best-selling music acts of all time. They join the list of 2019 State Farm Center headliners this spring that includes Kenny Chesney and Styx. Tickets go on sale to the public Thursday, April 11, at 10 a.m.



(Gibson City--jc)  Though working from home,106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City remains busy with legislation. Bennett says two bills have moved in the House this week including one to protect kids and another to award diplomas…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson city



(Rantoul--jc) --  If you see a bunch of runners at Rantoul Township high school later today there is a good reason. A 5-K run and walk event to support the R-T-H-S track program  and Rantoul Rockets summer track program is set just before 6. Registration begins at 4-30 at near the main gym at the high school.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- A fund drive in Southern Iroquois County begins one week from today. The United Fund Drive is being done in Pidgeon Grove, Ash Grove and Fountain Creek Townships in the Cissna Park area starting on the 12th. 10 groups will benefit from the money raised. The efforts will continue through the end of the month.


(Rantoul--jc) Rantoul Chamber officials are using its lunch and learn program this month to help small businesses and employees with retirement and savings plans. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen says some plans are available…



Rantoul Area CHamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen

The event is set for April 26th from 11am until 1pm. More information is found by calling the chamber at 893-3323.


(Paxton --jc)  The Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday will raise money for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Loda. The cookout takes place from 10am until 2pm. On the menu is pork chop sandwiches, chips and  pop.



(Rantoul--jc)  --A silent auction at the Rantoul Public Library March continues today. The event runs through today with efforts to raise funds for the library’s new roof! There are more than 100 items to choose from. Final bids tonight at 7pm. Library officials have around 90 thousand of the 150 thousand dollar project. More fundraising and a loan with the village is also helping fund the new roof project at the local library.




Illinois' State Treasurer Could Soon Become the Lien Holder of Your Student Loan Debt

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois’ state treasurer could soon become the lien holder of your student loan debt. An initiative of Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office would allow him to refinance an Illinois resident’s college loans at low-interest rates in hopes that it will help them better afford their payments. The office could extend up to 5 percent of the $31 billion it manages to help with student loans. That's about $620 million. Local State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana says the program would help reduce the number of local student loan defaults. Ammons adds that the  goal is to get the interest rate low enough so that people can really afford to make their payments. If the bill passes. the interest rate would be set by the treasurer.The treasurer’s office said there would be an upfront cost of $150,000, but the interest on payments from students should then cover the administrative costs thereafter.


GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (AP) — A visitation and funeral are set for an Illinois State Police trooper who was killed when a wrong-way driver struck his squad car.State police say the visitation for 36-year-old Trooper Gerald Ellis will be this afternoon and funeral will be Friday morning at the College of Lake County's James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake. Ellis will have a private burial. Ellis died early Saturday in the accident along Interstate 94 in northern Illinois. He is the third state trooper to die in a traffic crash so far this year.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Each baby born or adopted in Illinois would get a savings account under a bill passed by the Illinois House on Wednesday. The state would kick off the account with a 50 dollar investment, in hopes parents will keep adding to it over the years. It’s sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston…



State Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston

34 other states have a similar program. The cost would be 9 million dollars per year.



NEW YORK (AP) — Six states, including Illinois, and the District of Columbia sued the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday, saying it weakened nutritional standards in school breakfasts and lunches when it relaxed the requirements affecting salt and refined grains last year.The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court asked a judge to overturn the changes, saying they were carried out in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The government "significantly weakened" nutritional standards for sodium and whole grains, according to the lawsuit, without giving the public a chance to comment on them and in opposition to nutritional requirements for school meals set by Congress.



(Springfield--jc)  One Central Illinois Lawmaker is pushing for tougher penalties for Scott’s Law violators. 16 Illinois State Police Troopers have been struck by motorists not following the state’s move-over law this year. There have been 3 fatalities. State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield says his bill creates tougher laws…



State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield



(Buckley--jc) One question before village leaders in one southern Iroquois County is what to do now, that a referendum to upgrade its sewer system failed. The plan voted down by Buckley residents would have put approximately 3 to 4 million dollars in needed upgrades. Iroquois County officials and state officials say the situation with septic tanks and the aging sewer will not go away. Local leaders are expected to put together another plan when they meet as a new board with the Spring election completed


The Rantoul Beautification committee is hosting an event that spotlights local stars and a chance to raise money for projects. Rantoul’s Got Talent is a new venture says  Rantoul Beautification committee spokesperson Paula Hopkins.



Rantoul Beautification committee spokesperson Paula Hopkins.

The event is Sunday April 7th at 2pm at Rantoul Township High School.


(Springfield--jc) --  No local government in Illinois would be able to restrict collective bargaining issues for public or private unions under a measure that is one step closer to being sent to the governor’s office .State Representative Lance Yednock, Democrat of Ottawa, sponsored Senate Bill 14-74 in the House. Yednock says the U.S. Congress didn’t include political subdivisions in the National Labor Relations Act and doing so avoids confusion with the 7 thousand units of local government in Illinois.  


(Washington--jc)  Weather forecasters are predicting a wet Spring and that has issues for local and state to farmers around the country. U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey looks at the national numbers for topsoil as we start the month of April..



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey


(Springfield--jc)  --Legislators from both sides of the aisle are sitting down to begin hashing out details of the state budget with less than two months before the end of spring legislative session and the May 31 deadline to pass a budget with simple majorities. House Majority Leader Greg Harris, Democrat from  Chicago says that Democrats and Republicans would work together. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Republican from Western Springs, says the state needs a balanced budget. Durkin says the governor indicated he had a 1 point 2 billion dollar increase in spending, and Durkin adds that Illinois needs to live within our means.A balance budget is a must for Durkin and measures to create jobs and help the economy Democrats are pushing for more gas taxes, a gambling tax and plastic bag tax to bring in more dollars to the state’s coffers..


(Springfield--jc)  Each baby born or adopted in Illinois would get a college savings account under a bill passed by the Illinois House on Wednesday. The account would be set up with 50 dollars from the state. The cost would be around 9 million dollars per year and the account would be handled by the state. State Representative Grant Wehrli of Naperville voiced his concern…



State Representative Grant Wehrli of Naperville




(Washington--jc)  Do you know how much food is wasted each year. You may be shocked to find out. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Farmer City--jc)  -- The 12th Annual Illini 100 presented by Douglas Dodge kicks off with Open practice from 6-9 tonight at the Farmer City Raceway. The campgrounds at the raceway will be open tonight.  One purse for the winner on Friday night is 6 thousand and the winner of the Illini 100 on Saturday nets a prize of 15 thousand dollars. The races kicks off a season a racing at the Farmer City Raceway.



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois Sheriff’s Association would like to announce the 2019 Officer Safety and Scott’s Law Safety Initiative. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Undated--jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the day is Butcher Boys Burgers in Rantoul. The local business  is celebrating its 9th anniversary all day on Friday. One way to celebrate tomorrow at Butcher Boys Burgers in Rantoul is free jello cake says owner Jerry Glazik...



Butcher Boys Burgers of Rantoul owner Jerry Glazik

The anniversary celebration is all day tomorrow with free jello cake.

You can hear the entire Business of the Day interview in our noon newsblock today


Area Elections Results are in

Election results

Champaign County

Steve Thomas was re-elected Mayor of Ludlow in Tuesday’s election He won over challenger Ross Radke

For Village of Rantoul Trustee. Elected are Hank Gamel, Gary Wilson and Sherry Johnson

For the 2 year position Mark Wilkerson was elected



Iroquois County

In the Iroquois West School district bond and buildings question. Voters said no to the proposal. 80 percent voting no and 20 percent voting yes. 1113 voting no and 285 voting yes

In spend up to 4 million dollars on the town’s sewer system. The vote was 93 No and 63 yes.

For Buckley Trustees. Elected are Shane Stachura, Ernie Hoopingarner and Ardell Goetting

Loda Village Trustee elected area Jon Boone, Ronda Breeden and Gene Breeden Junior


In Ford County

For Gibson City Alderman in Ward 2, Aaron Franks defeated Nelda Jordan 91 to 53. In Ward 4 Denis Fisher beat Laura Miller 40 t 28.

There were 23 write in votes for the City of Paxton Ward 1 position.


(Springfield--jc)  --Fewer Illinoisans enrolled in insurance plans offered through the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act as costs increased and the lawmakers eliminated the penalty for not having coverage.Nearly 7 percent fewer Illinoisans enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans this year than last, according to a Chicago Tribune report. Enrollment also declined nationally, by about 3 percent on average. In 2017, there were 334,979 consumers in Illinois who selected an exchange plan, numbers from the federal government show.  In 2018, there were 312,280, a decline of 6.77 percent. Goldwater Institute’s Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez Bauman said part of that has to do with the elimination of the federal penalty for not having health insurance coverage. Another factor is the increasing cost of health insurance coverage. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican from Taylorville, says insurance costs have gone up 108 percent since 2013 as competition has declined in most areas of Illinois where there are one and two providers.


(Springfield--jc)  -- April is Autism Awareness month in Illinois. Governor JB Pritzker says every Illinoisan deserves to reach their potential…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois will start selling beer in general seating areas at Memorial Stadium and State Farm Center this fall. School athletics officials said Tuesday that beginning with the 2019 football season beer will be available at several stands around Memorial Stadium, where the Illini football team plays. Alcoholic beverages will continue to be sold in premium seating areas. A portion of sales will go to pay for more police officers and additional security at home football games.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul officials welcomed a business making a move into a larger facility today. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on the west side of Rantoul for the new location of Insurance Providers. The business has been located on the former base for many years. With growth, the company needed a new space and will be operating at 423 South Murray Road in the village


CHICAGO (AP) — The Art Institute of Chicago has indefinitely postponed a major exhibit weeks before it was due to open, citing concerns that the culture and voices of indigenous peoples are not adequately represented. Native American scholars against the opening say that much of the Mimbres pottery came from one collector who stole the objects from ancestral gravesites. The Art Institute said in Monday's news release that officials realized the need to collaborate with voices connected to the Mimbres people.


(Washington--jc)  -- Many farmers are going to be playing catch-up with planting this year. Gary Crawford reports…



(Rantoul--jc)  -- One local church is set to celebrate its 65th anniversary on Sunday. The Bible Baptist Church was built on a lot along Chanute Street in Rantoul  and was incorporated in 1954. A new facility was built in 1975. The celebration service is set for 9-30 on Sunday morning.


(Iroquois County--jc)  Illinois State Troopers are working with the Illinois Department of Transportation on work zone safety. The efforts are in Iroquois County along Interstate 57 north of Clifton and into the Kankakee area. I-Dot officials and state police continue to remind the motoring public to slow down in construction zones, watch out for highway workers and move over for emergency vehicles.


(Bloomington--jc)  -- Bond was set at 25 thousand dollars for a Benson Illinois woman accused of embezzling more than 161 thousand dollars is cash from sales at The Bone Student Center at Illinois State University The Pantagraph reports that 58 year old Debbie White was arrested Monday morning. Officers say a live camera feed watched White’s actions. Her next court appearance is on April 12th.



(Rantoul--jc)  - - The Rantoul police department is raising awareness for Autism in the month of April. One Rantoul Police Department squad car has been marked with  special decals. April is autism awareness month. Facts about Autism include that 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. And autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. There is no medical detection for autism



(Gibson City--jc)  -- 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says bill 3-44 deals with electronic monitoring at some state centers. The bill is being heard in Springfield this session…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Roberts--jc)  -- Roberts Village leaders approved their annual appropriations ordinance at their monthly meeting this week. The ordinance was 3 point 4 percent higher than the previous year. Board members also learned that the local water tower needs inspected and lead paint issues could turn into a costly project for the village.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- K-Meg agents remind the public not to be the dealer. They have set up a drug take back day later this month. The event to bring unused or expired medication for safe disposal is Saturday April 27th from 10am to 2pm at the Northfield Square Mall in Bourbonais.


(Paxton--jc)  -- the 2019 Ford County Town and Country Art Show is coming on Sunday April 14th.  Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild says entries for students in the county is free and there is a small charge for adults…



Ford County Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild



Spring Elections are Today

(Warren--jc)   Visitation and Funeral Service Information for a fallen Illinois State Police Trooper is set for today and tomorrow. Visitation for  Brooke Jones-Story is from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Warren High School in Warren. A Law Enforcement walk-through will begin at 6:00 p.m. Jones-Story’s funeral is  Wednesday afternoon at 2 at the high school. Our thoughts go out to Jones-Story’s family and friends. State police continue to tell motorists to slow down and move over during any emergency type situation.


-  Illinois lawmakers have introduced a bill that would mandate specific patient-to-nurse ratios in hospitals. Limiting the number of patients assigned to nurses at Illinois hospitals could potentially save lives. Lawmakers in the state have drafted legislation to help, but one medical professional said the proposed bill is lacking a crucial element.Catherine Ryan, clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Nursing, says nurses with a high number of patients assigned to them are exhausted, which makes it difficult to manage patients.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker's administration is pleased with the findings of a peer-reviewed study of a graduated income tax despite its conclusion that it would raise less revenue than the Democrat predicts. The study released on Monday by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal reviewed various scenarios for a system requiring the wealthy to pay more. Illinois has a 4.95% flat rate. Researchers determined that the governor’s proposal would raise $3.1 billion more annually. Pritzker says the estimate is 3 point 4 Billion dollars.Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner says the administration used more recent tax data not available at the time the study began. She says researchers based revenue on 2018 incomes. A tax-plan change would require voter approval in 2020 at the earliest. Pritzker's assumption draws on expected higher incomes in 2021.


(Paxton--jc  A warrant for failure to appear for a court appearance was ordered Monday for a Gibson City man. The warrant is for 43 year old Adit Bhiday of Gibson City. Bhiday is charged in Ford County court with 3 Class 4 felonies of disorderly conduct for allegedly threatening to blow up a gibson city school building. The warrant was issued at noon on Monday.



ST. LOUIS (AP) — A wall of rocks and sandbags is protecting scenic Clarksville, Missouri, from the surging Mississippi River as the spring flood closed roads, threatened homes and temporarily shut down a bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois. Another round of heavy rain over much of the Midwest on Saturday caused another spike in water levels along the Mississippi River and many of its tributaries, especially in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.


(Undated--jc)  -- Measles cases for the first 3 months of 20-19 have surpassed the amount of cases in 20-18. WPXN News Reporter Braedon Arnett has the details…



The measles outbreak in Champaign County has been closed by Champaign County Health Department officials. The last measles case in Champaign County was in mid February.



(Washington--ba)-An enhanced online tool will be available to help people make sense of the data in the upcoming Census of Agriculture. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Springfield--jc)  --Governor JB Pritzker is reminding low income taxpayers to see if they are eligible for the earned income tax credit. Workers earning 54 thousand dollars or less show familiarize themselves with the E-I-T-C. Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman says people often miss out on the credit…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Thrift Shop has its semi-annual bag sale. It starts on Wednesday where the cost is 3 dollars per bag. Thursday and Friday is twenty five cents per bag and free on what is left on Saturday. The Paxton Thrift Shop is located at 110 North Market in Paxton.


(Undated--jc)  The polls are open for  Spring election day. Contested races in Ford County include a Ward 2 race for Gibson City Alderman between Nelda Jordan and Aaron Franks. There is another contested race for the Gibson City Council between Laura Miller and Denis Fisher. One race has two candidates running with 3 positions open. That race is for Paxton Buckley Loda School Board. Running on the ballot are Steve Pacey and Dana Bergandine.

In Vermilion County, among contested races. Four are running for 2 spots on the Hoopeston Area School Board. They are Lee Cox, Chris Small, Dave McFadden and Connie Catron. Another Hoopeston Area School board race is between Rich Eisenmann and JoHanna Gash.

In Iroquois County, a contested race for Iroquois West School board. 5 are running for 4 positions. Candidates area Clinton Perzee, Rodger Bennett, Amy Jo Schunke, Robert Cramer and Adam Vice.

In Champaign County 4 candidates are running for 3 positions on the Gifford School District Board. They are Caroline Franzen, Alyson Suits, Michael Schluter and Traci Harris. In Ludlow, incumbent Village President Steve Thomas is being challenged by village trustee Ross Radke for Ludlow Village President.


(Springfield--  The death of another Illinois State Trooper over the weekend will likely have more Illinois lawmakers looking to do something more to protect troopers and punish drivers who fail to follow state laws.One central Illinois lawmaker said the state has to do better. Trooper Gerald Ellis died early Saturday after being struck by a wrong-way driver in the Chicago suburbs. He is the third State Trooper to die so far this year. The other two, Trooper Brooke Jones-Story and Trooper Christopher Lambert, died in roadside wrecks. State Rep. Tim Butler said Illinois' existing law that requires drivers to move over for troopers, Scott's Law, is not enough.


Gilman--jc)  -- Voters go to the polls  today to elect village trustees, city councilmen, school board members to library board members. Those in the Iroquois West School district have a school building and land acquisition project. The project would issue bonds for the 25 million dollar project. Several of the buildings in the Iroquois West school district are beyond aging and need upgrades. Polls are open and run til 7pm tonight..


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul’s loan committee will look at requests for loans this afternoon.  Jennifer Kitchens is looking for a loan of 30 Thousand dollars to purchase and operate the Hap-E-Dog Bath Haus at the Rantoul Plaza Shopping Center. Jorge Maltos is seeking 50 thousand dollars for building costs and also adding an outdoor seating area for Casa Fiesta Restaurant on east Sangamon Avenue in the village. The Village loan committee will also hear about a request  for 350 thousand dollars in an Economic Development Assistance loan that is being requested by Vijay Patel for structure and parking lot improvements at the Maple Grove Plaza. The committee meets at 1 this afternoon in the municipal building on Tanner Street.


(Rantoul--jc)  There are several contested races in the village of Rantoul for election day today. They include.. For Village Board 4 are running for 3 positions. They are Hank Gamel, Chad Smith, Sherry Johnson and Gary Wilson. Another contested race for village trustee for a two year term is between Mark Wilkerson and Jasmyne Boyce.

-6 candidates are for running for 3 seats on the Rantoul City Schools school board. They are incumbents Joan Fitzgarrald and John Brotherton. Others are board appointee Andy Graham  along with Jack Anderson, Joe Robinson and Edwin Everly.

-For Rantoul Township High School board, 5 are seeking 3 positions on the local school board. They are incumbents Janet Brotherton, Roger Quinlan and Jeremy Larson and challengers Monica Hall and Matthew Walters..


(Washington--ba)-Wheat acreage this season was expected to be down, but USDA’s planting intentions report shows some larger than expected reductions for some types of wheat. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Gibson City--jc) Working from his home, 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City continues to work on some measures getting some attention in the state. Bennett says House Bill 25-83 deals with water districts…



Bennett adds he continues to be grateful for the support from everyone...



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Springfield--jc) Democrats seeking to change the state's flat income tax to a graduated structure with higher tax rates for higher earners have challenged opponents to present other viable options for addressing the state's financial problems. Republican lawmakers have suggested ways to cut state spending, but those plans are unlikely to advance in Springfield, where Democrats control both chambers of the legislature with supermajorities and have the governor's mansion. And Republicans have yet to present a unified plan. One Republican lawmaker said residents should get a chance to vote on whether or not to keep the pension protection clause in the state constitution. That clause protects promised pensions from being reduced. Republican State Representative. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills, who for years has been pushing for Illinois to cut spending, answered that charge. He said changes are needed to reduce the growing cost of pensions for retired state workers. He says that is where the state’s money is going.


(Paxton--jc)  The annual Paxton Chamber of Commerce Annual meeting is set for two weeks from today at Englebrecht Farms. Paxton Chamber Director Ashley Tolley says a catered meal is part of the event…



Paxton Chamber Director Ashley Tolley.

Those wishing to attend are asked to R-S-V-P to the chamber by Friday.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County Service Group is set for a ball with a ballgame theme. The Gibson City Rotary Club 20-19 Rotary Ball takes place on Friday April 12th at the Sand Trap in Gibson City. A meal begins at 6-30 that evening with music provided by Labido Funk Circus starting at 7-30. Tickets with the meal are 25 dollars and tickets without the meal are 15 dollars. The theme is baseball and the public is invited to attend, wear your favorite team colors for a fun evening on the 12th.


The Death of Third Illinois State Trooper This Year, Caused by Wrong Way Driver

GREEN OAKS, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State Police trooper was killed early Saturday when a wrong-way driver struck his squad car, the third death of a state trooper this year and second in three days. The driver of the other vehicle also was killed, said acting Illinois State Police director Brendan Kelly. The driver wasn't identified. State police say 36-year-old Trooper Gerald Ellis was driving home Saturday when he was hit at about 3:25 a.m. in Green Oaks.


CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois could lose more than $18 million in funding if it doesn't speed up processing times on food stamp applications within the next month. The  USDA, which runs the food stamp program, sent the Illinois Department of Human Services a letter saying that the agency has until April 21 to improve timeliness or develop an effective strategy to make it happen. Illinois is among the 10 worst states for timeliness rates.


WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (AP) — A new state report has found women and girls living near a suburban Chicago plant had higher than expected rates of certain cancers associated with ethylene oxide exposure. The Illinois Department of Public Health released the data Friday. It's the first tally of cancer cases in west suburban communities near the Sterigenics facility. Sterigenics says the state lacks information about other potential cancer factors. The state shut down the plant last month.


(Springfield--jc)  Some Republican Senators in Springfield continue to try bring a proposal concerning any new tax on Illinoisans. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the state should use a supermajority vote not just a majority vote to raise taxes on Illinoisans…



53 District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington




(Urbana--jc)   A pair of Rantoul men are expected to be formally charged later today for possession of cannabis and ecstasy. After a traffic stop along Interstate 57,  24 year old Stephon Austin and 21 year old Buddy Tackett-Anderson are due back in Champaign County court today.


(Springfield-jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are closer to sending Governor J.B. Pritzker legislation that would allow for more college students at public universities to unionize. Former Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed similar legislation last year. State Representative Will Guzzardi’s legislation would classify research assistants working in Illinois’ public universities as formal employees.State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said Guzzardi’s bill would push the cost of college tuition higher for Illinois’ public schools. The University of Illinois system has had two graduate student strikes in the last year. This legislation would allow research assistants to unionize and, potentially, strike if they cannot come to terms with the school on issues related to their working.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- One Rantoul business is set for a ribbon cutting for its new location next week.  Insurance Providers Group of Rantoul is moving to a larger location along Murray Road on the west side of the village. The ribbon cutting is set for 11-30 Tuesday Morning. Along with representatives from the business, Rantoul village leaders and chamber officials will help with the ceremony on Tuesday morning.


(Washington--ba)-How can you keep your freezer food safe in a power outage? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Watseka--jc)  Some new jobs are on the way in the Iroquois County city of Watseka. T and D Metals has purchased the former Big R building along route 24. The company plans to use the facility for a manufacturing project. Between 30 and 35 jobs are expected with the new facility.




(Rantoul--jc)  One Rantoul township High School Class used their expertise to help the track team. Mr Bud Root’s metal class constructed some hurdle carts to make it easier to transport hurdles. The track coaching staff and members of the Eagle track team thanked the class for the carts.



(Springfield--jc) Snap benefits are ready. Kim Howard reports…



(Rantoul--jc) On Friday, Rantoul Police Detectives continued the investigation into the shooting reported on March 28. As a result, the METRO SWAT team executed a search warrant in the 200 block of W. Frost Avenue in the village. In addition to the METRO SWAT team, Rantoul Police were assisted in the investigation by members of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force. No arrests have been made to this point and the investigation continues.If anyone has information on the identity of the suspect or vehicle used in this crime they are encouraged to call the Rantoul Police Department at  893-5600 or Champaign County Crime Stoppers at (217) 373-8477.


WARREN, Ill. (AP) — Funeral services are set for an Illinois State Police trooper who was struck and killed by a truck last week during a traffic stop. A visitation for Trooper Brooke Jones-Story will be held Tuesday at Warren High School in the northwestern Illinois community of Warren. Funeral services for the 34-year-old officer will be Wednesday, also at the high school, followed by a private burial. Jones-Story was fatally struck Thursday by a truck as she was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle in Freeport.


(Champaign County--jc)  -- Local Fire departments were busy battling  several fires including two house fires in northern Champaign County over the weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, firefighters were called to a Penfield home. The two story house was a total loss and initial reports say the blaze was caused by a furnace issue. One resident of the house, Jim Evans, was taken to a local hospital suffering smoke inhalation. On Sunday, Rantoul firefighters were called to a home on Maplewood Drive on the east side of town. The call came in around 4-30 Sunday morning. The home, owned by Jerry Glazik, was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. A fireplace heater is believed to be the cause of that house fire.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Fifty years after the University of Illinois opened an African-American cultural program, the group is moving into a permanent home. The News-Gazette reports that construction of the $5.9 million glass-and-brick structure for the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center is nearly complete. The center's director says a "soft opening" is planned this spring. A grand re-opening event will be held in the fall to commemorate the center's 50th anniversary.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Preserving items at Eastlawn School in Paxton will be one topic for the Paxton Buckley Loda School Board Buildings and Grounds committee tonight. The committee is also expected to hear an update on the demolition of the aging facility as students will move into a new school next fall. Lee Farms Excavating of Thawville has been hired to tear down the Eastlawn school later this summer. That project is set to begin around August  26th with asbestos abatement and the demolition to follow. Cost to tear down the nearly 100 year old building is one point 5 million dollars.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Chamber officials have announced an addition to this summer’s Freedom Celebration. Hall Brothers Racing of Rantoul will be participating in the local event. Hall Brothers Racing will be offering rides in the Raminator Monster Truck. All of the money raised for the rides will benefit  The Rantoul Veteran’s Memorial. Plans continue for the annual celebration set for the 4th of July holiday this year.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former Springfield man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for Medicaid fraud. A federal judge sentenced 53-year-old Kevin Schaul on Friday. He must also pay restitution of nearly $583,000. Schaul now lives in Augusta, Missouri. He pleaded guilty in August to five counts of health care fraud related to his business. Childrite Medical Supply Inc. sold incontinence products to Medicaid recipients.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A graduated income tax could narrow Illinois' growing income disparity, cut property — as well as income — tax bills and deliver billions of dollars in extra annual revenue to combat state deficits and underfunded public schools and infrastructure, according to a study released. The peer-reviewed exam by the Project for Middle Class Renewal and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute constructed eight scenarios based partly on progressive income tax structures among Illinois neighbors. The Associated Press obtained the study in advance of its release.


(Watseka--jc)  The Iroquois County management committee will look at some county farm management issues when they meet this morning in Watseka.  Building efficiencies, a panic button discussion and some leases contracts are all on the agenda. The committee meets at 9 this morning at the administrative center in Watseka



(Ludlow--jc)  -- Ludlow Grade School is looking for its next class of kindergarten students. Parents or guardians are asked to call the school office at 27-396-5261 to pre register those kids who will be five years of age by September First. The pre registration runs from April 1st to May 17th.




Another Illinois State Police trooper killed Thursday White Conducting Roadside Check

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State Police trooper was killed Thursday when she was struck by a truck during a traffic stop, the second trooper to die that way this year.Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed in the crash that occurred on Route 20 near Route 75 in Freeport, state police officials said. Jones-Story was a 12-year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 16 in Pecatonica.

"Today is a dark day for the Illinois State Police family," said Acting Director Brendan F. Kelly. Director Kelly continues to urge motorists to slow down…



Acting State Police Director Brendan Kelly

 Jones-Story was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the crash. She is the second state trooper killed in a crash this year. Thursday's accident was the 15th time since January that a state trooper or a police squad car has been struck by motorists. That's double last year's total of eight.


DENVER (AP) — A Catholic order in Colorado has released the names of 13 friars accused of sexual abuse. The Denver Post reports that the Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Conrad in Denver provided information obtained through a 2018 audit ordered by its head minister that uncovered abuses of minors or vulnerable adults.The order says two of the 13 friars are dead and five have left the order, but none are currently in active ministry.The Capuchin order is in 5 states including Illinois.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Charges against a Clarence man have been dismissed, for now. Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian says that charges  of unlawful restraint and battery against 48 year old Michael Hari were dismissed on Thursday in Ford County Court. The Ford County Record reports that the charges could be re filed at a later date. The dismissal could also prevent Hari from remaining in Illinois as he faces a trial in Minnesota for alleged acts of terrorism for a mosque bombing. WPXN news will continue to follow this story as it warrants.



(Washington--ba) What is the status on grain stocks to date. Gary Crawford has the numbers....



(Paxton--jc)  A Tuesday night fire destroyed a building in Paxton and it’s contents, that included 18 antique and vintage vehicles. In an update of our story,  Paxton Fire Department Chief Denny Kingren says the building at total loss and the value of the vehicles is undertermined...


Paxton Fire Department Chief Denny Kingren



(Springfield--jc)  -- After a hard-fought campaign during which Governor. J.B. Pritzker promised he would balance Illinois’ budget on the backs of the rich, 67 percent of voters support the idea of a graduated income tax according to a new poll, fewer than a year ago. In the latest polling, of 1,000 registered Illinois voters, professor John Jackson at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale says most still support changing Illinois’ constitution to allow for higher income tax rates on higher earners.


(Rantoul--jc) The Rantoul Beautification Committee is set for a fundraiser to help with the beautification in the village. Group spokesperson Paula Hopkins, of A House of Flowers, says a talent show is set for Sunday April 7th at the high school. All types of acts will be performing with over a dozen already scheduled. Hopkins says all money raised goes to help keep Rantoul a great place to live, work and shop…



Rantoul Beautification Committee Spokesperson Paula Hopkins



(Farmer City--jc)  Let the racing begin. The 12 annual Illini 100 presented by Douglas Dodge kicks off on April 4th with open practice at the Farmer City Raceway . On Friday April 5th its the U-M-P Modifieds, DirtCar Stock Cars, and Pro late Models.  World of Outlaws Late Model Series competition begins on Friday and also runs on Saturday night.Friday night’s purse is 6 thousand dollar to win and 75 lap event on Saturday has a winner’s prize of 15 thousand dollars. Racing then continues each week through August at the Farmer City Raceway.

The annual I-74 race is May 9th and 10th.



(Rantoul--jc)  Springtime is sign up time for baseball in Rantoul. Officials with the Rantoul Recreation Department say there are only a few more days to register for Little League baseball. April first is the sign up deadline. A waiting list will be started on the second. More information is found by contacting the Rantoul Rec Department.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout on Saturday from 10am until 2pm. Profits from the cookout will benefit the Council of Catholic Women and Saint Mary Catholic Church of Paxton On the menu is ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and pop.


(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois' Catholic leaders urged lawmakers Thursday to oppose two bills that would change the state's abortion laws.The state's six bishops addressed lawmakers at a news conference in Springfield. Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, spoke against the proposed  Reproductive Health Act and another bill that would repeal a state law requiring parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. Cardinal Cupich says the church mustt view this proposed legislation as the latest attack on human dignity, motivated by the dominant cultural ethic that asserts that lives of unborn children have no value and sanctity when weighed against the wishes and needs of others.


(SPRINGFIELD) — A bipartisan bill that could provide Illinoisans needed property tax relief passed unanimously in the Illinois House on Thursday. Democrat Representative Rita Mayfield’s bill would give more education dollars to students and also look to reduce the number of school districts in the state.  Illinois has 852 school districts. Mayfield says a reduction in school districts would generate savings by decreasing administrative bloat and allowing more education dollars to reach the classroom.


(Springfield--jc) Illinois Governor JB Pritzker continues to pursue additional tax dollars to help bring more money into the state coffers and to add services and programs to Illinoisans. Governor Pritzker says the taxes and fees are needed…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Washington--ba)-Flooded areas in the Corn Belt should brace for even more rain.  Stephanie Ho reports.



(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s on to the full House for a measure that would give local governments the ability to assess their own gas tax of up to 3 cents a gallon. House Bill 102 had already been approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee. An amendment to allow local government to tack on up to 3 cents a gallon to the state’s current 19 cents a gallon was approved in committee  Thursday.“This bill gives an opportunity for the locals to impose a 3 cents a gallon motor fuel tax,” said state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside. “I intend to have fuller discussions with the transit board and all interested stakeholders including labor.”


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University is slowing its search for a new president while leaders work on a new mission, vision and strategic priorities for the two-university system. Interim President Kevin Dorsey replaced ousted S-I-U President Randy Dunn last summer . The original plan called for the Board of Trustees to interview candidates this summer and have a permanent president in place by August. But The Southern Illinoisan reports trustees opted Wednesday to delay the process.


(Springfield--c)  The Illinois State Fair is adding rock group “Bad Company” to the grandstand concert lineup. State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth says Bad Company will perform with Foghat on Saturday August 11th…



State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth

Tickets go on sale on Saturday April 20th.


(Rantoul--jc)  A look at the history of the Chanute Air Force Base is set for next week at the Urbana Public Library. The event will feature music from the Chanute 505th Air Force Band of the Midwest, The event will take place on the first floor of the library in The McFarlane-Hood and Busey Mills reading rooms. Other parts of the day include scale military planes, and a Chanute conversation corner. Food will also be available. The event runs from 11am to 3pm on the 6th at the library in Urbana.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- A mural project is coming to the downtown area of Rantoul soon.. The village, downtown businesses and downtown business association are helping with the project. The mural will be placed on the west side of the Lindsey Lane Bridal Shop in downtown Rantoul.  More on the project is expected to come soon.



(Roberts--jc)  -- A benefit for the late Ron Ennen is set for tomorrow in Roberts. The event runs from 3pm to 7pm at the Roberts gym. A free will donation meal, drawings, silent auction and bake sale hilite the event. The benefit organizer are members of the St Peter Lutheran Church in Thawville.


An Illinois Man Facing Federal Murder Charges in the Killing a Sheriff's Deputy Now Faces State Charges

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An audit released Wednesday found that a plan to save $500 million a year on state employee health insurance was  ill-conceived and poorly executed that it's costing taxpayers $10 million extra annually without delivering the service promised. Auditor General Frank Mautino says that former Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration, which originally proposed a private health insurance exchange, switched gears to an online custom-benefit portal that officials said could have been created in house. It replaced a paper-based health care program for 450,000 workers and retirees, but the promised cost-saving marketplace still isn't in place.


CHICAGO (AP) — A team of architects led by Jeanne Gang has been chosen to design a $2.2 billion global terminal at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Studio ORD, which includes Gang's Studio Gang and other firms, will be in charge of designing the 2.2 million-square-foot facility. The terminal will be the centerpiece of an $8.5 billion airport expansion and modernization. The project is to be completed by 2028.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man facing federal murder charges in the killing a sheriff's deputy now faces state charges, as well. Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said Wednesday that a grand jury indicted 39-year-old Floyd E. Brown, of Springfield, on 75 counts, including 60 counts of first-degree murder. Brown has already pleaded not guilty to the federal first-degree murder and weapons charges in the March 7 fatal shooting of 35-year-old McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Bids for a roof project at a Ford County Maintenance shed are expected to be opened in May. The local Ford County Sheriff’s department learned that the project will receive a grant of around 39 thousand dollars to help pay a new roof.Specs for the project and will be available soon and the hope of the local department is the grant will cover most of the roof costs.



(Paxton--jc)  A fire at a building at Vermilion and Holmes  in Paxton saw the building completely destroyed and around a dozen classic  and antique vehicles destroyed. Paxton Fire Department Fire Chief Denny Kingren says the building and most of the contents were destroyed...…



Paxton Fire Department Fire Chief Denny Kingren.

The State  Fire Marshal’s office was on the scene Wednesday morning to try and figure out what caused the blaze. Our thoughts go out to the Baier Family who lost not only prized possessions, but a lot of Paxton area History.



(Gibson City--jc)  Funeral arrangements for a Gibson City police officer who passed away after a long battle with cancer has been set. The funeral for Tony Dow of Gibson City will take place on Saturday morning at 10 at the Rosenbaum Funeral Home in Gibson City.  Dow’s visitation takes place on Friday from 5-30 until 8 at the funeral home. Gibson City police officials are inviting other police officers from area agencies to participate in a walk through during the visitation on Friday at 6pm.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Senate Republicans are pushing an amendment that would make it harder to raise taxes in Illinois. The measure says that taxes and fees can only be raised through legislation that is passed by two thirds of both the House and Senate. Republican State Senator Dan McConchie of Hawthorn says with all the recent tax hikes..this is important…



Republican State Senator Dan McConchie of Hawthorn.



(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County Policy and Procedure committee members will look at requests certification of compliance for Motor Fuel Tax  and Bridge program funds when they meet this morning in Watseka. The group is also expected to approve an E-M-A Social Media Policy and get an update on Flood Matters in Iroquois County. The committee meeting begins this morning at 9 in Watseka.


(Gifford--jc)  -- When voters go to the polls on Tuesday they will elect village and city council members to library boards and school board members. In the Gifford School district 4 candidates are running for three positions on the local board. They are Candy Franzen, Traci Harris, Michael Schluter and Alyson Suits. The polls open at 6  Tuesday morning.



(Hoopeston--jc)  Want to hear Johnny Cash? Those at the Lorraine Theatre in Hoopeston are hosting Doug Allen Nasch in a Johnny Cash tribute concert tomorrow night at the theatre in Hoopeston. Tickets are 28 dollars in advance and 30 dollars at the door. More information is found by contacting the theatre. There is also a free will dinner starting at 5-30 Friday afternoon at the Hoopeston United Methodist Church. On  the menu, several of Cash’s favorite foods, Chili, cornbread and peanut butter cookies. The concert begins at 7 Friday night.


(Springfield--jc)  Thousands of gun owners showed up in Springfield on Wednesday to oppose a growing list of bills that they worry will infringe on their constitutional rights.The annual Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day brought crowds to the capitol. Rhonda Ezell, president and co-founder of Chicago Guns Matter, sued the city of Chicago over a ban on gun ranges and won. She said it’s not about guns. It’s about the rights of people to protect themselves from tyranny.


(Bloomington--jc)  - Some Republican leaders in the state capitol are working to get a change to the State Constitution concerning more taxes. A measure passed that would require a supermajority vote to pass new taxes. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman believes that a supermajority, not just a simple majority of legislators needs to be the number to pass more taxes on Illinoisans…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican,  of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  -- The American Soybean Association released a statement today says they are not pleased with recent comments from President Trump that he could leave tariffs in place under an agreement with China. A-S-A has always considered the lifting of the Section 301 tariffs by the U.S. in exchange for China removing its retaliatory 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean imports as essential to any initial agreement between the two countries. A-S-A President  Davie Stephens, of Clinton Kentucky says the President’s statement that the tariffs should remain in place to ensure China’s compliance with the terms of a deal, rather than being rescinded as a part of that deal, is confounding


(Rantoul--jc)  -- On Wednesday, , the Rantoul Exchange Club honored the men and women of the Rantoul Police Department at the Police Officer of the Year Banquet. This year 3 officers received nominations from their fellow officer. Officer Jerry King, Officer Jim Barnett and Detective Jim Schmidt received nominations. Members of the Exchange Club interviewed the 3 finalists and selected Officer Jerry King as Police Officer of the Year. King is a 2003 graduate of Paxton Buckley Loda High School and has been with the Rantoul Police Department since 20-13.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois lawmakers are considering a five percent tax on streaming online services and satellite television.The legislation is, sponsored by Democrat Deputy Majority Leader Art Turner of Chicago. It , would tax the providers of streaming services like Roku and satellite services like DirecTV on 5 percent of their gross profits. It would also tax the subscribers one percent “for the privilege to witness, view, or otherwise enjoy the entertainment. 50 percent of the proposed tax would go local municipalities



(Springfield--jc) --Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says Illinoisans can now apply for the Real I-D Card. The card is a federal requirement, needed for domestic air travel and to enter federal buildings starting in October of next year. Secretary White says you can also just keep your regular driver’s license and use your passport to fly…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Documents needed include birth certificate, social security number, address and signature.

(Rantoul--jc)  -- If you see some University of Illinois Students in the village of Rantoul on Saturday, there is a good reason. A  group of U of I students will be conducting a Village of Rantoul transportation survey on Saturday. The students will knock on doors in neighborhoods throughout the Village of Rantoul. For professionalism and safety, each student will be wearing a Village of Rantoul ID badge. The survey runs from 10am until 3pm on Saturday



Forecasters are calling for widespread and unusually severe flooding this spring. If you live near rivers or streams, an expert says you might want to think about doing some things ahead of time, just in case. Gary Crawford reports…




(Arrowsmith--jc)  Fire destroyed a vacant home and garage in Arrowsmith on Wednesday. The Pantagraph reports that firefighters were called to the one story home on East street around 6 last night. No one was injured. Firefighters from the Saybrook-Arrowsmith Fire Protection District had the blaze controlled in less than an hour. Several other neighboring fire districts helped in the incident. No word on the amount of damage to the home was provided.



(Gibson City--jc)  One Ford County Relay for Life team is hosting a Euchre party fundraiser in April. The Chic Meredith’s team invites area card players to the event on Friday April 12 starting at 630pm at the Moyer District Library. Entry fee is 10 dollars. Those interested are asked to call 217-784-5267. Money raised goes to help raise funds for a cure for cancer and also raise awareness of the disease.



Paxton Buckley Loda School Board Set to Begin Search for New High School Football Coach

(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board is set to begin the search for a new high School football coach. The reason is that current football coach and Director of Student Services Jeff Graham will be the new Superintendent and Principal at Ludlow Grade School. The school board is expected to address the open position next month and Graham starts his new job on July First of this year. Graham is replacing popular school superintendent Dru  Lobmaster.


(Paxton--jc)  A fire last night in Paxton caused damage to a shed. Paxton Firefighters were called to a building at the corner of Vermilion and Holmes street in the city. The fire started around 7pm. The building was home to several antique cars. No word on damage to the building or its content was made available. WPXN News will update this story as more official news becomes available.


(Paxton--jc)  -- One local golf course has a new buddy system approach. Lakeview Golf Course and Country Club is a public golf course in Loda. Lakeview Golf Course Manager Doug McCoy says one to become a member is joining with a “buddy”...



Lakeview Golf and Country Club Course Manager Doug McCoy

There will be an informational meeting tonight at 6pm for anyone looking to join a Wednesday night league. If you can't make tonight's meeting, there will be another one on Saturday March 30th at 3pm. Both meetings will take place at the Golf Course in Loda.



(Springfield--ba)-Illinois’ spring trout season kicks off on Saturday, April sixth. It’s the time of year many anglers have been waiting for says State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross.



State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross.


(Bloomington--jc) As an Illinois taxpayer, would  you favor a plan to make it harder to pass tax hikes or new taxes?  Ray Watt reports…




CHICAGO (AP) — Fox Television, which produces "Empire," says it is "gratified" that all charges against actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped. In one-sentence statement, Fox says: "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed."



CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA is being sued by the parents of a suburban Chicago Christian college freshman who was struck and killed in 2017 by an errant hammer throw at a track and field meet. The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Ethan Roser in U.S. District Court in Chicago alleges the NCAA was negligent by failing to enact minimum size requirements for safety cages and failing to require trained officials at track and field events. NCAA officials did not immediately respond to a call for comment.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal that would raise the state's gas tax by 19 cents a gallon to pay for transportation infrastructure repairs. The Chicago Tribune reports that Democratic Sen. Martin Sandoval of Chicago introduced the measure last week. It could raise an additional $2 billion in revenue annually and would be the state's first gas tax increase since 1990. The bill also proposes raising fees for driver's licenses and vehicle registration.


 (Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are working on creating a harsher penalty for people who cause a serious injury to another person while texting and driving.Under the proposal, a driver who causes great bodily harm to another while distracted by using a phone or other electronic device would face a $1,000 fine and a year without a license. Currently, the penalty is $75, along with other punishments for dangerous driving.The bill, sponsored by Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, came after a constituent in her district that lost his leg in a crash where the other driver was texting while behind the wheel.


(Springfield--jc)  SNAP benefits will be issued to all recipients between April 1 and April 10th. Kim Howard has the details…




(AP) — A federal judge has ordered the arrest of two allies of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for failing to appear for depositions in a lawsuit filed by Madigan's opponent in the 2016 election.  Joseph Nasella and Michael Kuba were subpoenaed by Jason Gonzales, who ran against Madigan. Gonzales claims the speaker's team stacked the ballot with phony candidates with Latino-sounding last names to confuse voters. The two men last year were no-shows for depositions.


(Gibson City--jc)  Those with the Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services Foundation are hosting a donor recognition event in April.  Gibson Area Hospital officials will be making a major announcement during the event. C-E-O Rob Schmitt will update the group on the new Medical Office Building Project. The event will serve as the official launch for the capital campaign for this project.


(Washington-jc)  -- What's ahead over the next ten years for the U.S. beef, pork and broiler sectors? Gary Crawford has the story…




(Rantoul--jc)  -Spring is here and soon area pools will be open for the summer. Officials with the Rantoul Rec Department are  offering an Early Bird Special on ALL pool passes. This sale will run from May 1-May 8. Added to the seasonal pass include a  30 min early entrance on weekends and a VIP pool party on August Second for all pass holders Individual passes can be purchased online at, family passes will need to be purchased over the phone or in the office.





Pension Costs and Potential "Insolvency" Becoming a Hot Topic in Springfield

(Springfield--jc)  Pension costs and potential “insolvency” are now becoming a hot topic in Springfield. 104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian, says that state leaders need to do something now, not in two years as others have proposed in the state capitol…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


(Gilman--jc)  -- Voters go to the polls one week from today to elect village trustees, city councilmen, school board members to library board members. Those in the Iroquois West School district have a school building and land acquisition project. The project would issue bonds for the 25 million dollar project. Several of the buildings in the Iroquois West school district are beyond aging and need upgrades. The Spring election is set for Tuesday April 2nd. Polls will open at 6am next Tuesday.


(Washington--jc)   Rural organizations are using an app to collect data that they hope will provide a more accurate picture of internet access in rural areas. Stephanie Ho has the story…



(Champaign--jc)  -- The phrase you can’t get there from here is appropriate for some road construction being done in Champaign and Savoy Road work along Prospect Avenue at Windsor, began on Monday.  Several intersections along Prospect Avenue are effected. They include at Windsor, Ken Drive, Burwash Avenue and Bloomfield Court. Prospect Avenue is getting some upgrades to lane traffic. The project has a price tag of just over 5 point 3 million dollars.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A state audit released Monday contradicted former Gov. Bruce Rauner's claim that his administration had done everything federal experts recommended to remedy a deadly 2015 Legionnaires' disease crisis at an Illinois veterans' home.Auditor General Frank Mautino reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended in December 2015 that filters be put on every water spigot. Despite Rauner's claim, the audit found that only shower and bathtub heads were outfitted with filters before 2018. The audit sharply criticized the Department of Public Health and Veteran’s Affairs for delays in taking action and notifying nursing staff and the public in August 2015



(Washington--jc)  -- When flood waters come in contact with grain storage bins, is that grain a total loss? Gary Crawford reports…



(Bloomington--jc)  -- State Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, is pushing a bill that would require high schools to offer an early college program. High school students already have the option to earn college credits, but only a small number of students choose that path. Brady’s Senate Bill 20-46 would make it a requirement for high schools to offer college credit.  State officials say it’s a plan that can work, but it depends on the individual resources of the high school districts.



(Springfield--ba)-Just for voting in the Illinois General Election, one Illinois lawmaker is proposing a $25 tax credit for voters. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



(Springfield--jc) --The stewards of Illinois’ teacher retirement fund are criticizing Governor. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to pay less into the pension system than is suggested by actuaries, and mentioned the term “insolvency” in doing so. In a statement, the entire board of the Teachers Retirement System of Illinois, which manages the retirement funds for all public teachers except those in Chicago, condemned Pritzker's proposal to short the accounts by hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming fiscal year. The statement says that after 80 years of short funding, the growing risk of insolvency in the event of an economic downturn will happen State Representative. Steve Reick, Republican from Woodstock, told lawmakers on the House Floor that they’re ignoring the problem and need to begin examining where state money is sent in lieu of properly funding pensions. Reick told state leaders that before we raise one dime in taxes, we owe the people of Illinois the privilege of knowing how we spend their money currently the Teachers Retirement system, serves 417,000 members and is 76 Billion dollars underfunded.



(Springfield--ba)-14 Illinois State Police officers have been stuck in roadside crashes this year, which has caused our Governor to respond. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- 6 Rantoul City school district residents are vying for 3 positions on the Rantoul City Schools Board one week from today. The candidates include incumbents Joan Fitzgerald, John Brotherton, and Andy Graham. New to the race for the Rantoul City School Board are Jack Anderson, Edwin Every, and Joe Robinson. Voters go to the polls one week from today to vote for village trustees, school board to library board positions. Polls will open next Tuesday at 6am..

(Springfield--ba)-If you’re struggling to pay home heating bills…the state’s “LIHEAP” program may be able to help.  The low-income home energy assistance program, or LIHEAP , provides qualifying households some relief says spokesperson Bob Gough...



To find out if your eligible and find a local office to apply…visit the website: LIHEAP Illinois dot com or call 1-877-411-warm.


(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois officials have been put on the clock to fix a longstanding problem with their slow distribution of food assistance or they’ll lose millions of dollars in federal funding, putting a hole in the state’s budget. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent the Illinois Department of Human Services what they called their “formal warning”, saying state officials have until April 21 to either improve their timeliness rate of food stamp delivery over 95 percent or to give USDA a game-plan on how they’ll get compliant. If the state fails to meet the requirements,

The U-S-D-A could withhold over 18 million dollars in federal funding.



(Paxton-jc) Not all races have contested races with some seeing the exact amount of people on the ballot to fill the same amount of positions. One local school board race has two listed candidates and a write in for the third position. That is the case for a 4 year term on the Paxton Buckley Loda School board. Listed as candidates are Steve Pacey and  Dana Bergandine. The third position will most likely be decided by write-ins. The Spring election day is next Tuesday April Second.


(Undated--jc)  -- A proposed policy change that would allow the state to capture more revenue is being called “theft of services” by retailers. The idea is favored by Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker.  The money could be used to help balance the state budget. The governor hopes to get an additional $170 million from recreational pot licenses for his budget that starts this summer. He’s also banking on $212 million from sports betting licenses. Both ideas have yet to advance at the statehouse. Then there’s the “retailers discount” the governor hopes to change to bring in $75 million. Retailers get to keep 1.75 percent of the overall state sales tax they collect for the state for acting as the state’s sales tax collector. Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s Rob Karr said that doesn't even cover the processing fees for electronic transactions.



(Paxton--jc) --  A May Business after Hours for the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce has been set. The May 9th event takes place from 5pm to 7pm  at Accolade Healthcare Senior Living on Fulton Street in Paxton. The event is part of the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce efforts to focus on local businesses.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Forum Fitness Center in Rantoul is the location for basketball players starting on the first Saturday in April. Open gym on Saturdays for those ages 16 to 18 from 6pm to 8pm and from 8pm to 10pm for those ages between 19 and 24. More information about the open gyms is found by contacting the Rantoul Recreation Department.



Illinois Could Permanently Legalize Medical Marijuana

Chatsworth, IL – Lake County Judge Luis Berrones ruled on Saturday that the

Village of Deerfield does not have the authority to ban semi-automatic firearms and magazines in their community, according to Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson, who was instrumental in challenging the municipality’s ban. In 2018, the Village of Deerfield passed an ordinance banning certain semi-automatic firearms despite the fact an Illinois State law expressly prohibits municipalities from banning these types of firearms and magazines. The state law gave municipalities until July 19, 2013 to enact semi-automatic firearm bans.


WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — The last of five former members of a Christian college football team in suburban Chicago has pleaded guilty to charges in a 2016 hazing incident. Benjamin Pettway of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. A judge sentenced the 23-year-old ex-Wheaton College player to court supervision and ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service. The former Wheaton players were accused of duct-taping a teammate and dumping him half-naked in a park.



CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois could permanently legalize medical marijuana under a new proposal. Democratic Rep. Bob Morgan is sponsoring the bill. He tells the Chicago Tribune that Illinois' pilot program has safely helped people struggling with conditions such as cancer and AIDS. Morgan's bill would also add additional medical conditions to the list of qualifying conditions, including autism, migraines, osteoarthritis and chronic pain.



(Champaign County--jc)  -- One local road in northern Champaign County is set to get a facelift. Just over 5 miles of county road, starting at US Route 45 at Ludlow and going east will be resurfaced.  The project will begin later this Spring and be completed later this year. Price tag for the project is just over 3 million dollars.


CASEY, Ill. (AP) — Police say a livestock hauler ran off the road and overturned on Interstate 70 in eastern Illinois, setting about 3,000 piglets loose. The (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star reports that about 100 of the piglets died in the Friday crash near Casey. Illinois State Police say the surviving pigs were recaptured and have continued to their destination in Indiana.


(Washington--ba) --  As African Swine Fever spreads through Asia and Eastern Europe, U.S. hog producers are being urged to boost biosecurity measures and watch their herds closely for signs of sickness. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Officials in Will County say the number of deaths from heroin or fentanyl overdoses fell slightly in 2018 compared with the previous year. Officials consider it a sign of progress in the fight against opioid abuse. The county reported 82 deaths from heroin or fentanyl overdoses in 2018. That's down from 85 in 2017, but still significantly higher than 53 deaths in 2015 or 78 in 2016.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Actresses Gina Gershon, Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Tilly are among the guests at this year's Ebertfest film festival in Champaign. The annual festival honors Roger Ebert, the late Chicago Sun-Times film critic. It runs April 10 to 13 at Champaign's Virginia Theatre. Festival host Chaz Ebert says the women are "three of Roger's favorite actresses."


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB PRitzker says additional help is need to help case workers and outside agencies with the  Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. With the recent tragic event of a toddler in Decatur, to higher case loads, the governor says changes are needed..



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Rantoul--jc)  A lunch and learn is  coming in April courtesy of the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce. The event is set for April 26th in conjunction with State Treasurer’s Mike Frerichs office says Chamber Executive Director Belynda Allen…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The annual Draggin’ main event is now one month away. Organizers say the car cruise night is set for Saturday April 20th from 6pm to 11pm on the streets of Paxton. Classic cars, to car enthusiasts and the local public is invited to an evening of memories of cruising the city of Paxton.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Being governor of Illinois comes with many worries. But for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, knowing what to wear isn't one of them. The Democrat's daily appointment schedule includes for most events an "attire" suggestion. Not surprisingly, the most common entry is "Business: suit and tie." But khakis are in the mix for outdoor events. A Pritzker spokeswoman says advance staff get suggestions on what to wear from organizers of events the governor is attending and Pritzker makes the final decision.


QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Libraries across Illinois say tight budgets are delaying construction projects and reducing staff, hours and new book purchases. Belleville Public Library director Leander Spearman tells The Herald-Whig that the library has delayed new programs and new material. Rock Island Public Library executive director Angela Campbell says the library's funding has been frozen for the past five years despite growing expenses.


(Springfield--ba)-Governor J-B Pritzker hosted a women’s history month celebration at the state capitol and honored four women for their contributions to Illinois. The governor honored women everywhere who have fought to make a difference…including former state representative Barbara Flynn Currie, who works now to help women enter politics.



State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie


(Springfield-jc)  -- It’s Spring and Department of Natural Resources officials say to leave wild young animals along. Kim Howard reports…



(Gibson City-jc)  -- Gibson City leaders will look at the number of city liquor licences when they meet tonight at 7pm in city hall. Gibson City council members will also hear about the 20-20 budget for the Jordan Pond area in the city and will look at a C-DAP loan request for Jay’s Place on Sangamon Avenue. The council will also look at water tower inspection bids.


EDWARDS, Ill. (AP) — Illinois agriculture officials say the number of farms in the state is going down, but the remaining operations are growing bigger as aging farmers struggle to find successors. The Journal Star reports that the Illinois Farm Bureau says the state has 71,000 farms, down from 241,000 farms a century ago. Ross Pauli has an 800-acre farm in Edwards. He says succession is a major issue for older farmers.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A major Springfield health care provider has donated land to what will be a memorial to the city's 1908 race riot. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports the Springfield City Council accepted the donation this week from HSHS St. John's Hospital. The remains of homes that were burned during the riot were unearthed in 2014 during construction of a railroad underpass. The hospital last fall unveiled a "healing garden" as part of the memorial.



(Springfield--jc)  -- llinois is raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, and a Democratic lawmaker says that should be the base pay for all workers. State Rep Theresa Mah is pushing a plan to end sub-minimum wage pay for disabled workers in the state. Mah says about a dozen other states have already made the change.  Mah says this it is important that Illinois takes a proactive step. State law allows some companies to pay disabled workers less as a way to get more disabled people working.But advocates say that law, which allows for the 14-C certificate, sometimes pays disabled workers less than a dollar-per-hour.



(Paxton--jc) Wanted...artists in Ford County to participate in the Town and Country Art Show on April 14th. The event is being hosted by the Paxton Park District. Event Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild says the winners of the Ford County event can move on to a state show that is being held in Champaign later this Spring…


Ford County Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild


(Champaign County--jc)  A proposed rural Gifford event center has several more steps to accomplish before the idea can move forward. The local county zoning board gave it’s O-K earlier this month. One issue to be decided is traffic on local rural roads to the proposed event center location. A special use permit will be the topic of the Champaign County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on March 28th in Urbana. With a positive committee recommendation, the issue would move the county board later this Spring.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The title of the play that debuts this weekend at the Paxton Market Street Theatre is…”Let Him Sleep, Till It’s Time for his Funeral.” It is a comedy written by Peg Kehret. The Tri County Players are performing the play with opening night on Friday at the Theatre in downtown Paxton. The story revolves around a man turning 60 and a birthday celebration and funeral  celebration.



The National Weather Service Says the Flooding in Nebraska and Iowa is Just a Preview of Widespread Major Flooding to Hit Much of the Country this Spring

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Weather Service says the flooding in Nebraska and Iowa is just a preview of widespread major flooding to hit much of the country this spring. More than 200 million Americans will be at risk for some kind of flooding _ with 13 million of them at risk of major flooding. The Mississippi, Missouri, Great Lakes, lower Ohio lower Cumberland and Tennessee rivers and their basins are at biggest risk.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce has announced its Grand Marshall for the 4th of July Freedom Celebration Parade.  This year’s Grand Marshall is Brad Gould. Gould is set to be the President of The Illinois Veterans of Foreign War Commander in June. Gould has been instrumental in starting the Champaign County Veterans Assistance Commission. Gould lives in Rantoul.



(Springfield--ba)-A major gas tax increase could cause problems for low income families. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Springfield--jc)  -- A measure one Illinois lawmaker says will give non-home rule communities the ability to pay for storm sewer maintenance is being called a rain tax by another. Democrat State Representative Anthony DeLuca of Chicago says  House Bill 825 is a natural extension of existing state law and would allow non-home rule municipalities the ability to charge a fee to maintain their stormwater sewer system, Republican State Representative Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee, says the measure would allow rain to be taxed by, as the bill states, allowing “stormwater utility charges to offset the cost of owning, maintaining, and improving local stormwater infrastructure. Skillicorn said the bill should be voted down. He said the bill was open-ended and could lead to higher costs for residents who are already overtaxed.



(Washington--jc)  -- What are the issues on the west side of Illinois that have implications closer to home. U-S-D-A meteorologist Brad Rippey discusses flooding issues along the lower Missouri and mid-Mississippi River systems and concerns of future events..



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey



BENTON, Ill. (AP) — An 82-year-old man who says he was desperate when he robbed an Illinois bank has been sentenced to 10 weekends in jail. Federal Judge Phil Gilbert told Arthur Bays that he's never seen a criminal as old as him. Bays had a toy gun in his waistband when he demanded money from a teller at State Bank of Whittington in Benton last July. He got $12,500. Bays told the judge that he was talked into buying a new car after learning that it would cost $2,000 to fix the air conditioning on his vehicle.


DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — Officials say an early morning fire in a maintenance building at the municipal airport in DeKalb caused an estimated quarter-million dollars in damage. The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reports that city firefighters and those from neighboring communities were called to the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport at about 6:45 a.m.


(paxton--jc) The Paxton Chamber of Commerce has an annual meeting next month. Paxton Area  Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley says the event is set for April…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley



( Springfield--jc)  -- General contractors in Illinois may be on the hook for the wages of their subcontractors' unpaid employees if state lawmakers successfully pass a law requiring just that.Under state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz’ legislation, a contractor who hires others to do a job could be forced by the Illinois Department of Labor to be responsible for unpaid wages to workers that the subcontractor failed to pay. House Bill 2838 provides for primary contractor responsibility for wage and benefit theft in the construction industry to stop worker exploitation and bring tax dollars back to the state currently being lost by lawbreakers



(Rankin--jc)  -- The old school building on the east side of Route 49 continues to be a topic for Rankin Village Leaders. The property is considered an eye-sore, but local officials say clean up could be more due to potential asbestos in the ageing building. Vermilion County public health officials have been working with the owners of the building to find a resolution. Rankin Village board members are expected to bring up the issue when they meet on April 9th at 5-45 with a public hearing on the building. The regular monthly meeting begins at 6pm at the Rankin Lion’s Club building



(Woodworth--jc)  One local Christian school is hosting a fish fry today. St Paul’s Lutheran School in Woodworth is hosting a “Woodworth Style” fish fry. Carryouts are available starting at 4pm with serving in the school gym at 5pm. On the menu is Woodworth Style  fish, coleslaw, baked beans and pie.


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A scientific report says the Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., which likely will bring more flooding and other extreme weather events such as heat waves and drought. The warming climate also could mean less overall snowfall even as lake-effect snowstorms get bigger. The report by researchers from universities primarily from the Midwest says agriculture could be hit especially hard, with later spring planting and summer dry spells.



(Springfield--ba)- A failing state tuition program could be giving refunds to some Illinois students. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Paxton--jc)  -- If you owe the city of Paxton money from an ordinance violation, you can expect to be contacted to pay in the near future. The city of Paxton hired Credit Collection Partners to work on the past due payments. The company adds a surcharge to the collectible amounts to pay for their service. Ford County also has an agreement with Credit Collection Partners.



(Undated--jc)  Sunday is T B Day. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Rantoul--jc)  -- One local Rantoul Church is hosting  a clothing giveaway on Saturday. The event is set for the Bethany Park Church on Grove Avenue in the village The   clothing giveaway is from 9 a.m. to noon VIsitors should bring bags

and use the west entrance to the church



(Gibson City--jc)  Do you have some household batteries, old-oil based paint, antifreeze, lawn chemicals and need to get rid of them. The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District has an event tomorrow to dispose of unwanted waste. The Household Hazardous Waste Recycling event takes place from 8am to 3pm in downtown Gibson City. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is sponsored the waste take-back event. Other items you may bring include, insecticides, used motor oil and biological waste. Items may be brought for free during the collection times at 115 South Sangamon in Gibson City.


(Springfield--jc)  Unemployment remained steady in February. Kim Howard reports…




(Paxton--jc)  Tomorrows Paxton IGA cookout will benefit the Upper Room Bible Church in Paxton. The cookout takes place from 10am to 2pm in the IGA parking lot. On the menu is pork chop sandwiches, chips, and pop..


(Rantoul--jc)  Spring has just started, but plans for a summertime ag event continue for property surrounding the Rantoul airport in August. The 20-19 Half Century of Progress Show is set for August 22nd through August 25th. On display at this year’s show will be vintage fire trucks from around the area including a 1968 International Truck from the Limestone Fire District in Kankakee County.




MILWAUKEE (AP) —  MillerCoors has filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch, saying its St. Louis-based rival wants to "frighten" people away from Miller Lite and Coors Light by claiming those beers have corn syrup. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Wisconsin federal court but the feud between the country's two largest brewers began when Anheuser-Busch aired commercials making the corn syrup claim during this year's Super Bowl . Corn syrup is a fermentation aid used by several brewers , including Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. But no corn syrup remains in the beers once fermentation is complete. MillerCoors says Anheuser-Busch is preying on health conscious consumers who have negative connotations of corn syrup, sometimes confusing it with the high-fructose corn syrup in sodas. MillerCoors wants a judge to order Anheuser-Busch to stop the ads. Anheuser-Busch says it stands by its campaign and won't change it.



Catholic Priests and Lay Persons Publicly Accused in Illinois of Abuse Have Been Listed in a Report

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys who have represented clergy abuse victims across the United States  have released a report that lists the names of every Catholic priest and lay person in Illinois who has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, the attorneys provided an 185-page report that includes background information and work histories of 395 priests and lay people accused in the state's six dioceses. The report did name several clergy who served in Paxton, Ford County, Iroquois County and Champaign County.


(Washington--jc)  -- What is the current state of the farm economy? Stephanie Ho has the details…



FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has toured flooded northern Illinois neighborhoods and asked the state's emergency operations center to expedite help to affected areas. The National Weather Service says the Rock and Pecatonica rivers have been at flood stage since last week. About 200 people have evacuated. Pritzker told residents the state "committed to being your partners in the future."


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man has pleaded not guilty in a federal case accusing him of fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy who was trying to serve an arrest warrant at a hotel. Floyd E. Brown of Springfield appeared in Rockford federal court Wednesday morning sitting in a wheelchair and wearing green jail scrubs. A grand jury Tuesday indicted him on murder and weapons charges.



(Springfield--jc)  -- State lawmakers are working on a couple of bills to help increase organ donation in Illinois. There is a real need for live organ donors to provide kidneys and bone marrow to those who are sick says Villa Park Representative Deb Conroy, whose bill helps donors with life insurance policies..


Villa Park Representative Deb Conroy



(Rantoul--jc)  A Rantoul based insurance agency is moving to a larger building to house its operations. The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Insurance Providers Group location at 423 South Murray Road across from the Rantoul Wal-Mart Superstore. The event is set for Tuesday April 2nd at 11-30am. The company had been using a building on the former Chanute Air Force base.



(Gifford--jc) It’s Spring and time for spring projects.  A school project is set to begin soon at a portion of the Gifford School gym. Gifford School Superintendent Rod Grimsley informed the school board this month that  work will begin on the south wall of old gym next week while the students are on spring break. Gifford school leaders are also in the process of getting some quotes on what to do with the holes in the parking lot right in front of the new bus barn.



(Paxton-dg)-The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School board recently voted to end it’s co-op with Rantoul for IHSA Wrestling. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says the redistricting in IHSA Football played a part in not continuing wrestling at PBL.


PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure


(Springfield--jc)  -- Right to life advocates were at the state capitol on Wednesday to rally against abortion legislation.  A couple of bills are under protest, including an appeal of a law requiring teens to notify their parent or guardian before getting an abortion. Another overhauls state abortion laws and lifts a ban on partial-birth abortions. State Representative Avery Bourne of Litchfield says these changes are extreme…



State Representative Avery Bourne of Litchfield

Supporters of the measures say the laws  to be updated to better protect a woman’s right to choose.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A bill in the House would force municipalities to get approval from voters before selling public assets like water and wastewater treatment plants to private companies. Water companies like Aqua Illinois and Illinois American Water have been offering municipalities in the state cash for the ownership of their water systems and wastewater systems. The private companies then can seek approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission to raise water rates for customers. State Representative. John Connor, the Lockport Democrat who sponsored the bill, says the legislation would require a ballot referendum to approve the sale and it wouldn’t just be for the residents of that municipality.



(Springfield--jc)  Organ donation continues to be a topic at the state capitol. Some roadblocks for employees has occurred at some businesses in the state. National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Spokesperson Megan Craig says one measure in Springfield will offer business some incentives for allowing employees to participate in being an organ donor…



National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Spokesperson Megan Craig.



CHICAGO (AP) — Ground has been broken on the first phase of a $1.2 billion expansion of a terminal at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and airline officials attended the Wednesday event. City officials say that Terminal 5 will gain another 350,000-square-feet by 2021 to make room for more concessions, airline lounges and passenger amenities. There also will be more security lanes and ten new gates.


(Springfield--jc)  --Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration is setting new rules that go beyond federal regulations for the herbicide dicamba to try to reduce the number of complaints about misuse of the popular product. The new rules set forth will ban spraying the chemical when the wind is blowing toward residential areas, establish a June 30 cutoff date for application and other requirements.The affected formulations of dicamba are Engenia by BASF, XtendiMax with Vaporgrip Technology by Bayer, and FeXapan plus Vapor Grip Technology by DuPont/Corteva, according to a news release.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College trustees approved curriculum for a new career certificate that will help bridge the digital divide in the district. At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the school's new, six-credit-hour certificate, Introduction to Computers in Business. The program will go through a final review for approval with the Illinois Community College Board in the new academic year. The certificate will assist efforts to close the widening gap between those who have computer skills and those who do not in Champaign County.


(Rantoul--jc)  The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a candidates forum on Saturday at noon at Rantoul Township High School. Candidates for Rantoul Village Board and those running for school board at the high school and Rantoul City Schools and library board candidates will be participating in the forum. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen says its an opportunity to learn more about the candidates…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen. The forum is set for Noon on Saturday at the high school.


(Sibley--jc) The decision from the state of Illinois Ag department is coming, but not by Wednesday’s deadline. At issue is a mega-hog farm near the village of Sibley. The state has asked for more information about the hog farm.The Ford County Record has more on the issue.


(Springfield--jc) --  Right to life advocates were rallying at the state capitol against abortion legislation on Wednesday. In updating our story, protesters were speaking out against some new bills that make changes to Illinois law. Those include a proposal to lift a ban on partial birth abortions and a second bill that would allow teens not to tell parents about an abortion, before getting one. State Representative Terri Bryant of Mount Vernon says the legislation goes to far…



State Representative Terri Brant of Mount Vernon



(Rantoul--jc)  --Rantoul authorities say the local police department will be testing for new officers next month. Rantoul Police Chief Tony Brown says the police department is testing for officers on April 13th. Rantoul Police and Fire Commission members will conduct the test. Applications to the Rantoul Police Department are due by March 31st. More information is found by contacting the local police department.


A Private Immigration Detention Center Could be Coming to Dwight

(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker unveiled his plan for a progressive income tax and one local state representative finds the plan troubling. State Representative Mike Marron says the original plan for a Millionaire’s tax is now a graduated income tax for those making 250 thousand dollars annually..


104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


DWIGHT, Ill. (AP) — A Virginia-based company is one step closer to building a private immigration detention center near Dwight after trustees  approved the plan despite pushback from activists. Dwight trustees voted to annex and rezone 88 acres where Immigration Centers of America plans to build a detention center. More than 200 people attended the village meeting, which was repeatedly interrupted by protesters.Dwight Mayor Jared Anderson says the project could stimulate the region's economy by creating about 300 jobs, The  community and area lost jobs with the closing of the women’s prison in Dwight. Some groups against the project continue to protest the idea.



(Gibson City-jc)  -- A loan application is the topic for the Gibson City C-DAP committee. The group will discuss a loan application from Jay’s Place. The Gibson City C-DAP committee meeting takes place at 8 tomorrow morning at city hall.



(Undated--jc)  -- A Wilmington man was fatally injured in a motorcycle versus van and lexus accident in Kankakee County on Monday night. Police say 30 year old Kristopher Cortese of Wilmington was pronounced dead at the scene by Kankakee County authorities. Cortese was going south along Route 45-52 just after 9 Monday night and was struck head on by a northbound van and a second vehicle also was involved in the accident. The accident remains under investigation this morning.


CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys who have represented clergy abuse victims across the United States say they are releasing a report that lists the names of every Catholic priest and lay person in Illinois who has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. Today, the attorneys say they will release a 185-page report that includes background information and work histories of 395 priests and lay people accused in the state's six dioceses. It is not clear how much of the information will be new.


SEATTLE (AP) — A federal appeals court has thrown out a $4 million copyright infringement ruling against the Seattle-based online real estate company Zillow. Zillow faced a 2015 lawsuit from VHT, the nation's largest professional real estate photography studio. VHT said Zillow's use of its photos violated VHT's copyright. A federal jury awarded VHT more than $8 million, an amount a judge later cut in half. Last Friday, however, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that award



(Springfield--jc)  --An Illinois lawmaker wants the state to have a say in selecting the executive director of a private foundation that supports the state-run Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The foundation had sought state money to help pay off the remaining 9 million dollars of a loan that comes due later this year. The foundation purchased Abraham Lincoln artifacts, including a stovepipe hat that may have been Lincoln’s.State Senator Andy Manar, Democrat of  Bunker Hill, says his measure requiring the state to appoint a director for the foundation is about resetting the relationship between the private foundation and the public institution.



(Springfield--jc) -- Low income taxpayers and seniors can get help filing their taxes at locations throughout Illinois. The I-R-S and A-A-R-P offer free counseling to qualifying individuals at 300 sites around the state says Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Hortsman. Help is available by appointment at the Rantoul Public Library and the Mahomet Library. More information is found on line at  tax-dot-Illinois-dot-Gov.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A talent show is coming to Rantoul in early April. The event is set for April 7th at the high school says event spokesperson Paula Hopkins…


Rantoul Talent Show Spokesperson Paula Hopkins



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County Historical Society is set to meet tomorrow night in Paxton The 7pm meeting will take place at the Water Tower museum in downtown Paxton . Society member Jim Jarboe will speak at his collection of Civil War weapons. The meeting is open to the public and there is no admission charge.


(Minnesota--jc) A man from Clarence, who is accused of firebombing a mosque in Minnesota in 2017, has a trial date this fall. The News Gazette reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer says the trial of 48 year old Michael Hari of Clarence will  begin September 30th at the federal courthouse in St. Paul, Minnesota. WPXN news will continue to follow this story as it warrants.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois could get an official state drink and an official state microbe.The northern cardinal is the official state bird. The monarch butterfly is the official state insect. The violet is the official state flower. And the white oak is the state tree. There's even a state fossil, the Tully monster, and state soil is Drummer silty clay loam. One state Senator wants to go even smaller. State Senator David Koehler, Democrat-Peoria, got an idea from a local columnist in a “kind of … almost tongue-in-cheek kind of way” to designate an official state microorganism. House Bill 3073 isn’t likely to settle the soda vs. pop debate, but one state representative wants to see if Illinois can make Ski the state's official drink. Popcorn is the official snack of the state of Illinois. The state vegetable is sweet corn. Legislators in the Land of Lincoln have even made pumpkin the state’s officials pie.State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, is looking to make the citrus, cane sugar drink Ski the official state soda.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- What do Hank Gamel, Chad Smith, Sherry Johnson, Mark Wilkerson and Gary Wilson have in common. They are all candidates for trustee positions on the Village of Rantoul board in April. The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has set up a candidates forum at noon on Saturday at Rantoul Township High School. Candidates for school board races at Rantoul Township High School and Rantoul City Schools will also participate in the forum on Saturday



(Morton--jc)  -- A woman was found dead in a vehicle along eastbound Interstate 74 yesterday. Police say the vehicle was parked on the shoulder near Morton. Police closed the eastbound lanes just before noon. The victim was  pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m. No foul play is suspected. Traffic was slowed around the scene for several hours.



(Springfield--jc)  One group is set to help small non-profits in the state. Through Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs office,  Charitable Trust is helping small non-profits across Illinois in areas of workforce & economic development, housing, and food programs.  Those interested in applying have until March 31st to apply, on line at the Charitable Trust website or by calling the State Treasurer’s office in Springfield.



(Ford County--jc)  -- Ford County artists, you are needed. The Ford County Amature Town and Country Art Show takes place on April 14th at the Paxton Park District Building on Fall Street. Event Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild says the event is for Ford County residents…



Ford County Amature Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson  Shawn Fairchild. More information is found on line at the Paxton Park District web site.



(Crescent City--jc)  Five area fire departments were called to a garage fire in Crescent City on Tuesday afternoon. The fire was at a property at 803 South Street as reported by the Times Republic. No word on damage estimates was given



(Springfield--jc)  -- Tuesday was Agriculture  Legislative Day in Springfield. Famers, lawmakers and F-F-A members from around the state were at the state capitol. Under discussion were topics facing the ag community including promotion of agriculture and more Ag teachers says Illinois Ag Director John Sullivan…



Illinois Department of Ag  Director John Sullivan.



(Chicago--jc)  -- The state’s leading manufacturing group said it's on the defensive in Illinois, but plans to push for policies that it can get through the Democrat-controlled legislature. Governor . J.B. Pritzker encouraged more innovation and creation in Illinois to grow the state's manufacturing base at the m-HUB Manufacturing Industry Celebration last week in Chicago. Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO Mark Denzler said Tuesday that manufacturers feel like they are on the defensive in Illinois because of a number of mandates and regulations in energy policy, labor law and the state's minimum wage increase. Denzler added that the graduated income tax will cause a number of manufacturers to substantially increase costs. Energy legislation is also a topic the Illinois Manufacturers are watching



(Paxton--jc)  The annual Draggin’ Main event is set for the city of Paxton in April. Organizers say the downtown Paxton event takes place on April 20th. From 6pm until 11 pm car enthusiasts to the public are invited to participate. More information is found by contacting organizer Debbie Chapman-Herman. Draggin’ Main was popular for area residents for over 50 years in the city of Paxton.



Residents in Northern and Western Illinois Continue to Deal with Flooding

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — Residents in northern and western Illinois continue to deal with flooding as rivers swell from melting snow and recent rains. National Weather Service readings Monday show major flooding along the Pecatonica River at Shirland and Freeport and the Rock River in the Rockford area and Moline. The Mississippi River also is at major flood stage from New Boston, Illinois, south to Burlington, Iowa.


LEMONT, Ill. (AP) — The Department of Energy plans to spend $500 million to build what could be one of the world's fastest computers at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago. The department said Monday that the supercomputer will be able to do more than one quintillion operations per second. That's equal to a 10 with 18 zeros behind it. The computer will be named "Aurora" and plans are to turn it on in 2021.



(Rantoul--jc)  The Northern Champaign County  and Ford County Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization held a recent bowling event in Rantoul that saw all lanes filled for two sessions. The money is being used to support the local efforts of Big Brothers-Big Sisters. Local Director Kristian Hopkins of Rantoul says there is a need for “Bigs” to help out with some area youth. Hopkins says those interested have several ways to contact the organization…



Big Brothers Big Sisters Local Director Kristian Hopkins of Rantoul.



(Washington--jc)  --The U.S. pet food industry is experiencing growth in export markets - a trend one industry insider expects to continue, despite some trade challenges. Rod Bain reports…




CHICAGO (AP) — Experts in Illinois say preparations for next year's U.S. Census are important because there's a lot at stake, including billions in federal funding and congressional seats. The Chicago Tribune reports that an analysis by George Washington University's Institute of Public Policy has found that at least $34 billion in federal funding for programs that assist Illinois residents is tied to census figures. The Illinois Complete Count Commission says Illinois could lose up to two congressional seats.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Four new sites have been added for this year's Illinois Spring Trout Fishing Season. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says this year's season opens 5 a.m. April 6 at 58 ponds, lakes and streams throughout the state. The new sites are Baumann Lake in Cherry Valley, Weldon Springs Lake in DeWitt County, Casey Park Pond in Casey and Belk Lake in Wood River. The agency stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout for the spring season and another 80,000 trout for the fall season.


(Springfield--jc)  Tickets will be available at ticketmaster-dot-com starting April 20th for tickets to acts coming to the Illinois State Fair.  State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth says there are 3 tiers of tickets, plus the V-I-P track ticket and pre-show party…



State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is  hosting the Official R-A-C-C Election Candidates Forum for candidate seats on the Village of Rantoul, Rantoul High School and City Schools boards and  Rantoul Library Board Seats .

The forum is set for Saturday March 23 at Noon at the Rantoul Township High School Cafetorium. Candidates are asked to call the local chamber with questions and to sign up for the forum. Phone 893-3323,



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- A blood drive is set for today in Cissna Park. The drive is set for Creekside Prairie on the village’s north side. Times to give blood start at 2pm and run through 7pm tonight.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois’ governor said small businesses in Illinois should be paying higher taxes and that taxpayers can expect deep cuts to government services if they don't approve his 3 point 4 billion dollar progressive tax plan. Governor. J.B. Pritzker visited Belleville City Hall on Monday to promote his plan. He was backed by mayors from the Metro East area who support changing the state constitution’s flat income tax to a structure where those who earn more pay higher tax rates. The governor's tax proposal includes modest rate reductions from the state's existing 4.95 flat rate for 97 percent of taxpayers. Those making more than $250,000 a year would pay 7.75 percent or more in state taxes. The governor says several neighboring states use the progressive tax and it is time for Illinois to get on board.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is providing more information about a settlement with 4 fast food chains over employee no-poach agreements. Under the deal, Dunkin, Arbys, Five Guys and Little Caesars will stop making workers sign  no-poach clauses. Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson says employees sometimes do not even know about that rule…



Illinois Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson

Agreements with Panera and Wendy’s have also been reached



(Rantoul--jc)  -- What to do this summer at Rantoul Township High School? That is the question before the Rantoul School Board of Educations, Building and Grounds committee tomorrow night. The committee will look at summer projects at their meeting at 7 on Wednesday evening.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is working to modernize outed banking rules for the legal cannabis industry. Currently, banks and credit unions are not supposed to do business with marijuana  companies. That is the old law. Frerichs says the legal companies need new banking rules…



Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Police is warning to drivers to follow the state’s “move over” law or face a penalty of up to $10,000.The law requires motorists to move over from stopped emergency vehicles, which includes police, fire and EMS, construction, tow truck drivers and the general motoring public when they have an emergency and have emergency flashers activated on the side of the road, said Sgt. Christopher Watson of the Illinois State Police.Watson said that the law was designed to not only keep first responders safe, but also to protect the public.



(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois State police have announced results of Nightime Enforcement patrols from over the St Patrick’s Day weekend.  State police in District 21 in Ashkum conducted the patrol in Kankakee County. 32 written warnings were given along with 7 driver licenses offenses, 3 insurance violations and two alcohol citations. On Friday night into Saturday morning, State police conducted an ACE patrol. 12 citations were given, including 4 registration violations and 4 driver license offenses. With the road safety check on Sunday, State troopers handed out 34 citations in Kankakee County that included 10 insurance violations and 5 alcohol citations.


(Paxton--jc)  One Paxton restaurant is set to close and a new restaurant will open on the west side of the city. In a facebook announcement, the Country Garden will close this weekend as the owners are retiring. A new restaurant is taking its place. The restaurant is located on Route 9 on the west side of I-57 in Paxton.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson City Swimming pool exploratory committee is set to talk with pool builders. The group will meet with Mike Friend of the Farnsworth Group. The local committee is looking a investment costs, design  and size of a proposed new pool for Gibson City. The committee meeting starts at 7 tonight.



(Washington--jc)  The struggling ethanol industry probably won't see a quick increase in demand from year-round sales of E15 blended gasoline. Gary Crawford reports…




(Collinsville--jc)  --An effort is underway to establish a downstate site as a national historical park.  Supporters are trying again to convince federal lawmakers to make Cahokia Mounds a part of the National Parks Service. The 2,200-acre site in Collinsville draws about 300,000 visitors a year. Ed Weilbacher, vice president at HeartLands Conservancy, said Cahokia Mounds more than qualifies for the designation.



(Chicago--jc)  --Job seekers should be on high alert for potential scams.That’s the word from the Better Business Bureau, which reported the number of employment scams increased in 2018 along with financial losses. Better Business Bureau President Steve Bernas says there are some warning signs to look for. One is that when you post your resume online on a job site and they reply back immediately you have a job that pays a lot of money for doing little to no work and with little to no education or experience. The Better Business Bureau report said these scams are effective because they prey on people who may be desperate for work. Employment scammers often impersonate leading brands like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft when fishing for information.




Rising Waters Starting to Flood Homes in Northern Illinois

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — Rising waters along the Pecatonica and Rock rivers have flooded homes in northern Illinois cities like Freeport, Rockford and Machesney Park. The (Freeport) Journal-Standard reports the American Red Cross opened a shelter Friday night for those displaced by flooding in Rockford. The National Weather Service on Saturday said record crests were possible along the rivers. The Mississippi River also saw moderate flooding Saturday at Rock Island south to Gladstone.


CHICAGO (AP) — New state data shows Illinois high school graduates have increasingly enrolled in out-of-state colleges and universities in recent years. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Illinois Board of Higher Education figures reveal the exodus continues. More than 48 percent of public high school graduates who enrolled in four-year universities in 2017 decided to attend schools that aren't in Illinois. That figure has climbed from about 46 percent in 2016 and 45 percent in 2015.


STAUNTON, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State Police trooper is recovering after being wounded during a shootout with a suspected carjacker who was killed. Officials say state police were informed Saturday by the Glen Carbon Police Department of an armed carjacking in the city. A suspect was spotted by state police on Interstate 55 in southern Illinois and after driving the auto on the median fled on foot. The man fired his weapon, wounding at trooper who returned fire. The fleeing man was killed. He remains unidentified.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois Healthcare is hoping to expand access to trauma care in the southern part of the state. The Southern Illinoisan reports that SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale has applied to the Illinois Department of Public Health for Level II Trauma Center designation.



Tobacco 21 legislation is headed to the governor’s desk. The bill just passed by the senate raises the age to purchase tobacco products including e-cigs and vapes from 18 to 21. Senator Laura Fine Of Glenview says 38 communities have already passed similar ordinances.



Supporters says this will help prevent more teens from smoking and developing a life-long habit. Governor JB Pritzker has said he will sign the measure into law.



(Springfield--jc)  --A state Senator wants single-occupancy restrooms throughout the state in schools and businesses with public accommodations to have a gender-neutral sign. Amendment One to Senate Bill 5-66 from Senator Melinda Bush, Democrat of Grayslake, would require any single-occupancy restroom to be labeled with a gender neutral designation. Some Democrats are worried the measure may add to what some business owners see as a growing list of regulations that make doing business in the state more difficult. Bush said the measure does not require any new plumbing or new facilities be built, it would only require that if the place of public accommodation has a single-occupant bathroom that it have a gender-neutral label. If passed, such restrooms could only be used by one person at a time, or by a family.



BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois judge has rejected a state motion to reconsider granting a new trial to a man who has spent 27 years in prison for his father's 1991 beating and stabbing death. McLean County Judge Scott Drazewski rejected the motion during a hearing Friday for 52-year-old Donald Whalen. The judge last month ruled Whalen should receive a new trial in the killing of William Whalen, who was found stabbed and beaten in his downtown Bloomington bar.



(Rantoul--jc)  A Rantoul man is set to become the next Illinois V-F-W Commander this Spring. Brad Gould will be taking over as the V-F-W Commander of Illinois on June First. The mission of the V-F-W is to foster camaraderie among veterans, to serve veterans, their families and communities.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is back home after being in a car crash last week and spending time in the hospital. Bennett provides an update…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Washington--jc)  -- Are there jobs in the Ag sector for those entering the job fields. U-S-D-A Deputy Secretary Steve Censky says a new website is  focused on that subject..



U-S-D-A Deputy Secretary Steve Censky


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Blue Collar Jobs Program offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital investments in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. These tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. One area legislator is introducing a measure to expand the current Edge tax program. 104th district State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian says this is a great idea to help businesses grow in the state…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


 (Springfield--jc)  -- Some state Senators want to tell companies how many women should be on their corporate board, but some Democrats say it’s bad policy. Senate Bill 76 from Senator Cristina Castro, Democrat of Elgin, was heard in a committee last week. The measure would require that by summer 20-20 there be at least one women on corporate boards. By the end of 2022, boards would have to have a minimum of three of six board members be women and at least two of five board members be women, depending on the size of the board. It would also require the publication of such information. “If you’ve looked at this last election, you can see the power of women. And women want equity,” Castro said in committee.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Protecting K9 Heroes is pleased to announce that K9 Wyatt of the Rantoul Police Department , has been granted a K9 Trauma Kit and a Narcan kit. These gifts of protection were made possible by donations to Protecting K9 Heroes. Wyatt is a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois mixed with German Shepherd and is assigned to Officer J. King. He enjoys chasing anything outside like balls and sticks. He loves working and is usually the first to the patrol car. He dislikes going to the vet. He is certified in Patrol, Tracking, and Narcotics.


(Washington--jc)  -- U-S-D-A Rural Development was the topic of a  special Farm Bill implementation listening session last week. Rod Bain reports….




(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker calls the mass shooting in New Zealand heartbreaking. Although the terrorist attack on a mosque occurred far away, the governor says it is still a concern here in Illinois…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Springfield--ab)  -The unemployment rate was up…as were jobs in most Illinois metro areas in January. 13 out of 14 metro areas had an increase in the jobless rate from January of last year to January 2019. The good news is that 11 metro areas saw over-the-year job growth says State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough (goff)...



I-D-E-S Spokesperson Bob Gough

Metro areas with job losses compared to January of 2018 include Bloomington and the metro east area.



(Springfield--jc)  -- New legislation addresses the rising number of pregnancy-related deaths in Illinois. A state public health report found that 73 Women die annually within one year of pregnancy and the majority are preventable.State Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin is pushing for mandated insurance coverage of post-partum complications...



State Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin



(Farmer City--jc)  -- The 20-19 Farmer City Heritage Days are set from May 30th through June 2nd. The new design logo is ready for this year’s celebration. T-Shirts are ready for pre-order. The cost is 15 dollars. E-mail inquiries may be made at farmer-city-heritage-days-at-hotmail-dot com.





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