Illinois Governor  J.B. Pritzker is Formally Asking Lawmakers to Shut Down Illinois' Private School Scholarship Program

(Springfield--ba)-Illinois Governor  J.B. Pritzker is formally asking lawmakers to shut down Illinois’ private school scholarship program and pour more into public schools. WPXN’s Braedon’s Arnett has the story.    



(Paxon--ab) The School building project continues in the Paxton Buckley Loda school district. The process is going as planned says P-B-L School  Superintendent Cliff McClure ...



P-B-L School Superintendent Ciff McClure



(Springfield-jc) New Illinois Governor, J.B. Pritzker has proposed a nearly $39 billion fiscal 2020 budget that he said will serve as a bridge to “a stable fiscal future” for the financially shaky state. His hope is then to change the income tax system in the state.   House Republicans expressed surprise that the proposal relies so heavily on policies that have not achieved a fiscal responsible goal…

104th District State Representative Mike Maron of Fithian says he has concerns…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington gave the governor a positive on the speech but wonders where the money will come from for proposed budget…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Gibson City--jc) Gibson City Melvin Sibley school board members are expected to approve field trips for a Spanish 4 class and the music department when they meet on Monday night. The FFA has received a donation from Alliance Grain in the amount of 609 dollars. The board will vote on extending the bus contract with Illinois Central School  Bus company. That contract would be for two years. The Gibson City Melvin Sibley School board meets on Monday night at 6-15.



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul police are seeking the public’s help with a report of guns fired and vehicle property damage. Officials say shots were fired in the 14 Hundred Block of Harper Drive in the village. The incident occurred on Saturday February 16th. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers or Rantoul police.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A Republican in the Illinois General Assembly says all elected officials in the state should be required to wear body cameras while conducting government business. Rep. John Cabello of Machesney Park tells the Register Star in Rockford the intent of the bill he introduced is to reduce corruption at the state and local levels. He points to the corruption of public officials in Chicago and state lawmakers getting into trouble "with bribes and so on and so forth."


(Springfield--jc)  -- The sponsor of a bill to start a pilot program to tax drivers by the mile scrapped the idea this week after public backlash on social media. One idea for new revenue floated by State Representative Marcus Evans, Democrat from -Chicago, was a pilot program for a 2.1-cent tax per mile driven in place of the existing motor fuel tax. Evans said he heard from drivers statewide through social media and scrapped the bill.




With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters.  Allison Wessels from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.



We were also able to talk with Fisher FFA member Will Shook



 We were also able to talk with Taylor Talbert from Iroquois West High School’s FFA Chapter 



We were also able to talk with Armstrong  FFA member Gabby Hudson



We were also able to talk with Lexie Wilken from Rantoul Township High School’s FFA Chapter 



We were also able to talk with PBL FFA member Mikayla Jones



We were also able to talk with Taylor Duringer from GCMS High School’s FFA Chapter 



We were also able to talk with St. Joe Ogden FFA member Abby Schluter





(Hoopeston--jc) It was a standing room only crowd at the Hoopeston Area school board meeting last night. The issue is one teacher at the Vermilion county school did not stand and recite the pledge of allegiance. Concerned parents, a community members spoke at the board meeting to air their opinion on the issue.  The Hoopeston Area school district issued a one paragraph statement that talked about the rights of employees and students when it comes to speech freedoms. School leaders say nothing further would be released to the public on the issue. Some at the meeting talked about the right to opinions while others contend they want more on the topic at the next school board meeting.  



(Champaign--jc) Another shooting in Champaign last night. Police were called to the Town Center apartments on North Neil Street. Police are continuing their investigation after being on the scene for several hours.


(Springfield--ab) The Illinois Department of Human Services says more than 10 thousand people have called the state’s opioid hotline…seeking help for addiction. The helpline was created to help battle the opioid epidemic and has resources for those struggling says D-H-S spokesperson Dani Kirby.



D-H-S Spokesperson Dani Kirby

D-H-S is also expanding the warm hand-off program which connects recovery specialists directly with patients while they are in the hospital after an overdose. The helpline number is: 1-833-2-find help or visit helpline il dot org.


(Springfield--ab)  --New legislation makes sure students are given comprehensive lessons on what constitutes “consent.”the bill is co-sponsored by State Representative Karin Villa of west Chicago, who says sex education curriculum should include a discussion on exactly what consent means.



State Representative Karin Villa of West Chicago

The bill applies to students in sixth through 12th grades.


(Washington--ab) The  U-S-D-A is seeking farmer input for the Agricultural Resource Management -- or ARM -- survey. Stephanie Ho reports




(Springfield--jc)  -- There’s no catchy name for the next statewide construction bill, like the previous iteration Illinois Jobs Now from ten years ago. Governor. J.B. Pritzker wants one. Democratic majorities say there’s up to $15 billion needed just for highways alone over the next decade and they’re looking for ways to pay for it. State Senator Andy Manar, Democrat from Bunker Hill, and  State Senator Martin Sandoval, Democrat from Chicago, plan a statewide tour to learn more about local infrastructure needs. They’ll be in Chicago, the suburbs, several stops in central Illinois and a stop in the Metro East in the coming weeks.


(Onarga--jc) -- Water bills to help pay a loan are going up in one area town. Onarga village leaders gave the go-ahead to raise from 10 to 14 dollars per month inside the local water bills to pay off an E-P-A loan. Letters on the issue are being sent to residents and a timeline for the raise will be decided later this Spring.



(Gibson City--jc)   The Gibson City Rotary Club is accepting donations of baby care items to be donated to Handles of Hope. The local group is looking for diaper bags, blankets, baby wash, to shampoo and lotion. Other items needed are diapers, wash rags, towels, rash to, bibs, pacifiers and feeding bottles. The collection site is the  Villas of Holly Brook o Melvin Street in the city. Items will be taken through Wednesday February 27th.


(Illinois--ba)-Illinois' six Catholic bishops are warning against proposed changes to the state's abortion laws. Braedon Armett reports.



(Washington--ab)  -Old Man Winter is not expected to loosen his hold on most of the country, at least for several weeks. Gary Crawford reports.




Illinois Governor JB Pritzker Gave his Budget Address and it Doesn't Look Good for Downstate Illinois

(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois Governor JB Pritzker boasted his budget includes “humble, honesty and some bold optimism.The governor says the state faces a more than 3 Billion dollar deficit along with 15 Billion Dollars in unpaid bills. Governor Pritzker says he has some ideas to turn that around…



The governor, in his state of the state address on Wednesday, says some of the solutions include legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana and sports betting. The governor also wants to move from a flat tax to a graduated income tax system…



Reaction from state lawmakers to the budget address from Governor Pritzker. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the governor  is using a playbook of the past.



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.


106th district State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the positive is the promise of the governor to work together, but wonders how the state can pay for all the programs…



106 District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Parkland College Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to approve a 3.48 percent tuition increase beginning the summer 2019 term. Additionally, trustees agreed to increase Parkland's technology fee from $12 to $14 per credit hour, and approved course fee adjustments for several individual programs.The $5 tuition rate increase applies to Parkland's Tier One academic programs, which comprise the majority of its degree and certificate offerings. Under the new Tier One increase, District 505 residents will pay a total of $171 per credit hour in tuition and fees. Tuition rates remained unchanged for the college's high-cost Tier Two programs such as Aviation, Ford ASSET, Case New Holland Technician, and select Health Professions programs.



(Washington DC--ab)  An expert says when you are working with a paid tax preparer, there are things you should do to protect yourself. Gary Crawford has more.




(Fisher--jc)  This is National F F A week. The current Illinois F F A President is from Fisher. F-F-A President Sophia Hortin talks about the passion for agriculture and her start as a greenhand at Fisher High school…



Illinois F F A President Sophia Hortin of Fisher


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Area high schools will compete in the 2019 Parkland-ICTM Regional High School Math Contest, to be held on Saturday  at Parkland College. The contest begins at 9:15 a.m., with an awards ceremony at 2 p.m. Approximately 450 students, representing 18 area high schools, are expected to attend. Winners will advance to the state finals, scheduled for May 4 at the University of Illinois. This will be the 44th year that Parkland has hosted the regional contest.


(Crescent City--ab) World day of Prayer is March first this year, and there is an event in Crescent City, Austin Burklund has the details.




(Springfield--ab) The Senate’s task force on sexual harassment and discrimination is highlighting past accomplishments and future goals. The task force made several recommendations last year as the me-too movement gained steam…and helped pass several new laws. That includes ethics reforms and addressing the backlog of sexual harassment claims in the legislature. But Co-chair, Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake, says more must be done.



Bush says that includes a bill requiring all hotels and casinos to adopt anti-harassment policies and have some sort of panic button for employees.



With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Garrett Wright from GCMS High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.



We were also able to talk with Fisher FFA member Bethany Mussick



  We were also able to talk with PBL High School FFA member Mikayla Jones 



We were also able to talk with Rantoul Township High School FFA member Rachel Klimas



We were also able to talk with Iroquois West High School FFA member Klayton Koloski 



We were also able to talk with Cissna Park FFA member Abby Kaeb



 We were also able to talk with St. Joe Ogden FFA member Mallory Ames 



We were also able to talk with Armstrong FFA member Jared Myler




(Gifford--jc) --  Gifford School Board members are looking at budget items for the next fiscal year. Jay Smith has started working on the new budget.  Also at last night’s board meeting, the Gifford school board hired Matt Clements as Girls Basketball Coach and Melissa Adkins as Girls Softball Coach. Tracy Gernentz was also hired as an assistant Track Coach. The board also approved a 60 month copier agreement with Watts Copy Systems.



(Springfield--ab) Grammy award winning duo Dan and Shay are coming to the Illinois State Fair. Dan and Shay will play on the grandstand stage on Sunday, August 11th says fair spokesperson Morgan Booth. Ticket prices will range from 25 to 55 dollars.



Last week the state fair announced Pentatonix would play on Wednesday August 14th. Booth says they will hopefully reveal more new acts each Thursday.


(Iroquois County--jc)  An Iroquois County man was sentenced to 44 years in prison in the murder of Milford restaurant owned Jesse Clintora. The Ford County Press reports that Randy White  was sentenced during a pre trial hearing on Tuesday. With the guilty plea, charges of first degree murder and burglary were dismissed.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- Kankakee County authorities are seeking information about a Kankakee man wanted on an order of protection with a prior domestic battery. Police say they are searching for 31 year old Robert Boyd. He is described as 6 foot tall, weighing 160 pounds. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Kankakee County Sheriff’s office.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The sign up for summer softball and baseball is coming soon to one local recreation department. Rantoul Rec Department officials say sign up takes place on March first. Information about softball and baseball in Rantoul will be released over the next several days More information is found by contacting the recreation department



A group focused on creating jobs in Illinois is worried about the speed that Governor J.B. Pritzker is moving toward new taxes, more spending, and new costs for downstate businesses.  not just the minimum wage, although that is a big part of the concern. The group Ideas Illinois said it’s worried about the speed at which Pritzker is pushing to change the state’s business climate and spend more state money. The group’s Greg Baise said there is a real worry that Democratic lawmakers are lining up to pass two more tax increases over the next two years. And not cut spending. Baise says the thought from Democrats is a temporary tax will get them through this “rough patch” and then  the progressive tax will fix their problem. Baise believes the Chicago area will do well under the plan, but downstate Illinois may suffer.


(Washington--ab) Spring crop growers can now select the Multi-County Enterprise Unit as part of their crop insurance coverage for acreage in two counties within the same state. Rod Bain reports




It's National FFA Week. Students From Area FFA Chapters Talk About Their Activities

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Census Bureau says it's replacing its old technique for shielding data with a method that's state of the art in protecting basic personal information. The chief scientist for the Census Bureau, John Abowd, says an internal team at the agency found that 2010 information about age, gender, location, race and ethnicity was potentially vulnerable, though he says no hacking is known to have occurred. Abowd says the privacy shield for the 2020 headcount will counter the growing skills of hackers.


(Springfield--jc)  A new bill would prohibit state lawmakers from serving as the leader of a state political party while in office, but it wouldn't affect House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has come under fire by Republicans and some Democrats for the power he has as the longest-serving state legislative leader and his control over campaign finances as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.The state's other legislative leaders have term limits. There are leadership term limits in the Senate rules. House Republicans also have leader limits, but not in the entire House. Asked why there are no limits in his caucus, Madigan declined to answer.Madigan has been House speaker for all but two years since 1983. Lawmakers have filed legislation for several years to set term limits for legislative leaders. There have also been constitutional amendments proposed to limit terms for legislative leaders.


CHICAGO (AP) — Public housing authorities across Illinois are receiving a combined $2.7 million in federal grants to help residents find jobs and become more financially independent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says the grants are part of $74 million being distributed across the country. HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency program helps local housing authorities hire service coordinators who work with public housing residents and people who use rental subsidies.



(Rantoul--jc)  - Personnel will be the topic of a special board meeting for the Rantoul Township High School Board later this week. The board will meet on Wednesday at 6pm. Board members are expected to go into executive session as the meeting comes to order.



(Springfield--jc)  WIth the Illinois House passing a new minimum wage measure and with the likelihood that new Governor JB Pritzker will sign the measure into law, more reaction from local legislators. 106th District Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has concerns…



106th District Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian also expressed concerns…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian

The governor is expected to sign the bill into law. Governor Pritzker delivers his budget address on Wednesday.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- An accident in the southbound lanes of Interstate 57 closed traffic for about an hour, early Friday evening. Police say a semi and a second vehicle collided in the southbound lanes near Ludlow on I-57 around 6pm. Occupants received minor injuries, but the accident caused issues with nearby power lines. Officials shut down the Interstate for about an hour and re-rerouted traffic through Rantoul and Paxton to re-set the lines. Traffic was back to normal around 7 on Friday night.



Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with 30 students from area FFA Chapters. Brenna Ferguson from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on this week.



We were also able to talk with Fisher FFA member Will Shook



Adam Crites from Rantoul Township High School’s FFA Chapter



PBL FFA member Jade Miles



Taylor Talbert from Iroquois West High School’s FFA Chapter 



 Armstrong  FFA member Nick Cannon



Shelbie Butler from GCMS High School’s FFA Chapter 



 St. Joe Ogden FFA member Mallory Ames




(Shelby County--jc)  Shelby County is the latest area to see fake 20 dollar bills. The bills are printed as “promotional only.” Shelby County officials  say anyone receiving one the fake bills are asked to call the office at 217-774-3491



(Champaign County--jc)-Rantoul residents interested in getting an inside look at how local law enforcement works are invited to participate in the Champaign County Citizen Police Academy. The academy, which meets Thursday nights from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. for 10 weeks beginning April 4, will cover crime prevention, community based policing, drugs, gangs, DUI enforcement, citizen-police contacts, use of force, firearms orientation, crime scene investigation and more. More information is found by calling the Rantoul Police department at  893-5605.


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request to exclude evidence about a cadaver-sniffing dog from the trial of a former University of Illinois physics student accused of killing a Chinese scholar in 2017. U.S. District Judge James Shadid ruled Friday that prosecutors can present evidence from McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Jeremy Bruketta's dog Sage. The judge found both Sage and Bruketta to be reliable.The FBI says the canine "possibly indicated an alert" in the bathroom of Brendt Christensen's off-campus apartment in Urbana. Prosecutors are trying to prove Christensen kidnapped and killed 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. The scholar from China is presumed dead, but her body hasn't been found. Christensen faces the death penalty if convicted at his trial, which is scheduled to begin in April.


(Urbana--jc)  --Champaign Urbana Public Health District officials have reported 2 additional cases of measles. One case was of a child that attended Urbana Early Childhood school, the fourth case is pending. All four measle case infectious periods are over. Local Health officials remain concerned over the disease. Efforts remain to get the public vaccinated for the disease. Those not sure of their own vaccine records or that of their family should contact their healthcare provider.



(Rantoul--ab) Reaction is rolling in from local governments on how the minimum wage bill effects local municipalities. Rantoul village administrator Scott Eisenhauer says it even impacts how the village will hire workers for the Rantoul pool.



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer



(Paxton--ab) The Paxton Buckley Loda School district and the Paxton Park District will extend their intergovernmental agreement on the use of PBL facilities. The only change is what gyms will be used for Park District indoor sports says PBL superintendent Cliff McClure.



PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure


(Sringfield-jc)  -- Illinois finished 42nd in a new study by the Tax Foundation ranking of which states have the most business-friendly unemployment insurance tax structures.The state’s ranking remained unchanged from its 2018 ranking, according to the foundation’s analysis, which is part of a wider study titled “2019 State Business Tax Climate Index.”All states and the District of Columbia have unemployment insurance tax systems, which are federal-state programs that fund benefits to newly laid-off workers. Levies on employers fund the systems.In the foundation’s analysis, those state tax systems that have low minimum and maximum rates, stick closely to the federal taxable pay levels, and don’t impose more surtaxes or additional benefits were rated the highest..



(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois’ political leaders want the 25,000 jobs that Amazon was going to bring to a second headquarters in New York, but some progressives don't want the company here.In a letter from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel that was signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, they asked Amazon to reconsider the Second City for a second headquarters.The company announced Thursday that it would not expand in New York City, instead opting to distribute the jobs between its existing tech hubs. A number of groups that were fighting HQ2 in NYC thought the company shouldn’t get tax breaks to make money in their city.



(Gibson City--jc) --  The Gibson Area Hospital Auxiliary is hosting a blood drive today in Gibson City. The event goes from noon to 5:30 p.m, at the First Presbyterian Church. Persons donating blood are asked to bring their blood donor card or photo identification. Donors at the blood drive will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of two $10 gift certificates to the Gibson Area Hospital Gift Shop or one of two $25 Gibson Bucks gift certificates sponsored by the GAH Auxiliary. Donating blood takes about one hour.



Illinois House Votes for $15 Minimum Wage

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A $15-an-hour minimum wage is headed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker after the House approved the six-year plan. Thursday's 69-41 vote in the House almost guarantees it will become law. State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville fears this  will mean the loss of jobs in downtown state Illinois…



State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville

Chicago area State Representative Celine Villuanueva says the measure will give some Illinoisans a livable wage…



State Representative Celine Villuaneva of Chicago

The governor  has pledged to sign it before Wednesday. That's when he unveils his first annual budget plan. The measure would increase the state's $8.25 minimum wage to $15 in 2025.


(Paxton--jc)  -- An investigation into the death of an Elliott man who was found deceased on May 8th of last year in a home fire, is now considered a homicide investigation.  Elliott resident Jeremy Turner was found deceased, by the local fire department at his home. A fire had destroyed the home. A Ford County coroners jury ruled the death was consistent with a homicide. The incident remains an open investigation for the Ford County Sheriff’s office and the Ford County Coroner’s office. WPXN news will continue to update this story as more official news becomes available.


CHICAGO (AP) — Odds still favor the eventual construction of Barack Obama's $500 million presidential museum and library in a park along Chicago's lakeshore. But it's no longer a sure thing in the face of a formidable legal challenge by a parks-advocacy group. A judge hears arguments Thursday on a city motion to toss the group's lawsuit that argues the project violates laws barring development in lakeside parks. A ruling for Protect Our Parks could signal the Obama Presidential Center is in real trouble.


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Millikin University's new $5 million baseball stadium in central Illinois won't be complete in time for the 2019 season due to weather delays.The Decatur university planned to open the stadium in time for this spring's season. But Millikin President Patrick White says a rainy November and the recent cold weather slowed stadium construction. It's now scheduled to be completed in August.


(Urbana--jc)  A Champaign County man is facing child pornograhpy charges. The News Gazette reports that   a former Monticello schools employee appeared in court on Thursday. The judge in the case ordered 39 year old William Bell of St Joseph,  to remain locked up until his early March trial.The case will be heard by U-S District Judge Sue Myerscough. The March 5th trial will take place in Springfield The charges say Bell used a home computer to device or send  visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct..


(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois department of human services says more than 10 thousand people have called the state’s opioid hotline…seeking help for addiction. The helpline launched in December of 2017…aiming to connect people struggling with opioids and other drugs to treatment options. D-H-S’ Dani Kirby says it’s been a useful resource for thousands of people.



D-H-S’ Dani Kirby



(Buckley--jc)  The 20-19 St John’s School of Buckley Carnival, Chicken Dinner and Auction is set for Sunday from 3-30 until 7pm. This is the main fundraiser for the school and spokesperson Kari Stachura says the dollars raised helps Christian education at St Johns-Buckley…



St John’s School of Buckley event spokesperson Kari Stachura.


(Urbana--jc)- A teen from Rantoul was sentenced to 7 years in juvenile prison for his role in a break in at the Rantoul  Rural King in November of last year. Judge Heidi Ladd sentenced the 14 year old on Thursday in Champaign County court. A second teen and  24 year old Henry Boykins of Rantoul also received a similar prison sentence.



CHAMPAIGN Ill. — Parkland College Industrial Technology's welding lab has been recognized as an Accredited Test Facility by the American Welding Society, one of only four community colleges in Illinois to hold the designation.   Through a rigorous documentation and site inspection process, the AWS provides ATF accreditation for facilities, personnel, and equipment to test and qualify welders. For more information, visit


CHICAGO (AP) — A federal jury has convicted a 36-year-old man who was linked to the theft of 27 handguns and six assault rifles from a train at a Norfolk Southern rail yard in Chicago. The U.S. attorney's office says in a Thursday statement that Cameron Battiste was found guilty on Wednesday of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. He wasn't charged with the gun thefts, though prosecutors said there's evidence he was involved.



(Buckley---jc)  -- It’s the annual fundraiser for one service group today in Buckley. The Buckley Sportsmen’s Club has its annual fish fry later today at the Buckley

American Legion. Fish, cole slaw, & french fries.  Carryouts and all-you-can-eat dine in starts at 5 this afternoon. Money raised goes to community projects for the local club.



WASHINGTON — Local 15th district Congressman John Shimkus  voted Thursday in support of the final Fiscal Year 2019 spending agreement. Shimkus says  Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would give President Trump just $1 for the border wall. The deal provides 1 point 4 Billion dollars for the wall. Shimkus called the issue a huge win for border patrol agents. The measure is now in the hands of the president.



House lawmakers are discussing a shared parenting bill for cases of divorce. The legislation requires courts to presume that both mom and dad should have equal time with their children when they get divorced. If a judge deviates from a 50-50 split, they have to issue a written statement explaining why says Illinois Fathers for Equality president Chad Loudermilk.



The idea is to prevent a parent from being alienated from their child. The judge would consider other factors including where the kid goes to school, distance between parent’s homes and if there are any safety concerns like abuse.



(Chicago--jc)   While the chief sponsor of a resolution urging Congress to make Chicago the country’s 51st state doesn’t expect it to go very far, he does expect it to spur conversation. A Chicago state representative who’s also running to be Chicago mayor is willing to have that talk. State Representative Brad Halbrook, a Republican from Shelbyville, says his House Resolution 101 is getting a lot of attention. Halbrook adds that people from across Illinois are texting, emailing and on social media to comment on the issue



(Undated--jc)  Some more money will be coming to local cities and towns. WPXN’s Austin Burklund has the story…




(Paxton--jc)  Students wanting to learn about the high school experience have the opportunity next week. Pre-registration is set for February 20th at the Paxton Buckley Loda commons area between the high school and Junior high school. 8th grade students and their families are invited to attend. Course information, graduation requirements and college course information will be discussed. More information is found by contacting the school in Paxton at 217-379-4331



Illinois House Committee Approved Plan to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 over Six Years.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois House committee has approved a plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 over six years. The Democratic-controlled Labor and Commerce Committee's 19-10 vote on Wednesday along party lines sets up a floor vote as early as Thursday. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker campaigned on the issue and told lawmakers he wants to sign the law before his Feb. 20 budget address. A vote on the issue is expected today in Springfield


(Williamson County--jc)   Even if lawmakers pass a bill that bans assault weapons in Illinois, a state's attorney in southern Illinois says he won't enforce it.Williamson County State’s Attorney Brandon Zanotti says State Senator Julie Morrison's bill to ban common firearms would turn law-abiding citizens in his county into felons. Zanotti says, currently,   a large number of people in his county that have these weapons. They all would be felons under the proposal. Senate Bill 107, introduced last month, would prohibit a range of rifles, pistols and shotguns and require every such weapon in the state to be registered with the Illinois State Police. Owners would pay a $25 fee for that registration. A person found in possession of one of the prohibited weapons without registration coce a Class 3 felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a $25,000 fine.



(Champaign--jc) --  The numbers are in for the month of January. Just a little colder than normal was the result. It sure did not feel just a little cold for several days last month. Illinois State Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kerscher has the data…



Illinois Water Survey of Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker isn't sharing his plans for balancing the state's budget ahead of an address next week, but lawmakers and his administration have given some clues about what taxpayers can expect. The new administration noted in a report last week that the upcoming budget is expected to be $3.2 billion out of balance. Pritzker is going to have to balance that with big asks from state employees wanting raises, billions in increased spending requested by K-12 schools and more than $300 million additional money public universities are requesting.A separate report from Pritzker’s Budget and Innovation Transition Committee mentioned service taxes and other possibilities for raising revenue.


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Authorities say a 33-year-old woman is in critical condition after she and her 10-year-old daughter were abducted in Missouri and driven to Illinois before they managed to escape. Police in Illinois said in a news release that 39-year-old Leslie Austin kidnapped the woman and their child Tuesday night in Jefferson City, Missouri. The woman was shot multiple times during the abduction. Law enforcement pursued Austin into Illinois, when the woman and girl were able to escape.


(Washington--jc)--  The final look at 2018 U.S. corn production contributed to adjustments in U-S-D-A's latest domestic and global supply and demand estimates. Rod Bain has the story…




(Kankakee--jc) Kankakee County authorities are seeking the public’s help in finding a fugitive Kankakee County police are looking for 21 year old Robert Bray. He is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing around 135 pounds. He is wanted for possession of a controlled substance among other charges. Anyone with information is asked to call Kankakee County Crimestoppers at 815-93-CRIME.


(Piper City--ab)  -- Assistance is available next week in the Piper City area for those needing help with the completion of their Property Tax Exemption and Freeze forms. The Ford County Public Health Department workers will be at the Piper City Library from 2 until 3pm on February 19th. Those attending are asked to bring those forms and 2018 income information for assistance with the Property Exemption and Freeze application. If a resident is 65 years of age or older or are over 16 years of age and disabled, they may be eligible for the Benefit Access Program. If a citizens annual income is less than $27, 610 for a one-person household or $36,635 for a two person household.


The Bellflower Country Opry Show will have Rick Flessner as their Special Guest on Saturday February 16th. Doors open at 6pm with the show starting at 7pm. The Bellflower Lions Club will be serving an all you can eat Pancakes and Sausage dinner from 4:30-7pm.


(Iroquois County--jc) Two area hospitals have called off their merger. A statement from Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka and Riverside Hospital in Kankakee on Wednesday stated the two entities entered into a diligence process in September of last year to explore the possibility of a merger. The statement said the merger has been call off by the two hospitals. Iroquois Memorial Hospital has been serving the area for more than a century. Riverside is based in Kankakee with offices in Watseka and Gilman.


(Champaign--jc)  Champaign County authorities continue to investigate gunshots in the city last night. Channel 3 reports that the gunshots came in the area of John Street and Mattis Avenue around 7 last night. A crime scene unit was on the scene and police were investigating some apartments in the area late Wednesday evening.

No one was injured.



(Springfield--jc)  While business groups are seeking changes to a minimum wage proposal that passed the Illinois Senate last week, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is urging the Illinois House to pass it as it is. The bill would raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars. The governor says its the product of many talks…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Washington--jc)  It's not cold and stormy everywhere. Stephanie Ho talks with U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey…


(Springfield--jc)  Despite concerns from many business owners, the Illinois House is set to consider legislation today to raise the minimum wage. Democrat Will Guzzrdi of Chicago says the increase will be good the state’s economy…



State Representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago.

Karen Conn is C-E-O of Conn Hospitality. Conn says the minimum wage increase cause  them to layoff employees and possibly close their doors…



Conn Hospitality Owner and C-E-O Karen Conn

A vote is expected today. The measure has passed the Illinois Senate and the governor says, if passed, he will sign the minimum wage act into law.



(Undated--jc)  Those with SNAP benefits have some good news this morning. The Illinois Department of Human Services announced on Wednesday that March SNAP benefits will be available earlier. I-D-H-S Spokesperson Meghan Powers says the announcement will make the process better…



I-D-H-S Spokesperson Meghan Powers.  The potential for a government shutdown was the reason for the decision from the JB Pritzker administration. Officials say the benefits will be loaded into SNAP recipients accounts on March First.



(Gibson City--jc)  A fundraiser for the Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School Dance team is set for Saturday night at 6-30 at the high school. A free will donation soup supper takes place from 5 til 6 Saturday afternoon. Several community leaders will perform as dance partners in a ‘dancing with the stars’ competition. Three awards will be given. The G-C-M-S dance team will also perform.


MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — A boom being used at an interstate bridge over the Mississippi River near Moline, Illinois has fallen into the water. Iowa Department of Transportation officials said Wednesday the agency is working to remove the lattice boom of the crane working at the Interstate 74 bridge site. IDOT has not said what caused the boom to fall. Construction on the bridge began in July 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2020.


(Buckley--jc)  --St. John’s Lutheran School of Buckley is hosting its annual chicken dinner, carnival and auction is set for 3:30 to 7 p.m.on Sunday The carnival and auction begin at 3:30 p.m., with the chicken dinner served from 4 to 7 p.m. Dinner tickets cost $10 and can be purchased in advance by calling the school.  The event is the school’s main fundraiser each year.


The Illinois House Could Vote on a Plan this Week to Increase the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois House could vote on a plan this week to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, but inflation will largely negate the impact for low-income workers by the time the pay floor reaches that level in 2025. It's no windfall for more than 1 million Illinois workers who rely on the minimum wage. An Associated Press analysis found that assuming the current 2.1 percent rate of inflation, by 2025, $15 will only be worth $10.46.



(Springfield--ab) State officials and American Legions  honored Abraham Lincoln’s 210th birthday on Tuesday. At an annual wreath laying ceremony at Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield, Governor JB Pritzker said Lincoln’s leadership and legacy leaves lessons to guide Illinois forward today.



The governor pledged to honor lincoln’s legacy of action and compassion, and to listen to the opinions of others.


(Paxton--ab) The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board is meeting today with a myriad of items to be discussed. The local board will discuss the amended budget for financial year 2019. Other items include approving teachers that have acquired tenure and affirm resignations and new volunteer coaches.



(Roberts--ab) Roberts village president Rick Flessner is resigning at the end of April 2020.  Flessner says his best memories involve fixing the water problems of the village…



Roberts Village President Rick Flessner.


(Urbana--jc)  A Champaign County man was sentenced to 4 years probation on Tuesday after pleading guilty to inappropriately touching a teen in the back seat of a van.  The News Gazette reports that 21 year old Ronnell Throw of Rantoul plead guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He was arrested on December 12th as police found him in a van with a 13 year old girl.



(Coles County--jc)  Some land once owned by the 16th president was sold on Tuesday. WPXN ‘s Austin Burklund has the story…




(Farmer City--jc)  The winter winds continue to blow, but one local racetrack is getting ready for the 2019 season. Officials with the Farmer City raceway are reaching out to area drivers to reserve a pit stall for the upcoming season. Those interested in getting a pit stall at the Farmer City Raceway are asked to find more information on the raceway’s facebook page or contact track official Lance Spieker.


(Pekin--jc) --  On February 24,the Pekin Amateur Hockey Association and Peoria Youth Hockey Association will join forces to host a benefit for the family of fallen Trooper Christopher Lambert, who was struck and killed in the line of duty on January 12th The hockey associations are hosting an event on the 24th at the Pekin Memorial Ice Arena in Pekin. The area youth hockey teams will be participating in various hockey scrimmage games upon the ice for the public to enjoy.  Various gift baskets for raffle, as well as a 50/50 drawing, will be featured at the benefit. Admission is by donation.


AURORA, Ill. (AP) — Snow and strong wind gusts in northern Illinois forced the cancellation of flights at Chicago's two major airports. By Tuesday evening 335 flights had been canceled at O'Hare International Airport. The Chicago Department of Aviation reports 103 flights were canceled at Midway International Airport. Delays at both airports were averaging more than 15 minutes. The intense gusts prompted a wind advisory for much of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana that will remain in effect until early today. Those with travel plans for the two Chicago airports are asked to check on flight availability and delays.


(Rantoul--ab) One issue before the Rantoul Village board is a property buying program. Rantoul  Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says it's a win-win.



Rantoul Village Administrator Scot Eisenhauer



(Champaign County--jc)  -- It’s down to a lottery when it comes to a contract for solar energy projects in Champaign County. The Illinois Power Agency is expected to make its decision today. Areas in Champaign county up for a solar type project are near Ludlow, Homer, Sidney and two near St Joseph.


(Undated--ab)--  Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau will sponsor two Viewpoint Breakfast Meetings.  The first meeting will be held on Thursday, February 21, at Happy Days Diner in Roberts.  The second meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 26, at the Farm Bureau in Gilman. The meetings will begin at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast followed by discussion on the topics members wish to talk about.  Viewpoint is the name given to Farm Bureau’s grassroots effort to raise issues and concerns from members. There is no charge for member to attend and reservations are not needed.



(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB. Pritzker created two new groups to study ways to improve the state's underfunded pension systems.One will focus on the consolidation of more than 650 local pension funds for police officers and firefighters. The other will look at selling state-owned real estate and infrastructure assets to improve the balance sheets of the state's five pension systems.The Pension Consolidation Feasibility Taskforce will look at the 656 police and fire pension funds. Those funds manage $170 billion in assets and have liabilities of more than $355 billion.



(Springfield--jc) --  Changes in the Illinois House on the minimum wage issue? Austin Burklund has the story…



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County circuit clerk’s office could get an additional worker. Ford County leaders are set to meet next Tuesday at 9am. The issue goes back to the Ford County Personnel committee. Local leaders took no action on the position at their monthly meeting this week. The full county board could get a recommendation about the position when they meet in March.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker has announced a new criminal justice reform effort. Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton will lead the new justice, equity and opportunity initiative which she says will examine at the issues from several angles…



Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton.


Could Indiana Get Sports Betting Before Illinois?

(Indianapolis--jc)  -- Could Indiana get sports betting before Illinois. A shake-up of Indiana's gambling laws being debated could see two new casinos being built and allow legalizing sports betting to start as early as next year. The proposal cleared a state Senate committee last week and comes as Indiana's 13 casinos have largely seen years of declining revenue amid increased competition from surrounding states and tribal casinos. Under Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois is a state considering legalized sports betting. The issue is a topic in Springfield during this current sessions


(Gibson City--ab) A Gibson City man was arrested early Monday Morning around midnight. For threatening a Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School student. Adit P Bhiday was charged with a class 4 felony charge of disorderly conduct or making a threat against a person or school. GCMS superintendent Jeremy Darnell and officers of both Ford County and Gibson City conducted security checks of all three schools in the GCMS district. Bond was set at 6 thousand dollars and a preliminary hearing was set for March First.


(Roberts--ab) Roberts village president Rick Flessner is stepping away from his post in April 2020. Rick explains his decision is about travel.



After that April 2020 date Trustee Matt Vaughan will take over. He is shadowing Flessner to learn the position up until April.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued an executive order creating a new office that will address what he says is a broken justice system. The Justice, Equity and Opportunity Initiative announced Monday will be headed by Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and is expected to look at criminal sentencing, education, poverty and the link among the three. Pritzker noted the state spends roughly $1.3 billion a year for the Department of Corrections, which houses about 43,000 inmates in a system made for 32,000.

(Chicago--ba)-Some Illinois Lawmakers want to get out in front of a civic group’s proposal to tax retirement. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett reports.



(Gibson City--jc) Gibson City Police say no injuries occurred during a minor accident between a train and vehicle. The accident happened around 3 Monday afternoon. The roadway was blocked for several hours as local police completed their investigation.



(Springfield--jc)--  A proposal in Springfield requires Illinois Public Colleges and Universities to automatically admit students who are in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, so long as they meet the school’s academic standards. University of Illinois Chicago’s Kevin Pitts says some students may not be prepared…



U of I Chicago’s Kevin Pitts

Supporters say the free college will boost minority enrollment and keep more Illinois students at Illinois Schools.



(Champaign--ab)  --The Illinois State Police, assisted by the Champaign Police Department, conducted an Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement  Bar ID Check detail over the weekend. The purpose of the ACE program is to reduce and deter underage drinking in Illinois. 16 citations were issued for possession or purchase  of alcohol by a minor. During the detail, bar checks were conducted at five bar locations and a Streep Sweep in Champaign County. Citations were given to the Red Lion, Kams, Joe’s Brewery, Brothers Bar and Grill and the Illini Inn. No street citations were handed out.



(Washington--ab)  -- The latest round of U-S-D-A reports included a smaller than expected number for winter wheat seedings. Gary Crawford reports...




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials say the state had 30 properties added to the National Register of Historic Places last year. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says the number shows efforts paid off from historic preservation advocates across the state. The 30 sites were added throughout last year. The National Park Service added places to the register based on recommendations from the State Historic Preservation Office, which is part of the agency. Several structures have the distinction locally. They include the Bryant House in Bement, The Edward Chipman Library in Momence and the downtown business district in LaSalle.



(Illinois--ba)-WPXN’s Braedon Arnett Reports on local state funding for park projects.



(Chicago--jc)  --As new reports show Illinois residents were exposed to a cancer-causing chemical, some suburban mayors are seeking a court order to shutdown Sterigenics despite a warning from the company that any disruption could delay medical procedures in Illinois and other states. Environmental Protection Agency testing from late last year showed higher levels of ethylene oxide than previously recorded. Because of this, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are calling a temporary judge-ordered shutdown of the Willowbrook facility.


Watseka--jc) When Iroquois County leaders meet today, they are expected to approve a new sexual harassment policy for Iroquois County workers. The local board will also consider purchasing two new squad cars for the Iroquois County Sheriff’s department and approve a travel expense for Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagan in the amount of 464 dollars. A fertilizer bid from United Prairie for 18 thousand 221 dollars is also on the agenda. The Iroquois County Board meeting is set for 5pm today at the Iroquois County Administrative Center in Watseka.



(Gibson City--jc)  --Only a few days remain to get your reservations for a local banquet. The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 7th at the Kruse Center in Gibson City. Reservations are being accepted through the 15th. The social hour begins at 6pm with a catered meal at 7pm. Several awards will be handed out including 20-18 Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year awards. Comedian Drew Hastings will also perform that eventing. The event is free for Chamber members, but is also open to the public.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- You are invited to sing and help raise money for the efforts in Ford County with the money going to the American Cancer Society. The event is set for February 23rd says Ford County Relay for Life Spokesperson Becky Grohler…



Ford County Relay for Life Spokesperson Becky Grohler.


(Washington--jc)  -- What are the numbers from 2017 and how do they compare to 2018. U-S-D-A Trade Economist Kamron Daugherty compares U.S. soybean exports January through November of 2018 with the same time frame of 2017…



U-S-D-A Trade Economist Kamron Daugherty


(Illinois--ba)-A plot of Illinois State farmland owned by President Abraham Lincoln is headed to auction. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders will hear from Jeremy Bell concerning a youth-adult re-entry program when they meet in monthly session tonight. Annexing some properties into the village and amending the zoning map are also on the agenda. The Rantoul Village Board meets at 6 tonight in the municipal building on Tanner Street.


Wind Farms is a Hot Topic is DeWitt County and Continue to be in Ford County

(Dewitt County--jc)  -- A number of meetings has started this week in Dewitt County, the topic is wind farms. Dewitt County business owners, farm property owners and concern citizens are talking about a 300 million dollar wind farm proposed in the county. Trade Wind Energy has applied for a special-use permit to place the wind farm in north east Dewitt County. Tuesday’s meeting was the first. The meetings continue tonight and tomorrow night at Clinton High School. More one hour meetings are planned for the 19 through the 22nd. Each meeting starts at 4pm. The county zoning committee is expected to make a recommendation to the full board next month and the Dewitt County board is expected to make their decision on the wind farm, aslo in March. In Ford County, the board continues to revise its wind ordinance. The recent moves have placed any new wind farm projects in limbo.


(Dwight--jc)  -- A federal detention center could be coming to one area town. The Dwight Planning Commission will consider an annexation agreement later this month that could be the first step in bringing a federal detention center for illegal immigrants to the Livingston County village. The commission meets next on the 19th. The area in question is just west of Dwight. The Dwight village  board will look to annex the property in the village when they meet on February 28th.



(Washington--ab)  The President had his 2nd State of the Union Address earlier this week. Reaction and comments from  Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue...


Ag Secretary Sonny Purdue




(Champaign--jc)--  Do you know how to love your “soils.” You have a chance on week from today on Valentine’s at Parkland College. The Parkland College Ag program and Ag Club are hosting the public on the importance of soils to farmers and the public.  The event runs from 8-15am to Noon at the Tony Noel Ag Technology Applications Center. The event is free and a lunch will also be served.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A First aid class is set for later this month in Paxton The Paxton Park District is the host venue for the certification class. The date is February 23rd starting at 10-30 that morning for the First Aid class. A C-P-R Class begins at 1pm. Cost per class is 25 dollars. The fee is 40 dollars to attend both classes. More information is found by calling the Paxton Park District at 217-379-4203.



(Gibson City--jc)  --The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 7th at the Kruse Center in Gibson City. The social hour begins at 6pm with a catered meal at 7pm. Several awards will be handed out including 20-18 Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year awards. Comedian Drew Hastings will also perform that eventing. The event is free for Chamber members, but is also open to the public. Registration is opening through Feburary 15th.



(Washington--jc)  -- TheU-S-D-A is delaying release of the 2017 Census of Agriculture to make sure that it gets all the information right. Stephanie Ho reports.




ASHKUM – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announces the results of Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols held in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford Counties on the first weekend in February. These OREPs provided extra patrol coverage for the ISP so officers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up. 10 seat belt citations were given and 14 total written warnings.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker says the 2019 mobile home privilege tax bills will be mailed out the first week of March. Owners of mobile homes are asked to call the treasurer’s office in Paxton is their address has changed, or if the mobile home has been moved or destroyed. Shoemaker says anyone who has recently purchased or sold a mobile home are asked to bring a copy of the title to the treasurer’s office. Mobile Home tax bills are due May 3rd.


MAYWOOD, Ill. (AP) — The extreme cold last week activated the science experiment gene in a number of people, resulting in injuries for those who tried the "boiling water challenge." The challenge was to fling boiling water in the air and watch it turn into frozen vapor. The burn center at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood reports it treated eight people who attempted the exercise. Temperatures in Illinois plummeted to double-digit subzero readings last week.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Senate committee has OK'd increasing the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 in six years. Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford's measure won approval 13-6 on a party-line vote Wednesday in the Executive Committee. The Maywood Democrat hedged on calling it for a floor vote immediately. The plan would increase the minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $9.25 on Jan. 1, 2020 and after going to $10 on July 1, 2020, increase $1 each Jan. 1 until 2025.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An adult and an alleged teenage accomplice are charged with setting fire to an abandoned central Illinois food processing plant. Twenty-four-year-old Richard L. Thomas of Springfield and a 17-year-old boy were charged Wednesday with arson and criminal damage to property in connection with a fire at the abandoned Pillsbury Mills factory. The building was deemed too unsafe to enter, so crews fought the fire from a stairwell and from ground la



(Watseka--jc) When Iroquois County leaders meet next week, they are expected to approve a new sexual harassment policy for Iroquois County workers. The local board will also consider purchasing two new squad cars for the Iroquois County Sheriff’s department and approve a travel expense for Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagan in the amount of 464 dollars. A fertilizer bid from United Prairie for 18 thousand 221 dollars is also on the agenda. The Iroquois County Board meeting is set for next Tuesday at 5pm at the Iroquois County Administrative Center in Watseka.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- The way it works in Springfield, is the House Speaker decides which bills come up for discussion and debate. Local State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City supported a different reform package, which would have changed the rules to allow ample time to review amendments and also create a way for legislators to force a vote on a bill…


State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

However, with Madigan’s super-majority in the House the Democrat sponsored legislation was approved.



(Washington--ab)  An expert says those crafting the new Farm Bill listened to complaints from farmers about some provisions of the old bill. Gary Crawford reports...




(Springfield--jc)  --Bipartisan efforts to change how the state draws political boundaries got a booster shot from Illinois Senate Republicans.State Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, filed a constitutional amendment that would change how the state draws political district maps by forming an independent commission to decide the boundaries.Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, called all Senate Republicans together Wednesday to sign on to Morrison’s bill. After the census every 10 years, political boundaries get redrawn to account for population migration. Illinois’ boundaries have been criticized for years as being politically drawn, leaving many districts with only one choice every election. With this amendment, voters could get a say in changing that come 2020.



(Springfield--ab) The State Board of Education is announcing improvements to the student assessment test. Gone is the previous “PARCC” test…although the questions on the new Illinois Assessment of Readiness will be about the same. The board's Rae Clementz says it will be a little shorter this year…with more changes to come. That includes moving to a computer-adaptive design in 2021.



 State Board of Education Rae Clementz

Other future plans include quicker results and making sure all schools can give the test online. It's given to third through eighth graders each March.





Advocates Trying Again to Pass a Tobacco 21 Law in Illinois

(Urbana--jc)  -- A Rantoul man was sentenced to 7 years in prison on Tuesday for a break in at the Rantoul Rural King Store last fall. A Champaign County judge sentenced Henry Boykins to the 7 year prison term. Boykin admitted to the break in of the Rantoul Rural King and also to stealing a gun. Two juveniles were also implicated in the break ins. Both have plead guilty. One has already been sentenced. The second is awaiting sentencing.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Advocates are trying again to pass a tobacco 21 law in Illinois. The measure, raising the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 passed last year…but was vetoed by the governor.  Illinois Senate president John Cullerton says he’s confident they can get it done this time around...



Illinois Senate President John Cullerton

The bill includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, e-cigs and other tobacco products. 36 communities already have a tobacco 21 local ordinance.



(Washington--ab)  -- Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky explaining for a special Farm Foundation Forum in Washington, D.C., some of the complexities of implementing the new Farm Bill.




(Springfield--jc)  -- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are putting up bills that set term limits for House Speaker or Senate President in Illinois. There are term limits for legislative leaders in the Illinois state Senate, and limits on how long someone can serve as a House GOP leader. But there are no limits on how long someone can serve in a leadership position for Illinois House Democrats. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has been the speaker for all but two years since 1983. He’s the longest-serving state House speaker in the country. That’s one reason for state Rep. Tim Butler’s move to limit how long someone can serve in that role. Butler says Madigan has served in the role since his was a Sophomore in High School. Butler is now 51 years old.



Parkland College Adult Education is now partnering with Salt & Light Ministries to offer a new district site in Urbana. Learners seeking to earn their GED or improve literacy and job preparation skills may attend free classes beginning Feb. 11 at the Urbana Salt & Light location, 1819 S. Philo Road. Classes will meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. This expansion of services will allow more students to be served by bringing educational opportunities into their community.Salt & Light is committed to fighting poverty with opportunities that empower people for lasting change, according to Terry Austira, the organization's director of education.

Contact Parkland College Adult Education at 217/351-2580 to learn more about these opportunities or sign up for classes.


(Melvin--jc)--  One Ford County Church has a 150th birthday coming up later this month. The Melvin United Methodist Church celebration is set for February 17th says church spokesperson Kay Swearingen…



Melvin United Methodist Church Spokesperson Kay Swearingen.


CHICAGO (AP) — The patriarch of the family behind the Chicago Cubs has apologized after an online media outlet published emails in which he took part in racist comments and conspiracy theories. Some of the emails Splinter News published Monday featured Joe Ricketts making Islamophobic comments. Others included conspiracies about former President Barack Obama's birthplace and education. Ricketts, who founded TD Ameritrade, apologized for the emails, saying he believes "bigoted ideas are wrong."


(Washington--jc)  -- President Donald Trump issued the state of the Union  address

Last night. Local Congressman Adam Kinzinger says the jobs market is a huge positive for the country…



16th District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.


(Springfield--jc)  -- School districts could see sharply higher costs as lawmakers consider not only boosting the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour over a number of years, but also a separate bill setting minimum pay requirements for teachers The Senate will take another crack at raising the minimum pay for Illinois teachers. Senate Bill 10 from Democrat State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hills, is similar to the bill that passed last year. That bill was  vetoed by then Governor Bruce Rauner. Rauner said pay practices should be left to locally elected school boards.With a new governor and Democratic supermajorities in both chambers, Manar got his bill through the Senate education committee Tuesday. The measure will not give more money to school districts..The School Management Alliance’s Zach Messersmith told committee members on Tuesday that they’d rather the state leave the issue to the school districts.


CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois consumer-advocacy group is offering new tips for reducing those pesky computer-generated phone calls. Citizens Utility Board released its Guide to Fighting Robocalls on Monday. The guide is available for free through the organization's website. CUB says technology is allowing scam artists to make thousands of calls a minute, and the calls have reached an "alarming level." One estimate found there were a record 47.8 billion automated calls in 2018




CHICAGO (AP) — Shares in Archer Daniels Midland slid 5 percent after the company reported lower-than-expected profits as costs rise and a trade dispute with China drags on the price of commodities. The Chicago company reported fourth-quarter profit of $315 million, down sharply from the $788 million profit n the same quarter last year when it benefited from the Trump administration's tax overhaul.Archer Daniels Midland Co. had profit of 56 cents per share, or 88 cents per shares when one-time gains and costs are removed.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is awarding nearly 29 million dollars in local park grants. The money will fund 89 local park projects around the state says D-N-R Spokesperson Ed Cross…


Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross.


(Springfield--jc)--  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker will need more money to balance the state's budget to the satisfaction of bondholders, credit rating agency Moody’s Investor Services said in a new report Tuesday. Pritzker has promised to bring a balanced budget when he addresses the General Assembly on February 20th . But that could be challenging because the governor won't be able to change the state's income tax system to a progressive structure by then. And growth in existing revenue sources will be "tepid," Moody's reported. Moody's analysts said the coming fiscal 2020 budget will have to address the state's pension contributions, which they noted are straining the budget even though the contribution is shortchanging liabilities, an operational deficit, and economic headwinds from the state's shrinking population.



(Washington--jc)  The U-S-D-A is rescheduling  reports that were delayed by the shutdown. Stephanie Ho has the dates…




(Loda-jc) -- A new restaurant is coming to a local golf course facility. Lakeview Golf Course officials say the Tin Cup Restaurant and Bar will open later this year in the golf course clubhouse. The operator of the new restaurant is Peggy Burton, who co-owned The Tin Pan restaurant in Paxton. Burton is working on the new restaurants menu and a grand opening is also planned in the near future.



(Flatville--jc)  -- One local school is setting up fundraisers for its Parent Teacher Organization.  A pizza night, movie night and garage sale are coming for the Prairieview Ogden school district this school year. The P-T-O plans to use the money  for sports uniforms and classroom needs.


(Gibson City--jc)  Some at Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School are ready to get their dance shoes on and also raise money. The annual “Dancing with the Stars” fundraisers is set for Saturday February 16th at the high school. Members of the G-C-M-S Dance Team will compete with a member of the community. Those entering the contest will be judged on performance, donations and crowd appeal. A Free will soup supper kicks off the event at 5pm on the 16th.


7 Students and 1 Parent Arrested After Fight at Urbana high School

(Springfield--ba) --  Illinois' Roman Catholic bishops have taken a stand against legalizing recreational use of marijuana. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




CHICAGO (AP) — A new study by the American Lung Association says Illinois is not doing enough to reduce tobacco use. The report titled "State of Tobacco Control" gives Illinois grades in funding for smoking cessation and prevention programs, tobacco taxation and access to existing quit-smoking services. The Chicago Tribune reports the state got a failing grade for keeping the minimum age to buy all tobacco products including e-cigarettes at 18.



(buckley--jc)  Federal Crop insurance premiums must be completed by March 15th.  Prices will be set later this month by the government. Abbe Insurance-Diversifited Insurance Agent Larry Abbe talks about what premiums and prices could be…



Abbe Insurance-Diversified Insurance of Buckley Agent Larry Abbe.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Illinois health officials are requesting about $5 million more from the state to implement new rules aimed at identifying and caring for children under 6 years with lead poisoning. The Southern Illinoisan reports that the Illinois Department of Health received about $10 million this fiscal year to send nurses and inspectors into the homes of children who tested positive for lead poisoning. Experts say lead can cause behavioral problems, developmental delays and other health issues.



SEATTLE (AP) — Winter weather is pounding a swath of the U.S. West, closing schools, snarling traffic and turning coastal cities like Seattle that rarely get much snow unusually white. The Pacific Northwest's first major winter snowstorm Monday comes as the Midwest warmed up following a dangerous blast of cold last week. Parts of California and Montana are bracing for the threat of mudslides and avalanches.



In the weeks before freshman Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first budget address, his Democratic comptroller is reminding him about the fiscal reality of Illinois’ finances.Comptroller Susana Mendoza called on the Chicago Democrat to use the Debt Transparency Act report, one of the transparency issues she championed that passed into law last year, to propose a budget that uses“realistic projections when estimating revenues and cost savings and to avoid relying on any concepts they know cannot be realized in fiscal year 2020.”Assistant Republican Leader Keith Wheeler, from Aurora, said he was happy to see Mendoza asking for fiscal sanity, something he said has been absent from the state budget in recent years.


CHICAGO (AP) — O'Hare International Airport in Chicago was the busiest airport in the U.S. last year, surpassing Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for the first time in four years.The Federal Aviation Administration released data today showing that O'Hare had more than 903,000 arrivals and departures during 2018. Atlanta's airport was second, with more than 895,000 arrivals and departures. Los Angeles International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Denver International Airport round out the top five.




(Springfield--jc)  Democrat Assistant Majority Leader Don Harmon has filed legislation in Springfield to ask voters to change the state's constitution to allow for a progressive tax system, but the bill provides no details about what that structure would look like.  Harmon's bill would allow for the state to impose higher income tax rates on those who earn more, but is devoid of detail. It "provides that the income tax may be a fair tax where lower rates apply to lower income levels and higher rates apply to higher income levels," according to a synopsis of the legislation.  Governor J.B. Pritzker has pledged to change the state's flat income tax to a graduated one, but he has avoided talking about specifics such as tax rates. He's said that the rates would be negotiated with the legislature.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Some at the statehouse want a constitutional amendment to change how the state taxes income, while others want to amend the constitution’s pension protection clause to change pensions for state employees.State Representative. Jay Hoffman, Democrat from Swansea, says Governor. J.B. Pritzker expects quick action to get the graduated income tax question to voters.

Hoffman says that Governor Pritzker has made it very clear that he would like to see on the ballot in 2020 a constitutional amendment regarding a progressive tax.



(Urbana--jc)  In an update from Monday, 7 high school students and one parent were arrested after a fight broke out at Urbana High School on Monday.  One Urbana High School teacher was injured and was sent with injuries to a local hospital. Police say the first fight occurred Monday morning and more conflicts continued throughout the day.  35 year old Adrian Pettis was arrested on a charge of obstructing a police officer. The fights resulted in charges of mob action and resisting a police officer. Urbana police continue to investigate the incident and motives for the fights.


(Illinois--ba)-Schools across Illinois might not have to make up all the recent days missed due to snow and cold. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Several gun dealers in Central and Southern Illinois are closing their businesses rather than pay what they’re saying is thousands of dollars in costs to comply with a law enacted last month.When he signed the bill into law last month, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the Gun Dealer Licensing Act was about stopping straw buyers.“The reason for it is to deter straw purchases so that we can prevent someone from buying a gun for someone else who is not legally allowed to own a gun,” he said at the signing ceremony in Chicago.


(Washington--jc)  - Want a job with the U-S-D-A as a poultry grader, there are some available. Those wanting to apply need to do so by Thursday says U-S-D-A Branch Chief Dana Stahl…



U-S-D-A Branch Chief Dana Stahl

More information is found on line at U-S-D-A-dot-gov




Springfield--jc)  -- As other states look at upping financial literacy requirements, should Illinois high schools require students to learn basic budgeting before getting a diploma? Just this month, lawmakers in Florida introduced a bill that would require all students to take a class on basic skills, like how to save money and apply for loans. A new bill in South Carolina would make passing a financial literacy test a graduation requirement. Starting in 2017, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office has partnered with Econ Illinois, a nonprofit affiliated with Northern Illinois University, to create the first ever standards-based financial literacy curriculum for grades 1-8 in Illinois. According to spokesman Greg Rivara, grades 1-3 currently are online at the treasury’s website. Grades 4-8 will be available shortly.


(Rantoul--jc) Champaign Crime Stoppers is looking for your help to solve  several gun shots into 2 Rantoul homes. Shots were fired into a home in th 13 hundred block of Abram Drive on Wednesday January 16th and also at a home on Frost Avenue on January 18t or 19th. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477.



(Pontiac--jc)  --O- S-F HealthCare Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center is the latest Central Illinois hospital to enact visitor restrictions because of an increase in seasonal flu and other upper respiratory illnesses. The Pantagraph reports thatn Saint James announced Monday that, effective immediately, visitors would be limited as a precaution to limit the spread of flu. The Illinois Department of Public Health  reports seasonal influenza is widespread in Illinois during this first week of February/ .Hospital visitor restrictions generally are enacted when flu becomes widespread in an area and are lifted in the spring when flu activity decreases.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed an executive order that boosts the state’s efforts in fighting the H-I-V epidemic. The order re-establishes the state’s commitment to prevention and testing programs. Aids foundation President John Peller says reaching out to minorities is espcially critical…



Aids Foundation President John Peller



Gibson City Police Need Public's Help in Solving String of Burglaries in Gibson City

(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City Police and Ford County officials are seeking the public’s help in solving a series of motor vehicle burglaries in Gibson City. Police officials say in a release that on January 20th and 21st, there were  several burglary and attempted burglaries to Motor Vehicles on the the north end of Gibson City Officers completed a thorough investigation and collected enough evidence to secure arrest warrants for two suspects. Ford County State's Attorney Andrew Killian issued arrest warrants for Justin Jesse and Kaitlyn Darnell on Friday afternoon. Anyone with information about these crimes are asked to call Ford County Crime Stoppers at (217) 784-4173. Law enforcement officials remind everyone that all suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Former South African President and Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. de Klerk will speak at Illinois State University this month. De Klerk's presentation Feb. 12 will be "Bridging the Gap: Globalization Without Isolation." De Klerk became president of South Africa in 1989. A short time later he released civil rights leader Nelson Mandela from prison after 27 years. Their joint efforts at reforming the country earned them the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is looking for ways to protect faculty members from disruptive students who take online trolling into the classroom. The News-Gazette reports that the issue was prompted by a case involving Jay Rosenstein, a professor of media and cinema studies who's criticized the school's former Chief Illiniwek mascot. Rosenstein says someone who disagreed with his views harassed him online for months before enrolling in one of his classes in the fall.



(Springfield--ab) Governor J-B Pritzker is signing an executive order that boosts the state’s efforts in fighting the H-I-V epidemic. About 40 thousand Illinoisans are living with H-I-V…and more than 13-hundred cases are diagnosed each year. Governor Pritzker says this order will re-invest in prevention and testing services.



The order also requires the state to work with medicaid manage care companies to ensure those living with H-I-V are getting the healthcare they need.


SULLIVAN, Ill. (AP) — A 20-year-old man has died after an explosion leveled a home in central Illinois. The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports the explosion occurred just before 10 p.m. Friday near Sullivan. Fire Department Chief Mike Piper said the home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived and it was clear "there had been a very large explosion." Authorities say they suspect the cause may have been propane. The home's residents are Amish.


(Urbana-jc)  --A Champaign County man was sentenced to 4 years in prison for being  found to have cocaine byproducts in his system when he hit and killed a pedestrian with his pickup truck two years ago. 47 year old Joseph Perry was sentenced on Friday, according the to News Gazette. The fatal accident  took the life of 76 Marjorie Roberts of Champaign.



(Champaign County--jc)  -- A traffic accident along Interstate 57 on Sunday slowed traffic for several hours. Police say a semi rolled on the interstate. Crews were on the scene for several hours cleaning up the site between Curtis Road and the Interstate 72 exchange. No word was provided on the  condition of the semi driver



WILMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A seven-mile ice jam on the Kankakee River could cause flash flooding as warmer temperatures and possible rain move into northern Illinois. First responders went door-to-door this week in Wilmington, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of Chicago, to warn residents who may be affected that they should be ready to evacuate at short notice.



(Illinois--ba) This week’s forecast calls for rain and not the dangerous cold and temperatures from a week ago. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the numbers about the last weeks weather...



(Paxton--jc) --Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick says her office has extended the filing deadline for residents to become write-in candidates in April’s election. Due to last weeks harsh weather the deadline was extended to 4:30 this afternoon. More information is found by calling Fredericks office at 217-379-9400 or on line at Ford-County-Illinois-dot-gov.


(Washington--ba) National ag officials say a trade agreement with China is a  long way" from being done....Gary Crawford reports.



(Undated--jc)  Replace the dangerous cold temperatures and  wind chills with drizzle and rain to start the week. The new weather pattern for the next couple of days is rainy through Thursday. The new weather may cause some flooding issues. Homeowners are reminded to check their sump pumps. And the change in temperatures from a low of minus 50 to around 60 degrees threatens a new set of problems. Ruptured water mains, leaky pipes and gutters, an influx of potholes and the flooding of roads and bridges are among the potential repercussions of such a sudden temperature swing.


(Champaign--jc)  A second case of measles has been reported in Champaign County. Champaign County Public health Officials made the announcement over the weekend. The two people affected were adults who had not been vaccinated against the disease. More information is found on line with the Champaign County Public Health Department website.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Opioid alternative pilot program is now open. It allows those who take powerful and addictive painkillers use medical marijuana instead. Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold says those interested need to talk to their doctor…



Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold



(Sibley--jc)  Ford County leaders are expected to discuss a proposed mega-hog farm near Sibley when they next week in Paxton. The Ford County Zoning Committee met on Friday morning and heard comments on the issue from Sibley village leaders. Sibley leaders may also take a stand on the proposed farm. The Illinois Department of Agriculture and Ford County held a meeting on the issue last month. WPXN will continue to follow this story as more information is provided.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials are looking for partners to help provide meals to children in low-income areas over the summer when school isn't in session.The Illinois State Board of Education administers the Summer Food Service Program. The state receives federal reimbursement to cover the costs of preparing and serving meals.In 2018 there were about 2,200 summer meal sites in Illinois.Outgoing State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said Illinois is already planning for this summer. He says there are 33 counties that don't have any sites. Smith says not having access to school lunch and breakfast over the summer "poses a significant challenge" for many families.Nonprofits, local governments and school districts may set up serving sites at community locations such as schools, churches and libraries.


(Rantoul--jc)  If you are a business that belongs to the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce you can expect a visit from your executive director soon. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen has the goal to stop by all businesses in the chamber to help promote the village and to see how the chamber can assist its members…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen



(Rantoul--jc)  A Rantoul based company with ties to the local area has the naming rights for the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion. The building is now known as the Credit Union 1 Arena. The 9 point 3 Million dollar agreement was approved by the Illinois Board of Trustees last week. The agreement is for 15 years. Credit Union 1  has local facilities Rantoul Champaign and Urbana.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is extending its search for its first chief diversity officer after four finalists for the position didn't work out. Chancellor Robert Jones told search committee members  that the goal is to make a decision by the end of the academic year in May. Jones originally hoped to hire someone for the job early this semester. Jones told search committee members that it's critical the university find "the best possible person" to create the position and "support diversity efforts." He says the extra time will help to find the right candidate. The chief diversity officer will oversee the new cabinet-level Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.



Senate lawmakers to Discuss Legislation Raising the Minimum Wage in Illinois to 15 Dollars an Hour

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The extreme weather that shuttered schools across a swath of the northern United States this week also spurred debates over whether when such calls are appropriate. School superintendents said they try to weigh the needs of the entire district when considering whether but need to look especially for the most vulnerable, who may rely on schools for meals and other assistance. Ad additional 2 to 4 inches of snow fell last night into this morning. Most schools are in session this morning.



CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health says at least 144 people made hospital emergency-room visits and one person has died due to cold-related injuries since Tuesday. Department spokesman Melaney Arnold said Thursday that there were at least 65 visits in Chicago and at least 75 outside Chicago. The data say the injuries were either hypothermia or frostbite, which came as temperatures plummeted in Illinois to double-digit subzero readings.


(Springfield--jc)  The new head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture says he wants to see expanding broadband access. Acting Ag Director John Sullivan says the need to expand broadband access will help business expansion in the state…



Illinois Acting Ag Director John Sullivan.


(Springfield--ab)  -- Senate lawmakers are discussing legislation raising the minimum wage in Illinois to 15 dollars an hour. The last increase was in 2010…to eight dollars and 25 cents an hour. State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood says it’s time to bump that up, so that people earn a wage they can live on. She says the goal is 15 bucks an hour…but that it would be phased in over the next few years.



State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood


(Champaign--jc)  Three semis and three cars collided along Interstate 74 in Champaign last night. The wreckage blocked the road for several hours. Traffic started flowing around midnight last night. Damage to the semis was significant, though no word was given on injuries of those involved.


(Buckley--ab) This Sunday Italian food lovers won't have to look too hard to find a great Spaghetti dinner. At Buckley Christ Lutheran from 11 AM to 3 PM there is a “Taste of Italy” with proceeds from the free will donation helping the student body.


URBANA, Illinois – Illinois residents have the option to make a donation to fight local hunger on their 2018 state income tax returns. By checking the box on Schedule G, the Voluntary Charitable Donations Form, a tax-deductible contribution will be made to the Hunger Relief Fund, a special fund in the State treasury, to purchase food grown and processed in Illinois to be distributed by the eight food banks serving Illinois, including Eastern Illinois Foodbank. Feeding Illinois, the state association of food banks, will collect the funds to purchase nutritious Illinois-sourced food such as fresh produce and protein products.

(Bloomington--jc)  -- It’s chocolate and deals in one McLean County city tonight.

The downtown business association of Bloomington has a chocolate tour event that runs from 5 til 8 pm tonight. The event is called “Tour de Chocolat.”

(Paxton--jc)  -- A Ford County Zoning committee is set to meet at 9 this morning. The topic continues to be windfarms, setbacks, decommissioning, flicker and more. The local board has a set back at 22 hundred 50 feet currently. The public is invited to the meeting.


CHICAGO (AP) — In Illinois, temperatures could rise by 100 degrees within days. In Michigan, melting snow and rain and a 17-mile ice jam could lead to flooding. Across the Midwest, the sudden warmth was sure to bring more broken roads and busted water mains. Wind chills on Wednesday were in the minus 45 degree range The forecast for this weekend will see temps rise to 55 degrees. The sudden swing from long johns to light jackets and short sleeves could create problems of its own.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- August is the expected start for the next renovation and addition project at one Ford County Hospital. Officials with Gibson Area Hospital will start a 12 million dollar project to add medical offices for all its doctors and also address parking at the local facility. Hospital officials say the project will take several years to complete.


CHICAGO (AP) — A University of Illinois graduate who leads a Chicago-based private equity firm has been elected chairman of the university system's Board of Trustees. Donald Edwards was unanimously elected to a one-year term during the board's meeting Thursday. Edwards earned his bachelor's degree in finance from Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was a four-year letter winner on the Illini golf team. He is CEO of Flexpoint Ford, a firm he founded in 2004. Edwards was first appointed to the Board of Trustees by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2017. He was re appointed earlier Thursday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who also appointed four other board members: Patricia Brown Holmes, Ricardo Estrada, Kareem Dale and former state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson. The Illinois Senate must confirm the appointments.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The 31st annual toy show sponsored by the Paxton Buckley Loda F F A is set for Saturday at the high school in Paxton. This is the major fundraiser for the local chapter. Tomorrow’s event begins at 9 am. PBL FFA Member and event spokesperson Mikayla Jones says the money raised goes to help the chapter and its members…



PBL FFA Member and Event Spokesperson Mikayla Jones.



LOS ANGELES (AP) — While the polar vortex is driving up demand for natural gas, it isn't doing the same for the price. Demand for Natural Gas spiked over the past week, yet natural gas prices have fallen this week and are in the throes of a two-month skid. The bone-chilling cold stretches from the local area stretched from  North Dakota to Maine, is short-lived. Forecasters say warmer than normal weather is coming to replace it. Natural gas stockpiles hovering at a 13-year low drove the price of natural gas to $4.84 per 1,000 cubic feet in mid-November, the highest closing price in more than four years.


(Buckley--jc)  -- Its just the start of February, but farmers have only til the middle of March to get federal crop insurance. Larry Abbe of Abbe Insurance of Buckley and Diversified Insurance Services talks about prices for coverage this year…



Abbe Insurance of Buckley Owner Larry Abbe.



(Paxton--jc)  An inquest is set for later this month for a Ford County man from Elliott who was found dead in a house fire in Elliott in May of last year. Ford County Coroner Rick Flessner says the inquest into the death of 34 year old Jeremy Turner is to make public the facts about the death.The inquest is set for 7pm on February 13th at the courthouse in Paxton.



(Springfield--jc)  --With calls to change Illinois’ constitutional flat income tax to a progressive structure and a new push to change how political boundaries are drawn, one state lawmaker said there are enough proposed changes that it may be time to open the whole thing up. State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield, says every year there are many ideas lawmakers bring forward to get voter approval on changing the state constitution.  Butler says talk goes from term limits, fair maps, pension reform and other constitution issues. Lawmakers have over a year to get issues to Illinois voters. One of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s campaign issues was to change Illinois’ flat tax to a progressive tax. That too, would need a vote by Illinoisans.


(Giffrord--jc)  -- The 20-19 Midwest Ag Expo has concluded for another year. Despite the frigid temperatures, both days saw good attendance. Stine Seeds representative Chuck Vaughn says for this year farmers have more options in some new seeds and weed control…



Stine Seeds Representative Chuck Vaughn


(Springfield--jc)  -- One bill would tax ammunition, another would have police scour the social media accounts of people seeking to legally buy guns, a third would ban some common firearms, even from law-abiding gun owners.One state lawmaker said that people’s rights are being threatened by the aggressive anti-gun agenda.State Representative Tony McCombie a Republican from Savanna, has been ringing the alarm bell on social media, highlighting bills she says go too far. She said she’s taking a stand against another proposal that would register privately held guns with the government.




Frigid Temperatures Continue Today

(Ashkum--jc)  - State Police District 21 troopers, based in Ashkum,  were very busy on the coldest day in recent memory on Wednesday.  From midnight to around 4pm yesterday, district 21 troopers assisted over 100 motorists. State police officials continue to remind motorists to stay off roads when they can during severe weather episodes. State police continue to perform increased patrol sweeps searching for broke down vehicles throughout the area.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Some business advocates now resigned to the likelihood that Illinois will soon adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage are urging legislators to at least make it a tiered approach based on geography. They say that would recognize vast cost-of-living differences between Chicago and downstate areas. New Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signaled he wants to sign a minimum wage law by late February.


( Springfield--jc)  -- The new head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture is discussing some of the big issues facing the agency. Acting Director John Sullivan says growing industrial hemp could give producers some options…



Illinois Department of Agriculture Acting Director John Sullivan


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Democrats have jumped to the defense of some Obama-era federal education rules they say are under attack by President Donald Trump’s Administration.The proposed rule changes introduced last fall would bring about changes that the Department of Education says will make harassment complaints more transparent, consistent and reliable in their processes and outcomes.Of the most significant changes is the allowance for cross-examination of an accuser by a lawyer representing the accused, something supporters say would stem the tide of large court settlements by universities for wrongfully punishing a student.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says Illinoisans need to take the frigid weather conditions very seriously. The governor says the numbers  are warmer this morning but the air temperature is minus 10 now...



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Paxton--ab) The extremely cold wind chills and temperatures can lead to some major consequences for your body says local Paxton Clinic Doctor Richard Foellner.



Paxton Clinic Doctor. Richard Foellner



(Washington DC--ab) Producers eligible for disaster assistance under several Farm Service Agency programs now have more time to sign-up. Rod Bain has the report.




(Chicago--jc)  -- Type "Chicago corruption" into's search engine and expect to find pages and pages of book listings.If the online retailer were a big box store, it'd need an entire department of shelves to hold all the available items about the topic.The point?That's why the recent bombshell headlines from Chicago City Hall in recent weeks should come as no surprise.The federal government charged longtime Alderman Edward Burke with using his powerful elected position to strong-arm a local businessman into using his private law firm for property tax matters.The feds also have enough on Alderman Daniel Solis to have prompted him to agree to wear a wire during conversations with his colleagues in attempts to nail more corrupt politicians.And this week we found out that the FBI has a secret recording of a conversation between Solis, a developer who wanted political help on a hotel project, and powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Madigan has not been charged with a crime and, through his attorney, says he is not under investigation. At least not as far as he knows.




(Rantoul--ab) The Midwest Ag Expo began on Wednesday and continues today at Gordyville U S A near Gifford. There was something new at one booth at this years show. The innovation has nothing to do with machinery itself but the farmer. Lowman-Ray  Insurance agent Todd Harris has a new line of Health Insurance for Farmers is available...


Lowman Ray Insurance Agent Todd Harris

The Midwest Ag Expo Continues today from 8-30 til 3 at Gordyville USA near Gifford



(Bloomington--jc) --  Bloomington police are continuing to investigate a train versus parked car accident from late Tuesday night. The accident happened just northeast of Allin and Grove Streets. Police say the car was unoccupied. No one was injured


(Springfield--jc)  A suburban Republican is trying to gather support for a bill that would prohibit new lawmakers from participating in a state pension system that he says is too expensive for taxpayers. State Representative David McSweeney a Republican from Barrington Hills, introduced House Bill 293, which would make lawmakers elected or appointed after November 2020 ineligible for the General Assembly Retirement System. McSweeney has opted out of the system. Currently, the General Assembly Retirement System is only 15 percent funded, which is the worst funding ratio of the states 5 pension systems.



(Springfield--ab) The state’s public health veterinarian says pet’s need to stay inside during the extreme cold.  While some dogs love winter…temperatures this low can be harmful to even the hardiest of breeds says Doctor Connie Austin…



State Public Health Veterinarian Doctor Connie Austin



(Washington--ab) Employees of USDA's Statistics Service are working hard to make up for the delays in publishing reports that were put on hold due to partial government shutdown. Gary Crawford reports...




(Springfield--jc)  --A set of legislative rules that gives a five-member committee in the Democrat-controlled Illinois House broad authority to decide how legislation moves through the statehouse has frustrated not only Republican lawmakers, but also Illinois residents who want to change things. When lawmakers come back next week, the House will have rules that Republicans have said prevent taxpayers from getting legislation they want. The Democratic supermajority under House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership passed rules this week without Republican support, 20 days after being sworn in.  The Senate passed its rules when new members were sworn in Jan. 9.After this week’s vote in the House, state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said that as the chairman of the Revenue and Finance Committee, he’ll have an open door to everyone. He dismissed the rule changes Republicans had sought.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- An event that was set for Martin Luther King Junior Day will now be celebrated during Black History month in the village of Rantoul. Weather postponed the event sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Rantoul. The new date is Saturday February 9th at 2pm at J W Eater Junior High School in the village.



(Paxton--jc) -- Add breakfast burritos and calzones to one Paxton business. Mareci’s Bakery is expanding from scones, donuts and cookies to breakfast and lunches. The business is located along Route 9  in Paxton. The business hours are also expanding from 6-30 am to 7pm during the week and 7am to 3pm on Saturdays.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The 31st annual toy show sponsored by the Paxton Buckley Loda F F A is set for Saturday at the high school in Paxton. PBL F F A member and event Spokesperson Mikayla Jones says to make sure to find the hall of jackets..



PBL FFA Member and Toy Show Spokesperson Mikayla Jones.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Police is urging motorist to continued to be prepared for extreme temperatures and winter weather. State Police Acting Director  Brendan Kelly says more than 300 troopers are out on the roads, ready to assist motorists in harms way…



Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly



(Gifford --jc)  -- The 2019 Midwest Ag Expo continues today at Gordyville USA just west of Gifford along US Route 136. The event is dubbed as “everything agriculture. The event runs from 8-30 this morning to 3 this afternoon. Day one of the event saw a large crowd despite the frigid cold temperatures. The event is free to attend, free parking too. One booth to stop by is Illiana Insulation at this years expo. The current cold weather reminds homeowners to check their insulation. Illiana Insulation Owner Sam Stoller talks about a process to keep homes warm…



Illiana Insulation of Cissna Park Owner Sam Stoller

Today is the second day of the Midwest Ag Expo at Gordyville USA near Gifford.



(Potomac--jc)  -- A carnival is set for tomorrow at one area grade school. The Potomac P-T-O is hosting its 6th annual event from 5-30 til 8 tomorrow night at the grade school. Games for kids, raffles, food and “The Strongman” hi-light the event. The public is invited to the fundraiser that supports efforts by the local parent-teacher-organization.



Today's Temperatures Have the Potential to be Historic

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation ahead of forecast double-digit subzero temperatures in Illinois, calling the weather "potentially historic."...


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The National Weather Service says the frigid weather is life threatening and temperature records going back to the late 1800s could fall.



(Rantoul--ab) The extreme cold has closed schools and businesses and lots of events today. Some people still are heading to work today. For those working or traveling,  Rantoul Police Department Lieutenant Justin Bouse says you should keep vital supplies in the car...



Rantoul Police Department Lieutenant Justin Bouse



(Rantoul--ab) The Cold weather can wreak havoc on a residents water pipes if not careful. Rantoul Public Works Departments Jake McCoy says there are remedies, should your pipes freeze...



Rantoul Public Works Departments Jake McCoy



(Ford County--jc)  Bond was set at 20 thousand dollars for a Ford County woman accused of stealing a vehicle owned by a doctor at Gibson Area Hospital.  A car was stolen at the hospital early Sunday. Police say they arrested 28 year old Kristy Miller of Gibson City on Monday. A conviction on the Class 2 felony carries a sentence of probation to 7 years in prison.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Fire Department officials say a cigarette could be the cause of a fire at the Rantoul Wal-Mart on Tuesday morning. Rantoul Firefighters along with help from the Thomasboro firefighters, were called to the Rantoul Wal-Mart just before 8 Tuesday morning. Several cardboard boxes were on fire. Officials say there was nothing malicious about the blaze. The building was not damaged and the property damage was limited to the boxes and pallets.


(Paxton--ab) The human body is one of the last things people think about when dealing with cold temperatures. Its always the car, the home, the furnace that  seem to come first. Paxton Clinic Doctor Richard Foellner says no skin should be exposed in these cold temperatures we have today into Thursday....




He says the key to thawing out frostbite is to make sure the person is in continuous warmth to take care of the frostbite...



Paxton Clinic Doctor Richard Foellner



CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago newspaper is reporting that a federal affidavit says the FBI secretly recorded Illinois' powerful House speaker in 2014 discussing a hotel development project. Tuesday's Chicago Sun-Times' report on Michael Madigan suggests a federal investigation may cast a wider net than first thought after it led to a charge earlier this month against another Chicago alderman, Ed Burke. A Madigan lawyer denied any wrongdoing and said they have no indication Madigan is under investigation.




(Paxton--jc)  Warming Centers are being opened in places like Kankakee, Danville and Champaign Urbana. In the Ford County city of Paxton the local E-M-A is putting its office space for use as a warming center. The center is open now through Thursday morning at 8 says Paxton E-M-A Director Ed Hanson…


Paxton E-M-A Director Ed Hanson


(Iroquois County--jc) In Iroquois County, for local residents whose homes cannot keep up with the cold temperatures, the following warming centers are opening:

Watseka Public Library  Watseka. Today, & Thursday, 10 AM- 2pm  

Trinity Church  Watseka. Today & Thursday, 9 AM to 5 PM.

Crescent City Community Center today, Thursday, 7 AM to 9 PM.  

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Gilman. To, & Thursday, 8 AM to 5 PM.

Church of Christ in Martinton. Now through Friday morning, 24/7.  

United Methodist Church in Loda. today & Thursday, 10 AM to 5 PM.  

Milford Christian Church  in Milford. Today & Thursday, 7 AM to 7 PM.

Creekside Community Center in Cissna Park. Today & Thursday, 4:30 AM to 9 PM.

These warming shelters are open to anyone who needs a place to get warm.


(Undated--jc)  -- Winter's sharpest bite in years moved past painful into life-threatening territory yesterday with worse conditions this morning. Local city and town officials, school leaders and businesses are closing their doors today. Some businesses are open to help to deal with the cold and groceries. The Midwest Ag Expo is going on today and WPXN will be broadcasting live this morning and afternoon at the two day event at Gordyville USA near Gifford. Warming Centers are available throughout the WPXN listening area. Head to our facebook page or wpxnradio-dot-com for more information.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The bitter weather striking much of the Midwest this week isn't stopping one of America's most formidable endurance tests. The Arrowhead 135 is going on as scheduled in Minnesota. It's a 135-mile race that competitors cover by bicycle, cross-country skis or on foot. Race director Ken Krueger says this is one of the top three coldest years in the race's 15-year history. But he says the people who enter "want a hard race."



(Springfield--jc)  A freshman Illinois lawmaker wants to allow public schools to publicly display the motto “In God We Trust,” something church-state separation advocates say alienates nonreligious students.One of the first bills Louisville Republican state Representative Darrin Bailey filed after taking office was House Bill 341, which says a school board can allow the national motto “In God We Trust” to be conspicuously posted on school grounds. Bailey says the current political climate shows a need for a return to Christian principles.


(Washington--jc)  What are the weather dangers for winter wheat? Stephanie Ho has the story…



(Paxton--ab) The furnace is another key appliance to the home in these below zero wind chills. Dogtown Heating and Cooling of Paxton’s  Jeremy Kopmann says the key is to leave it on at a steady temperature...



Dogtown Heating and Cooling of Paxton’s Jeremy Kopmann


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County meeting set to discuss windmills and windfarms is being delayed by one day. The Ford County Zoning committee was scheduled to meet Thursday morning at 9 at the courthouse in Paxton. That Meeting is not on Friday at 9am. The public is invited to the meeting.



(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois lawmakers accidentally left a requirement for a minimum number of hours in the classroom out of last year's education overhaul and now Democrats and teachers unions are racing to put it back.Illinois school kids are required to be in school for 176 days. But, because of an oversight in last year's education reforms, there's no set number of hours for those days.Some schools are using the new-found flexibility to let students learn from home on snow days or enroll in an apprenticeship.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Predicted severe weather conditions have forced the Illinois House to cancel sessions the rest of the week. The House met Tuesday and adopted rules for the 101st General Assembly and adopted plans to receive Governor  J.B. Pritzker's budget plans in an address scheduled for next month. The House calendar called for sessions on today and Thursday



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says state employees will be placed on the correct step of the state pay plan on April 1. The reinstatement of long-postponed, experience-based salary increases is expected to affect about 20,000 state workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Step increases, required by state law, are paid to employees in their first eight to 10 years who, as a savings to state government, start at below-market rates.





Illinois is Bracing for Life Threatening Wind Chills

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is bracing itself for record-low subzero temperatures and wind chills that the National Weather Service calls "possibly life threatening." The frigid weather is expected Today through Thursday and comes after a winter storm brought more than 5 inches of snow to northern Illinois on Monday. Chicago's airports canceled more than 1,100 flights Monday with more delays expected today. The weather service issued a wind chill warning for the entire area. Forecasters say the Rockford area could get colder than the record low minus 27 on Wednesday. Chicago looks a few degrees above the all-time record of minus 27 but the forecast high of minus 14 on Wednesday could beat the record coldest high of minus 11. Wind chills could dip to 55 below.



(Undated--jc)  With the pending snow and dangerously cold temperatures coming on Today and into Thursday, several businesses and county offices will be closed.

Iroquois County officials say the Iroquois County courthouse and the Clifford Bury Administrative Center in Watseka will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.


In Ford County, Circuit Judge Matt Fitton has postponed all judicial cases that were scheduled for court on Tuesday and Wednesday. The parties involved will be given the proper notice on the new court dates.


In Champaign County,  The Brookens Center, Champaign County Courthouse and the Sheriff’s offices will all be closed on Wednesday with the dangerously cold temperatures.


In McLean County,  the law and justice center is closed. A water main break in the area also closed the McLean County courthouse.  Court cases also postponed for today. Those with pending cases will be notified on the rescheduled court dates.


A reminder from WPXN news to check first if your event is still scheduled before you head out over the next several days. Keep it tuned to WPXN for the latest information on the weather, local events and other local information.



(Iroquois County--jc)  Warming Centers will be open in Iroquois County starting today and open through Thursday. They include…

 Watseka Public Library at 201 South 4th Street in Watseka.  10 AM to 6 PM.


Trinity Church at 1658 East Walnut Street in Watseka. , 9 AM to 5 PM.


Crescent City Community Center at 301 Main Street. 7 AM to 9 PM.  


St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 116 North Thomas Street in Gilman. 8 AM to 5 PM.  

Church of Christ at 103 South Street in Martinton. Tuesday evening through Friday morning, 24/7.


These warming shelters are open to anyone who needs a place to stay warm. They are not providing food, cots, or snacks.



(Rantoul--ab) Winter weather brings additional issues. Frozen pipes are a huge concern during Winter and the extreme  cold brings more issues for pipes in homes and businesses. Rantoul Public Works Department Official Jake McCoy talks about some common sense tips to keep pipes working during cold weather...



Rantoul Public Works Department Official Jake McCoy


(Illinois--ba) Since 2007 corn ethanol production has doubled and there was also a sharp upturn in corn prices. Does that mean more acres  and then a reduction in grasslands and forests. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story...




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois woman has been charged with endangering the life and health of a child for allegedly being intoxicated while working at a day care. Regina L. Spencer was working at a Springfield infant care facility last week when a woman picking up her son witnessed Spencer fall to the ground. Spencer was holding an infant at the time. According to a police report, paramedics and police were called. The State Journal-Register reports it was originally believed the 52-year-old Spencer suffered a low blood-sugar episode. It was later determined Spencer was intoxicated.Officers reported noticing 1 1/2 empty bottles of wine at the day care and smelled alcohol on her breath.



The Agriculture Secretary says USDA worked as much as possible during the recent government shutdown to start planning for implementation of a new Farm Bill.  Rod Bain reports..





(Springfield--jc)  53rd District State Senator  Jason Barickman of Bloomington has officially been tapped to continue his role as the lead Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with being assigned to once again serve on the Executive and Education Committees.


The Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency would like to caution residents concerning the impending extreme cold temperatures. Starting Tuesday and lasting through Friday morning, temperatures will be life-threateningly cold. According to the National Weather Service, Iroquois County is in a wind chill warning, with factors reaching as low as -47 degrees F. Temperatures this cold can lead to rapid frostbite and hypothermia. People need to dress appropriately, wearing layers with coats and covering exposed skin, as well bringing pets inside. If you do not need to go out, stay at home, and check on your neighbors. Those intending on driving their vehicles need to check their battery, coolant, and tires, as well as have jumper cables and extra clothing and blankets in the car. Residents should also check their homes for safety, such as furnace units, chimneys, water pipes, and ensuring fire and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning. Heating homes with gas space heaters, grills, or ovens is not safe, and can lead to house fires and deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.



(Illinois--ba) Some roads will still be slick at the the temperatures drop. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has driving tips to help you prepare for the winter season.




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois legislators are reviving bills that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.  Democratic Senators Julie Morrison and Michael Hastings are sponsoring the Senate bill, while Democratic Representatives Camille Lilly and Sonya Harper are sponsoring the House bill. Governor  J.B. Pritzker's spokeswoman says he "looks forward to reviewing the legislation." Measures to increase the legal age from 18 passed both chambers last year, but were vetoed. More than 30 Illinois communities have enacted Tobacco 21 ordinances, including Arlington Heights, Lake Zurich and Park Ridge. Morrison says that shows lawmakers that communities want such legislation in place.



(Rantoul--ab) “What should I pack” is a common refrain for those travelling in these frigid temperatures. Rantoul Police Lt. Justin Bouse gives a good headstart list to prepare.



Rantoul Police Lieutenant Justin Bouse



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Revenue says the state's tax filing season is underway.The agency begins accepting 2018 state individual income tax returns on Monday. It's the same day the Internal Revenue Service starts accepting federal income tax returns.The state revenue department says the fastest, most secure way to file tax returns and receive refunds is to file online and request direct deposits into checking or savings accounts. The Illinois agency says it's continuing to focus on identity theft and fraud prevention this tax year. Last year its efforts prevented more than $66 million in refund fraud. Illinois officials anticipate direct deposit refunds will be issued about four weeks from the time an error-free electronically filed tax return is submitted.


DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — Northern Illinois University has a new enrollment plan that aims to have 18,000 students by fall 2023. N-I-U President Lisa Freeman wants to stem years of enrollment decline. N-I-U enrollment peaked during the 2007-2008 school year at 25,000 students but since then enrollment has declined 30 percent to about 17,100 students. The plans includes ways to expand online course enrollment and diversify the student population. Those steps include new recruitment and branding efforts, identifying more financial aid initiatives and improving the equity gap for students from diverse backgrounds. One goal is to increase the percentage of Hispanic students from 19 percent of the undergraduate population to at least 25 percent by 2023.


(Springfield--jc)  The state is reminding that help is available to those struggling to pay their winter heating bills. In updating our story from yesterday, households that meet certain income guidelines are eligible for assistance through the low-income home energy assistance program says program spokesperson Deidre Coughlin…



LI-HEAP Spokesperson Deidre Coughlin.

LI-HEAP can also help families that have had their heat disconnected. More information is found on-line at LI-HEAP Illinois-Dot-Gov.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum has a new name and is expected to reopen for this year's fair after being closed for repairs and renovations. The facility that's home to horse shows and other events is now known as the Coliseum of Champions.The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation held a naming contest that was open to members of Illinois 4-H, FFA and the Junior Horseman's Council. The winning entry was submitted by Emma Eathington of the Fairview Huskies 4-H, Elaina Kessler of the Clay City FFA and Kylie Neisler of Country Roots 4-H Club of Montgomery County. The coliseum was built in 1901. It was closed in 2016 when engineers determined it was structurally unsafe and it hasn't been used for the past two state fairs.



2 Ford County Men Plead Guilty to Attacks on Minnesota Mosque and Champaign Clinic

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Muslim leader in Minnesota is calling for life in prison for two men who admitted to bombing a mosque in 2017. Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court. Their pipe bomb damaged the Dar al-Farooq mosque in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington but did not hurt anyone. Jaylani Hussein is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota. He sys life sentences are necessary to send a message that such acts won't be tolerated. McWhorter and Morris are from the Ford County town of Clarence.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a male subject involved in a shooting early Thursday morning in the 800 block of Fairoaks Drive in Champaign, Illinois. Dehrone M. Hobbs, age 38, of Champaign, Illinois was pronounced dead at 5:44AM in the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department. Mr. Hobbs died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds he received during this incident. An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility. An inquest may be held at a later date. This death is under investigation by the Coroner’s Office and the Champaign Police Department.



The David Davis Mansion State Historic site in Bloomington will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 210th Birthday on February 9th with a meet and greet with President Lincoln himself. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



(Champaign--ab) Homelessness is a problem that seems so far away in the big cities of Chicago, St. Louis or Indianapolis, but its a problem affecting those close to home in Champaign-Urbana.  One Winter's night is a project on the first february to fundraise and raise awareness of the problem of homelessness. Rob Dalhaus executive director of C-U- At home gives an introduction of the event



Rob Dalhaus executive director of C-U- At home


(Buckley--ab) A free federal crop insurance meeting is set for a Southern Iroquois County High School later this morning. The event, which includes a free meal, takes place at Buckley Christ Lutheran high school at 11-30.  Larry Abbe of Abbe Insurance and Diversified Insurance says information given is essential to farm planning for the year...



Abbe Insurance, Diversified Insurance Owner Larry Abbe. More information is found by calling Abbe Insurance in Buckley at 217-394-2243.


(Champaign--jc)  Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is reporting a local case of measles. Local Health Department officials say exposure to the fast moving disease happened at various locations in mid-January. They included January 12 and 13th at Texas Roadhouse in Champaign, also on January 14th on the University of Illinois campus at the Psych building, Mumford Hall and David Kinley Hall. Other exposure sites were on the 17 and 18th at the McKinley Health Center and Saturday January 19th at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected..



(Chatsworth--jc)  It’s a showcase of businesses around the Chatsworth area on Saturday. The expo is set 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  at three different venues in downtown Chatsworth. The locations include, the Central Illinois Connection Center, the American Legion Hall and Bluebird Hall. Those attending will enjoy items from area restaurants to home based businesses and construction businesses.


(Undated--jc)  -- Yes its cold outside. So cold that, Public Health Department officials, Illinois State Police and school leaders remind the public to bundle up. Other weather tips include to have an emergency kit in your vehicle and your home. Make sure to keep in contact with those traveling to work or other destinations and look in on your elderly neighbor. The wind chills are in the negative teens to negative 23 degrees throughout the WPXN listening area.


(Springfield--jc) --  Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker says a new executive order will help protect immigrants and refugees in Illinois.  The order requires the Illinois Department of Human Services to expand access to welcoming centers and to also provide more information about state programs  Governor Pritzker says Illinois needs to support immigrant families…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

One in 6 workers in Illinois is an immigrant.



(Champaign--ba)  Community college students interested in science are invited to conduct research as part of a paid 10-week biology research program at Parkland College and the University of Illinois. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the details.




(Buckley--jc)  A lunch fundraiser for Christian Education is set for one Iroquois County school. The spaghetti lunch is set for February 3 at Buckley based Christ Lutheran High School says school Executive Director Sandy Spitz…



C-L-H-S Executive Director Sandy Spitz   The cost for the meal is a free will donation for Christ Lutheran High School of Buckley.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Governor J.B. Pritzker is asking the Illinois Supreme Court for more time to consider legal options on his predecessor's claim that negotiations with the state's largest public employee union are at a stalemate. The Democrat's lawyers asked the court Thursday for a 90-day deadline extension to seek an appeal of a lower court ruling that went against former Governor Bruce Rauner. An appeal is unlikely. Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh (ah-boo-DAY'-uh) says that Pritzker's " priority is to return to the bargaining table.." Rauner broke off contract talks with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 two years ago. He said talks were at an inextricable "impasse".



(Rantoul--jc) --  Rantoul officials says an underground electrical area on the village’s west side was the reason that some homes and businesses lost power on Wednesday morning. In updating our story, the area in question was different that the power outage earlier in the month. This area is in support of a construction project for the New Shields Autocenter in Rantoul. Rantoul Electric Department personnel were on the scene for several hours to correct the problem.



(Springfield--jc)---  Illinois has one of the highest levels of childhood lead poisoning in the country and in an effort to combat the problem, the state is lowering the level of lead in blood that requires public health intervention. New rules from the Illinois Department of Public Health cut those levels by half, which is in line with standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The changes are designed to get help to those who need it earlier says Deanna Durica, director of the Cook County Health Department's Lead poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Unit. The rules now allow public health interventions for children with blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter. The previous limit that triggered intervention was 10 micrograms per deciliter.


(Paxton--jc)  -- One local restaurant is hosting a brew contest. The Harvest Ale House in downtown Paxton features a wide variety of micro-brews as choices. The local eatery has created a new flavor of beer and is looking for a new name. The beer is a cream ale and with a biscuity malt backbone. You can enter the contest on line and the winner of the contest gets  a 50 dollar gift certificate to the Harvest Ale House. The contest runs through February 3rd and a winner will be announced February 4th.


(Watseka--jc)  -- It was a site to see in Watseka on Thursday afternoon. Local and

Illinois State Police  helped an oversized semi load through the Iroquois County city.  The twelve sets of double tires on each side help carry the steel cargo load safety through the city on its ways to a construction site.



Illinois State Officials Offering $100 Million in Low-Interest or Interest-Free Loans to Federal Workers Going Without Paychecks

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state officials are offering $100 million in low-interest or interest-free loans to federal workers going without paychecks during a record 33-day government shutdown. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the state treasury would put money in local banks that agree to offer the loans..


Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs

The government is partially shut down because of Republican President Donald Trump's disagreement with Democrats on Capitol Hill over U.S.-Mexico border security.


(Rantoul--ab) Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive director Belynda Allen is searching all throughout the area for businesses to join the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce. Allen says there are  numerous reasons for a business to join the local chamber...



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive director Belynda Allen



(Springfield--jc)  -- Those who accuse a lawmaker of wrongdoing have few rights in Springfield, but a new bill would change that, giving accusers insight into what has been an opaque process.When anti-violence advocate Denise Rotheimer filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein, she quickly learned that blowing the whistle in Springfield was different than filing a harassment complaint in the private sector. In terms of an ethics complaint under the dome, there is no such thing as a complainant, meaning they have little to no rights. The new legislation aims to change that. She says the law as it stands allows too much discretion.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College students and area residents who have not completed their Parkland College degree and/or certificate are invited to a special event Wednesday February  20th . They can meet with an academic advisor to see what courses are needed to finish their degree. Degree Completion Day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Parkland's Student Union.



(Rantoul--jc) A portion of Rantoul was without power Wednesday morning. The area did include the Super Walmart store area of the villages west side. Rantoul Electric Department officials say crews were on the scene for about two hours, Most homes and businesses effect were back with power within an hour.



DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in central Illinois are attempting to determine the cause of death of two people whose bodies were found in an auto repair shop.Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day says 34-year-old Beau W. Ford and 30-year-old Jacinda M. Jiles were found dead Saturday in the back room of the shop in Decatur.Day says in a statement that autopsies were carried out on both bodies the same day they were discovered and there was "no injury and no trauma detected in either person." He added the cause of the deaths were undetermined pending completion of toxicology testing.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Elections has voted to end the state's participation in a multistate voter registration system. Board spokesman Matt Dietrich said Wednesday that the board voted 8-0 Tuesday to withdraw from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. Eight other states have left the program due to security risks and data reliability concerns.


(Gibson City--jc)  Country Financial and the Illinois Farm Bureau  have set up a crop insurance meeting on Monday in Gibson City. The  winter crop meeting for local farmers across Illinois, starts at 7-30 Monday morning at  Railside Golf Club, on Gibson City’s west side. Presentations with Doug Yoder, Country Financial crop agency manager hilite the meeting.   Country Financial’s Operations Manager Brad Clow will talk aon crop insurance and crop claims updates More information is found by calling Guy Percy at 217-784-8280 or Pete Hornstein at 815-265-4751.



(Fisher--jc)  -- One young lady from Fisher has seen success on the pageant state. 8 year old  Jordynn Huskisson just competed for her 4th crown in Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin over the weekend. She was judged on poise and presentation, interview and runway fun fashion. She won 2019 USA Miss Prairie State and is headed to Orlando Florida in July to compete for the USA National Scholarship pageant, there will be 300 plus girls there. Jordynn currently is active in the community with her own organization called Blankets of Hope where she makes tie blankets for children with cancer.  She was just selected to be featured in pageant Royalty Magazine to be featured as their Service queen for February. Huskisson is also a associated with the Paxton Market theatre.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state officials are offering $100 million in low-interest or interest-free loans to federal workers going without paychecks during a record 33-day government shutdown. Governor. J.B. Pritzker says the goal is to help federal employees during the government shutdown...



Illinois Governor  JB Pritzker

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says his office will place the money in local banks that are participating with the program.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The tax filing season begins on Monday. Despite the federal government shutdown, you can start filing both your state and federal taxes on Monday January 28th Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman says state officials urge taxpayers to e-file…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County board is set to meet  tonight to talk more about wind farms and their future in Ford County. Setbacks, tower height, flicker and noise are the topics that continue for local leaders.  The special meeting is set for 7pm at the Ford County Courthouse in Paxton.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Recently retired Republican State Senator Pam Althoff voted against medical marijuana back in 2009, but she voted for the idea just four years later, and she voted to make pot possession a civil fine in Illinois. She's now the head of the Illinois Cannabis Alliance. That's the trade group that focuses on Illinois' medical marijuana industry. Althoff says the group should play a role as Illinois lawmakers look to move toward legal.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Supreme Court will decide if Chicago's food truck regulations, which require GPS tracking and prohibit parking near brick-and-mortar restaurants, are constitutional.Laura Pekarik, owner of LMP Service's Cupcakes for Courage, sued the city over the regulations in 2012, claiming the restrictions were unconstitutional because they only served to protect existing restaurant businesses.Pekarik's attorney, Robert Frommer of the Institute for Justice, told Illinois Supreme Court Justices in Springfield on Wednesday during oral arguments in the case that the city's regulations were designed to forestall competition, not to guard against congestion. Lower courts have twice sided with the city.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State officials are ordering a study of the Illinois Capitol dome after workers found small pieces of concrete fell from the inner portion of the outer dome. State officials say there's no emergency but there is evidence of leaking. The Illinois Secretary of State's office is in charge of the Capitol building. Office project manager Harl Ray says concrete pieces about the size of marbles were seen between the Capitol's inner and outer domes. He says the leakage is likely where the outer metal dome skin is bolted to concrete panels.


MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Frontier Airlines will offer direct flights from coastal Alabama to Chicago and Denver later this year.News outlets reported Frontier will offer the service from a new passenger terminal using the Downtown Mobile Airport.Service will begin May 1 with one-way fares as low as $39 for passengers heading to Chicago who reserve flights before midnight Wednesday.


EUREKA, Ill. (AP) — A sheriff says he's committed to getting a clock and bell working again atop an Illinois courthouse that was built in 1897.The clock tower and a one-ton bronze bell were added to the Woodford County courthouse in Eureka in 1906. But neither has worked reliably for about 10 years. Cincinnati based Verdin Clock,inspected the site and said a total rehab would cost about $46,000. Sheriff Matt Smith says the county has paid $12,000 as a partial down payment. He says he's hoping that businesses and residents make donations.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Supreme Court is hearing  arguments that rock quarries backfilled with demolition debris need groundwater monitoring to protect drinking water. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for today. State and Will County officials are protesting a decision by the Illinois Pollution Control Board that omitted groundwater checks in rules for disposing of so-called clean construction demolition debris. The idea is to divert "clean" concrete, brick and asphalt from scarce and expensive sanitary landfill space. The Pollution Control Board determined the material is safe for reclaiming dug-out quarries.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 7th. The annual event begins at 6pm at the Kruse Center with  a cocktail half hour. A catered meal and the announcement of the Citizen of the Year and Lifetime achievement awards will be announced. A comedian will also perform that night. The event is free for chamber members. The public can purchase tickets for twenty dollars.



(Undated--ab)  --- One weather system out and and one weather system is coming in. Make sure to be prepared again. WPXN’s Austin Burklund has the details…




Weather to go from Freezing Rain, to Rain, to sunshine and Back to Negative Temperatures and Snow for the Remainder of this Week

(Springfield--jc)  -- On the 46th anniversary of roe-v-wade…. Governor J-B Pritzker signed an executive order to make sure the state’s reproductive rights law is being followed. A law that went into effect last year expanded insurance coverage to state employees and medicaid recipients wanting an abortion. The order from Governor Pritzker requires the state to confirm group health insurance companies are following the law.



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The law also makes sure abortion laws remain intact in Illinois…regardless of what happens at the federal level


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois’ Republican contingent in the House of Representatives is pushing legislation that members say is Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s chance to show that he supports removing lawmakers from the process of drawing the state’s legislative districts, but some are skeptical.Led by Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Republicans are sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would establish a process for legislative map-drawing that they say is free from partisan influence.State Rep. Tim Butler said this is the new governor’s chance to follow up on his campaign promise to support fair maps.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Champaign County Crimestoppers is seeking information concerning a shooting that happened on Monday afternoon at the Red Fox Convenient Store on north Market Street in Champaign. Police believe the shooting was do to an argument between two people. A 20 year old man was taken to a local hospital. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477



(Undated--jc)  Winter is here, but farmers are already in the planning stages for Spring planting and the 20-19 crop year. Farm Credit Services Mark Jensen says trade tariffs to crops size and profit margins have affected the farm credit outlook…



Farm Credit Services CEO Mark Jensen



ORLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — In Northern Illinois, police say the suspect they are searching for in the fatal shooting of a teenager at a suburban Chicago mall is a 19-year-old acquaintance of the victim. In a news release today, Orland Park Police said they are searching for Jakharr Williams of University Park in the  shooting at Orland Square Mall. The attack Monday left 18-year-old Javon Britten of Richton Park dead and a bystander suffered a graze wound to the leg. Police say Williams should be considered armed and dangerous.


BLOOMINGTON — A Saybrook man asked a judge Tuesday to recommend him to the state's impact incarceration program, a request that could reduce his eight-year sentence for residential burglary to a several months 22 year old Derek Roesch, pleaded guilty to home invasion. Roesch and Jaclyn Jones broke into a home in Anchor with the intent to rob the homeowner. The pair initially faced home invasion, drug and weapons charges related to the June 4 incident. Judge Scott Drazewski told Roesch that the Illinois Department of Corrections will determine if he qualifies for the program.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County board is set to meet later this week to talk more about wind farms and their future in Ford County. Setbacks, tower height, flicker and noise are the topics that continue for local leaders.  The special meeting is set for 7pm Thursday at the Ford County Courthouse in Paxton.



BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The St. Clair County state's attorney is in line to become head of the Illinois State Police. The  Pritzker administration confirmed the nomination of Brendan Kelly. He'll need approval from the Illinois Senate. Kelly ran for Congress in November but lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Bost.  As a prosecutor, Kelly worked closely with state police on corruption investigations and drug cases. Kelly has been the St. Clair County prosecutor since 2010. He became a local resident in 1986 when his parents were stationed at Scott Air Force Base.



(Undated--jc)  -- Winter weather in Illinois will go from freezing rain, to rain, to sunshine and back to negative temperatures and snow for the remainder of this week. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign spokesperson Brian Kersher says to prepare for the changes…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign  Spokesperson Brian Kersher



One cancellation today is a crop insurance meeting at the Farm Bureau Building in Gilman. No make up date was provided.




(Paxton--jc)  -- With the current winter weather, there is time to get a new coach, and local officials want to make a hire soon. The Paxton Park District has started the process to hire a new Paxton Aquatic Wildcats Swim Team Coach. The person hired would take over for Alex Goudy. She retired from the position after last summer. Those interested in the position, are asked to contact the park district or go on line for job description information.


(Chicago--jc)  --Illinois Congressman Bill Foster said he plans to renew his push to get the federal government to put more money into state roads because Illinois and other high-population states contribute more revenue.  With talk of massive infrastructure spending plans at both the state and federal level, Naperville Democrat Bill Foster said Illinois is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to how much the state pays into the federal government compared to what it gets in government spending. Foster says the state loses between $20 and $40 billion every year because Illinois pays a lot more taxes than we get back in federal spending.


(Farmer City-jc) -- One community and school are set to honor a state police trooper fatally injured on the job. Ryan Albin Day was rescheduled for Saturday February 9th at Blue Ridge High School in Farmer City. The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Police and also features basketball games with the Blue Ridge Knights. The event starts at 1pm.



(Paxton--jc)  One local car dealer is celebrating an anniversary. Shields AutoMart in Paxton is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Dealership has just received their 25 year Chevrolet dealer award. Rick Shields, Pete Klein and the entire staff look forward to another 25 years serving the area.


(Springfield--jc)  --Lawmakers in Illinois are barely getting a passing grade from the Center for Racial and Gender Equity, but one lawmaker dismisses the criticism as misguided. The Chicago-based group says its goal is to “advance a radical vision for liberation, through leadership development and political engagement.”A report the group released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, called “Racial Justice Scorecard,” looks at the 100th General Assembly and gave the legislature an overall "D" grade. It looked at various bills it put in categories like criminal justice reform, police accountability, workers' rights, equitable economic opportunity and direct democracy.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County Church is hosting a paint party on Sunday. The First United Methodist Church is Gibson City has set the event for 1pm and will feature local high school art teacher Casey McCullough. Those attending will be painting and the cost for kids is 10 dollars and the cost for adults is 20 dollars. More information is found by calling the church office.



Balancing the Sate Budget will Take a lot of Work in the Spring Session

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — The chief federal judge for Southern Illinois says if a partial government shutdown continues past early February the court may run out of money to pay jurors and employees and may place a moratorium on civil trials. Chief Judge Michael Reagan of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Illinois says a lapse in funding could undermine the judicial system. Reagan says the court's roughly 100 employees have been getting paid but if the shutdown continues they'll receive one week's salary in their Feb. 8 paycheck rather than two. After that they won't receive a salary until the government fully reopens.


ROUND LAKE PARK, Ill. (AP) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a northern Illinois man who police say allowed an 11-year-old relative to drive herself to school in a stolen rental car while he rode along. Employees at a Round Lake Park elementary school saw the girl pull up to the school's drop-off point Jan. 9.She and a 9-year-old girl who was in the back seat exited the car. Police say 31-year-old Khafilu Oshodi of Round Lake then moved into the driver's seat and drove away.Oshodi is wanted on two counts of child endangerment and driving with a suspended license.Police Chief George Filenko says the drop-off area is very busy and the incident could've "resulted in any number of tragic scenarios" if the child lost control.



(St Joseph--jc)  How about a paint ball park. That is one agenda item for the St Joseph village board when they meet tonight. St Joe leaders will also hear a report on community park, look to approve this years board meeting schedule and also set a meeting day for St Joseph’s village goal setting meeting. Buying bases for the sports complex and obtaining  mosquito abatement materials are also on the agenda. The St Joseph board meets at 7 tonight.



(Rantoul-jc) Wanted, young beginner chess players. The Rantoul Public Library is hosting a chess tournament on February 23rd starting at 10am. The event is free for kids in grades 1 through 5. More information is found by contacting the Rantoul Public Library



(Chicago--jc)  -- New Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was a speaker at a Martin Luther King Junior event in Chicago yesterday morning. The governor says he has a do it now approach to expanding freedoms… 



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Paxton--jc)  -- A first-aid/CPR/AED certification class is set for  Saturday February 23, at the Paxton Civic Center in Paxton. The first-aid class  starts at 10-30 that morning with the C-P-R and A-E-D class beginning at 1pm. Cost for both classes is 25 dollars each. If one gets into both classes the cost is 40 dollars. Call the Paxton Park District for more information.



Gibson City, IL, January 21, 2019– The whirlwind of the holidays is over. The tree is down and the decorations are put away for another year.  It’s time to put your feet up and let out a sigh of relief to release all the tension of the holiday blur. So, why do you feel so blue? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just don’t feel like yourself. Many people experience blues after the holiday rush. The blues during the cold, daylight-shortened January days can be related to post holiday “letdown” or even seasonal affective disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health describes seasonal affective disorder as “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. The sadness is presumably linked to a lack of sunlight; however, the exact cause is unclear.



(Paxton--jc) The Paxton Grand Ole Flag project continues to gain momentum. Organizer Denny Kingren has been meeting with city leaders, Paxton Buckley Loda School officials and a group of volunteers to see how the project can succeed. At issue is placing a giant flag on Paxton’s west side near Interstate 57 and near P-B-L High School. Denny Kingren says the flag that is proposed will make it seen by passers by on the Interstate and also visable to those in the city…



Paxton Grand Ole Flag Project Organizer Denny Kingren.



(Melvin--jc)  -- One Ford County church is celebrating its 150th birthday in mid-February. The Melvin First United Methodist Church has a worship service set for 10-30 in the morning on Sunday February 17th. The Pastor Liz Reis is preaching. A chicken dinner will follow the anniversary services. Organizers would like those planning to attend to R-S-V-P for the meal by January 31st.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker is calling for an audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to better protect those living in the states Veterans homes. After visiting a home in Manteno, the governor signed an executive order that requires the agency to produce a report within 120 days detailing procedures…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker


(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West school board members will look at the use of school fields for spring and summer soccer with the local soccer group when they meet tonight in monthly session. Boiler issues, approving the senior trip and a look at the school handbook are also agenda items. The Iroquois West School board meets at 7 tonight in Gilman.


(Springfield--jc) --  Legislators will be back next week to begin spring session and there’s a lot of work expected in balancing the state’s budget, but Democrats and Republicans are likely to continue to clash over taxes and regulations for businesses. Illinois is a good place to do business, but more can be done to help employees says one State Representative. Representative Will Guzzardi, Democrat from Chicago says state leaders have to make sure Illinois provides the proper climate for businesses and their employees. Guzzardi says helping Illinoisans success is the top priority for state leaders when they meet in Springfield this month.


(Buckley--jc)  -- Organizers with the St Johns’ School in Buckley are looking for donations for their annual carnival, chicken dinner and live and silent auction. The event is set for February 17th and donations are key to the success of the event says spokesperson Kari Stachura…



St Johns School Fundraiser spokesperson Kari Statchura.



(Paxton--jc)  The Illinois Sheriff’s Association will be giving away a total of 50 thousand dollars in scholarships this year. Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran has announced that his office is giving away a 500 dollar scholarship. Deadline for application is March 15th and more information is found online at i-l-sheriff-dot-org or by contacting the Ford County Sheriff’s department in Paxton.



(Springfield--jc)  More snow today, rising temperatures then more snow again this weekend. Get that emergency kit for your car and make sure to take extra time in travels during the times of snowfall and winds says Illinois Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark…



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A special counsel to former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says his administration reclassified thousands of state jobs that were once exempt from anti-patronage protections. Joe Hartzler says the Rauner administration likely made changes to 2,500 positions so an applicant's political loyalty and connections may no longer be considered during the hiring process. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that political affiliations shouldn't play a role in most government jobs, but exemptions were created for some policy-making positions. Hartzler says reclassifying jobs means an outgoing administration can't saddle a succeeding administration with political appointees. The move follows controversy over hiring in the Illinois Department of Transportation under former Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn. An investigation found people with political connections were hired for jobs that shouldn't have been exempt from typical state hiring rules



(Paxton--jc) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Chapter is hosting its annual farm toy show on February Second. One part of the event is the jackets through the years area says P B L F F A Member Jade Miles…



PBL FFA Member and PBL Toy Show Spokesperson Jade Miles



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce officials are inviting you eat at local restaurants next week to celebrate Champaign County restaurant week. Chamber leaders say the village of Rantoul offers a wide variety of restaurants ranging from Butcher Boys Burgers and T K Cheesesteaks to restaurants that have been around for decades like Otts to new restaurants like E T’s in the downtown area. Champaign County restaurant week is January 25th through February 2nd.



Several Farm Service Agency Offices Will Reopen Temporarily This Week

(Washington--jc)  -- Several Farm Service Agency offices will reopen temporarily this week after being open two days last week.  Despite the partial government shutdown and the the F-S-A offices being close, Ag Secretary Sonny Purdue has called back some employees to open for several days. This is to help with loans from the agency for ag professionals. Among the offices open on Tuesday includes the Farm Service Agency office in Champaign. Tuesday will be the only scheduled open day for area F-S-A offices until the government shutdown is over.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is reviewing its policy on consensual relationships between students and faculty members after a law professor's study found the current policy to be lacking. Jamelle Sharpe characterized UI's policies as anti-nepotism rules rather than specifically addressing faculty-student relationships. He examined policies at 64 schools in the Big Ten and the Association of American Universities. Like many other schools, UI's policy focuses on conflicts of interest according to  Sharpe. More than 50 universities ban relationships between students and faculty members who supervise them, but Illinois' policy is unclear.UI's Student Code policy on faculty-student relationships focuses on sexual relationships and has ambiguous language that could cause enforcement inconsistencies. The university's Campus Administrative Manual also addresses faculty-student relationships, but only applies to students who are employees.


CHICAGO (AP) — The city of Chicago is inviting residents to weigh in on the lead architect and design for O'Hare Airport's new global terminal. The city unveiled renderings and models from five architecture finalists. The public is encouraged to view them online or the airport. People have until Wednesday to vote for their pick. The Chicago Department of Aviation said more than 10,000 votes had been submitted as of late Friday.It's the first time the city has included public feedback in a design competition at a Chicago airport.


Governor J-B Pritzker says more needs to be done to fight gun violence in Illinois. The governor just signed a gun dealer licensing law…but says other gun control measures are still needed.



Pritzker says he think lawmakers will tackle that issue during the spring session. He also wants to address assault weapons but says that might not get done this year.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Future Parkland College graduates will be able to place an additional credential on their college resumes before leaving with their degrees, without spending more to earn it.  The Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the school's new General Education Core Curriculum Certificate. It is incorporated into the credential the state's basic general education requirements for college freshmen and sophomores.


(Rantoul--jc) The date is Saturday February Second. The place is the Youth Center in Rantoul. The event is a father and daughter dance. The Rantoul Recreation Department is hosting the 3rd annual event. Along with dancing, refreshments and fun are also part of the event. There is a 5 dollar per person fee and those tickets will be available at the door on February 2nd.



(Undated--jc)  --Amtrak says it expects to have all of its trains back on a full schedule today after a weekend of cancellations and delays caused by the winter storm as it rolled through the Midwest and Northeast. Among the lines impacted were the Acela Express between Boston and Washington; Empire Service between New York and Buffalo; the Lake Shore Limited that travels between Chicago, New York and Boston; and Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Amtrak says travelers should continue to check on their train status on the Amtrak website or smartphone app before leaving for the station.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s 90th birthday anniversary today. Actor Reggie Guyton (GYE'-tun) will read King's "I Have a Dream" speech at 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. in the museum's main plaza. King originally delivered the oration at the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 civil rights March on Washington. The library and museum celebrates King's birthday each year by allowing free admission to community service nonprofits who register in advance.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University is to receive $9.6 million in state money to pay for emergency repairs to its fine arts buildings.Former Governor Bruce Rauner released the funds. ISU media relations director Eric Jome says the money will be used for heating, air conditioning, ventilation work and plumbing repairs. Jome called the funding "a nice end-of-term infusion."

ISU has been waiting a decade for nearly $62 million in state money to tear down the school's Center for the Visual Arts and Centennial West and build a facility next to Centennial East, where the School of Music and other arts facilities are located. Centennial East would undergo extensive renovations under that project. Jome says the school remains hopeful for that money to be released.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois police department is about to roll out new body cameras. The Urbana Police Department has purchased a system that includes 14 squad-car cameras and two interview-room surveillance cameras, as well as 60 cameras to be worn by officers.



(Kankakee--jc)  --Kankakee County crimestoppers were seeking information about an inmate at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee that was inadvertently released on Friday afternoon. Police are seeking 41 year old Anees Ussami. He was dropped off in Kankakee with another inmate. If seen, you are asked not to approach Usami but call local police or Kankakee County Crimestoppers at 815-932-7463.



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




(Urbana--jc)  Bond was set at 1 million dollars for a Rantoul man arrested on Friday in the village for possession of suspected methamphetamine,cannabis, heroin and guns. 48 year old Carlos Mendoza was arrested on Friday in Rantoul by the  Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force Mendoza is expected to be formally charged today in Champaign County court.



(Springfield--jc)  -- A change in Illinois education law removed a minimum instructional hour requirement, effectively allowing school districts to define what a school day means.The change comes in conjunction with the removal of an option that allows schools to “bank” extra hours to shorten the overall school year.Although Illinois law still requires 176 days of instruction during a school year, a previous statute allowed schools to “bank” time from school days that had more than the minimum of five instructional hours. These banked hours could then be applied to other days to allow for events like parent-teacher conferences.The statute change essentially adds two days of instruction to Illinois schools, although the number of days on the calendar stays the same.




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

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



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


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



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough


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



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker

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


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



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


Clark Building downtown Paxton Owner Royce Baier


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


I-DOT Spokesperson Jessie Decker



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



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


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


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

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



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


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


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



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.

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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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



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


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




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



St John’s Lutheran School Buckley Auction Spokesperson Kari Stachura



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

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


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



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



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



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


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


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


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



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



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



PBL FFA Spokesperson Mikayla Jones

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



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


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


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



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



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

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



Paxton Businessman Royce Baier.

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


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



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


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



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



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



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


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



State Treasurer Mike Frerichs



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

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



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


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.


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



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

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


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


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



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Tim Schweizer


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



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


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



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



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


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



J-B Pritzker is Now Illinois' 43rd Governor

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



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



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



Buckley Christ Lutheran Executive Director Sandy Spitz



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





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


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


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


Roberts Village President Rick Flessner.


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


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



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


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

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



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington


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



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


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



Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs.


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


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



It's Inauguration Day in Springfield

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

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



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


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


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

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



PBL Show Choir director Christina Mauck


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


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

This legislation will go into effect immediately.


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



C-L-H-S Executive Director Sandy Spitz



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



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


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


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



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


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


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


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


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



Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas

About one point eight million Illinoisans receive snap benefits.



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


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


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



Get our App
On Air Now
Regular Programming
6:00pm - 11:59pm
Regular Programming
Listen on Alexa

Visitor Polls
Do you like the new website?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.