SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A major bond-rating agency says Illinois' fiscal challenges linger despite approval of the first state budget in two years. Moody's Investors Service issued a report Friday. It notes that an income tax increase lawmakers approved this month will generate nearly $5 billion more a year. It says the new revenue will ease the Prairie State's cash crunch. But it questions the state's ability to generate "sustained revenue."


(Urbana-jm) -- More details were released in a bond hearing Friday for an Indiana man who left his 12-year-old son in his truck with a cache of weapons and explosives in Rantoul last week. 39-year-old Jeremiah Bridges appeared before a Champaign County judge Friday, where the assistant state’s attorney says Bridges allegedly left his 12-year-old son unattended in his truck Wednesday with a machine gun, an assault rifle, two handguns including one with a silencer, ammunition, two explosive devices and body armor. Bond for Bridges was set at $750,000. He is due back in court August 22nd.



(Paxton-jm) -- The extra-curricular code for students in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District is changing. Superintendent Cliff McClure explains the changes…


PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.


(Lincoln-jm) -- The weather radar at the National Weather Service’s office in Lincoln will be down for a few days this week. Starting today, upgrades to a processor and transmitter are a few of the things being upgrades. The upgrades are the first phase of four to be completed over the next 5 years. Work is expected to be completed in three to four days. Should inclement weather occur, the office will be able to use radars from other area offices to issue warnings. The office in Lincoln issues warnings for McLean, Champaign and Vermilion Counties.



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley School board is expected to approve a donation to a nearby golf course. The school board will be asked to contribute a $3,000 donation to Railside golf course for improvements on behalf of the girls and boys golf team. School board members will also be asked to approve the elementary school handbook. The GCMS School Board meeting gets underway at 6:15 p.m.


(Paxton-jm) -- Those looking to do some investing will soon be able to in Paxton. Austin Curtis is looking to open an Edward Jones office here in the city…


Edward Jones Financial Advisor Austin Curtis.



(Onarga-jm) -- The Ford Iroquois Master Gardeners Horticulture Hotline is accepting calls from area residents. The group is accepting phone calls between the hours of 10am and noon and from 1 to 3 each Monday through October.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor Bruce Rauner says schools will open this fall. Lawmakers have passed a new education funding formula, but Governor Rauner opposes it, saying it unfairly bails out Chicago schools. He says he will continue to push for equitable funding for all Illinois schools…



Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. Although the state has a budget in place, it includes a stipulation requiring a revamped formula before schools can get funding.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has tapped nearly $700 million in existing funds to make the first payment to colleges and universities they've received in seven months.. It includes $327 million for the needs-based Monetary Award Program for 110,000 college students for the past school year. The Democrat made the announcement in Charleston, presenting Eastern Illinois University President David Glassman with a payment of nearly $6 million.


(Undated-jm) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency Acting Director Richard Graden is reminding farmers they have until August 1st to enroll in Agriculture Risk Coverage and/or Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2017 crop year. For more information about the program, contact your local Farm Service Agency office.


(Undated-jm) -- Reaction continues weeks after lawmakers voted to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a tax hike and budget. State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City calls the outcome a no win for everyone…

State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Gilman-jm) -- A mural could be going up in a gym at an Iroquois West school. Kristy Arie is expected to present her proposal to the school board at tonight’s school board meeting. School board members are also expected to hear a health life safety update and an update on the latest in school funding from the state. The Iroquois West School Board meeting gets underway at 7 p.m.



(Gifford-jm) -- Some changes could be coming to the Gifford Grade School's baseball team. The school board is expected to consider approving the district to compete in a fall league in St. Joseph at tonight’s school board meeting. The school board is also expected to approve registration dates for the upcoming school year and hear an update on the district’s finances. The Gifford Grade School board meeting gets underway at 6 p.m.

(Gibson City-jm) -- Sewer rates are going up for Gibson City residents. Mayor Dan Dickey says rates are going up to help cover the costs of the sewer separation project…

Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey.


(Thomasboro-jm) -- The future of police coverage in Thomasboro is up in the air. The villages police chief, Keith Willis, announced earlier this year that he will be retiring in November. Village trustees are discussing every option from increasing the number of hours having an officer on duty to keeping it the same to contracting with an outside agency. The village board will continue discussions during a special meeting tonight at 7 p.m.


(Washington-jm) -- What was the main factor behind May's small, but rare, U.S. agricultural trade deficit? Gary Crawford reports…



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