(Undated--jc)  -- One state policy organization is urging Illinois Congressman to support the local food promotion portion of the Farm Bill. The draft to Congress released last week would end funding for those programs. The Farmers Market program supports dozens of Illinois communities and family farms. One program helps low income residents in Champaign. Another grant has helped the Kilgus Farmstead near Fairbury start a farm dairy bottling operation. Debate on the programs and the proposed 2018 Farm Bill continue in a U S House Ag Committee. The Illinois Stewardship Alliance is urging the states Congressmen to support the farmers market portion in the proposed farm bill.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A lottery jackpot win in Illinois could become a private affair. Illinois lawmakers are moving ahead with a plan that would allow any lottery winner of more than 250 thousand dollars to remain anonymous, including winners of the massive Mega Millions and Powerball lottery drawings. Democratic State Senator Laura Murphy of Des  Plaines, is pushing for the legislation because some winners become targets when they’ve been publicly named as multi-millionaires. The measure cleared a house committee last week.



(Springfield--jc)  -- A new plan at the Illinois Capitol could require local school districts to give some teachers a raise, but doesn't provide any additional funding to do so. The average teacher salary in Illinois is just over 64 thousand 500 dollars. Starting teacher salaries are often about half that. A plan at the statehouse would require schools to start teachers at 40 thousand dollars. The bill is sponsored by Democrat Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill..


Democrat Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill. Democrat State Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur says the bill would end Illinois' teacher shortage.  Some local school district officials say they don't have the money. The measure passed a committee and goes to the full Illinois House for a possible vote this week.  



(Dewitt County--jc)  -- A 17 year old juvenile will be tried as an adult on an aggravated battery charge with a shooting incident last week in Farmer City.  Michael Cummins was arraigned on the charge on Friday and is being held on a 500 thousand dollar bond. Cummins is due back in court on April 24th. A conviction on charge carries a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years.


(Bloomington--jc)  Criminal charges against a former official at U S Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington were dropped on Friday. The Pantagraph reports that charges were dropped against Bart Rogers. Associate Judge Michael Stroh agreed with the defense that legal technicalities required the charges to be dismissed. Charges for 4 others in the case continue. Charges ranging from theft, wire fraud and tax evasion remain against C-I-A-M owners John Butler, Finance Director Kelly Klein, Concessions director Jay Laesch and Beverage Director  Paul Grazer. Friday’s ruling by Judge Stroh does leave open the possibility the state could refile charges against Rogers.



(Champaign-rb) Flightstar Corporation has entered into an agreement with the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College for a biannual scholarship program. Flightstar will also be active in interviewing  qualified students or graduates for upcoming pilot positions. Flightstar’s goal is to increase access to qualified applicants for pilot positions while also increasing employment opportunities for Parkland's qualified flight graduates.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Personnel is the agenda item for a special meeting of the Rantoul Township High School board of education tonight. The meeting comes to order at 7.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about a multi-state outbreak of E. Coli infections linked to chopped romaine lettuce. 30 cases have reported in 11 states. 22 people had to be hospitalized. Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Divya Mohan-Little says until the identity of the supplier is found, you should not eat romaine lettuce.



Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Divya Mohan-Little.

All officials know so far is that the lettuce can be traced back to Yuma, Arizona.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A spring business after hour event is set for later this month in Rantoul. The April 26th event will take place from 5-30pm to 7pm at Willow Pond Golf Course. Information about leagues and golf outings will be available. Light refreshments will be served. The Kids Foundation and Shop with a Cop organization will be offering tickets to promote their May golf outing.



(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary Here is today’s BiCentennial minute..




(Springfield--jc) More reaction from Springfield over tariffs on imports and exports with China. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says his office and other state agencies have reached out to federal officials with the point that no one wins in a trade war…


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.
The governor is currently on a trip to Germany and Poland this week to boost business opportunities between the countries and Illinois.



(Chicago--jc)  - The state of Illinois is losing numbers, numbers of citizens. The exodus of people could cost the Land of Lincoln. U. S Census data shows that just under 34 thousand people moved out of Illinois during the last half of 20-17.  Federal officials say if that trend continues, Illinois which just dropped from 5th most populous state to 6th, could by the 20-20 census, lose another congressional seat.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office brought in nearly 900 million dollars to the state coffers over the past year. Attorney General Madigan says she is proud of that amount.



Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.




(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton City leaders are asking the local business public to help out with a laborshed study being conducted in the area. The study will look at the regional employment demographics as well as those unemployed.  Officials with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission is leading the study and hopes to use the results to facilitate a variety of objectives, including workforce training needs, available workforce and workforce data.



(Bloomington Normal--jc)  It was a community service day on Saturday for some Illinois State University Students. Around 200 I-S-U students participated in the Bring it Back to Normal service event. This year, the students helped with over 40 projects in Normal and Bloomington. The service day has been around for 10 years.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Area kids may learn about animals that live in water this week at the Rantoul Public Library. The aquatic conservation for kids event is set for Wednesday from 3pm to 4-30pm. It is an interactive seminar put on by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. More information is found by calling the Rantoul Public Library.



(Mahomet-rb) --A package of legislation sponsored by State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet is designed to strengthen oversight of natural gas storage sites below ground. The legislation has passed through the committee process.  Senate Bill 35-48 requires that a company operating a natural gas storage facility that is below ground and above a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-designated sole source aquifer must notify the public immediately if a leak is detected. The issue is now in the hands of the full Illinois Senate.


(Rantoul--jc) One local school is doing a safety drill today. Officials at Rantoul township high school are running an active shooter drill today. School officials hope the experience helps students prepare for an event they hope will never happen . Local law enforcement are also participating with the event today.


(Rantoul-rb)  Work to get water and wastewater out of a property on the former Chanute Air Force base is now underway. Local leaders in Rantoul have looked at ways to upkeep the property around the old Chanute hospital.  Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith has ordered a large section of standing water to be pumped out in that area. Local officials also put up a fence to keep everyone away from the property. The property is privately owned, but working  with the owners has been an on-going problem.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- A United Fund drive is now underway in Southern Iroquois County. The efforts are in the Pigeon Grove, Ash Grove and Fountain Creek areas. Brochures about the efforts have been mailed to all residents and the fundraising goes through the end of the month. Money raised goes to numerous local groups including local fire departments, Cissna Park Education Foundation and local Peace Meals.


(Paxton-rb) The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their annual meeting tonight. Chamber Director Madison Duden Talks about the event…

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Madison Duden


(Gibson City-rb) Retired and semi-retired folks are invited to meet for coffee and conversation from 9 to 10 a.m. tomorrow morning at the  American Lutheran Church in Gibson City. The guest speaker will be Steve Kelly, manager of the One Earth Energy ethanol plant in Gibson City. 


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