(Urbana--jc)  --The University of Illinois wants a judge to toss a lawsuit filed by three student journalists who claimed the university violated their First Amendment rights when it issued no-contact orders to the students after an incident during a protest of President Donald Trump. Andrew Minik and two other university students – Joel Valdez and Blair Nelson – sued the school over the restraining orders, which told them to stay away from graduate student Tariq Khan, effectively keeping them from further reporting the ongoing story. Khan confronted the students at an anti-Trump rally in November, allegedly grabbing Valdez's phone and throwing it. Khan was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property. That charge was dismissed after Khan completed a diversion program. The students' lawsuit alleged their rights were violated because the no-contract orders were meant to silence their political views and kept them from reporting on the story, which was their job as reporters for Campus Reform. The students' lawsuit also names Khan as a defendant.


BLOOMINGTON — A search is underway for a 21-year-old Bloomington man accused of fatally shooting three men and wounding a 4-year-old boy in June in Bloomington Police say Sydney T. Mays Jr. is wanted on six counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated battery in connection with the June 18th incident.Mays is described as a black man who is 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 250 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. Mays is considered armed and dangerous.



(Washington--jc)  --  Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says there are no assurances that farmers won't be hurt by trade conflicts, but he is assuring farmers that the U.S. will help soften the pain.


Gary Crawford reports…




WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 3, 2018 – As Congress reconciles the Senate and House Farm Bills, Ducks Unlimited remains committed to passing a bill that delivers strong voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that promote healthy wildlife habitats benefiting all Americans. Ducks Unlimited urges Congress to swiftly appoint conferees who will begin the work of reaching consensus and send a bill to the president’s desk. The hope of the organization is to have a final bill provide  a conservation title that provides a strong safety net for producers and abundant wildlife habitat for future generations.



AP) — Joey "Jaws" Chestnut extended his reign as champion eater at the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest Wednesday, downing a record 74 wieners and buns in 10 minutes to take home the coveted Mustard Belt for the 11th time.Miki Sudo held on to her title as the top women's competitor at the annual Brooklyn eat-off, chomping 37 franks and buns to take home the top prize for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year.Closer to home the Official City of Paxton Watermelon eating contest was held at Pells Park in Paxton. Joel Cluver was there and filed this report…




ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) — Two people died and several others were injured after a branch measuring in parts more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) around fell on spectators during a fireworks display in western Illinois, authorities said. Rock Island County Sheriff Gerald Bustos said Wednesday that the branch fell from an oak tree that's believed to be about 100 years old. It fell about 25 feet (8 meters) during Tuesday night's "Red, White and Boom" event outside the courthouse in Rock Island. Dozens were sitting near the tree watching the fireworks when the branch fell, crushing some of the spectators. Some of those who weren't hurt tried to lift the branch to free the people trapped beneath.



(Rantoul--jc) A huge parade was held in Rantoul for the 4th of July. Rantoul Chamber officials say pictures from the event are available through the chamber website.



(Buckley--jc)  -- Plans are well underway for one local Christian School for its annual fundraiser.  Buckley based Christ Lutheran High School will hold its “Knight for Christ” auction fundraiser on Saturday August 18th. The event is set for the Garden Hotel on Kilarney in Urbana. Doors will open at 3-30 that afternoon. Those attending will help support Christian education. Trips to Florida, a big screen television to collectibles and toys will be offered. For dinner and event ticket information you may call the school in Buckley at 217-394-2547.


PAXTON — The Ford County Treasurer’s office wants to remind property owners that  2017 real estate tax bills were mailed out in June. Due dates will be July 27 for the first installment and Sept. 7 for the second. Late payments will be assessed a 1.5 percent penalty per month.



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



(Champaign--jc)  -- Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says high speed rail projects set for the state could move further. One reason is private dollars coming in to support high speed rail in Illinois…



Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.

The governor stop at several places in Champaign County earlier this week.


(Rantoul--jc)  A lighting project at one local church could be coming soon. Those with the American Lutheran church in Rantoul are set to meet on Sunday to approve the project Estimated cost for the lighting project is around 32 thousand dollars.


(Undated--jc)  -- The 4th of July holiday is now over, now what. Several fairs and events are set for next week. The annual Fisher Fair begins on July 10th and runs through the 14th. The queen pageant takes place on the 10th at 6-30. Kids games are set for the 11th starting at 9 in the morning. WPXN will be there broadcasting live and giving away tickets to Knights Action Park in Springfield. Donkey races to the annual demolition derby also hilight this year’s Fisher Fair. The 2018 version of Historic Farm Days begins one week from today. The 4 day event features everything agriculture at the fairgrounds in Penfield.  Live farming demonstrations to a blacksmith building and static display and lots of vendors will be featured again this year in Penfield.


(Paxton--jc)  When the public want to address the city of Paxton council, there will be a time limit.  Council members approved a 5 minute limit in the public comment period of the regular meetings. The consensus of the council is also to extend that time for certain issues that come to the council.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Though the 4th of July is over, safe driving should be on the minds of motorists, always. Local state police say one trouble area is the current construction zone along Interstate 74 between Danville and Champaign.  District 10 State Police in Pesotum Spokesperson Tracy Lillard says be aware and be watchful…



Illinois State Police District 10 in Pesotum Spokesperson Tracy Lillard

The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce would like to invite everyone to the Paxton Majestic Park from 4-7 Friday as Channel 3 will be there promoting Our Town Paxton. There will also be a farmer’s market from 4-6 next to Humble Hog at the park.


(Washington--jc)  U-S-D-A feeder calf grading standards offer a common language for producers and buyers when it comes to beef cattle specifications and sales. Rod Bain reports…


(Roberts--)  -- You can jingle your way to help a street light project his month in one Ford County town. The pavilion in Roberts is the site of a Jingle Bell Rock concert and car cruise on Saturday, July 14. The event will run from 7 p.m. to at least 10 p.m. Proceeds from the car cruise will go to the village’s Christmas decoration fund.


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