SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Those who want to get a jump on the November election need not wait. Early voting in Illinois began yesterday across the state. But voters will have to visit their county clerk's office or the office of their local election authority to do so. Those who aren't registered to vote may join the rolls at the time they cast their ballot. Online voter registration is also available through the Illinois State Board of Elections through Oct. 21.The Nov. 6 election features races for governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, and seats in the state House and Senate and in Congress. According to the State Board of Elections, 1.4 million voters cast early ballots in 2016, a presidential election year. Two years before, there were 497,000 early voters.


BLOOMINGTON — A father held in contempt of court for refusing for attend child custody hearings in McLean County was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday. The Pantagraph reports that  Michael Cadena's sentence is the maximum penalty for the direct criminal contempt of court issued by Associate Judge Lee Ann Hill for his failure to comply with multiple court orders to return to Illinois for hearings on his 2014 petition for custody of his 4-year-old son, Michael Cadena Jr.



Attorney General Lisa Madigan is announcing a 148 million dollar nationwide settlement with Uber over a 2016 data breach. The case stems from hackers accessing personal information about approximately 600 thousand Uber drivers. Attorney General Madigan says the company didn’t report it for more than a year.



The state will get eight and a half million dollars in the settlement…and affected Uber drivers in Illinois will each get 100 dollars.



(Springfield--ab)The unemployment rate fell in nearly all the state’s metro areas last month. 13 of the 14 metro areas saw a decrease in the August jobless rate compared to one ago says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough.



10 metro areas added jobs over the year with the largest increases seen in Kankakee…Champaign/Urbana, the Quad Cities, Rockford and the Chicago area.


(Rantoul--ab) Retired Air Force instructor Larry Snider teaches basic electronics Mondays, October 1-29, from 1:00-5:00 pm at the Rantoul Public Library. Get hands-on experience with electrical components while learning theory. Paced to your ability with a lot of one-on-one training. Teens and up welcome. Great for home-schooled teens. For more information call the Rantoul Public Library at 217-893-3955.



(Paxton--ab) The harvest continues with farmers getting back into the fields after early week rains. Moisture and volume, the two factors for crops are rated at the local elevator. Ludlow Coop Manager  Paul Seaman says its a low moisture year and a varying volume year...



Ludlow Coop Manager Paul Seaman


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Leaders of the state's major political parties are embracing a report's recommendations to end sexual harassment in Illinois government. The Illinois Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel issued the report Wednesday. It suggests that parties help elect more women to public office, only fund campaigns with strict anti-harassment policies, set up an independent process to investigate complaints and more



(Springfield--jc)  -- Democrats and unions renewed a push to require local school districts to pay a minimum salary for starting teachers ahead of the fall veto session despite a new funding formula injecting $350 million of new money for Illinois’ public schools. Senate Bill 2892 would circumvent local school boards’ decisions on contracts for teachers by making the minimum teacher wage $40,000 a year. With the backing of the Illinois School Management Alliance, Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the measure earlier this year. He said it was an unfunded mandate.State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, urged for an override at a news conference outside of the Illinois Education Association this week Consumer finance research group WalletHub reported Illinois currently is the fourth best state in the country for teachers.


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



(Undated--jc)  -- The controversy over sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spilled into governor's races across the country as the woman at the center of the claims told her story to a riveted nation. In Illinois, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said earlier this month that there should be an investigation and the allegations, if true, should disqualify Kavanaugh. He did not specify whether he thought the Senate inquiry was sufficient or whether the FBI should investigate. Rauner's spokesman said the governor was traveling Thursday and did not watch Ford's testimony. His Democratic challenger, J.B. Pritzker, criticized Rauner's response. Pritzker said the governor continues to support Trump and Kavanaugh. Pritzker says he opposes Kavanaugh  because the judge poses a grave threat to Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, and critical consumer and environmental issues.


(Urbana--jc)  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was in Urbana on Thursday to help welcome the new Integrated Bioprocessing Research Laboratory. The state of the art facility is another key to keeping the University of Illinois at the top for research. Governor Rauner said it was another good day bringing a promising future for the U of I and local area…


Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner


(McLean County--jc)  The McLean County Landfill is expected to reach capacity and close this weekend. County and EPA Officials have been monitoring the landfill for several years. Starting next week, waste collected in McLean County will be taken to Livingston County. The McLean county landfilled will be capped with soil and monitored for 30 years General Manager of Republic Services in West Central Illinois Dan Winters says  he does not estimate the cost of waste removal will increase in McLean County, outside of annual inflation adjustments.



WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) — A closed private college's lawyer says part of a political memorabilia collection from the late southern Illinois Congressman Ken Gray is missing. Gray's widow gave the collection two years ago to Morthland College in West Frankfort. School attorney Aaron Hopkins says the building storing the collection was broken into earlier this year, but he didn't know what was taken.


(Bloomington--jc)  One member of the Illinois Soybean Growers Association met Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel. Illinois Soybean Growers director of Market Development Mart Albertson says the Illinois based farmers group was honored to talk with the Cuban leader. Albertson says Illinois has been working on opening doors with Cuba since 2012. Last year the U-S exported 50 million dollars of soy to Cuba..


(Champaign--jc)  -- September will finish with hotter than normal temperatures and above average rainfall. State Climatologist Jim Angel says the outlook for the last several days of the month and the start of October is cooler temps and some precipitation..



State Climatologist Jim Angel with the Illinois Water Survey in Champaign.



(Undated--jc)  --Early voting is upon us in Illinois. Mail-in ballots are free to fly. But don’t dare take a picture of your vote.Snapping a photo of your filled-in ballot and posting it on Facebook or Instagram is technically a Class 4 felony in Illinois, which comes with a prison sentence of one to three years. According to the Illinois Election Code, anyone who “knowingly” casts his or her ballot in a way that “can be observed by another person” is breaking the law.


(Washington--jc)  What information was provided in the latest U-S-D-A quarterly hogs and pigs report. U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam provides the numbers…



U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam.



(Paxton--jc)  Carmen Gronewold and Tom Meents are now in the Paxton Buckley Loda Hall of Fame. Gronewold was a 1975 graduate of Buckley Loda High School that has devoted her life to a Christian Ministry. Meents is a 1985 Paxton High School graduate who played on the Mustangs State final football team and is an 11 time champion of the Monster Jam Tour. Also last night. The Paxton Buckley Loda Homecoming Queen is Mikayla Jones and the Homecoming King is Tim Hewerdine.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics Thursday announced a gift of $3.1 million from Illinois alumnus and agriculture businessman, Greg Heckman. Heckman's gift pledges $3 million toward the completion of the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center, which will feature the naming of the main entrance as the Heckman Lobby. The additional $100,000 will be dedicated to student-athlete scholarships through the I FUND. The gift officially helps the DIA reach its announced fundraising goal of $30 million for the football project, bringing the total announced pledges to $31.175 million. Despite meeting the $30 million mark, fundraising will continue for the $79.2 million project.  



(Paxton--jc)  Do you like history?  The Ford County Historical Society’s Water Tower Museum in Paxton is open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those attending the local museum will see the history of the 102nd county in the state. The museum is located behind Paxton City Hall in downtown Paxton. There  is no charge for admission to the museum.


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