(Normal--jc)  A McLean County school bus was involved in an accident along Interstate 74 near downs last night. Authorities say the bus was carrying members of the Normal West girls basketball team. The bus collided with a semi tractor trailer around 8-30 Wednesday evening.  Two people have died in the accident and several people on the bus were airlifted to area hospitals. The semi struck the bus head-on. WPXN will update this story as more information is released.


(Illinois--ba) Hunters harvested nearly 81 thousand deer during the firearm season. Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross says hunters harvested 59 thousand during the first week and 22 thousand in week number two..



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross


Springfield--jc)  -- A credit ratings agency is warning that states like Illinois could be pushed to raise taxes because lawmakers haven't set aside money to pay for retiree healthcare costs.S&P Global Ratings reported that total unfunded state liabilities that aren’t pensions have increased significantly for the third year in a row. The agency said this is largely due to states like Illinois underfunding the issue.State employees with at least 20 years of work qualify for state-sponsored retiree healthcare. Those premiums are covered by taxpayers. This is the retiree’s primary coverage when they’re eligible to retire as early as 55 with it becoming supplemental once they qualify for Medicare ten years after.


(Springfield--ab) Attorney General Lisa Madigan Wednesday filed a lawsuit against a California woman who has used dozens of aliases and assumed business names to create and sell tickets for fake events in Illinois and throughout the country that never occurred. In Illinois, the scammer stole over $30,000 from unsuspecting consumers. Madigan’s lawsuit was filed today in Cook County Circuit Court against Kristen Yvette Martin, individually and doing business as Expo Network,



(Washington--jc)  -- Area farmers could get financial aid from the federal government due to the trade disruptions. U-S-D-A Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says some farmers have been hit hard by the tariffs…



U S D A Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue


(Springfield--ab) Last month was the eighth coldest November on record in Illinois. The statewide average temperature last month was 35 degrees. That’s more than seven degrees below normal says State Climatologist Jim Angel.



State Climatologist Jim Angel

Snowfall ranged from about an inch in southeastern Illinois to 15 inches in the quad cities. Angel says there’s an increased chance of above normal temperatures and precipitation for December.


(Fisher--jc)  -- Who is going to do it?.  The choices are three. The Fisher Bunnies Relay for Life will hold a fundraiser tomorrow night at the Fisher Bunnies basketball game. Three people from the Fisher area have agreed to a public vote to determine who will get the opportunity to kiss a pig to raise money to fight cancer. You are asked to  help raise money to fight cancer and vote for Jim Moxley, Jon Kelly or Jake Palmer. Money raised goes to the American Cancer Society.


(Undated--jc)  Illinois is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial minute..



(Springfield--jc)  -- Just a few days are left in the medicare open enrollment period.  The illinois Department on Aging says help is available for seniors. Senior Health Insurance Program Director Sandy Leith says to ask yourself a few questions…



Senior Health Insurance Program Director Sandy Leith.


(Rantoul--ab) A few Rantoul businesses are coming together for a cool shopping experience. Shop and Hop is this Saturday and will feature multiple businesses on Sangamon St. in downtown Rantoul. The event is a multifaceted experience with sweets and giveaways says Paula Hopkins owner of House of Flowers in Rantoul.



Paula Hopkins owner of House of Flowers in Rantoul.

WPXN will be broadcasting live on Saturday from downtown Rantoul from 9am to 10am to help kick off the event.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois  Attorney General Lisa  Madigan Wednesday announced she is joining with a bipartisan group of 38 other attorneys general to stop or reduce annoying and harmful robocalls. Madigan says that robocalls are an  obnoxious form of consumer harassment. Madigan and the multistate group has had in-depth meetings with several major telecom companies about technological capabilities currently in existence or in development that would reduce robocalls. The coalition of states is pushing the carriers to, among other things, quickly develop and implement technology to help identify and block potential unwanted robocalls for their customers.


(Washington--jc)  Soggy and cold weather, that is not a good combination for winter wheat. Stephanie Ho reports…



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Cissna Park village merchants are planning a Christmas event on Saturday.  Along with the shopping opportunities, horse and buggy rides will be available from 10am until 1pm on Saturday. Holiday vendors will be set up at the Cissna Park American Legion and visits with Santa Claus are set from 10am until 1pm. A parade with lights is set for 5 on Saturday afternoon in Cissna Park.



(Springfield--jc)  The man who cast the lone “no” vote on a proposal for Illinois’ public universities to get a double-digit funding increase in the coming state budget said Illinois can't afford it. The Illinois Board of Higher Education voted 13-1 this week to approve a proposed request for an additional $314 million for the state’s public universities for fiscal year 2020. That's a 16.6 percent increase over the previous year. Illinois Board of Higher Education Chairman Tom Cross said the total $2.2 billion request is a commitment to ending out-migration of Illinois students. Board member John Bambenek was the only “no” vote. He said the request wasn't based on clear metrics. He wants to see future budgets for higher education work from defined metrics because some schools have increased enrollment while others are teaching fewer students.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced the winners of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award in the 14th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition for 2018. The winners are from Saunemin, Evanston and Jacksonville. Donna O’Shaughnessy of Saunemin was awarded first place for her poem “In the Kitchen They Danced. The contest winners read their poems during a ceremony at the state library earlier this week.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Repair work on several downtown buildings in Rantoul continues.  Work on the Kiefers Photography building and on A House of Flowers by Paula began this week and continues from damage that happened this past June. New glass and facade work is expected to continue for the next several days. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce officials also say a new restaurant called E-Ts Barbeque is getting closer to a soft opening. That could happen later this month.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The 75th annual performance of “The Messiah” was completed this past Sunday in Gibson City. The Gibson City Music Foundation is the group that puts together the event each year. Group spokesperson Shari Friedman says the group has members from Gibson City and Paxton, but also Savoy, Colfax, and Saybrook, among others. Friedman says celebrating 75 years of performances in Gibson City is a great accomplishment…


Gibson City Music Foundation Spokesperson Shari Friedman

WPXN will be airing this year’s version of the Messiah during Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A Children’s Christmas party is set for tomorrow night in Rantoul. The event is set for the Rantoul Public Library. The party starts at 7 with activities and a movie at 8pm.


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