EUREKA, Ill. (AP) — A judge has cleared the way for a solar energy project in central Illinois. Judge Charles Feeney says Woodford County's permit denial was "arbitrary" and "unreasonable" and violated the rights of SolAmerica Energy. Many property owners and the city of Eureka opposed the permit. The County Board voted against the permit last year, a step that led to the lawsuit.

The proposed site is on land near the Eureka city limits, 20 miles east of Peoria.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man accused of fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy attempting to serve an arrest warrant made his first appearance in court. Floyd E. Brown of Springfield is charged with first-degree murder in the death of McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner. The deputy was shot Thursday while working on a task force trying to serve a warrant at a hotel in Rockford, about 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) northwest of Chicago. The 39-year-old Brown did not enter a plea Monday.


(Springfield--ab)  -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about unproven stem cell therapies. Public Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Layden says there is concern across the country and in Illinois about doctors using stem cell products that haven’t been approved by the F-D-A.



Illinois Public Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Layden

Risks of getting these unapproved stem cell treatments include bacterial infection, growth of tumors and a bad reaction at the site of injection.


(Paxton--jc)  A Gibson City man was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Monday for sexually molesting an 11 year old girl. Ford County judge Matt Fitton sentenced 43 year old Ryan Schoolcraft in Ford County court in Paxton.  Schoolcraft was found guilty in January of two counts of criminal sexaual assault.


(Springfield--ab)  -- The Illinois State Police is looking to boost its ranks. State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly says they are short about 500 sworn officers…and is urging lawmakers to approving funding for new cadet classes.



State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly

Kelly says recruitment is often challenging given the risks of the job and more competitive pay and benefits offered at other departments. the state police is accepting applications through the end of may for october’s cadet class. apply at: illinois trooper dot com.



CAIRO, Ill. (AP) — After more than two weeks, a bridge connecting Illinois and Kentucky has reopened over the Ohio River. The U.S. 51 bridge closed on Feb. 22 due to high water on the Wickliffe, Kentucky, side. Kentucky officials say 4,700 vehicles cross the bridge each day; trucks make up 35 percent.



ILLIPOPOLIS, Ill. (AP) — Roman Catholics in a southern Illinois county are down to one church for weekend Mass. A decision to close two of Hamilton County's three Catholic churches took effect over the weekend. There were no Masses at St. John Nepomucene in Dahlgren or St. Clement of Rome in McLeansboro. They're now designated as chapels. The area's "mother church" is St. John the Baptist in Piopolis. Bishop Edward Braxton made the announcement in February. He called it a "challenging process."


(Springfield--jc)  -- Lawmakers are back in Springfield and one matter the Senate is poised to take up would prohibit people younger than 21 from buying tobacco and e-cigarettes, but other measures targeting vaping products are also on the horizon. State Senator Terry Link, Democrat from Indian Creek, wants to put e-cigarettes and vaporizers into the Smoke Free Illinois Act. Link says that would mean you couldn’t do it in a public building at a restaurant or local bar.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County relay for life group is hosting a Euchre party fundraiser on Friday in Gibson City. The Chic Meredith Relay Team says the game begins at 6-30 on Friday night at the Moyer Library. The fee to participate is 10 dollars. Snacks will be provided. Those interested may sign up at 217-784-5267.



(Onarga--jc)  -- One local bank is sponsoring a free movie day next month. The Federated Bank is hosting the free movie event on April 13th at 1pm at the Onarga Theatre. There is free admission and free pop and popcorn. More information is found by contacting the bank.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to change Illinois’ flat income tax to a graduated one with higher rates for those who earn more, means taxing higher earners would make the state less competitive nationally, according a tax policy group. A new Tax Foundation analysis of the “Fair Tax for Illinois,” as the governor has branded it, shows that it would put in place in some of the highest individual and corporate income taxes in the country and what the nonprofit called one of the least competitive overall tax codes, causing the state to decline from 36th to 48th in the group's State Business Tax Climate Index. Analysts for the nonprofit have annually called Illinois’ flat income tax its “saving grace” in terms of overall taxation competitiveness. It’s kept Illinois closer to the middle of the pack in terms of the foundation's ranking.


(Champaign County--jc)  A proposed rural Gifford event center has several more steps to accomplish before the idea can move forward. The local county zoning board gave it’s O-K earlier this month. One issue to be decided is traffic on local rural roads to the proposed event center location. A special use permit will be the topic of the Champaign County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on March 28th in Urbana. With a positive committee recommendation, the issue would move the county board later this Spring.


(Springfield--ab)  Illinois enjoyed some nice job gains in January.

January’s unemployment rate came in at four point three percent…the same as in december. but payrolls hit a new high, with over 24 thousand jobs added says Illinois Department Of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough…



I-D-E-S Spokesperson Bob Gough

Gains were also seen in the educational and health services and leisure and hospitality sectors.



(Paxton--ab) The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board meets tonight  and the agenda is loaded with items of action. Items of note will be to approve the 2019-2020 academic calendar for the district, getting rid of the Paxton Buckley Loda Wrestling team. A report will be given on the Clara Peterson renovation and Eastlawn demolition. Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 at the board meeting room in Paxton.


(Washington-jc)  -- What is the new forecast for the 20-19 steer prices. U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam has the numbers…



U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam



(Rantoul--jc)  Those in the Rantoul area needing some help to keep their kids active have some help with a local civic group. The Rantoul Foundation is set to help with some charges and fees for programs offered in Rantoul. To apply for vouchers, those interested are asked to contact the Community Service Center in the village, by calling  893-5700.


(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s flood safety awareness week and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is reminding about some steps  you can take to protect your home. As Spring approaches, I-Ema Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says to make sure you have flood insurance…


I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.

(Paxton--jc)  -- If you like the decorated flower pots in the downtown area of Paxton, a vote by the city council tonight could extend to project. City of Paxton leaders meet tonight could provide a donation to PRIDE in Paxton to help with the flower pots and also banner purchases for the downtown light poles in the city. Paxton leaders are also expected to hire an engineering firm for the proposed “street scape” project. The city council meeting comes to order at 7 tonight on the 2nd floor of city hall.



(Gibson City--jc) With a third place finish in the state, fans of the Gibson City Melvin Sibley Falcons can order a two sided state T-Shirt to commemorate the 20-18-20-19 season. Orders for the 12 dollar t-shirts may be made by filling out a form and those forms are available at the high school in Gibson City. Deadline to order the shirts is Friday March 15th. Pick up date for the shirts is March 21st at the high school.


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