CHICAGO (AP) — President Donald Trump has sent his clearest signal yet that he may be about to free former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich from a federal prison. The 62-year-old Democrat is seven years into a prison term for attempted extortion, bribery and other political corruption. Trump told reporters on Air Force One this week that he thought Blagojevich has been "treated unbelievably unfairly" and that he's sentence was too long. He added he's been thinking "very strongly" about commuting the sentence.


(Washington--jc) --  The U-S-D-A has declared all counties in Illinois disasters, citing historic flooding across the state this year. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…



CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago says the first Catholic priest to adopt a child is accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1974. The archdiocese said Thursday that Cardinal Blase Cupich asked Rev. George Clements to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation. The 87-year-old Clements is retired but still assists at area parishes. Chicago Police notified the archdiocese about the allegations. The archdiocese then notified prosecutors and child protective services.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a slew of bills into law this week. Some take effect immediately. One eliminates a basic skills test to streamline teacher licenses and allows public schools to pay student teachers. Another new law effective immediately allows public universities to sell surplus real estate to raise money for deferred maintenance and emergency repairs A third says that beginning next year, 12 year olds will be able to get services for S-T-Ds or substance use disorders. A 4th bill signed by the governor  establishes suicide prevention measures and training for police. 



(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County  Coroner Duane Northrup  released the name of a Broadlands woman who has died after being struck by a tractor-trailer semi on early Thursday morning. 33 year old Emily N. Ray, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:39 AM. as a result of blunt force injuries she received during the incident.  Ray was reportedly struck by a semi on I-74 eastbound near the Neil Street exit in Champaign. No autopsy will be performed however, an inquest may be held at a later date. This death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police District 10. 



(Gibson City--jc) --   A hymn sing event is set for Sunday in Gibson City. the event begins at 3 Sunday afternoon at the United Methodist Church. Milt Kelly of FIsher is directing the festival and says the songs were chosen by area churches…



Gibson Area Music Foundation Hymn Festival Director Milt Kelly of Fisher



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members will be looking a policy language when they meet on Monday night in monthly session. Areas of discussion include investments, transportation  to the violence prevention program. The R-T-H-S board meets at 7 on Monday night at the high school.




(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday is Pork Chop Sandwiches, chips and pop. The money raised will benefit American Legion Post 568 Help Hometown Heroes. The cookout runs on Saturday from 10am until 2pm


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is questioning the constitutionality of the Trump administration's expansion of immigration agents' power to deport migrants without having them first appear before a judge. Raoul calls it "outrageous" in a statement Thursday and claims the expansion will lead to racial profiling.


(undated--jc)  --Some Illinois homebuyers may have to settle for previously-owned homes, according to a new report that shows fewer homes are being built in the state. The information from Construction-Coverage-dot-com found that Illinois had 17 new homes built per 10,000 people last year. That’s far below the national average of 41 new homes built per 10,000 people. Analyst Michael LaFirenza, who  wrote the report, said the state’s construction, acts as a sort of barometer for local economic health. Rhode Island and Connecticut had the lowest number of new homes being built, the highest was in the state of Idaho.



(Washington--jc)  --Topsoils in many farming areas are going through a major drying out process. Gary Crawford reports…




(Springfield--jc)  -- The federal Real I-D law has been around for more than a decade but has never been fully implemented, however, starting in October 1 next year, Illinois will be fully compliant with the federal law. After years of delays, the federal mandate for national I-D standards for people to board a plane or enter federal buildings will be fully implemented across the country. Illinois will be ready to comply by that deadline.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois House members are looking into a college financial aid scam. Members discussed on Thursday how to close a loophole that has let wealth parents transfer guardianship of their child do they could get financial assistance. Local Representative Carol Ammons of Champaign chaired that meeting…



State Representative Carol Ammons of Champaign.

State leaders are looking at ways to close the loophole and also make sure any changes do not make it harder to for students who need the aid.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are set to meet on Monday night and considered several special licenses for the Fall Harvest Fest event. They include licenses for the American Legion, Burgers and Beer,  and Railside Golf course. Council members will also hear an insurance proposal from P-M-A District Manager Scott Knapp. A purchase of a new police vehicle is also on the agenda. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 on Monday night.



(Springfield--jc)  70 Illinois County Fair Queens and representatives from the state’s 105 fairs and expositions will be celebrating today on the second day of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. It’s County Fairs and Horse Racing Day at the Illinois State Fair. Today is also the first day on harness racing at the fair’s one mile dirt track, which is the fastest in the world. The Illinois State Fair runs through August 18th.


(Forsyth--jc) Forsyth city leaders have passed an ordinance to ban marijuana sales in their city. The ban passed unanimously.  Urbana officials are on-board with the marijuana sales issue. Other area towns like Paxton, Rantoul, Gibson City, St Joseph and Monticello continue to seek public input. Decisions in those communities will continue over the next several months. Legalized recreational use of marijuana becomes legal on January First.



(Fisher--jc) Could a laundromat business and gaming facility be coming to the village of Fisher. Local leaders in the district held a public hearing on the issue yesterday. Several dozen people attended and the issue raised tempers at times. At question is a new liquor license and whether a laundromat and liquor and gaming go-together. Tax revenue for the village is another part of the equation. Fisher leaders say they will vote on the issue at a future meeting.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The annual “Back to School Day” takes place tomorrow at the Bethany Christian Church in Rantoul.  School age kids from Kindergarten through 8th grade, living in northern Champaign County, will be able to receive new shoes, socks, backpacks and other school supplies Some clothing will also be available. The church is located along Grove Avenue in the village. Students must be present to receive the shoes. Students in Rantoul, Gifford, Ludlow, Dewey and Thomasboro are eligible. Contact Community Service Center of Rantoul today for more information.



(Urbana--jc)   Walk-in interviews will be held for State Farm Center Event Staff later this month. The interviews take place on  August 26th-27th and 28th from 3:30-7:30 p.m. each day at State Farm Center. No appointments are necessary. Simply show up during the open interview time periods Casual dress is acceptable.


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