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(Undated-jm) -- Local cases of Coronavirus rose Thursday. Vermilion County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 37. McLean County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 197. Livingston County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 30. Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 20. Champaign County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 497. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 124. Kankakee County reported 20 new cases bringing their total to 1,012.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Cases of Coronavirus in area communities also rose Thursday. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 7 cases are in Paxton, Ludlow has 6 cases, Thomasboro has 2 cases, Rantoul has 131 cases, Mahomet has 12 cases, St. Joseph has 4 cases, Clifton has 43, Chebanse, Watseka and Onarga have 11 cases each, Ashkum has 9 cases, Crescent City has 7 cases, Danforth and Beaverville have 6 cases each and Gifford, Fisher and Penfield have 1 case each.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- As the state gets ready to move into the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan, Governor J-B Pritzker warns, the threat of the Coronavirus isn’t over yet. The Governor says no one knows for sure but there could be another surge of cases as the weather cools…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says they will be watching the numbers carefully as the state moves into the next phase for any new spike in cases.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- As lawmakers continue to hash out details for the budget year that begins July 1, Governor J.B. Pritzker isn’t willing to cut spending. Instead, he’s looking to borrow to keep spending level. He’s also dismissing any reforms during the pandemic. In a truncated session, state lawmakers are working on details of what could be a $39.7 billion spending plan. That’s about level with the current fiscal year’s spending plan, even with the expected crater in revenue from the economic shutdown imposed by the government. There are reports the state is looking to borrow more than $4 billion from a Federal Reserve program. One major driver of the state’s $197 billion of structural debt that’s been around since before the pandemic is public employee pensions, but the governor has been unwilling to address reforms to lower those liabilities.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker said the federal government is going to have to help offset the increased costs for businesses from the likelihood historic unemployment will increase unemployment insurance rates. The governor said he’s working with lawmakers to increase state funding for the agency. Asked Thursday what he’s going to do to offset that burden, Pritzker said he’s hoping the federal government sends tax dollars to Illinois to cover the costs.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Amidst the pandemic, the state unemployment rate jumped to 16 point 4 percent last month. April’s rate rose over 12 percentage points from March, as businesses had to close because of the Coronavirus. More than 762 thousand jobs were lost last month says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. The national unemployment rate for April was 14 point 7 percent. Salustro says anyone still needing to file for unemployment benefits should visit ides dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Rantoul man is dead following a shooting Thursday morning in Champaign. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 25 year old James Coleman died at the scene of the shooting on Country Fair Drive. The incident remains under investigation.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Some businesses in the Iroquois County village of Gilman will see some relief. Mayor Rick Theesfield says the village board waived the liquor license fee for those establishments…

 

 

Gilman Mayor Rick Theesfield.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center in Rantoul will not open this weekend. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Rantoul Recreation Department announced the facility will not open. The Rec Department did say they have prepared a plan to open if they are allowed to this summer.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As the Memorial Day weekend fast approaches, the National Fire Protection Association is providing tips for grilling safely. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Active and recovered cases rose Thursday. Vermilion County reported 25 have been released while 11 remain in isolation. McLean County reported 118 have recovered, 63 are in isolation and 7 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 24 have been removed from isolation and 4 are active. Ford County reported 13 released from isolation and 6 in isolation. Champaign County reported 271 have recovered, 219 are active with 5 hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 66 have recovered, 49 are in isolation and 5 hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Sadly 4 more deaths were reported in the area Thursday. Livingston County reported 1 new death bringing their total number to 2. McLean County reported 3 new deaths bringing their total to 9.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is hitting a new daily high for Coronavirus testing. More than 29 thousand specimens were run in the past day, with over 22 hundred new cases logged. Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says people can spread the virus before they start experiencing symptoms…

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Find a testing site near you at: coronavirus dot illinois dot gov and click on resources.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ hotels are taking steps to ensure customers feel safe.  Hotels that have verified they are using the guidelines will be given a decal to place on their premises as well as a digital one to show they’re doing so online.  

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- As the Illinois economy begins to slowly open back up, the creator of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs believes said businesses in small towns face unique challenges. Dr. Norman Walzer, a senior research scholar in the Northern Illinois University Center for Governmental Studies, said many business owners in rural areas are older and did not plan to work much longer, even before the pandemic hit.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are voting to expand mail in voting for the November election. Under the bill, voters who cast a ballot in the last couple of years will be sent an application for a mail in ballot. It’s supported by Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville…

 

 

State Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville. The effort would only apply to the November 3rd election. Students would get the day off so schools could be safely used as polling places. Critics worry about voter fraud.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Another summer event has been canceled because of the Coronavirus. The Urbana Sweetcorn Festival announced Thursday this year’s event, originally scheduled for August 21 and 22, is cancelled. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Even though the Coronavirus is putting a halt to this year’s Memorial Day celebrations, the Paxton American Legion Prairie Post 150 will still be putting out flags on the graves of over 1,000 fallen veterans. Spokesperson Frank Crego has how you can help…

 

 

Paxton American Legion Prairie Post 150 Spokesperson Frank Crego.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- A new auto parts store will be opening in Watseka. Construction of the O’Reilly Auto Parts store is near completion and will be opening soon.

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- The Village of Roberts is updating their chicken ordinance. Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan talks about the changes…

 

 

Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan. 

 

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will have a drive through pork chop dinner on Sunday from 10:30-12:30. On the menu is a pork chop, cheesy potatoes, baked beans, cole slaw, applesauce, roll, and cherry pie. It is a free will donation. 

 

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