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(Springfield-jm) -- The pressure on longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to step down is mounting. Madigan hasn’t been charged with a crime. However, he has been embroiled in charging documents the U.S. Department of Justice secured against ComEd. In a statement on Tuesday, state Senator Heather Steans was the latest high-profile elected official to call for Madigan to step down from leadership. The statement published to a political blog said the ComEd agreement painted a “sordid picture of bribery, influence peddling and insider-dealing at the highest levels.”

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Thousands of businesses in Illinois have closed since Governor J.B. Pritzker issued stay-at-home orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19, according to a quarterly report from the consumer review website Yelp, which said more of those businesses will remain closed rather than reopen. In its “economic average” report, Yelp found about 5,100 Illinois-based business listings on its site have either temporarily closed or will permanently shutter. Most of the closures, 4,400, were listed as Chicago-based businesses. A separate report from the Illinois Policy Institute estimated the state could permanently lose 94,200 service sector jobs should state officials begin to reinstate closure orders. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ attorney general asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging Gov. JB Pritzker’s executive orders closing non-essential businesses and workplaces are unconstitutional. A group of Chicagoland business owners argued the governor’s COVID-19 restrictions amount to the confiscation of private property without monetary compensation. Such an action would violate the U.S. and Illinois constitutions, they say. But the state in a response filed contends that would be “entirely unreasonable” because the relevant executive orders have expired, allowing all businesses in Illinois to reopen. In its response to the lawsuit, it points out all the businesses listed in the lawsuit have resumed operations.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Crop conditions continue to improve for Illinois corn and soybeans. In the weekly crop report, State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says corn is moving right along…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 67 percent of soybeans are blooming and 36 percent are setting pods. The soybean crop improved to 76 percent in good to excellent condition. The second cutting of alfalfa hay is now 81 percent complete and nearly all winter wheat acres have been harvested. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at one percent very short, 11 percent short, 79 percent adequate and nine percent surplus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,076 new cases of Coronavirus and 30 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 173,731 and deaths to 7,446. Locally, Vermilion County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 160. McLean County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 472. Kankakee County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 1,702. Livingston County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 79. Iroquois County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 241. Champaign County set a record with 55 new cases bringing their total to 1,367. Ford County reported no new cases Tuesday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for cases in area communities, 233 have been in Rantoul, 78 in Mahomet, 56 in Clifton, 51 in Gilman, 30 in Fisher, 27 in Watseka, 23 each in St. Joseph and Chebanse, 20 in Hoopeston, 18 in Onarga, 14 in Ashkum, 11 each in Paxton and Gibson City, 8 each in Crescent City and Danforth, 7 each in Foosland and Ludlow, 6 each in Saybrook and Milford, 5 in Thomasboro, 3 in Dewey, 2 in Gifford and 1 each in Penfield and Ogden.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul will be replacing a storm siren in the village. The siren was built in the 1970’s and the siren is starting to malfunction. Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower gives us the details… 

 

 

 Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- One wind farm will not be coming to Ford County and the future of a second one could be in jeopardy. Pattern Energy Group was set to develop the Heritage Prairie Wind Farms between Piper City and Roberts however, the company feels the county is no longer welcoming to wind farms and will go to a more favorable area. At issue is a moratorium on wind farm development after the county zoning board has gone back and forth on possible new changes. That moratorium was issued in 2018 and remains in place. The moratorium could impact the Ford Ridge Wind Farm near Sibley. Developer Apex Energy is in the first phase, however, with the moratorium, phase two, which is the construction of the wind farm can’t be done. That wind farm could bring in $32 million to the county. 

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Will students return to the classroom this fall and if so for how long? That’s one of many unanswered questions facing parents, students, teachers and school administrators. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says he believes the Governor’s response will be pretty clear…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman.

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- The Village of Roberts is once again under a boil order. The village says the village's water pressure dropped below allowable levels for an unknown reason. The village will update residents when it is safe to drink the water.

 

(Washington-jm) -- The COVID-19 aid package Congress is working on could cost taxpayers between $1 trillion and $3 trillion, but a central Illinois congressman warns if liability protection for schools isn’t addressed, it could cost taxpayers even more. Liability protection from virus-related lawsuits isn’t just for businesses. U.S. Representative Rodney Davis, of Taylorville, said it should be for schools of all kinds. Opponents of proposals in Congress from Republicans include the American Association for Justice which said businesses should be held accountable ”if they don’t take proper precautions”.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor. J.B. Pritzker is talking up Illinois’ COVID-19 response by criticizing neighboring states amid an uptick in infection rates in Illinois. On multiple occasions, Pritzker has used news conferences near state lines to highlight positivity rates in other states. According to Johns Hopkins University data, Illinois’ seven-day rolling average of positive cases as a percentage of total tests was 3.8 percent on July 26. Indiana’s was 7.9 percent, Iowa’s was 9.3 percent, Missouri’s was 13.5 percent, and Wisconsin’s was 7.1 percent.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- If you get any seeds in the mail that you didn't order, don't plant them. That's the warning from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Reports have been flooding in from across the United States of people receiving unsolicited packages containing seeds from China in the mail.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Crop conditions continue to improve for Illinois corn and soybeans. 22 percent of corn is now in the dough stage and 74 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. That’s an increase from the previous week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 67 percent of soybeans are blooming…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 97 percent of winter wheat has been harvested. Average statewide topsoil moisture is now rated as one percent very short, 11 percent short, 79 percent adequate and nine percent surplus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,076 new cases of Coronavirus and 30 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 173,731 and deaths to 7,446. As for active and recovered cases locally...117 have recovered in Vermilion County with 40 in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In McLean County, 396 have recovered with 37 in isolation and 4 hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,190 have recovered with 447 active cases and 12 hospitalized. 1,140 have recovered in Champaign County with 209 active cases and 13 hospitalized. 66 have been removed from isolation in Livingston County with 11 cases still active. In Iroquois County, 185 have been released from isolation with 45 remaining in isolation and 6 hospitalized. 40 have been released from isolation in Ford County with 5 remaining in isolation.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- No additional deaths were reported locally Tuesday. That comes after two new deaths each were reported in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties and one additional death in Champaign County on Monday.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Will there be fall sports at Illinois high schools? That’s a question plaquing coaches and athletic directors. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says he thinks fall sports, in particular football, could be in jeopardy…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. The IHSA is expected to meet today where a decision on fall sports is expected to be made.

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- A company vying for a shot at building a casino in Danville has withdrawn its application. Havens Gaming, LLC says it is still committed to the project. The company says it is withdrawing its Owners Gaming License Application in order to prepare and submit a new one. 

 

(Thomasboro-cf)-- Thomasboro Schools, which normally starts in July since they are a calendar school, will not be starting until August 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Thomasboro Superintendent of Schools Bonnie McArther details the late start, as well as the reopening plan… 

 

 

Thomasboro Superintendent of Schools Bonnie McArther. This plan is not final however. There is still a push from teachers to go solely online which the board will revisit at their next scheduled meeting before the school year gets underway. 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Hy-Vee Pharmacies will be rolling out their drive up flu clinics starting in August. The company announced Tuesday, they will begin the drive up flu clinics starting August 17th running through October 31st. Flu clinics will take place 7-11 am on Mondays, 3-7 pm on Thursdays and 10-2 on Saturdays.

 

 

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