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Governor J-B Pritzker says he will not give into pressure about letting youth sports resume

(Springfield-jm) -- Unemployment in Illinois dropped to 11% in August, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Despite the decrease, Illinois' unemployment rate was 2.6 percentage points higher than the national average in August. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Internal Revenue Service said 309,972 Illinois residents will receive a special mailing this month, encouraging them to see if they are eligible to claim an economic impact payment. The letters will be mailed to those who typically are not required to file federal income tax returns, but may qualify for an EIP, along with those who haven't filed a tax return for either 2018 or 2019. Eligible individuals can receive up to $1,200, while married couples can receive up to $2,400. Furthermore, those with qualifying children under the age of 17 at the end of 2019 can receive an additional $500 for each qualifying child. To register for an EIP, people must visit the "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info" tool on IRS.gov before October 15.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois plans to continue withholding federal payroll taxes on behalf of its 62,000 employees despite a program President Trump launched in August that allows workers to defer paying those taxes through the end of the year. Trump announced the program in a memorandum August 8. It applies to the 6.2 percent tax that employers withhold for their employee’s Social Security benefits. The intent is to temporarily boost workers’ income during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the taxes that would be deferred would have to be repaid after January 1. Then, the employee’s withholding would double to 12.4 percent until the amount of taxes that were deferred is repaid. According to an analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a worker earning $50,000 a year would see a temporary increase of $119.23 in each two-week pay period. But at the end of the year, that person would owe $1,073.08 in deferred taxes.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says he will not give into pressure about letting youth sports resume. The Governor has been hearing from a lot of coaches, parents and student athletes who want to get back on the football field or hockey rink. He says the risk of spreading COVID-19 is too high and that your actions affect others…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. An infectious disease expert at the Governor’s press conference agreed and said it’s not just the actual game that’s a problem. He says a sports team is together in the locker room, working out in the gym and while traveling, giving the virus more opportunities to spread.

 

 

(Rural Rantoul-jm) -- Several law enforcement agencies are investigating after a body was found in rural Rantoul. The body was found near 3100 North County Road 1838 East. Police say the remains appear to be that of a male and was located near where the bike belonging to David Franklin was found. Franklin has been missing for nearly a month. Police would not say at this time whether the body found was that of Franklin’s. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,056 new Coronavirus cases and 25 additional deaths Thursday. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 268,207 and total deaths to 8,392. Locally, McLean County reported 22 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total numbers to 3,025 cases and 19 deaths. Champaign County topped 4,000 total cases after 127 new cases were reported. Their total now sits at 4,074. Livingston County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 310. Vermilion County had 1 new case bringing their total to 476. Ford County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 130. Kankakee County reported 25 new cases bringing their total to 2,634. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 381. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Indoor dining at bars and restaurants in campustown can resume. The temporary order suspending indoor dining ended this week and was not extended. Champaign and Urbana both issued the orders back when students first started returning to campus.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will be hosting their annual fish and chicken fry tonight. Director Sandy Spitz talks about the dinner…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul teen found with cannabis and a gun has been sentenced to 5 years probation. The 17 year old pleaded guilty to armed violence in Champaign County court. Had he been charged as an adult he would have faced a mandatory 6 to 30 years in prison.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Unemployed people in the state and some businesses have the opportunity to receive some funds to get people back to work. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at the Watseka American Legion today from 9 to 3.

 

The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce will host their golf outing today at noon at Lakeview Country Club in Loda.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- U.S. Attorney John Lausch Jr. has cleared Illinois lawmakers to conduct interviews of key players in an admitted patronage scheme by ComEd to curry favor with House Speaker Michael Madigan, including questioning the speaker himself. In a formal reply to the two heads of the Illinois House Special Investigation Committee, Lausch said his office doesn’t have an objection to the committee seeking testimony from witnesses or the production of documents in its independent investigation. Republicans indicated they plan to call Madigan, his long-time ally and former ComEd lobbyist Michael McLain, as well as a host of other current and former ComEd employees. Lausch cautioned the lawmakers to stay away from asking witnesses about statements or documents they’ve been asked to provide the grand jury in the course of the ongoing federal investigation.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- With a flood of complaints that the marijuana licensing process is flawed, Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced that his team will meet with those affected to address the issue. Only 21 of about 700 applicants qualified for a lottery to determine who will get 75 new recreational marijuana retail licenses. State regulators say they have indefinitely delayed the lottery to review objections.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Experts expect consumer spending to play a big role in how Illinois' economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, but predicting how far consumers will open their wallets during the remainder of the year isn't as easy. A survey by Chicago-based PowerReviews found spending, including for the holidays, could actually increase this year. Almost three-quarters of consumers said their overall holiday spending will either stay the same or increase this year, and 64% said they will spend more online than last year. Not everyone shares that optimism. Personal finance website WalletHub said spending will likely fall from last year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and the Illinois Department of Public Health says this is especially important during the pandemic. While there aren’t statistics yet regarding COVID-19 related suicides, many of the issues people are facing now such as job loss, financial problems and social isolation are risk factors says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Some of the warning signs for suicide include often talking or writing about death, feeling hopeless, increased substance abuse and withdrawing from friends and family. That number again is 1-800-273-TALK.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,056 new Coronavirus cases and 25 additional deaths Thursday. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 268,207 and total deaths to 8,392. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 1,740 have recovered, 1,260 are in isolation, 6 are hospitalized with 1 in the ICU. Champaign County reported 3,615 have recovered, 439 cases are active and 7 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 268 have been removed from isolation, 37 cases are active and 3 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 378 have been released from isolation, 88 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Ford County reported 118 have been released from isolation and 8 remain in isolation. Kankakee County reported 1,858 have recovered, 705 cases are active and 11 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 344 have been released from isolation, 16 remain in isolation with 2 hospitalized.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Illinois Terminal in Champaign will receive an expansion thanks in part to a $17.275 million grant to the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. The plans include adding onto the terminal into the existing parking lots creating tenant space, apartments and a parking deck. Construction is expected to start in late 2021. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois will receive nearly $1 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U of I will receive $999,377 in funding from the EPA to research how to control and prevent harmful algal blooms. Harmful algal blooms are algae overgrowths in water that can potentially harm human health and aquatic ecosystems. Some factors that cause these to develop include excess nitrogen and phosphorous in waterways.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The Coronavirus pandemic continues to see national attention. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says while some people may be ok others may not…

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- An Urbana teen who was involved in an battery incident in Rantoul has been sentenced to probation. The teen was one of three individuals that was involved in an attempted drug related robbery where one of them got shot in the leg on Aspen Drive. The Champaign County State’s Attorney's office says the teen is on track to complete a job training program, has a certificate as a roofer and has a job and therefore recommended 9 months probation.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- An area GOP lawmaker is urging downstate democratic lawmakers to push for the speaker of the Illinois House to resign in the wake of the recent corruption scheme at ComEd. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington joined other Republicans in demanding the long standing speaker to resign. Now Senator Barickman says members of the Democratic party need to do the same…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

The Loda American Legion will be hosting their all you can eat fish and chicken fry tonight from 4 to 7:30 pm.


 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Melvin on Saturday from 10-2.

 

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Illinois' cannabis sales are skyrocketing

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois' cannabis sales are skyrocketing. State officials announced weed dispensaries in the state sold almost $64 million in cannabis products last month. In total, the state's cannabis shops have done more than $360 million in sales since legalization on January 1st.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Several Illinois Republicans have called for public hearings of the Illinois Department of Employment Security after months of dysfunction.  Representatives Tom Bennett, Dan Caulkins and Mike Murphy came together to ask for more public input. They said their offices are still receiving hundreds of calls and emails every week from people who can't get their unemployment issues resolved. They are also requesting public hearings regarding the failures of the organization during the pandemic.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,941 new Coronavirus cases Wednesday and 35 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 266,151 and deaths to 8,367. Locally, Vermilion County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 475. Livingston County reported 4 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 294 and total deaths to 5. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 378. McLean County reported 28 new cases bringing their total to 3,003. Kankakee County reported 21 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,609 and total deaths to 71. Champaign County reported 136 new cases bringing their total to 3,947. Ford County reported no new cases Wednesday.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's September supply and demand estimates for corn factors in changes in both sides of the balance sheet. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The family of a missing Rantoul man will hold a prayer and candlelight vigil this Saturday. David Franklin has been missing for nearly a month. His bike was found about a week ago northeast of Rantoul. Franklin was last seen in the Maplewood shopping plaza. The candlelight vigil and prayer will be in the County Market parking lot at 7 pm Saturday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week the likelihood of a La Nina winter. State Climatologist Trent Ford explains what La Nina is and the impacts it could have this winter in Illinois…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County voters will be asked to approve a slight tax increase for the Champaign County Forest Preserve to address the $3.7 million backlog of maintenance projects. The increase would be 1.6 cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation. That means a Champaign County homeowner with a $100,000 home would see a $5.33 increase or approximately 45 cents a month. Some of the projects that would be funded by the increase include dredging Willow Pond at Middlefork Forest Preserve in Penfield, maintenance of the covered bridge at Lake of the Woods and trail and accessibility upgrades at all forest preserve locations.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A new restaurant is open in downtown Paxton. La Hacienda Cantina opened in the former Harvest Ale House location at the intersection of Pells and Market. Hours are Monday through Thursday 11-8, Friday and Saturday 11-9 and closed on Sunday.

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Lottery has a new scratch-off to help with homelessness. Lotto announced that all profits from "Cupcake Cash" will go toward combating homelessness in the state. The ticket costs $2 for a chance to win up to $20,000.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus continued to set the stage for its fall legislative agenda Wednesday, calling a news conference and committee hearing to discuss education policy. Education and workforce development make up one of four pillars on the agenda unveiled by the caucus earlier this month. Potential actions include, according to advocates, significant financial investment to provide affordable child care, pre-kindergarten education, literacy programs and other measures focused to give preference to low-income students and families that need resources the most.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 266,151 total Coronavirus cases and 8,367 total deaths after the state reported 1,941 new cases and 35 additional deaths Wednesday. Livingston County and Kankakee County each reported additional deaths bringing their total deaths to 5 and 71 respectively. As for local active and recovered cases...Vermilion County reported 378 have been released from isolation, 90 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 264 have been removed from isolation, 25 cases are active with 6 of them hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 343 have been released, 14 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. McLean County reported 1,629 have recovered, 1,348 are in isolation, 8 are hospitalized with 2 of them in the intensive care unit. Kankakee County reported 1,840 have recovered, 698 cases are active and 11 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 3,517 have recovered, 410 cases are active with 5 of them hospitalized. Ford County reported 116 have been released, 6 are in isolation and 1 hospitalized.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A USDA research project is going deeper into the potential economic and environmental impacts of precision agriculture. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- The city of Danville has taken its next step towards building a casino in town for a much needed economic boost. The city council received all 10 votes it needed for a supermajority to pass the rezoning of a plot of land on Eastgate Drive to be used for business purposes. The vote comes two weeks after the cities Planning and Zoning Commission votes 5-1 in favor of declining the rezoning of the land.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The investigation into House Speaker Mike Madigan continues in Springfield with a legislative committee meeting to possibly discuss his fate. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains the process…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul will have a new public works director. Greg Hazel announced he will be retiring after 22 years with the village. Hazel agreed to stay on and help with the transition which is expected to be done by the first of the year.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- A historic house in Watseka has won a prestigious award. The Roff House received one of Landmark Illinois’ preservation awards. The 1868 Italian style house was restored by John Whitman. A virtual awards ceremony will take place October 21st.

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Governor J-B Pritzker says unfortunately, contact sports are still a no-go this fall

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says unfortunately, contact sports are still a no-go this fall. Hashtag, Let Us Play Rallies are scheduled for this weekend in Chicago and Springfield, with parents, students and coaches urging the Governor to allow them to get back on the football and soccer fields and volleyball courts. Pritzker says it’s still not safe…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says this isn’t a political decision and points to an outbreak among a community college baseball team in downstate Fairfield as an example of why certain sports should be delayed.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Lawmakers should be able to call House Speaker Michael Madigan or other witnesses to testify in the Illinois House's ethics investigation into Madigan and a ComEd bribery scheme, according to the Chicago Tribune. The U.S. attorney's office says it has no objections to lawmakers calling witnesses. The Chicago Tribune reported that three Republican members of the investigative committee submitted a voluntary witness list. The list includes Madigan and others implicated in the investigation, such as former ComEd executives and lobbyists.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 264,210 Coronavirus cases and 8,332 deaths. Locally, McLean County has reported 37 new cases bringing their total to 2,975. Champaign County reported 136 new cases bringing their total to 3,811. Vermilion County reported  32 new cases bringing their total to 471. Kankakee County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 2,588. Iroquois County  reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 376. Livingston County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 290. Ford County reported no new cases.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says if Illinois doesn’t get federal aid, many state and city jobs may be lost. The Governor says his state agency directors are identifying five percent cuts that could be made if Congress doesn’t approve an aid package. He says cities and counties will be hurting too, including in public safety…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says no federal help may mean thousands of people are furloughed or laid off.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- A lawsuit has been filed in Champaign County court to remove the counties treasurer. John Bambenek filed the lawsuit seeking to have current Treasurer Marisol Hughes removed from office and a replacement and financial audit be performed. Bambenek filed the lawsuit after he allegedly paid his second installment of real estate taxes on time however, due to a backlog in the treasurer's office he was assessed late penalties. The county treasurer’s office has been under intense scrutiny after a litany of issues including property taxes not being processed in a timely manner resulting in many receiving late penalties, failing to submit monthly reports to the county and not dispersing property tax funds to government entities in a timely manner. 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Some Ameren Illinois customers received a disconnect letter in the mail and they aren’t sure if their services will end this month. Officials from Ameren say if customers received a disconnect letter or are currently struggling to pay their utility bill, they should call the company. Ameren’s moratorium on disconnections ended on September 10.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- U-S Congressional leaders are still negotiating a Coronavirus relief package. One key part of the package is an extension of unemployment benefits. The $600 boost to unemployment benefits ran out recently. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says the benefits should be extended…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating an attempted armed robbery of a restaurant in the village. Police say two men entered the Papa John’s about 9:30 Monday night. One of the suspects displayed a handgun and demanded money. The employee refused and the subjects left. One was described as a young Black male, standing about 5-5, wearing a maroon-over-blue hoodie with a white stripe, dark pants and black boots. The other was described as a young Black male, standing about 6 feet tall, wearing a dark gray hoodie, light-colored pants and black shoes with white soles.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will be hosting their annual fish and chicken fry this Friday. Director Sandy Spitz talks about the dinner…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker is reminding Ford County residents the deadline to pay your first installment of real estate taxes is Friday. Taxes can be paid at the courthouse, any Ford County bank or by mail if postmarked by Friday.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The National Weather Service declares that La Nina is officially here. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The second state Senate committee hearing spurred by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ recently unveiled legislative agenda focused on criminal justice reforms Tuesday. The joint hearing of the Senate Criminal Law and Public Safety committees addressed truth-In-sentencing laws that mandate violent offenders serve more of their sentence; mandatory minimums that restrict judicial discretion and require longer sentences for crimes; three-strike enhancements to sentences that give repeat offenders more jail time for minor crimes; and resentencing convicted persons after one of their infractions is decriminalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New data from the Illinois Board of Higher Education finds that while minority women are faring better than men in college, they are earning less once they graduate. According to the numbers, african american and latin-x females have better access, retention and graduation rates than males, but end up with a smaller paycheck says Board Executive Director Ginger Ostro...

 

 

Illinois Board of Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro. The analysis is part of a larger effort to put together a long term strategic plan for improving higher education in Illinois.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 1,446 new Coronavirus cases and 20 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 264,210 and total deaths to 8,332. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 1,609 have recovered, 1,341 remain in isolation, 7 are hospitalized with 2 in ICU. Champaign County reported 3,385 have recovered, 406 cases are active and 1 is hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 377 have been released from isolation, 87 remain in isolation, and 3 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 1,821 have recovered, 677 cases are active and 11 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 340 have been released from isolation, 15 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 262 have been removed from isolation, 24 cases are active with 5 hospitalized. Ford County reported 116 have been released from isolation, 6 in isolation and 1 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The State is offering 245 million dollars in grants to small businesses struggling during the pandemic. This is the second round of Business Interruption Grants, focusing this time on heavily impacted industries, downstate businesses and those in areas hit especially hard by COVID-19. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Erin Guthrie says there’s also money for businesses that suffered during recent civil unrest…

 

 

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Erin Guthrie. Grant applications will be available starting Thursday on DCEO’s website.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul firefighters and investigators from the state fire marshal's office are investigating after a house trailer that caught fire last week caught fire again over the weekend. Firefighters were called to the fire just before 2:30 Sunday morning. The house trailer was deemed a total loss.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Congressman John Shimkus is accepting applications for military service academy nominations. To be eligible: applicants must be American citizens at least 17 but not more than 23 years of age, not married or have legal obligations of child support and must live within the 15th Congressional District. Applications are due by October 30th and can be obtained by calling his office at 618-288-7190.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Small business owners listen up. If your business has been negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic help is on the way. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City will be hosting a facebook live event this week focusing on helping small business owners…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- A new wind farm could be coming to Vermilion County. Tri Global Energy is proposing a 225 megawatt wind farm near Georgetown. The company is in the proposal stage. If approved, it would be the largest wind farm in Vermilion County. 

 

 

(Paxton-cf)--The Paxton Masonic Lodge is raffling a trip to the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis Tennessee. The winner of the raffle will receive a voucher with $2,500 to use at the hotel. Tickets are $75 and only 300 will be sold.  Masonic Lodge Member James Sheral has the details… 

 

 

Masonic Lodge Member James Sheral. You can purchase your raffle ticket from any active Lodge Member, at Hudson's Drug and Hallmark shop, or from Beau Tyler the Manager of the Public House 130.

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police District 21 based in Ashkum have released their August statistics. During the month troopers issued 422 citations and 741 written warnings including 11 for DUI and 34 seatbelt citations. Troopers also made 23 criminal arrests. During the month troopers responded to 67 traffic accidents and conducted 810 traffic stops.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Brazilian soybean producers are receiving incentive to plant more, but how does that equate to production? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,373 new Coronavirus cases Monday

(Springfield-jm) -- With the economy showing signs of life despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinoisans were among the leaders nationally in paying down credit card debt. According to the personal finance website WalletHub, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation in paying down debt in the second quarter of this year. According to the study, the average household in Illinois owes $8,339 in credit card debt, following a $491 decrease in the second quarter. Nationally, U.S. consumers paid down $58.1 billion in credit card debt. That followed a record first-quarter pay down of $60 billion. As a result, WalletHub now projects that U.S. consumers will end the year with a slight reduction in credit card debt for the first time since the end of the Great Recession in 2009.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ public pensions, long underfunded by lawmakers, are beginning to show just how much of a financial hit they took during the pandemic. A report from Moody’s Investors Service estimates Illinois’ pension liability will spike to $261 billion in 2020, up from $230 billion in the 2019 fiscal year. Moody's said the increase was because of a combination of lower interest rates and investment losses. That state has estimated its pension liabilities to be about $137 billion. The funds are around 40 percent funded, one of the lowest funding ratios in the nation.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education is asking for input from educators, parents, students, and community organizers on state funding for public education. The department wants to hear what investments will support student learning, improve learning conditions, and elevate educators, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group will be accepting testimonies in writing and at three virtual budget hearings in October.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- During Disaster Preparedness Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency wants to make sure seniors are ready for a disaster. Nearly two point seven million seniors live in Illinois, and need to be ready for anything from flooding to the current pandemic, says IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. She says they should focus on four areas…

 

 

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Creating a support network includes getting to know your neighbors, since about 46 percent of people will rely on those living nearby immediately following an emergency. Clark says families can help make seniors comfortable using a cell phone, and a program called Illinois Care Connections can provide technology services such as I-pads and tablets to qualifying seniors.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,373 new Coronavirus cases Monday and 5 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 262,744 and total deaths to 8,314. The seven day positivity rate is 3.6 percent. Locally since Friday, McLean County reported 136 new cases bringing their total to 2,938. Vermilion County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 439. Champaign County reported 255 new cases bringing their total to 3,675. Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 127. Livingston County reported 10 new cases including 3 at the Pontiac Correctional Center bringing their total to 288. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 372. Kankakee County reported 25 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,574 and total deaths to 70.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting case numbers for area communities. 285 cases were in Rantoul, 125 in Mahomet, 72 in Gilman, 64 in Clifton, 63 in St. Joseph, 51 in Watseka, 43 in Paxton, 36 in Chebanse, 34 in Fisher, 31 each in Hoopeston and Fairbury, 30 in Onarga, 19 in Gibson City, 15 in Forrest, 14 each in Cissna Park and Ashkum, 11 in Danforth, 10 each in Thomasboro, Rossville and Foosland, 9 each in Milford, Donovan and Crescent City, 8 each in Saybrook, Gifford and Cabery, 7 each in Bellflower, Potomac, Martinton and Piper City, 6 each in Buckley, Ludlow and Beaverville, 5 in Dewey and 1 in Penfield.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- It’s feeling more fall like. How does the forecast look for the remainder of September and into October? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul woman was arrested following a single vehicle accident in the village. Rantoul police were called to the area of Eagle Drive and Pacesetter Drive just before 6pm Sunday evening for a vehicle that struck a tree. Officers arrested 63 year old Marion Trotter for driving under the influence of alcohol, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, intimidation and cited for improper lane usage. Police say Trotter was driving drunk when she struck the tree then threatened officers who were there investigating the accident.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- If you haven’t submitted your census, your time is running out. The deadline to submit your census information is the end of the month. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about why filling out the census is so important…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Gilman/Onarga-jm) -- Gilman and Onarga residents may notice some changes if they are Comcast customers. The company unexpectedly began removing overhead lines and poles in the area. The company has not said what they are doing.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn harvesting is just beginning in Illinois. In the weekly crop report, State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 37 percent of corn is mature and two percent has been harvested with 72 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition. He says soybeans are turning color on 49 percent of acres…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa is 95 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture improved to four percent very short, 26 percent short, 63 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study found six Illinois cities rank among the top 50 most affordable housing markets in the country, largely as a result of depressed home prices. The website RefiGuide compared income and the cost of a house to determine how far the median household income could go toward the purchase price of a home in that city. Peoria ranked sixth in the country, Decatur ranked eighth, Joliet ranked 13th, Rockford ranked 21st, Springfield ranked 29th and Bloomington ranked 34th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a statewide investigation into the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water. The investigation will look into all 1,749 community water supplies in Illinois and is expected to take 12 to 15 months to complete. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Eleven Illinois organizations that are helping people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic will receive some extra financial support. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced a total of $8,062,251 will go to 11 organizations that are providing resources and services to communities that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These grants will support housing, victim services, legal aid, advocacy, food security, and reentry services in the areas that have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- While the world fights the pandemic, health experts say there's a chronic epidemic that continues to hide in the shadows. Mary Scheurmann reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 262,744 Coronavirus cases and 8,314 deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 1,501 have recovered, 1,412 are in isolation,7 are hospitalized with 2 in ICU. Vermilion County reported 365 have been released from isolation, 66 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 3,370 have recovered, 285 cases are active and 1 is hospitalized. Ford County reported 116 have been released, 6 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Livingston County reported 257 have been removed, 27 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 336 have been released, 15 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 1,780 have recovered, 724 cases are active and 11 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 28,189 of the state's Coronavirus cases and 4,515 deaths are from Long Term Care Facilities in the state.  According to IDPH, in Champaign County,  4 cases and 1 death has occurred at Champaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehab, 7 cases at Country Health and Rehab in Gifford, 2 cases at Clark Lindsay, 2 cases at Illini Heritage,  28 cases and 4 deaths at Reflections Memory Care, 5 cases at University Rehab Center and 5 cases at the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul. In Ford County, 38 cases and 3 deaths have been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton, 2 cases at Accolade Senior Living in Paxton and 4 cases at Gibson Annex. In Iroquois County, 79 cases and 15 deaths were reported at Gilman Healthcare and 3 cases were reported at Prairieview Lutheran Home in Danforth

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- An area lawmaker is expressing frustration with the failure of the state’s unemployment backlog. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says his office has received lots of calls and emails from people wanting answers…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A University of Illinois student told law enforcement she was the victim of a phone scam. The student said she received a phone call from someone who said they were a member of the U.S. Marshals Service. The caller reportedly claimed that the student's Social Security number had been compromised and there was a warrant for her arrest. Police said the scammer told the student she could resolve the issue by wiring $2,900 to an unknown account via Bitcoin. The student made the transaction. The student reported the incident to police after the caller demanded more money.

 

 

(WPXN-cf)-- The Farmers Almanac is predicting a cold and flaky winter this year. Fox 55/27 Meteorologist Doug Quick says that assumption is pretty on par… 

 

 

Fox 55/27 Television Meteorologist Doug Quick. 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is resuming household hazardous waste collections this fall. The agency stopped collections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday, October 10th, will be the closest recycling event in the WPXN listening area in Watseka. Oil based paints, antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, insecticides and pesticides are allowed. Items such as latex based paints, explosives, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and ag chemicals are not accepted.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn harvesting is just beginning in Illinois. 95 percent of corn is in the dent stage or beyond says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 49 percent of soybeans are turning color and 17 percent of acres are dropping leaves. 71 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture increased to four percent very short, 26 percent short, 63 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

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30 Illinois counties are now at the warning level for COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) --  In hopes of catching up to high demand, Illinois State Police announced an extension to FOID Card owners whose card expired after the start of the pandemic. The update still requires residents to have a FOID Card to own a firearm or ammunition, but gives an extension to those whose FOID cards expired after March 9 under the State's Disaster Proclamation. The extension will continue for 18 months after the State's Disaster Proclamation ends, but owners must submit a renewal application.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- 30 Illinois counties are now at the warning level for COVID-19. The counties are located all over the state, with warning levels triggered by rising test positivity rates, ER visits, clusters of cases and other troubling trends. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says local officials are seeing people gathering in large groups, not social distancing and not wearing a mask…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says some people refuse to participate in contact tracing and are not providing information about close contacts or answering the phone. Vermilion County is one of the counties now at warning level. Local health officials say they have seen an increase in the number of ER visits.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 260,000 confirmed Coronavirus cases. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced there are 261,371 total cases and 8,309 total deaths. We will have the latest numbers tonight on our news at 4 and 5.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is launching a new website just for hunters. The new “Hunt Illinois” website is a great resource, says DNR Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. The website is: hunt illinois dot org.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The minuteman missile on the west side of the former Chanute Air Force Base in the village of Rantoul will remain. Late Friday the village received word from Washington that demolition of the missile, which was scheduled to begin next week, will not happen.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Four Rantoul teens have been arrested for allegedly breaking into vehicles in the village. Police say they were called to the 1200 block of Sycamore Lane for a report of a burglary to a motor vehicle. The victim told police four juveniles attempted to get in their vehicle and believed they had gotten into the neighbor's vehicle. The four juveniles between the ages of 13 and 17 were found and arrested.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Dozens of motorcycles roared through Paxton Sunday afternoon. It was part of the annual 9-11 Memorial Ride. The group stopped at the Paxton firehouse for lunch before heading south to Rantoul before going back to Tilton.

 

 

(Gilman-cf)-- We are just under a month away from harvest in the WPXN listening area. Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece gives an update on how fields are looking… 

 

 

Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two area school boards meet tonight. The Mahomet Seymour School Board will hold a budget hearing at 7 pm followed by their monthly study session at 8 where they will hear a COVID-19 update. Rantoul Township High School will also have a budget hearing tonight. That starts at 5:45 with their monthly meeting starting at 6. School board members will discuss the first reading of updated school policies and possibly approve the FY21 budget. The Rantoul Township High School school board meeting gets underway at 6 with the Mahomet Seymour School Board study session getting underway at 8.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The prospects of a second round of stimulus payments look bleak after a Republican led proposal failed in the U-S Senate this week. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois condemned the bill saying it didn’t help the people who need it most…

 

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Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton restaurant will be moving to a bigger location later this month. Pueblo Lindo will move from their location in the Marshall Building in downtown Paxton to the same building as Elite Fitness. The new location will allow them to have space for up to 130 guests compared to 77 at their current location. They will also have a banquet room that can seat an additional 300. They also plan on adding a bar and gaming room at their new location.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A railroad crossing in Gibson City will be closed starting today. IDOT officials announced the Route 9/47 railroad crossing will be closed between 1st and 8th streets. The closure could last through the 25th. Detour signs will be put up.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA has lowered its production forecasts for several major crops.  Gary Crawford has the details…

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Check the mail for the pros and cons of a proposed amendment to the Illinois constitution voters will be asked in the General Election. The blue, four-page pamphlet includes an explanation of the amendment to change Illinois’ flat income tax to one that increases tax rates on people who make more money, and an argument for and an argument against. The pamphleting budget was $2.5 million through the Secretary of State’s office.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor is urging construction managers to take part in this week’s national campaign to prevent falls. Falling from an elevation is the leading cause of death for construction workers, says Illinois OSHA Director Brandy Lozosky…

 

 

Illinois OHSA Director Brandy Lozosky. A training guide, lesson plans, videos and more is available online at: osha dot gov slash stop falls stand down. Topics covered include scaffolding and roofing safety.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has over 261,000 Coronavirus cases after the state reported 2,145 cases Friday, 2,121 cases Saturday and 1,462 cases on Sunday. The state also reported 68 additional deaths in that timespan. The seven day positivity rate is 3.7 percent.



 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 30 months probation for writing bad checks. Shannon Sabol pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to deceptive practices. Police say on two occasions Sabol wrote checks at a Rantoul business from a closed account. He was also ordered to pay back the amount he owed.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police in Ashkum have released results from two recent enforcement patrols. During Distracted Driving patrols, 14 citations were issued for being on a hand held device and 7 citations were issued for texting while driving. During Nighttime Enforcement Patrols, 2 citations were issued for occupant restraint offenses, 1 citation for a registration offense, 4 citations for drivers license offenses and 4 citations for insurance offenses.

 

 

(Rural Melvin-jm) -- Roberts and Melvin firefighters were called to a shed fire Saturday evening. Firefighters were called to the fire at 35625 East 400 North in Livingston County, just after 9 pm. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Illinois’ GOP Congressional members have sent a letter to the state to show how federal Coronavirus relief money is being spent. An Inspector Generals report found less than 20 percent of the money given to the state has actually been distributed. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says he and other GOP members want to make sure rural and downstate areas are getting their fair share…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Several area communities and one county board meet tonight for their monthly meeting. Gibson City council members will consider a contract with Ridgeview Recycling, consider hiring special legal counsel for a cyber breach and consider approving a bid to rehab well #1.Gilman City Council members will consider a cable tv franchise agreement and consider approving an engineering proposal for an IDOT grant application for the North Central Streetscape project. Roberts village leaders are expected to approve mulch bids for the park, consider creating a CURES program and provide an update on the positions up for the 2021 election. The Ford County Board will meet where they are expected to approve an ordinance creating a countywide CURES program and possibly set the salary for the public defender position. The Gibson City, Gilman and Ford County Board meetings get underway at 7. The Roberts village board meeting gets underway at 7:30.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- An area state lawmaker is criticizing the state’s handling of the massive unemployment crisis during the Coronavirus pandemic. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the state has failed to help those unemployed…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington

 

 

(Kankakee-jm) -- The Kankakee County Public Health Department is announcing a batch of mosquitoes in the county have tested positive for west nile. The health department says the batch of mosquitoes were caught in Bourbonnais. They remind people to wear long sleeves when out during peak mosquito hours and wear insect repellent that contains DEET.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Those wanting assistance in lowering their utility bills can do so later this month. 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign will be hosting a virtual clinic with the Citizens Utility Board on Wednesday, September 30th from 5:30-7:30 pm. More details are available by calling Senator Bennett’s office at 217-355-5252.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Despite an downward adjustment in corn and soybean production and yield estimates in September, USDA notes numbers that reflect potential records or near records for both crops this year.  Rod Bain reports…

 

 

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The state of Illinois could lose out on millions of dollars in funding if residents do not fill out the 2020 Census

(Springfield-jm) -- The state of Illinois could lose out in millions upon millions of dollars in funding if residents do not fill out the 2020 Census. Governor J-B Pritzker visited Illinois State University to highlight the importance of making sure everyone is being counted in this year's census as the deadline quickly approaches. Colleges and universities are usually hard places for the census to get an accurate count, but because of the pandemic, it's made things even harder. Nearly $195 million could be lost in federal funding for the state if there's even just a 1% undercount.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a lawsuit against e cigarette manufacturer Juice Man. The lawsuit alleges the company developed and marketed their product to minors. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- COVID-19 cases in Illinois now top 255 thousand. As over 19 hundred new cases are reported in the daily numbers, two regions of Illinois, the Metro East area and Will and Kankakee Counties remain under tighter restrictions. Governor J-B Pritzker says the mitigations are needed when the test positivity rate gets too high and reminds that we can’t outrun the virus...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Over 82 hundred people in Illinois have now died from COVID. About 16 hundred with the virus were in the hospital. McLean County reported 35 new cases bringing their total to 2,697. Vermilion County 14 new cases bringing their total to 405. Livingston County 7 new cases bringing their total to 271. Kankakee County 24 new cases bringing their total to 2,520. Iroquois County 3 new cases bringing their total to 367. Ford and Champaign Counties both reported no new cases Thursday. McLean and Kankakee Counties each also reported 1 additional death bringing their totals to 18 and 69 respectively.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House Special Investigating Committee gets underway. The group is looking into whether disciplinary action should be taken against House Speaker Mike Madigan over the recent Commonwealth Edison bribery scandal. Committee Chairman, Representative Chris Welch, says this first meeting was organizational. He says the next step is to make sure these hearings won’t impede federal prosecutors…

 

 

Committee Chairman Representative Chris Welch. House Republicans have submitted a list of potential witnesses and documents they would like to see.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating after an apartment building in the village was hit by gunfire. Police were called to the 100 block of north Chanute Street for a report of shots fired. Officers found an apartment building had been struck by three bullets. No injuries were reported and no description of the suspects were given.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County Sheriff's Office recently received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding. The Department of Justice awarded $487,422 to the Champaign County Sheriff's Office through the National Crime Statistics Exchange program. The Sheriff's Office will use the funding to upgrade and replace the current records management system to comply with state and federal incident-based crime reporting.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Illinois GOP Congressional members are asking the state government to show where the federal Coronavirus relief money has gone. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger talks about Illinois’ budget and the relief funds from Washington…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education has announced SAT exam dates. High school seniors will have three dates to take the exam: September 23rd, October 14th and a make up test date of October 27th. 

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- A former Gilman lumber yard is getting new life. Iroquois Paving bought the former Alexander Lumber facility.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The Farmers-dot-gov website has more features to help farmers and ranchers more easily interact with USDA. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday they will hold their September term at the state Supreme Court chamber. The Supreme Court hasn’t met in person because of COVID. Their last term, which was in May, was held virtually. There are 17 cases scheduled for the September term.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Two companies that were rejected for Illinois marijuana licenses have filed a lawsuit to delay the state from awarding licenses to the winning applicants. The state announced that only 21 of 700 applicants would proceed to a lottery for 75 licenses. Southshore Restore and Heartland Greens did not make the cut and are suing the state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which regulates dispensaries, and Bret Bender, deputy director of the Cannabis Control Section. The applicants allege in the suit that the 21 groups are politically-connected insider companies and that it is unconstitutional to not give unsuccessful applications a chance to challenge the department's decision.

 

 

(Pontiac-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Corrections and Illinois Department of Public Health are investigating two cases of Legionnaires Disease at the Pontiac Correctional Center. The two individuals are currently hospitalized. Inmates and staff will continue to be monitored by IDOC and IDPH.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- COVID-19 cases in Illinois now top 255 thousand. Most patients have recovered, but over 82 hundred people have now died. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike reminds everyone to wear a mask, because even if you feel fine, you still may be carrying the Coronavirus and infect others…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Two regions remain under stricter mitigations. Officials say while Will and Kankakee numbers are improving, the Metro East positivity rate remains above 10 percent. As for local active and recovered cases, 1,342 have recovered in McLean County with 1,330 in isolation and 7 hospitalized including 2 in intensive care. 2,415 have recovered in Champaign County with 629 active cases and 3 hospitalized. 331 have been released from isolation in Vermilion County with 56 in isolation and 4 hospitalized. 226 have been removed from isolation in Livingston County with 41 active cases and 2 hospitalized. 1,682 have recovered in Kankakee County with 769 active cases and 15 hospitalized. 322 have been released from isolation in Iroquois County with 24 in isolation and 2 hospitalized. 100 have been released from isolation in Ford County with 15 in isolation and 1 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a new 166 million dollar investment in putting more Illinoisans back to work. The Governor says the federal funding will be used to train and place nearly 13 hundred people in a variety of jobs, including those created by the pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. For more information about this effort, visit: illinois dot gov slash get hired.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul woman has been charged with DUI after her car struck a light pole and rolled on Neipswah Avenue in the Indian Hills area. Rantoul police say 23 year old Ashanti Ellis was driving under the influence when she struck a light pole and rolled at least two times. Ellis was also cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. No injuries were reported.


 

 

(Paxton-cf)--The Paxton Masonic Lodge is raffling a trip to the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis Tennessee. The winner of the raffle will receive a voucher with $2,500 to use at the hotel. Tickets are $75 and only 300 will be sold.  Masonic Lodge Member James Sheral has the details… 

 

 

Paxton Masonic Lodge Member James Sheral. You can purchase your raffle ticket from any active Lodge Member, at Hudson's Drug and Hallmark shop, or from Beau Tyler the Manager of the Public House 130. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A new store is coming to the north Prospect Avenue area in Champaign. Burlington announced they are going into the space between Target and Lowe’s. The store hopes to open in Spring 2021.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- OSF Healthcare is announcing a new primary care office is coming to Savoy. The office will feature 9 exam rooms. The new office will be located at 501 North Dunlap and will open this fall.

 

 

(Gibson City-cf)-- Today's WPXN News local business spotlight is MCS Office Technologies in Gibson City. MCS Owner and CEO Todd McNutt details how MCS got its start.. 

 

 

MCS Office Technologies Owner and CEO Todd McNutt.

 

 

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Colleges and universities are facing several challenges as the semester begins amidst a pandemic

(Springfield-jm) -- The first case of human West Nile Virus infection is being confirmed in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting a woman in her 40’s from DuPage County became sick last month and has tested positive for West Nile. Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says most people with the virus don’t show any symptoms, but some may experience fever, nausea, headaches and muscle aches and should call their doctor…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says the best way to protect yourself is to wear insect repellant and report any stagnant pools of water where mosquitoes can breed.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A House legislative committee will meet at 9 this morning where they will begin their investigation into House Speaker Mike Madigan’s role in the ComEd bribery scheme. Madigan was implicated in a deferred prosecution agreement between federal investigators and the utility giant. The committee is made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Madigan has said several times he never did anything wrong.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- While the latest total adult-use cannabis sales for Illinois for the month of August weren’t immediately available, the amount of taxes for the month is in. Data from the Illinois Department of Revenue show the state took in $19.2 million in cannabis taxes last month, which is $5.3 million more than collected in July and nearly double what was brought in back in January. That money is split several ways, including grants to nonprofits in certain areas. State taxes can be more than 40 percent, depending on the potency. Local governments that approved additional local taxes started collecting up to 3 percent more beginning July 1.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Colleges and universities are facing several challenges as the semester begins amidst a pandemic. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has increased restrictions on students and Bradley University in Peoria has quarantined the entire student body after an outbreak of COVID-19. Many schools have had to quarantine at least some students, and Governor J-B Pritzker says that’s the best option for those who are sick…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Many college administrators have expressed concerns about students attending large parties as well. And as for the Coronavirus numbers from Wednesday. The state reported 1,337 new cases and 30 additional deaths. Locally, McLean County reported 36 new cases bringing their total to 2,662. Vermilion County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 391. Champaign County reported 158 new cases bringing their total to 3,064. Livingston County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 264. Kankakee County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 2,496. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 364. Ford County reported no new cases leaving their total at 120.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois announced enrollment this fall set a record. The University announced Wednesday 52,331 students enrolled for classes for the 2020-2021 school year. Undergrad enrollment fell slightly to 33,492 from 33,850 in 2019.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- One area lawmaker is criticizing Governor J-B Pritzker’s order fining businesses for not requiring individuals to wear masks in their stores. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says businesses are not mask police and it unfairly targets businesses…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul fire officials say a fire at a mobile home Tuesday morning is suspicious. Firefighters were called to the fire in the 1200 block of Wedgewood around 3 am. Fire officials say the mobile home had been abandoned at the time of the fire.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On September 5th, John Green of Champaign was arrested for disorderly conduct after police were called to an intoxicated individual at Casey’s. Also on September 5th, Devin Bradford of Paxton was arrested for domestic battery, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence and criminal damage to property. On September 3rd, Elijah Cannon of Champaign was arrested for possession of cannabis with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and cited for speeding and illegal possession of adult use cannabis in a motor vehicle following a traffic stop at Pells and Washington.  Also on September 3rd, Stephanie Dorrough of Paxton was arrested on a Champaign County warrant for failure to appear.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A look at USDA's latest farm product price index report shows declines for many products, with a few notable exceptions. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- There’s just a few weeks left for small non profit groups to apply for food and housing grants through Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs office. 375 thousand dollars will be split between 30 organizations through the charitable trust stabilization program says Treasurer Frerichs…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Groups selected will receive up to 12 thousand 500 dollars each. Apply by September 30th at: il charitable trust dot com.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and cold weather approaches, the Illinois Commerce Commission is pushing for the moratorium on residential customer disconnections for non-payment to be extended. Last week, the Illinois Commerce Commission sent a letter to large state-regulated utilities to request an extension of the moratorium until March 31, 2021. All five Commissioners signed the letter, which includes data from the Illinois Department of Public Health about COVID-19 in the state.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- For the second straight year, the number of workers who are members of labor unions has declined in Illinois. Analyzing data from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, researchers from the Illinois Economic Institute, the University of Illinois, and the University of California-Irvine found that union membership has decreased in the state by over 56-thousand workers since 2017. The report said the decline was largely due to decreases in union workers in public sector jobs, a traditional labor stronghold. The public sector was shaken by the 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Janus vs. AFSCME case, which ended requirements that government workers covered by collective bargaining pay union fees.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Colleges and universities are facing several challenges as the semester begins amidst a pandemic. Bradley University in Peoria has quarantined the entire student body after a COVID outbreak and cases doubled over the weekend at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. At Illinois State, President Larry Dietz says they had large crowds gathering overnight as two YouTube stars visited Normal…

 

 

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has increased restrictions on students and is conducting mass testing, while college administrators across the state warn students about having big parties. As for Wednesday numbers, Illinois now stands at 253,690 confirmed Coronavirus cases and 8,214 total deaths. And for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 1,307 have recovered, 1,330 are in isolation and 8 are hospitalized with 2 in intensive care. Vermilion County reported 331 have been released from isolation, 52 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 2,414 have recovered, 630 cases are active and 3 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 215 have been removed from isolation, 45 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 1,646 have recovered, 782 cases are active with 15 hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 320 have been released from isolation, 24 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Ford County reported 100 have been released from isolation, 15 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized.

 

 

(Pontiac-jm) -- The Livingston County Public Health Department announced late Wednesday a bat found in Pontiac has tested positive for rabies. The health department says August and September are when the highest number of bats are submitted to the state for testing. The health department doesn’t think any people or pets were exposed. So far 33 bats have tested positive in Illinois for rabies this year.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Nitetime Enforcement Patrols in September. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton business is closing at the end of the month. Chakra Studio, located in downtown Paxton, announced they will be closing September 30th. The studio offered yoga, indoor cycling and group fitness classes.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Drive Thru job fair for Fed Ex in Champaign will be held today. The job fair will take place from 10-3 at the FedEx location on Mercury Drive. Positions include full time, part time and weekend only with positions earning up to $16.50 an hour.

 

 

(Tilton-cf)-- Today’sWPXN’s local business  spotlight is DTI Office Solutions in Tilton. DTI services from Danville to Watseka, and Bloomington to Paris on all your office needs. DTI Office Solutions Owner Tony Mages gives a background on how DTI started… 

 

 

DTI Office Solutions Owner Tony Mages

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The Progressive Tax is a big topic for the upcoming elections

(Springfield-jm) --  More than 100 labor organizations in Illinois endorsed a proposed amendment on the November ballot to change the state's flat-rate income tax structure to a system that has higher rates for those who make more than $250,000 a year, but business groups said it would make it easier for lawmakers to raise taxes. Representatives from the UAW, AFL-CIO, the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Brotherhood of Electricians called for the passage of the fair tax amendment in November. Proponents have said that the proposal would make the state tax code fairer and provide tax relief to more Illinoisans. Opponents have said it will open the door to future tax hikes that hurt taxpayers and small businesses and would drive more people to leave the state. Illinois has had a flat rate, which is currently 4.95% for individuals, since the income tax was instituted in 1969. The Illinois Constitution mandates that any income tax be imposed at a single rate for all individual taxpayers, regardless of their income level. Illinois is one of eight states that has a flat rate tax. If the referendum is approved in November, the new tax rates would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Months of economic shutdowns, remote working, virtual classrooms and violence in larger cities in Illinois could be taking its toll on the state’s population. From March 1 to August 14, 67 percent of all moves United Van Lines carried over Illinois’ state lines were residents leaving the state. That’s an increase from 2019, when 61 percent were outbound. Only New Jersey had a higher rate, at 69 percent. On the opposite end, Vermont, Idaho, Oregon, South Carolina, Arizona, and Tennessee saw the highest rate of inbound movers. 


 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing the last round of grants from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund. $7.5 million is going out this 5th and final time to 7 non-profit organizations in Illinois. That includes the Community Health Partnership of Illinois, which will use the money to offer mobile clinics in downstate counties like Champaign and Peoria says CEO Eleace (elise) Sawyers…

 

 

Community Health Partnership of Illinois CEO Eleace Sawyers. More than 30 million dollars in grants have been awarded, funding things like meal and utility assistance, supplies for emergency workers and short term rental assistance.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,392 new Coronavirus cases and 7 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 252,353 and deaths to 8,186. Locally since Friday, McLean County reported 314 new cases bringing their total to 2,626. Champaign County reported 309 new cases bringing their total to 2,906. Ford County reported 4 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 120 and deaths to 4. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 382. Livingston County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 255. Kankakee County reported 63 new cases bringing their total to 2,483. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 359.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn continues to progress at a faster pace than usual as we hear in the weekly crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says corn is moving along nicely…

 


 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 13 percent of soybean acres are turning color, compared to 33 percent normally. Two percent are dropping leaves and 68 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture declined last week to 13 percent very short, 44 percent short and 43 percent adequate.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton first responders were called to a two vehicle accident late Tuesday afternoon. Crews were called to the accident at Route 9 and 115 just before 4:30. No injuries were reported.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul has received two donations for the sports complex. Denny and Anne Long donated $30,000 while the Bank of Rantoul pitched in $100,000. The bank is celebrating a century of service to the village and area

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- An Illinois Congressional member says he believes the Coronavirus pandemic will show more than just a health crisis in the country. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kizinger says he believes it will bring to light the need for broadband internet access in rural areas…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating an argument that led to damage to a vehicle. The incident occurred in the 400 block of Marco Drive. Police say there was an argument between two individuals when one of them grabbed a baseball bat and smashed the headlight of the others vehicle.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police say a report of an armed individual in the village turned out to be false. The alleged incident took place August 25th in the 1200 block of E. Grove. According to police, witness statements and surveillance video from the area did not support the allegations.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- China continues to expand purchases of U.S. agricultural products. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois could be on the verge of entering Phase 5 of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 reopening plan, if the statewide plan remains in place and a vaccine is approved by the federal government. On May 5, Pritzker revealed his five-phase reopening plan called “Restore Illinois.” That was after nearly two months of stay-at-home orders. His plan four months ago laid out what would relax all restrictions. The White House last week said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent notices to states to start preparing for a vaccine. Pritzker last month said when a vaccine is ready, he doesn’t expect it to be required to attend school.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A special investigative committee of the General Assembly will begin meeting at the Capitol this week to decide the fate of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Madigan was implicated in a bribery scheme in July when officials from the utility giant Commonwealth Edison admitted to federal prosecutors that, over a period of years, they awarded lobbying jobs and contracts to close associates of Madigan as part of a concerted effort to curry his support for legislation that would benefit the company. The special investigative committee will be made up of six members, evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The first hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 9 am.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An economic development educator at the University of Illinois Extension offers some tips for businesses working to make customers feel safe from the Coronavirus. The Extension’s Jennifer Russell says it’s important for customers to get a good vibe about health protocols from the moment they walk in or sit at a table…

 

 

University of Illinois Extension’s Jennifer Russell. Russell says businesses should be very upfront about their cleaning protocols, and even do small things such as having a cup for sanitized pens and dirty pens for signing receipts to help customers feel comfortable. Frequent hand sanitizer stations and going touchless wherever possible is also a good idea says Russell.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported almost 14 hundred new Coronavirus cases Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 252,353 and deaths to 8,186. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 1,290 have recovered, 1,311 are in isolation, 8 are hospitalized with 2 in the Intensive Care. Champaign County reported 2,362 have recovered, 524 cases are active and 3 are hospitalized. Ford County reported 100 have been released from isolation, 15 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 323 have been released from isolation, 51 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 204 have been released from isolation, 47 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 1,645 have recovered, 770 cases are active and 19 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 312 have been released, 27 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn continues to progress at a faster pace than usual as we hear in the weekly crop report. 86 percent of corn has reached the dent stage or beyond, compared to 78 percent normally. 23 percent is mature and 70 percent of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener takes a look at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 93 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to 13 percent very short, 44 percent short, and 43 percent adequate.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two area school districts reported new Coronavirus cases within their district. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley schools announced a GCMS elementary student as well as an elementary school staff member and a shared staff member between the middle school and high school have tested positive. Yesterday, Rantoul City Schools announced a Pleasant Acres employee tested positive.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two Kankakee teens have been arrested for beating up an elderly man in Rantoul last month. 18 year old Bryson Russell and a 16 year old juvenile were arrested in Kankakee and charged with aggravated battery, mob action and battery. Police say the two teens attacked the gentleman in his front yard on August 17th. The teens are in custody in Champaign County.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Several Illinois counties are now at the warning level for the Coronavirus. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the criteria for the level…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Mahomet man has been sentenced to 5 years in prison after pleading guilty in 3 separate cases. Matthew Lee entered the pleas in Champaign County court. In the first case, Lee pleaded guilty to DUI for an arrest in October 2019. He was given credit for 205 days, charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and failure to report property damage accident were dismissed. In the second case, Lee pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen vehicle. He was given 3 years for that charge. In the third case, Lee pleaded guilty to damaging a Rantoul police squad car after he was arrested for trying to break into vehicles. In exchange for that plea, charges of attempted burglary and aggravated battery to a peace officer were dismissed.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police provided an update on the search for a missing man. Police say the bike belonging to David Franklin was found in rural Rantoul over the weekend. Franklin is a 62 year old male last seen August 19th in the Maplewood Plaza area. He was last seen wearing green jogging pants with blue shorts over the top of them and a royal blue hooded sweatshirt. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police immediately.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is forecasting that the median 2020 income for farm households will be $89,674 dollars. Is that up from last year, or down? Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

 

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After a fairly dry August, half of the state is experiencing drought or near drought conditions

(Undated-jm) -- Among Illinois residents, active military personnel make up 164 out of every 100,000 people – the 32nd highest share among the 50 states, according to a new analysis by the website 24/7 Wall St. Illinois contains 27 military bases, with per-capita defense spending in the state estimated at $600. 24/7 Wall St.’s analysis is based on March 31 numbers compiled by the Defense Manpower Data Center.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois wine drinkers pay the equivalent of $1.39 per gallon in state wine excise taxes, according to a new analysis from the Tax Foundation based on January 2020 data. The wine excise tax in Illinois was 13th highest among the 50 states, the Tax Foundation study found.

 

(Rantoul--jc)  --  Rantoul firefighters were called to a mobile home fire just after 3 this morning. The fire occurred at a mobile home in the 12 hundred block of Wedgewood Drive. No One was hurt in the blaze. Rantoul fire department officials continue to look to the cause of the fire. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 250,000 Coronavirus cases. The state reported 1,381 new cases and 8 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 250,961 and total deaths to 8,179. The seven day positivity rate stands at 4.2 percent.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- After a fairly dry August, half of the state is experiencing drought or near drought conditions. Although last month included a little bit of everything including high temps, low temps and a derecho, it ended up cooler than normal and the 15th driest August on record in Illinois, leaving the top half of the state either abnormally dry or in a moderate drought. State Climatologist Trent Ford says that probably isn’t changing anytime soon…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. The long term outlook calls for cooler than average temperatures and a slight chance of above normal precipitation for September.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul City School District announced yesterday a temporary employee has tested positive for the Coronavirus. The district says no students were in close contact to the individual however, six employees were and have been quarantined.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton will have fall townwide garage sales. The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce announced fall garage sales will take place October 9th and 10th.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A special committee will meet this week to discuss the allegations against House Speaker Michael Madigan. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the process…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Rantoul and Paxton city councils meet tonight for their September meetings. The Rantoul Village Board will meet at 6pm where they are expected to approve the purchase of a vacuum excavator and award a contract for the construction of a new salt shed. The Paxton City Council meets tonight at 7pm where they will discuss sidewalk and curb repairs, consider ordinances addressing cats at large and underground electric fences, advertise bids for repainting the clock tower and go into executive session to consider the sale of city property. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6 with the Paxton city council meeting getting underway at 7.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The national debt continues to rise in part because of the Coronavirus pandemic. But 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois says there is another reason the national debt has risen…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- Danville Area Community College is hosting a drive thru job fair this week. The job fair will take place on Wednesday, September 9 from 9 to 11 am.

 

 

(Normal-jm) -- Illinois State University in Normal is announcing strong fall enrollment numbers. Total enrollment for the fall semester is at 20,720. 3,353 are freshmen.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA experts are taking the first objective, scientific look at this season's corn and soybeans crops in the field. Gary Crawford has the latest…

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois is among the most lazy states in the nation, according to consumer finance website WalletHub. The list of Hardest-Working States in America put Illinois at No. 40, based on a variety of factors like unemployment, hours worked and number of jobs an individual works. For the metric of volunteer hours worked, WalletHub ranked Illinois No. 48.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Illinoisans who shifted to telecommuting have reclaimed nearly five hours of their lives each week.  About 1 in 4 employed people teleworked or worked from home for pay because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data from July. That’s a decline from May, when nearly one-third of the workforce was working from home, not counting those who already were. CoPilot, a car shopping app, analyzed pre-pandemic commuter data from the U.S. Census and found Illinoisans spent an average of 4.9 hours commuting to and from work every week, working more than 43 hours. 

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An anticipated eviction tsunami has been calmed temporarily, but that doesn't mean Illinois renters who have fallen behind are completely off the hook. Mary Scheurmann reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Senator Scott Bennett will be hosting a blood drive at Community Blood Services in Urbana this week. The blood drive is today through Friday. Hours Tuesday through Thursday 9-6 and Friday 7:30-4:30.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson Area Hospital Auxiliary has announced the winners of their scholarships. Keegan Kutemeier and Jessica Mueller were each awarded scholarships from the auxiliary. Allison Heavilin and Emily Clinton were awarded the Verna Buck Scholarship. Kelsey Cliff was awarded the CEDF scholarship. Brandon Olson was awarded the Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services Gift Shop Scholarship. Summer Roesch was awarded the Arthur and Ann Jensen Noland Scholarship. Lauren Leonard was awarded the William and Viola Garrett Scholarship.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in September. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Vermilion County Board and St. Joseph Village Board meet tonight for their September meeting. The Vermilion County Board will discuss their fiscal year budget, consider surplusing some vehicles and make several appointments for various boards. St. Joseph village leaders will hear an update on sewer repairs, 1st Street project and the Linden Street retention pond. The Vermilion County Board gets underway at 6pm and the St. Joseph Village Board gets underway at 7.

 

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Illinois GOP lawmakers continue to express frustration over the Governor’s lack of communication when it comes to the Coronavirus pandemic. Governor Pritzker has issued several executive orders without seeking input from the General Assembly. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the public, not government, should make the decisions they feel are best…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Pontiac-jm) -- OSF St. James-John Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac is seeking volunteers for their main lobby information desk and gift shop. Those interested are asked to call 815-842-6818 and ask for Michelle.

 

 

(Kankakee-jm) -- Kankakee Community College will be offering 5 free job hunting webinars over the lunch hour. The first webinar is September 22nd titled 5 steps to a winning resume, September 29th titled AIDA cover letter, October 6th, micro internships for students and recent grads, October 13th, Leveraging Linkedin and October 20th Acing your Video Interview. For more information or to sign up, call 815-802-8207.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- So far, this fiscal year U.S. agricultural export values are running just slightly below last year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow summer meal programs to continue serving free meals as late as December 31

(Springfield-jm) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow summer meal programs to continue serving free meals to all children through as late as December 31. The USDA said this extension is to ensure all children have access to nutritious foods as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than 24,000 Illinoisans filed for unemployment in the latest report from the U.S. Department of Labor. The weekly jobless claims for last week were nearly 2,150 fewer than the week before when the state saw an uptick. Illinois also has been approved for President Donald Trump’s temporary unemployment benefits extension. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is receiving $36 million in federal funding to fight the opioid crisis. The funding will expand prevention, treatment, recovery and overdose response initiatives across the state. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is warning the public about robocalls trying to discourage people from voting by mail. Attorney General Raoul says his office started getting complaints about the calls about a week ago, where in many cases an automated message claimed that if you vote by mail, your personal information will be compromised…

 

 

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. A few other states are reporting the same problem. The Illinois State Board of Elections says voting by mail is a secure option this November.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has over 240,000 coronavirus cases and 8,115 deaths. Locally, McLean County reported 99 new cases Thursday bringing their total to 2,095. Champaign County 47 new cases bringing their total to 2,509. Livingston County 4 new cases bringing their total to 224. Vermilion County 12 new cases bringing their total to  356. Iroquois County 5 new cases bringing their total to 350. Kankakee County 35 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,387 and total deaths to 68. Ford County reported no new cases leaving their total at 110.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State public health officials urge caution over the Labor Day weekend, even if you’re just getting together with family. Not to put a damper on your weekend plans, but State Public Health Assistant Director Dr Amaal Tokars (toe-cars) says you need to continue to take the Coronavirus seriously, even around family…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Assistant Director Dr Amaal Tokars. I-D-P-H has found outbreaks occurring after some extended family gatherings, where not everyone has been in close contact with each other during the pandemic.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing all non emergency road construction lane closures will reopen this afternoon for the Labor Day holiday weekend. Some construction projects that will have lane closures include Mattis Avenue over I-57 and I-74 in Champaign and I-74 near St. Joseph. The reopening will begin about 3pm and last until Monday night.

 

 

(St. Joseph-jm) -- A St. Joseph veteran will be honored in an event over the Labor Day weekend. Sergeant Dustin Leemon served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Leemon will be honored on September 6th at 6pm at the St. Joseph Sports Complex Veterans Memorial plaza.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- If you are struggling to pay your mortgage because of the Coronavirus pandemic, help is on the way. The state is launching a mortgage assistance program says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for a shooting in Champaign last fall. 21 year old Jabari Morris pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to aggravated battery with a firearm. Police say Morris and the victim got into an argument with the victim on October 19th when he pulled out a gun and shot the victim in the leg.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton bank is getting an upgrade. The Frederick Community Bank announced they are adding a drive up ATM at their drive thru facility.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- We are a week away from some major USDA crop reports and forecasts. Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

The Ford County Republicans will be hosting a Trump Road Rally on Saturday, September 5th starting at 10 am at the Ford County courthouse in Paxton. All vehicles are welcome. You are encouraged to decorate your vehicle to show your patriotism. The cruise will leave Paxton then follow a route through Elliott, Gibson City, Sibley, Melvin, Roberts, Piper City, Stelle, Kepton and Cabery. If you are not able to join in the cruise, then venture out and wave as they go by.


 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting Loda Lutheran Church on Saturday, September 5th from 10-2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It’s unclear when the Illinois House special investigative committee into House Speaker Michael Madigan will first meet, or if they'll take any final action before the 101st General Assembly finishes its term in mid-January, but state Rep. Tom Demmer says there’s sufficient time for the committee to perform its role. Demmer said the investigative committee could produce a report of whether charges are warranted. That could then be forwarded to a select committee on discipline which could then put forward a resolution of censure or expulsion, or not take any action.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois State Police are reminding motorists to not hang their mask from their mirrors. State police say not only is it a distraction for the driver but it is also illegal and can result in a fine of up to $164.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Cover crops can help keep the soil healthy and now it could provide a discount on a farmer’s crop insurance premium. The Illinois Department of Agriculture announced eligible applicants can get a $5 per acre discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre enrolled in a verified program. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Expect to see more police out on the roads this holiday weekend. State and local police are boosting patrols as part of the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign.” ISP Trooper Josh Korando (co-ron-doe) says it’s simple: if you plan to drink, plan how to get home...

 

 

Illinois State Police Trooper Josh Korando. Police will also be on the lookout for speeders, distracted drivers and those not buckled up.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,360 new Coronavirus cases Thursday and 25 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 240,003 and deaths to 8,115. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 1,160 have recovered, 911 are in isolation, 8 are hospitalized including 3 in the ICU. Champaign County is reporting 1,893 have recovered, 596 cases are active including 3 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 177 have been removed from isolation, 43 cases are active and 1 is hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 300 have been released, 49 remain in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 292 have been released, 38 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,615 have recovered, 704 cases are active and 7 are hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 95 have been released from isolation, 11 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is reminding Illinoisans they only have a few weeks left to participate in the 2020 U-S Census. An accurate count of all Illinoisans will help ensure Illinois gets its fair share of federal funding for schools, roads and more says the Governor. He urges everyone to get it done…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Fill out the census form at: my 2020 census dot gov.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College’s Automotive program has received a special gift. The program received a 2017 Mercedes Benz from the company. The car will be used for the automotive program for students to train and learn on.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton Buckley Loda High School student has come down with COVID-19. The district announced Thursday they were notified the student had tested positive the day before and was not at school yesterday. This is the 3rd PBL student to contract COVID so far this school year.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Distracted Driving Enforcement patrols in September. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Sheriff’s Office has released their August activity numbers. During the month of August deputies responded to 5 traffic accidents and issued 14 traffic citations including 7 for speeding, 2 each for disobeying a traffic control device and illegal transportation of alcohol and 1 each for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, no seatbelt and squealing tires. Deputies also handled 10 domestic issues, 5 each for suspicious activity, suicidal subjects and burglary, 4 each for damage to property, abuse and harassment, 3 each for missing person and sex offender failure to register and 2 each for a fight in progress, vandalism and theft.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- IF Bancorp, the parent company of Watseka-based Iroquois Federal, reported 4th quarter net income of $1.4 million or approximately 45 cents per share. The bank also reported revenues at $7.7 million which surpassed Wall Street expectations of $6.1 million. For the year, the company reported a profit of $4.2 million or $1.35 per share. Revenue for the year was reported at $23.1 million.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What's the biggest and most common goof that outdoor grilling enthusiasts are likely to make during this Labor Day weekend? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

On the Gas Promotions is hosting the Hoopeston Demolition Derby at McFerren Park on Sunday, September 6th starting at 5pm.

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker says nine out of the state's 11 designated regions have seen an increase in COVID-19 test positivity rates

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,128 new Coronavirus cases Wednesday and 27 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 238,643 and deaths to 8,091. The seven day positivity rate also rose Wednesday to 4.5 percent. Locally, Vermilion County reported 8 new cases bringing their total number to 344. McLean County reported 158 new cases bringing their total to 1,996. Ford County reported 7 new cases and 1 new death bringing their total to 110 and total deaths to 3. Livingston County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 220. Champaign County reported 138 new cases bringing their total to 2,462. Kankakee County reported 28 new cases bringing their total to 2,352. Iroquois County reported 10 new cases bringing their total to 345.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says nine out of the state’s 11 designated regions have seen an increase in COVID-19 test positivity rates. In four of those regions, the positivity rate has risen by more than a full percentage point. It’s not a good sign says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Only two regions, West Central and East Central Illinois have seen the positivity rate drop. The Metro East area and Will and Kankakee Counties are now under stricter mitigations such as no indoor dining or bar service because the rates there are over eight percent.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state of Illinois is getting $2.4 million from the federal government to combat unemployment insurance fraud. The taxpayer-funded grant from the Department of Labor covers the recently created unemployment programs as part of COVID-19 relief. More than 100,000 instances of alleged unemployment fraud were reported by the Pritzker administration last month.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House has formed a special panel to investigate Speaker Michael Madigan, who has been implicated in a federal bribery probe. Republicans petitioned to form the committee this week, saying Wednesday that the House must “do its job and conduct a thorough investigation.” Republicans and some Democrats have called on Madigan to step down after federal prosecutors named him by title in a criminal investigation in which ComEd acknowledges engaging in bribery in the Capitol. Madigan has said he won’t step down.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Several utility companies in Illinois are coming together to extend the moratorium on residential disconnections. Nicor Gas, Northshore/Peoples Gas, Illinois American Water, Aqua Illinois, and Utility Services of Illinois are extending the moratorium through September 30, 2020. Ameren Illinois and ComEd will extend theirs through September 10, 2020.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is National Preparedness Month and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency wants families to be ready for anything. IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says preparedness is more than just putting a few bottles of water and a flashlight, it’s also about planning…

 

 

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. It’s recommended families have a weather radio, emergency kit and designated meeting spot. Clark says parents can get kids involved by practicing the emergency plan and including games or a favorite stuffed animal in the emergency kit.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is cracking down on enforcement of Coronavirus guidelines. The campus has seen a spike in cases recently as a result of students not following guidelines of social distancing and wearing masks. In a massmail to students, campus leadership said if the trend continues they could end in person semester of learning.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- The McLean County Public Health Department is reporting a batch of mosquitos has tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The health department says the mosquitoes were collected on the east side of Bloomington. 

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Coronavirus numbers continue to rise daily around the state. While the numbers may be high, 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says there are other numbers that should be used in making decisions…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County home sales soared in July to the highest in 14 years. According to the Champaign County Association of Realtors, home sales jumped 28.62 percent compared to a year ago. 364 homes sold last month compared to 283 in July 2019. That’s the most since 2007. The median price also rose from $156,800 to $167,525 up 6.84 percent. Average home sale prices rose double digits in July from $177,285 to $199,221, a 12.37 percent increase. The average number of days rose from 71 to 80.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is optimistic about agricultural trade with China. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,128 new Coronavirus cases Wednesday and 27 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 238,643 and deaths to 8,091. The seven day positivity rate also rose Wednesday to 4.5 percent. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County is reporting 293 have been released from isolation, 46 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. McLean County is reporting 1,143 have recovered, 828 are in isolation, 9 are hospitalized and 3 are in the ICU. Ford County is reporting 95 have been released from isolation, 11 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 167 have been removed from isolation and 49 cases are active. Champaign County is reporting 1,893 have recovered, 549 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,593 have recovered, 692 cases are active and 6 are hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 286 have been released from isolation, 39 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Doctors are reminding that dining out and socially drinking are high risk activities during the pandemic. Getting together to share a meal and have a drink is an important part of our culture, says Dr Susan Bleasdale, an infectious disease expert with U-I Health. But she says those situations can be problematic…

 

 

UI Health Infectious Disease Expert Dr Susan Bleasdale. Bleasdale urges the public to be very careful in these settings. Precautions include opting for carry out, wearing a mask when possible, sitting at tables at least six feet apart from others and washing or sanitizing hands frequently.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- With revenue shrinking amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois municipalities are mulling over budget cuts, including to emergency responders. The Peoria city council this week voted to cut two fire department engine companies, eliminating 22 jobs and that may not be enough as some city council members want to freeze all capital expenses currently not being spent. The city of Decatur is looking at numerous budget cuts, including shutting down its busiest fire station in the city, costing 27 firefighters their jobs. In Springfield, union wage hike freezes are needed, but eliminating positions has to be considered. The Illinois Municipal League recently released a survey showing a whopping 87 percent of communities face revenue shortfalls of 20-30 percent compared to last year. The survey included results from 227 municipalities across the state. Municipalities reported shortfalls across several categories that usually generate tax revenue, including sales taxes, gaming taxes, motor fuel taxes and income taxes.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Illinois was in dire financial straits before the pandemic-induced shutdowns ground the economy to a halt, but a new study said the state may have an option that would bring in $19 billion to pay off debt or invest in its crumbling infrastructure without doing so on taxpayers' backs.  The nonpartisan Reason Foundation found Illinois could net $19.4 billion by leasing the rights to nine state-owned toll roads.  Even though Illinois stands to make more than any other state Reason examined, it’s estimated the deal would pay down about 14 percent of Illinois' $136 billion in total pension liabilities. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The American Lung Association has big plans to end youth vaping for Illinois students, parents, and schools. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of high school students used e-cigarettes last year. The American Lung Association  is launching a public awareness campaign with the Ad Council called “Get Your Head Out of the Cloud." The campaign aims to provide parents with the facts about e-cigarettes and help support conversations with kids before they start to vape. The group also plans to work with lawmakers next year to pass legislation to add e-cigarettes to the Smoke Free Illinois Act.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House and Senate lawmakers are taking a closer look at police officer training in Illinois. At a virtual hearing, legislators asked Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Executive Director Brent Fischer about the initial hiring process, including drug testing and whether psychological tests are given. He says that’s up to local departments but that having  a statewide standard may be beneficial…

 

 

Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board Executive Director Brent Fischer. Lawmakers stressed the importance of getting more feedback from local law enforcement agencies about how well current training programs are working.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- An iconic piece of Rantoul history will be coming down later this month. The village was notified by the U-S Air Force they will begin dismantling the missile that sits on the west edge of the former Chanute Air Force Base September 15th. Chanute once housed training of the minuteman missile program. The village fought to keep the missile however, the Air Force refused and the missile will be scrapped.

 

 

(Rural Roberts-jm) -- Roberts and Melvin first responders were called to a single vehicle accident Wednesday evening. Emergency crews were called to the accident on Route 115 a couple miles south of Roberts. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Nitetime Enforcement Patrols in early September. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- The Gifford Grade School budget looks to be in the black this fiscal year. The district estimates they will be in the black by just over $43,000. The district warns though they aren’t sure how much they will receive in state funding as well as the one percent county sales tax revenue because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Crop conditions in the Midwest are continuing to drop. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

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The Illinois State Board of Education is revealing the guidelines for free and reduced-price meals

(Springfield-jm) -- Some Illinois road construction projects scheduled to be completed this year could be delayed until next year because of lower-than-anticipated gas tax revenues during the coronavirus pandemic. Transportation Secretary Omer Osman says the department will prioritize projects related to safety improvements. State officials say from March through June of this year gas tax revenues are down $82 million from the same period last year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education is revealing the guidelines for free and reduced-price meals. The guidelines are for the 2020-21 school year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will extend free meals until at least December 31, 2020. If families experience a change in income at any time during the school year, they can reapply for the free or reduced-price meals program by requesting a Household Eligibility Application from their child’s school.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Schools are back in session for the fall semester around the area despite the Coronavirus pandemic. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says many district leaders around the state had several questions and frustrations about reopening…


 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has over 235,000 COVID cases. Locally, since Friday, McLean County is reporting 395 new cases bringing their total to 1,767. Champaign County is reporting 164 new cases bringing their total to 2,369. Vermilion County is reporting 12 new cases bringing their total to 330. Kankakee County is reporting 58 new cases bringing their total to 2,303. Ford County is reporting 2 new cases bringing their total to 103. Iroquois County is reporting 15 new cases bringing their total to 336. Livingston County is reporting 12 new cases bringing their total to 193.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois corn and soybean crops are progressing ahead of the five year average for the most part. 97 percent of soybeans are setting pods, compared to 94 percent normally. 72 percent is rated in good to excellent condition. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener turns to corn…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 84 percent complete, and average statewide topsoil moisture declined to 12 percent very short, 40 percent short and 48 percent adequate.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Eastern Illinois Foodbank has received a $417,000 grant from the Feeding America COVID Response Fund. The money will be used to purchase a new food distribution truck and expand food inventory to include more culturally-diverse choices.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton city property committee will meet tonight at 6pm. The committee will discuss contracts to replace the city storage building destroyed by fire earlier this summer. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Last week felt summer like with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90’s however, the weekend felt more fall like. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look ahead into the first two weeks of September…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Parking changes along Route 45 in Buckley could be coming. The village is considering adding handicap and 15 minute parking signs along the route. The signs must be approved by the state. The village will take up the issue at their September meeting.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A retention pond will not be coming to Coady Park or at least not for now. The park district tabled the idea at their August meeting. They could take up the issue again in September.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security has submitted its application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for federal Lost Wage Assistance funds. Under the new federal program, people who are unemployed due to COVID-19 may be eligible to receive $300 per week in addition to their weekly benefit amount. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- When the coronavirus pandemic hit Illinois, state officials scrambled to buy scarce gear like protective gowns and masks and lifesaving patient ventilators. Governor  J.B. Pritzker pledged to be on the lookout for price-gouging and to report it to Attorney General Kwame Raoul. But in response to an Associated Press records request, the administration hasn’t made any reports. Raoul’s office has received 1,800 price-gouging consumer complaints but has no summary of actions taken because of staff working remotely.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is expressing his frustration over the U-S Postal Services delay in mail delivery. The Governor was recently asked about the potential delay in mail delivery due to budget issues and whether it would impact the state’s efforts to implement mail in voting due to the Coronavirus pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 1,668 new cases of Coronavirus and 7 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 235,023 and 8,026 deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 907 have recovered, 840 are in isolation, 4 are hospitalized and 1 is in the ICU. In Champaign County, 1,845 have recovered, 504 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 289 have been released, 36 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,544 have recovered, 692 cases are active and 13 are hospitalized. In Ford County, 96 have been released and 5 are in isolation. In Iroquois County, 282 have been released, 34 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. In Livingston County, 156 have been removed from isolation and 33 cases are active.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois corn and soybean crops are progressing ahead of the five year average for the most part. 71 percent of corn is in the dent stage or beyond and 12 percent is mature. 70 percent of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Now for soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Conditions this past week were drier, with average statewide topsoil moisture dropping to 12 percent very short, 40 percent short and 48 percent adequate.

 

 

(St. Joseph-jm) -- The village of St. Joseph is once again looking at adding a village administrator. The village has been considering hiring a village administrator for several years. The village administrator would run day to day operations of the village.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- The Thomasboro Grade School District is facing a $126,309 deficit this fiscal year. The numbers however, showed deficits in more than one fund. Normally, the district runs a slight deficit in the education fund, however, this year there is also a deficit in the operations and maintenance fund as well as the transportation fund.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A new area code will be coming to the area. In updating our earlier stories, 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett explains the new area code coming to the 217…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Forbes has named OSF Healthcare one of America’s Best in State employers. The hospital group says they employee nearly 24,000 at 145 locations and 14 hospitals.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- Ludlow village trustees are going through and updating village ordinances and codes however, there are a couple issues they aren’t sure how to address. One issue is should billing for garbage be added to resident’s water bills. Another is how long should the village allow camping trailers to sit on private property and should permits be required to do so. The village hopes to address these issues at their September meeting.

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Talks on another round of Coronavirus relief continues in Washington

(Springfield-jm) -- Half of Illinois high school students reported using an electronic tobacco product last year, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found, “erasing gains” made by health advocates in recent years to curb tobacco use.  The federal agency also found roughly one in five Illinois high school students used electronic tobacco products at least one day during the 30-day period before responding to its survey. Nationwide, that number was approximately one third of high school students. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s transportation director said gas tax revenues are down from estimates and that will push some projects from the multi-year construction plan back a year. Motor fuel tax revenues are down $82 million from this time last year, despite a doubling of the state’s gas tax. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinoisans have already requested more than one million mail in ballots. Avoiding the polls and mailing in the November ballot is proving to be a popular option, with one point one million requested so far says State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich…

 

 

State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. Under a new state law, applications for mail in ballots were sent to all recent voters. You can also request a ballot at elections dot il dot gov. They will be mailed out in late September.


 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 233,000 COVID-19 cases and 8,019 COVID deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Cases at universities around the state continue to rise. Illinois State University has 933 positive cases and the University of Illinois is reporting almost 800.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Talks on another round of Coronavirus relief continues in Washington. One part being negotiated is another round of stimulus checks says 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul Township High School student and two Rantoul City Schools students have tested positive for the Coronavirus. The schools made the announcement to parents and staff Friday. The Rantoul students are the latest in the area after 2 PBL students and 2 students in the Mahomet Seymour school district have also tested positive so far this school year.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Illinois seniors will have some reprieve when it comes to renewing their driver's license. Secretary of State Jesse White announced last week those 75 and older have a year extension to renew their license says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The parking lot and tennis courts at the Paxton Park District will be resealed. The park district approved spending $12,000 to reseal the parking lot at the swimming pool and just over $78 hundred to reseal the tennis court.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- After a decline in the global economy this year, one analyst says there is likely going to be a rebound in 2021 that will help boost U.S. agricultural product exports. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois homeowners, and those who pay through rent, paid a higher tax rate than all but one other state in America.  At 2.05 percent of the average market value of their home, Illinois owners shelled out a higher portion of their home’s value in property taxes than any other state in 2018 with the exception of New Jersey. That’s according to an annual report from the nonprofit Tax Foundation. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- 30 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19. The warning is triggered when certain metrics are hit, such as a high hospitalization or test positivity rate says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. New counties added to the warning list include Cook, Sangamon, Effingham, Jo Davies and Pike. You can view COVID numbers for your county on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website.


 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois is reporting 8,019 COVID deaths and 233,355 confirmed COVID cases. Over the weekend, University of Illinois students, faculty and building service workers protested the campus’ handling of the pandemic. The group’s protest started on the Quad and went to the President’s house where they said they didn’t feel safe being on campus during the pandemic.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton-Buckley Loda Hall of Fame class has been announced. Robert Frump, who graduated from Paxton High School in 1965 and is a Pulitzer Prize Winner, and Harold Kenny graduated from Loda High School in 1922 and went to the University of Illinois and graduated from Vanderbilt University. Kenny Coached wrestling at Illinois and won 5 Big Ten Titles. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline to pay their second installment of real estate taxes without penalty is coming soon. The deadline to pay is tomorrow. After that day a late penalty will be assessed. You can pay your real estate taxes at the Treasurer’s office between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday, by mail, or at any Iroquois County bank.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the success of the state’s contact tracing efforts in the fight against Coronavirus. The state provided grants to health departments to higher contact tracers says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is reminding area non profits the deadline to apply for Community Commitment Grants is today. The grants are funded by endowments from donors. Eligible non profits can apply for up to $7,500. For more information call the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois at 217-359-0125.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- There's encouraging news about Illinois' potential for wind energy development in a new analysis. Mary Scheurmann reports…

 

 

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The unemployment rate is up and jobs are down in all 14 of the state's metro areas

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois residents should expect fewer road repairs, community programs and other local government-provided services and higher locally-imposed tax rates as officials struggle with COVID-19-induced revenue shortfalls, a municipal government advocacy group warned this week. According to a survey conducted by the Illinois Municipal League, almost nine out of 10 city and town governments expect a 20 to 30 percent drop in revenue from March 1 through July 24 as compared to the year before. Just over 225 of the state’s roughly 1,200 municipalities responded to the poll. Local governments collect funds through taxes on retail purchases, fuel, gaming, property and income as well as utility and permit fees, for example. But because of economic restrictions implemented by Governor JB Pritzker to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, many of those sources generated fewer funds than officials expected.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Leading Illinois business associations are giving up hope on the Illinois Legislature and going to members of Congress to address liability protection in the era of COVID-19. A report from Fisher Phillips has Illinois with the sixth or seventh most COVID-19-related complaints being filed in the judicial system. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The unemployment rate is up and jobs are down in all 14 of the state’s metro areas. The metro figures compare numbers from this July to the previous July. With the addition of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro says it’s been a tough year…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Salustro says the state is making progress while trying to safely reopen the economy. Locally, Champaign County’s unemployment rate rose from 4.2 percent to 8.1 percent. Ford County’s rose from 4.4 percent to 7.6 percent. Vermilion County’s rose from 5.4 percent to 9.9 percent. Iroquois County’s rose from 3.8 percent to 6.2 percent. McLean County’s rose from 4.1 percent to 8 percent.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced another 1,707 cases of Coronavirus and 24 additional deaths Thursday. Locally, Vermilion County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 303. Livingston County 2 new cases bringing their total to 178. McLean County 56 new cases bringing their total to 1,292. Champaign County 40 new cases bringing their total to 2,133. Kankakee County 19 new cases bringing their total to 2,182. Iroquois County 4 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total cases to 315 and deaths to 19. Ford County reported no new cases leaving their total at 98.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Work continues on the $20 million dollar sports complex on Rantouls west side. The project will include several baseball and softball fields as well as a football, field hockey and lacrosse field. New sports complex director Ryan Reed says they have a lot of events already planned…

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- An autopsy is scheduled for today for an Iroquois County Jail inmate. 24 year old Andre Maiden of Hoopeston was found unresponsive in his cell August 26th. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Maiden was the second inmate found unresponsive in the jail this week. Another inmate, Jason Fancher, was found unresponsive August 25th. Fancher remains in critical condition. Illinois State Police are investigating both incidents.

 

 

(Rural Rantoul-jm) -- A Tuscola man on parole faces up to 14 years in prison after he was found in possession of a shotgun near Rantoul. Champaign County deputies were called to the Eastside Mobile Home Village between Rantoul and Gifford for a man carrying a shotgun and slashing vehicle tires. Terry Porter was arrested and charged with unlawful use of weapons by a felon. Bond was set at $50,000. He is due back in court October 20th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Congressional leaders are still discussing unemployment benefits that ran out a few weeks ago. Those who were unemployed due to the Coronavirus pandemic were receiving an extra $600. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois believes there will be some kind of a temporary boost…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The village of Buckley is warning residents about golf cart use. The village has received complaints about people using golf carts on sidewalks and unlicensed golf carts being driven into town. Village leaders say golf carts should only be used on the road and only those licensed with the village are allowed to use them within village limits.

 

 

(Kankakee-jm) -- The Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley is accepting applications for $33,000 in grants for non profits in Iroquois and Kankakee Counties. The grants are through the Robert K. Dunn Perpetual Trust Fund.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting Melvin Men’s Group on Saturday, from 10-2.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Exelon will shutter two of its six nuclear power generation facilities in Illinois in 2021. The company announced its Byron facility would cease operation in September 2021 and its Dresden facility will shut down in November 2021. The Dresden and Byron facilities employ more than 1,500 full-time employees and 2,000 supplemental workers during refueling outages. The two plants, which supply about 30 percent of the state's carbon-free energy, pay nearly $63 million in taxes each year, according to the company. The company says facilities at Braidwood and LaSalle are now considered high risk and could be the next ones to close.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Governor J.B. Pritzker has rescinded a requirement widely-criticized as a deal cut with a Chicago-area casino that required anyone hoping to place online bets for sporting events to register in person at a casino. The move is projected to bring the state millions of dollars per month in additional revenue. Pritzker’s executive order not only re-extended his ongoing emergency COVID-19 restrictions but it also removed the in-person requirement to register for popular online betting sites like FanDuel or DraftKings. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This weekend marks “Saturation Saturday” when police will really be cracking down on impaired drivers. As the Labor Day holiday approaches, cops want to send a strong message that drinking or using drugs and driving will not be tolerated says the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Shannon Alderman…

 

 

Illinois Department of Transportation’s Shannon Alderman. While numbers have improved over the years, Alderman says about 300 people die each year in alcohol related crashes on Illinois roads each year.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois is now reporting 227,334 Coronavirus cases and 7,977 deaths. Iroquois County recorded their 19th death yesterday. As for local active and recovered cases, in Vermilion County, 273 have recovered, 26 are in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 156 have been removed from isolation and 18 cases are active. In McLean County, 780 have recovered, 493 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,737 have recovered, 376 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,520 have recovered, 595 cases are active and 15 are hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 273 have been released from isolation, 22 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Ford County, 79 have been released from isolation while 17 remain in isolation.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul business is closing, the victim of the Coronavirus pandemic. Family Video announced their last day will be October 26th. The store is selling off all their movies and games.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The City of Urbana is expanding their guidelines for parties and gatherings. The original order limited the size to a maximum of 10 people in and near the U of I campus. Now the order is for the whole city. The order is set to expire September 28th.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The FY21 Budget for the Paxton-Buckley-School District will see a deficit this year. The district has added to the staff with another nurse, custodian, and making sure they have all the PPE needed for the school year, as well as making sure each student has access to a computer. Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure. With the deficit, not all of the income has been counted at this time, and that number could shrink.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police in Pesotum have announced results of a recent occupant restraint enforcement patrol. The patrol was held in Champaign County and yielded 19 safety belt citations and 1 child restraint citation.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Mahomet youth interested in flag football, the deadline to register is fast approaching. The deadline is Tuesday, September 1st. Visit mahomet recreation dot com to sign up.

 

The Old Courthouse Museum in Watseka will hold a drive thru pork tenderloin sandwich dinner this evening from 4 to 7 pm.

 

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The state Department of Public Health announced 2,157 new cases Wednesday and 37 additional deaths

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 225,000 Coronavirus cases and deaths near 8,000. The state Department of Public Health announced 2,157 new cases Wednesday and 37 additional deaths. Despite the numbers the seven day positivity rate fell to 4 percent. Locally, Vermilion County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 298. Livingston County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 176. McLean County reported 50 new cases bringing their total to 1,236. Champaign County reported 32 new cases bringing their total to 2,093. Kankakee County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 2,163. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 311. Ford County reported no new cases Wednesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says the state’s organ and tissue donation registry is now seven million donors strong. Secretary White says it’s great to see so many Illinoisans with a giving spirit, especially high schoolers that can now sign up…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. Still, White says about four thousand people are currently in need of an organ and 300 die each year waiting for a transplant. Sign up to become a donor at: life goes on dot com.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- A suburban Chicago man is dead after a crash on I-57 at Gilman Wednesday. Illinois State Police say 70 year old Frank Horn of Burbank, Illinois was traveling north on I-57 near the Gilman exit when his car left the road and struck a fence and tree. Horn was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the vehicle was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The woman who was driving drunk when she drove her car off an unfinished bridge in Champaign last September has been sentenced to 6 years in prison. Police say Ashia Marshall drove through a closed construction zone at the Bradley Avenue bridge, went airborne and landed on the shoulder of I-57. Marshall and two others in the vehicle received non life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson Area Hospital is announcing the final day for their free drive thru COVID-19 testing site will be September 10th. The last few testing dates are August 31st, September 2nd, 8th and 10th. Hours are 10 am to 6pm. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn and soybean conditions numbers continue to decline, nationwide. Stephanie Ho has the latest…

 

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The village of Loda will begin opening bids for their water tower project in September. The new water tower will feature an in ground water supply tank. The project is expected to be completed in April 2021.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- New unemployment numbers for the state are out. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the numbers are mixed…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is announcing an $85 million settlement with automaker Honda. Raoul says Honda concealed safety issues related to defects from airbags made by Takata.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,157 new cases of Coronavirus Wednesday and 37 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 225,627 and total deaths to 7,954. The seven day positivity rate is 4 percent. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 25 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 156 have been removed from isolation and 16 cases are active. McLean County is reporting 766 have recovered, 450 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,730 have recovered, 343 cases are active and 2 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,501 have recovered, 595 cases are active and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 20 remain in isolation and 4 hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 79 have been released from isolation and 17 remain in isolation. No additional deaths were reported in the WPXN listening area Wednesday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has hit a milestone in its massive Papers of Lincoln Project. Every known document written to or by the 16th President from his birth to the end of his single term in Congress is now available online. The most recent addition is the eight year period between 1841 and 1849 says project director, Dr Daniel Worthington…

 

 

Papers of Lincoln Project Director Dr Daniel Worthington. Worthington says they have published about nine thousand documents so far with more to come. Visit them online at: papers of abraham lincoln dot org.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Illinois State Police are investigating a pair of incidents at the Iroquois County Jail, one of which resulted in the death of an inmate. On August 25th an inmate was found unresponsive and was taken to the hospital where they remain in critical condition. On August 26th, a second inmate was found unresponsive. That inmate was taken to the hospital where they were later pronounced deceased.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- AMC has announced they will reopen 170 movie theaters today including the one in Champaign. Movie goers will see enhanced cleaning, contactless payment, limited seating and the use of masks by everyone.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police are warning residents to pick up after themselves at the city’s parks or they will be closed. The department made the announcement Wednesday on social media. The police chief said he spent 20 minutes cleaning up one of the city’s parks.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Are retail food prices finally starting to come down from their high spring and summer levels?  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton church is looking for a new pastor. Levi Deatrick and his family are leaving the Grace Baptist Church after 15 years. Deatrick and his family are moving to North Carolina where he recently took a position at this brothers church. 

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols on August 31st. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is reporting their 9th consecutive year of record tourism. Over 120 million visitors spent $43.1 billion last year in Illinois according to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

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A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff

(Springfield-jm) -- A new survey by the Illinois Municipal League found the majority of communities are facing revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19. The group reports the shortfalls are around 20-30% when compared to last year. Municipalities reported shortfalls across several categories that usually generate tax revenue, with the following sources resulting in the largest losses: 21% reported a loss in sales tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in gaming tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in motor fuel tax revenue and 15% reported a loss in income tax revenue.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinoisans are poisoning themselves through everyday activity, most would think would help keep you safer and healthier especially during this pandemic. The Coronavirus pandemic causing people to over clean or those who are cleaning doing it incorrectly resulting in a thirty-three percent spike in cases for the Illinois Poison Center. Illinois Poison Center numbers jumped even higher to forty-nine percent exposures in March and April. Illinois Poison Center estimates handling eight thousand exposure cases in a twelve-month time frame during the pandemic.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff. Governor J-B Pritzker says with COVID-19 numbers rising, the new requirement is meant to protect workers and help slow the spread of the virus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Patrons must already wear a mask in a bar or restaurant unless they are eating or drinking at a table or up at the bar.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported almost 17 hundred new Coronavirus cases Tuesday and 29 additional deaths. Locally, McLean County reported 43 new cases bringing their total to 1,186. Livingston County reported 1 new case and an additional death bringing their case total to 173 and total deaths to 4. Kankakee County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 2,141. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 297. Champaign County reported 86 new cases bringing their total to 2,061. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 308. Ford County reported no new cases Tuesday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for total cases in area communities as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 265 in Rantoul, 104 in Mahomet, 66 in Gilman, 60 in Clifton, 40 in Watseka, 35 in Paxton, 30 each in Fisher and St. Joseph, 28 in Chebanse, 23 in Hoopeston, 21 in Onarga, 16 in Fairbury, 14 in Ashkum, 12 each in Gibson City and Forrest, 10 in Danforth, 9 each in Foosland and Crescent City, 7 each in Potomac, Gifford, Milford, Bellflower and Saybrook, 6 each in Thomasboro, Ludlow, Piper City, Cissna Park, Rossville, Donovan, Martinton and Beaverville, 5 in Dewey and 1 in Penfield. Note not all of these cases are considered active by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Seniors 75 and older are getting more time to renew their driver’s license. Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker says they are hoping to reduce lines and protect seniors from exposure to the Coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker. Letters will be sent to those who qualify and Druker says you should keep it as proof of the one year extension. License expiration dates for all other drivers have been pushed to November 1st.

 

 

(Rural Gibson City-jm) -- A FedEx driver received minor injuries after a collision with a train near Gibson City Tuesday. The accident occurred on Route 54 at 600 East just before 11:30. Ford County Sheriff’s police say the driver didn’t see the training coming until it was too late. The train struck the front bumper of the truck. The driver received some scrapes, no one on the train was injured.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Congressman John Shimkus is accepting applications for military service academy nominations. To be eligible: applicants must be American citizens at least 17 but not more than 23 years of age, not married or have legal obligations of child support and must live within the 15th Congressional District. Applications are due by October 30th and can be obtained by calling his office at 618-288-7190.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County COVID relief fund has distributed $160,570 in grants to k-12 students and families. Among the recipients are the Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education which received $2,200. The Hoopeston Multi-Agency received $3,000. Mahomet Seymour schools received $1,250. Rantoul City Schools received $6,500.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The FY21 budget for PBL has some good news. The Equalized Assessed Valuation or EAV has gone up for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heurmann is announcing his office will be increasing patrols between now and the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to the latest data from IDOT, in 2018, 121 alcohol related accidents occurred in this time frame in Champaign County resulting in 4 fatalities and 53 injuries. There were also 32 drug related accidents resulting in 8 fatalities and 10 injuries. So far in 2020, Champaign County deputies made 56 DUI alcohol arrests, 9 DUI drug arrests and drug or alcohol impairment was a contributing factor in at least 12 accidents.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s budget deficit could be significant because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the latest numbers…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that $10 million in funding is available to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts in Illinois communities. The grants will be provided to municipalities, counties, and land banks through the state's Strong Communities Program. This program helps local government agencies acquire, maintain, rehabilitate, and demolish abandoned residential properties in their areas. Local government agencies can receive grants of up to $250,000 through the program.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing the review of the Long Term Care Bureau in response to delays in complaint investigations during the pandemic. The bureau investigates abuse and neglect complaints. An independent consultant and former U-S Attorney have been hired for the review.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A second region of the state is moving to tighter COVID-19 restrictions. First it was the Metro East area, and now it’s Will and Kankakee Counties that are under stricter guidelines. That’s thanks to rising cases says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The restrictions for Will and Kankakee areas are stricter than those in place in the Metro East and include a ban on indoor dining and bar service. The Governor says if the Metro East numbers don’t improve, that area will also face these tougher measures starting September 2nd.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has over 223,000 Coronavirus cases and over 79 hundred deaths after the state reported an additional 1,680 cases and 29 deaths Tuesday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 727 have recovered, 439 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 150 have been removed from isolation, 19 cases are active with 1 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,475 have recovered, 599 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 24 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,730 have recovered, 311 cases are active with 2 hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 266 have been released from isolation, 23 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 79 have been released with 17 in isolation.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking cases in area Long Term Care Facilities. According to IDPH, 7 cases have been reported at Country Health and Rehab in Gifford, 5 cases have been reported at the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul and 2 cases at Clark Lindsey in Champaign. 32 cases and 1 death has been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton. 79 cases and 10 deaths have been reported at Gilman Healthcare. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Relief is now available for homeowners having a hard time paying their mortgage during the pandemic. The 150 million dollar emergency mortgage assistance program is underway, helping those who have been impacted by the virus says Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field...

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Apply online at: ema dot ihda dot org. It’s expected the program will help about 10 thousand households through the end of the year.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline to pay their second installment of real estate taxes without penalty is coming soon. The deadline to pay is September 1st. After that day a late penalty will be assessed. You can pay your real estate taxes at the Treasurer’s office between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday, by mail, or at any Iroquois County bank.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is reminding area non profits the deadline to apply for Community Commitment Grants is the end of the month. The grants are funded by endowments from donors. Eligible non profits can apply for up to $7,500. For more information call the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois at 217-359-0125.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is cracking down on parties and large gatherings. Campus police along with volunteers are going around breaking up parties and large gatherings and following up on tips of parties and gatherings. Activities are turned over to campus student affairs officials who decide whether disciplinary action should be taken. U of I Chancellor Robert Jones has said students who don’t follow the rules could be suspended.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Meteorological summer comes to an end at the end of the month and the start of meteorological fall begins September 1st. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at September and meteorological fall…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating the theft of over almost $300 worth of fuel from a gas station. Police were notified of the theft on the morning of August 13th that a truck pulling a flatbed with three vehicles stopped over an access point for the station's fuel around 4:30 am. It is suspected that 112 gallons of fuel was pumped out at that time. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What trends were revealed when the Agriculture Department looked at 2020 cash rents per acre versus the previous year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

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A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff

(Springfield-jm) -- A new survey by the Illinois Municipal League found the majority of communities are facing revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19. The group reports the shortfalls are around 20-30% when compared to last year. Municipalities reported shortfalls across several categories that usually generate tax revenue, with the following sources resulting in the largest losses: 21% reported a loss in sales tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in gaming tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in motor fuel tax revenue and 15% reported a loss in income tax revenue.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinoisans are poisoning themselves through everyday activity, most would think would help keep you safer and healthier especially during this pandemic. The Coronavirus pandemic causing people to over clean or those who are cleaning doing it incorrectly resulting in a thirty-three percent spike in cases for the Illinois Poison Center. Illinois Poison Center numbers jumped even higher to forty-nine percent exposures in March and April. Illinois Poison Center estimates handling eight thousand exposure cases in a twelve-month time frame during the pandemic.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff. Governor J-B Pritzker says with COVID-19 numbers rising, the new requirement is meant to protect workers and help slow the spread of the virus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Patrons must already wear a mask in a bar or restaurant unless they are eating or drinking at a table or up at the bar.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported almost 17 hundred new Coronavirus cases Tuesday and 29 additional deaths. Locally, McLean County reported 43 new cases bringing their total to 1,186. Livingston County reported 1 new case and an additional death bringing their case total to 173 and total deaths to 4. Kankakee County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 2,141. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 297. Champaign County reported 86 new cases bringing their total to 2,061. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 308. Ford County reported no new cases Tuesday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for total cases in area communities as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 265 in Rantoul, 104 in Mahomet, 66 in Gilman, 60 in Clifton, 40 in Watseka, 35 in Paxton, 30 each in Fisher and St. Joseph, 28 in Chebanse, 23 in Hoopeston, 21 in Onarga, 16 in Fairbury, 14 in Ashkum, 12 each in Gibson City and Forrest, 10 in Danforth, 9 each in Foosland and Crescent City, 7 each in Potomac, Gifford, Milford, Bellflower and Saybrook, 6 each in Thomasboro, Ludlow, Piper City, Cissna Park, Rossville, Donovan, Martinton and Beaverville, 5 in Dewey and 1 in Penfield. Note not all of these cases are considered active by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Seniors 75 and older are getting more time to renew their driver’s license. Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker says they are hoping to reduce lines and protect seniors from exposure to the Coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker. Letters will be sent to those who qualify and Druker says you should keep it as proof of the one year extension. License expiration dates for all other drivers have been pushed to November 1st.

 

 

(Rural Gibson City-jm) -- A FedEx driver received minor injuries after a collision with a train near Gibson City Tuesday. The accident occurred on Route 54 at 600 East just before 11:30. Ford County Sheriff’s police say the driver didn’t see the training coming until it was too late. The train struck the front bumper of the truck. The driver received some scrapes, no one on the train was injured.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Congressman John Shimkus is accepting applications for military service academy nominations. To be eligible: applicants must be American citizens at least 17 but not more than 23 years of age, not married or have legal obligations of child support and must live within the 15th Congressional District. Applications are due by October 30th and can be obtained by calling his office at 618-288-7190.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County COVID relief fund has distributed $160,570 in grants to k-12 students and families. Among the recipients are the Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education which received $2,200. The Hoopeston Multi-Agency received $3,000. Mahomet Seymour schools received $1,250. Rantoul City Schools received $6,500.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The FY21 budget for PBL has some good news. The Equalized Assessed Valuation or EAV has gone up for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heurmann is announcing his office will be increasing patrols between now and the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to the latest data from IDOT, in 2018, 121 alcohol related accidents occurred in this time frame in Champaign County resulting in 4 fatalities and 53 injuries. There were also 32 drug related accidents resulting in 8 fatalities and 10 injuries. So far in 2020, Champaign County deputies made 56 DUI alcohol arrests, 9 DUI drug arrests and drug or alcohol impairment was a contributing factor in at least 12 accidents.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s budget deficit could be significant because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the latest numbers…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that $10 million in funding is available to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts in Illinois communities. The grants will be provided to municipalities, counties, and land banks through the state's Strong Communities Program. This program helps local government agencies acquire, maintain, rehabilitate, and demolish abandoned residential properties in their areas. Local government agencies can receive grants of up to $250,000 through the program.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing the review of the Long Term Care Bureau in response to delays in complaint investigations during the pandemic. The bureau investigates abuse and neglect complaints. An independent consultant and former U-S Attorney have been hired for the review.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A second region of the state is moving to tighter COVID-19 restrictions. First it was the Metro East area, and now it’s Will and Kankakee Counties that are under stricter guidelines. That’s thanks to rising cases says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The restrictions for Will and Kankakee areas are stricter than those in place in the Metro East and include a ban on indoor dining and bar service. The Governor says if the Metro East numbers don’t improve, that area will also face these tougher measures starting September 2nd.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has over 223,000 Coronavirus cases and over 79 hundred deaths after the state reported an additional 1,680 cases and 29 deaths Tuesday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 727 have recovered, 439 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 150 have been removed from isolation, 19 cases are active with 1 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,475 have recovered, 599 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 24 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,730 have recovered, 311 cases are active with 2 hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 266 have been released from isolation, 23 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 79 have been released with 17 in isolation.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking cases in area Long Term Care Facilities. According to IDPH, 7 cases have been reported at Country Health and Rehab in Gifford, 5 cases have been reported at the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul and 2 cases at Clark Lindsey in Champaign. 32 cases and 1 death has been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton. 79 cases and 10 deaths have been reported at Gilman Healthcare. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Relief is now available for homeowners having a hard time paying their mortgage during the pandemic. The 150 million dollar emergency mortgage assistance program is underway, helping those who have been impacted by the virus says Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field...

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Apply online at: ema dot ihda dot org. It’s expected the program will help about 10 thousand households through the end of the year.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline to pay their second installment of real estate taxes without penalty is coming soon. The deadline to pay is September 1st. After that day a late penalty will be assessed. You can pay your real estate taxes at the Treasurer’s office between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday, by mail, or at any Iroquois County bank.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is reminding area non profits the deadline to apply for Community Commitment Grants is the end of the month. The grants are funded by endowments from donors. Eligible non profits can apply for up to $7,500. For more information call the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois at 217-359-0125.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is cracking down on parties and large gatherings. Campus police along with volunteers are going around breaking up parties and large gatherings and following up on tips of parties and gatherings. Activities are turned over to campus student affairs officials who decide whether disciplinary action should be taken. U of I Chancellor Robert Jones has said students who don’t follow the rules could be suspended.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Meteorological summer comes to an end at the end of the month and the start of meteorological fall begins September 1st. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at September and meteorological fall…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating the theft of over almost $300 worth of fuel from a gas station. Police were notified of the theft on the morning of August 13th that a truck pulling a flatbed with three vehicles stopped over an access point for the station's fuel around 4:30 am. It is suspected that 112 gallons of fuel was pumped out at that time. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What trends were revealed when the Agriculture Department looked at 2020 cash rents per acre versus the previous year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,612 new cases of Coronavirus Monday

(Springfield-jm) -- The number of Illinois children entering kindergarten who are fully prepared to start school, grew for the second consecutive year in 2019, a possible indication that the state’s increased spending on early childhood education is paying off. But the latest kindergarten readiness report, released Monday by the Illinois State Board of Education, also showed that more than one-third of all pupils who entered kindergarten last year were unprepared across all three developmental areas that the state tries to measure. The latest report showed that 29 percent of the pupils entering kindergarten demonstrated readiness across all three developmental areas. The report also showed there has been steady growth within each of the three development areas. The percentage of kindergartners demonstrating social and emotional readiness grew to 56 percent, up from 49 percent in 2017; 47 percent demonstrated readiness in language and literacy development, up from 44 percent in 2017; and 35 percent demonstrated readiness in math, up from only 30 percent in 2017. That same report also showed that 37 percent of last year’s kindergartners failed to show readiness across any of the three developmental areas. Still, that number was down from 39 percent in 2018 and 42 percent in 2017.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Residents in the 217 area code are going to have to dial a few more numbers. A second area code, 447, is coming to the 217 next March since numbers are starting to run out. That means residents will have to dial the full number for even local calls, says the Illinois Commerce Commission’s George Light. He urges people to get into the now…

 

 

Illinois Commerce Commission’s George Light. Otherwise, those with a 217 number won’t see any changes. New numbers will be given the 447 area code.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,612 new cases of Coronavirus Monday and 8 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 221,790 and deaths to 7,888. Locally, since Friday, McLean County reported 250 new cases bringing their total number to 1,143. Vermilion County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 281. Ford County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 98. Champaign County reported 126 new cases bringing their total to 1,975. Livingston County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 172. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 305. Kankakee County reported 52 new cases bringing their total to 2,123.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- 4 additional deaths were reported in the WPXN listening area Monday. Vermilion County reported 1 additional death bringing their total to 3. Iroquois County reported 3 additional deaths bringing their total to 18.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is reporting 109 students have tested positive for the Coronavirus. Monday was the first day of classes for the fall semester. All students and staff have to be tested twice weekly before being allowed into any building. Those who tested positive will have to quarantine for 14 days.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It was a cool, dry week for Illinois crops. Both temperatures and rainfall were below normal, with nearly the entire week suitable for fieldwork. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 92 percent of soybeans are setting pods and 73 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to six percent very short, 29 percent short, 64 percent adequate and just one percent surplus.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Those wanting assistance in lowering their utility bills can do so next month. 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign will be hosting a virtual clinic with the Citizens Utility Board on Wednesday, September 30th from 5:30-7:30 pm. More details are available by calling Senator Bennett’s office at 217-355-5252.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- An Illinois Congressman is speaking out on the recent riots across the country. Riots have occurred nationally, including in the Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal areas this summer over police brutality. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says protesting is ok but some take it too far…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County has a new zoning enforcement officer. The county hired Brandon Magers. He replaces Matt Rock who resigned at the end of July.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Last week was a comfortable week for summer with highs in the low to mid 80s. This week could see more summer like with temps near 90. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at the rest of August and beginning of September…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton man has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a child. 33 year old Brandon Irish was arrested and charged with a single count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child under 13. If convicted he faces 6 to 30 years in prison. Bond was set at $250,000. Police say additional charges are pending.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced the state's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program is now open. The program intends to assist eligible homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic. Approved applicants will receive up to $15,000, which will be paid directly to the individual's mortgage servicer to cover missed rent payments beginning in March and prepay through Dec. 30 or until the money is used.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Republican lawmakers say it’s time to get back to work on ethics reform. The Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform hasn’t met since March 5th and GOP members say they haven’t heard anything about when they will get together again. Representative Pat Windhorst of Harrisburg says they want meetings to resume immediately, either in person or virtually…

 

 

State Representative Pat Windhorst of Harrisburg. House and Senate Republicans say they are looking at banning legislators from paid lobbying work with local governments, requiring more disclosure about outside income and potential conflicts of interest and other reforms. The democratic co-chairs of the commission say the group will meet in the coming weeks to submit a final report.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting cases at area long term care facilities. According to IDPH, 79 cases and 10 deaths are being reported at Gilman Healthcare. 32 cases and 1 death has been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton. Country Health and Rehab in Gifford reported 7 cases and Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul reported 5. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois now stands at 221,790 confirmed Coronavirus cases and the number of deaths has reached 7,888. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 720 have been released from isolation, 403 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 262 have been released while 16 remain in isolation. In Ford County, 79 have been released from isolation while 17 remain in isolation. In Champaign County, 1,719 have recovered, 236 cases remain active and 3 are hospitalized. In Livingston County, 149 have been removed, 20 cases are active with 2 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 262 have been released, 22 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,459 have recovered, 597 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Kankakee County-jm) -- The state is putting restrictions on Kankakee and Will Counties beginning Wednesday. Among the restrictions include no indoor dining, bars and restaurants must close by 11pm and all bar patrons must be seated at a table. The move comes as their positivity rate topped 8 percent for 3 consecutive days. The restrictions are in place through September 2nd where it will be re-evaluated.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It was a cool, dry week for Illinois crops. Farm fields saw less rainfall and lower temperatures than normal this past week, with 47 percent of corn in the dent stage says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 72 percent of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition, a decline from the previous week…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 69 percent complete, and average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to six percent very short, 29 percent short, 64 percent adequate and one percent surplus.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign police are investigating after an MTD bus was struck by gunfire over the weekend. Police say it happened around 11:30 Sunday morning in the area of East Columbia and North 5th. The driver and five people were on the bus at the time. Police say two cars were shooting at each other when the incident occurred. No one on the bus was injured.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul has hired Ryan Reed to become the director of the new sports complex. Reed comes from the Visit Champaign County organization. He explains his role at the new complex…

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Several area Parkland College students earned Spring flight credentials. The students are part of Parkland College’s Institute of Aviation. Anna Nielson of Mahomet, London Rouley of Elliott and Adrian Bituin of Rantoul soloed for the first time. Taylor Watts of Champaign and Zachary Chalk of Mahomet received their credentials for private pilot airplane single engine landing certificate. Evan Burge of Mahomet and John Dee of Champaign received their credentials for Commercial Instrument Rating. Andrew Greene of Champaign received his Commercial pilot airplane single engine landing. Heather Czeck of Champaign received her Certified Flight Instructor credentials. Andrew Greene of Champaign and Cullen Brucker of Melvin received their commercial pilot multi engine certificate.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The IHSA has modified certain extra-curricular activities for this upcoming year. Marching Band, and football season have been canceled, but those seasons might be made up in the spring. Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

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20 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is dealing with a shortage of teachers, and now the possibility of educators retiring rather than going back into the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois State Board of Education reports of the state’s 850 school districts, over 500 will be offering in-class instruction this fall. That involves over 600,000 students. The question arises if there is a surge in teacher retirements, who will replace them? Illinois had the 8th highest decrease in students entering education programs in college. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The purchasing power of a dollar is lower in Illinois than in most of the country. That’s according to a new report from The Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit, which ranked Illinois 32nd among the states. The survey aims to show the real value of $100 in each state. Overall in Illinois, that value is $101.94, but the amount varies depending on which part of the state is being considered. In the Chicago area, $100 tends to buy around $97 worth of goods on average while in the Carbondale-Marion metro area it buys $119.90. Illinois ranks the lowest in the Midwest and is surrounded by four states among the top 12 in the country.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- 20 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19. A county hits the designation when two or more virus risk factors are met, such as the number of cases per 100 thousand residents and weekly emergency room visits. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says she knows they keep repeating the same message to wear a mask and wash hands, but that it’s not sinking in for some…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Counties now at a warning level include: Bureau, Cass Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, White, Will and Williamson.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A 4th grade student at Paxton Buckley Loda’s Clara Peterson Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. The district made the announcement Friday. The district says they are working with the health department to identify all who may have been in contact with the students and a deep cleaning will take place. 

 

 

(Ford County-cf)-- The Ford County Board has approved a new hire at the Ford County Public Health Department. The County was on a hiring freeze, and still is. However the Public Health Department is not tied into the general fund, and can hire new employees with the approval of the Board says Chairman Robert Lingdren… 

 

 

Ford County Board Chairman Robert Lingdren. The FCPHD is funded through levies and grants. 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City Melvin Sibley School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to approve the issuance of over $12 million in general obligation bonds. In addition, the FY 21 budget will be presented. The GCMS school board meeting gets underway at 6:15.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Work continues on the new sports complex in Rantoul. The village recently hired Ryan Reed to lead the complex. Reed introduces himself to the community…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A portion of Prospect Avenue in Champaign will be closed. Starting today, Prospect Avenue will be closed between Vine and Maple Streets so Canadian National Railroad crews can repair the crossing. The closure is expected to last 7 to 10 days.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The beef sector is gradually returning to some semblance of normalcy. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Voters will decide the fate of Illinois' proposed progressive income tax amendment in November, but groups continue to debate the impact the proposal will have on residents. Changing Illinois’ flat income tax to a structure with higher rates for higher earners will either be good for women and minorities or it will diminish their access to jobs, according to groups on opposing sides of the tax issue. Governor J.B. Pritzker, who has made the progressive income tax central to his spending plans, has said the proposal will result in the same or slightly lower tax rates for 97 percent of taxpayers while the top 3 percent of earners would see a tax increase. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Only one in five of the 143 largest statewide public retirement systems in the U.S. are resilient, a new analysis published by the bipartisan nonprofit Equable Institute shows. The report, “State of Pensions 2020,” analyzes trends in public pension funding, investments, contributions, cash flow and maturation of retirement systems that had more than $1 billion in assets through 2019. The current estimated funded ratio for 143 statewide plans is 67.9 percent, near the lowest point in modern history. And five states – California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas – account for more than 50 percent of unfunded liabilities. The report also analyzed unfunded liabilities relative to state GDP and found that states with some of the most visible pension funding challenges, including New Jersey, Kentucky and Illinois, have the largest share of unfunded liabilities relative to their state’s GDP, topping 15 percent, respectively.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The burnout experienced by Illinois nurses on the front lines of the pandemic is apparently nothing new. In a survey of hospitals in Illinois and New York taken just before the arrival of COVID-19, half of nurses scored in the "high-burnout" range as the result of their workloads. Mary Schuermann reports…

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two Rantoul teens accused of shooting at a person in a botched robbery attempt at the Jimmy Johns in Rantoul have been sentenced to the juvenile justice system. A 17 year old was sentenced to 3 years while a 15 year old was sentenced to 15 years or until he turns 21 after they plead guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm. Police say the teens met a person at the Jimmy Johns on June 3rd to purchase cannabis. When the person arrived they tried to rob the individual of cannabis and money. The victim began to chase the teens when one of them pulled a handgun and fired several shots. The other one grabbed a shotgun from a vehicle and also fired shots. No one was injured in the shooting.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Nitetime Enforcement Patrols in early September. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- 2020 is an election year and that means come November, voters will be going to the polls to elect the next President of the United States among many other state and local races. This election will look different with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Illinois lawmakers approved a bill allowing for vote by mail earlier this year. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick talks about the bill and what it means for voters in Ford County…

 

 

Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick. Ballots can first be mailed out starting September 24th. Early voting at the county clerk’s office also begins September 24th. The election takes place November 3rd. 

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The village of Fisher approved a contract for tree removal. The village approved the bid from Glad’s Tree Service of Paxton for $19,000. It’s part of the village’s 10 year tree plan.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Analyst says hog prices will recover, but it will take a while. Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

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The Itasca, Illinois-based National Safety Council is predicting that COVID-19 likely will be the third leading cause of death in 2020

(Springfield-jm) -- The Itasca, Illinois-based National Safety Council is predicting that COVID-19 likely will be the third leading cause of death in 2020, with the majority of those deaths occurring in long-term care facilities. The death toll nationwide from the pandemic exceeds 170,000, eclipsing the total number of preventable accidental deaths in 2018, the most recent year of final data. Only heart disease and cancer account for more deaths. It would mark the first time since 2016 that preventable deaths – which include drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes, and falls – would not be the third leading cause of death in the country. According to a Franklin Templeton-Gallup research project, 92 percent of COVID-19 deaths nationwide are people who hare 55 or older. Illinois has seen 7,833 deaths related to COVID-19, with over 6,700 involving people aged 60 or older.  Fifty-five percent of the deaths statewide have occurred in long-term care facilities.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ final step out of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s multi-phased shutdown of Illinois’ economy to stave off the spread of COVID-19 is a widely distributed vaccine. New polling shows a broad swath of the population would refuse to take it. A new Marist poll shows 35 percent of adults across the nation would not get a COVID-19 vaccination. That number increases to nearly 45 percent if the respondents are either Republican, white women without a college education, members of Generation X, or they live in a small city or rural area.  The widespread scepticism could threaten Illinois’ plan to fully return to life as it was before COVID-19, since Pritzker’s Phase 5 requires that “Either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period.”

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state unemployment rate dropped to 11 point three percent last month. The Illinois jobless rate is down from 14 point five percent in June says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Salustro says the biggest job gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector as more restaurant and bar employees get back to work. Growth was also seen in educational and health services and professional and business services.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,832 new cases of Coronavirus Thursday and 27 additional deaths. The state also reported testing over 51,000 specimens in 24 hours. Locally, McLean County reported 42 new cases bringing their total number to 872. Livingston County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 161. Vermilion County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 268. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 303. Ford County is reporting 6 new cases bringing their total to 89. All 6 new cases are part of an outbreak at a long term care facility in Paxton. Kankakee County reported 30 new cases bringing their total to 2,046. Champaign County reported 36 new cases and an additional death bringing their total number of cases to 1,824 and total deaths to 20.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says a graduated income tax is needed as Illinois continues to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. Illinois voters will be asked to approve a new tax structure when they cast a ballot in November. Governor Pritzker says taxing based on how much you earn instead of the current flat tax is fairer, and will generate more money for the state…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says 97 percent of Illinoisans would pay the same or less in income taxes under his plan. Opponents say the change opens the door to future tax increases and hurts small businesses.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are looking for the individuals who beat an elderly man in the village. Police say two young men approached the 60 year old man in the 700 block of North Maplewood, across from Eastlawn Elementary school, and asked for money. The man said no and that’s when the two attacked him. The man was taken to the hospital for his injuries. The suspects are described as black males between the ages of 16 and 25. One was wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans, and the other was wearing a blue shirt. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- There could be a new competitor in the market for corn trade. USDA’s Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski talks about Ukraine's growing influence in world corn markets…

 

 

USDA Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul’s newest addition to the fire department has arrived. The village purchased a $1.3 million dollar ladder truck earlier this year. The truck gives the department 25 additional feet of reach compared to their old ladder truck and also pumps and holds more water. The ladder truck joins a new half a million dollar rescue pumper and tanker/tender truck that were both purchased in 2015.


(Gibson City-cf)-- The Gibson City Melvin Sibley School District has developed an app GCMS#5 that will monitor students' symptoms, and that can do the symptoms  checks at home, as well as at school.The app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell has the details… 

 

 

GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell.

 

The Sheldon Fun Days Committee will hold a day-long event on Saturday, August 22nd at Sheldon Park starting with an antique tractor show from 9-5, Community Picnic at noon and mobile escape room from 12:30-6:30.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- In an effort to help lower unemployment, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association has launched the "Makers Hiring" campaign, which matches job seekers with open positions in the manufacturing sector. Almost 50 companies have already signed up to participate in the campaign, looking to fill more than 950 jobs. Those interested in a job can visit the states jobs website: illinois dot gov slash get hired.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Peaches sold at Aldi stores across the country including Illinois are being recalled over potential salmonella concerns. The peaches are a Wawona brand. The CDC reports 68 cases across the country with 16 hospitalized. Experts say you should throw them out if you have any.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker continues to remind the public about the use of masks. The Governor says masks work in helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Yesterday, Illinois reported 1,832 new cases of the Coronavirus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Conservation Foundation is launching a new app. The Outdoor Illinois app is free and provides information on hunting, fishing, boating and camping in Illinois. You can also renew your hunting and fishing licenses as well as register your new boat and renew your boat registration. The app is available on Iphones and Androids.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 664 have recovered, 188 are in isolation and 4 hospitalized. Livingston County 139 have been removed from isolation, 19 cases are active and 1 hospitalized. Vermilion County 248 removed, 18 in isolation. Iroquois County 243 released, 39 in isolation and 6 hospitalized. Ford County, 65 released, 22 in isolation. Kankakee County 1,420 recovered, 559 active 8 hospitalized. Champaign County 1,673 recovered, 131 active 4 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor reminds that teens under 16 need a work permit before starting a job. 14 and 15 year olds wanting to work should get a letter from their prospective employer, stating the type of work and anticipated hours. That needs to be submitted to the child’s school, which will decide if the work permit is approved says Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. Keller says students can go through the application process remotely if the school building is closed due to COVID-19. Teens don’t need a permit for jobs like delivering newspapers, mowing or babysitting.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Bement man who stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment and money from his Thomasboro employer has been sentenced to 30 months probation. Joey Marshall pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to theft with a prior theft conviction. Marshall stole over $10,000 worth of equipment and cash from Concrete Inc in Thomasboro. As part of his plea deal, a more serious felony charge was dropped. He was also ordered to pay over $16,000 to the company.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- A few students and parents have chosen to attend school solely online this upcoming school year in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district. PBL  Superintendent Cliff McClure says about 12% of the district chose to go online…. 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Ford County-cf)-- The Ford County Board has approved a purchase of an O-W-L or OWL. It is a package for web conferencing that comes with a better webcam and microphone. County Board Chairman Robert Lindgren has the details on the purchase… 

 

 

Ford County Board Chairman Robert Lingdren.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting Gold Star Mission on Saturday, August 22nd from 10-2.

 

 

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State officials say Illinois is heading in the wrong  direction when it comes to the Coronavirus

(Springfield-jm) -- The Office of the Architect of the Capitol Board voted Wednesday to move forward with plans to rearrange several large statues with connections to slavery on the Illinois State Capitol grounds, despite not knowing how much the proposals will cost. Statues of Steven Douglas and Pierre Menard will be removed and put in storage. The board also approved moving the Martin Luther King Jr statue from across the street to the capitol grounds.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials say Illinois is heading in the wrong  direction when it comes to the Coronavirus. Illinois is close to hitting 212 thousand positive cases, and more than 78 hundred patients have died says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says several regions of the state are seeing increases in positivity and hospital admission rates. The Governor says if numbers continue to rise, more areas will be subject to tighter restrictions.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, Livingston County reported 3 new cases Wednesday bringing their total number of cases to 157. McLean County reported 51 new cases bringing their total number to 830. Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 83. Kankakee County reported 15 new cases bringing their total number to 2,016. Champaign County reported 16 new cases bringing their total number to 1,788. Iroquois and Vermilion Counties both reported no new cases Wednesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Officials say FDA approval of the University of Illinois’ COVID-19 saliva test is a game changer. It’s called the “Shield” Program and the U of I has already tested more than 50 thousand students and college staff. President Tim Killeen says this is groundbreaking…

 

 

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen. Killeen says the test is especially useful in identifying carriers who show no symptoms and are unknowingly spreading COVID. The state and U of I are working to offer the saliva test at other colleges and the goal is to make it available at K through 12 schools, long term care facilities and more.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arrested on sexual assault charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a developmentally delayed teen. Demetrius Wade was charged with a single count of criminal sexual assault. Police say Wade allegedly had sex with the teen in December. Bond was set at $100,000. He’s due back in court September 8th.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- 2 properties in the village of Fisher have been deemed unsafe. The homes are in the Shepherd Mobile Home Estates. The designation requires the owners of the properties to remove or demolish them within 90 days. If they don’t the issue could end up in court.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Students returning to classes this fall will have to wear face masks. To help out, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency are teaming up to provide masks to districts says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Urbana is following Champaign’s steps in issuing executive orders for U of I bars and restaurants ahead of students returning to campus. Urbana’s city order requires people to be seated at bars and restaurants and requires people to wear masks out in public. Champaign’s order, issued Tuesday, also shuts down indoor dining at campustown restaurants. Both orders are in effect through the Labor Day Holiday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study on the country’s early education systems gave Illinois high marks. The personal finance website WalletHub looked at 12 key metrics to come up with the rankings, including the share of school districts that offer preschool programs and the total spending per child enrolled in preschool. Illinois ranked 12th best in the country. The state scored well in the share of school districts that offer a preschool program and enrollment numbers. Illinois also fared well in the total state Head Start spending per child enrolled in preschool.

 

 

(McLean County-jm) -- A new wind farm could be coming to McLean County. Apex Clean Energy is looking to build a wind farm on 30,000 acres between Heyworth and LeRoy. The company has six other wind farms in the area. 


 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,295 new cases and 25 additional deaths Wednesday. As for active and recovered cases locally, Livingston County reported 131 have been removed from isolation with 23 active cases and 1 hospitalized. McLean County reported 655 have recovered, 155 are in isolation with 4 hospitalized including one in the ICU, Vermilion County reported 232 have been removed from isolation, 30 remain in isolation. Iroquois County reported 241 have been released, 39 are in isolation and 6 hospitalized. Ford County reported 65 have been released from isolation with 16 in isolation. Kankakee County reported 1,362 have recovered, 587 cases are active with 8 hospitalized. Champaign County reported 1,657 have recovered, 112 cases are active and 9 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is launching a virtual guestbook to honor former Governor Jim Thompson. The guestbook is online and will be shared with Thompson’s family says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker calls the longest serving Governor in Illinois history a titan of state government who brought all political stripes together.


 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- The new Dollar General in Thomasboro is expected to open in September. Construction began in July on the building east of Route 45 at Flatville Road.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign man has been sentenced to 30 months probation for aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child. Bradley McDermott received the sentence in Champaign County court. In exchange for his plea, a charge of criminal sexual assault was dropped.

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker is continuing to encourage Illinoisans to wear masks and social distance

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is teaming up with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – Division of Banking and Division of Financial Institution to work with financial institutions to seek out and fight back against the fraud. The Illinois Department of Employment Security recently announced they would be cracking down more on unemployment fraud.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network , they've seen a major spike in minors calling their hotline. The alarming part is three out of four children live with their abuser. With schools being virtual, experts are afraid it could cause more cases to go unreported. Illinois has seen a 50% decrease in the number of calls to the Department of Children and Family Services but it doesn't mean that abuse isn't happening it's just going unreported.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is continuing to encourage Illinoisans to wear masks and social distance. The Governor is encouraging the use of masks and social distancing as the state continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases. Governor Pritzker warns if people don’t start taking action, restrictions may be put back into place…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. So far only the Metro East area has been put under increased restrictions. Yesterday, Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen issued an executive order closing indoor dining at restaurants on the University of Illinois campus until after the Labor Day weekend. 


 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,740 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 209,594 and deaths to 7,782. Locally, McLean County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 779. Vermilion County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 264. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 301. Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 81. Kankakee County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 2,001. Champaign County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 1,772. Livingston County reported no new cases.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- One analyst says it's hard to make accurate predictions about what's going to happen in the dairy sector, but he's going to try. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Market Street Theatre Group is the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an announcement on social media Tuesday evening, Tom and Sherry Janowski announced they are putting the theatre building up for sale. The Janowski’s did leave the door open to possible future shows in cooperation with groups in the community.

 

 

(Chicago-jm) -- Chicago's Navy Pier is closing again until next spring because attendance has been so low during the coronavirus pandemic. The tourist spot began reopening June 10, but officials say they're only seeing about 15% to 20% of the usual crowds during what's generally the busiest time of year. 


 

(Undated-jm) -- The IRS is extending the deadline to ensure people with children receive their $500 Economic Impact Payments to September 30th. The money is from the first round of stimulus checks passed by Congress. People can provide the information on the IRS’s non-filer tool at: irs dot gov slash coronavirus slash non filers enter payment info here.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district has sent out, and made the opening plan official. There is one key piece of information in the document that both students and parents need to go over, and that is the new flow-chart. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons is warning residents about a printing error on the vote by mail application. The application has the wrong return zip code. The zip code on some read 61208 when the correct zip code should be 61802. Ammons says you should return it with the correct zip code. Ballots will be mailed out September 24th.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker is announcing Ford County 2019 real estate tax bills payable in 2020 were mailed out August 14th. The first installment is due September 18th with the 2nd installment due November 6th. Tax bills can be paid by mail, any Ford County bank or at the Treasurer’s office. If you haven’t received your bill by September 1st, call the office at 379-9465.

 

(Washington-jm) -- U-S Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin have introduced federal legislation to close loopholes to protect domestic abuse survivors. The legislation would restrict those under a temporary restraining order from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Current federal law only restricts access once the court issues a permanent restraining order.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It’s unclear how to handle election outcomes if there’s an outbreak at a local county elections office. The question was posed last week during a virtual roundtable discussion amid Illinois elections officials and Congressman Rodney Davis. Green County Clerk Debbie Banhart said her entire staff was sent home for two weeks because an employee contracted COVID-19. Davis said that’s a real threat to the November General Election.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Struggling renters now have a little more time to apply for emergency relief assistance. Many people lost power last week as storms swept through the state, so the Illinois Housing Development Authority is extending the deadline for rent relief to August 28th. Spokesperson Andrew Field says the program is for those having a hard time paying their rent during the Coronavirus pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Applicants will need to meet certain income eligibility guidelines and landlords will need to sign the form. Visit: era dot ihda dot org to get started.


 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,740 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 209,594 and deaths to 7,782. As for local active and recovered cases, 622 have been released from isolation in McLean County with 137 in isolation and 4 hospitalized including 1 in intensive care. In Vermilion County, 232 have been released from isolation while 30 remain in isolation. In Iroquois County, 239 have been released from isolation, 39 remain in isolation with 8 hospitalized. In Ford County, 64 have been released from isolation, 14 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 123 have been removed from isolation with 28 cases remain active and 1 hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1359 have recovered, 575 cases remain active with 7 hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1640 have recovered, 113 cases are active with 9 hospitalized.

 

 

(Gibson City-cf)-- School starts today for the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley School District. GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell details the reopening plan for the district… 

 

 

GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College in Champaign will not have to make layoffs after all. The school had announced they would be laying off 65 people because of lost revenue from declining enrollment due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The college offered voluntary separation agreements. Between that, retirements and resignations, the college expects 69 positions to become vacant over the next 3 years. The college says they will not fill 34 of those positions.

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- The new plan for a casino in Danville is moving forward. Danville Development LLC plans to build the casino on Eastgate Drive, near the Lynch Road exit off I-74. The site is close to the earlier proposed site. The Illinois Gaming Board will review and possibly approve the new plan next month.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn use for ethanol is expected to expand. That’s according to USDA’s Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski…

 

 

USDA Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- A member of the Sadorus village board will represent the Champaign County GOP on the November ballot for county treasurer. Ted Myhre was selected to run against Democratic challenger Cassandra Johnson to fill the remainder of the term of Laurel Prussing who resigned earlier this year. County democrats selected Marisol Hughes to take over but opted for Johnson instead of Hughes to run on the ticket for the November election.

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health has a new guide to help assess out of state travel risks during the pandemic

(Springfield-jm) -- A couple of business groups are keeping their legal options open following last week’s mask and social distancing rules from the governor were allowed to stand. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association said litigation against the rule is possible. The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association that represents convenience stores said a legal challenge is likely. Both groups were among the first to voluntarily implement mask and social distancing guidelines. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Reformers say it’s time for Illinoisans to “advocate for themselves” when lawmakers redraw the state’s political boundaries in a few months. That’s the message the Coalition for Honest and New Government Ethics, or CHANGE Illinois, a group that has long advocated for changes to the redistricting process, intends to deliver through an online application its helped develop. The state has until June 30, 2021 to create an agreed-upon  redistricting plan.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has a new guide to help assess out of state travel risks during the pandemic. The travel guide indicates which states and countries pose the greatest risk for the Coronavirus says Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says airports, bus and train stations and rest stops are all places with an increased risk of transmission. The travel guide is available on the State Department of Public Health’s website.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the state’s total number of cases is now 207,854 and deaths are at 7,756. Locally since Friday, McLean County reported 54 new cases bringing their total to 776. Livingston County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 154. Vermilion County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 263. Ford County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 80. Kankakee County reported 39 new cases bringing their total to 1,979. Champaign County reported 31 new cases bringing their total to 1,739. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 298. McLean County reported their 16th COVID death while Kankakee County reported their 67th COVID death.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops dropped a little this past week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 97 percent of soybean acres are blooming…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 81 percent of corn is in the dough stage and 21 percent has dented. 76 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 57 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at three percent very short, 20 percent short, 72 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A North Carolina man has been arrested for driving under the influence after his vehicle struck a mobile home in Rantoul. 62-year-old Paul Lyons was arrested after his vehicle struck a mobile home in the 1200 block of Wedgewood Drive. No injuries were reported. 


 

 

(Parke County, Indiana-jm) -- A fall event just over the border in Indiana that attracts thousands has been canceled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Parke County, Indiana officials announced Monday the 2020 Covered Bridge Festival originally scheduled for October 9-18th. 

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district will begin school this Wednesday. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure gives us the details on how the daily operations will be for this fall… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A 17 year old from Rantoul will spend the next 8 years in prison for a shooting in October. James Price pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm. Police say Price shot a person after an exchange of words between the victim and a group of people Price was with. Price had a prior juvenile adjudication for possession of a weapon.

(Washington-jm) -- U-S Senator Dick Durbin has introduced a bill to fund clean climate futures. The bill would establish an independent federal agency to support and invest in job creation and clean energy projects, provide grants to state and local governments for impacted communities, rebates to individuals and refunds for carbon capture and a delayed onset for a carbon tax.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Pritzker administration is targeting a decree the state entered into in 1972 to combat patronage hiring, but Republicans said it should be expanded, not vacated. A filing the Illinois Attorney General made on behalf of Governor J.B. Pritzker last month seeks to vacate a decree from 1972 about questionable hiring practices in Illinois State Government.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker visited the Metro East area Monday, as new restrictions are being put into place. The region has had three days in a row of a COVID-19 positivity rate of eight percent or more, triggering new mitigations. That means no party buses, no barstools at the bar and only six people to a table indoors. Bars, restaurants and casinos will have to close at 11pm, just like St. Louis. Governor Pritzker says residents need to take this seriously…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If numbers don’t improve, the Governor says more restrictions may go into effect. The new rules will be dropped if the region’s positivity rate average six point five percent or less over the next two weeks. 


 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the state’s total number of cases is now 207,854 and deaths are at 7,756. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 618 have recovered, 136 remain in isolation with 6 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 123 have been removed from isolation, 28 cases are active with 1 hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 227 have recovered and 34 remain in isolation. Ford County is reporting 64 have been released from isolation, 13 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,346 have recovered, 566 cases remain active and 6 are hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,618 have recovered, 122 cases remain active and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 231 have been released from isolation, 43 remain in isolation and 9 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops dropped a little this past week. 81 percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 76 percent of the soybean crop is also in good to excellent condition, with 84 percent of acres now blooming. Average statewide topsoil moisture is at three percent very short, 20 percent short, 72 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On August 15th, Gail Scales of Champaign was ticketed for speeding and Dale Enghausen of Saybrook was cited for leaving the scene of an accident.

 

 

(Kankakee-jm) -- Kankakee Community College will be offering 5 free job hunting webinars over the lunch hour. The first webinar is September 22nd titled 5 steps to a winning resume, September 29th titled AIDA cover letter, October 6th, micro internships for students and recent grads, October 13th, Leveraging Linkedin and October 20th Acing your Video Interview. For more information or to sign up, call 815-802-8207.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Pritzker Administration has announced $250 million in infrastructure grants as part of his Rebuild Illinois campaign. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at Vermilion County communities receiving funds…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College in Champaign is hosting a fall enrollment blitz. The blitz runs Monday through Friday 8-5 through August 21st. Enrollment will take place either at the student union or by zoom.

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Governor J-B Pritzker says a COVID-19 saliva test developed by the University of Illinois is showing a lot of promise

(Springfield-jm) -- Former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, the state’s longest-serving chief executive, has died. He was 84. Thompson was first elected governor in 1976 and eventually served four terms before leaving office in 1991. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Friday’s daily COVID-19 total is the highest its been since late May. State officials are reporting more than 22 hundred new cases. But the past 24 hours have been the second highest for the number of tests run, at over 49 thousand. Governor J-B Pritzker says the virus isn’t going away anytime soon, and that it’s still dangerous…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. COVID-19 deaths in Illinois are now up to more than 77 hundred and about 16 hundred patients are currently in the hospital.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State Senator Chapin Rose is demanding Gov. J.B. Pritzker get the state’s unemployment offices back open. The offices have been closed to the public since near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 22,900 new unemployment filers in Illinois last week.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says a COVID-19 saliva test developed by the University of Illinois is showing a lot of promise. The test is cheaper than the nasal swab, with results available in hours instead of days. It was initially created to test students and faculty on campus. Governor Pritzker says it’s a tremendous development in the fight against the Coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The U of I has formed an organization to make the test available statewide and eventually across the country.

 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- A Gifford teen is dead and another injured after they were hit by a car Saturday night. Illinois State Police say the teens were riding their bike on U-S 136 about a mile east of Gifford just before 9:30 Saturday night when they were struck by a vehicle. 18 year old Matthew Correll died at the scene. A 15 year old was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle was not injured. The accident remains under investigation.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department passed an ordinance Friday that takes Governor J-B Pritzker’s recent mandates a step further. This week the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules passed rules that could fine and cite businesses, organizations and schools up to $25 hundred if they don’t follow the mask and social distance mandate but would not fine individuals. The CUPHD took it a step further and passed an ordinance that would fine individuals the same amount as well. The health department says wearing a mask is no longer optional and the new ordinance takes effect August 24th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- How has the beginning of August looked weatherwise and how does the rest of the month look? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.


 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to finalize their fall plans and set their budget. Also at tonight’s meeting, school board members are expected to raise the minimum wage for employees, review updated school policies and hear updates on several projects. The Iroquois West School Board meeting gets underway at 7 pm.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The Fisher School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to approve updates to their reopening plan. In addition, school board members are also expected to approve some updates to policies and present their tentative FY 21 budget. A building tour gets underway at 5:45 with the school board meeting getting underway at 6:30.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Illinois’ tax structure could change pending the outcome of a constitutional amendment before voters on the November ballot. The amendment would change the states tax structure from the current flat rate to a progressive income tax. The change would allow lawmakers to adjust the income tax amount whenever they would like to. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the state needs to look at other ways to address the financial situation…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Early voting begins October 19th in Illinois. The election is November 3rd.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- Some streets in Thomasboro will see some work this summer. The village board approved to spend $25,000 to oil and chip portions of Clark, Park and as much of Pearl that can be done.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is seeing record sales in marijuana during the pandemic. Sales have totaled more than $300 million since the start of the year, with July seeing more sales than any other month, according to state figures. Cannabis sales in July hit $61 million, which is up from $47.6 million in June and $44.3 million in May, according to the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- School districts that had planned for some in-person teaching amid COVID-19 concerns have reversed course to full remote to start the fall semester and that puts parents with jobs in a tough spot. A new study from BankRate shows 3 of 5 parents nationwide found remote learning will negatively impact their finances, with more than a third saying they would have to either cut their hours at work or quit altogether.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is sending out two and a half million masks to public schools across Illinois. The cloth masks will go a long way towards protecting all students in the classroom says State Board of Education Spokesperson Jackie Matthews…

 

 

State Board of Education Spokesperson Jackie Matthews. Masks are required for kids and all school staff, and are scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to reduce spread of the virus, says Matthews. The state is also shipping out face shields to be used for additional protection at school if needed.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Park District has suspended all public and private events at the Virginia Theatre through April 30, 2021. The decision was made due to health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. Champaign Park District officials said many of the events that were originally scheduled for the fall and winter of 2020 and the spring of 2021 will be rescheduled.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Police Department is looking at ways to recruit officers to its department. That also includes recruiting more minority candidates. The department will implement a new testing system to recruit officers. Instead of testing once every two years the department will use a continuous testing model. The new testing system will kick off in January 2021.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker was supposed to appear before a Clay County judge last Friday after a judge ruled his executive orders unconstitutional. However, a northern Illinois judge and the state Supreme Court stepped in and put a hold on the case. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the situation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Bennett says he is sponsoring legislation that would answer what happens after the Governor’s 30 days are up that would require the General Assembly’s approval to issue more emergency orders beyond 30 days.

 

 

(Cissna Park-jm) -- The Cissna Park School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to approve a contract for an air conditioning project. In addition, school board members will also be asked to approve changes to the school handbook to include the use of face coverings and approve a change to their reopening plan. The Cissna Park School Board meeting gets underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School Board will meet tonight where school board members expected to approve a pair of policy changes. In addition, school board members will hear about infrastructure plans with IGA, the village and the school board near the junior high and approve putting the FY 21 budget on display. The Mahomet Seymour school board meeting gets underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Lower corn prices could help move the expected record large corn crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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Total cases of Coronavirus surpasses 200,000

(Springfield-jm) -- Fewer people are filing for unemployment in Illinois, but it’s still in the tens of thousands a week. The U.S. Department of Labor reports nearly 22,900 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week. That’s down about 2,800 from the total that filed the week before. Around 1.5 million Illinoisans have filed since the beginning of March. For the first time since mid-March, the number of initial weekly claims was below 1 million nationally last week.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Technology and Manufacturing Association says the sector is holding back on rehiring workers because of concerns about changing regulations and the possibility of another state shutdown, according to a new survey. The association's monthly survey was at a two-year optimism high in February, but plummeted to 20 percent in April because of the pandemic and the shutdowns that came after.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More adult use cannabis dispensary licenses are expected to be issued in the coming weeks. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that permanent rules have been adopted regarding the tiebreaking process for cannabis dispensary licensees. Specifically, the rules will be used to select adult use cannabis dispensary licensees when there are two or more applicants in the same Bureau of Labor Statistics Regions with tied high scores. With the approval of these rules, the state can now award 75 new licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is reminding families about the A-B-Cs of safe sleep. Babies should sleep alone, on their back and in a crib says DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez…

 

 

DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez. Lopez says babies should never be left to sleep in an adult bed or a couch. Unsafe sleep is a leading cause of death for children one year old and younger.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,834 new cases of Coronavirus and 24 additional deaths Thursday. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 200,427 and deaths to 7,696. Locally, Livingston County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 137. Vermilion County reported 11 new cases bringing their total number to 247. Ford County reported 6 new cases bringing their total number to 76. McLean County reported 20 new cases bringing their total to 690. Champaign County reported 16 new cases bringing their total number to 1,716. Kankakee County reported 17 new cases bringing their total to 1,920. They also reported their 66th death. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 294.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Pritzker Administration has announced $250 million in infrastructure grants as part of his Rebuild Illinois campaign. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at Iroquois County communities receiving funds…

 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker and representatives with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity were in Champaign-Urbana on Thursday to announce 50 grants were awarded to small businesses in the area. The 50 grants total $910,000. The grants are part of the Business Interruption Grant program.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department will meet this afternoon where they will consider a mask ordinance for the county. The move comes after Governor Pritzker filed rules with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules Tuesday which would fine businesses, organizations and schools if they follow the mandate.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is encouraging residents to fill out the 2020 census. Representative Bennett says if you haven’t filled out your census yet you could receive a visit from someone from the census…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Farmland values increased slightly according to the 2020 annual study of 20 benchmark farms by Farm Credit Illinois. Values increased 2.07 percent from last year. That’s the 2nd consecutive year of slight increases following four years of declines.

 

Christ Lutheran High School will hold their golf outing today starting at noon at Shagbark Country Club in Onarga. Tee time is 1pm

 

For the Old Settlers Renuion in Cissna Park today it is the famous Dave Schippert fish sandwiches. Food pick up available at the Cissna Park Legion Post 527 from 4pm to 8pm today. The Cissna Park American Legion Color Guard raise the American Flag at 6pm tonight.

There is a limited parade with legion members on Saturday at noon. A new 20-20 Chevroet  Ttrax will be given away Saturday night at 9pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An attorney suing the state in federal court seeking compensation for businesses forced closed because of COVID-19-orders said a jury is needed to ensure things are fair. Attorney Alan Bruggeman said relying on the Pritzker administration to decide which businesses get paid allows politics to get in the mix, which could make things less fair. Bruggeman said he expects the case to survive a motion to dismiss. A hearing date is set for December 1.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Most students in Illinois will be learning remotely this fall, according to results from an Illinois State Board of Education survey. Of more than 850 school districts in the state, only 671 have responded to the survey of fall semester plans amid COVID-19 concerns. Most are offering a blended model, around 200 are offering in-person and 150 are offering remote learning only.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Some members of the Illinois General Assembly are pushing for the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform to pass nine measures regarding ethics reform. The nine measures include: prohibiting legislators from lobbying elected officials from other units of government, stop the legislator-lobbyist revolving door by establishing at least a one year prohibition on legislators leaving office and going to work as lobbyists, better define who is a lobbyist, expand disclosure of legislators outside income, initiate an official censure similar to U-S Congress, strengthen the Legislative Inspector General, end exemption of legislators direct employees from the state’s Human Rights Act, establish term limits for legislative leaders and enact a policy to temporarily remove a legislator as leader or committee chair during a criminal investigation or indictment.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- With fewer than 90 days until the November election, the partisan divide over vote-by-mail appears to be growing in Illinois. Mary Scheurmann reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The state hit topped 200 thousand confirmed Coronavirus cases Thursday. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,834 new cases of Coronavirus and 24 additional deaths bringing  the state’s total number of cases to 200,427 and deaths to 7,696. As for local active and recovered cases, in Livingston County 116 have been released and 18 cases are active. Vermilion County reported 217 have recovered, 27 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In Ford County, 62 have been released from isolation, 11 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In McLean County, 581 have recovered, 91 remain in isolation with 3 hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,557 have recovered, 140 cases are active with 9 hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,326 have recovered, 528 cases remain active with 7 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 222 have been released, 48 remain isolated with 10 hospitalized.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What was the market reaction to USDA's forecasts of big harvests? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- AMC movie theatre announced reopening dates for their theatres in Illinois including their location in Champaign. The Champaign theatre will reopen on August 27th. 

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in August. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Iroquois Memorial Hospital’s Gilman Practice is moving. The hospital announced it will move the clinic next to the CVS starting August 17th.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting York Rite of Paxton on Saturday, from 10-2.

 

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