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House Republicans are seeking to repeal last year's criminal justice and police reform bill

(Watseka-jm) – Bond was set Thursday at $25,000 for the man accused of shooting a person in the head in Loda Wednesday. Colton Johnson went before an Iroquois County judge where he was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. Johnson is accused of shooting a 19 year old in the head. That person remains in the hospital in critical condition.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Tax filing season begins next week. It’s that time of year again says Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki…

 

 

Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Maura Kownacki. If taxpayers file an error-free return and choose direct deposit, they should receive their refund in about four weeks. Income tax returns are due by Monday, April 18th. Visit tax dot illinois dot gov for more information.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 23,246 new cases and 198 additional deaths Thursday. The seven day positivity rate fell to 14.8 percent. Champaign County reported 190 new cases. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House Republicans are seeking to repeal last year’s criminal justice and police reform bill. The so-called “Safe-T Act” included several changes such as ending cash bail and addressing police misconduct. Since then, crime has skyrocketed, says Westmont Representative Deanne Mazzochi…

 

 

State Representative Deanne Mazzochi of Westmont. Mazzochi and her GOP colleagues have introduced a resolution urging the repeal of the Safe-T Act and are asking Democrats to come back to the drawing board.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana Police were dispatched to the intersection of Vine and Water Street at around 1 p.m. on Thursday in response to a report of a vehicle vs. pedestrian traffic crash. According to officers, a Dodge pickup truck driven by a male occupant was driving eastbound on Water Street. The driver of the pickup truck was attempting to turn left onto Vine Street. When he turned left in order to enter the northbound lanes, he struck a pedestrian who was crossing Vine Street while traveling westbound. The pedestrian was traveling on a motorized scooter. They were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Another Rantoul school is closed because of COVID concerns. Superintendent Scott Woods sent an email out saying Eastlawn Elementary would be closed today. The district announced Wednesday that Pleasant Acres Elementary would be closed yesterday and today. Both schools are expected to reopen on Monday.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire in an apartment complex Thursday afternoon. According to officials, fire crews were called out to 710 W. Church St. around 12:27 p.m.  after someone walking by reported the two-story apartment building was on fire.  The cause of this fire is still undetermined as investigators remain on the scene conducting their investigation.  

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary vehemently denies the charge that the Biden Administration is dropping its support of the biofuels industry. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Watseka-jm) – Up for election in Iroquois County will be Sheriff Clint Perzee, a former investigator for the sheriff’s office who was appointed to replace the retired Derek Hagen as sheriff last fall; County Clerk & Recorder Breein Suver, who was appointed to replace the retired Lisa Fancher in 2020; and Treasurer Kurt Albers, who is in the final year of his first four-year term. Also, all 16 members of the Iroquois County Board will be up for election, four in each of the four districts, including District 2 members John Shure and David Penny, both of rural Buckley, and Barbara Offill and Steve Huse, both of rural Gilman; and District 3 members Charles Alt and Thomas Lynch, both of Cissna Park, and Paul Bowers and Donna Crow, both of Milford.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a new round of Back to Business grants for small businesses in Illinois. The latest round is more than 111 million dollars, says the Governor, funding over 29 hundred grants to businesses still recovering from the pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The deadline to apply for Back to Business grants has passed but grants will continue to go out to previous applicants until funds are exhausted.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New legislation aims to help smartphone app companies based in Illinois. Currently, you can’t purchase an app on your phone unless you go through Google or Apple, which takes as much as 30 percent of the developer's profits. This new bill, called the Freedom to Directly Subscribe Act, cuts out the middleman, says Senator Robert Peters of Chicago…

 

 

State Senator Robert Peters of Chicago. Supporters say this would help more than creators of games and other apps. For example, it will save newspaper companies money by letting them directly sign up digital subscribers.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana Police said that four people have been arrested following a fight at Urbana Middle School Thursday afternoon. According to police, three juveniles and one adult were arrested for mob action. Officers said that they responded to a fight at the school after 3:30 p.m. and had to use pepper spray in order to break it up.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign police said no victims have come forward after a witness reported shots fired between two vehicles late Thursday morning. Police say a dark gray SUV was going southeast on Bloomington Road toward State Street. When the vehicle was stopped at the intersection, a dark-colored sedan drove past it, and someone fired a gun. Newell said someone in the SUV returned fire. Police found shell casings and shattered glass believed to be from the vehicles, but no property was damaged. Police have no information on the suspects.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois cited American inflation in deciding to increase tuition. The News-Gazette reports trustees will raise tuition and housing costs for incoming freshmen. It's the second increase in tuition in the last eight years and follows a period of stability for undergraduates who are residents of Illinois, which happened from 2015 to 2019.  Base tuition is expected to go up by 1.8 percent, or about $220, to $12,474 a year. Those who are incoming freshmen will pay an increase of about 1.8 percent in room and board fees. Miscellaneous fees for all students are expected to go up by $52. 

 

(Washington-jm) – There may not be a quick fix for current very high fertilizer prices. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana is the latest Central Illinois city to search for a new police chief after chief Bryant Seraphin announced his retirement on Thursday. Seraphin will step down on March 25. He’s been with Urbana Police for 27 years and has been chief since 2018.

 

The Loda American Legion will hold their fish and chicken fry tonight from 4-6 pm.

 

State officials are cautiously optimistic about the recent decline in COVID-19 numbers in Illinois

(Loda-jm) – A 19 year old man is in critical condition after a shooting happened early Wednesday morning. Police received a 911 call from a resident in Loda, requesting an ambulance for a subject who was bleeding from the head. When officers arrived at the scene, they found a victim who suffered from a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to an area hospital. 22 year old Colton Johnson was arrested and charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Rantoul City Schools announced on Wednesday that Pleasant Acres Elementary School will be closed today and tomorrow due to a high rate of COVID-19 cases within the Pleasant Acres population. The school will not be transitioning to remote learning on those days. In a letter to parents, Superintendent Scott Woods said the decision was made to close Pleasant Acres after consulting with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. The decision affects only Pleasant Acres. Pre-K, Northview, Broadmeadow, Eastlawn and J.W. Eater Junior High will all remain open.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's January WASDE report forecasts continuing strong prices for meat products. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Watseka-jm) – Iroquois County leaders have approved the first round of applications for distributing American Rescue Plan funds. $350,000 will go to the Eastern Illinois Mutual Aid Fire Association to build a multi use facility to house equipment and create a training facility in the county. $136,000 will go towards a full body x-ray scanner for the sheriff’s office, $18,000 for video court and telehealth at the jail and $18,600 to the Ford-Iroquois 4-H Foundation for their enrollment fee program.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff's Office could be moving to a new building if it is approved by the county board. Sheriff Dustin Heuerman said the county is looking to move the office next door. The location would be at the County Plaza Building, which is across the street from the current sheriffs office and the courthouse. The building would offer more space for law enforcement and other county offices. The move would cost around $2 million, and the funding is still being discussed by the county executive.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State officials are cautiously optimistic about the recent decline in COVID-19 numbers in Illinois. Over the past week there has been a drop in the number of new COVID cases, ER visits and hospitalizations signaling the Omicron surge may have peaked. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. At last count, there were more than 65 hundred Illinois COVID patients in the hospital and just 10 percent of ICU beds statewide are available. Ezike says the health care system is still under tremendous pressure with so many cases of the virus. The state reported 26,491 new cases Wednesday and 160 deaths. The state’s seven day positivity rate fell to 15 percent. Champaign County reported 700 new cases and 5 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 325 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A small U-Haul truck crashed into a cannabis store around noon on Wednesday. Police were dispatched to 105 East University Avenue in response to a reported car accident. When they arrived at the scene, they found a U-Haul crashed into the front of the nuEra store in Urbana. The driver was driving into the parking lot when he lost control and hit the store, resulting in some exterior damages, including broken glass windows.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA makes small changes in the outlook for U.S. meat production.  Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – After freezing tuition for in-state undergraduate students in six of the past seven years, the University of Illinois is proposing a tuition hike for the 2022-2023 school year. School trustees met in a committee Wednesday to discuss the matter, then final approval is expected at the full trustees meeting today. A document prepared for trustees proposed a 1.8% increase for in-state undergraduate students on the Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses and a 1.5% increase on the Springfield campus. For out-of-state and international undergraduate students on all three campuses, the hike ranged from 1.5% to 2.5%.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man accused of shooting another man in the chest during an altercation in June has been formally charged. Bruce Stennis allegedly threatened to shoot a woman he had dated if she was seen with another man. On June 12th Stennis allegedly shot Montez Jones after he found him and the woman in a car near her home. He is charged with first degree murder and faces a minimum of 45 years in prison if convicted.

 

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service is postponing their chicken and noodle supper from tonight to next week on Thursday due to unforeseen circumstances.

Additional Illinois gas tax being opposed by group representing gas stations

(Springfield-jm) – A measure that would allow all municipalities in Illinois to tack on a local gas tax on top of the state’s gas tax is being opposed by the group representing gas stations. The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association said Illinois already has the second-highest gas taxes in the country and House Bill 4424 could make that even higher.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 93,343 new cases and 251 additional deaths since Friday. The state did not have a report Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr holiday. Locally since Friday, Champaign County reported 2,776 new cases and 4 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 49,995 and deaths to 245. Vermilion County reported 1,062 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 24,089 and deaths to 251. Iroquois County reported 377 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 6,325 and deaths to 94. Ford County did not have a report.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie is renewing his call to empower Illinois voters. GOP Leader McConchie has a package of constitutional amendments that he says provides the government with the needed checks and balances…

 

 

State Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie. One of the amendments creates an independent commission to draw legislative districts while another lets voters initiate referendums on newly passed laws. A third gives voters the ability to recall elected officials including legislators and local government leaders.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man is facing up to 20 years behind bars after pleading guilty to drug trafficking and firearms charges. Curtis Coleman admitted he had been selling drugs out of an apartment in the 1800 block of Oliver Drive in Urbana. He also told the judge he had multiple firearms despite being a convicted felon. A search of his home turned up approximately 200 grams of cocaine as well as marijuana and crack cocaine.

 

(Washington-jm) – South America dominates the global outlook for corn. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Danville-jm) – Vermilion County has become the latest to back the Illinois Second Amendment Preservation Act.  The board got a standing ovation after approving the ordinance. Nineteen voted ‘yes’, four ‘no’, and four board members were absent. Some board members argued that the county does not need any more laws for law-abiding citizens. Those voting against the ordinance were Robert Boyd, Phearn Butler, Diane Frazier-Brennemen, and board vice-chairman Craig Golden.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois is looking for participants in a study to investigate the relationship behind diet, gut health and metabolic health. Participants will be chosen among healthy adults aged 30 to 60 years who are not taking medications that affect gastrointestinal function. Additional exclusions also apply and people interested in participating are advised to contact study organizers for further details. The study will consist of a 12-week dietary intervention period where participants will eat a provided pre-packaged snack two times per day. Snacks will be picked up from the testing site once per month. Participants will be asked to visit a lab three times during the study to complete questionnaires, DXA scans, liver ultrasounds and blood draws. Six stool samples will also be collected.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new report from the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools says that Illinois’ educator shortage is worse than ever before. The 2021 Illinois Educator Shortage Survey details the perspective of 663 school districts across the state, representing 78% of Illinois’ public schools. 88% of responding superintendents say they have a teacher shortage problem, and 77% say they believe it will get worse. 96% of superintendents say they have a shortage of substitutes, and 90% expect it to get worse.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is urging snowmobilers to focus on safety this winter. Riders need to make sure their snowmobile is in good running condition and wear the proper clothing and equipment like helmets, gloves and goggles, says DNR Safety Education Administrator Jeff Hopkins. He says when people get into trouble, it’s often because they don’t know the land very well and run into fences or try and cross bodies of water…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Safety Education Administrator Jeff Hopkins. Hopkins says another big problem is people drinking and snowmobiling. He recommends always riding with someone else and keeping an eye on the weather.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA is estimating increased domestic soybean production. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Kankakee County-jm) – A Champaign man was arrested in Kankakee County on multiple charges. Justin Collins was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, driving while license suspended and speeding 15-20 mph over the limit. Collins was stopped for multiple traffic infractions on I-57 near Kankakee.

 

(Champaign-jm) –  Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a burglary. According to police, on January 6, two suspects broke into an ATM at Central Illinois Bank located at 2913 West Kirby Avenue at around 3:30 a.m.. Police said the offenders were driving a stolen maroon/silver Ford F350 pickup truck and made away with an undisclosed amount of money. Surveillance video captured the suspects at the ATM. They appeared to be two men wearing hoods, masks and gloves.

 

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin is running for Governor of Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin announced on Monday he is running for Governor of Illinois. The former prosecutor has also chosen State Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville to serve as Lt. Governor should he win the election.

 

(Springfield-jm) –  House Bill 2778 required districts to provide COVID-19 administrative days to any school or college employee for absences related to the virus-like quarantining, illness, or testing. In a letter to the Illinois Education Association, Governor JB Pritzker says he plans on vetoing the bill. The bill also would allow hourly employees to get paid if their school went remote due to an outbreak. The Illinois Education Association is working with the Governor to come to a resolution.

 

(Washington-jm) – Several nations in the IndoPacific region have a growing middle class - an opportunity for our nation to increase agricultural exports in that part of the world. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – The City of Hoopeston announced that starting today, City Hall will be closed to the public for at least two weeks. City officials said the closure is necessary to keep city workers healthy amidst increasing case numbers of COVID-19. City Hall is tentatively scheduled to reopen on January 31.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There was a mixed report released last week when it comes to the state’s finances. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the report…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) – There will be a new Sheriff for Ford County come November. Incumbent Mark Doran announced he will not seek re-election. Paxton Police Captain Chad Johnson announced he will run for the position. Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker and Clerk and Recorder Amy Frederick are both seeking re-election. There will also be new four-year terms on the line for all 12 members of the Ford County Board. Four seats in each of the three county board districts will be up for election, including those held by District 1’s Debbie Smith of Paxton, Gene May of Paxton, Jason Johnson of rural Paxton and Tom McQuinn of rural Paxton; District 2’s Cindy Ihrke of rural Roberts, Ann Ihrke of rural Buckley, Lesley King of Piper City and Tim Nuss of Roberts; and District 3’s Chase McCall, Chuck Aubry, Dr. Bernadette Ray and Randy Ferguson, all of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois will receive $1.4 billion to help upgrade its deteriorating bridges under the federal infrastructure law approved in November. The state’s Democratic congressional delegation said Friday that the funding over five years will include $274.8 million in Fiscal Year 2022. Illinois’ allotment is part of a $27 billion program to repair and upgrade roughly 15,000 highway bridges nationwide that President Joe Biden was announcing Friday.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois unemployment insurance trust fund is about $4.5 billion in the red because of the large number of people who filed for unemployment during the pandemic of the past two years. The state still has billions in American Rescue Plan Act money to spend. One of the permitted uses is paying back debt. Every week the debt grows by $2 million because of interest on the money. Thus far state Democrats have been unwilling to use federal dollars to pay back federal debt saying they are holding out hope that the federal government will offer help or forgiveness for some of this debt.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – The year that just ended is the 4th warmest on record -- or, in other words, since 1895. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Kankakee-jm) – Authorities in northeastern Illinois are investigating seven fentanyl overdose cases over 24 hours that left two people dead. The Kankakee Police Department and Kankakee County Coroner's Office say the two victims who died were a 20-year-old female and a 37-year-old male, both of Kankakee. The Kankakee Daily Journal reports that authorities did not have the conditions of the other five. Coroner Bob Gessner says it's the first time there have been so many cases in a short period of time. Police say it appeared the individuals had been together Thursday and was followed by several calls to authorities on Friday.

 

(Ford-Iroquois-tr) – The past two years have proved difficult for the agriculture economy. Ford/Iroquois County Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says there is a lot of talk about supply chain issues and availability of inputs for next year's crop….

 

 

Ford-Iroquois Counties Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Fithian-jm) – State Representative Mike Marron has announced he will seek a third term in office.  The Republican from Fithian represents voters in the 104th District of the Illinois House. Marron cited his current and past support from both business and labor interests as a factor in his decision to run again.  He says the state needs more consensus builders in a time where our country is facing unprecedented division.

 

Six million dollars in grants to libraries trying to cope during the pandemic

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 29,639 new COVID cases Friday and 63 additional deaths. Champaign County reported 450 new cases and 3 additional deaths. Ford County reported 279 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 392 new cases and 2 additional deaths.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Authorities believe three Champaign teens were involved in the murder of a Chicago man who was driving for Lyft in Urbana. The third suspect is still sought in the investigation.  Investigators had already arrested two Champaign suspects, who are at age 16 and 17. Each had bond set at $3 million on Friday, and both faces charges of first-degree murder.  The shooting happened Wednesday evening. Authorities found 29-year-old Kristian Philpotts on South Vine Street near Burkwood Court. The third teen is known to the other two, police said. Both of the arrested teens face adult charges in the case. They face 45 to 85 years behind bars if they are found guilty. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Last year was warmer and wetter than normal in Illinois. Mark 2021 as the 10th warmest year on record in Illinois, with temperatures averaging 53.7 degrees. This despite a record breaking cold February. State Climatologist Trent Ford says along with the mild temps came more severe weather last year…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. 2021 was the 37th wettest year on record, with precipitation amounts varying widely across the state.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is expected to welcome tens of thousands of students back to campus for the new semester. The return comes at a time of record high cases in many parts of the country due to omicron variant. But starting this week, students will begin the semester with remote learning. Students will have to provide a negative test to get back on campus for the semester. Over the break, the University of Illinois system announced a booster requirement. Those who refuse to get boosted and vaccinated must be approved by the university and go through testing every other day they are on campus.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The contracts have been signed, and let the work begin. City of Paxton officials say the contract for the streetscape project is now in the hands of the contractor. Work is expected to begin when the weather warms this Spring. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says he is grateful that the project is moving forward and within cost projections…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Washington-jm) – How do USDA's January crop reports see the domestic situation for corn? Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is announcing six million dollars in grants to libraries trying to cope during the pandemic. The money is being awarded to 211 school, public and academic libraries in Illinois, for three different purposes. Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt says one helps libraries provide the resources for people to come in and look for a job. A second is for libraries to circulate internet hotspots and offer more digital services…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. The grants are funded by state and Federal sources including the American Rescue Plan. Locally, the University of Illinois is receiving nearly $50,000. The Moyer District Library in Gibson City is receiving just over $11,000.

 

(Melvin-jm) – For the first time in more than a decade, the Ford County Fair Board will have a new leader. Kirk Miller decided to not run for re-election, having served as president of the board since 2009. Steve Meenen will take Miller’s place. Miller will remain on the fair board. The Ford County Fair runs June 12-18.

 

(Washington-jm) – What is USDA's latest global outlook for soybeans? Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Illinois lawmakers will return to the state capitol in Springfield today

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers will return to the state capitol in Springfield today for one day this week. The Legislature was scheduled to be in session on Tuesday and Thursday this week, but those days have been canceled out of concern of COVID-19. It’s unclear if lawmakers will return next week. They’re scheduled in session through April 8.

 

(Springfield-jm) – FOID and concealed carry license holders can now receive notices electronically. Instead of getting paper notices in the mail, you can sign up for email or text notifications. Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says it’s part of ongoing efforts to modernize the process…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. If you already have an account, you can sign up for email or text notices by visiting the website: i-s-p-f-s-b dot com and click on my profile. If you don’t have an account, you can create one on the website as well.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 24,4223 new Coronavirus cases and 79 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate is up to 17.6 percent. Champaign County reported 593 new cases bringing their total to 40,097. 34,734 have recovered, over 5100 are in isolation and 44 are hospitalized. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says he’s asking the Illinois Attorney General to investigate shady COVID-19 testing sites. The Governor says pop-up and fly-by-night testing operations are an enormous problem, with some people not even getting their results back…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. For a list of testing sites near you, visit the website: coronavirus dot illinois dot gov.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons was sworn in as the county recorder of deeds, officially merging the two positions for the first time. The voters decided to eliminate the recorder position in 2021, saving the county some money by cutting a salaried official. This is something former recorder Mike Ingram was in favor of.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday announced that it's adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to shorten the interval from 6 months to 5 months for when people who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can get a booster dose. Only people who received two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during their primary series can now receive an mRNA booster dose 5 months after their second shot. The booster interval remains the same for those who received the Moderna vaccine, 6 months or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their primary series. Additionally, the CDC is recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised children ages 5-11 receive a third dose of vaccine 28 days after their second dose. At this time, only Pfizer-BioNTech is authorized for children.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois House Republicans are raising concerns about the new vaccine mandate in Chicago and Cook County. Proof of vaccination is now required to enter certain establishments like bars, restaurants and gyms in the city and surrounding county. But Representative Tom Morrison of Palatine says business owners aren’t happy…

 

 

State Representative Tom Morrison of Palatine. House GOP members say this will also stifle tourism, as out of towners not knowing about the mandate visit and find themselves unable to go into many places.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Women can now get birth control without a prescription in Illinois. Under a new state law, specially trained pharmacists can dispense a year’s worth of hormonal contraceptives like the pill, ring or patch. It was sponsored by Representative Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg who spoke at the bill signing in July…

 

 

State Representative Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg. Mussman says this increases access to important medication for women.

 

(Champaign-jm) – State Senator Scott Bennett will be hosting community blood drives in Urbana and Danville this week to address a widespread blood shortage. The blood drives will take place until Saturday at the Urbana Donor Center, located at 1408 West University Avenue, and the Danville Elks Donor Center, located at 300 East Liberty Lane. Hours vary by day and location.

 

A federal court panel sided with Democrats over challenges of their legislative maps for the next ten years

(Springfield-jm) – A federal court panel sided with Democrats over challenges of their legislative maps for the next ten years. The court ruled against the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the NAACP and Illinois legislative Republicans. The maps are now in place for the next ten years.

 

(Springfield-jm) – COVID-19 hospitalizations hit an all-time high. At latest count, nearly 63 hundred people were in Illinois hospitals with the virus, the most ever since the pandemic began. Governor J-B Pritzker says the situation is dire and that healthcare workers are at their breaking point…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. On average, 550 people with COVID in Illinois are admitted to the hospital each day, 90 percent of whom are not vaccinated. The Governor continues to plead with the public to get their shots, mask up and get tested if they have any symptoms. Since Thursday, the state reported 89,195 new cases and 177 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate now stands at 17.5 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 2,098 new cases. Iroquois County reported 238 new cases and 5 additional deaths, bringing their total deaths to 89. Ford and Vermilion Counties did not have a report. 

 

(Paxton-jm) – Two Paxton men have been arrested for burglarizing storage units in Paxton. Steven Harding and Chad Minnick were arrested on charges of burglary, theft and criminal trespass to real estate after police conducted search warrants at three properties on the northeast side of town. At the three properties, police found items that were identified stolen from the storage units at 3 Centennial Drive, behind the Subway. Police were notified of the theft on Christmas Day.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Republican U.S. Representative Mary Miller of Illinois has announced she’ll mount a primary challenge against five-term Representative Rodney Davis. She made her announcement after receiving an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Miller was first elected in 2020. While members of Congress don’t have to live in the district they represent, Davis of Taylorville raised it as an issue. Davis is also a strong Trump supporter and co-chaired his 2020 reelection campaign. The Illinois primary is in June.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Champaign, Ford and Iroquois Counties were recently added to a disaster declaration for severe weather in December. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about assistance that is available…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The Buckley Fire and Ambulance Department is looking for more volunteers. The department will host an EMT class starting January 20th and running Mondays and Thursdays from 6-9 pm until May. The class will be held at Christ Lutheran High School. For more information call 217-249-4888.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Department of Agriculture and the Justice Department are taking actions to work more closely on competition and anti-trust issues. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – If you are tired of having to correspond with Illinois State Police via United States Postal Service delivered mail about your FOID card or CCLs, there are two new options. ISP is now offering a choice between emails and/or text messages.

 

(Springfield-jm) – COVID-19 hospitalizations hit an all-time high. As of Sunday night, close to 63 hundred Illinois COVID patients were in the hospital. That’s even higher than the hospitalization rate seen before vaccines were available. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says the healthcare system is overloaded…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Dr Ezike says about 90 percent of COVID patients in the hospital have not been vaccinated. She is renewing her call to get the shots, get tested if you may have been exposed or have symptoms, avoid crowds and wear a mask. Since Thursday, the state reported 89,195 new cases and 177 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate now stands at 17.5 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 2,098 new cases. Iroquois County reported 238 new cases and 5 additional deaths, bringing their total deaths to 89. Ford and Vermilion Counties did not have a report. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – After a record amount of gun violence in 2021, the Champaign community is trying to rally against the violence in the new year. Champaign city leaders have shared how residents are refusing to back down from the ongoing violence. The goal of the city is to get cooperation between the city, police, and residents to lean on each other heading into the new year.


(Springfield-jm) – Ford County Fair Queen Jolee Hastings will be competing in the 2022 Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs State Queen Pageant at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, Illinois. The dates for the competition are Thursday, January 13 through Sunday, January 16, 2022. Hastings will be competing with 70 other County Fair Queens for the title of Miss Illinois County Fair Queen 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Republicans continue to criticize the state’s handling of the COVID pandemic. Almost two years into the pandemic, the General Assembly has not been brought in to make decisions on how the state responds to the pandemic and 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington thinks that will likely continue…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Ford County-jm) – The Ford County Sheriff’s office has released their December activity report. During the final month of 2021, deputies responded to 10 traffic accidents and issued 6 citations for speeding, 5 for driving on a suspended or revoked license, 3 for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, 2 each for disobeying a stop sign, reckless driving, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and 1 each for illegal transportation of alcohol and failure to notify of an accident. Deputies also responded to 12 domestic issues, 11 reports of suspicious activity, 4 reports of damage to property, 3 reports of theft, 2 each of death investigations, fraud and missing persons and 1 each of harassment and trespassing.

 

(Washington-jm) – The government is launching a variety of new actions to boost competition in agriculture.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

New Covid rules, including some closures, will go into effect in Illinois starting today

(Bradley-jm) – Both suspects wanted in the shooting of two Bradley police officers, one fatally have been arrested. Darius Sullivan was arrested in Indiana Friday morning. Xandria Harris turned herself into Bradley Police over the weekend.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Legislature is scaling back it’s January session dates due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The House and Senate were both scheduled to be in for three days this week but will now only meet on Wednesday. Legislative leaders say the following week may be canceled as well. Session usually begins with several committee hearings, which can be held remotely. Governor J-B Pritzker was asked recently about his goals for lawmakers in 2022…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn in early April, a full month and a half before the usual end of session date of May 31st.

 

(Roberts-jm) – Firefighters from several area departments battled a house fire in Roberts Sunday morning. Crews from Roberts, Melvin, Thawville, Buckley and Loda were called to the fire at 113 W. Green Street just before 7 am. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Ford County Courthouse’s rear door, which is used by people with disabilities to access the building, is expected to be replaced in 2022. The handicapped-accessible door is starting to show its age. The public building commission now wants a long-term solution and is asking the sheriff to obtain bids to replace it. Once bids have been received the commission will review the bids and award a contract.

 

(Washington-jm) – Cattle producers may get a little more money for steers in the new year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The country is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases to the highest levels on record. In response, new rules, including some closures, will go into effect in Illinois starting today. Governor J.B. Pritzker is urging Illinois hospitals to delay elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures to keep more beds open, anticipating a wave of COVID-19 patients. Also starting today, all Illinois Secretary of State offices, including driver services, will be closed until at least Jan. 18.  Online transactions will remain open for all departments to conduct office services. All expiring driver’s license and ID card expiration dates have been extended to March 31, 2022. Chicago will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccine for indoor venues. That includes restaurants, bars, gyms and other indoor venues like sport entertainment arenas. The rules apply to everyone age 5 and older, but doesn’t apply to those in the venue less than 10 minutes, like those getting takeout.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new study out of the University of Illinois looks at the best ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19 on airplanes. Researchers specifically looked at aerosol transmission of the virus, finding it spreads in all directions, says U of I Aviation Risk Expert Sheldon Jacobson…

 

 

U of I Aviation Risk Expert Sheldon Jacobson. Jacobson says choosing a seat in the back where no one is behind you may be preferable over just avoiding the middle seats. He notes it’s also important for airlines to try and seat families together.

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – St. Joseph firefighters were called to a New Year’s Eve house fire. Crews were called to the fire on Marilyn Drive just before 11pm Friday night. The house is a total loss.

 

(Undated-jm) – Winter weather over the weekend brought rain, snow, ice and slick roads. Many slide offs and accidents were reported. Half an inch to just over 2 inches of snow were reported in the WPXN listening area.

 

(Washington-jm) – Hog producers seem to be approaching the new year with a "Wait-and-See" Attitude. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Driver's services facilities will be closed for a few weeks because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois' minimum wage will increase to $12 an hour starting Saturday. This is part of legislation signed by Governor JB Pritzker back in 2019 that will increase the minimum wage each year until it hits $15 an hour in 2025.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing that driver’s services facilities will be closed for a few weeks because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Facilities statewide will be closed from January 3rd through the 17th out of concern over the rising number of new infections, says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Haupt says you can do things like renew your license sticker, get a duplicate license or ID card and some can renew their driver’s license online. The website is; il sos dot gov.

 

(Undated-jm) – Turning to yesterday’s COVID numbers, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 21,098 new cases and 50 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate rose to 13.2 percent. Champaign County reported 564 new cases. Vermilion County reported 58 new cases and 3 additional deaths.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinoisans could potentially see some financial relief from the rising cost of inflation. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains a proposal by Republicans…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – People who don’t want to follow new COVID rules to get into University of Illinois athletic events will not be given a refund, the athletic department said. Officials on December 22 announced the new policy for any public, university event over 200 people. It’s effective January 1. Anyone 12 and older must show proof of COVID vaccination or a recent negative test. The athletic department encouraged fans to arrive early in anticipation of lines as staffers check each person’s status. That could include being asked to show identification. For children without an ID, parents may be asked to verify their identity. Screening will start 90 minutes before the event starts.

 

 Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the identity of a male teen who has died from a gunshot wound he received during a shooting incident last night in the 1600 block of Hunter Street in Urbana. Jordan Atwater-Lewis, age 17, of Urbana, Illinois was pronounced dead at 9:22PM Wednesday night in the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department. The cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. An autopsy will be conducted later today at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility located in Urbana, . This death is under investigation by the Urbana Police Department and the coroner’s office.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State officials are urging caution as you celebrate the New Year’s holiday. The pandemic rages on, so it’s important to take precautions, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The latest daily COVID-19 totals include more than 21 thousand new cases, the second highest for the entire pandemic. 50 additional deaths were also reported. 8 of the state’s 11 designated regions now have less than 25 ICU hospital beds available. The seven day positivity rate rose to 13.2 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 564 new cases. Vermilion County reported 58 new cases and 3 additional deaths. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Wednesday.

 

(Gilman-tr) – The Iroquois West School District met for their December meeting, Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas shares more on the tax levy approval…

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Ford County Courthouse’s rear door, which is used by people with disabilities to access the building, is expected to be replaced in 2022. The handicapped-accessible door is starting to show its age. The public building commission now wants a long-term solution and is asking the sheriff to obtain bids to replace it. Once bids have been received the commission will review the bids and award a contract.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A horticulture expert at the University of Illinois Extension is offering some ideas about what to do with your live Christmas tree. Most communities have some sort of recycling program for trees, offering curbside pick up. But you can also place the tree in your backyard and fill it with goodies or use it as firewood, says U of I Extension’s Richard Hentschel…

 

 

U of I Extension’s Richard Hentschel. Additionally, Henschel says you can cut the branches off and use them as mulch to protect your plants.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District shared that asymptomatic and non-severe close contacts need to be tested at testing sites that are not coordinated by OSF or Carle. Instead, those who are asymptomatic are encouraged to get tested at one of the SHIELD testing sites or the Marketplace Mall testing site.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker is urging communities to put their own COVID-19 restrictions in place if necessary

(Springfield-jm) – The Department of Children and Family Services is already facing a shortage of proper foster homes, some kids are even forced to stay in offices. Now, lawmakers are concerned that some kids are being blocked from proper placements because of false behavior reports. A new bill filed in the Illinois House would create a review commission to help sort out the truth and get more kids into proper care. The commission would be made up of nine people who have experience with the foster care system, appointed by the governor.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is urging communities to put their own COVID-19 restrictions in place if necessary. With some areas running out of ICU beds, the Governor says local leaders may want to crack down even further than the state’s current indoor mask mandate. He points to a new vaccine requirement for entering certain businesses taking effect in the Chicago area next week…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Every county in Illinois is currently rated at high risk for transmission of the virus. Tuesday the state reported 20,804 new cases and 96 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate rose to 12.4 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 641 new cases and 3 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 115 new cases and 3 additional deaths. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report Tuesday.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding the public about some new laws taking effect in the new year. One new law expands what’s called the VESSA Act to cover more than just victims of domestic violence says Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. Another law makes trampoline courts subject to inspection by the state, just as amusement park rides must be checked before they can start operating.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A homeless man awaiting trial on 3 separate theft cases is facing more charges for allegedly stealing from two more stores. Sean Cox is charged with burglary for allegedly stealing 9 tools from Menards valued at over $1,500 and a speaker from Best Buy valued at $800. Cox is currently also charged with stealing on three different days in July. If convicted he faces 3-14 years in prison. 

 

(Washington-jm) – This past year's hikes in food prices have been bigger than average, but smaller than in some years. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois travelers have the chance to make their voices heard. The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking for feedback on the state's transportation system through its annual survey. The Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey seeks feedback on topics such as road conditions, ice and snow removal, commuting habits, and driving behaviors. Participants will also be asked about the cleanliness of roads, electronic message boards, traffic signal timing, whether their travel habits changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which area they think is the most critical for Illinois to invest in, and more.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new state law taking effect January 1st will ensure kids can pursue the long-standing tradition of setting up a lemonade stand. 12 year old Hayli Martinez of Kankakee inspired the measure after her stand was shut down by local public health officials. She testified before a Senate committee back in March…

 

 

Hayli Martinez of Kankakee. Under the law, state and local public health departments cannot require a permit or regulate the sale of lemonade and other non-alcoholic drinks by kids under 16.

 

(Penfield-jm) – An Indiana construction company has been awarded the contract to upgrade a pond at Middlefork Forest Preserve near Penfield. White Construction submitted a bid of $603,000 to remove silt build up, increase the depth of the pond, remove the island and improve the beach area. Crews hope to start work soon and have the majority of the project done by the time camping season, begins in May.

 

(Washington-jm) – After two straight years of above average food price increases, what's in store for food shoppers in the new year? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The state is launching an effort to expand COVID-19 testing availability and booster shot sites amid the recent jump in new cases

(Mahomet-jm) – An Arrowsmith man is dead following a crash in Mahomet Monday. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 70 year old William Rigsby died at the scene of the accident at Route 150 and Oak Creek Road in Mahomet. Authorities say Rigsby was traveling westbound on Route 150 when he crossed into the eastbound lane and struck an eastbound pickup truck with a trailer. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is launching an effort to expand COVID-19 testing availability and booster shot sites amid the recent jump in new cases. Beginning January 3rd, the state’s free community based testing sites will be open six days a week to accommodate the rising number of people wanting to see if they have the virus. Additionally, vaccination efforts are increasing, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The move also includes the testing site at Marketplace Mall in Champaign. The Governor invites local organizations to host a vaccine clinic. More information is available online at: dph dot illinois dot gov. Click on COVID-19 updates then vaccine clinic application. Locally since Thursday, the state reported 55,958 new cases and 153 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate spiked to 11.7 percent. Since Thursday, Champaign County reported 892 new cases. Iroquois County reported 155 new cases and 2 additional deaths.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign police are investigating a weekend stabbing. Police were called to CU at Home after a person showed up to the homeless shelter with a stab wound. They say the stabbing did not occur at the homeless shelter.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Inflation has brought the price of most products and services up this past year. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City looks at how that’s affecting you…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A homeless man is behind bars after he allegedly broke into and stole from a campus apartment while University of Illinois students were gone for break. According to the News-Gazette, Champaign police used surveillance video from an apartment building in the 500 block of South Locust Street to identify Daniel Bailey as one of two men seen inside the building taking items last week. Earlier this month, Bailey pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated robbery for trying to rob a UI student at an ATM inside a campus bar November 16 while insinuating that he was armed. He was sentenced to 30 months of probation and two weeks in jail.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says how the pandemic continues into 2022 depends on all of us. Between the Delta and Omicron variants, new cases have been increasing in recent weeks and as of last night, more than 47 hundred COVID-19 patients were in the hospital. The key to getting through this surge is to get your shots, says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. At least four regions of the state have less than 10 ICU beds available. Ezike says masking up and getting tested is also vital as the pandemic continues into the new year.

 

(Undated-jm) – OSF HealthCare is hoping those in the community without COVID-19 symptoms stop coming into their facilities for COVID-19 testing. Doctors with OSF HealthCare attribute their request to the rise in COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated. This applies to all OSF facilities.

 

(Paxton-tr) - The Paxton Buckley Loda school district has a few plans in motion to upgrade classrooms with more electrical outlets. Since the district embraced more technological forms of learning, students are requiring more electricity to power the technology, says PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure…

 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A 20-year-old man was arrested in relation to a shooting that happened at the Golden Hour convenience store last week. Officers said Rashard Montgomery went to the police station to report that he had been outside the Golden Hour at around 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday. According to Montgomery, he was waiting outside while his friend went into the store. He heard gunshots coming from the store so he got out of his car to go check on his friend. When they met up inside the Golden Hour, this friend told Montgomery that 18-year-old Randy Willis had fired shots at him. This prompted Montgomery to exit the store and fire shots in the direction of a car that Willis just entered. Both Montgomery and Willis are being held in the county jail in lieu of $200,000 and $250,000 bonds.

 

The fight over legislative redistricting maps continues to play out

(Springfield-jm) – With a budget of around $300 million, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol plans a multi-stage, multi-year plan to renovate the north wing of the Illinois State Capitol. The plan includes a new entrance to screen visitors and create more underground parking, tunnels and an underground conference space. The total project will take years to complete.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A look back at Illinois weather this year. 2021 started off very cold, with Dixon, DuQuoin and Mount Vernon experiencing their chilliest February’s on record. Low included minus 21 degrees in Mount Carroll and Negative 17 in Aurora. State Climatologist Trent Ford says spring and summer brought plenty of rainfall to central and southern Illinois…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. Ford says humidity was higher than normal in July and August, October was pretty soggy and November ended up being mild. So far December has been 8 to 14 degrees warmer than normal and has included a tornado outbreak.

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois recorded a record number of COVID-19 cases Thursday. The state reported 18,942 new cases and 78 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate continues to rise, now at 8.6 percent. Locally Thursday, Champaign County reported 277 new cases. Vermilion County reported 26 new cases and 1 additional death. Ford County reported 77 new cases. That was the last report from the state before the Christmas holiday weekend. Numbers for Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be released today.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The fight over legislative redistricting maps continues to play out. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman talks about where things stand…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man wanted in a Vermilion County shooting case has been charged with weapons offenses in Champaign County. A judge ordered Danny Bryant be held on $150,000 bond after his arrest by U-S Marshals. Prosecutors say marshals went to his home to arrest him on charges of aggravated discharge of a gun in a Vermilion County case. They found him in a vehicle nearby with a loaded Ruger handgun in his pocket. If convicted of the gun charges, he faces an extended term of three to 14 years in prison due to his prior convictions. Bryant is due back in court January 4th.

 

(Washington-jm) – The latest USDA report shows that the nation's hog producers are being very cautious in making any moves that would alter production very much. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois is doing a better job than most other states when it comes to showing where federal tax dollars for COVID relief are being distributed. GoodJobsFirst.org reports Illinois is one of six states in the country providing a detailed website to show where the billions of dollars are going.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new law taking effect January 1st aims to end hairstyle discrimination in schools. The measure prohibits school dress codes from banning natural or ethnic hairstyles such as braids, afros and dreadlocks. It was championed by Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago and signed into law back in August…

 

 

State Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago. The law applies to both public and private schools in Illinois.


(Ford County-tr) – 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has officially announced his bid for re-election. Tom Bennett says he will continue to build what he's started and maintain focus on the 106th district even with the new census in effect… 

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Ludlow-jm) – A Ludlow man with a pending criminal case for allegedly possessing a stolen motor vehicle has been arrested for allegedly stealing another. George Whitlock was wanted for failing to appear in court on that case and others when he was arrested. Champaign County sheriff’s deputies were notified by a Gifford man that his 2016 pickup truck and trailer were stolen from a farm field last Tuesday. Not long after, the truck and trailer were spotted in Rantoul. Police stopped it and arrested Whitlock, who was alone in the truck and unable to explain how he came to be in possession of it. Deputies had been told there was a cased gun in the truck when it was stolen. They found that gun, loaded, in Whitlock’s coat pocket. They also found methamphetamine on him. He’s charged with armed violence, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm, aggravated unlawful use of weapons and possession of methamphetamine. Bond was set at $150,000.

 

 

(Washington-jm) –  The new USDA Cattle on Feed report was pretty much what most analysts expected. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

State and local police are boosting patrols this holiday season

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 16,581 new Coronavirus cases and 66 additional deaths Wednesday. The seven day positivity rate jumped to 7.9 percent. Champaign County reported 427 new cases and 3 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 99 new cases and 3 additional deaths.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State and local police are boosting patrols this holiday season. Expect to see an enhanced police presence, roadside safety checks and special details, as law enforcement looks for drunk drivers, speeders and other offenders. Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel says the public can assist as well…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. More than 12 hundred people have died on Illinois roads this year, an increase over 2020.

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing all drivers services facilities open Monday through Friday are closed today and tomorrow for the Christmas holiday.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man accused of killing a boy in July faces new charges, including one that claims the man performed a sex act on the boy’s body. Fifty-six year-old Daryl VanDyke had a court appearance to be arraigned on the new charges filed by the prosecutor. There are three counts of murder and one charge alleging sexual abuse of a corpse. If convicted of murder, VanDyke faces 20 to 60 years in prison. However, he could see life in prison if prosecutors prove certain elements of the charge, and the judge chooses a life sentence. VanDyke is accused of killing 14 year-old Steven Butler III with an axe or some other edged tool. Bicyclists found the boy’s body off of High Cross Road in Urbana on July 30.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Five people appeared in court on Wednesday in relation to a robbery and murder that was staged to look like a home invasion. Monday night, Jaquan Shorter, Ryan Mason, Erion Davis-Murdock, Kareasha Alston and Shaniquh Johns allegedly lured Trenton Jones to a home on North Division Avenue to rob him. One of the five shot Jones and stabbed him with a bayonet attached to a World War II-era rifle. Johns allegedly called 911 to say the incident was a home invasion. Officers arrived and later pronounced Jones dead at the scene. Each person faces four counts of first degree murder, with each count carrying a penalty of 20-60 years in prison if convicted. 

 

(Washington-jm) – How much of the country will see a White Christmas this year? Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Minneapolis-jm) – Three members of a Ford County militia group who firebombed a Minnesota mosque in 2017 will be required to pay $10,500 in restitution to a man who was present when the bomb went off and says he lived in fear for months afterward. In updating our story, during a restitution hearing in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, a man identified in court documents only as “H.J.” testified that he was scared to go home or to work for “at least six months” following the August 5, 2017, bombing of the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., because he was worried that those responsible for the attack, who had not yet been arrested, might find him. The man requested restitution of $5,000 to cover his hotel costs and other expenses over the six-month period, although he said that amount represents only a “fraction” of what he had to spend. He also requested $5,500 in restitution for lost wages. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Tollway is working to make travel a little more convenient over the holidays. Temporary maintenance and construction lane closures will be suspended during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to help ease congestion. Tollway Spokesperson Dan Rozek recommends I-Pass holders add the license plate of any out of town guests to their account so their visitors don’t have to worry about tolls. Additionally…

 

 

Illinois Tollway Spokesperson Dan Rozek. More information is available online at: get ipass dot com. Rozek adds that if you need roadside assistance on the tollway, you can call star 9 9 9.

 

(Champaign-jm) – OSF HealthCare is proud to partner with three well known student athletes in Urbana-Champaign to promote OSF OnCall Urgent Care and OSF HealthCare Medical Group - Pediatrics in Savoy. College basketball stars Kofi Cockburn and Da’Monte Williams teamed up to say while “monster dunks” or “hitting nothing but net” is easy for them, OSF OnCall Urgent Care is also easy, with 24/7/365 virtual care options and affordable, convenient care for minor illnesses and injuries. Volleyball star Megan Cooney also got in on the action to remind parents that when they need someone in their court for support, they can count on OSF Pediatrics.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Two arrests have recently been made in connection to an investigation of a homicide that happened at Champaign Park Apartments on October 20. Champaign Police were dispatched to the 200 block of Kenwood Road for the report of a shooting with injuries at around 10:40 p.m. on October 20. When officers arrived at the scene, they found 19-year-old Acarrie Ingram-Triner with a life-threatening gunshot wound to her lower neck. She died at the hospital. Police say Arieana Colbert shot Ingram-Triner. Quincy Hayes, who was present during the shooting, provided false information about the incident to investigating officers and detectives.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man will be on probation for 30 months after admitting in court to holding his ex-girlfriend against her will. 21-year-old Shemar Harris pleaded guilty to aggravated unlawful restraint. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed other charges, including some that claimed Harris sexually assaulted the victim.

 

(Washington-jm) – What's driving food price increases? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Livingston County-jm) – An Odell man has been sentenced to 135 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Cory Melvin has been found guilty of five counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor under the age of 13.

 

Loud noise heard in central Illinois turns out to be Fighter Jet's sonic boom

(Springfield-jm) – Firearm deer hunting season started strong in 2021, but didn’t outpace last year’s totals. The 2021 preliminary harvest for the 7-day Firearm Deer Season ended with 71,675 deer reported, compared to 77,160 deer harvested in 2020, a difference of 5,485.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is explaining that loud boom heard across Central Illinois Tuesday. The sound could be heard all across a large swath of the state, leaving many wondering if it was an earthquake or explosion. Neither says IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. She says upon investigation, it was determined the noise came from an F-15 fighter jet in the airspace above Central Illinois that course corrected, causing a sonic boom…

 

 

IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 10,264 new Coronavirus cases and 63 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate continues to rise and now stands at 7.6 percent. Champaign County reported 269 new cases yesterday.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state minimum wage increases January 1st. 2022 is bringing a one dollar raise, from 11 to 12 dollars an hour for minimum wage workers. Those under 18 will earn 9.25 and tipped workers will be at 7.20 an hour, says Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller.

 

(Normal-jm) – Days after the University of Illinois made a similar move, Illinois State University announced Tuesday it will hold most all classes online from January 10-21 as a COVID precaution. An online message from ISU President Terri Goss Kinzy said students must provide proof of a negative COVID test within three days of returning to campus for the spring semester. The test must be “administered by a healthcare provider.” In other words, a self-administered rapid test will not be allowed. Students can return to their campus residence hall or apartment for the period of online classes, but they are not required to. ISU faculty and staff must take an on-campus COVID test within one week of returning. Students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated must do a weekly, on-campus COVID test.

 

(Ford County-tr) – 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has officially announced his bid for re-election. Tom Bennett says he will continue to build what he's started and maintain focus on the 106th district even with the new census in effect… 

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

 

(Paxton-tr) – Pride in Paxton has released the winners of the house decorating contest. 1st place went to Federated Church. 2nd place went to Julie and Brian Stagen and 3rd place went to Kim and Bob Fancher.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New laws in Illinois will affect sports wagering in one of the biggest markets in the country. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law several gambling measures. One allows bettors to place wagers on in-state college teams, but not on individual athlete performances or in-game action. The bets can’t be placed online and must be made in-person at state-licensed sportsbooks.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Tornado patterns across the country are changing. State Climatologist Trent Ford says there’s been an increase in tornadoes over the last 40 years, and a shift from the traditional hotspots like the Great Plains states to the mid-South and Southern Midwest. Is climate change to blame?...

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. Ford says while tornadoes are most prevalent in the spring in Illinois, they can occur at any time of year.

 

(Champaign-jm) – An 18-year-old man was shot and is in stable condition, according to Champaign Police.  The shooting happened Tuesday at 1:52 p.m. in the 300 Block of Bloomington Road. Champaign Police said while officers were on scene, a 18-year-old who was shot in his lower extremities was taken by a personal vehicle to an area hospital.  In a preliminary investigation, officers said a silver vehicle and a red vehicle arrived at separate times in the parking lot at Golden Hour. Police said the 18-year-old got out of the silver vehicle and entered the business. As he exited, a person inside the red vehicle exited the car and walked into the business. Police said the 18-year-old and the other person had a disagreement while passing. Both showed a handgun and started firing at each other. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Several area counties are eligible for disaster assistance following recent storms. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett discusses assistance available…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – One person is dead and four others are facing charges in an Urbana home invasion Monday night. Around 7:23 p.m. Monday, officers responded to the 900 block of North Division Avenue. They found one victim lying on a bedroom floor unresponsive. That person was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was identified as Trenton Jones. He suffered gunshot and stab wounds to his chest. Police arrested four people, and they are expected to face formal charges in court.

 

The University of Illinois announced the first week of the spring 2022 semester will be online

(Springfield-jm) – The number of COVID-19 patients in Illinois hospitals is at its highest level in nearly a year. As of Sunday night, there were 3,960 people admitted with COVID, the most since December 31st of 2020. Of those in the hospital, 811 were in the ICU and 432 were on ventilators. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says there’s a common denominator among the patients…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. 8 out of 11 regions of the state have less than 30 ICU beds available. Since Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 31,459 new cases and 111 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate spiked to 7.1 percent. Locally since Friday, Champaign County reported 507 new cases. Vermilion County reported 97 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Iroquois County reported 155 new cases.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – The City of Hoopeston is mourning the death of their mayor. Bill Crusinberry passed away after a battle with cancer. Crusinberry announced early this month he would be resigning for health reasons.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois announced on Monday that its Blue Waters supercomputer will be shut down on December 31. Blue Waters, fully operational since 2013, held the distinction of being the fastest supercomputer on a university campus worldwide for six years. Intended to operate for only five years, Blue Waters’ operational lifespan was stretched to nine years, during which the computer aided in thousands of scientific and engineering discoveries. The NCSA is planning to build off Blue Waters’ success by commissioning Delta, a new supercomputer, in 2022.

 

(Paxton-tr) – Many local projects such as addressing drainage issues and the purchase of an Air Burner were discussed at Paxton’s Tuesday Meeting. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says that many of these issues will be prioritized as the new year approaches…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a shooting that happened on November 12. Champaign Police said they were dispatched to Oakwood Trace Apartments on Third Street at around 9 p.m. in response to a reported shooting. When they arrived at the scene, officers learned that several apartments had been struck by gunfire and numerous spent shell casings were located. A short time later, a 40-year-old woman arrived at Carle Hospital with a single gunshot wound.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has announced he will run for re-election. Bennett made the announcement today. Bennett has been a state representative since 2015.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On December 13th, Spencer Miller of Bellflower was arrested for an in-state warrant. 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Iroquois County is seeking applications to distribute over $5.2 million in American Rescue Plan funding. The funding is for qualified businesses, not for profit entities and projects based on American Rescue Plan rules. Applications are available on the counties website.

 

(Paxton -tr) The city of Paxton is looking at a potential tax rate drop of nearly 17 cents. With property values in the area going up, PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says it's important to take note… 

 

PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

(Danville-jm) – A FedEx facility is coming to the City of Danville. The new ground distribution center will be a 217,000 square-foot facility. FedEx hopes to have it operational in the fall of 2022. 150 and 180 new full time jobs will be created alongside hundreds of part time and seasonal positions.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois announced the first week of the spring 2022 semester will be online. Chancellor Robert Jones sent out a mass mail making the announcement that in person classes are tentatively scheduled to resume January 24th. Additionally, because of the spike in cases, faculty and staff, even those fully vaccinated, must show two negative on campus COVID test results when they return.  The campus is still considering whether or not to require COVID booster shots for the spring semester.

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's Office is again extending expiration dates for state driver's licenses and ID cards

(Springfield-jm) – With nearly $2 billion in total adult-use cannabis sales in the past two years, Illinois has collected $526 million in sales taxes. A quarter of that is set to go to community-based programs in areas of the state negatively impacted by the war on drugs. The Pritzker administration announced $45 million in grant opportunities with details at R3.Illinois.gov.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois’ unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent last month, but the states’ percentage of eligible workers either working or seeking work remains lower than before the pandemic. The state’s labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent in October. In October 2019, the labor force participation rate was 64.2 percent.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is again extending expiration dates for state driver’s licenses and ID cards. The additional three month extension is due to continued concerns about the pandemic and not overloading driver’s facilities with lots of people needing to renew. That means there’s no need to rush in, says Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman. This does not apply to CDL’s and White’s office says this will be the final extension. Some motorists can renew their license online at: il sos dot gov.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 10,765 new cases Friday. The state also reported 52 additional deaths The 7 day positivity rate jumped to 6.2 percent. Locally, Champaign County reported 249 new cases. Ford County reported 30 new cases. Vermilion County reported 304 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of deaths to 226.

 

(Buckley-tr) – Wreaths Across America Honored Veterans Saturday with honorary wreaths hung upon each patriot's grave. Buckely Wreaths across America coordinator Wayne Wagner shares the Wreaths across America motto…

 

 

Buckley Wreaths across America coordinator Wayne Wagner.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's latest pork production forecast indicates an increase in numbers for both 2021 and 2022, compared to the previous month's report. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Thousands of Illinoisans, especially in rural areas, still lack sufficient access to broadband service, but that is about to change. A new report from the Pew Charitable Trust highlights several states that are using American Rescue Plan Act funding for broadband. Illinois is set to receive $100 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to expand rural broadband.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Republican Party is reacting to reports from the New York Times that Governor J.B. Pritzker is privately discussing running for president in 2024. While Pritzker denies that, the paper says they stand by their reporting. Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy said in a statement Pritzker should focus more on fixing the state’s problems “instead of dreaming of the White House.”

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is looking for your opinion on traveling in Illinois. IDOT is launching its annual survey, looking for input from the public on a variety of topics, says Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. You can access the survey online at: idot dot illinois dot gov.

 

(Paxton-tr) – The bids for the streetscape project are now in and being considered by the town board here in Paxton. Engineers have now given their input and Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold has the details…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Washington-jm) – 2022 could bring increased broiler production, but higher prices as well. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The Illinois State Police is launching FOID card kiosks

(Springfield-jm) – One good reason to get the COVID-19 booster shot, the Omicron variant, says the Illinois Department of Public Health. If you’ve had both your shots but aren’t really concerned about getting the booster as well, the new variant should make you reconsider, says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says early reports show that once boosted, the vaccine still gives about 80 percent protection against the Omicron variant. The latest count of new COVID-19 cases in Illinois is 11,858. That’s the highest daily total in over a  year. Champaign County reported 248 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report Thursday.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law that sets up a state licensing system for midwives in Illinois. The Governor says reproductive health is not a one size fits all, and that expectant mothers deserve options…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The new law takes effect next fall, establishing standards a person must meet before being licensed as a certified professional midwife in Illinois.

 

(Ford County-tr) – Many small towns throughout Ford County are getting a dose of holiday cheer this year. The 2021 Santa Road Rally just might be coming through your town tomorrow. From Paxton to Roberts to Stelle, the 2021 Santa Road Rally is about helping small towns celebrate Christmas this year. 2021 Santa Road Rally spokesperson Tim Nuss explains what the rally means to him.. 

 

 

Ford County Santa Road Rally Spokesperson Tim Nuss.

 

 

(DeWitt County-jm) – All are cordially invited to begin New Year's Eve at the C.H. Moore Homestead and DeWitt County Museum in Clinton. The mansion will be beautifully staged to welcome the new year, light refreshments will be served, festive music will fill the rooms, and clippings of DeWitt County's New Year's Eve celebrations of the past will be displayed throughout the mansion. This special event will take place December 31, 5-7pm at the C.H. Moore Homestead and  DeWitt County Museum  Admission of $5 per person will be collected at the door.

 

 

(Onarga-tr) -- The Onarga Christmas parade will end with a special presentation at the Onarga Theater from 6-8pm this Saturday. Santa’s Winter Wonderland will come alive again for all the kids to enjoy, as well as Santa himself says Onarga parade spokesperson Fred Walraven...

 

 

Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Police is launching FOID card kiosks. There are now three manned kiosks around the state, at the State Police office in Lockport, Springfield and DuQuoin. Trooper Josh Robinson says they will serve as another option for those who don’t want to go through the FOID application or renewal process online…

 

 

Illinois State Trooper Josh Robinson. The kiosks are open Monday through Friday from either 8 to 4 or 8:30 to 4:30 but will be closed over the lunch hour.

 

(Georgetown-jm) – A Vermilion County man has been sentenced to five years in prison for possessing child pornography. Cory Taylor pleaded guilty to a single count of possession of child pornography and received the sentence in Vermilion County court.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers return to the state capitol next month for the spring session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City previews the session…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Developmental Services Center in Champaign announced its annual Tree of Hope and Recognition Event. The annual Tree of Hope event is the DSC's largest fundraiser each year. Donations from the local community provide support for more than 1,100 children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities or delays in Champaign and Ford counties. The Tree of Hope is located on the corner of Prospect Avenue and Marketview Drive in Champaign. A bulb is lit with every $50 in donations between now and January 21, 2022.

 

(Onarga-tr) -- The Onarga Christmas parade will end with a special presentation at the Onarga Theater from 6-8pm this Saturday. Onarga parade spokesperson Fred Walraven would like to extend an invitation to all residents who wish to enter…

 

 

Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven.

 

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 vaccine being available in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 vaccine being available in Illinois. More than 18 million doses have been administered in Illinois over the past year, and 63 percent of all state residents are now fully vaccinated. Still, we can do better, says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike urges those who haven’t gotten their shots to talk to their doctor about any concerns. On average, more than 67 thousand doses are administered each day. Illinois reported 9,784 new cases and 79 additional deaths Wednesday. Locally, Champaign County reported 270 new cases and 1 additional death. Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties did not have a report.

 

(Ford County-tr) – A local family and friends will be rallying this Saturday, December 18th at the PBL High School parking lot for what they call the 2021 Santa Road Rally. The group of family and friends will travel throughout Ford County. Santa Road Rally Spokesperson Tim Nuss has more…

 

 

Ford County Santa Road Rally Spokesperson Tim Nuss. 

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The Buckley Fire and Ambulance Department is looking for more volunteers. The department will host an EMT class starting January 20th and running Mondays and Thursdays from 6-9 pm until May. The class will be held at Christ Lutheran High School. For more information call 217-249-4888.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- High inflation is impacting every aspect of our lives. Besides affecting individuals it's also affecting the state says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City...

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Carle health is giving employees until January 4th to get their first COVID vaccine dose and have their second one scheduled or face losing their job. A memo sent down from hospital leadership says those that don’t comply will have two unpaid weeks in which they will be ineligible to work. If they still decline the vaccine they will be out of a job.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – What is behind USDA's forecasted reduction of milk production for 2021 and 2022? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Parkland College will soon launch a new career-skills pathway for area high school students. Trustees also approved a new career pathway for the college's Early College and Career Academy, culminating in the new Precision Agriculture Fundamentals certificate. This six-credit hour certificate will prepare graduating high school seniors for internships or entry-level employment in precision agriculture, and will allow stacking with other Parkland agriculture credentials such as the Precision Agriculture Technology certificate or the Precision Agriculture associate's degree.

 

(Onarga-tr) -- Onarga residents are celebrating the holidays this year by organizing with Gilman residents as both towns host Christmas parades back to back on Saturday. Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven details how this came about…

 

 

Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven, For more details or to inquire about parade entry, call Fred at 815-471-4576.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois State Board of Education recently released their 2020-2021 report card. One of the data points released in the report is how much each district spends per student on average. Looking at schools in the WPXN listening area: Armstrong Ellis $17,000 per student, Armstrong Township High School $30,000, Champaign $14,000, Cissna Park $12,000, Fisher $11,000, GCMS $14,000, Gifford Grade $10,000, Hoopeston Area $13,000, Ludlow Grade $20,000, Mahomet Seymour $9,600, Milford $14,000, PBL $12,000, Potomac $12,000, Rantoul City Schools $13,000, Rantoul Township High School $15,000, St. Joseph Ogden High School $11,000, St. Joseph Grade School $9,700, Thomasboro $16,000 and Urbana $15,000.

 

(Washington-jm) – What adjustments were made to USDA's beef production and price forecasts for this month? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper tonight from 5-7 pm at their building located at 134 W. State Street. Meal includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread dessert and drink for $10.

 

Chatsworth’s Lighted Christmas parade will take place tonight starting at 6 pm.

 

The state's minimum wage is set for another increase at the first of the year

(Springfield-jm) – The state’s minimum wage is set for another increase at the first of the year. Beginning January 1, 2022, employers will have to pay at least $12 an hour, up from $11. A dollar per year increase ends in 2025 at $15 an hour. Also starting January 1, tipped employees go from $6.60 an hour to $7.20. Youth workers less than 650 hours per year get $9.25 an hour, up from $8.50.

 

(Springfield-jm) – More people are getting tested for COVID-19 than ever before. The number of tests run has soared this month, hitting a pandemic high of nearly 234 thousand on Saturday. Testing, social distancing, getting vaccinated and continuing to wear a mask is still vitally important as cases rise, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The latest daily totals include 7,390 new cases and 28 additional deaths. Over 36 hundred COVID patients are currently in the hospital. Locally, Champaign County reported 197 new cases and 2 additional deaths. Vermilion County reported 19 new cases and 4 additional deaths. Ford County reported 157 new cases. Iroquois County did not have a report.

 

(Roberts-jm) – Water is once again flowing in Roberts. The village issued an emergency order after the well quit working Monday. A company fixed the issue Tuesday and the village is under a boil water order until further notice.

 

(Springfield-jm) – As you wrap up your online holiday shopping, a consumer economics educator with the University of Illinois Extension Office has some tips for protecting yourself and your wallet. One thing you can do is use a credit card to make your purchases, instead of a debit card, says the U of I Extension’s Kathy Sweedler. That way you can cancel or put a hold on any suspicious charges, and your financial liability is much lower…

 

 

U of I Extension’s Kathy Sweedler. Sweedler also advises only buying online from trusted retailers and making sure the bar on top has the lock symbol or the web address starts with https, signaling that the connection is secure.

 

Illinoisans are getting a good view of the best meteor showers of the year.The Geminid meteor shower started last month, but its peak was expected early Tuesday, producing up to 120 meteors per hour. NASA said the best time to see shooting stars will be when the radiant is highest in the sky around 2 a.m. The meteor shower is expected to continue until Dec. 24.

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper on Thursday, December 16th from 5-7 pm at their building located at 134 W. State Street. Meal includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread dessert and drink for $10.

 

Chatsworth’s Lighted Christmas parade will take place on Thursday, December 16th starting at 6 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois’ unfunded public employee pension obligations have increased by more than $120 billion in 25 years. And while a recent report shows strong returns on investment, the unfunded ratio is between 42 and 46 percent. Actuaries recommend funding pensions 100 percent over several years. Pritzker’s administration said in a letter the state’s goal of 90 percent must be sufficient because of ongoing fiscal constraints.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Rantoul man will serve 10 years behind bars for trading child ponography images online. Prosecutors said Alan Dodd, traded images of child pornography depicting prepubescent children on multiple social media applications. Dodd pleaded guilty on August 12th to charges of distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Dodd faces federal supervised release for 10 years and must register as a sex offender. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding the public about fire safety over the holidays. As you deck the halls, you should also consider any potential hazards, says Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. He has this advice…

 

 

State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Another big area of concern is candles says Fultz. The top days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper on Thursday, December 16th from 5-7 pm at their building located at 134 W. State Street. Meal includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread dessert and drink for $10.

 

Chatsworth’s Lighted Christmas parade will take place on Thursday, December 16th starting at 6 pm.

 

State Senator Darren Bailey has announced his running mate in the upcoming race for governor of Illinois

(Roberts-dg)- The latest update on the Village of Roberts well situation is that the well company has assessed that the electrical checks are fine, which means the issue is within the well itself.  They have set up a crane and are prepared to take a look at the well today. Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughn urges all residents to conserve water, so the tank pressure will not drop to unsatisfactory levels which will lead to boil orders and additional complications. Additional updates will be posted today on the Village’s facebook page as it becomes available.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Rantoul police are investigating a report of shots fired in the village Monday afternoon. Police were called to the 1000 block of Pinecrest Drive just after 3:30. When they arrived they found around 100 spent shell casings and several live rounds of ammunition in the road. Police believe multiple suspects, in separate vehicles, were shooting at each other. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State Senator Darren Bailey has announced his running mate in the upcoming race for governor of Illinois. Senator Bailey will be joined by Stephanie Trussell, a conservative talk show host. Trussell would serve as Lieutenant Governor if Bailey were to win the 2022 election.

 

(Springfield-jm) – As you wrap up your online holiday shopping, a consumer economics educator with the University of Illinois Extension Office has some tips for protecting yourself and your wallet. For starters, U of I Extension’s Kathy Sweedler recommends using a credit card rather than a debit card…

 


U of I Extension’s Kathy Sweedler. Other advice includes only shopping online with trusted retailers and making sure the browser has the lock symbol or reads https which signifies a secure connection. Sweedler says you should also check bank and card statements carefully for any unusual activity.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police are investigating a deadly shooting that happened just after noon Monday. Police were called to the area of 5th and Vine for a report of shots fired. When they arrived they found a 26 year old male with life threatening injuries. The individual was taken to the hospital where he later died. Coroner Duane Northrup identified the victim as Daveyonta Fairman,

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 19,514 new Coronavirus cases and 105 additional deaths since Friday. Locally since Friday, Champaign County reported 400 new cases. Iroquois County reported 186 new cases. Vermilion County reported 134 new cases and 3 additional deaths.

 

 

(Onarga-tr)-- The Onarga Christmas parade will end with a special presentation at the Onarga Theater this Saturday from 6-8pm. Santa’s Winter Wonderland will come alive again for all the kids to enjoy, as well as Santa himself says Onarga parade spokesperson Fred Walraven...

 

 

Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven. For more details or to inquire about parade entry, call Fred at 815-471-4576.


(Gibson City-jm) – A local hospital will pay about $292,000 to resolve allegations claiming it failed to return overpayments it received.  Prosecutors said Gibson Area Hospital in Gibson City took in these overpayments between March 9, 2014 and March 24, 2020 from Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs. The hospital was accused of violating the False Claims Act by failing to return the money. The hospital was accused of knowingly retaining the overpayments pursuant to alleged practices of keeping overpayments that were under $10, were over one year old, were duplicate payments, were improperly applied toward separate claims, and/or were payments for which the payer had not requested a refund three times. Gibson Area Hospital fully cooperated with the investigation and terminated several employees.

 

(Washington-jm) –  A new USDA Rural Development guaranteed loan program offers support for eligible processing facilities to strengthen their food supply chain infrastructure. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new report says Illinois’ use of remaining federal stimulus dollars will be key to the state’s economic success in 2022. Fitch Ratings' outlook for Illinois’ and U.S. states and local governments in 2022 is neutral relative to surprisingly strong 2021 underlying business conditions. Governments with slower or stagnant revenue growth prospects may see an emerging or growing mismatch and increased pressure on budget-balancing tools, Fitch said.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding the public about fire safety over the holidays. More than one-third of home decoration fires are started by candles, says Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. And, the top three days for candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day…

 

 

Illinois State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Fultz also recommends making sure all light strands are in good shape, with no worn or broken areas and to make sure you don’t have too many strands hooked together at once.

 

(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois Police arrested a person accused of robbing a person at gunpoint. Police say it happened just before 7 pm near 6th and Daniels. No other information was released.

 

(Onarga-tr)-- The Onarga Christmas parade will end with a special presentation at the Onarga Theater this Saturday from 6-8pm.  Spokesperson Fred Walraven would like to extend an invitation to all residents who wish to enter…

 

 

Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven. For more details or to inquire about parade entry, call Fred at 815-471-4576.

 

(Dewey-jm) – A Dewey man has been sentenced to two months in jail and four years of probation for having cocaine.A Champaign County judge ordered Shane Burdette that sentence after he pleaded guilty to having more than an ounce of cocaine. He must also undergo a substance abuse evaluation and perform 50 hours of public service. Burdette admitted to having about 40 grams of cocaine in his home.

 

(Washington-jm) – Export dollar values for bulk agricultural commodities are mostly up this year, but what about actual tonnages? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Severe weather rolled through the area Friday night causing damage. Tornadoes were reported

(Undated-jm) – Severe weather rolled through the area Friday night causing damage. Tornadoes were reported in southwestern Illinois including one in Edwardsville that struck an Amazon factory killing six people. Tornadoes were also reported near Shelbyville and Mattoon.  Here storms brought down trees and power lines.

 

(Springfield-jm) – New cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, with more than 49 thousand reported over the past seven days. That’s a significant increase over the 42 thousand plus reported the week before and the 21 thousand the week before that. An additional 266 people have died and more than 32 hundred COVID patients are currently in the hospital, the highest number since back in January. Governor J-B Pritzker says everyone needs to continue to take precautions…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says communities seeing gi spikes may want to enact their own stricter mitigations. Friday, 7,531 cases were reported in the state along with 35 additional deaths. Locally, Champaign County reported 192 new cases. Vermilion County reported 176 new cases and 3 additional deaths bringing their total deaths to 218. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been arrested following a shots fired incident Thursday. Rantoul Police were called to the 1100 block of Falcon Drive just before 11 am for a report of shots fired. Witness information and information from a license plate reader led to the arrest of Adrian Rangel. He is charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a valid FOID card.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Springfield man is facing multiple charges after police found a stolen loaded handgun while investigating a shoplifting. Police were called to the Walmart in Urbana after a loss prevention officer at the store caught Linnez Blount removing the security wrap from video games. Blount admitted that he was going to steal them to sell. As officers were searching Blount they found a 9 millimeter handgun with 17 rounds in the magazine. He is charged with possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful use of weapons by a felon and burglary.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education has released their 2020-2021 school report card. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there were some very disturbing numbers in the report card…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers are seeking the public's help in solving a burglary at a construction business. Between November 15th and 16th, two men entered CU Under Construction and stole numerous tools. One suspect is described as a black male with a goatee with short hair, wearing a white  hoodie. The other suspect was a white male with balding or short hair wearing a gray shirt.

 

(Washington-jm) – Much of USDA's World Supply and Demand Estimates for Soybeans features news and notes from China. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – More communities will be eligible for gun violence prevention grants under a bill signed Friday by Governor J-B Pritzker. The measure is a follow up to the Reimagine Public Safety Act, and will bring funding to areas especially struggling with gun crimes. The idea is to get to the root of the problem, says Chicago Senator Robert Peters…

 

 

State Senator Robert Peters of Chicago. The law gives the new Office of Firearm Prevention more flexibility to award grants.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police responded to several late night calls over the weekend. The first incident happened Saturday at 8:56 p.m.. Champaign Police responded to North 5th St. and East Bradley Ave for a shots fired report. Officers located more than 50 shell casings and police were told a 19-year-old male arrived at a hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his left arm. The second incident happened Sunday at 12:38 a.m.. Champaign Police responded to the 100 block of North Walnut St. for a report of a shooting involving injuries. A 29-year-old male had a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his lower left leg.  The third was Sunday at 1:01 a.m. Champaign Police responded to the 700 block of Hollycrest Dr. for a shots fired report. A 22-year-old male has a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his left arm and a graze wound on his stomach.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Hundreds of people showed up for Paxton’s candy cane lane Friday night in Paxton. An estimated 500 people turned out for the second year event. Organizers plan to bring it back again next year.

 

(Rantoul-tr) -- The Rantoul Youth Center will be hosting a breakfast alongside a meet and greet with Santa on December 18th from 8am-10am. Rantoul Recreation Department Head Luke Humphrey has the details…

 

 

 Rantoul Recreation Department Head Luke Humphrey. Reservations are required. The deadline is today and can be made by calling 1-217-893-5703. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Police said a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was arrested after admitting that he was involved in the “trading” of pornographic images involving children. According to University Police, 19-year-old Daniel Meyka was arrested at 9:10 a.m. Thursday at Saunders Hall at 902 West College Court after detectives obtained a court-approved search warrant for his residence hall room.

 

(Washington-jm) – The U.S. continues to buy more and more agricultural products from other countries. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says he's not planning to institute a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate like the one in New York City

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker says he’s not planning to institute a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate like the one in New York City. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio is enacting a mandate for private sector workers. The Governor was asked if that’s something we could see in Illinois…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Just over 66 percent of Illinoisans ages five and up are now fully vaccinated. Over the past week, an average of nearly 70 thousand doses are being administered each day.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois lawmaker has decided not to pursue a bill that would have unvaccinated people pay all their own COVID-19 hospital expenses. Representative Jonathan Carroll announced on Thursday that based on feedback and further reflection, he would no longer push the bill. The bill would have made it so if you get COVID-19 and you are unvaccinated, you would have to pay out of pocket for all COVID-19 related expenses if you were eligible for the vaccine.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Harvest totals were down this year for the annual firearm deer hunting season. Hunters took 71,675 deer over the two weekends of the firearm season in Illinois. That compares to more than 77,000 deer harvested last year. State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Tim Schweizer looks ahead…

 

 

State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Tim Schweizer. The muzzleloader-only deer season is this weekend and archery season continues through January 16th. You can find more dates and other information online at: hunt illinois dot org.

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 9,301 new cases and 54 additional deaths. Champaign County was the only county to report Thursday. They reported 208 new cases.

 

 

(Loda-Clarence-tr) – The Kaeb Family will be hosting their third annual drive through nativity scene near Loda tonight and tomorrow. Kaeb Nativity Spokesperson Val Kaeb details how to get there from Loda…

 

 

Kaeb Nativity Spokesperson Val Kaeb.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign City Council sat down for a meeting this week to discuss the police hiring process at a time where the department is down 20% of its workforce. The council shared different preference points they would like to address in hiring, but also shared the urgency in getting the hiring done. The Champaign Police Department is down 25 of its 125 staff members. The department is also looking for a new chief of police after Anthony Cobb retired.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The city of Urbana is looking for feedback from community members on where it should spend resources to improve equity and quality of life. The city is sharing a survey for its Equity and Quality of Life Project which is aimed at underserved communities. The project will use $2 million to invest in small infrastructure projects such as street lights and sidewalks. 

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Department has announced updates regarding two of its dairy risk management programs for 2022. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

The Candy Cane Square event on Paxton’s Northwest side runs from 6 to 8pm

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is reminding families about the state’s school safety hotline. Anyone who sees or hears something concerning can report it to Safe Two Help Illinois via text, phone call or online. This is especially important right now says IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark…

 

 

IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Safe Two Help isn’t just for suspected school violence, students can also reach out about depression, bullying, anxiety and self-harm. The website is: safe, the number 2, help il dot com or text 7-2-3-3-2.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A task force with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority stalled out in trying to advance proposals to the General Assembly on whether people can bring lawsuits against individual police. After two opposite proposals both failed to advance, the committee took a pause. It’s unclear if the group will make the end-of-the-month deadline to produce a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Need extra money this holiday season? Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is urging the public to check the I-Cash database. The office is in charge of unclaimed property, long forgotten in safe deposit boxes or bank accounts. Treasurer Frerichs says an estimated one in four people who search the database find something…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. To see if you have any money or property waiting to be claimed, visit the website: illinois treasurer dot gov and click on i-cash.

 

Updated

(Loda-Clarence-tr) – The Kaeb Family will be hosting their third annual drive through nativity scene near Loda tonight and tomorrow. Kaeb Nativity Spokesperson Val Kaeb details times of operation…

 

 

Kaeb Nativity Spokesperson Val Kaeb.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A brand new first of its kind imaging study is coming to Champaign-Urbana. Carle has partnered up with the University of Illinois, to conduct the Champaign-Urbana Population Study. A study that will use the new, jointly acquired unique technology, the Siemens MAGNETOM Terra 7 Tesla MRI to collect information about the brain’s structure and function across a diverse group of volunteers. Leaders of the study will gather information on ways to improve our understanding of brain health and how the brain changes over time, and hopefully the findings will support the translation of technology to improve clinical outcomes.

 

(Watseka-jm) – A Watseka woman is facing multiple charges. Madison LeClair was arrested on felony charges of fleeing and eluding, speeding, leaving the scene of an accident and disobeying several stop signs. LeClair was also wanted on an Iroquois County warrant.

 

(Washington-jm) – As expected, there were very few changes from last month in USDA's new round of crop reports. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

A Live Drive Thru Barn Nativity will be held today and tomorrow from 5-9 pm at the Kaeb Farm located at 170 N 800 E near Loda.

 

Gibson City will hold a Christmas Salute tonight and tomorrow at North Park.

 

The Candy Cane Square event on Paxton’s Northwest side runs from 6 to 8pm

Lawmakers and education officials are calling for more cash to be sent into the classroom

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers and education officials are calling for more cash to be sent into the classroom through an evidence-based funding formula. It sends millions of dollars into Illinois schools to help meet students' needs, but as of right now, it’s not fully funded. This funding model is essentially an algorithm that sends dollars to the Illinois districts that need it most. Without full funding, it means less money is going into your child’s education. The education advocacy group Stand for Children says the model still falls $6.8 billion short of being fully funded. Lawmakers say school districts are already working hard to recover from the pandemic and fully funding this formula could help get them back on track.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,658 new Coronavirus cases Wednesday and 14 additional deaths. Locally Champaign County reported 44 new cases. Vermilion County reported 110 new cases. Ford and Iroquois Counties did not have a report.

 

(Washington-jm) – The trade numbers just in for October have surprised some analysts. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman released the county results of a statewide effort to crack down on unbuckled driving over the Thanksgiving holiday. Heuerman says that Champaign County deputies issued six tickets to drivers for seat belt violations. In addition, they issued three speeding tickets, three distracted driving tickets, two tickets for driving with a suspended/revoked or non valid driver’s license and four tickets for other infractions.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois GOP members are still blasting their frustrations over two controversial pieces of legislation approved during the fall veto session. One of the pieces approved was the undoing the parental right of notification of abortion act. The other controversial piece came as a result of the COVID pandemic says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A Champaign environmental watchdog group said it won’t be until 2033 until Vistra Energy removes coal ash from the former Dynegy plant near Danville. It’s the latest development in the years-long debate over the coal ash, which environmental groups said is polluting the Middle Fork River. Dynegy, now Vistra, has long-resisted efforts to completely remove the coal ash. However, it recently agreed to do so as a result of a lawsuit. Prairie Rivers Network said Vistra’s plan involves demolishing the power plant to create a landfill, then moving the coal ash there. The landfill would be outside of the river’s floodplain. Vistra will hold two public meetings today to get residents’ feedback on the plan.  The meetings are at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at Davis S. Palmer Arena in Danville.  Residents can also join via Zoom. You can sign-up online.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new law is aiming to protect your student from sexual abuse. Governor JB Pritzker signed Faith's Law. The bill was named after Faith Colson, who was sexually assaulted while in high school in Schaumburg, Illinois. Faith's law requires all school districts have a code of conduct and a resource guide for parents on what they can do if their child is a victim of sexual abuse.

 

(Gibson City-tr) -- The Gibson City Christmas Parade will remain stationary this year in the city's north park after last year's success. Gibson City Parade Spokesperson Susie Tongate gives a rundown of what to expect this year…

 

 

Gibson City Parade Spokesperson Susie Tongate.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Vermilion County Animal Control said it’s seen an increase this year in abuse, neglect, and hoarding cases. The group says it's not just the numbers but the severity of the cases. They say if you suspect an animal is being abused, reach out to your local animal control.

 

(Rantoul-tr) -- The Rantoul Youth Center will be hosting a breakfast alongside a meet and greet with Santa on December 18th from 8am-10am. Rantoul Recreation Dept Head Luke Humphrey has the details…

 

 

 Rantoul Recreation Dept Head Luke Humphrey. Reservations are being requested for this event by December 13th. Please call 1-217-893-5703 for availability. 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – The Vermilion County community of Hoopeston will have a new mayor. Current Mayor Bill Crusinberry announced Tuesday night he is resigning due to health issues. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Rapidly rising input costs and delivery delays continue to make problems for farmers and the people who sell those inputs to producers. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is in Chicago

(Chicago-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health along with the Chicago Department of Public Health are announcing the first case of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. The individual is a Chicago resident and was a contact of another Omicron COVID positive case from another state. IDPH says the individual is fully vaccinated and had their booster shot and did not require hospitalization.

 

(Springfield-jm) – As COVID-19 cases increase, Governor J-B Pritzker says the state is taking steps to tackle the problem. It’s mostly the delta variant leading the surge, says the Governor, who has been talking with hospital leaders around the state…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says they are also trying to address the shortage of healthcare workers. The latest daily total includes more than 7 thousand new cases and 78 additional deaths. That’s the highest one day death toll since last February. Locally, Vermilion County reported 107 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 16,452 and deaths to 215. Champaign County reported 227 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 31,227 and deaths to 217.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are proposing legislation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. Teutopolis Representative Adam Niemerg (knee-merg) has introduced the “Freedom Act,” making it unlawful to discriminate against someone because of their vaccine status…

 

 

State Representative Adam Neimerg. On Monday, Representative Jonathan Carroll of Northbrook introduced a bill requiring those who have not been vaccinated against COVID to pay for their own medical bills if they contract the virus.

 

(Onarga-tr) -- Onarga residents are celebrating the holidays this year by organizing with Gilman residents as both towns host Christmas parades back to back on December 18th. Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven details how this came about…

 

 

Onarga Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven, For more details or to inquire about parade entry, call Fred at 815-471-4576.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On December 2nd, Bradley Orcutt of Urbana was arrested and charged with driving while revoked, open container of alcohol on public way and adult use cannabis in a motor vehicle. Also on December 2nd, Allen Burgin of Urbana was arrested on an in state warrant.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Biofuel producers hurt by the pandemic should be getting some help soon from the USDA. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state is launching a new 42 million dollar water assistance program for low income Illinoisans. The effort is for those facing disconnections or who have 250 dollars or more in overdue water and sewer bills. Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Sylvia Garcia says to qualify, applicants need to be making 200 percent of the poverty level or less…

 

 

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Slyvia Garcia. Applications for water assistance and other programs are available online at: help illinois families dot com.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing 94 million dollars in funding to improve public airports throughout Illinois. Combined with local funding, the investment will pay for 96 projects statewide, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Several local airports are receiving funding for projects. Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington is receiving $3.7 million to rehabilitate the entrance road. Willard Airport in Savoy is receiving $2 million: $1.5 million to rehab the entrance road and employee parking lot and $500 thousand to rehab general aviation aprons. Vermilion Regional Airport in Danville is receiving $850 thousand: $350 thousand to rehab the entrance road and $500 thousand to upgrade the perimeter fence. Rantoul Aviation Center is receiving $200 thousand to acquire snow removal equipment. 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The University of Illinois Police Department is investigating a robbery that took place early Sunday morning on campus. Officers say that between midnight and 2 a.m. a U of I student riding an electric scooter was confronted by a suspect on Peabody Drive between Fourth and Sixth Streets. The suspect displayed what the student believed to be a knife and demanded the student place his property on the ground. The student threw the scooter at the suspect and ran from the scene. No injuries were reported.

 

(Washington-jm) – Maintaining exports in a time of economic uncertainty will be a major key to the success of U.S. farmers in 2022.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The University of Illinois is recommending students and staff get their COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible

(Springfield-jm) -- Applications for rental assistance in Illinois are now being accepted. This is the second round for the up to 25 thousand dollar grants and its estimated the money will help more than 32 thousand additional households. State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kristin Faust explains who is eligible…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kristin Faust. To get started, visit the website: illinois housing help dot org. There you will also find a list of community organizations that can help with the application process.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 19,110 new Coronavirus cases since Friday and 85 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate fell slightly to 5.4 percent. Champaign County reported 397 new cases. Iroquois County reported 192 new cases. Vermilion County reported 161 new cases. Ford County did not have a report.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Schools around the area continue to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are back in the classrooms this fall after being remote most of last school year. Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio talks about how his district is doing with the pandemic…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.


(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois System is recommending students and staff get their COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible. As the U of I System begins to plan for the spring semester, officials are pushing for students and staff to do their part to keep COVID-19 cases down. University of Illinois System President Timothy Killeen says each university will be issuing its own detailed guidance in the future. While university system officials are recommending the booster shots, there was no mention of making them a requirement for enrollment.

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- A Thomasboro man who allegedly molested a child several years ago is being held in the Champaign County Jail. 70 year old Warren Grob Jr was arrested by Thomasboro police in connection with an investigation that began in early October when a teen told relatives that he had allegedly been sexually molested by Grob. The alleged incidents occurred between January 2011 and December 2014 when Grob acted as his caretaker at Grob’s Thomasboro home.Grob was formally charged Monday with one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Judge Ronda Holliman set Grob’s bond Sunday at $400,000. If convicted of the more serious Class X felony charge, Grob faces six to 60 years in prison. 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA analysts face a tough job this week as they try to make this month's Ag. Supply and Demand forecasts in a time of rapidly changing economic conditions. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new Illinois bill could mean higher bills for those who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19. Representative Jonathan Carroll of Buffalo Grove, filed a bill Monday that would amend the Illinois Insurance Code. The bill states that anyone who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and chooses not to be vaccinated must pay their health care expenses out-of-pocket if they become hospitalized due to COVID-19 symptoms.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police is announcing a significant decrease in the backlog of FOID cards that need to be processed. Thanks to a lot of hard work and hiring more analysts, Trooper Jason Wilson says they’ve managed to get the time it takes to renew a FOID card down to a little over a month...

 

 

Illinois State Police Trooper Jason Wilson. Wilson says they understand how frustrating the wait has been for FOID card holders and applicants but that this is a step in the right direction.

 

(Gibson City-tr) --  The Gibson City Christmas Parade will feature many extra activities for the family to enjoy like food vendors, horse and carriage rides, and even an artificial Ice rink. Prairieland CEO Brock Philips shares more about the ice rinks availability… 

 

 

 Prairieland CEO Brock Philips. 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- A man will spend a half dozen years behind bars for burglary. The Vermilion County State's Attorney says Dimitri Coffey used a sledgehammer and spade to make a hole in the wall of an abandoned building next to Gold Rush Pawnbrokers. Coffey then climbed into the business and stole various items. The pawn shop owner was live-streaming the security surveillance camera while the crime was taking place and contacted local police. Coffey must serve at least 50% of his sentence and serve one year of parole after he is released.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hoping to make it easier for you to shop local this holiday season. Director Amanda Vickery says they have created a holiday guide on the many shops in the village…

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Urbana police are investigating a shooting that sent two people to the hospital. Officers responded to the parking lot of Lincoln Square Mall on Saturday night just before 9 pm. Police say several shots were fired. A 22-year-old man and 23-year-old man later showed up at the hospital with gunshot wounds. Authorities say both victims are expected to be okay.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A challenging two years for ag producers has led to innovations and flexibilities from the crop insurance industry to help growers mitigate these circumstances. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

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