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Sportsbooks are fighting back against a proposed sports betting tax hike in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health has announced the start of the 2024 Healthy Illinois Survey, a statewide effort to compile data on the current state of health and wellness and areas where public health can be improved. Under Illinois law, IDPH is required to administer an annual survey to obtain data from every county and zip code in the state, establishing a baseline of public health information to allow for progress to be tracked and measured each year. Health officials hope to reach as many as 55,000 households this year.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA’s April forecasts for milk reveals lower production and in turn lower prices despite strong demand. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Paxton-jm) – Weather permitting, The City of Paxton will be flushing hydrants starting Monday, April 29th through Friday, May 3rd beginning on the West side of town. You may notice some discoloration or loss of water pressure during this time.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  It’s spring and that means time to look at village streets that need repair. Village of Rantoul leaders are compiling a list of streets and the village board will look at how to spend  the allotted dollars, says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Undated-jm) – Anti Semitism is on the rise in Illinois, with college campuses being some of the hardest hit. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a new report stating anti-Semitic incidents have risen 74 percent in Illinois from 2022 to 2023. Recording over 200 anti-Semitic incidents across the state last year, with 11 occurring in Champaign-Urbana. According to the ADL, nearly 70 percent of all anti-Semitic incidents took place in Illinois after the October 7th attacks. University of Illinois Police says since October 7th there has been an increase in vandalism and graffiti that contain pro-Palestinian messaging and images, as well as some property damage that could be considered anti-Semitic.

 

(Paxton–dm)-If you have a bird feeder and can’t remember the last time it’s been cleaned, it’s probably time to clean it up.  Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental has these suggestions to clean your bird feeder.

 

 

Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental, Scott suggests cleaning your bird feeder every 2-4 weeks.

 

(Gilman–jc)  Today’s WPXN business of the Day is The Gathering in Gilman. A unique shopping experience store carries clothing, to candles, antiques to one of a kind items. The Gathering Co-Owner Kathy Perzee says the “Junk in the Trunk” flea markets start on Saturday April 27th…

Kathy Perzee says there is something new in the store, daily…it always changes

The Gathering in Gilman Co-Owner Kathy Perzee.  The Gathering in Gilman is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. An interview with Cathy Perzee is set during the noon news today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Sportsbooks are fighting back against a proposed sports betting tax hike in Illinois. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is proposing increasing the tax for sportsbook companies from 15% to 35%. Companies like DraftKings and FanDuel have formed the Sports Betting Alliance in opposition to the tax hike. If approved, they warn it may drive some sportsbooks out of Illinois. Bettors are receiving messages on their apps urging them to write to Illinois lawmakers and oppose the governor’s proposed tax increase. 

 

(Macon County–jc)  Three crashes along Interstate 72 in Macon County slowed traffic last night for several hours. State Police report only property damage in the accidents, Rescue personnel and clean up crews were on the scene from 8pm to 10pm. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Hearings with lawmakers this week provided the U.S. Trade Representative opportunity to discuss recent and continuing ag trade efforts. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with Edward Jones and other local organizations to educate seniors on the dangers of fraud and scams. The Sheriff’s Office sees over 200 fraud cases a year. The conference will take place at the I Hotel conference room in Champaign on April 23rd. There will be two sessions that those interested can attend, one from 10 AM to noon, and another from 2 PM to 4 PM. Those who wish to attend must sign up to do so. To reserve yourself a space you can email Tanya Flannery at tanya.flannery@edwardjones.com or call 217-442-8158.

 

(Paxton–dm)- The city of Paxton is proud to announce that it is now a Designated Main Street Community.  Donna Pepper executive director of Paxton Main Street explains.

 

 

Donna Pepper, Executive Director of the Paxton Main S.street.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The Community Service Center of Rantoul has a golf scramble coming up in July as a fundraiser. Community Service Executive Director Cindy Crawford says Willow Pond Golf Course is hosting the event on July 19th…

 

 

Community Service Center of Rantoul Executive Director Cindy Crawford

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will have a food drive in Ford County today from 9-9:30 across from the Piper City Community Building, 10-10:30 at Living Word Church in Roberts, 11-11:30 across from the Melvin Convenient Store, 12:15-12:45 at the Gibson City city hall, 1-1:30 at the Elliott village hall and 2-2:30 at Paxton Hardware and Rental.

 

The Onarga American Legion will hold their fish fry this evening from 4:30-7 at the Legion Hall at Durham Park.

 

The Elliott Amvets will hold a spaghetti dinner this evening from 5-7 pm. Cost is $10 per plate and includes spaghetti, salad and garlic bread.

 

The Parkland College Theatre hosts their presentation of Little Shop of Horrors tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available online at tickets dot parkland dot edu.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting Ford Iroquois Master Gardeners on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The Thawville Community Sale will take place Saturday starting at 10 am.

 

The Melvin Women’s Club will hold their inaugural Spring Fling on Saturday from 11-1 at the Melvin Community Hall. Activities include door prizes, kids games, cake walk and a presentation by the Melvin Public Library.

 

The Cissna Park FFA Awards Banquet will take place on Saturday at 6pm at the Cissna Park High School Gym.

 

The Cadillac in Paxton will host A Night of ZZ and Zeppelin on Saturday. Doors open at 6 with the concert beginning at 7:30.

Illinois lawmakers hope to pass a bill to require fentanyl education in public junior high schools

(Springfield-jm) – More than 1,000 people attended the Illinois Right to Life March in Springfield on Wednesday. House Bill 4867, amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to include "reproductive health decisions" as a human right. State Representative Anna Moeller, is a sponsor of the bill, and said the bill gives Illinoisans the freedom to consider and make whatever reproductive health decisions they wish without the fear of discrimination or retaliation in the context of housing, employment, public accommodations, education and financial credit. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill sponsored by 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City is moving forward. Senator Bennett explains the bill…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University Avenue ramps leading to and from I-74 in Urbana are going to be unavailable to drivers for the next four months. IDOT announced that the ramps at Exit 185 are closed as of Wednesday in order to “rehabilitate” the bridge over the highway. In addition, westbound I-74 will be reduced to one lane at the interchange. Detours for the ramp will be posted during the construction period, which is expected to last until August.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A company is set to expand operations in Rantoul after closing an out-of-state plant. In a news release, door and window company JELD-WEN announced it is closing its Hawkins, Wisconsin plant and consolidating the wood windows manufacturing to its Rantoul site. The Hawkins site has around 340 employees. The company estimates consolidation into the Rantoul facility will cost about $24 million.

 

(Washington-jm) – Efforts to rebuild rural economies are beginning to show results. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Vermilion County has a new Recorder and a new vacancy on the county board.   Chrisi Walls, a Republican from County Board District 5, stepped down from her board seat before being sworn in as the new county Recorder. Walls replaces Dave Stone who decided not to finish his term. It will be up to the Vermilion County Republican Party to recommend someone to fill the vacancy left by Wall’s departure in District 5.

 

(Ford County-jm) – The stress involved in caring for senior citizens can be overwhelming.  The Ford County Public Health Department extends a program that supports those caregivers, who could use resource assistance.  A helpful program will be available for caregivers in both Ford and Iroquois County every third Thursday at the Watseka Public Library. The Caregivers Advisory Services is available for the two-county area.  The group will meet on the 3rd Thursdays from 1:30 - 2:30 pm at the Watseka Library.  It begins today.  More info can be found on the Ford County Health department website or call 217-379-9281.

 

(Paxton–jc) –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Compass Insurance and Compass Insurance Agent Grant Kleinsteiber. Compass Insurance has been in operation since 1952. Agent Grant Kleinsteiber says what sets Compass Insurance apart from other agencies is the options they provide with your local agents…

 

Grant says they specialize in several lines of insurance…

 Compass Insurance Agent Grant Kleinsteiber. Phone 217-370-2102 for all your insurance needs. Compass Insurance and Compass Insurance Agent Grant Kleinsteiber is your WPXN Business of the day, today. We have more with Grant Kleinsteiber on news and an interview during the noon news today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers passed a plan last year to require fentanyl education in every high school. Now, representatives hope to pass a bill to require this instruction in junior high. Sponsors believe students in 6th through 8th grade should learn the differences between synthetic and non-synthetic opioids and illicit drugs as well as the variations of fentanyl. Rep. Janet Yang Rohr said that young students should also know the side effects and risk factors of using fentanyl. Local school boards would be able to decide content that is age appropriate for students to learn about the drug. They would also have the ability to decide how much time teachers would need to spend on fentanyl education.

 

(Springfield-jm) – 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington received a visit from area chambers of commerce. Bunting says they brought concerns to him especially about the proposal to change the tip wage in Illinois…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is looking to make Neil Street safer with a multi-million dollar agreement with the City of Champaign. It’s a $10.6 million initiative to improve Neil Street over a three-mile stretch. It would be from Springfield Avenue to Windsor Road. The city would pay just short of $800,000 with IDOT paying the rest. Their goal is to start construction in August. The agreement also includes adding accessible sidewalks and traffic signal work in 2025. Right now, there is no hard completion date set for the project.

 

(Normal-jm) – Rivian has announced more company wide layoffs. According to company officials, the layoffs will affect an additional 1% of the electric vehicle manufacturer’s workforce. The latest layoffs are in addition to the job cuts announced in February when Rivian said it was reducing its salaried workforce by 10%. The company said none of the layoffs are expected to affect hourly manufacturing workers in Normal.

 

(Washington-jm) – Month over month adjustments in USDA turkey production and price forecasts reflect both trending lower. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Ford County-jm) – A new Ford County committee is looking to prepare the county’s emergency response and resources for natural disasters that may befall the county in the future. The Office of Emergency Management recently held the first meeting of its Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee in Roberts. The committee’s purpose is to develop a Hazard Mitigation Plan to reduce the damages caused by disasters like floods, winter weather, thunderstorms and tornadoes. These jurisdictions include Ford County offices like 911, the County Board and Sheriff’s Office, school districts, the Villages of Piper City, Roberts and Sibley, the Gibson City Fire Protection District and Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. Funding for the HMP and the process to create it is provided by a grant from FEMA. The Ford County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee will hold another meeting at 6 p.m. on July 16 at Roberts Gym. The public, as well as representatives of municipalities, townships, school districts and fire protection districts, is invited to attend and ask questions. Questions and concerns can also be submitted in an online survey or the Ford County EMA.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a deadly shooting that happened last July. Trevione Robinson, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder in the July 14 death of Jahiem Law, 20, of Champaign, The News Gazette reports. Four other counts of murder and one count of aggravated battery with a firearm were all dropped as part of a plea deal. Robinson was given credit for 289 days already served in jail and is eligible to serve 50 percent of his sentence.

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will have a food drive in southern Iroquois County today from 9-9:30 at the Abbe Insurance in Buckley, 10-10:30 at Durham Park in Onarga, 11-11:30 at the Crescent City community building, 12:30-1 at Runnings in Watseka, 1:30-2 at Milford Town and Country.

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper this evening from 4:30-6:30 pm. Cost is $11 for adults, kids 6-13 $6. Meal includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, dessert and drink. Deliveries are available in town by calling 217-202-6441.

 

 

Advocates from Moms Demand Action gathered outside of the Capitol Tuesday to support bills they say will reduce gun violence

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois House was unanimous in supporting a measure to remove some required labeling from the package of meat being processed for people like hunters. State Representative Adam Niemerg’s House Bill 2601 passed and now goes to the Senate. The measure removes the labeling “not inspected” but keeps the labeling “not for sale.”

 

(Springfield-jm) – Dozens of advocates from Moms Demand Action and One Aim Illinois gathered outside of the Capitol Tuesday to support bills they say will reduce gun violence. Capitol News Illinois reports one of the bills would require police to remove firearms from a home when a judge grants an order of protection for victims of domestic violence under the state’s firearms remedy law. The bill is known as Karina’s Bill after Karina Gonzalez. Sherri Williams with Moms Demand Action says their advocacy includes keeping gun issues in front of lawmakers…

 

 

Sherri Williams with Moms Demand Action. In addition to Karina’s Bill, the Homicide Victim’s Families Right act would allow victims’ families to request a review of a murder. The case has to be older than three years and would be reviewed by officers who weren’t on the original case. Meanwhile the Homicide Data Transparency Bill would require law enforcement to track and report how many homicides happen every month, as well as if anyone has been charged or arrested.

 

(Rural Rantoul-jm) – A Champaign County man was struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon. It happened northwest of Rantoul just before 5pm. Authorities say the man was closing a metal shed door when the shed was struck by lightning. He was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Shopping local is key for towns and cities in rural areas like East Central Illinois. Paxton Mainstreet Executive Director Donna Pepper says it takes a lot to run a brick and mortar business…

 

 

Paxton Mainstreet Executive Director Donna Pepper. The city of Paxton, through the efforts of the local group, is now an official “Mainstreet City” in Illinois.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – The United State Air Force along with Rantoul village leaders will hold a community meeting later this month about PFAS or forever chemicals that were found on the former Chanute Air Force Base. This topic is resurfacing in Rantoul after the Air Force’s Civil Engineer Center did a site inspection. That’s where they found these forever chemicals in soil, groundwater, stormwater, surface water, and sediment at several AFFF release areas. Those results determined an investigation was needed. Regarding the public meeting, it’s on April 30th at 7 p.m. at Rantoul Village Hall. Air Force representatives will be there to answer questions about the remedial process.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA this month used new data for both domestic and international soybean production to adjust both outlooks for supply and demand. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Melvin–jc)  –  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is The Gutter Guy. The local construction company provides seamless gutters for homes, also business and farm buildings. The owner of The Gutter Guy is Scott Nugent of Melvin. Nugent says they do gutters and more…

Nugent says they offer 10 year warranties on gutters to 15 year warranties on roofing…

The Gutter Guy Owner Scott Nugent.

Call the Gutter Guy at 815-830-9890.

The Gutter Guy, serving East Central Illinois, is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Senate approved a measure that would create a new state agency for early childhood programs. Senate Bill 1 was approved unanimously to over time consolidate initiatives in three separate state agencies into one new state agency titled the Department of Early Childhood. In the first year of the transition, it's expected to cost taxpayers $13 million. The measure can now be taken up by the House.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A local state representative is reminding residents to watch their mailboxes for a survey. The survey is put out by 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department is reporting an attempted sexual assault at a fraternity house. The attempted sexual assault occurred Saturday approximately at 12 a.m. Police were alerted to the attempted sexual assault from a “Campus Security Authority” Tuesday afternoon.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  With one downtown business being raised by the village of Rantoul, there is some concern over additional buildings in the village and their future. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says there is a new owner of the former Home Theatre building and the most recent conversations on that building is that some need repairs and fix ups are coming…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton first responders were called to a possible train leak late Wednesday morning. Crews were called around 10:30 am to the northbound Canadian National train. The car that was reportedly leaking was outside of city limits and there was no danger to residents.

 

(Washington-jm) – What do adjustments in global corn production in USDA’s latest outlook mean for changes in the world corn balance sheet? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

Illinois Senate passed a plan to ban consumer reporting agencies from including medical debt in your credit reports

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Senate passed a plan to ban consumer reporting agencies from including medical debt in your credit reports. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle believe medical debt should not be a barrier to financial stability. Senator Steve Stadelman of Rockford said his legislation will ensure people can no longer be penalized if they struggle to pay their healthcare bills. New York and Colorado have passed similar plans to help ensure financial equality.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois insurance companies could soon be required to properly document whether they have enough doctors and specialists to diagnose and treat patients. The Illinois Senate passed a proposal to make insurers provide documentation to the Department of Insurance showing whether or not their in-network hospitals have a sufficient number of specialists. Senator Linda Holmes said this is critical for people in rural areas who are frequently impacted by network adequacy issues compared to urban healthcare networks. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Manufacturers' Association oppose the legislation.

 

(Springfield-jm) – 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington received a visit from area mayors and village presidents last week. Representative Bunting says they brought concerns about a proposal to eliminate the grocery tax…

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department has launched a death investigation after a person was found dead in an apartment building close to campus on Sunday. Pat Wade, a spokesperson for the UIPD, said the person was found in a public restroom in the lobby of The Hub, located at Sixth and Daniel Streets. The preliminary investigation suggests the person died by suicide.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Circuit Clerk is holding Amnesty Week this week, where people can save money when paying fines they owe. Anyone who owes money from a criminal, traffic, DUI, ordinance or conservation violation with the county can avoid paying any late fees and collection fees through April 26, 2024. In order to take advantage of the program, anyone interested will first need to get a quote from the circuit clerk’s office by emailing them at cccircuitclerk@co.champaign.il.us. In the email, it must include the individual’s full name, an address, a phone number, and email address, and court case numbers.

 

(Springfield-jm) – College admission counselors generally review an applicant's grade-point average, school activities and volunteer work to decide if a student would be a good fit. But some institutions are looking beyond the 'traditional' student profile with an online tool before granting acceptance. Terri Dee reports…

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Champaign County Coroner Stephen Thuney is releasing the

name of a Rantoul man who died of injuries sustained in a shooting incident near the intersection of 3200 North and 1800 East, north of Rantoul on Sunday. Jonalberto Guadalupe Sanchez, 24 years old was pronounced dead at Carle

Foundation Hospital Emergency Room in Urbana. Mr. Guadalupe Sanchez died as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest. An autopsy is scheduled for today. 

 

(Gibson City–jc)  A summer concert to thank employees and the community has turned into a multi community event and tickets are on sale now. The 4th annual Gibson Area Hospital Summer Bash is set for Saturday August 17th in downtown Gibson City and features Bret Michaels.  Gibson area Hospital Director of Employee-Community Events Bill Kirby says they are “thankful” for the input for the event from all area communities and businesses…

 

 

Gibson area Hospital Director of Employee-Community Events Bill Kirby. The event is free to attend. Some “party pit” passes are available . The 70s band Jefferson Starship will also perform in downtown Gibson City on Saturday August 17th

 

(Washington-jm) – It's a speedy planting season so far this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

(Buckley–jc)--  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Edge Insurance of Buckley. Larry and Barb Abbe have sold the business to the Dylan Reetz family, but the name is the only change, Reetz, along with Abbe and more continue to operate the business that has served the area since 1980. Agent Larry Abbe says he is not retired and continues to help with several lines of insurance to annuities…

Edge Insurance Agency Owner Dylan Reetz says continuing a strong legacy of providing insurance needs is the on-going goal for the business…

  The business is located in the large white building on the south edge of Buckley.  The phone number is 217-394-2243 for all your insurance needs. Edge Insurance of Buckley, the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has appointed a new executive director for the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. Monday, Pritzker announced James Montgomery to the $108,000 a year job. Montgomery was previously with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department in Massachusetts. The announcement follows the previous executive director and another PRB member resigning in the aftermath of a paroled individual stabbing a pregnant woman and killing an 11-year-old child. The Senate must take up the appointment within 60 session days.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois House has advanced a measure that prohibits corporal punishment in K-12 schools, including private schools. Republicans pushed back, asking how the measure would impact sporting programs and even military schools. House Bill 4175 now heads to the Illinois Senate.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There is legislation in the state capital that could impact the state’s ag industry. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains the bill and why he’s opposed…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking the public for help in locating an aggravated robbery suspect. The incident happened on April 5 at a Champaign Circle K. Police arrived at the South Neil Street location near 2:30 a.m., where they learned a stranger had entered the store, beat up the clerk, and demanded money. The suspect then left the store and fled westbound. Video surveillance captured an image of the suspect, who was described as a 30 to 50-year-old Black male wearing a black mask, black leather jacket, and jeans.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An outdoor Fitness Court Studio and digital wellness program is coming to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. The Fitness Court Studio, located on E. Gregory Drive, adjacent to the Campus Bike Center, will open today at 1 p.m. with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Fitness Court Studio will be accessible to approximately 55,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff and will be within walking and biking distance of approximately 48,211 local residents. This new Fitness Court Studio at Illinois features two workout areas separated by a mural wall to inspire people as they enjoy the benefits and energy created by a great outdoor workout.

 

(Buckley–jc)  Plans for the annual Knight for Christ to benefit Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley have started. The event is set for the Ford County Fairgrounds on Saturday August 24th. Buckley based Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz says the group is looking for auction items and hoping all will save the date to attend…

 

 

Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz. Local leaders are also launching enrollment efforts now for the fall semester and 20-24 to 20-25 school year. Those interested in helping the auction or wanting more information on the Christian based school are asked to call 217-394-2547.

 

(Danville-jm) – Vermilion County Coroner Jane McFadden has identified the victim of the house fire that occurred late on Friday evening, on McKinley Street in Danville as 66-year-old Helen Demarest, resident of the home. An autopsy is scheduled and her family has been notified. Coroner McFadden stated that the Danville Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office are still investigating the cause of the fire.

 

(Champaign–dm) – Got back or leg pain? Spinal stenosis (steh-NOE-siss) may be to blame. Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has more from a local expert.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary discussed some of the challenges associated with Congress crafting a Farm Bill with agricultural journalists Monday. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

The Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County will have their annual Spring Fling fundraiser this evening from 5:30-8 at the Knights of Columbus in Rantoul. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the community service center.

According to State Statute, all officials of local government are required to submit Statements of Economic Interests no later than May 1, 2024

(Loda-jm) – Two people are dead following a crash in Loda early Sunday afternoon. The accident happened at Route 45 and Washington Streets just after 1 pm. Police say  35 year Amber Garrelts failed to slow when she struck a motorcycle driven by 65 year old Lester Naese of Chebanse. Garrelts, Lester and his passenger Greta Naese were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Greta and Amber succumbed to their injuries. The accident remains under investigation.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A plaintiff’s attorney suing Illinois over the state’s gun and magazine ban expects the case to go to trial on the merits in July. Illinois enacted a ban on more than 170 semi-automatic firearms, attachments and magazines over certain capacities in January 2023. Shortly after, lawsuits were filed alleging the ban violated the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment. Last week, litigants for the plaintiffs groups and the state met with Southern District of Illinois federal Judge Stephen McGlynn for a status and scheduling conference. Attorney Thomas Maag, who represents the Langley plaintiffs in the case, was there. Among the announced deadlines includes any expert reports. Those are due by May 10 with another status hearing for May 15.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A measure advancing at the Illinois Statehouse would make mobile home park owners jump through extra hoops if they want to sell their property. State Sen. Steve Stadelman, of Rockford, said his Senate Bill 2935 will help those living in mobile home parks that get sold.  “It tries to end surprise sales that result in new owners coming in, raising rates and seniors on fixed income and low-income residents that are basically economically evicted,” Stadelman said. 

Specifically, he said it creates a right of first refusal for residents or a homeowners association in the park. Republican state Sen. Jil Tracy said if passed into law, the measure would set a precedent against personal property rights.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – An area lawmaker is sponsoring legislation to help address the teacher shortage in Illinois. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City is pushing legislation to help struggling districts address the teacher shortage…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) – It’s official! Paxton has been named a Main Street community. The announcement came Friday. Paxton will join four other communities around the state to be accepted into the program. Congratulations to Paxton Main Street in gaining that honor from the state. 

 

(Rantoul–jc) WIth the sunny skies and warmer Springtime weather, the amount of spectators at the Rantoul Sports Complex was huge this past weekend. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried says hundreds of teams and fans were at the complex, with more coming this week…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried

 Rantoul police are advising the motoring public to take extra time as they travel around the sports complex during the busy times at the sports complex

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – According to State Statute, all officials of local government are required to submit Statements of Economic Interests no later than May 1, 2024, said Iroquois County Clerk Breein B. Suver. Persons who have failed to file by this date are subject to a $15 late fee. In addition, persons who have failed to file by May 15th may be fined $100 a day from May 16th until the statement is filed, in addition to the $15 late filing fee. Failure to file the form by May 31st shall result in ineligibility, or forfeiture of office or position of employment.  Approximately twelve hundred twenty five officials are required to file in Iroquois County. Two hundred twenty seven have not filed as of this date. Officials required to file include: Townships, Villages, Schools, Drainage Districts, Multi-Township Assessing Districts, Libraries, County Government, Park Districts & Cemeteries. Questions? Contact the County Clerk’s Office at 815-432-6960.

 

(Paxton–jc) The East Central Illinois Action Agency that serves Vermilion, Ford and Iroquois Counties held a free walk through Health Fair in Paxton Friday at Veterans Square. One booth was representatives from Veterans Treatment Court. V-T-C Coordinator Del Saam talks about how his group helps vets in trouble…

 

Veterans Treatment Court Coordinator Del Saam. The group helps vets in local counties. Those needing assistance may call 217-503-8525

 

(Paxton–jc)  Since 1979, Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling of Paxton has served the Paxton area with garbage hauling and more. Now,  Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling offers services to a 35 mile area around the city. They also have various sizes of rolloffs for construction and clean up projects.  Owner Gene May says Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling offers a wide variety of rolloffs for those major projects to cleaning out the garage…

May says Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling says they provide a list of items they are allowed to haul…

Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling of Paxton Owner Gene May

You can contact them at 217-279-3309.

Central Illinois Disposal and Recycling of Paxton is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Champaign–jc)  – Two Champaign County residents were injured in a mobile home fire this morning in Champaign, Details are stretchy, but the fire happened in the New Century Estates Mobile Home Park on Windsor in Champaign. The fire happened around 2-30 this morning. The two people were sent to a local hospital with some burns. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Senate approved a plan to require insurance companies to cover preventative cancer screenings and genetic testing for people with a family history of cancer. Screenings for certain types of cancer are currently covered by insurance if patients meet the age requirement. However, Sen. Julie Morrison said her proposal would require coverage for prevention and susceptibility cancer screenings for every type of cancer for anyone with family members impacted by the disease. Senate Bill 2697 also requires insurance coverage for genetic testing for inherited gene mutations to help people with family history of cancer. Senate Bill 2697 now moves to the House for further consideration.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A proposal that passed out of the Illinois Senate could cap the monthly cost of inhalers for people with health insurance. Illinoisans struggling with asthma and other lung diseases could pay just $25 for one prescription inhaler per month. Senate Bill 3203 would also prohibit health insurance companies from denying or limiting coverage for prescription inhalers starting January 1, 2026. Sponsors said this could be a major change for many people paying between $180 to $300 per month for inhalers.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House Republicans are upset after the deadline to move bills out of committees passed and not many of the bills sponsored by Republicans are moving forward. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington says one of the proposals not moving forward has to do with ethics reform…

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul home was damaged by fire over the weekend. Crews were called to the fire early Saturday evening to the home on Route 45 across from the Subway. Flames were seen coming from a corner of the house. Firefighters from Gifford and Thomasboro also assisted at the scene. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –  The Community Service Center of Rantoul’s Spring Fling Event is set for Tuesday at the Knights of Columbus Hall in the village. Community Service Center Executive Director Cindy Crawford says the event will have great food, a silent auction and entertainment with Kayla Brown…

 

Community Service Center Executive Director Cindy Crawford. Tickets are available at the Community Service Center and also tickets for a meat raffle are available.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The family of a rideshare driver killed in Urbana two years ago has been awarded over $44 million in a lawsuit filed against the person accused of killing him and others. Marla Rice, the mother of Kristian Philpotts, filed the lawsuit one year ago against Lyft, Tyjohn Williams and Williams’ mother, alleging the three acted negligently and/or intentionally in the death of her son. On Friday, LegalRideshare LLC, the personal injury law firm representing the Rice-Philpotts family, announced that Champaign County Judge Benjamin Dyer had ruled in favor of the family.

 

(champaign–dm)-- Did you have a moment of weakness and look directly at the sun during Monday’s eclipse? Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare runs down the symptoms that should prompt a call to a doctor.

 

 

 

The SAFE-T Act is again making headlines in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – The SAFE-T Act is again making headlines in Illinois with the pretrial release of an individual accused of being under the influence and crashing his vehicle into a sheriff’s deputy's vehicle, killing her. State Rep. Dennis Tipsword who also serves as the Woodford county chief deputy sheriff, said what Nathan Sweeney 44, who was apprehended following the death of Dekalb County deputy Christina Musil, did was on the list of detainable offenses. Sweeney, however, was released with the judge citing the SAFE-T Act. Sweeney was allegedly on cocaine, fentanyl and morphine when crashing into the deputy’s car and ultimately ending her life, authorities said. Tipsword said the release was likely due to the prosecution not being able to prove that Sweeney was either a danger to society or a flight risk. State Rep. Kam Buckner of Chicago, said he's glad Republicans have created the working group called Truth in Public Safety.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Marijuana and hemp both contain the chemical THC. But in Illinois only products made from marijuana are regulated. Now, some state lawmakers are looking to change that. Capitol News Illinois reports a bill in the Illinois legislature would create regulations for hemp products and prohibit the sale of products that have synthetic THC,, like delta-8, until they can be studied more. Experts say because there are no regulations on hemp consumer goods, products that have hemp-derived THC can be made to look like chips and candy and marketed toward kids. Tiffany Chappell Ingram is the executive director of the Cannabis Business Association of Illinois and says these products have started showing up more and more in corner stores and gas stations in recent years, causing confusion for consumers…

 

 

Cannabis Business Association of Illinois Executive Director Tiffany Chappel Ingram. A similar bill being discussed in the statehouse would regulate and tax delta-8, but while Ingram appreciates the work, she says it doesn’t go far enough. She says there needs to be a pause in sales, so that a committee of scientists can study the products and make sure they’re safe.

 

(Champaign-jm) – One person was airlifted to the hospital following a house fire in Champaign Thursday. The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire in a single-family home in the 1300 block of Joanne Lane, Thursday at 3:02 p.m. On scene, fire crews reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the residence.  The occupant was outside at the time the Fire Department arrived, suffering from serious burns. A neighboring home sustained damage from the heat of the fire.    

   

(Rantoul–jc)  – Village of Rantoul officials are going ahead with demolition of a downtown building that collapsed on Easter Sunday. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the building was purchased by the village earlier this year and now the demolition process is continuing…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith. Village leaders are also looking at several other older buildings within village limits that need repair or demolition. 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Serious allegations have been made against the Champaign County Auditor after months of complaints by his staff and a forensic audit of his computer. WAND obtained documents of filed HR complaints from staff accusing auditor George Danos of having inappropriate images on his work computer, undressing in front of staff and berating and cursing at staff members. Investigators also accused Danos of misusing county resources for personal and political reasons, and rarely finishing work required in his job description. A forensic IT report of Danos' computer found there was no pornographic material, but multiple nude images.

 

(Paxton–dm)--  If you’re doing your spring cleaning, don’t forget your closets. Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental has these tips to help organize your closets

 

 

Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental.  You can hear more from Scott Saturday morning at 7:30 on Scott’s Tips for Success.

 

(Washington-jm) – Price prospects for several major crops are not improving--in fact, just the opposite. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is R-G-K Lawncare of Paxton. Ross and Grant Kleinsteiber can help with everything from mowing to snow removal.  R-G-K’s Ross Kleinsteiber talks about services available for homes and businesses…

R-G-K Lawncare co-owner Ross Kleinsteiber

 

R-G-K’s co-owner Grant Kleinsteiber talks about the areas they serve…

R-G-K Lawncare co-owner Grant Kleinsteiber

Call them at 309-533-3215.

R-G-K Lawncare of Paxton, the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The conflict over how to address getting rid of Illinois’ 1% grocery tax continues with Republicans saying their plan should be considered. In 2022, as a way to address high inflation, the legislature zeroed out the 1% grocery tax for 12 months. This year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to get rid of it altogether, but local governments say that could mean a $375 million hit. State Sen. Don DeWitte, R-St. Charles, said the governor and Democrats were concerned in 2022 about how to backfill the lost revenue to local governments. DeWitte said the governor and Democrats are ignoring his bill to make up for the lost local revenue with their withheld share of the state’s income tax through the Local Government Distributive Fund. Legislators have until the end of May to pass a spending plan, including deciding what to do with the grocery tax.

 

(Springfield-jm) – After 8 weeks, more than 285 entries and more than 300 thousand votes, Illinois has named the 2024 coolest thing made in Illinois. Capital News Illinois reports Komatsu mining truck won this year’s Makers Madness competition hosted by the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. Governor J-B Pritzker joined Komatsu leaders for the awards ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. Dan Funcannon with Komatsu says they are proud and honored to receive the award…

 

 

Dan Funcannon with Komatsu. The truck is built in Peoria and uses its large carry capacity for construction and mining. The Komatsu mining truck is the 5th winner of the Makers Madness contest and joins previous winners like the Rosenberg Moon Habitat and Rivian’s Electric Truck as the coolest things made in Illinois.

 

(Carbondale-jm) – The Southern Illinois University System will not increase undergraduate tuition rates at its Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses in the 2024-2025 school year. The SIU Board of Trustees voted to freeze undergraduate tuition rates at its meeting in Carbondale Thursday. SIU Carbondale has not raised the undergraduate tuition rate in seven years. SIU Edwardsville’s undergrad tuition rate has had two small increases since 2019.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The East Central Illinois Action Agency is hosting a free walk through Health fair today in Paxton. The event is set for 11am through 2pm at Veterans Square in the downtown area of Paxton. East Central Illinois Action Agency C-E-O Odette Hyatt-Lawson says over 22 businesses and services will be there…

 

 

East Central Illinois Action Agency C-E-O Odette Hyatt-Watson. One group that will be in attendance today is O-S-F Healthcare. Spokesperson Leslie Ingold says they will offer information for on-call services and information on stroke prevention and care…

 

 

O-S-F Healthcare Spokesperson Leslie Ingold.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Two men have been sentenced to prison for the 2014 murder of Rashidi Overstreet. Peter Campbell, 46, and Joseph Hart ,36, both of Champaign were sentenced this week for their roles in the fatal shooting. Campbell was found guilty of First Degree Murder, he was sentenced to 25 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. While Hart was found guilty of Murder/Intent To Kill/Injure, he was sentenced to incarceration of 30 years.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  You can support Christian Education in East Central Illinois on Saturday in Rantoul. The 20-24 Run for the Roses event is set to raise money for St Malachy School. The doors open at 5pm on Saturday, a dinner at 6pm. A live auction is also part of the event. Proceeds from the event help with school expenses for St Malachy School of Rantoul. 


(Washington-jm) – What impacts did USDA's March grains and rice stocks reports have when April's domestic supply and demand estimate was issued Thursday? Rod Bain reports…

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The Parkland College Theatre hosts their presentation of Little Shop of Horrors tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available online at tickets dot parkland dot edu.

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will hold their foodmobile in northern Champaign County today from 9-10 am at the Fountain Valley mobile home basketball court and from 10:30-11 am at the Ludlow Community Center.

 

Paxton Buckley Loda Choir’s spring musical performance of Once Upon a Mattress will take place tonight at 7pm, Saturday, April 13th at 7pm and Sunday, April 13th at 2pm. Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for students.

 

The Onarga Lions Club will hold a pancake and sausage breakfast at Nexus in Onarga on Saturday from 7-11 am. Cost is $10 in advance or $12 at the door and kids 9 and under are $6 in advance or $7 at the door.

 

The Paxton Swine n Dine committee will host bar stool golf on Saturday from 11-6 in downtown Paxton. Teams of 4 can register for $140.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting Loda Fireworks on Saturday from 10-2.

 

A pork chop dinner benefiting the Hazel Walder Family will take place on Saturday from 11-5 at the Cissna Park Firehouse. The dinner is dine in or carry out. 

 

The Fisher FFA will host a dinner Saturday from 4:30-7pm in the high school cafeteria. Dinner includes BBQ pulled pork or roasted chicken thigh, potato salad and cole slaw. Free will donations. 

 

The Cadillac in Paxton will host Revel in Red on Saturday. Doors open at 6 with the concert beginning at 8.

 

The Saybrook Stars and Stripes Bicentennial Committee will have a breakfast fundraiser on Sunday from 8-11 am at the Saybrook American Legion.

 

 

Legislation is advancing in Springfield that would stop property tax interest and penalties from being charged to deceased individuals

(Springfield-jm) – The Office of Executive Inspector General is reporting progress of investigating whether state of Illinois employees improperly obtained federal Paycheck Protection Program loans. The Office of Executive Inspector General has concluded of 325 PPP cases, 275 resulted in findings of wrongdoing. The Office has consistently recommended discharge of employees who have been found to have engaged in this misconduct. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – If a bill gets approved in the Illinois General Assembly, fluorescent lighting will be a thing of the past in the state. House Bill 2363 to phase out fluorescent lighting advanced through the Illinois House Energy and Environment Committee and is headed for a vote on the House floor. According to analysis by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, the switch to LED bulbs would save Illinois consumers more than $1.5 billion on utility bills, avoid 2.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions by cutting energy waste and avoid 419 pounds of mercury pollution by 2050. A typical small office could see $900 a year in savings by switching to LED bulbs and schools could save $3,700 a year.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Has world agriculture production over a six-decade period trended towards use of less resources and, in turn, become more sustainable? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Normal-jm) – Assembly lines have shut down at Rivian Automotive in Normal. The planned shutdown began on Saturday with production scheduled to start up again April 28. Rivian officials said the shut down will allow the company to make technological upgrades to the plant. When production resumes, only two shifts of workers will be making electric vehicles after the third shift was eliminated. Pessimism among investors after the company’s flat production forecast led to a sharp selloff in the value of Rivian’s stock. Rivian shares have lost almost 92% since its highly publicized initial public offering in November 2021.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The Ford County Water Tower Museum is one place to see when visiting the city of Paxton. The museum has Saturday hours from noon until 2pm and visits may be arranged. Paxton Main Street Executive Director Donna Pepper says the museum showcases the local history and was helped by the museum professionals of Taylor Studios in Rantoul…

 

Paxton Mainstreet executive Director Donna Pepper. The museum will also be part of the Draggin’ Main Event Day in downtown Paxton on Monday 18th. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The charges against a Champaign woman who was accused in the deadly stabbing of her ex-boyfriend have now been dropped. The Champaign Police Department responded. on June 4 to the 600 block of W. Bradley Avenue after Vincent Taylor arrived at an area hospital with a life-threatening stab wound. Police said Taylor and 43-year-old Taneshia Brooks of Champaign were involved in a domestic dispute when the victim was stabbed. On June 4, Champaign Police arrested Brooks on warrants for murder and aggravated domestic violence.  Now, the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office has dismissed murder charges against her. They said Taylor had a history of violence toward her and other women. The News Gazette reports Judge Randy Rosenbaum granted Assistant State’s Attorney Troy Lozar’s motion to dismiss four counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated domestic battery filed against Brooks.

 

(Kankakee–jc)  Clove Alliance is spreading the word to help those affected by sexual violence. WPXN’s Dan Mushrush has the details…

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Dogtown Heating Cooling and Plumbing of Paxton. It’s time to get those air conditioners checked, says Dogtown’s Kody Haas…

 

When doing an air conditioner check, Dogtown’s Kody Haas says they provide a complete evaluation of your air conditioner…

 

 

Dogtown Heating Cooling and Plumbing Spokesperson Kody Haas. The number to call is 217-841-4728

Dogtown Heating Cooling and Plumbing services a 50 mile radius around the city of Paxton. Dogtown Heating Cooling and Plumbing of Paxton is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legislation is advancing in Springfield that would stop property tax interest and penalties from being charged to deceased individuals. State Sen. Steve McClure’s measure would allow for the estate of a deceased individual to apply for a waiver with the county treasurer. The waiver would prevent interest and penalties from being charged on delinquent property taxes for the deceased individual. The bill passed the Senate and now awaits action in the Illinois House.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers that the upcoming deadline is quickly approaching for filing 2023 state individual income tax returns. The agency has been collecting and processing returns since the 2024 tax season officially began on Jan. 29, and the deadline is Monday, April 15. If a taxpayer electronically files an error-free return, they should receive a direct deposit refund in approximately four weeks.

 

(Washington-jm) – Consumers last month were paying a lot more for shelter and gasoline, but not for food. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois airports fared better than the national average for flight delays and cancellations. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports nationwide, 78.2% of flights were on time last year. Chicago’s international airports, O’Hare and Midway, both ranked a little better than the national average in delayed flights for 2023. Elsewhere in Illinois, Rockford’s airport registered an on time rate of 83.2%, and Willard Airport in Champaign had a rate of 81.7%.


(Springfield-jm) – The warmer temperatures have many of us venturing outside, some in search of mushrooms.  Morel Mushroom Hunting season is upon us and many folks have already had some luck.  But State Representative Dan Swanson (R-Alpha) and health departments around the state, want to remind you, we aren't the only ones enjoying the outdoors…

 

 

State Representative Dan Swanson. When heading back inside you'll want to be sure to check for tiny hitch-hikers, the same grassy, woodsy natural areas that mushroom hunters frequent are those where ticks lurk.  Because of changes in the weather and climate, ticks are “changing and increasing” their geographical range. And with their increased presence comes the potential for unwanted diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Volunteers with the Iroquois County Animal Rescue responded to a hoarding situation Tuesday evening, to find 70 cats in one apartment. According to the Iroquois County Animal Rescue Facebook page, all cats will need spay and neuter surgery, vaccinations, treated for parasites and medication for all that are sick. The Rescue center is asking for monetary donations to help with the cost of these procedures.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  More good news for Rantoul…a new Culvers is coming to town. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says they have selected a location along Champaign Avenue on the villages west side near the Rantoul Sports Complex and Walmart and construction is set to begin…

 

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will hold their annual spring music concert tonight. A dinner of pulled pork sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and dessert starts at 5 with the concert beginning at 6.

 

The Parkland College Theatre hosts their presentation of Little Shop of Horrors tonight through Friday at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available online at tickets dot parkland dot edu.

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

Inflation is taking a toll on car insurance rates

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois House Judiciary-Criminal Committee approved plans to help reopen cold cases and provide more transparency on homicide investigations. One of the plans could allow immediate family members to petition law enforcement to review unsolved murder cases after three years of inactivity. The case file review must include an analysis of steps that may have been missed during initial investigations and assessments of whether witnesses should be interviewed again. Rep. Kam Buckner said police should also re-examine if evidence was properly reviewed during initial investigations.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is spearheading legislation to enhance penalties against people who threaten libraries. The measures are sponsored by state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray and state Sen. Laura Murphy. House Bill 4567 heads to the House floor. In the Judiciary-Criminal Committee hearing, Murray said there’s been an uptick in threats of violence against Illinois libraries. Under the proposed law, individuals who send two “threatening messages” by electronic media would be subject to a Class 2 felony. HB4567 enhances penalties for individuals who make threats to not just librarians and library employees, but library buildings.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There was a bill that passed out of committee that will have a big impact on small businesses.  106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington shares what it does…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The United States Census Bureau is seeking temporary Field Representatives in Urbana to help conduct a Partial Special Census this fall. Urbana Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin said that due to the COVID-19 shutdown, many University of Illinois students left Urbana just before the Census date on April 1, 2020. Therefore, these students were not counted as residents, resulting in a 7% drop in the city’s official Census population. Representatives will work from August through November. There is a starting wage of $18.83 per hour.

 

(Washington-jm) – There are at least two bright spots in the latest USDA agricultural trade update. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police were dispatched at 11:55 p.m. on April 8, 2024, to the 2500 block of W. Springfield Avenue for a report of a shooting with injuries. On-scene, officers found a 29-year-old man from Champaign who had suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. He was transported to an area hospital, where he remains in stable condition.

 

(Westville-jm) – Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 5 arrested 26-year-old Grant W. Pate of Westville for 11 counts of Possession of Child Pornography and 11 counts of Dissemination of Child Pornography. 

On March 26, ISP conducted a residential search warrant in Westville.  The search warrant was in reference to multiple Cyber Tips received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding child pornography.  During the execution of the search warrant, Grant W. Pate was taken into custody and transported to the Vermilion County Jail.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Pizza Palace of Paxton and Gilman. Both locations are open for dine in or carry out and open Wednesdays  through Sunday at 4pm each day. Pizza Palace Owner Eric Bull says each week he comes up with a specialty pizza…

 

Eric Bull says the Paxton location has dine in room for 65 people and they offer pizza and more…

 

Pizza Palace Owner Eric Bull

Pizza Palace has locations in Paxton and Gilman. Check out this week's Specialty Pizza on facebook. Pizza Palace is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. More on Pizza Palace on newscasts throughout the day today and during the Noon news.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Inflation is taking a toll on car insurance rates. According to data from the U.S. Department of Labor, auto insurance rates increased 20% from 2022 to 2023. Premiums are much higher, in part due to the higher cost of auto repairs. In Illinois, competition has helped keep insurance premiums from going up even more. Government regulation of insurance rates would lead to higher prices.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A State Senator outlined their plan to require insurance to cover preventative cancer screenings and genetic testing for individuals with a family history of cancer. Senate Bill 2697 would expand that coverage to include prevention and susceptibility cancer screenings for all types of cancer for people who have a family member affected by the deadly disease. Additionally, insurance companies would be required to cover genetic testing for an inherited gene mutation for individuals with a family history of cancer.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A report released this month by the Network for Public Education ranked Illinois an "A" grade for its overall support of public schools. Terri Dee reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – A professor at the University of Illinois is unveiling the power social media can have in disaster events. Omar Pérez Figueroa is an urban and regional planning professor who researches environmental inequalities in underserved communities. This includes water governance and disaster resilience. For a new study, Pérez Figueroa gathered more than 2,000 statuses from Twitter — now called X — from before, during, and after Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico in 2017. The goal of the study was to analyze the reactions of Twitter users, and how they can make people better prepared for disaster.

 

(Washington-jm) – We'll have to wait another month before we get USDA's first supply and demand forecasts for the new crop year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a scam going around. They say the most recent scam call will have someone call and say they are with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Department, and even use the names of real officers. They will then say they have a warrant for your arrest and you must pay to not be arrested. No Sheriff’s office will ever contact people for money to not be arrested and that they do not accept Google gift cards as bonds. They further stated that if there is a warrant for your arrest they will act on it. Officials say if you believe you are getting a scam call to just hand up and try to call the number of the organization to verify the request.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Vermilion Advantage is pioneering efforts to get faster, more reliable internet in underserved areas of Vermilion County. $1 million from the State of Illinois will be distributed to these areas across the state that are in need, including rural locations. Vermilion Advantage is collaborating with local leaders, businesses and community members to advocate for this funding to be allocated throughout Vermilion County.

 

 

Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers that the upcoming deadline is quickly approaching

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Revenue is reminding taxpayers that the upcoming deadline is quickly approaching for filing 2023 state individual income tax returns. The agency has been collecting and processing returns since the 2024 tax season officially began on January 29, and the deadline is Monday, April 15. If a taxpayer electronically files an error-free return, they should receive a direct deposit refund in approximately four weeks. In 2023, the agency received a total of nearly 6.2 million IL-1040 returns. Of those returns received, close to 5.6 million were filed electronically, or just over 90%.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Firefighters from several area departments battled a fire at the IFF soybean plant in Gibson City Monday afternoon. Crews got the call around 12:30. They battled the blaze for nearly 7 hours. The fire is believed to have started in the dryer. No damage estimates were provided

 

(Washington-jm) – New numbers show U.S. agricultural exports still trailing last year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a retail theft. On February 17th at approximately 11 a.m., a male entered Dick’s House of Sport. The male selected two pairs of Nike Air Force 1 shoes, numerous Nike hoodies and sweatpants, and exited the store making no attempt to stop and make payment. The stolen merchandise was valued at over $1,350. The suspect appeared to be a black male wearing a black jacket with fur around the hood, a black hoodie and gray shirt.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Residents of the 106th District should watch their mailbox for a survey on legislative issues. The survey is put on by Representative Jason Bunting of Emington…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Watseka-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Monday that the Union Pacific Railroad crossing at U.S. 24/Illinois 1 in Watseka will be closed beginning on Monday, April 22. The repairs are expected to take five days to complete. A posted detour will direct motorists to Illinois 1 and U.S. 52.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  When the Rantoul Village board meets tonight, they will look at a project to renovate the I-C-B-Missile that is located along route 45 on the village's west side. The site was an entry into the former Chanute Air Force Base. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says he formed a committee to look at the future of the historical artifact and they are recommending renovation…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith The village board meets at 6pm tonight in the boardroom on Tanner Street.  In addition to the Rantoul village board meeting tonight, the Paxton city council will also meet tonight where council members will consider motor fuel tax quotes for projects later this year, consider the purchase of an inspection camera for public works, consider establishing an ordinance pertaining to vacant buildings, consider some redevelopment agreements and also consider using TIF funds for sidewalks in the TIF district. The Paxton city council meeting is at 7 tonight.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s Business of the Day is Paxton Mainstreet. The local civic group has seen several million dollars in improvements in various buildings in the city of Paxton and also help create and retain over 33 jobs based in Paxton. Paxton Main Street Executive Director Donna Pepper says efforts with the main street program are on economic development along with historic preservation…

Pepper says the group not only looks at the downtown area of Paxton , but the whole city…

Paxton Main Street Executive Director Donna Pepper.

Paxton Main Street is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

You can hear more about Paxton Main Street over the noon hour today.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers know there were 109 cardiac events involving Illinois students under 18 during 2022. School districts may soon be required to develop cardiac emergency response plans to help address the growing issue. The Illinois General Assembly has previously passed plans to require every school to have AEDs available on school property. However, House Bill 5394 would require school districts to work with local paramedics to create a plan in case there is a cardiac event. The cardiac emergency response plan would be available on every school website and in paper form throughout schools. Coaches and other athletic staff members would also have copies of the cardiac response plan.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Several fire departments across Ford and Iroquois Counties were called to a tool shed fire Monday evening. Crews were called to the fire at 852 north 1000 east in Iroquois County. There’s no word on the cause of the fire.

 

(Washington-jm) – Here's why dairy herd depopulation is not being advised for the current avian influenza outbreak in some dairy operations. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Crime Stoppers is hosting a document shred, prescription drop-off and cell phone recycling event for the local community. The event will take place on April 20 from 9 to 11 a.m. in University of Illinois’s E14 Parking Lot. The organization is collecting documents to be shredded by Triad Shredding. With a donation of $10, people can drop off up to two banker’s boxes full of documents.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling for reforms on the Prisoner Review Board. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City is one of those pushing for reforms…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Danville-jm) – Danville Area Community College has exciting news for students. Beginning with the Fall semester, DACC is launching a pilot program called the “Provost’s Promise.” The DACC Board of Trustees approved the Provost’s Promise Program during the March 28 Board meeting, setting the stage for the official program roll-out this month. Starting this fall, any first-time, full-time student ready to commit to their education can join the Provost’s Promise program. This means no tuition or fees if they stick to the plan and graduate on time.

 

(Champaign-dm)--Is the gym too far away? Or are you not a people person? Cozy cardio, one of the latest fitness routines to trend on social media, might be for you. And it’s not just a winter thing. Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has more.

 

 

Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, spread out over several days. Spires says when defining “moderate intensity,” think about singing a song while working out. If the strain of the workout means you can’t sing without running out of breath, you’re at moderate intensity.



 

 

IDOT warns of heavy traffic in Southern Illinois for eclipse viewers

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is warning of heavy traffic across the state, especially in southern Illinois, when a total solar eclipse takes place today. While many will be able to see a partial version of the eclipse in the northern part of the state, thousands are expected to travel downstate and chase the eclipse path. The agency said crowds of up to 200,000 are expected to travel to the prime viewing areas in southern Illinois.

 

(Springfield-jm) – It’s no surprise that Illinoisans pay some of the highest property taxes in the country. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares some results of a recent survey…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is announcing enhanced security will be at the high school this week. It comes after a threat was made Friday. The district says the safety of students is important and they ask anyone with more information about Friday’s threat to call the district office.

 

(LeRoy-jm) – Several NASCAR legends will be rolling through Central Illinois next month. The 28th annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America will be making a stop in LeRoy on Tuesday, May 7th. Among those participating in the 2,100 mile motorcycle trip from South Dakota to North Carolina are Richard Petty, Herschel McGriff, Herschel Walker, Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace, Mike Wallace, Max Papis, David Raegan, Rutledge Wood and Rick Allen. The ride raises money for Victory Junction, a camp dedicated to providing life changing camping experiences for children with chronic medical conditions.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new law proposed in Illinois would change wages for tipped workers across the state. Minimum wage would be mandated under the new law, forcing restaurants to restructure their operations. At a Capitol press conference last week, State Representative Mike Coffey joined business leaders and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association to oppose the legislation, saying it would have a negative impact on employees and business owners…

 

 

State Representative Mike Coffey. The group Protect Illinois Restaurants reported a recent survey showed that 87% of tipped restaurant employees said the current tipping system works for them and should not be changed. If tipped wages are eliminated, 86% of employees believe that they will earn less.

 

(Undated-jm) – There are several meetings slated for around the area tonight. In Rantoul, Rantoul Township High School board members will consider entering into a purchasing cooperative. In Paxton, the Ford County Board will consider several county farm leases and approve agreements for law enforcement services with multiple communities in the county. In Gibson City, leaders there are expected to establish a drainage task force and discuss roof issues at city hall. In Gilman tonight, leaders are expected to approve video gaming license renewals and consider a pair of engineering agreements for sewer projects.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is the Frederick Community Bank of Paxton and Cissna Park. The two local financial institutions have been a part of both communities since 1908.  Frederick Community Bank President Justin Swan says the two facilities have always been in the same holding company and the recent merger was the next step to provide the best in local banking…

 Swan says being a local business and active in the communities they serve is a source of pride for the bank and their employees…

 Frederick Community Bank President Justin Swan

The Frederick Community Bank of Paxton and Cissna Park is the WPXN  Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – With large crowds expected to converge on Southern Illinois to experience the total solar eclipse today, the Illinois Department of Public Health is offering suggestions on how to view the eclipse safely. IDPH is reminding the public about potential dangers associated with the eclipse. They said attempting to directly observe the eclipse without eye protection could cause permanent damage. People across a wide swath of Southern Illinois will be in total darkness for just over four minutes. It will be the last total eclipse over the United States until 2045.

 

(Springfield-jm) – With the announcement last week of the closing of the Quaker Oats facility in Danville, State Representative Brandun Schweizer of Danville took to the House floor to ask his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to keep the families affected by the closing in their prayers…

 

 

State Representative Brandun Schweizer of Danville. 

 

(Paxton-jm) – Progress continues on the new playground at Pells Park in Paxton. The new equipment was delivered a week ago today and crews began installing it soon after. The city expects it’ll take around 10 days before installation is complete.

 

(Kankakee-jm) – The National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences has awarded the Kankakee Community College Medical Laboratory Technician associate degree program continued accreditation until 2029. Seeking accreditation is voluntary, but KCC’s program has been accredited by NAACLS since 1981. There are 240 accredited MLT programs in the U.S. and 10 in Illinois.

 

(Champaign-dm)-- Warming temperatures mean it’s time to fire up the grill. Experts say comfort food in moderation is okay, but you should strike a balance between tasty and healthy. Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has more from a Danville expert.

 

 

(Undated-jm) – There are several meetings slated for around the area tonight. In Rantoul, Rantoul Township High School board members will consider entering into a purchasing cooperative. In Paxton, the Ford County Board will consider several county farm leases and approve agreements for law enforcement services with multiple communities in the county. In Gibson City, leaders there are expected to establish a drainage task force and discuss roof issues at city hall. In Gilman tonight, leaders are expected to approve video gaming license renewals and consider a pair of engineering agreements for sewer projects.

llinois lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers

(Springfield-jm) – April is Safe Digging Month in Illinois, and the Illinois Commerce Commission is reminding citizens they can help reduce utility outages and accidents by calling 811. With temperatures starting to rise, this annual proclamation is a reminder to all professional excavators and homeowners to call 811 to safely locate and mark utility lines before starting a digging project. Illinois law requires all homeowners and professional excavators to call JULIE, the Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators, at the statewide number 811 before digging at least 48 hours or two working days prior to starting excavation. The project must begin within 14 calendar days from the call, and locate requests have a 28-day life.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Sports betting in Illinois in January dipped a bit from the month earlier. According to the Illinois Gaming Board, the total sports betting handle in January was down just over 2% compared to December, but sportsbooks and state coffers were up with over 5% increases across the board for revenue and taxes.  Even though numbers were slightly down, Illinois sports betting totaled nearly $1.3 billion and trailed only New York and New Jersey. Illinois filled its coffers with nearly $20.3 million in tax revenue while Cook County received $1.36 million.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers. Capitol News Illinois reports current law allows employers to pay tipped workers 60 percent of the minimum wage, but if an employee makes less than the state’s minimum wage after tips, the employer must make up the difference. Bill sponsor Representative Lisa Hernandez says in her proposal, workers will still be able to earn tips…

 

 

State Representative Lisa Hernandez. Representative Hernandez and others are still negotiating the bill. They expect to bring an amendment back to committee before it goes to a vote on the House floor.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Illinois State Police and the Urbana Fire Department responded to a tow truck fire on Interstate 74 Thursday afternoon. The fire happened around 3:30 p.m. near the exit to University Avenue. Firefighters were on the scene for about 10 minutes, helping to make sure the fire was fully out. State Troopers were already using fire extinguishers on the truck by the time the fire department arrived. The tow truck was the only vehicle involved in the fire. No one was hurt.

 

(Paxton–jc)  It’s up to 22 with the number of businesses in downtown Paxton that have used Tax Increment Financing District funds to upgrade business properties. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the latest  projects involve some new windows and awnings…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Undated-jm) – U.S. Representative Robin Kelly announced the approval of $1,890,000 in federal funding for community projects in East Central Illinois. Rep. Kelly secured this funding allocation as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 government appropriations package. Representative Kelly secured investments for the following projects: $850,000 is allocated for the City of Danville for its revitalization of the city’s Madison Neighborhood. $500,000 is allocated for the Boys and Girls Club of Livingston County to support development of a planned 17,700-square-foot intergenerational community center. $540,000 is allocated for the Rantoul Youth Center to expand its capacity to provide meals to its members. 

 

(Champaign-dm)-- It’s the phenomenon everyone’s talking about – Monday’s solar eclipse. We’ve been told to view it safely, but what are the consequences if we don’t? Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has more.

 

 

Eclipse glasses are a good way to view the sun safely on Monday.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Paxton Redi Mix. The local company has been serving a 25 to 30 mile radius around Paxton since 1955. Paxton Redi Mix Spokesperson Carol Whitcomb says three generations of their family have owned and  operated the local company…

 

 

Carol Whitcomb says they provide concrete, sand and gravel for road work to new homes, driveways and more...

 

 

Paxton Redi Mix Spokesperson Carol Whitcomb

Contact Paxton Redi Mix at 217-379-3631.

 Paxton Redi Mix is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are hoping to help kids focus on their mental health. Right now, legislation is working its way through the statehouse to require school districts to have downtime for students. State senator Rachel Ventura said students are dealing with higher stress and anxiety levels in school, and this legislation will be just one solution to help kids stay focused during the school day. As part of the bill, school districts would be required to offer relaxation time or activities for at least 20 minutes a week, to be used to focus on self-care.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation is asking the public to provide feedback on the state's transportation system and the department’s overall performance through its annual Illinois Traveler Opinion Survey. Available now through April 26, the survey can be taken online by visiting idot.illinois.gov. Conducted in partnership with the University of Illinois Springfield, the survey is a chance for people to give their opinion on a range of topics. This year’s survey asks for input on road conditions, ice-and-snow removal, planning priorities, electronic vehicles and more.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers. Capitol News Illinois reports current law allows employers to pay tipped workers 60 percent of the minimum wage, but if an employee makes less than the state’s minimum wage after tips, the employer must make up the difference. Bill sponsor Representative Lisa Hernandez says in her proposal, workers will still be able to earn tips, but opponents, like Conn’s Hospitality Group President Karen Conn, say it’ll lead to increased costs…

 

 

Conn’s Hospitality Group President Karen Conn. Representative Hernandez and others are still negotiating the bill. They expect to bring an amendment back to committee before it goes to a vote on the House floor.

 

(Undated-jm) – The Illinois State Police recently wrapped up a traffic enforcement operation that spanned from Champaign County to the southern tip of the state. Troopers issued over 4,300 speeding warnings and tickets as part of that operation. Dubbed Operation Fast Break, the operation lasted the entire month of March and was meant to combat aggressive and unsafe driving on Interstate 57. Fast Break was focused on over 250 miles of highway between milepost zero in Alexander County and milepost 257 at the Champaign-Ford County line. 52 Scott’s Law citations were also issued along with 7 DUI arrests and 187 citations for not having a drivers license.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  Even though the weather says winter, spring is here and Rantoul leaders are continuing to move forward with their waste water project in the village. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the almost 18 million dollar project continues with the next phase of the project…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is giving away free steering wheel locks to vulnerable Kia and Hyundai owners. The program is in response to a widespread social media trend that emerged in 2021 after TikTok videos demonstrated how to steal the cars. Champaign Police are distributing the steering wheel locks to not only Champaign residents, but anyone who needs one. Visitors are only asked to bring proof of ownership of a 2011-2021 Kia vehicle or a 2013-2021 Hyundai vehicle to qualify for a lock. Officials said the locks are available on a first come, first served basis. Those interested can visit the front desk of the police station at 82 East University Avenue in Champaign.

 

(Buckley–jc)  Two school concerts are coming to Christian schools in Buckley this month. C-L-H-S and St Johns School Executive Director Sandy Spitz invites the public to hear the music and more…

 

 

C-L-H-S and St John’s School Executive Director Sandy Spitz.

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The Elliott Amvets will hold a family dinner night tonight. Doors open at 5 pm.

 

The Cadillac in Paxton will host country group Confederate Railroad tonight. Doors open at 6 with the concert beginning at 7:30.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree on Saturday from 10-2.

 

Battle Creek Country will perform at the Melvin Community Hall on Saturday at 7pm. Cost is $10 for those 13 and older. Food will be available starting at 5:30.

 

A new auto insurance bill has passed out of an Illinois House committee

(Springfield-jm) – House Bill 4611, which would require auto insurance rates be determined by driving factors and not socioeconomic factors, passed out of an Illinois House committee, under the stipulation the bill would be amended. Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias supports the bill. He said the measure will require auto insurance companies to use the individual’s driving record to determine a fair rate, not factors like age or socio-economic status. The Illinois Insurance Association said it is opposed to the original bill. They say there are many factors, like inflation, that drive up the costs of premiums. The association also said, comparatively, Illinois’ premiums are lower than the national average. According to MarketWatch, the average cost of a full-coverage car insurance policy in Illinois is about $128 per month, or $1,541 per year, which is 23% cheaper than the national average of $2,008. Minimum liability coverage in Illinois is around $37 monthly, which is about 29% cheaper than the national average.

 

(Washington-jm) – Farmers are looking to start getting into the fields to start planting. USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey has a look at the outlook for April…

 

 

USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Researchers from the University of Illinois will be working hard on April 8, alongside scientists from all across North America. They will record data on how the total solar eclipse affects Earth’s atmosphere and ecosystem. The U of I team will be led by crop sciences and plant biology professor Carl Bernacchi. All the data from the U of I will then be sent to a global database as a contribution to the wide-scale experiment. The incoming findings may help scientists garner a better understanding of what drives mechanical processes. They could also allow for more accurate predictions of how different systems may react to future conditions.

 

(Tuscola-jm) – Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 5 arrested 30-year-old Jeremy D. Schrock of Tuscola for two counts of Possession of Child Pornography and two counts of Dissemination of Child Pornography. Yesterday, ISP conducted a residential search warrant in Tuscola.  The search warrant was in reference to a CyberTip received from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children regarding child pornography.  During the execution of the search warrant, Schrock was taken into custody and transported to the Douglas County Jail.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling for reforms to the Prisoner Review Board following the resignation of two members after a man released on parole stabbed an 11 year old to death and injuring the child’s mother, who had an order of protection against him. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City is one of those calling for reforms…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Danville-jm) – The Quaker Oats factory in Danville is closing permanently. 

The facility in Danville will close June 8. It’s estimated more than 510 employees will be laid off due to the closure.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Discover what Parkland College has to offer through its academic programs, campus life, support services, and more during the college's Spring Open House, Friday, April 12, from 10 a.m. to noon. The open house will take place in the college's Student Union. Representatives from all academic areas, as well as many of our student services will be present to talk with prospective students.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Todays’ WPXN Business of the Day is Pride in Paxton. The local civic group is currently raising money for the city of Paxton downtown Speaker system. Pride in Paxton President Dawn Glad says two blocks of the project are operating in the downtown area of the city and expansion is coming soon…

Dawn Glad  says the group helps with several events in Paxton, annually…

Pride in Paxton President Dawn Glad

The group is looking for ideas for a theme for the Christmas parade this year. Those with ideas are asked to call Dawn at  A Picket Fence Florist in Paxton. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Business groups stood in opposition to a couple of measures advancing at the Illinois State Capitol they warn could bring about more lawsuits against the business community. In the House Judiciary-Civil Committee Wednesday, one proposed measure would allow lawsuits to be filed against companies for alleged violations of health care privacy.  State Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago, proposed House Bill 4093. She said the measure is necessary. Business groups also oppose the bill for allowing for lawsuits against organizations that allegedly violate the measure if it were to become law. State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, offered up House Bill 2161 in committee Wednesday. “House Bill 2161 adds family responsibilities to the list of protected categories in the Illinois Human Rights Act protection against harassment and retaliation,” he said.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA has announced record funding for a popular conservation program. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Parkland College officials sent out a safety message after a previous burglary suspect returned to campus. A series of office laptop thefts ended on March 9 after the primary suspect and an accomplice were reported by an eyewitness, arrested and banned from the premises. However, the suspect visited another campus office with a different accomplice this week. Officials said he opened an ajar office door on the second floor of the C Wing, and asked an employee where he could find the bathroom. The employee then directed him to a bathroom just across the hall. Once the suspect exited the room, the employee closed the office door shut. The suspect’s accomplice soon approached the door and knocked on it repeatedly, but the employee deliberately did not answer. She notified Parkland College Public Safety and the two suspects were quickly caught.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois House of Representatives this week passed a resolution congratulating Fowler Connell on the occasion of his 100th birthday. The resolution, sponsored by State Representative Brandun Schweizer, commends the longtime sportswriter/broadcaster for his service to the State of Illinois and the nation, and wishes him continued health and happiness…

 

 

State Representative Brandun Schweizer of Danville.

 

(Danville-jm) – The Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees evidently likes the progress they’ve seen at the College…and want at least four more years of it. During the Board’s meeting, DACC Trustees voted unanimously to extend Dr. Stephen Nacco’s presidency through June 30, 2028. His current contract was set to expire this coming June. Nacco’s new contract essentially extends the current contract while maintaining an annual 1- percent salary increase. All other provisions remain the same as the expiring contract except the increase from $4,000 to $6,000 annually in a supplemental fund. Nacco joined DACC as president nearly eight years ago.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is looking for community feedback as part of an on-site assessment of the department's operations.  A team of auditors for the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program will be in Champaign April 4th and 5th to review the Champaign Police Department's policies, management, operations, support services, and procedures. Members of the community are invited to offer comments to the assessment team by calling 217-403-6955 on Friday, April 5, between 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. The audit team requests comments addressing the Champaign Police Department’s ability to comply with ILEAP standards. Comments are limited to five minutes.




 


 

Compared to other states, Illinois' property taxes continue to be among the highest

(Springfield-jm) – A new campaign to raise awareness about Illinois' Firearm Restraining Orders, or “red flag laws,” launched Tuesday during National Public Health Week involving the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Illinois effort is the first phase of a planned multi-state campaign called “Pause to Heal.” It is designed to prevent firearm suicides and other shootings by educating the public about the state’s red flag laws, and the power that family and household members have to ask a court to temporarily restrict access to guns and ammunition when a person poses a threat to themselves or others.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A week after a shakeup on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, Senate Republicans are calling for reforms. Capitol News Illinois reports GOP leaders point to the case of Crosetti Brand-who is accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriends 11-year-old son to death a day after being released from custody. In response, two members of the board resigned. Now, Senate Republican Leader John Curran and others want to increase qualification and training standards required to serve on the board…

 

 

Senate Republican Leader John Curran. Some of the proposals include requiring all members to have 20 cumulative years of experience working in criminal justice, and to take yearly domestic violence and sexual assault training. At an unrelated event this week, Governor Pritzker said domestic violence training for board members will be enhanced. He has not nominated any replacements yet.

 

(Urbana-jm) – West Springfield Avenue between South Wright Street and South Matthews Avenue and North Matthews Avenue between West Springfield Avenue and West Green Street will be closed to through traffic from 7 a.m. on Thursday to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to accommodate the 2024 University of Illinois Engineering Open House.

 

(Paxton–jc)  There is another new business for downtown Paxton. This business is going into the former Sieberts TV location in the downtown area of the city. The theme of the store is expected to be for party rentals, says Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. No name or more information has been released from the store owners, but they are expected to open this Spring.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a fatal shooting at a party at a gas station in 2022. Quentin Hymon received the sentence in Champaign County court in the shooting death of Prentiss Jackson Junior at the Mach One gas station at Bloomington Road and Prospect Avenue.

 

(Watseka–jc)  –The Watseka Family Festival is set for August 22nd through August 24th in the Iroquois County town.  Festival event committee members announced that Tracy Lawrance is one of the performers for that weekend. Iroquois County Economic Development Executive Director Angel Crawford says her office will help with the marketing of the local Watseka event with the Illinois Office of Tourism…

 

 

Iroquois County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Angel Crawford.

 

(Flatville—jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Immanuel Lutheran Church in Flatville. The local Christ based church is celebrating 150 years at its location in the Champaign county town of Flatville this weekend. 150th Celebration Committee Chairman Russell Buhr says it started with a small church in 1874…

He says the property grew in the 1950s with a classroom and more…

Immanuel Lutheran Church 150th Committee Chairman Russell Buhr. 

You can hear more about the church and celebration on later newscasts today and with an interview with Russell Buhr during the noon news. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Compared to other states, Illinois’ property taxes continue to be among the highest. The personal finance site Money Geek gave Illinois the grade of “F” because it ranks second in the nation behind New Jersey for the highest property taxes. When it comes to the consequences of its tax policy, Josh Bandoch of the Illinois Policy Institute would give Illinois an even lower grade, he said. With property taxes at over 2% of the average household income, Illinoisans struggle with a huge tax burden. Ninety-seven percent of the people who moved out of Illinois in the past year relocated to states with lower tax rates.

 

(Springfield-jm) – An area lawmaker is co-sponsoring legislation to make housing more affordable for seniors and veterans. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains the legislation…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – A Georgetown man was seriously hurt on Tuesday morning after a car crash in Champaign County. It happened at 8:30 a.m. in the intersection of 2200 East and 2100 North in Stanton Township. Officials with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office said a 24-year-old Georgetown man was driving north on 2200 East when he blew past a stop sign. He hit a truck, which was traveling east on 2100 North. The 24-year-old was transported to a local hospital for what authorities called “potentially life-threatening injuries.” The truck driver, identified as a 36-year-old Fisher man, declined medical attention.


 

(Rantoul–jc) Rantoul village leaders are looking to keep a piece of military history in the village. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith formed a committee to look at the future of the  I-C-B-Missile that stands along route 45 on the west side of town. The committee met and made its recommendation to village leaders and now the village board will vote next week to restore the missile as part of the history of Rantoul. Mayor Chuck Smith talks about the project…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – If you are in need of a dog, the Vermilion County Animal Shelter can help. The animal shelter is at max capacity with dogs and are looking for people to come adopt dogs. Those interested can call the shelter at 217-431-2660.

 

(Washington-jm) – A recent media call featured the delegation head of USDA's latest agricultural trade mission and details of the recent visit to South Korea. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

Two-time GRAMMY award-winning The Smashing Pumpkins will headline the Illinois State Fair Grandstand on Friday, August 16

(Springfield-jm) – “Necessary changes” after the recent shakeup at the Illinois Prisoner Review Board include better domestic violence training, according to Governor J.B. Pritzker. Others want more oversight. In his first public appearance since 11-year-old Jayden Perkins and 33-year-old Laterria Smith were stabbed by a recent parolee, Pritzker said review board members he appointed didn’t take into account all the information. Members LeAnn Miller and Chairman Donald Shelton resigned last month after Perkins was killed and Smith was stabbed. Miller handled the parole for Crosetti Brand, who is accused in the stabbing. Pritzker didn’t say when he’ll appoint replacements for Miller or Shelton. Appointments must be confirmed by the Illinois Senate within 60 session days.

 

(Washington-jm) – The recent collapse of a bridge at the entry point of a major U.S. port could lead to potential issues for parts of our nation’s ag supply chain. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Firefighters were called to a house fire in Rantoul Monday evening. Crews from Rantoul, Gifford and Thomasboro were called to the fire on Marco Drive around 6 pm. There’s no word on the cause of the fire.

 

(Rantoul–jc) Where do you go if you have food insecurities, to trouble paying your utility bill to mental health services. Those in Champaign County need to know that the Community Service Center in Rantoul is the location for over 20 agencies helping those in need, says Community Service Center Executive Director Cindy Crawford…

 

 

Rantoul based Community Service Center Executive Director Cindy Crawford.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public on two related cases. The University of Illinois Police Department is investigating an armed robbery incident in the Campustown area related to a Champaign Police Department aggravated vehicular hijacking incident. On January 20th around 11:43 p.m., approximately five subjects approached a parked BMW sedan in the 500 block of East White Street. One suspect from the group brandished a knife and ordered the driver out of the vehicle. The suspects fled in the stolen vehicle. On January 21st around 1:12 a.m., the vehicle approached an individual in the 100 block of East Chalmers Street. Two occupants exited the vehicle armed with knives, threatened the victim, and demanded his belongings. The vehicle fled the scene and was recovered unoccupied in the Rantoul area several days later.

 

(Paxton–jc) Paxton City workers are looking to see what streets are in need of repair and how to fund the projects. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the motor fuel tax dollars will help several streets and city workers are looking at the best way to spend the monies available….

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Undated-jm) – High school juniors and seniors are starting to look for where they would like to go for higher education, and a part of that process is taking the ACT and SAT tests. But scammers are taking advantage of these dreams by trying to have them give away personal information. The Better Business Bureau is reporting of a scam in which students and parents are contacted by a representative stating that they will provide test prep materials such as books, CDs, or videos. To get this information, they will need to confirm an address or payment information.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Illinois state Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago, argues legislation that opens the ranks of the Chicago Fire Department to non-citizens does little to address the systemic discrimination he says has long plagued it. As originally filed, House Bill 4045 would amend the Illinois Municipal Code and the Fire Protection District Act by establishing that non-citizens legally authorized to work in the country under federal law are eligible to apply for the position of firefighter subject to all other requirements and limitations. Ford was one of several lawmakers to approve legislation that would allow non-citizens to become police officers in Illinois.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Transportation Secretary explains some ways to circumvent potential disruptions to ag product supply chains at the Port of Baltimore. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) – A public meeting on One Earth Sequestration will take place tonight in Gibson City. It’ll be from 6:30-8 at the Moyer District Library. 

 

(Rantoul–jc)  Baseball and softball games, aplenty, were played this past weekend at the Rantoul Sports Complex. There is also another sport coming to the Rantoul Sports Complex later this month, Frisbee competition. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Sports Operations Ryan Reid says 500 collegiate athletes will come for the “National Ultimate”…

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Reid.

 

(Paxton-jm) – New playground equipment has arrived at Pells Park in Paxton. Trucks delivered the new equipment Monday morning. It’s expected to take city crews about 10 days to put the new playground together.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  It’s year number 4 for the Summer Bash in downtown Gibson City. The event is sponsored by Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services and is set for Saturday August 17th  and will feature Bret Michaels. Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employee-Community Events Bill Kirby says the crowds have grown each year and another huge crowd is expected in August…

 

 

Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employee-Community Events Bill Kirby

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Fair has announced that two-time GRAMMY award-winning The Smashing Pumpkins will headline the Illinois State Fair Grandstand on Friday, August 16. The Smashing Pumpkins are one of the most iconic, iconoclastic and influential bands of all time, shaping alternative music and culture. Tickets go on sale Friday.

 

A state lawmaker introduced legislation that aims to strengthen Illinois' child labor laws

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is marking a month-long observance to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness messages and promote prevention efforts during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. Officials said this year’s theme, Building Together, Prevention is Partnership, is a call to action to recognize that everyone in the community has a role to play in ensuring children grow up safe and loved; and families have the resources they need to thrive.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A state lawmaker introduced legislation that aims to strengthen Illinois' child labor laws. State Sen. Robert Peters’ Senate Bill 3646 addresses children under the age of 15 who obtain a work permit. The current law primarily permits employment for 14 and 15 year-olds, as long as it is within allowable work hours and it’s not in hazardous conditions. Iowa and several other states in the U.S. have loosened regulations on child labor in response to a national workforce shortage. Peters' proposed Child Labor Law of 2024 would remove the regulation where children under the age of 16 can’t work in restaurants. The special provision said children under 12 can’t work at a farm unless it is a family farm, but any child over 10 can work at a farm that isn’t a family farm during school vacations or outside of school hours. Other provisions exempt agricultural education programs…

 

State Senator Robert Peters. 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A building in downtown Rantoul partially collapsed Sunday. A portion of the front of the Hallmark store collapsed onto the sidewalk below.  The structure was set to be restored in the near future. No one was hurt in the building collapse. 

 

(Loda-jm) – Crews from three fire departments battled a fire at a business in Loda over the weekend. Crews from Loda, Buckley and Paxton were called to the fire at the Dollar General on the village's south side Saturday afternoon. When firefighters arrived they found smoke coming from the roof of the business.

 

(Washington-jm) – One expert says don’t carve USDA's Prospective Planting acres in stone. A lot can happen before the seed drops. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) – Mahomet-Seymour Junior High has been named the State Winner for Illinois in the 14th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition. This selection secures a $12,000 Samsung technology package to enhance their educational capabilities further. Mahomet-Seymour Junior High proposed a solution to a pressing sports safety concern. The junior high’s project focuses on the development of a multi-sport jersey/shirt designed to offer rib cage and heart protection. The apparel aims to safeguard athletes from minor trunk injuries and the potentially fatal condition known as commotio cordis, a sudden cardiac arrest caused by a blunt impact to the chest area.

 

(Buckley–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Christ Lutheran High School and St John’s Lutheran School in Buckley. Executive Director Sandy Spitz says funding for both schools come from churches, businesses and the public…

She says providing a quality education at all levels along with a Christ centered message is key for both institutions…

Christ Lutheran High School and St John’s Lutheran School Executive Director Sandy Spitz.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A newly released survey shows that teachers continue to be in short supply in Illinois but conditions are improving. The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools partnered with Goshen Education Consulting and surveyed more than 750 school districts around the state regarding staffing numbers. The survey found that more than 90% of schools said they have a teacher shortage problem, and that teacher shortages are the most severe in city districts, in vocational centers, and in more rural parts of the state, such as west-central, southwest and east-central Illinois.  The number drops to as little as 20% of schools in some more affluent counties. The survey found that 73% of school leaders said half or less of their teacher candidates have the proper credentials for the position they are seeking.

 

(Washington-jm) – If you don't believe farm commodity prices are weakening, just have a look at USDA's latest Ag. Prices Report. Gary Crawford reports…

 

(Ford County-jm) – Roberts and Melvin firefighters were called to a two vehicle accident Saturday afternoon. Crews were called to the accident at 1600 north and 1400 east around 3:30. There’s no word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Mahomet-jm) – Mahomet firefighters responded to reports of a structure fire early Saturday morning. Around 6:15 a.m., the Cornbelt Fire Protection District dispatched firefighters to 69 County Road 2000 North. Upon arrival, firefighters saw a shed on the property engulfed in flames. The Cornbelt firefighters were assisted by Sangamon Valley Fire from Fisher, Bondville Fire, Seymour Fire and  Northern Piatt Fire in Mansfield.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The sports tourism industry means a lot more to East Central Illinois since the start of the Rantoul Sports Complex on the villages west side. Not only are there local baseball and softball there this weekend, sponsored by Rantoul Township High School, but soccer, football, quidditch and frisbee events will bring in an estimated 1 to 1 point 4 million people to Rantoul. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Reid says there are lots of benefits to local businesses and a larger tax base for local municipal operations…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Reid

 

(Paxton–jc)  – The Ford County board sheriff’s Committee is set to meet on Wednesday in Paxton. Agenda items include discussion and action on law enforcement services with the towns of Elliott, Kempton, and Piper City. Committee members are also looking to approve intergovernmental agreements with Gibson City and The Gibson Ambulance Service. The Ford County Sheriff’s Committee meeting comes to order at 9am on Wednesday in the sheriff’s boardroom at the Ford County jail in Paxton.

 

 

 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker will be in California to promote Illinois to business and film industry leaders.

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday that the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8% in February. The national unemployment rate was 3.9% in February. Based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payrolls increased by 23,100 last month. In February, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains included government, construction and leisure and hospitality.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Secretary says USDA will need a Little bigger budget next year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – An incumbent state representative has declared victory in his primary election race. Adam Niemerg and his challenger Jim Acklin both ran as write-in candidates. Niemerg was kicked off the ballot for failing to notarize his candidate paperwork. Niemerg posted on Facebook Wednesday, declaring victory. Acklin conceded in a Facebook post Thursday afternoon.

 

(Mansfield-jm) – Blue Ridge Intermediate in Mansfield was placed on lockdown after a nearby explosion and manhunt. The explosion and subsequent fire happened around 2 p.m. at a house on Oliver Street between West and Washington Streets. Officials with the Blue Ridge school district said on Facebook that they were informed of a manhunt related to the explosion. The Intermediate Junior High School went on a soft lockdown, which was lifted at 3:15 p.m.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton’s historic pump house in downtown will be getting a tank added later this summer. Stan Foster is building the tank at his shop west of Paxton. He says it is a major time consuming project…

 

 

Stan Foster of rural Paxton. Phil Foster from Foster’s Mechanics will add a roof to it. The Paxton Foundation is seeking donations for the tank, which will be 16 feet tall and 28 feet at the base. Donations are being accepted at The Frederick Community Bank.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski announced that the University of Illinois has been awarded $7.5 million in federal grant funding for the study of permafrost using new technology. These funds are awarded through the Department of Defense’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative. The project, called Interdisciplinary Material Science for the Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Permafrost, will study permafrost properties through newly developed experimental tools including remote sensing, light polarization and electromagnetic theory. The University team will explore the various physical and chemical properties of permafrost under current and changing environmental conditions and will have implications for global climate research.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day today is Baier Family Funeral Services. The local funeral home has locations in Paxton, Buckley and Flatville. Baier Family Funeral Services Owner Royce Baier provides information about their service area…

Royce Baier talks about the process of providing the services for the families…

Baier Family Funeral Services Owner Royce Baier. Baier Family Funeral Services of Paxton Buckley and Flatville is the WPXN Business of the day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker will be departing Sunday for an economic development mission to California to promote Illinois to business and film industry leaders. Pritzker, alongside representatives from the Illinois Film Office and Illinois Production Alliance, will meet with film studios and distributors to discuss increased opportunities for investment in Illinois. Officials said the governor will depart to Los Angeles for several days of meetings with film studio executives and production companies to discuss Illinois’ tax credit for film production and other incentives for the film industry.

 

(Washington-jm) – Projects to boost struggling rural economies are showing signs of success. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department is asking for help in identifying a person they believe to be responsible for recent campus vandalisms. Officials said that around 1 a.m. on March 12, security cameras recorded a person spray painting multiple dumpsters, lighting control boxes and map posts on Sixth, John and Wright Streets in Campustown. The damage spanned at least two blocks and required multiple hours of work to repair or remove the paint.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign school board convened a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss not one, but two vacancies. On Tuesday, the board scheduled a special meeting to discuss the vacancy left by former Vice President Jamar Brown earlier this month. However, on Tuesday night Mark Thies sent out his resignation letter to the Champaign School District Board of Education and superintendent, leaving the district now with two vacancies to fill. Brown and Thies both cited the climate of the board in their resignation letters.

 

(Champaign—dm)  The late Senator John McCain and Pope Francis are among the public figures who have dealt with diverticular disease. It’s a common problem involving bugles in the digestive tract. But it’s one that can have serious complications if not treated properly. Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has more from a local doctor.

 

 

 Severe cases may mean a stay in the hospital for antibiotic medicine or surgery. Doctor Rzepczynski [rep-ZIN-skee] also stresses the importance of colonoscopies as advised by your health care provider.

 

(Champaign-jm) – State Senator Paul Faraci is joining Illinois legislative leaders in Washington calling on the U-S Postmaster General to stop possible plans to close the mail processing facility in Champaign and move operations to the Chicago area. Faraci joined other state lawmakers in the letter that would affect 5 processing facilities in the state. In both letters, the lawmakers say the closure would impact not only employees but also the public.

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will have a food drive in Ford County today from 9-9:30 across from the Piper City Community Building, 10-10:30 at Living Word Church in Roberts, 11-11:30 across from the Melvin Convenient Store, 12:15-12:45 at the Gibson City city hall, 1-1:30 at the Elliott village hall and 2-2:30 at Paxton Hardware and Rental.

 

Clove Alliance will hold Cosmic Bingo this evening at the Expo Center at the Kankakee Fairgrounds. Doors open at 4:30 with Bingo beginning at 6:30. Tickets are $35 and includes 6 Bingo cards, glo hat and Bingo dauber. Tickets are available by calling 815-932-7273.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting Girl Scouts Troop 2728 on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The Gifford Fire Department will hold their annual pancake and sausage breakfast on Sunday from 7-noon at the German Fall Festival Building.

Illinois lawmakers could pass a plan this year to give more power to the Executive Inspector General

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Primary Day 2024 did not feature many races and the voter turnout was low, and now a Republican legislative leader says you can blame the Democrats’ gerrymandered maps. The voter turnout is being described as shockingly low and is expected to be below 20%. Senate Minority Leader John Curran said if Governor J.B. Pritzker would have kept his word regarding the drawing of legislative maps, Illinois voters would be more engaged. Curran said Illinois voters should play a part in drawing up the maps, not politicians. Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers could pass a plan this year to give more power to the office responsible for investigating wrongdoing in state government. The legislation could allow the Executive Inspector General to make summary statements about allegations, violations and recommendations to address corruption. This office is already responsible for investigating fraud, abuse of power and violations of rules or laws. However, the top investigator told the House Ethics & Elections Committee Wednesday that Illinois should also strengthen integrity in the workforce.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new report shows fraud cases are on the rise. The report shows a 30 percent increase over the past year. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the report and shares some tips to keep you safe…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – The Rantoul Fire Department invited the community to an open viewing of their upgraded fire station last night. After nearly 50 years, Station No. 2 was long overdue for a facelift. The Rantoul Board voted unanimously in April 2023 to put $750,000 of the village’s American Rescue Plan Act funds towards the firehouse project.

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Illini Alert went out last evening after a suspicious package was found at Mumford Hall on the U of I campus. The alert notified people to stay away. The all clear was given about an hour later.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Paxton city leaders continue to look at a storm drainage project for areas of the city. The price tag is expected to be around 7 million dollars. With the cost and putting the extensive project together, city leaders are looking at all facets of proposals and timelines. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says they are gathering more information, and the project will be discussed at the council’s April meeting…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – The Iroquois County Board discussed Governor JB Pritzker’ budget proposal to eliminate the Illinois sales tax on groceries statewide. County, cities, and township government could take quite a hit without that local tax revenue. Among the questions board members have is where that lost revenue would come from ?  Eliminating the grocery tax could erase upwards of $600,000 - $800,000 in revenue at the County level.

 

(OSF—dm)  World Oral Health Day on March 20th is a reminder to start healthy habits early with kids. That’s because the consequences can impact the entire body. Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has more from a Danville expert.

 

 

(Kankakee–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Clove Alliance. The non-profit group helps survivors of sexual violence and serves Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford Countys. Clove Alliance Executive Director Tracy Noe-Slah  (no-eee slaw) talks about the services, offered…

Tracy  says that additional funding is always needed and they have a Cosmic Bingo Event at the Kankakee County Fairgrounds on Friday…

Clove Alliance Executive Director Tracy Noe-Slah

You can hear more about the group on our newscasts today and an interview with Tracy during the noon news.

The Crisis Hotline number is 1 815-932-3322

Clove Alliance is the WPXN Business of the Day, today

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Pritzker administration is working to justify to Illinois legislators the proposed $52.7 billion budget and Governor J.B. Pritzker’s ability to transfer funds unilaterally. During a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing in Springfield Wednesday, state Sen. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, said historically, governors have had a 2% transfer power, but then it increased to 4% and now it’s up to 8%. Rose said it makes it hard to see where taxpayer money is going. Rose specifically pointed out that last fiscal year, $1.2 million went to the new agency, The Governor's Office of New Americans. Alexis Sturm, director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget, said the law allows the office to only transfer funds operationally and that the Illinois Department of Human Services hasn’t utilized the 8% transfer authority. Rose pointed out that spending on healthcare for migrants is estimated at $725 million in fiscal year 2024 and $629 million is proposed for fiscal year 2025. Direct support for migrants over the last couple of fiscal years was $682 million, but in the 2025 fiscal year it is proposed for $182 million.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A scathing audit shows that the Illinois Department of Public Health dropped the ball in its response to a COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans' Home. Thirty-six veterans died during the outbreak in November 2020. The Illinois Auditor General concluded that IDPH failed to respond in a timely manner. The audit also found that IDPH didn’t offer any advice or assistance on how to slow the spread of the virus at the home. State Sen. Chapin Rose, of Mahomet, said IDPH needs to be held accountable for this tragedy. Dozens of lawsuits were filed by the victims' families against the state of Illinois, the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and the facility itself. Rose said the Pritzker administration is also to blame.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Aimed at addressing the critical shortcomings in Illinois’ efforts to combat human trafficking and provide essential protections for victims, Illinois House Republicans have introduced the “Protect Victims of Human Trafficking Legislative Package.” Dean Abbott reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – On Wednesday, 19 different organizations received a share of 1.8 million dollars in Local Food infrastructure grant funding through the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. These programs include: Down at the Farms in Fairbury and throughout central Illinois. They are receiving $110,00 to purchase a delivery vehicle and expand cooler and freezer space to better deliver central Illinois produce to chefs and grocers. Allen's Farm Quality Meats in Homer and serving Champaign and Danville. They are receiving $150,000 to increase the capacity to process meats and reduce current wait times of 12 to 18 months. Living Light Farms in Paxton. They are receiving $43,800 to purchase a mobile freezer and truck so they can transport products to the community.

 

(Kankakee-jm) – Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigation Zone 1 arrested 35-year-old Kenneth L. Brown of Kankakee for three counts of Possession of Child Pornography. On March 6, agents executed a search warrant at a residence in the 4800 block of West Doris Drive in Kankakee.  Evidence of Child Pornography was gathered as a result of the search warrant.  On March 20, after an extensive investigation, the Kankakee County State’s Attorney’s Office approved the above charges against Brown.  Agents took Brown into custody and transported him to the Kankakee County Jail.

 

(ford county–dm)-Ford County is developing a plan to reduce the damages caused by severe weather such as floods, snow and ice storms, tornados and other events.  The plan is called a Hazard Mitigation Plan and the process to develop it is being funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Terry Whitebird, Coordinator of the Ford County Emergency Management Agency explains.

 

 

Terry Whitebird Coordinator of the Ford County Emergency Management Agency.  The Planning committee will hold its first meeting Tuesday, April 9th at 6:00pm at the Roberts gym located at 118 W. Weldon St. in Roberts and is open to the public.

 

(Fairbury-jm) – The Fairbury Fair Board is excited to announce the Friday Night Fair Concert lineup. Headlining the night of August 16th is multi-platinum entertainer Sara Evans, the fifth most-played female artist on country radio in nearly the last two decades. Her five No. 1 singles include “No Place That Far,” “Suds in The Bucket, " “A Real Fine Place to Start,” “Born to Fly,” and “A Little Bit Stronger.” KayLyn Pace, a Nashville singer, songwriter, and musician, will open for Evans. She is a highly energetic entertainer with a love for people and vocal strength that captivates her listeners. Tickets start at just $20 and will be available online at www.thefairburyfair.com beginning at 8 AM on Friday, March 22, 2024.

 

(Washington-jm) – What's putting a damper on free trade agreement efforts? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

WPXN News Notes…

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will have a food drive in southern Iroquois County today from 9-9:30 at the Abbe Insurance in Buckley, 10-10:30 at Durham Park in Onarga, 11-11:30 at the Crescent City community building, 12:30-1 at Runnings in Watseka, 1:30-2 at Milford Town and Country.

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold their all you can eat chicken and noodle supper this evening from 4:30-6:30 pm. Cost is $11 for adults, kids 6-13 $6. Meal includes chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, dessert and drink. Deliveries are available in town by calling 217-202-6441.

The FBI says that Illinois experienced an increase in internet crimes last year

(undated–jc)  Illinois voters went to the polls on Tuesday for the Spring primary election. 

In the 53rd district State Senate race, 4 candidates were vying for the Republican position on the ballot. Chris Balkema was leading the way in the race to replace retiring State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

In Champaign County the nominee for Champaign County Coroner for the Democrat party is Laurie Brauer

 

In Iroquois County…Michael Quinlan is the Republican nominee for Iroquois County State’s attorney. 

 

In Vermilion county…Matthew Long is the Republican candidate for Vermilion County Recorder

 

In Ford County…Republican Incumbent Kasi Schwartz won a close race for the party nomination for Ford County Circuit Clerk

 

For the Ford County Board seats, newcomer Kelsie Vaughn and incumbent Tom McQuinn won seats in District 1. In District 2, newcomer Greg Niewold and incumbent Cindy Ihrke won seats.

 

WIth the two sales tax issues for Ford County voters…

The County wide one percent sales tax to support local schools failed by a vote of 1531 no votes to 1211 yes votes.

In Gibson City, voters approved a one percent non-home rule tax with 457 yes votes to 350 no votes

 

(Springfield-jm) – Data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that Illinois experienced an increase in internet crimes last year. The FBI reports the number of victim complaints in Illinois rose 6% from 2022 to last year. There was also an increase in the amount of money lost by 20%. Nearly $336 million was lost to internet crimes in 2023. The top three types of internet scams in 2023 were investment fraud, business phishing attacks and tech support scams.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Most county clerks and recorders in Illinois could get a pay increase. A state lawmaker introduced a measure that would change the way county clerks and recorders across the state get their taxpayer-funded salaries. The Illinois Association of County Clerks and Recorders is a proponent of Senate Bill 2131 from state Sen. Doris Turner, D-Springfield, which says clerks have to be paid at least 80% of what the state’s attorney in that county is paid and that the pay is to mostly come from state taxpayer funds.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Last week was a busy week at the state capitol. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett is looking for feedback from constituents…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Washington-jm) – Democratic members of Congress representing Illinois are fighting to keep mail processing centers in the state open. U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, along with U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley, Eric Sorensen and Nikki Budzinski, wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. In the letter, the Congressional members urged him to reconsider his decision to eliminate the Processing and Distribution Centers in Champaign, Peoria, Milan, and Springfield.

 

(Washington-jm) – Consumer demand for pork is projected to rise this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Rantoul–jc)  Rantoul firefighters were called to another fire in the Mahoning Drive area of the village just before noon Tuesday. The blaze occurred at 12 Mahoning drive. That area of Rantoul has been the site of several different fires this year. No word was provided on damages or cause.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police were dispatched at 7:34 p.m. on Monday, to the 2500 block of W. Springfield Avenue for a report of shots fired. As officers arrived in the area and began searching for evidence of a shooting, they located a 46-year-old Champaign man in medical distress unrelated to the initial call and immediately rendered aid while calling for medical transport. The man was transported to an area hospital for treatment and while there, it was determined that a wound on his arm had been caused by a gunshot. The man was treated and released. The initial investigation indicates that the victim was entering an apartment building when he was approached by three unknown subjects who quickly opened fire. The subjects then fled the area and have not been located at this time.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The WPXN Business of the Day today is Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop, located in downtown Paxton. Owner Andy Hudson says he is the third generation, Hudson owner, of the store…

 

Hudson says they are gearing up for Easter and Spring…

Hudson Drug provides pharmacy delivery to dozens of towns and cities including to Onarga, Gilman, Hoopeston, Rantoul Thomasboro, Cissna Park, Rankin, Champaign, Buckley Potomac and more  You can hear more about Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop throughout the day today. Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop is the WPXN Business of the day today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Lottery on Tuesday announced results for the first six months of the 2024 fiscal year, in which the Lottery has generated $1.9 billion in sales leading to estimated returns to the State of Illinois of $456 million so far.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The 2024 Illinois spring trout fishing season will open Saturday, April 6th at 58 ponds, lakes, and streams throughout the state. An early opportunity at select trout sites – the spring catch-and-release fishing season – will open Saturday, March 23rd. No trout may be kept during the catch-and-release period, but anglers can keep trout after the opening of the regular season beginning April 6th. The daily harvest limit for each angler is five trout.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is proposing eliminating the state’s grocery tax. The tax was suspended during the COVID pandemic but now the Governor wants to make it permanent. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting supports the measure under one condition…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man is facing charges after he allegedly threatened his mother with a hammer. Troy Burke is facing charges in Champaign County court after authorities say he was wielding a hammer to steal cash from his mother after she evicted him for drug and alcohol abuse.

 

(Washington-jm) – This year's farm income may end up being higher than current projections. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Savoy-jm) – On Monday, at approximately 11:20 p.m. the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of gunshots fired in the area of Prairie Fields Park, Savoy. Deputies searched for evidence of a shooting and located shell casings in the intersection of Gentian and Prairie Rose. A short time later, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a shooting victim arrived by car at Carle Foundation Hospital. The 18-year-old male victim from Savoy sustained a single gunshot wound to the upper torso area of his body and is in stable condition. While at Carle, deputies learned a male subject left the vehicle on foot eastbound on University Avenue. An Urbana police officer located a subject matching the description of the subject who left on foot in the 500 block of West University Avenue, Urbana. A firearm was located on this male subject who was 17 years of age and from Savoy. He was arrested and taken to the Juvenile Detention Center where he was charged with Unlawful Use of a Firearm and Defacing Identifying Marks on a Firearm.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is getting involved in a case that alleges the Champaign Unit 4 School District violated the Open Meetings Act. The letter claims the district held a meeting on February 12 where anyone in attendance was welcome to publicly address the Board. Recordings of the meeting show one member was allowed to speak for over the allotted three minutes and had her microphone turned back on, while other speakers were cut off when their time was up. In the letter, the Attorney General requested that the board or a representative of the board provide a written response to the allegations, including an explanation and the board’s basis for any restriction of the speakers. Raoul also requested the board send copies of the board’s public comment policies, all available open session recordings, and the agenda and minutes from the meeting.

 

 

 

It's election day in Illinois, the Spring Primary.

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced that more than 190 teams of assistant attorneys general and investigators from his office will be monitoring the primary election throughout the state to ensure that voters’ rights are protected and polling places are accessible. Raoul urged voters to call his office if they encounter suspected improper or illegal activity.

 

(Washington-jm) – As TikTok faces an uncertain future in the U.S., an Illinois congressman is explaining why he voted “yes” on a bill to force the social media company to part ways with its Chinese parent company ByteDance. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood said it is too risky to allow the Chinese Communist Party to have a backdoor for harvesting information on Americans. LaHood said it is shocking that 45% of Gen-Zers get their news from TikTok, especially during an election year.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The latest unemployment numbers are out and it shows the state is still lagging behind neighboring states. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Normal-jm) – The Illinois State University Board of Trustees named Dr. Aondover Tarhule as the University’s 21st president Monday. Trustees also approved a four-year contract for Tarhule that will expire March 17, 2028. Tarhule served a year-long appointment as interim president. He joined Illinois State University in 2020 as vice president for academic affairs and provost, also serving as a professor in the Department of Geography, Geology, and the Environment.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Paxton leaders have made it easier for someone to participate in open meetings with a new decision put into place at this month’s meeting of the Paxton City Council. Local leaders approved a remote path for people to remote into meetings that goes along with Section 7 of the Open Meetings Act.Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the new process allows more access to meetings…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a burglary. On February 29th, police officers responded to Dust & Son Auto Supplies at 1702 North Cunningham Avenue in Urbana for a reported burglary. Upon arrival, officers learned two suspects forced entry into the closed business after breaking the front door window. The suspects went directly to the power tools section and stole 16 chainsaws. The suspects loaded the stolen equipment into a vehicle and fled north on Cunningham Avenue. Police seek the public’s assistance in identifying the subjects captured on video. The first suspect was described as a thin, light skinned male wearing a green sweat suit, white tennis shoes and a black balaclava mask. The second suspect was described as a black male with dreadlocks, wearing a black jacket, white gloves, black sweatpants with white stripes, black and white tennis shoes and a black balaclava mask. The suspect’s vehicle appeared to be a white 2016-2019 Honda Civic with a dent in the driver’s door and a scuff mark in front of the driver’s side front wheel.

 

(Washington-jm) – How much of last years grain and oilseed crops remain unsold and in storage? We'll have a better idea about that in just a few days. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

 

(Undated–jc)  It’s election day in Illinois, the Spring Primary. Polls are open and voters are electing party members for some county offices. There is a 4 way race in the 53rd State Senate district as current State Senator Tom Bennett is retiring at the end of this year. Voters in Ford County are being asked to support a one percent sales tax to support schools and voters in Gibson City also have a support the pool question on the ballot. Polls close at 7 tonight. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an Executive Order to create a framework for financing and expanding access to new therapies and drugs, like the recently approved gene therapies for sickle cell disease. The executive order tasks the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services with leading the state’s effort to establish payment models and financial structures that support access to new sickle cell disease treatments and other new high cost drugs. Sickle cell disease is a group of lifelong, inherited blood disorders that affect more than 5,000 Illinois residents.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois business owners are bracing for a potential tax hit from Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The governor’s proposed budget extends the cap on business net operating losses, but increases the cap to $500,000. His office estimates the “revenue adjustment” will raise $526 million, the bulk of the nearly $900 million of tax increases in his $52.7 billion spending proposal. Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Lou Sandoval said this would take funds from businesses to finance government.

 

(Springfield-jm) – House Minority Leader Tony McCombie held a capitol press conference recently to discuss the ongoing issues at the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and to present their legislative package to provide solutions. Dean Abbott reports…

 

 

(Roberts-jm) – Roberts Melvin firefighters were called to a vehicle fire Monday night. Crews were called to the fire on Route 115 and 1400 north around 9:45. There’s no word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today is Primary election day across the state of Illinois. Area county leaders have been busy preparing for the March 19 election. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick encourages everyone to exercise their right to vote…

 

 

Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick. The polls opened at 6 this morning and close at 7 pm.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The State Farm Center announced Monday that Justin Moore will perform on Friday, September 13 at 8pm as part of the 2024 University of Illinois Homecoming Weekend. Special guest Tenille Arts will open. Doors open at 7pm. Tickets go on sale to the public Friday, March 22 at 12pm.

 

(Washington-jm) – Increased Springtime holiday demand for eggs and smaller supplies are helping drive up egg prices at the grocery store. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is the Paxton Foundation. The group was formed in 1984 to preserve the old water tower structure in downtown Paxton. The group has maintained the area and among other projects. The next project is to renovate the structure called “crown of the town.” The 100 thousand dollar project will see the rebuilding of the tank on top of the water tower building. Paxton Foundation Member Royce Baier talks about the history of the building…

Paxton Foundation Member Royce Baier

Paxton Foundation Member and Ford County Historical Society President Judy Popel says the building is home to a museum…

 

Paxton Foundation Member  and Ford County Historical Society President Judy Popel

You can hear more about the Crown on the Town project on all newscasts today and an interview with Paxton Foundation Members during the noon news.

The Paxton Foundation is the WPXN Business of the Day, today

 

Behind-the-wheel road tests may be abolished for senior citizens looking to renew their license

(Springfield-jm) – After tomorrow’s Democrat and Republican primary elections, Illinois legislators return to Springfield to continue crafting a plan to spend tens of billions of tax dollars. The total budget could be $123.2 billion with most coming from federal taxpayer funds. Gov. J.B. Pritzker looks to spend $52.7 billion of state taxpayer money for the next fiscal year. Officials from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget met with legislators recently and fielded questions about a billion dollars in proposed tax increases. The proposed changes range from increased sports betting fees that’s projected to raise $200 million, $101 million in reductions of the discount retailers get for collecting sales taxes, and even changes to how much corporate losses can be credited with an estimated increase in taxes of $526 million. That’s with the expectation for lower corporate tax receipts in the coming fiscal year. Pritzker officials said personal income taxes are the bulk of income and that remains strong. There was also discussion of the $175 million shift from statewide road funds to Chicago-area transit. Officials said it’s allowable with the state’s transportation fund lockbox amendment voters approved years ago. Legislators return Wednesday. The next budget year begins July 1.

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton will be getting a new old water tower but it won’t hold water. A wood tank will be added to the pump house in downtown Paxton. It is a renovation project with the Paxton Foundation. Paxton Businessman Stan Foster is building the tank. He talks about his inspiration for the project…

 

 

Stan Foster of rural Paxton. The base will be 22 feet with the tank being 16 feet tall. Foster said the whole tank and base will be assembled on the ground before being lifted into place with a crane. The Paxton Foundation is accepting donations to help fund the project. Donations are being accepted at The Frederick Community Bank.


(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson City firefighters were called to a kitchen fire Sunday evening. Crews were called to the 300 block of East 8th Street just before 8:30. No injuries were reported.

 

(Gilman–dm)--The city of Gilman has several projects going on.  With the downtown renovation complete, a drainage and street renovation project is about 95% complete.  Gilman Mayor Rick Theesefield explains.

 

 

Gilman Mayor Rick Theesfield

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Seventeen Illinois Schoolyard Habitat Action Grants totaling more than $55,200 have been awarded for habitat development at schools and other public places, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Conservation Foundation announced today. St. Thomas More in Champaign is getting $850 for a pollinator garden while Cunningham Children’s Home in Urbana is getting $1,000 to plant native trees.

 

(Washington-jm) – After several months of declines, retail egg prices are climbing again. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Monical’s Pizza of Paxton. The Monical’s brand has been in operation since 1959. In Paxton, Monicals offers daily lunch specials, that include pizza, sandwiches, pastas, and monkeybread. Monical’s Pizza of Paxton Manager Jason Mills says one local favorite is the Panther special…

Mills says the French dressing and salads are a big part of Monical’s pizza

Monical’s Pizza of Paxton Manager Jason Mills. 

Today and all Monday’s Monical's Pizza has a special. Any 4 topping or specialty pizza for only 14 dollars.  The special runs from 4pm to close on Monday.s Monical’s Pizza is the WPXN Business of the Day, today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Behind-the-wheel road tests may be abolished for senior citizens looking to renew their license under legislation proposed this year. State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, introduced House Bill 4431 at the start of the 2024 legislative session, attacking what he said is an “onerous hurdle” the road test mandate presents for drivers ages 75 and older. Keicher told The Center Square that National Safety Council statistics don’t support the need for a road test for seniors. When it comes to the raw count of fatal incidents, seniors are involved in the fewest crashes, as they tend to avoid long-distance driving, limiting their runs to essentials like the grocery store and doctor’s visits. Other demographics alter the picture a bit, as Keicher explains,

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling for transparency when it comes to the financial costs the state has paid for the migrant crisis. State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Undated-jm) – Four Republicans are vying to replace State Senator Tom Bennett in the 53rd Illinois Senate race. The district includes 13 counties in Central Illinois stretching north to Channahon, west to parts of Peoria, south to Gibson City, and east to the Illinois-Indiana border. The four candidates are teacher and farmer Jesse Faber from Pontiac, Grundy County Board chair Chris Balkema from Channahon, farmer and veteran Mike Kirkton from Gridley, and former Iroquois County Board member Susan Wynn Bence from Watseka.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  It’s Show number 4 for Gibson Area Hospital and its Summer Bash. This year the show will feature Bret Michaels and also Jefferson Starship. Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employee-and Community Events Bill Kirby says the live shows began during the covid pandemic…

 

 

Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employee-and Community Events Bill Kirby 

The show is free to attend, but special pit pass tickets went on sale Friday for the August 17th event. 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Department has released their annual report highlighting trends and department changes in Champaign County. According to the report, calls for service, arrests, and jail intakes saw an increase last year in Champaign County from 2022. However, things such as traffic crashes and shootings saw a decrease. In 2023, the Champaign County Sheriff’s department saw nearly 14,600 calls for service, about 120 calls more than in 2022. They also saw an increase of arrests at 576 – as well as about 300 more jail intakes at just over 4,500. In 2023, the Champaign County Sheriff’s Department saw nearly 100 fewer traffic crashes than in 2022. They also investigated 13 shooting incidents, down 3 from the year before.

 

(Washington-jm) – Will margins this year for milk producers be any better than last year? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 


 

Illinois Republican state legislators continue to push for policy changes to address what they see as a poor business climate

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Republican state legislators continue to push for policy changes to address what they see as a poor business climate. The credit rating assigned to Illinois by Fitch Ratings, A- in November 2023, is far below the ratings given to most of the 50 states. As of early 2024, most states have AA or AAA credit ratings, and can borrow money at much lower expense to taxpayers than can Illinois. In a news conference at the state capitol in Springfield, state Rep. Dan Ugaste, said Democrats are promoting a narrative that "all is well." He wants a property tax relief plan. Illinoisans pay the second highest property taxes in the nation. Illinois is tied for the worst credit rating in the nation.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling for more transparency when it comes to state spending on the migrant crisis. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City is one of the Republicans calling for transparency…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Savoy-jm) – A Savoy man was sentenced to 15 years in the Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by five years of supervised release, and registration as a sex offender, for the sexual exploitation of a minor. David Berry brought a minor to his home, sexually assaulted her, and recorded the acts on video in October of 2021. Berry was indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in February of 2022. He pleaded guilty in September of 2023.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The local Pheasant’s Forever Group received a donation from the city of Paxton this week. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says Pheasants’ Forever helps with the airport grounds and making a donation to the local group was an easy decision for the city council…

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

(Kankakee-jm) – Clove Alliance, a leading nonprofit organization that serves Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford counties in providing hope and healing to survivors of sexual violence, has launched its new strategic plan. Clove Alliance collaborated with stakeholders, team members, and community partners to build a comprehensive roadmap for the next three years that reflects the organization's dedication to advancing its mission and fostering positive change within the community. The plan sets out three primary goals: Strengthening Workforce and Employee Retention, Enhancing Community Outreach and Visibility, and Optimizing Services for Underserved Communities. The full plan can be viewed at clovealliance.org/strategicplan.

 

(Gilman–dm)--The City of Gilman has several projects going on now and in the future, including street widening and sanitary sewer work.  Gilman Mayor Rick Theesfield tells us about a downtown project that has been completed.

 

 

Gilman mayor Rick Theesfield

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 5 years in prison for possessing a stolen handgun during a traffic stop. Benjamin Mason received the sentence in Champaign County court. In exchange for his guilty plea one count of armed violence, one count of possessing a weapon as a felon and one count of the manufacture and delivery of more than 500 grams of cannabis were dismissed.

 

(Paxton–jc)  A restoration project gets underway in Paxton. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the details…

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office returned nearly $20 million in missing money during February, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced. The total includes more than $17.1 million in cash and interest and nearly $2.5 million in stock value. All told, 19,046 claims were paid in February. Illinois’ missing money program — also known as I-CASH — is one of the state’s oldest consumer protection initiatives.

 

(Watseka–jc)  The Iroquois County Economic Development Association is applauding the new businesses coming to the County this Spring and Summer. They include  the Blue Barn Market in Ashkum, The Cluck Bucket in Watseka, Wallace Automotive in Milford  and So Fetch-dog Grooming in Milford.Iroquois County Economic Development Association Executive Director Angel Crawford says it’s important for businesses and local government officials to know the grant process to see if any help is available…

 

Iroquois County Economic Development Association Executive Director Angel Crawford. Those wanting more information may contact Crawford’s office in Watseka. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign is working on being even more bike-friendly. The City Council voted to build more bike lanes. The goal is to create a safer infrastructure so bicyclists can ride to stores, parks, restaurants, or anywhere they need to go. The plan includes 16 different projects the city will focus on, all bringing new cycling lanes to Champaign.

 

(Ford County–dm) The Ford County Schools are asking for a 1% sales tax  increase at this year’s primary election.  Paxton Buckley Loda School Superintendent Travis Duly explains that even with the 1% increase, Ford County will still have one of the lowest tax rates in the area. 

     

 

Paxton Buckley Loda School Superintendent Travis Duly. The funds from the increase will be used for facility improvement, school resource officers and mental health support. The election is Tuesday March 19th.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Spring enrollment at Illinois Community Colleges increased for the second straight year system-wide. Opening Spring 2024 enrollment increased by 5.1 percent from the previous spring according to the Illinois Community College Board’s Spring 2024 Enrollment Report.

 

(Elliott-jc)  The Elliot Amvets are hosting a Spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday at the Amvets in Elliot on Saturday. Elliot Amvets Spokesperson Karon Seib (s-eye-b) says its to help with the funeral expenses of member John York…

Elliott Amvets spokesperson Karon Seib. The event starts at 5pm on Saturday. 

 

(Paxton–jc)  You can look for the City of Paxton playground “firetruck” to make its return to Pells Park. Paxton leaders say new playground equipment is on its way to the city and will be placed at Pells Park soon. The Firetruck, a mainstay at Pells Park, has been refurbished and will be a part of the park, again. 

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank will have a food drive in northern Champaign County this morning from 9-10 at the Fountain Valley Mobile Home Park basketball court and 10:30-11 at the Ludlow Community Building.

 

The Onarga American Legion will hold their fish fry tonight from 4:30-7 at the Legion Hall at Durham Park.

 

The Cadillac in Paxton has DJ Big James playing all the dance hits from the 90’s and 2000’s tonight. No cover charge. Doors open at 5pm. DJ starts at 8pm.

 

Paxton IGA will hold their cookout benefiting the Rainbow Girls on Saturday from 10-2.

 

The Elliott Amvets will hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the funeral expenses of member John York on Saturday from 5-7 pm. Cost is $10 per plate.

 

The Cadillac in Paxton will host The Feudin Hillbillys on Saturday. Doors open at 6 with the concert beginning at 8.

Almost $7 million in federal funding is coming to Central Illinois through the government's latest funding bill

(Springfield-jm) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker joined doctors, patients, stakeholders and legislators to highlight efforts to reform predatory health insurance practices and protect patients. The Healthcare Protection Act aims to ban step therapy, and prior authorization for crisis mental health care, and end unchecked rate increases for large group insurance companies. The measure is targeting utilization management, which often forces consumers to obtain permission from their providers before receiving care that doctors have already determined necessary.

 

(Washington-jm) – Beef demand continues high, despite rising prices. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – For 54 years, farmers, students, and supporters have flocked to the Capitol building for Illinois Agriculture Legislative Day. Their goal is to meet with legislators and tell them what bills or initiatives they are hoping to see prioritized that year. Agriculture has over a $25 billion annual economic impact," said Jerry Costello, Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. "About one in four or one in five jobs in the state are in some way, shape, or form agriculture related. Costello said one of the big priorities for legislators last year was improving agriculture education, and programs are already seeing the results of that.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Taking a second look at potential costs for a storm drainage project on Paxton’s southeast side. That was the decision of City of Paxton leaders this week. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the project is expected to cost around 7 million dollars and local leaders are looking closer at potential costs…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. More information on the proposed project is expected at the next monthly city council meeting. 

 

(Washington-jm) – Almost $7 million in federal funding is coming to Central Illinois through the government’s latest funding bill. The bill, signed into law by President Biden over the weekend, includes $136.1 million for Illinois’ 13th congressional district. Democratic Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski supported the legislation and applauded Biden for signing it. $963,000 is going toward the establishment of a Real Time Crime Center on the University of Illinois campus. The center would allow for expanded and enhanced crime prevention, monitoring and response to crimes in progress. $850,000 is going toward the City of Champaign’s Garden Hills Revitalization Project. 

 

(Undated-jm) – The race for Illinois' 102nd House District looks a little different. Both candidates, incumbent state Rep. Adam Niemerg of Dieterich, and Jim Acklin, are running as write-in candidates. Niemerg said he was tossed off the ballot because the state elections board hearing officer said he didn’t raise his right hand when having his statement of candidacy notarized. Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said the objection to Niemerg's candidacy was because his statement of candidacy was not notarized as required by the Illinois Election Code. There was no notary seal on his 2024 statement of candidacy, which Niemerg said led the Vermillion County Democrats to object to his statement. Jim Acklin, currently the mayor of Ogden and interim superintendent of Chrisman Schools, recently announced his own write-in campaign in the 102nd House District, challenging Niemerg in the Republican primary. Acklin last ran a campaign for state representative in 2016, where he was defeated by state Rep. Brad Halbrook of Shelbyville. The 102nd House District encompasses parts of  Champaign, Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence and Vermilion counties.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  Rantoul Village leaders are set to meet in a special session tonight in Village Hall at 6pm. Among items on the agenda include discussion and approval of the Law Enforcement Technology package for the Rantoul Police Department with Axon Enterprises for 10 years at an investment of 910 thousand dollars. Local leaders will also consider action on a demolition project at 119 East Sangamon Avenue in the downtown area. That cost is 144 thousand 500 dollars with Lee Excavating of Paxton and Thawville. Board members are also looking to authorize the village to go forward with Phase One of the Wastewater Treatment plant project at a cost over just over 16 million dollars. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A state law that limits where lawsuits challenging state laws can be filed has been ruled unconstitutional as applied to a case from Madison County. Approved last year and signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker, House Bill 3062 was opposed by Republicans who said limiting where people can sue the state to just two of the state’s 102 counties is “tyrannical.” The law limits where people can sue the state alleging constitutional violations from state laws or executive orders to just Cook and Sangamon counties. In Piasa Armory’s challenge to the state’s firearm industry liability law in November, the state motioned to move the case to Sangamon County. Earlier this month, a Madison County judge found the court venue limit law as applied in the case is unconstitutional. The law “does violate due process, as applied to persons who reside or were injured outside of Cook or Sangamon County,” In its motion to move the case to Sangamon County, the state said the litigants can remote in with video conferencing. Forest said the state could also video conference into Madison County. The state has until the end of the month to appeal the Madison County decision.

 

(Washington-jm) – Producers have until March 29th to enroll acreage in USDA’s General Conservation Reserve Program. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has helped lead a project to create the first insulin-producing cow. A cow from the south of Brazil is the first transgenic cow capable of producing human insulin in her milk. The study was led by researchers at the U of I and the Universidade de São Paulo with the goal of one day eliminating the drug scarcity and high costs for people living with diabetes. Wheeler’s colleagues in Brazil put a segment of human DNA coding for proinsulin, the protein precursor of the active form of insulin, into cell nuclei of ten cow embryos. Those were implanted in the uteruses of normal cows in Brazil, and one transgenic calf was born.

 

(Gibson City–jc)  Gibson Area Hospital officials announced that Bret Michaels will appear at the Gibson City Summer bash on August 17th this year in downtown Gibson City. Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employee-Community Events Bill Kirby also adds that the opening act is Jefferson Starship…

 

Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employee-Community Events Bill Kirby.

 

(Danville-jm) – A Danville man will spend almost 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges in Vermilion County. The Vermilion County State’s Attorney’s Office called Terrion Liggins a “gun-toting crack dealer” who was convicted of unlawful possession by a felon and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the gun charge and eight for the drug charge. Those sentences will be served consecutively. In 2022, Liggins’ home was searched by agents of the Vermilion County Metropolitan Enforcement Group and they found 28 grams of crack cocaine. They also found firearm ammunition, which Liggins was not allowed to possess due to prior felony convictions.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – When a loved one dies, families have a lot to sift through. But, what happens when some of the belongings go straight to funeral homes and coroners? Overflowing shelves and rooms could be the result. Steve Thuney, the Champaign County Coroner, has seen it in his office for the last 10-12 years. There are over 400 sets of property from people who have passed away in Champaign County. Now, the coroner wants the community to know how they can get their hands back on these important items. So, how do you know if your loved ones’ things are sitting in one of the bags? You would have gotten a letter from Thuney’s office. From there, you can either claim the property or let the office know it’s okay to get rid of.

 

(Watseka–jc)  Iroquois County Economic Development Association leaders informed the Iroquois County Board that several new businesses are coming to communities in the county this Spring and Summer. 

Cameron and Dee Charles of Ashkum are opening Blue Barn Market in Ashkum in mid Summer. 

In Watseka, Tyler Hayes, owner of the Steak and Shake, plans to open the Cluck Bucket in June.

In Milford, Brandyn and Courtney Wallace have opened Wallace Automotive. They also own the Milford Laundromat.

Also in Milford,  Tamar Walder has an April First opening set for her “So Fetch” dog grooming store. 

 

Preparations are underway to host thousands of visitors in Illinois for the April 8 total solar eclipse

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers could pass a plan this spring to ensure school vendors and learning partners follow the state's new comprehensive literacy plan. House Democrats want vendors responsible for English language arts improvement plans to abide by the historic Literacy and Justice For All Act. The Illinois State Board of Education introduced the framework for the literacy plan in January. However, this bill could ensure schools are not limited by their vendors. However, some Republicans argued that vendors will already follow the new literacy standards and a new law isn't necessary.

 

(Springfield-jm) – County clerks shared their concerns with an Illinois task force looking into the possibility of changing how elections are conducted. Ranked-choice voting allows people to rank the candidates, with "one" being their favorite. The votes are tallied in rounds. If no candidate wins a majority of voters' first-choices, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, according to information from FairVote, an organization that advocates for ranked-choice voting. Some states have banned the process like Idaho, Tennessee, Montana and Florida. In Illinois, a task force is looking at implementing the idea. The Illinois Ranked-Choice Voting and Election Systems Task Force continues to meet to get feedback about possibly launching such a system in 2028.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. corn is coming under more downward price pressure. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for possessing cocaine. Thaimon Crawford pleaded guilty to possessing 17.5 grams of cocaine, just 2.5 grams more than minimum quantity that required him to be charged with a Class X felony.

 

(Oakwood-jm) – An Illinois man has been arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges, including for assaulting law enforcement during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Lance Michael Ligocki, 34, of Oakwood is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with felony offenses of civil disorder and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers.  Ligocki is also charged with several misdemeanor offenses, including entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly conduct and acts of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.

 

(Urbana–jc)  Medications and pregnancy. Tips from O-S-F;s Tim Ditman has more…

 

 

(Ford County-jm) – Ford County has been issued a tentative property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to David Harris, director of the Illinois Department of Revenue. The property assessment equalization factor, often called the “multiplier,” is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law. This equalization is particularly important because some of the state’s 6,600 local taxing districts overlap into two or more counties. State law requires property in Illinois to be assessed at one-third (1/3) of its market value. Farm property is assessed differently with farm homesites and dwellings subject to regular assessing and equalization procedures. Farmland and farm buildings are assessed according to standards based on productivity. Assessments in Ford County are at 32.90% of market value, based on sales of properties in 2020, 2021, and 2022. The equalization factor currently being assigned is for taxes, 2023 payable in 2024. Last year’s equalization factor for the county was 1.0000.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Preparations are underway to host thousands of visitors in Illinois for the April 8 total solar eclipse that will pass over much of the southern third of the state. Officials from multiple state agencies, including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois State Police, and the Illinois Office of Tourism have worked together for more than a year to ensure a safe and successful experience for the influx of eclipse watchers. Southern Illinois is in the path of totality for the second time since Aug. 21, 2017. Carbondale will see 4 minutes and 9 seconds of totality, nearly double what was seen in 2017.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new survey released by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce indicates that most independent contractors in the state are satisfied with their current employment arrangement. Impact Research surveyed 600 Illinois residents and found that 63% of independent contractors in the state would oppose being reclassified as employees. The survey showed that full-time employees are less likely to be extremely satisfied with their jobs than independent contractors are. The U.S. Department of Labor has enacted a new Independent Contractor Rule that went into effect Monday. The new rule will begin using a six-factor test to determine independent workers' legal protections and compensation.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. wheat exports this year may sink to their lowest levels in almost fifty years. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – One person was taken to the hospital following a car vs motorcycle accident on a busy stretch of Urbana road. It happened at the intersection of University and Fourth Streets. The motorcyclist was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The City of Champaign is switching to a new cybersecurity provider later this month, thanks to a measure approved by the Champaign City Council. The city council approved of a three-year agreement with the cybersecurity company Field Effect at its meeting. The city will pay $64,278 annually each year for the contract. The cybersecurity firm will provide the city with tools to prevent malicious hacks like firewalls, anti-virus protection, network access security software, and cloud back-up. In a city memo, officials said the city has been a daily target of phishing and malware attempts. The city has also faced a phishing scam in 2018, an international hack in 2019 and several international log-in attempts from compromised credentials.

 

(Buckley–jc)  The Federal Crop Insurance deadline is Friday. Edge Insurance Agency owner Dylan Reetz says its a reminder to get with your insurance agent by that date…

 

 

Edge Insurance Agency of Buckley Owner Dylan Reetz.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Over a dozen polling locations across Champaign County will be closed this Election Day due to a significant shortage of election judges. The following locations will be CLOSED: Bible Baptist Church in Champaign, Bresnan Meeting Center Champaign, Curtis Road Church of Christ Champaign, Douglass Center Annex Champaign, East Bend Township Building Dewey, Florida Ave Residence Hall Urbana, Hessel Park Christian Reformed Church Champaign, Illini Hillel Champaign, Illinois Street Residence Hall Urbana,  Ivesdale Fire Station, Pesotum Community Building, Philo Town Hall, Plumbers' and Pipefitters' Local 149 Savoy, River Valley Church of Christ Fisher, and Stanton Township Building & Town Hall St. Joseph.

 

Democrats unveiled a report that ultimately calls for Illinois taxpayers to pay $1.4 billion more to fund public universities

(Springfield-jm) – Small nonprofit organizations that provide people with food or housing assistance are encouraged to apply for funding through the Charitable Trust Stabilization Program, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. Grant applications will be accepted through March 31. The Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund assists small nonprofits with annual budgets of $1 million or less and with the equivalent of one full-time employee. Grant applicants in an area where pervasive poverty, unemployment and economic distress exist will be given special attention. For this first grant cycle of 2024, up to $200,000 is available. The maximum award amount is $20,000 for each organization.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA has changed its forecast for the Brazilian soybean crop, but has made no change to this month's U.S. soybean forecasts. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Germany-jm) – An American man has been convicted of murder and rape charges for attacking two University of Illinois graduates last June in Germany. The man was accused of pushing the victims down a steep ravine. In line with German privacy laws, authorities did not identify the suspect or the victims, but family and friends identified the victims as Eva Liu, who died, and her friend Kelsey Chang, who survived.

 

(Decatur-jm) – REO Speedwagon is coming to perform at The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater. The Midwest rock band will perform on June 26. This show is not included in the 2024 Devon season ticket package. This is an add on show. 2024 Season Ticket Holders will get an email with details about a special pre-sale opportunity.  Tickets for the show go on sale Friday, March 15 at 10 a.m. at www.devonamphitheater.com.

 

(Rantoul–jc) There is more in the works for the village of Rantoul when the topic is new businesses and positive economic development. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says more announcements are coming soon…

 

 

Village of Rantoul mayor Chuck Smith.

 

(Tolono-jm) – Attorney General Kwame Raoul charged a Champaign County man, and former director for the Tolono Park District, with allegedly using the Tolono Park District credit card, bank account and rebate coupons worth approximately $25,000 for personal use. Raoul’s office charged Randall Grace, 63, of Tolono, with one count of theft of government property, a Class 1 felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; three additional counts of theft of government property, Class 2 felonies each punishable by up to seven years in prison; four counts of official misconduct, Class 3 felonies each punishable by up to five years in prison; and one count of forgery, a Class 3 felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Sentences are ultimately determined by the court and can run concurrently. Grace’s next court date is April 3.

 

(Gibson city–jc)  Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services has announced their music lineup for the Annual Summer Bash. The live event is set for Saturday August 17th in downtown Gibson city.   Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employees and Community Events Bill Kirby says Brett Michaels is coming to Gibson City…

Gibson Area Hospital Director of Employee and Community Events Bill Kirby

 Opening for Michaels is the iconic rock band Jefferson Starship. General admission is free. Party pit tickets will be available for purchase this Friday at 8am. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Democrats unveiled a report that ultimately calls for Illinois taxpayers to pay $1.4 billion more to fund public universities.  The Commission on Equitable Public University Funding, created by law in 2021, released a report that finds an additional $100 million to $135 million annually to public universities would allow the state to bridge the reported funding gap in 10-15 years. Robin Steans, president of Advance Illinois, said the funding formula laid out in the report is much like a funding formula executed in Illinois K-12 schools. Steans said K-12 is seeing success despite Illinois students experiencing record low literacy rates and math proficiency rates. Illinois’ recent 2023 Report Card shows that 65% of the state’s 1.86 million public school children can’t read at grade level despite the increased funding. That’s 1.2 million students. 

 

(Washington-jm) – How is the Agriculture Department and its various mission areas reflected in the President's Fiscal Year 2025 Federal Budget proposal released Monday? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding suspicious fires. The Rantoul Police Department along with the Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating three recent reports of suspicious fires in the 100 block of Mahoning Lane in Rantoul. The first occurred on February 8th at approximately 9 p.m. The second incident was reported on February 26th at approximately 9:40 p.m., when fire personnel were dispatched to a report of a structure fire. Again, on February 27th at approximately 9:30 a.m., Rantoul Fire and Rantoul Police Department were dispatched to a report of a working fire. During this most recent incident, witnesses in the area reported seeing three subjects, possibly juveniles, near the building before seeing smoke and fire coming from the structure.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The U.S. Postal Service has set a date for a public-input meeting as it continues to review the northwest Champaign post office and considers transferring some of the site’s mail-processing operations to other offices. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. tonight at the University YMCA. The Postal Service is conducting a facility review of the Champaign Processing and Distribution Center on N. Mattis Ave. According to a public notice from the agency, a summary of the review will be posted at about.usps.com at least one week prior to the event. The Postal Service’s meeting notice states that its initial findings support keeping the Mattis Avenue post office open and modernizing it as a local processing center “with simplified processes and standardized layouts.” It’s possible the distribution center could be closed and services moved to the Chicago suburbs.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling for more transparency from the Pritzker Administration over how much is being spent on the migrant crisis. State Senator Sally Turner says the legislature has been left out of the conversations…

 

 

State Senator Sally Turner.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is aiming to make sure children are riding safely in their car seats this spring. The organization is providing car seat safety checks every second Monday of the month. Safety checks are being provided at no cost to parents and guardians. Seat checks are by appointment only. People can call 217-353-4932 to set up an appointment.

Champaign County's dispatch service, METCAD, released more information about the 911 outage Thursday night

(Springfield-jm) – Democrats in the Illinois Senate have advanced a measure that would prohibit Illinois companies from requiring employees to attend work-related meetings about religion or politics. Under the proposal, it would be illegal for a business to discipline, fire or otherwise penalize an employee who declines to attend an employee-sponsored meeting about religious or political matters. Employees who believe their workplaces violated the law would be able to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Labor.

 

(Washington-jm) – Friday's USDA Supply and Demand forecasts created a small ripple in corn and soybean markets. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) – Several emergency response teams were called to Crescent City Saturday morning in response to a HAZMAT incident. Officials arrived at the scene near the post office around 7:30 a.m. A postal driver said he opened his truck at his last stop, and noted a strong odor and a light haze inside the vehicle. An unknown substance poured from a package in his truck and onto the concrete below. The leakage started to bubble and smoke. Iroquois County EMA, the Crescent City Fire and EMS, and the Watseka Fire Department worked to block off the area as the Kankakee County Hazardous Materials Team was called in. The truck driver had difficulty breathing and was taken to an area hospital, where he has since been released, officials said. The HAZMAT team suited up and found a jug labeled “muriatic acid” that had cracked while in transit and caused the spill.

 

(Undated-jm) – A local music legend whose impact grew to reach far and wide outside of Central Illinois has passed away peacefully on Friday at the age of 65. WCIA 3 reports Mark Rubel, a bassist, among other things, for “Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets,” who he played with for more than 20 years. They performed several times at the Ford County Fair.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Members of the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus held a press conference in Springfield. The Caucus is calling out the Governor for his lack of transparency on the amount of taxpayer dollars being spent on the tens of thousands of migrants who are now in Illinois. State Senator Dave Syverson of Cherry Valley…

 

 

State Senator Dave Syvverson of Cherry Valley.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Champaign County’s dispatch service, METCAD, is releasing more information about the 911 outage Thursday night. They say they were notified by an automated AT&T notification that both 911 and the non-emergency phone lines were not functioning and immediately initiated their emergency outage plan, which includes transferring 911 lines to Vermilion County dispatch. However, Vermilion Counties lines were also affected so lines were transferred to Macon County, who relayed details of Champaign Counties calls to METCAD for local dispatching. Once AT&T resolved the issue, AT&T rerouted Champaign County’s 9-1-1 calls back to METCAD.  AT&T is still investigating the root cause of the service outage, but they did indicate that it was something within their infrastructure that failed.  The Statewide 9-1-1 Administrator and the FCC are also looking into this matter.

 

(Springfield-jm) – More than 40 conservation planners from the state’s Soil and Water Conservation Districts visited the Capitol to educate legislators about soil health and the importance of districts. State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington addressed his House colleagues in welcoming those planners and stressing the importance of their jobs…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is highlighting the top scams and consumer complaints that affected Illinoisans in 2023. Last year, the Attorney General’s Office received more than 19,000 written complaints, along with tens of thousands of phone calls. The top three categories of scams and consumer complaints were construction and home improvement repairs, identity theft and consumer debt.

 

(Washington-jm) – Minimal changes were noted within USDA’s March series of crop reports, however, one category reflecting some adjustments were crop prices. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A 17 year old has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for his role in a 2022 fatal shooting of a Rantoul man. Tomir Johnson pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm. Prosecutors say Johnson participated in a cannabis sale that went wrong in November 2022 that led to the shooting death of DeCarlo Douglas of Rantoul.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A new agreement is opening new training opportunities for both Champaign firefighters and police officers. Last week, the Champaign City Council unanimously approved a one-year agreement with the nonprofit Public Safety Training Foundation to use their training facility in Decatur.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling for greater transparency over how much the state is spending on migrant affairs in Chicago. One of those is 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A survey is underway exploring options to extend the Kickapoo Rail Trail from the existing eastern terminus at N. 1180 East Road, at the Vermilion County Fairgrounds, to the City of Danville. The extension is one of many planned trail segments in the developing Grand Prairie Trail network to connect Bloomington-Normal, Champaign, and Danville. The existing Kickapoo Rail Trail is 24.5 miles long, extends eastward from Urbana along the former CSX rail corridor to the fairgrounds, and crosses the Middle Fork of the Vermilion River on a renovated trestle bridge.

 

(Paxton–dm) If you’re going to be out of town on election day, you can still make your vote count.  Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick tells us how.

 

 

Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick. The March Primary election in Illinois is Tuesday March 19th. 

 

There are several meetings around the area tonight. The Ford County Board will approve bids for township motor fuel tax funding, approve mutual aid agreements between Ford County EMA and several entities and approve sheriff’s patrol services in Sibley and Roberts. In Gibson City, leaders are expected to approve assistance on a Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant. In Gilman, leaders are expected to approve a roadway replacement project for 3rd and Main as well as sewer replacement on 5th Street. Onarga village leaders are also expected to meet tonight.

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