WPXN Blog

Illinois officially moves into the "Bridge Phase" today

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton pool will not open this summer. Park district officials voted against opening the pool citing the park district's finances from the COVID-19 pandemic. The district hopes to take the next year to discuss repairs to the pool and have it ready to open in summer 2022.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois officially moves into the “Bridge Phase” today. Thanks to declining COVID cases and hospitalizations, some restrictions will be loosened up a bit, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If COVID numbers continue to decline, the state will move to Phase Five, full reopening in about a month. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,918 new Coronavirus cases and 35 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,361,666 and deaths to 22,320. Locally Vermilion County reported 84 new cases and 1 additional death, a man in his 70s, bringing their total number of cases to 9,558 and deaths to 135. Iroquois County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 3,033. Champaign County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 20,615. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says the state has now awarded one billion dollars for infrastructure projects through the Rebuild Illinois program. The program is the largest infrastructure investment in state history, with this funding addressing overdue transportation needs says the Governor…

 


 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says Rebuild Illinois grants have gone to local work as well, including bike paths, storm sewers and traffic signal upgrades. An additional 500 million dollars will be awarded under the program.Champaign County is receiving $962,449. Ford County $95,809. Iroquois County $231,631. Vermilion County $423,351. Local communities eceiving money:Paxton $49,131. Rantoul $142,143. Fisher $20,660. Foosland $1,109. Gifford $10,709. Ludlow $4,075. Mahomet $92,265. St. Joseph $43,573. Thomasboro $12,367. Elliott $3,240. Gibson City $37,422. Melvin $4,964. Roberts $3,976. Sibley $2,987. Buckley $6,590. Cissna Park $9,292. Gilman $19,924. Loda $4,470. Onarga $15,026. Milford $14,345. Rankin $6,162. Potomac $8,237 and Hoopeston $58,775.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton is getting ready to unveil the grand ole flag. The flag will be on the west side of town near the PBL Junior and Senior High School along I-57. The flag will be raised Memorial Day weekend. Spokesperson Denny Kingren talks about what it means to him…

 

 

Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul fire crews were called to a semi fire north of Rantoul yesterday morning . Crews were called around noon to the fire in the southbound lanes at milemarker 253. South bound traffic along the interstate was slowed and down to one lane for several hours. The interstate re opened around 1-45 this afternoon.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The top USDA economist says farmers this year have a better opportunity to profit from higher crop prices that they did last year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

Watseka townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow.

 

Gilman townwide garage sales will take place today through Sunday.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School today from 9 to 2.

 

A Rules of the Road senior refresher course will be held at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City today from 10:30 to 12:30.

 

Mahomet clean up day will take place on Saturday from 8 to noon.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Rainbow Girls on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

An informational meeting for those interested in participating in the 2021 Miss Iroquois County Fair Queen Pageant will take place Sunday at 5:30 pm at Town and Country in Milford.

 

 

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting distracted driving enforcement patrols. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Many businesses across Illinois are facing a staffing shortage. C-U at Home is now among them. Operations and programs are being temporarily paused starting this week at The Men's Shelter and at Austin's Place. The organization hopes to reopen on Monday, June 14 with additional staff.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Analysts say the market situation for U.S. soybeans could stay strong for most of the upcoming marketing year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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Kids ages 12 to 15 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- Kids ages 12 to 15 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois. With approval of use of the Pfizer version for this age group, Governor J-B Pritzker said the state stands ready to administer the shot…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says as more doctor’s offices carry the vaccine, kids will also be able to get the shot during their regular check-up or back to school physical.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,795 new Coronavirus cases and 26 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,359,748 and deaths to 22,285. Champaign County reported 35 new cases bringing their total to 20,594. Iroquois County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 3,025. Ford County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 1,777. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Motorists traveling Illinois interstates should soon have an easier time finding an electric vehicle charging station. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working to promote clean energy with this latest initiative says Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. The blue signs will read “Alternative Fuels Corridor.” Governor J-B Pritzker’s goal is to have 750 thousand electric vehicles on the road by 2030. Interstates that will have the signs include 39, 55, 70, 74 and 90.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul woman has been sentenced to two years probation for stealing $100,000 from the local VFW. 76 year old Brenda Wise received the sentence in Champaign County Court yesterday after pleading guilty. She must also pay the VFW back the $100,000 and perform 100 hours of community service.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers have less than a month to come up with a balanced budget. One thing that could complicate the budget process is the federal COVID money the state will receive. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington fears the money may not go to what is really needed…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College and Walgreens will be partnering to offer vaccinations today and Thursday, May 20, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. as part of a new partnership that will bring on-site vaccination to the college's campus and surrounding community.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA has outlined the process for correcting data errors in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The saliva test for COVID-19 will soon be available for use in Illinois schools. Thanks to a 225 million dollar state investment, students in middle and high school can be tested for the virus by giving a saliva sample. The test was developed by the University of Illinois and offers quick results. Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold says this is part of an effort to make schools as safe as possible…

 

 

Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold. The testing will be free for districts with predominantly low income students. Other schools will get a discounted rate of 10 dollars per test.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,795 new Coronavirus cases and 26 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,359,748 and deaths to 22,285. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 20,150 have recovered, 297 are in isolation and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,925 have been released from isolation, 35 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching a new tourism campaign, “Time for me to Drive.” Governor J-B Pritzker says the idea is to safely get people back to enjoying all Illinois has to offer…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Road trip ideas are available on the website: enjoy illinois dot com. Officials say this campaign is just one component of the state’s strategy to revitalize tourism in Illinois.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Flags in the village of Rantoul are flying at half staff today in memory of a Rantoul firefighter who passed away. Ron Loy served in the Rantoul Fire Department for nearly 40 years. He previously served as a village trustee and was currently serving on three other village committees. His funeral service is set for 10:30 this morning at Lux Memorial Chapel.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are working on carbon capture legislation. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is part of the group sponsoring the legislation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is hosting a pair of upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics. A walk in Johnson and Johnson one dose and 2nd dose Moderna vaccines will take place on Monday, May 17th from 9 to 6 at the Iroquois County Fairgrounds with the assistance of the Illinois National Guard. A second vaccination clinic, by appointment only, will be held at the Iroquois County Public Health Department in Watseka on May 19th from 9 to 3:30.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's first outlooks for the 2021-21 marketing season includes indications of what the U.S. corn and soybean balance sheets might look like. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

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More than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Illinois

(Pesotum-jm) -- A train containing flour and alcohol derailed near Pesotum Tuesday evening. Crews from the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency, Champaign County Sheriff’s Department and several fire departments responded to the derailment. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Illinois. The current average is about 84 thousand shots given each day, and nearly 36 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated. Still some remain skeptical, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Others just don’t have the time or easy access to the vaccine. The Governor says they are addressing that problem with mobile units, local clinics and making the shot available in doctor’s offices. The latest daily total includes more than 15 hundred new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois and 26 deaths. Vermilion County reported 77 new cases bringing their total to 9,747. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 3,014. Champaign County reported 25 new cases bringing their total to 20,559. The Iroquois County Public Health Department is hosting a free walk in Johnson and Johnson one dose COVID vaccine clinic today at Iroquois Memorial Hospital from 8 to 12:30.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers are considering legislation to address the FOID card backlog. House Bill 2532 is sponsored by House Republicans including 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker is announcing mobile home tax bills were mailed out yesterday. Taxes are due July 2nd. They can be paid by mail or at the county treasurer’s office.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency both have a major interest in biofuels, among other things. How well the two agencies work together could determine the future of renewable fuels. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is making plans for the upcoming school year. The 2020-2021 school year is winding down and district leaders are looking ahead to the 21-22 school year and what that might look like says Superintendent Cliff McClure…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- An Indiana man will spend over a decade in prison for attempted child sex crimes in Illinois. Caleb Hickman of Granger, Indiana was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted enticement, sexual exploitation of a minor, and attempted receipt of child pornography. Officials say the crimes occurred between February 14 and May 26, 2020, in Champaign and Kankakee Counties.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The U.S. Agriculture Secretary is talking with many of his international counterparts on the subject of climate change. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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Speak with you physician if you are uncertain about getting the vaccine

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s top public health doctor is urging those who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine to speak with their personal physician about the shot. Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says getting the vaccine is an important decision that should be discussed with a trusted doctor…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Nearly 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far in Illinois, with more than 35 percent of the population now fully vaccinated. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,424 new Coronavirus cases and 12 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,356,391 and deaths to 22,235. Locally Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 1,773. Iroquois County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 3,010. Champaign County reported 62 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 20,534 and deaths to 146. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 9,397.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Planting continues ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. The cool, wet weather left only about three and a half days suitable for fieldwork, but farmers still made some nice progress, says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 57 percent of soybeans have been planted and 23 percent emerged. 58 percent of winter wheat has headed and 70 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, 10 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Rantoul and Paxton city councils meet tonight. In Rantoul at 6, village board members are expected to approve a contract for upgrades to the Forum Fitness Center and approve an engineering agreement for the Wastewater Facilities capital improvement plan. At 7 in Paxton, city council members are expected to approve Mayor Bill Ingold’s appointment to ward 4 alderman, approve an IT contract with MCS, approve a street repair bid with Iroquois Paving and consider additional class c and e liquor licenses.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A push to create fair legislative maps through an independent commission may be stalling. In Illinois, lawmakers are tasked with drawing legislative maps based off of census data every 10 years. GOP members and at the time candidate J-B Pritzker pushed for a commission to create the maps however, 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the Governor and Democrats may be changing their minds…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- Construction is underway at Willard Airport in Savoy. The airport received just over $12 million in federal funding to redo runway lighting, pavement and markings. The work is expected to be completed by October.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Even with the unpredictability faced by ag producers over the last several months, crop insurance remained a steady and reliable part of their risk management portfolio. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is urging the public to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.” It’s time for the annual campaign to once again ask drivers and riders to be especially careful says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says while motorcyclists represent just three percent of total vehicle registrations in the state, they account for 14 percent of traffic fatalities. 153 bikers died on Illinois roads last year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Planting continues ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. 74 percent of corn has been planted, compared to 61 percent for the five year average. 35 percent of the crop is emerged says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Vermilion County Board and St. Joseph village board meet tonight. At 6 in Danville, the Vermilion County board is expected to approve a resolution in support of keeping wind and solar farm regulations at the county level and approve funds for a pair of bridge replacements. At 7 in St. Joseph, village board members are expected to consider a food truck ordinance and hear an update on the village manager search.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is considering creating a summer enrichment camp. Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about the camp…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A new store is now open in the shopping district along Prospect Avenue in Champaign. Burlington opened last week in the former Gander Mountain and Circuit City location.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The Biden Administration is focusing on agricultural innovation that helps support climate efforts, at home and abroad. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

 

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The Illinois economy shrank by 4 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on many of its sectors

(Springfield-jm) -- A recent report on maternal deaths is offering recommendations to improve health outcomes for pregnant women. Some of the suggestions include insurance and Medicaid coverage of telehealth services and making sure all new moms leave the hospital with an appointment for a post-natal follow up visit scheduled. State Public Health Department Office of Women’s Health Deputy Director Shannon Lightner says there also needs to be more careful monitoring of mothers after childbirth for hemorrhaging…

 

 

State Public Health Office of Women’s Health Deputy Director Shannon Lightner. The report also recommended that providers should seek consultation when prescribing, changing or stopping a pregnant woman’s antidepressants or other psychiatric medication.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois economy shrank by 4 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on many of its sectors, although there were signs of a recovery taking place late in the year. Those preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, showed that the leisure, hospitality and food service sector was the hardest hit by the pandemic, reporting a nearly 30 percent drop in economic output for the year. Other industries that suffered in Illinois included transportation and warehousing, down 14 percent; non government services, down 12.3 percent; manufacturing, down 7.3 percent; wholesale trade, down 5 percent; and retail trade, down 2.3 percent. The one bright spot in the state’s economy was the agriculture sector, which grew by nearly 68 percent over the previous year. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Clove Alliance is expanding to Ford County. The group is adding Ford County to their area of Iroqouis and Kankakee Counties. Spokesperson Tammy Barragree talks about some of the services they provide…

 

 

Clove Alliance Spokesperson Tammy Barragree.

 

 

(Fairbury-jm) -- A Gilman man is facing drug and child sex charges in Livingston County. 37 year old Rocky Nelson was arrested by Fairbury police for indecent solicitation of a child, solicitation to meet a child, travelling to meet a child, exploitation of a child, distributing harmful material via cellular device, possession of crystal meth and aggravated delivery of meth.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is looking at some summer projects. One of the major projects is the high school track, says Superintendent Cliff McClure…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- According to Gas Buddy gas prices will rise soon. Illinois gas prices have risen 7.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.10 per gallon. Gas Buddy expects prices to continue to rise as more people receive their COVID vaccinations and restrictions ease this summer.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  The retail cost of fresh fruit is rising substantially this year, after two years of price declines. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Interested in a career in law enforcement? Illinois Conservation Police are hiring. The State Department of Natural Resources is looking for those interested in combining their love of the outdoors with their commitment to public safety says Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s and three years of law enforcement experience. To see the job posting, visit: illinois dot jobs 2, that's the number 2, web dot com and search for conservation police officer trainee. The deadline to apply is May 31st.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Challenges of the pandemic are prompting Illinois families to switch over to homeschooling. According to the U.S Census Bureau, Illinois families with school-age children who reported homeschooling jumped from 2.1% between April 23 and May 5, 2020, to 5.4% between Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, 2020. 

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- The village of Roberts is facing some well issues. Village President Matt Vaughan says the issue is costly…

 

 

Roberts Village President Matt Vaughan.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is offering a new, virtual summer camp for high school students with autism who want to learn more about college life.  The free camp will be offered June 22 to 25 via Zoom. The registration deadline is May 24.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Grand Ole Flag committee is continuing to raise money for the project. Spokesperson Denny Kingren provides an update…

 

 

Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren.

 

 

(Georgetown-jm) -- Country music legend Tracy Lawrence will perform at this year’s Georgetown Fair. Local group the Feudin Hillbillys will open. The concert will take place August 13th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The corn market keeps on getting stronger. Market indicators point to continued strength. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois will move into the "Bridge" phase next Friday

(Leverett-jm) -- One person is dead following a two vehicle accident in Champaign County Thursday afternoon. Illinois State Police say the accident happened at Route 45 and Leverett Road around 2:15. 81 year old John Reitmeier of St. Joseph was entering Route 45 when he was struck by a southbound vehicle. He died at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle, Mark Holt of Rantoul, was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Charges against the man accused of hitting a woman in Gibson City with the intent to kidnap and sexually assault her have been dropped in Ford County Court. Instead, Paul Theesfield of Roberts is facing federal charges of attempted kidnapping.  Theesfield’s federal trial is expected to begin at the end of June.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois will move into the “Bridge” phase next Friday and may fully reopen as soon as June 11th. Thanks to declining cases and steadying hospitalization numbers, the Governor says the state can enter the bridge phase on May 14th…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If COVID conditions continue improving that full reopening could begin as early as June 11th. Masks will still be required during the bridge phase and it’s yet to be determined if that will continue into Phase 5. Illinois reported 1,778 new cases and 40 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state's total number of cases to 1,348,176 and deaths to 22,136. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,992. Champaign County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 20,428. Vermilion County reported 35 new cases bringing their total to 9,312. Ford County did not have a report.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- New election reforms are being proposed in hopes of instilling more voter confidence. The bill aims to standardize practices across the state, so that all county election authorities are on the same page. That includes training for election judges and publishing online exactly how vote by mail ballots are handled says Senator Sally Turner of Lincoln…

 

 

State Senator Sally Turner of Lincoln. The legislation also calls for election authorities to post a notice online about why ballot tallies are more than five hours late and to perform periodic audits.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Spring is here and that means planting season. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece has safety tips for both farmers and the motoring public…

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- New data from Recent Point-in-Time completed by Continuum of Services Providers to the Homeless helped identify new ways to improve the lives of those without an address. During the homeless count in Champaign County, which took place in late January, 146 individuals were identified. The data is used to find the gaps in the need, and how the community can better serve the homeless in the Champaign-Urbana area. One of those gaps is the growing need for volunteers at the local shelters. This year, 132 individuals were in emergency shelters and 14 were in transitional housing. Data shows that 25 percent of them were under the age of 18, 7 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24, and 68 percent were over the age of 24.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- An organization that helps victims of sexual assault is expanding into Ford County. Clove Alliance’s Tammy Barragree talks about the organization expanding to Ford County…

 

 

Clove Alliance Spokesperson Tammy Barragree.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is expanding vaccine availability to doctor’s offices across Illinois. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says 60 percent of adult Illinois residents have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Now, officials want to reach those who haven’t gotten the shot yet…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. More than one thousand doctor’s offices have already signed up. Those interested in joining can visit the I-D-P-H website for an enrollment packet.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Police Department has two new members. Rathen Camacho and Ethan Smith were sworn in this week and will begin their 14 week training this weekend. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) is preparing for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to get approved by the FDA for youth ages 12 to 15 years old. The district said it started saving doses about a week ago, setting them aside for teens not able to get other COVID-19 vaccine types. In Champaign County, 10,500 youth between the ages of 12 to 15 years old will be eligible.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols in Champaign County during the month of May. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

Crescent City townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow

 

The village of Rantoul will host a clean up day on Saturday from 8 to noon.

 

The Rantoul Township High School Plant Sale will take place on Saturday from 8 to 2 in the ag shop.

 

The Vermilion County Public Health Department will be hosting an electronics recycling on Saturday from 9-11 in the north lot of Danville Area Community College.

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker says conventions are back this summer

(Paxton-jm) -- A portion of Route 9 in Paxton could be renamed for a fallen State Trooper. State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City introduced the legislation at the state capitol…

 

 

State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says conventions are back this summer, starting with the Chicago Auto Show in mid-July. The nation’s longest running auto show will run July 15th through the 19th and will be the first large convention to be held in Illinois since the start of the pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says a temperature scan will be done upon entry and visitors will have to wear a mask and fill out a short medical questionnaire, but proof of vaccination will not be required.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers are beginning to draw new legislative districts despite not having census data. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says there is overwhelming support to take the map making process away from lawmakers…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 2,410 new Coronavirus cases and 30 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,346,398 and deaths to 22,096. Ford County reported 9 new cases bringing their total number of cases to 1,760. Champaign County reported 55 new cases bringing their total to 20,413. Iroquois County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 2,987. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Many area schools are making plans for in person graduation. Paxton Buckley Loda Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about the districts tentative plans…

 

 

PBL  Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department in conjunction with Iroquois Memorial Hospital will be conducting a Johnson and Johnson, one dose COVID-19 vaccination clinic tomorrow. The free walk in vaccination clinic will be held at Iroquois Memorial Hospital tomorrow evening from 5 to 8 pm.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- U.S. agricultural product exports continue to climb. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Public schools could lose some state funding if they apply student dress codes to hairstyles under a bill being discussed in the Illinois Senate. The measure was discussed in a legislative committee, where Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago said it’s time to end old policies that discriminate against minority students…

 

 

State Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago. Schools that don’t comply would have their state funding kept at the previous year’s levels. While committee members agreed the change is needed, some questioned the harsh penalty. Simmons says negotiations are ongoing.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is Arson Awareness Week, with a focus on arson due to civil unrest. The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office urges local fire departments to have a comprehensive plan in place should civil unrest and fires break out says Spokesperson J-C Fultz…

 

 

Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Last year in Illinois, state investigators responded to more than one thousand suspected cases of arson. The office also has seven accelerant detection dogs that were brought in for 263 cases.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 2,410 new Coronavirus cases and 30 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,346,398 and deaths to 22,096. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 19,863 have recovered, 405 are in isolation and 17 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,882 have been released from isolation, 41 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School is planning for in person graduation this year. Superintendent Scott Amerio talks about the districts plan…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Commodity prices are impacting what farmers plant this spring. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece talks about how prices impact farmers decisions…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Hoopeston juvenile is facing attempted murder charges among other charges following an incident. Police say they were called to Parkview Court in Hoopeston for a person injured following an altercation. The 15 year old suspect was gone when police arrived but was found a short time later and charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, armed violence and aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon. Further details were not immediately available.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn prices and corn exports are still making news. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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Illinois could move to Phase 5 by July 4th

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois legislature is taking steps to help prevent unemployment fraud. A bill heading to the Senate would stop the Illinois Department of Employment Security from sending someone’s Social Security number out during department letters or correspondence. Instead of printing and sending Social Security numbers, IDES would have to develop a new system of identifying information.

 

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(Springfield-jm) -- A bill is looking to help educate Illinois students on gun safety. House Bill 3173 would allow school districts to offer firearm safety courses as part of the curriculum or as an after-school program. The Illinois State Board of Education would also provide resources that may be used to develop these courses. The legislation passed in the Illinois House and is being considered by the Senate.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- If COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois is on track to enter Phase Five in July. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that her goal is to fully reopen the city by July 4th. That’s a real possibility statewide says Governor Pritzker, so long as the variants don’t cause an increase in cases and hospitalizations…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor is hopeful Illinois will soon be in the Bridge phase. Then, if numbers hold or decline for a 28 day period, the state can move to Phase Five, which is a full reopening. Yesterday Illinois reported 2,211 new cases and 19 additional deaths. Champaign County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 20,358. Vermilion County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 9,277. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 2,975 and deaths to 63. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul is seeing an increase in the number of new businesses coming to the village. Mayor Chuck Smith says they are seeing an economic development boom…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Police are looking for two people who may be involved in a shooting Sunday afternoon. Officers were called around 4 p.m. to the 600 block of Autumn Fields Lane for a report of multiple shots being fired. A day earlier a male juvenile was shot in the chest. Police are unsure if the shootings are related.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County will be hosting a spring electronics recycling. The recycling will take place on May 22nd. Registration information and more details will be available in the coming weeks.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Several area lawmakers are facing a significant number of complaints when it comes to the renewal of FOID cards. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett says it's one of the top complaints his office receives…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Christian band MercyMe is coming to the State Farm Center later this year. The group will perform in Champaign on November 6th. Micah Tyler will open.

(Springfield-jm) -- Fewer people are going to college. Enrollment across all higher education institutions in Illinois is down more than 7%. However, all universities say they are seeing a push from students to return to the classroom and freshmen wanting to attend.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is among the worst places for business, according to Chief Executive Magazine. The magazine said, “Despite powerful human capital, high costs remain a turnoff” for businesses for the bottom five. Illinois was among California, New York, New Jersey and Washington ranked in the bottom five. Texas was selected as the best state for business.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School FFA will be hosting their annual plant sale coming up on Saturday, May 8th from 8 to noon at the high school. FFA Advisor Theresa Porter talks about the types of plants that will be for sale…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School FFA Advisor Theresa Porter. Proceeds from the sale will go to the chapter.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- East Central Illinois Community Action Agency will be holding a drive thru health fair later this week in Ford County. The drive thru health fair will be at the New Beginnings Church in Gibson City on Friday from 11 to 3.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Buckley and Loda Alumni will be gathering this summer. The 68th alumni banquet will take place on June 12th at the 103 in Buckley. Cost is $25 per person. Reservations are required by June 3rd.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Youth football and cheer will be underway soon in the Paxton Buckley Loda Area. Spokesperson Matt Vaughan says they are still looking for kids to sign up…

 

 

Vaughan says the deadline to sign up is fast approaching…

 

 

PBL Youth Football and Cheer Spokesperson Matt Vaughan.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran’s office has released their April activity report. During the month, deputies responded to 8 traffic accidents and issued 19 citations for speeding, 6 for driving on a suspended or revoked license, 3 for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, 2 each for disregard or a traffic signal and leaving the scene of an accident and 1 each for fleeing and eluding police, improper lane usage and no driver’s license. Deputies also handled 9 custody disputes, 8 harassment reports, 4 thefts, 2 burglaries and 1 report each of fraud, stolen vehicle and a police chase.

 

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The state may be able to soon enter the "Bridge" phase of COVID-19 mitigations

(Rural Rankin-jm) -- One person is dead following an accident near Rankin Monday. Illinois State Police say the accident happened on Route 49 at 4000 north just after 1pm. They say a car heading south on Route 49 went to turn into a drive when it struck a northbound vehicle. That vehicle rolled. The driver of that vehicle died at the scene. The other driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and cited for failure to yield to the right of way.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers return to Springfield today. They’ll have four weeks of session to pass legislation with simple majorities.  That May 31st deadline is also for the state to pass a balanced budget. Another deadline is June 30 for lawmakers to send Governor J.B. Pritzker new outlines for congressional and legislative districts.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state may be able to soon enter the “Bridge” phase of COVID-19 mitigations. Enough seniors are vaccinated for Illinois to move into the bridge phase, which increases capacity limits in several different settings, but hospitalizations are still a concern. Governor J-B Pritzker says it appears that’s changing…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The latest daily total included more than two thousand new cases and 28 additional deaths. Locally, Vermilion County reported 39 new cases and 1 additional death, a man in his 70s, bringing their total number of cases to 9,259 and deaths to 133. Ford County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 1,751. Iroquois County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 2,931. Champaign County reported 65 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 20,337 and deaths to 143.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- In addition to passing a state budget, lawmakers will also be addressing legislative districts. For years Democrats and Republicans have battled over how legislative districts should be drawn. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington is sponsoring legislation addressing the issue…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Board approved a pair of bids for road construction. The board approved a bid from Cross Construction for $149,339 to repave Stockholm Road in Patton Township. They also approved a bid from Iroquois Paving for $203,917 to repave portions of 500 north in Dix Township.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School FFA Chapter will be hosting their plant sale Saturday, May 8th. The sale will run from 8 to noon and will feature nearly 20 different varieties of plants from marigolds to tomatoes and hanging baskets. FFA Advisor Theresa Porter talks about what the chapter plans to do with the money raised…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School FFA Advisor Theresa Porter. Porter says they will also use some of the funds for the Horticulture 2 class to raise poinsettias that will be for sale in December.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police in Pesotum is reporting results from nighttime enforcement patrols conducted in April in Champaign County. During the patrols, 1 citation was issued for driving under the influence, 3 were cited for other drug or alcohol related offenses, 1 for registration offense, 3 for drivers license offenses and 5 for insurance violations.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than half of Illinois corn acres have now been planted. Above average temperatures and about normal rainfall gave farmers over four days in the fields this past week says Crop Statistician Steve Parn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Soybean planting is ahead of schedule with 41 percent in the ground and seven percent emerged. 21 percent of winter wheat has headed. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as two percent very short, 17 percent short, 69 adequate and 12 percent surplus.

 

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School will see some work done this summer. Superintendent Scott Amerio says some restrooms will see some updates…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two people have been arrested on drug charges in Rantoul. Heidi Snyder of Rantoul and Hunter Whitson of Ludlow were arrested after police found them with drugs in the parking lot of a Rantoul hotel. Both were arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver over 15 grams of meth. Snyder faces an additional charge of possession of adderall while Whitson faces additional charges of possession with intent to deliver hydrocodone and obstruction of justice. They both face 6 to 30 years in prison. They are due back in court June 22nd.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Coronavirus pandemic delayed Paxton’s streetscape project. Mayor Bill Ingold provides an update on the project…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County Humane Society will be moving across town after initial expansion plans fell through. The organization said after property and construction, the expansion would have cost around $3.5 million. Instead, the humane society will be moving into a larger set of buildings in West Champaign in the coming years. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than half of Illinois corn acres have now been planted. 54 percent of corn is in the ground and 14 percent has emerged says Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Looking at soybeans and winter wheat…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. 68 percent of the winter wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at two percent very short, 17 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

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Illinois has topped 22,000 COVID deaths

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating a weekend shooting. Police were called to the 800 block of Golf Course Road around 8:30 Saturday evening where they found a male juvenile with a gunshot wound to the chest. The youth was taken to the hospital. Police believe the shooting may have occurred on Autumn Fields Lane. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police at 217-892-2103. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois has topped 22,000 COVID deaths since the pandemic began. Illinois now has 1,339,728 cases and 22,019 deaths. Friday Champaign County reported 73 new cases bringing their total to 20,272. Vermilion County reported 26 new cases bringing their total to 9,220. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,954. Ford County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 1,740.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Will Champaign County farmers plant more corn or soybeans this year? As planting season gets underway many are wondering whether farmers will plant more corn or soybeans. Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken says he thinks it will be a pretty even split…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A tree planted at Pells Park in Paxton was dedicated in memory of a long time doctor. During the city’s annual arbor day tree dedication Friday, the tree was dedicated in memory of Doctor Richard Foellner. Foellner died in October and had practiced medicine in Paxton for nearly 50 years.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith was re-elected to another term earlier last month. Mayor Smith talks about some of his goals he hopes to accomplish…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- Willard Airport is hoping to soon be able to offer a direct route to Washington, D.C. The airport applied for a federal grant for $850,000. The money would be used to partially cover the minimum revenue guarantee fund to add a new flight to Washington, D.C. Additionally money will need to be raised by Willard Airport and the community to make the flight a reality. The goal is to have Washington, D.C. as a possible destination sometime in early 2022.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda Youth Football and Cheer Program is in need of players. Spokesperson Matt Vaughan says they would like to see more sign up to keep the program going…

 

 

PBL Youth Football and Cheer Program Spokesperson Matt Vaughan. The unofficial deadline to sign up is May 5th.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul community leaders came together over the weekend to address the rise in gun violence in the community. The forum was put on by the Rantoul police department and members of the village board. The goal of the meeting was to have an open dialogue about safety concerns and how to fix the issue of gun violence.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing lane closures starting tonight on IL-47 at I-74 in Mahomet. The closures will take place from 8 pm to 5:45 the next morning for bridge repairs. Work is expected to be completed by May 7th.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Schools around the area are planning how the next school year will look while dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio says the district is looking at their options…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio. Amerio says a recommendation will be brought to the board in May with a vote on a plan likely to happen in June.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Students at the University of Illinois will no longer be required to take a COVID-19 test if they're fully vaccinated. Chancellor Robert Jones announced that in the future, the university will accept an individual's verified proof of being fully vaccinated in place of regular testing. Chancellor Jones expects this to begin before August 23, the first day of the fall 2021 semester.

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House legislative committee is discussing tweaks to current state gaming laws

(Springfield-jm) -- A House legislative committee is discussing tweaks to current state gaming laws. One proposal allows people to place bets on Illinois college sports. But University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman says he and his colleagues oppose the idea, noting the importance of student athlete mental health. He says players are already attacked online after a bad game…

 

 

University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman. A representative of the declining horse racing industry also testified at the hearing, saying that the 2019 gambling expansion law did not dedicate any revenue towards the purses awarded.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is looking into use of an electronic COVID-19 vaccination card. At a legislative hearing this week, State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike touted the benefits of getting the shot. She was asked how people will prove they’ve had the vaccine…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Event organizers and sports teams are figuring out how to bring back visitors and fans. That could include only allowing those who have received the shot to enter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,394 new Coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths Thursday. Champaign County reported 23 new cases bringing their total to 20,199. Vermilion County reported 28 new cases bringing their total to 9,194. Iroquois County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 2,955. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Fireworks will likely go off this summer in the city of Paxton. Mayor Bill Ingold says the city is planning for the annual 4th of July celebration…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- An Arbor Day observance will take place this morning in Paxton. The observance will take place at Pells Park near the cannon at 7:30.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City has a new member on the city council. Mayor Dan Dickey appointed Michelle Celeschi to fill the vacancy in ward 3 following the resignation of Aaron Kafer.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School FFA will be hosting their annual plant sale coming up on Saturday, May 8th from 8 to noon at the high school. FFA Advisor Theresa Porter talks about the types of plants that will be for sale…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School FFA Advisor Theresa Porter. Proceeds from the sale will go to the chapter.

 

Cissna Park townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow

 

A spring fling craft and vendor show will take place tomorrow from 9 to 2 at the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in in Gibson City. Over 50 vendors will be present. Admission is free.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Loda American Legion tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

Draggin Main will take place in downtown Paxton tomorrow from 4 to 9 pm.

 

Gibson City will host their sesquicentennial community event at North Park on Sunday from 1-4 pm.

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report looks at the main causes of death for new mothers in Illinois. The data covers deaths in 2016 and 2017 among pregnant women and those within one year of pregnancy says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. That’s followed by hypertensive disorders and hemorrhage. Ezike says black women are more than three times as likely to die during or within a year after their pregnancy. Most black women died of related medical problems while white women died more often because of pregnancy-related mental health conditions.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers are sending emergency housing legislation to the Governor’s desk. The bill was passed by the Senate and sets up guidelines for administering one point four billion dollars in federal rental assistance says Senator Omar Aquino of Chicago. It also places a stay on foreclosures through next month…

 

 

State Senator Omar Aquino of Chicago. The measure also seals eviction records until July 31st of 2022.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,394 new Coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths Thursday. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 19,625 have recovered, 430 are in isolation and 18 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,865 have been released from isolation, 25 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 122 active cases and 8 are hospitalized.

 

(Gibson City-jm) --  Gibson City is celebrating their sesquicentennial this year. There are events taking place throughout the year including a beard growing contest and photography contest. A big community celebration will take place on May 2nd says Spokesperson Susie Tongate…

 

 

Gibson City Sesquicentennial Spokesperson Susie Tongate. The Harvest Moon Twin Drive in will also have a special movie Sunday night says Spokesperson Ben Harroun…

 

 

Harvest Moon Twin Drive In Spokesperson Ben Harroun. 

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Hoopeston man is facing drug charges. Troy Wright was arrested after an officer saw Wright and knew he had an outstanding warrant. In the process of arresting Wright for the warrant, the officer discovered meth. He was also charged with possession of meth.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- First Mid Illinois Bancshares reported first quarter net income of $4.1 million. The Mattoon based bank with locations in Rantoul, Mahomet and Champaign Urbana, said it had earnings of 88 cents per share beating Wall Street expectations of 41 cents per share. Revenue topped $58.6 million while expenses came in at $54.5 million, also beating expectations.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School District is signing an agreement with the Mahomet Police Department to have a school resource officer. Superintendent Lindsey Hall talks about the agreement and how it has benefited the district…

 

 

Mahomet Seymour Schools Superintendent Lindsey Hall.

 

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The public is getting even more time to get the Real I-D

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the state’s backlog is now under control. The stack of bills waiting to be paid totaled well over 16 billion in 2017, but that has since been whittled down to three point five billion. Comptroller Mendoza says this is very exciting news…

 

 

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Mendoza says having a reasonable payment cycle also helps the state’s credit rating. She cautions that lawmakers must pass a balanced budget this spring that doesn’t rely on the one time influx of federal relief money.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The public is getting even more time to get the Real I-D. There’s still no need to rush into your local Driver’s Services Facility says Secretary of State Jesse White’s Spokesperson Beth Kaufman…

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman. Kaufman urges Illinoisans to wait until their current driver’s license or ID is close to expiring before coming in. When you’re ready, there’s a handy online checklist of documents you’ll need at cyber drive illinois dot com.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,728 new cases and 33 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,328,454 and deaths to 21,891. Champaign County reported 69 new cases bringing their total to 20,176. Vermilion County 14 new cases bringing their total to 9,166. Ford County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 1,725. Iroquois County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 2,943.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The Harvest Moon Twin Drive In in Gibson City will be hosting a spring fling this Saturday. Spokesperson Ben Harroun talks about the event…

 

Harvest Moon Twin Drive In Spokesperson Ben Harroun. The show runs from 9 to 2. Parking and admission is free.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is getting millions of dollars in state funding. On Wednesday, the Illinois Capital Development Board announced more than $3.2 million for safety upgrades at the university. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Police Department will be getting an upgrade to their fleet. Normally the department goes with a Chevy Tahoe but Mayor Bill Ingold says the department is going with a different vehicle…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Board is the latest to issue a resolution supporting local zoning control over wind and solar farms. Legislation in the Illinois General Assembly would take the control of zoning from counties and put it in the hands of the state. Iroquois County also recently passed a resolution supporting local control.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a 15 million dollar investment in two new manufacturing training academies in downstate Illinois. The state of the art training facilities are being built at Heartland Community College in Normal and Southwstern Illinois College in the Metro East area. Governor Pritzker says it’s more important than ever that the state has a skilled workforce…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The academy at Heartland will be a partnership with Rivian Automotive, focusing on electric vehicle energy storage. Training at Southwestern will include precision machining starting in the fall of 2022, to be followed by welding manufacturing and industrial electricity.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police is graduating a new cadet class. The class of 39 cadets began last October, and after 26 weeks of training, is ready to hit the road. State Police Director Brendan Kelly referenced tensions with the public across the country and had this message for the graduates…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. The new troopers will be paired with field training officers and assigned to districts all over the state.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,728 new cases and 33 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,328,454 and deaths to 21,891.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Farm safety is key this time of year as farmers are hitting the fields for the spring planting season. Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken provides some safety tips…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- An instructor in the Iroquois West school district is being recognized. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas talks about the accomplishments by Ashley Carlson…

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County home sales hit another monthly record in March. 265 homes were sold last month, up 18 percent from March 2020, when 225 homes sold. Median prices were also up 9 percent. The median price in March was $169,900 up from $155,000 from March 2020.

 

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Illinois is losing a seat in U.S. Congress

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is warning the public about two scams targeting Illinois residents. Complaints have been coming in about the scams and the Federal Trade Commission and FBI have been notified says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. The other scam is a website: illinois car reg dot com, offering bogus license plate sticker renewals.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A White County Circuit Court judge has again ruled Illinois’ Firearm Owner Identification Card is unconstitutional, setting the stage for the Illinois Supreme Court to reexamine the issue. In 2017, Vivian Brown, was charged with violating the FOID card law for owning a rifle without possessing a FOID card. Yesterday, a judge dismissed the charges, and ruled the FOID card law was unconstitutional, saying it makes the Second Amendment a “facade” turning a right into a privilege.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is losing a seat in Congress. Preliminary data from the 2020 U-S census indicates that the number of Illinois members in the U-S House of Representatives will drop from 18 to 17. Republican Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville says this isn’t surprising…

 

 

State Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville. Bourne says the census data shows the need for more pro-business policies in Illinois and for fair political boundaries to be drawn.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Several Republicans in Washington, D.C. including U.S. Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois, are pushing for a bill that would allow marijuana users to purchase guns in states where marijuana is legal. A person can possess a gun and use marijuana legally. However, marijuana users cannot purchase a firearm because marijuana use is not federally legal. This new bill would allow those who live in states where marijuana is legal to buy a firearm even if they use marijuana.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A bill that would expand the statute of limitations for perjury has advanced out of the Illinois House. The bill would extend the statute of limitations for a prosecution for perjury to five years of the last act committed in furtherance of the crime. It’s sponsored by State Representative Tom Bennett…

 

 

State Representative Tom Bennett. The bill now moves to the state Senate where it was picked up by Senator Scott Bennett as chief sponsor.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,556 new cases and 23 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,325,726 and deaths to 21,858. Vermilion County reported 19 new cases bringing their total to 9,152. Iroquois County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 2,935. Champaign County reported 39 new cases bringing their total to 20,107. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School FFA Chapter will be hosting their plant sale again this year. FFA Advisor Theresa Porter talks about this year’s sale…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School FFA Advisor Theresa Porter. Proceeds from the sale go to improvements in the greenhouse.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law designed to bring more equity to healthcare in Illinois. The reform bill makes several changes to tackle the problem of discrimination and racism when it comes to getting medical treatment. They include…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The new law also requires daycare providers to be trained in childhood emotional learning and trauma, prevents someone seeking treatment for a drug overdose from being arrested and ensures hospitals provide N-95 masks to all doctors and nurses free of charge.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The federal REAL ID deadline has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline to May 3, 2023. The Illinois Secretary of State's Office said current Illinois driver's licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports and secure federal facilities until DHS' new deadline.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is Work Zone Awareness Week. Construction season is underway in Illinois, with several projects planned this year says State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. There are about 64 hundred crashes in work zones each year in Illinois, injuring 17 hundred people and killing 34.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill passed in the Illinois House would expand a statewide database for children to help doctors know which shots and vaccinations people have received as an adult. The bill passed along party lines with every Republican voting against the measure.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House has approved  legislation ensuring mature drivers can participate online in training they need to obtain insurance premium discounts. The bill was sponsored by State Representative Dan Brady…

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady. The measure now moves to the Senate.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,556 new cases and 23 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,325,726 and deaths to 21,858. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County reported 104 cases are active and 7 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,857 have been released from isolation, 12 are in isolation and 5 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,554 have recovered, 409 are in isolation and 14 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School District is launching the Bulldog Blueprint. Superintendent Lindsey Hall talks about the program and the goals they hope to accomplish…

 

 

Mahomet Seymour Schools Superintendent Lindsey Hall.

 

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Illinois could be moving to the new "Bridge" phase in less than a week

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois could be moving to the new “Bridge” phase in less than a week. Although more than 70 percent of seniors are now vaccinated, the state hasn’t been able to move out of phase four due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. That may be changing, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The latest daily total are more than 21 hundred new cases and over two thousand COVID patients in the hospital. The state Department of Public Health has confirmed in excess of 25 hundred cases of COVID variants in Illinois. Locally, Champaign County reported 86 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 20,068 and deaths to 144. Ford County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 1,711. Iroquois County reported 7 new cases bringing their total to 2,934. Vermilion County reported 31 new cases bringing their total to 9,133.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says COVID-19 vaccine supply will soon outweigh demand. As more doses roll in, it’s becoming much easier to get an appointment for your shot. Governor Pritzker says they are trying to make sure that counties with plenty of doses don’t keep getting new shipments…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says he’d eventually like people to be able to get the shot at their regular doctor’s office. More than nine million doses have been administered so far in Illinois, with 37 percent of the population now fully vaccinated.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Planting season is underway around the area. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece provides a local update on planting progress…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece. We also reached out to Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken about planting progress in his area…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken.

 

PBL Youth Football and Cheerleading are now accepting registration forms from 3rd through 8th grade.  Forms were sent home from school, but extras are available on the PBL Youth Football/Cheer Facebook page or by contacting Matt Vaughan at 217-249-3722 or mavaughan76@hotmail.com. They need as many players as possible to rebuild the program after not being able to play last season.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- March unemployment rates are up compared to one year ago. In Champaign County, the rate is up to 5 percent from 2.9 percent in March 2020. In Ford County the rate went from 3.7 percent in March 2020 to 4.8 percent last month. Iroquois County’s went from 4.3 percent to 5.6 percent. Vermilion County’s is up to 6.9 percent from 4.3 percent in March 2020.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Temperatures were about 10 degrees below normal this past week but farmers still got some planting done as we hear in the weekly crop report. Nearly five days were suitable for fieldwork says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 19 percent of winter wheat has headed and the crop improved to 71 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture stayed about the same and is rated as 11 percent short, 82 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching a new program to help expand COVID-19 resources and access to the vaccine. The idea of the Pandemic Health Navigator Program is to reach out locally to those who need it says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says navigators are there to answer community questions about the virus and vaccine, to dispel myths, to direct people to vaccination sites and to make sure those in quarantine have access to things like groceries.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce will have their traditional parade for the 4th of July this year. Chamber Director Amanda Vickory has the details… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickory.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding mobile home residents their tax bills are due next week. Mobile Home Tax Privilege bills were sent out in early March. The due date to pay without penalty is May 3rd. You can pay in person at the administrative center or by mail.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School is preparing for the 2021-2022 school year. The district, like many others around the area, are unsure how the school year will look with the ongoing pandemic says Superintendent Scott Amerio…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Temperatures were about 10 degrees below normal this past week but farmers still got some planting done as we hear in the weekly crop report. 23 percent of corn has been planted, with two percent emerged. That’s behind last year’s pace and the five year average. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 18 percent of soybeans have been planted…

 


State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 11 percent short, 82 percent adequate and seven percent surplus, relatively unchanged from the previous week.

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State lawmakers passed bills at a furious pace last week

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers passed bills at a furious pace last week. The House and Senate put in a lot of hours, trying to meet deadlines to pass legislation one from one chamber to the other. Recently approved measures include everything from 10 year term limits for legislative leaders to addressing the use of isolation rooms and restraints in school as sponsored by Representative Johnathan Carrol of Northbrook…

 

 

State Representative Johnathan Carrol of Northbrook. Another bill modernizes marriage licenses by letting couples get a copy that has more gender-neutral terms like “spouse” instead of “bride and groom” and there’s also a measure aimed at preventing more teens from vaping.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton first responders were called to a two vehicle accident west of Paxton Friday evening. The accident occurred at Route 9 and 115 around 6:15. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- A Chicago man wanted for an alleged carjacking in Champaign was arrested in Ford County. Kentrell Spearman was arrested on I-57 in Ford County after he allegedly took a woman’s car and cell phone in Champaign. Police also discovered a gun and ammunition. He is charged with armed robbery, aggravated vehicle hijacking, possession of a stolen vehicle and aggravated unlawful use of weapons. Bond was set at $500,000.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Friday was the final day bills could be brought forward, voted on and passed in the Illinois House for the spring session of the general assembly. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about some of the bills that were approved…

 

 

But Representative Bennett says there were several that were not passed…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A 15 year old student is being criminally charged following Thursday's incident at PBL High School. The 15 year old from Clarence is facing two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and stolen firearm charges are pending. The teen is accused of bringing a loaded gun into the high school. The school was put on lockdown and police and school officials say no threats were made.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- OSF is announcing starting May 1st,  patients who are enrolled in Meridian Medicaid will be able to access OSF HealthCare hospitals and physicians as part of their insurance plan. The coverage applies across the state and includes access to OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Pregnant women may be able to park a little closer under a bill passed by the House Friday. The legislation lets expectant mothers in their third trimester apply to the Secretary of State’s Office for a disability parking decal. It’s sponsored by Representative Keith Wheeler of North Aurora…

 

 

State Representative Keith Wheeler of North Aurora. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Illinois Senate approved a plan to form the Mahomet Aquifer Council. The council, sponsored by State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet, would be made up of representatives of local government and various stakeholders. The council would be tasked with reviewing and making recommendations to improve state laws and regulations to protect the aquifer. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will be doing some road work this summer. The city has a list of motor fuel tax projects says Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Fairbury-jm) -- A Fairbury man is behind bars facing child pornography charges. Earl Burnette is facing four counts of child pornography following an investigation by Fairbury Police, Livingston County Sheriff’s police and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) --  Gibson City is celebrating their sesquicentennial this year. There are events taking place throughout the year including a beard growing contest and photography contest. A big community celebration will take place on May 2nd says Spokesperson Susie Tongate…

 

 

Gibson City Sesquicentennial Spokesperson Susie Tongate.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The musical act for the 2021 Gibson City Harvestfest has been announced. Rock band Firehouse will perform at the Harvest Fest on September 11th. General Admission is free.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture is now accepting specialty crop block grant proposals. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local and government entities, trade and commodity associations, public and private colleges/universities. All projects must begin in calendar year 2022. Applications are due by May 24th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation requiring schools to provide contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and for the Crisis Text Line on the back of each students I.D. card issued by the school district has advanced to the state senate. The bill is sponsored by State Representative Mike Marron. He talks about how the bill came about…

 

 

104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.

 

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"Fix the FOID" legislation is advancing in the Illinois House

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District provided an update last yesterday on an incident that occurred at the high school. PBL High School was put on lockdown after a student was found with a loaded handgun. According to a release from the district, the student was not connected to a fight that occurred earlier in the day and there is no threat related to the incident. The incident remains under investigation by the Paxton Police Department. The district says school will be in session today.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The man found guilty of murdering two people in St. Joseph will spend the rest of his life in prison. Jonathan Perry received the sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to shooting and killing Kimberly Coyne and her daughter Blair last year. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Around 13,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment claims last week. That’s nearly 5,900 fewer than filed the week before. Despite that, when including continued filing by independent contractors for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the state has nearly 87,400 more people getting unemployment benefits than the week before for a total of 404,700.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- "Fix the FOID” legislation is advancing in the Illinois House. The measure requires fingerprints and a background check for those wanting a FOID card, offers an electronic version of the card and creates an online prohibited persons portal for law enforcement agencies to check if someone is not legally allowed to own a gun. It’s sponsored by Representative Kathleen Willis of Northlake…

 

 

State Representative Kathleen Willis of Northlake. Opponents argue that people shouldn’t have to submit fingerprints for what is a constitutional right, and also disagree with a provision in the bill that prohibits the private sale of firearms. The bill has passed a House committee.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois General Assembly took the next step Thursday towards implementing term limits on House and Senate Leadership. By a unanimous 115-1 vote, the Illinois House passed House Bill 0642 which imposes 10-year term limits on the Speaker of the House, Senate President, and the minority leaders in both chambers. This bill will now head to the Senate for approval where it is widely expected to pass with strong bipartisan support. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker it would take effect in the 103rd General Assembly in January of 2023.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois may soon join New York in adopting a law adding more food allergy training for teachers, staff and caregivers. The House passed a bill requiring the state to help schools, at home daycares and daycare centers set up policies and procedures for dealing with kids with food allergies and responding to anaphylaxis emergencies. It’s sponsored by Representative Jonathan Carrol of Northbrook…

 

State Representative Jonathan Carrol of Northbrook. The measure now moves to the Illinois Senate.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,170 new Coronavirus cases and 33 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,312,722 and deaths to 21,755. Champaign County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 19,910. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 9,072. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,924. Ford County did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Youth sports are underway at the Paxton Park District. The park district is now preparing for summer ball says Director Cody Evans…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans. You can sign your child up at the Paxton Park District office. No decision was made on whether or not to open the pool at this week’s meeting.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton police department is opening the shooting range up to the public again this year. The range will be open the second Saturday of each month from 10 to noon. You must have a valid FOID card, provide your own weapon, ammunition and safety equipment. Cost is $10 per session.

 

Buckley townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow

 

The Loda American Legion will host their fish and chicken fry tonight from 4-7 pm.

 

Ford County will be hosting an electronics recycling on Saturday from 9 to 1 at 115 S. Sangamon in Gibson City.

 

Paxton IGA will host their cookout benefiting the Hands of Christ Food Pantry on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The final tab on back to school shopping can get pretty big. One lawmaker in Springfield, is trying to cut that down as much as they can. Representative Katie Stuart proposed a bill that would decrease the state sales tax for one week in August from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent. The idea would be to create a big back to school shopping week in order to save parents and students money before they go to the classroom.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois may soon have a new state holiday. Senate lawmakers voted Thursday to officially celebrate the end of slavery on June 19th each year. The bill is sponsored by Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood…

 


 

State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood. Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the last slaves were freed in Texas. If approved by the House and the Governor, Juneteenth would become a state holiday on par with the Fourth of July, New Year’s Day and Christmas.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisles at the Illinois statehouse are looking to vote on legislation to decrease the small trailer tax from $118 to $18, but such a measure has yet to advance. State Rep. Mike Zalewski chairs the House Revenue and Finance Committee.Last week he told the House he won’t advance a bill decreasing taxes unless there’s a proposal to make up the difference. There are several bills from Democrats and Republicans to slash the fee by $100.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers approved legislation Thursday licensing home birth midwives in Illinois. The number of families opting to have their baby at home is growing, so the state should be regulating and licensing these professionals says bill sponsor, Representative Robyn Gable of Evanston... 

 

 

State Representative Robyn Gable of Evanston. 35 other states have a similar law. The bill now needs Senate approval.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,170 new Coronavirus cases and 33 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,312,722 and deaths to 21,755. As for local active and recovered, Champaign County reported 19,449 have recovered, 320 are in isolation and 17 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 93 active cases and 7 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,836 have been released from isolation, 24 remain in isolation and 3 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold was re-elected to another term as mayor earlier this month. Mayor Ingold talks about why he decided to run again…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

 

 

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The man accused of several armed robberies including one in Paxton has been arrested

(Undated-jm) -- The man accused of several armed robberies including one in Paxton has been arrested. U-S Marshals arrested John Beck in Springfield Wednesday. Beck is accused of robbing the Village Pantry in Paxton Sunday evening. He is also accused of robberies in Livingston, Sangamon and Peoria Counties.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation passing the Illinois House Wednesday reduces the penalties for possessing smaller amounts of illegal drugs. Under the bill that was narrowly approved, those busted with certain amounts of drugs like meth, heroin and cocaine will only be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony and jail time. It’s sponsored by Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana who says it’s time to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs…

 

 

State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana. Opponents worry this may backfire, by not motivating drug users enough to get help.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,765 new Coronavirus cases and 28 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,309,552 and deaths to 21,722. The seven day positivity rate is 4.5 percent. Vermilion County reported 17 new cases Wednesday bringing their total to 9,056. Ford County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 1,708. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,920. Champaign County reported 72 new cases and 1 additional death, a woman in her 100’s, bringing their total number of cases to 19,889 and deaths to 141.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More community college students would likely be able to get into the University of Illinois under a bill passed by the Illinois House. The measure sets up a pilot program where community college students with at least a three point oh average and 36 credit hours completed automatically get into the U of I. It’s sponsored by Representative Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst and was agreed to by the University…

 

 

State Representative Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst. Mazzochi says she would like to see this expanded to include all high school students in the top 10 percent of their class. The bill now moves to the Senate.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Community members in the Mahomet Seymour school district are encouraged to attend a series of community engagement programs focusing on facility planning starting tonight. The programs, called Bulldog Blueprint, will focus on long term needs of the district. Tonight’s session gets underway at 6:30 at Middletown Prairie Elementary School.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House is voting to make it illegal to release more than 50 balloons into the air. Those busted for releasing a big bunch of balloons would get a warning the first time, and then an up to 500 dollar fine for a second offense. Representative Sam Ying Ling of Round Lake Beach explains why this is needed…

 

 

State Representative Sam Ying Ling of Round Lake Beach. The Senate will take up the bill next.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,765 new Coronavirus cases and 28 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,309,552 and deaths to 21,722. The seven day positivity rate is 4.5 percent. Champaign County reported their 141st death, a woman in her 100’s. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County reported 88 active cases and 5 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,836 have been released from isolation, 20 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,274 have recovered, 474 are in isolation and 17 are hospitalized. 


 

(Springfield-jm) -- Public school students would get more play time under a bill advancing in the Illinois Senate. A Senate committee passed the “Right to Play” Act, requiring schools to give kindergartners through 8th graders 60 minutes of unstructured play time each day. It’s sponsored by Senator Robert Peters of Chicago…

 

 

State Senator Robert Peters of Chicago. Peters says the 60 minutes can be broken up throughout the day, such as in 15 minute increments. Supporters say this is just as important as what’s taught in the classroom.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- I-57 will be closed several nights as crews work to place new bridge beams on the Mattis Avenue bridge. IDOT says the closures are expected to begin at 10 pm and last until 6 am. It started last night and will continue tonight in the southbound lanes. Northbound lanes will be closed overnight April 26th and 27th.

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Governor J.B. Pritzker's office doesn't expect to bring back COVID-19 shutdowns

(Springfield-jm) -- Child care is not getting any cheaper in the state of Illinois. The state is now ranked ninth most expensive state for child care, according to Move.org. In Illinois, the average cost of child care is $12,795 each year. Infant care costs were also 19.9% of the median household income of Illinois families. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office doesn’t expect to bring back COVID-19 shutdowns. The governor’s office told the Associated Press while there are concerns of increased COVID-19 cases, they note hospitals have open beds and there’s no need to repeat shutdowns. The governor does still have 50% capacity limits for most businesses part of his COVID-19 reopening plan with no date certain on when all restrictions would be lifted.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What do higher dairy prices mean for dairy margins? Stephanie Ho reports from Washington…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,587 new Coronavirus cases and 9 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,306,787 and deaths to 21,694. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 2,916. Champaign County reported 55 new cases bringing their total to 19,827. Vermilion County reported 18 new cases and 3 additional deaths, a woman in her 80s and two men in their 70s, bringing their total number of cases to 9,039 and deaths to 131. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers have a tough task ahead of them, creating a state budget in the midst of a pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the budget…

 

 

One area lawmakers will be focusing on is education says Representative Bennett…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive today at Gibson Area Hospital from 9:30 to 2:30.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan continues to spend political funds on legal bills. Madigan has spent $2.7 million on a law firm that handles corruption cases, according to campaign finance disclosure. The Chicago Tribune reported that’s $1 million more than he paid for legal services in 2020. Madigan still controls his personal political fund and his Ward 13 fund with a combined total of around $13 million.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Around $1.6 billion from federal funds are set to cover costs to expand access to early childhood education and child care in Illinois. Of the funds, $140 million will go to childcare providers over the next three weeks. That’s in addition to nearly $300 million in grants for providers over the past year.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Wheat is increasingly being used as a feed ingredient in China, which is driving up the country's forecast consumption numbers. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,587 new Coronavirus cases and 9 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,306,787 and deaths to 21,694. As for local active and recovered cases, Iroquois County reported 2,830 have been released from isolation, 20 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,245 have recovered, 442 are in isolation and 11 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 82 active cases and 5 are hospitalized. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A new car wash is coming to Paxton. Mayor Bill Ingold says its coming to the west side of town…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- The Vermilion County Sheriff's Office is warning the public that some residents are receiving scam calls that appear to come from the sheriff's administrative number. The calls come from 217-442-4080. The caller then leaves a message saying they are Sergeant Bell to call them back at 630-765-5237.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to independent pharmacies in phase two of the distribution process. Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson has the details of what the vaccine process will look like at his pharmacy… 

 

 

Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson.

 

 

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Paxton police are investigating a convenience store robbery

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating after a convenience store was robbed Sunday evening. Police were called to the Village Pantry around 7:30 pm after a man entered the store with a club and demanded money and cigarettes. The man was identified as John Beck. He is also wanted for a string of robberies in Livingston of Sangamon Counties. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Democrats are looking to create safe and monitored spaces for drug use. It's all part of House Bill 0110 introduced by State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. The spaces would be staffed by medical professionals and provide free needles and syringes, plus their safe disposal. Use of illegal substances inside the injection spaces would not be subject to criminal charges. The proposed legislation is currently awaiting a vote on the House floor.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois state lawmakers return to Springfield today to continue the spring session. They’ll have six weeks to pass measures with simple majorities, including a budget. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are voting to create a new domestic violence task force. The task force would work to build a statewide system to better protect victims and survivors of domestic violence. Its named after Colton Miller who was shot and killed by his own father in 2019 says Representative David Welter of Morris…

 

 

State Representative David Welter of Morris. Legislation setting up the task force was passed unanimously by the House and now moves to the Senate for approval.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,959 new Coronavirus cases and 22 additional deaths Monday. Ford County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 1,700. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,914. Vermilion County reported 73 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 9,021 and deaths to 128. Champaign County reported 100 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 19,772 and deaths to 140.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Ameren Illinois is asking the Illinois Commerce Commission if it can raise its electric rate. The adjustment would add about $2.75 per month to the delivery portion of residential customer bills next year. If approved by the ICC, the new rates would start in 2022.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Road construction season is upon us. With the warmer weather, road projects will be getting underway especially with the help of additional funding from the state says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting progress continues a little ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. It was a cool, dry week, with nearly five days suitable for fieldwork says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Five percent of winter wheat acres have headed with 69 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short. eight percent short, 82 percent adequate and nine percent surplus.

 

(Dixon-jm) -- First Lady Dr Jill Biden made a stop in Illinois Monday. The First Lady visited Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon to discuss the importance of community college to the nation’s economy. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Senate will now be asked to apply regulations to trampoline parks. House Bill 60 passed the House and would levy fees, require inspections and apply other regulations used for amusement parks on such facilities.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Monday marked the 16th Anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The museum marked its five millionth visitor last summer and celebrates continued success over the years. Acting Director Melissa Coultas says they are proud to offer a strong educational component, reaching tens of thousands of students and teachers each year...

 

 

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Acting Director Melissa Coultas. The museum is currently open to visitors, although you need to book your tickets online ahead of time. More information is available at: president lincoln dot Illinois dot gov.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,959 new Coronavirus cases and 22 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,304,200 and deaths to 21,685. Iroquois County reported 2,830 have been released from isolation, 21 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 79 active cases and 9 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,190 have recovered, 442 are in isolation and 13 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Community Sale was a huge success. That’s the word from the Paxton Park District after the sale was canceled last year because of the pandemic says Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans.

A decision about the use of the Paxton pool for this year is expected to be a topic for Paxton Park District members when they meet tonight. 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County Clerk’s vital records area is now accepting walk ins for certain items. Those needing notaries, or copies of birth, death or marriage certificates can do so without an appointment. Those needing a marriage certificate, you still need to make an appointment.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce will be working with the Rantoul Downtown Businesses to host some events throughout the summer. Chamber Director Amanda Vickory has the details… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickory.


 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Parkland College Foundation will host a virtual Scholarship Reception on April 28 to honor those who have contributed to scholarship funds. The Virtual Scholarship Reception will premiere a slideshow recognizing student scholarship recipients, their awards, and their testimonials. Participants can view the reception at parkland.edu/foundationreception, which will go live at 10 a.m. on April 28.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting progress continues a little ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. 12 percent of corn has now been planted. That compares to seven percent at this time last year and eight percent for the five year average. Soybean planting is also underway, with five percent of acres planted says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Looking at winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Conditions are drier, with average statewide topsoil moisture at one percent very short, eight percent short, 82 percent adequate and nine percent surplus.

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Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing one point six billion dollars in federal aid to improve access to high quality early childhood education and care

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing one point six billion dollars in federal aid to improve access to high quality early childhood education and care. The money will help fund initiatives to get more kids ready for kindergarten, creating a new division of early childhood at the Department of Human Services to coordinate efforts. 140 million will go to childcare providers over the next three weeks says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Additionally, a network of early childhood councils will be launched over the next 18 months which will work with local leaders, schools and families to make sure each community has the services it needs.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul firefighters were busy with 3 house fires in a half hour Saturday afternoon. Crews were called to a house fire in the 400 block of West Champaign Avenue just after 5:30. While fighting that fire, a house directly behind in the 400 block of Broadmeadow also caught fire. The third fire occurred just before 6 on Hobson Drive. Firefighters believe the first fire started in the basement. There’s no word on the cause of the other fires.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The hangers at Chanute Air Force Base have been sitting empty for 27 years, since the base closed. The Village of Rantoul now owns those hangers. The village has already sold one, and is looking at potentially selling two more says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.


 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department hosted a COVID vaccine clinic yesterday. The vaccination clinic was held at the health department in Paxton. If you missed it, they will hold another one May 8th from 8:30 to 4:30.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- Lakeview Country Club hosted the first Kindness Kannonball Saturday. The event was organized by Amy Swan and Cara Tweedy to help raise money for area non profits…

 

 

Lakeview Country Club Manage Cara Tweedy. 

 

Organizer Amy Swan talks about a donation she received…

 

 

Kindness Kannonball Organizer Amy Swan. About 200 people signed up to participate in the event.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois public school students would be taught about the dangers of sexting under legislation passed by the House. The measure would apply to grades six through 12, and is needed now more than ever says Representative Maurice West of Rockford…

 

 

State Representative Maurice West of Rockford. West says the age appropriate lessons would be a part of current sex education curriculum cover things like the consequences of sexting and related harassment and bullying. The bill still must be approved by the Senate.

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School District could do some indoor air quality work. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says they are exploring their options…

 

 

Iroquois West Schools Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.


 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The first games were played at the Rantoul Family Sports Complex over the weekend. Over 1,000 athletes hit the field for the first tournament at the $20 million complex. Work to finish the complex will continue until complete, which is expected to be in June.

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Gibson City Melvin Sibley and Mahomet Seymour School Boards along with the Ford County Board all meet tonight. GCMS leaders are expected to meet at 6:15 where they are expected to approve a bus bid with  North America Central school bus. At 7 in Mahomet, Mahomet-Seymour school board members are expected to approve a school resource officer agreement and bus lease. In Paxton at 7, Ford County board members are expected to approve a pair of bids from Iroquois Paving and Cross Construction.

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Illinois is inching closer to setting term limits on lawmakers

(Springfield-jm) -- Another 17,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, which’s about 760 more than the week before. Groups of employer associations are pushing for the state to use some of the billions in federal funds to cover the debt unemployment trust fund debt they say could be up to $5 billion.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Illinois is inching closer to setting term limits on lawmakers. The bill, introduced by Representative Anthony DeLuca, would limit Illinois lawmakers in leadership roles from serving more than 10 consecutive years. Those roles include speaker of the house, senate president and minority leaders of the house and senate.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA saw small increases in global corn production. Stephanie Ho has the details…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,581 new Coronavirus cases and 40 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,292,515 and deaths to 21,609. Champaign County reported 27 new cases bringing their total to 19,615. Iroquois County reported 7 new cases bringing their total to 2,907. Vermilion County reported no new cases leaving their total at 8,948. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

 Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Sports Complex will host their first games this weekend. The sports complex will kick off their first game tonight says Mayor Chuck Smith…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith. 

 

Mahomet, IL – Starting on the evening of April 22 and extending into the fall, Mahomet-Seymour School District is hosting a series of community engagement meetings for the development of a long-range facility improvement program. The engagement program, Bulldog Blueprint, is being organized by a coordinating committee of more than 20 volunteers led by four community co-chairs: Jama Grotelueschen, Adi Puckett, Jennifer Soderlind and James (Riz) Risley. Through a series of community workshops, the District will gather data and input to identify community priorities related to the development of a long-range facility plan. ALL members of the community are invited and encouraged to participate in this engagement process. 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On April 12th, Christopher Siaperas of Paxton was arrested for aggravated domestic battery and domestic battery. No injuries were reported and no tickets issued following a two vehicle accident near State and Vermilion on April 12th. Austin Jennings of Paxton was arrested on April 10th for a Champaign County warrant. Also on April 10th, Wilma Brown of Loda was ticketed for driving with a suspended driver’s license. On April 9th, Breana Lowe of Melvin was arrested for failure to appear. Jacob Hill-Campbell of Paxton was arrested on April 9th for two warrants for failure to appear. Andrew Thompson of Paxton was ticketed for failure to yield following a two vehicle accident at Cherry and Ottawa on April 7th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The spring legislative session continues as lawmakers continue to try and pass their legislation along with handling the COVID pandemic and prepare to address the state’s budget crisis. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about some of the legislation he has introduced…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

The Onarga American Legion will host their fish fry tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 pm.

 

The Thawville Community Sale will take place Saturday.

 

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

 

The Onarga Fire Department will host a taco fundraiser on Saturday starting at 10:30. Cost is $2.50 per taco.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Mothers in Illinois who make 208% of the federal poverty level are now eligible for full Medicaid benefits for a full year. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the expansion from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. The move follows the federal government’s approval of an Illinois waiver allowing the extension.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said the state's financial situation is getting better. The state received a new outlook on bonds from two major investor services this month. Both took the outlook from negative to stable. During the two-year budget impasse, Illinois' credit rating had dropped to a stop above junk status. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's latest outlook for the meat industry expects higher prices for beef and pork. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,581 new Coronavirus cases and 40 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,292,515 and deaths to 21,609. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 19,024 have recovered, 453 are in isolation and 13 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,816 have been released from isolation, 28 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 8,780 have been released from isolation, 42 cases are active and 5 are hospitalized.

 

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver is reminding local government officials they have until May 1st to submit Statements of Economic Interest. Approximately 1200 officials are required to submit the statements including from townships, villages, schools, drainage districts, fire districts, multi-township assessing districts, libraries, county government, park districts and cemeteries. There is a fine for not submitting on time.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is receiving billions of dollars in federal aid. The money comes from the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington talks about how he feels the state should use the money and what he fears some in Springfield might do instead…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

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New legislation would modernize the state's FOID and concealed carry systems

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,536 new Coronavirus cases and 31 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,288,934 and deaths to 21,570. Ford County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 1,683. Champaign County reported 87 new cases bringing their total to 19,588. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,900. Vermilion County reported 24 new cases bringing their total to 8,948.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The entire village of Buckley is under a boil water order until further notice.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation would modernize the state’s FOID and concealed carry systems. The bill is an initiative of the Illinois State Police and makes some much needed updates, says Director Brendan Kelly. For starters, he says they want to sync up the FOID and concealed carry permits into one card and allow them to be renewed at the same time. Additionally…

 

 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. The measure also creates an online portal of people prohibited from owning a gun for use by law enforcement agencies.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois House task force will review artifacts in the state Capitol for their depiction of historical figures with racist or other objectionable traits. House Speaker Chris Welch on Wednesday announced the Statue and Monument Review Task Force. The review follows last summer's removal of a Capitol statue of Stephen A. Douglas.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A bill headed to the Senate floor aims to help students make better choices when choosing their loans for higher education. The Know Before You Owe Private Education Loan Act is designed to give students more chances at federal loans before they result to private vendors. State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign is sponsoring the bill, which will require private lenders to confirm with a potential borrower’s school that the student’s tuition, housing, and other costs are not covered by other sources of financial aid.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House is voting to decriminalize HIV. Currently, its a crime to knowingly transmit HIV or not disclose HIV status before engaging with a sexual partner. But Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana says the law reflects past thinking about the virus and needs to be changed…

 

 

State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana. The bill passed on a 90 to 9 vote and still needs Senate approval.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- One person is dead and another seriously injured following a crash on I-57 in Champaign County. Illinois State Police say two vehicles collided in the southbound lanes causing one of the vehicles to go off the road and strike some trees. The driver, Kimberly Lewis of Chicago was taken to Carle Hospital where she died. A passenger was ejected and taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The second vehicle left the scene.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Public Library will no longer charge late fees. Library officials say the fees have become a barrier for services to low income families.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul will be seeing a new business coming to town. Maverick Piping based in New Jersey has purchased one of the hangers from the city, and will create 50 new jobs to start, and 150 when they get settled says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith… 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly could affect zoning for wind farms. Senate Bill 602 and House Bill 804 would take away any authority from county governments when it comes to zoning control of wind farms. That would be left to the state. It’s part of the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act. The Illinois Farm Bureau is among the organizations that oppose the legislation.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Illinois National Guard and the Iroquois County Public Health Department will conduct a Moderna vaccination clinic next week. The clinic will take place Monday at the Iroquois County Fairgrounds north of Crescent City. It is open to Illinois residents, 18 and older. The vaccine is by appointment only. Call 815-432-2483 to set up your appointment. The second dose will be administered May 17th also at the fairgrounds.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are voting for legislation that aims to bring an end to puppy mills. The measure prohibits pet stores from selling dogs and cats obtained from a breeder. They can only sell pets they get from animal control or a shelter says bill sponsor, Representative Andrew Chesney of Freeport…

 

 

State Representative Andrew Chesney of Freeport. The legislation still lets people buy dogs and cats from private breeders. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite seeing a decline in sports betting month-over-month, Illinois is still gaining ground compared with other states. Industry analysts with PlayIllinois.com say February’s handle in Illinois dropped nearly $72 million in February to $509.8 million. Despite the drop, Illinois surpassed Pennsylvania's handle of $509.5 million, making Illinois the third highest state for sports betting.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill would require the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to report how many youth are stuck waiting for permanent placement. Reports show that finding placement for youth has been a long time struggle for the department. If passed and signed, the department would have to provide an annual report about the youth who sit in waiting. The bill also requires a demographic breakdown of the youth affected by these placement concerns.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials are urging the public to consider flood insurance this spring. It’s estimated that less than one percent of Illinois residents have flood insurance. But State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert says it’s definitely something to think about…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Torbert says you don’t want to wait if you plan on getting flood insurance, since it usually takes up to 30 days to go into effect.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- A Las Vegas man is dead following a collision with a train in Iroquois County. Coroner Bill Cheatum says 54 year old Greg Brutlag struck a train near Woodland late Tuesday night. The incident remains under investigation.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A suspect attempted to rob a University of Illinois student in Champaign. U of I police said this happened at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, when a man approached a student who was walking on the sidewalk in the 200 block of S. Wright St. The suspect hit the victim in the back of her head and tried to take her backpack. Police said the suspect ran when a passing vehicle stopped to help, causing the robbery attempt to fail. The suspect was last seen running west from Wright Street. 

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School District is looking into possibly doing some roof work at their school in Thawville. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says they are in the early stages of the potential project…

 

 

Iroquois West Schools Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The Champaign County Board is asking community members to send in suggestions and input for reforms to the Champaign County Animal Control ordinance. In December 2020, a dog was accidentally put down after miscommunication at Animal Control. This launched an investigation into the department, and further change will be made as a result of it. Later this year, the Champaign County Board will receive recommendations from a task force formed with community partners on reforms to the Animal Control ordinance and the overall structure of the department.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Republican Women is announcing they will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a graduating female high school senior. To qualify you must be a resident of Iroquois County at least 3 years, register to vote if 18 by November 2, 2021, proof of citizenship, letter of recommendation, copy of recent high school transcript and be a member or relation of a member of the group. The deadline to apply is today. Email iroquois gop women at gmail dot com.

 

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The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology is warning about the dangers of "phishing" emails

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation lets student athletes make changes to their uniforms for religious reasons. Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines says students should be able to easily make modest alterations when they compete. That may include adding a hijab, undershirt or leggings to be more in line with their religious beliefs…

 

 

State Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines. A Senate committee approved the measure and it now goes to the Senate floor for a vote.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois received a C- for infrastructure in a new report from President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan. The new report states, infrastructure in Illinois has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. It adds that Illinois has 2,374 bridges and 6,218 miles of highway in poor condition.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology is warning about the dangers of “phishing” emails. Phishing emails are sent by scam artists hoping to get you to reveal your personal information. The state’s Chief Information Officer, Chris Britten says the message may appear to be from someone you know or a company you do business with, but if anything looks off, be on alert. He recommends this trick…

 

 

Illinois Chief Information Officer Chris Britten. Same goes for the email sender, you can hover your mouse over the email address to see if it’s legit. Britten advises never clicking on a link sent in an email just to be safe. Instead, if it’s from someplace like your bank or Amazon, open up a new tab and go straight to the company’s website.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,193 new Coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,285,398 and deaths to 21,540. Champaign County reported 38 new cases bringing their total to 19,501. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,895. Vermilion County reported 25 new cases bringing their total to 8,924. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Firefighters from several departments were called to a fire in Rantoul Tuesday evening. Crews were called to the fire in Maplewood Estates mobile home park just after 7pm. No word on the cause of the fire. Rantoul, Gifford and Thomasboro responded to the fire.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois leaders will be discussing how to spend the $13 billion the state is receiving following the passage of the American Rescue Plan. Governor Pritzker and some Republican members of the General Assembly including 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City, believe the money should go towards paying down the state’s backlog of bills…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County residents who are 16 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, which includes U of I students. University officials are working with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District on possible vaccine clinics in the future. An additional shipment of 20,000 doses has been requested from the state to help get U of I students vaccinated.

 

 

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

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Corrections is resuming in-person visits at state facilities. The East Moline Correctional Center is open for families to visit their incarcerated loved ones now, and the other locations will soon follow. Agency Spokesperson Lindsey Hess says visits had been suspended since last March…

 

 

Illinois Department of Corrections Spokesperson Lindsey Hess. Visitors will have to sign up ahead of time online. More details are available at: illinois dot gov slash idoc. Click on facilities and then visitation rules and information.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A study ranked Illinois in the top five nationally for marijuana taxes generated in 2020. The U.S. Drug Test Centers study on Marijuana Economics and Usage by State found Illinois ranked No. 5 in marijuana taxes with $175 million during the 2020 year. In addition, adult and youth marijuana usage increased. Adults who used marijuana in Illinois "in the last month" grew by 39% since 2015 and youth ages 12-17 increased by 4%. The study said the $175 million in 2020 Illinois taxes made up .4% of total Illinois revenue.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is encouraging families to include their kids in any disaster planning. Emergency plans should keep in mind the unique needs of children. IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says getting them involved in building an emergency kit, planning an escape route and practicing fire drills can help make kids feel safer…

 

 

IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Clark says there are a number of online resources that make disaster preparedness fun for kids including the National Fire Protection Association and Federal Emergency Management Agency’s websites.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,193 new Coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,285,398 and deaths to 21,540. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 18,960 have recovered, 403 are in isolation and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,810 have been released from isolation, 22 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 31 active cases and 4 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- An accident in Mahomet caused a gas leak and a portion of Route 150 to be closed for several hours. Crews say a teen with a driving permit was driving with his parents when he accidentally hit a gas feed to a building causing the leak. Traffic on Route 150 had to be diverted while crews fixed the leak.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The COVID-19 Vaccine is available at Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop in Paxton. There will be an online form that you can fill out, as well as a paper version when you go to get your vaccine. Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson has the details of the process… 

 

 

Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson.

 

 

(Undated-jm)-- Nominating petitions are available for Illinois Commodity Boards. For the Illinois Soybean Program, petitions are available for District 11 which includes Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar and Piatt Counties. For the Illinois Wool and Sheep Marketing, petitions are available for District 2 which includes, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Kendall, Livingston, Piatt, Vermilion and Will Counties. To be nominated, you must be at least 18 and reside in the district. Nominations must be submitted by July 6th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA made some changes to the U.S. supply and demand estimates for soybeans. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

 

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Illinois came up $1 billion short in expected transportation tax revenue last year

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House GOP lawmakers want to ban your workplace from requiring you to prove you've received the COVID-19 vaccine. The proposed legislation would make it illegal for an employer in Illinois to require an employee to show proof of receiving a vaccine that is only approved for emergency use authorization by the FDA. The bill would only apply to vaccines that have emergency use authorization, not vaccines that have full FDA approval.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois came up $1 billion short in expected transportation tax revenue last year. Due to COVID-19, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute estimates the state's travelers did so up to 40% less compared to 2019. Taxes on things like fuel pay for infrastructure spending.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- The Vermilion County coroner’s office is releasing the name of an inmate that died at the county jail. Coroner Jane McFadden says 43 year old Joshua Edwards of Hoopeston died Sunday morning at the counties jail. An autopsy was scheduled for yesterday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,433 new Coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,282,205 and deaths to 21,523. Champaign County reported 112 new cases bringing their total to 19,463. Iroquois County reported 6 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 2,890 and deaths to 61. Ford County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 1,675. Vermilion County did not have a report Monday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Rantoul village board and Paxton city council both meet tonight. In Rantoul at 6, village trustees are expected to approve the purchase of 70 new radios for the police and fire departments, waive certain liquor license fees and approve their fiscal year 21-22 budget. In Paxton at 7, city aldermen are expected to consider motor fuel tax projects, approve the purchase of a new police vehicle, consider changes to the city’s tree ordinance and discuss the 4th of July. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6 with the Paxton city council meeting getting underway at 7.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Two Paxton Buckley Loda teachers have received grants. Superintendent Cliff McClure recognizes those teachers…

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- Willard Airport will be receiving over a million dollars in federal funding. The Savoy based airport received $1.17 million to purchase a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting truck as well as snow removal equipment. The funding is part of $627 million in federal infrastructure and safety grants.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting has begun in Illinois. Nearly four days were suitable for fieldwork this past week, giving producers time to start planting says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Three percent of winter wheat has headed and 73 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Rain was more than an inch above normal, boosting average statewide topsoil moisture to six percent short, 73 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus.

 

The American Red Cross will host a blood drive at the Milford Fire Department today from 1-6 pm.

(Springfield-jm) -- More than a third of small businesses in Illinois have closed a full year into COVID-19 restrictions.Those restrictions the governor says are to slow the spread of the virus continue to this day. The Illinois Policy Institute analyzed data from Harvard University that showed 35% of small businesses are closed compared to before the pandemic, more than in any other Midwestern state, except Michigan.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study at Northwestern University is shedding light on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the body. Eighty-five percent COVID-19 “long haulers” reported four or more neurological symptoms such as attention and memory problems, loss of taste and smell, headaches and blurred vision. The average age of people in the study was 43.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department on Aging is working to make sure seniors stay connected. The state has distributed more than 11 hundred i-pads, tablets and access to wifi and hotspots to older Illinoisans and people with disabilities thanks to a nearly two million dollar federal grant. Department on Aging Director Paula Basta says the technology has provided a valuable lifeline during the pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta. More resources are available to seniors and families struggling to get through the pandemic on the agency’s website at: illinois dot gov slash aging.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- One person is in the hospital and one person is behind bars following a weekend shooting in Rantoul. Police were called to the 600 block of Autumn Fields Lane. Darrion Miles was arrested for aggravated battery with a firearm.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,433 new Coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,282,205 and deaths to 21,523. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 18,926 have recovered, 399 are in isolation and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,808 have been released from isolation, 19 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Ford County is unable to provide an active and recovered report at this time. Vermilion County did not have a report Monday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Rantoul village board and Paxton city council both meet tonight. In Rantoul at 6, village trustees are expected to approve the purchase of 70 new radios for the police and fire departments, waive certain liquor license fees and approve their fiscal year 21-22 budget. In Paxton at 7, city aldermen are expected to consider motor fuel tax projects, approve the purchase of a new police vehicle, consider changes to the city’s tree ordinance and discuss the 4th of July. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6 with the Paxton city council meeting getting underway at 7.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College is announcing student artists selected to attend the 2021 Illinois Community College Juried Exhibit. Katy Geurtz of Loda and Grant Siegmund of St. Joseph were among those selected to participate.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting has begun in Illinois. Five percent of corn acres have now been planted. That’s ahead of last year and the five year average says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. He turns to winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Pasture conditions improved quite a bit, to 70 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture increased to six percent short, 73 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus.

 

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The pandemic has taught the Illinois Emergency Management Agency some valuable lessons

(Springfield-jm) -- New daily COVID-19 cases rose above four thousand Friday for the first time since the end of January. Four thousand four new and probable cases of infection are being reported along with 21 additional deaths. The number of COVID patients in the hospital is also increasing with about 18 hundred currently admitted. The good news is that it was another record day for vaccinations, with more than 164 thousand given, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The governor says those that are ending up in the hospital typically haven’t been vaccinated. You can find a vaccination site near you online at: coronavirus dot illinois dot gov. On Friday, Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,884. Champaign County reported 58 new cases bringing their total to 19,351. Vermilion County reported 17 new cases and 1 additional death, a woman in her 30s, bringing their total number of cases to 8,899 and deaths to 126. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are hearing from the tourism and hospitality industry. During a committee meeting, members of hotel, restaurant and convention groups stressed that they can’t survive another summer under low capacity limits. And, while they appreciate the need to move ahead based on COVID numbers, Navy Pier CEO Marilyn Gardner said they need more notice…

 

 

Navy Pier CEO Marilyn Gardner. Hotel industry representatives expressed frustration that their staff, including housekeepers, were not included in the initial priority groups eligible for the vaccine. Others said there needs to be a coordinated effort to promote what’s open in Illinois so travelers and event organizers aren’t having to try and figure that out.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- One person was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries following a car vs semi accident near Paxton Friday evening. Emergency personnel were called to the accident just before 5pm on I-57 near mile marker 263.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul will be getting a new building for multiple businesses. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says that he doesn’t know who will be in the new building but that there are more tenants wanting the location then the building has space… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Could the graduated income tax proposal still come to fruition? There are talks Democratic legislative leaders are considering the idea again says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

Representative Bennett goes on to say raising the income tax while recovering from the pandemic is not a good idea…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Several area schools are receiving federal COVID money. Thomasboro Grade School is receiving $1,468,270. Rantoul City Schools is receiving $9,109,926. Gifford Grade School $255,934. Rantoul Township High School $3,590,051. Paxton Buckley Loda $3.3 million. Gibson City Melvin Sibley $2.6 million and Tri Point Schools $1.2 million.

 

The American Red Cross will host a blood drive at the Crescent City Community Center today from 1-6 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The pandemic has taught the Illinois Emergency Management Agency some valuable lessons. IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau says Illinois has become a national leader in PPE preparedness, building a system of purchasing and transporting valuable supplies like masks and gloves and keeping a 60 day stockpile on hand. But there is concern for the future…

 

 

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. Tate-Nadeau says they also realized they didn’t really have a logistical arm to the agency. That’s changed with the addition of new warehouses around the state to quickly disperse supplies to communities in case of disaster. She says more training for local emergency management personnel is also needed.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul business has moved to a new location. Sheer Excellence held a ribbon cutting yesterday at their new location across from the south Casey’s along Route 45. The business offers hair cuts as well as tanning.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- There will be a slight fee increase in the Iroquois West School District. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says only Head Start students will be affected by the increase…

 

 

Iroquois West Schools Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Republican Women is announcing they will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a graduating female high school senior. To qualify you must be a resident of Iroquois County at least 3 years, register to vote if 18 by November 2, 2021, proof of citizenship, letter of recommendation, copy of recent high school transcript and be a member or relation of a member of the group. The deadline to apply is April 15th. Email iroquois gop women at gmail dot com.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An area lawmaker is calling out Governor J-B Pritzker’s handling of the pandemic. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the Governor is ignoring calls to have the legislature involved in the reopening plan…

 

 

Senator Barickman also talks about Governor Pritkzer’s recent announcement creating a bridge phase…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will be hosting a series of COVID vaccination clinics this week. The Moderna vaccination clinic will take place on Wednesday, April 14th with the Pfizer vaccination clinic on Thursday, April 15th and the Johnson and Johnson vaccination clinic on Friday, April 16th.

 

 

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