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Lawmakers return to the state capitol today

(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers return to the state capitol today. The Governor gives his State of the State and Budget Address tomorrow. Thursday is the final day of session for the month.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A state child tax credit would be a game changer for thousands of low-income working families in Illinois. Under legislation now being considered during the current session in Springfield, working families making under $70,000 a year and single heads of households making up to $50,000 a year would receive a tax credit of $700 a month per child. Another proposal would give up to $300 a month for a child tax credit for qualifying families. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Illinois has more than 440,000 children, 16% of the children in the state, who live in poverty. A four-person household with a combined income of $27,500 a year is an example of a family living at the poverty level.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are the highlights of USDA’s forecasts for meat and dairy production and prices for the coming year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) – A semi fire on I-57 in Iroquois County Friday morning damaged several thousand pounds of merchandise. An Amazon semi caught fire near Ashkum. When crews arrived the trailer was fully engulfed. Mutual aid was requested from Gilman and Chebanse. An estimated 23 thousand pounds of merchandise was lost in the fire.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – The Vermilion County Master Gardeners are inviting the community to their annual Garden Day Festival on March 9. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bremer Conference Center at Danville Area Community College. The festival has been a local tradition for over 25 years. This year’s celebration will feature unique vendors, a silent auction, donation baskets, door prizes, and four speakers from Illinois Extension as well as local and national businesses. Tickets cost $30 and will include lunch from the DACC Culinary Arts School, a goodie bag, access to all speakers and more. All proceeds go to Master Gardener Projects in Vermilion County. Register at go dot illinois dot edu slash garden day 2024.

 

(Urbana–jc)  Monitoring your blood glucose levels, being active and watching your diet are keys for diabetics. Tim Ditman with O–S-F has the story…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – Every five years, the USDA releases the agriculture census, which is a count of every single farm and ranch in the United States, along with the number of people operating those farms. The most recent census was published last week, and it brought with it some unsettling news. The United States has the lowest number of farms and ranches since 1850. To put that into perspective, in the year 1850, the 13th President of the United States was sworn into office, and the U.S. was only made up of thirty-one states and four territories. The current census uncovered that there are 1.9 million farms in the nation. In the 2017 census, that number was over two million. Then if we look back to the 2007 census, our count was at 2.2 million farms. So, we have been seeing this decline for decades. The cost of production has made it harder for smaller farms to survive, resulting in farms consolidating. Nevertheless, no matter the size of a farm, they are still being run by families. The census revealed ninety-five percent of farms and ranches are operated by families.


 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Pascaline Phongo from Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what goes on today.

Rantoul  FFA member Pascaline Phongo 

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Cale Zwilling from Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

Fisher FFA Member Cale Zwilling

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state capitol will be abuzz today as lawmakers return. Several committee meetings are scheduled. The Governor gives his State of the State and Budget Address tomorrow. They wrap up this short session Thursday.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new Tax Foundation study finds Illinois with the second highest corporate tax rate in the country. Some say that signals more struggles ahead for the Land of Lincoln. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation ranked states by their corporate income tax rates as of Jan. 1, 2024. Six states, Texas, Nevada, Washington, Wyoming, South Dakota and Ohio, do not levy a corporate income tax. Of the 44 that do, Illinois’ 9.5% rate put the state at No. 2, up from No. 3 in last year’s report. The top spot in 2024 goes to Minnesota at 9.8%. The state with the lowest rate outside of the states that do not have such taxes is North Carolina at 2.5%. The new state-by-state rankings also highlight that Illinois’ flat corporate income tax rate of 9.5% is four percentage points higher than the flat 5.5% rate now in place in neighboring Iowa.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA adjusted its milk product and class prices this month higher based on several factors. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – To give residents a chance to receive direct assistance and have their voices heard, State Senator Paul Faraci has teamed up with Congresswoman Robin Kelly to host mobile office hours Thursday in Rantoul.  The free event is an opportunity for residents to get help from both offices, such as assistance with state and federal resources. Coffee will be provided for attendees. The mobile office hours will be held on Thursday from 1-4 p.m. at the Rantoul Business Center.

 

(Hoopeston-jm) – A Hoopeston woman was arrested following a theft at the Hoopeston Dollar General. Jalisa McGhee was arrested on charges of retail theft and trespassing after police were called to the Dollar General in regards to a theft. McGhee was released as part of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act.

 

(Undated-jm) – It may not feel like it now but spring is quickly approaching and with that warmer weather farmers will be hitting the fields soon. Besides getting the tractors and fields ready, farmers also need to be thinking about crop insurance. The deadline for many crop insurance programs is March 15th. 

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Morgan Sinn from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

Cissna Park FFA Member Morgan Sinn

 

We were also able to talk with Owen Pree from Iroquois West High School’s FFA Chapter. 

 

Iroquois West  FFA Member Owen Pree

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters.  Alex Ward from GCMS High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

GCMS FFA Member Alex Ward

 

We were also able to talk with Ally Wright from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter.

PBL High School’s FFA Ally Wright

 

 

 

 

Illinois taxpayers will know Wednesday how Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to spend their money for the fiscal year

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois taxpayers will know Wednesday how Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to spend their money for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The state’s total budget for fiscal year 2024, which ends June 30, is around $50.4 billion in state taxpayer funds. Adding federal and other state funds brings the total taxpayer cost for Illinois in the current fiscal year to nearly $170 billion. Pritzker will deliver his proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 on Wednesday. Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said she hopes the governor delivers a balanced budget proposal. Other costs continue to grow. State Sen. Chapin Rose raised alarm over the continued taxpayer costs from the state’s policy subsidizing health care for non-citizen adults and how that may impact a possible deficit he said nears $1 billion. Other priorities the governor has already laid out include spending for early childhood, K-12 and higher education. Spending for K-12 education alone is around $10 billion in fiscal 2024. In prior weeks, Pritzker has toured the state touting an increased number of child care positions through his Smart Start program that started in fiscal 2024 with around $250 million.

 

(Washington-jm) – U.S. government officials provided their take on how diversification of agricultural export opportunities is taking place at the 100th USDA Ag Outlook Forum. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA projects farm income categories down for 2024 but what are some of the factors behind the forecast? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police have been informed that the victim of a February 8 shooting incident has passed away due to his injuries at a local hospital. This investigation has been reclassified as a Homicide. Champaign Police were dispatched to the 100 block of N. Market Street for a report of a shooting with injuries. On-scene, officers located Brandon Hardway, 45, of Champaign with a gunshot wound to the torso. In the early hours of February 17, 2024, the victim succumbed to his injuries. The investigation indicates that the victim was approached by Fidele Tshimanga, 24, of Urbana, who produced a firearm and opened fire before fleeing the scene. Additional officers arriving in the area quickly apprehended Tshimanga for his role in this incident. He was transported to the Champaign County Correctional Facility, where he remains, awaiting trial. Champaign Police have shared news of the victim’s passing with the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office, and they have shared their intent to amend charges against Tshimanga. He is back in court tomorrow. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has proposed an extension of the contract of University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen for three years, pending formal vote and approval during its March meeting. Enrollment across the system reached a record high for the 10th consecutive year last fall, with representation from all 102 Illinois counties. Additionally, with a goal of keeping more Illinois students in the state, 79% of all undergraduates are from Illinois. Research funding also has grown to over $1 billion under Killeen’s presidency, showcasing the system's commitment to pioneering advancements that have global impacts. Additionally, under his leadership the system’s universities successfully conducted fundraising campaigns that raised $3.6 billion, surpassing the goal of $3.1 billion and marking a new chapter in the university system’s history of philanthropic success.

 

(Watseka-dm)--Illinois’ primary election is scheduled for March 19th and voters in Iroquois County will be using new voting machines for the first time. Breein Suver, Iroquois County Clerk, tells us what differences the voters can expect.

 

 

Breein Suver, Iroquois County Clerk. 

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce would like to recognize businesses and individuals who stood out in our community in the year of 2023 at our upcoming annual meeting! Please nominate businesses and individuals in the following categories: New Business of the Year, Business of the Year and Outstanding Professional Award. The deadline for submissions: March 1.

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country next week. Asher Litman from Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what that have going on today

 

 

Fisher FFA member Asher Litman

 

(Springfield-jm) – Free income tax preparation is available through several trusted programs across Illinois for qualifying taxpayers needing assistance filing their 2023 income taxes. The Internal Revenue Service, American Association of Retired Persons' Foundation Tax-Aide Program, and the Ladder Up Tax Assistance Program, provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in select locations statewide. How taxpayer assistance is provided and when services are available varies by region, based upon volunteer capacity.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA’s Chief Economist offers his look at crop prices, input costs, and how that translates into producer margins for this year. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire inside an attached garage in the 1600 block of Williamsburg Dr., Saturday at 8:43 p.m.  Fire crews were able to contain the fire to the garage.  Firefighters responded to the report of a neighbor of fire coming from the garage of the home.  Once on the scene, firefighters reported moderate smoke and fire coming from the attached garage of the single-story residence.  Crews deployed a single hose line to keep the fire from extending outside the garage.  

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Martha Rice has been appointed Chief Deputy Coroner for Champaign County. Champaign County Coroner Steve Thuney said the appointment is effective today. Rice has worked for the Champaign County Coroner’s Office since July 2019, holding positions of Deputy Coroner and Senior Medical Secretary. She has experience handling death investigations and has assisted in the training of new Deputy Coroner’s.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center are awarding grants to manufacturers in the state. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the program and how small businesses can apply…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – A memorial is being planned to honor the late Iroquois County Highway Department Superintendent Joel Moore. Moore passed away April 21, 2023, after an illness. During the Iroquois County Board meeting it was noted that the Road Commissioners Association will cover the costs of the memorial at the county highway building in Watseka. The Transportation and Highway committee approved the memorial and brought the matter to the full county board, which also approved it.

 

With FFA week being this week, we were able to talk with several area FFA Chapters. Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton talks about what is going on this week.

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton

Employers could soon be getting tax credits for helping their employees pay student loans

(Washington-jm) – Illinois congressman Darin LaHood says a tax relief package that recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives will help small businesses grow, boost American competitiveness and support working families. The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 includes various provisions, including a child tax credit, breaks for small businesses and affordable housing. LaHood said the legislation restores a 12.5% allocation increase to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit that expired in 2021. LaHood noted that the measure will help finance over 200,000 rental units for low income households across the country. Businesses would be able to immediately deduct the cost of their research and development investments, instead of spreading it out over several years. The bill also addresses how business interest expense is handled and 100% bonus depreciation. The package passed the U.S. House on a bipartisan vote and it now heads to the Senate for consideration.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A move is underway at the Illinois Statehouse to address the rising costs of local pensions while some look to alleviate the state’s property tax burden. Illinois property taxes are already among the highest in the country. Many taxing bodies have more of their share of property taxes going to local pensions. Part of the Illinois Municipal League’s 2024 legislative agenda includes re-amortizing local pension debt beyond the aim of 90% funded by 2040. IML CEO Brad Cole equated that to refinancing a home loan. Municipal leaders say without some relief, they may have to increase taxes on local residents to continue making payments and providing services. State Rep. Tim Ozinga, filed House Bill 4866 to give local school districts more state taxpayer funds through an Education Property Tax Relief Fund. He said that could lower property taxes. Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently said increasing state funding for local K-12 education would also help lower property taxes. The state’s school funding formula allocates an additional $350 million extra a year for public K-12 education. Illinois legislators return Tuesday. Pritzker delivers his budget address Wednesday.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's February global corn production forecasts note a lower outlook for Brazil's total production. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA’s annual Ag Outlook Forum presented the Department’s first take on major crop commodities for the coming year. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton first responders were called to a vehicle versus building Thursday evening. Crews were called just before 6pm for a vehicle that ran into the Pontiac Granite building across from the IGA. No injuries were reported.

 

(Champaign-jm) – An 18-year-old from Champaign will spend six years behind bars for a shooting incident near Booker T. Washington STEM Academy in the fall. Tyzerion Wesley pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class X felony. On September 14, 2023, Wesley was in a group of people that encountered another group near the school. The groups opened fire on each other, but no one was hurt. Wesley was arrested within 10 days of the shooting and was charged alongside three other teenagers, all 15 or 16 years old, in connection to the shooting. 

 

(Paxton–dm)--If you are planning to do some painting soon, Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental has some ideas on picking out the right paint brush for the job.

 

 

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

 

(Rantoul-jm) – To give residents a chance to receive direct assistance and have their voices heard, State Senator Paul Faraci has teamed up with Congresswoman Robin Kelly to host mobile office hours on Feb. 22 in Rantoul. The free event is an opportunity for residents to get help from both offices, such as assistance with state and federal resources. Coffee will be provided for attendees. The mobile office hours will be held on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 1-4 p.m. at the Rantoul Business Center, located at 601 S. Century Blvd. in Rantoul.

 

(Buckley–jc)  –  It’s a Chicken Dinner, carnival and silent auction set for Sunday afternoon in Buckley. The annual event is sponsored by the St Johns Lutheran School P-T-L. St John’s event spokesperson Kira Ebert says the dinner starts at 4pm…

 

 

St Johns Lutheran School Chicken Dinner, Carnival and Silent Auction Spokesperson Kira Ebert. The event starts with a carnival at 3-30 and the gym will be full of silent auction items to bid on.  Some of the funds raised will go towards at bleachers project at the school and also school projects.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A State Senator proposed a bill that would implement gender-neutral terms in certain sections of civil law. Senate Bill 2777 replaces terms like “husband” and “wife” with “spouse,” “married couple” and other gender-neutral alternatives in sections of civil law related to property. This would remove legal ambiguities when preparing real estate documents and ensure compliance with the state’s same-sex marriage law. By using gender-neutral terms, the legislation would make the legal code more inclusive to nonbinary, intersex and gender-nonconforming individuals and those in same-sex relationships.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Employers could soon be getting tax credits for helping their employees pay student loans. This could happen if the General Assembly passes a bill for it this spring. Deductions would be limited to the first payment of $5,250. Senator Paul Faraci, of Champaign, is a co-sponsor. He thinks this bill would have a dramatic impact on employees throughout the state. If passed, it will go into effect immediately.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA’s Chief Economist offered his take Thursday on the direction of 2024 food prices and food prices inflation as part of the 100th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Department’s 2024 outlook for ag trade focuses on challenges in the global marketplace regarding increased competition, particularly one region of the world. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The man accused of shooting the general manager of Pour Bros. Craft Taproom a week ago is now facing charges for the theft of the gun used in the shooting and for allegedly showing it during a robbery two days earlier. Two days after his indictment on a first-degree murder charge, Fidele Tshimanga was back in court to be arraigned on burglary and armed robbery charges. Each charge was brought in separate court cases.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – The Vermilion County Board has agreed to hire a firm to prepare plans for improvements at four county-owned buildings. The Vermilion County Courthouse, the Cannon Building, the Health Department building, and the EMA building on route one are the buildings looked for improvement.  All of those buildings have very antiquated HVAC systems which need to be updated for performance purposes and for trying to conserve energy. New lighting and windows are also included in the plans. The County Board has earmarked federal ARPA Covid relief money to pay for the work.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Google and the State of Illinois are teaming up to provide behavioral health resources. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains how the partnership will work…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton–jc) A meet some of the candidates forum is set for Kinos Coffee in downtown Paxton on Saturday. The event will feature ford County Circuit Clerk candidate Kasi Schwarts, Ford County Board candidate Kelsie Vaughn and Ford County Board candidate Dom Brackenhoff. The event runs from 9am to 11am on Saturday at Kinos Coffee in downtown Paxton. 

 

(Gilman–jc)  The Iroquois West F F A is hosting its annual dinner and auction on Saturday at the high school in Gilman. Iroquois West F F A Advisor Sandy Howe says the event starts at 4pm on Saturday…

 

 

Iroquois West F F A Advisor Sandy Howe. Money raised helps with scholarships, national convention and chapter projects. 

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s Foodmobile will be in the following communities today: across from the Piper City Community Center from 9-9:30, Living Word Church Roberts from 10-10:30, across from Melvin Convenient from 11-11:30, Gibson City city hall from 12:15-12:45, Elliott village hall from 1-1:30 and Paxton Hardware and Rental from 1:30-2.

 

The Buckley Sportsmans Club annual fish fry will take place this evening starting at 4:30 at the Legion Hut.

 

Onarga American Legion Post 551 will hold their fish fry this evening from 4:30-7 at the Legion Hall at Durham Park.

 

The Cadillac in Paxton will host Jump: America’s Van Halen Experience tonight at 7:30. Doors open at 6.

 

The Cissna Park Development Board will hold a night of Dueling  Pianos and Saturday at the Cissna Park American Legion. Cocktail hour will be from 5-6 with dinner served starting at 6 with music going until 9. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased at Knapp and Steiner True Value.

 

The PBL Booster Club will hold Glo Bingo on Saturday. Doors open at 5:30 with Bingo at 7. Tickets are available by reaching out to the Booster Club.

 

The Ludlow Fire Department will hold their pancake and sausage breakfast on Sunday from 8-12 at the Ludlow Fire House. Cost is $6 for adults. Kids 5 and under are free.

 

The Gibson City Lions Club will hold their all you can eat pancake day on Sunday from 8-12:45 in the GCMS Elementary School. Cost is $10 for those 13 and older, kids 6-12 are $4.

 

The St. Johns Lutheran School PTL annual Chicken Dinner, silent auction and carnival will take place on Sunday starting at 3:30. Tickets are available by calling the school at 217-394-2422.

Illinois is in the top 10 for states with the most residents living under the poverty line

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois is in the top 10 for states with the most residents living under the poverty line, leading members of both parties to call for changes. Numbers from World Population Review show that Illinois has more residents living in poverty than most other states. The national poverty rate, or those earning less than $14,580, is 11.5% and according to World Population Review, Illinois has nearly 1.5 million people, or 12.1% of the state's population, living in poverty. Illinois is one of three Midwestern states in the top ten.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Additional time is being given for rules to come together in implementing Illinois’ Paid Leave for All Workers Act. The measure passed in January 2023 and took effect last month. It mandates that every employee in the state gets up to 40 hours of paid leave a year, or one hour of leave for every 40 hours worked. Starting on March 31, or 90 days following commencement of employment, the Illinois Department of Labor announced workers can begin using their earned time off for any reason “without the requirement of providing documentation to their employer.”

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The Paxton Main Street Group has made the application to become a member of the Illinois Main Street program. Now it is the waiting game for the local civic group to see if they are accepted. Paxton Main Street Director Donna Pepper says they expect to hear more by sometime in March…

 

 

Paxton Main Street Director Donna Pepper.

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois American Water has requested a rate increase with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The company is seeking a $152 million rate increase, which would raise monthly household water bills by about $24 and wastewater bills by about $5. Officials point to infrastructure improvements totaling nearly $560 million. The Citizens Utility Board is calling the rate increase request “excessive.” The watchdog group also notes the costs associated with the company buying municipal water systems, which is 100% paid by customers.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Hotel Royer in downtown Urbana was purchased by Icon Hospitality in January of 2020. Now, four years later they are asking for their fourth extension, until December of 2024, for the project. Icon Hospitality said remodeling and restoring the hotel has been a very challenging process due to its age and condition. The hotel was built in 1923 with an extension added in 1980. Icon Hospitality said working to maintain the historic element of the building along with getting it up to standard of a Hilton Tapestry Collection is one of the main reasons for the delay.

 

(Washington-jm) – Tuesday marked the release of the 2022 Census of Agriculture and some of the latest data involving the ag sector. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says each day without a new farm bill adds to uncertainty for producers. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Another attempt is being made to make medically-assisted suicide legal in Illinois. The Illinois End of Life Options Coalition is praising lawmakers who have introduced legislation that would allow medical aid-in-dying in Illinois. The group has emphasized that the practice is called medical aid-in-dying and not assisted suicide. The End of Life Options for Terminally Ill Patients Act would allow terminally ill adults to have the option to get prescription medication to end their life. Ten states have authorized medical aid-in-dying, with 19 other states considering similar measures this spring.  The Illinois End-of-Life Options Coalition said a recent poll showed 17% of Illinois voters oppose medical aid-in-dying.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois taxpayers will learn next week how Gov. J.B. Pritzker hopes to spend their tax dollars for the coming fiscal year. Republicans are urging him to not include new programs, new taxes or tax hikes. Pritzker said he wants next week’s speech to be a big reveal. He said the bottom line is “more of what we care about.” Republicans warn of possible deficits up to $890 million. In recent years, human services spending increased by $3.6 billion and health care and Medicaid spending increased by $1.5 billion. Pritzker delivers his budget address Wednesday, Feb. 21.

 

(Springfield-jm) – An area state lawmaker is providing an update on the latest on migrant healthcare costs in the state. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – An Indiana man has been sentenced for child sex crimes. 20-year-old Dylan Clark has been sentenced to more than 14 years in prison after picking up a girl from Vermilion County and bringing her to his home in Indiana. Clark was 19 years old at the time of the crime. He traveled across state lines to meet up with an 11-year-old girl from Georgetown and lure her back to his Franklin, Ind. home, where he engaged in sexual conduct. Clark was arrested in September 2022 and was placed into the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service. He pleaded guilty to transporting a minor across state lines with intent to engage in sexual activity.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a scam. They say they were made aware of multiple people receiving calls from someone claiming to be Deputy/Sergeant Ryan Black with the Champaign County Sheriff's Office. The department says they do not have a Ryan Black employed and to not give out any personal information.

 

(Washington-jm) – The Agriculture Department Wednesday released the latest edition of its ten-year ag production and economic projections, yet what were some of the key findings? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Rural America is making an economic comeback. Gary Crawford reports…

 


WPXN News Notes…

 

Parkland College Theatre will hold their performances of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead on February 15, 16, 17, 23 and 24 at 7:30 pm and February 18 and 25 at 3pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and can be purchased online at tickets dot parkland dot edu.

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s Foodmobile will be in the following communities today: Abbe Insurance Buckley from 9-9:30, Durham Park in Onarga from 10-10:30, Crescent City Community Center from 11-11:30, RP Home and Harvest in Watseka from 12:30-1 and Milford Town and Country from 1:30-2.

 

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

 

The Buckley Sportsman Club will hold their annual All You Can Eat Fish Fry Friday from 4:30-7pm at the Buckley Legion. Cost is $13 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under. 



 

Illinois row crop farmers have until the end of the month to apply for cover crop incentives for fields that were planted with cover crops in 2023

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois row crop farmers have until the end of the month to apply for cover crop incentives for fields that were planted with cover crops in 2023. The incentives are designed to help farmers offset the start-up costs of planting cover crops. The signup process for the Farmers for Soil Health Program is simple with a smaller administrative burden than most other programs. The application at FarmersForSoilHealth.com/enrollment should be filed by the end of February 2024. Farmers for Soil Health is a collaborative partnership between the National Corn Association, the National Soybean Association and the National Pork Producers. Signing up for the Farmers for Soil Health Program does not preclude farmers from participating in other cover crop programs.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Republican senators are calling out the state’s democratic majority on their handling of the migrant healthcare program. State Senator Sue Rezin of Morris…

 

 

State Senator Sue Rezin of Morris.

 

(Paxton-jm) – An iconic piece of Paxton history is being restored. Crews removed the firetruck from Pells Park. The firetruck will be restored and returned to the park as part of upgrades coming to the city’s largest park this summer.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A dog died in a house fire in Champaign on Tuesday. The Champaign Fire Department responded to a fire in the 1400 block of Briarwood Drive. Firefighters responded to a report from a passerby of a fire in this split-level residence. Once on the scene, fire crews reported fire coming from an upper-level window. Fire crews quickly extinguished the fire that originated in the bedroom. The cause of this fire has not been determined.

 

(Washington-jm) – The latest USDA Census of Agriculture offers new categories of information to glean and what has changed regarding farm operations since 2017. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign 18-year-old was sentenced to probation for spray-painting swastikas and racial slurs targeting Black people and Jewish people on gravestones. Dominic Koca got two years of probation for spray-painting the racist in November. The News Gazette reports he will also have to participate in an educational program that discourages hate crimes, comply with treatment recommended by a forensic psychiatrist, conduct 200 hours of public-service work within 20 months and refrain from consuming alcohol, cannabis or illicit drugs.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, along with the District’s Justice Coalition committee, is proud to announce, “Black Health, Wealth, and Wellness,” a panel discussion in celebration of Black History Month. Scheduled for February 22 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm, with doors opening at 5:30 pm for light refreshments, this event promises to be an empowering gathering of local Black community leaders highlighting the vital intersections of health, wealth, and wellness within the Black community.

 

(The Center Square) – A former state legislator has formed a group that is launching a statewide effort to put parents' rights on Illinois' November 2024 ballot. Former State Representative Jean Ives says they are gathering signatures from Illinois voters to put the question of parental notification concerning medical procedures on their children. Ives says their goal is to gather a half million signatures by the end of March…

 

 

Parents Matter Coalition Spokesperson Jeane Ives. Those that want to learn more about the issue or sign their petition can find the group…parents Matter Coalition, on line.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is searching for a missing woman. Police say April Jocelyn,44, has not been seen by or in contact with friends or family since 5:15 a.m. yesterday. Jocelyn was last seen in a pink hoodie. She is described as 5 foot 11 inches, has hazel eyes, weighs 160 pounds, and has brown hair. Jocelyn also has a tattoo of a floral pattern on her neck and a tattoo on her left hand. If you have any information on Jocelyn contact the Champaign Police Department at 217-351-4545.

 

(Washington-jm) – What are some of the notable data points regarding the 2022 Census of Agriculture’s study of farm products and value? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Urbana Fire Department was called out for an early morning house fire Tuesday. Crews responded to the 600 block of W. Elm just after 1 a.m.  Light smoke was showing from a 2-story home. A fire was located in the attic. The fire was brought under control less than ten minutes after first arrival. The occupant was able to get out of the house before the Fire Department arrived.  No injuries were reported. The damage was minor, and the house was habitable. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

(Savoy-jm) – Willard Airport officials are looking for help to secure funding for new leisure flight service, they’re headed to city halls across Champaign County.  They are looking for the cities to contribute to a minimum revenue guarantee to attract flight service to the airport. Willard has proposed budget leisure flights to Las Vegas, Arizona, and Florida. The University of Illinois has already promised $500,000 towards the MRG and is looking for community organizations to match that amount.

Former House Speaker Mike Madigan's chief of staff sentenced to 30 months in prison

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Republicans are demanding ethics reforms after former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s chief of staff was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Tim Mapes received the sentence Monday after he was found guilty in August of lying about what he knew. Among measures Republicans say can hold corrupt elected officials accountable is a measure prohibiting elected officials from using political campaign donations to pay for criminal defense. Among other reforms Republicans say are needed include giving the Legislative Inspector General more independence to investigate wrongdoing faster than federal or state prosecutors can reveal. Another measure Republicans say is important is a bill to suspend a retired member of the General Assembly’s annuity payments if they are charged with a felony. Madigan is receiving a pension of about $12,600 a month while he awaits trial in October.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA is projecting lower incomes for all sectors of agriculture and all regions of the country. Gary Crawford reports…

 

(Champaign-jm) – The man arrested for allegedly shooting a bar manager in Champaign has been charged with attempted murder. Fidele Tshimanga, 24, of Urbana, was arrested February 8th following an afternoon shooting that occurred in the 100 block of N. Market Street near Pour Brothers Taproom. A 45-year-old employee of the bar, Brandon Hardway, was outside of the business when he was allegedly approached by Tshimanga who then produced a firearm and fired before fleeing. Hardway was taken to a hospital for a potentially life-threatening gunshot wound to the torso.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new bipartisan measure aimed at ensuring the preservation of family farms in the event of a family member’s death is being introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. Members of the General Assembly have spent years attempting to reform the Illinois Estate and Generation Transfer Tax Act. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington also believes similar legislation is needed for small businesses in the state…

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.


 

(Washington-jm) – There’s a push to address the crisis at the southern border. U-S Senator Dick Durbin says Congress must do something…

U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

 

(Decatur-jm) – The Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater in Decatur is excited to announce KC & The Sunshine Band, coming on August 23rd.Tickets for this show will go on sale at a later date at The Devon's website.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois gun ban plaintiffs Monday filed for multiple hearings with the U-S Supreme Court. The Second Amendment Foundation filed petitions challenging Maryland and Illinois gun and magazine ban. In addition, Monday, plaintiffs in the case Bevis vs Naperville also filed for the Supreme Court to take their case. A petition from the Barnett vs Raoul challenge was also filed to the Supreme Court. The most recent data shows, of around 2.4 million Firearm Owner ID card holders in Illinois, 1.46% have registered banned items with Illinois State Police.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's top economist says the nation's farm sector is in a good position to handle a possible low income year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

(Urbana-jm) – This week Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding an armed robbery. Police say on January 28, at 6:59 p.m. police officers were dispatched to the Quick Shop at 1511 East Washington Street in Urbana for the report of an armed robbery. Upon arrival, officers learned an unknown male came into the gas station, displayed a handgun, and demanded money. The suspect fled from the store after taking cash and a cell phone belonging to one of the employees. The suspect was described as a light-skinned black male wearing all-black clothing and a gray face covering. If you have any information regarding this or any crime in Champaign County, please contact Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Republican senators are calling out the state’s democratic majority on their handling of the migrant healthcare program. State Senator Sue Rezin of Morris…

State Senator Sue Rezin of Morris.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Iroquois County has joined a state list of 39 Illinois counties now labeled as 'StormReady.'  The National Weather Service declared the 'StoryReady' designation -- a program that helps arm America's communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property - before, during and after the event. To be StormReady, a community must establish a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center, have more than one means of receiving severe weather warnings and forecasts to alert the public, create a system that monitors weather conditions locally, promote the importance of readiness, and develop a formal hazardous weather plan.

 

 

(Urbana–jc)  Cold and warm…it’s still winter. O-S-F;s tim Ditman has more…

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign County Humane Society has announced a new program that will help pet owners rehome their pets without ever having to see the inside of a shelter. Home to Home is a program of Better Together Animal Alliance, a registered nonprofit, that provides a direct-to-adopter tool for pet owners looking to rehome or find a foster for their animals. According to the Humane Society, the program, "helps reduce stress on both owners and their pet, while simultaneously reducing the number of animals being relinquished to shelters."

A Bill that would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code, has been pulled for now after much pushback

(Springfield-jm) – A state representative introduced a measure that would ban single-family-only zoning in Illinois cities.  State Representative Kam Buckner, of Chicago, posted on X, formerly Twitter, that Chicago and many cities in Illinois have a self-inflicted housing crisis, something his House Bill 4795 aims to address. Buckner said on X his bill would ban single-family only zoning. He also said the bill only applies in cities with populations over 100,000, which he said is only eight cities in Illinois.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The U of I Flash Index for January fell to 102.5 from its 102.8 reading in December. That indicates a slowing, but still strong economy. An index reading above 100 denotes growth. Income, corporate and sales tax receipts for the month were down slightly compared to the same month last year. The Illinois unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8% compared to 4.6% a year ago.

 

(Washington-jm) – A new report says U.S. agricultural export values and import values both declined in Calendar Year 2023. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton-jm) – Paxton firefighters were called to a barn fire Saturday afternoon. Crews were called to the barn fire west of Paxton just after 1:30 pm. Minimal damage was reported.

 

(Undated-jm) – A low flying helicopter is flying over parts of the area to map the Mahomet Aquifer. The helicopter mapped parts of Champaign County a few years ago. They have spent the last few days mapping parts of Ford and Iroquois Counties.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – A Beaverville man is awaiting extradition back to Iroquois County after he was arrested in Indiana on a warrant in connection to a shooting that left a person injured in December.  John Brown was arrested by Jasper County Indiana police and U-S Marshals in connection to a December 29th shooting in northeast Iroquois County. Brown is charged with aggravated battery, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon and aggravated discharge of a firearm. 

 

(Undated–jm)  –There are several meetings around the area tonight. In Rantoul, the Rantoul Township High School board will hear a school wellness presentation and consider a change order for the Main Gym/East Wing Expansion project. The Ford County Board will consider a non-sanctuary county ordinance tonight. In Gibson City, they will consider task orders for chip seal projects and the Railside subdivision storm drainage recommendation. In Gilman tonight, city leaders are expected to approve a $255,000 bid for the 3rd and Maple street improvements and also consider proposed water and sewer improvements.

 

(Iroquois County.--jc)  The Spring Primary election is set for March 19th. In Iroquois County there is a school referendum question on the ballot for residents in the northeastern part of the county. Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver says the question is about a grade school district…

Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver

 

(Springfield-jm) – After a special counsel’s report on President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents highlighted questions about the president’s mental capacity, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he “smells a rat.” Illinois U.S. Representative Mary Miller said in a statement that Pritzker "must ask Biden to resign from office,” and the governor “will disqualify himself from ever holding higher office if he stays silent.” Miller also urged Biden cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president. Asked about Americans who read the report and have concerns about the president's mental fitness, Pritzker said Biden is fit to be president.

 

(Springfield-jm) – At the Illinois Gaming Board’s first meeting of the year, it reported that the state and local governments earned more than $1.5 billion in tax revenue from Illinois’ 15 licensed casinos, more than 46,000 video gaming terminals and 13 sports wagering operators statewide in 2023. The total amount of money wagered in the Illinois sports wagering market for 2023 was $11.6 billion. Since sports wagering launched in 2020, Illinois has had one of the highest grossing sports wagering markets in the country.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA is forecasting a fourth year in a row of falling direct government payments to farmers. Gary Crawford reports…

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Following the resignation of Kyle Patterson from his position on the Champaign County Board, the Democratic Precinct Committeepersons from Patterson's district will convene this evening via Zoom to select his successor. Applicants were solicited via social media and email lists and word of mouth, and two candidates have put their names forth: Grant Chassy and Donald Owen.

 

(McLean County-jm) – A McLean County judge denied Barton McNeil's latest attempt to get a new trial on charges he killed his 3-year-old daughter in 1998 because he said the evidence likely wouldn’t be legally allowed. McNeil, who has maintained his innocence, is serving a 99-year prison sentence for the suffocation death of his daughter. McNeil claims his ex-girlfriend is responsible. She is in prison for killing her mother-in-law. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington says a bill filed by the chairman of the Judiciary – Criminal committee, got a lot of attention this week and the kick-back he received caused him to pull the bill, for the time being. House Bill 4603, sponsored by Chicago Democrat Justin Slaughter, would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code by prohibiting police officers from stopping a driver for minor speeding and improper lane use violations…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – Learning more about cover crops and how farmers can use them to improve their soil and nutrient management will be the objective of an upcoming workshop hosted by Vermilion County Farm Bureau. The Cover Crops and Soil Management workshop will be held on Thursday, February 29, beginning at 9:00 am. The program will be held in the Vermilion County Farm Bureau Auditorium, 1905 U.S. Route 150 west of Danville. Presenters in the workshop will include Dan Schaefer, with the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association; Lowell Gentry, a retired University of Illinois senior researcher; and Eric Beckett, Illini FS agronomist. The panel will discuss on-farm research that has utilized cover crops and soil management to help farmers discover practical applications for their farms.

 

There are several meetings around the area tonight. In Rantoul, the Rantoul Township High School board will hear a school wellness presentation and consider a change order for the Main Gym/East Wing Expansion project. The Ford County Board will consider a non-sanctuary county ordinance tonight. In Gibson City, they will consider task orders for chip seal projects and the Railside subdivision storm drainage recommendation. In Gilman tonight, city leaders are expected to approve a $255,000 bid for the 3rd and Maple street improvements and also consider proposed water and sewer improvements.

 

(Paxton–jc)  It’s Girl Scout Cookie sales time. Paxton Girl Scout Troop Leader Kaye Harper says they are offering 9 kinds of cookies…

 

Paxton Girl Scout Troop 28-27 Leader Kaye Harper

Workers at the Illinois Department of Transportation could soon be going on strike

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Revenue is encouraging Illinoisans to take advantage of savings offered by the newly expanded Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit that helps low to moderate income workers get a tax break. For tax year 2023, coverage has been expanded to include taxpayers with an IRS-issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, as well as workers ages 18 to 24 and over 65. Taxpayers eligible for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit automatically qualify for the Illinois credit.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Despite recent government reports of a stronger economy, most small business owners are struggling, but there is improvement in Illinois. The small business network Alignable reports that 63% of small business owners said they made less money in the 4th quarter of 2023 than the year before, leading to recent troubles in January. 37% said they can’t pay their rent in full or on time. 29% saying they couldn’t pay the rent in full or on time, down from 35% in December, and down 18 percentage points from 47% in November.

 

(Springfield-jm) – There’s a new bipartisan measure aimed at ensuring the preservation of family farms in the event of a family member’s death. Members of the General Assembly have spent years attempting to reform the Illinois Estate and Generation Transfer Tax Act and 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington hopes this is the year…

            

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.


(Champaign-jm) – One person was injured and a suspect is in custody following a shooting in downtown Champaign late Thursday afternoon. Champaign Police say they were dispatched at 3:19 p.m. to the 100 block of N. Market Street for a report of a shooting with injuries. On-scene, officers located a 45-year-old Broadlands man with a potentially life-threatening gunshot wound to the torso. The initial investigation indicates that the victim was approached by Fidele Tshimanga, 24, of Urbana, who produced a firearm and opened fire before fleeing the scene. Additional officers arriving in the area quickly apprehended Tshimanga for his role in this incident. He was transported to the Champaign County Correctional Facility, where he is being held on initial charges, including Aggravated Battery with a Firearm. A firearm was recovered during this investigation.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The Rantoul Sports Complex is set to open for the 20-24 season with some baseball later this month, but will have softball and baseball tournaments starting in March. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried says teams interested in participating or businesses that want to plan marketing can give him a call…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried. 

 

(Watseka-jm) – The Watseka Enforcement Team conducted an undercover drug investigation that resulted in the arrest of an Iroquois man. Police arrested Paige "Sam" Chambers after a short drug investigation took place. Chambers was charged with Delivery of a controlled substance, Possession of a controlled substance, Unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, Possession of drug equipment, Obstruction of justice and driving while license suspended. Earlier in the day, Chambers was indicted by an Iroquois County grand jury for 3 counts of intent to deliver Methamphetamine 15-100grams, two of the counts being within 500 feet of a church. 

 

(Paxton–jc)  5 thousand boxes are available. That is 5 thousand boxes of girl scout cookies from Paxton Troop 27-28. Troop leader Kaye Harper says cookie sales started on February 3rd and runs through mid-march…

 

 

Paxton Girl Scout Troop 27-28 Troop Leader Kaye Harper. The troop is selling cookies at Paxton Park District games on Saturday at the Junior High. Contact your local girl scout troop for more information on cookie sales. 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA has just released a new forecast for Brazil's soybean crop and for U.S. soybean prices. Gary Crawford reports…

          

 

(Springfield-jm) – Workers at the Illinois Department of Transportation could soon be going on strike. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced that its over 3,800 members overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike, with 95% voting in favor. A Teamsters spokesperson said the primary roadblock to getting a new contract is that the state wants to switch workers to a different healthcare plan, something they are opposed to.

 

(Undated-jm) – An oil industry analyst said the temporary BP oil refinery shutdown in Northwest Indiana will impact prices even at non-BP gas stations. The BP refinery in Whiting, one of the largest in the country, suffered a power outage last week and it appears that it will be off-line for at least two weeks. Patrick DeHaan (dee-ha-an) from GasBuddy.com said given the loss of hundreds of millions of gallons of gasoline from the downtime, pricing impacts could spread around the Great Lakes region.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Senate Republicans are calling out the Democratic majority over the state’s handling of migrant healthcare costs. State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet joined fellow Senate Republicans to address their concerns…

State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet.

 

(Watseka–jc)  The Illinois Primary election is set for March 19th. For those in Iroquois County, they will be using new voting machines. Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver says the current machines are outdated and replacing parts has become an issue…

 

Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver

 

(Champaign-jm) – State Police confirmed that one person was hurt in the crash on I-74 Thursday afternoon. That person was taken to an area hospital and is expected to be ok. The crash happened between the exits to Neil Street and Prospect Avenue.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  The application is complete for the Paxton based Main Street Group.  The local civic organization is applying to become a member of the Illinois Main Street group. Illinois Main Street supports a network of communities across the state that are working to bring prosperity to their historic and commercial districts. Paxton is the Place to Be and Paxton Main Street Director Donna Pepper says they were eager and happy to complete the application…

 

Paxton is the Place to Be and Paxton Main Street Director Donna Pepper. Illinois Main Street is expected to add several towns to their program sometime in March or April.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –  The Village of Rantoul Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Sub-Committee is set to meet later this month. The committee will be discussing bids they received for the renovation of the missile on the former Chanute Air Force base area. The group will also look at the next steps in the project when they meet on February 21st at 5-30pm at village hall on Tanner Street. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – You can now start filing your taxes. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the best way to file is online…

         

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's latest adjustment to soybean production in Brazil also meant changes regarding to global and U.S. supply and demand estimates. Rod Bain reports…

          

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s Foodmobile will be in Rantoul this morning from 9-10 am at the Fountain Valley mobile home park basketball courts.

 

The Rankin Fire Department will hold their 29th annual Fireman’s Pancake and Sausage breakfast on Saturday from 6-1. The breakfast is carryout only. Cost is $7 for adults, $4 for children.

 

The 35th Annual PBL FFA Farm Toy Show will take place Saturday from 9-2:30 in the high school gym.

 

A bill at the Illinois statehouse would increase the distance solar farms could be placed from homes

(Springfield-jm) – A group of state legislators is joining forces with the Illinois Manufacturers' Association to address educational issues involving one of the state's largest industries. Lawmakers from the Illinois Manufacturing Caucus, which will highlight the role manufacturing plays in the state's economy, discussed proposed legislation that would provide students better access to a career in manufacturing. Other components of their 2024 agenda include changing high school graduation requirements, a daycare pilot program for businesses, a workforce ecosystem and a scholarship program.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A bill at the Illinois statehouse would increase the distance solar farms could be placed from homes. Currently, commercial solar energy facilities can be located within 50 feet of a home and 150 feet from a multi-family residence, but proposed legislation would increase that to 500 feet. State Rep. Anthony DeLuca of Chicago Heights, sponsored House Bill 4135 and said many residents in his district don’t want to live next door to a solar farm as well as saying they don’t know what the health concerns might be of a solar farm, we don’t like the way they look, we’re concerned about how it might impact property values. During a House Energy and Environment Committee hearing this week, Michael Morthland with the group American Clean Power Association said changing current Illinois law would set the state back in its clean energy goals. Governor J.B. Pritzker last year signed into law a measure that strips local control from county governments regarding zoning matters on wind and solar energy. The law provides counties with “guardrails” for siting wind and solar farms, and creates a commission that oversees and approves wind turbines everywhere but Chicago.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Farm families could see some help under a proposal sponsored by 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Senator Bennett explains…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – The Chicago office of the National Weather Service, in cooperation with Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency, will be conducting a SKYWARN spotter training Thursday, February 15th, 2024 at the “Hub” in Watseka, 114 N 3rd Street, Watseka, IL 60970. The training will begin at 6:30pm and last about two hours. A special program by Danny Neal will follow immediately thereafter. Danny boasts over 350,000 followers on his Illinois Storm Chasers Facebook Page.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's first farm income forecast for 2024 shows a significant drop in farm sector profits. Gary Crawford reports…

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Hundreds of people attended a meeting in Gibson City regarding a proposed CO2 pipeline. The Coalition to Stop CO2 Pipelines called the meeting to discuss One Earth Sequestration's proposal to build a pipeline to store carbon dioxide in central Illinois. The company said the pipeline would be able to transport 4.5 million metric tons of CO2, leaving space for other ethanol-producing facilities to reduce their carbon footprints.

 

(Paxton–jc)  –  It’s tax filing season. For those who have filed their income taxes, you have an option to track your return. Shaffter Tax and Accounting of Paxton Owner Jeff Shaffer says you can follow your return…

Shaffer Tax and Accounting of Paxton Owner Jeff Shaffer.

 

(Champaign-jm) – State Senator Paul Faraci is leading a measure to give veterans and first responders access to mental health providers of their choice. The legislation is in response to a situation in Champaign where several firefighters were unable to engage the mental health counselor of their choice based on a non-compete clause in the counselor’s contract. Faraci’s legislation would allow every trained mental health professional to provide these much-needed services to any first responder or veteran, regardless of whether they have a non-compete clause in their employment contract.

 

(Springfield-jm) – State legislators are laying out more measures that could impact Illinois taxpayers with families and those paying property taxes. House Bill 4866 would lower property taxes in the state by increasing state funding for local pensions. Senate Bill 3329 and in House Bill 4917 would provide $300 for Illinois families who earn less than the median income. A separate measure would provide up to $700 in a child tax credit.

 

(Chicago-jm) – A group of demonstrators will be allowed outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this summer, despite opposition from Democratic officials. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the city failed to respond to a permit application within its own 10-day deadline and now must allow a group called the Poor People’s Army to protest at the DNC in August.

 

(Washington-jm) – Congress is working on a bipartisan approach to fix the migrant crisis. U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says there needs to be a fix to the broken immigration system…

 

U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

 

(Kankakee-jm) – Gotion, Inc. plans to host another job fair to recruit workers for the electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant to be located in Manteno. The job fair is Saturday, February 10 from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm.  The fair will be in the Iroquois Room, Room D152, at Kankakee Community College's Riverfront Campus. Representatives will accept resumes, and briefly talk with each candidate. Additionally, those in attendance will be asked to fill out an information sheet so the recruiting team can reach out to qualified candidates for full interviews at a later date.

 

(Washington-jm) – How will the farm economy bear up under a projected major cut in farm income this year? Gary Crawford reports…

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is announcing a significant step forward in its commitment to environmental stewardship. The health department has recently completed the installation of state-of-the-art photovoltaic panels atop the 99,000 square foot building. The panels, installed by StraightUp Solar in Champaign, are estimated to produce 412,800 kWh of energy in the first 12 months of operation, and produce 60% of the overall grid energy usage. Financial incentives provided to CUPHD will reduce the cost of the system by roughly 60% as well.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Impact Life is hosting another blood drive in the city of Paxton later this month. Blood Drive Coordinator Kevin Hanson says winter weather causes shortages of needed blood…

Impact Life Blood Drive Coordinator Kevin Hanson.

The blood drive is set for Saturday February 24th at the First Lutheran Church in Paxton from 10am to 1-30pm

 

(Champaign-jm) – The city of Champaign has decided to settle a wrongful death lawsuit for $2 million. In March 2022, 20-year-old Ross Booker was cleaning debris from a car crash when he was hit and killed by a car. The teen driver was later found guilty for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Booker’s family sued the city, alleging that police officers should not have allowed Booker to walk into an intersection to clear debris.

Caterpillar officials say the company achieved the best year in its 98-year history in 2023

(Springfield-jm) – The president of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge is speaking out against legislation that would limit what offenses police could pull over people for, calling the bill “unhinged.” The bill would prohibit law enforcement from pulling motorists over for speeding, improper lane usage and other offenses. The original sponsor of the legislation said it was meant to start a dialogue about policing.

 

(Decatur-jm) – Caterpillar officials say the company achieved the best year in its 98-year history in 2023. Caterpillar released its 2023 and fourth quarter numbers. In a statement, the company said sales and revenue increased by three percent to $17.1 billion last year. CAT attributes the gains to higher financial product segment revenues and favorable currency impacts, primarily tied to the euro.  

 

(Springfield-jm) – A solution to address the high costs of dealing with immigrants in the state is receiving pushback. Republican lawmakers pushed the Pritzker Administration to come up with a plan to help reduce the cost the state is paying for taking care of immigrants being bused to the state from Texas. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the Administration came up with a plan but there’s a catch…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – On Tuesday night, the City of Champaign unanimously voted to authorize a $2 million settlement in his Ross Booker family’s wrongful death lawsuit. In March 2022, Booker was cleaning debris from a car accident when he was hit and killed by a 16-year-old driver. The teen driver was later found guilty for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the state’s investment in early childhood education. The Governor announced the state exceeded their goal of creating more 5,000 pre-k spots through the Smart Start program. The program is also helping younger kids. There is also assistance for childcare providers…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The housing market in Champaign County has experienced a turbulent year in 2023, marked by the dual challenges of inflation and rising mortgage rates. Despite these hurdles, the area saw an increase in both median and average home sales prices, as reported by the Champaign County Association of REALTORS. According to year-end data, the total number of home sales in 2023 was 2,578 units, a decline of 14.1 percent from the 3,002 units sold in 2022. This downturn is attributed to a combination of higher mortgage rates and reduced inventory levels. However, the median home sale price in the area rose to $197,000, up 6.3 percent from the previous year’s $185,000. The average sale price also saw an increase, rising by 4.4 percent to $232,513. December 2023 brought some positive changes, with 180 homes sold, a 3 percent increase from December 2022. The median sale price for December soared to $196,500, marking a significant 19 percent increase from the previous year. The average sale price followed suit, reaching $232,726, an 11 percent rise from December 2022.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Women in Urbana will soon have increased access to obstetrics care through a collaboration on select services between OSF HealthCare and Advanced Women’s Healthcare in Bloomington. At OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana, a team of OB/GYNs and certified nurse midwives from Advanced Women’s Healthcare will see patients for well-woman, prenatal and postpartum care at the medical office building on the OSF Heart of Mary campus.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new report shows that Illinois is on the hook for a tremendous amount of post-employment benefit liabilities. The American Legislative Exchange Council released its “Other Post-Employment Benefit Liability” report, which ranked Illinois 46th in the country. It shows that Illinois has about $103 billion in unfunded post-employment liabilities. That is on top of around $140 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

 

(Springfield-jm) – After human remains were mishandled by a Macoupin County funeral home, Illinois state lawmakers have filed legislation that would increase the penalties of such actions. Legislation filed at the Illinois Statehouse is in response to a funeral home in Carlinville that cremated an individual, but the remains were given to the wrong family by the funeral director. If approved and passed into law, the measure would make the new punishment for any misuse of human remains a Class 4 felony.

 

(Washington-jm) – Congress is working to address the migrant crisis at the southern border. U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says Texas’s approach is dangerous…

 

 

U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Champaign man was arrested after a University of Illinois Police officer stopped a vehicle for an expired registration and found two loaded handguns. Jamario Cook, 31 was arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon, aggravated unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a stolen firearm, armed violence, resisting police, obstructing justice, driving with a revoked license, illegal possession of cannabis in a motor vehicle and on a Champaign County warrant.

 

(Roberts-dm)- The Living Word Church is having a craft and vender show later this month in Roberts. Event Spokesperson  Melanie Bauer invites all to help with the fundraiser at the Roberts Gym….

 

 

Living Word Church Summer Camp Fundraiser Spokesperson Melanie Bauer.  There will be concessions and lots of vendors at the show.  For more information you can call Melanie Bauer at 217-379-7852.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Jordan Davis will be performing at the Illinois State Fair this year. Davis with special guests Ashley Cooke and King Calaway will perform at the Illinois State Fair Grandstand on Tuesday, August 13. Davis recently earned his sixth career #1 with his two-time platinum hit, “Next Thing You Know.”

 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The most recent findings from the Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer reveal a downturn in farmer sentiment at the start of 2024. The January barometer fell to a reading of 106, 8 points lower than in December. Producers expressed a more pessimistic perspective about their farms’ current situation and future prospects. The Current Conditions Index fell 9 points, and the Future Expectations Index dropped by 7, both compared to December. The anticipation of weaker farm income in 2024 contributed to the overall decline, reflected in the Farm Financial Performance Index at 85, a 12-point decrease from the previous month. This month’s Ag Economy Barometer survey was conducted from Jan. 15-19. There was an increase in the proportion of producers anticipating a decline in financial performance for the upcoming year, with the figure rising from 20% in December to 31% in January. Concurrently, the percentage of those expecting income levels to remain stable decreased from 63% to 53%.

 

Illinois legislators return to the state capitol today to continue the spring session

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois legislators return to the state capitol today to continue the spring session. Top of mind is the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Illinois taxpayers will hear more about how Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to spend their tax dollars during his budget and State of the State address Wednesday, February 21. He’s indicated there will be a lot of priorities legislators will have to balance.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that the latest data continues to show the spread of respiratory viruses is declining across the state. The state’s overall respiratory illness level decreased from low to minimal in the most recent available CDC data and the state is also now at a low level for COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Jan. 27. No Illinois counties were at high level for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the last week.

 

(Springfield-jm) – 5 year old AJ Freund (friend) suffered abuse and torture throughout his short life. The boy was killed in 2019 at the hands of his parents at their home in Crystal Lake and was buried by his father in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock. McHenry County prosecutors maintained that the Department of Children and Family Service case workers should have stepped in months earlier and could have saved his life. Representative Tom Weber of Lake Villa talks about how the state failed AJ…

 

 

State Representative Tom Weber of Lake Villa. Legislation has been introduced in Springfield to make sure this never happens again.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been awarded more than $4.2 million in federal grant funding. The funds will be awarded through a series of six grants from the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency to help fund research projects related to energy and transportation innovation.

 

(Danville-jm) – Nine months after a future reproductive health clinic in Danville was vandalized, the culprit has been sentenced to five years in federal prison. Philip Buyno, 73 of Prophetstown, was sentenced in Urbana by U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce on Monday. He was charged with attempted arson to damage a building used in interstate commerce and pleaded guilty in September. Five years was the minimum prison sentence in this case. The maximum was 20 years.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's Outlook Board experts are getting ready to release their new forecasts for crop supplies, exports and prices.  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Voters next month in Gibson City will decide whether to fund a new pool by raising their taxes. A referendum will be on the ballot for the March primary election. The referendum includes a 1% increase to the sales tax for 20 years. The tax would fund the city’s new swimming pool, as well as other infrastructure projects.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers return to the state capitol today with several issues at the forefront. One measure impacting taxpayers would decrease the estate tax burden for family farms valued between certain amounts. Other issues include how to deal with the ongoing costs of the migrant issue. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has indicated there are also talks about addressing how buses of migrants can be dealt with around the state. The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association will be looking for how to handle continued concerns with the end of cash bail. With various breaks scheduled, session is expected to adjourn May 24. Contingency days are scheduled through May 31. Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to spend their tax dollars during his budget and State of the State address Wednesday, February 21.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Employment Security has announced that tax forms are now available for claimants who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2023. Claimants who collected benefits last year need the 1099-G tax form to complete their state and federal tax returns. Claimants who opted not to receive their 1099-G tax form electronically will receive a hard copy paper form via regular mail at the address on file.

 

(Washington-jm) – Congress is working to address the migrant crisis at the southern border. U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois says order must be restored…

 

 

U-S Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.


(Champaign-jm) – Parkland College is bringing back a program that will help out school districts and teachers. The Substitute Teacher Training Series will give people a head-start on how to become a sub. They’ll focus on skills like curriculum and classroom management, school safety protocols, how to apply for your substitute licenses and many others. The course will be held on Saturday mornings starting February 17.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a missing person. Police are seeking assistance in locating information related to the disappearance of Montel Aker, a male who went missing on August 13th, 2011. Montel had been staying with family friends in the 800 block of Division Avenue in Urbana, but August 13th, 2011 was the last time family or friends had contact with him. He had told his family he was going to Rantoul to visit friends in the area of “Falcon Way” or “Pheasant Ridge.” Throughout the investigation, officers learned on the day Montel went missing he had planned to get a tattoo at a home tattoo parlor in the 1200 block of Fairlawn Drive in Rantoul. Montel previously lived in Terre Haute, IN, and he told friends he was considering going to Indianapolis, IN, but the family said it’s very unusual for Montel to not have contact with his family for even a short period of time. Officers advised there has been no activity on Montel’s social media or financial accounts.

 

(Washington-jm) – How much beef will the U.S. produce this year? What price are producers likely to get for their steers,on average? USDA is about to issue its answer to those questions. Gary Crawford reports…

 


(Champaign County-jm) – In a significant move to address the needs of the aging population, Advocates for Aging Care and the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District are set to launch a comprehensive survey titled, “Your Voice Matters: A Survey of Older Adults and Family Caregivers in Champaign County.” The initiative aims to deeply understand the requirements and experiences of individuals aged 60 and above, as well as the challenges faced by family caregivers in Champaign County. The survey is a response to the critical need for enhanced care facilities for the elderly. It will probe into the accessibility, interest, and usage of various services, including rehabilitation, long-term, and nursing home care in the county. The move comes in the wake of a concerning revelation by AAC in May 2023, highlighting a shortfall of 300 nursing home beds in Champaign County, as calculated by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The Ford County board is expected to vote this month on a declaration that they are a non-sanctuary county

(Springfield-jm) – A federal judge told the state he is not interested in delaying a challenge to Illinois’ gun ban so government lawyers can figure out what the state legislature passed. During a scheduling conference of the case Friday in the consolidated challenge Barnett v. Raoul in the Southern District of Illinois, Judge Stephen McGlynn heard from litigants about how they plan to proceed on the merits. Just before Friday’s hearing, the state proposed wrapping up discovery on Nov. 30. That was after the plaintiffs suggested wrapping up discovery in July. The plaintiffs are directed to file by Tuesday which attorneys they select as their representative to interact with the court on the scope and timeline for the case.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the state’s economy and what he calls a successful 2023. The Governor is calling out those who don’t believe the accomplishments…

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Illinois State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City was given a Public Service Award on Saturday from the Illinois Firefighters Association at his hometown Gibson City Fire Department. The award thanked Senator Bennett for his role in getting the new tax credit law aimed at supporting volunteer firefighters. It passed on the state level this past spring. Volunteer firefighters from across the state can now qualify for up to $500 of credit on income taxes. Bennett and the Illinois Firefighters Association say they want to improve volunteer retention for departments across the state. The Association pushed for this bill for years on the state level with no luck. Senator Bennett said volunteer firefighters should be awarded for keeping communities safe.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Illinois seeks to better provide parents and children more access to behavioral health services through a new partnership program with Google. Governor J.B. Pritzker was at Google Chicago to announce the creation of BEACON, or the Behavioral Health Care and Ongoing Navigation, a service access portal for Illinois families to access behavioral and mental health resources for children. The plan will incorporate artificial intelligence and create an online portal that provides families with access to behavioral and mental health resources. According to the state, the portal will look to achieve five different goals by making it easier for youth and families to access services, adjusting capacity to ensure the right resources are available, intervening earlier to prevent crises from developing, increasing accountability to ensure the state has a transparent system, and developing agility so that the system can adjust to meet the evolving needs of youth. Chris Hein, director of Customer Engineering for Google…

 

Google Director of Customer Engineering Chris Hein.

 

CHAMPAIGN - Tomorrow night, the Champaign City Council will consider authorizing the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the City of Champaign and its police officers by the Estate of Ross Booker. Employed by a tow truck company, Mr. Booker was tragically struck and killed by a passing motorist while cleaning debris at the scene of an accident in March 2022. If approved by the City Council, the $2 million settlement will result in the dismissal of the lawsuit. The proposed settlement amount will be paid from the City’s insurance policies.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Tax time is here, so now is the time to call your tax preparer, or do it yourself, if you have the knowledge. Shaffer Tax and Accounting Owner Jeff Shaffer says do not miss the tax deadline of April 15th, because of penalties and more. Shaffer says there are options…

 

Shaffter Tax and Accounting of Paxton Owner Jeff Shaffer

 

(Normal-jm) – Rivian Automotive is planning to host a product launch in March, fueling speculation that the company will soon unveil a smaller and less expensive electric vehicle. Auto analysts said the company will likely unveil a lower-priced sport utility vehicle at a price ranging from $40,000 to $60,000. The starting price for Rivian’s first-generation R1S SUV, which is made in Normal, is $78,000.

 

(Springfield-jm) – An Illinois lawmaker wants to put an end to the flood of lawsuits against businesses as the result of the state’s strict biometric law. State Sen. Bill Cunningham, has filed Senate Bill 2979 which would make changes to the liability guidelines in the Biometric Information Privacy Act. Under BIPA, private entities must obtain written consent before collecting and storing biometric information, such as an employee's fingerprint. If a business is sued for violating BIPA, they can be ordered to pay damages for each instance where biometric information is collected. Cunningham’s bill would limit the number of claims accrued under that scenario should an employee bring a lawsuit against a company for a violation of BIPA. If a certain biometric identifier is collected by the same employer in the same manner, only one violation would accrue.

 

(Springfield-jm)  – The state is looking to capitalize on its civil war era history with a new state commission. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – A Vermilion County judge is stepping down from the bench later this year to retire. Associate Judge Derek Girton announced on Friday that he will be retiring at the start of July. He has been a judge since 2010 and has been assigned to Vermilion County throughout his tenure. The process to fill Judge Girton’s vacancy will begin late February this year, beginning with a request to the Supreme Court for authority to fill the position. Assuming permission is granted, an application period will start early March with hopes of naming the new judge this April.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new analysis of state tax systems finds the Illinois tax structure is unfair to low- and middle-income households, especially those with children. Terri Dee reports…

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Hair can make a huge impact on one's confidence and performance. Broadmeadow Elementary School is making sure their students excel in both. The Rantoul School is hosting a free natural hair care event for Broadmeadow students. Organizers gathered volunteers to offer washing, drying and styling for those who attend. Donations are being accepted. Those items include braiding hair, oils, shampoo, moisturizer, blow-dryers, rubber bands, brushes, brush and comb sanitizer, towels, barrettes and gloves. The event is Saturday, February 17th from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. It will be located at The Gathering Place at the Methodist Church. If you're interested in volunteering or donating, you can email mgentry@rcs137.org or ablomberg@rcs137.org.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  More development connected to the Rantoul Sports Complex continues in the village of Rantoul. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried says current hotel locations are getting upgrades and additional sports are being planned…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried

 

(Ford County-jm) – Another downstate Illinois county board is expected to vote this month on a declaration that they are a non-sanctuary county. Officials in Ford County are proposing the declaration because they said the county doesn’t have the means to care for migrants. The measure has been forwarded to the state’s attorney to examine the wording. Grundy County passed a similar measure in December.  

The Illinois Farm Bureau unveiled new legislation aimed at improving the Illinois Estate Tax

(Springfield-jm) – With the recent deployment of 300 Illinois National Guard troops to the Middle East, some are asking why they weren't sent south to help secure the U.S. border.  Republicans across the country are rallying behind Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s legal standoff with the federal government and an ongoing dispute with President Joe Biden over the ongoing rush of illegal immigrants across the border. More than 35,000 migrants have come to Illinois since August 2022, many of them arriving on buses from Texas. On his Truth Social platform, former President Donald Trump encouraged states to deploy their National Guards to Texas.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Taxpayer costs to care for migrants amount to $1.5 million a day, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said, and now those who faced eviction from city shelters will be able to stay until March. Johnson has extended the 60-day stay deadline at the city's homeless shelters twice due to weather concerns. Close to 2,000 migrants would have been forced out of the shelters today had the deadline remained in place. Johnson said the policy was intended to clear shelter space and speed up connecting migrants to permanent housing. Johnson said his administration will continue to assess the shelter stay policy through the end of winter, but admitted that funding will eventually dry up…

 

 

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. One proposal brought up would be to decline hosting the Democratic National Convention that will take place in Chicago in August. Governor J-B Pritzker is against that idea…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A Carlinville man well familiar to law enforcement at the University of Illinois has been sentenced to prison for breaking into and stealing from an apartment during a string of criminal activity around campus. Javarrias Miller, 24, has been arrested more than 10 times in the last year by Urbana and University Police. Most of those arrests were for burglary and theft, but Miller was also arrested for stalking and harassment. One of those burglary incidents led to jail time. Miller pleaded guilty to one count of residential burglary and was sentenced to four years in prison. Miller faced anywhere from four to 15 years in prison for the July apartment break-in. He was ultimately given the minimum sentence and was given credit for 111 days already served in custody.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The Urbana Police Department is investigating a shooting that took place in the 200 block of S. Maple Street in Urbana. When officers arrived on the scene they discovered multiple shell casings, indicative of gunfire. Further investigation revealed that an occupied residence and a vehicle had both been struck by gunfire. Despite the house being occupied at the time, no injuries were observed or reported.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA has released their cattle report. Shayle Shagam, USDA livestock analyst, with some of the key numbers in USDA's Cattle report…

 

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The Rantoul Sports Complex will open with a few Parkland College Baseball games later this month as the popular center is set for a full year of activities. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried invites the area to see the wide variety of sports and more coming for 20-24…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried.

 

(Springfield-jm) – As Illinoisans turn up their thermostats to stay warm for the rest of this winter, the risk of a home heating fire or carbon monoxide incident increases. This is why the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal is encouraging residents to have their furnaces checked, change furnace filters, and make sure carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are functioning properly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Yesterday, the Illinois Farm Bureau unveiled new legislation aimed at improving the Illinois Estate Tax.  In a press conference in Bloomington, at the home office of the Illinois Farm Bureau, House Republican leaders stood with bipartisan lawmakers supporting the new measure. House Bill 4600, named the Family Farms Preservation Act, is designed to protect the heritage of family farmers by updating the Illinois Estate Tax code. Speaking on the legislation at the press conference, State Representative Jason  Bunting of Emington echoed his support for the measure…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department is still looking for a burglary suspect who broke into a Champaign apartment early Wednesday morning. Around 4:20 a.m., the apartment’s resident reported being woken up by a noise, when she saw a man standing in the hallway outside her bedroom door. Once the man saw her wake up, he immediately ran out of the apartment, grabbing the resident’s satchel on his way out. Officers arrived at the scene 10 minutes later and searched around the building. They could not find a suspect matching the victim’s description. The resident informed the police that the complex’s main entrance lock has not always worked.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state Department of Agriculture has grants available to help farmers. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the grants…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences and Parkland College are joining forces, getting students to graduate as veterinary technicians in five years instead of six. Students will spend three years working on their bachelor’s degree at the U of I. They’ll use the last two years finishing their bachelor’s while getting their vet tech certification through Parkland.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA reports show commodity prices in December mostly below December of 2022. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton–jc)  The 35th annual Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Farm Toy Show is set for later this month. Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Advisor Kirsten Wyatt says the show is February 10th starting at 9am at the high school in Paxton…

 

Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Advisor Kirsten Wyatt

 

WPXN News Notes…

The Loda American Legion will hold their fish fry on Friday, February 2nd from 4-6:30. Cost is $10 for adults 13 and older. 

 

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will hold their spaghetti lunch on Sunday, February 4th from 11-1. Cost is a freewill donation.

 

The St. Mary’s St Joseph's Knights of Columbus annual free throw contest for kids ages 9-14 will take place on Sunday, February 4th at PBL High School. Doors open at noon with the competition beginning at 12:30. More information is available by contacting Trent Eshleman at 217-841-5621.

 

St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Piper City will hold their Valentine’s Special on Sunday, February 4th from 4-7 pm. Cost is $10 for adults, children are $5.

 

Former President Donald Trump has scored a victory in his battle to be included on the primary ballot in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) – Prosecutors want former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's longtime chief of staff to spend up to five years in prison to send a message to Springfield while defense attorneys want him to avoid prison. Tim Mapes, served for decades under Madigan as the clerk of the Illinois House and as Madigan's chief of staff. In August, a federal jury found Mapes guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury investigating Madigan and others. Mapes' defense attorney asked for time served, supervised release and community service hours.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Former President Donald Trump has scored a victory in his battle to be included on the primary ballot in Illinois.  The Illinois State Board of Elections voted 8-0 Tuesday to reject a challenge to Trump’s candidacy.  Several Illinois voters contend that Trump encouraged the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol during protests of the 2020 election results and the 14th Amendment would apply to him. The State Board of Elections say they don’t have the jurisdiction to decide a complex constitutional dispute.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Taxpayer costs to care for migrants amount to $1.5 million a day, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said, and now those who faced eviction from city shelters will be able to stay until March. Johnson has extended the 60-day stay deadline at the city's homeless shelters twice due to weather concerns. Close to 2,000 migrants would have been forced out of the shelters Thursday had the deadline remained in place. Johnson said the policy was intended to clear shelter space and speed up connecting migrants to permanent housing. During a news conference Monday, Johnson said what Chicago is dealing with is historic…

 

 

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. Governor J.B. Pritzker said the state has allocated an additional $160 million to help the city…

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Watseka-jm) – Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver would like to remind voters of a helpful tool which allows individuals to check on their voter registration status quickly and easily. You can access the link through the Iroquois County website at: iroquoiscountyil.gov/elections. Click on “Are You Registered to Vote?” It will bring up a box for you to enter your name, birth date, zip code and then your address. Your voter registration status will be displayed, as well as the location of your polling place This will display the districts you are eligible to vote on. Should you have further questions regarding the access of this website or to check on whether you are a registered voter in Iroquois County, please do not hesitate to contact the County Clerk’s office at (815) 432-6960.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The Paxton Buckley Loda Sports Booster Club has a specific project in mind for funds to be raised at a February “Glo Bingo” event. The fundraiser is set for Saturday February 17th, starting at 5-30 and bingo starting at 7pm. Paxton Buckley Loda Sports Booster Club President Nicole Bruns says they started with over 200 tickets, to date around 80 are left…

 

 

Paxton Buckley Loda Sports Booster Club President Nicole Bruns. The tickets are available on line with Event Brite. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Illinois Farm Bureau and COUNTRY Financial are partnering to host four “Emergency Planning on Your Farm” seminars around the state in February to help farm families and businesses prepare for crisis situations and farm emergencies. Seminars will provide those attending with information and questions that are essential to being prepared if a farm emergency occurs. The seminars are scheduled February 8-12 in Rock Island, Edwardsville, Effingham and virtually online.  Local Farm Bureau offices can provide more info.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA's Farm Service Agency will soon accept payments from direct farm loan borrowers by a new application on "farmers.gov". Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Several law enforcement groups in the state are opposing a new proposal that would limit traffic stops. According to the bill’s summary, police in Illinois would be stripped of the ability to pull over a driver for expired registration, not following the general speed limit, tinted windows, not wearing a seatbelt or improper lane usage. The exception would be in the event that an offense qualifies as a misdemeanor or felony. Motorists also could not be stopped for violating vehicle lamp requirements, excessive exhaust or defective mirrors, windshields, windshield wipers or bumpers. There is also a provision of the law that would make any evidence of other crimes found while conducting stops for the listed offenses inadmissible in court.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Grammy award-winning artist Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have been added to the Illinois State Fair Grandstand lineup. The band will perform Sunday, August 11 with special guest Ashley McBride. Tickets for the show go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 3, on Ticketmaster. They are the first musical acts to be unveiled for the 2024 Illinois State Fair.

 

(Chicago-jm) – Illinois seeks to better provide parents and children more access to behavioral health services through a new partnership program with Google. Governor J.B. Pritzker was at Google Chicago to announce the creation of BEACON, or the Behavioral Health Care and Ongoing Navigation, a service access portal for Illinois families to access behavioral and mental health resources for children. The plan will incorporate artificial intelligence and create an online portal that provides families with access to behavioral and mental health resources. Chris Hein, director of Customer Engineering for Google…

 

 

Google Director of Customer Engineering Chris Hein. According to the state, the portal will look to achieve five different goals by making it easier for youth and families to access services, adjusting capacity to ensure the right resources are available, intervening earlier to prevent crises from developing, increasing accountability to ensure the state has a transparent system, and developing agility so that the system can adjust to meet the evolving needs of youth.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Annual Toy Show is set for Saturday February 10th at the high school in Paxton. Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Member Ben Strebeck says each year there is a featured toy show tractor…

 

 

Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Member Ben Strebeck.

 

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Each year the Illinois Pork Producers Association awards a summer internship. JoBeth Matli has been selected as the 2024 Illinois Pork Ambassador. JoBeth Matli is from Raymond, Illinois and is a freshman at Lincoln Land Community College pursuing a degree in Agribusiness. JoBeth has worked for Borgic sow farm in Nokomis, Illinois, since she was 14 years old. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A pipeline project to transport carbon dioxide captured from ethanol and fertilizer production to a permanent storage site in Illinois is raising concerns about safety and potential damage to surrounding land. Terri Dee reports…

 

 

(Undated–jc)  The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is set to help with their annual Random Acts of Kindness Week. Those days are February 11th through February 17th. Random Act of Kindness Foundation Vice President Brooke Jones says being kind matters more now than ever.

 

(Washington-jm) – Big temperature swings are causing concern for the effects on the winter wheat crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Tax season is underway and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is warning Illinois residents to be vigilant of scammers

(Springfield-jm) – Tax season is underway and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is warning Illinois residents to be vigilant of scammers. Some common scams are disguised to look like official communication from the Internal Revenue Service in an attempt to steal personal information from taxpayers. Mendoza warns of ghost tax return preparers who do not sign the tax return. If they don't sign, preparers can overpromise the size of the refund, charge you or deposit funds to their own bank account.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Cuts to developmentally disabled services are on hold. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City says he wants to see the cuts permanently held…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) – Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services announced Monday that it ranks #2 in Illinois for Orthopedic Surgery, according to new research released by Healthgrades, the leading resource consumers use to find a hospital or doctor. This achievement, along with the various other orthopedic awards, reflect Gibson Area Hospital and Health Service’s commitment to delivering the best care possible and distinguish the organization as one of Illinois’ leading hospitals for Orthopedic Surgery.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The Rantoul Sports Complex is set to open next month. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried says a few February Parkland College baseball games will start the season, then in March its softball baseball and more and the activities in the village have grown too…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – On January 26, 2024, at approximately 7:45 PM, the Rantoul Police Department responded to the area of the 300 block of S. Garrard St., for a report of shots being fired. When officers arrived, they located spent shell casings in the area. As a result of this investigation, Dylan Kisantear, 19 of Rantoul was arrested on January 27, 2024. Kisantear was transported to the Champaign County Jail where he was being held for the offenses of Aggravated Discharge of a Firearm and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

 

(Springfield–jc)  A petition is circulating concerning the rights of parents. Organizers with the Parents Matter Coalition want an advisory question on the November ballot. The question asked voters would be…Shall the written consent from a minor’s  parents be required before any person, school or clinic provide any gender modification or gender therapy. Parent’s Matter Coalition Spokesperson Jeane Ives says those who want to help  circulate the petition can do so, on-line…

Parents Matter Coalition Spokesperson Jeane Ives.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Illini District Dental Society will sponsor Give Kids A Smile® Day on Saturday, February 10, 2024, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Parkland College Dental Hygiene Clinic located at 2400 W. Bradley in Champaign. The event is part of the Children’s Dental Access Program through the American Dental Association®, which provides free oral healthcare services to children of low-income families.


(The Center Square) – The Illinois State Board of Elections will consider taking former President Donald Trump’s name off the March 19 primary ballot. They’ll also consider separate objections to incumbent President Joe Biden’s candidacy, but a hearing officer recommends those objections be denied. Hearings from an array of challenges against Trump and Biden were in front of elections board staff Friday.  Attorney Matthew Piers represented those who want Trump off the ballot and said his attempt to overthrow the last election is grounds enough.In the more than 700-page agenda for today’s meeting of the Illinois State Board of Elections, a hearing officer recommends Trump’s name be removed.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A joint committee of the Illinois Senate and House heard about a behavioral health workforce shortage in the state during a hearing with health-care officials. According to the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services, Illinois has 13.8 behavioral health care professionals for every 10,000 residents, leading lawmakers to seek a solution to what they said is a severe shortage. Dr. Sonja Leathers of Behavioral Health Workforce Center spoke with lawmakers and said the amount of Illinoisans dealing with these issues is growing…

 

Dr. Sonja Leathers.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign residents can expect to see police, fire, and emergency vehicles out in force around First Christian Church this morning. First responders will be holding a joint training exercise at the church on Staley Road. The training will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is meant to help first responders prepare for rapid response emergency scenarios and mutual aid needs that may occur. Training firearms with non-projectile “blank” rounds will be used inside the building but may be heard by residents in the surrounding area. 

 

(Hoopeston–jc)  The Hoopeston F F A held another successful auction on Saturday. Hoopeston Area High School F F A Member Nolan Lee says some of the money goes to scholarships…

 

Hoopeston Area High School F F A Member Nolan Lee

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a shooting. On December 17th, 2023, at approximately 12:55 a.m., police officers were dispatched to the 1500 block of Marcia Drive in Rantoul for a report of a shooting victim. When officers arrived, they located a 25-year-old male with non-life-threatening injuries sustained from gunfire. Officers learned a subject had been observed jumping a fence and running from the area after the shooting. A search of the scene led to the discovery of spent shell casings in a neighboring yard. Video surveillance identified a possible suspect vehicle leaving the area with no headlights.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – In order to retire a gas service at 205 N. Neil Street, Ameren Illinois will close one southbound lane of Neil Street between Church Street and Park Street. Southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane in the area.

The closure will occur on Wednesday between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

The Loda American Legion will hold their fish fry on Friday from 4-6:30. Cost is $10 for adults 13 and older. 

 

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will hold their spaghetti lunch on Sunday from 11-1. Cost is a freewill donation.

 

The St. Mary’s St Joseph's Knights of Columbus annual free throw contest for kids ages 9-14 will take place on Sunday at PBL High School. Doors open at noon with the competition beginning at 12:30. More information is available by contacting Trent Eshleman at 217-841-5621.

 

 

The debate over whether presidential candidates can be excluded from the state's primary election ballots is playing out in Illinois

(Chicago-jm) – A Chicago state representative has called on the state to refuse to host the Democratic National Convention until the city receives federal funding for migrant care. Mayor Brandon Johnson is not on board with that idea, however. The DNC will be hosted in downtown Chicago in August as the city deals with more than 35,000 migrant arrivals from the southern border. State officials have been calling on President Joe Biden to provide extra federal funding for the issue. The DNC is scheduled to take place Aug. 19-22 at the United Center.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A proposed cut to service hours for workers of group homes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities has been paused by Governor J.B. Pritzker. Many Republicans are calling for the cuts to be thrown out altogether. The plan, which was put on pause by the governor, was to cut 2.5 million service hours for direct support professional workers in group homes where approximately 10,000 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities live. The pushback was led by state Senator Chapin Rose, of Mahomet, who penned a letter to Pritzker demanding the governor not cut the hours. Rose told The Center Square that he is glad the plan was paused but is still pushing to remove the cuts for good. Nineteen lawmakers have signed a letter calling for the governor to abolish the cuts.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker is sharing what he calls a successful 2023. The Governor recently spoke to a group of business leaders in Chicago about the state's financial status. He talked about some of the investments the state has made…

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) – The PBL food pantry received a check for $5226 from Paxton IGA. 

The “Round Up” program provides opportunities for customers to give back to the community and helps non-profits and charities  earn money. Customers are asked if they'd like to "round up" their bill to the next dollar and donate the difference to the designated charity. IGA also picks one week during the month long drive to match all customer donations. They matched the first week of the promotion this time and contributed $958. Since the inception of round up the store match has been $25,514 and the total amount customers contributed plus store match is $100,357.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The Farmers Merchants Bank is  now officially The Bank of Pontiac. . Bank of Pontiac has acquired the Paxton, Melvin and Piper City locations. Bank of Pontiac Officer John Marshall says Bank of Pontiac has  been in operation since 1947…

 

Bank of Pontiac Officer John Marshall.

 

(Champaign-jm) – In order to retire a gas service at 205 N. Neil Street, Ameren Illinois will close one southbound lane of Neil Street between Church Street and Park Street. Southbound traffic will be reduced to one lane in the area. The closure will occur on Tuesday, January 30, 2024, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

(Paxton–jc)  Filing for federal and state taxes officially begins today.  Shaffer Tax and Accounting of Paxton owner Jeff Shaffer says his office has been busy already preparing taxes for clients. Shaffer says there is also a way on-lne to follow your tax return…

 

Shaffer Tax and Accounting of Paxton Owner Jeff Shaffer. Shaffer Tax and Accounting of Paxton is available for tax help by phoning 217-379-4308.

 

(Mahomet–jc)  –There is still time for ag families to sign up for a farm legacy workshop that is set for Wednesday in Mahomet. Workshop Organizer Cheryl Mitchell says the topic of the future of the family farm will be discussed…

Farm Legacy Family Workshop Program Organizer Cheryl Mitchell

The Three hour program is set for Wednesday at 5-30pm at the Cornbelt Fire Protection District Building in Mahomet.

 

 

(Kankakee–jc)  A boil advisory has been issued for areas of Kankakee County including Kankakee, Bradley, Bourbonnais, Grant Park, Manteno, Aroma Park, Limestone, University Park and Green Garden. A “Boil Advisory” is a notice issued to water consumers to boil all drinking and culinary water for at least five minutes before use. A boil advisory is issued by proper drinking water authorities to the consumers of a public water supply whenever analysis results indicate the water being supplied may have or has become  contaminated.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The debate over whether presidential candidates can be excluded from the state's primary election ballots is playing out in Illinois. The Illinois State Board of Elections conducted petition objection hearings Friday in Chicago and Springfield for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. The hearing officer will now forward recommendations to the board’s general counsel. The board is expected to meet Tuesday to consider the objections. The Illinois primary election is March 19.

 

(Springfield-jm) – As the popularity of Delta-8 cannabis products grows, some are calling for more oversight in Illinois. Delta-8 THC is legal in Illinois and 21 other states, but unlike marijuana, which is regulated, taxed and can only be sold in licensed dispensaries, Delta-8 can be sold in convenience stores and online. Aaron Smith, CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said Delta-8 hemp products should face the same regulations as regular cannabis.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The impacts of the state’s decision to not renew the Invest in Kids program is starting to be felt. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City says he will fight to bring back the program…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Momence-jm) – Momence High School freshman Amari Crite died Thursday evening after collapsing during a girls basketball game against Tri-Point. The girl’s death is under investigation. The cause of death is pending while officials await toxicology results. Momence School District said grief counselors are available for students, staff and the community to help deal with the tragic loss.

 

(Springfield–jc)  Democrat Illinois Governor J B Prizker continues to blame Republican Governor Greg Abbott for the illegal migrant crisis in Illinois. The governor says Texas officials are making the issue, more political…

 

 

Illinois Governor J B Pritzker. Some Republicans in Illinois want to see  more transparency on how Illinois taxpayer money is being used to deal with the crisis. Texas officials maintain President Biden is the main cause of the “open”  Southern border. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Local unemployment numbers for December are in. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the unemployment rate in Champaign County rose from 3.1 percent in December 2022 to 4 percent in December 2023. Ford County’s rose from 3.6 percent to 3.9 percent. Vermilion County’s rose from 4.4 percent to 5.4 percent. Iroquois County’s rose from 4 percent to 4.8 percent.

 

(Gifford–jc)  With good attendance numbers, the 20-24 Midwest Ag Expo is complete for this year. The upcoming planting season, purchasing equipment to finance and insurance were some of the topics for event goers this year. United Prairie Sales Agronomist Rob Litwiller (‘Lit-w-eye-lr) says farm equipment technology continues to advance and change…

 

 

United Prairie Sales Agronomist Rob Litwiller.

A geological survey is collecting data from the Mahomet Aquifer with the hope to define the boundaries of the aquifer and determine its long-term health

(Springfield-jm) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited Illinois Thursday to make a case for the Biden administration’s economic agenda. Yellen’s trip was billed as official rather than political as President Joe Biden is expecting a rematch against former President Donald Trump in November. The economy has been a drag on Biden’s popularity poll numbers, but the government reported Thursday that the economy grew at an unexpectedly brisk 3.3% annual pace from October through December.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois State Board of Education is aiming high in its request for more taxpayer funding in the next fiscal year. The board is proposing a $653 million increase over the current level of spending for pre-K-12 schools, bringing the overall budget request for the next school year to $11 billion. The proposal includes a $350 million increase in Evidence-Based Funding. State Superintendent of Schools Tony Sanders’ proposal also seeks an additional $75 million increase for the state’s early childhood block grant. It may be a tough ask of Illinois lawmakers as the state is facing a possible budget deficit in the neighborhood of $900 million for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1.

 

(Washington-jm) – A land grant university economist notes some of the economic areas that ag producers have an eye on this year. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Fairbury-jm) – Fairbury Police arrested a Loda man in connection to child sex crimes. Officers said 24-year-old Colton M. Johnson traveled to a home in Forrest to meet with a child under 14 years of age. Authorities said Johnson had been in communication with the minor and accused him of having sexual intentions behind the meeting. Johnson was subsequently arrested on charges of indecent solicitation of a child and traveling to meet a child.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The 20-24 seasons at the Rantoul Sports Complex will begin soon. Parkland baseball, March softball and baseball tournaments, spring and summer ball leagues  to soccer football, frisbee and more will hilite sports activities at the Rantoul based complex. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried (reed) says the village also has other activities to provide entertainment for families coming to Rantoul…

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried

 

(Undated-jm) – A geological survey is collecting data from the Mahomet Aquifer with the hope to define the boundaries of the aquifer and determine its long-term health. The Illinois State Geological Survey project will develop a 3-dimensional map, including Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion counties.  The aquifer is the area's source for drinking water. The Champaign News-Gazette reports the at-least month-long survey will include helicopter fly-overs to collect infrastructure data to provide mapping of the aquifer and record gaps in water-well records and bore holes. The survey will define the boundaries of the aquifer and better pin-point the higher qualities of the aquifer. The Illinois State Water Survey will find the data beneficial in developing long-range prediction models. Airborne electromagnetic technology measures changes in materials like sand and clay to define aquifer boundaries.  Imaging will be used to create 3D pictures of what the aquifer looks like 1,000 feet underground.

 

(Urbana-jm) – People 65 and up have a higher risk for heart issues. Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has tips to stay healthy…

 

***News nws 0215senior heart*** Ditman voicer

 

(Gifford-jc)  –  The 20-24 Midwest Ag Expo is complete for this year. The two day event showcased all things agriculture. One exhibitor was Double Y Sales and Service of Cissna Park. Owner Tom Yergler says those attending the expo talked about spring and mowers and service …

Double Y Sales and Service of Cissna Park Owner Tom Yergler.

Abbe Insurance-Edge Insurance Owner Dylan Reetz of Buckley says topics at their booth range from interest rates to crop insurance…

Abbe Insurance-Edge Insurance of Buckley Owner Dylan Reetz

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Revenue announced it will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax returns on Monday, the same date the Internal Revenue Service begins accepting federal income tax returns. In addition to free filing of Form IL-1040 through MyTax.Illinois.gov, individuals may also utilize the site to make payments, respond to department inquiries, and check the status of their refunds using the “Where’s My Refund” tab. If a taxpayer electronically files an error-free return, they should receive a direct deposit refund in about four weeks.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers are renewing calls to get guns out of the hands of dangerous people following multiple domestic-related shootings in the state over the past week. Sponsors and advocates want to protect domestic violence survivors by taking guns away from abusers. Survivors of domestic violence can currently ask for 18 different remedies when they seek an order of protection. One of those options requires the abuser's gun to be confiscated, and their FOID card is automatically suspended. Although, the firearms are too often transferred to someone else with a valid FOID card in the home. The Illinois House passed a gun control omnibus bill with these changes in May, but the bill stalled in the Senate. Research conducted by The Network in 2021 found that roughly 11,000 people in Illinois had their FOID cards revoked. Yet, only 4,000 of those Illinoisans filed the official paperwork with Illinois State Police to confirm their guns were transferred to another valid FOID card holder.

 

(Washington-jm) – Your dog may be more at risk from severe cold than you might think. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The parents of a University of Illinois student who was found dead with signs of hypothermia last weekend have filed a complaint of negligence against the school’s Police Department. 18-year-old Akul Dwahan went missing early Saturday morning and was found dead 10 hours later on the back porch of a building at Nevada Street and Goodwin Avenue. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Joint Commission on Administrative Rules met recently to discuss the state’s gun ban rules. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares how it went…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Ford County-jm) – A downstate Illinois county is taking steps to prevent migrants from being dropped off. Ford County Zoning Committee members are moving forward to dub themselves a non-sanctuary county. If migrants were dropped off in the county of about 13,000, a county official said it would overwhelm their ability to house, feed and provide medical attention. In 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted legislation enhancing the state’s status as a migrant sanctuary.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The Paxton Buckley Loda  F F A Toy Show is set for Saturday February 10th at the high school in Paxton. Paxton Buckley Loda F F A member Payton Dorche says this is the 35th annual event and showcases collectibles and more…

 

 

Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Member Payton Dorche (‘door-chee). The event starts at 9am on February 10th. 

 

(Gibson City–jc)  –  Two legislators will be honored in their hometown tonight. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett and the late State Representative Scott Bennett will receive the Gibson City Melvin Sibley school Distinguished Alumni award.  53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett says this is a special honor…

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

The honor will be given during tonight’s halftime of the boys basketball game at G-C-M-S High School.

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The 2024 Hoopeston Area FFA Alumni Scholarship Auction will take place tomorrow at the Legion with silent auction 4-6 pm, food served starting at 4:30 and live auction starting at 6.

 

The Cadillac in Paxton will host Brushville tomorrow at 8pm. Doors open at 6.

Senate Republicans are calling on the Governor to reverse plans to cut funding for the developmentally disabled to fund the migrant crisis

(Springfield-jm) – A new Illinois law recommends Illinois schools implement yearly mental health screenings for students enrolled in K-12th grade. Regan Deering, a Mt. Zion school board member and Illinois House candidate, said the new mental health screenings are a government expansion program being phased in this fall. The Illinois Youth Survey may be administered to middle and high school students in public and private schools. The survey asks questions about gender, drug use, suicide and family dynamics. The law also says minors ages 12 to 17 have the right to assess and authorize the release of their mental health records. Parents have rights to the minor’s records only if the minor does not object or if the therapist feels compelling reasons to override the minor.

 

(Springfield–jc)  Illinois Statehouse Republicans want an end to the state’s migrant sanctuary policies, but they are getting rebuffed by Illinois Governor J B Pritzker. The governor says it is a discussion on undocumented or illegal migrants…

 

Illinois Governor J B Pritzker. 101st District State Representative  Dan Caulkins says the majority of migrants would be sent back to their country of origin.

 

101st District State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur. Republicans are calling for more transparency on how taxpayer dollars are being spent and for an end to the state’s TRUST Act, which some say is what makes Illinois a migrant sanctuary state. That law says state and local law enforcement cannot assist federal immigration officers in enforcing immigration law, if that is the sole issue against someone. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign and Chicago are both ranked within Orkin’s top 10 bed bug cities for 2023. Chicago held the No. 1 spot for the fourth year in a row. New York and Philadelphia followed behind at second and third place, respectively. Champaign moved up a spot from its No. 11 placement on Orkin’s 2022 list. Now, the city is placed at No. 10, joining the top 10 most bed bug-ridden cities in America.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are calling on the Governor to reverse plans to cut funding for the developmentally disabled to fund the migrant crisis. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City says they sent the Governor a letter addressing their concerns…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The preliminary hearing in Terrence Shannon Jr.’s criminal case in Kansas has been pushed back by almost three months. Shannon’s attorney Mark Sutter explained that the court had a scheduling conflict with the original date Feb. 23. The preliminary hearing is now scheduled for May 10, well after the college basketball season ends.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA’s January pork production and hog price forecasts offers a glimpse of the impact from last month’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. Rod Bain reports…

 

(Gifford–jc)  –  Today is  day two  of Midwest Ag Expo. During our broadcast on Wednesday, WPXN news had a chance to talk with several exhibitors at Gordyville USA. Wallace Land and Auction Companies Owner Jerry Wallace says farm appraisals are a big topic for event goers at his booth…

 

Wallace Land and Auction Company of Fisher Owner Jerry Wallace.

Illinois Grain Seed and Equipment’s Aaron Kaeb says they built a 1-16th model of a grain handling system, they showed for the first time on Wednesday…

Illinois Grain Seed and Equipment of Cissna Park Manager Aaron Kaeb

The grain system is set to be in operation, again today at the Midwest Ag Expo. 

Today’s Midwest Ag Expo at Gordyville USA near Gifford opens at 8-30am 

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new bill has been introduced that would guarantee teachers have classroom planning time built into each school day. Senate Bill 2721 would guarantee that every teacher receives at least 45 minutes of continuous, uninterrupted individual classroom planning time per day. The requirement would apply to all public school districts in Illinois. Currently, there is no law that protects a teacher's ability to have time set aside during the school day to plan their lessons. Under this bill, an educator would be able to choose to substitute or attend meetings, trainings or conferences during their designated planning time.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the state’s economy. The Governor says the state’s finances have improved since he took office…

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – $20,4877,200. That’s how much it’ll cost to repair the U of I Ice Arena. The University did a feasibility study in 2022 to determine how much it would cost to repair and upgrade the decades old building. Campus leadership has been throwing around ideas of what to do with the building moving forward.

 

 

(Gifford–jc)  –  Today is  day two  of Midwest Ag Expo. During our broadcast on Wednesday, WPXN news had a chance to talk with several exhibitors at Gordyville USA.

Farm Credit Illinois-Watseka Office Representative Jason Rust says event goers talked about a wide range of topics…

 

Farm Credit Illinois-Watseka Office Representative Jason Rust. Abbe Insurance-Edge Insurance Agent Larry Abbe says options with medicare was another topic at the Expo…

 

Abbe Insurance Edge Insurance Agent Larry Abbe. 

Day two of the Midwest Ag Expo at Gordyville USA starts at 8-30am today and runs to 3pm this afternoon. 

 

(Champaign-jm) – People living in the area around First Christian Church in Champaign can expect to see a heavy presence of first responders at the church next week. The presence will not be for an emergency, but a training exercise. Champaign Police officials said officers, firefighters and EMS personnel will be gathering at the church to prepare for potential emergency scenarios and mutual aid needs that may occur in Champaign County. The training exercise will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, January 30. People are advised to avoid the area while the training exercise happens. First Christian Church and its parking lots will be closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic, but Staley Road and Curtis Road will remain open to all traffic.

 

 

(Washington-jm) – What were the trends within USDA’s first look at beef production and steer prices for the new year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

The 2024 Hoopeston Area FFA Alumni Scholarship Auction will take place on Saturday at the Legion with silent auction 4-6 pm, food served starting at 4:30 and live auction starting at 6.

 

The Cadillac in Paxton will host Brushville on Saturday at 8pm. Doors open at 6.

Some Illinois State House Republicans want to end the state's migrant sanctuary policies

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police responded to two separate shots fired incidents on Tuesday evening. The first incident occurred at 4:06 p.m. to the 300 block of S. Mattis Avenue for a report of shots fired. Upon arrival, responding officers learned that two vehicles had pulled into a parking lot where multiple subjects produced firearms and opened fire on each other in an open area near several businesses. Police said following the exchange of gunfire, all parties quickly fled the area. Some property damage has been reported in this incident, including to a vehicle parked in the lot. The second incident occurred as Champaign Police were dispatched at 4:14 p.m. to the 1200 block of Providence Circle for a report of shots fired. Police learned after arriving on the scene, multiple subjects had produced firearms and opened fire on each other. Officers said following the exchange of gunfire, all parties quickly fled the area. Some property damage has been reported in this incident, including two vehicles parked in the lot and one apartment building.

 

(Chicago-jm) – As the influx of migrants continues into 2024, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson seem to be on two different pages regarding shelter for the arrivals. Chicago has reported 30,000 migrant arrivals over the last year and a half since. The influx has led to increased spending and other resources being needed. The taxpayer funds have gone to shelters and services for the migrants, which includes a $29 million contract with GardaWorld Federal Services to help put shelters together, but some shelters have fallen through. Pritzker says the city hasn’t told the state what they need for shelters. City and state taxpayer funds for the crisis have totaled nearly $700 million in the past year.

 

(Springfield–jc)  Some Illinois State House Republicans want to end the state’s migrant sanctuary policies. They are getting  rebuffed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. 45th District State Senator  Andrew Chesney of Freeport says common sense is needed on who fits what migrant category…

 

 

45th District State Senator Andrew Chesney of Freeport. Some lawmakers in Springfield continue to discuss the ongoing migrant crisis where Illinois has received  thousands of asylum seekers to illegal migrants over the past two years Republicans are calling for more transparency on how taxpayer dollars are being spent and for an end to the state’s TRUST Act, which some say is what makes Illinois a migrant sanctuary state. That law says state and local law enforcement cannot assist federal immigration officers in enforcing immigration law, if that is the sole issue against someone. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – In updating our story from Monday, the Champaign County coroner’s office says a U of I student found dead on campus over the weekend died from hypothermia. Interim Coroner Steve Thuney says preliminary autopsy results from yesterday  for 18 year old Akul Dhawan showed no evidence of significant trauma but there was evidence of hypothermic skin changes. The final autopsy report is pending toxicology tests.

 

(Osman-jm) – Firefighters from Fisher, Bellflower and Mahomet battled a house fire in Osman Tuesday afternoon. Officials believe the fire started in a garage before spreading to the house. 

 

(Gifford–jc)  Gordyville USA is the place for all things agriculture starting this morning and running through Thursday afternoon. It’s the 20-24 Midwest Ag Expo. The event is free to attend and parking is free too, says Midwest Ag Expo Manager and Spokesperson Gary Manke…

 

 

Midwest Ag Expo Manager and Spokesperson Gary Manke. WPXN will be broadcasting live starting at 9am to help kick off the two day event. 

 

(Decatur-jm) – Archer Daniels Midland has appointed an interim CFO as the company suspended the current CFO while he is under investigation. Vikram Luthar, ADM’s Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President, was placed on administrative leave. Luthar is under investigation for accounting practices with ADM’s Nutrition Reporting segment.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA is on course to continue expanding crop insurance for more products and more producers. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Chicago–jc)  –  An Illinois Lottery player had a stroke of luck when they spent $10 on a scratch-off ticket and won the top prize of $250,000.

The $250,000 Crossword winning scratch-off ticket was purchased at Thornton’s gas station at 3001 Wabash Ave. in Springfield.

This is also a nice win for the Thornton’s in Springfield, as they’ll receive a one percent selling bonus, or $2,500.  The Illinois Lottery currently offers a range of Instant Ticket games priced from $1 to $50, available at approximately 7,000 retail locations across Illinois.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is actively investigating a pair of shots-fired incidents that happened on Mattis Avenue just blocks away from each other. The first happened just after 4 p.m. on Tuesday in a parking lot near Springfield and Mattis Avenues. At least 20 shots were fired, and a car parked at the nearby Chase bank was hit, but no injuries were reported. Police officials said that 12 minutes later, they received another report of shots being fired at Bradley and Mattis Avenues. No injuries were reported there either.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Senate Republicans are demanding that Gov. J.B. Pritzker reverse course on a plan to reduce service hours for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in group homes, claiming cutting hours will increase problems at the group homes. The plan is to cut 2.5 million Direct Support Professional workers' service hours in group homes where approximately 10,000 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities live. The pushback was led by State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, who penned a letter to Pritzker, demanding the governor not cut hours.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The spring legislative session got underway last week in Springfield. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about one of the most important issues facing the General Assembly and the state…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) – A new business is coming to the North Prospect area of Champaign. pOpshelf, an offshoot of Dollar General, will go into the space of David’s Bridal. An opening date has not yet been announced.

 

(Champaign-jm) – New data from a Champaign County real estate group is showing a slight increase in the number of homes bought in December, but an overall decrease for sales throughout 2023. The Champaign County Association of Realtors reported that 180 homes were sold in Champaign County during the month of December, an increase of 20 homes compared to the prior month. The number is also up compared to December of 2022 when 175 homes were sold. The average price of a home was $232,726.

 

(Mahomet–jc)  –  A Farm Legacy Family Workshop is set for later this month in Mahomet. Cheryl Mitchell is hosting the three hour family workshop for those who want to start looking at options of selling or looking at the future of their family farm. Cheryl Mitchell says it's the “what is next” discussion…

 

 

Farm Legacy Family Workshop Spokesperson Cheryl Mitchell. For more information contact Mitchell at 217-369-0637.

 

(Normal–jm)  –  The Board of Trustees of Illinois State University will hold three meetings on Thursday, January 25, in the Bone Student Center on campus in Normal They include: • Presidential Search Committee Meeting at 8 a.m. , a  Special Board of Trustees Meeting at 12:15 p.m.  This meeting will be streamed on Illinois State University’s YouTube channel.  They also have a State Affairs Committee o Immediately following Special Board of Trustees Meeting at Founders Suite, Bone Student Center  

 

 

(Washington-jm) – Lower domestic milk production both in 2023 and 2024 is expected to assist with higher prices in some product and class categories, per USDA’s latest forecasts. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Tuscola–jc)  The Illinois State Police are investigating a crash on Interstate 57 northbound at milepost 210 . Authorities are reporting a semi in the ditch in that area. The right lane is closed to public traffic.  Use caution while driving in this area.

Get the latest road conditions this morning at getting around illinois dot com.

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois State Police responded to more than 500 crashes Monday due to the freezing rain and ice. Many schools were remote learning and travel was discouraged due to the dangerous conditions. A firetruck from Savoy as well as one from Tolono went into the ditch while responding to the same call on I-57. Get the latest road conditions this morning at getting around illinois dot com. Some schools and government buildings are either closed or delayed in opening today.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The state of Illinois says "government has no authority" to impose criminal penalties for those not registering banned firearms. Illinois State Police have updated the gun ban registration numbers to include those who registered after the Jan. 1 deadline. On top of the 29,357 individuals who registered before the deadline, 5,867 have registered since. The total of those registering before and after the deadline of 35,224 is 1.46% of the state's more than 2.4 million Firearm Owners ID card holders. In their response to a Fifth Amendment challenge to the state’s gun ban and registry in the Southern District of Illinois federal court, attorneys for the state say the right against self-incrimination isn’t violated by the registry. The state’s lawyers argue the registration is a “voluntary benefit that exempts owners of certain” firearms from “otherwise applicable criminal penalties.” They also argue the “government has no authority to impose” penalties on those that don’t register and the idea someone would be prosecuted for what they file is “not real.”

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA has just given the green light to more fertilizer production expansion projects. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – A Champaign man convicted of killing Ricky Green in 2018 will not get a new trial. In a ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed with lower courts that a key witness to the shooting didn't need to appear in court before Michael Chatman was found guilty. Chatman argued that the Champaign County Court failed to make a good faith effort to bring Dominique "Dee" Collins to the courtroom for testimony during the trial. Attorneys representing Chatman told the Illinois Supreme Court in November that the state could have issued a subpoena or sought a warrant for Collins to testify. A Champaign judge sentenced Chatman to 60 years in prison in December 2021.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The 35th annual Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Toy Show is set for Saturday February 10th at P-B-L High School in Paxton. Paxton Buckley Loda F-F-A Advisor Kirsten Wyatt says the show features exhibitors from several states with toys, collectibles and more, but there are more activities too…

 

Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Advisor Kirsten Wyatt

 

(Urbana-jm) – Tuition rates at the three University of Illinois System schools have been frozen for the 2024-2025 school year. Base tuition for in-state undergraduates remains $12,712 a year in Urbana-Champaign, $11,178 a year in Chicago and $321.50 per credit hour at Springfield. In addition to tuition, the board also approved a zero increase in total fees at all three universities for the first time in more than 25 years. More than 67% of all Illinois undergraduate students enrolled across the U of I System receive some form of financial aid, and more than half pay less than $3,000 per semester.

 

(Gifford–jc)  The 20-24 Midwest Ag Expo is one day away. The annual event at Gordyville USA opens at 8-30 on Wednesday morning. Midwest Ag Expo Spokesperson Gary Manke says the 175 exhibitors always bring something new to the event…

Midwest Ag Expo Spokesperson Gary Manke

WPXN will be broadcasting live at the event Wednesday from 9am until Noon.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker said Monday that he expects abortion issues to be a central talking point in November's election as he marked the 51st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion a federal right in the United States. Pritzker addressed the anniversary and reaffirmed his commitment to providing abortion care. He took part in an abortion roundtable with Chicago Abortion Fund leaders, healthcare providers, and advocates for abortion services. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, nearly 17,000 people came from other states to Illinois to terminate a pregnancy, which has led to political pushback within the state's government. Last summer, Pritzker's office announced a cross-agency reproductive health care initiative that included $10 million for a public hotline for abortion service navigation and $5 million in capital funding for reproductive health facilities. Republicans argued the state is spending more on people who do not live here.

 

(Washington-jm) – No major surprises in USDA's December Cattle on Feed report. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – The Champaign Police Department is asking for help through Crime Stoppers in solving a robbery-turned-shooting that left a man hurt one week ago. The shooting happened near Neil and Green Streets the night of January 14. Police officials said that while the victim was inside a store, a stranger tried to rob him. When the victim became uncooperative, officials said the offender pulled out a gun and shot the victim in the torso.

 

(Undated–jc)  – If you are in favor of parental rights concerning life-altering medical decisions, there is a group that wants an advisory question on the November ballot in Illinois. Former State legislator Jeane Ives is part of the Parents Matter Coalition. Ives says they are seeking 500 thousand signatures to secure a spot on the state ballot in the November election cycle…

 

 

Parents Matter Coalition spokesperson Jeane Ives.  Go online and google the Parents Matter Coalition to  participate and learn more 

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Board has filled a vacancy with a new member. Carolyn Greer was sworn in at the start of the Champaign County Board meeting. She will serve District Six. She was nominated by the Democratic Central Committee in December. The previous member of the board, Mike Ingram, resigned in early December because his family moved out of the district.

Another round of winter weather is making its way through the area today

(Undated-jm) – Another round of winter weather is making its way through the area today. This time snow is not the main concern but ice. Freezing rain is expected for most of the day today. Check getting around illinois dot com for the latest road conditions. Many area schools are either e learning or have canceled classes for today. 

 

(Springfield-jm) – While more than half of the counties in Illinois remain at an elevated level for COVID-19 hospitalizations according to CDC data, the state’s overall respiratory illness level has decreased in recent weeks. The Illinois Department of Public Health said while respiratory illness activity appears to have peaked and is now trending downward, it is important to remember that respiratory virus season can last into the spring and additional increases in illness rates are still possible.

 

(The Center Square) – A former state legislator has formed a group that is launching a statewide effort to put parents' rights on Illinois' November 2024 ballot. Former State Representative Jean Ives says they are gathering signatures from Illinois voters to put the question of parental notification concerning medical procedures on their children. Ives says their goal is to gather a half million signatures by the end of March…

 

 

Parents Matter Coalition Spokesperson Jeane Ives. Those that want to learn more about the issue or sign their petition can find the group on line.

 

(Urbana-jm) – Authorities are investigating the death of a University of Illinois student over the weekend. Police say the student's roommate reported him missing early Saturday morning. A university employee found him around 11 am Saturday on the back porch of a building near Nevada and Goodwin. The Champaign County Coroner’s office identified the student as 18 year old Akul Dhawan. U of I police and the coroner’s office ruled Dhawan’s death as accidental.

 

(Champaign-dm)---Parkland College Theatre announced its 2024-2025 performance calendar. The first production is 12 ANGRY JURORS scheduled for October 3-6 and 11-13 followed by IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS with performances December 5-8 and 12-15.  Then THE MISER by Moliere will be performed February 20-23.  The WEDDING SINGER rounds out the schedule with performances April 17-19, April 25-27 and May 2-4. Season tickets will be available starting in July.  For more information visit, parkland.edu/theatre.

 

(Gifford–jc)  – It’s Everything in Agriculture,  coming to Gordyville USA near Gifford Wednesday and Thursday. Midwest Ag Expo Spokesperson Gary Manke says the show starts Wednesday morning at 8-30…

 

 

Midwest Ag Expo Spokesperson Gary Manke. WPXN will be broadcasting live on Wednesday from Gordyville USA at the show starting at 9am

 

(Loda-jm) – A Fort Wayne, IN truck driver escaped injury when her parked-semi trailer was hit by a freight train in Loda.  Nedra Holder parked her rig for the evening Wednesday, having backed into a private lot near Washington and Oak Street in Loda. Unaware that her trailer had crossed onto the railroad track, a southbound Canadian National freight train was unable to stop on time to avoid a collision - after the engineer noticed Holder's trailer on the track. Iroquois County Sheriff's Police report Holder was inside the passenger cabin of the semi when the collision happened, but no injury was reported to either Holden or the train crew.   Police cited Holder for illegal parking on railroad property.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously ruled combining local firefighter and police pension funds is constitutional. In 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted a measure consolidating about 650 first responder pension funds into a fund for police and a separate one for firefighters. On Friday, the state's highest court unanimously ruled this move was constitutional, despite pushback from others. The pushback came from several local police and fire pension officials who filed a lawsuit against Pritzker, claiming the consolidation was unconstitutional. 

 

(Springfield-jc) – As small town newspapers go by the wayside in Illinois, a new task force is studying ways to incentivize a revival of local journalism, including through the use of tax credits. Since 2005, the task force found that Illinois has lost 86% of journalist jobs at newspapers, and 232 local newspapers have folded. Illinois State Senator Don Dewitte of St. Charles says any taxpayer monies need to be without politics involved…

 

 

State Senator Don Dewitte of St. Charles.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – Officials from Champaign County are asking to hear from local seniors on how to serve them better. The Champaign County Public Health Department with the help of Advocates for Aging Care is surveying resident seniors age 60 or older and their caregivers to ask about access, interest and utilization of rehabilitation, long-term and nursing-home care facilities in our county. The survey asks for information on seniors’ medical conditions, living situations, and use of health services in the county. Officials estimate the survey will not take longer than 10 minutes, and is completely anonymous.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver is reminding citizens there is  less than a month to register to vote before the March 19, 2024 Primary Election. In order to be able to vote at the polls, the last day to register or change an address before the Primary Election is Tuesday, February 20, 2024. People may register in the office of the Iroquois County Clerk at the Iroquois County Administrative Center, weekdays between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Lawmakers returned to the state capitol last week for the spring legislative session. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington shares his thoughts on some hot topic items in the upcoming session…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  –  Rantoul Township High School board members are set to meet in a special session tonight at the high school.  The agenda item is the adoption of a settlement agreement. The board may go into executive session tonight. The meeting comes to order at 6pm at the high school. 

 

 (Champaign-jm) – The University of Illinois Board of Trustees have approved renovations to Memorial Stadium. Officials said the joints on the east stands are failing, and new joints would prevent water from seeping through and causing more rust on the structural steel. Renovations are budgeted to cost $3.7 million. Memorial Stadium will be celebrating its 100th anniversary later this year.  They also approved $21,400,177 to replace the roof at the Illini Union, an increase of $6,365,000 from the previous budget, which the board voted to approve.

 

(Undated–jc)-- Do you know an area Senior citizen that helps the community, a long time business person or a favorite teacher?  The Illinois Department of Aging needs help with their Hall of Fame. WPXN’s Dan Mushrush has the details…

 

 

Illinois Statehouse Republicans wanting to end the state's migrant sanctuary policies are getting rebuffed by Gov. J.B. Pritkzer

(Springfield-jm) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker says with Illinois’ gun ban rules in place, the registry of now-banned items will be “working the way it should.” Last year, Pritzker signed a measure banning the sale of more than 170 semi-automatic firearms, magazines over certain capacities, various attachments and certain .50 caliber ammunition. The law included a registry with a Jan. 1 deadline for those with grandfathered firearms and attachments to register with Illinois State Police. Pritzker gave reasons for why he said only about 30,000 of the state’s 2.4 million Firearm Owners ID card holders have registered now banned guns by the Jan. 1 deadline. Illinois State Police said they will keep the registry open despite the Jan. 1 deadline, noting the law does not set forth penalties for late registrations.

 

(Undated–jc) The Illinois State Police are using more data and on-line information to help with patrols and enforcement.  The move has helped in reducing some crimes. WPXN’s Dan Mushrush has the story…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The University of Illinois Extension recently provided an update on the upcoming state budget, new laws and their effect on Illinois counties. One law will require passenger vehicles purchased or leased by the state to either be a manufactured zero-emission vehicle or converted into a zero-emission vehicle by 2030. Exceptions will be made for law enforcement and Illinois Department of Transportation vehicles. Local governments are also exempt. Counties should eventually benefit from a law that lifts a moratorium on new nuclear reactors once small modular reactors are put into use. Governor J.B. Pritzker is scheduled to deliver the State of the State and budget address on Wednesday, February 21.



 

(Kansas–jc)  The judge in the rape charge case against University of Illinois student and basketball player Terrance Shannon Junior has set a preliminary hearing in the case. That hearing date is February 23rd in Kansas court at 1-30pm

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – The spring legislative session started this week. The opening session was supposed to last three days but lawmakers were in session for two days. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington…

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington. The Spring Session resumes February 6th.

 

 

(Cissna Park–jc)  The Cissna Park Development Board is excited to bring you a fun night of Dueling Pianos The event is set for Saturday February 17th. Money raised goes towards music at the groups Shop the Park events this Spring and Summer. The Cissna Park American Legion is the venue with cocktail hour from 5-6pm, dinner served by The Luke's One Stop at 6pm and 3 hours of fantastic piano dueling music, ending at 9pm. On the menu is roast beef, mostaccioli, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon, garden salad and dinner roll, lemonade/ice tea. There will be a cash bar. Tickets are $50 per person. To purchase your tickets you can get them at the Cissna Park Knapp & Steiner TrueValue Hardware Store.

 

(Gifford–jc) Gordyville U S A near Gifford is again the site of the 20-24 Midwest Ag Expo. The two day event is an event all about agriculture. Midwest Equipment Dealers Association Spokesperson Gary Manke says the show is making its 29th appearance…

Midwest Equipment Dealers Association Spokesperson Gary Manke. The two day event runs Wednesday January 24th and Thursday January 25th at Gordyville USA. WPXN will be broadcasting live at the event on Wednesday January 24th starting at 9am.

 

(Hoopeston–jc)  –  The Hoopeston Area High School F F A Alumni Scholarship Auction is set for Saturday January 27th. Hoopeston Area High School F F A  Chapter Reporter Nolan Lee says the money is raised by the Alumni group and helps the chapter with scholarships and activities…

Hoopeston Area High School F F A Reporter Nolan Lee.

The event is set for the Hoopeston American Legion starting at 4pm. A silent auction, free will donation meal and a live auction are scheduled for the fundraiser.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Statehouse Republicans wanting to end the state’s migrant sanctuary policies are getting rebuffed by Gov. J.B. Pritkzer. Earlier this week, Republicans held two separate news conferences to discuss the ongoing migrant crisis where Illinois has received about 35,000 non-citizen arrivals since August 2022. Republicans are calling for more transparency on how taxpayer dollars are being spent and for an end to the state’s TRUST Act, which some say is what makes Illinois a migrant sanctuary state. That law says state and local law enforcement cannot assist federal immigration officers in enforcing immigration law, if that is the sole issue against someone. Governor Pritzker said there’s a difference between illegal and undocumented migrants and those who are documented asylum seekers.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois renters will be further protected from radon thanks to a new law that took effect January 1st. Radon is a naturally occurring element, but it is not immediately produced or detectable. House Bill 2217 establishes a timeframe for tenants to terminate their lease should the dwelling unit exceed radon limits. Moreover, landlords are required to provide tenants with a disclosure form and related documents to inform them of the risks of radon and their legal rights. The new law enhances renter protection by providing a tenant 90 days to conduct their own radon test of the dwelling unit and the right to evenly split any mitigation costs with consent from the lessor.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the state’s investment in early childhood education. The Governor announced the state exceeded their goal of creating more 5,000 pre-k spots through the Smart Start program. He says they tried to hit areas that needed the most help…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Watseka-dm)--The Illinois Sherriff’s Association announces that it will be awarding over $58,000 in college scholarships throughout the state of Illinois to students wishing to pursue higher education during the 2024-2025 academic year.  The scholarships are to be applied to tuition, books and fees only.  The student must be enrolled full time at a certified institution of higher learning within the state of Illinois.  There is no restriction on any applicant by reason of race, age, creed, color, sex or national origin.  To qualify, you must be a permanent Illinois resident, must attend an institution of higher learning in the State of Illinois and be enrolled as a full time student during the 2024-2025 school year.  Applications are available at your local Sheriff’s office, or the ISA website www.ilsheriff.org/youth-2/. Applications must be completed and returned to their local Sheriff’s office by March 25,2024

 

(Urbana–jc)  How to deal with children naps. O-S-F’s Tim Ditman has the details…

 

(Springfield-jm) – The corruption trial of former house speaker Mike Madigan has been pushed back. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares the latest on the high profile corruption case…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

WPXN Weekend News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s Foodmobile will be in the following communities today: across from the Piper City Community Center from 9-9:30, Living Word Church Roberts from 10-10:30, across from Melvin Convenient from 11-11:30, Gibson City city hall from 12:15-12:45, Elliott village hall from 1-1:30 and Paxton Hardware and Rental from 1:30-2.

 

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

 

Grace Baptist Church of Paxton will hold a men’s chili supper tonight starting at 6pm.

 

The Cissna Park Sons of the American Legion will hold a chili cook-off on Sunday. Judging will begin at noon. Cost is $25 to enter. Those interested can reach out to the group.

 

For the second consecutive year, Illinois has been named the number one leader for workforce development in the Midwest region

(Springfield-jm) – For the second consecutive year, Illinois has been named the number one leader for workforce development in the Midwest region. The top ranking highlights the State of Illinois’ commitment to expanding access to innovative workforce programs and making critical investments through legislation and programming to reduce barriers to good-paying jobs in order to create a thriving business ecosystem for jobseekers, employees and employers. The Site Selection magazine ranking recognizes “states that performed well in a set of measures that gauge workforce-related aspects of states' overall employment climate.” It combines information from CNBC, U.S. News, and other organizations.

 

(Springfield-jm) – What is in store for the Illinois housing market in 2024 is uncertain, but inventories and interest rates are expected to be a major factor. 

One industry analyst says the U.S. is short by 5 million homes. That is one reason many homeowners chose to stay put in 2023, leading to a seller’s market.  According to Illinois Realtors, year-over-year home sales continued to drop at the end of last year as available housing inventory remained tight. In November, there were only 20,568 homes for sale in Illinois, a 22.2% decrease from November 2022.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the state’s investment in early childhood education. The Governor announced Wednesday the state exceeded their goal of creating more pre-k spots through the Smart Start program…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is seeking assistance from the public regarding a shooting. On December 31st, 2023, at approximately 10:40 p.m., Champaign Police were dispatched to the 2400 block of North Neil Street in Champaign for a report of shots fired. As officers arrived on-scene, a 24-year-old woman arrived at a local hospital by personal transport suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to her leg. Officers learned the victim was seated in her vehicle when the vehicle and a nearby building were struck by gunfire. The victim is recovering from her injuries. Anyone with information regarding this or any crime in Champaign County, please contact Crime Stoppers at 217-373-TIPS.

 

(Springfield-jm) – While legislators were scheduled to be at the capitol for 3 days this week, it was an all too familiar occurrence……..House members were in session for less than an hour over the first two days combined and Today’s session day was canceled.  106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington talks about what he hopes to see during the spring legislative session…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Danville-jm) – To help out the homeless veterans, State Senator Paul Faraci is hosting a food drive. The donations will benefit the homeless military veterans and their families at Cannon Place on the campus of the Illiana VA. The food drive has already started and ends Feb. 19. Donations can be dropped off at either Senator Faraci’s Danville office at 201 N. Vermilion St. or the Danville Public Library at 319 N. Vermilion St.


 

(Paxton–jc)  The Paxton Buckley Loda Sports Booster Club has a “glo bingo” event with a specific purpose for raising dollars. Paxton Buckley Loda Sports Booster Club President Nicole Bruns says the group normally looks for donations for sports teams. This event is set to put a new sound system at the schools softball and baseball diamonds..

 

 

Paxton Buckley Loda Sports Booster Club President Nicole Bruns.

 

(Mitchell–jc)  A tiny town in Illinois just got some huge news. An Illinois Lottery retailer in Mitchell is celebrating big after selling a winning $1 million Mega Millions ticket. The ticket was purchased for the Tuesday, January 16 drawing at 508 Variety Shop, located at 508 E. Chain of Rocks Road in Mitchell, Illinois, an unincorporated community located outside of St. Louis with a population of just over 1,000.

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College trustees swore in a new public safety officer at its regular meeting Wednesday and acted on new grant applications and personnel appointments.  Erik Combs was approved as a peace officer in the Parkland College Public Safety Department. He is a 1993 alum of Parkland College. Trustees also approved purchasing a  Case Skid Load from Birkey's Farm Store in Gibson City.  The board also appointed Staci Disney as Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Zachary Chalk as a Flight Instructor and Kristen Wall as a Health Professional

 

(Springfield-jm) – As Facebook’s parent company announces new safeguards to protect young people, an Illinois lawmaker says more needs to be done. Meta, which also owns Instagram, announced Thursday that it would hide more content on its apps from teens after calls for the social media giant to better protect children from harmful content. The company has been under pressure in the U.S. and in Europe over allegations that its apps are addictive and have helped contribute to a mental health crisis. State Senator Sue Rezin of Morris, said she plans to introduce legislation in Illinois to address mental health problems among young people.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Some are speculating Gov. J.B. Pritzker may work to confiscate registered firearms if there’s another mass casualty event. Part of Illinois’ gun ban enacted last year includes a registry of banned items. Before the Jan. 1 deadline to register, nearly 30,000 Illinsoians registered banned firearms with the state. That’s about 1.22% of the state’s 2.4 million Firearm Owners ID card holders.  Guns Save Life Executive Director John Boch said there could be efforts on the horizon implemented to confiscate firearms that were registered following a mass casualty event. The Governor’s office denies those assertions that were raised.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is hi-liting the state’s economy. The Governor talks about how the state’s economy looked when he took office five years ago…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Paxton-jm) – The city of Paxton is looking at some possible upgrades and economic development to its Main Street. Paxton Main Street is an organization focused on providing residents and visitors with a unique experience, and economic development. They've applied to be a part of the Illinois Main Street Program, which supports downtown business districts across the state. The city pledged $20,000 to Paxton Main Street annually for three years, but only if they're accepted to the program.

 

(Rantoul–jc)  The sports complex in Rantoul continues to grow and add more community, school and other recreational events. Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried says they continue to book more events like they did in 20-23…

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director of Operations Ryan Ried. Parkland College Baseball in February is one of the first events for calendar year 20-24. Baseball and Softball tournaments start in March. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – University of Illinois trustees are expected to approve an additional $6.4 million for a new roof on the Illini Union. Last March, trustees approved $15 million for the project. The project will also include new windows on 78 dormers and replacing trim.

 

(Urbana–jc)   From Damar Hamlin to Bronny James, 2023 saw a handful of athletes go down on the playing surface from a heart event. Should parents be talking to their kids’ doctor about this? Tim Ditman of OSF HealthCare has more from an Urbana doctor…

 

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s Foodmobile will be in the following communities today: Abbe Insurance Buckley from 9-9:30, Durham Park in Onarga from 10-10:30, Crescent City Community Center from 11-11:30, RP Home and Harvest in Watseka from 12:30-1 and Milford Town and Country from 1:30-2.

 

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

 

The Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency will hold their first in a series of meetings to update their hazard mitigation plan tonight at 6:30 pm at the MABAS 37 building located at 103 and a half Main Street in Crescent City.

Iroquois County Sheriff's police are investigating a shooting that took place over the weekend near Sheldon

(Iroquois County-jm) – Iroquois County Sheriff’s police are investigating a shooting that took place over the weekend near Sheldon. According to the Sheriff’s Office, dispatchers received multiple calls of shots being fired at a large gathering on a property in rural Sheldon early Sunday morning. On scene they learned the offenders had left the scene and no injuries were reported. Yesterday deputies and U-S Marshals arrested a 17 year old from Watseka and 19 year old Zakkaree Stano also of Watseka on charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm. Both remain in custody.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Despite an objection motion from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules being approved, permanent rules for Illinois’ gun ban and registry filed by Illinois State Police are now in place. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules met Tuesday in Springfield at the start of the spring 2024 legislative session. Among the rules they reviewed were rules about the state’s year-old gun ban and registry. Illinois State Police filed emergency rules for the registry on Sept. 15. The registry opened based on those rules on Oct. 1. The deadline for those with banned firearms owned before the Jan. 10, 2023, enactment date of the Protect Illinois Communities Act to register the now banned guns was Jan. 1, 2024.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Supreme Court has announced the creation of the Pretrial Release Appeals Task Force. As a result of the implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act in September 2023, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of appeals from pretrial release decisions by the circuit courts. The task force will convene to review pretrial release appeals and their impact on the caseloads in each of the five districts of the Illinois Appellate Courts.


(Springfield-jm) – State Representative Brandun Schweizer of Danville, a retired U.S.M.C. Master Sergeant and current City of Danville Code Enforcement Inspector, spent his first day Tuesday at the Illinois State Capitol as the State Representative of the 104th District. Schweizer was introduced to House members by House Republican Leader Tony McCombie. Schweizer took the opportunity to briefly address his new colleagues…

 

104th District State Representative Brandun Schweizer of Danville. Schweizer replaced former Representative Mike Marron who stepped down last year to become president of Vermilion Advantage.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – The new year will bring Iroquois County's effort to update its Hazard Mitigation Plan.  An updated version of the plan seeks to reduce damage caused by severe weather, including thunderstorms, floods, snow and ice storms, tornados and other events. The first of a series of planning meetings is scheduled for Thursday, January 18.  The 6:30 pm meeting is at the MABAS 37 Building, 103 1/2 Main Street, Crescent City. The meeting is open to the public. All County, Township and Municipal officials are encouraged to attend and provide input. Other necessary stakeholders include schools, fire protection districts, healthcare services and technical partners. Input gathered during working sessions will be used to update the Hazard Mitigation Plan.  The series of committee meetings welcomes residents to ask questions.

 

(Wilmington-jm) – The frigid temperatures in Illinois are causing flooding concerns. Chunks of ice have built up along the Kankakee River near Wilmington, causing the water to rise in some areas. A flood warning was issued for the area for the remainder of the week. Flood waters have surrounded homes as river waters continue to flow beneath the ice. Temperatures are not expected to get back to normal until next week.

 

(Washington-jm) – How does the USDA latest numbers on U.S. soybean production translate into supply and demand estimates for this month? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – On Tuesday, Attorney General Kwame Raoul submitted a letter urging the Biden administration to complete its review and swiftly implement proposed regulations prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. 

Raoul and the 21 other attorneys general argue that the proposed FDA Rules, which are supported by ample evidence, are years overdue.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A group of state legislators is joining forces with the Illinois Manufacturers' Association to address issues plaguing one of the state's largest industries. Lawmakers from both parties will form the first-ever Illinois Manufacturing Caucus, including state Rep. Amy Elik, R-Alton, state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, and state Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex. The group seeks to highlight the role manufacturing plays in the state's economy, according to Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Legal challenges to the state’s gun ban continue in the courts. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares the latest…

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – The East Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council is partnering with Urbana leaders to provide application help to those interested in a career with area unions. A hiring expo is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at UA Local 149, 1003 N. Dunlap Ave. in Savoy. Twenty local labor unions will be represented, some with immediate opportunities for experienced workers and others currently accepting applications for apprentice classes.

 

(Vermilion County-jm) – The construction on I-74 in Vermilion County is expected to start back up in late March. The Illinois Department of Transportation said they’re waiting until the weather gets warmer to finish things up. They will be patching the streets and placing asphalt when the temperature changes.

 

(Washington-jm) – The news of Brazilian production and how it impacted the global supply and demand balance sheet were among the news of note in USDA’s soybean estimates. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

WPXN News Notes…

 

The Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s Foodmobile will be in the following communities on Thursday: Abbe Insurance Buckley from 9-9:30, Durham Park in Onarga from 10-10:30, Crescent City Community Center from 11-11:30, RP Home and Harvest in Watseka from 12:30-1 and Milford Town and Country from 1:30-2.

 

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

The Illinois Department of Public Health encourages the public to protect against respiratory illnesses as levels continue to rise

(Undated–jm)  –  Several area schools will be e-learning today due to the cold. PBL, GCMS, Rantoul City Schools, Rantoul Township High School, St. John’s Lutheran School, Gifford Grade School, Ludlow Grade School, Thomasboro Grade School, Champaign, Urbana, Christ Lutheran High School and Hoopeston Area have already announced their intentions. Decisions on extra curriculars will be made by mid-day. Also…No Peace Meals in Buckley today. No Illinois People's Action Group meeting concerning the C-oh-2 Pipeline in Gibson City. The meeting will be rescheduled

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health encourages the public to protect against respiratory illnesses as levels continue to rise. COVID-19, the flu and RSV are some seasonal respiratory viruses that are making the rounds. The triple threat illnesses have similar symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, a runny nose and fever, which can make it difficult for people to know what kinds of treatment to seek if they catch one. IDPH recommends staying at home if you feel sick, and wearing a mask if you must leave the house or enter a large crowd.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Chicago continues to struggle to handle the influx of migrants coming from the southern border. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the state’s response…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Police Department is investigating a string of burglaries that took place at different fraternity houses on campus. n the span of two weeks, burglaries were reported at the following three Greek houses: 

Zeta Beta Tau, Alpha Chi Rho and Psi Upsilon. Authorities said no one was hurt in these incidents, and at least one of the buildings was left unlocked when the crime occurred.

 

(Champaign–jc)  Preventing bowel obstructions, a good life lesson O-S-F-s Tim Ditman has the details…

 

 

(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police were dispatched at 10:45 p.m. on Sunday, January 14, 2024, to the 100 block of W. Green Street for a report of a Shooting with Injuries. On-scene, officers located a 23-year-old male victim from Champaign suffering from a potentially life-threatening gunshot wound. The victim was transported to an area hospital where he remains hospitalized in stable condition. The initial investigation indicates that the victim was waiting in a store when an unidentified subject approached and attempted to rob him. When the victim was uncooperative, the suspect produced a firearm and fired it, striking the victim in the torso. The subject then fled the area.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) – Urbana has agreed to pay several hundred thousand dollars in taxpayer funds for a partial 2020 census recount. The pricey expenditure is warranted, Mayor Diane Marlin said, because Urbana is losing several hundred thousand dollars in state and federal funding every year because their recorded population numbers were down by several thousand people in the official 2020 census results. About 55,000 students attend the University of Illinois at the Urbana-Champaign campus. Many of them live in private rental housing or in residence halls that are located in Urbana. The students are counted as city residents, Marlin said. In the Census year 2020, U of I shut down in-person learning on campus in the middle of March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two weeks later on April 1, when the 2020 Census got its official start, several thousand students had left their apartments and residence halls and did not get counted, Marlin suspects.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA noted increases in both corn and soybean stocks but what is behind the rise in both categories? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) – The Mahomet Seymour school board meets tonight where they are expected to approve a tax abatement resolution and begin preparing FY25 budget appropriations. In Gilman, the Iroquois West school board will discuss a roof survey, discuss a health-life safety bond, approve the first reading of 57 policy updates and set an open house for the new building. Both meetings get underway at 7pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A recently introduced Illinois Senate bill would strip the driver’s license of a Firearms Owners ID card holder that doesn’t surrender a revoked permit. Senate Bill 2720, filed by state Senator Julie Morrison,  of Deerfield, says that if someone’s FOID card is revoked and they don’t surrender that to Illinois State Police, their driver’s license could be suspended. Illinois law already requires individuals with suspended or revoked FOID cards to transfer their firearms to another person who has a valid FOID card. The Illinois State Rifle Association President Doug Mayhall said in a social media video that if such a measure passed, it would be a “new way to target and harass gun owners.”

 

(Kankakee-jm) – Gotion, Inc. will hold two local job fairs this week to recruit workers for the electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant to be located in Manteno. Kari Nugent, Kankakee Community College Vice President for Advancement, Marketing and Public Relations has more about the job fairs…

 

 

Kankakee Community College Vice President for Advancement, Marketing and Public Relations Kari Nugent.

 

(Paxton–jc)  The Paxton based “Just an Angel” group is seeking help for a single mom called Operation Newborn. Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls says the family is in need of supplies for a newborn…

 

 

Just An Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls. Contact Puls for donations or drop them off at the WPXN studios. 

 

(Urbana-jm) – An Urbana man has been arrested in relation to a string of vehicle burglaries in southeastern Urbana. Tyrese Ford was arrested after a police investigation into the burglaries. Urbana police said that since mid-December, the city has experienced a notable increase in thefts from motor vehicles, with over 70 reported incidents. In a search of Ford's home, police found stolen property linking him to multiple vehicle burglaries in the area. Officers also found firearm ammunition. Ford is a convicted felon and is not permitted to possess ammunition.

 

(Champaign-jm) – An armed person's call prompted a police response to a Champaign hotel. According to University of Illinois Police, on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. U of I Police responded to the I Hotel and Illinois Conference Center after it was reported that someone displayed a firearm during an otherwise verbal dispute. Police said no shots were fired, and no one was injured. The incident occurred during a non-UI graduation event hosted at the I Hotel. Police quickly determined that there was no ongoing emergency threatening the campus. According to U of I Police, officers conducted a traffic stop nearby on a vehicle that was thought to be involved. Two guns were seized from the vehicle. One adult received a state of Illinois notice to appear in court for carrying a concealed weapon on prohibited property. A person under 18 years old was also in the vehicle and possession of a firearm.

 

(Washington-jm) – The USDA's new round of crop forecasts had a couple of mild surprises. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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