Federal Government Approves Illinois Request For Federal Flood Assistance

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal officials have approved Illinois' request for local governments recovering from historic flooding to receive federal assistance. Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that 27 counties will be eligible to apply for federal loans or grants. Local governments will have 30 days to submit documents for assistance with flood-related losses or costs from fighting floods



(Springfield-jm) -- Some of the lead negotiators of the law to legalize adult use marijuana in Illinois are seeking to provide clarity on a provision that gives local municipalities control over which facilities, if any, would be authorized to allow cannabis consumption. The topic is at the top of the discussion list for potential follow up legislation, which could be heard when the General Assembly returns for veto session in late October. The bill legalizes adult use marijuana in public places such as restaurants which sponsorer Heather Steans says is not the intent of the bill. While the bill prohibits smoking cannabis in any place where smoking is prohibited under the Smoke Free Illinois Act, further language permits a local unit of government to exempt certain facilities from the Smoke Free Act.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois unemployment rate hit a historic low last month. The August jobless rate came in at four percent in August, down from four point two in July. That’s the lowest monthly rate on record and a good sign says Sam Salustro with the Illinois Department of Employment Security…



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Jobs fell slightly from July to August, but are up by 65 thousand compared to August of 2018. The national unemployment rate is three point seven percent for August. 


(Urbana-jm) -- A former Ludlow village trustee is facing additional charges after he attacked a correctional officer at the Champaign County Jail. Ross Radke has been in jail since he was arrested and charged with aggravated unlawful use of weapons and possession of a firearm without a firearm owners identification card five months ago. Radke is accused of grabbing a corrections officer by the neck from behind while he was doing security rounds. The officer was not seriously injured. Radke is now charged with two counts of aggravated battery.



(Paxton-jm) -- A judge is expected to decide next month whether to order a bed and breakfast near Paxton to comply with penalties for discriminating against a same-sex couple in 2011. The Illinois Attorney General's office filed a motion in Ford County court asking the court to rule in its favor in a lawsuit against Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Illinois Department of Human Rights after the Human Rights Commission fined the bed and breakfast $80,000 back in 2016. A hearing is scheduled for October 23rd.

(Paxton-jm) -- There will be a couple of street closures for this weekend’s Swine n Dine in downtown Paxton. Holmes to Center Streets will be closed starting at 4 am Saturday through midnight Sunday. Market Street from Pells to Center will be closed starting at 6pm today through noon on Sunday.



(Paxton-jm) -- The city of Paxton is moving forward with a streetscape project. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about the project…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. The public will have a chance to hear more about the project and have any questions answered during an open house on September 23rd from 4 to 6 pm at city hall.



(Washington-jm) -- An Illinois senator is calling for a federal tax on e-cigarettes. Dick Durbin says he plans to introduce legislation that would place a tax on the sale of e-cigarettes to help curb the use of the products by kids. Seven people in the U-S have died from the use of e-cigarettes and vaping including one in Illinois.


(Washington-jm) -- The current Agriculture Secretary and former Secretaries came have come together in support of the USMCA trade deal. Gary Crawford reports…




(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school district is seeking nominations for their Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes alumni who made significant contributions to society, whose accomplishments, affiliations or careers have honored the legacy of excellence. Nomination forms can be found on the district's Facebook page.



(Gibson City-jm) -- It may be September but the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Gibson City are preparing for their annual Lighted Christmas Parade. The parade will be held on November 23rd at 6:30 pm. Caroling downtown will take place from 4 to 6:30 pm. The theme this year is Silver Bells. For more information or to sign your float up, call Susie Tongate at 309-825-0311 or Mayor Dan Dickey at 781-1905.

(Fisher-jm) -- Another area community is taking up the issue of whether or not to allow recreational marijuana sales in their community. The latest is the village of Fisher. The public is invited to give their input during a special meeting on September 25th at 6 pm.



(Roberts-jm) -- The village of Roberts is working on a drainage project. Mayor Rick Flessner talks about the project…



Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner. 



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The former chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board allegedly engaged in prohibited political activity while heading the agency that regulates gambling, according to a report released by the Office of Executive Inspector General. The report says Don Tracy made “loans and contributions either directly, or through his wife, to political committees” in violation of state law. Tracy was named the Gaming Board’s chairman by former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015. Tracy, whose term was to end July 1, resigned in mid-June. The Springfield lawyer told the Chicago Tribune the report was “baseless speculation.” The inspector general’s 12-page report focuses on 30 contributions from Tracy and his wife, Wanda, from the time he became Gaming Board chairman until Oct. 29. Included are eight contributions totaling $7,600 from Wanda Tracy to Rauner’s campaign fund. Most of the checks were written from the couple’s joint account, though Don Tracy’s name was crossed off on many of them, the report says.



(Springfield-jm) -- This summer’s Illinois State Fair brought in more money than ever before. 2019 state fair revenue reached more than six point five million dollars, breaking the previous record of six point four in 2013. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says great weather, new promotions and an array of musical acts helped booster numbers. He says planning is underway for next year…



State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon. Grandstand concert revenue also hit a new high this year. Gordon says they are working now to book acts for 2020. 



(Paxton--jc)  Get ready...the 2019 Paxton Swine and Dine is set for tomorrow in the city. The barbeque competitors will be busy starting at daybreak preparing their entries. Food vendors open at 11. Paxton Area Chamber President Alan Meyer says there are a lot of things to do for the entire family…



Paxton Area Chamber President Alan Meyer

WPXN will be announcing the winner of our Summer Getaway Giveaway Saturday morning at 8am. The grand prize is a 1 thousand dollar travel voucher from Anywhere Anytime Journeys of Rantoul. 





Flag that will fly over Paxton next year will be at PBL Homecoming Football game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A federal magistrate is recommending that a judge decline to dismiss charges against an Illinois militia leader who was the alleged ringleader behind the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque. Michael Hari’s attorneys had argued that four counts against him should be dismissed, saying that Congress exceeded its authority when it enacted a statute that Hari is accused of violating. U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer disagreed. A federal judge will now decide whether to adopt her recommendations. Prosecutors allege Hari and two others drove from Clarence,  to bomb a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, in hopes of scaring Muslims into leaving the U.S. No one was injured in the August 2017 attack at Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. Hari is also charged in a failed bombing of a women’s clinic in Illinois.



(Springfield-jm) -- Owe the state taxes? Now is a good time to pay up. The Illinois Department of Revenue is offering a one time tax amnesty program for those who have outstanding tax debt incurred between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2018. Spokesperson Sam Salustro…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Taxpayers have until November 15th to make a full payment. More information is available online at: tax dot illinois dot gov. 



(Undated-jm) -- A new report out shows fewer Americans are signed up for health insurance. The survey revealed 27.5 million people did not sign up for health insurance through the health insurance marketplace in 2018. That is 8.5 percent of the population, up from 7.9 percent of the population in 2017.



(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation aims to lower the cost of insulin for diabetes patients. Officials say a person with type one diabetes spends on average, about 475 dollars a month for insulin. That’s led to people risking their lives to cut costs says Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur…



State Representative Sue Scherer of Decatur. The bill, which may come up during the fall veto session, limits the copay for a 30 day supply to 100 dollars. Only one other state, Colorado, has such a law. 



(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton man has been sentenced to 8 years in prison for violating a court order to stay away from his former girlfriend after a domestic incident last year. Nathan Steinmeyer received the sentence after he admitted to violating the order in August. Steinmeyer pleaded guilty in April to aggravated domestic battery for choking his girlfriend. He was originally sentenced to 3 years probation and must serve at least 85% of his sentence.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School Board is expected to approve their fiscal year 2020 budget at tonight’s school board meeting. In addition to approving the budget, school board members will hear an update on the Clara Peterson addition and Eastlawn Elementary demolition and consider updating school policies. A budget hearing gets underway at 6pm with the regular monthly meeting starting afterwards.


(Paxton-jm) -- An open house on the streetscape project in downtown Paxton will be held on 23rd from 4 to 6 pm. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about the latest with the project…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Public Library will be celebrating Banned Book Week with an open discussion. The library will hold discussions on banned and challenged books on September 24th and 25th from 6:30-7:30 pm. Banned book week runs September 22-28.



(Paxton--jc)  -- If you want to see the flag that will fly over the city of Paxton next June, then you need to attend the Paxton Buckley Loda Homecoming football game later this month. The 30 by 60 flag will be on display at Jerry Zimmerman Field at I-57 Stadium on September 27th. A group of local volunteers has been raising money for the project since flag day this year. To date, the group has raised just over 30 thousand dollars for the project.  The plan is to have the flag raised on Flag Day in June of 20-20. Paver bricks continue to be sold for the project and donations may be dropped off at the Frederick Community Bank in downtown Paxton. 


WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making her first endorsement of a liberal challenger to an incumbent House Democrat, backing Marie Newman in the primary against eight-term Rep. Daniel Lipinski in Illinois. The New York congresswoman for now is putting her name and small-dollar fundraising ability behind congressional candidates, rather than in the presidential primary. Lipinski, who opposes abortion rights, is among the more conservative Democrats in the House and defeated Newman in a primary last cycle. By backing a primary opponent to a colleague, Ocasio-Cortez is mounting a campaign strategy that resembles her own political rise last year, when she toppled a House Democratic leader in a stunning primary challenge. It’s a flex of power for the freshman lawmaker but also one that makes colleagues wary.



(Springfield-jm) -- Energy-efficiency jobs are booming in Illinois, and the pace is not expected to slow down anytime soon. Mary Schuermann reports…




(Undated-jm) -- National retailer Forever 21 is announcing they are closing 100 stores across the country. The company says declining mall traffic is a major contributing factor. The company is looking to restructure their brand. The only area location is at Marketplace Mall in Champaign. It’s unknown if that store will be affected.


(Springfield-jm) -- As Farm Safety Week continues, the Illinois Department of Labor is focusing on the danger of grain bins. In just the past few weeks, two workers in Illinois have become trapped in grain bins. It’s an accident that can happen quickly says State OSHA Director Ben Noven…



State OSHA Director Ben Noven. The majority of grain bin entrapments happen on family farms. Noven urges workers to wear a safety harness when entering the bin and to “Lock out and Tag out”, making sure all power to the bin is off and tagged to remain off. 



(Gibson City-jm) -- About 2000 Ameren Illinois customers were without power yesterday evening in parts of the area.. 1,972 customers were without power. Customers in Gibson City, Melvin, Roberts, Elliott and Saybrook were affected. No word on the cause of the outage.



(Gilman-jm) -- Iroquois West school board members are expected to approve Title one plans districtwide at tonight’s school board meeting. In addition, school board members are expected to consider approving a school maintenance project grant, letting of the bids for snow removal, approving the districts fiscal year 2020 budget and reviewing new school district policies. The Iroquois West school board meeting gets underway at 7 pm.


(Paxton-jm) -- The smell of BBQ will soon fill the air in downtown Paxton as the 2019 Paxton Swine n Dine gets underway on Saturday September 21st. In addition to the BBQ competition, there will be a bags tournament, inflatables for the kids and of course food vendors. Once again this year, there will be live entertainment says Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer. Also new this year, you can purchase tickets to judge some of the competitors food.



(Penfield-jm) -- The Champaign County Forest Preserve is looking to raise $250,000 to restore Willow Pond at Middlefork. A hole has opened up underneath the pond causing the pond to lose water and leading to frequent closurers of the beach. The forest preserve is looking to drain, dredge and deepen the pond, add a clay lining and remove the center island. The forest preserve has looked into grants to cover the costs, however, there are no grants available.



This Week is National Farm Safety Week

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker’s office announced the appointment of two census co-coordinators Monday, a position created by an executive order he signed in June to maximize participation in the 2020 U.S. Census. State officials say up to two congressional seats and more than $1 billion in federal funding are at stake in Illinois if the complete population is not counted in 2020. The General Assembly allocated $29 million in state funding to an outreach effort that will be led by the newly created Census Office within the Illinois Department of Human Services. Marishonta Wilkerson and Oswaldo Alvarez were selected for the position. Of the $29 million set aside for the outreach efforts, 500 thousand to 700 thousand will be spent locally in the Ford, Iroquois, Champaign, Vermilion, Livingston and McLean County areas.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Texas-based Vistra Energy has agreed to shutter a central Illinois coal power facility by the end of 2022 under a preliminary settlement with environmental groups that sued the plant in 2013. The Sierra Club announced Monday that the agreement with Vistra Energy affiliate Illinois Power Resources Generating to close the E.D. Edwards coal plant in Peoria County must be approved by a federal judge.


(Springfield-jm) -- Producers are getting ready for the fall harvest as we hear in the weekly crop report. Crop progress still trails last year’s schedule, but may soon be ready to harvest in a few spots says Crop Statistician Brad Summa. He says 67 percent of corn is in the dent stage and 14 percent is mature…



Crop Statistician Brad Summa. 25 percent of soybeans are turning color and three percent are dropping leaves. 42 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 88 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 12 percent very short, 25 percent short, 57 percent adequate and six percent surplus. 


(Springfield-jm) -- This is National Farm Safety Week and the Illinois Department of Agriculture has some reminders for the harvest season. The theme this week is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear,” recognizing the perils farmers face working with huge machinery and the need for drivers to give them plenty of room says State Ag Spokesperson Krista Lisser…



State Ag Spokesperson Krista Lisser. The Department of Agriculture will be highlighting different safety concerns on social media this week, including youth in the fields and mental health issues during a stressful planting season. 



(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department will be hosting a series of flu clinics throughout the county later this month and into the next month. 14 walk in clinics will be held throughout the county put on by the health department. The clinics will take place on September 24th (9-11) at the Piper City Rehab, September 26 at the Ford County Public Health Department (9-11, 2-4),  September 30 health department (9-11), October 1 Gibson City Schoolhouse Apartments (9-11), October 4 at the health department (2-4), October 8 Gibson City Telecare (9-11), October 10 American Evangelical Lutheran Church Gibson City (8:30-11) and at the health department (4-6), October 12 Big R Gibson City (9-11), October 15 Paxton IGA (9-11) and at the health department (2-4), October 16 Kempton American Legion (8:30-11:30) and October 18 at the health department (9-11).


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Buckley Loda FFA is doing some collecting. They want to collect plastic bottle caps and a bunch of them. Their goal is 175 pounds   says PBL FFA Spokesperson Autumn Bruens…


PBL FFA Member Autumn Bruens. The group is set to recycle the plastic bottle caps and make a bench out of them



(Urbana-jm) -- Champaign County is jumping on the recreational marijuana tax bandwagon. A county board committee recommended the 3 percent tax in incorporated areas and 3.75 percent tax in unincorporated areas of the county. Local municipalities must approve the sale of recreational marijuana in order for the county to receive money. A vote by the county board is expected at their September 19th board meeting.


(Kane County--jc)  -- Federal, state and Kane County health officials are adding two confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease to a dozen others in the Batavia communityThe previously reported 12 cases were found in Covenant Living at the Holmstad in Batavia.The two new cases were from out in the community.A water source with the bacteria has not yet been identified.


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Gaming Board said Monday that state lawmakers need to change a law they enacted earlier this year if they ever hope to see a casio developed in the city of Chicago. The vote came in response to a feasibility study released last month that said such a casino would not be feasible given the tax and fee structure lawmakers imposed. Under the gambling expansion bill, lawmakers authorized six more land-based casinos however, according to the bill in addition to the taxes and fees that all casinos pay, the Chicago casino would be required to pay an additional 33.3 percent privilege tax which would bring the effective tax rate on a Chicago casino to roughly 72 percent. Lawmakers could revisit the issue when they reconvene for the fall veto session October 28th.



(Springfield-jm) -- Producers are getting ready for the fall harvest as we hear in the weekly crop report. Corn harvest has begun with just one percent complete as only 14 percent of the crop has matured. The condition of the corn crop improved to 41 percent in good to excellent condition. Crop Statistician Brad Summa says 25 percent of soybeans are turning color...



Crop Statistician Brad Summa. Just 35 percent of pastures are rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as 12 percent very short, 25 percent short, 57 percent adequate and six percent surplus. 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is National Farm Safety Week and the Illinois Department of Agriculture has some reminders for the harvest season. Whether it be working with large machinery, dodging cars, or the long hours, farming remains one of the most dangerous professions says State Ag Spokesperson Krista Lisser…


Illinois Ag Spokesperson Krista Lisser. Lisser says motorists need to give farmers plenty of room on the road as they work the fields and be aware that a slow moving vehicle may be ahead. Producers are urged to take care of themselves during this busy time. 


(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County probation officers salaries will be fully funded after the state Supreme Court received an increase in their budget. With the increase in the budget, salaries will be 100 percent funded instead of 62 percent. 


(Washington-jm) -- If you are a corn grower who thinks prices right now are too low, you may not have much reason to change that thinking for this next marketing year. Gary Crawford reports…



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Park District is holding off on the purchase of a new truck for now. The park district is looking to replace their 1999 truck. They are currently transitioning a 2009 truck to be a secondary truck. A decision on a new truck is expected to happen sometime in early 2020.


(Undated--jc)  -- Illinoisans have two of the most fun cities in the country within driving distance. Consumer finance website WalletHub ranked Chicago the fifth most fun city. St. Louis, Missouri, ranked No. 18. The rankings were based on entertainment, nightlife and costs, among other things.



Illinois Government Agencies are Being Advised to Prepare for Budget Cuts in 2020

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ chief fiscal officer has a clear duty to pay lost wages to all members of the General Assembly affected by two statutes a Cook County judge ruled were unconstitutional, the attorney for two former Democratic state senators wrote in a court filing. One law freezing cost of living increases and another implementing furlough days violated Illinois’ governing document because they altered legislators’ wagers during terms for which their were elected a circuit court judge decided in July. Now, two former lawmakers who voted in favor of both statutes are asking the judge to compel Comptroller Susana Mendoza to issue back bay. If successful, the order could cost Illinois just under $13 million.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois government agencies are being advised to prepare for budget cuts in 2020. Illinois’ budget office sent a memo signed by Deputy Governor Dan Hynes and Budget Director Alexis Sturm noting the current budget is balanced however, it orders agencies to prepare a scenario in which 6.5 percent of current year funding would go away. The memo also directs agencies to review their boards and commissions with potentially cutting them by 10 percent.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois motorists can now get their driving records online. Instead of having to go to a local driver’s services facility, you can quickly download a copy of your driving record via Secretary of State Jesse White’s website. Spokesperson Henry Haupt says people need the record for a variety of reasons…



Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Visit: cyber drive illinois dot com any time of day to get your record. You’ll be asked to provide information from your driver’s license. The charge is 12 dollars, plus a one dollar credit card processing fee.



(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will be flushing hydrants later this month. Water department employees will be flushing hydrants September 23rd through the 27th starting on the west side of town. Residents may notice discoloration and/or loss of water pressure. Those with questions are asked to call the water department at 379-2425.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Those hoping to ask questions about VA healthcare can do so in Rantoul. VA Illiana Health Care Systems will be hosting a town hall on September 19th from 5 to 6:30 pm at the Rantoul Business Center. Staff will be present to provide updates and answer questions on care, programs and services offered by the VA. For more information, call 217-554-3000 extension 45073.



(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will hold an open house later this month on the upcoming streetscape project. Mayor Bill Ingold says the open house allows community members to learn more about the project and get their questions answered…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. Ingold says work is expected to begin in the spring.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Park District is eyeing several thousand dollars in repairs to the community’s pool. Among the issues is a pump and a vacuum for the pool. It’s estimated to cost between $1,000 and $2,000 to repair the pump, while getting a new pump would cost between $5,000 and $8,000. A new vacuum would cost between $2,000 and $3,000. The park district is also looking at an estimated $500 to paint the pool gutters and $240 each for new deck chairs.


(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline for the 2nd installment of real estate taxes is quickly approaching. The deadline to pay the installment without penalty is today. After that date a one and a half percent interest rate will be added.



(Washington-jm) --  There's been some encouraging news for U.S. pork and soybean producers concerning trade with China. Gary Crawford has the details…



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois has recognized five professors at the Urbana-Champaign campus for their excellence in teaching and service. The University Scholars program started in 1985. Recipients receive $15,000 a year for three years to use toward scholarly work, including for travel, research assistants and books. Applicants are nominated from each campus of the university system.


(Springfield-jm) -- A coalition of advocacy groups and lawmakers from both parties unveiled a bill Friday that would phase out emissions of a cancer-causing gas in densely populated areas and near schools or daycares by 2022. House Bill 3888 is the latest step in a highly publicized series of legislative and advocacy efforts to regulate or ban the use of ethylene oxide in Illinois. The bill states that by 2021 no sterilization company can use ethylene oxide within five miles of a region with a population density of at least 10 residents per square mile, or within the same distance from a school or daycare. Hospitals that use the gas in sterilization processes would have to meet the same requirements by January 2022, while critical access hospitals have until 2025. Ethylene oxide is a gas used in sterilization and manufacturing processes that has been linked to higher cancer rates. 



(Undated-jm) -- A popular heartburn medication may have cancer causing carcinogens in it according to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA announced Friday that low levels of nitrosodimethlamine, a known substance that could cause cancer is found in Zantac. The substance was found in both the name brand and generic versions of the pill that are sold at major pharmacies like Walmart, Walgreens and CVS. The FDA says the levels found in the medicine barely exceeds the amount found in common foods so the drug hasn’t been recalled.



(Washington-jm) -- What are the price prospects for the upcoming U.S. soybean crop? Gary Crawford reports…



(Loda-jm) -- A Loda church is celebrating a major milestone in October. Immanuel Lutheran Church will be celebrating 70 years with a special service on October 13th at 10:30 am. The first service was held in 1948 by the Reverend E.M.  Goltermann in a local funeral home. In 1949 the church was renamed Immanuel Lutheran Church.



(Danville-jm) -- The Vermilion County Farm Bureau Foundation is hosting a rifle raffle. The foundation is raffling off a Henry Golden Boy and a Ruger Mini 14. Tickets are $20 a piece or 6 for $100. Proceeds benefit Ag in the Classroom. The drawing will be held on December 3rd. For more information or to get your tickets call the Vermilion County Farm Bureau office at 217-442-8713.




(Champaign-jm) -- Two area health care systems are combining some of their services later this year. Carle Hospital and Christie Clinic have announced a plan to begin sharing medical records beginning in October. Currently, its estimated about 80 percent of patients who use Carle physicians also see a physician at Christie. Both systems would be able to securely access the records of mutual patients. For patients they would be able to access their medical information for both places through the mycarle portal.



(Champaign County-jm) -- Work on a stretch of road in Champaign County is expected to begin today. I-DOT announced Leverett Road between Route 45 and Market Street will be resurfaced. One lane will remain open during the project. Work is expected to be completed by the end of November.


(Springfield-jm) -- Keep your receipts parents, your children’s education expenses may entitle you to an income tax credit. Families paying more than 250 dollars for school costs in grades kindergarten through high school may be able to take the credit. Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro says eligible expenses include tuition, lab fees and book fees….


Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro. The credit is available to parents of kids in both public and private schools.



Iroquois County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's help into who vandalized the Danforth Cemetery

(Danforth--jc)  -- Iroquois County Police are seeking the public’s input on vandalism at one area cemetery. Police say damage to graves at the Danforth Cemetery happened on September 10 or September 11th. Local police continue to investigate. Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call the Iroquois County Sheriff’s office in Watseka


(Springfield-jm) -- The advertising and other business practices of tech giant Google will be under heavy scrutiny in the coming months as part of a bipartisan investigation led by 50 attorneys general including Kwame Raoul of Illinois.  In an announcement this week, Raoul’s office said the joint investigation will determine whether the tech giant operates in violation of state and federal antitrust laws. The investigation will focus on Google’s advertising practices and whether its dominance in the advertising and search market constitutes anticompetitive behavior that harms consumers. 



(Springfield-jm) -- The USDA is lowering the crop production forecast for Illinois. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says based on conditions as of September first, the Illinois corn yield is 180 bushels per acre…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The soybean yield is forecasted to hit 53 bushels per acre, down 12 from last year. Total production is estimated at 527 million bushels. That would be a 25 percent decrease from last year.


(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul will be celebrating Community Night Out on September 18th. Events will take place at Eagles View Supportive Living and Memory Care starting at 1:30, Twin Lakes Senior Villas from 1-3 pm, Youman Place Apartments from 3-5 pm, Hope Meadows 3-5 pm and Golfview Village from 5-7 pm. For more information or to sign up for next year’s Community Night Out, call Nadine Frerichs at 893-5600.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s Swine n Dine BBQ Competition is coming up on Saturday, September 21st in downtown Paxton. Activities at this year’s event includes kids inflatables, a bags tournament, remote controlled cars for kids and live music featuring Nashville recording artist Jerrod Niemann. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer says this year you can be a judge for the BBQ competition…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.



(Paxton-jm) -- Button Township voters will have a new location when they go to the polls. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick has announced voters will be voting at the Button Township Hall located at 3379 E County Road 200 N after the previous voting location, the Paxton American Legion, was sold. Voters will receive new voting cards with the updated location.


(Paxton-jm) -- After several months of back and forth with the state, the Paxton landfill is officially closed. Mayor Bill Ingold says the announcement was made at this month’s city council meeting…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.



(Champaign-jm) -- The University of Illinois set several record numbers when it comes to student enrollment this year. 51,196 students are enrolled for the new school year, an increase from the previous record 49,339 set last fall. The freshman class also set a record. 7,665 freshman students are enrolled this academic year. That is up from last year's record 7,609. The freshman class has the strongest academic profile with an average SAT of 1348, ACT of 29 and GPA of 3.60. 5,698 students are from within the state representing 92 of the state's 102 counties. 



(Undated--jc)  -- All of Illinois’ neighboring states spend a higher percentage of their gas taxes and license fees on roads than the Land of Lincoln.The Tax Foundation ranked Illinois No. 34 for spending 34 percent of its gas and license taxes on roads.Of neighboring states, Iowa spends the largest percentage at nearly 51 percent.


(Washington-jm) -- Several area congressmen are promoting the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement while praising President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. During a recent news interview, Darin LaHood promoted the trade agreement saying it will help more products to be produced in the US and can help the dairy industry by reducing tariffs. The new agreement would replace NAFTA or the North American Free Trade Agreement. As for the ongoing trade war with China, LaHood said he understands its hurting the agriculture and manufacturing industries but it’s time, after 25 years to stand up to China.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Insurance is helping families collect unpaid life insurance claims. It’s the duty of insurance companies to pay beneficiaries but policies aren’t always paid out for various reasons. Director Robert Muriel says consumers can search to see if they are due any money on the Department of Insurance’s website…



Illinois Department of Insurance Director Robert Muriel. So far this year, the department has been able to help people find and collect more than 15 million dollars from lost or unclaimed life insurance policies. Visit insurance dot illinois dot gov for more information. 



(Champaign-jm) -- An electronics recycling event in Champaign County will take place in October. The recycling event will take place on October 12th at Parkland College. Those interested in participating are asked to register online at ecycle dot simplybook dot me or call Nichole Millage at 217 403 4780.



(Washington-jm) -- Last months highly criticized USDA corn and soybean forecasts may be "vindicated" as those same basic forecasts in Thursday's new estimates are now within the much revised trade expectations. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is expanding services and taking over a program for Iroquois County. The director of Iroquois County’s Adult Protective Services stepped down and the agency is no longer staffing it. Ford County signed a 5 year contract with the state to take over the program. Fees from the program are expected to generate enough revenue to hire a new person.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District is gearing up for a busy homecoming week. Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about some of the events happening…



PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

Homecoming week begins September 23.



(Springfield--jc)  --As the Sept. 30 deadline approaches for municipalities in Illinois to decide on whether to allow and tax the sale of recreational cannabis, locally elected officials are under the microscope.The state lawmakers responsible for getting the legislation that legalized recreational cannabis to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk warned last month that municipalities shouldn’t tax sales of cannabis products at the maximum three percent. They said the high taxes would keep people from getting high using legal supply, opting to continue buying cannabis on the black market.In spite of the warning, many of the state’s cities are opting to tax sales at the highest rate. On top of state taxes that can be as high as 40 percent, local city and county sales taxes, the three percent tax can put the total tax on recreational cannabis at more than 50 percent.


(Springfield--jc)  --The debate over whether Illinois should change its flat income tax to a structure taxing higher rates for higher earners is expected to be expensive as groups on both sides of the issue prepare for November 2020 election.Voters will likely see more political ads for and against changing the state’s flat income tax to a structure with higher rates for higher earners. That proposed change to the state constitution will appear on ballots in November 2020. Voters will have the final say at the ballot box.Supporters have said the progressive income tax proposal will bring the state an additional $3.2 billion in tax revenue. That money would be used to address the state’s structural budget deficits. Opponents have questioned those revenue projections.


General Motors is recalling over 3 million pickups and SUVs over brake issues

(Springfield-jm) -- Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is suing several pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis in Illinois. The lawsuit is filed against companies like Johnson and Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and more. It alleges they engaged in deceptive marketing practices that contributed to the opioid epidemic says Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson…


Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson. The suit also alleges that distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and others failed to look into suspicious orders of opiates like hydrocodone and morphine. 



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda FFA Chapter needs your help to protect the environment. The group is collecting 175 pounds of bottle caps or approximately 35,000 caps. For more information or to donate your caps, contact a PBL FFA member.


(Paxton-jm) -- Taxing bodies in Ford County are starting to receive payments from the county for property taxes collected in 2018. After the first round of property taxes were collected, 17.2 million were distributed. Paxton-Buckley-Loda and the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school districts each received 3.8 million while the Tri-Point school district received 2 million. The second installment of property taxes is due by October 28th. After that deadline, an estimated 12 million more will be distributed to taxing bodies. County officials say the payment delays are due to the Illinois Department of Revenue not sending out the county’s multiplier on time.


(Washington-jm) --Will this month's new round of USDA crop forecasts cause as big a stir as last month? We will know soon. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Undated-jm) -- General Motors is recalling over 3 million pickups and SUVs over brake issues. The models impacted include the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500, 2500 and 3500 pickup trucks, model years 2014 through 2018. Also included are the Cadillac Escalade from 2015 to 2017, and the GMC Yukon and Chevy Suburban and Tahoe from 2015 through 2018. According to the automaker, the problem lies within the vacuum pump. The amount of vacuum created by the pump, according to GM, may decrease over time. When the vacuum level drops, the brake assist will decrease. This will increase the stopping distance needed, risking a crash.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to four years probation for sexually abusing a girl back in December. Carlos Ramirez-Lopez pleaded guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse before the case could go to a retrial after a jury acquitted him of one count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child back in July. Ramirez-Lopez also pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol for an incident in September 2018. He received 30 months probation for that. 



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is reminding everyone about the farmers market held outside the Paxton Carnegie Library in downtown every Thursday from 4-7 pm. Today, local musical act Vern and Vern will be performing. The farmers market runs through September 19th.


(Springfield-jm) -- Attorney General Kwame Raoul is raising concerns about at-home rape evidence kits. The do-it-yourself evidence collection kits are being marketed to survivors, but really don’t provide the support system that victims need says Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson



Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson. Thompson says there are also concerns about whether these kits would be admissible in court.



(Gifford-jm) -- The village of Gifford will likely push their water main replacement project to early 2020. Project leader David Atchley brought to village leaders attention that there is not enough room in the right away in the 1600 feet without replacing field tile. Environmental regulations call for water mains and field tiles to be at least 10 feet apart. A possible solution is to request easements from 16 homeowners. 



(Buckley-jm) -- Buckley village trustees have approved a change order for their water tower refurbishment project. During the September meeting, village leaders approved removing a non-code compliant safety handrail on top instead of replacing it after an internet service tower was moved to another site. The change order will cost the village 1600 to remove the handrail, however, the village will be credited 5000 as they no longer need to install a new pressure-vacuum vent.


(Roberts--jc)  -- You can add one Ford County town to the list of communities that have placed a three percent sales tax on legal marijuana sales. The village of Roberts voted to put the sales tax on the books this week says Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner…



Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner



(Gibson City--jc)  -- For sale, used cars. The Gibson City Police Department is selling two used Ford Crown Victorias. One is a 2007 and the other is a 2008. Neither are running at this time and may need new batteries. If you would like to purchase either car, you may submit a sealed bid by Friday September 20th with the Gibson City Police..



(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois County community of Gilman is gearing up for their annual Super Saturday. Activities include a tractor show from 9-4, Bingo from 2-4 and a car show. This years event takes place on September 14th.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City will be hosting their annual Harvest Fest the second weekend of September. The two day festival takes place on Friday, September and Saturday. Friday night’s live music line up include Jake and Jackson and Fun Pianos Dueling Pianos. Saturday’s activities include a bags tournament, one-third race and beer stein holding. Live music Saturday includes The Fairchilds, Counterfeits, Devon Clemons Band and Nashville-recording artist Colt Ford.



NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are commemorating 9/11 with mournful ceremonies, volunteering, appeals to "never forget" and rising attention to the terror attacks' extended toll on responders. A crowd of victims' relatives is expected at ground zero Wednesday, while President Donald Trump is scheduled to join an observance at the Pentagon. Vice President Mike Pence is to speak at the third attack site, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Former President George W. Bush, the commander-in-chief at the time of the 2001 attacks, is due at an afternoon wreath-laying at the Pentagon.

Locally, The Ford County Republican Women and the Gov. Thomas Ford Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution are inviting the public to attend the annual 9/11 memorial service at the Paxton firehouse tonight. Music will be provided by PBL High School’s Panther Regiment marching band beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m. The featured speaker will be Chief Edmund J. Enright, a retired deputy district chief from the Chicago Fire Department. The event is an opportunity to remember, recognize and honor first responders, including police officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, EMS personnel, ERS personnel, paramedics and EMA volunteers.


(Watseka--jc) Watseka authorities are seeking the help of the public concerning a bank robbery that occurred around 10 Tuesday morning at the Iroquois Farmers State Bank in Watseka. Police say the suspect is a white male. He wore a black hat, black jacket, dark pants and a fake beard and was also armed with a handgun.The suspect left the bank on foot going northbound from the Iroquois Farmer’s State Bank. Anyone with information is asked to call the Watseka Police Department or Iroquois County Authorities at 815-432-4918.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state of Illinois is about to overhaul the way it provides health care to an estimated 74,000 of the state’s most vulnerable children and young adults, and the prospect of that is making many lawmakers and health care providers nervous. At issue is a plan by the Department of Children and Family Services to place all of the children under its charge into a single managed care health insurance program similar to those that now manage the bulk of the state’s Medicaid program by November 1st. It’s estimated 17,100 children in foster care, another 18,800 former foster children who still receiving health coverage from the state, plus another 38,200 children with special needs that qualify for federal Supplemental Security Income benefits will be involved. A hearing was held Tuesday in Springfield and many lawmakers present felt uncomfortable with what they were hearing and want to be kept informed as the scheduled start date approaches.



(Springfield-jm) -- A simple conversation could save a life - that's just one of the messages mental-health organizations are hoping to drive home on World Suicide Prevention Day. Mary Schuermann reports…




(Gifford-jm) -- Gifford village leaders are considering ways to reduce flooding in Werner Roessler Park and an area of south Park Street. Village trustees are considering a proposal to cut a ditch to redirect the directional flow of water more to the south. A cost estimate for the project came in between 12,500 and 15,000. Discussions will continue at a later date.


(Washington-jm) -- Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue continues to express optimism that Congress will approve the US/Mexico/Canada trade agreement. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Rantoul-jm) -- A meet and greet with the new director of the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce will be held this week. The meet and greet with Amanda Vickery will take place from 4 to 6 pm Thursday at the chamber’s office in downtown Rantoul. Vickery takes over for Belinda Allen who left in July for a position in western Illinois.



(Springfield-jm) -- September is National Preparedness Month and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency has some advice to make sure your family is ready for a disaster. IEMA recommends involving the whole family is preparing for an emergency, taking into account the needs of children and pets. Kids can make their own kits with books, games and a stuffed animal. Spokesperson Rebecca Clark also suggests brushing up on your first aid and CPR skills…



IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Clark says it’s also a good idea to have money saved to get you through a disaster and to get involved with community preparation efforts. 


(Springfield-jm) -- More than 24,000 private sector workers in Illinois have collectively stashed away more than $5 million in retirement savings since January as part of a new state program that increases access to retirement accounts for individuals whose employers do not already offer them. Illinois Secure Choice was created in 2015, requiring businesses with 25 employees or more to offer retirement savings plans or take part in the new program, which automatically enrolls workers in a state-created but independently managed retirement plan. The state treasurer's office and an appointed board of advisors oversee the program, however, it is managed by an independent financial services company which means the state cannot use the funds for any other purpose. Employees are  automatically enrolled with a default rate of 5 percent of the employee’s income withheld and there are no fees for employers to become part of the plan. California and Oregon offer similar retirement saving plans.



(Washington-jm) -- Farmers can sign up for the disaster program starting today. Gary Crawford has the details…



(Thomasboro-jm) -- The village of Thomasboro’s Emergency Services Disaster Agency could be receiving some new upgrades. Village trustees and the ESDA coordinator are looking at upgrades including purchasing a new tv, computer and antenna. Another proposal being considered is looking at operating the villages three emergency sirens remotely.


(Piper City-jm) -- The Ford County community of Piper City is working on updating and enforcing village codes. Several meetings have already been held on updating the codes. Among the changes so far are updating solicitor fees,eliminating Class B-E liquor licenses, changing the smoking device age from 18 to 21 and adding an ordinance regulating golf cart use.



(Paxton-jm) -- A new school year means new students and for some in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District, that also means a new building. Renovations and an addition were added to Clara Peterson Elementary over the past year. PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure says they will be holding an open house for the public to see the new building later this month…


Paxton-Buckley-Loda Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton Police have released their recent activity report. On September 7th, Donald Bickel was arrested for driving with a suspended license and ticketed for operating a non-highway vehicle on a roadway following a traffic stop at Pells and Taft. An officer that knew Bickel’s license was suspended saw Bickel driving a riding lawnmower. On September 9th, Laureano Medina of Rantoul was arrested for driving with no valid driver's license following a traffic stop at Railroad and Green.


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Lottery is launching a new instant ticket to benefit homeless prevention programs. All proceeds from the new “Easy as 1-2-3” game will go towards rental and utility assistance as well as help for families facing eviction or foreclosure. Lottery Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg explains the game... 


Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. Easy as 1-2-3 is just one of several specialty tickets offered by the lottery where all profits go towards certain causes.



104th District Representative Mike Marron is considering running for the seat of John Shimkus.

(Undated--jc)  --Illinois lands in the middle of the pack of all states for happiness.Consumer finance website WalletHub ranked the Land of Lincoln No. 24.The rankings were based on emotional and physical wellbeing, work, community and environmental factors.


Chicago’s mayor is warning the state’s high taxes on gambling could hurt the development of the industry.Mayor Lori Lightfoot told Crain’s Chicago Business the taxes on gambling don’t make sense. Illinois lawmakers have banked spending plans on revenue from the addition of six new casinos, including one in Chicago.


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding moms and dads that most employers are required to give them time off for parent-teacher conferences. A 1993 law makes sure businesses give workers unpaid leave for school conferences, minus a few exceptions says State Labor Director Michael Kleinik…


State Labor Director Michael Kleinik. Workers must request the time off seven days in advance and can be granted up to eight hours during the school year and no more than four hours on any given day. 


The Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau will sponsor a Price Outlook meeting at 7 p.m. Tonight at the Farm Bureau building in Gilman. AgriVisor manager Joe Camp will give the price outlook. Camp is an analyst specializing in the grains and knowledgeable on matters influencing the other various financial markets. One Earth Energy’s Steve Kelly will also speak at the meeting. Kelly will provide an update on the ethanol industry and give his prospective on the world commodity markets. Reservations are not needed for the meeting. For more information, people can contact the Farm Bureau office at 800-424-0756.


(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul village leaders are expected to approve the final payment for the shared use path connecting Rudzinski Park to downtown. The final payment of $209,661 comes out of the motor fuel tax fund. In addition to that, village trustees will be asked to approve spending almost $40,000 for an engineering agreement redevelopment of Rudzinski Park, approve the purchase of a pickup truck from Shields for the Code Enforcement Department and approve over $45,000 in upgrades to the Prospect substation relay in the industrial park. The Rantoul Village Board meeting gets underway at 6 pm.



(Springfield-jm) -- Crop conditions have declined a bit as we hear in the weekly crop report. Corn progress continues to lag behind with 88 percent in the dough stage says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener... 



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The condition of the soybean crop also fell slightly to 41 percent in good to excellent condition and just three percent turning color. Average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to 10 percent very short, 22 percent short, 65 percent adequate and three percent surplus. 



(Undated-jm) -- A newly selected members of the Illinois House could make a run for Washington. 104th District Representative Mike Marron is considering running for the seat of John Shimkus. Shimkus announced last week he is not seeking re-election. Marron was appointed a year ago to fill the seat of Chad Hays who retired from the Illinois House. The Congressional District covers all or parts of Ford, Champaign and Vermilion Counties. So far, John Hursey has announced his candidacy for the seat as a Democrat.



(Washington-jm) -- The U.S. has recorded another month of a trade deficit in agricultural products. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Springfield-jm) -- Catholics from around the state rallied at the state capitol last week denouncing lawmakers recent expansion of abortion rights and potential votes to further that agenda. A group of 30 led by Father Edward Ohm of the Diocese of Peoria, rallied to voice their opposition to the Reproductive Health Act which made access to abortions, birth control and pregnancy benefits and exams a fundamental right. The act also mandates private insurance companies regulated by the state to cover abortion procedures. 


(Chicago--jc)  --Policy experts warned the state’s unfunded pension debt is contributing to Illinois’ population losses, service shortages and high taxes, but said any change would need to be endorsed by the pensioners and their unions.The state has more than $133 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Without changes, the state will have to put $10 billion toward pension payments next year. That’s more than a quarter of the state’s budget. The City Club of Chicago hosted a panel discussion Monday about what needs to be done to address the issue.The consensus from the discussion was that unfunded pension liability is creating a high tax burden and an overall uncertain environment that is sending people to other states.



(Sibley-jm) -- One Ford County community has approved a 3 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana. Sibley village trustees made the decision at their September meeting. Municipalities have until September 30th to register their decision with the Illinois Department of Revenue. Even with the approval of the sales tax, the village can still decide to opt out of allowing the sale of recreational marijuana through an ordinance.



(Paxton-jm) -- It’s expected to be a quiet Paxton city council meeting tonight. Council members will be asked to approve the purchase of a stump grinder for the public works department and consider approving building maintenance at the Paxton Emergency Management Agency building. The Paxton city council meeting gets underway at 7pm.



(Springfield-jm) -- Crop conditions have declined a bit as we hear in the weekly crop report. 53 percent of corn is in the dent stage and just 38 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 90 percent of soybeans are setting pods…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Pasture conditions also fell to 37 percent in good to excellent condition and the third cutting of alfalfa is now 82 percent complete. It was a little drier this past week, leaving average topsoil moisture at 10 percent very short, 22 percent short, 65 percent adequate and three percent surplus. 



(Rantoul-jm) -- The majority of people who spoke at the Rantoul village board study session were against recreational cannabis sales in the village. Of the 11 people that spoke, eight of them were against it. The village has until the end of the month to decide if they want to adopt a tax on the sale of recreational marijuana. By the end of the year, village leaders will have to decide whether to allow cannabis sales or cultivation facilities in the village, allow submittal of proposals for cannabis dispensary licenses and adopt rules and regulations. A decision could come as early as October.


CHICAGO (AP) — Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to better regulate the electronic cigarette industry in the wake of several vaping-related deaths. Durbin criticized the FDA on Monday for its lack of oversight of the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping products to minors. He says he sent a letter last week to acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless demanding the enforcement of existing regulations on the sale of vaping products.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ judicial branch will use its first budget increase in six years in part to alleviate costs paid by local governments. This is the first time in almost 30 years the state’s courts were allocated the financial resources by the General Assembly to fully reimburse counties for salaries and probation services. Before the increase, counties were reimbursed at 62 percent of what the law mandates. With the new allocation of $405 million, that rate will be 100 percent. The lack of funding caused some counties to cut or reduce services including programs for substance abuse, mental health issues and to veterans.



Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran Urges Residents to Join the Illinois Sheriff's Association.

(Undated--jc) Illinois residents in rural areas are more likely to die in car crashes than their more urban counterparts WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…



(Springfield-jm) -- Advocates for a law that would limit the number of patients each hospital nurse is allowed to care for at one time are touting a new national survey that suggests such a rule would lead to better working conditions for nurses and better care for patients. The survey was conducted in 2018 by the group Nurses take DC, a national organization that lobbies for stricter nurse-to-patient ratios. It found on average, Illinois nurses are responsible for five point two patients at a time. Authors of the report say stretching a nursing staff too thin can create workplace stress resulting in higher turnover rates. The Illinois Health and Hospital Association opposes the idea saying it would result in the closure of many rural hospitals and accelerate already rising health care costs.



(Springfield-jm) -- This is recovery month in Illinois with events planned all over the state to raise awareness and celebrate recovery. The theme  this year is recovery belongs says the State Department of Human Services’ Dani Kirby…


Illinois Department of Human Services’ Dani Kirby. Several events are being held across Illinois including free overdose response trainings, opioid awareness discussions, a three on three basketball tournament and a candlelight vigil. Visit D-H-S’ website for a complete list.



(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton man is behind bars and another is in the hospital following a fight last week. Paxton police were called to an unconscious male in the 200 block of E. Center Street on Sunday, September 1st. When they arrived they found the 52 year old in the backyard. He was taken to Carle Hospital where he was in Intensive Care. 34-year-old Clayton Marcum was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and obstruction of justice. Bond was set at 250 thousand dollars.



(Urbana-jm) -- An Urbana hospital is stepping up their security after a data breach. Carle Foundation Hospital says someone hacked the email accounts of three doctors back in June. The breach affected those in cardiology and surgical services. The hospital says patient data including names, medical records and dates of birth were exposed in the breach.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School school board is expected to approve their fiscal year 2020 budget at tonight’s school board meeting. School board members will also be asked to approve a proposal from A and R Mechanical to replace a chiller compressor in the west wing HVAC system and approve the purchase of a new bus from Midwest Transit Equipment. A budget hearing gets underway at 6:45 with the monthly meeting getting underway at 7.



(Washington-jm) -- A top USDA official is positive about news that US-China trade talks would resume. Stephanie Ho reports…


(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran is urging residents to join the Illinois Sheriff’s Association. Individuals can become members for as little as a $20 tax-deductible donation, while businesses can join for a $50 tax-deductible contribution. The membership helps provide funding for technical resources, training and legislative support on key criminal-justice issues.


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Gaming Board is adopting new rules they say will strengthen existing ethical safeguards and require more people to file ethical disclosure reports as part of the casino license selection process. The new rules are the result of legislation enacted earlier this year that allows for the development of six new land-based casinos, including one in Danville, along with legalized sports betting.



(Springfield-jm) -- Some Illinoisans are encouraging state leaders to put the brakes on the rollout of new 5G wireless technology. Mary Schuermann reports…




(Ford County-jm) -- Two Ford County residents will be visiting the nation’s capitol later this month, all thanks to the Honor Flight. Going on the flight are Russell Plath of Gibson City and Chester Culbertson of Paxton. Plath served in the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict. Culbertson served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. Both will be in Washington D.C. along with 92 others on September 24th as part of the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight. So far, 4,454 veterans from Illinois have been apart of the honor flight.



(Champaign County-jm) -- People who owe fines on unpaid traffic tickets or court costs in a criminal case, have a chance to pay with no interest or collection fees. Starting today, the Champaign County Clerk's office is offering its amnesty week. The office will allow anyone who owes an opportunity to pay the total of the original fine. It’s the third year for the program. It runs through Friday.



(Gibson city-jm) --  Gibson City leaders are expected to take the next step in building a new water tower at tonight's city council meeting. Council members will be asked to approve the purchase of land from Alliance Grain for the water tower. Also at tonight's meeting, council members will be asked to consider a recycling contract with Ridgeview Recycling and consider selling an old police squad car. The Gibson City city council meeting gets underway at 7 pm.



(Washington-jm) -- Time is running out for dairy producers to get enrolled in the Dairy Margin Coverage Program. Gary Crawford reports…




(Buckley-jm) -- The village of Buckley has a new grocery store again. Rajinder  Ghotra has opened Buckley Food and Liquor. Ghotra also owns the Loda Big Mart.



(Loda--jc) -- The first Fundraiser to raise awareness and dollars for a cure for Huntington’s disease was a huge success. Several hundred people attended the walk, silent auction and golf tournament on Saturday at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. Organizers want to say thank you to all who participated and donated to the cause



Rainfall Totals Varied Quite a Bit Across the State in August

(Champaign-jm) -- Rainfall totals varied quite a bit across the state last month. Parts of the state were soaked in August and others are officially in drought status says State Climatologist Trent Ford…



State Climatologist Trent Ford. The latest drought monitor shows a band of abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions from the Quad Cities to Will County and down to Vermilion County. It was a different story between I-72 and 64, especially near the Metro East Area. Those counties saw rainfall that was five to eight inches above normal.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul could build a 20 million dollar sports complex in the near future. During the village’s study session last week, the proposed 60 plus acre artificial turf facility would be built on the villages west side south of the Walmart. The project would be paid for through a bond issuance, private donations and grants. If approved work could begin as early as this fall.



(Paxton-jm) -- The smell of BBQ will soon fill the air in downtown Paxton as the 2019 Paxton Swine n Dine gets underway on Saturday September 21st. In addition to the BBQ competition, there will be a bags tournament, inflatables for the kids and of course food vendors. Once again this year, there will be live entertainment says Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer. Also new this year, you can purchase tickets to judge some of the competitors food.



(Rantoul-jm) -- An open house showcasing the new courts at Wabash Park in Rantoul will take place next week. The open house on September 12th from 5:30-7 pm, featuring hot dogs and other refreshments, will show off the all-weather courts that feature amenities for tennis and pickleball. The courts cost $150,000.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Those shopping in downtown Gibson City will have a new experience. The Gibson City city council approved spending up to $65,000 for free public Wi-Fi and a speaker system. Gibson City based MCS Office Technologies will provide the work. The city hopes to have the system in place for the Lighted Christmas Parade in November.



(Springfield-jm) -- Tips to help businesses protect employees from workplace violence were offered this week at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s annual training summit. After the mass shooting back in February, the Aurora Police Department came up with a list of recommendations for employers to increase security. They including having numbers on all doors, a complete roster of workers and maps on the wall says Deputy Chief Keefe Jackson…



Aurora Police Deputy Chief Keefe Jackson. Businesses are also encouraged to have an entry system where visitors have to check in and security cameras.


Prairieview Lutheran Homes will hold their Fall Festival in Danforth today and tomorrow. Woodworth style fish served today from 11-2 and again starting at 4pm. The 5K race begins at 8am on Saturday. Annual Quilt Auction is Saturday at 3pm. Lots more activities planned. For more information, check out their website prairieview


The Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau will sponsor a Price Outlook meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Farm Bureau building in Gilman. AgriVisor manager Joe Camp will give the price outlook. Camp, a native of Paxton, offers grain marketing advice to producers in the Midwest and provides hedge recommendations and order execution as a Series 3 licensed broker. Camp is an analyst specializing in the grains and knowledgeable on matters influencing the other various financial markets. Camp can be heard regularly on the RFD Radio Network. One Earth Energy’s Steve Kelly will also speak at the meeting. Kelly has been the general manager at the One Earth Energy ethanol plant in Gibson City since 2007. Kelly will provide an update on the ethanol industry and give his prospective on the world commodity markets. Reservations are not needed for the meeting. For more information, people can contact the Farm Bureau office at 800-424-0756.


The Philo Country Opry featuring Chrissy Sparks will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Melvin Community Hall, 108 E. Main St., Melvin. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the cost of admission is $10. Children age 12 and under enter for free. The Melvin Lutheran Church will be selling pulled-pork sandwiches, chips, homemade pies and drinks. For more information, people can call 217-388-2853. On Oct. 12, Rick & Friends will perform at the Melvin Community Hall.


(Danville-jm) -- A lawsuit has been filed against some officers at the Vermilion County Jail following the death of an inmate a year ago. The family of Jamie Moore filed the lawsuit claiming officers didn’t provide medical treatment. Moore was being transferred to another cell because of a leak when he became combative with officers. He was taken back to his cell where he was found dead several hours later.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A cancer walk will be held in Rantoul tomorrow night. The Luke Remington Cancer Walk gets underway at the Rantoul Township High School track at 4. Spokesperson Sue Sawyer talks about the activities going on at this year’s walk…



Luke Remington Cancer Walk Spokesperson Sue Sawyer.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Sheriff’s office issued 39 traffic citations in August, 19 of which are for speeding. Six of them were for driving under the influence, three for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and one each for disregarding a stop sign, failure to report an accident, driving with a revoked license, improper lane usage, failure to yield and illegal transportation of alcohol. Deputies also handled 33 sex offender registry verifications, 14 suspicious activity reports, seven domestic issues, three thefts and one each of stolen vehicle, fight in progress, burglary and missing person. 



(Iroquois County-jm) -- The primary election may not be for another six months but candidates are now able to start circulating petitions. Candidates for established political parties began circulating nominating petitions for the primary election on September 3rd. Paperwork must be turned into the county clerk’s office between November 25th and December 2nd. The primary election in Illinois is March 17th.



The Elliott Amvets will hold Family Night meals on the first Friday of each month: Sept. 6, Oct. 4, Nov. 1, Dec. 6, Jan. 3, Feb. 7, March 6, April 3 and May 1. The meal includes fish and chicken plus two sides for $10. Also available for purchase are $1 sodas, $2 beers and $4.50 mixed drinks.


The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, in its parking lot to help raise funds for the First Lutheran Church in Paxton. Pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda pop will be for sale.


The public is invited to learn lots of history when the Iroquois County Genealogical Society presents its seventh annual cemetery walk at 2 p.m. Sunday, at Amity Cemetery near Goodwine. There will be several speakers and presenters. Some of the topics will include explanation of  symbols on some of the headstones at the cemetery, historical facts about the post offices, towns and cemetery; and some history of the church. There will be a small admission fee, as the event is one of the Iroquois County Genealogical Society’s few fundraisers. The admission fee will include water. A handicap port-a-potty will be available. The cemetery is located at the intersection of county roads 500 North and 1900 East.


Annual 9/11 Memorial Service to be Held at Paxton Firehouse

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Republican Women and the Gov. Thomas Ford Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution are inviting the public to attend the annual 9/11 memorial service at the Paxton firehouse on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Music will be provided by PBL High School’s Panther Regiment marching band beginning at 5:30 p.m., followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m. The featured speaker will be Chief Edmund J. Enright, a retired deputy district chief from the Chicago Fire Department. The event is an opportunity to remember, recognize and honor first responders, including police officers, firefighters, ambulance personnel, EMS personnel, ERS personnel, paramedics and EMA volunteers.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois has joined over a dozen states in asking the federal government for more information on a decision to stop considering requests from immigrants seeking to remain in the country for medical treatment and other hardships. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says the lack of information has left sick patients and their families "afraid, traumatized, and uncertain of their future health and well-being."



(Bloomington--jc)  --A new Illinois High School Association rule could lead to new football schedules around the state .A policy announced last year and implemented with the start of this season limits all prep football players to one game per night and bans playing on back-to-back days. The state previously had no limits on how much football an athlete could play.  IHSA Assistant Executive Director Sam Knox says in the past, you could have a student who plays in nine J.V. football games and nine varsity football games. One change is not holding JV or Freshmen contests on Friday nights. Knox says some school districts are moving Freshmen and Sophomore games to Mondays or Tuesdays. Student safety is the main concern. The change came after the recommendation of the IHSA’s sports medicine advisory committee.


(Springfield-jm) -- People who support alternatives to detention for kids in trouble say the state is set to bring lasting reforms to Illinois’ juvenile justice system. Mary Schuermann (Sherman) has the details…




(Urbana-jm) -- A deputy township assessor in Champaign County has been arrested on domestic battery charges. William Harris the third of Rantoul was charged in Champaign County court this week with domestic battery and unlawful interference with reporting domestic battery. Harris is accused of grabbing his wife by the neck during an argument and knocking the phone out of her hand when she attempted to call 9-1-1. If convicted he faces a maximum one year in the Champaign County Jail.


(Rantoul-jm) -- The Luke Remington Cancer Walk is this Saturday at the Rantoul Township High School track. Spokesperson Sue Sawyer says there will be a silent auction at the event…



Luke Remington Cancer Walk Spokesperson Sue Sawyer.



(Springfield--jc)  --A key measurement of the U.S. and Illinois economy has begun to slide.The University of Illinois Flash Index dropped to a year-low of 105.1. The measurement factors in individual income and corporate tax receipts.The Illinois economy appears to be slowing slightly from its recent moderate pace but experts say any Index reading above 100 still denotes growth.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Thanks to a new law, passed with bipartisan support from the legislature, active-duty and former military personnel who live in other states within commuting distance of Illinois can pay in-state tuition rates to attend Illinois public universities, colleges and community colleges.

(Springfield-jm) -- School safety is a major focus at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s training summit in Springfield and state officials are providing an update on what’s being done to target the problem. After last year’s Parkland school shooting, an Illinois School Safety working group was formed and came out with 13 initial recommendations. Group leader Mike Chamness says he’s pleased to report many of the ideas are being implemented, including handing out “stop the bleed” kits…



Illinois School Safety Working group leader Mike Chamness. Additionally, a new online program called “Safe 2 Tell Illinois” will kick off in January, giving students a way to report classmates threatening to hurt themselves or others. The training summit wraps up today.





(Paxton-jm) -- The 2019 Paxton Swine n Dine will take place on September 21st in downtown Paxton. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer says there’s a full days worth of activities…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer. Capping off the evening is a free concert provided by country music star Jerrod Niemann.



(Springfield--jc)  A lawsuit attempting to invalidate a number of loans taken out by the state of Illinois is moving to the next level.Acting as a private citizen, John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute has formally appealed Tuesday a ruling that tossed out his lawsuit challenging a number of bonds the state took out.He said the bonds to pay down bills and shore up budgets were unconstitutional.State officials discounted the suit as a waste of the court's time.



(Springfield--jc)  State Rep. David McSweeney wants an independent investigation of Leader Jim Durkin’s House operation He said a founded misconduct report about a member of the General Assembly” that former Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter hinted at in an op-ed earlier this year should be released. Durkin's office denied any wrongdoing.



Mason's Law takes Effect Next Summer

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law aims to make it safer for people to cross the street in Illinois. Mason’s Law cracks down on drivers who fail to yield at intersections and at  crosswalks and end up seriously injuring someone says State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst of Kankakee…


State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst of Kankakee. Previously, drivers in this situation usually only ended up paying a fine. The law takes effect next summer and is named after 24-year old Mason Knorr of rural Clifton. He was killed in an intersection last year.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s finances look bad but there are signs of improvement according to a new report released by Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s Office. In fiscal year 2018, the state ran up its deficit up 7.7 billion more. While that sounds bad, that is actually about half of what the deficit was the fiscal year prior. The 397 page report showed the state’s largest area of spending was in the health and social services sector, which encompassed nearly 41 percent of the state’s budget. Education took up the second largest area at 28.5 percent. The state deficit at the end of the fiscal year is 136 billion including $133.6 billion in long-term unfunded pension liabilities plus another $55 billion in other postemployment obligations including health, dental, vision and life insurance for retired state and university employees.


(Springfield-jm) -- This is Campus Fire Safety Month in Illinois. Many students haven’t received fire safety education since elementary school and may need a few reminders as they head out on their own says State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Students in dorms are urged not to overload electrical outlets and those in an apartment should test their smoke alarms…


State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Fultz also says students should never leave candles or cooking unattended and those off-campus should have an escape plan in case of a fire. 



(Rantoul-jm) -- A golf outing benefiting Toys for Tots will be held in Rantoul. Willow Pond Golf Course will host the event on Saturday, September 14th. Registration is required by calling Patti Irvin at 217-841-0532 or Willow Pond at 217-893-9000.



(Champaign-jm) -- The month of August was a mixed month in the state of Illinois with some places seeing above average precip while others barely saw any. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at how the first part of September could look…


State Climatologist Trent Ford.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at his neighbor during an argument. Mark Donoho was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he admitted to possessing a gun and pointing it at his neighbor. Bond was set at five thousand dollars.



(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will seek a grant to finish repair work to the historic Pells Park Pavillion. The city filed for a $20,000 grant with the help of State Representative Jason Barickman, through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development. The grant would pay to replace the shingle roof, add flashing around the dormer windows and add white vinyl soffit to the interior ceiling above its seating area.



(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois’ corn and soybean crops dropped slightly as we hear in the weekly crop report. Crop progress still lags behind, with 82 percent of corn acres now in the dough stage says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The soybean crop also dipped to 46 percent in good to excellent condition, with 84 percent now setting pods. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 77 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture increased to eight percent very short, 21 percent short, 66 percent adequate and five percent surplus.


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois student accused of leaving a noose in a residence hall elevator has been charged with a felony hate crime. Andrew Smith was also arraigned on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges Tuesday. A prosecutor said during the arraignment that the 19-year-old student from Normal found some rope in an elevator and tied it into a noose. Other students reported finding the noose early Sunday. A friend reported him to authorities and he was arrested Monday.


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois drivers can now purchase St. Louis Cardinals license plates. The Redbirds are the sixth sports team to be represented on an Illinois license plate. Secretary of State Jesse White says he expects they will be popular…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. The Cardinals plate with random numbers costs 69 dollars after the usual registration fee. Personalized and vanity plates cost more. 25 dollars from each plate goes to public schools. Order online at: cyber drive Illinois dot com.


(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois circuit court has thrown out a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of two of the state’s general obligation bond issuances. The Illinois Policy Institute filed the suit challenging the legality of the bonds the state issued in 2003 and 2017, arguing they violated the Illinois Constitution’s requirement that such debt may be issued only for specific purposes. At issue were $10 billion in pension funding bonds the state issued in 2003, early in Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration, and another $15.2 billion the state issued in 2017 to pay down debts owed by the state employee health insurance system. The latter was part of a budget package that ended the state’s historic two-year budget impasse which occurred under former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.


(Springfield-jm) --First responders at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s annual training summit in Springfield are hearing about lessons learned from the Aurora workplace shooting. The Aurora Police Department spent a lot of time analyzing what they did right and what they need to improve after an employee of the Henry Pratt Company killed five co-workers and injured five police officers. For example, Aurora Deputy Chief Keefe Jackson says they realized they need a notification system for the families of officers involved…



Aurora Deputy Police Chief Keefe Jackson. Jackson says they also realized dispatchers didn’t know all the jargon and acronyms their officers used, which hampered communications.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Frightfest will be making its annual return to the Harvest Moon Twin Drive Inn theater in Gibson City. The multi-weekend event kicks off September 6th and 7th. Screen 1 will feature IT 1 and IT2 while screen 2 will feature IT2 and Annabelle Comes Home. Other Frightfest weekends are September 13th and 14th and 20th and 21st. Each night will feature a costume contest.



(Springfield-jm) -- After a blistering report came out in late August of allegations of harassment in the Illinois State Capitol, the state’s highest leader is speaking out. The allegations surround House Speaker Mike Madigan. Governor J-B Pritzker says he is aware of the allegations and is taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.



(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline for the 2nd installment of real estate taxes is quickly approaching. The deadline to pay the installment without penalty is September 16th. After that date a one and a half percent interest rate will be added.



(Champaign-jm) -- Traffic was backed up on I-57 Tuesday afternoon near Champaign following a crash. State Police say the accident happened around 1pm in the southbound lanes near the University exit. No word on if there were any injuries.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School is celebrating homecoming this week. Homecoming court is Cecilia Ramirez, Thrinnagee Sengsone, Madison Palmer and Ashlinn Pitzer, Darianyelis Medina, Bria Connelly, Noeloni Franklin and Luke Zech. The parade gets underway Friday at 4pm.



(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois’ corn and soybean crop dropped slightly as we hear in the weekly crop report. 95 percent of soybeans are blooming, compared to 100 percent normally says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The corn crop is also rated 46 percent in good to excellent condition, with 46 percent dented and two percent mature. Temperatures were below normal, and rain was nearly half an inch above normal, raising average statewide topsoil moisture to eight percent very short, 21 percent short, 66 percent adequate and five percent surplus.


(Loda--jc) --  A Hope Walk is set for Saturday at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. The event is sponsored by the Great Lakes Region of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. The walk begins at 8 on Saturday around the golf course. Walkers will be going around the course to raise awareness and dollars for Huntinton’s Disease. The public is invited to attend the event. A silent auction will also be held. 



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker Has Appointed a Task Force to Look into How to Ease the Burden on Taxpayers

(Watseka-jm) -- An informational meeting on a proposed swine facility near Stockland will be held in Watseka on September 5th at 8 pm. Officials with the Illinois Department of Agriculture will be present to take questions from the public. The proposed 1800 swine facility would be built one point three six miles southeast of Stockland.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul’s code enforcement has a new vehicle. The village board approved purchasing a 2019 Ford pickup from Shields for almost $25,000. The new vehicle will be able to pull a trailer that will move lawn mowing equipment and other items. The old vehicle will be scrapped.


NOVI, Mich. (AP) — A gathering next year in Michigan will seek to identify and explore solutions to water infrastructure challenges faced by the Great Lakes region. The state of Michigan is lining up speakers for the Great Lakes Water Infrastructure Conference, which runs April 28-30 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi in suburban Detroit. Topics are expected to include funding, water affordability, environmental health, water planning, green infrastructure and cybersecurity.


(Rantoul-jm) -- A cancer walk will be held this Saturday in Rantoul. The I made a Difference the Luke Remington Cancer Walk will take place at the Rantoul Township High School track. Spokesperson Sue Sawyer talks about the walk…


Luke Remington Cancer Walk Spokesperson Sue Sawyer.


(Undated--jc)  -- Some workers with Eastern Illini Electric Coop based in Paxton are in the Florida area helping with Hurricane Dorian. They have joined hundreds of other workers restoring power in the path of the slow moving hurricane that has hit a portion of the Florida coastline.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual golf outing will take on a glowing theme this year. The theme for the annual golf outing is Glow in the Dark and will be held at Brook Hill Golf Course on N. Maplewood Drive. Cost is $50 per person. For more information or to sign your team up, call the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce at 893-1200.



(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is forecasting an increase in farm income for 2019. Stephanie Ho has the details…




(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is helping out the Paxton Christmas Parade again this year. The local chamber is donating 500 dollars in cash and prizes for this year’s event which is set at the Saturday following Thanksgiving at 1-30pm. Some of the donation will be used for prizes for those putting an entry in the parade. 


(Bloomington--jc)  -- Illinois tax payers are paying some of the highest property taxes in the nation. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has appointed a task force to look into how to ease the burden on taxpayers in the state. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican of Bloomington, says he continues to have a wait-and-see attitude, if that task force will come up with any solutions…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington


(Iroquois County-jm) -- Several offices will be up for election in the March primary in Iroquois County. Seats up include circuit clerk, coroner and states attorney. Also up are 10 county board members and 37 precinct committeemen. Those seeking nominations can begin circulating their petitions today. Paperwork can be filed with the Iroquois County Clerk's office between November 25th and December 2nd.


(Undated--jc)  An environmental organization in Springfield lauded the signing of legislation that redefines local foods in Illinois into law.Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed House Bill 2505 earlier this month. Eliot Clay, agriculture and water programs director with the Illinois Environmental Council, said that the council pushed the legislation, known as House Bill 25-05.



(Champaign County-jm) -- Today is the due date for the second installment of 2018, payable in 2019, Champaign County Real Estate Taxes. The county treasurers office has extended hours from 7:30 to 5 today. Payments can be dropped off at the Brookens Administrative Center in Urbana, by mail or online at w-w-w-dot-c-o-dot-champaign-dot-il-dot-us-slash-treasurer. Mailed in payments must be postmarked by today in order for it to not be considered late. 



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s Swine n Dine BBQ Competition is coming up on Saturday, September 21st in downtown Paxton. Activities at this year’s event includes kids inflatables, a bags tournament, remote controlled cars for kids and live music featuring Nashville recording artist Jerrod Niemann. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer says this year you can be a judge for the BBQ competition…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.



(Fisher-jm) -- A blood drive will be held in Fisher Thursday. The blood drive will be held at the River Valley Church of Christ from 4 to 8 pm.


(Washington-jm) -- Part of the USDA's program to help farmers hurt by trade disputes also is helping low income families with their food needs. Gary Crawford has the details from Washington…




(Gibson City--jc) One Ford County city has fall garage sale times this week. Gibson City townwide fall-time garage sales start on Thursday and run through Saturday. Maps of sales will be available through the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce



GCMS and PBL Students Collecting Money and Food at Tonight's Football Game in Gibson City

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin health officials say nearly nine out of 10 cases where vaping led to people developing a severe lung disease involved THC products, such as waxes or oils. Health officials said Thursday that 89% of the 27 people they interviewed who became sick reported using e-cigarettes or other vaping devices to inhale THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Health officials say despite the finding they're still investigating all possible causes for why people became ill.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a male driver who was involved in an automobile versus semi tractor-trailer collision near Ogden on Thursday morning.. 42 year old Michael D. Whitman, of Savoy, was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:29AM  Thursday. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning, and an inquest may be held at a later date. This crash is under investigation by the coroner’s office and the Illinois State Police.


The PBL/GCMS Game at Gibson City is the WCIA Tackle Hunger Game of the Week. Students representing both schools will be collecting money before the game at the south and east gates and a table will be set up by the concession stand during the game. All money and food taken in by PBL Students will help support Paxton’s Hands of Christ Food Pantry and proceeds for GCMS goes to their account at the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. Please give what you can.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has a hairline fracture on his left thighbone and a doctor has ordered rest for four to six weeks. The Democrat's office said Thursday that Pritzker doesn't know how the injury occurred. It was not a recent injury. But pain in his knee became more significant in recent weeks while attending public events where he stood or walked long distances. A statement says that Pritzker is in "good spirits" and will remain "fully engaged" in government business.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Public finance analysts are now poring through hundreds of pages of financial information about how Illinois spent tens of billions of tax dollars from a fiscal year that ended 425 days ago.Truth in Accounting said Illinois’ Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2018 comes 245 days after the standard reporting guidelines urging such reports be published after a fiscal year ends.


(Springfield-jm) -- The state now has five dispensaries that are authorized to sell recreational marijuana. The sites approved already sell medical cannabis but will soon be able to add pot to their product list. They are located in Mundelein, Joliet, Naperville, Canton and Effingham says Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Spokesperson Chris Slaby…



Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Spokesperson Chris Slaby. The department will continue to review applications from current dispensaries. There are 55 around the state.



(Undated-jm) -- Area jobless rates are down compared to one year ago. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the unemployment rate in Ford County fell from five point one percent to four point four percent. In Iroquois County, the rate fell to three point seven percent from four percent a year ago. 


(St Joseph--jc)  With the Farm Progress Show in Decatur and, the Half Century of Progress complete in Rantoul and the Thresherman’s Reunion continuing today in Pontiac, some things are new at one local seed company. Sun Prairie Seeds in St Joseph is offering some additional varieties says company spokesperson Jarrod Widdick…



Sun Prairie Seeds-Champaign County Seed Company-St Joseph Spokesperson Jarod Widdick.


(Bloomington--jc)  - The state has put together a property tax task force in place to look at the state’s high rates and potential solutions. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington says the hope is those on the committee can bring forth some solutions..



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman-Republican from Bloomington. 



(Washington-jm) -- USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has some candid thoughts on progress in reaching a US-China trade deal. Stephanie Ho reports…



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois state lawmakers are eyeing a different governing structure for the state’s public universities after a hearing this week about severance packages for administrators. An attorney for Western Illinois University said former President Jack Thomas's exit package wasn’t a severance agreement, it was a transfer agreement worth more than $570,000.State Sen. Bill Cunningham said that sidestepped the spirit of a law that limited severance payouts.



(Chicago--jc)  --Forty new sites to care for dementia patients are expected to start becoming available over the next three years in Illinois.The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services said many will be ready in 2020.The Supportive Living Program allows patients to have their own apartment in a community setting. The expansion will help nearly 1,600 Medicaid members with dementia.



(Washington--jc)  -- The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed surveillance balloon tests designed to locate drug traffickers over several states were part of a Congressionally approved project called COLD STAR, but the department said no tests will be happening over Illinois “at this time.”The Guardian earlier this month reported 25 high-altitude surveillance balloons launched from South Dakota would be coming down somewhere in Central Illinois in September. State Police didn’t know about it. Officials with Scott Air Force Base referred questions to the Department of Defense. A Department of Defense spokesperson said the tests have already been conducted and that no tests impacting Illinois airspace were planned.



(Washington-jm) -- What are the prospects for U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2020? Gary Crawford has the details…



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City city council recently held their meeting. The council approved spending nearly $60 thousand for two pickup trucks from Anderson Ford. The trucks will be used by the streets and alleys department and the sewer department. The council also approved two recent donations to the city. The Ed Day skatepark committee donated $2,000 towards the new skatepark while Gibson Area Hospital donated $3,700 towards construction of a pavilion at the dog park.



(Springfield-jm) -- New eligibility guidelines are now set for this school year’s free and reduced-price meal programs. Families need to apply each year for the federal school nutrition program that provides healthy meals to low income students. State Board of Education Principal Consultant Tim Murphy says kids shouldn’t have to worry about their next meal…



State Board of Education Principal Consultant Tim Murphy. Murphy says schools usually hand out the application forms to parents, and families can apply any time during the school year. They will have to meet the new income guidelines to qualify.


(Undated--jc)  It’s not ice cubes for the entire upcoming winter, but Illinoisans should plan for plenty of snow and a colder-than-normal winter. That is  according to the Farmers’ Almanac, which is out with its weather forecast for next year. Peter Geiger, the editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, said Illinois can expect to see what the publication called a “Polar Coaster” this winter. Some of the predicted snow and cold is coming in late January into February 20-20.


Illinois Lottery Announces a Record Contribution to State Schools.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — The owner of Arlington International Racecourse has announced the company will not seek a license to add casino gambling at the track. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen says state law requiring the track to dedicate a portion of casino earnings to racing purses makes placing casino games at the suburban Chicago track untenable. Carstanjen noted Arlington would enter the gambling market with a tax rate that would be approximately 17.5% to 20% higher than the existing Chicago-area casinos.


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says President Donald Trump will take action to soften the effects of oil refinery exceptions for blending corn-based ethanol in motor fuel. Perdue spoke to farmers and agribusiness leaders Wednesday in Decatur. He says it was "disappointing" that Trump's Environmental Protection Agency granted the waivers. They came after Trump allowed for year-round sales of 15% ethanol blend in fuel.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Lottery is announcing a record contribution to state schools. More than 731 million dollars of lottery proceeds went to the common school fund this past fiscal year. Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg says that’s a nearly two percent increase over the previous year and a good reminder of where some of your gambling money goes…



Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. During fiscal year 19, the lottery also paid 165 million dollars in commissions and selling bonuses to retailers and nearly two billion dollars in prize money to lucky winners. 


(Champaign-jm) -- Non-bargaining employees for Champaign County will see a pay increase. Following an 11 to 7 vote, the county board approved the 3.1 percent increase that will take effect January 1st. As part of the agreement, employees will have to pick up 14 percent of their health insurance.



(Pontiac-jm) -- The 71st annual Central States Thresherman’s Reunion gets underway today in Pontiac. The featured tractors at this year’s show include Oliver, Massey-Harris and Pre-1935 tractors. President Dave Herz talks about the weekends activities…



Central States Thresherman’s Reunion President Dave Herz. The event runs through Labor Day Monday.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- Kankakee County authorities are warning the public about a scam.  Sheriff Mike Downey says area residents have received calls from someone identifying himself as Sheriff Downey and saying the resident owes fines to the I-R-S.  The phone number is a spoof number. The scammer threatens arrest and requests a payment for the fine with gift card numbers. Sheriff Downey says county sheriff offices do not threaten arrest, or ever ask for gift card numbers. Those receiving calls should inquire at the Kan-Comm Dispatch at 815-933-3324



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul residents will be able to weigh in on whether or not the village should allow the sale of cannabis. The village board will allow the public to speak about the issue at their September 3rd study session. Illinois became the 11th state in the country to legalize cannabis, while becoming the 1st state to approve the commercial sale. Under the law, communities can ban the commercial sale.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois teachers have a new avenue to appeal an evaluation. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 12-13 this week. It sets up a bargaining process between the school district and a union representative when a teacher appeals an unsatisfactory rating.The governor’s office said in a statement that the measure allows for local district and union officials to determine the criteria for a successful appeal.

(Springfield-jm) -- It is now illegal to smoke in a vehicle with minors present. Governor J-B Pritzker recently signed House Bill 2276 into law making it a petty offense to smoke in a vehicle when a person under the age of 18 is present. The first offense is a $100 fine with subsequent offenses costing $250 each. Proponents of the measure say the new law is intended to reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.


(Springfield-jm) -- Expect to see more police out on the roads this Labor Day Weekend, looking for drunk drivers and other violators. Extra patrols and roadside safety checks will be targeting drunk drivers this holiday weekend. Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Guy Tridgell says there’s really no excuse for driving under the influence when there are so many options to get home safely…



I-DOT Spokesperson Guy Tridgell. Tridgell says you also need to be careful if you’re planning a Labor Day party, since you can be held liable if a guest is involved in a drunk driving crash.


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is warning the public about potential travel delays and closures at Starved Rock State Park over the Labor Day weekend. Starved Rock and nearby Matthiessen are some of the most popular parks in the state, so it’s going to be crowded says D-N-R Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. The busiest times are usually between 11 and 3. Visitors are urged to check D-N-R’s facebook and twitter pages for updates.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Penfield man has been sentenced to four years probation and six months in jail after admitting to having sex with an underage female. 22-year-old Harrington Matherne the third received the sentence in Champaign County court after pleading guilty to a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Police say the teen was not of legal age to consent when the crime took place.



(Ludlow-jm) -- One area school district is seeing black when it comes to their budget. The Ludlow school district is expecting their budget to be over $161,000 in the black this school year. The district anticipates over one point one million in revenue while spending just over 967 thousand. The budget is expected to be approved at the September 12th school board meeting.



(Paxton-ba) -- The new sign is up and the Cox-Knapp Miller Funeral Home in Paxton has begun construction work on it’s new chapel. They are still operating as scheduled, owner Kendall Cox says there are several ways to get ahold of them.



Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox


(Thomasboro-jm) -- The Thomasboro school board is facing some tough decisions. The district received word from the Illinois State Board of Education that they can no longer continue to operate with a $100 thousand deficit in the education fund. That fund covers teachers salaries as well as supplies and materials. The State Board of Education made three recommendations: sell bonds, propose a referendum to voters or make cuts.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new law signed by Governor J-B Pritzker that would suspend the driver's license of a driver who violates right-of-way laws and injures pedestrians in a crosswalk is in response to the death of an Iroquois County man. Mason’s Law, co-sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington and State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst of Kankakee and named after Clifton resident Mason Knorr, would require a one year suspension of an individual's drivers license if they commit a right-of-way violation at a crosswalk or a crosswalk in a school zone that results in bodily harm or death. Knorr was killed by a semi when it failed to stop at a stop sign.


(Paxton--jc)  - The Just an Angel organization hosted a benefit at Murdocks in Loda last weekend for a 7 year old girl with heart issues. The event was a success and organizer Dale Puls says thanks to all who helped with the benefit for Macie. Puls says anyone wishing to donate to help Macie can do so at the Paxton Busey Bank…



Just An Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls of Paxton


The state of Illinois has put out requests for proposals in an effort to get the Thompson Center in Chicago off of the taxpayer rolls. The sale of the state-owned building, which costs $17 million a year to operate, had been budgeted in previous state budgets, but was never sold.Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the requests for proposals announced Tuesday start the process of selling the facility. He said the proceeds would be used to pay the state's underfunded pension systems.



(Washington-jm) -- Cool weather is expected to continue hindering development of the nation's soy and corn crops. USDA’s Stephanie Ho has the details…





Punkin Chunkin Weekend Passes in Rantoul are Currently on Sale for $20 Until September 1

(Cheneyville--jc)  State Police along with Vermilion County authorities continue to investigate a fatal car accident that occurred east of Hoopeston near Cheneyville on Monday evening. Police believe that 36 year old Migel Vera of San Benito Texas  lost control of his vehicle on Route 9. A passenger in the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. 


(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School Board approved an area church as a rally point in the case of an emergency. Should Clara Peterson ever need to evacuate, children would be sent to First Lutheran Church after the board approved the church as the evacuation location at their August meeting.


(Paxton-jm) -- The 2019 Paxton Swine n Dine is less than a month away. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, September 21st in downtown Paxton. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer says talks about the different categories you can enter in…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer. Other activities include food vendors, kids inflatables, a DJ, remote control cars for kids, a bags tournament. Capping off the evening is country music superstar Jerrod Nieman. WPXN will host its on the sidelines show downtown that morning.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Punkin’ Chuckin’ is coming to the Rantoul airport the first three days of November. Weekend passes are currently on sale now for only $20 until the end of August. They will be $30 starting September 1st. Children 10 & under are free.  The national organization choose the Rantoul site for its annual competition. Between 10 and 20 thousand people are expected to come to the Rantoul area from around the United States and several other countries for the event.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law promotes diversity on corporate boards in Illinois. Under the law, publicly-traded companies that are headquartered in Illinois must submit an annual report about how many women and minorities have a seat at the table. Representative Chris Welch of Hillside says the University of Illinois will then analyze the data and issue reports and a rating system for businesses about corporate board diversity…



State Representative Chris Welch of Hillside. The first report from the U of I is expected in 2021.


(Loda-jm) -- A pair of homes in the Iroquois County village of Loda could be coming down. The village recently received authority to tear down the homes. Bids could be sought for the project as early as the September village board meeting.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity. On August 16th, Lisa Latham of Melvin was arrested on a Ford County warrant. On August 20th, Joshua Wright of Paxton was arrested on a Ford County warrant for failure to appear. On August 24th, Reginold Dixon of Loda was arrested for driving with a revoked driver's license and obstructing identification and ticketed for operating an uninsured motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with no rear registration lamp following a traffic stop at Railroad and Franklin. Dixon’s passenger, Cheyenne Morano of Loda was also arrested for obstructing identification.


(Paxton--jc) Officials with the Iroquois West Booster Club invite sports fans to Hometown Hero Night on Friday September 13th. The Paxton Buckley Loda Panthers take on the Iroquois West Raiders that night at John Boma Field at Iroquois West High School in Gilman. The booster club is selling T-Shirts that show the American flag along with the logos of the two schools. T-Shirts are 15 dollars each. Orders may be made by contacting the Iroquois West Booster club or the PBL Booster Club and are due by September 6th. WPXN will be carrying the game live on radio that night. 



(Kankakee--jc) --  A Kankakee man has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, resisting a police officer and aggravated battery stemming from an incident early Sunday morning along Interstate 57 in Kankakee County. Police say 31 year old Darrell Catchings of Kankakee was walking along the interstate early Sunday morning. Upon investigation, several guns were found on the subject. He appeared in court yesterday.



(Washington-jm) -- Several agricultural commodity groups are excited about export prospects to a major market now that a trade agreement in principle has been reached between the U.S. and Japan. Rod Bain reports…



 (Champaign-jm) -- A popular store in MarketPlace Mall in Champaign is moving. Old Navy will move from their current spot in the former Bergeners wing over to the Dick’s wing. The move isn’t expected to happen until after Thanksgiving. The current location will remain open until the new spot is ready. Old Navy isn’t the only store moving at MarketPlace Mall. Lenscrafters is also moving to the Dick’s wing.


(Pontiac-jm) -- The 71st annual Central States Threshermans Reunion gets underway tomorrow and runs through Labor Day in Pontiac. President Dave Herz talks about this years featured tractors…



Central States Threshermans Reunion President Dave Herz.



CHICAGO (AP) — A Muslim civil rights group says an Illinois driver's license rule violates religious rights The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a federal lawsuit this week challenging the rule that requires anyone wearing a religious head covering while taking a driver's license photo to sign a form saying they may lose their license if they're later seen in public not wearing it.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law aims to better protect students from sexual abuse at school. The law changes how students are questioned after making a report of harassment or abuse, so that they don’t feel intimidated. It also requires schools to review their policies for handling these cases and to report when a teacher is convicted of certain crimes to the State Board of Education says Assistant General Counsel Angie Brancato…



State Board of Education Assistant General Counsel Angie Brancato. The changes were prompted by a series of reports by the Chicago Tribune, detailing the abuse of students in Chicago Public Schools.



(Decatur--jc) The 20-19 Farm Progress Show is on-going through Thursday in Decatur. Illinois State Police are advising that  Illinois Route 48 from Interstate 72 to Mound Road in Decatur will experience heavy traffic today through Thursday. Expect traffic delays from 6am-10am in this area for these three days.  Troopers are manually operating the traffic lights at various locations around the Farm Progress Show. Unless you are coming to the show it is highly encouraged you find an alternate route.


(Ashkum--jc)  -- Illinois State Police in Ashkum have released details on a roadside safety check detail in Kankakee County from over the weekend. District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsey says during the safety check, 9 insurance violations were handed out, along with 5 driver’s license offenses and 2 alcohol violations. The safety check was held from late Saturday night into early Sunday morning in Bradley.


Champaign, Ill. - Eastern Illinois Foodbank  will honor its community partners at a Partner Recognition Event sponsored by the East Central Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council. The annual event will take place on Thursday, September 5th,  at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign from 5pm – 7pm. The event will feature awards given to the foodbank’s community partners that have contributed to its mission over the last fiscal year. Eastern Illinois Foodbank provides food to agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, snack programs and shelters throughout the area.


(Paxton-dg)-Hardee’s restaurant in Paxton has some new specials. Store Manager Mike McDonald talks about those specials. 



He goes on to talk about the discounts for all teachers, staff and students.



Hardees’s in Paxton Manager Mike McDonald


(Washington-jm) -- There are signs of new optimism for a trade agreement with China. Gary Crawford reports…







Some Improvements to the Crop Conditions

CHESTER, Ill. (AP) — The deaths of three Illinois prisoners over three days from "probable intoxication" of an unknown substance have raised questions about drug use behind bars and whether inmates are watched closely enough. In a report posted online on Monday, WBEZ says documents and interviews suggest lax supervision before at least one of the deaths that occurred in September of last year at Menard Correctional Center in Chester.



(Springfield-jm) -- Some improvement in Illinois crop conditions over the week in the latest crop report. The past week was cooler and wetter than normal, with average statewide topsoil moisture now at eight percent very short, 26 percent short, 62 percent adequate and four percent surplus. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 93 percent of soybeans are now blooming…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The corn crop improved to 49 percent in good to excellent condition, with 75 percent in the dough stage and 34 percent in the dent stage. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 71 percent complete.



(Champaign--jc)  --Parkland College Career Exploration Night, sponsored by the school's Career and Technical Education division, will be held September 4th from 4 to 6 p.m. The event is set for the Tony Noel Agricultural Applications Center and the Parkhill Applied Technology Center on the main campus. Current and prospective Parkland students are invited to meet employers, get expert advice on a career path, learn how to make a great first impression, and tour high-tech learning labs.  To reserve a spot at the event may go on line at parkland-dot-e-d-u-forward slash-c-t-career night.



(Undated--jc)  A long time, popular law enforcement officer passed away on Monday. Iroquois County Sheriff’s officials say Chief James Brammer died on Monday morning. Brammer was 73. Chief Brammer worked for the Iroquois County Sheriff’s department, Onarga Police Department and Chief of the Buckley Police Department over his decades career.  Jim was a good friend of WPXN radio and we think of him as a man who exemplified honesty, caring and one who dealt with the public in a professional manner. He will be missed



The Knapp Miller Funeral Home in Paxton has new owners. Kendall Cox and K’lee McGeary have purchased the funeral home and the new name will be Cox Knapp Funeral Home. There will be some renovations including the addition of a  a chapel. Owner Kendall Cox talks about the renovations...


Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school board approved increases to sports officials. At the varsity level, officials pay will increase to $75 a game for basketball, $70 for volleyball and $65 for baseball and softball. JV and middle school officials will also see an increase. Football officials will remain at $70 per game.


(Champaign-jm) -- Home sales in Champaign County were down 12 percent in July. According to the Champaign County Realtors Association, 282 homes sold last month, down from 321 in July 2018. 2019 hasn’t been a good year for home sales in Champaign County. Year to date 1,654 homes have sold, down from 1,808 this time last year. 


(Rantoul-jc)  -- TheRantoul Rec Dept and Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce are excited about the quarter plunge and the movie at the Aquatic Center this friday. 250 dollars in quarters will be put in the pool area. Jimmy Johns of Rantoul will be there with treats to. Plus a movie after the quarter drop



(Chicago--jc)  Chicago’s Federal Reserve branch projects slower economic growth.The central bank’s national activity index fell from June to July and also slowed for the three-month moving average.Among the measurements, total industrial product decreased as did manufacturing production.That points to slower economic growth.


(Springfield--jc)  -- State Republican leaders won't back a proposal from some of the party's members to split the state in two by separating Chicago from the rest of Illinois. A group of Illinois Republicans in mostly southern Illinois have been hosting gatherings around the state to talk to people about a plan to get the federal government to split Illinois into two states. State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, filed House Resolution 101 in February. 


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is among 19 states suing over the Trump administration's effort to alter a federal agreement that limits how long immigrant children can be kept in detention. Attorneys general in California and Massachusetts are leading the effort and filed the lawsuit Monday. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says "every American should be outraged" by the treatment of migrant children at the border.



(Springfield-jm) -- Some improvement in Illinois crop conditions over the week as we hear in the latest crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 75 percent of corn has reached the dough stage…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Soybeans also improved, with 50 percent rated in good to excellent condition. 93 percent of soybeans are blooming and 79 percent are setting pods. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at eight percent very short, 26 percent short, 62 percent adequate and four percent surplus.


(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has a new director. Amanda Vickery takes over for Belinda Allen as director. Vickery comes from Danville where she served the city of Danville from 2015 to 2019. A meet and greet will be held on September 12th from 4 to 6 pm at the chamber office.



(Rantoul-jm) -- An out of control fire in a burn barrel is the likely cause of a shed fire in Rantoul Monday. Firefighters were called to the fire on Mahoning Avenue. The fire is estimated to have caused $500 in damage.



(Springfield--jc)  --The state lawmakers who crafted Illinois’ recreational cannabis law don't want local municipalities to overtax it. In a recently published "Municipal Toolkit," state Sens. Heather Steans, D-Chicago and Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, and state Reps. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, and Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, advised local governments to “proceed with extreme caution and avoid immediately taxing to the cap.” The document noted that municipalities that opt to allow recreational cannabis sales will be able to impose a tax of up to three percent beginning in September 20



(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law expands health insurance coverage for mammograms and other breast cancer screenings. The law requires both private insurers and Medicaid to cover diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds and M-R-I’s when prescribed by a physician. These tests are usually ordered when doctors need to get a better look after a routine mammogram says Governor J-B Pritzker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law takes effect January first.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois is closer to the bottom than the top of a ranking of hardest working states. Consumer finance website Wallet-Hub ranked Illinois Number 42 of all states. Among various factors reviewed, Illinois got poor rankings for volunteer hours, where it ranked Number 47 overall.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Officials say Carbondale has been chosen as one of several Midwest cities to host international artists for the next few years. It's called Arts Midwest World Fest. Artists from around the world will stay for a week in Carbondale, performing and working with school groups. Lisa Janssen is executive director of Carbondale Community Arts. She says hosting the festival is a prestigious honor.



University of Illinois Campus Will be 100% Free of Smoke and Tobacco Products.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Officials say the University of Illinois campus will be 100% free of smoke and tobacco products. The university says the rules build on a 2014 policy that banned smoke-producing tobacco products. Now all forms of tobacco, including chewing tobacco and snuff, along with vaping devices are also prohibited. The policy applies to students, faculty, staff and visitors anywhere on campus, indoors or outdoors. It also applies to private vehicles that are parked on campus. Today is the first day of classes at the U of I.


VALMEYER, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois county has repealed an ordinance that would enable the construction of wind farms, stalling a proposal to build 50 turbines along the Mississippi River. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the Monroe County Board voted to suspend the Wind Energy Conversion Ordinance after residents voiced safety concerns about the Southern Illinois Wind project. The board chairman says it won't accept applications for special-use permits for about 18 months.


(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul firefighters were called to a fire on the former Chanute Air Base over the weekend. Firefighters were called to the fire on Saint Andrew's Court just before 11 PM Saturday. No word on if there were any injuries. A cause has not yet been released.


(Undated--jc)  -- Some experts in Illinois want to bring mental health care providers to remote areas of the state lacking such services through telepsychiatry, which uses video conferencing to connect psychiatrists with patients. Telepsychiatry has been in use in Illinois and other parts of the country, but there is legislation on the governor’s desk that would authorize Medicaid to pay for such treatment, said Mark Heyrman of Mental Health America of Illinois, a nonprofit organization that promotes mental health and works to prevent mental illness and improve care and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Heyrman is a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School who serves on the organization's board of directors.



DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say an inmate in a holding cell at the courthouse in eastern Illinois was shot after stabbing a sheriff's deputy several times in the face.  Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said the incident happened Friday morning in the county courthouse in Danville.There was no immediate information about the inmate or why he attacked the Vermilion County sheriff's deputy. The Illinois State Police are investigating because the incident involved an officer-involved shooting. Officials say the courthouse remains open.


(Springfield--jc)  --An audit of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services shows significant deficiencies and noncompliance in handling cases of alleged neglect and abuse. While the number of instances where the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services didn’t follow up on cases in a timely manner was small, Family Justice Resource Center Executive Director Michelle Weidner said each case involved the life of a child and their family. 


(Washington--jc)  -- Growers await if more tranches of U-S-D-A Market Facilitation Program payments will be issued. What could that mean for 20-19 taxes. Roda Bain has the details…




(Undated-jm) -- This past weekend felt more seasonable with highs in the 70s. Kevin Grady with the Illinois State Climatologists Office has a look at the outlook over the next couple of weeks…



Illinois State Climatologists Office’s Kevin Grady.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Hap Parker Aquatic Center in Rantoul will mark the unofficial end of summer with a movie at the pool. The pool will show Ralph Breaks the Internet on Friday, August 30th starting at 7:30 pm. A quarter plunge will also take place, with $250 worth of quarters being dumped into the pool.



(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois resident who was hospitalized with a respiratory illness after vaping has died. 22 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 17 to 38, have had serious breathing problems after vaping or using e-cigarettes. One has now died and officials are looking into 12 other possible cases. State Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay) says they are working to determine the connection…



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay). Nationwide, there have been about 150 cases. Ezike says the C-D-C has found that in some instances, including Illinois, people were vaping a product with T-H-C.


(Washington-jm) -- The US Department of Agriculture their Cattle Feedlot Report Friday. USDA Livestock Economist Seanicca Herron has the details…


(East St. Louis-jm) -- An Illinois State Trooper is dead after a shooting in East St. Louis Friday. According to Illinois State Police, Nicholas Hopkins and several other officers were executing a search warrant Friday morning at a house when gunfire was exchanged and Hopkins was struck. He was taken to an area hospital where he passed away Friday evening. Trooper Hopkins was a 10 year veteran of the Illinois State Police force.


(Paxton-jm) -- Business in downtown Paxton is starting to pick up. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President and Mom and Pop Kettle Korn Stop Owner Alan Meyer talks about some of the changes…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President and Mom and Pop Kettle Korn Stop Owner Alan Meyer.


(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul senior facility will be holding a euchre tournament this week. The Villas of Hollybrook will hold the tournament on Tuesday, August 27th starting at 6 pm. For more information, call Colleen at 282-9854.


(Springfield-jm) -- Preliminary numbers show attendance at this year’s Illinois State Fair was up by 37 percent. Close to 509 thousand people visited the fair last week, up from about 371 thousand in 2018. State Fair Spokesperson Krista Lisser attributes the increase to several factors…


Illinois State Fair Spokesperson Krista Lisser. Lisser says lowering the cost of admission during the week to just five dollars also really helped, as well as a solid grandstand lineup that brought in record ticket sales and revenue. 



(Urbana--jc)  A Champaign County man is facing multiple gun charges concerning an incident at the America’ Best In on University Avenue on Thursday night. Police say 50 year old Tommie Valentine Junior was arrested on an aggravated discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and a stolen firearm



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says a new law will expand youth hunting opportunities in Illinois. For starters, the law lifts the one-year cap on the state’s apprentice hunter license says Governor Prtizker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law also creates a three-year pilot program that allows young hunters statewide access during the three-day youth-only deer hunting season. 




Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Signed Legislation Raising Teachers' Minimum Salary

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The primary election may not be for another six months but candidates will soon be able to start circulating petitions. Candidates for established political parties can begin circulating nominating petitions for the primary election on September 3rd. Paperwork must be turned into the county clerk’s office between November 25th and December 2nd. The primary election in Illinois is March 17th.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation raising teachers' minimum salary to $40,000 over four years to address a statewide shortage of classroom leaders. The current minimum teacher salary ranges from only $9,000 to $11,000. The new law signed by Pritzker Thursday raises the minimum to $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year, $34,576 in 2021-2022, $37,076 in 2022-2023 and $40,000 in 2023-2024. It was needed says the governor...


***News  4993nws salary1***


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Springfield-jm) -- Jobs were up last month in all Illinois metro areas for the first time in 19 years. July nonfarm jobs increased over the year in the state’s 14 metro areas, building on recent momentum says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro…


***News nws4996 upjobs1***


Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Areas with the most growth compared to a year ago include Chicago, Rockford and the suburbs, but also downstate communities like East St. Louis and Champaign-Urbana. The unemployment rate dropped in 11 metro areas last month.


(Rantoul--jc)  Four days of agriculture began Thursdays morning in Rantoul. The village will see between 25 and 30 thousand people attending the Half Century of Progress each day. Event spokesperson JC Reitmeir says one reason for the show is the farm equipment…


***News nws4997 equipment2***


Half Century of Progress Show Spokesperson JC Reitmeir

Today, the flag raising at 8am with the largest U S Flag on the east side of the event. Field demonstrations in the morning and afternoon.  1pm parades also hilite the event. On the grounds find the Licorice Guy Booth, the lady from Minnesota that does farm embroidery and the license plate sign lady from Grant Park There is plenty of food from Spring Creek Barbeque to Mission’s R Us. On Saturday at 3pm it’sOrion Samuelson and Max Armstrong on  the stage .


(Kankakee--jc)  State Police are reminding motorists that the Interstate 57 construction zone from mile marker 308 to mile marker 315 is slowing traffic in that area. Those who can, are asked to take alternate routes during the construction period around Kankakee. State Police continue to tell motorists to slow down in construction zones and always turn off your cell phone. 



(Rantoul--jc) Monday nights are Pickleball nights in Rantoul. The Pickleball courts were finished earlier this month and Rantoul Recreation Department officials say the contests begin at Wabash Park on Monday nights at 7. 



(Bloomington-jm) -- A Gibson City business is expanding into the Bloomington-Normal market. Hustedt Jewelers bought William MarKen Jewelers and will rebrand the store. Hustedt Jewelers opened in Gibson City in 1983 and opened a second location in Pontiac in 2013. 


DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) — The Du Quoin State Fair is about to start. The fair that runs through Sept. 2 will open this afternoon with a 5:30 p.m. ribbon cutting followed a half hour later with a Twilight Parade inside the fairgrounds.



(Paxton--jc)  -- It’s time for the annual Pork Chop Kickoff at Paxton Buckley Loda High School’s Zimmerman Field at I-57 Stadium. The public eats at 5 this afternoon and the football team scrimmages at 7-30. The Panthers open the season in Gibson City, one week from today against the defending state champion Falcons of Gibson City Melvin Sibley. Our pre-game begins at 6-05pm next Friday night.


(Paxton-jm) -- Today is the day for a back to school supply drive at a Paxton bank. The Frederick Community Bank is collecting donations from 11 to 2 at their drive up facility at the corner of Pells and Market. The donations will be distributed to the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District.


(Springfield--jc)  -- 3 new criminal justice reform laws are now on the books in Illinois. The first law lets inmates given a long sentence prior to 1998 to earn good time credit for taking college courses or completing substance abuse programs. Reaction from Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton…


***News nws4995 reform2***


Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton

The other 2 bills ensure those being held while awaiting trial can cast a ballot and the other educates soon-to-be released prisoners about the voting process


(Loda--jc)  -- A benefit for a 7 year old heart transplant patient is set for Murdocks Restaurant in Loda on Saturday. The “heart strong” benefit will raise money for on-going medical bills for Macie Marie Meier. Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls says the event starts with registration at Murdock’s in Loda at 10 tomorrow morning…


***News nws 4998 heartstrong1***


Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls. Again, the event starts with sign in at 10 tomorrow morning. The donation for the cruise is 15 dollars per person or 20 dollars per couple. The event also features raffles, a silent auction, food and music.



(Loda-jm) -- Another area community is considering whether or not to allow recreational marijuana businesses. Loda village leaders are expected to discuss the issue at their September meeting. Recreational marijuana will be legal to buy and use by adults starting January 1. 



LIVINGSTON COUNTY, IL: A traffic stop made by an Illinois State Trooper on Thursday morning, led to the arrest and the seizure of suspected cannabis weighing more than 38 pounds. A District 6 Illinois State Trooper stopped a passenger vehicle after observing a traffic violation. Upon investigation, suspected cannabis was detected. Arrested for possession of 38 pounds of cannabis, cannabis Trafficking and , Delivery of Cannabiswas 45 year old Anita L. Williams, of Peoria. Williams has been incarcerated in the Livingston County Jail in Pontiac



(Springfield--jc)  A recent sexual assault law puts more protections for victims. The bill was sponsored by 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington. Barickman says protecting and helping victims of assault is the main focus of the new law…


***News nws4999  newlaw1***


53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington


(Gibson City--jc)  When Gibson City leaders meet on Monday night, they will look at special licenses for several groups and businesses in conjunction with the upcoming Harvest Fest. Special license requests have been made by Burgers and Beer, Railside Golf Course and the Gibson City American Legion. Selling a police squad car and looking at truck bids are also on the agenda. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 on Monday night.


(Central Illinois--jc)  The owner of a number of coal-fired plants wants Illinois lawmakers to take action after the company announced it plans to close four plants. 

Vistra Energy announced this week  it will close four facilities in Central Illinois. The company cited the Illinois Pollution Control Board’s June decision requiring it to shut down two gigawatts worth of coal-produced energy facilities by 2020. 


(Paxton--jc)  The cookout at the Paxton IGA on Saturday will feature pork chop sandwiches, chips and pop. The money raised will go to the Paxton Girl Scouts. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm..


The Illinois Department of Labor Reminds Youngest Members of the Illinois Workforce That They Need a Work Permit to be Employed in Illinois

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arraigned on heroin charges in Champaign County court. 27-year-old Lavonte McWilliams was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. McWilliams was arrested on August 6th after a search of his home following a shooting in Champaign in late July. During the search, police found 10 grams of suspected heroin, a scale and packaging materials. His next court date is October 8th. If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces probation to up to 15 years in prison.


(Springfield--ba) Funding is available to help pay for school field trips to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum in Springfield. Schools where more than 30 percent of the students are low income are invited to apply for the  Winnick family field trip grants. They cover the cost of admission and provide money for transportation says museum spokesperson Chris Wills.



Presidential Library and Museum spokesperson Chris Wills.



(Springfield--ba) The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding the youngest members of the Illinois workforce that they need a work permit to be employed in Illinois after the number of permits the state issued to teen workers spiked in 2018. Fourteen-year-olds and 15-year-olds in Illinois must get an employment certificate before they can start a job. The Illinois Department of Labor used the start of the school year to remind young workers, and their employers, about the permits.

Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik said the restrictions for the young workers were put in place for their protection.


(Loda-jm) -- The village of Loda is looking for answers after an audit by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency uncovered a significant amount of water usage could not be accounted for. The audit found that nearly 15 percent of the water used in the village could not be accounted for which prompted village leaders to install a water meter at the fire department.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White reminds drivers to be careful as children head back to school. Last year, nationwide, 17 kids were fatally injured by motorists who failed to stop for a school bus. White says be aware of your surroundings…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The 20-19 Half Century of Progress Show opens officially at 7 this morning. The flag raising ceremony begins at 8, along with the Half Century Tractor ride. Field demonstrations with broom corn, corn shelling, soybean combining and tillage work starts at 8-30. The tractor Ride returns to the grounds around 1 this afternoon.  It’s back to field demonstrations in the afternoon. The popular band Back Paiges performs from 3pm to 6pm. A tractor pull starts at 4. WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour today as part of our Summer Fun Tour. Its stop number 17.



(Springfield--jc)  -- 3 new criminal justice reform laws are now on the books. 2 of the bills signed by the governor aim to engage more people in elections. Governor JB Pritzker says those who get out of prison will learn more about the voting process…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The 3rd law creates incentives for inmates serving long sentences to earn good time credit by taking college and life skills courses.



(Urbana-jm) -- The 2019 Urbana Sweetcorn Festival takes place this week. The two day festival takes place Friday and Saturday nights in downtown Urbana. Live music and hot corn hi-lite the activities. On the stage Friday night beginning at 5 pm is Feel Free, followed by The Nightcaps at 6:30, The Tons O’Fun Band at 8:15 and Wreckless Whiskey at 10:30. Saturday night, Bruiser and the Virtues kicks things off at 7 pm followed by Them Guilty Aces at 8:30 and Captain Rat and The Blind Rivets at 10:15.


(Melvin-jm) -- Officials believe lightning may have started a fire that destroyed a home near Melvin Wednesday. About 30 firefighters from Melvin, Roberts and Gibson City fire departments battled the blaze at 925 N 800 E. The home was vacant at the time and is a total loss.


(Springfield--ba) Governor JB Pritzker is signing a new law to better protect immigrant tenants. The law aims to make sure immigrants are safe from harassment by their landlords says Governor Pritzker.



Governor JB Pritzker



(Paxton-jm) -- Asbestos abatement is expected to begin soon at Eastlawn Elementary. Work is expected to begin Monday and should be completed by the end of October. Demolition of the oldest building in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district is expected to be completed by Christmas.



(Gifford-jm) -- The Gifford Fire Protection District will hold their spaghetti dinner fundraiser this Saturday. The fundraiser will run from 4-8 pm at the German Fall Festival Building in downtown Gifford. A golf cart raffle will also take place at 6pm.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA has begun processing payments for the first round of the Market Facilitation Program. Stephanie Ho reports…





(Rantoul--jc)  Four days of agriculture start this morning in Rantoul. The village will see between 25 and 30 thousand people attending the Half Century of Progress each day says event Spokesperson JC Reitmeir…



Half Century of Progress Show Spokesperson JC Reitmeir

WPXN will be broadcast today from the event over the noon hour Its’ Summer Fun Tour Stop 17.



(Champaign--jc)  -- The dog days of August are here. What can we expect over the next week in the weather department. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady says higher temps and some additional precipitation…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady






Assisted Living Could be Coming to Paxton

(Springfield--ba)  -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said a lawsuit challenging the Illinois Gun Dealer License Certification Act is “not ripe for judicial review” and should be dismissed because state police have yet to fully implement the act and that no part of the law has been used to stop dealers from doing business.The attorney general responded this week to a lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court filed by several gun stores across the state and the Illinois State Rifle Association.The association last month sued the state over the law, which requires federally licensed gun dealers in Illinois to get a state license in addition to federal license.


(Gilman-jm) -- Three area fire departments received new equipment last night. The Gilman, Onarga and Danforth fire departments received tools for grain bin extrication. The new equipment was donated by Cargill.



(Washington--ba)-Soybean Conditions have gone down. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois County village of Gilman is looking for a new cop. Officer Brian Norton stepped down to take a position with the Ford County Sheriff’s Department. The village is considering a contract with the county after only three applications were received to fill the opening.

(Springfield--ba)--Governor JB Pritzker is supporting planned parenthood’s decision to forgo federal funding over a new abortion gag rule. The rule prevents clinics accepting title 10 family planning funds from talking to patients about where they can get an abortion. Planned Parenthood officials say this is an attack on reproductive health care…and Governor Pritzker agrees...



Governor JB Pritzker



(St Joseph--jc)  -- Sun Prairie Seeds, based in the Champaign County community of St Joseph held a field demonstration Tuesday at the plant. One Sun Prairie Seeds Farmer is Gary Fugh of rural Fisher. Few says he has been planting Sun Prairie Seeds since 1983…



The Field Day at Sun Prairie Seeds provided area farmers with a view of  different varieties of corn and soybeans in the field. Product information was also available. Fugh says one popular variety is Sun Prairie Corn 28-40…



Sun Prairie Seeds Farmer Gary Fugh of rural Fisher.


(Loda-jm) -- Site work has started on a former Paxton Buckley Loda school building that has another future use.  The former Loda Grade School is getting new life. Aardsma Research and Publishing is looking to renovate the 96 year old building. The company would use the building as an anti-aging lab. The local company has started work on the building for its transformation.



(Springfield--ba) The results are in. In one day, 200 agencies, both public and private, made an all out push to raise awareness about driving too fast. The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police said the participating agencies issued more than 3,200 speeding citations on August 4th. They also helped spread the word about the dangers of speeding.


(Chicago--jc)  --Illinois spends the most in the Midwest per student on education. But instead of going to classrooms, a big chunk of that money props up bloated education bureaucracy. Over 9 thousand school administrators earned more than 100 thousand dollars a year, and they’ll each receive 3 million dollars or more in pension benefits during their retirement, according to an Illinois Policy Institute analysis of the most recent public data available. While school districts pay administrators’ salaries and benefits through local property taxes, state taxpayers are on the hook for those pension costsIllinois has the fifth-largest number of school districts in the nation. Most Illinois school districts serve fewer than 1 thousand students.


(Paxton-jm) -- Assisted living could be coming to Paxton. Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living is considering a three phase construction project at their facility on Fulton Street. Phase one would involve the construction of a 44 bed assisted living wing. Phase two would renovate the existing independent living area in the basement of the facility. Phase three would construct 8 to 12 single-story townhomes near the facility. The company also hopes to add 12 skilled nursing beds while bringing in an additional 5 to 10 jobs to the area.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority is offering a new gant program to help homebuyers pay for closing costs. Closing costs can quickly add up, and that is the reason for the grants says I-H-D-A Spokesperson Andrew Field…



Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field

More information is found on-line at I-H-D-A- mortgage-Dot-Org.

(Paxton--dg)  -- Site improvements have started on the former Knapp Miller Funeral Home in Paxton. The new name of the business is the Cox-Knapp Funeral Home. A building expansion project continues. Owner  Kendall Cox says there are several ways to contact the funeral home in your time of need…



Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox



(Roberts--ba) One town in Ford County is funding a project to make their local water system safer. Roberts village Mayor Rick Flessner talks about why they are re-painting their water tower.



Roberts village Mayor Rick Flessner 



(Washington--ba)-There's been a slight decline in corn condition. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul non-profit will be holding their annual fundraiser this Friday. Jesus is the Way Prison Ministries will hold their fundraiser on Friday from 6 to 8 pm at the Laborers International Union North American Local 703 in Urbana. Tickets or more information is available by calling 892-4044.





Frederick Community Bank in Paxton Collecting School Supplies to Donate to PBL School District

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will not use federal family planning funds as long as Republican President Donald Trump's administration prohibits women's health clinics from referring patients for abortions. The Democrat called Trump's requirement a "gag rule" Monday on a national conference call in which Planned Parenthood announced it is ending participation in the family planning program rather than follow the rule.


(Champaign--ba)    (AP) — The parents of a slain University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang are giving $20,000 to the people who provided information that led to the arrest and conviction of their daughter's killer. The family's attorney hasn't said who will receive the money, but two women were instrumental in the successful prosecution of former doctoral student Brendt Christensen, who last month was convicted in Zhang's killing and sentenced to life in prison.


(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybeans improved a little as we hear in the weekly crop report. 89 percent of soybean acres are blooming says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The condition of the corn crop rose slightly to 42 percent in good to excellent condition, with 12 percent in the dent stage. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 57 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 11 percent very short, 40 percent short, 47 percent adequate and two percent surplus.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Police director didn’t know anything about more than two dozen surveillance balloons launched states away that are expected to come down in Central Illinois next month.The Guardian says the U.S. Military  was conducting a test across six midwest states using 25 high-altitude balloons packed with technology. The balloons were launched in South Dakota. They will drift over to Central Illinois sometime in September.



(Springfield--ba) SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Democratic state senator is apologizing for a mock assassination of Republican President Donald Trump staged at a weekend fundraiser. The incident occurred Friday night at Chicago Senator Martin Sandoval's golf outing in the Chicago suburb of Winfield. Photos showing a man with a fake rifle points it at someone wearing a Trump mask. Sandoval calls the incident "unacceptable." He says he doesn't "condone violence against the president or anyone else."


(Gibson--ba)  --Summer is not over yet, and one city committee  is assessing the current 2019 pool season. The Gibson City Pool board will be meeting Wednesday night to assess the summer. The group is also looking to fill a management position.



(Gifford--ba)  --One school district is meeting to talk about a budget for the future. The Gifford Board of Education is meeting to discuss a future budget as well as a budget hearing. The local board meets tomorrow night at 5-30 at  the school in Gifford.


(Rantoul--ba) The  Half Century of Progress begins in just two days at the Rantoul airport. . Event Spokesperson JC Reitmeir says something new is coming to this year’s show...



Half Century of Progress Spokesperson JC Reitmeir.  WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour on Thursday to help kick off the event.



(Beloit-jc)  -- The Rantoul based Raminator Monster Truck team continues to make appearances around the area and nation. On Friday the group will be in Southern Wisconsin. The event is hosted by Bryden Motors in Beloit from 10am until 3pm on Friday.


(Fisher--jc)  A business in Fisher has the go-ahead to build a laundromat with a separate gaming room. The local board voted to give the proper liquor license to the local business owner. The business will be located next to the Ingolds grocery store in downtown Fisher. 


(Paxton-jm) -- Those wanting to receive medical care after hours can now do so in Paxton. Gibson Area Hospital is announcing extended hours for the Paxton Clinic. The clinic will now take walk ins on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 6:30 pm.


(Paxton-jm) --  School does not start till early September in the Paxton Buckley Loda School district. One local bank is hosting a school supply collection day this week. The Frederick Community Bank in Paxton is collecting donations for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. The supply drive takes place on Friday from 11-2 at their drive up facility in Paxton.


(Urbana--jc)  Add the city of Urbana to the list of area communities to talk about legal marijuana sales. The city hosted a meeting last night on the subject. Urbana leaders contend the money side of  legal marijuana sales could bring several hundred thousand dollars into city coffers. Paxton, St Joseph, Gibson City, Rantoul and Monticello are other communities looking a local marijuana sales. Marijuana becomes legal to sell on January First in Illinois. 


(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law will expand banking opportunities for Illinoisans. Governor J-B Pritzker says one in five households does not use a bank. This law creates the “Bank on Illinois” Program, which will publish a list of appealing banking opportunities…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says many of the people that don’t use a bank are paying high fees to cash checks or are racking up a lot of interest with payday loans. Illinois is the first state in the country to implement this type of program statewide.


(Chicago--jc) A former Ford County attorney, and local circuit judge will be 

serving  the Illinois State Bar Association. Retired judge Steve Pacey of Paxton will serve on several committees for the state bar association. Pacey served the 11th circuit as judge from 1996 through December 20-13.



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois Attorney General is expected to file a response to the Illinois State Rifle Association’s lawsuit challenging the state’s Gun Dealer Licensing Certification Act. The Illinois State Rifle Association is suing because the rules for the law that went into effect last month haven’t been filed. The case has a hearing Sept. 5. Illinois State Police say rules have been filed, but there’s a month’s long review process underway.



(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybeans improved a little as we hear in the weekly crop report. After a week of above average rain and temperatures, State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 55 percent of corn is now in the dough stage…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 89 percent of soybeans are blooming, and 67 percent are setting pods. 40 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture was considerably wetter this past week at 11 percent very short, 40 percent short, 47 percent adequate and two percent surplus.


(Springfield--ba)-Illinois’ community college system is among the worst of all 50 states in the nation, according to a new analysis. Consumer finance website WalletHub ranked Illinois’ community college system No. 40 overall, and that’s even with eight states, such as Alaska and Indiana, not being ranked because of a lack of data. The state rankings were based off rankings of individual community college systems within each state.


Governor Pritzker Signs 49 Bills into Law

(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor J.B. Pritzker announced late Friday that he signed 49 bills into law, including one that would allow graduate students to unionize. Among the bills the governor signed was House Bill 252, which would allow public research assistants, graduate assistants and teaching assistants to unionize. That law goes into effect January  1. Another bill signed Friday, House Bill 3503, requires insurance companies to offer plans and options to cover hearing aid instruments. 


(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul veteran will be making a trip to Washington D.C. tomorrow as part of the Honor Flight. Alfred Lientz served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict. Lientz and 92 others will depart tomorrow morning from the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield for the nation’s capital. To nominate someone for an honor flight visit Land of Lincoln Honor Flight dot org.


(Undated-jm) -- University of Illinois college students will be making their return to campus this week and Illinois State Police are reminding everyone to slow down. District 10 troopers  issued several citations over the weekend for speeding. They say there will be an increase in troopers on area interstates and highways this week. And with students returning to the University of Illinois this week, campus and Urbana and Champaign Police are warning motorists of increased traffic and traffic changes. Illinois Street between Goodwin and Lincoln will be one way as will Nevada Street, Peabody Drive between 1st and 4th Streets, on Tuesday and Thursday. Maryland Drive and 1st Street will be one way on Thursday.


(Champaign--jc)  -- It’s officially dry in a large portion of East Central Illinois. Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Kevin Grady says the drought monitor puts areas around Champaign is in drought condition…



Illinois Water Survey-Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady



(Gibson City-jm) -- The chief clinical officer and chief operating officer of an area hospital is being recognized. Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services is announcing Robin Rose has been named the 2019 Illinois Rural Health Association’s administrator of the year. According to the organization, the award is presented to a healthcare administrator who has made an outstanding contribution of major significance to rural health in Illinois.


(Springfield--jc)  The recent ag disaster declaration by the U-S-D-A means getting the information and dollars lost amount calculated. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the process continues…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Cullom--jc)  -- Tri Point School leaders are expected to approve the annual contract for the districts athletic trainers when they meet tonight in monthly session.  School board members will look to set meeting dates for the districts crisis committee and deal with the annual budget The Tri Point School board meets at 6-45 in Kempton.



(Cissna Park--jc)  The three day Old Settlers Celebration in Cissna Park was another huge success. Cissna Park resident Gail Redeker was the winner of a brand new 20-19 Ford vehicle. Old Settlers is sponsored by Cissna Park American Legion Post 527.


(Washington--ba) Researchers have begun work that will eventually lead to a national seed bank for hemp. From where will the material for the bank come? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.



(Champaign--jc) --  A property accident with no injuries was reported on Saturday in Champaign County. Police say the accident happened around mile marker 226 just after 3 on Saturday morning. The left lane was closed for several hours.


(McLean County--jc)  A McLean County jury has found a former U-S Cellular Coliseum executive guilty  of theft. The three day jury trial for Curtis Webb concluded Friday morning in Bloomington. Webb was found guilty of stealing money from the U-S- Cellular Coliseum. Sentencing is set for 1-30pm on October 28th in McLean County court in Bloomington.


(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to a vehicle fire late Saturday morning. Firefighters were called to the fire on I-57 at the Paxton exit around 11:30 am. No word on if there were any injuries.


(Danville-jm) -- A local branch of a state agency is looking for a new director. Angela Thibedeux Burns has stepped down as director of the East Central Illinois Community Action Agency in Danville. The group assists low income families with things like helping pay energy bills. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development has been investigating the Danville facility for what they say is egregious mismanagement. East Central Illinois Community Action Agency serves residents in Ford, Iroquois and Vermilion Counties.


(Springfield-jc)  -- Final attendance numbers are not in yet, but the 2019 Illinois State Fair was a success. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says vendor sales were up…



Illinois State Manager Kevin Gordon.

Gordon says promotions, contests and record concert ticket sales were factors in the successful run of the fair.


MARION, Ill. (AP) — A smoking ban at Department of Veterans Affairs' health care facilities will take effect later this year. The smoke-free policy that begins Oct. 1 applies to patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors, and it prohibits cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vape pens and e-cigarettes. The VA has permitted smoking in designated areas. Spokesman Kevin Harris says the change is taking place amid growing evidence that smoking, as well as second hand and third-hand smoke, is a health and safety risk



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The 20-19 Half Century of Progress Show is set to begin on Thursday at the Rantoul airport. The event features 4 days of everything agriculture and is the precursor to the Farm Progress show in Decatur. The event is more than field demonstrations and static displays. There are food vendors, parades, a tractor drive and more. Event Spokesperson JC Reitmeir says a kiddie tractor pull takes place on Saturday at 2pm…



Half Century of Progress Spokesperson JC Reitmeir.



MARKHAM, Ill. (AP) — Four female police officers in the Chicago suburb of Markham allege gender discrimination in complaints filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The (Tinley Park) Daily Southtown reports the complaints follow Terry White's promotion to chief of police last year and were filed between February and May. White declined the newspaper's questions about the allegations, as did Mayor Roger Agpawa. They released a statement saying the matter will be "resolved through the proper channels."


(Bloomington--jc)  Leaders in the Illinois Republican party continue to look at the future to rebuild office holders in the state, region and local area. 53rd district State Senator Jason Barickman says the re growth of the party starts with grass root efforts…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman- Republican Bloomington



(Gibson City-jm) -- More jobs are coming to Gibson City. Alamo Group Inc, announced they recently acquired the Dixie Chopper business from Textron Outdoor Power Equipment. It’s unknown how many new jobs will be created.


(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West School board members will look at two F-F-A field trip requests when they meet in monthly session tonight in Gilman. Setting a budget hearing and looking at a request from the Slow Boys Tractor Club to use school property for a show on September 14th are also on the agenda. The meeting comes to order at 7 tonight at the high school



(Springfield--ba) Illinois finished ninth in a ranking by the website 24/7 Wall St. of identity theft rates across the nation. Identity theft complaints per 100,000 people in Illinois numbered 127. The median loss for all types of identity-theft fraud in the state is $300, with total losses coming in at $30,492,718 last year. The share of identity theft in the state involving credit cards – the most common type of such fraud cases – is 37 percent.


Several Accidents on I-57 has ISP Reminding Motorists to Slow Down and Pay Attention in Construction Zones

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A former central Illinois man has received two life prison sentences in the deaths of a man and woman. The bodies of Theodore Hill and Zarra Laws Strickland were discovered in a secluded area west of Danville, each with bullet wounds to the head. Glen T. Torres Jr. in April was found guilty of first-degree murder following a trial in Vermillion County Circuit Court. Torres was accused of shooting the 29-year-old Hill and the 28-year-old Strickland as they were riding in a car on Aug. 2, 2015.


(Champaign--jc)  A Semi driver failed to slow down in a construction zone along Interstate 57 in Champaign County on Thursday afternoon. Police say the semi struck a vehicle directly ahead of his vehicle and the accident caused a chain reaction to involve three additional vehicles. The accidents occurred in a construction area at mile marker 237 in Champaign County. No injuries were reported and the semi driver was cited for several violations.


(Springfield--ba)--There’s still plenty of time to enjoy all the food, free entertainment and more at the Illinois state fair in Springfield. Inside the fairgrounds…visitors will find everything from dancing dobermans to free fishing clinics. In the fair’s Thrillville area…Swifty swine pig racing runs several times a day.


(Rantoul--ba)  -- The Half Century of Progress farm show starts next Thursday at the Rantoul Municipal airport property. Event spokesperson JC Reitmeir says the amount of equipment at the  event is an amazing site....



Half Century of Progress farm show Spokesperson JC Reitmeir


(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton emergency personnel were called to an accident on I-57 Thursday evening. The accident occurred near mile marker 260, about a mile south of Paxton. No word on if there were any injuries.



(Springfield--ba)-Governor JB Pritzker is launching “Connect Illinois” …a 420 million dollar program to bring high-speed internet to all parts of the state. Governor Pritzker says the new broadband advisory council will be planning the broadband expansion…focusing on three areas: education, economic development and telemedicine.



Governor JB Pritzker 



(Springfield--ba)-An amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act signed by the governor this week prohibits employers from asking job candidates about salary history, a change that goes into effect at the end of next month and could make finding the most qualified applicant more difficult for small- to medium-sized businesses in Illinois. The head of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce called the new law burdensome to business owners. Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said the law won’t do much for job applicants and creates challenges for business owners.



(St. Joseph-jm) -- One area fire department has received a grant. The St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Department received a five thousand dollar grant from the Bayer Monsanto Grant Foundation. The department plans to use the money to purchase grain bin rescue equipment.



(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is giving farmers more time to pay crop insurance premiums without added interest added to the bills. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Paxton--jc)  -- The cookout at the Paxton IGA on Saturday will help raise money for the Melvin Men’s Christian Fellowship group. On the menu is ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and pop. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm in the Paxton IGA parking lot.


(Crescent City-jm) -- The Crescent-Iroquois School District has a new superintendent and it's a familiar one to the area. Rod Grimsley was named superintendent this week during a special meeting. Grimsley retired from the Gifford Grade School District at the end of last school year.


(Undated--jc)  With nearly 7,000 units of local government, Illinois is taking some baby steps toward reducing that number with a goal of lowering property taxes in the process. Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation into law that would allow voters to approve of dissolving townships in McHenry County. The northern Illinois county is the first county to move to reduce the number of government entities. State Representative David McSweeney says that 7 thousand units of local government is too many and the new law with help consolidate that number


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Lottery is launching new online features to make playing more convenient. Thanks to a new state law, players can now buy single-draw tickets for lucky day lotto, pick three and pick four both online and through the lottery app says Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg…



Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. 

Additionally, you can scan your instant tickets on the Illinois Lottery app to see if you’re a winner.


(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to six years in prison for selling drugs. 22-year-old Rayvonn Simpson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver after police found him with ecstasy and cocaine. Also found was a gun and several hundred rounds of ammunition. In return for his guilty plea, charges of being an armed habitual offender, unlawful use of weapons by a felon and possession of cocaine were dismissed. 



(Pesotum--jc)  -- A Minnesota family received only minor injuries in a one car mishap on Interstate 57 Thursday afternoon. Police say that 49 year old Lindy Birch of Cambridge Minnesota was going south on the interstate near Pesotum when some metal in the roadway struck the vehicle. Birch had minor injuries


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Ford County Crimestoppers is seeking information about a burglary at a Gibson City business.. A burglary at Bradbury Auto Sales was reported on Monday morning The business is located on 8th Street in Gibson City. Several items were taken from the business. An Illinois State Police Crime Scene unit helped in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County city is preparing for fall garage sales. Gibson City’s town wide fall garages sales take place Thursday September 5th through Saturday September 7th. Those interested in being placed in the garage sales flyer are asked to contact the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce office by August 31st.



(Ludlow-jm) -- The site of a former church in Ludlow could be getting new life. Trustees of the former Ludlow Christian Church are proposing giving the land to the village to be turned into a park. The church closed several years ago.


(Thomasboro-jm) -- The village of Thomasboro may be expanding. An out-of-state company has approached the village about annexing a parcel of land on the northeast corner of Route 45 and Flatville Road that the company intends to build on. Village leaders will continue discussions at the next meeting.


(Washington-jm) -- USDA's latest look at the value of agricultural lands reveals a year-over-year rise in average value. Rod Bain reports…



(Rankin--jc)  -- Local residents Don and Diane Rasmus were family representatives to designate  a rural Rankin farm as a Centennial Farm. The award was handed out at the Illinois State Fair Ag Day. The rural Rankin farm is owned by Don and James Rasmus, Joyce Carlson and Robert Sprehe. A sign and certificate will be placed at the farm


(Cissna Park-jc)  Today is day two of the 20-19 Old Settlers celebration in Cissna Park. On the stage tonight at 8 on the main stage is the popular local band Back Paiges. The annual parade is set for noon on Saturday. Someone will win a 20-19 Ford car tomorrow night. WPXN will be broadcasting live during the parade on Saturday with Becky Puetz. It’s summer fun tour stop 16.



Governor JB Pritzker Signed Legislation to Expand Insurance Coverage for Life Saving Treatments.

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A 30-year prison sentence has been handed a northern Illinois man who pleaded guilty to setting a fire that killed two boys. In pleading guilty earlier this year, 65-year-old Alex Sawyer said he was upset a landlord didn't return his security deposit when he set the April 13, 2016 fire in Kankakee that killed brothers 4-year-old Justice Stewart and 2-year-old JuShaun Watson. Sawyer must serve 100 percent of the sentence Kankakee County Circuit Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott handed down Wednesday.


CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys general in 13 states, including Illinois, have filed a lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that'll allow immigration officials to deny green cards to migrants who use public assistance, including food stamps or housing vouchers. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court.


(Pontiac--jc)  106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is helping with a Senior Health Fair in Pontiac this morning. The event  is set for 9am to 11am at the Pontiac Rec Center…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

The event is in partnership with the Pontiac Parks and Recreation Department


(Springfield--ba)  --Governor JB Pritzker is signing legislation to expand insurance coverage for life saving treatments. One new law requires insurance companies to cover office visits and treatment for tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. The second requires coverage of epi-pens for children with severe allergies. The cost of the pens has risen by more than 400 percent over the last decade says Governor Pritzker.



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Gibson City--jc)  -- It’s time to cruise in Gibson City on Friday night. The monthly car cruise steps off at 6pm and runs through 10pm in the downtown area of the city. Organizers invite car enthusiasts to cruise and also area residents to park their cars and enjoy the monthly summer-time cruise. Dan Kearfott and his musical friends will perform. A cookout at the Gibson City American Legion, Queen of Hearts raffle and shaved ice and ice cream will also be available.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A Ford County youth won first place in the 8 to 10 year division in the Illinois Cream of the Crop photo contest. Paxton resident  Payton Luebchow won the contest with the picture called, “A Day’s Work”. Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs hosted a reception in the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s tent at the state fairgrounds to honor Luebchow and the other two first-place winners of the contest: Austin Kammeyer of Manito, who won first place in the 11-14 age division, and Tanner Mickey of Taylorville, who won first place in the 15-18 age division. 


(Ogden--jc)  Three vehicles with Champaign County residents were involved in a four car accident along Interstate 74 near Ogden on Wednesday morning. Police say a black vehicle with driver unknown, cut off a second vehicle while entering a construction zone causing the remaining 3 vehicles to crash at the site. Several injuries were reported, all with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the black vehicle left the scene State Police say they are investigating the accident. The east-bound lanes were closed for several hours this morning as crews worked to clean up the accident scene.


(Watseka--jc)  It’s National Immunization Awareness month. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story..




ALTON, Ill. (AP) — A marker will be placed at a site in southern Illinois where the state's first soybeans were planted. Officials of the Illinois State Historical Society and others will be present when the marker is dedicated Aug. 23 in Alton. Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edwards traveled to San Francisco in 1849, where he helped shipwreck survivors from Japan. They reportedly showed Edwards their appreciation with a gift of "Japanese Peas." A friend of Edwards later planted the beans in his home garden.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Nearly every politician in Illinois wants to lower local property taxes, but a representative for school boards said sending more unfunded mandates to local districts that are largely funded through property taxes makes that goal harder to reach. As school bells ring for the first time, school boards know they must begin to prepare for a number of new requirements coming in the new school year, including a  higher minimum salary for teachers and statewide curriculum mandates for new civic education classes, lessons on the history of Illinois, L-G-B-T history and more. Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director at the Illinois Association of School Boards, said lawmakers consistently express support for lower property taxes, yet continue to send school districts mandates that will require adding staff or higher costs. 



(Ford County--ba)-- Ford County residents have until tomorrow to pay the first installment of property taxes. Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker says the time is now…



Shoemaker says the 2nd installment date is also coming soon...



Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois State Fair Grandstand concerts are bringing in more money than ever before. The concert series is proving to be a popular lineup this year, bringing in nearly two million, one hundred thousand dollars so far. Only about one thousand concert tickets need to be sold to break that record as well. Upcoming concerts include Old Dominion, Snoop Dogg and Shinedown. 


(Springfield-jm) -- The State Department of Public Health is confirming the presence of a rare tick-borne virus in Illinois. The Heartland Virus first popped up last year when a person in Kankakee County tested positive, and now ticks from that area appear to be carrying the virus. Public Health’s Samantha Debosik (duh-boe-sick) says if you get bitten by a tick, you should watch for these symptoms…



Illinois Department of Public Health’s Samantha Debosik. Those infected usually have to be hospitalized but most fully recover. Debosik recommends wearing light-colored long clothing when walking near tall grasses and shrubs where ticks like to hang out. Bug spray is also a good idea.


(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City Melvin Sibley School board members are expected to approve several upcoming school fieldtrips when they meet on Monday night. The first is for the G-C-M-S F-F-A to a Decatur event set for August 28th and the second is a 5th grade field trip to LayFayette Indiana on October 4th. Two donations to the G-C-M-S football program in the amount of 500 dollars and 4 thousand dollars will be accepted by the board. Approving the upcoming school year budget is also an agenda item. The board meets on Monday night at 6-15.


(Fisher--jc)  -- Fisher Village board members are set to meet on Monday to discuss a liquor license proposal. In updating our story from earlier this month,  one local businessman is proposing to open a laundromat business, but also use a portion of the building for a video-gaming in a separate part of the building. The licquor license would be a pour only facility. A hearing on the matter was held this summer. 



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Today is the first of 3 days for the Olds Settlers Celebration in Cissna Park. Swyear Amusements is on the midway for the entire run of the local event. A talent Show hilites activities on the main stage at 7 tonight. The celebration is sponsored by the Cissna Park American Legion Post 527. There is always “plenty of shade and water” at the Old Settlers Celebration in Cissna Park. Someone will win a new Ford 2019 vehicle at the conclusion of the celebration on Saturday night.



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