(Springfield--jc)  -- Farmers finally got some time in the field this past week. 73 percent of corn and 49 percent of soybeans have now been planted, but they are well behind the 5 year average says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener..



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

The first cutting of alfalfa is 41 percent complete. Average Statewide topsoil moisture is 54 percent adequate and 42 percent surplus.



CHICAGO (AP) — The trial of a former graduate student charged with kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China is the first federal death-penalty trial in Illinois since it abolished capital punishment in 2011. Activists who fought to end executions in the state are dismayed. A leader in Illinois' anti-death penalty movement, Rob Warden, says federal authorities are "imposing capital punishment on a state that abolished it." He calls that "morally offensive."


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul police are seeking assistance in locating a Rantoul woman. 87 year old Lela O’Brien was last seen around 1-30 Monday afternoon  in the front lobby of Eagles View Supportive Living and Memory Care in Rantoul. O’Brien is described as a white female, Five feet--two inches tall, weighing around 130 pounds. She has dementia, but will answer to her name. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Rantoul police.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois city is defending a popular meteorologist who has been absent from local television newscasts since he criticized a corporate weather-alert brand. Joe Crain noted community criticism on live TV June 5 over "Code Red" weather alerts implemented by station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair did not respond to a request for comment. Several local businesses have pulled advertising from WICS. Even U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says people should speak up for Crain.



Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says many farmers hit by disasters will start to see help from the new disaster bill in "weeks, not months". USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.


The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board is meeting tomorrow and will hear the latest on the new Clara Petersen School project. Additional agenda items include, the process  of the Eastlawn Elementary demolition, and seeking proposals for waste services for the next school year. The meeting is set to take place at 6:00pm.


(Undated--jc)  -- A new report indicates Illinois is doing better than the rest of the country when it comes to food insecurity.The annual study from Feeding America says just under 11 percent of the state’s population struggle to afford nutritious meals on a regular basis.That compares to the national average of 12.5 percent. North Dakota has the lowest rate in the country at about 7 percent, while Mississippi has the highest at nearly 20 percent.



(Rantoul--jc)  It’s graduation time for the next class at Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge. Class 52 will go through the pomp and circumstance on Saturday in Decatur says Public Relations Director Michael Camacha…



Lincoln Challenge Public Relations Director Michael Camacha

Saturday’s ceremony begins at 11am at the Decatur Civic Center.



(Rantoul--jc)  The International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame has two area nominees. They are Mark Hall and Tim Hall.  The brothers are part of the Raminator Monster Truck. The local group travels, competes and offers the Raminator for events and shows across the country. The Hall Brothers and Raminator will be in Wyoming on July 6 for a Tailgating for Hope event in Pinedale Wyoming.


 (Springfield--ba)-It’s been 100 years since Illinois moved to give women the right to vote. At a ceremony honoring the 19th Amendment in Chicago, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton spoke of how far the country has come…and pledged to continue fighting for women’s rights.



Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton


MOMENCE, Ill. (AP) — A man and a dog are presumed drowned after their boat crashed into a logjam on a river in Kankakee County. Momence Fire Chief Jim Spoon tells The Daily Journal that the logjam on the Kankakee River is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide, near the Illinois-Indiana border. Another man who was thrown from the boat Saturday survived.Spoon says the river was too swift for divers Sunday. Indiana authorities were helping Illinois police in the search.

James Hubona says he was lucky: Kayakers heard his calls for help and threw him a life jacket. He identified his missing friend as Mike Stefano, a former Chicago police officer, and his dog Buster.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois is among the most fun states in the country.Coming in at No. 11, the Land of Lincoln ranked high for performance arts, restaurants and fitness centers per capita, according to consumer finance website WalletHub.Illinois ranked No. 30 for casinos per capita, but that could change with a pending law to create 6 new casinos along with other gambling expansion measures. One of those casinos is projected for Danville.


(Watseka--jc)  Iroquois County Relay for Life officials have announced that the event this past weekend raised almost 90 thousand dollars. Money raised through August will go on the current year’s total. Those with the local relay say thanks to all who helped with this year’s event.



(Ford County--ba)-Ford County has completed their tax deed proceedings on real estate properties that were delinquent for 2015 and mobile homes that were delinquent for 2016 and prior real estate taxes. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has that story.




FAIR OAKS, Ind. (AP) — Three people have been charged with animal cruelty following the release of video showing workers kicking and throwing young calves at a northwestern Indiana dairy farm that's an agritourism destination. The Newton County Sheriff's Department said Monday that misdemeanor charges have been filed against three people related to the Fair Oaks Farms case. The department didn't identify those charged or release details of the allegations.


(Springfield--jc)  State lawmakers aren’t expected back in Springfield until this fall but when they’re in session a couple of freshman say things can be chaotic.Decatur Republican state Representative Dan Caulkins says the place “runs like a circus with a hidden ringmaster.”.Rockford Democratic state Representative Maurice West said it’s similar to the HBO series “Game of Thrones” where he’s running full force toward an unknown goal with competing groups either chasing or attempting to block him.




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