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(Springfield--jc)  --After lawmakers accidentally removed the five-hour minimum for a school day in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation to restore it while still allowing schools more flexibility than before. The law  allows apprenticeships, dual-credit, career development and blended learning days to count toward a student’s required attendance total.

 

 

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A jury has been selected in the trial of a former graduate student accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China. A federal judge in Peoria, Illinois, told jurors to return today for opening statements. Brendt Christensen could be sentenced to death if convicted in the 2017 slaying of Yingying Zhang, whose body hasn't been found.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are looking to free up some money in the state's budget by using some motor fuel tax revenue to cover the cost of emissions testing, but the state’s Constitution may not allow it. The last change to Illinois’ Constitution was the Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment, which voters passed in 2016. It forbids lawmakers from using transportation funds for non-transportation spending. State Sen. Heather Steans’ bill, which passed both houses and now only needs Governor J.B. Pritzker's signature, would allow for the state’s emission testing done by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to be paid for using revenue generated by the Motor Fuel Tax, the state tax levied on each gallon of gas.

 

(Washington--ba)  -- Where does the Winter and Spring wheat crop stand as we close in on the middle of June. Gary Crawford has  the latest....

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  --Hundreds of FFA members from all over the state are in the capital city for the organization's annual convention.The event will culminate with the selection of a new state board. That board will replace the first all-female board, which was elected last year. The state leaders for the past year included Sophia Horton from Fisher…

 

 

Current State F F A President Sophia Horton of Fisher

 

(Rantoul--jc)  -- The National Punkin Chuckin’ Festival is on its way to Rantoul. The three day event will be the first three days of November this year. Rantoul Village Administrator Scot Eisenhauer says the local area can expect 35 to 40 thousand people to attend this three day festival…

 

 

Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer

 

 

(Roberts--jc) --  One Ford County Church is helping  sponsor a dance and show in July. The Living Word Church of Roberts is hosting the band Statesboro on Saturday July 20th in the park pavilion.

 

 

(Washington--ba)-- What to eat and what is good for you.  Hayden Stewart of the Economic Research Service has the  affordability of produce in meeting USDA dietary guidelines...

 

 

Hayden Stewart of the Economic Research Service

 

(Springfield--jc)  --One of the hundreds of bills Governor J.B. Pritzker is set to consider would allow victims of revenge porn to sue the person who posted the images online for up to $10,000 in civil damages. Posting sexually explicit content of someone online without their consent is already a crime in Illinois. State Representative. Mary Edly-Allen, Democrat from Libertyville,  helped Senate Bill 15-0-7 pass to give victims the ability to file a civil lawsuit. The bill creates a civil remedy for non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images.

 

(Paxton--jc)  When the Paxton Buckley Loda School Board meets tonight, a group that wants to save the  Eastlawn school building may be in attendance. During the entire process of a new school project and after a voter referendum, no one has come forth to save the aging building until earlier this Spring. The group  is looking at several Historic organizations to potentially help their cause. It is not -- certain how many signatures may be brought before the school board tonight. The concensus of the board from a media release earlier this month is to proceed with the school project as planned.

 

(Washington--ba--  )Soybean planting remains far  behind normal. Gary Crawford reports.

 

(Paxton--jc)  - Those with the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project say they are just days away from launching fundraising efforts. The group says they will launch on Friday, which is Flag Day.  The project is a 30 by 60 foot flag on a 150 foot pole to be located on Paxton’s west side near Paxton Buckley Loda High School. A brick fundraiser will officially start on Friday as the group looks to raise an initial 40 thousand dollars for the “grand ole flag.” WPXN radio will also make an announcement on Friday with a fundraising idea for the flag.

 

 

(Spirngfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers have said the state budget they passed and Governor J.B. Pritzker enacted was balanced and properly contributes to public pension accounts, but an accounting watchdog said that’s misleading. Senate President John Cullerton, Democrat, from Chicago, says the  state's budget is balanced and makes payments to the state’s pension funds as required by law. Truth in Accounting Research Director Bill Bergman said state law requires a payment below what it would cost to actually start reducing the state’s billions of dollars in public retiree debt.  He refers to a 440 million dollar bond offering in April.

 

TREMONT, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say the remains of a central Illinois Marine have been recovered, months after he died in a plane crash off Japan's southern coast. Cpl. Daniel Baker of Tremont was one of six Marines who died in the Dec. 6 crash. The 21-year-old was aboard a refueling plane that collided with a fighter jet. The Marine Corps says Baker's remains were found during a salvage operation conducted from May 27 through June 7.

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- The public is urged to watch out for blue-green algae in Illinois lakes and rivers. Most algae is an important part of the ecosystem, but blue-green algae can produce dangerous toxins. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Biologist Teri Holland describes blue-green algae…

 

E-P-A Biologist Teri Holland

 

(Springfield--jc)  -- The new Illinois budget has more money for mental health treatment. Governor J-B Pritzker says most everyone knows someone who is dealing with a mental health issue. The governor says an 80 million dollar increase in state funding, will help more people…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker

We will hear more from the governor on the topic on our Noon news today.

 

(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Chamber of Commerce officials say they hope to name a new Executive Director by the first of August. Current director Belynda Allen has left the office to take an Economic Development position in Hancock County in western Illinois.

 

 

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