(Odgen--jc)  -- Westbound lanes of traffic were closed down for about 5 hours early this morning along a portion of Interstate 74 in Champaign County. The closure was in the westbound lanes from Odgen to St Joseph.  Road repairs were completed during that time.



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Testing in three southwestern Michigan waterways has turned up no trace of Asian carp that have damaged the environment and economy in other parts of the U.S. The state Department of Natural Resources says 336 water samples have been taken this year from the Kalamazoo River and Ottawa County's Spring Lake and Lake Macatawa. They were analyzed for Asian carp DNA. None tested positive.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 2017 beating death of his two-month-old son. Eric Cutler pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder in the death of Millieon Cutler, who died of blunt-force trauma to his head and body. Authorities say the boy suffered skull, rib and pelvic fractures from the March 2017 beating. The 24-year-old Cutler must serve 100 percent of the sentence handed him by Sangamon County Circuit Judge Adam Giganti.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The state of Illinois is going to look at how schools in the state are handling and welcoming transgender students. Illinois' new transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students task force will spend the next six months looking at everything from dress codes to bathrooms to pronouns in Illinois schools. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an order that creates the task force.



(Springfield--ba) -- Corn planting is still not complete as we hear in the weekly crop report. 95 of corn has been planted…compared to 100 percent normally says Illinois State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener...



Illinois State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Freedom Celebration starts this afternoon at 4 on the grounds near the Hap Parker Aquatic Center. The event kicks off with the Sundowners Anything on Wheels Car Show. The aquatic center will have a free swim from 4pm to 9pm. Music, kids games and volleyball also hilite the event on Wednesday. Rantoul based Hall Brothers will also offer monster truck rides. Fireworks take place at dusk. WPXN will be broadcasting live at 4pm this afternoon. It’s Summer Fun Tour Stop number 7.



(Washington--ba)  Prevented planting claims could hit record levels. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.



(Buckley--jc)  Do you want an roll-top desk? The village of Buckley has one.  Village leaders are asking for bids on the desk. Anyone interested is asked to call the village hall and bids will be opened at the August meeting of the Buckley Village Board.


SPRINGFIELD – More than 117 million visitors traveled to Illinois in 2018, setting a new record number of visitors for the state. Visitors to the state spent $41.7 billion, boosting Illinois’ economy by $2 billion over the previous year, according to data provided by the U.S. Travel Association. This record growth resulted in a 5.1 percent increase in visitor spending over 2017— higher than the national visitor growth rate of 4.9 percent. State and local tax revenue generated from visitor spending jumped 7.1 percent to $3.3 billion, creating an additional $220.8 million for the state and local communities.



(Chicago--jc)  --The head of a free-market think tank in Illinois and a New York-based hedge fund claim  Illinois officials went afoul of the state constitution when they issued debt, according to a lawsuit seeking to invalidate $14.3 billion in state bonds. The petition brought by Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman, in his capacity as a taxpayer, and Warlander Asset Management, a fund that owns $25 million in Illinois bonds bought in multiple offerings, aims to enjoin the state from paying the more than $14 billion in debt service left on two bond offerings. Tillman also is the chairman of the board of the Franklin News Foundation, which publishes The Center Square. The petition, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court this week, claims Illinois’ Constitution requires bonds go to a specific purpose, roads for instance, instead of financing deficits as they allege the state did in 2003 and 2017.



(Springfield--ba) --Corn planting is still not complete as we hear in the weekly crop report. Rain has continually delayed work in the fields…leaving farmers behind schedule. 95 percent of corn has now been planted…and 89 percent emerged. 42 of corn is rated in good to excellent condition, a slight decline. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 87 percent of soybeans have been planted.



State  Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener


(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Cornbelt Shriners along with Gibson Area Hospital are hosting a street dance in downtown Gibson City on Saturday. The first band starts at 5-30. 90s Daughter will take the stage at 8. There is a 5 dollar cover and the money raised goes to Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Live-Like-Jay Scholarship fund. Food will also be available during the fundraiser.


(Springfield--jc)  --Providing tax relief for some property owners is driving up costs for others, especially in two northern Illinois cities, according to a new report.A report by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy and Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence found that businesses in Chicago paid the third-highest tax rates in the nation on commercial property in 2018 largely because of tax breaks for homeowners shifted the burden to business properties.“The city has a fairly classified property tax system that imposes a higher effective property tax rate on office buildings and other types of commercial properties,” said Adam Langley, associate director of tax policy and data initiatives at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


(Urbana--jc)  --Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a Champaign child who has died as a result of an injury sustained in an incident in which a pellet rifle discharged along  Rosewood Drive on June First. One year old Loryn. Brown,of Champaign was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department in Urbana. Preliminary results from the autopsy performed Tuesday indicate Ms. Brown died as a result of a rifle pellet wound to the chest. An inquest may be held at a later date. The investigation into this incident is ongoing by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Champaign Police Department. 


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July celebration begins later today in the Pells Park Pavilion.  The event at 6 tonight is the Little Mister and Little Miss Contest. The two event continues tomorrow at Pells Park with a worship service, food, the band Back Paiges, a watermelon eating contest and fireworks at dusk.



(Sibley--jc)  -- Sibley’s Sparkling Shuffle 5-K is this evening. Registration is at 7-30pm at the Sibley Pavilion and the running begins at 9pm. The course is lighted and also has actors, lighted houses, Uncle Sam and music.


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