(Champaign--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says higher education in Illinois will receive a much-needed pick-me-up under his new “Rebuild Illinois” program. The program includes money for a new quantum physics facility at the University of Illinois to a parking lot at Morton College says the governor…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. The Governor says making these investments in higher education will keep more students in Illinois for College


 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Cook County judge has ruled that Illinois lawmakers violated the state constitution by freezing their salaries from 2009 to 2017. Associated Circuit Judge Franklin Valderrama's ruling this week indicated that the prohibition on altering a legislator's compensation during a term of office includes freezing it. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza argued that the ban doesn't apply to pay reductions. She says it is meant to keep office-holders from enriching themselves.


CHICAGO (AP) — A Beluga whale has given birth to a calf at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. The 38-year-old beluga whale, Mauyak, delivered on Wednesday evening. Shedd officials say the mother and calf are doing well and will remain under 24-hour observation by the aquarium's animal care team. They are currently not viewable by the public.


Springfield--jc)  -- The 4th of July Holiday weekend continues and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is urging the motoring public, not to drink and drive. Secretary White says between friends, ride sharing services and public transportation, there is no excuse to drive under the influence…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White


(Undated--jc)  Holiday activities continue in several area towns today in Allerton Park, Clinton Tuscola and Onarga.  In Rankin, the Fourth of July celebration will be held today and tomorrow at Centennial Park on the village’s southwest side. WPXN will be broadcast live at the celebration to help kick off the Truck and Tractor pull this afternoon. Summer Fun tour stop number 10 runs from 4 to 6pm. A full day of activities are set for Saturday  with waterball fights, a cake walk, children’s games, to a watermelon seed spitting contest and pig calling contest. There is a DJ and fireworks on Saturday night.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State officials are urging boaters to stay safe as the holiday weekend begins. Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director of Law Enforcement Jerry Costello says there'll be increased traffic on lakes and rivers and recent fatalities are a "stark reminder on the importance of boating safety." State officials say all boat operators should check to make sure there are enough personal flotation devices on board.



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul resident and current Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars State Commander Brad Gould was the grand marshal of the Rantoul Freedom Celebration parade on Thursday. Gould talks about his path in the V-F-W to becoming the commander in June…



Rantoul resident and V-F-W State Commander Brad Gould


(Paxton--jc)  Saturday’s fundraiser cookout at the Paxton IGA parking lot will feature ribeye sandwiches, chips and soda. The proceeds will benefit a local toy drive organized by local realtor Kaye Harper. The cookout runs from 10am to 2pm.


(Chicago--jc)  -- A former lawmaker who voted at least once to cut his own pay while in office and later sued  to get that money back can proceed with his case, a Cook County judge ruled. Illinois’ comptroller said it’s an example of why taxpayers don’t trust politicians. Former state Senators. Michael Noland of Elgin and James Clayborne of East St. Louis, both Democrats, filed an amended complaint in 2018 seeking acts passed by previous legislators that froze lawmaker pay and required furloughs and compensation forfeiture in certain years during their terms to be declared unconstitutional 


(Gibson City--jc)  Firefighters in Gibson City were called to a home fire on North Wood Street on Thursday evening. No word on damage estimates or cause of the fire were provided. WPXN news will update this story as more information becomes available.


(Springfield--jc)  The 4th of July weekend is upon us. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says 2 out of 4 traffic fatalities over the 4th of July holiday involve alcohol…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.


(Buckley--jc) Officials and residents in the village of Buckley have dedicated the refurbished windmill at Buckley Lake. The ceremony was held on Thursday morning following the village parade. Buckley Mayor Sheree Stachura says several groups and individuals helped with the project…



Village of Buckley Mayor Sheree Stachura



(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois homeowners have missed $269 billion in home equity growth in the last ten years due to the state’s lower than average home appreciation, according to an analysis of one of the largest pools of home sales data in the world. An analysis by economic watchdog website Wirepoints of home sales data provided by Zillow found that Illinois homeowners would have seen $269 billion in home value growth had home appreciation in Illinois kept pace with the national average since 2009.Zillow’s data showed the total value of all homes in the United States in 2009 was $24.2 trillion. It increased to $32.4 trillion as of May 2019, an increase of more than 33 percent.


(Sibley--jc)  The annual Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive is set for Sunday. The event raises money for the Ford County Relay for Life. Those participating will be driving tractors along a route and will also honor veterans.  Organizer Russ Tjarks says a route to Fairbury is planned this year…



Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks

A raffle for a pedal tractor will also be held.


(Paxton--jc)  Paxton Chamber officials announced the winners of the Little Miss and Little Mister Contest at the Old Fashioned 4th of July event at Pells Park. The Little Miss is Tinley Eichelberger   and the Little Mister is Beau Glazik of Paxton.

The winners of the WPXN Watermelon eating contest, 

Youth Division Kindergarten through 3rd grade… 6 year old Brenda Blangin of Paxton

Junior High Division 4th Grade through 8th grade...13 year old John Dietricks of Paxton

Adult Division 17 year old Liam McMillan of Paxton


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