(Undated-jm) -- A strong economy and low unemployment could help make this a record-setting holiday shopping season. The unofficial kickoff to holiday shopping started with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. It is expected to continue through Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, a day designated for giving back to nonprofit groups. The push for online shopping started around 14 years ago. The National Retail Federation coined the term "Cyber Monday." The National Retail Federation said it expects 68.7 million people to be online nationwide taking advantage of online deals Monday. Cyber Monday shopping is expected to be the second busiest day of the Thanksgiving holiday shopping kickoff. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day. The National Retail Federation expects online and other non-store sales to increase between 11 percent and 14 percent this year compared to last year. The total amount of money that will be spent on Monday is expected to be between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion. That's up from $146.5 billion last year.


(Paxton-jm) -- The opening night of the big light display at the Johnson house has been delayed. On their Lighting Up Paxton facebook page, the strong winds from Wednesday damaged some of the lights and with several chances of heavy rain this weekend, they have pushed the opening night to Monday.



(Urbana-jm) -- Two teens have been arrested for an attempted robbery on the University of Illinois campus. Jaiden Feller and Antonio Edwards are charged with aggravated battery. Campus police say they approached a student outside Illini Union. One of the men told the student he liked his backpack and began to pull it. The second suspect then struck the victim. Feller and Edwards ran from the scene empty handed.



(Washington-jm) -- Shoppers are expected to spend more money this holiday season. Gary Crawford reports…




(Undated-jm) -- Black Friday is known as the start of the holiday shopping season, but while you're looking inside stores for the best prices, a thief could be looking inside your vehicle for their own deal. Police say you should lock your doors to your car and put your valuables in the trunk.



(Springfield-jm) -- A poll of Illinois residents found many think Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive income tax proposal will have a negative effect on the state’s businesses, leading to layoffs or relocation in response to the higher rates.  The Illinois Business Association, a nonprofit business advocacy group, commissioned a poll by Chicago-based Ogden & Fry asking Illinois residents about how businesses will fare under Pritzker’s proposed graduated income rates, which are dependent on voters passing a ballot initiative in 2020.  Of 615 randomly sampled likely 2020 General Election voters on Nov. 15, 68 percent agreed with the statement that “Businesses will cut jobs, or relocate jobs out of state, and Illinois’ economy will suffer” under the proposed rates rather than create more jobs to grow the state’s economy.  Fifty-seven percent said they didn’t trust Illinois politicians, saying they though lawmakers would raise rates in the future beyond what was initially proposed.


CHICAGO (AP) — A heart transplant recipient is recovering nicely thanks to his doctors and nurses. And two Illinois State Police troopers. In a news release, the state police says the troopers took the medical team to Chicago hospital after the vehicle they were transporting the heart in had a flat tire on an expressway.



ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Legal marijuana sales to adults are set to open in two Midwestern states. But regulators and industry leaders alike warn that consumers will likely see long lines, high prices and product shortages in the early months. Michigan sales can begin Sunday and Illinois follows a month later, bringing the total of states that broadly allow people over 21 to use marijuana to 11. Companies are rushing to complete renovations at dispensaries, expand growing facilities and hire employees.


(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office says a statewide sting to catch drivers abusing disability parking kicks off on Black Friday. This is the 13th year for the sting, which targets people parking illegally in disability spots at several Illinois shopping malls. Bill Bogdan is the Secretary of State Disability Liaison…



Illinois Secretary of State Disability Liaison Bill Bogdan. Fines are in the hundreds of dollars for those parking without a designated license plate or placard and those who use someone else’s placards to get a good parking spot.



(Ludlow-jm) -- The village of Ludlow is looking for a new trustee. Nancy Cox submitted her resignation at their meeting this month. Cox and her husband are moving to Florida to be closer to family. She served 8 years as a village trustee.



(Paxton--jc)  The City of Paxton Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is set for tonight at 7pm. The winners of the Wonka candy bar promotion will also be announced at tonight’s ceremony. Judges from Paxton PRIDE will also be going around town tonight to judge home decorations. WPXN will also be announcing the winners.


(Undated-jm) -- Animal cruelty is now a federal crime after President Donald Trump signed a law banning torture and other abusive acts. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act introduced in the House by Florida congressmen Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, and Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, expands on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of animal fighting or animal abuse videos a felony .It is now a federal crime for any person "to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce." 



(Urbana-jm) -- Firefighters from several fire departments were called to a fire north of Urbana. Firefighters were called to the fire at Mack’s Twin City Recycling just after 6 pm. No word on what caused the fire.



(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County Crime Stoppers are asking the publics help in locating a person wanted for sexual assault. Police say they are looking for 22 year old Lorenzo Juan Cristobal after he failed to appear in court on charges of criminal sexual assault and aggravated DUI. Cristobal is Hispanic, 5-foot-5, weighs 125 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cristobal is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (217)373-TIPS.


(Paxton-jm) -- The Christmas holiday season will soon be upon us and the city of Paxton is gearing up for several events. The city’s annual tree lighting will take place on Friday at 7 pm at the intersection of State and Market. The parade, themed Chocolate, Gum Drops and Golden Tickets: Imagine the Possibilities will take place Saturday at 1:30 pm and the Business Open House will take place December 6th through the 9th. Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock says there will be several opportunities for kids to see Santa…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Terri Hancock.



(Washington-jm) -- Not everything we think we know about Thanksgiving history is actually true. Gary Crawford reports…






(Springfield-jm) -- State government spending in fiscal 2019 increased at the largest rate since the end of the Great Recession, according to the latest State Expenditure report from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Total state spending reached $2.1 trillion in fiscal 2019, rising from $2 trillion in fiscal 2018. Total state government spending rose 5.7 percent in fiscal 2019. The increased 2019 growth was slightly above the 33-year NASBO survey historical average of 5.6 percent without adjusting for inflation.


CHICAGO (AP) — A new Illinois law aimed at protecting adults and children with sesame allergies has drawn concern from critics who argue the measure is giving families a false sense of safety.  Sesame allergies are becoming progressively common and severe. Earlier this year, Illinois passed a law requiring all food manufacturers to declare foods that contain sesame on their labels. But certain companies may not be following that law, raising concerns for those with sesame allergies, WLS-TV reported. A recent study shows that more than 1.5 million Americans have a sesame allergy. Sesame falls just below the top eight allergens in the U.S., but despite its quick growth, food manufacturers were not required to label sesame on their products.

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