(Springfield-jm) -- Production of Illinois’ two most valuable crops fell by roughly one-fifth last year, according to final crop yield numbers released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Corn and soybean growers saw production drop 18.6 percent and 20.4 percent respectively compared to 2018. Farmers harvested just over 1.8 billion bushels of corn, down from more than 2.2 billion the year before. Soybean production decreased from around 667 million bushels to just over 532 million. 2019 was the worst year for corn since 2012, when farmers produced about 1.3 billion bushels. Soybean production had its worst year since 2013, which saw 461 million bushels.Yield per acre was down 14 percent for corn at 180 bushels and 15 percent for soybeans at 54 bushels. That’s the lowest for corn since 2015 and the lowest for soybeans since 2013.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois economy grew at a slower pace than most neighboring states and the nation as a whole during the third quarter of 2019, according to new figures. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, which tracks state-by-state economic trends, said overall, the state’s economy grew at a modest annualized rate of 1.4 percent, well below the national rate of 2.1 percent. Illinois ranked 41st in the nation for GDP growth during the quarter, according to the data. Texas showed the fastest-growing economy, at nearly 4 percent, while Delaware came in last with no measurable growth.



(Springfield-jm) -- Comptroller Susana Mendoza is pushing to end exit bonus pay for Illinois lawmakers. The problem arose when two legislators who were under federal investigation resigned. Comptroller Mendoza says Senator Martin Sandoval gave up his seat as of January 1st, but will be paid for the entire month…



Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Legislation paying resigning lawmakers on a prorated basis has been introduced in the Illinois Senate. 



(Undated-jm) -- Fire departments across the state can apply for a grant from the state. The Office of the State Fire Marshal is awarding $3.5 million in small equipment grants for fire departments and private ambulance services. The office will grant up to $26,000 for each department that applies. The deadline to apply is February 29th.



(Paxton-jm) -- A new alderman for Ward 4 in the city of Paxton could be named at tonight’s city council meeting. Mayor Bill Ingold is expected to name the replacement after alderman Rob Steiger announced he was moving out of the district last month. In addition, council members could take action on whether or not to install safety signs at the intersections of Holmes and Elm, Holmes and Maple and Holmes and American. The Paxton City Council meeting gets underway at 7pm.



(Paxton-Cale) The PBL Hall of Fame is now accepting nominations. Many people ask where you can find those forms, many are located in area businesses as well as online. PBL High School Principal Travis Duley has more on where those forms can be found…. 




PBL High School Principal Travis Duley.



(Iroquois County-jm) -- Iroquois County is into what it will take to make their government building restrooms ADA compliant. One of the changes being considered is to take some janitors closets and turn them into handicap and family restrooms.


(Washington-jm) -- The U.S.-China trade deal won't be reflected in USDA's crop reports until the details are made public, but anticipation for the deal is reflected in prices. Stephanie Ho has the details…




(Springfield-jm) -- The director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture has resigned. Governor J-B Pritzker asked John Sullivan to resign after he learned Sullivan knew about the cover up of a rape incident in Champaign while he was a state senator and didn’t report the incident. Sullivan is not considered a suspect in the incident.



(Undated-jm) -- More hospitals are merging but the quality of care is decreasing. The new study says hospitals use merging as a way to share costs and reduce competition however, it also decreases the quality of care. Researchers say more research needs to be done to determine why there is a decrease in care.


(Springfield-jm) -- New rules governing how retail gun dealers do business go into effect Friday and include the types of records they must keep, how weapons and ammunition are to be stored and the kinds of video surveillance and security systems they must maintain. The rules, established by the Illinois State Police and scheduled to be published in the Illinois Register on Friday, will go into effect almost one year to the day after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Firearm Dealer License Certification Act into law. The Act requires firearm dealers who have a federal firearm license to also obtain a state certificate and comply with state regulations. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois ranks low in arrest rates for driving under the influence, according to a recent report. The state is only behind Delaware, placing 49th in a recent report from U.S. Drug Test Centers, a drug testing company, in terms of the number of DUI arrests per 100,000 people. The report was based on figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation and FBI crime statistics. The report found that not only has the state reached almost the bottom in terms of DUI arrests, but it has seen both short-term declines – over 4 years, DUI arrests are down more than 20 percent – and long-term decreases in DUI arrests. DUI arrests declined more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.



(Springfield-jm) -- “Operation Lambert” is underway in Illinois with State Police focusing on drivers violating the state’s move over law. Special details are running around the state in honor of Trooper Christopher Lambert who was struck and killed last year by a passing vehicle. I-S-P Sergeant Delila Garcia explains the law…



Illinois State Police Sergeant Delila Garcia. Violators face a fine of at least 250 dollars. The special details run through Sunday. 



(Fisher-jm) -- The Fisher School District has received a commendable rating from the state in their recent report card. Juniors SAT scores as well as freshman and sophomore PSAT scores came in above the state average. The district says they are working on a plan to continue making improvements.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Village Board members will be voting on several items at tonight's village board meeting. Village board members will be asked to approve a contract for HVAC work at the police station for over $153,000, approve the purchase of a vehicle for public works administration as well as a vehicle for the street and water division and consider adding a new video gaming class. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6pm.



(Roberts-Cale)-- The Village of Roberts has sold the old Library Building. Roberts Mayor Rick Flesser talks about the new usage of the building.



Roberts Mayor Rick Flesser



(Piper City-jm) -- Piper City residents wont see an increase in the amount of taxes they pay to the village. Village leaders voted to leave the levy at the same rate as last year. That will bring in $79,226. The village set their appropriation ordinance at $613,500.



(Springfield-jm) -- The State Department of Children and Family Services is asking for the public to help stop human trafficking in Illinois. There are certain signs you can watch out for to spot victims of child human trafficking says DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez. That includes an adult controlling a child or speaking for them…



DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez. During the last fiscal year, DCFS investigated 255 allegations of human trafficking of children, although the agency says it’s a crime that’s often underreported. If you suspect a child is a victim, call 9-1-1 or the state’s hotline 1-800-25-ABUSE.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois is reporting the first pediatric flu related death in the state. The victim is from the Chicago area and died of complications from the flu. So far 6.4 million cases of influenza have been reported.



(Undated-jm) -- January 27th is the first day you can begin to file your taxes with the IRS. The average refund last year was $2,800. The last day to file is April 15th. If you need an extension, extensions can be granted to October 15th.


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