(Springfield-jm) -- A teachers union-sponsored poll of Illinois residents found that most think public school teachers should be paid more, receive their pensions earlier, and have the state provide more funding for public education. They also said high quality public schools are more important than lowering taxes, reforming the state’s pensions, reducing violence, and balancing the state’s budget, a constitutional requirement. Fifty-seven percent also told them that the state of Illinois “was headed off on the wrong track.”



(Springfield-jm) -- Despite bringing in billions of dollars more in tax revenue, Illinois state government’s fiscal condition continues to deteriorate, according to an interim annual report published by the Illinois comptroller. The five-page Interim Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. The report shows tax revenues to Illinois state government increased by more than $3 billion, from $74 billion in 2018 to $77.9 billion in 2019. Total expenses were also up, from $80.3 billion in 2018 to $81.5 billion in 2019. The largest amount of revenue, outside of money from the federal government, is income taxes.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health now has the ability to test for the 2019 novel coronavirus in-state, meaning shorter wait times for test results for people showing symptoms of the virus and meeting certain criteria. Illinois Department of Public Health said in a news release Tuesday that Illinois is the first state to be able to do the testing without shipping specimens out of state, and results are typically available within 24 hours.


(Washington-jm) -- Even though the U.S./China trade deal is signed and in effect, USDA made few changes to its new export forecasts. Gary Crawford explains…




(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to an electrical fire in a stove Tuesday evening. Firefighters were called just after 6pm to the 600 block of S. Park Street. No injuries were reported.



(Buckley-CF)-- The St. Johns Chicken Dinner will be this Sunday Feb. 16th from 3:30- 7pm. There will be Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Coleslaw, and Applesauce. Spokesperson Kari Satchura has more… 



St. Johns Chicken Dinner Spokesperson Kari Satchura.



(Paxton-jm) -- Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran is awarding a $500 scholarship for an area college student. The scholarship is through the Illinois Sheriff’s Association. Scholarship requirements include being a permanent Illinois resident, used at an institution of higher learning in Illinois and be enrolled as a full time student during the 2020-2021 school year. Deadline to submit your scholarship application to the Ford County Sheriff’s Office is March 15th.


(Roberts-CF)- The Village of Roberts held their monthly board meeting on Feb. 3rd and discussed the amendment to rescind their objections to the Ford County Zoning committee on the windfarm Mayor Rick Flessner has more..



Mayor of Roberts Rick Flessner. The Height can’t be any greater than 500 feet and that the setback shall be no greater than 2250 feet from city limits. 



(Springfield-jm) -- State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is receiving the Patriot Award for his commitment military service member employees. Frerichs was nominated by a member of his staff, who is also a member of the National Guard. The award is given to supervisors and employers who make conscious efforts to support their military employees.



(Urbana-jm) -- School officials have taken steps to protect students on the University of Illinois campus amid concerns about the new coronavirus from China. The Champaign-Urbana campus is home to more than 5,800 students from China. When the outbreak began, Dr. Robert Parker at the campus’ McKinley Health Center contacted each student from the particular area of China where the virus was prevalent. He said that, as of last week, nine students said they were previously feeling ill but not one had been flagged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as potentially having the respiratory illness.


(Springfield-jm) -- A state senator wants to get a question in front of voters this November that would ban local governments in Illinois from prohibiting forced unionization. The state’s leading manufacturers’ group says that policy won’t grow the economy. State Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, filed Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 13 last year. It would amend Illinois’ Bill of Rights to prohibit the state or any local units of government from restricting forced unionization. He was scheduled to hold a press conference on the issue last week, but said he plans to reschedule. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Two union locals working on a contract with the Illinois Secretary of State are prepared to strike if they don’t get their way. Deneen Taylor, a field service director with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, said Local 4407 runs all the IT for the Secretary of State. She said with the automatic voter registration program, REAL ID and other demands on employees, they want better pay and more staff. They also want raises and the same maternity leave other constitutional officers are offering employees. That policy is ten weeks of leave for mothers and fathers. She said the union voted down the administration’s last offer and authorized a strike.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers could enact new legislation this spring that would put the state on a path to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, but just what the Clean Energy Jobs Act would mean for the state’s ratepayers remains unclear. The bill is awaiting consideration by the Illinois House of Representatives. Another version has been introduced in the state Senate. Both bills could be called this spring.



(Springfield-jm) -- As Valentine’s Day approaches Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is warning the public about romance related scams. Con artists have been known to target people through dating websites, apps and social media, purporting to need money so they can travel to see the victim. Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson has this advice…


Illinois Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson. Thompson says a few other online and phone scams are also circulating, where the caller poses as someone from the Illinois State Police, a utility company or the Social Security Administration, seeking your personal information.



(Undated-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing that all driver’s services facilities will be closed today for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. All facilities will reopen tomorrow.



(Paxton-cf)- The Paxton Buckley Loda  Education Foundation is set to start distributing money to the P-B-L school district for new computers, and updating technology. Technology becomes outdated in several years of  purchase says. P-B-L Education Foundation President Robin Niewold... 



P-B-L Education Foundation President Robin Niewold.


(Rantoul-jm) -- A health fair set for next month in Rantoul will focus on more than just your physical health. The health fair sponsored by the village of Rantoul in conjunction with the chamber will also focus on financial and inner health. 25 vendors will be on hand for the event on March 12th from 4-8 pm at the Forum Fitness Center.


(Crescent City-cf)- The Iroquois Country Fair Association is seeking sponsors for this year's upcoming fair. There are multiple ways to purchase sponsorships. Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones has the details... 



 Iroquois County Fair Association spokesperson Debbie Krones



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is working to ease the student debt crisis. The crisis currently sits at $1.6 trillion with the average debt of $18,000. The Student Loan Investment Act signed last year would invest $700 million to facilitate payment options for Illinoisans affected by student loans. The money would help 50,000 families and would start in 2021.




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