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20 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is dealing with a shortage of teachers, and now the possibility of educators retiring rather than going back into the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois State Board of Education reports of the state’s 850 school districts, over 500 will be offering in-class instruction this fall. That involves over 600,000 students. The question arises if there is a surge in teacher retirements, who will replace them? Illinois had the 8th highest decrease in students entering education programs in college. 


(Springfield-jm) -- The purchasing power of a dollar is lower in Illinois than in most of the country. That’s according to a new report from The Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit, which ranked Illinois 32nd among the states. The survey aims to show the real value of $100 in each state. Overall in Illinois, that value is $101.94, but the amount varies depending on which part of the state is being considered. In the Chicago area, $100 tends to buy around $97 worth of goods on average while in the Carbondale-Marion metro area it buys $119.90. Illinois ranks the lowest in the Midwest and is surrounded by four states among the top 12 in the country.



(Springfield-jm) -- 20 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19. A county hits the designation when two or more virus risk factors are met, such as the number of cases per 100 thousand residents and weekly emergency room visits. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says she knows they keep repeating the same message to wear a mask and wash hands, but that it’s not sinking in for some…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Counties now at a warning level include: Bureau, Cass Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, White, Will and Williamson.



(Paxton-jm) -- A 4th grade student at Paxton Buckley Loda’s Clara Peterson Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. The district made the announcement Friday. The district says they are working with the health department to identify all who may have been in contact with the students and a deep cleaning will take place. 



(Ford County-cf)-- The Ford County Board has approved a new hire at the Ford County Public Health Department. The County was on a hiring freeze, and still is. However the Public Health Department is not tied into the general fund, and can hire new employees with the approval of the Board says Chairman Robert Lingdren… 



Ford County Board Chairman Robert Lingdren. The FCPHD is funded through levies and grants. 



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City Melvin Sibley School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to approve the issuance of over $12 million in general obligation bonds. In addition, the FY 21 budget will be presented. The GCMS school board meeting gets underway at 6:15.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Work continues on the new sports complex in Rantoul. The village recently hired Ryan Reed to lead the complex. Reed introduces himself to the community…


Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.



(Champaign-jm) -- A portion of Prospect Avenue in Champaign will be closed. Starting today, Prospect Avenue will be closed between Vine and Maple Streets so Canadian National Railroad crews can repair the crossing. The closure is expected to last 7 to 10 days.



(Washington-jm) -- The beef sector is gradually returning to some semblance of normalcy. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield-jm) -- Voters will decide the fate of Illinois' proposed progressive income tax amendment in November, but groups continue to debate the impact the proposal will have on residents. Changing Illinois’ flat income tax to a structure with higher rates for higher earners will either be good for women and minorities or it will diminish their access to jobs, according to groups on opposing sides of the tax issue. Governor J.B. Pritzker, who has made the progressive income tax central to his spending plans, has said the proposal will result in the same or slightly lower tax rates for 97 percent of taxpayers while the top 3 percent of earners would see a tax increase. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Only one in five of the 143 largest statewide public retirement systems in the U.S. are resilient, a new analysis published by the bipartisan nonprofit Equable Institute shows. The report, “State of Pensions 2020,” analyzes trends in public pension funding, investments, contributions, cash flow and maturation of retirement systems that had more than $1 billion in assets through 2019. The current estimated funded ratio for 143 statewide plans is 67.9 percent, near the lowest point in modern history. And five states – California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas – account for more than 50 percent of unfunded liabilities. The report also analyzed unfunded liabilities relative to state GDP and found that states with some of the most visible pension funding challenges, including New Jersey, Kentucky and Illinois, have the largest share of unfunded liabilities relative to their state’s GDP, topping 15 percent, respectively.



(Springfield-jm) -- The burnout experienced by Illinois nurses on the front lines of the pandemic is apparently nothing new. In a survey of hospitals in Illinois and New York taken just before the arrival of COVID-19, half of nurses scored in the "high-burnout" range as the result of their workloads. Mary Schuermann reports…




(Rantoul-jm) -- Two Rantoul teens accused of shooting at a person in a botched robbery attempt at the Jimmy Johns in Rantoul have been sentenced to the juvenile justice system. A 17 year old was sentenced to 3 years while a 15 year old was sentenced to 15 years or until he turns 21 after they plead guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm. Police say the teens met a person at the Jimmy Johns on June 3rd to purchase cannabis. When the person arrived they tried to rob the individual of cannabis and money. The victim began to chase the teens when one of them pulled a handgun and fired several shots. The other one grabbed a shotgun from a vehicle and also fired shots. No one was injured in the shooting.



(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Nitetime Enforcement Patrols in early September. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…




(Ford County-jm) -- 2020 is an election year and that means come November, voters will be going to the polls to elect the next President of the United States among many other state and local races. This election will look different with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Illinois lawmakers approved a bill allowing for vote by mail earlier this year. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick talks about the bill and what it means for voters in Ford County…



Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick. Ballots can first be mailed out starting September 24th. Early voting at the county clerk’s office also begins September 24th. The election takes place November 3rd. 



(Fisher-jm) -- The village of Fisher approved a contract for tree removal. The village approved the bid from Glad’s Tree Service of Paxton for $19,000. It’s part of the village’s 10 year tree plan.



(Washington-jm) -- Analyst says hog prices will recover, but it will take a while. Gary Crawford has the details…



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