(Springfield-jm) -- The number of Illinois children entering kindergarten who are fully prepared to start school, grew for the second consecutive year in 2019, a possible indication that the state’s increased spending on early childhood education is paying off. But the latest kindergarten readiness report, released Monday by the Illinois State Board of Education, also showed that more than one-third of all pupils who entered kindergarten last year were unprepared across all three developmental areas that the state tries to measure. The latest report showed that 29 percent of the pupils entering kindergarten demonstrated readiness across all three developmental areas. The report also showed there has been steady growth within each of the three development areas. The percentage of kindergartners demonstrating social and emotional readiness grew to 56 percent, up from 49 percent in 2017; 47 percent demonstrated readiness in language and literacy development, up from 44 percent in 2017; and 35 percent demonstrated readiness in math, up from only 30 percent in 2017. That same report also showed that 37 percent of last year’s kindergartners failed to show readiness across any of the three developmental areas. Still, that number was down from 39 percent in 2018 and 42 percent in 2017.
(Springfield-jm) -- Residents in the 217 area code are going to have to dial a few more numbers. A second area code, 447, is coming to the 217 next March since numbers are starting to run out. That means residents will have to dial the full number for even local calls, says the Illinois Commerce Commission’s George Light. He urges people to get into the now…
Illinois Commerce Commission’s George Light. Otherwise, those with a 217 number won’t see any changes. New numbers will be given the 447 area code.
(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,612 new cases of Coronavirus Monday and 8 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 221,790 and deaths to 7,888. Locally, since Friday, McLean County reported 250 new cases bringing their total number to 1,143. Vermilion County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 281. Ford County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 98. Champaign County reported 126 new cases bringing their total to 1,975. Livingston County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 172. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 305. Kankakee County reported 52 new cases bringing their total to 2,123.
(Undated-jm) -- 4 additional deaths were reported in the WPXN listening area Monday. Vermilion County reported 1 additional death bringing their total to 3. Iroquois County reported 3 additional deaths bringing their total to 18.
(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is reporting 109 students have tested positive for the Coronavirus. Monday was the first day of classes for the fall semester. All students and staff have to be tested twice weekly before being allowed into any building. Those who tested positive will have to quarantine for 14 days.
(Springfield-jm) -- It was a cool, dry week for Illinois crops. Both temperatures and rainfall were below normal, with nearly the entire week suitable for fieldwork. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 92 percent of soybeans are setting pods and 73 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition…
State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to six percent very short, 29 percent short, 64 percent adequate and just one percent surplus.
(Champaign-jm) -- Those wanting assistance in lowering their utility bills can do so next month. 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign will be hosting a virtual clinic with the Citizens Utility Board on Wednesday, September 30th from 5:30-7:30 pm. More details are available by calling Senator Bennett’s office at 217-355-5252.
(Washington-jm) -- An Illinois Congressman is speaking out on the recent riots across the country. Riots have occurred nationally, including in the Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal areas this summer over police brutality. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says protesting is ok but some take it too far…
16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.
(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County has a new zoning enforcement officer. The county hired Brandon Magers. He replaces Matt Rock who resigned at the end of July.
(Undated-jm) -- Last week was a comfortable week for summer with highs in the low to mid 80s. This week could see more summer like with temps near 90. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at the rest of August and beginning of September…
State Climatologist Trent Ford.
(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton man has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a child. 33 year old Brandon Irish was arrested and charged with a single count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child under 13. If convicted he faces 6 to 30 years in prison. Bond was set at $250,000. Police say additional charges are pending.
(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced the state's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program is now open. The program intends to assist eligible homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic. Approved applicants will receive up to $15,000, which will be paid directly to the individual's mortgage servicer to cover missed rent payments beginning in March and prepay through Dec. 30 or until the money is used.
(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Republican lawmakers say it’s time to get back to work on ethics reform. The Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform hasn’t met since March 5th and GOP members say they haven’t heard anything about when they will get together again. Representative Pat Windhorst of Harrisburg says they want meetings to resume immediately, either in person or virtually…
State Representative Pat Windhorst of Harrisburg. House and Senate Republicans say they are looking at banning legislators from paid lobbying work with local governments, requiring more disclosure about outside income and potential conflicts of interest and other reforms. The democratic co-chairs of the commission say the group will meet in the coming weeks to submit a final report.
(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting cases at area long term care facilities. According to IDPH, 79 cases and 10 deaths are being reported at Gilman Healthcare. 32 cases and 1 death has been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton. Country Health and Rehab in Gifford reported 7 cases and Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul reported 5.
(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois now stands at 221,790 confirmed Coronavirus cases and the number of deaths has reached 7,888. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 720 have been released from isolation, 403 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 262 have been released while 16 remain in isolation. In Ford County, 79 have been released from isolation while 17 remain in isolation. In Champaign County, 1,719 have recovered, 236 cases remain active and 3 are hospitalized. In Livingston County, 149 have been removed, 20 cases are active with 2 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 262 have been released, 22 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,459 have recovered, 597 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized.
(Kankakee County-jm) -- The state is putting restrictions on Kankakee and Will Counties beginning Wednesday. Among the restrictions include no indoor dining, bars and restaurants must close by 11pm and all bar patrons must be seated at a table. The move comes as their positivity rate topped 8 percent for 3 consecutive days. The restrictions are in place through September 2nd where it will be re-evaluated.
(Springfield-jm) -- It was a cool, dry week for Illinois crops. Farm fields saw less rainfall and lower temperatures than normal this past week, with 47 percent of corn in the dent stage says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 72 percent of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition, a decline from the previous week…
State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 69 percent complete, and average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to six percent very short, 29 percent short, 64 percent adequate and one percent surplus.
(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign police are investigating after an MTD bus was struck by gunfire over the weekend. Police say it happened around 11:30 Sunday morning in the area of East Columbia and North 5th. The driver and five people were on the bus at the time. Police say two cars were shooting at each other when the incident occurred. No one on the bus was injured.
(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul has hired Ryan Reed to become the director of the new sports complex. Reed comes from the Visit Champaign County organization. He explains his role at the new complex…
Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.
(Champaign-jm) -- Several area Parkland College students earned Spring flight credentials. The students are part of Parkland College’s Institute of Aviation. Anna Nielson of Mahomet, London Rouley of Elliott and Adrian Bituin of Rantoul soloed for the first time. Taylor Watts of Champaign and Zachary Chalk of Mahomet received their credentials for private pilot airplane single engine landing certificate. Evan Burge of Mahomet and John Dee of Champaign received their credentials for Commercial Instrument Rating. Andrew Greene of Champaign received his Commercial pilot airplane single engine landing. Heather Czeck of Champaign received her Certified Flight Instructor credentials. Andrew Greene of Champaign and Cullen Brucker of Melvin received their commercial pilot multi engine certificate.
(Paxton-cf)-- The IHSA has modified certain extra-curricular activities for this upcoming year. Marching Band, and football season have been canceled, but those seasons might be made up in the spring. Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details…
Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.