(Springfield-jm) -- With the economy showing signs of life despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinoisans were among the leaders nationally in paying down credit card debt. According to the personal finance website WalletHub, Illinois ranked fifth in the nation in paying down debt in the second quarter of this year. According to the study, the average household in Illinois owes $8,339 in credit card debt, following a $491 decrease in the second quarter. Nationally, U.S. consumers paid down $58.1 billion in credit card debt. That followed a record first-quarter pay down of $60 billion. As a result, WalletHub now projects that U.S. consumers will end the year with a slight reduction in credit card debt for the first time since the end of the Great Recession in 2009.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ public pensions, long underfunded by lawmakers, are beginning to show just how much of a financial hit they took during the pandemic. A report from Moody’s Investors Service estimates Illinois’ pension liability will spike to $261 billion in 2020, up from $230 billion in the 2019 fiscal year. Moody's said the increase was because of a combination of lower interest rates and investment losses. That state has estimated its pension liabilities to be about $137 billion. The funds are around 40 percent funded, one of the lowest funding ratios in the nation.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education is asking for input from educators, parents, students, and community organizers on state funding for public education. The department wants to hear what investments will support student learning, improve learning conditions, and elevate educators, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group will be accepting testimonies in writing and at three virtual budget hearings in October.



(Springfield-jm) -- During Disaster Preparedness Month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency wants to make sure seniors are ready for a disaster. Nearly two point seven million seniors live in Illinois, and need to be ready for anything from flooding to the current pandemic, says IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. She says they should focus on four areas…



Illinois Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Creating a support network includes getting to know your neighbors, since about 46 percent of people will rely on those living nearby immediately following an emergency. Clark says families can help make seniors comfortable using a cell phone, and a program called Illinois Care Connections can provide technology services such as I-pads and tablets to qualifying seniors.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,373 new Coronavirus cases Monday and 5 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 262,744 and total deaths to 8,314. The seven day positivity rate is 3.6 percent. Locally since Friday, McLean County reported 136 new cases bringing their total to 2,938. Vermilion County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 439. Champaign County reported 255 new cases bringing their total to 3,675. Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 127. Livingston County reported 10 new cases including 3 at the Pontiac Correctional Center bringing their total to 288. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 372. Kankakee County reported 25 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,574 and total deaths to 70.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting case numbers for area communities. 285 cases were in Rantoul, 125 in Mahomet, 72 in Gilman, 64 in Clifton, 63 in St. Joseph, 51 in Watseka, 43 in Paxton, 36 in Chebanse, 34 in Fisher, 31 each in Hoopeston and Fairbury, 30 in Onarga, 19 in Gibson City, 15 in Forrest, 14 each in Cissna Park and Ashkum, 11 in Danforth, 10 each in Thomasboro, Rossville and Foosland, 9 each in Milford, Donovan and Crescent City, 8 each in Saybrook, Gifford and Cabery, 7 each in Bellflower, Potomac, Martinton and Piper City, 6 each in Buckley, Ludlow and Beaverville, 5 in Dewey and 1 in Penfield.



(Undated-jm) -- It’s feeling more fall like. How does the forecast look for the remainder of September and into October? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details…



State Climatologist Trent Ford.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul woman was arrested following a single vehicle accident in the village. Rantoul police were called to the area of Eagle Drive and Pacesetter Drive just before 6pm Sunday evening for a vehicle that struck a tree. Officers arrested 63 year old Marion Trotter for driving under the influence of alcohol, operating an uninsured motor vehicle, intimidation and cited for improper lane usage. Police say Trotter was driving drunk when she struck the tree then threatened officers who were there investigating the accident.



(Gibson City-jm) -- If you haven’t submitted your census, your time is running out. The deadline to submit your census information is the end of the month. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about why filling out the census is so important…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



(Gilman/Onarga-jm) -- Gilman and Onarga residents may notice some changes if they are Comcast customers. The company unexpectedly began removing overhead lines and poles in the area. The company has not said what they are doing.



(Springfield-jm) -- Corn harvesting is just beginning in Illinois. In the weekly crop report, State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 37 percent of corn is mature and two percent has been harvested with 72 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition. He says soybeans are turning color on 49 percent of acres…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa is 95 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture improved to four percent very short, 26 percent short, 63 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study found six Illinois cities rank among the top 50 most affordable housing markets in the country, largely as a result of depressed home prices. The website RefiGuide compared income and the cost of a house to determine how far the median household income could go toward the purchase price of a home in that city. Peoria ranked sixth in the country, Decatur ranked eighth, Joliet ranked 13th, Rockford ranked 21st, Springfield ranked 29th and Bloomington ranked 34th.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a statewide investigation into the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in drinking water. The investigation will look into all 1,749 community water supplies in Illinois and is expected to take 12 to 15 months to complete. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Eleven Illinois organizations that are helping people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic will receive some extra financial support. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced a total of $8,062,251 will go to 11 organizations that are providing resources and services to communities that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These grants will support housing, victim services, legal aid, advocacy, food security, and reentry services in the areas that have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus.



(Undated-jm) -- While the world fights the pandemic, health experts say there's a chronic epidemic that continues to hide in the shadows. Mary Scheurmann reports…




(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 262,744 Coronavirus cases and 8,314 deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 1,501 have recovered, 1,412 are in isolation,7 are hospitalized with 2 in ICU. Vermilion County reported 365 have been released from isolation, 66 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 3,370 have recovered, 285 cases are active and 1 is hospitalized. Ford County reported 116 have been released, 6 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Livingston County reported 257 have been removed, 27 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 336 have been released, 15 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 1,780 have recovered, 724 cases are active and 11 are hospitalized.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 28,189 of the state's Coronavirus cases and 4,515 deaths are from Long Term Care Facilities in the state.  According to IDPH, in Champaign County,  4 cases and 1 death has occurred at Champaign-Urbana Nursing and Rehab, 7 cases at Country Health and Rehab in Gifford, 2 cases at Clark Lindsay, 2 cases at Illini Heritage,  28 cases and 4 deaths at Reflections Memory Care, 5 cases at University Rehab Center and 5 cases at the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul. In Ford County, 38 cases and 3 deaths have been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton, 2 cases at Accolade Senior Living in Paxton and 4 cases at Gibson Annex. In Iroquois County, 79 cases and 15 deaths were reported at Gilman Healthcare and 3 cases were reported at Prairieview Lutheran Home in Danforth



(Bloomington-jm) -- An area lawmaker is expressing frustration with the failure of the state’s unemployment backlog. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says his office has received lots of calls and emails from people wanting answers…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.



(Urbana-jm) -- A University of Illinois student told law enforcement she was the victim of a phone scam. The student said she received a phone call from someone who said they were a member of the U.S. Marshals Service. The caller reportedly claimed that the student's Social Security number had been compromised and there was a warrant for her arrest. Police said the scammer told the student she could resolve the issue by wiring $2,900 to an unknown account via Bitcoin. The student made the transaction. The student reported the incident to police after the caller demanded more money.



(WPXN-cf)-- The Farmers Almanac is predicting a cold and flaky winter this year. Fox 55/27 Meteorologist Doug Quick says that assumption is pretty on par… 



Fox 55/27 Television Meteorologist Doug Quick. 


(Watseka-jm) -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is resuming household hazardous waste collections this fall. The agency stopped collections due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday, October 10th, will be the closest recycling event in the WPXN listening area in Watseka. Oil based paints, antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, insecticides and pesticides are allowed. Items such as latex based paints, explosives, propane tanks, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and ag chemicals are not accepted.



(Springfield-jm) -- Corn harvesting is just beginning in Illinois. 95 percent of corn is in the dent stage or beyond says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 49 percent of soybeans are turning color and 17 percent of acres are dropping leaves. 71 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture increased to four percent very short, 26 percent short, 63 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

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