(Springfield-jm) -- As Election Day draws nearer, the number of early voters is shattering records. Nearly 3 million ballots had already been cast in the general election, far more than in any previous election in Illinois, according to the State Board of Elections. That includes mail-in ballots as well as votes cast in person at advance voting locations. The biggest issue on the ballot that could be affected by late-arriving ballots is the proposed constitutional amendment to allow for a graduated income tax. The measure requires approval by 60% of the people who vote on the amendment or a simple majority of all the ballots cast in the election. Officials won’t be able to determine how many ballots were cast until the cutoff date of November 17th. Under Illinois law, mail-in ballots that are postmarked by Election Day can still be counted as long as they are received by election officials within 14 days after the election.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says at this time, another stay at home order is not in the works. As 10 out of 11 regions are placed under increased safety measures, some are wondering if the state will just move back to phase three. The Governor responds…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Most regions have Tier One mitigations, although Region 1, the Rockford and Northwestern Illinois area, is at Tier Two with even stricter restrictions. The only region without any enhanced mitigations is Region Two, the Peoria, Bloomington and Galesburg area although those communities will join the rest of the state Wednesday.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois set a new daily record high number of Coronavirus cases Saturday. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported almost 7,900 new cases Saturday. Sunday the state reported just under 7,000 cases. Illinois now has 417,280 cases and 9,792 deaths.



(Undated-jm) -- Region 6, which includes Ford, Iroquois, Champaign and Vermilion Counties will undergo enhanced mitigations starting today. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health the region has seen a positivity rate of over 8 percent for 3 consecutive days. The new mitigations include the closure of indoor dining at bars and restaurants, outdoor dining closes at 11pm and gatherings of no more than 25 people.



(Paxton-jm) -- Repainting of the clock tower at Paxton’s City Hall has been delayed. Mayor Bill Ingold says the two bids for the project were far apart and the council rejected both of them…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.



(Minnesota-jm) -- Michael Hari’s trial is expected to begin today in Minnesota. Hari, a Clarence native, is being charged with several federal charges in connection to the firebombing of a suburban Minneapolis mosque in 2017. Two others have already pleaded guilty for their involvement in the crime. Hari also faces charges in Illinois including the attempted attack on an abortion clinic in Champaign. His trial in Minnesota is expected to last about three weeks.



(Gilman-jm) -- A Gilman man is behind bars on child sex crime charges. 76 year old Edward Dill was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Police say the allegations involve two juvenile victims.



(Champaign-jm) -- First Busey is reporting 3rd quarter net income of $30.8 million. Earnings for the Champaign based company were 56 cents per share which surpassed Wall Street expectations of 41 cents per share.


(Springfield-jm) -- Restaurant owners from across Illinois say the closure orders being instituted by Governor J.B. Pritzker will devastate small businesses, leaving thousands jobless even though the state found an estimated 1 percent of COVID-19 outbreaks came from restaurants. Illinois Restaurant Association board member Kevin Vaughn tabulated all of the outbreak information from a state list acquired by NBC 5 Chicago and found 400 cases were related to restaurants in Illinois out of 40,000 cases. The list represents about 10% of all COVID-19 cases from March to September in Illinois. 



(Springfield-jm) -- New research suggests access to emergency paid leave could help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. Mary Scheurmann reports…




(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 417,000 coronavirus cases and almost 9,800  deaths following a daily record high Saturday. The state reported 7,899 new cases Saturday and 6,980 new cases Sunday. The seven day positivity rate is now 8 percent.



(Undated-jm) -- County clerks around the area are announcing the enhanced mitigations that start today will not affect the elections. Among the enhanced mitigations include a reduction in the size of gatherings. County clerks say safety precautions including the use of plexiglass barriers, sanitizing of voting stations and hand sanitizer along with the use of facial coverings and social distancing will be in place.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A miniature golf course is coming to the village of Rantoul. Administrator Scott Eisenhower talks about the attraction…



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower.



(Urbana-jm) -- A New York man is in the Champaign County jail for allegedly being involved in a kidnapping scheme. Police say 27 year old Felipe De Jesus Guevara Sanchez is charged with aggravated kidnapping and forcible detention. Guevara Sanchez is alleged to have demanded that the parents of their adult son pay a ransom for his release. Police learned a meeting to exchange custody was going to take place Friday afternoon at a gas station on Cunningham Avenue in Urbana. Several people were present in the vehicle upon its arrival, including Guevara Sanchez and the victim. Police are working to determine the involvement of the others.



(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County’s Clerk and Republican leaders were in court Friday afternoon. County Republicans accused Clerk Aaron Ammons of breaking election code. A Champaign County Judge dismissed 5 of the 7 counts against Ammons however ruled Ammons must provide a list of Republican workers to the party chairman and that he must provide adequate access to the list of absentee ballots and where they were being mailed.


(Watseka-jm) -- The November 3rd election will look a little different due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver talks about some of the changes Iroquois County voters could see if they decide to go vote in person…



Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver.



(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College is announcing a new tuition-assistance program which aims to expand access to Dual Enrollment classes for low-income, underrepresented, and/or first-generation high school students within their district. The program will provide eligible students up to $2,500 in assistance for tuition, fees, and books/technology in an award package determined by the student’s program of choice. The money comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. Applications for the GEER Up program are due December 11th and can be submitted online at parkland dot edu slash geer up.


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