(Springfield-jm) -- More than one-third of small businesses in Illinois aren’t open, compared to January of this year. That’s according to data from TrackTheRecovery.org, an effort from Harvard and Brown universities and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The report shows in Illinois, as of Nov. 16, the number of small businesses that are open decreased by 35.4% compared to January 2020.



(Springfield-jm) -- With Illinois and the rest of the country dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the post-Thanksgiving shopping season was unlike any other. Online sales soared during Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. A survey by the National Retail Federation shows Black Friday shoppers surpassed the 100 million mark for the first time ever, which is an increase of 8% over last year. The number of online Saturday shoppers grew even more, up 17% compared with last year.



(Springfield-jm) -- Support for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to get another historic term as speaker continues to wane. State Representative Kathleen Willis, who’s in House leadership, said she won’t be supporting Madigan. Whoever becomes speaker needs 60 votes. Excluding Republicans and the 19 Democrats who’ve publicly said they won’t support him, that leaves 55 potential votes.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is urging those who traveled for Thanksgiving to get tested for COVID-19. Health experts asked everyone to stay home this year, but many still visited friends and relatives over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Governor says those people need to be tested…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker recommends everyone continue to stay home as much as possible, especially with the expected post Thanksgiving surge in cases looming.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported an additional 12,542 new cases and 125 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 738,846 and deaths to 12,403. Locally, McLean County reported 101 new cases and 6 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 8,681 and deaths to 56. Champaign County reported 95 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 10,953 and deaths to 60. Livingston County reported 41 additional cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,293 and deaths to 24. Ford County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 773. Iroquois County reported 25 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 1,727 and deaths to 31. Vermilion County reported 134 new cases and 4 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 3,237 and deaths to 40.



(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Recreation Department will be hosting their holiday senior lunch program every Wednesday starting today. If you are senior, you have to call the rantoul Recreation Department by 5pm on Monday says spokesperson for the program Andy Graham… 



Director of the senior lunch program Andy Graham . If you live in Rantoul City Limits you can get your meal delivered to you. To register for the meal program call 217-893-5700.



(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign Center Partnership is announcing their hometown holiday shop and stroll. The event kicked off yesterday and runs through December 20th. Over 15 local businesses are participating. For a list of participating businesses visit champaign center dot com.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County 2020 tax sale has been postponed due to COVID-19 regulations. The new scheduled date is February 17th, 2021 @ 1:00 pm.  Property owners will be able to make payments on delinquent 2019 payable 2020 taxes until February 16th, 2021. If you still need to make a tax payment, please contact the treasurer’s office for current amount due.  All payments must be in the form of cash, certified check or payments will be accepted online at gov tech tax pro dot com through the first week of February.  For more information, please contact the treasurer’s office or visit the Ford County Treasurer’s website at ford county dot illinois dot gov.



(Danville-jm) -- The Vermilion County Farm Bureau will host a wind and solar farm informational meeting on Monday, December 7th starting at 6pm.



(Paxton-jm) -- WPXN news continues to spotlight local and area businesses. Today we hear how one area financial institution is offering additional services. Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois Bank President Nick Reutter has the details...



Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois Bank President Nick Reutter.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Village of Rantoul Gas Division will be sending out survey cards over the next month evaluating the public awareness program which aims to share natural gas safety information with residents located on the former Chanute Air Force Base. The survey can either be completed online or by mail.


The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive today from 1 until 6 at the Cissna Park American Legion. 



(Washington-jm) -- What are some indicators that those following the ag economic sector should watch out for regarding next year's economic outlook? Rod Bain reports…



(Springfield-jm) -- The chairman of the Illinois Special House Investigating Committee looking into the conduct of House Speaker Michael Madigan is in isolation after testing COVID-19 positive. State Representative Chris Welch Sunday announced he tested positive for the virus and has an elevated temperature. It’s unclear what that means for the December 14th scheduled hearing where Republicans are looking to subpoena Madigan and others in the ComEd bribery scheme.



(Springfield-jm) --  Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin is demanding the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reforms that was stunted by the pandemic earlier this year to restart. The commission was created by law in the aftermath of months of headlines of state lawmakers being charged with federal crimes, raids on offices and other issues in 2019. After several meetings on a variety of ethics issues earlier this year, the commission missed its end-of-March deadline to issue a report.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker announced two new homebuyer assistance programs intended to provide assistance to working class families and underrepresented communities of color across the state. The Illinois Housing Development Authority is offering the SmartBuy and Opening Doors programs. The goal of the programs is to give financial assistance to help address causes of financial barriers in order to create equal opportunities for all Illinoisans. Borrowers must meet the eligibility requirements. Homebuyer education is also required. The programs may be used by buyers in any Illinois county and are not exclusive to first-time buyers. These programs were launched using appropriations allocated to IHDA in Pritzker's Rebuild Illinois capital plan.


(Springfield-jm) -- It looks like the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to Illinois may be arriving later this month. The numbers change daily says Governor J-B Pritzker, but it’s anticipated the state will initially get about 109 thousand units of the vaccine, which covers about 54 thousand 500 people since everyone will need two doses…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says he hopes that shipment as well as subsequent shipments will end up being larger but that Illinois is at the whim of the FDA.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has nearly 739 thousand Coronavirus cases and over 12,400 deaths after the state reported 12,542 new cases and 125 additional deaths Tuesday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 7,268 have recovered, 1337 are in isolation and 20 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 10,026 have recovered, 867 are in isolation and 23 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 2,069 have recovered and 200 cases are active. Iroquois County reported 1,130 have recovered, 547 are in isolation and 19 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 245 cases are active.



(Rantoul-cf)-- Rantoul Township High School could see more money this year off the tax levy, Superintendent Scott Amerio says that they will go just a little bit higher due to assed value… 



The actual amount has increased 2.9%, and the board will be asking for $5,480,000 says Amerio…



Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Mahomet man faces up to 120 years in prison as he faces several child sex assault charges. Andrew Huddle faces six counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. Huddle is accused of sexually assaulting a child multiple times between 2015 and 2020. He is due back in court December 15th. If convicted he faces a mandatory prison sentence of 12 to 120 years in prison. 



(Bloomington-jm) -- COVID-19 didn’t break one regional airport’s high-scoring streak during a routine Federal Aviation Administration inspection. For the eighth time in the last 10 years, the Central Illinois Regional Airport earned a perfect score during the FAA’s Part 139 inspection. The inspection was handled by a representative of the FAA Great Lakes Region Airport Certification and Safety Office; the coronavirus pandemic did change how it was done, in that, for the first time, the inspection was done virtually on November 23rd. 



(Paxton-jm) -- Four area food pantries are receiving donations from a Paxton and Cissna Park bank as part of Giving Tuesday. The Frederick Community Bank donated $5,000 each to the PBL Area Food Pantry and Hands of Christ Food Pantry in Paxton and $2,500 each to Grant Township Food Cupboard in Hoopeston and Grace Lutheran Church Food Pantry in Rankin.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a raffle. The raffle begins November 2nd and runs through December 11th. Rantoul Chamber Director Amanda Vickery talks about the raffle…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery. Tickets are available by calling the Rantoul Chamber office at 893-3323.



(Paxton-jm) -- Santa will be in Paxton Saturday. The Paxton Emergency Response Service will hold a drive thru cookies with santa from 4 to 5:30 in front of their location at 134 W. State Street underneath the downtown water tower.


The Rantoul Recreation Department Senior Holiday Lunch today from 11-12.







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