(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching two new homebuyer assistance programs. The first one is called “Smart Buy” and includes an affordable 30 year fixed rate mortgage and a payment of five thousand dollars for a down payment or closing costs that will be paid back later says the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s Javier Gumucio (ga-moo-cee-oh)...



Illinois Housing Development Authorities Javier Gumucio. The second program is “opening doors,” and is aimed at low to moderate income homebuyers. It also offers a 30 year mortgage and 6 thousand dollars for a downpayment that is forgiven after five years. Get all the details online at: ihda mortgage dot org.



(Springfield-jm) -- Another 74,000 Illinoisans filed for unemployment claims last week. That’s 8,500 more than filed the week before and the largest weekly increase of any state. Unemployment filings nationwide neared where they were pre-pandemic restrictions. Illinois continues to lag the rest of the nation.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s Public Health Director is clarifying new CDC guidelines for those exposed to someone with COVID-19. Originally, the CDC said you should quarantine for 14 days after possible exposure. Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says that’s been reduced to 10 days if you don’t have any symptoms…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says you can reduce the isolation time to seven days if you don’t have any symptoms and also test negative for the virus later in that week.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 10,959 new cases and 192 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 759,562 and 12,830 deaths. Locally, McLean County reported 136 new cases bringing their total to 8,907. Vermilion County reported 167 new cases and 3 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 3,478 and deaths to 43. Champaign County reported 156 new cases bringing their total to 11,260. Livingston County reported 49 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,320 and deaths to 32. Kankakee County reported 111 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 9,184 and deaths to 124. Iroquois County reported 42 new cases and 3 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 1,827 and deaths to 38.



(Rantoul-cf)-- The annual Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade that takes place the first weekend in December has been canceled due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic. However, there will be a drive through parade says Chamber Director Amanda Vickery… 



Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickery.



(St. Joseph-jm) -- In updating a story we brought to you yesterday morning, a 17 year old St. Joseph teen is dead following an accident north of St. Joseph Wednesday afternoon. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says Nadirah Edwards died at Carle Foundation Hospital Thursday from traumatic injuries. Police say Edwards collided with a garbage truck on 2200 East near 1850 North.



(Urbana-jm) -- A former Boy Scout troop leader was sentenced Thursday to six and a half years in federal prison on child pornography charges. 80 year old Milton Forsberg was also ordered to pay $10,200 for court costs and his contributions to a fund supporting victims of child exploitation. Forsberg was arrested in October 2019. In August, he pleaded guilty to using a computer to get sexually explicit pictures of minors and to get child pornography.



(Fisher-cf)-- During the drive-thru Santa visit in Fisher on Saturday, you can also bring non-perishable items to donate to the Fisher Food Bank. Spokesperson Kristin Darling has the details… 



Fisher Parade Spokesperson Krisitn Darling.



(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County home sales rose almost 15 percent in October. According to the Champaign County Association of Realtors sales rose 14.77 percent with 272 homes sold compared to 237 in October 2019. The mean price also rose 5.9 percent in October 2019 from $159,000 in 2019 to $167,250 in October 2020.



(Washington-jm) -- More people have signed up for the second round of USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program than signed up for the first round. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Washington-jm) -- What are the thoughts of some analysts regarding recent commodity price increases and if this will be a continuing trend in the short and long term? Rod Bain reports…



The Thawville American Legion will host a drive thru fish fry tonight from 4:30-7:30 pm. Cost is $10 for adults, children under 12 are $4.


The Paxton Emergency Response Service is hosting a drive thru Cookies with Santa on Saturday from 4 to 5:30 at their building at 134 W. State Street. 


The Mahomet Lutheran Church will hold their live drive thru nativity on Sunday from 5 to 7 pm.

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police say they’ve been able to cut the state’s DNA backlog by nearly half. Since March of 2019, ISP has seen a 48 percent drop in the number of DNA samples that are waiting to be processed. Director Brendan Kelly says this is due to improved technologies, the use of robotics and an aggressive hiring effort…



Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. Kelly says they are also working to improve communication with law enforcement and state’s attorneys to see which cases need immediate attention and which no longer need to be processed.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ student participation in online math coursework has decreased by 12 percent this year, according to TrackTheRecovery.org. The national average is a 10.1 percent decrease. While the national average for student progress in online math coursework is up 0.8 percent, Illinois’ metric dropped by 7.1 percent compared to January 2020.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 10,959 new cases and 192 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 759,562 and 12,830 deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 7,551 have recovered, 1281 are in isolation and 17 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 3,158 have been released from isolation, 243 are in isolation and 34 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 10,271 have recovered, 929 are in isolation and 18 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 2,177 have been removed from isolation and 171 cases are active. Kankakee County reported 4,181 have recovered, 4879 cases are active and 60 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 1,229 have been released from isolation, 540 are in isolation and 20 are hospitalized.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City will ring in the Christmas holiday season a little differently this year. Spokesperson Susie Tongate talks about some of the changes…



Gibson City Christmas Spokesperson Susie Tongate.



(Danville-jm) -- A former Vermilion County high school teacher has been sentenced to four years of Specialized Sex Offender Probation for sexually abusing a student. Chelsea Robinson was arrested in 2018 after police learned from a then 17-year-old Danville High School student that they were in a sexual relationship. Robinson pleaded guilty in July.



(Rantoul-jm) -- An award winning author will speak to students at J.W. Eater Junior High today. Jason Reynolds sent nearly 700 copies of his book “Look Both Ways”. Reynolds is a New York Times Number 1 best selling author.



(Rantoul-cf)-- Around this time every year, the Rantoul Recreation Department hosts a senior lunch day, where all the seniors in the area can go eat a turkey lunch, listen to live music, and socialize. Director of the senior lunch program Andy Graham has the details… 



Director of the Senior Lunch Program Andy Graham.



(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will have two committee meetings prior to the council meeting on December 8th. The public safety committee will meet at 6 to discuss changes to the animals at large ordinance. Then at 6:30 the license, permit and zoning committee will meet to continue reviewing zoning ordinances and map. The regular council meeting will get underway at 7 pm. All three meetings will take place in the city council chamber.



(Washington-jm) -- Will the expansion in the nation's broiler production continue next year? If so, at what rate? Gary Crawford reports…



Fisher is hosting a drive thru Santa event on Saturday from 10 to noon at the Fisher Community Center.


Santa will be coming to the village of Sheldon on Sunday from 2 to 4 pm.


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