(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker said reductions in state spending are happening behind the scenes, but didn't provide any specific examples. He also said he needs the legislature to reconvene in order to make real reductions in the state’s spending. The $43 billion budget, Illinois’ highest-spending in its history, was enacted by the governor after being passed by the legislature in May. It’s held together by assumptions of billions of dollars in untethered federal aid and borrowing.



(Springfield-jm) -- A new proposal to give voters more power to remove corrupt public officials is in the works. Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington is introducing three constitutional amendments that create a process for recalling elected officials statewide, as well as the Illinois Auditor General, House Speaker and Senate President. He says the public is clamoring for the change…



State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. The amendments are still being drafted but will require signatures from a certain percentage of voters to recall an official.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 7,910 new Coronavirus cases and 145 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 804,174 and deaths to 13,487. Locally, McLean County reported 108 new cases bringing their total to 9,445. Champaign County reported 95 new cases bringing their total to 11,890. Ford County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 877. Livingston County reported 42 new cases bringing their total to 2,558. Iroquois County reported 17 new cases bringing their total to 1,943. Vermilion County reported 78 new cases bringing their total to 3,833. Kankakee County reported 270 new cases bringing their total to 9,564.



(Undated-jm) -- Cases in local communities also continue to rise...Rantoul now stands at 1,016, Ludlow 30, Gifford 110, Penfield 44, St. Joseph 343, Thomasboro 64, Dewey 29, Fisher 125, Foosland 29, Mahomet 618, Paxton 366, Gibson City 253, Sibley 27, Melvin 47, Roberts 20, Buckley 33, Loda 74, Rankin 42, Hoopeston 379, Rossville 86, Potomac 86, Wellington 33, Cissna Park 129, Milford 114, Onarga 155, Thawville 15, Strawn 26, Fairbury 385, Forrest 118, Chatsworth 74, Piper City 97, Gilman 224, Crescent City 48, Watseka 383, Sheldon 52, Donovan 42, Martinton 55, Beaverville 38, Danforth 60, Ashkum 127, Clifton 220, Chebanse 196, Kempton 18, Cullom 52, Cabery 26, Anchor 8, Cropsey 6, Saybrook 46 and Bellflower 21.



(Cissna Park-jm) -- The Cissna Park FFA Chapter’s annual scholarship auction is underway. With the pandemic, the FFA Chapter is changing their auction to more of a silent auction with those interested in bidding being able to place their bids online or at the Cissna Park American Legion says Chapter Advisor Jeff Clifton…



Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton. A drive thru or carryout pork chop dinner will also take place Saturday from 4-7.



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City police department could be adding a new addition. The police committee will discuss the purchase of a new police K-9 tonight at 7pm.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A Lifeline screening will take place in Rantoul. The screenings will take place today from 9 to 4 at the Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County. More details are available by calling the Community Service Center at 893-1530.



(Peoria-jm) -- OSF Healthcare is offering a new treatment for high risk COVID-19 patients. OSF HealthCare is now offering a cutting edge monoclonal immunotherapy infusion. Bamlanivimab (bam-luh-ni-vi-mab), or BAM, is approved for high risk adult and pediatric COVID-19 positive patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Vice President of Physician Services Dr Mark Meeker says the antibody will help keep hospital admissions for COVID-19 down so more beds are available for other needs…



OSF Healthcare Vice President of Physician Services Dr Mark Meeker. BAM is most effective when given early, and needs to be administered within 10 days of the onset of symptoms. 



(Paxton-jm) -- A Rantoul woman has been arrested for allegedly stealing credit cards in Paxton and using them to purchase hundreds of dollars worth of lottery tickets and cigarettes. Paxton police say 29 year old Samantha Pollack is accused of using the credit cards to purchase $680 worth of lottery tickets and cigarettes. Pollack was arrested in Rantoul for driving a vehicle reported stolen. She faces charges of burglary to motor vehicle, fraud and credit card fraud in Ford County.



(Undated-jm) -- The state board of elections has certified election results from the November election. This week, we look at results from around the area. We now look at how the area voted for the constitutional amendment. In Champaign County, 46,426 voted yes while 45,724 voted no. In Ford County, 1,440 voted yes while 5,385 voted no. Iroquois County 2,404 voted yes while 11,332 voted no. In Vermilion County 8,779 voted yes while 21,859 voted no.


The Iroquois Memorial Auxiliary Scholastic Book Sale will take place today from 8 to 4.



(Washington-jm) -- Where in the country does the National Weather Service expect there will be a snowier-than-average winter? Stephanie Ho reports…



(Springfield-jm) -- A survey from CodeWizardsHQ showed 94 percent of parents are concerned about learning loss as a result of COVID-19-related disruptions. Among concerns parents had were bandwidth issues with remote learning, children missing group interactions of in-person learning, and students being distracted while remote.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is slated to get its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine next week, with hopes of more doses arriving weekly. 109 thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected to arrive in the coming days, although officials caution that could change. The vaccine will first go to healthcare workers and long term care facilities. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says it will be a long process…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Doses of the Moderna vaccine may also be arriving soon. The Governor says each county has its own plan to distribute the vaccine as it becomes more widely available.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 800,000 coronavirus cases after an additional 7,910 cases were reported Tuesday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 8,158 have recovered, 1210 are in isolation and 15 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 10,705 have recovered, 1055 are in isolation and 21 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 2,304 have been removed from isolation and 216 cases are active. Iroquois County reported 1,457 have been released from isolation, 438 are in isolation and 7 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 3,469 have been released, 276 are in isolation and 40 hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 4,402 have recovered, 5035 cases are active and 74 are hospitalized.



(Undated-jm) -- The local death toll also continued to rise Tuesday. McLean County reported 4 additional deaths bringing their total to 62. Champaign County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 70. Livingston County reported 3 additional deaths bringing their total to 38. Vermilion and Kankakee Counties each reported 2 new deaths bringing their totals to 48 and 127 respectively. Iroquois County reported 1 new death bringing their total to 41.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a raffle. The raffle 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.



(Urbana-jm) -- Carle Health has implemented new changes to its COVID-19 testing. All pre-procedural patients have the option to test at all primary care or convenient care locations, rather than the limited few. Another change is you can call the Carle COVID-19 Hotline to register via your phone to get through the line faster, so registration will be complete by the time you get to your test. Also, all tests are now self-administered. You must have an order to get a COVID-19 test. Call Carle's COVID-19 hotline at 217-902-6100 for more information on testing, symptom checking, and ordering a test.



(Champaign-jm) -- Small businesses in the City of Champaign can now apply for a new Economic Support Grant Program. The city is trying to reimburse businesses that have financial struggles due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Champaign is awarding grant reimbursements of up to $5,000 for qualifying expenses that businesses have incurred between March 1st and December 30th.



(Undated-jm) -- Cemeteries around the country will honor those who have fallen this holiday season this weekend. Saturday is the annual Wreaths Across America. Local Spokesperson Pat Milchuck talks about how Wreaths Across America got started…



Local Wreaths Across America Spokesperson Pat Milchuck.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On November 30th, Terricia Martin of Sibley was cited for driving while license suspended. On December 5th, a juvenile was arrested for motor vehicle theft. Also on December 5th, Paul Theesfield of Roberts was arrested for aggravated battery and attempted aggravated kidnapping.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A familiar restaurant will be reopening in a new location in Rantoul today. Taco Bell is set to open at 10 am at their new location just east of McDonald’s. It used to be located just west of McDonalds before closing last year.


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



(Washington-jm) -- Christmas tree growers and sellers appear to be having a banner year. Gary Crawford reports…



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