(Springfield-jm) -- Hunters harvested more than 76 thousand deer during Illinois’ firearm hunting season. The second half of what was a great season just wrapped up this past weekend says State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Illinois counties with the largest harvests this year include Randolph, Adams, Jackson, Jefferson and Pike. Next up for hunters: muzzleloader-only season this weekend.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois dentists are ready to help distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as one nears distribution to the general public. The Illinois State Dental Society says dentists have the ability to provide vaccinations by law, but they’re awaiting training standards they hope to see in forthcoming guidance that ensures dentists are able to help vaccinate people as quickly as possible.



(Springfield-jm) -- Of 415 college towns reviewed by consumer finance group WalletHub, Champaign-Urbana didn’t crack the top ten, let alone the top 50. The flagship University of Illinois campus landed Urbana at No. 71 and Champaign at No. 109. The worst performing college town in Illinois was Rockford at No. 399.



(Springfield-jm) -- Another 179 COVID patients in Illinois have died. The daily number of new cases has been under 10 thousand in recent days but the state is still averaging about 150 deaths per day. With that in mind, State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike issues another warning for the holiday season…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Hospitalizations have been dropping a bit, although a few regions have 20 or less ICU beds available. There are currently more than 52 hundred Illinois COVID patients in the hospital.



(Undated-jm) -- Locally, McLean County reported 117 new cases bringing their total to 9,562. Champaign County reported 119 new cases bringing their total to 12,009. Livingston County reported 35 new cases bringing their total to 2,593. Vermilion County reported 100 new cases bringing their total to 3,933. Iroquois County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 1,965. Kankakee County reported 80 new cases bringing their total to 9,644. Ford County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 895.



(Undated-jm) -- As for case numbers in area communities...Ludlow is at 30, Rantoul 1,024, Gifford 115, Penfield 46, Thomasboro 64, St. Joseph 353, Fisher 126, Foosland 29, Mahomet 630, Paxton 376, Gibson City 257, Loda 74, Buckley 33, Melvin 47, Sibley 27, Roberts 20, Rankin 44, Potomac 87, Rossville 86, Hoopeston 383, Cissna Park 132, Wellington 33, Milford 115, Onarga 158, Thawville 15, Gilman 225, Crescent City 48, Watseka 384, Sheldon 53, Donovan 42, Beaverville 39, Martinton 56, Chebanse 197, Clifton 221, Ashkum 127, Danforth 60, Cabery 26, Kempton 19, Cullom 53, Piper City 97, Chatsworth 75, Forrest 118, Fairbury 392, Strawn 26, Cropsey 6, Anchor 8, Saybrook 47 and Bellflower 22.



(Minneapolis-jm) -- A Clarence man has been found guilty on all five counts for the bombing of a mosque in Minnesota. A jury convicted Michael Hari Wednesday on civil rights and hate crime charges in connection to the 2017 bombing. Two co-defendents, Joe Morris and Michael McWhorter, testified against Hari. They pleaded guilty in January 2019 for their roles. 



(Mahomet-jm) -- A popular Mahomet restaurant is shutting its doors this weekend. The owners of JT Walker's  Restaurant and Brewery announced Sunday will be their final day. The owners cited the pandemic and restrictions by the Governor as reasons for the closure.



(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 President of the United States. In Champaign County, 57,067 voted for Joe Biden, 35,285 voted for Donald Trump, 1,507 voted for Jo Jorgensen, 671 voted for Howie Hawkins and 288 for Brian Carroll. In Ford County, 1,754 voted for Joe Biden, 5,048 voted for Donald Trump, 100 for Jo Jorgensen, 39 for Howie Hawkins and 10 for Brian Carroll. Iroquois County, 2,908 voted for Joe Biden, 10,877 voted for Donald Trump, 147 for Jo Jorgensen, 64 for Howie Hawkins and 24 for Brian Carroll.



(Fisher-jm) -- The Fisher High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a food drive today. The food drive will take place from 7-8 am in the high school parking lot. The food will then be donated to the Fisher Area Food Pantry.



(Washington-jm) -- What are some important ways to keep your fresh-cut Christmas tree healthy during the holiday season? Rod Bain reports…



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police is working to combat the backlog of FOID card and concealed carry licenses that need to be processed. ISP has hired more workers and improved some systems, but it’s going to take more than that to handle the huge influx of people wanting FOID cards and concealed carry permits says Director Brendan Kelly. He says legislative action is needed to address what he calls an antiquated renewal system…



Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. Republicans in the Illinois House held a press conference saying FOID and concealed carry delays are one of the biggest complaints they receive from their constituents and that they stand ready to pass much needed reforms.



(Springfield-jm) -- Public health officials are working to build confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine that nears final approval and initial distribution, especially with Black and brown communities where hesitation is high. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said she understands historical concerns, but her department is working with community members to dispel myths and encourage acceptance.


(Paxton--jc)  Current Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold has made it official, he is running for re-election. Ingold has been passing around the signature page to be placed on the April 20-21 Ballot.  Several other city positions are also up for election in the Spring of next year.



(Springfield-jm) -- New numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security show roughly 341,000 fraud claims have been shut down just this year. Many of these claims have come from state or public employees, whose wages are public information. Between this and information fraudsters may have obtained through past data breaches like Equifax, fraudsters have all they need to file a false claim.


(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 8,282 have recovered, 1202 are in isolation and 16 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 10,875 have recovered, 1062 are in isolation and 20 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 2,305 have been removed from isolation and 240 cases are active. Vermilion County reported 3,553 have been released from isolation, 290 are in isolation and 42 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 1,534 have been released from isolation, 383 remain in isolation and 5 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 4,459 have recovered, 5057 cases are active and 69 are hospitalized.



(Undated-jm) -- Area COVID-19 deaths also rose Wednesday. Champaign County recorded 2 new deaths bringing their total to 72. Livingston County reported 6 new deaths bringing their total to 44. Iroquois County reported 2 additional deaths bringing their total to 43. Kankakee County also reported 2 new deaths bringing their total to 129.



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting how Gibson City will ring in the Christmas holiday season. The typical lighted Christmas parade is off for this year, however, a static light display of floats will take place at North Park today and tomorrow from 5 to 9 pm. Spokesperson Susie Tongate says kids can also bring letters for Santa…



Gibson City Christmas Spokesperson Susie Tongate.



(Ford County-jm) -- In updating our story from yesterday, we now know more details behind the arrest of a Roberts man. Paul Theesfield was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and attempted aggravated kidnapping. Police say Theesfield hit a woman in Gibson City on December 5th, in an attempt to incapacitate and sexually assault her. Theesfield was the water superintendent for Roberts and Elliott. He was fired from those positions.



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police have released their November activity report. During the month of November, troopers issued 829 citations and 1,029 written warnings including 20 for DUI and 80 seatbelt citations. Troopers also responded to 73 traffic accidents.



(Gibson City-cf)-- School Report card time has come for area school districts, Gibson City Melvin Sibley Superintendent Jeremey Darnell updates us on their report card from last year… 



GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell.



(St. Joseph-jm) -- An art scholarship has been created in memory of a St. Joseph Ogden High School student killed in a crash earlier this month. 17 year old Nadirah Edwards died following an accident north of St. Joseph. Edwards was involved in the high school's art and drama groups. Those interested in donating to the scholarship fund can do so at the Gifford State Bank.



(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour High School Freshman Mentoring Program raised over $2,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The group raised money through the Pennies for Pasta Fundraiser. The fundraiser has been an annual event for the program for several years.



(Washington-jm) -- Trade numbers for October show huge percentage increases from October 2019 in sales of U.S. farm products to China. Gary Crawford reports…



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