WPXN Blog

(Urbana-jm) -- With the possible rollout of a Coronavirus vaccine days away, one question that has been brought up is can employers legally require employees to get the vaccine? Michael LeRoy, an expert in labor law and labor relations at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, spoke with News Bureau business and law about the legality of employers mandating that employees vaccinate themselves against the novel coronavirus. When it comes to the question if employers can legally require employees to get the vaccine, LeRoy says if the employer can prove that a vaccination is job-related and consistent with business necessity, an employee who refuses to vaccinate can be legally terminated.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials say Illinois has received more than $3.5 billion in federal funding to help with the COVID-19 pandemic. That money covers between March 1 and December 30 of this year. The state first began COVID-19 spending on March 24, with an initial deposit of $339 million from the General Revenue Fund into the Disaster Response and Recovery Fund. The fiscal year 2021 budget authorizes spending for an estimated $5.5 billion in federal CARES Act funding for the state's response to the pandemic.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Struggling small businesses have just a few days left to apply for state Business Interruption Grants. The deadline to submit an application for a grant is Tuesday, December 15th, so Governor J-B Pritzker urges business owners to see if they qualify…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Grants range from five thousand to 150 thousand dollars. The average grant size is 25 thousand dollars. Apply online at: dceo dot illinois dot gov.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 11,101 new cases and an additional 196 deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 823,531 and deaths to 13,861. Locally, Livingston County reported 46 new cases bringing their total to 2,639. McLean County reported 111 new cases bringing their total to 9,673. Champaign County reported 88 new cases bringing their total to 12,097. Ford County reported 49 new cases bringing their total to 944. Vermilion County reported 93 new cases bringing their total to 4,026. Iroquois County reported 30 new cases bringing their total to 1,995.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Case numbers in area communities rose Thursday. Ludlow now has 31 cases, Rantoul 1031, Gifford 115, Penfield 47, Thomasboro 64, St. Joseph 357, Dewey 29, Fisher 127, Foosland 29, Mahomet 633, Paxton 382, Gibson City 276, Sibley 27, Strawn 26, Fairbury 397, Forrest 119, Chatsworth 76, Piper City 99, Cullom 53, Kempton 19, Cabery 26, Thawville 15, Roberts 20, Melvin 48, Chebanse 200, Clifton 222, Ashkum 127, Danforth 60, Gilman 231, Onarga 163, Buckley 34, Loda 74, Martinton 57, Beaverville 39, Donovan 43, Sheldon 58, Watseka 380, Crescent City 49, Milford 117, Cissna Park 135, Wellington 34, Rankin 44, Hoopeston 394, Rossville 91 and Potomac 88.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Wreaths across America takes place Saturday December 19th at cemeteries around the country honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Local Spokesperson Pat Milchuck talks about how the program has grown locally…

 

 

Local Wreaths Across America Spokesperson Pat Milchuck.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign man wanted for murder has been arrested in northern Illinois. Darrion White was arrested Thursday in the Chicago suburb of Glenwood. White was mistakenly released from custody after an error. White is accused of shooting and killing a 16 year old in Champaign.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- A Mahomet non profit has a generous donation. The Mahomet Lions Club donated $1,000 plus food donations to Mom’s Pantry. Mom’s Pantry was created by a teacher in the Mahomet Seymour school district and is aimed to help students in the district. Mom’s Pantry is open Mondays and Thursdays from 9-11 am and Thursday evenings from 5:30-7:30.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s Mayor Bill Ingold will run for re-election again. Mayor Ingold says there are some things he would like to see to completion…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(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 area Congressional races. The 13th Congressional District featured incumbent Republican Rodney Davis against Democratic Challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. Davis won the race in the district. Part of the 13th District covers Champaign County where Londrigan received 46,192 votes compared to Davis’ 22,394. Turning to the 15th Congressional District for the seat held by retiring Congressman John Shimkus. Republican Mary Miller defeated Democratic Challenger Erika Weaver. In Champaign County, Miller received 16,970 votes compared to Weaver’s 8,415. In Ford County, Miller received 2,394 votes while Weaver received 677. In Vermilion County, Miller received 21,204 votes while Weaver received 9,672. Turning to the 16th Congressional District featuring Republican incumbent Adam Kinzinger and Democratic Challenger Dani Brzozowski. Kinzinger won re-election for that seat. In Ford County Kizninger received 3,107 votes while Brzozowski received 689 votes. In Iroquois County, Kinzinger received 11,645 votes while Brzozowski received 2,186.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Senate Ag Chairman Scott Bennett of Champaign has received a prestigious ag award. Senator Bennett was recently awarded the Jim Guilinger Legislative Award from the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education for his support of Ag education and FFA programs.

 

Gibson City will host a Christmas in the Park tonight from 5 to 9 pm at North Park in Gibson City.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Food shoppers last month saw a significant drop in the prices for most foods at the grocery store. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers want state lawmakers to help make schools safer for everyone. The unions say some school districts have failed to follow and enforce the Illinois Department of Public Health's guidance and requirements for schools. They are asking the state legislature to work on the following measures: establish clear metrics, so districts know when to switch to remote learning to keep students and staff safe, enforce guidance and requirements put forth by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education , and heed the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, provide rapid COVID-19 testing in schools so infected students and staff can be identified before they spread the virus and urge the prioritization of education workers in the vaccine schedule.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Attorney General Kwame Raoul led bipartisan a coalition of 30 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a decision upholding the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to seek restitution for victims of anticompetitive, unfair, and deceptive trade practices when enforcing consumer protections under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act. Raoul and the coalition filed the brief in support of the FTC in AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission. In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that the FTC’s authority to seek restitution, which most often takes the form of refunds or other monetary payments to consumers, benefits states and their residents, and is critical to combating anticompetitive, unfair and deceptive trade practices.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A special commission on early childhood education is looking into ways to improve the care and teaching of Illinois’ youngest population. The commission hasn’t issued a final report yet, but members discussed some of their ideas at a Senate hearing. Recommendations include more equitable funding of pre-school and child care programs and better pay for early childhood teachers says First Assistant Deputy Governor of Education Theresa Hawley…

 

 

First Assistant Deputy Governor of Education Theresa Hawley. Commission members also stressed the need to pull child care, home visit and preschool  programs under the umbrella of a new early childhood state agency.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 823,531 Coronavirus cases and 13,861 deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, Livingston County reported 2,339 have recovered and 254 cases are active. McLean County reported 8,415 have recovered, 1177 are in isolation and 16 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 10,967 have recovered, 1057 are in isolation and 15 hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 4,510 have recovered, 5057 cases are active and 62 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 3,656 have been released from isolation, 280 are in isolation and 42 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 1,563 have been released from isolation 384 remain in isolation and 5 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- 6 additional deaths were reported in the area Thursday. Livingston County reported 2 new deaths bringing their total to 46. McLean County reported 3 new deaths bringing their total to 65. Champaign County reported 1 new death bringing their total to 73. Kankakee County has 129 deaths, Ford County 25, Vermilion County 48 and Iroquois County 43.

 

 

(Cissna Park-jm) -- The 2020 Cissna Park FFA Chapter’s scholarship auction wraps up tomorrow. The pandemic forced the chapter to get unique when it came to their auction, with them allowing those interested in bidding the opportunity to bid through their facebook page or at the Cissna Park American Legion from 2-9 pm. The chapter will also be at the legion all day tomorrow for those that want to come see the items in person and place their bids. Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton says they will also have a pork chop dinner tomorrow night…

 

 

Cissna Park FFA Advisor Jeff Clifton.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A former Ford County Judge will serve on a committee to select the next 11th Judicial Circuit. Steve Pacey of Paxton was selected by State Supreme Court Justice Rita Garman to serve on the committee. The 11th Judicial Circuit includes Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean and Woodford Counties.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- PRIDE in Paxton is announcing the winners of the business decorating contest. Picket Fence Florist came in first, followed by Arcade Cafe, Houston’s Plumbing and Heating, Bijoux Hair Salon and Doug’s Pharmacy.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The legislative inquiry into House Speaker Mike Madigan continues. While not charged, Madigan has been implicated in a scheme with utility giant Commonwealth Edison. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the distraction has caused issues in Springfield…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is offering staff a voluntary retirement plan. They must meet eligibility to apply by May 31, 2021. The university says it will help navigate budget challenges as a result of the pandemic.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Buckley resident John Shure will remain chairman of the Iroquois County board. The board recently met and voted Shure to another 2 year term. Lyle Behrends of Ashkum was selected as vice chair.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at the Watseka American Legion on Sunday from 9 to 3.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- If you are a farmer whose production expenses fell in 2020, you are not alone. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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