WPXN Blog

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing more than 700 million dollars in budget cuts, including possible furlough days for state workers. The Governor says the current state budget is nearly four billion dollars short, thanks in part to the pandemic. He’s identifying areas of state government that can be cut to help close the gap and is talking with AFSCME about reducing personnel costs…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says he’s also looking at other operational cuts, including closing some prison facilities since the state is housing less inmates. Governor Pritzker also says the state wouldn’t be in such bad shape if voters had approved his graduated tax plan. He says he welcomes other spending cut ideas from Republicans.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported an additional 7,359 cases Tuesday and 117 deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 863,477 and deaths to 14,509. Locally, McLean County reported 117 new cases bringing their total to 10,232. Champaign County reported 59 new cases bringing their total to 12,562. Livingston County reported 19 new cases bringing their total to 2,770. Iroquois County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 2,094. Ford County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 1,014. Vermilion County reported 69 new cases bringing their total to 4,310. Kankakee County reported 136 new cases bringing their total to 10,025.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Local deaths also rose Tuesday. McLean County reported 4 additional deaths bringing their total to 73. Champaign County recorded 1 new bringing their total to 76. Livingston County reported 1 new bringing their total to 48. Iroquois County reported 3 additional bringing their total to 46. Ford County reported 1 new bringing their total to 27. Vermilion County reported 1 new bringing their total to 55 and Kankakee County now has 136 total deaths.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Minimum wage workers in Illinois will be getting a raise come January 1st. The current state minimum wage is $10 an hour. That will be increasing to 11 bucks an hour in the new year says State Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller..

 

 

State Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. The minimum wage for teenagers working less than 650 hours a year rises to $8.50 an hour on the first and eventually goes up to 13 bucks an hour.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois residents shopped for more guns and applied for firearm permits more than any other time in the state’s history as the COVID-19 pandemic raged and Chicago dealt with civil unrest, according to state police data. There have been more than 500,000 inquiries about gun purchases through November, according to Illinois State Police statistics. That is a 45% increase from 2019. The department also received 445,945 applications for firearm owner’s identification cards, a 167% increase from 166,649 applications in 2017. There are more than 2.2 million Illinoisans with Firearm Owners Identification cards.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- An area state representative is taking his fight to Springfield in hopes of getting answers for struggling families. Mike Marron is spending a few days in Springfield, attempting to get someone from the Pritzker administration or the Illinois Department of Employment Security to give him some answers to questions his office has been receiving from constituents concerning problems with getting unemployment in the state of Illinois and the unemployment fraud that has been taking place throughout the state…

 

 

State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign is now home to the World's Tallest Glass Christmas Tree, thanks to donations from residents and a local artist. Jason Mack owns Mack Glass, a glass studio in Champaign. He has been spearheading the project. All of the glass for the tree was donated by the community, and then broken down, thrown into the furnace, and worked onto the tree. The 31-foot-tall tree can be seen spinning on the corner of Neil and Washington Streets.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two new acts have been added to the Illinois State Fair Grandstand lineup. Staind will take the stage on opening night, August 12th. On August 18th artists with the “I Love the 90’s Tour” will perform. Those include Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, All 4 One and more.

 

 

(Onarga-jm) -- Onarga and Gilman will ring in the Christmas season this Sunday. Spokesperson Fred Walraven talks about the parade and activities…

 

 

Onarga and Gilman Christmas Parade Spokesperson Fred Walraven.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police are releasing their recent activity report. On December 12th, Jacob Newton of Bloomington was arrested for criminal trespass to a residence and resisting a peace officer. On December 13th, Matthew Bennett of Bellflower was arrested for driving while license suspended and cited for operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Emergency Response Service chili supper set for this Thursday has been canceled. The group cited an unforeseen circumstance. They hope to resume suppers in January.

 

Santa will be visiting Watseka today from 4 to 7pm. He will be escorted throughout the town by the Watseka Fire Department.

 

(Peoria-jm) -- The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine are being administered in Illinois. Healthcare workers at Peoria’s OSF Saint Francis Medical Center were some of the first to get the shot. They will need a second round, says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says there are 96 hospitals that will be giving the vaccine this week to healthcare staff in counties with the highest COVID death rates. She says this is just the beginning as more doses arrive.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 863,477 Coronavirus cases and 14,509 deaths after the state reported 7,359 new cases and 117 additional deaths Tuesday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 8,990 have recovered, 1140 are in isolation and 29 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 11,615 have recovered, 871 are in isolation and 22 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 2,553 have been released from isolation and 169 cases are active. Iroquois County reported 1,655 have been released from isolation, 388 remain in isolation and 5 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 3,934 have been released from isolation, 287 remain in isolation and 34 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 4,722 have recovered and 5167 cases are active.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for cases in area communities, 32 are in Ludlow, 1068 in Rantoul, 124 in Gifford, 49 in Penfield, 383 in St. Joseph, 64 in Thomasboro, 31 in Dewey, 136 in Fisher, 29 in Foosland, 665 in Mahomet, 411 in Paxton, 321 in Gibson City, 28 in Sibley, 50 in Melvin, 23 in Roberts, 81 in Loda, 35 in Buckley, 19 in Thawville, 149 in Cissna Park, 46 in Rankin, 428 in Hoopeston, 99 in Potomac, 125 in Milford, 100 in Piper City, 169 in Onarga, 234 in Gilman, 66 in Danforth, 51 in Crescent City, 412 in Watseka, 59 in Sheldon, 44 in Donovan, 40 in Beaverville, 50 in Martinton, 36 in Wellington, 203 in Chebanse, 228 in Clifton, 129 in Ashkum, 27 in Cabery, 20 in Kempton, 54 in Cullom, 83 in Chatsworth, 127 in Forrest, 408 in Fairbury, 26 in Strawn, 7 in Cropsey, 10 in Anchor, 48 in Saybrook and 25 in Bellflower.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has now run more than one million saliva tests for COVID-19. All students, faculty and staff who live in the area are tested weekly, with the groundbreaking saliva test accounting for 10 percent of all COVID testing in Illinois. U of I President Tim Killeen says the “Shield” program has led to a test positivity rate of less than one percent…

 

 

U of I President Tim Killeen. Killeen says local firefighters are also using the saliva test and that the U of I hopes to soon offer it to essential workers and schools across the state.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission is set to dissolve at the end of the month, but legislative leaders want to see it continuing into the new year. The group of lawmakers was created this summer by statute to collaborate with the governor on recovering from the pandemic, but had several false starts and canceled meetings. There have only been two public hearings. It will be dissolved at the end of the month, by law.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Many communities around the area are working on setting their tax levies. The city of Paxton is one of them. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about what residents can expect…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- University of Illinois Athletics isn't letting the coronavirus prevent them from helping children this holiday season. The annual toy drive, which would normally be held in-person, is taking place as a drive-thru event this year. It will be held from noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow at the State Farm Center East Circle Drive.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- A second man has been arrested for allegedly also firing shots at Champaign County Sheriff’s deputies following a pursuit from near Thomasboro to Champaign. U-S Marshals arrested 20 year old Jawon Brown. They say Brown was riding in the car with another man, who was arrested after running from a traffic stop. They said the men shot at the deputies who chased them. Brown faces a charge of reckless discharge of a weapon. If he is convicted, he will face prison time. That is because he was on probation for other weapons-related offenses at the time.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- FOID card delays continue to plague the Illinois State Police. The backlog of applications for renewal is causing headaches and is one of the top complaints says 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian…

 

 

104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.

 

 

(St. Joseph-jm) -- The St. Joseph-Swearinger Memorial Library will once again be holding their book sale. The book sale will take place through January 28th with the cost being by donation. Hours are Monday and Wednesday 1-8 pm, Tuesday and Thursday 9 to 7 and Saturday 9 to 3.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley is announcing scholarship applications are now underway. The scholarships are available to high school seniors in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties. Deadline to apply is February 28, 2021. More details are available at: cfkrv dot org then click on the scholarship tab.

 

 

 

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