(Springfield-jm) -- The COVID-19 emergency rule Governor J.B. Pritzker filed in August requiring businesses to enforce face coverings and comply with capacity limits is set to expire January 4th. Emergency rules allowed to stand by a joint panel of the state legislature expire after 150 days. Businesses that violated the rule could face enforcement of up to $2,500 in fines. The governor could refile the measure.



(Springfield-jm) -- The federal stimulus package, the first since March, includes billions for schools and colleges across the country, but it does not include funds for state and local governments to plug budget holes. Governor J.B. Pritzker has for months advocated for federal grants to cover the state’s spending gap. At one point earlier this year, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon requested $41 billion from the federal government.



(Springfield-jm) -- The U-S Surgeon General met with state and local officials Tuesday and discussed the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Over 63 thousand frontline healthcare workers in Illinois have been vaccinated with more to come. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says he hopes everyone gets the vaccine, noting it may cause a mild reaction like headaches or a sore arm in some. At a media availability, he was asked about the new variant of COVID found in the UK. He says viruses mutate all the time…



U-S Surgeon General Jerome Adams. Adams says there is no indication that the new variant will be resistant to the COVID vaccine. He says someday that may not be the case, just like with the seasonal flu where the vaccine is tweaked each year.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,239 new Coronavirus cases and 116 deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 911,308 and deaths to 15,414. The seven day positivity rate is down to 9 percent and 4,571 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 981 patients were in the ICU and 557 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. Locally, Vermilion County reported 96 new cases and 14 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 4,718 and deaths to 73. Livingston County reported 26 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 2,922 and deaths to 55. Ford County reported 11 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 1,140 and deaths to 33. McLean County reported 75 new cases bringing their total to 10,851. Iroquois County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 2,203. Kankakee County reported 55 new cases bringing their total to 10,366. Champaign County reported 81 new cases and 4 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 13,174 and deaths to 83.



(Washington-jm) -- What were some of the findings in a recent USDA report of how the current pandemic has impacted the health of rural residents. Rod Bain reports…




(Hoopeston-jm) -- A 42-year-old Hoopeston man had a run-in with Hoopeston Police two times Monday.  Craig Stevens was charged with criminal damage to property after officers were flagged down about someone damaging Christmas decorations in the 200-block of E. Main Street.  Stevens was taken to the Public Safety Building in Danville. A couple of hours later, Hoopeston officers were called to the 400-block of S. 2nd Avenue.  There, Stevens was arrested for home invasion, criminal trespass to a residence, criminal damage to property, and aggravated battery. 



(Paxton-jm) -- Rental rates at Paxton park district facilities will be going up. The park district is raising the rate for a full day to $80 and $50 for 4 hours. Park District leaders say the increase is comparable to others in the area.



(Watseka-jm) -- The Watseka Area Food Pantry has received a donation from an area politician. State Representative Tom Bennett made the donation to the food pantry that serves Iroquois County residents.


(Springfield-jm) -- Opioid overdose deaths accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC reported the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in the 12-month period that ended in May 2020. In Illinois, provisional data of emergency department visits from overdoses peaked in May at 750 per 10,000 people for opioids and 460 per 10,000 for heroin.



(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law aims to help Illinoisans with diabetes. Senate Bill 667 will set a cap for all out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 per month. This applies to all patients using a state-regulated insurance plan, regardless of the supply they need. Additionally, it requires the Departments of Insurance, Human Services, and Healthcare and Family Services to jointly issue an "insulin pricing report." This report will include details on insulin pricing practices and recommendations to prevent overpricing of insulin. The new law takes effect January 1st.


(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 911,308 Coronavirus cases and 15,414 deaths after the state reported 6,239 new cases and 116 deaths. 4,571 in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19. Of those, 981 patients were in the ICU and 557 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators. The seven day positivity rate is down to 9 percent. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County reported 4,314 have been released from isolation, 293 are in isolation and 38 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 2,747 have been removed from isolation and 120 cases are active. McLean County reported 9,711 have recovered, 1037 are in isolation and 18 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,043 have been released from isolation, 104 are in isolation and 7 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 5,079 have recovered, 5142 cases are active and 34 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 12,400 have recovered, 691 are in isolation and 16 are hospitalized.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA and NASA have agreed to continue cooperating on a range of issues, including soil moisture. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police have released results of a recent occupant restraint enforcement patrol in Champaign County. During the patrol, troopers issued 25 safety belt citations and 1 child restraint citation.



(Vermilion County-jm) -- Vermilion County Judge Thomas M. O’Shaughnessy has been elected as the 5th Judicial Circuit’s Chief Circuit Judge. He succeeds Chief Judge Mitchell K. Shick of Charleston, who held the post for 3 years and did not seek another term.  O’Shaughnessy begins a two-year term on January 29, 2021. The 5th Circuit includes the following five counties: Clark, Coles, Cumberland, Edgar, and Vermilion.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture, along with the University of Illinois Extension Service, is hosting the Certified Livestock Manager Online Training and Webinars for 2021. The webinar dates are Wednesday, January 20; Friday, January 29; Tuesday, February 9; Thursday, March 4, 2021.  These will have the same format as previous workshops starting at 9:00 am. After the webinar, those with over 1,000 AUs will be required to log in and take the 40-question online test in lieu of the IDoA's paper-based test. Pre-registration is required ($40). Please go to go.illinois.edu/CLMT to register. For questions with registration, please contact UI Extension at (815) 858-2273.


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