(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ unemployment filings this week make up nearly 1 in every 5 new filers nationwide. About 154,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment claims last week, second only to California’s 156,000 new filers. Illinois’ change from the week before of more than 15,600 eclipsed all other states, including California, which saw a decline of more than 48,000 new filers. Illinois’ filings make up around 18 percent of total filings.
(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ borrowing of $2 billion to plug the state’s nearly $4 billion budget hole reflects deep challenges for the state, according to Fitch Ratings. The credit rating agency said it anticipates tax increases and budget cuts to be considered, along with continued bill deferrals and fund sweeps. But the agency reiterated it will be difficult for the state to maintain an investment grade credit rating.
(Springfield-jm) -- State and local police are ramping up enforcement through the holidays. Expect to see more police on the roads looking for speeders, drunk drivers and other offenders says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel…
Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says from now through the early morning hours of January 4th there will be hundreds of seatbelt enforcement zones and other special details around the state.
(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,762 new Coronavirus cases and 135 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 918,070 and deaths to 15,547. Locally, McLean County reported 16 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 10,367 and deaths to 86. Livingston County reported 27 new cases bringing their total to 2,949. Vermilion County reported 76 new cases bringing their total to 4,794. Ford County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 1,156. Iroquois County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 2,218. Kankakee County reported 85 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 10,451 and deaths to 146. Champaign County reported 51 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 13,225 and deaths to 65.
(Springfield-jm) -- The time for real public input on Illinois’ response to COVID-19 is long overdue. The Governor has issued more than 70 executive orders since the pandemic began back in March. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says lawmakers should be involved in the process…
53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.
(Undated-jm) -- More COVID-19 vaccines are making their way to the area. Last week, we reported the first shipment coming to Ford County. Champaign County also received their shipment last week. This week Iroquois, Vermilion, Kankakee and Livingston Counties each received their shipment of the Pfizer vaccine.
(Springfield-jm) -- Some GOP state lawmakers are calling for answers over the backlog of FOID card renewals. One of those is 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian, who puts the blame on Democrats…
104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.
(Champaign-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation announced that multiple projects in the Champaign-Urbana area are completed, underway or extending into future construction seasons, highlighting an ongoing commitment made possible by Governor J-B Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois. Just in the Champaign-Urbana area, seven major projects represent a total investment of more than $83 million for the region, with $73.5 coming from the historic and bipartisan capital program. They include resurfacing I-72 between White Heath Road and I-57. Resurfacing, signal modification, lighting and sidewalk improvements on University Avenue from Wright Street to Cunningham Avenue. Bridge work on I-74 between High Cross Road and the Union Pacific Railroad bridge. Bridge replacement on I-74 over the Canadian National Railline and Market Street bridge. Mattis Avenue bridge replacement at I-57 and I-74 in anticipation of the redesign of the I-57/I-74 interchange.
(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced that it would be receiving a portion of the vaccines that have arrived and will be arriving in Champaign County. The university is expected to get its first batch within the next week. Campus healthcare workers will receive the vaccine through McKinley Health. The campus further announced its policy for vaccinations. For students, the Illinois Department of Public Health determines the immunizations that are required of Illinois college and university students. IDPH does not currently require proof of COVID-19 immunization. For employees, there is currently no plan to require the vaccine.
(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ population in the year that ended July 2020 declined by nearly 80,000, according to data released this week from the U.S. Census. The annual loss is the equivalent of losing the entire city of Bloomington. The state led the nation in declines over the decade, at more than 253,000 people fewer, the equivalent of losing Naperville and Peoria combined.
(Springfield-jm) -- Building on its investments to fight against COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services announced $56 million in additional capital to community organizations and providers across Illinois. The funding comes from quality payments to its Medicaid Managed Care Organizations: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, CountyCare, Aetna Better Health, Meridian, and Molina.
(Springfield-jm) -- More than 100 thousand people in Illinois have now received the COVID-19 vaccine. The state currently leads the effort to get front line health care workers and residents of long term care facilities vaccinated says Governor J-B Pritzker…
Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says the Moderna vaccine is arriving this week in Illinois, going straight to providers since it doesn’t need to be kept in ultra-cold storage like Pfizers.
(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 918,000 Coronavirus cases and 15,547 deaths. The state reported 6,762 new cases Wednesday and 135 additional deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 9,794 have recovered, 969 are in isolation and 18 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 2,760 have been removed from isolation and 184 cases are active. Vermilion County reported 296 are in isolation and 38 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,067 have been released from isolation, 95 are in isolation and 7 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 5,148 have recovered, 5157 cases are active and 35 hospitalized. Champaign County reported 12,499 have recovered, 671 are in isolation and 10 are hospitalized.
(Springfield-jm) -- GOP lawmakers are calling for answers over the state’s handling of the backlog of unemployment claims and fraudulent claims. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett says the Illinois Department of Employment Security needs to get a handle on the issue…
106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.
(Champaign-jm) -- A car crashed into a Champaign business yesterday afternoon. A car crashed through the exit doors of the Menards on Town Center Boulevard. No word on the cause or if there were any injuries.
(Springfield-jm) -- Tips for keeping your Christmas tree fresh through the holidays. Depending on when you put your tree up, it may still be in good shape or starting to dry out. University of Illinois Extension Educator Katie Parker says what your tree needs most is water…
University of Illinois Extension Educator Katie Parker. Parker says if your tree is really drying out, you can re-cut the stump, although that’s probably not practical if it’s full of lights and ornaments. She says it’s also a good idea to keep your tree away from heat sources like vents and direct sunlight. Additives are not necessary.
(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Foundation is donating $2,000 to the Visit Champaign County Foundation’s Hospitality Relief Fund. The fund assists employees in the hospitality industry with monetary relief during the COVID pandemic.
(Peoria-jm) -- OSF Healthcare is warning of a potential phone scam. The Peoria based healthcare system says patients and caregivers are receiving phone calls from a number that appears to be from OSF asking for social security and other personal information.