(Springfield-jm) --  Illinois’ leisure and hospitality industry saw its second-worst job decline on record last month, according to analysis from the Illinois Policy Institute. Recent data shows Illinois lost 27,400 jobs in that sector from mid-October to mid-November. Those losses come amid Governor J.B. Pritzker’s statewide ban on indoor dining, which took effect November 4th. Only the period from mid-March to mid-April saw worse outcomes for those working in the restaurant, hotel and travel industries.



(Springfield-jm) --  An effort by the Illinois Craft Cannabis Association to force Governor J.B. Pritzker to award grower licenses to its more than three dozen members has been rebuffed by a Cook County judge. By law, 40 grower licenses were to be issued by July 1, but Pritzker hasn’t issued them. He initially cited the COVID-19 pandemic for delays in reviewing applications. The Chicago Tribune reports that in a ruling, Judge Allen Walker said the governor’s initial reason for delaying the licenses was insufficient. But Walker also wrote Pritzker has since clarified that the delay was necessary because the Illinois Department of Agriculture is now concentrating on oversight of meat and livestock facilities and the food supply chain due to the pandemic.



(Springfield-jm) -- A look back at the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois. On January 24th, state Public Health officials briefed the press on Illinois’ first case of the new Coronaviurs, a woman who had just returned to Chicago from Wuhan, China. It was just the second case in the U-S. Her husband soon became infected as well, marking the first known person-to-person transmission of COVID-19 in the country. By March 20th, Illinois had 585 cases and Governor J-B Pritzker made a big announcement…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. On May 1st, a mask mandate took effect and on May 5th, the Governor laid out his “Restore Illinois” plan, which included five phases for reopening the state. Cases declined over the summer and the entire state moved to Phase Four at the end of June. Fast forward to the fall when cases began to rise again and a new tiered system of restrictions based on regional cases was enacted. Today, Illinois has had more than 948 thousand cases of Coronavirus infection and over 16 thousand have died. Locally, Ford County reported 16 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 1,216 and deaths to 35. McLean County reported 84 cases and 9 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 11,355 and deaths to 97. Champaign County reported 76 new cases and 3 new deaths bringing their total number of cases to 13,658 and deaths to 88. Vermilion County reported 91 new cases and 3 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 5,532 and deaths to 77. Livingston County reported 37 new cases bringing their total number of cases to 3,083. Iroquois County reported 14 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 2,291 and deaths to 51. Kankakee County reported 47 new cases bringing their total number of cases to 10,657.



(Washington-jm) -- The federal government has released the latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is published once every five years. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Gibson City-jm) -- A Gibson City business honored one of their former employees yesterday. Clyde McRae died last week and yesterday his funeral procession passed through the parking lot of the Birkey’s Farm Store where employees and customers lined the parking lot with tractors and combines. McRae worked at the store for over 50 years.


(Springfield-jm) -- Reports of unemployment fraud have increased significantly not just in Illinois but around the country. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has details of what you should do if you find yourself a victim…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Tuscola man has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for possessing a shotgun while on parole. Terry Porter pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to unlawful use of weapons by a felon. The charge stemmed from an August 25th call at an apartment complex between Rantoul and Gifford. Police say they were called for a person waving a shotgun and slashing tires. Officers located Porter in a vehicle with a shotgun in his possession.


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker says the problems Illinois’ unemployment agency is experiencing with backlogs and fraud is happening in other states. Taylorville U.S. Representative Rodney Davis says from colleagues he’s talked to from other states, they aren’t experiencing the same level of problems Illinois is experiencing. Davis said it’s up to the Pritzker administration to manage Illinois’ persistent problems.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois recorded population loss for the seventh year in a row, which is the longest streak of population decline in state history. According to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, Illinois shrank by 79,487 people from July 2019 to July 2020, experiencing the second largest population loss over the year for any state both in raw numbers and as a percentage of the population. Analysis from the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute found this year’s loss was historic – the single largest decline for the state since World War II. Meanwhile, researchers point out this data represents the first full year of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s policy agenda – including 20 tax and fee hikes, a minimum wage increase and a push for a progressive income tax. In 2020, Illinois lost the population equivalent of Bloomington, the 12th-biggest city in Illinois. Over the decade, from July 2010 to July 2020, Illinois lost a grand total of 253,015 residents, more than triple the amount lost by any other state during the decade. This is equivalent to losing the cities of Naperville and Peoria combined. 



(Washington-jm) -- The nation's farm sector saw a big income rise in 2020, but what is the outlook for 2021? Gary Crawford reports…




(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County sheriff said as people start making New Year’s resolutions, his office is working on some of their own for 2021. The sheriff stated there are three initiatives they are working on early in the new year. Those areas include justice diversion, increased community relations and a special enforcement team.


(Undated-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police in Pesotum will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols leading up to the New Year’s holiday. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…




(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton Police have released their recent activity report. On December 24th, James Meece was arrested for filing a false police report after he allegedly called police to report a burglary at his apartment. Officers discovered blood and cuts on his hand and Meece admitted to filing the false report. On December 21st, Dollar General reported the theft of several items. Misdemeanor charges of retail theft were forwarded to the State’s Attorney against Angela Purtell and Dorothy Isenhower both of Paxton.


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