(Springfield-jm) -- Nursing homes will soon face fines if they don't have enough staff to take care of patients. The fines were originally going to start in January, but because of the pandemic, the fines are being pushed back until later in the year. In 2019, legislation was passed allowing the Illinois Department of Public Health to fine nursing homes if their staff-to-patient ratio was too low.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 6,839 new Coronavirus cases and 126 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 991,719 and deaths to 16,959. Locally, Livingston County reported 19 new cases bringing their total to 3,247. Ford County reported 19 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 1,290 and deaths to 39. McLean County reported 129 new cases bringing their total 12,017. Champaign County reported 782 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 14,247 and deaths to 90. Iroquois County reported 23 new cases bringing their total to 2,417. Vermilion County reported 227 new cases bringing their total to 6,221.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House members are returning to Springfield later this week for the lame duck session. Because of the COVID pandemic the session will be held at the Springfield Convention Center. But the pandemic has also brought a piece of legislation that would allow the House to meet virtually during emergency situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic. Representative Dan Brady says he and other GOP members would have an open mind on the issue…



State Representative Dan Brady.


(Undated-jm) -- If you are an H&R Block customer, you may not get your second stimulus check right away.  The IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department began issuing the second round of stimulus checks last week.  However, H&R Block customers including some locally, are reporting their payments not ending up in their bank accounts. According to H&R Block, customers who have used the IRS Get My Payment tracking tool may see an account number their payment was issued to that is not theirs. H&R Block customers that used the Refund Transfer option in 2019 may have had their stimulus sent to that temporary account.  The company says they are working to make sure recipients receive their stimulus.



(Washington-jm) -- Recent months have shown a significant increase in the amount of food and farm goods China is importing from our nation.  Rod Bain reports…




(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County has been issued a tentative property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to David Harris, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue. The property assessment equalization factor, often called the “multiplier”, is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law.  Assessments in Ford County are at 33.03 percent of market value, based on sales of properties in 2017, 2018, and 2019.



(Springfield-jm) -- Certified Grower Training is now available on the Illinois Department of Agriculture  website.  Under a new state regulation , anyone who works on a farm and handles anhydrous ammonia must complete Certified Grower Training by April of 2022 and once every three years thereafter.  This includes not only farm workers who apply the nitrogen fertilizer to fields, but also those who transport nurse tanks to and from suppliers and those who maintain anhydrous ammonia equipment. The training program can be accessed through a link posted on the website’s homepage. 


(Springfield-jm) -- The members of the Illinois Senate Republican leadership team have been announced. Senate Republican Leader-Designate Dan McConchie, of Hawthorn Woods, announced his appointments ahead of the 102nd General Assembly. The eight senators chosen to the leadership team include: Sue Rezin for Deputy Republican Leader, Jason Barickman as Republican Caucus Leader, Donald DeWitte, Steve McClure, Jason Plummer and Chapin Rose as Assistant Republican Leaders, Dave Syverson and Jil Tracy as Republican Caucus Whips.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 991,719 confirmed Coronavirus cases and 16,959 Coronavirus related deaths after the state reported 6,839 new cases Tuesday and 126 additional deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, Livingston County reported 3,061 have been removed from isolation and 129 cases are active. McLean County reported 10,917 have recovered, 950 are in isolation and 39 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 13,498 have recovered, 659 are in isolation and 18 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,253 have been released from isolation, 105 are in isolation and 7 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 613 cases are active.



(Springfield-jm) -- House Republicans are offering a plan to draw new legislative districts in Illinois. Based on the 2020 census data, new legislative boundaries will be set across the state this year. Representative Tim Butler of Springfield says they want an independent commission to be charged with the task instead of lawmakers. He says this will ensure the districts are drawn fairly and not just to give one political party an advantage…



State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield. Under the House GOP proposal, the commission would be made up of 11 members. Seven would have to approve the new map and public hearings would be held to keep the process transparent.



(Hoopeston-jm) -- Hoopeston police are investigating an attempted burglary. It happened in the 400 block of West Washington Street. Police say someone tried entering a garage on the property causing damage. Anyone with information is asked to call Hoopeston police.



(Washington-jm) -- As the government releases the latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, one statistic to look at is the Healthy Eating Index.  Stephanie Ho reports…




(Undated-jm) -- The Ford County Fair Association will hold its annual meeting Saturday, January 16th at 8:30 a.m. at the Wall Township Building, which is located at 1498 East 900 North Road in Loda. ?The election of board members and officers will take place at this meeting. In addition, plans for the upcoming Ford County Fair, scheduled for June 13-19, will be discussed. A virtual meeting link will be made available on the fair’s Facebook page closer to the meeting date. The public is invited to attend. Those attending in person are asked to wear a mask and observe social distancing.



(Springfield-jm) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is conducting the 2020 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey, beginning in January. First conducted in 2015, this Census of Agriculture special study will look at local and regional food systems and provide new data on how locally grown foods in the United States are marketed and sold. The results will be available in November 2021. Farmers and ranchers who receive the survey may complete it securely and conveniently online at www.agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. The deadline for response is February 16, 2021.


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