(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced on Monday that he is suspending his campaign to retain his seat as House Speaker. However, he also says it is not a withdrawal. The 78-year-old Chicago Democrat directed House Democrats to work toward finding a replacement.



(Springfield-jm) -- Regions of Illinois successfully containing the virus may be able to ease up on COVID-19 restrictions starting Friday. Some areas of the state may be getting good news later this week, and be able to open some things back up says Governor J-B Pritzker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Those metrics include test positivity rates, number of hospitalizations and the number of ICU beds available. The entire state has been under Tier 3 mitigations since late November.



(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 4,776 new Coronavirus cases and 53 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1 million 33 thousand 526 and deaths to 17,627. Locally, Ford County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 1,341. Champaign County reported 312 new cases bringing their total to 14,853. Iroquois County reported 36 new cases bringing their total to 2,524. Vermilion County reported 91 new cases bringing their total to 6,674. McLean County reported 278 new cases and 10 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 12,639 and deaths to 131. Livingston County reported 77 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 3,417 and deaths to 62. Kankakee County reported 110 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 11,277 and deaths to 156.



(Undated-jm) -- The consolidated election will take place April 6th but several area races are taking shape. WPXN’s Jason Madden takes a look at who is on the ballot…




(Undated-jm) -- A chain of stores with locations in the area is closing. Stock and Field announced Monday they are closing all of their stores including their locations in Gibson City, Watseka, Danville and Tilton. The stores used to be called Big R before they were bought out by Stock and Field.



(Undated-jm) -- The Paxton City Council and Rantoul village boards both meet tonight for their first meeting of 2021. The Rantoul village board will meet at 6 where they will consider an easement agreement for a solar project, consider an agreement for Maplewood Drive improvements and discuss the Forum Fitness Center renovation and expansion. In Paxton, the Paxton City Council will meet at 7 where they are expected to consider Mayor Bill Ingolds appointment to Ward 3 and consider the purchase of a backhoe and pickup truck. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6 with the Paxton city council meeting getting underway at 7.



(Springfield-jm) -- January 1st normally brings hundreds of new laws however because of the Coronavirus pandemic only three new laws went into effect. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the new laws…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



(Rantoul-jm) -- An effort to impose term limits on Rantoul government members has stalled. Not enough signatures were gathered on a petition for a referendum to hit the ballot. The proposal would have put a two year consecutive term on the mayor, village board and village clerk positions.


(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department will begin distributing the COVID vaccines this week. Although time slots are already full the health department is distributing information on the vaccine. Champaign Urbana Public Health Epidemiologist Awais Vaid talks about the two vaccines…



Champaign Urbana Public Health Epidemiologist Awais Vaid.


(Washington-jm) -- U-S Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth announced Monday more than $843 million in federal funding will be coming to the state to help support expanded COVID testing and vaccine distribution in Illinois. $574 million will go towards COVID testing while $90 million will go towards vaccine distribution. The rest will go to the City of Chicago for their COVID testing and vaccine distribution.



(Springfield-jm) -- Some areas of the state are moving into Phase “1-B” of vaccination distribution. Governor J-B Pritzker says he expects to make a formal announcement later this week about when all of Illinois will move to 1-B, where essential workers and seniors 65 and older can get the shot. But for now…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker urges patience, since more than two million Illinoisans fall into the 1-B group and it will take many weeks to get through them all.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has 1 million 33 thousand 526 Coronavirus cases and 17,627 deaths after the state reported an additional 4,776 cases and 53 deaths Monday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 11,318 have recovered, 1157 are in isolation and 33 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 13,905 have recovered, 856 are in isolation and 23 are hospitalized. Livingston County reported 3,175 have been removed from isolation and 180 cases are active. Iroquois County reported 2,351 have been released from isolation, 114 remain in isolation and 6 are hospitalized. Kankakee County reported 9,727 have recovered and 1,384 cases are active. Vermilion County reported 5,972 have been released from isolation, 596 are in isolation and 25 are hospitalized.



(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is launching a social media challenge. Each month, the health department will issue a challenge on their facebook page. Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter talks about what they hope to accomplish with this challenge…



Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda Education Foundation has received a donation from a local bank. Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois donated $13,000 to the foundation to go towards technology updates throughout the district. The district will use the money to purchase 20 new machines in the Mac lab.



(Mahomet-jm) -- The Champaign County Forest Preserve is announcing the opening of a new preserve. The 98 acre Heron View Forest Preserve is the latest preserve for the district and is located along the Sangamon River north of Mahomet between Lake of the Woods and the Sangamon River Forest Preserve. The forest preserve hopes to add more hiking paths as well as access to the river in the upcoming years.



(Paxton-cf)-- There aren’t many side effects from the COVID vaccine, but there are a few and they don’t differentiatie that much from the flu shot. Hudson Drug and Hallmark in Paxton Owner Andy Hudson has the details… 



Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson. 



(Iroquois County-jm) -- Iroquois County has been issued a tentative property assessment equalization factor of 1.0000, according to 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. State law requires property in Illinois to be assessed at one-third of its market value. Farm property is assessed differently, with farm homesites and dwellings subject to regular assessing and equalization procedures, but with farmland and farm buildings assessed according to standards based on productivity. The equalization factor is determined annually for each county by comparing the sales price of individual properties sold over the past three years to the assessed value placed on those properties by the county supervisor of assessments/county assessor.



(Washington-jm) --  The federal government's newly-released Dietary Guidelines for Americans can be tailored to meet individual needs. Stephanie Ho has the details…



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