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Members of Illinois' congressional delegation are debating raising the ceiling

(Springfield-jm) – While about half the country already has reduced the amount of pandemic-era federal food assistance offered in their state, Illinois is preparing for the change to take effect in March. The Illinois Department of Human Services announced the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will return to pre-pandemic levels beginning March 1. The taxpayer-funded program assists more than 2 million Illinoisans.

 

(Washington-jm) – Members of Illinois’ congressional delegation are debating raising the ceiling on how much borrowing federal taxpayers will be on the hook for. The Republican-controlled U.S. House is looking for spending caps in any negotiations around increasing the borrowing threshold. Democrats fear the caps and cuts would be to vital programs. The deadline to raise the debt ceiling was yesterday; however, the Federal Reserve has said if it is not raised by June it could rattle world markets, cost millions of Americans to lose jobs, cause the government to default and delay Social Security checks. Since 1960 the debt ceiling has been raised 78 times. The nation’s debt ceiling stands at $31.4 trillion.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Lawsuits against Illinois’ new ban on assault weapons are being filed in state and federal courts but Governor J-B Pritzker says he remains confident the law will be upheld. Speaking on a media call from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, the Governor said that drafters of the law worked with legal experts to make sure it was constitutional…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Opponents argue the ban violates their second amendment rights.

 

(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help in solving a recent string involving the theft of stop signs, and people who provide a tip could be rewarded with up to $1,000. The Sheriff’s Office was recently notified that numerous stop signs have been stolen over the last two months in several Champaign County townships, including St. Joseph Township, Stanton Township, and Ogden Township. Some of the stolen stop signs, however, were recently recovered in the Saline Waterway north of St. Joseph.

 

(Cissna Park–jc)  A benefit chicken dinner is set for Sunday for a 2 year old boy from Cissna Park that is battling cancer.  Wynstan Kaufmann is the son of Andy and Katie Kaufmann and was recently diagnosed with cancer. The event will run from 11am to 4pm at the Cissna Park American Legion says event spokesperson Sheila Levitt…

 

 

Sheila Levitt of Cissna Park. Donations for the family may also be dropped off at the Frederick Community Bank in Paxton or Cissna Park. The group is also selling shirts and Wynstan Strong bracelets on facebook. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Iroquois and Ford County Fair Queens are geared up for state competition this weekend in Springfield. Seventy-three County Fair Queens will be on stage at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center for the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs State Queen Pageant. The event runs through Sunday. 20-year-old Jakki Mowrey of Milford is the reigning Iroquois County Queen. She was crowned last July at the local fair in Crescent City. Jakki is the daughter of Jon and Tracy Mowrey. She’s attending ISU majoring in Sociology. 17-year-old Gracelyn Greenburg will represent the Ford County Queen. She’s the daughter of Kelly Reitz and Matt and Kristi Greenburg. Gracelyn is a senior at PBL High School and enrolled in the CNA Health Professions course at Parkland College.

 

(Champaign-jm) – In order to perform work for a sewer lining project, Visu-Sewer Construction Inc. will close one eastbound lane of Bradley Avenue between State Street and Randolph Street. The closure will occur between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. today

 

(Washington-jm) – 2023 could bring another decline in overall U.S. meat production. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias has released what he calls a blueprint for modernizing the office, transforming operations and expanding services. One of the goals is to improve driver services facilities by using technology to overhaul and improve customer service and reduce wait times. The plan includes the “Skip the Line” appointment program at facilities to improve the customer experience. 

 

(Undated-jm) – Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s ready to return to Illinois after traveling overseas to attend a global conference of various world leaders from business and government. He says he personally paid for “much” of the trip. Pritzker attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week. He took part in discussions, including one on the landscape of domestic politics in the United States. Joining Pritzker on the trip was his wife, chief of staff, and two deputy governors. The governor’s trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow last year cost taxpayers at least $14,284, a figure that didn’t include the cost of security.

 

(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Board of Higher Education is seeking a 180 million dollar increase for state colleges and universities. The board approved its annual budget request, which is 7 and a half percent higher than last year’s proposal. State Higher Ed Executive Director Ginger Ostro says this includes an additional 50 million dollars for college map grants and outreach to get more students to apply…

 

 

State Higher Education Executive Director Ginger Ostro. Additional funds would be doled out to schools and there’s also money to boost dual credit programs at community colleges. It will be up to lawmakers and the Governor to review the budget request.

 

(Undated-jm) – Area residents who want to improve their reading, math, or English, especially those who lack a high school diploma or are English-language learners, can receive free training in Rantoul and the Champaign-Urbana area through Parkland College. Free GED and English as a Second Language ESL classes are being held weekday evenings at the Rantoul Business Center, 601 S. Century Blvd., Rantoul. ESL classes meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m.; GED classes meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Free GED, English as a Second Language, and English Communications Career Pathway classes are being held mornings and evenings at the Parkland campus and online. Classes offer open enrollment, allowing new students to join any time during the semester.  The career pathway courses provide adults interested in Business Administration and Management, Nurse Assistant, Commercial Driving, and Information Technology opportunities to study reading, math, and language as it applies to their industry of choice. Parkland's Adult Education classes offer open enrollment, allowing new students to join at any time during the spring semester.  

For more information or to sign up for the classes, please contact Adult Education at 217-351-2580.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Last week, the state wrapped up the 102nd General Assembly and began the 103rd General Assembly. One of the things lawmakers did was issue a proclamation honoring former State Senator Scott Bennett who passed away unexpectedly last month. Scott Bennett is the nephew of current State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City who talks about the proclamation and how much it meant to the family…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Urbana-jm) – A University of Illinois student was recently the victim of a sexual extortion scam that resulted in a $100 loss, the U of I Police Department reported. UIPD officials said the scam happened this week. The student sent intimate pictures of himself to a person he met online and was subsequently threatened with the release of those photos to his social media contacts. The offender demanded a $100 payment in exchange for keeping the photos private. The student complied with the demand and then blocked the offender.

 

(St. Joseph-jm) – The Illinois Department of Transportation confirmed they plan to remove an overpass near St. Joseph despite a petition to save it. The I-74 bridge is located on Champaign County Road 2000 East. A petition was posted in the Village Hall describing it as an important transportation link for the people who live there. IDOT says they are removing the bridge due to safety concerns and a study done compared the additional road user costs for closing the bridge to the amortized annual cost of constructing a replacement bridge and the study recommended not replacing this structure.

 

(Washington-jm) – USDA has announced this year's funding allocation that will be dedicated to protecting U.S. crops from pests and diseases. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Onarga American Legion Post 551 will host their fish fry tonight from 4:30-7.

 

A benefit chicken dinner is set for Sunday for a 2 year old Wynstan Kaufmann from Cissna Park. Wynstan is the son of Andy and Katie Kaufmann and was recently diagnosed with cancer. The event will run from 11am to 4pm at the Cissna Park American Legion. 

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