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Strong winds and blowing dust caused a major accident south of Springfield on Monday

(Montgomery County, Illinois-jm) – Strong winds and blowing dust caused a major accident south of Springfield on Monday.  Preliminary information indicates the following occurred: ISP Troops 6 and 8 responded to the above area for multiple crashes with injuries. At 10:55 a.m. there was a crash on northbound Interstate 55 at Milepost 76. At the same time, there were numerous crashes on southbound Interstate 55 at Milepost 76. The crashes occurred within a two-mile stretch – from roughly Milepost 76 to Milepost 78.At this time, 72 vehicles are reported being involved in the crash.  A total of 37 people were transported to area hospitals. Injuries range from minor to life-threatening and ages span from 2-years-old to 80-years-old.Reports show there are six fatalities, all occurring in the northbound lanes. At this time, one decedent has been identified as 88-year-old Shirley Harper of Franklin, WI. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is working diligently to identify the other five individuals and notify their families. Northbound and southbound lanes remain closed. Once the interstate is cleared of all vehicles, the Illinois Department of Transportation will have to inspect the roadway before it is re-opened. ISP continues to investigate this crash. I dot officials says traffic continues to re routed in that area


(Springfield-jm) – Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is pushing legislation that prohibits police from pulling someone over just for having something hanging from their rearview mirror. Many people may not realize it’s technically illegal to hang an air freshener, placard or other item from their rearview mirror. Secretary Giannoulias says it’s a law that shouldn’t be a cause for a traffic stop…



Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. The bill has passed the House and now awaits a vote in the Senate.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois has the second highest taxes on cannabis products in the nation, behind only Washington State, and some believe the high amount is hurting the state's profits. In March, Illinois generated $135 million from legal cannabis sales as the state implemented a tax rate of 25% of the purchase price of marijuana. In 2022, Illinois generated $445 million in tax revenue from legal cannabis sales. Lawmakers have suggested cutting the tax so the state can stay competitive and businesses can thrive in Illinois.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor J-B Pritzker is urging Medicaid recipients to complete the renewal process and ensure they continue to receive coverage. Annual Medicaid renewals have resumed and the Governor says the first round of notices are going out. This will continue on a rolling basis through mid-2024. Some customers will need to fill out the form, while others won’t have to do anything…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says it’s critical that Medicaid recipients have their correct address on file. They can check their contact information online at: abe dot illinois dot gov.


(Urbana-jm) – Police are investigating a car theft that happened at Carle Hospital last week and Crime Stoppers is asking the public for help in solving the case. Officials said that on April 23, a man entered the Carle Heart and Vascular Institute around 9:25 a.m. and walked around for a few minutes before stealing an employee’s backpack. The suspect then emptied the backpack of the victim’s credit/debit cards, cash and car keys before leaving the backpack in another part of the building. The suspect then left the building, located the victim’s car in the employee parking lot and drove off in it. The car was described as a blue 2015 Nissan Murano with Illinois license plates AC77517. The suspect is described as being a Black male with a medium build and a black and gray beard. He was last seen wearing a red coat, dark pants, black and white shoes and a white floppy hat.


(Champaign County-jm) – Central Illinois Land Bank is covering the cost of home repairs. Thanks to ARPA funds they now have $500,000 to start their home rehab project. The program is designed to fix exterior objects like roofs, porches, and gutters. They say you must be a homeowner, have insurance and earn 65% below the median area income.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers returned to the state capitol last week following a short break. 106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington passed his first bill through committee …



106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.


(St. Joseph-jm) – A St. Joseph woman was killed in a two-vehicle head-on collision east of St. Joseph on Sunday, April 30. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said that Rebecca S. Gerald, 62, was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:35 p.m. An autopsy was scheduled for today, at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility in Urbana. State Police say Gerald was driving west on Illinois 150 around 8:35 p.m. when it reportedly crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming vehicle. The crash was under investigation by Illinois State Police and the coroner’s office.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois farmers continue to beat last year’s pace for planting corn and soybeans. It was another cool, dry week, leaving an average of five days suitable for fieldwork. Statistician Mark Schleusener says 39 percent of soybeans have now been planted and three percent have emerged. As for corn…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 15 percent of winter wheat has headed and 66 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition, a decline from the previous week. Average statewide topsoil moisture also dropped, to 2 percent very short, 10 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus.


(Gifford–jc)  The 2023 Gifford Celebration is set for Saturday July First in the Champaign county town. The day starts with a 5K run and walk that steps off at Emord Park at 7am. The annual 4th of July Parade takes place on Main Street at 10am. WPXN will have the parade live on July First.  Activities, including a waterball fight, take place from 11am to 3pm in Werner Roessler Park. An Afternoon car show and bags tournament are events for Main Street. The celebration concludes with fireworks at dusk.


(Paxton–jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is A Picket Fence Florist downtown Paxton. The business is owned by Teri Hancock and features everything from fresh floral arrangements to candy boutiques to “saddles” for gravesites and prom wristlets,  says A Picket Fence Florist of Paxton Lead Designer Dawn Glad...



The local shop is busy with Proms, getting ready for Mother’s Day and Graduations. A Picket Fence Florist has great gift ideas for mom from fresh flowers and inspirational signs to Candy Boutiques says Lead Designer Dawn Glad… 



Store hours are 9am to 4pm Monday through Friday and 9am to 3pm on Saturdays The number to remember is 217-379-4245. 

The local business is hosting a jewelry event this Saturday and a one day pop up event on Saturday May 13th called It’s a Spring Fling.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about a multi-state Salmonella outbreak connected to Gold Medal brand flour. General Mills has issued a recall of their 2, 5 and 10 pound bags of Gold Medal unbleached and bleached all purpose flour. Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey says the use by dates on the affected bags are March 27th and 28th of 2024…



State Public Health Spokesperson Mike Claffey. According to the CDC, 13 people have fallen ill with Salmonella infection including two in Illinois. Symptoms include headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and vomiting.


(Springfield-jm) – A bill moving through the statehouse could require water bottle filling stations inside future large buildings in Illinois. The plan would apply to new properties that are 5,000 square feet or larger and any buildings with an occupancy of over 100 people. Illinois state law requires water fountains in public buildings, but sponsors explained that more people are using their own water bottles or containers to reduce plastic and help the environment.


(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department on Aging is celebrating Older American Month in May. The designation offers a chance to hi-lite the many programs offered by the Department, says Director Paula Basta. They include the Community Care Program, which provides in-home care to seniors, as well as a newer initiative, Illinois Care Connections…


Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta. Additionally the state offers nutrition programs for older Illinoisans, providing healthy food or just someone to share a meal with, says Basta. You can learn more about what the Department on Aging offers at: il aging dot illinois dot gov.


(Rantoul-jm) – The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the preliminary design and location for the dog park coming to the area in the near future. The chamber shared on social media that they are developing a fenced perimeter, off-leash dog park which is planned to be roughly 4-6 acres in size. Officials said there will be two separate areas: one for small dogs and one for large dogs. The dog park will be developed at the Bill Seeber baseball diamonds located on Keal Avenue.


(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Police Department says a student reported that he lost $1,675 in a sexual extortion scam on April 18. 

An unknown person contacted the university student through social media and encouraged him to send intimate photos of himself. The scammer then threatened to send the photos to the student's social media contacts unless he sent money. The student sent $1,675 after the scammer posted one of the photos to social media.


(Springfield-jm) – One area lawmaker is asking the Illinois Department of Corrections to address concerns at the Pontiac Correctional Center. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there are concerns about the future of the facility…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City. So far, the Illinois Department of Corrections has not yet responded to those concerns.

SPRINGFIELD – Medicaid recipients in Illinois should be on the lookout for correspondence from the state regarding their coverage as the normal renewal process resumes for the first time in three years. Medicaid is a health insurance program for low-income and disabled people that is jointly funded by the federal government and the states. With the pandemic ending, those enrolled must now go through the normal process of reapplying every 12 months to determine whether they were eligible,  Redetermination letters will be sent to Illinois Medicaid recipients in waves over the next 12 months. Some go out this week .State officials are urging all Medicaid recipients to update their information within the Illinois Medicaid program to ensure their benefits are not wrongly ended due to the state being unable to contact them. On line at Abe-Illinois-dot gov or by calling 1-800-843-6154 


(Urbana-jm) – The Regional Planning Commission informed the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities in the middle of March that it will exercise the option to not renew its Independent Service Coordination grant agreement for Fiscal Year 2024 due to extenuating circumstances impacting the program. The RPC committed to working collaboratively with the Division through June 30, 2023, to transition the ISC program and services to another provider in a manner that serves the needs of the families and individuals in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, Vermilion, Mason, Tazewell, Woodford, McLean, Livingston, Bureau, LaSalle, Putnam, and Marshall Counties.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois farmers continue to beat last year’s pace for planting corn and soybeans. Corn planting surged ahead this past week, with 40 percent now complete. That compares to 18 percent planted at the same time last year. 4 percent has emerged. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybean…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 15 percent of winter wheat has headed and 66 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture declined to 2 percent very short, 10 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus.



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