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Paxton's Gina Miles advanced to the next round on The Voice

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois State Police say any purchase of firearms or attachments the state deems as “assault weapons” from during the six-day injunction against Illinois’ gun ban will be illegal after January 1, 2024. In January this year, Governor J.B. Pritzker enacted the ban on more than 170 semi-automatic firearms and magazines over certain capacities. Part of that includes a registry of already owned guns starting October 1 with the deadline to register being January 1, 2024.  When the Southern District of Illinois federal court issued a preliminary injunction against Illinois’ gun ban last month, gun stores were busy. Those sales ended six days later when late last week the appeals court put a stay on the injunction. After the injunction was reversed while lawsuits continue, state police said firearms purchased during the injunction will be illegal because they were possessed after the January 10 effective day of the Protect Illinois Communities Act.


(Springfield-jm) – More than 23,500 borrowers in Illinois–who work in the public sector–have been approved for nearly $1.6 billion in student loan forgiveness between Oct. 2021 and May 2023. That's more than $67,000 per borrower, according to the U.S. Department of Education. It's all part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program under temporary changes the Biden-Harris Administration made to the program. The program covers public employees—such as teachers, firefighters, and members of law enforcement, as well as those who work for a non-profit organization—in a variety of fields by forgiving the remaining federal student loan balance for those who make the required 120 qualifying monthly payments.


(Urbana-jm) – The University of Illinois is getting $8 million to lead a national research project focused on developing learning technologies through artificial intelligence. The university announced the award comes from the National Science Foundation. Over the next five years, the NSF will give out an additional $12 million to establish the Inclusive and Intelligent Technologies for Education Institute.


(Champaign-jm) – Champaign County Crime Stoppers is asking the public for help in finding two women accused of stealing from Champaign’s Meijer and pepper spraying an employee who confronted them. Officials said the incident happened on December 13 of last year. The women entered the store, picked out over $1,000 worth of merchandise and then headed for the store’s exit, making no attempt to pay for the merchandise. When a loss prevention employee approached them at the exit, officials said one of the women used pepper spray on the employee, which is considered an aggravated battery. Police are asking for help in identifying the women, who were recorded on store security cameras as they left. Both are Black, have dark hair and are approximately 20-30 years old. One was wearing a black jacket and had a nose ring on her right nostril. The other was wearing a bright red Calvin Klein jacket. The two left the store with the stolen merchandise in a burgundy Ford Taurus.


(Paxton-jm) – A viewing party was held last night in downtown Paxton as Gina Miles performed in the semi-finals of the hit NBC show The Voice. Donna Pepper organized the viewing party…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold was at the viewing party and shares what Miles’ appearance on the show means to Paxton…



Miles advanced to next Monday nights show where the top 8 will perform for a chance to go to the finals.


(Danville-jm) – Danville officials and community members gathered to celebrate one of the city’s historic figures. The Vermilion County Administration Building will be named after Joe Cannon. He served nearly five decades in Congress, including eleven as Speaker of the House.


(Washington-jm) – A strong U.S. dollar is cutting into export sales of U.S. agricultural products. Gary Crawford reports…



(Chicago-jm) – The four former Commonwealth Edison executives and lobbyists convicted in a bribery scandal centered around former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan are scheduled for sentencing in January 2024. A jury convicted former state lawmaker and lobbyist Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and former contract lobbyist Jay Doherty of a multi-year scheme to bribe Madigan with no-show jobs, contracts and payments to associates in exchange for support with legislation that would benefit the utility's finances. McClain and Pramaggiore were convicted of nine counts of conspiracy, bribery and willfully falsifying books and records. Hooker and Doherty were convicted of six counts of conspiracy, bribery and willfully falsifying books and records.


(Springfield-jm) – A measure that passed the Illinois House would require school districts to implement full-day kindergarten across the state. State Representative Mary Beth Canty, of Arlington Heights, filed the proposed legislation, which has the backing of the Democratic majority in the House and Senate. House Bill 2396 would benefit parents and children alike, according to Canty. The measure, if passed into law, would require the districts to implement the changes by the 2027-2028 school year. Schools that lack the funding for the changes can apply for a two-year extension with the state. Governor J.B. Prtizker's budget proposal for 2024 includes an extra $250 million for early childhood education in Illinois.


(Springfield-jm) – The spring legislative session is winding down. The Illinois General Assembly has until the end of the month to wrap up business. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City joined senate Republicans about concerns they want addressed before the spring session ends…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Urbana-jm) – The Urbana Park District officially broke ground on the new Health and Wellness Center.  The Urbana Park District officials broke ground on the new $13.8 million facility. The new indoor health and wellness facility is the largest construction project in the 116-year history of the park district, officials said. It will be located on E. Washington Street, between the Brookens Center and Preston Williams Elementary.


(Undated-jm) – If it seems like you’re preparing for tornado threats a little more than usual lately, there’s some truth to that, at least if you live in Illinois. According to the National Weather Service, Illinois is leading the nation in tornadoes this year. Eighty-six tornadoes have already rolled through the Prairie State in 2023, nearly double the state’s average of 50 twisters per year. The National Weather Service reports, Illinois has braced through more than double the number of tornadoes in any other state this year aside from Alabama (80) and Georgia (45). Per NWS, Illinois also leads every state in severe weather reports (466) this year aside from Texas. That number represents the total of confirmed tornadoes, plus hail and wind damage reports.


(Oakwood-jm) – A 24-year-old motorcycle driver is dead following a crash on Interstate 74 over the weekend, the Illinois State Police announced. State Police officials said the crash happened in the eastbound lanes near Oakwood on Saturday. They determined that the deceased motorcycle driver, identified as Jacob Lovell of Danville, ran over a pothole on his Harley Davidson and lost control of the vehicle. He was subsequently ejected into the middle of the lane. Officials added that there were two cars driving behind Lovell. The driver of the one immediately behind him was able to swerve their car out of the way. The driver of the second car, however, did not see Lovell in time and could not avoid hitting him with her car.


(Washington-jm) – Corn growers making big strides in planting. Gary Crawford reports…



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