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Students will be able to celebrate their culture as they accept their diploma under a bill passed by Illinois lawmakers

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois citizens wanting to sue the state for alleged violations of the constitution would only be able to file their complaints in Sangamon or Cook counties with a bill advancing in Springfield. Two high-profile cases, the challenges against the state’s no-cash bail law and the state’s gun ban, resulted in temporary restraining orders against the laws. Those cases, filed in Kankakee County and Macon County, respectively, are still pending before the Illinois Supreme Court.  Senate President Don Harmon’s amendment to House Bill 3062 would only allow citizens wanting to sue the state to file complaints in Sangamon, home of the capital city of Springfield, or Cook, home of Chicago, counties. Republicans argue the two counties lean heavily to the left and limits citizens ability to file grievances.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Students will be able to celebrate their culture as they accept their diploma under a bill passed by Illinois lawmakers. The legislation prohibits schools from banning cultural, ethnic or religious items at graduation ceremonies. It was prompted by an incident last year in Evanston where a Native American student wasn’t allowed to participate. The reason? He was wearing an eagle feather and beading with his graduation cap, says Rockford Representative Maurice West…

 

 

State Representative Maurice West of Rockford. The bill will need to be signed into law by the Governor.

 

(Champaign-jm) – The University of Illinois Police arrested Lorenzo Taylor of Champaign, for retail theft and aggravated battery. Police say they saw Taylor walking on the sidewalk and recognized him from security video of a May 4 incident at Circle K, on Green Street. Taylor allegedly kicked a Circle K employee and left the store without paying for his beverage.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) – A crash in southern Iroquois County claimed the life of a 54-year-old man Sunday night, Illinois State Police said. Officials said the crash happened around 10 p.m. on Illinois Route 49, just north of the Iroquois-Vermilion County border. A single car, they said, was driving south when it left the roadway and hit a culvert. The car rolled over several times afterward and caught on fire. The driver, whom officials said was from Woodland, was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity was not released.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Local state Representative Jason Bunting of Emington is seeking opinions on an important issue. Representative Bunting of Emington explains…

 

 

106th District State Representative Jason Bunting of Emington.

 

(Champaign-jm) – Two Champaign women were hurt earlier this month in a fight-turned-shooting, and Crime Stoppers is asking the public for help in solving the case. The shooting happened on May 13 at Champaign’s Mach 1 gas station, located at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Bloomington Road. Officials said that around 3 a.m., an impromptu gathering took place in the gas station’s parking lot. The 40-year-old station employee denied entry to the convenience store for several members of the crowd, and a fight broke out. Officials said that among other things, a baseball bat was used in a battery during the melee. When officers were called to the gas station a short time later, they saw a battery in progress and heard a gunshot quickly after. As the crowd dispersed, the officers found that the employee had been shot in the right shoulder and had been bruised during the battery. Another woman, 36 years old, was hurt in the head during the melee.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois farmers are making quick work of corn and soybean planting as we hear in the weekly crop report. Nearly five days were suitable for fieldwork this past week. 85 percent of soybeans have been planted and 57 percent emerged. That’s ahead of last year’s pace and the five year average. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 91 percent of corn acres have been planted…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.  84 percent of winter wheat has headed and 19 percent of the first cutting of alfalfa is complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture now stands at 4 percent very short, 14 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A new study that rates highway systems on cost versus quality says the condition of Illinois’ rural roads is among the worst in the country. The Reason Foundation’s 27th annual Highway Report ranks Illinois 29th overall in the nation, but 44th for rural pavement condition. That is compared to Indiana, which ranked 7th, and Missouri which ranked 12th. To determine relative performance across the country, state highway system budgets per mile of responsibility are compared with system performance, state by state. States with high ratings typically have better-than-average system conditions along with relatively low per-mile expenditures, which is good for taxpayers. Also hurting Illinois’ score is the state’s 45th ranking for urbanized area congestion. Chicago is the main culprit, but congestion in Peoria, Springfield and Bloomington-Normal contributed to the ranking. Illinois’ best rankings are in administrative disbursements per mile, which ranked 11th, and the state's 14th ranking for rural fatality rate.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is highlighting his office’s college savings plans in honor of the upcoming “529 Day” on Monday. The dedicated day is meant to draw attention to the advantages of starting a college savings account like the Bright Start program, says Treasurer Frerichs…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Frerichs says the accounts are easy to use and let anyone, grandma’s, grandpa’s, friends and more donate to the fund. You can find more information about the plans online at: il college savings dot com. The treasurer’s office is also working with local children’s museums to promote the program with reduced admission on certain days. The first will be held this Saturday at Kidzeum in Springfield.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – A Rantoul man has been sentenced to nearly a decade in prison. Dane Williams was sentenced to 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to burglary after he admitted to robbing a Champaign liquor store.

 

(Urbana-jm) – One of the University of Illinois’ graduate programs is now ranked among the top five in the nation, the College of ACES announced. ACES officials said in a press release that U.S. News & World Report previously ranked the agricultural and biological engineering graduate program at No. 7. However, they announced that the latest rankings have the program moved up to No. 4. They said this rise in the rankings reflects efforts to enhance opportunities for graduate students in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

 

(Springfield-jm) – A resolution honoring former Congressman Tim Johnson is moving through the Illinois State House. The resolution, sponsored by State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet, would designate a portion of I-57 from I-74 south to exit 232 as the “Congressman Tim Johnson” Highway…

 

 

State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet.

 

(Rantoul-jm) – Reindeers normally come to mind during the Christmas season, but Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul is opening up their farm to the public early this year with some new baby reindeer. If you missed the reindeer this weekend, the ranch will be open for Memorial Day weekend. Tickets cost $8.

 

(Springfield-jm) – Illinois farmers are making quick work of corn and soybean planting as we hear in the weekly crop report. 91 percent of corn acres have been planted and 68 percent has emerged. That’s well ahead of normal. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 85 percent of soybeans have been planted…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The first cutting of alfalfa hay is 19 percent complete and 84 percent of winter wheat has headed. Average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to 4 percent very short, 14 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

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