(Springfield-jm) – As Illinoisans across the state prepare for this weekend’s firearm deer season, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is urging hunters to use safety harnesses when hunting from tree stands in the field. Tree stands are the No. 1 source of hunting-related accidents and fatalities in Illinois. So far during the fall 2023 hunting season, which includes archery deer season, Illinois Conservation Police have documented two hunting-related fatalities, both of which involved tree stands. The 2023 firearm deer season dates are this weekend and also November 30-December 3.
(Springfield-jm) – The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday that the unemployment rate increased to 4.6% in October. The national unemployment rate was 3.9% in October, slightly up from the previous month. Based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payrolls in Illinois decreased by 15,000 last month.
(Paxton-jm) – The 5 mapping sessions planning the future of Paxton over the next 10-30 years are over. The sessions were put on by Western Illinois University’s Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs. Program Manager Gisela Hamm recaps the final session…
Mapping Program Manager Gisela Hamm. While the mapping sessions are over, the work is just beginning for the action groups. They will meet over the next several weeks and then reconvene with Hamm and the rest of the mapping group on January 11th.
(Urbana-jm) – A request approved by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees seeks an increase in state general funds appropriations of $82.7 million. The total operating funds request of $780.5 million represents an 11.9% increase from the current year’s $697.8 million appropriation. The increase would support four goals: enhancing student success; recruitment and retention of faculty members and staff; addressing inflation and other cost increases; and technological infrastructure needs.
(Hoopeston –jc) Former Hoopeston resident and now author Dennis Noyes (noise) was back in his hometown on Wednesday to promote a new book he authored. The retired journalist says the book is called Yonders-Illinois..
Former Hoopeston Resident and Author Dennis Noyes. . The book is available at BoxCar Books and Vinyl in downtown Hoopeston.
(Vermilion County-jm) – Vermilion County has completed its tax deed proceedings on real estate properties that were delinquent for 2019 and mobile homes that were delinquent for 2020 and prior real estate taxes. Vermilion County, as Trustee, will now offer for sale approximately 434 real estate properties and 98 mobile homes at a public auction at the Jewell Whyte VFW Post #728, 8 Pine Street, Danville, Illinois at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, December 11, 2023. Bidding will start at $750.00 per item. Bidders are encouraged to attend the auction sale. While written bids are acceptable, the Auction Department of the Vermilion County Tax Agent’s Office, P.O. Box 96, Edwardsville, Illinois 62025, must receive them by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 4, 2023.
(Washington-jm) – If you think beef cattle prices are high now, just wait until next year. Gary Crawford reports…
(Springfield-jm) – Regulators at the Illinois Commerce Commission on Thursday unanimously approved rate hikes for four major natural gas utilities, but the little-known regulatory body’s decision was perhaps more notable for what it rejected. The five-member board flexed its regulatory muscle, slashing the utilities’ requested rate increases by as much as 50 percent. Rates will still rise next year, but not nearly as much as they would have if the commission had approved the utilities’ initial requests. Commissioners lowered Ameren’s initial ask by about 50.8 percent and cut Nicor’s request by 30.3 percent. The commission lowered the expected rate hikes by leveraging one of its most powerful tools: deciding companies’ profits through their “return on equity” or ROE. Ameren and Nicor both requested ROE rates above 10 percent. But consumer advocates pushed back on those asks. For example, the Citizens Utility Board, one of several groups that argued for lower rates, requested a range centered on 9.5 percent for Ameren and 9.4 percent for Nicor. But in a surprising move, the Commission set rates in the cases at or below that recommendation. Nicor Gas will operate with a 9.51 percent ROE, and Ameren will operate with a 9.44 percent ROE.
(Springfield-jm) – Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced $25 million in available grant funding through the Back to Business NewBiz program. Following state recovery programming for businesses totaling $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act -funded opportunity is designed to provide additional support for businesses in hard-hit sectors who launched during the pandemic. Businesses that launched in 2020 or 2021 and remain in operation have faced significant impacts during the pandemic, but they have not been eligible for other federal or state relief programming since they were not operational prior to the pandemic. Applications are open from November 30 through January 11, 2024.
(Springfield-jm) – Illinois lawmakers failed to extend the Invest in Kids scholarship program during the fall veto session. 53rd District State Senator Tom Benentt of Gibson City shares his frustration over the issue…
53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.
(Urbana-jm) – The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that a pair of police responses in Urbana on Thursday were for a shooting and the arrest of two suspects. Deputies said shots were fired near Apple Tree Drive and one person was hurt as a result. They were taken to Carle Hospital for treatment; there is no update on the victim’s condition. Two people were later taken into custody at the nearby Blain’s Farm and Fleet, deputies added.
(Gibson City-dm) – The holiday season is fast approaching and the festivities start off this Saturday in Gibson City with their Lighted Christmas celebration. Activities kick off at 10:00am and include a winter clothing drive, horse drawn wagon rides, face painting, kids activities, food vendors and movies. Committee member Justin Carpenter tells us about the Lighted Christmas Parade.
Justin Carpenter with the Gibson City Lighted Christmas celebration
(Champaign-jm) – Champaign Police say shootings are down 73% since 2021, when the city saw record-setting violence. But he wants to see this trend continue. He's asked city council for new and expanded police technology to help officers make arrests and secure convictions. The department is asking for 62 license plate readers , 16 more than they already have, four Falcon Flex license readers, 42 squad car Integration systems and 18 public safety camera boxes. This would cost about $475,000, $233,500 in one-time installation costs and another $241,890 in recurring costs for ALPR subscriptions through Flock.
(Washington-jm) – Hog producers could see some improvement in hog prices in 2024. Gary Crawford reports…
WPXN Weekend News Notes…
St Paul's School in Woodworth is hosting a fish fry at the school. Carry outs begin at 4pm and Dine In starts at 5pm. Proceeds benefit Christian Education.
The Onarga American Legion will hold a fish fry tonight from 4:30-7 at the Legion Hall at Durham Park. Cost is $12 and includes fish, fries, baked beans, green beans and coleslaw.
The Buckley Lion’s club will host Bingo night tonight at the Buckley American Legion. Food served from 5-6pm Bigo begins at 6:15.
The 40th annual Gifford State Bank Country Christmas Craft Show will take place Saturday and Sunday at Gordyville USA. Hours Saturday 8-5 Sunday 9-3.
The Farmer City American Legion will hold their Christmas Expo on Saturday.
Paxton IGA will hold a cookout benefiting the Loda American Legion on Saturday from 10-2.
The 2023 Gibson City Lighted Christmas Parade will take place Saturday at 6:30 pm.
The 2023 Farmer City Christmas Parade will take place Sunday at 2pm. The theme is A Gingerbread House Christmas.