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The Salvation Army of Champaign County has officially started their Red Kettle campaign

(Chicago-jm) – Chicago has introduced its budget that includes more funding for the state's migrant crisis; however, there are questions regarding whether the funding will be enough. The state has seen over 24,000 migrants arrive over the last 15 months. In response, Chicago has set aside an additional $150 million to help shelter and care for the influx of noncitizen arrivals. Mayor Brandon Johnson says this is not a Chicago problem in which they should be left on their own. Johnson said he has already reached out to federal officials about providing extra funding. Chicago projects a budget gap of $538 million for the coming fiscal year. According to NBC Chicago, $200 million of the gap comes from care for noncitizen arrivals, and that $56 million went to Favorite Healthcare Staffing, a Kansas-based company that has been tasked with taking care of the noncitizens. Some of their employees were being paid up to $195 per hour. Chicago is also using the funding for 16 warming buses to keep the noncitizens warm during the winter, and the city has set aside $29 million for military-grade tents.  Johnson said his expectation is that the federal government will step up and help the city.


(Rantoul–jc)  Marguerite Bailey of Rantoul is running to succeed her current boss, State Representative Mike Marron of the 104th district.  Marron announced in July that he will not be seeking re-election. The 104th district includes portions of Champaign and Vermilion counties, and Marguerite has already been serving the district as a legislative assistant under  Marron for the past two years. Prior to that, she worked for Vermillion County for ten years in the State’s Attorney and County Board offices. She was also elected to serve as trustee in the Village of Potomac for eight years. Bailey will officially kick off her campaign in early December .


(Springfield-jm) – The March of Dimes released its annual report card, giving the U.S. a D+ when it comes to preterm birth rates. The organization grades the country, as well as individual states, on factors that play into the health of moms and babies. And it's not any better on a local level. Illinois received the same grade as the country in the annual report on preterm birth rates. What's behind the high rate? One reason is the lack of prenatal care in areas known as “maternal care deserts”. Here in Illinois, there are other disparities that also factor in. One is socioeconomic. Also, Illinois has an increased drug use, especially methamphetamine.


(Springfield-jm) – A statute meant to protect the public from dangerous criminals is expiring at the end of the year. 53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the bill…



53rd District State Senator Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Champaign-jm) – Legislation changing the minimum amount of coverage farm mutual insurance companies are required to provide, supported by State Senator Paul Faraci of Champaign, was signed into law Friday. Senate Bill 765 requires farm mutual insurance companies to have and maintain adequate catastrophic reinsurance, rather than unlimited catastrophic reinsurance. This bill limits the company’s exposure to any loss to 20% of its policyholders’ surplus. The Illinois Department of Insurance had previously interpreted the Farm Mutual Insurance Company Act as requiring unlimited catastrophic aggregate reinsurance coverage. This would have led to 44 farm mutual insurance companies in Illinois being unable to offer coverage this year under the requirement, potentially leaving over 51,000 policyholders uninsured. Under the new law, companies will allow broader access to reinsurance products and risk capital, helping to avoid disruptions in the farm mutual community.


(Champaign County-jm) – The Salvation Army of Champaign County has officially started “ringing” in the holiday season with their Red Kettle campaign. You know the holiday season is here when you see people standing outside of stores ringing bells. Bell-ringers from the Salvation Army are now out raising money for their annual Christmas fundraiser. This year’s fundraising goal is $470,000. The group is still in need of bell-ringing volunteers.


(Washington-jm) – What's the best technique for thawing out that frozen holiday turkey? Gary Crawford reports…



(Vermilion County-jm) – The Vermilion County Animal Shelter is seeing their rescue stretched thin by a recent boom of homeless animals. Now, they’re asking for your help. The last couple of weeks, the shelter has seen their numbers rise to a total of 500 animals in their care. The shelter is asking anyone looking for a pet to consider adoption.


(Springfield-jm) – Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 262 wild turkeys during the 2023 fall firearm turkey season. The 2023 total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 267 in 2022. The record harvest was set in 2005 when 1,218 birds were harvested. This year, 1,711 regular fall firearm season permits were sold compared to 1,727 last year. The highest permit sales total on record was in 2007 with 4,968 permits sold. Fall turkey firearm season was open in 56 of Illinois’ 102 counties. The top counties for harvest this year were Jo Daviess, 23; Marion, 14; Williamson, 14; Franklin, 13; and Pope, 12.


(Undated-jm) – U.S. News & World Report is out with their annual nursing home ratings, and many Illinois facilities didn’t make the grade. The report looked at both short and long term care at 15,000 nursing homes around the country. The facilities were evaluated on patient and resident outcomes, such as infection rates; staffing levels; reliance on antipsychotic drugs; health inspection results and other indicators of quality.  Nearly one in five were recognized as “Best Nursing Homes.” Over 400 nursing homes consistently failed to meet current federal requirements mandating that a registered nurse be available for at least eight hours a day, seven days a week. 700 nursing homes in Illinois were evaluated and 311 of them got a 1 or a 2 on a 5-point scale in our rating, and 82 got a 4 out of 5. Only 39 Illinois nursing homes received 5 out of 5 points,


(Paxton-jm) – The Paxton mapping sessions are over. Now action teams are putting their focus on goals within the priorities of leisure, infrastructure, business support and development and housing. City Alderman Rob Pacey helped spearhead the mapping effort. He shares his thoughts on how things will move forward…



Paxton Mapping Spokesperson and Alderman Rob Pacey.


(Urbana-jm) – A 19 year old has been charged with attempted murder for a shooting Thursday in Urbana. Erick Estrada was arrested and charged with attempted murder, aggravated unlawful use of a firearm, aggravated battery with a firearm and mob violence. Police were called around 4 p.m. and told three vehicles had followed each other to the 200 block of Apple Tree Drive before shooting at one another. Deputies found a 21-year-old victim with a gunshot wound to the neck. He was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. A 16 year old was arrested however, he was turned over to his parents.


(Urbana-jm) – Carle Hospital officials said they are seeing a rise in patient care, and the reason people are coming the most is respiratory illnesses. Carle says they’ve been super busy the last 2-3 weeks seeing over 300 patients a day regularly in the ER. It’s almost double the number of patients at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana.  Respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, RSV and the flu are bringing people to the ER. Runny nose, mild cough, aches and pains can be treated with over-the-counter medication. Once those symptoms become elevated you should seek medical attention including for shortness of breath, chest pains and a fever for several days.


(Washington-jm) – Can a turkey that's been frozen for years still be safe to cook and eat? Gary Crawford reports…



(Rantoul-dm)  2 new restaurants recently opened in Rantoul.  Duos recently reopened under new management.  They feature the regular menu plus a Mexican menu.  Also just opening today is a new restaurant “Van Fam” owned by the former  manager of Taffies in Champaign. Van Fam is located in the former Pizza Hut building.


(Paxton-dm)--It’s Toys for Tots time and Ford County Veterans Center Administrator Rebecca Rutledge tells us how to sign up to receive toys.



Ford County Veterans Center Administrator Rebecca Rutledge.  You can drop off new toys at the State Street Mall in Paxton by December 15th.  Toys will be distributed December 18th.


(Undated-jm) – There are some meetings around the WPXN listening area tonight. Paxton will hold a special meeting at 7 where an amusement tax, establishing the number of liquor licenses per classification and approving a mutual aid agreement with Gifford are on the table. In Gilman, the Iroquois West school board will meet at 7 where they will hear a presentation on their tax levy, discuss health/life safety bonds, hear a building update and open house and discuss tax rates in the county. The Cissna Park school board also meets tonight at 7.


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