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This week is National Police Week

(Springfield-jm) – On the eve of the anniversary marking the end of the public health emergency declarations put in place at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Illinois released a playbook detailing measures the state should take to prepare for future public health emergencies as well as recommendations for future administrations that may have to navigate public health crises.  The playbook was produced through a review of the impact of COVID-19 on Illinois residents, with a focus on health and human services outcomes and developing recommendations to improve preparedness for future public health emergencies.


(Springfield-jm) – An arrest has been made in connection with bomb threats made to two Illinois state buildings. On April 22, the Illinois Department of Human Services received a call from a person saying a bomb had been installed at a public aid office and the Illinois State Capitol. No bombs were even found. Using cellular information and conducting interviews, Illinois State Police located and arrested 23-year-old Gabrielle Williams.


(Washington-jm) – How were USDA's forecasts for 2024-25 marketing year crop production incorporated into this month's series of production, supply, and demand reports? Rod Bain reports…



(Urbana-jm) – A pro-Palestine encampment at the University of Illinois has ended. Protestors were seen packing up tents and taking down signs and banners Friday effectively ending the encampment. University facilities and services were present soon after, mowing the grass and preparing for graduation which took place Saturday.


(Chicago–jc)  What to do for the Chicago Park District and a proposed lake front domed stadium. The issue could have an impact on the pocketbooks of taxpayers throughout the state of Illinois. The Chicago Bears, and City of Chicago are looking to propose to build a 4 Billion plus domed stadium and both are looking to Springfield for funding. Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson was in Springfield last week and looked at possibilities…



Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson.


(Undated-jm) – Illinois is home to four of the top 10 housing markets where prices have increased the most. According to the National Association of Realtors, the highest year-over-year jump in Illinois was in Kankakee at 22%, which ranked second in the nation. Rockford was third at just over 20% and Champaign-Urbana was fourth in the country at 20%. Bloomington also made the top ten.


(Paxton–jc)  – The annual Paxton Draggin Main and Celebrate Paxton’s Past event is set for Saturday in the city. 4 historic locations in Paxton will be open to the public. They include the Paxton Freight House and Caboose, Old Ford County Sheriff's Residence and Jail, Ford County Historical Society and Water Tower Museum and Royce Baier's Antique Car Collection. Paxton Mainstreet will also have a concessions stand on Saturday May 18th and entertainment with Jim Swick says Paxton Main Street Executive Director Donna Pepper…



Paxton Main Street Executive Director Donna Pepper.  You are invited to bring the whole family to this day long event in Paxton on Saturday May 18th.


(Springfield–jc)  –   A new, more "equitable" higher education funding formula being discussed at the Illinois statehouse would transfer student costs such as tuition to taxpayers ."Equitable funding formula for higher education" was the subject matter of a hearing in Springfield of the Illinois House last week. 103rd District Representative Carol Ammons from Urbana says it is all about resources…



103rd District State Rep Carol Ammon of Urbana


(Undated–jc)  – There are several meetings around the area tonight. In Rantoul at 6, the Rantoul Township High School board will consider their FY24 amended budget. At 7 tonight in Gibson City, the city council will consider a clean up day, consider purchasing a mini excavator and consider a quote to purchase aerator refurbishment equipment. In Paxton at 7, the Ford County Board will consider a solid waste ordinance, consider an agreement on bridge inspections and an agreement on a design for a bridge replacement in Brenton Township. In Gilman tonight at 7, council members will consider a proposed TIF district, approve an annexation ordinance, approve funds for the Core and Main Street project and approve their 2024-2025 budget.


(Springfield-jm) – Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias is urging residents to get Real IDs. After May 7th, 2025, federal law will require domestic travelers on commercial flights to have Real ID-compliant identification. According to Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, less than 24% of state residents have Real ID cards. Transportation Security Administration Federal Security Director Jim Spriggs said the 9-11 Commission recommended that the federal government set security standards for drivers licenses and ID cards.


(Springfield-jm) – You may go to a gas station or retail store to buy Mike's Hard Lemonade or Smirnoff Ice, but state lawmakers hope to prevent young people from purchasing fruit flavored malt drinks containing 4-6% alcohol. Their proposal would require retailers to separate soda and juice from liquor that looks like soda. The legislation could prohibit retailers from displaying alcopop drinks next to soft drinks, bottled water, or snacks catered to young customers. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission would also provide signs to retailers stating these drinks are alcoholic beverages only available to people 21 and older.


(Washington-jm) – As lawmakers try to craft a new farm bill, one of the many debates centers around what is the best way to help producers when disasters strike. Gary Crawford reports…



(Champaign County-jm) – The Champaign County Forest Preserve has some new projects that’ll make enjoying nature more accessible. They’re installing a new accessible kayak launch at the Homer Lake Forest Preserve. This will make it easier for people with mobility issues or others to keep their kayaks steady. They’re also focusing on expanding park grounds at Middle Fork Forest Preserve for more accessible fishing and stargazing.


(Springfield-jm) – Governor Pritzker’s plan to create a new state agency for early childhood programs is moving forward after passing out of the Illinois House of Representatives. Capitol News Illinois reports right now, the programs are run by three different state agencies. Senate Bill One would take those programs and services and put them all under a new Department of Early Childhood. The process would take place over the next two years. Sponsors, including Representative Mary Beth Canty, say by consolidating things into one agency, the state can create more efficiency, transparency and ease of access for families and providers…



State Representative Mary Beth Canty. The new agency would oversee services that include early childhood block grants, early intervention and daycare licensing. The bill passed out of the House unanimously and now heads to the Governor where he is expected to sign it.


(Champaign County-jm) – This week is National Police Week, and Champaign County law enforcement will be holding a series of events to honor those who serve and those who died in the line of duty. The Urbana Police Department will kick things off this morning with a memorial service at the Urbana City Building at 8 a.m. The ceremony will include speakers, a moment of silence and the posting of the city’s Law Enforcement Memorial Flag. The Champaign Police Department will follow with their memorial service at 9 a.m. Tuesday at West Side Park. Immediately following the Champaign Police service, staff will attend Champaign County’s police memorial service at the Champaign County Courthouse.


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