SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois farmers are hoping tensions between the U.S. and its trade partners dissipate after record-yielding harvests in 2018. Illinois produced the most soybeans of any state in the country while ranking second in corn production. But farmers have been significantly affected by the government’s tougher stance on trade and retaliatory tariffs.Illinois Farm Bureau official says that unfortunately, the farming community has to rely on international markets to move their commodities.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that $6.7 billion of Illinois exports are threatened by the emerging trade war. In 2017, China accounted for 25 percent of the state's agricultural exports, including $1.75 billion in soybeans and more than $500 million in corn. When China wasn't buying this year, many farmers had to store excess crops for winter and hope the tariff situation is resolved.
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — The father of a U.S. Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan says it's a "tremendous honor" to have a post office in the community of Normal renamed in honor of his son.Sgt. Joshua Rodgers was a 2013 graduate of Normal Community High School, where he was on the football and track teams. The 22-year-old was on his third tour of duty as a member of a special operations unit when he was killed last year during a raid on an ISIS headquarters.
Kevin Rodgers says the family is looking forward to the renaming ceremony. A date for the ceremony hasn't been set. President Donald Trump signed the measure, which was introduced by U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and co-sponsored by each member of Illinois' congressional delegation.
(Illinois--ba)-It’s New Year’s Eve and a time to State and local police will be on the lookout for drunk drivers over the new year’s holiday. Last year in Illinois…six people died in vehicle crashes over New Year’s. Four of those deaths were alcohol related. Cops are boosting patrols but there are plenty of options for staying out of trouble and getting home safely on New Year’s says I-DOT spokesperson Jessie Decker.
I-DOT spokesperson Jessie Decker
Springfield – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Leo P. Schmitz commissioned 59 Troopers Friday, during the Cadet Class 128 graduation ceremony at Hope Church in Springfield, Illinois. The new Troopers will report to ISP patrol districts throughout the state on Monday, December 31, 2018. Director Schmitz and ISP command staff welcomed the new Troopers after delivering the Oath of an Officer before family and friends. District 21 in Ashkum has 3 new troopers, Pesotum has 8 new officers and 3 will be placed in the Pontiac district, locally.
(Illinois--ba)-A new report on Illinois underfunded pension systems says the state needs to put more money into the benefits programs before they become unsustainable and consume an even larger share of the state's tax revenue. The state will be required to contribute $9.39 billion to six pension funds in fiscal 2020, about $845 million more than the previous year, according to the report. In addition to being underfunded, the state's pension systems are susceptible to a volatile stock market, the report found. Two public finance watchdogs said the report underscores the need for changes moving forward, including some changes that won’t be popular.
(Chicago--jc) --A new Illinois law regarding gym and health club memberships goes into effect as many people resolve to join gyms and spend more time working out.A lawmaker who got a measure passed that becomes law Tuesday said his bill will help keep consumers from being nickel-and-dimed. An Illinois state law from the 1965 capped gym membership fees at $2,500 a year. In today's dollars, that’s $20,000.State Rep. Jaime Andrade, D-Chicago, said the cap was out of date. After talking with the industry, the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and legislators from both sides of the aisle, they decided to lift the cap entirely.The measure was supported by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, and several other health club companies and groups.
ROSEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Hemp could be the next big cash crop in Illinois, according to a farmer who was among the first to legally grow the plant in the state after it became legal this year.Hemp comes from the same plant as marijuana but doesn't have THC, the compound that causes a high. Hemp can be turned into clothing, textiles, building materials, paper and food.Illinois lawmakers authorized hemp production in the state this year. A new federal farm bill signed this month legalized the plant's production nationwide. The move will give hemp farmers access to interstate commerce, crop insurance, standard business loans and tax deductions, giving the hemp industry an advantage over medical marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law.Andy Huston was among the first to grow hemp in Illinois on his Roseville-area farm. He told the Chicago Tribune that he believes the crop could be more profitable than corn and soybeans once farmers learn how to raise and sell it.
(Illinois--ba)-As Illinois celebrates its Bicentennial, WPXN’s Braedon Arnett talks about the top ten musicians from Illinois.
(Iroquois County---jc) Slick roads caused numerous accidents along area roads on Saturday. In Iroquois County, local police handled dozens of accidents, along Interstate 57 and along Route 49 and 45. Kankakee police also reported a plethera of ice road accidents in and around the Kankakee area.
(Undated--jc) Illinois is celebrating its 200th anniversary as a state. Here is today’s Bicentennial Minute…
(Bloomington--jc) A Champaign County man was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to a drug-induced homicide. 24 year old Troy McBride of Rantoul was sentenced on Friday in McLean County Court from an incident on March 23 when he sold the fentanyl-laced heroin to James Dingman, 41, of Bloomington, in Champaign. Dingman later died from the drugs at his home in Bloomington.
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in Chicago has refused to toss a lawsuit accusing an Illinois investigator of violating privacy rights of two patients by seizing their files from their psychotherapist. Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo's ruling stemmed from a suit brought by the patients. They were patients of a psychotherapist who gives court-ordered counseling after convictions of alcohol-related driving offenses. The DuPage County State's Attorney's Office investigator was looking into whether the psychotherapist properly accounted for such sessions.The suit says the investigator should have only taken business records, not patient files.
(Undated--jc) --The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has remained the same since 2009. Since then, 29 states and the District of Columbia have set minimum wages above the federal level. Twenty states have minimum wage increases taking effect around the start of the new year. California goes up to 12 dollars an hour, Washington state also goes to 12 dollars per hour. Rhode Island goes to 10-50 and Ohio jumps to 8-55. Illinois’s rate remains at 8-25 with the start of the new year.
(Urbana--jc) --Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a male subject who has died from injuries he received during a shooting incident early Sunday morning in Urbana. Thirty-year-old Renese D. Riley was pronounced dead just after 3 Sunday morning in the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department. An autopsy is scheduled for today at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility. An inquest may be held at a later date. This death is under investigation by the Urbana Police Department, the Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police Crime Scene Services.
(Gibson City--jc) -- Fundraising for the 20-19 Ford County Relay for Life event set for August, continues. A euchre party for the Chic Meredith Relay for Life team is set for Friday January 18th, at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City. There is a 10 dollar entry fee. Snacks and water will be provided. To sign up, you may call 217-784-5267.
(Rantoul--jc) A business in the downtown area of Rantoul has received a facelift. Falling debris from a close by property caused damage to the building that houses, A House of Flowers by Paula in downtown Rantoul. A microloan of 10 thousand dollars was approved earlier this month. The money was used to repair the property and will be repaid back to the village over a 5 year period. The building had over 30 thousand dollars in damages. The project will help bring several more jobs to the downtown area.
(Coles County--jc) A Coles County man faces two to five years in prison after being arrested for a bomb threat at the Mattoon Wal-Mart. 49 year old James Brigham was arrested on Friday. He faces a charge of disorderly conduct. Investigators say Brigham called the Mattoon Walmart on a cell phone and said there was a bomb with the building. .
DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a body found inside a central Illinois home more than 14 hours after it was destroyed by fire was that of a 67-year-old woman who lived there.The Macon County Coroner's Office says the preliminary cause of death for Bertha Harden was carbon monoxide inhalation from the smoke and soot generated by Friday's fire in Decatur. An autopsy performed Saturday found no signs of foul play. Officials say the fire's cause remained under investigation.
DETROIT (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has rejected Michigan's offer of $8 million to support a project to keep invasive carp from establishing themselves in the Great Lakes, saying the money wouldn't be useful for at least 10 years.
Rauner said in a letter to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder that the offer to support operations at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois, wouldn't help until after an upgrade there is completed in 10 years.Experts consider the area a good location to block movement of Asian carp, which have infested the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Scientists warn that if the voracious fish become established in the Great Lakes, they could ruin native species and harm the region's $7 billion fishing industry.