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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-01

Frigid Temperatures Continue Today

(Ashkum--jc)  - State Police District 21 troopers, based in Ashkum,  were very busy on the coldest day in recent memory on Wednesday.  From midnight to around 4pm yesterday, district 21 troopers assisted over 100 motorists. State police officials continue to remind motorists to stay off roads when they can during severe weather episodes. State police continue to perform increased patrol sweeps searching for broke down vehicles throughout the area.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Some business advocates now resigned to the likelihood that Illinois will soon adopt a $15-an-hour minimum wage are urging legislators to at least make it a tiered approach based on geography. They say that would recognize vast cost-of-living differences between Chicago and downstate areas. New Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signaled he wants to sign a minimum wage law by late February.


( Springfield--jc)  -- The new head of the Illinois Department of Agriculture is discussing some of the big issues facing the agency. Acting Director John Sullivan says growing industrial hemp could give producers some options…



Illinois Department of Agriculture Acting Director John Sullivan


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Democrats have jumped to the defense of some Obama-era federal education rules they say are under attack by President Donald Trump’s Administration.The proposed rule changes introduced last fall would bring about changes that the Department of Education says will make harassment complaints more transparent, consistent and reliable in their processes and outcomes.Of the most significant changes is the allowance for cross-examination of an accuser by a lawyer representing the accused, something supporters say would stem the tide of large court settlements by universities for wrongfully punishing a student.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says Illinoisans need to take the frigid weather conditions very seriously. The governor says the numbers  are warmer this morning but the air temperature is minus 10 now...



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Paxton--ab) The extremely cold wind chills and temperatures can lead to some major consequences for your body says local Paxton Clinic Doctor Richard Foellner.



Paxton Clinic Doctor. Richard Foellner



(Washington DC--ab) Producers eligible for disaster assistance under several Farm Service Agency programs now have more time to sign-up. Rod Bain has the report.




(Chicago--jc)  -- Type "Chicago corruption" into's search engine and expect to find pages and pages of book listings.If the online retailer were a big box store, it'd need an entire department of shelves to hold all the available items about the topic.The point?That's why the recent bombshell headlines from Chicago City Hall in recent weeks should come as no surprise.The federal government charged longtime Alderman Edward Burke with using his powerful elected position to strong-arm a local businessman into using his private law firm for property tax matters.The feds also have enough on Alderman Daniel Solis to have prompted him to agree to wear a wire during conversations with his colleagues in attempts to nail more corrupt politicians.And this week we found out that the FBI has a secret recording of a conversation between Solis, a developer who wanted political help on a hotel project, and powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Madigan has not been charged with a crime and, through his attorney, says he is not under investigation. At least not as far as he knows.




(Rantoul--ab) The Midwest Ag Expo began on Wednesday and continues today at Gordyville U S A near Gifford. There was something new at one booth at this years show. The innovation has nothing to do with machinery itself but the farmer. Lowman-Ray  Insurance agent Todd Harris has a new line of Health Insurance for Farmers is available...


Lowman Ray Insurance Agent Todd Harris

The Midwest Ag Expo Continues today from 8-30 til 3 at Gordyville USA near Gifford



(Bloomington--jc) --  Bloomington police are continuing to investigate a train versus parked car accident from late Tuesday night. The accident happened just northeast of Allin and Grove Streets. Police say the car was unoccupied. No one was injured


(Springfield--jc)  A suburban Republican is trying to gather support for a bill that would prohibit new lawmakers from participating in a state pension system that he says is too expensive for taxpayers. State Representative David McSweeney a Republican from Barrington Hills, introduced House Bill 293, which would make lawmakers elected or appointed after November 2020 ineligible for the General Assembly Retirement System. McSweeney has opted out of the system. Currently, the General Assembly Retirement System is only 15 percent funded, which is the worst funding ratio of the states 5 pension systems.



(Springfield--ab) The state’s public health veterinarian says pet’s need to stay inside during the extreme cold.  While some dogs love winter…temperatures this low can be harmful to even the hardiest of breeds says Doctor Connie Austin…



State Public Health Veterinarian Doctor Connie Austin



(Washington--ab) Employees of USDA's Statistics Service are working hard to make up for the delays in publishing reports that were put on hold due to partial government shutdown. Gary Crawford reports...




(Springfield--jc)  --A set of legislative rules that gives a five-member committee in the Democrat-controlled Illinois House broad authority to decide how legislation moves through the statehouse has frustrated not only Republican lawmakers, but also Illinois residents who want to change things. When lawmakers come back next week, the House will have rules that Republicans have said prevent taxpayers from getting legislation they want. The Democratic supermajority under House Speaker Michael Madigan’s leadership passed rules this week without Republican support, 20 days after being sworn in.  The Senate passed its rules when new members were sworn in Jan. 9.After this week’s vote in the House, state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, said that as the chairman of the Revenue and Finance Committee, he’ll have an open door to everyone. He dismissed the rule changes Republicans had sought.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- An event that was set for Martin Luther King Junior Day will now be celebrated during Black History month in the village of Rantoul. Weather postponed the event sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Rantoul. The new date is Saturday February 9th at 2pm at J W Eater Junior High School in the village.



(Paxton--jc) -- Add breakfast burritos and calzones to one Paxton business. Mareci’s Bakery is expanding from scones, donuts and cookies to breakfast and lunches. The business is located along Route 9  in Paxton. The business hours are also expanding from 6-30 am to 7pm during the week and 7am to 3pm on Saturdays.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The 31st annual toy show sponsored by the Paxton Buckley Loda F F A is set for Saturday at the high school in Paxton. PBL F F A member and event Spokesperson Mikayla Jones says to make sure to find the hall of jackets..



PBL FFA Member and Toy Show Spokesperson Mikayla Jones.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Police is urging motorist to continued to be prepared for extreme temperatures and winter weather. State Police Acting Director  Brendan Kelly says more than 300 troopers are out on the roads, ready to assist motorists in harms way…



Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly



(Gifford --jc)  -- The 2019 Midwest Ag Expo continues today at Gordyville USA just west of Gifford along US Route 136. The event is dubbed as “everything agriculture. The event runs from 8-30 this morning to 3 this afternoon. Day one of the event saw a large crowd despite the frigid cold temperatures. The event is free to attend, free parking too. One booth to stop by is Illiana Insulation at this years expo. The current cold weather reminds homeowners to check their insulation. Illiana Insulation Owner Sam Stoller talks about a process to keep homes warm…



Illiana Insulation of Cissna Park Owner Sam Stoller

Today is the second day of the Midwest Ag Expo at Gordyville USA near Gifford.



(Potomac--jc)  -- A carnival is set for tomorrow at one area grade school. The Potomac P-T-O is hosting its 6th annual event from 5-30 til 8 tomorrow night at the grade school. Games for kids, raffles, food and “The Strongman” hi-light the event. The public is invited to the fundraiser that supports efforts by the local parent-teacher-organization.


Today's Temperatures Have the Potential to be Historic

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued a disaster proclamation ahead of forecast double-digit subzero temperatures in Illinois, calling the weather "potentially historic."...


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The National Weather Service says the frigid weather is life threatening and temperature records going back to the late 1800s could fall.



(Rantoul--ab) The extreme cold has closed schools and businesses and lots of events today. Some people still are heading to work today. For those working or traveling,  Rantoul Police Department Lieutenant Justin Bouse says you should keep vital supplies in the car...



Rantoul Police Department Lieutenant Justin Bouse



(Rantoul--ab) The Cold weather can wreak havoc on a residents water pipes if not careful. Rantoul Public Works Departments Jake McCoy says there are remedies, should your pipes freeze...



Rantoul Public Works Departments Jake McCoy



(Ford County--jc)  Bond was set at 20 thousand dollars for a Ford County woman accused of stealing a vehicle owned by a doctor at Gibson Area Hospital.  A car was stolen at the hospital early Sunday. Police say they arrested 28 year old Kristy Miller of Gibson City on Monday. A conviction on the Class 2 felony carries a sentence of probation to 7 years in prison.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Fire Department officials say a cigarette could be the cause of a fire at the Rantoul Wal-Mart on Tuesday morning. Rantoul Firefighters along with help from the Thomasboro firefighters, were called to the Rantoul Wal-Mart just before 8 Tuesday morning. Several cardboard boxes were on fire. Officials say there was nothing malicious about the blaze. The building was not damaged and the property damage was limited to the boxes and pallets.


(Paxton--ab) The human body is one of the last things people think about when dealing with cold temperatures. Its always the car, the home, the furnace that  seem to come first. Paxton Clinic Doctor Richard Foellner says no skin should be exposed in these cold temperatures we have today into Thursday....




He says the key to thawing out frostbite is to make sure the person is in continuous warmth to take care of the frostbite...



Paxton Clinic Doctor Richard Foellner



CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago newspaper is reporting that a federal affidavit says the FBI secretly recorded Illinois' powerful House speaker in 2014 discussing a hotel development project. Tuesday's Chicago Sun-Times' report on Michael Madigan suggests a federal investigation may cast a wider net than first thought after it led to a charge earlier this month against another Chicago alderman, Ed Burke. A Madigan lawyer denied any wrongdoing and said they have no indication Madigan is under investigation.




(Paxton--jc)  Warming Centers are being opened in places like Kankakee, Danville and Champaign Urbana. In the Ford County city of Paxton the local E-M-A is putting its office space for use as a warming center. The center is open now through Thursday morning at 8 says Paxton E-M-A Director Ed Hanson…


Paxton E-M-A Director Ed Hanson


(Iroquois County--jc) In Iroquois County, for local residents whose homes cannot keep up with the cold temperatures, the following warming centers are opening:

Watseka Public Library  Watseka. Today, & Thursday, 10 AM- 2pm  

Trinity Church  Watseka. Today & Thursday, 9 AM to 5 PM.

Crescent City Community Center today, Thursday, 7 AM to 9 PM.  

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Gilman. To, & Thursday, 8 AM to 5 PM.

Church of Christ in Martinton. Now through Friday morning, 24/7.  

United Methodist Church in Loda. today & Thursday, 10 AM to 5 PM.  

Milford Christian Church  in Milford. Today & Thursday, 7 AM to 7 PM.

Creekside Community Center in Cissna Park. Today & Thursday, 4:30 AM to 9 PM.

These warming shelters are open to anyone who needs a place to get warm.


(Undated--jc)  -- Winter's sharpest bite in years moved past painful into life-threatening territory yesterday with worse conditions this morning. Local city and town officials, school leaders and businesses are closing their doors today. Some businesses are open to help to deal with the cold and groceries. The Midwest Ag Expo is going on today and WPXN will be broadcasting live this morning and afternoon at the two day event at Gordyville USA near Gifford. Warming Centers are available throughout the WPXN listening area. Head to our facebook page or wpxnradio-dot-com for more information.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The bitter weather striking much of the Midwest this week isn't stopping one of America's most formidable endurance tests. The Arrowhead 135 is going on as scheduled in Minnesota. It's a 135-mile race that competitors cover by bicycle, cross-country skis or on foot. Race director Ken Krueger says this is one of the top three coldest years in the race's 15-year history. But he says the people who enter "want a hard race."



(Springfield--jc)  A freshman Illinois lawmaker wants to allow public schools to publicly display the motto “In God We Trust,” something church-state separation advocates say alienates nonreligious students.One of the first bills Louisville Republican state Representative Darrin Bailey filed after taking office was House Bill 341, which says a school board can allow the national motto “In God We Trust” to be conspicuously posted on school grounds. Bailey says the current political climate shows a need for a return to Christian principles.


(Washington--jc)  What are the weather dangers for winter wheat? Stephanie Ho has the story…



(Paxton--ab) The furnace is another key appliance to the home in these below zero wind chills. Dogtown Heating and Cooling of Paxton’s  Jeremy Kopmann says the key is to leave it on at a steady temperature...



Dogtown Heating and Cooling of Paxton’s Jeremy Kopmann


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County meeting set to discuss windmills and windfarms is being delayed by one day. The Ford County Zoning committee was scheduled to meet Thursday morning at 9 at the courthouse in Paxton. That Meeting is not on Friday at 9am. The public is invited to the meeting.



(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois lawmakers accidentally left a requirement for a minimum number of hours in the classroom out of last year's education overhaul and now Democrats and teachers unions are racing to put it back.Illinois school kids are required to be in school for 176 days. But, because of an oversight in last year's education reforms, there's no set number of hours for those days.Some schools are using the new-found flexibility to let students learn from home on snow days or enroll in an apprenticeship.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Predicted severe weather conditions have forced the Illinois House to cancel sessions the rest of the week. The House met Tuesday and adopted rules for the 101st General Assembly and adopted plans to receive Governor  J.B. Pritzker's budget plans in an address scheduled for next month. The House calendar called for sessions on today and Thursday



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says state employees will be placed on the correct step of the state pay plan on April 1. The reinstatement of long-postponed, experience-based salary increases is expected to affect about 20,000 state workers represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Step increases, required by state law, are paid to employees in their first eight to 10 years who, as a savings to state government, start at below-market rates.




Illinois is Bracing for Life Threatening Wind Chills

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is bracing itself for record-low subzero temperatures and wind chills that the National Weather Service calls "possibly life threatening." The frigid weather is expected Today through Thursday and comes after a winter storm brought more than 5 inches of snow to northern Illinois on Monday. Chicago's airports canceled more than 1,100 flights Monday with more delays expected today. The weather service issued a wind chill warning for the entire area. Forecasters say the Rockford area could get colder than the record low minus 27 on Wednesday. Chicago looks a few degrees above the all-time record of minus 27 but the forecast high of minus 14 on Wednesday could beat the record coldest high of minus 11. Wind chills could dip to 55 below.



(Undated--jc)  With the pending snow and dangerously cold temperatures coming on Today and into Thursday, several businesses and county offices will be closed.

Iroquois County officials say the Iroquois County courthouse and the Clifford Bury Administrative Center in Watseka will be closed Wednesday and Thursday.


In Ford County, Circuit Judge Matt Fitton has postponed all judicial cases that were scheduled for court on Tuesday and Wednesday. The parties involved will be given the proper notice on the new court dates.


In Champaign County,  The Brookens Center, Champaign County Courthouse and the Sheriff’s offices will all be closed on Wednesday with the dangerously cold temperatures.


In McLean County,  the law and justice center is closed. A water main break in the area also closed the McLean County courthouse.  Court cases also postponed for today. Those with pending cases will be notified on the rescheduled court dates.


A reminder from WPXN news to check first if your event is still scheduled before you head out over the next several days. Keep it tuned to WPXN for the latest information on the weather, local events and other local information.



(Iroquois County--jc)  Warming Centers will be open in Iroquois County starting today and open through Thursday. They include…

 Watseka Public Library at 201 South 4th Street in Watseka.  10 AM to 6 PM.


Trinity Church at 1658 East Walnut Street in Watseka. , 9 AM to 5 PM.


Crescent City Community Center at 301 Main Street. 7 AM to 9 PM.  


St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 116 North Thomas Street in Gilman. 8 AM to 5 PM.  

Church of Christ at 103 South Street in Martinton. Tuesday evening through Friday morning, 24/7.


These warming shelters are open to anyone who needs a place to stay warm. They are not providing food, cots, or snacks.



(Rantoul--ab) Winter weather brings additional issues. Frozen pipes are a huge concern during Winter and the extreme  cold brings more issues for pipes in homes and businesses. Rantoul Public Works Department Official Jake McCoy talks about some common sense tips to keep pipes working during cold weather...



Rantoul Public Works Department Official Jake McCoy


(Illinois--ba) Since 2007 corn ethanol production has doubled and there was also a sharp upturn in corn prices. Does that mean more acres  and then a reduction in grasslands and forests. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story...




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois woman has been charged with endangering the life and health of a child for allegedly being intoxicated while working at a day care. Regina L. Spencer was working at a Springfield infant care facility last week when a woman picking up her son witnessed Spencer fall to the ground. Spencer was holding an infant at the time. According to a police report, paramedics and police were called. The State Journal-Register reports it was originally believed the 52-year-old Spencer suffered a low blood-sugar episode. It was later determined Spencer was intoxicated.Officers reported noticing 1 1/2 empty bottles of wine at the day care and smelled alcohol on her breath.



The Agriculture Secretary says USDA worked as much as possible during the recent government shutdown to start planning for implementation of a new Farm Bill.  Rod Bain reports..





(Springfield--jc)  53rd District State Senator  Jason Barickman of Bloomington has officially been tapped to continue his role as the lead Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with being assigned to once again serve on the Executive and Education Committees.


The Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency would like to caution residents concerning the impending extreme cold temperatures. Starting Tuesday and lasting through Friday morning, temperatures will be life-threateningly cold. According to the National Weather Service, Iroquois County is in a wind chill warning, with factors reaching as low as -47 degrees F. Temperatures this cold can lead to rapid frostbite and hypothermia. People need to dress appropriately, wearing layers with coats and covering exposed skin, as well bringing pets inside. If you do not need to go out, stay at home, and check on your neighbors. Those intending on driving their vehicles need to check their battery, coolant, and tires, as well as have jumper cables and extra clothing and blankets in the car. Residents should also check their homes for safety, such as furnace units, chimneys, water pipes, and ensuring fire and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning. Heating homes with gas space heaters, grills, or ovens is not safe, and can lead to house fires and deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.



(Illinois--ba) Some roads will still be slick at the the temperatures drop. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has driving tips to help you prepare for the winter season.




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois legislators are reviving bills that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.  Democratic Senators Julie Morrison and Michael Hastings are sponsoring the Senate bill, while Democratic Representatives Camille Lilly and Sonya Harper are sponsoring the House bill. Governor  J.B. Pritzker's spokeswoman says he "looks forward to reviewing the legislation." Measures to increase the legal age from 18 passed both chambers last year, but were vetoed. More than 30 Illinois communities have enacted Tobacco 21 ordinances, including Arlington Heights, Lake Zurich and Park Ridge. Morrison says that shows lawmakers that communities want such legislation in place.



(Rantoul--ab) “What should I pack” is a common refrain for those travelling in these frigid temperatures. Rantoul Police Lt. Justin Bouse gives a good headstart list to prepare.



Rantoul Police Lieutenant Justin Bouse



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Revenue says the state's tax filing season is underway.The agency begins accepting 2018 state individual income tax returns on Monday. It's the same day the Internal Revenue Service starts accepting federal income tax returns.The state revenue department says the fastest, most secure way to file tax returns and receive refunds is to file online and request direct deposits into checking or savings accounts. The Illinois agency says it's continuing to focus on identity theft and fraud prevention this tax year. Last year its efforts prevented more than $66 million in refund fraud. Illinois officials anticipate direct deposit refunds will be issued about four weeks from the time an error-free electronically filed tax return is submitted.


DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — Northern Illinois University has a new enrollment plan that aims to have 18,000 students by fall 2023. N-I-U President Lisa Freeman wants to stem years of enrollment decline. N-I-U enrollment peaked during the 2007-2008 school year at 25,000 students but since then enrollment has declined 30 percent to about 17,100 students. The plans includes ways to expand online course enrollment and diversify the student population. Those steps include new recruitment and branding efforts, identifying more financial aid initiatives and improving the equity gap for students from diverse backgrounds. One goal is to increase the percentage of Hispanic students from 19 percent of the undergraduate population to at least 25 percent by 2023.


(Springfield--jc)  The state is reminding that help is available to those struggling to pay their winter heating bills. In updating our story from yesterday, households that meet certain income guidelines are eligible for assistance through the low-income home energy assistance program says program spokesperson Deidre Coughlin…



LI-HEAP Spokesperson Deidre Coughlin.

LI-HEAP can also help families that have had their heat disconnected. More information is found on-line at LI-HEAP Illinois-Dot-Gov.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Fairgrounds Coliseum has a new name and is expected to reopen for this year's fair after being closed for repairs and renovations. The facility that's home to horse shows and other events is now known as the Coliseum of Champions.The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation held a naming contest that was open to members of Illinois 4-H, FFA and the Junior Horseman's Council. The winning entry was submitted by Emma Eathington of the Fairview Huskies 4-H, Elaina Kessler of the Clay City FFA and Kylie Neisler of Country Roots 4-H Club of Montgomery County. The coliseum was built in 1901. It was closed in 2016 when engineers determined it was structurally unsafe and it hasn't been used for the past two state fairs.


2 Ford County Men Plead Guilty to Attacks on Minnesota Mosque and Champaign Clinic

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Muslim leader in Minnesota is calling for life in prison for two men who admitted to bombing a mosque in 2017. Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court. Their pipe bomb damaged the Dar al-Farooq mosque in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington but did not hurt anyone. Jaylani Hussein is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota. He sys life sentences are necessary to send a message that such acts won't be tolerated. McWhorter and Morris are from the Ford County town of Clarence.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a male subject involved in a shooting early Thursday morning in the 800 block of Fairoaks Drive in Champaign, Illinois. Dehrone M. Hobbs, age 38, of Champaign, Illinois was pronounced dead at 5:44AM in the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department. Mr. Hobbs died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds he received during this incident. An autopsy is scheduled for this afternoon at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility. An inquest may be held at a later date. This death is under investigation by the Coroner’s Office and the Champaign Police Department.



The David Davis Mansion State Historic site in Bloomington will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 210th Birthday on February 9th with a meet and greet with President Lincoln himself. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



(Champaign--ab) Homelessness is a problem that seems so far away in the big cities of Chicago, St. Louis or Indianapolis, but its a problem affecting those close to home in Champaign-Urbana.  One Winter's night is a project on the first february to fundraise and raise awareness of the problem of homelessness. Rob Dalhaus executive director of C-U- At home gives an introduction of the event



Rob Dalhaus executive director of C-U- At home


(Buckley--ab) A free federal crop insurance meeting is set for a Southern Iroquois County High School later this morning. The event, which includes a free meal, takes place at Buckley Christ Lutheran high school at 11-30.  Larry Abbe of Abbe Insurance and Diversified Insurance says information given is essential to farm planning for the year...



Abbe Insurance, Diversified Insurance Owner Larry Abbe. More information is found by calling Abbe Insurance in Buckley at 217-394-2243.


(Champaign--jc)  Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is reporting a local case of measles. Local Health Department officials say exposure to the fast moving disease happened at various locations in mid-January. They included January 12 and 13th at Texas Roadhouse in Champaign, also on January 14th on the University of Illinois campus at the Psych building, Mumford Hall and David Kinley Hall. Other exposure sites were on the 17 and 18th at the McKinley Health Center and Saturday January 19th at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Measles spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is so contagious that if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around him or her will also become infected if they are not protected..



(Chatsworth--jc)  It’s a showcase of businesses around the Chatsworth area on Saturday. The expo is set 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  at three different venues in downtown Chatsworth. The locations include, the Central Illinois Connection Center, the American Legion Hall and Bluebird Hall. Those attending will enjoy items from area restaurants to home based businesses and construction businesses.


(Undated--jc)  -- Yes its cold outside. So cold that, Public Health Department officials, Illinois State Police and school leaders remind the public to bundle up. Other weather tips include to have an emergency kit in your vehicle and your home. Make sure to keep in contact with those traveling to work or other destinations and look in on your elderly neighbor. The wind chills are in the negative teens to negative 23 degrees throughout the WPXN listening area.


(Springfield--jc) --  Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker says a new executive order will help protect immigrants and refugees in Illinois.  The order requires the Illinois Department of Human Services to expand access to welcoming centers and to also provide more information about state programs  Governor Pritzker says Illinois needs to support immigrant families…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

One in 6 workers in Illinois is an immigrant.



(Champaign--ba)  Community college students interested in science are invited to conduct research as part of a paid 10-week biology research program at Parkland College and the University of Illinois. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the details.




(Buckley--jc)  A lunch fundraiser for Christian Education is set for one Iroquois County school. The spaghetti lunch is set for February 3 at Buckley based Christ Lutheran High School says school Executive Director Sandy Spitz…



C-L-H-S Executive Director Sandy Spitz   The cost for the meal is a free will donation for Christ Lutheran High School of Buckley.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Governor J.B. Pritzker is asking the Illinois Supreme Court for more time to consider legal options on his predecessor's claim that negotiations with the state's largest public employee union are at a stalemate. The Democrat's lawyers asked the court Thursday for a 90-day deadline extension to seek an appeal of a lower court ruling that went against former Governor Bruce Rauner. An appeal is unlikely. Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh (ah-boo-DAY'-uh) says that Pritzker's " priority is to return to the bargaining table.." Rauner broke off contract talks with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 two years ago. He said talks were at an inextricable "impasse".



(Rantoul--jc) --  Rantoul officials says an underground electrical area on the village’s west side was the reason that some homes and businesses lost power on Wednesday morning. In updating our story, the area in question was different that the power outage earlier in the month. This area is in support of a construction project for the New Shields Autocenter in Rantoul. Rantoul Electric Department personnel were on the scene for several hours to correct the problem.



(Springfield--jc)---  Illinois has one of the highest levels of childhood lead poisoning in the country and in an effort to combat the problem, the state is lowering the level of lead in blood that requires public health intervention. New rules from the Illinois Department of Public Health cut those levels by half, which is in line with standards set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The changes are designed to get help to those who need it earlier says Deanna Durica, director of the Cook County Health Department's Lead poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Unit. The rules now allow public health interventions for children with blood lead levels of 5 micrograms per deciliter. The previous limit that triggered intervention was 10 micrograms per deciliter.


(Paxton--jc)  -- One local restaurant is hosting a brew contest. The Harvest Ale House in downtown Paxton features a wide variety of micro-brews as choices. The local eatery has created a new flavor of beer and is looking for a new name. The beer is a cream ale and with a biscuity malt backbone. You can enter the contest on line and the winner of the contest gets  a 50 dollar gift certificate to the Harvest Ale House. The contest runs through February 3rd and a winner will be announced February 4th.


(Watseka--jc)  -- It was a site to see in Watseka on Thursday afternoon. Local and

Illinois State Police  helped an oversized semi load through the Iroquois County city.  The twelve sets of double tires on each side help carry the steel cargo load safety through the city on its ways to a construction site.


Illinois State Officials Offering $100 Million in Low-Interest or Interest-Free Loans to Federal Workers Going Without Paychecks

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state officials are offering $100 million in low-interest or interest-free loans to federal workers going without paychecks during a record 33-day government shutdown. State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says the state treasury would put money in local banks that agree to offer the loans..


Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs

The government is partially shut down because of Republican President Donald Trump's disagreement with Democrats on Capitol Hill over U.S.-Mexico border security.


(Rantoul--ab) Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive director Belynda Allen is searching all throughout the area for businesses to join the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce. Allen says there are  numerous reasons for a business to join the local chamber...



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive director Belynda Allen



(Springfield--jc)  -- Those who accuse a lawmaker of wrongdoing have few rights in Springfield, but a new bill would change that, giving accusers insight into what has been an opaque process.When anti-violence advocate Denise Rotheimer filed a complaint of sexual harassment against Illinois State Senator Ira Silverstein, she quickly learned that blowing the whistle in Springfield was different than filing a harassment complaint in the private sector. In terms of an ethics complaint under the dome, there is no such thing as a complainant, meaning they have little to no rights. The new legislation aims to change that. She says the law as it stands allows too much discretion.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College students and area residents who have not completed their Parkland College degree and/or certificate are invited to a special event Wednesday February  20th . They can meet with an academic advisor to see what courses are needed to finish their degree. Degree Completion Day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Parkland's Student Union.



(Rantoul--jc) A portion of Rantoul was without power Wednesday morning. The area did include the Super Walmart store area of the villages west side. Rantoul Electric Department officials say crews were on the scene for about two hours, Most homes and businesses effect were back with power within an hour.



DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in central Illinois are attempting to determine the cause of death of two people whose bodies were found in an auto repair shop.Macon County Coroner Michael E. Day says 34-year-old Beau W. Ford and 30-year-old Jacinda M. Jiles were found dead Saturday in the back room of the shop in Decatur.Day says in a statement that autopsies were carried out on both bodies the same day they were discovered and there was "no injury and no trauma detected in either person." He added the cause of the deaths were undetermined pending completion of toxicology testing.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Elections has voted to end the state's participation in a multistate voter registration system. Board spokesman Matt Dietrich said Wednesday that the board voted 8-0 Tuesday to withdraw from the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. Eight other states have left the program due to security risks and data reliability concerns.


(Gibson City--jc)  Country Financial and the Illinois Farm Bureau  have set up a crop insurance meeting on Monday in Gibson City. The  winter crop meeting for local farmers across Illinois, starts at 7-30 Monday morning at  Railside Golf Club, on Gibson City’s west side. Presentations with Doug Yoder, Country Financial crop agency manager hilite the meeting.   Country Financial’s Operations Manager Brad Clow will talk aon crop insurance and crop claims updates More information is found by calling Guy Percy at 217-784-8280 or Pete Hornstein at 815-265-4751.



(Fisher--jc)  -- One young lady from Fisher has seen success on the pageant state. 8 year old  Jordynn Huskisson just competed for her 4th crown in Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin over the weekend. She was judged on poise and presentation, interview and runway fun fashion. She won 2019 USA Miss Prairie State and is headed to Orlando Florida in July to compete for the USA National Scholarship pageant, there will be 300 plus girls there. Jordynn currently is active in the community with her own organization called Blankets of Hope where she makes tie blankets for children with cancer.  She was just selected to be featured in pageant Royalty Magazine to be featured as their Service queen for February. Huskisson is also a associated with the Paxton Market theatre.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state officials are offering $100 million in low-interest or interest-free loans to federal workers going without paychecks during a record 33-day government shutdown. Governor. J.B. Pritzker says the goal is to help federal employees during the government shutdown...



Illinois Governor  JB Pritzker

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs says his office will place the money in local banks that are participating with the program.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The tax filing season begins on Monday. Despite the federal government shutdown, you can start filing both your state and federal taxes on Monday January 28th Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman says state officials urge taxpayers to e-file…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County board is set to meet  tonight to talk more about wind farms and their future in Ford County. Setbacks, tower height, flicker and noise are the topics that continue for local leaders.  The special meeting is set for 7pm at the Ford County Courthouse in Paxton.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Recently retired Republican State Senator Pam Althoff voted against medical marijuana back in 2009, but she voted for the idea just four years later, and she voted to make pot possession a civil fine in Illinois. She's now the head of the Illinois Cannabis Alliance. That's the trade group that focuses on Illinois' medical marijuana industry. Althoff says the group should play a role as Illinois lawmakers look to move toward legal.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Supreme Court will decide if Chicago's food truck regulations, which require GPS tracking and prohibit parking near brick-and-mortar restaurants, are constitutional.Laura Pekarik, owner of LMP Service's Cupcakes for Courage, sued the city over the regulations in 2012, claiming the restrictions were unconstitutional because they only served to protect existing restaurant businesses.Pekarik's attorney, Robert Frommer of the Institute for Justice, told Illinois Supreme Court Justices in Springfield on Wednesday during oral arguments in the case that the city's regulations were designed to forestall competition, not to guard against congestion. Lower courts have twice sided with the city.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State officials are ordering a study of the Illinois Capitol dome after workers found small pieces of concrete fell from the inner portion of the outer dome. State officials say there's no emergency but there is evidence of leaking. The Illinois Secretary of State's office is in charge of the Capitol building. Office project manager Harl Ray says concrete pieces about the size of marbles were seen between the Capitol's inner and outer domes. He says the leakage is likely where the outer metal dome skin is bolted to concrete panels.


MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Frontier Airlines will offer direct flights from coastal Alabama to Chicago and Denver later this year.News outlets reported Frontier will offer the service from a new passenger terminal using the Downtown Mobile Airport.Service will begin May 1 with one-way fares as low as $39 for passengers heading to Chicago who reserve flights before midnight Wednesday.


EUREKA, Ill. (AP) — A sheriff says he's committed to getting a clock and bell working again atop an Illinois courthouse that was built in 1897.The clock tower and a one-ton bronze bell were added to the Woodford County courthouse in Eureka in 1906. But neither has worked reliably for about 10 years. Cincinnati based Verdin Clock,inspected the site and said a total rehab would cost about $46,000. Sheriff Matt Smith says the county has paid $12,000 as a partial down payment. He says he's hoping that businesses and residents make donations.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Supreme Court is hearing  arguments that rock quarries backfilled with demolition debris need groundwater monitoring to protect drinking water. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for today. State and Will County officials are protesting a decision by the Illinois Pollution Control Board that omitted groundwater checks in rules for disposing of so-called clean construction demolition debris. The idea is to divert "clean" concrete, brick and asphalt from scarce and expensive sanitary landfill space. The Pollution Control Board determined the material is safe for reclaiming dug-out quarries.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 7th. The annual event begins at 6pm at the Kruse Center with  a cocktail half hour. A catered meal and the announcement of the Citizen of the Year and Lifetime achievement awards will be announced. A comedian will also perform that night. The event is free for chamber members. The public can purchase tickets for twenty dollars.



(Undated--ab)  --- One weather system out and and one weather system is coming in. Make sure to be prepared again. WPXN’s Austin Burklund has the details…



Weather to go from Freezing Rain, to Rain, to sunshine and Back to Negative Temperatures and Snow for the Remainder of this Week

(Springfield--jc)  -- On the 46th anniversary of roe-v-wade…. Governor J-B Pritzker signed an executive order to make sure the state’s reproductive rights law is being followed. A law that went into effect last year expanded insurance coverage to state employees and medicaid recipients wanting an abortion. The order from Governor Pritzker requires the state to confirm group health insurance companies are following the law.



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The law also makes sure abortion laws remain intact in Illinois…regardless of what happens at the federal level


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois’ Republican contingent in the House of Representatives is pushing legislation that members say is Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s chance to show that he supports removing lawmakers from the process of drawing the state’s legislative districts, but some are skeptical.Led by Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Republicans are sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would establish a process for legislative map-drawing that they say is free from partisan influence.State Rep. Tim Butler said this is the new governor’s chance to follow up on his campaign promise to support fair maps.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Champaign County Crimestoppers is seeking information concerning a shooting that happened on Monday afternoon at the Red Fox Convenient Store on north Market Street in Champaign. Police believe the shooting was do to an argument between two people. A 20 year old man was taken to a local hospital. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477



(Undated--jc)  Winter is here, but farmers are already in the planning stages for Spring planting and the 20-19 crop year. Farm Credit Services Mark Jensen says trade tariffs to crops size and profit margins have affected the farm credit outlook…



Farm Credit Services CEO Mark Jensen



ORLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — In Northern Illinois, police say the suspect they are searching for in the fatal shooting of a teenager at a suburban Chicago mall is a 19-year-old acquaintance of the victim. In a news release today, Orland Park Police said they are searching for Jakharr Williams of University Park in the  shooting at Orland Square Mall. The attack Monday left 18-year-old Javon Britten of Richton Park dead and a bystander suffered a graze wound to the leg. Police say Williams should be considered armed and dangerous.


BLOOMINGTON — A Saybrook man asked a judge Tuesday to recommend him to the state's impact incarceration program, a request that could reduce his eight-year sentence for residential burglary to a several months 22 year old Derek Roesch, pleaded guilty to home invasion. Roesch and Jaclyn Jones broke into a home in Anchor with the intent to rob the homeowner. The pair initially faced home invasion, drug and weapons charges related to the June 4 incident. Judge Scott Drazewski told Roesch that the Illinois Department of Corrections will determine if he qualifies for the program.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County board is set to meet later this week to talk more about wind farms and their future in Ford County. Setbacks, tower height, flicker and noise are the topics that continue for local leaders.  The special meeting is set for 7pm Thursday at the Ford County Courthouse in Paxton.



BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The St. Clair County state's attorney is in line to become head of the Illinois State Police. The  Pritzker administration confirmed the nomination of Brendan Kelly. He'll need approval from the Illinois Senate. Kelly ran for Congress in November but lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Bost.  As a prosecutor, Kelly worked closely with state police on corruption investigations and drug cases. Kelly has been the St. Clair County prosecutor since 2010. He became a local resident in 1986 when his parents were stationed at Scott Air Force Base.



(Undated--jc)  -- Winter weather in Illinois will go from freezing rain, to rain, to sunshine and back to negative temperatures and snow for the remainder of this week. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign spokesperson Brian Kersher says to prepare for the changes…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign  Spokesperson Brian Kersher



One cancellation today is a crop insurance meeting at the Farm Bureau Building in Gilman. No make up date was provided.




(Paxton--jc)  -- With the current winter weather, there is time to get a new coach, and local officials want to make a hire soon. The Paxton Park District has started the process to hire a new Paxton Aquatic Wildcats Swim Team Coach. The person hired would take over for Alex Goudy. She retired from the position after last summer. Those interested in the position, are asked to contact the park district or go on line for job description information.


(Chicago--jc)  --Illinois Congressman Bill Foster said he plans to renew his push to get the federal government to put more money into state roads because Illinois and other high-population states contribute more revenue.  With talk of massive infrastructure spending plans at both the state and federal level, Naperville Democrat Bill Foster said Illinois is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to how much the state pays into the federal government compared to what it gets in government spending. Foster says the state loses between $20 and $40 billion every year because Illinois pays a lot more taxes than we get back in federal spending.


(Farmer City-jc) -- One community and school are set to honor a state police trooper fatally injured on the job. Ryan Albin Day was rescheduled for Saturday February 9th at Blue Ridge High School in Farmer City. The event is sponsored by the Illinois State Police and also features basketball games with the Blue Ridge Knights. The event starts at 1pm.



(Paxton--jc)  One local car dealer is celebrating an anniversary. Shields AutoMart in Paxton is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Dealership has just received their 25 year Chevrolet dealer award. Rick Shields, Pete Klein and the entire staff look forward to another 25 years serving the area.


(Springfield--jc)  --Lawmakers in Illinois are barely getting a passing grade from the Center for Racial and Gender Equity, but one lawmaker dismisses the criticism as misguided. The Chicago-based group says its goal is to “advance a radical vision for liberation, through leadership development and political engagement.”A report the group released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, called “Racial Justice Scorecard,” looks at the 100th General Assembly and gave the legislature an overall "D" grade. It looked at various bills it put in categories like criminal justice reform, police accountability, workers' rights, equitable economic opportunity and direct democracy.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County Church is hosting a paint party on Sunday. The First United Methodist Church is Gibson City has set the event for 1pm and will feature local high school art teacher Casey McCullough. Those attending will be painting and the cost for kids is 10 dollars and the cost for adults is 20 dollars. More information is found by calling the church office.


Balancing the Sate Budget will Take a lot of Work in the Spring Session

BENTON, Ill. (AP) — The chief federal judge for Southern Illinois says if a partial government shutdown continues past early February the court may run out of money to pay jurors and employees and may place a moratorium on civil trials. Chief Judge Michael Reagan of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Illinois says a lapse in funding could undermine the judicial system. Reagan says the court's roughly 100 employees have been getting paid but if the shutdown continues they'll receive one week's salary in their Feb. 8 paycheck rather than two. After that they won't receive a salary until the government fully reopens.


ROUND LAKE PARK, Ill. (AP) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a northern Illinois man who police say allowed an 11-year-old relative to drive herself to school in a stolen rental car while he rode along. Employees at a Round Lake Park elementary school saw the girl pull up to the school's drop-off point Jan. 9.She and a 9-year-old girl who was in the back seat exited the car. Police say 31-year-old Khafilu Oshodi of Round Lake then moved into the driver's seat and drove away.Oshodi is wanted on two counts of child endangerment and driving with a suspended license.Police Chief George Filenko says the drop-off area is very busy and the incident could've "resulted in any number of tragic scenarios" if the child lost control.



(St Joseph--jc)  How about a paint ball park. That is one agenda item for the St Joseph village board when they meet tonight. St Joe leaders will also hear a report on community park, look to approve this years board meeting schedule and also set a meeting day for St Joseph’s village goal setting meeting. Buying bases for the sports complex and obtaining  mosquito abatement materials are also on the agenda. The St Joseph board meets at 7 tonight.



(Rantoul-jc) Wanted, young beginner chess players. The Rantoul Public Library is hosting a chess tournament on February 23rd starting at 10am. The event is free for kids in grades 1 through 5. More information is found by contacting the Rantoul Public Library



(Chicago--jc)  -- New Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was a speaker at a Martin Luther King Junior event in Chicago yesterday morning. The governor says he has a do it now approach to expanding freedoms… 



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Paxton--jc)  -- A first-aid/CPR/AED certification class is set for  Saturday February 23, at the Paxton Civic Center in Paxton. The first-aid class  starts at 10-30 that morning with the C-P-R and A-E-D class beginning at 1pm. Cost for both classes is 25 dollars each. If one gets into both classes the cost is 40 dollars. Call the Paxton Park District for more information.



Gibson City, IL, January 21, 2019– The whirlwind of the holidays is over. The tree is down and the decorations are put away for another year.  It’s time to put your feet up and let out a sigh of relief to release all the tension of the holiday blur. So, why do you feel so blue? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just don’t feel like yourself. Many people experience blues after the holiday rush. The blues during the cold, daylight-shortened January days can be related to post holiday “letdown” or even seasonal affective disorder. The National Institute of Mental Health describes seasonal affective disorder as “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. The sadness is presumably linked to a lack of sunlight; however, the exact cause is unclear.



(Paxton--jc) The Paxton Grand Ole Flag project continues to gain momentum. Organizer Denny Kingren has been meeting with city leaders, Paxton Buckley Loda School officials and a group of volunteers to see how the project can succeed. At issue is placing a giant flag on Paxton’s west side near Interstate 57 and near P-B-L High School. Denny Kingren says the flag that is proposed will make it seen by passers by on the Interstate and also visable to those in the city…



Paxton Grand Ole Flag Project Organizer Denny Kingren.



(Melvin--jc)  -- One Ford County church is celebrating its 150th birthday in mid-February. The Melvin First United Methodist Church has a worship service set for 10-30 in the morning on Sunday February 17th. The Pastor Liz Reis is preaching. A chicken dinner will follow the anniversary services. Organizers would like those planning to attend to R-S-V-P for the meal by January 31st.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker is calling for an audit of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs to better protect those living in the states Veterans homes. After visiting a home in Manteno, the governor signed an executive order that requires the agency to produce a report within 120 days detailing procedures…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker


(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West school board members will look at the use of school fields for spring and summer soccer with the local soccer group when they meet tonight in monthly session. Boiler issues, approving the senior trip and a look at the school handbook are also agenda items. The Iroquois West School board meets at 7 tonight in Gilman.


(Springfield--jc) --  Legislators will be back next week to begin spring session and there’s a lot of work expected in balancing the state’s budget, but Democrats and Republicans are likely to continue to clash over taxes and regulations for businesses. Illinois is a good place to do business, but more can be done to help employees says one State Representative. Representative Will Guzzardi, Democrat from Chicago says state leaders have to make sure Illinois provides the proper climate for businesses and their employees. Guzzardi says helping Illinoisans success is the top priority for state leaders when they meet in Springfield this month.


(Buckley--jc)  -- Organizers with the St Johns’ School in Buckley are looking for donations for their annual carnival, chicken dinner and live and silent auction. The event is set for February 17th and donations are key to the success of the event says spokesperson Kari Stachura…



St Johns School Fundraiser spokesperson Kari Statchura.



(Paxton--jc)  The Illinois Sheriff’s Association will be giving away a total of 50 thousand dollars in scholarships this year. Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran has announced that his office is giving away a 500 dollar scholarship. Deadline for application is March 15th and more information is found online at i-l-sheriff-dot-org or by contacting the Ford County Sheriff’s department in Paxton.



(Springfield--jc)  More snow today, rising temperatures then more snow again this weekend. Get that emergency kit for your car and make sure to take extra time in travels during the times of snowfall and winds says Illinois Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark…



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A special counsel to former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says his administration reclassified thousands of state jobs that were once exempt from anti-patronage protections. Joe Hartzler says the Rauner administration likely made changes to 2,500 positions so an applicant's political loyalty and connections may no longer be considered during the hiring process. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1990 that political affiliations shouldn't play a role in most government jobs, but exemptions were created for some policy-making positions. Hartzler says reclassifying jobs means an outgoing administration can't saddle a succeeding administration with political appointees. The move follows controversy over hiring in the Illinois Department of Transportation under former Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn. An investigation found people with political connections were hired for jobs that shouldn't have been exempt from typical state hiring rules



(Paxton--jc) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Chapter is hosting its annual farm toy show on February Second. One part of the event is the jackets through the years area says P B L F F A Member Jade Miles…



PBL FFA Member and PBL Toy Show Spokesperson Jade Miles



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce officials are inviting you eat at local restaurants next week to celebrate Champaign County restaurant week. Chamber leaders say the village of Rantoul offers a wide variety of restaurants ranging from Butcher Boys Burgers and T K Cheesesteaks to restaurants that have been around for decades like Otts to new restaurants like E T’s in the downtown area. Champaign County restaurant week is January 25th through February 2nd.


Several Farm Service Agency Offices Will Reopen Temporarily This Week

(Washington--jc)  -- Several Farm Service Agency offices will reopen temporarily this week after being open two days last week.  Despite the partial government shutdown and the the F-S-A offices being close, Ag Secretary Sonny Purdue has called back some employees to open for several days. This is to help with loans from the agency for ag professionals. Among the offices open on Tuesday includes the Farm Service Agency office in Champaign. Tuesday will be the only scheduled open day for area F-S-A offices until the government shutdown is over.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is reviewing its policy on consensual relationships between students and faculty members after a law professor's study found the current policy to be lacking. Jamelle Sharpe characterized UI's policies as anti-nepotism rules rather than specifically addressing faculty-student relationships. He examined policies at 64 schools in the Big Ten and the Association of American Universities. Like many other schools, UI's policy focuses on conflicts of interest according to  Sharpe. More than 50 universities ban relationships between students and faculty members who supervise them, but Illinois' policy is unclear.UI's Student Code policy on faculty-student relationships focuses on sexual relationships and has ambiguous language that could cause enforcement inconsistencies. The university's Campus Administrative Manual also addresses faculty-student relationships, but only applies to students who are employees.


CHICAGO (AP) — The city of Chicago is inviting residents to weigh in on the lead architect and design for O'Hare Airport's new global terminal. The city unveiled renderings and models from five architecture finalists. The public is encouraged to view them online or the airport. People have until Wednesday to vote for their pick. The Chicago Department of Aviation said more than 10,000 votes had been submitted as of late Friday.It's the first time the city has included public feedback in a design competition at a Chicago airport.


Governor J-B Pritzker says more needs to be done to fight gun violence in Illinois. The governor just signed a gun dealer licensing law…but says other gun control measures are still needed.



Pritzker says he think lawmakers will tackle that issue during the spring session. He also wants to address assault weapons but says that might not get done this year.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Future Parkland College graduates will be able to place an additional credential on their college resumes before leaving with their degrees, without spending more to earn it.  The Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the school's new General Education Core Curriculum Certificate. It is incorporated into the credential the state's basic general education requirements for college freshmen and sophomores.


(Rantoul--jc) The date is Saturday February Second. The place is the Youth Center in Rantoul. The event is a father and daughter dance. The Rantoul Recreation Department is hosting the 3rd annual event. Along with dancing, refreshments and fun are also part of the event. There is a 5 dollar per person fee and those tickets will be available at the door on February 2nd.



(Undated--jc)  --Amtrak says it expects to have all of its trains back on a full schedule today after a weekend of cancellations and delays caused by the winter storm as it rolled through the Midwest and Northeast. Among the lines impacted were the Acela Express between Boston and Washington; Empire Service between New York and Buffalo; the Lake Shore Limited that travels between Chicago, New York and Boston; and Keystone Service between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Amtrak says travelers should continue to check on their train status on the Amtrak website or smartphone app before leaving for the station.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s 90th birthday anniversary today. Actor Reggie Guyton (GYE'-tun) will read King's "I Have a Dream" speech at 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. in the museum's main plaza. King originally delivered the oration at the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 civil rights March on Washington. The library and museum celebrates King's birthday each year by allowing free admission to community service nonprofits who register in advance.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University is to receive $9.6 million in state money to pay for emergency repairs to its fine arts buildings.Former Governor Bruce Rauner released the funds. ISU media relations director Eric Jome says the money will be used for heating, air conditioning, ventilation work and plumbing repairs. Jome called the funding "a nice end-of-term infusion."

ISU has been waiting a decade for nearly $62 million in state money to tear down the school's Center for the Visual Arts and Centennial West and build a facility next to Centennial East, where the School of Music and other arts facilities are located. Centennial East would undergo extensive renovations under that project. Jome says the school remains hopeful for that money to be released.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois police department is about to roll out new body cameras. The Urbana Police Department has purchased a system that includes 14 squad-car cameras and two interview-room surveillance cameras, as well as 60 cameras to be worn by officers.



(Kankakee--jc)  --Kankakee County crimestoppers were seeking information about an inmate at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee that was inadvertently released on Friday afternoon. Police are seeking 41 year old Anees Ussami. He was dropped off in Kankakee with another inmate. If seen, you are asked not to approach Usami but call local police or Kankakee County Crimestoppers at 815-932-7463.



ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two of three militia members accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque have hearings scheduled this week in federal court to change their pleas.Online court records show hearings for Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris on Jan. 24. The two men, along with Michael Hari, are accused of driving from Clarence, Illinois, in August 2017 and attacking Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. McWhorter allegedly said the men did it to scare Muslims from the country.McWhorter and Morris have pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges. A change of plea hearing typically means that the defendants plan to enter a guilty plea before the court.McWhorter's and Morris' cases have been combined in Minnesota, while Hari's cases remain separate.




(Urbana--jc)  Bond was set at 1 million dollars for a Rantoul man arrested on Friday in the village for possession of suspected methamphetamine,cannabis, heroin and guns. 48 year old Carlos Mendoza was arrested on Friday in Rantoul by the  Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force Mendoza is expected to be formally charged today in Champaign County court.



(Springfield--jc)  -- A change in Illinois education law removed a minimum instructional hour requirement, effectively allowing school districts to define what a school day means.The change comes in conjunction with the removal of an option that allows schools to “bank” extra hours to shorten the overall school year.Although Illinois law still requires 176 days of instruction during a school year, a previous statute allowed schools to “bank” time from school days that had more than the minimum of five instructional hours. These banked hours could then be applied to other days to allow for events like parent-teacher conferences.The statute change essentially adds two days of instruction to Illinois schools, although the number of days on the calendar stays the same.



Power Outage Leaves Around 4,500 Homes and Businesses Without Power in Rantoul.

(Rantoul--jc)  -- A failed underground cable is believed to be the cause of a power outage Thursday afternoon they left around 4 thousand 5 hundred homes and businesses without power in Rantoul. Authorities say the power outage happened for about 30 minutes for most and for another 100 or so residents the outage lasted about one hour. The underground cable was located on Rantoul’s west side south of the McDonald’s restaurant near the Rantoul Walmart.



(Rantoul--jc)  What do Clark street, Fairlawn, Eater Drive and Penfield streets have in common in the village of Rantoul? The answer is that all have available lots for sale from the village of Rantoul. Rantoul leaders are proceeding with their vacant lot purchase program. Rantoul officials are looking at how to put the vacant lots back on the tax rolls. If successful, village leaders want to put more lots up for sale.


(Illinois--ba)-The state unemployment rate rose slightly last month. The state jobless rate went from four point two in November to four point three in December. Illinois Department of Employment Security spokesperson Bob Gough  says jobs were up last month by about 71-hundred.



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough


(Springfield--ab)  Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law requiring gun dealers in Illinois to be licensed by the Illinois State Police. The law also mandates dealers provide annual training to employees, have video surveillance in stores and be open for inspection by law enforcement says the governor...



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker

Additionally, the law requires dealers to attach a copy of a buyer’s foid card or i-d to documents recording each gun sale.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- A process at the water treatment plant in one Ford County city could help with rust in the water. Gibson City leaders are looking at how to fund an injection of phosphate process into the city’s water supply. Estimates for the process would cost the city around 10 thousand dollars per year. The idea remains in front of Gibson City leaders. The dollars could be allocated for the next fiscal year.



(Paxton--jc)  4 downtown apartments on the second floor of the Remembrance Clark building were dedicated Thursday morning in Paxton. The Royce Baier family owns the building and the remodel took around 2 years to complete. The building was originally dedicated on January 6 18-67 and was the largest building between Chicago and Cairo in the state of Illinois. The Building has held everything from a concert hall, the Index store to today with the Edward Jones company, Kief Realty and the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce. Owner Royce Baier says the Clark building is the oldest in the county…


Clark Building downtown Paxton Owner Royce Baier


(Springfield--jc  East Central Illinois experienced more snow on Thursday morning and that experience is expected to re-appear this weekend. Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jessie Decker says travel will again be hazardous…


I-DOT Spokesperson Jessie Decker



(Potomac--jc)  -- An annual carnival is set for one local grade school two weeks from today. The Potomac  P-T-O is sponsoring the 6th annual carnival at the Potomac grade school from 5-30 until 8pm on Friday February first. Kids games, food and raffles are all part of the event. Money raised goes to help the Potomac P-T-O with school projects. The public is invited to attend.



(Gibson City--jc)  A fundraiser for the Ford County Relay for Life is set for this evening in Gibson City. A Euchre party sponsored by Chic Merediths Ford County Relay for Life team is set for 6-30 tonight at the Moyer District Library. There is a 10 dollar entry. To sign up call 217-784-5267. Snacks will be provided..


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinoisans are beginning to brace themselves for a storm the National Weather Service says could bring a half-foot of snow to parts of the state. National Weather Service forecasters say the storm is expected to start tonight near midnight. The storm is due a week after parts of Illinois received double-digit snow accumulations. A winter storm watch was issued for late this afternoon  through Saturday morning.


OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A monthly survey of rural bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests banks are growing increasingly concerned about farm loan defaults in 2019. More than 4 of every 10 bankers questioned for the Rural Mainstreet survey for January said they expect farm loan defaults to be the year's biggest challenge.Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says their outlook is being negatively influenced by tariffs, trade tensions, weak commodity prices and the partial federal government shutdown.

The survey's overall index dropped to 51.5 from December's 54.2. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy in the months ahead, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Illinois is among the 10 states participating in the monthly survey.



(Springfield--jc)  What do Gracyn Allen of Champaign County, Lyndsey Neukomm of Iroquois County, Kaity Zbinden of Ford County, Alyssa Wilcoxon of the Fisher Fair and Megan Brown of Vermilion County have in common? They all are contestants for the 2019 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen pageant in Springfield this weekend. The competition begins today and the new queen will be crowned on Sunday.  The 2018 Miss Illinois Fair Queen is Samantha Hasselbring of Cissna Park. She will be presiding over the ceremonies in Springfield and will give up her crown as a new queen is selected.


CHICAGO (AP) — News coverage of last month's 40th anniversary of serial killer John Wayne Gacy's arrest has meant dozens of more tips for Illinois investigators trying to identify victims. The Cook County sheriff's lead investigator tells the Chicago Sun-Times that about 10 of the 25 tips he's received are worth pursuing. Gacy was convicted of killing 33 young men and executed in 1994. The Cook County sheriff reopened the case in 2011. So far, two more bodies have been identified but six remain nameless.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Are you ready for round two? The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has some tips to keep your family safe and warm during this weekend’s storms. I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says now is the time to fill in any gaps in preparedness plans that you notice during last weeks blast of snow.



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.

Emergency kits include water, blankets,  a flash light, batteries, jumper cables, first aid supplies and food.


CHICAGO (AP) — A judge has acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Judge Domenica Stephenson said Thursday that after considering all of the evidence, including police dashcam video of the killing, she didn't find that officer Thomas Gaffney, Joseph Walsh and David March conspired to cover up the shooting. The officer who shot McDonald 16 times, Jason Van Dyke, was convicted of murder in October and is due to be sentenced today.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Cissna Park School leaders are seeking bids on a flooring replacement project. Information on the project and bid requirements are found by contacting the school. Bids will be received until 2pm on January 24th at the superintendent’s office.


(Undated--jc)  -- No surprise, but the  Illinois’ 2018 gubernatorial race broke a national spending record, according to the newly launched Center for Illinois Politics, and it may reshape the state’s Democratic Party. The Center’s editor Kerry Lester said Illinois’ total spend was $280.21 million, slightly more than California’s 2010 gubernatorial race of $280 million. Leading Illinois’ historic spending was Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who used $173 million of his own money. That makes Pritzker, whose net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion, the richest elected official in the country. In the 2018 race Rauner spent $78.6 million.


(Paxton--jc One Paxton Church is hosting a family game night tonight. The event is set for 6-30 tonight at the Paxton Church of Christ. Board games, snacks and fellowship hilite the evening. The community is invited to attend.

Two of Three Militia Members Accused of Bombing a Minnesota Mosque Have Hearings Scheduled Next Week in Federal Court

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two of three militia members accused of bombing a Minnesota mosque have hearings scheduled next week in federal court to change their pleas.Online court records show hearings for Michael McWhorter and Joe Morris on Jan. 24. The two men, along with Michael Hari, are accused of driving from Clarence, Illinois, in August 2017 and attacking Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. McWhorter allegedly said the men did it to scare Muslims from the country.McWhorter and Morris have pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges. A change of plea hearing typically means that the defendants plan to enter a guilty plea before the court.McWhorter's and Morris' cases have been combined in Minnesota, while Hari's cases remain separate


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has yet to figure out how much the raises he announced Tuesday will cost taxpayers, though estimates from his predecessor show step increases for about 14,000 state employees could add 200 million to the state's existing budget. The governor did not address the cost earlier this week. A spokesperson for the governor says the cost of the raises was still being calculated. The governor’s office is dealing with multiple unions representing workers across the many state agencies. The democratic leader says  it will take several weeks to provide an accurate picture of both cost and timing of the restoration of the step increases for the affected state employees.


(Springfield--ab) Today marks the 99th anniversary of the beginning of prohibition in the United States.  An expert at the Illinois State Museum talks about when the country went dry. Museum Art and History Curator Erika Holst says supporters believed the booze ban would reduce crime, make families stronger and improve the nation as a whole. She says some parts of Illinois were slower to adapt….



Illinois State Museum Curator Erika Holst. Holst says enforcement was tough and bootlegging was common, leading to the growth of organized crime. that included Chicago’s own Al Capone, a top gangster of the prohibition era.


(Champaign--ab) February begins Black History Month and a local Community College is having events the public can participate in. WPXN News reporter Austin Burklund has the report.




(Buckley--jc)  They are in need of donations and your appetite for an event on Sunday February 17th. The annual fundraiser for St. John’s Lutheran School in Buckley is the fundraiser for the school. A carnival, silent auction and live auction also hi-lite the event. To donate items, you may call the school in Buckley. All donations are tax deductible. Event Spokesperson  Kari Stachura says its an event for the whole family...



St John’s Lutheran School Buckley Auction Spokesperson Kari Stachura



CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago says it's closing its undergraduate seminary at Loyola University Chicago due to changing priesthood demographics.

The archdiocese said in a  release that St. Joseph College Seminary had 20 students enrolled and officials expected a small incoming class. The archdiocese says "the need to steward" resources led officials to decide to close the seminary. Officials say there is trend toward men choosing to enter seminaries after finishing undergraduate studies and gaining work experience, reducing the need for undergraduate seminaries.


CHICAGO (AP) — The teen birth rate has decreased in Illinois and Chicago, with the city recording a new historic low. There were 24.6 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in Chicago in 2016. That's the most recent year for which data are available. That's a 10.5 percent decrease from 2015.Rates have been falling across the U .S. and statewide. Illinois recorded 18.7 births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in 2016, down from a rate of 22.8 in 2014.



SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Funeral services are set for an Illinois State Police trooper killed when he was struck and killed by a vehicle along Interstate 294 in suburban Chicago during a snowstorm.The funeral for Trooper Christopher Lambert is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington. The 34-year-old Lambert was headed home on I-294 near Northbrook when he pulled over and got out of his squad car to respond to a three-vehicle crash. A car then struck him.



(Rantoul--jc)  Those with kids participating in Youth Center Basketball in Rantoul, the dates have been approved for team pictures. Rescheduled pictures for basketball players in the Rantoul Park District are set for January 19th for teams that play at Youth Center and January  26th for teams that play at the Forum. Recreation officials ask that you have your child ready for pictures at least 15 minutes prior to your game



(Loda--jc)  One local church is cancelling a concert this weekend due to the threat of snow and wintery weather. Officials with the Loda United Methodist Church say the Sunday concert featuring the  Dysart Family at the Loda United Methodist Church has been cancelled. No word was given on any rescheduling of the event.


(Chicago-jc)  The lawmaker who is expected to lead an Illinois House transportation committee said the state needs an infrastructure plan to address aging roads and bridges across the state said that all other funding options will be considered before talk turns to higher taxes. Illinois Governor  J.B. Pritzker wants a new infrastructure plan. The Illinois Economic Policy Institute said last year that roads in Illinois are so bad that motor fuel taxes should be set as high as 85 cents per gallon in addition to raising vehicle registration fees from 101 dollars per year to 578 dollars per year. The national Tax Foundation puts Illinois’ tax per gallon in 2017 eleventh highest at 34 cents. Increasing Illinois’ gas tax to 85 cents a gallon would make it nearly one-and-a-half times Pennsylvania's 58 cents a gallon.State Rep. Marcus Evans, D-Chicago, who is expected to lead a House committee on infrastructure, said he’s glad a bill wasn’t rushed through because a thorough debate is needed on the issue. He said there’s a lot of talk about taxes.


(McLean County--jc) A move by former  Illinois Governor  Bruce Rauner will provide nearly 10  million dollars in capital funds for emergency repairs to fine arts buildings at Illinois State University.  Heating repairs, plumbing work and other repairs. This money is in addition to the 3 million dollars to repair a fine arts complex and 2 million dollars for a new roof at Turner Hall.


(Springfield--ab)  Illinoisans are urged to donate their time during Monday’s Martin Luther King Junior “day of service.” Serve Illinois Executive Director Scott Mcfarland says the day is a great time to give back, especially in honor of Doctor King who said “life’s most persistent and urgent question is… what are you doing for others.”



You can find volunteer projects in your area any time of the year on line at Serve-dot-Illinois-dot- gov.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The 31st annual Paxton Buckley Loda F F A toy show is set for the first Saturday in February.  P-B-L F-F-A spokesperson Mikayla Jones says this year’s show provides something for everyone…



PBL FFA Spokesperson Mikayla Jones

The show is set for PBL High School in Paxton on Saturday February 2nd.



(Paxton--jc)  -- No bingo on Saturday in Paxton due to the promise of snow. The event sponsored by the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce at St Mary’s Church is cancelled.  WPXN will continue to bring our listeners information about closings and cancellations due with the winter storms. Information is also found on line at WPXN radio-dot-com


(Paxton--jc)  The National women go red day is set for February first. The Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a heart health event at the Ford County courthouse in Paxton. Free heart health information, free blood pressure screenings and prizes are part of the two hour event from 10-30 until 12-30. The event is also free to attend on February first at the courthouse in Paxton.


(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City leaders say at public hearing is set for mid-February to consider annexation of some land into the city.  The date for the hearing is February 11th, 6pm, at the Villas of Hollybrook dining room. Rezoning some property from agriculture to manufacturing will be discussed. Bringing some property into the Gibson City limits is also on the agenda.



(Cissna Park--jc)  The P T O of one local school is raising money to help with school transportation costs for field trips among teacher requests. The Cissna Park Parent Teacher Organization is using a calendar raffle to raise the funds needed. A donation of ten dollars provides a chance to win some cash prizes. The efforts are to raise money for classrooms projects, field trips to tables and school room items.  Tickets are available at several Cissna Park businesses and at home basketball games. The giveaways start on February first.


Governor JB Pritzker getting Busy on His First Day on the Job

(Paxton--jc)  -- Some new apartments will be open soon in a historic building in downtown Paxton. Local businessman Royce Baier says his group has worked on the apartments for around 2 years. The former Remembrance Hall in the downtown area now hosts the Edward Jones company, Kief Realty and the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce offices on the first floor. The apartments will be available on the second floor of the three story structure says Baier…



Paxton Businessman Royce Baier.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Thursday morning at 11 and members of the local chamber will get a look at the building. An open house for the public will be held later this month.


(Springfield--ab) There are some new and some very familiar faces among Illinois’ constitutional officers. Secretary of State Jesse White continues in the office he’s held since 1999…while two former lawmakers are now taking on a statewide role. they are Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton and Attorney General Kwame Raoul…who says he will work to fight crime in Illinois.



Returning constitutional officers also include Comptroller susana Mendoza and Treasurer Mike Frerichs.


(Champaign--ab) Although Parkland College's full-semester classes are now in session, another range of classes is available to students who still wish to enroll. Registration is now open for Parkland's Late-Start Class Session, which begins the week of Feb. 4.Residents can earn full-semester college credit in just 13 weeks, in classes taught at a slightly more accelerated pace than full-semester classes. Students can select from a wide variety of classes ranging from math and biology to aviation and  computer science. Registration for the 13-week session ends Feb. 3. More information is found by contacting Parkland College at 217/351-2482 or



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County board has set aside two more meetings to talk about wind farms. A 9 a m meeting tomorrow at the Ford County courthouse in Paxton is the first meeting. The second meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday January 24th in the large courtroom, also at the Ford County courthouse in Paxton. Several wind farms are in operation in Ford County and a couple are in the process to operate within county borders. Its a zoning meeting on Thursday and the full county board on the second wind meeting. The public is urged to attend.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A documentary dealing with suicide will be shown at one local school tonight. The film will be shown at Rantoul Township High School at 6-30 tonight.  The public is invited to attend the film. A question and answer session follows the presentation. The same event also takes place on Friday at Parkland College  and Saturday at the Mahomet Public Library.



(Paxton--jc)  -- What to do about three distressed properties in the city of Paxton. Paxton leaders spent just under 22 thousand dollars to demolish two houses in the city. A third property is in the bankrupt stage with the potential of demolition in the near future. The consensus of Paxton council members is to sell the two properties to build new homes in the city of Paxton. The mayor’s office and city council continue to weigh their options on the distressed properties.


(springfield--jc)  -- Sworn in for his second term, Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, formerly of Gifford, is touting his record on investing. Frerichs says his office has increase returns with huge rewards for the state of Illinois and its taxpayers…



State Treasurer Mike Frerichs



CHICAGO (AP) — A report by the American Civil Liberties Union says African-American motorists in Illinois are more likely than others to be stopped and searched for routine traffic violations.The report says police asked to conduct searches of vehicles driven by black motorists nearly twice as often as those driven by whites in 2017. Police asked to search cars driven by Latinos 1.4 times more often those driven by whites.The study examined data collected by the Illinois Department of Transportation between 2015 and 2017 from more than 900 law enforcement agencies statewide. Police made about 6.5 million traffic stops and performed more than 283,000 searches in that time.The study found that in certain cities, such as Aurora and Champaign, African-American drivers were stopped at rates more than twice that of the African-American population.

In Chicago, African-American drivers accounted for 61 percent of all traffic stops in 2017 while making up 31 percent of the city's population.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says his administration is moving to make government more transparent. The newly sworn in governor, used his first day in the job to to sign an executive order directing the Illinois Department of Labor to quickly address claims of wage theft…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.


(Springfield--ab) Governor J-B Pritzker is getting right to work on his first full day in office. Governor Pritzker is signing an executive order to help make state government more transparent. Another aims to help close the gender pay gap.



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The order also makes fighting wage theft in Illinois a priority. Additionally, Pritzker says his administration is moving to restore step increases for many state union workers.


State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) will once again take on extra responsibilities as a part of the Senate Republican leadership team. He was appointed to the role of Assistant Republican Leader. Barickman has served in the Illinois Senate since 2013, after serving one term in the House. Barickman has also served in a number of leadership roles on committees, including as Republican Spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as the Co-Chair of the bicameral, bipartisan Legislative Audit Commission.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Snow is on the ground and more snow is projected on its way this weekend. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is offering some snowmobile safety tips. I-D-N-R spokesperson Tim Schweizer says not to drink and drive on snowmobiles..



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Tim Schweizer


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge in central Illinois has denied defense motions to suppress evidence in the case of a 28-year-old man charged in the kidnapping and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China. The judge accepted FBI assertions that agents obtained the voluntary consent of Brendt Christensen's wife to search their apartment.



(undated--jc)  When politicians make decisions to shift public money in one direction or another, a new report says it’s rarely effective and usually means lost value, costing taxpayers in the long run.The report from Virginia-based Institute for Pension Fund Integrity estimates that politically-charged investing such as pension fund managers pulling money from tobacco companies, for example, costs public retirement pensions billions of dollars.Cited in the report is the now-infamous decision of the California Public Employees' Retirement System to divest from tobacco corporations costing the fund nearly $3 billion over a 14-year period. As of February 2018, the fund had 68 percent of what it would need to fund retirements.Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs found the national spotlight last fall when he joined other treasurers in calling for Facebook to force founder Mark Zuckerberg to relinquish his dual role as board chairman and CEO of the social media giant, threatening the company with the divestment of the funds he controlled.


(Cullom--jc)  The annual scholarship auction for F-F-A members at Tri Point High School in Cullom is set for today. A silent auction and meal start the event at 5 this afternoon at Kempton American Legion Hall. The live auction portion of the fundraiser begins at 6-30 tonight.



(Ford County--jc)  --The trials for 3 Ford County men charged with several crimes as part of a terrorist group will continue in early February. 47 year old Michael Hari, 29 year old Michael McWhorter and 23 year old Joe Morris, all from Clarence, face charges including the bombing of a Champaign women’s clinic and bombing a mosque in Minnesota. They all appeared in various courts in November.  More court appearances are expected as trials could begin on February 5th.



(Mahomet--jc)  -- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker pledged to deliver a balanced budget, a promise that one Republican state senator said could make it difficult for the governor to keep the spending promises he made during his campaign. The governor says a balanced budget won’t be easy, but he wants to confront the challenge. Local State Senator Chapin Rose, Republican from Mahomet, says with the current fiscal year already out of balance, and sectors like higher education asking for an additional $314 million, plus $814 million more for pensions, the majority party and the governor will have to tighten their belts. Rose says the democrat super majorities  have a problem to keep all they have promised during the campaign. But Rose said Pritzker won the right to deliver a budget and he’ll wait to see what is proposed.Pritzker is expected to give his budget address next month.


(Buckley--jc)  They are in need of donations and your appetite for an event on Sunday February 17th. The annual fundraiser for St Johns Lutheran school and carnival is set and organizers are looking for donation items for the silent auction . A chicken dinner and carnival also hi-lite the day’s events. To donate items, you may call the school in Buckley. All donations are tax deductible.


J-B Pritzker is Now Illinois' 43rd Governor

(Springfield--ab) J-B Pritzker is now Illinois' 43rd Governor…and is outlining a vision of what he calls “possibility and promise.” At the inauguration ceremony…Governor Pritzker talked about some of his goals, including moving to a graduated income tax system, legalizing recreational marijuana, and raising the minimum wage in Illinois.



Pritzker also discussed the need for road and bridge repairs, making government more efficient and passing a truly balanced state budget.



(Buckley--ab) Start Super Bowl Sunday with a “Taste of Italy” in the Crusader Hall of Buckley Christ Lutheran High School. The lunch on February 3rd of Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread, drinks, and dessert is at the cost of a freewill donation. The donation is ensuring that students get the same opportunities as every other student says Buckley Christ Lutheran Executive Director Sandy Spitz



Buckley Christ Lutheran Executive Director Sandy Spitz



(Illinois--ba)-A donation shortfall over the winter holidays is prompting the American Red Cross to issue an emergency call for blood donors to give now to prevent a blood shortage from continuing throughout winter and and affecting patient care. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett reports.





(Undated--ab) Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider released the following statement in response to Governor J.B. Pritzker's inaugural address: Schneider contends that Governor Pritzker’s agenda will be the same agenda that has dragged our state down for decades - borrow, tax, spend, repeat. Over the course of the election and again yesterday, Pritzker promised billions of dollars in new spending, programs, and regulations, all of which our state cannot afford. Schneider added that he feels the promises by Pritzker to support legislative leadership term limits and an independent redistricting commission - two initiatives supported by the Illinois Republican Party  are just empty promises. The Republican leader says its a wait and see for his party as they will hold the democratic leaders accountable for the promises they made during the campaign.


(Rantoul--ab) Approving a 10,000 micro loan to A House of Flowers is on the table for tonight’s Village of Rantoul’s Board of Trustees meeting. Other items that require action will be a micro loan of 30,000 dollars at a 2% interest rate. to Elite Pro Lawns and approve the purchase of an Asphalt Patching Trailer valued at 34,415.00 dollars.


(roberts--jc)  Liquidating the books at the Roberts Library remains a topic for local leaders in the Ford County community. Roberts Village President Rick Flessner says an open house to have the public stop in to get books will take place sometime this Spring…


Roberts Village President Rick Flessner.


(Ford County--jc)  -- A large swine operation is being proposed for a rural area in western Ford County. The Ford County board is hosting a meeting on Thursday  at the Sullivant Township Hall in Sibley beginning at 5pm. The purpose of the meeting is to get public input about the proposed swine operation. The meeting will be ran by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.


(Paxton--ab) Paxton Illinois used to be named Prospect City and the town in 2019 is seeing all sorts of business prospects opening up in the Ford County town. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says 53 out of 59 storefronts have businesses inside of them.



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Springfield--ab) 53rd district State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington has the task of being part of the minority party in Springfield. Democrat J B Pritzker was sworn into office on Monday. Barickman says regardless of who

took his oath of office last week and looks ahead to the problems that need solved no matter the party of the Governor.



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington


(Springfield--ba)-With the inauguration completed, lawmakers continue to expand gambling in the state and legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults, and while both seem to have strong support and the backing of the next governor, approval could hinge on the details. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



(Champaign--ab) A Parkland College arts department received the major gift of a $150,000 donation from a local physician who had taken classes in the department. On Jan. 7, family members of the late Dr. Victor Feldman presented the Parkland College Foundation with the gift, designated to support Ceramics, a studio-art department within the college's Art and Design program. A longtime Champaign-Urbana ophthalmologist who passed away last May, Dr. Feldman began taking Parkland Ceramics classes after his retirement, discovering a new skill he enjoyed for many years thereafter.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Former Gifford resident Mike Frerichs was inaugurated again as the State Treasurer on Monday in Springfield. Frerichs took the oath of office again and talked about life, story telling of Mark Twain  and the financial gains of the office under his leadership. The Champaign County resident also was thankful for a strong family…



Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A ribbon cutting ceremony for newly renovated apartments in downtown Paxton is set for Thursday at 11am. The event for the 2nd floor apartments above the Edward Jones-Kief Realty-Paxton Chamber offices. The Royce Baier family has completed the renovations and an open house is also set for Thursday.


(Paxton--jc)  One local church is hosting a family night on Friday. The Paxton Church of Christ is the venue for board games, pizza, and snacks. The event starts at 6-30 pm at the Church on Paxton’s west side. More information is found by contacting the church. The public is invited


It's Inauguration Day in Springfield

( Undated--jc)  -- Parts of central Illinois have registered record snowfalls after a winter storm struck and then lingered for much of the weekend. Springfield broke a 55-year record for daily snowfall on Saturday. It cites the National Weather Service as saying the 8.4 inches of snow that fell on the capital, Total snowfall at the state capitol is 12 inches. Nearby Jacksonville led the snow totals with nearly 16 inches. In the McLean County town of Normal 10 inches of snow fell over the weekend.

8 inches fell in Tuscola, 9 inches fell in Dwight. In Chatsworth 7 inches of snow fell. In Odgen 6 inches of snow hit the ground. The same for the Champaign Urbana Rantoul area and just over 6 inches fell in the Paxton area and into Southern Iroquois County.



DOWNERS GROVE, IL – Illinois State Police (ISP) Director Leo P. Schmitz regretfully announces the line of duty death of ISP District 15 (Downers Grove) Trooper Christopher Lambert. On January 12, 2019, at approximately 4:45 p.m., Trooper Christopher Lambert #6527, was on scene of a three-vehicle traffic crash, in the left lane on I-294 near Willow Road. While handling that crash another vehicle in traffic failed to stop and struck Trooper Lambert while he was outside of his patrol car. Trooper Lambert sustained serious injuries as a result the crash and was given CPR by an off duty nurse, before being transported to Glenbrook Hospital. At approximately 7:24 p.m., Trooper Lambert succumbed to his injuries


SPRINGFIELD – In his final clemency review, Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday granted ­­­­­­30 clemency requests and 4 commutations. He denied 268 requests. It is important to note that the backlog from previous administrations has been cleared and there are currently no pending clemency petitions in the Office of the Governor. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police  Law Enforcement Agencies Data System.


(Paxton--ba) The Paxton Buckley Loda Show Choir is in their competition season.

P-B-L Show Choir Director Christina Mauck talks about their first competition, and what audiences can expect to see from the students of PBL for this season.



PBL Show Choir director Christina Mauck


(Gilman-jc)  --  COUNTRY Financial along with Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau will host an informational crop meeting on January 23rd beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Farm Bureau Building in Gilman.  A light breakfast of rolls, juice and coffee will be served.     Doug Yoder, COUNTRY Financial Crop Agency Manager, will discuss changes to the Federal Crop Insurance Program for 2019.    Reservations are not needed. For more information, call 815-265-4712.


SPRINGFIELD – Friday, Governor. Bruce Rauner signed into law legislation eliminating unnecessary and impractical barriers to important sun protection methods for children in Illinois.Current law requires students to bring a physician’s prescription to possess or use sunscreen at their school or camp due to sunscreen’s classification as an over-the-counter drug by the FDA. House Bill 4685 will allow students to possess sunscreen while on school property or at a school-sponsored event without a physician's note. In addition, schools must implement a curriculum that teaches students about skin cancer and how to reduce the risk for it.

This legislation will go into effect immediately.


(Buckley--ab) Buckley Christ Lutheran is hosting a free will donation spaghetti Dinner in early February. The event is set for February 3rd from 11 AM to 2 PM. Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz provides some details for the fundraising event...



C-L-H-S Executive Director Sandy Spitz



(Paxton--ab) Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold represents  the city for the “Grand Ole Flag” project. The idea was initiated by Paxton Fire Chief Dennis Kingren. Mayor Ingold talks about the city council’s role in making this dream into reality...



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Paxton--jc)  The next step in the process to place a 150 foot pole structure to fly a huge American Flag on Paxton’s west side  is a meeting with the local school district. The Grand Ole Flag committee organizer Denny Kingren is set to meet with Paxton Buckley Loda High School school board member Dave Bachtold on Wednesday to look at possibilities for the site and a proposed path to a site for the structure. The Paxton Grand Ole Flag committee continues to meet to find ways to fund the project, look at the possibilities for place, liabilities, start up and yearly costs maintain a huge American Flag near Interstate 57.


(Springfield--jc)  --The partial government shutdown means some visitors to see the Abraham Lincoln sites may see the museum, but not other sites. Visitors to Lincoln's home in Springfield are leaving disappointed, but the managers at Lincoln's presidential museum are looking to change that. Lincoln's Home is a National Park. Meaning the federal government oversees it. Lincoln's presidential library and museum is a state asset. Meaning it's not closed during the partial government shutdown.Chris Wills with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum said officials are considering a plan to have employees from Lincoln's museum head over to Lincoln's home so both can stay open. Willis says there are a lot of details to work out for the sites to open with volunteers.



(Chicago--jc) --- Illinois' next governor plans to match the state salaries of his top employees with his own money, a practice that one Republican lawmaker said raises enough ethical questions that he's considering filing legislation to prohibit it.Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker created a private entity called East Jackson Street LLC to funnel private dollars to match the taxpayer-funded state salaries of his top aides such as deputy governors and communication staff, according to multiple media reports. State Representative  Grant Wehrli, Republican -Naperville, says he has concerns about augmenting state employee salaries with private dollars.


(Paxton--jc)  State police and Paxton Firefighters were on the scene of multiple crashes in the southbound lanes of Interstate 57 on Sunday afternoon. Police say the snow covered roadway, motorists traveling too fast and a high volume of college traffic was the cause. Paxton firefighters were called out  several times to help with the accidents. Traffic in the Paxton area was opened back to full traffic around 7 last night.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — Residents of a central Illinois city can glimpse what it's like for those whose only shelter is their car while raising money for a group that supports homeless people. The third annual Night In A Car homelessness simulation will be held in February at Trinity Lutheran Church in Bloomington. The program, organized by Trinity Lutheran and Home Sweet Home Ministries — which provides services for the homeless— aims to highlight the difficulties faced by homeless people who sleep in their cars by having participants do the same for one night. Up to 250 people are homeless on any given night in Bloomington-Normal, and some of those live in their cars, said Mary Ann Pullin, CEO of Home Sweet Home.


DANVILE, Ill. (AP) — Police in the Eastern Illinois community of Danville have arrested an 18-year-old man in the slaying of a woman whose body was found in a motel room earlier this month.  Danville police detectives arrested Henry D. Graham of Danville on Friday afternoon on a first-degree murder charge in the death of 29-year-old Tara Jackson of St. Joseph. On Jan. 3, the woman's body was found in a Danville motel after having apparently been strangled. Police determined that Jackson and Graham knew each other but have not provided any details about why they believe Graham killed her.


(Springfield--ab) Despite the federal government shutdown…state officials says snap benefits will be available through February. Snap benefits…which used to be called food stamps, will be distributed around January 20th. Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas says that allocation is for February food needs.



Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary James Dimas

About one point eight million Illinoisans receive snap benefits.



(Springfield--jc)  The state capitol will be busy today. Its inauguration day in Springfield. Democrat elect J B Pritzker becomes governor in ceremonies that begin at 11 this morning in Springfield.


(Urbana-jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a deceased female discovered inside a burning garage in the 600 block of South Church Street in Homer, Illinois on the evening of January 11, 2019. Angela Lewis, age 57, of Homer, Illinois was removed from the burned garage by Homer Firefighters and pronounced dead at the scene by the coroner at 5:55PM, on January 11, 2019. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning at the Champaign County Regional Autopsy Facility. The Champaign County Coroner’s Office, Champaign County Sheriff’s Department, Homer Fire Department and the Illinois State Fire Marshal are investigating this death. An inquest may be held at a later date.


(Iroquois County--jc)  -- This years officers for the Iroquois County Fair are set for 2019. Elected to the board are Paul Ahlden, Dave Arseneau, Harold Copas, Dave Perzee, and Marvin Perzee. Jayme Senffner of Clifton and Larry Haigh of Chebanse were elected to serve their first two year term on the Fair Board, John Brassard of Milford retired after 8 years and Don Wilken of Loda retired after 60 years. Long serving fair President Marvin Perzee announced that he was stepping down as President due to health issues. An election was held and Paul Ahlden was elected President, Marvin Perzee, First-Vice President and Kathy McTaggart 2nd Vice President. Contracts were renewed for Brian Zecher, Treasurer, Pat Ward, Secretary, and Debbie Krones, Competitive Exhibits Coordinator.


Winter Storm Coming to Parts of Central and Southern Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for parts of central and southern Illinois with as many as 7 inches of snow forecast.Weather service officials say the snow is expected to begin late Friday in central and southern Illinois developing from a winter storm system in the southwestern U.S. Snow is expected to continue into Saturday, sometimes mixed with rain. The heaviest amounts are expected to be between 5 and 7 inches west and southwest of Springfield to Shelbyville to Olney. Slippery road conditions are expected. No weather watches or warning were in effect for Illinois north of Bloomington. But weather service forecasters say from Ford and Iroquois County to northern Illinois can expect between 1 and 3 inches of snow late Friday and into the weekend.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Residents who live with daily pain or who have difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities can get help from a free clinic at Parkland College starting Tuesday January 29th. The Learning Information for Everyday or Life Clinic, offered by the Parkland College Occupational Therapy Assistant program, offers simple strategies to conserve energy or can recommend or construct an assistive device to help residents navigate their activities better.  The LIFE Clinic will offer services Tuesdays, 9 to 11 a.m., from Jan. 29 through March 19. For more information or to seek assistance through the clinic, please call O-T-A Program Director Michelle Roberts at  217-353-2782.


(Springfield--ab) As Governor Bruce Rauner’s term comes to a close…he’s talking about his future plans. Spending time with friends and family is first on the governor’s to-do list when he leaves office. He says he will also return to the private sector, building businesses and backing entrepreneurs…



Rauner says the best part of being governor has been meeting people all over Illinois. The worst part was not getting done all he hoped to accomplish.



(Springfield--ab) The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging the public to get ready for this weekend’s cold and snow. IEMA spokesperson Rebecca Clark says now is a good time to make sure your home is winterized to prevent frozen pipes…and that you have an emergency kit on hand with things like water, a first aid kit and spare batteries.



Clark says Illinois averages about five winter storms each season. Parts of central and southwestern Illinois are forecasted to possibly get several inches of snow.



(Farmer City--jc)  -- A State trooper who was fatally injured in an accident near Farmer City in June of 2017 will be honored by his high school on Saturday. State Trooper Ryan Albin was killed in an accident while on duty. The Blue Ridge School District along with State Police will honor his memory by retiring his high school jersey at the Blue Ridge Knights game on Saturday. The J-V game starts at 5-30 Saturday afternoon and organizers invite classmates, family and friends to wear jerseys and come to honor the memory of Albin.



(Springfield--ab)More reaction coming from state legislators as the 101st General Assembly was sworn in this week.  State Representative Chris Welch of Westchester says priorities include down the state’s backlog of bills and addressing pension payments and a new income tax system…



State Representative Chris Welch of Westchester


(Piatt County--jc)  A Social Security scam has appeared again in the local area.Officials in Piatt County and Farmer City say local residents have received a phone call from someone posing as a Social Security representative. Police say the number that pops up seems to be legitimate but it is not. Police remind the public, to not give out personal information. Any questions about this or any suspected scam may be made to your local police department.


SPRINGFIELD – First Lady Diana Rauner announced Thursday that the Illinois Governor’s Mansion received a LEED Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. The designation, which follows a full $15 million privately-funded renovation, addresses multiple categories related to sustainability, including energy efficiency, green cleaning, and air quality. Mrs Rauner says the LEED Silver certification is an accomplishment of which the entire state can be proud.


(Paxton--ab)This is  Radon Awareness month.  Christy Wallace with the Ford County Public Health department says Radon presents many dangers to the public...



Christy Wallace with the Ford County Public Health department



(Watseka--jc)   Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers has announced that Mobile Home privilege tax bills will be sent out the first week of March. Those with address changes or mobile homes that have been destroyed are asked to call the  Iroquois County Treasurer’s Office at 815-432-6985.


(Illinois--ba) 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington heads back to Springfield as a member of the minority party. The Republican says with the super majority of Democrats in the State Senate, his commitment continues to be those living in East Central Illinois...



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman



(Paxton--ab) The City of Paxton Streetscape program is taking some positive steps.  Paxton will be getting a minor facelift in upcoming months as part of a cityscape project. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says he has been in contact with people to get the project started.



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold



(Ford County--jc)  -- A large swine operation is being proposed for a rural area in western Ford County. The Ford County board is hosting a meeting on Thursday January 17th at the Sullivant Township Hall in Sibley beginning at 5pm. The purpose of the meeting is to get public input about the proposed swine operation. The meeting will be ran by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.



(Bradley--ba)-A credit union in Bradley is warning residents and businesses about fake currency floating around the area that looks strikingly real except for a couple key tipoffs that show the paper is prop money used in movies after a rash of similar incidents throughout the state. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation giving the Illinois Department of Corrections authority to sell the closed Hardin County Work Camp to Hardin County for $1. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports the move will let officials move forward with plans to reopen the Cave in Rock facility as a multi-county jail.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials have accepted a more than $10 million bid from a contractor to repair the deteriorating Illinois State Fair Coliseum. The State Journal-Register reports that Springfield-based R.D. Lawrence Construction Co. was awarded the contract Friday. The company hopes to begin construction in the coming weeks. A large focus of the renovation will be on the roof.


During Wednesday’s inauguration of the 101st Illinois General Assembly…lawmakers provided a glimpse of some of their priorities for the new year. While some talked about the need for a progressive income tax system and fighting crime…House Minority Leader Jim Durkin touched on the increasing number of people leaving Illinois.



Durkin says it’s time to work together to address the issues. Lawmakers also face more than seven billion dollars in unpaid state bills and a massive pension burden.



One local community’s school is having their monthly school board meeting. Rantoul public schools has their meeting on January 14th. Beyond reading various reports they will have items such as a. Track Team Trip Proposal b. Appoint Superintendent to Prepare FY20 Budget c. Approval of additional English Learner Teaching Position for 2019-2020 School Year.



(Fithian--jc)  Republicans find themselves in a similar position in state government, in the minority to the democratic party. 101st District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian was sworn into the 101st General Assembly on Wednesday. Marron talks about working for the benefit of his constituents  in the local area…


101st District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian



Illinois Has The Most Democratic Lawmakers serving in Springfield In More Than Five Decades

(Springfield--jc)  --  The new session of the Illinois Legislature is underway with the largest percentage of Democratic lawmakers serving in Springfield in more than five decades.Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton and GOP House leader Jim Durkin and Senate leader Bill Brady all were re-elected Wednesday to their leadership posts.Outgoing Governor Bruce Rauner presided over the Senate swearing-in. He leaves office Monday, when Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritkzer will be inaugurated.Democrats now have a 74-44 House majority and a 40-19 majority in the Senate. That's the largest percentage of Democrats since 1964.


MANTENO, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs says it's taking action after a case of Legionnaires' disease was confirmed at a home for veterans.The department says it was alerted early Tuesday by hospital medical staff that a resident of the Manteno Veterans' Home had tested positive for the flu-like illness.IDVA Director Stephen Curda says he directed staff to notify all residents or their next of kin or power of attorneys. The department also is activating a water safety response plan, which includes testing the water and checking residents' vital signs more often.Thirteen residents died and dozens of others were sickened after a 2015 outbreak of Legionnaires' disease at the veterans' home in Quincy. Gov. Bruce Rauner faced heavy criticism for not immediately alerting residents or the public.



(St Joseph--jc)  A car crash blocked the east bound lanes of Interstate 74 early Wednesday morning . Police say that traffic was re-routed around the accident scene just east of St Joseph from 4-30am to around 7am.



(Springfield--jc)  -- If you received unemployment benefits in 20-18, keep an eye out for your tax forms.Unemployment recipients have to pay taxes on their benefits and need the 10-99-G form in order to file. State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough says if you requested an electronic copy, it should be in your email…


State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough.

The State paid more than 1 point 73 Billion dollars in unemployment benefits to more than 346 thousand people last year.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- Notice is hereby given that a public hearing will be held by the City of Gibson City Planning Commission on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Villas of Hollybrook Dining Room located at 1400 N Melvin Street, Gibson City, Illinois. The hearing is a continuation of the January 7, 2019 meeting and will involve the discussion of changes to the City of Gibson Zoning Ordinances for residential and commercial districts as they relate to wind and solar power energy.



There will be no shortage of milk for hungry families in Illinois – in fact, there may be too much. Food banks across Illinois are facing a unique challenge. They have just a few months to hand out over 315,000 gallons of milk.The United States Department of Agriculture is donating the milk because it wasn't sold due to the tariff tit-for-tat. The U-S-D-A donations have started to arrive and  will keep coming through March.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Continued population loss means Illinois will have to say goodbye to one at least one of its 18 congressional representatives after the 2020 Census. Election Data Services recently released its annual projections of which states will gain and lose U.S. Representatives at the next turn of the decade. The projections show Illinois’ 18th Representative will almost certainly be removed and given to another state, said Kimball Brace with Election Data Services.Other states projected to lose seats include Alabama, California, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, according to EDS. New York is projected to lose two representatives.

A new Illinois legislative session got underway Wednesday with Democrats firmly in control but both parties pledging to turn the page on years of budget stalemates, government dysfunction and name-calling.Democrat Michael Madigan, already the longest-serving state House speaker in U.S. history, was easily elected to his 19th term. Other leaders — Senate President John Cullerton and GOP leaders Rep. Jim Durkin and Sen. Bill Brady — also were re-elected.It was Madigan who was the target of most of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's attacks during a years-long state budget impasse


Ashkum, IL. – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announced activity and enforcement figures for December 2018. Illinois State Police District 21 Troopers issued 572 citations, 801 written warnings, including 13 DUIs, 23 seatbelt citations, 31 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 128 motorists, conducted 108 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 85 traffic crashes. There was one fatal crash investigated by District 21 in December.



(Gibson City--jc)  – Gibson Area Hospital Baby Central welcomed Harper Ann Hills as the first baby of 2019.  Harper Ann arrived January 7, 2019, at 2:20 p.m. weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 20 inches long. Harper Ann was welcomed into the world by her parents Jaymee Smith and Danny Hills from Hoopeston and joins two siblings at home. Harper Ann was delivered by M-D Doug Lanoue.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders will look to approve several micro loans for local businesses. On the 15th, the Rantoul village board will take official action on a 10 thousand dollar loan and 10 thousand dollar facade grant for A House of Flowers and a 30 thousand dollar micro-loan for Elite Pro. The village board regular monthly meeting comes to order on Tuesday at 6pm


(Gibson City--jc)  Republicans find themselves in a similar position in state government, in the minority to the democratic party. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City was sworn into the 101st General Assembly on Wednesday. Bennett says his hope is the majority party will work for all Illinoisans…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


(Ford County--jc)  Do you want to be a member of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association? One local county is pushing for new members. Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran says association dues notices were sent out this month and the group is looking for new members. Individuals can join the Illinois Sheriff’s Association for 20 dollars. The dues for businesses is 50 dollars. The mission statement of the group is to continue to make communities in Illinois safer places to live and work.


(Springfield--jc)  -- One bill passed on Wednesday morning before the new assembly was sown in at the state capitol will let the governor appoint new members to the Illinois Tollway board.  The second measure is to raise the salaries of nearly 50 department heads. Senate President John Cullerton says spending an additional 700 thousand dollars plus extra benefits is good for Illinois…



State of Illinois Senate President Democrat John Cullerton.

The measure will be one of the first for newly elected Illinois Governor J B Pritzker. He will be inaugurated on Monday in Springfield.


(Loda--jc)  -- On Southern Iroquois County town is hosting a family gospel group at one of its local churches on Sunday January 20th The Dysart Family Gospel Group is set to perform at the Loda United Methodist Church. Refreshments will be served and a free will offering be collected. The Dysarts are a mom and dad group that performs with their 5 children.



(Champaign--jc ) Champaign Police are investigating a car crash into a local business this morning. Police say the driver of a car crashed into the Manzellas restaurant along First street in Champaign earlier this morning. Police are on the scene at this hour. WPXN news will update this story as more official information is given.



101st General Assembly to be Inaugurated Today

(Chicago--ab) Nearly one-in-three American households experiences a dramatic change in income each year, and new research reveals this volatility could have a serious impact on health. Researchers collected data over a 15-year period from nearly four thousand people living in four diverse U-S cities, including Chicago. Study author Tali Elfassy says they found a connection between unpredictable variations in personal income during young adulthood and an increased risk of heart disease, or dying from any cause.



Study author Tali Elfassy

The research was published Monday in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.


(Springfield--jc)  -- While no legislation has been filed, Gov. Bruce Rauner and some politicians have said that lame duck lawmakers could spring a gas tax hike at the last minute, but that idea seems to be fizzling out. However, a motor fuel tax increase could dominate the next legislature that’s seated Wednesday. Rauner's former Transportation Secretary, Randy Blankenhorn, recently said that raising the gas tax would raise money needed to maintain and modernize the state's infrastructure. Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also recently called for a 20 to 30 cent per gallon gas tax increase to pay for roads. Midwest Truckers Association Executive Vice President Don Schaefer said it’s not a matter of if, but when, the gas tax hike debate is coming. But he said it needs to be addressed fairly.



(Springfield--ab) House lawmakers are approving two bills requested by Governor-elect J-b Pritzker. The first would boost the salaries of 49 state agency directors and assistant directors by 15 percent. Representative Christian Mitchell of Chicago is sponsoring the legislation.



Representative Christian Mitchell of Chicago

The second bill removes current Illinois tollway board members so the new governor can appoint replacements. Both measures now need senate approval.


(China--ab)  -- Trade relations with China is really souring US Soybean farmers. WPXN News reporter Austin Burklund has the details.




(Watseka--jc)  -- There are two tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early. The Pap test looks for precancerous cells, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately. The H-P-V test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes. Women should begin having regular cervical cancer screenings at age 21. In addition to these screenings, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention  recommends that pre-teens should get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12. This vaccine can prevent HPV and therefore provides protection against cervical cancer. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can get the vaccine. More information is found by calling your county public health department.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is reflecting on his accomplishments and is offering  some advice for the new assembly that meets today in Springfield. He submitted an end of term report to the legislature on Tuesday. In the report, the governor hi-lighted strides made in education, government red tape and moving the state into the digital age…



Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

The governor says he would like to see lawmakers pass term limits and work to reduce property taxes in the state.


(Decatur--jc)  --The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has confirmed that it has launched two separate investigations into explosions at ADM corn processing plants in Iowa and Illinois over the weekend.One firefighter was killed and one other was injured Saturday in a fire and explosion at the ADM facility in Clinton, Iowa. Hours earlier, an explosion occurred at another ADM corn plant in Decatur, Illinois. No one was hurt.The explosion at the Illinois plant comes just two months after another fire and explosion in the grain elevator that serves the company's corn and soybean plants at the Decatur complex.



(Clifton--jc)  Iroquois County Fair will be looking for a new president this year. Longtime Iroquois County Fair President Marvin Perzee is stepping down from the position he has held since 1972. He has served the fair since 1966. Under his guidance, the fair has grown  and draws thousands of exhibitors and thousands of spectators to the annual event at the fairgrounds north of Crescent City along Route 49.



(Roberts--ab)  -- The Village of Roberts board meeting had a town vs. county showdown on Monday night. The issue is whether Ford county will ever enact the resolution brought by the village of Roberts regarding a windmill ordinance. Village Mayor Richard Flessner has the details on the encounter.



Roberts Village Mayor Richard Flessner


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has concluded the legislative session by thanking lawmakers for persevering through an "epic struggle" over the budget with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. The House finished its two-year term Tuesday. The 101st General Assembly will be inaugurated today. Rauner will be replaced Monday by Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker. Democrat Madigan credited Republican as well as Democratic members for bucking Rauner in July 2017 to adopt a tax hike and approve a budget.



NEW YORK (AP) — Sears received another possible lifeline Tuesday when the company's chairman and largest shareholder promised to line up the necessary financing to keep the struggling department store chain afloat. The reprieve came after what Sears lawyers described to a bankruptcy judge in New York as "round-the-clock" negotiations following the company board's initial rejection of Eddie Lampert's proposal, which sought to preserve 425 stores and 50,000 workers. According to lawyers close to the matter, one of the main sticking points was that the bid didn't include cash. The revised version now requires Lampert to deposit $120 million by 4 p.m. Wednesday through his ESL hedge fund.




(Champaign-jc)  - You may see some mobile trailers in Champaign awaiting firefighters this morning. 4 mobile trailers have been  delivered to the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign. The trailers and items inside will be used for training purposes. Many fire departments throughout the WPXN listening area will get the chance to use the trailers for fire protection training. A ribbon cutting ceremony is set for 10 this morning at the Illinois Fire Service Institute in Champaign. The 4 trailers and contents were purchased for 175 thousand dollars  of state funds. Fire Marshal Matt Perez was instrumental in lobbying for and getting the funds. The equipment will be shipped to various parts of Illinois for training purposes. They will be made available to local fire departments at no cost.


Lawsuit Filed over Fatal Bus Crash in McLean County

(McLean County---jc)  -- A lawsuit was filed over a bus versus semi crash in McLean County. The accident happened on December 5th near Downs along Interstate 74. Bloomington resident Kathleen Crabtree is suing the Jason Farrell Trucking company.  Her husband Charlie Crabtree was fatally injured in the mishap. Crabtree is suing the company for 50 thousand dollars plus court costs


CHICAGO (AP) — World War II fighter pilot John Lyle, a Tuskegee Airman, has died at the age of 98.Lyle died Saturday at his home on Chicago's South Side, his wife, Eunice, said Monday. She added that Lyle had been battling prostate cancer. The members of the nation's first black fighter squadron won acclaim for their aerial prowess and bravery, despite a military that imposed segregation on its African-American recruits while respecting the rights of German prisoners.

Lyle, who named his plane "Natalie" after his first wife, was credited with shooting down a German Messerschmitt. The Tuskegee Airmen trained at the Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul during the 1940s.



(Loda--ab) The Loda American Legion is hosting an all you can eat chicken and fish fry on Friday January 11th from 4:30-7:00 PM. Cost is 8 dollars for adults. Children 8 and under eat for free.



(Paxton--ab) One local diner has closed its doors.  The Little Chef Diner at 560 S. John Street on Paxton’s west side officially closed their doors. The diner which served American staples with a Spanish flair opened in Paxton in late March of 2018. No word was given on the future of the former Pizza Hut building that has hosted two failed restaurant ventures.




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker wants to offer cabinet members salaries 15 percent higher than current law allows to lure top talent. Legislation to bump the salaries of the agency directors and assistant directors is under consideration in the General Assembly. Jordan Abudayyeh is spokeswoman for the incoming Democrat. She says current salaries are not competitive.



(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Grand Ole Flag committee met last night at the Paxton Firehouse to look at ways to raise the 45 to 50 thousand dollars to get the project of placing a  large community on the city’s west side. The local group has already received several donations. The project is seeking the approval of the Paxton Buckley Loda School District along with the City of Paxton. The group will have to get approval for the project from the F-A-A and state due to the height of the proposed flag and its proximity to Interstate 57.



WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the information you need to know about the 60th Miss County Fair Queen Pageant.




SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Police (ISP) and the Illinois State Police Merit Board have partnered to produce a recruitment video, which displays the virtues of public service and aims to inspire men and women to join the ISP ranks.

The unique six-minute film was commissioned by ISP Merit Board member and Chicago-based businessman, Andrew T. Berlin. Berlin envisioned a tool that would help recruit high-caliber cadets.


(Lincoln--jc)  --The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for East Central Illinois from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Today. Gusts up to 45 mile per hour are possible. So be careful while driving, and bring your lawn items inside. Doug Quick will have a full look at today’s Storm team Forecast following this news cast.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Almost 180-thousand former students at for-profit adult education schools headquartered in Illinois will not have to pay back almost a half-billion dollars in student loan debt, under a settlement won by 49 state attorneys general, including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The company, Career Education Corporation, is based in Schaumburg and currently runs mostly online schools under the names American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University. Eileen Boyce, a spokesperson for Attorney General Madigan, says the company misled many students about their job prospects after graduation, pressured them to enroll, and deceived them about costs and the ability to transfer credits.  Boyce says Illinois' new Student Loan Bill of Rights should prevent many of these problems going forward.



C-E-C has closed or phased out a number of its schools, including Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design and Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College, and Sanford-Brown.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton City leaders are expected to rescind an ordinance that would have given a helicopter located at the local airport to a armed services group in Vermilion County. The helicopter was believed to be abandoned by a former fixed-base-operator at the Paxton airport. After several inquiries the plan was to give the helicopter to the Westville Legion. Since that time the owner of the helicopter has come forward to claim the machine. Also on Tuesday’s agenda for the Paxton City council is a proposal for new home building incentives in the city. The Paxton City council meets at 7 Tuesday night on the second floor of city hall.




(Springfield--ab) --  Opponents of a proposed gas tax increase are rallying at the capitol. A group gathered in the capitol rotunda…urging lawmakers to say no to raising the motor fuel tax in Illinois. That includes Representative Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee.



No specific legislation has been introduced yet but a 20 to 30 cent per gallon hike has been suggested. supporters say the money is needed to pay for transportation projects.



Illinois is lagging behind in terms of adolescent anti-smoking campaigns WPXN News’ Austin Burklund has the story.




VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — For the second time in three years, the lower Mississippi River is flooding in January. High water is moving downriver from the junction with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio crested over the weekend. The river is predicted to crest at Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday, at Vicksburg on Monday, at Natchez on Jan. 18 and at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, by Jan. 20.Flooding of low-lying areas unprotected by levees will be widespread. Relatively few buildings are unprotected.  National Weather Service hydrologist Marty Pope says rainfall across the Ohio and Mississippi valleys caused the flood. Springtime is historically the river's flood season.


(Illinois--ba)-Illinoisans already pay among the highest gas taxes in the nation. But drivers in Illinois could be paying more taxes at the pump than any other state. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former Democratic leader in the Illinois House has resigned his seat. Lou Lang announced Monday that he's ending his 32-year legislative career. The 69-year-old from Skokie has joined the lobbying firm Advantage Government Strategies. Lang resigned as deputy majority leader last May when a legislative activist accused him of sexual harassment. But legislative Inspector General Julie Porter announced in September that there was insufficient proof that Lang harassed or intimidated Maryann Loncar . Porter noted at the time that Loncar did not cooperate with the investigation. Lang sponsored legislation to create Illinois' medical marijuana program. He was also a leader on legalized gambling, capital construction and more.



(Champaign--ab)  High school and home school students and their families can learn more about an early college program that could reduce the time it takes to earn an associate's degree or bachelor's degree after high school. An informational session on the Early Transfer Academy (ETA) has been set for Monday, Jan. 28 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room U140 of Parkland College's Student Union. College faculty and administrators will be on hand to discuss the academy, its benefits to students, and the eligibility requirements for participation.



Republicans Feel Process of Impeachment for President Donald Trump is Coming

(Springfield--jc)  --A central Illinois congressman now in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives is guaranteeing Democrats move to impeach President Donald Trump, a move he says will bring the nation’s capital to a halt. Democrats took over the U.S. House on a wave of anti-Trump sentiment in November.Now back as House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California was asked on the Today Show about possible impeachment of the president. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican from Taylorville says he expects impeachment proceedings regardless, and that will be a disservice to the American people.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A body pulled from a vehicle discovered submerged in a central Illinois lake has been identified as a 37-year-old man who's been missing since November. The Sangamon County Coroner's Office identified the body as Doug Cortelyou of Springfield. The coroner says there were no signs of foul play or injuries and lab tests are pending.A fisherman's sonar device detected the Chevrolet Silverado truck near a boat launch on Lake Springfield early Saturday. The man's body was found after the truck was removed from the lake.

Cortelyou had been missing since November 18.



CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire students who attended certain for-profit schools and online courses will get nearly $5 million in debt relief. The Office of the Attorney General announced that New Hampshire is among 47 states included in the settlement involving Illinois-based Career Education Corp. CEC, a for-profit education company that operated schools nationwide, is required under the settlement to reform its recruiting and enrollment practices and to forgo collecting about $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally.

In New Hampshire, the company won't collect $4.6 million from 1,572 students. CEC has also agreed to pay $5 million to the states and New Hampshire will get $50,000.


(Monday--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are congratulating local Officer Austin Rosenbaum on his graduation from the Police Academy.  Officer Rosenbaum will start his active duty field training this week and will also then join the Gibson City Police Department.


NEW YORK (AP) — The federal agency tasked with guaranteeing U.S. airport security acknowledged an increase in the number of its employees calling off work during the partial government shutdown. Employees of the Transportation Security Administration are expected to work without pay during the shutdown because their jobs are considered essential. The T-S-A said in a statement,  that call outs that began over the holiday period have increased. The agency did not say how many of its employees have called out, but it said the call outs have had "minimal impact given that there are over 51 thousand 700 employees supporting the screening process." Wait times have been affected, but remain within T-S-A Standards.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has approved plans for enhanced safety at underground natural gas storage facilities. The Republican signed legislation Friday which authorizes the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to implement federal regulations for minimum safety standards.The Natural Resources Department and the Illinois Commerce Commission will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to monitor tank safety. Republican Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet  sponsored the legislation. He says it protects the Mahomet Aquifer in east-central Illinois. It supplies drinking water for 500,000 Illinois residents.


(Springfield--ab) Flu season is picking up in Illinois. There’s been an increase in flu cases the past couple of weeks and State Department of Public Health Director Doctor Nirav Shah says that's pretty typical for this time of year.



Shah says it’s impossible to tell if the flu has peaked in Illinois yet…since flu season can run through may. He notes that it’s definitely not too late to get your flu shot.


(Champaign--ab) Parkland College will host a free showing and panel discussion about a recently released documentary on suicide survival and loss.

"The S Word" will be shown Jan. 18 from 6:30 to 8:45 p.m. in Room C118. Rattle the Stars, an organization focused on youth suicide prevention, is hosting the showing at Parkland College and other locations in the district. The film screening is open to the public, with Spanish subtitles available. Donations are appreciated.

.Other showings of "The S Word" will be held at these locations on the following dates:

  • Jan. 12, 9:30–11:45 a.m., Champaign Library Robeson Rooms A and B

  • Jan. 16, 6:30–8:45 p.m., Rantoul Township High School Cafetorium

  • Jan. 19: 10 a.m.–12:15 p.m., Mahomet Public Library Edgar Meeting Room


(Paxton--jc)  -- A Ford County man is facing 5 felony counts of aggravated battery from an incident last month. 45 year old Toby Price of Melvin was charged with the counts in Ford County court last week. Bond was set at 50 thousand dollars.



BRAIDWOOD, Ill. (AP) — A Will County teacher has been charged with having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy. A not-guilty plea was entered Friday on behalf of Dayna Chidester, who was a teacher at Reed-Custer High School. The boy wasn't a student at the school. The 50-year-old cried in court as the charges were read. She's accused of having sex with the boy over four months, at her home, in her car and at motels. Investigators say they exchanged nude photos and explicit text messages. Chidester is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and other crimes. Bond was set at $1 million.


CHICAGO (AP) — American Airlines says a passenger's electronic cigarette caused a small fire on a flight from Las Vegas to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.American Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott says the e-cigarette's battery overheated shortly after Flight 168 landed Friday night. Scott says flight attendants stamped out the fire. No one was injured. The 138 passengers and crew of six taxied to a gate. The U.S. Transportation Department has banned e-cigarettes from checked bags because of the potential for them to catch fire. Passengers may put then in carry-on bags, but cannot use them aboard planes.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois General Assembly convenes this week, ushering in the Prairie State's third century with historic numbers of Democrats running the show and pent-up demand for action. Can they get any work done? Democrats have not surrendered control of either chamber of the Legislature for more than 15 years, but progress has been overshadowed by scandals that sent two successive governors to federal prison, backed-up bills and a long-overdue pension debt coming home to roost, and, in the past four years, ideological stalemate with the governor’s office that stalled the states basic spending plan. Governor elect J.B. Pritzker has  promises of a revamped and fairer income-tax structure, a capital construction plan to bolster roads and bridges, legalized marijuana use to help pay for it, and a boost in the minimum wage. The Senate seats 40 Democrats to 19 Republicans



(Wateka--jc)  Work on the new site of McDonalds  in Watseka has started. After a remodel at the Route 24 location and a second major flood event, the future of the  franchise was uncertain. The owners of the Watseka based business have chosen a site from two former businesses located several blocks east  along route 24 in Watseka. The properties of a flower business and burger king store were torn down last week and the new McDonalds is expected to open sometime this Spring.



(Springfield--ab) Entries are now being accepted for the  Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s radon awareness student art contest. The annual poster contest asks students to use their creative talents to promote radon awareness says the state’s Radon Program Manager Pat Daniels.



There’s also a video contest for high schoolers, where students are asked to create a 30 second you tube video about radon. The deadline to submit a video is March eighth.


(Chicago--jc)  -- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin says he will once again run for re-election. The announcement comes just days after a state representative from the same party threw her hat in the ring for his seat.The 74-year-old Springfield Democrat has said he’s "raising money and trying to lose some weight,” joking that’s what most politicians say when they’re running for re-election.  Durbin told C-N-N’s John Berman he is running for a 5th term


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that it must delay the release of key crop reports due to the partial government shutdown, leaving investors and farmers without vital information during an already tumultuous time for agricultural markets.The USDA had planned to release the closely watched reports Jan. 11 but said that even if the shutdown ended immediately , the agency's staff wouldn't have time to release the reports as scheduled. Congressional leaders met with President Donald Trump on Friday but there were no indications the shutdown would end soon.


DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police say a state trooper who had been on unpaid leave since a 2015 shooting outside a restaurant has been fired.State police spokesman Lt. Matt Boerwinkle says  that the agency's merit board discharged Cody Garza for cause. Garza had been on unpaid leave since the August 2015 shooting outside a restaurant in Danville, as he was in town for a high school reunion. Prosecutors say Garza was off-duty when he fired his gun during an altercation with another man. No one was injured.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Railway commuters traveling between St. Louis and Chicago have yet to see faster rail journeys, despite most of the Amtrak corridor's  nearly 2 Billion dollar upgrade concluding a year ago. Delays in installing and testing new GPS-related safety technology kept Amtrak trains from hitting high speeds of 90 mph during 2018, as the Illinois Department of Transportation originally projected.  Trains are not allowed to travel faster than 79-mph on the route.The Illinois agency projects that 90-mph speeds will be in place for Amtrak by the summer, with trains in the Bloomington area getting that speed later in the year.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Senate has confirmed a new U.S. attorney for central Illinois five months after President Donald Trump nominated him. John Milhiser has been the acting U.S. attorney for the 46-county region since that nomination. The Senate's unanimous voice vote solidifies his position as central Illinois' top federal prosecutor. Milhiser's office is overseeing several high-profile cases. That includes the pending trial of Brendt Christensen, who is awaiting trial on charges he kidnapped and killed a scholar from China, Yingying Zhang.Milhiser is a former Sangamon County state's attorney.


(Urbana--jc)  -- Bond for a Rantoul man accused of a marijuana possession and a handgun charge is due back in court today. Police say 47 year old Charles Hood was in possession of the controlled substance on Friday in Urbana. His bond was set at 30 thousand dollars on Saturday in Champaign County court.

Can Apps Detect Depression and Suicidal Urges in Teens?

(Chicago--jc)  -Rising suicide rates and depression in U.S. teens and young adults have prompted researchers to ask a provocative question: Could the same devices that some people blame for contributing to tech-age angst also be used to detect it? The idea has sparked a race to develop apps that warn of impending mental health crises. Call it smartphone psychiatry or child psychology 2.0. Studies have linked heavy smartphone use with worsening teen mental health. But as teens scroll through Instagram and Snapchat, tap out texts or watch YouTube videos, they also leave digital footprints that might offer clues to their psychological well-being. Changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice and how often kids stay home could signal trouble, according to preliminary studies.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A court-appointed expert would guide the overhaul of health care for Illinois prison inmates in a proposed federal consent decree filed Thursday. Lawyers for approximately 40,000 state prison inmates announced that the Illinois Department of Corrections' agreement would settle an eight-year-old federal lawsuit alleging that prison health care is so inadequate it has led to needless deaths. A U.S. District judge in Chicago must approve the consent decree, in which the state admits no wrongdoing. It provides for a court-appointed monitor to oversee the complete reconstruction of prison-system health care. The monitor would assist in creating a plan for adequate staffing of medical and dental professionals and an outline for implementing other system-wide changes.



(Chicago--jc)  -- A company that owns two national for-profit college chains said Thursday that it will erase nearly $500 million in debt incurred by former students as part of a settlement with 48 states and the District of Columbia. The deal with Career Education Corporation will resolve allegations that it lied about job placement rates and misled potential students to get them to enroll. State attorneys general began investigating the company in 2014 following complaints from students and a damning report by the U.S. Senate.Company officials on Thursday said they deny any wrongdoing but called the settlement an "important milestone."


(Springfield--ab) December was warm and stormy in Illinois. The statewide average temperature last month was 34 degrees…which is more than four degrees above normal. Precipitation was also above normal says State Climatologist Office Spokesperson Brian Kerschner.



The January forecast calls for below average precipitation for most of Illinois. temperatures are expected to be above average over the next week but then more typical for this time of year for the rest of the month.


(Paxton--ab) The Ford County Sheriff's office released the December 2018 action report. Ford County police issued 52 traffic citations . Of those 52, 40 were for speeding. Inmates had 399 mandays at the Ford county jail.



(Champaign--ab) The Parkland College Foundation and the Parkland College Athletics department have announced the newest members of the Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2018 will be honored at festivities Saturday, Jan. 26 in the Dodds Athletic Center, in conjunction with the Cobras Men's Basketball game versus Danville Area Community College. The game begins at 3 p.m. This is the 12th Hall of Fame class chosen since the inaugural induction ceremony in 2007.

The 2018 Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame class includes:

  • Marty Kirby '76, Baseball

  • Brittany Fallis Perez '09, Volleyball

  • Hannah Ohl Cronk, '11, Basketball

  • Heidi McKean Wlezien '09, Basketball of Cissna Park

  • Lennox Forrester '89, Basketball

  • Denise McGrath '02, Volleyball

  • Rebecca Koets '02, Softball

(Loda--ab) On Sunday January 20th at 7 PM The Loda United Methodist Church will host a free will donation concert featuring a family of singers. The Dysart Family offers Gospel Music fans unique, tight family harmonies, with a diverse and powerful selection of music. The Dysart Family, based out of Macon, Missouri, received several nominations for the Singing News Fan Awards and the Diamond Awards. They saw multiple radio singles do well in the Singing News Charts and other Gospel Music radio charts, reaching the Top 80 and Top 40.


(Chicago--jc)  -- “We are one Illinois.” This was a refrain from Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker during campaign season. It’s a nice sentiment. The state is short on pride and solidarity. But now that campaign season is over, how can Pritzker actually bring Illinois together?Take Chicago. In parts of Illinois, Chicago bears the brunt of the blame for all the state’s problems. The blame game arises from many factors: cultural, political, economic, racial and historical. Sometimes the criticism is warranted. Other times, 2.7 million Illinoisans near Lake Michigan are just convenient scapegoats.Either way, Illinois does not thrive when its largest city fails.Chicagoans know well the problems they face. Chicago’s homicide rate is the highest among major cities. Its municipal debt per capita is the highest, too. When it comes to the city’s schools, parent and teacher unrest often boils over.But oftentimes, Chicagoans are left powerless to bring about the structural change necessary to fix these problems.


Pope Francis is encouraging U.S. bishops meeting near Chicago to unify as the Roman Catholic church deals with a "crisis of credibility" stemming from the clergy sex abuse scandal. In an 7 page letter addressed to the bishops and released to the media Thursday,the pope  acknowledged that "no response or approach seems adequate" to the crisis. Still, he wrote, all church leaders must reckon with parishioners' pain, heal internal divisions and devise specific approaches that go beyond "creating new committees or improving flow charts."


BLOOMINGTON — The Jan. 14 bench trial of a Bloomington man charged in a triple homicide was postponed Thursday to May 13 as the state waits for DNA test results and McLean County judges juggle a busy spring calendar of murder cases. Sydney Mays is charged with the murders of two people. Fatally injured were 22 year old Nate Pena and 22 year old Cory Jackson. A small boy was also injured in the shooting in Bloomington.




(Paxton--jc)  One local pharmacy is being sold to a local buyer. Doug’s Compounding Pharmacy is being sold to Jenna Vogel. Vogel is originally from Gibson City. Doug Higgins will remain with the company as an employee. The company will continue to be a locally based business in the downtown area of Paxton.



(Chicago--jc)  -- The state’s Teachers Retirement System is offering the first round of pension buyout plans for Tier I pensioners as a way to lower the system's unfunded liability, but there’s no money yet, and a public finance watchdog worries things could go south.State lawmakers included pension buyout plans as part of this year’s budget, Lawmakers said the buyouts could save hundreds of millions of dollars over time. The plans would vary, but essentially would give the option to different classes of employees to accelerate some pension payouts in exchange for lesser overall benefits over time.TRS Communications Director Dave Urbanek said the first round of accelerated pension benefits is being offered with a second round later this year, but those opting in after getting all their benefit changes calculated will have to wait for the check.


(Springfield--ab) It’s radon awareness month and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is warning the public about the dangers of the gas. Radon is odorless, colorless and tasteless so if your home has it, you’re probably unaware says State Radon Program Manager Pat Daniels. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer…and you should test for it about every two years.



There are also companies that will perform the test. You can find a list online at: radon dot illinois dot gov.


(Springfield--ab) Illinois State Police District 10 Captain Louis Kink wants to remind motorists to drive safely in the new year. In 2019, Illinois State Police in District 10 will be doing their part to keep the roadways safe by continuing to aggressively enforce all Illinois laws with an emphasis on the four most common causes of fatal traffic crashes “The Fatal Four”. “The Fatal Four” includes: DUI, Speeding, Seat Belt, and Distracted Driving. District 10 will begin aggressively enforcing two additional violations that contribute to road rage incidents and traffic crashes: Improper Use of the Left Lane and Following Too Closely. Improper Use of Left Lane  While traveling on an Interstate, vehicles must travel in the right lane, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or when moving over for disabled vehicles parked on the shoulder and all stationary emergency vehicles.


(Rantoul-dg)-A fire in Rantoul has caused over $90,000 damage to a home on Kenneth Drive. Rantoul Fire Chief Ken Waters sais crew were called at around 9:30 yesterday morning to the 1400 block of Kenneth Drive where flames were coming from the kitchen. He said the cause was an electrical skillet that was left on in the kitchen.





Growing of Hemp Gaining Ground

(Springfield--ab) The State Department of Agriculture is releasing details and proposed rules for growing industrial hemp in Illinois. The public will have 45 days to comment on the regulations…and then a legislative committee will discuss and approve the rules. Then the Department of Ag will start accepting license applications to grow industrial hemp says Medicinal Bureau Chief Jeff Cox.



Cox says he’s been receiving a lot of calls from farmers anxious to grow hemp. Even before the new farm bill was signed legalizing industrial hemp production nationwide…Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law back in august allowing it in Illinois.


(Springfield--ab) Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White awarded over $1.3 million in FY19 School District Library Grant Program awards to 694 public school districts. More than 1.6 million Illinois students served by school library media programs have benefitted from the grants. Local Schools in the WPXN area got these amounts respectively.

Cissna Park Cissna Park Community Unit School District #6 $750.0

Gibson City?Melvin?Sibley Community Unit School District #5 $750.00

Iroquois West Community Unit School District #10 $750.00

Paxton?Buckley?Loda Unit #10 $989.25

Rantoul City Schools District #137 $1,201.50

Saint Joseph?Ogden Community High School District #305 $750.00


(Springfield--ab) Among the new laws now in effect in Illinois are two gun control measures. One new law lets family, friends and police petition a court to take away a potentially violent person’s guns for up to six months. It was sponsored by representative Kathleen Willis of Addison.



A second new law requires a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of all guns. that cooling off period previously only applied to handguns.


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say a 12-year-old boy who was wounded by gunfire as people were ringing in the new year was the first person shot in the city in 2019. Police say the boy was looking out of a second-floor window in the city's Englewood neighborhood about 12:10 a.m. Tuesday when a bullet struck his left hand. He was treated at a hospital and released.


(Springfield--ab) 59 new state police troopers have been hitting the roadways of Illinois. They survived 27 intense weeks at the State Police Academy…learning about firearms, cultural diversity, domestic violence and more. Class president Marcos Diaz addressed the group at their graduation in Springfield.



The graduates will be stationed around the state and will work with a mentor for the next 14 weeks.


(Evanston-dg)-It's that time of year when many people resolve to give up nicotine for good, but researchers in Illinois want participants for a study looking at how a dose of nicotine could help some people with memory health.While most people associate nicotine with smoking, researchers are focusing on how the drug affects the brain. Some of that research focuses on how nicotine can combat memory loss.Northwestern University in Evanston is one of 30 institutions taking part in the study. Nonsmokers interested in taking part in the study can visit the website Participants won’t get paid, but may be eligible for travel assistance.


(Springfield--ab) Most Illinois metro areas enjoyed an increase in jobs last month. All but two of the 14 metro areas saw job growth in November compared to year-ago levels says State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough (goff).



The unemployment rate was also up in eleven metro areas compared to this time last year. Gough says that’s due to more people out looking for work as the job market improves.

(Springfield-dg)-A handful of laws that went into effect Jan. 1 will make it easier to get rid of select units of governments, but reducing the number of taxing bodies in the state isn't guaranteed. Illinois has nearly 7,000 units of local government, nearly 2,000 more than Texas, a much larger and more populous state. Illinois has school districts, fire protection districts, library districts, townships, municipal governments, mosquito abatement districts and even cemetery districts and street lighting districts, among other types of local government. Most have the authority to levy property taxes. Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the nation. State lawmakers made some progress in cutting down on the number of local units of government, but some say more needs to be done.


CHICAGO (AP) — A group of African-American veterans is seeking donations to help save their longtime Chicago chapter hall from a mounting tax debt. The Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. Chicago Chapter No. 2 has operated out of a building in Englewood for 35 years. But the Chicago Sun-Times reports the group is saddled with more than $75,000 in back property taxes and will lose the building if they don't come up with that money by Feb. 1, or get an extension from Cook County.


Proposed Plans for the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Use in Illinois Have Shifted from "When" to "How."

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Proposed plans for the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Illinois have shifted from "when" to "how."Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker campaigned on the legalization issue and its corresponding tax revenue of as much as $1 billion a year. And Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is on board . Two key Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Heather Steans and Rep. Kelly Cassidy, have been meeting with interest groups ahead of the legislative session that begins in January. Both have worked on the issue for years.Marijuana has been federally outlawed since 1937, but its surrounding stigma has been eased in the past few decades. President Jimmy Carter called for its national decriminalization 40 years ago, and 10 states now allow the recreational use of marijuana after voters in Michigan approved such a measure last month.


ROCK FALLS, Ill. (AP) — Planning officials in a northwestern Illinois community are opposing a proposed community solar farm just outside its city limits. The Rock Falls Plan Commission recommended that the city object to the project, saying it is incompatible with comprehensive plans of the city and Whiteside County. The proposed project site is in an agricultural area. The city contends the site should continue to be used for farming until it can be developed for more traditional commercial purposes.The idea of solar farms has surfaced at several locations locally including Champaign and Fisher.



Most Illinois metro areas enjoyed an increase in jobs last month. Jobs were up in 12 of the 14 metro areas in November compared to year-ago levels. But state department of employment security spokesperson Bob Gough (goff) says the unemployment rate was also up in 11 metro areas.



Areas with the most job growth compared to November of last year include the Chicago area, Lake County, Elgin and Kankakee. Over the year job losses were seen in the Carbondale-Marion area and in Springfield.



59 new state police troopers are on the  roadways of Illinois. The group of cadets just graduated after completing 27 rigorous weeks at the academy in Springfield. State Police Director Leo Schmitz congratulated the new troopers and said this career is a calling.



The troopers begin Monday around the state and will be mentored by seasoned officers for the next 14 weeks.


DODGEVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Residents in a rural Wisconsin county are split over a Chicago developer's plan to work with two Wisconsin utilities to build a solar farm that would include more than 1 million solar panels. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Badger Hollow Solar Farm proposed by Invenergy would cover 2,700 acres in Iowa County and could power more than 70,000 homes. Some residents believe it's a good opportunity while others fear that it'll hurt the area.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A private investigator wants Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to free a man serving life for a woman's 1989 slaying. The Springfield State Journal-Register reports that Investigating Innocence founder Bill Clutter asked Rauner in a Dec. 14 letter to grant executive clemency to 68-year-old Thomas McMillen. Jan. 14 is Rauner's last day as governor.

Melissa Koontz disappeared after leaving work in 1989. Her body later was found west of Springfield. McMillen was convicted of her murder. Clutter says two people never called to testify at McMillen's trial would have contradicted testimony that McMillen abducted and stabbed Koontz.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Among Illinois' 250 or so new laws for 2019 are a pair of hotly debated new gun laws. A shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee in April drove one of Illinois' new gun laws for the new year. Travis Reinking is from Tazewell County, he had a history of mental illness, but got his guns back, and went and killed four people. Illinois lawmakers wasted little time in using his case to craft a new law that allows for a temporary order of protection to take away someone's guns. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the law in July The other gun law that saw plenty of debate and headlines is a new law for 2019 that will require people to wait three days to buy any gun.  It used to be one day for rifles, and three days for pistols. But opponents, like state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, said the new law will only apply to legal gun buyers. And he said they already go through rigorous background checks.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County Fair Association has an organizational meeting set for Saturday. The meeting is set to elect a board and continue to plan for the 20-19 Ford County Fair. The Fair will be held in June and the organizational meeting is set for 8am on Saturday at the Arcade Restaurant in Paxton.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Fundraising continues for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project. The efforts have been started by Paxton resident Denny Kingren and the city, PBL schools, Paxton Chamber, Paxton Pride, local businesses and WPXN have jumped on board for the idea. The group will meet on Monday for the first time to look at options to raise around 40 thousand dollars to get the project built on Paxton’s west side. Funds have already been given to the project. The group hopes to raise the money by Spring.



(Undated--jc)  In 20-18, 85 firefighters lost their lives battling blazes, trying to rescue people and in vehicle accidents. The local and area fire departments, local and area volunteer fire officials urge to the public to thank those first responders, fire fighters and rescue officials for what they do to keep the area safe. Those in the area put their personal lives on hold to respond to an accident along Interstates 57 and 74 to a field fire, or building fire. Sometime soon, thank a local fire department, first responder or rescue person for their continued service.



The State Department of Agriculture is releasing details and proposed rules for growing industrial hemp in Illinois. There’s a lot of excitement that industrial hemp production is now legal in Illinois and nationwide, but Medicinal Plant Bureau Chief Jeff Cox says producers won’t be able to start up right away.



Cox says they plan to have an online license application system. Prior to that though…the public will have 45 days to comment on the proposed rules, followed by a hearing for lawmakers to weigh in and approve the regulations.



Kiss, The Beatles and Aerosmith are expected to be represented when Rantoul Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts its Bowl for Kids’ Sake. At least the groups’ music will be.The event will be held in two sessions — from 5 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. March 9 at Country Tyme Lanes, in  Rantoul.The fundraiser will include t-shirts, prizes, food, drinks and, of course, rock music and bowling.For more information, 217-417-3860



CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University Carbondale is going to get some new flying classrooms.The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the university is about to spend more than $2 million to purchase five new Cessna 172 planes to teach students how to fly. The chair of the school's aviation programs, Mike Burgener, says the planes will replace eight decades-old aircraft that are becoming outdated and expensive to maintain


(Washington--jc)  Food shoppers may see a little bit more food price inflation in 2019. Gary Crawford has the numbers…



THEBES, Ill. (AP) — A historic southern Illinois courthouse once visited by Abraham Lincoln is getting an $83,000 renovation with help from a private donor. The Old Thebes Courthouse overlooking the Mississippi River was built in the 1840s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Dred Scott, the slave whose fight for freedom became a landmark Supreme Court ruling, was held in its jail. The structure fell into disrepair after the county seat moved in 1860.



(Fisher--jc)   A January blood drive is set for tomorrow in Fisher. The event takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. at River Valley Church of Christ. Snacks will be available.


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