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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-03

Another Illinois State Police trooper killed Thursday White Conducting Roadside Check

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State Police trooper was killed Thursday when she was struck by a truck during a traffic stop, the second trooper to die that way this year.Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed in the crash that occurred on Route 20 near Route 75 in Freeport, state police officials said. Jones-Story was a 12-year veteran of the Illinois State Police District 16 in Pecatonica.

"Today is a dark day for the Illinois State Police family," said Acting Director Brendan F. Kelly. Director Kelly continues to urge motorists to slow down…



Acting State Police Director Brendan Kelly

 Jones-Story was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the crash. She is the second state trooper killed in a crash this year. Thursday's accident was the 15th time since January that a state trooper or a police squad car has been struck by motorists. That's double last year's total of eight.


DENVER (AP) — A Catholic order in Colorado has released the names of 13 friars accused of sexual abuse. The Denver Post reports that the Capuchin Franciscans of the Province of St. Conrad in Denver provided information obtained through a 2018 audit ordered by its head minister that uncovered abuses of minors or vulnerable adults.The order says two of the 13 friars are dead and five have left the order, but none are currently in active ministry.The Capuchin order is in 5 states including Illinois.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Charges against a Clarence man have been dismissed, for now. Ford County State’s Attorney Andrew Killian says that charges  of unlawful restraint and battery against 48 year old Michael Hari were dismissed on Thursday in Ford County Court. The Ford County Record reports that the charges could be re filed at a later date. The dismissal could also prevent Hari from remaining in Illinois as he faces a trial in Minnesota for alleged acts of terrorism for a mosque bombing. WPXN news will continue to follow this story as it warrants.



(Washington--ba) What is the status on grain stocks to date. Gary Crawford has the numbers....



(Paxton--jc)  A Tuesday night fire destroyed a building in Paxton and it’s contents, that included 18 antique and vintage vehicles. In an update of our story,  Paxton Fire Department Chief Denny Kingren says the building at total loss and the value of the vehicles is undertermined...


Paxton Fire Department Chief Denny Kingren



(Springfield--jc)  -- After a hard-fought campaign during which Governor. J.B. Pritzker promised he would balance Illinois’ budget on the backs of the rich, 67 percent of voters support the idea of a graduated income tax according to a new poll, fewer than a year ago. In the latest polling, of 1,000 registered Illinois voters, professor John Jackson at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale says most still support changing Illinois’ constitution to allow for higher income tax rates on higher earners.


(Rantoul--jc) The Rantoul Beautification Committee is set for a fundraiser to help with the beautification in the village. Group spokesperson Paula Hopkins, of A House of Flowers, says a talent show is set for Sunday April 7th at the high school. All types of acts will be performing with over a dozen already scheduled. Hopkins says all money raised goes to help keep Rantoul a great place to live, work and shop…



Rantoul Beautification Committee Spokesperson Paula Hopkins



(Farmer City--jc)  Let the racing begin. The 12 annual Illini 100 presented by Douglas Dodge kicks off on April 4th with open practice at the Farmer City Raceway . On Friday April 5th its the U-M-P Modifieds, DirtCar Stock Cars, and Pro late Models.  World of Outlaws Late Model Series competition begins on Friday and also runs on Saturday night.Friday night’s purse is 6 thousand dollar to win and 75 lap event on Saturday has a winner’s prize of 15 thousand dollars. Racing then continues each week through August at the Farmer City Raceway.

The annual I-74 race is May 9th and 10th.



(Rantoul--jc)  Springtime is sign up time for baseball in Rantoul. Officials with the Rantoul Recreation Department say there are only a few more days to register for Little League baseball. April first is the sign up deadline. A waiting list will be started on the second. More information is found by contacting the Rantoul Rec Department.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout on Saturday from 10am until 2pm. Profits from the cookout will benefit the Council of Catholic Women and Saint Mary Catholic Church of Paxton On the menu is ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and pop.


(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois' Catholic leaders urged lawmakers Thursday to oppose two bills that would change the state's abortion laws.The state's six bishops addressed lawmakers at a news conference in Springfield. Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, spoke against the proposed  Reproductive Health Act and another bill that would repeal a state law requiring parental notification for minors seeking an abortion. Cardinal Cupich says the church mustt view this proposed legislation as the latest attack on human dignity, motivated by the dominant cultural ethic that asserts that lives of unborn children have no value and sanctity when weighed against the wishes and needs of others.


(SPRINGFIELD) — A bipartisan bill that could provide Illinoisans needed property tax relief passed unanimously in the Illinois House on Thursday. Democrat Representative Rita Mayfield’s bill would give more education dollars to students and also look to reduce the number of school districts in the state.  Illinois has 852 school districts. Mayfield says a reduction in school districts would generate savings by decreasing administrative bloat and allowing more education dollars to reach the classroom.


(Springfield--jc) Illinois Governor JB Pritzker continues to pursue additional tax dollars to help bring more money into the state coffers and to add services and programs to Illinoisans. Governor Pritzker says the taxes and fees are needed…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Washington--ba)-Flooded areas in the Corn Belt should brace for even more rain.  Stephanie Ho reports.



(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s on to the full House for a measure that would give local governments the ability to assess their own gas tax of up to 3 cents a gallon. House Bill 102 had already been approved by the House Revenue and Finance Committee. An amendment to allow local government to tack on up to 3 cents a gallon to the state’s current 19 cents a gallon was approved in committee  Thursday.“This bill gives an opportunity for the locals to impose a 3 cents a gallon motor fuel tax,” said state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside. “I intend to have fuller discussions with the transit board and all interested stakeholders including labor.”


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University is slowing its search for a new president while leaders work on a new mission, vision and strategic priorities for the two-university system. Interim President Kevin Dorsey replaced ousted S-I-U President Randy Dunn last summer . The original plan called for the Board of Trustees to interview candidates this summer and have a permanent president in place by August. But The Southern Illinoisan reports trustees opted Wednesday to delay the process.


(Springfield--c)  The Illinois State Fair is adding rock group “Bad Company” to the grandstand concert lineup. State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth says Bad Company will perform with Foghat on Saturday August 11th…



State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth

Tickets go on sale on Saturday April 20th.


(Rantoul--jc)  A look at the history of the Chanute Air Force Base is set for next week at the Urbana Public Library. The event will feature music from the Chanute 505th Air Force Band of the Midwest, The event will take place on the first floor of the library in The McFarlane-Hood and Busey Mills reading rooms. Other parts of the day include scale military planes, and a Chanute conversation corner. Food will also be available. The event runs from 11am to 3pm on the 6th at the library in Urbana.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- A mural project is coming to the downtown area of Rantoul soon.. The village, downtown businesses and downtown business association are helping with the project. The mural will be placed on the west side of the Lindsey Lane Bridal Shop in downtown Rantoul.  More on the project is expected to come soon.



(Roberts--jc)  -- A benefit for the late Ron Ennen is set for tomorrow in Roberts. The event runs from 3pm to 7pm at the Roberts gym. A free will donation meal, drawings, silent auction and bake sale hilite the event. The benefit organizer are members of the St Peter Lutheran Church in Thawville.

An Illinois Man Facing Federal Murder Charges in the Killing a Sheriff's Deputy Now Faces State Charges

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An audit released Wednesday found that a plan to save $500 million a year on state employee health insurance was  ill-conceived and poorly executed that it's costing taxpayers $10 million extra annually without delivering the service promised. Auditor General Frank Mautino says that former Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration, which originally proposed a private health insurance exchange, switched gears to an online custom-benefit portal that officials said could have been created in house. It replaced a paper-based health care program for 450,000 workers and retirees, but the promised cost-saving marketplace still isn't in place.


CHICAGO (AP) — A team of architects led by Jeanne Gang has been chosen to design a $2.2 billion global terminal at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Studio ORD, which includes Gang's Studio Gang and other firms, will be in charge of designing the 2.2 million-square-foot facility. The terminal will be the centerpiece of an $8.5 billion airport expansion and modernization. The project is to be completed by 2028.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man facing federal murder charges in the killing a sheriff's deputy now faces state charges, as well. Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross said Wednesday that a grand jury indicted 39-year-old Floyd E. Brown, of Springfield, on 75 counts, including 60 counts of first-degree murder. Brown has already pleaded not guilty to the federal first-degree murder and weapons charges in the March 7 fatal shooting of 35-year-old McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Bids for a roof project at a Ford County Maintenance shed are expected to be opened in May. The local Ford County Sheriff’s department learned that the project will receive a grant of around 39 thousand dollars to help pay a new roof.Specs for the project and will be available soon and the hope of the local department is the grant will cover most of the roof costs.



(Paxton--jc)  A fire at a building at Vermilion and Holmes  in Paxton saw the building completely destroyed and around a dozen classic  and antique vehicles destroyed. Paxton Fire Department Fire Chief Denny Kingren says the building and most of the contents were destroyed...…



Paxton Fire Department Fire Chief Denny Kingren.

The State  Fire Marshal’s office was on the scene Wednesday morning to try and figure out what caused the blaze. Our thoughts go out to the Baier Family who lost not only prized possessions, but a lot of Paxton area History.



(Gibson City--jc)  Funeral arrangements for a Gibson City police officer who passed away after a long battle with cancer has been set. The funeral for Tony Dow of Gibson City will take place on Saturday morning at 10 at the Rosenbaum Funeral Home in Gibson City.  Dow’s visitation takes place on Friday from 5-30 until 8 at the funeral home. Gibson City police officials are inviting other police officers from area agencies to participate in a walk through during the visitation on Friday at 6pm.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Senate Republicans are pushing an amendment that would make it harder to raise taxes in Illinois. The measure says that taxes and fees can only be raised through legislation that is passed by two thirds of both the House and Senate. Republican State Senator Dan McConchie of Hawthorn says with all the recent tax hikes..this is important…



Republican State Senator Dan McConchie of Hawthorn.



(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County Policy and Procedure committee members will look at requests certification of compliance for Motor Fuel Tax  and Bridge program funds when they meet this morning in Watseka. The group is also expected to approve an E-M-A Social Media Policy and get an update on Flood Matters in Iroquois County. The committee meeting begins this morning at 9 in Watseka.


(Gifford--jc)  -- When voters go to the polls on Tuesday they will elect village and city council members to library boards and school board members. In the Gifford School district 4 candidates are running for three positions on the local board. They are Candy Franzen, Traci Harris, Michael Schluter and Alyson Suits. The polls open at 6  Tuesday morning.



(Hoopeston--jc)  Want to hear Johnny Cash? Those at the Lorraine Theatre in Hoopeston are hosting Doug Allen Nasch in a Johnny Cash tribute concert tomorrow night at the theatre in Hoopeston. Tickets are 28 dollars in advance and 30 dollars at the door. More information is found by contacting the theatre. There is also a free will dinner starting at 5-30 Friday afternoon at the Hoopeston United Methodist Church. On  the menu, several of Cash’s favorite foods, Chili, cornbread and peanut butter cookies. The concert begins at 7 Friday night.


(Springfield--jc)  Thousands of gun owners showed up in Springfield on Wednesday to oppose a growing list of bills that they worry will infringe on their constitutional rights.The annual Illinois Gun Owner Lobby Day brought crowds to the capitol. Rhonda Ezell, president and co-founder of Chicago Guns Matter, sued the city of Chicago over a ban on gun ranges and won. She said it’s not about guns. It’s about the rights of people to protect themselves from tyranny.


(Bloomington--jc)  - Some Republican leaders in the state capitol are working to get a change to the State Constitution concerning more taxes. A measure passed that would require a supermajority vote to pass new taxes. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman believes that a supermajority, not just a simple majority of legislators needs to be the number to pass more taxes on Illinoisans…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican,  of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  -- The American Soybean Association released a statement today says they are not pleased with recent comments from President Trump that he could leave tariffs in place under an agreement with China. A-S-A has always considered the lifting of the Section 301 tariffs by the U.S. in exchange for China removing its retaliatory 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean imports as essential to any initial agreement between the two countries. A-S-A President  Davie Stephens, of Clinton Kentucky says the President’s statement that the tariffs should remain in place to ensure China’s compliance with the terms of a deal, rather than being rescinded as a part of that deal, is confounding


(Rantoul--jc)  -- On Wednesday, , the Rantoul Exchange Club honored the men and women of the Rantoul Police Department at the Police Officer of the Year Banquet. This year 3 officers received nominations from their fellow officer. Officer Jerry King, Officer Jim Barnett and Detective Jim Schmidt received nominations. Members of the Exchange Club interviewed the 3 finalists and selected Officer Jerry King as Police Officer of the Year. King is a 2003 graduate of Paxton Buckley Loda High School and has been with the Rantoul Police Department since 20-13.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois lawmakers are considering a five percent tax on streaming online services and satellite television.The legislation is, sponsored by Democrat Deputy Majority Leader Art Turner of Chicago. It , would tax the providers of streaming services like Roku and satellite services like DirecTV on 5 percent of their gross profits. It would also tax the subscribers one percent “for the privilege to witness, view, or otherwise enjoy the entertainment. 50 percent of the proposed tax would go local municipalities



(Springfield--jc) --Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says Illinoisans can now apply for the Real I-D Card. The card is a federal requirement, needed for domestic air travel and to enter federal buildings starting in October of next year. Secretary White says you can also just keep your regular driver’s license and use your passport to fly…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

Documents needed include birth certificate, social security number, address and signature.

(Rantoul--jc)  -- If you see some University of Illinois Students in the village of Rantoul on Saturday, there is a good reason. A  group of U of I students will be conducting a Village of Rantoul transportation survey on Saturday. The students will knock on doors in neighborhoods throughout the Village of Rantoul. For professionalism and safety, each student will be wearing a Village of Rantoul ID badge. The survey runs from 10am until 3pm on Saturday



Forecasters are calling for widespread and unusually severe flooding this spring. If you live near rivers or streams, an expert says you might want to think about doing some things ahead of time, just in case. Gary Crawford reports…




(Arrowsmith--jc)  Fire destroyed a vacant home and garage in Arrowsmith on Wednesday. The Pantagraph reports that firefighters were called to the one story home on East street around 6 last night. No one was injured. Firefighters from the Saybrook-Arrowsmith Fire Protection District had the blaze controlled in less than an hour. Several other neighboring fire districts helped in the incident. No word on the amount of damage to the home was provided.



(Gibson City--jc)  One Ford County Relay for Life team is hosting a Euchre party fundraiser in April. The Chic Meredith’s team invites area card players to the event on Friday April 12 starting at 630pm at the Moyer District Library. Entry fee is 10 dollars. Those interested are asked to call 217-784-5267. Money raised goes to help raise funds for a cure for cancer and also raise awareness of the disease.


Paxton Buckley Loda School Board Set to Begin Search for New High School Football Coach

(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board is set to begin the search for a new high School football coach. The reason is that current football coach and Director of Student Services Jeff Graham will be the new Superintendent and Principal at Ludlow Grade School. The school board is expected to address the open position next month and Graham starts his new job on July First of this year. Graham is replacing popular school superintendent Dru  Lobmaster.


(Paxton--jc)  A fire last night in Paxton caused damage to a shed. Paxton Firefighters were called to a building at the corner of Vermilion and Holmes street in the city. The fire started around 7pm. The building was home to several antique cars. No word on damage to the building or its content was made available. WPXN News will update this story as more official news becomes available.


(Paxton--jc)  -- One local golf course has a new buddy system approach. Lakeview Golf Course and Country Club is a public golf course in Loda. Lakeview Golf Course Manager Doug McCoy says one to become a member is joining with a “buddy”...



Lakeview Golf and Country Club Course Manager Doug McCoy

There will be an informational meeting tonight at 6pm for anyone looking to join a Wednesday night league. If you can't make tonight's meeting, there will be another one on Saturday March 30th at 3pm. Both meetings will take place at the Golf Course in Loda.



(Springfield--ba)-Illinois’ spring trout season kicks off on Saturday, April sixth. It’s the time of year many anglers have been waiting for says State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross.



State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Ed Cross.


(Bloomington--jc) As an Illinois taxpayer, would  you favor a plan to make it harder to pass tax hikes or new taxes?  Ray Watt reports…




CHICAGO (AP) — Fox Television, which produces "Empire," says it is "gratified" that all charges against actor Jussie Smollett have been dropped. In one-sentence statement, Fox says: "Jussie Smollett has always maintained his innocence and we are gratified that all charges against him have been dismissed."



CHICAGO (AP) — The NCAA is being sued by the parents of a suburban Chicago Christian college freshman who was struck and killed in 2017 by an errant hammer throw at a track and field meet. The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Ethan Roser in U.S. District Court in Chicago alleges the NCAA was negligent by failing to enact minimum size requirements for safety cages and failing to require trained officials at track and field events. NCAA officials did not immediately respond to a call for comment.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal that would raise the state's gas tax by 19 cents a gallon to pay for transportation infrastructure repairs. The Chicago Tribune reports that Democratic Sen. Martin Sandoval of Chicago introduced the measure last week. It could raise an additional $2 billion in revenue annually and would be the state's first gas tax increase since 1990. The bill also proposes raising fees for driver's licenses and vehicle registration.


 (Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are working on creating a harsher penalty for people who cause a serious injury to another person while texting and driving.Under the proposal, a driver who causes great bodily harm to another while distracted by using a phone or other electronic device would face a $1,000 fine and a year without a license. Currently, the penalty is $75, along with other punishments for dangerous driving.The bill, sponsored by Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, came after a constituent in her district that lost his leg in a crash where the other driver was texting while behind the wheel.


(Springfield--jc)  SNAP benefits will be issued to all recipients between April 1 and April 10th. Kim Howard has the details…




(AP) — A federal judge has ordered the arrest of two allies of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for failing to appear for depositions in a lawsuit filed by Madigan's opponent in the 2016 election.  Joseph Nasella and Michael Kuba were subpoenaed by Jason Gonzales, who ran against Madigan. Gonzales claims the speaker's team stacked the ballot with phony candidates with Latino-sounding last names to confuse voters. The two men last year were no-shows for depositions.


(Gibson City--jc)  Those with the Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services Foundation are hosting a donor recognition event in April.  Gibson Area Hospital officials will be making a major announcement during the event. C-E-O Rob Schmitt will update the group on the new Medical Office Building Project. The event will serve as the official launch for the capital campaign for this project.


(Washington-jc)  -- What's ahead over the next ten years for the U.S. beef, pork and broiler sectors? Gary Crawford has the story…




(Rantoul--jc)  -Spring is here and soon area pools will be open for the summer. Officials with the Rantoul Rec Department are  offering an Early Bird Special on ALL pool passes. This sale will run from May 1-May 8. Added to the seasonal pass include a  30 min early entrance on weekends and a VIP pool party on August Second for all pass holders Individual passes can be purchased online at, family passes will need to be purchased over the phone or in the office.




Pension Costs and Potential "Insolvency" Becoming a Hot Topic in Springfield

(Springfield--jc)  Pension costs and potential “insolvency” are now becoming a hot topic in Springfield. 104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian, says that state leaders need to do something now, not in two years as others have proposed in the state capitol…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


(Gilman--jc)  -- Voters go to the polls one week from today to elect village trustees, city councilmen, school board members to library board members. Those in the Iroquois West School district have a school building and land acquisition project. The project would issue bonds for the 25 million dollar project. Several of the buildings in the Iroquois West school district are beyond aging and need upgrades. The Spring election is set for Tuesday April 2nd. Polls will open at 6am next Tuesday.


(Washington--jc)   Rural organizations are using an app to collect data that they hope will provide a more accurate picture of internet access in rural areas. Stephanie Ho has the story…



(Champaign--jc)  -- The phrase you can’t get there from here is appropriate for some road construction being done in Champaign and Savoy Road work along Prospect Avenue at Windsor, began on Monday.  Several intersections along Prospect Avenue are effected. They include at Windsor, Ken Drive, Burwash Avenue and Bloomfield Court. Prospect Avenue is getting some upgrades to lane traffic. The project has a price tag of just over 5 point 3 million dollars.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A state audit released Monday contradicted former Gov. Bruce Rauner's claim that his administration had done everything federal experts recommended to remedy a deadly 2015 Legionnaires' disease crisis at an Illinois veterans' home.Auditor General Frank Mautino reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended in December 2015 that filters be put on every water spigot. Despite Rauner's claim, the audit found that only shower and bathtub heads were outfitted with filters before 2018. The audit sharply criticized the Department of Public Health and Veteran’s Affairs for delays in taking action and notifying nursing staff and the public in August 2015



(Washington--jc)  -- When flood waters come in contact with grain storage bins, is that grain a total loss? Gary Crawford reports…



(Bloomington--jc)  -- State Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington, is pushing a bill that would require high schools to offer an early college program. High school students already have the option to earn college credits, but only a small number of students choose that path. Brady’s Senate Bill 20-46 would make it a requirement for high schools to offer college credit.  State officials say it’s a plan that can work, but it depends on the individual resources of the high school districts.



(Springfield--ba)-Just for voting in the Illinois General Election, one Illinois lawmaker is proposing a $25 tax credit for voters. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



(Springfield--jc) --The stewards of Illinois’ teacher retirement fund are criticizing Governor. J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to pay less into the pension system than is suggested by actuaries, and mentioned the term “insolvency” in doing so. In a statement, the entire board of the Teachers Retirement System of Illinois, which manages the retirement funds for all public teachers except those in Chicago, condemned Pritzker's proposal to short the accounts by hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming fiscal year. The statement says that after 80 years of short funding, the growing risk of insolvency in the event of an economic downturn will happen State Representative. Steve Reick, Republican from Woodstock, told lawmakers on the House Floor that they’re ignoring the problem and need to begin examining where state money is sent in lieu of properly funding pensions. Reick told state leaders that before we raise one dime in taxes, we owe the people of Illinois the privilege of knowing how we spend their money currently the Teachers Retirement system, serves 417,000 members and is 76 Billion dollars underfunded.



(Springfield--ba)-14 Illinois State Police officers have been stuck in roadside crashes this year, which has caused our Governor to respond. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- 6 Rantoul City school district residents are vying for 3 positions on the Rantoul City Schools Board one week from today. The candidates include incumbents Joan Fitzgerald, John Brotherton, and Andy Graham. New to the race for the Rantoul City School Board are Jack Anderson, Edwin Every, and Joe Robinson. Voters go to the polls one week from today to vote for village trustees, school board to library board positions. Polls will open next Tuesday at 6am..

(Springfield--ba)-If you’re struggling to pay home heating bills…the state’s “LIHEAP” program may be able to help.  The low-income home energy assistance program, or LIHEAP , provides qualifying households some relief says spokesperson Bob Gough...



To find out if your eligible and find a local office to apply…visit the website: LIHEAP Illinois dot com or call 1-877-411-warm.


(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois officials have been put on the clock to fix a longstanding problem with their slow distribution of food assistance or they’ll lose millions of dollars in federal funding, putting a hole in the state’s budget. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent the Illinois Department of Human Services what they called their “formal warning”, saying state officials have until April 21 to either improve their timeliness rate of food stamp delivery over 95 percent or to give USDA a game-plan on how they’ll get compliant. If the state fails to meet the requirements,

The U-S-D-A could withhold over 18 million dollars in federal funding.



(Paxton-jc) Not all races have contested races with some seeing the exact amount of people on the ballot to fill the same amount of positions. One local school board race has two listed candidates and a write in for the third position. That is the case for a 4 year term on the Paxton Buckley Loda School board. Listed as candidates are Steve Pacey and  Dana Bergandine. The third position will most likely be decided by write-ins. The Spring election day is next Tuesday April Second.


(Undated--jc)  -- A proposed policy change that would allow the state to capture more revenue is being called “theft of services” by retailers. The idea is favored by Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker.  The money could be used to help balance the state budget. The governor hopes to get an additional $170 million from recreational pot licenses for his budget that starts this summer. He’s also banking on $212 million from sports betting licenses. Both ideas have yet to advance at the statehouse. Then there’s the “retailers discount” the governor hopes to change to bring in $75 million. Retailers get to keep 1.75 percent of the overall state sales tax they collect for the state for acting as the state’s sales tax collector. Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s Rob Karr said that doesn't even cover the processing fees for electronic transactions.



(Paxton--jc) --  A May Business after Hours for the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce has been set. The May 9th event takes place from 5pm to 7pm  at Accolade Healthcare Senior Living on Fulton Street in Paxton. The event is part of the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce efforts to focus on local businesses.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Forum Fitness Center in Rantoul is the location for basketball players starting on the first Saturday in April. Open gym on Saturdays for those ages 16 to 18 from 6pm to 8pm and from 8pm to 10pm for those ages between 19 and 24. More information about the open gyms is found by contacting the Rantoul Recreation Department.


Illinois Could Permanently Legalize Medical Marijuana

Chatsworth, IL – Lake County Judge Luis Berrones ruled on Saturday that the

Village of Deerfield does not have the authority to ban semi-automatic firearms and magazines in their community, according to Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson, who was instrumental in challenging the municipality’s ban. In 2018, the Village of Deerfield passed an ordinance banning certain semi-automatic firearms despite the fact an Illinois State law expressly prohibits municipalities from banning these types of firearms and magazines. The state law gave municipalities until July 19, 2013 to enact semi-automatic firearm bans.


WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — The last of five former members of a Christian college football team in suburban Chicago has pleaded guilty to charges in a 2016 hazing incident. Benjamin Pettway of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. A judge sentenced the 23-year-old ex-Wheaton College player to court supervision and ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service. The former Wheaton players were accused of duct-taping a teammate and dumping him half-naked in a park.



CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois could permanently legalize medical marijuana under a new proposal. Democratic Rep. Bob Morgan is sponsoring the bill. He tells the Chicago Tribune that Illinois' pilot program has safely helped people struggling with conditions such as cancer and AIDS. Morgan's bill would also add additional medical conditions to the list of qualifying conditions, including autism, migraines, osteoarthritis and chronic pain.



(Champaign County--jc)  -- One local road in northern Champaign County is set to get a facelift. Just over 5 miles of county road, starting at US Route 45 at Ludlow and going east will be resurfaced.  The project will begin later this Spring and be completed later this year. Price tag for the project is just over 3 million dollars.


CASEY, Ill. (AP) — Police say a livestock hauler ran off the road and overturned on Interstate 70 in eastern Illinois, setting about 3,000 piglets loose. The (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star reports that about 100 of the piglets died in the Friday crash near Casey. Illinois State Police say the surviving pigs were recaptured and have continued to their destination in Indiana.


(Washington--ba) --  As African Swine Fever spreads through Asia and Eastern Europe, U.S. hog producers are being urged to boost biosecurity measures and watch their herds closely for signs of sickness. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Officials in Will County say the number of deaths from heroin or fentanyl overdoses fell slightly in 2018 compared with the previous year. Officials consider it a sign of progress in the fight against opioid abuse. The county reported 82 deaths from heroin or fentanyl overdoses in 2018. That's down from 85 in 2017, but still significantly higher than 53 deaths in 2015 or 78 in 2016.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Actresses Gina Gershon, Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Tilly are among the guests at this year's Ebertfest film festival in Champaign. The annual festival honors Roger Ebert, the late Chicago Sun-Times film critic. It runs April 10 to 13 at Champaign's Virginia Theatre. Festival host Chaz Ebert says the women are "three of Roger's favorite actresses."


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB PRitzker says additional help is need to help case workers and outside agencies with the  Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. With the recent tragic event of a toddler in Decatur, to higher case loads, the governor says changes are needed..



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Rantoul--jc)  A lunch and learn is  coming in April courtesy of the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce. The event is set for April 26th in conjunction with State Treasurer’s Mike Frerichs office says Chamber Executive Director Belynda Allen…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The annual Draggin’ main event is now one month away. Organizers say the car cruise night is set for Saturday April 20th from 6pm to 11pm on the streets of Paxton. Classic cars, to car enthusiasts and the local public is invited to an evening of memories of cruising the city of Paxton.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Being governor of Illinois comes with many worries. But for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, knowing what to wear isn't one of them. The Democrat's daily appointment schedule includes for most events an "attire" suggestion. Not surprisingly, the most common entry is "Business: suit and tie." But khakis are in the mix for outdoor events. A Pritzker spokeswoman says advance staff get suggestions on what to wear from organizers of events the governor is attending and Pritzker makes the final decision.


QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Libraries across Illinois say tight budgets are delaying construction projects and reducing staff, hours and new book purchases. Belleville Public Library director Leander Spearman tells The Herald-Whig that the library has delayed new programs and new material. Rock Island Public Library executive director Angela Campbell says the library's funding has been frozen for the past five years despite growing expenses.


(Springfield--ba)-Governor J-B Pritzker hosted a women’s history month celebration at the state capitol and honored four women for their contributions to Illinois. The governor honored women everywhere who have fought to make a difference…including former state representative Barbara Flynn Currie, who works now to help women enter politics.



State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie


(Springfield-jc)  -- It’s Spring and Department of Natural Resources officials say to leave wild young animals along. Kim Howard reports…



(Gibson City-jc)  -- Gibson City leaders will look at the number of city liquor licences when they meet tonight at 7pm in city hall. Gibson City council members will also hear about the 20-20 budget for the Jordan Pond area in the city and will look at a C-DAP loan request for Jay’s Place on Sangamon Avenue. The council will also look at water tower inspection bids.


EDWARDS, Ill. (AP) — Illinois agriculture officials say the number of farms in the state is going down, but the remaining operations are growing bigger as aging farmers struggle to find successors. The Journal Star reports that the Illinois Farm Bureau says the state has 71,000 farms, down from 241,000 farms a century ago. Ross Pauli has an 800-acre farm in Edwards. He says succession is a major issue for older farmers.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A major Springfield health care provider has donated land to what will be a memorial to the city's 1908 race riot. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports the Springfield City Council accepted the donation this week from HSHS St. John's Hospital. The remains of homes that were burned during the riot were unearthed in 2014 during construction of a railroad underpass. The hospital last fall unveiled a "healing garden" as part of the memorial.



(Springfield--jc)  -- llinois is raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, and a Democratic lawmaker says that should be the base pay for all workers. State Rep Theresa Mah is pushing a plan to end sub-minimum wage pay for disabled workers in the state. Mah says about a dozen other states have already made the change.  Mah says this it is important that Illinois takes a proactive step. State law allows some companies to pay disabled workers less as a way to get more disabled people working.But advocates say that law, which allows for the 14-C certificate, sometimes pays disabled workers less than a dollar-per-hour.



(Paxton--jc) Wanted...artists in Ford County to participate in the Town and Country Art Show on April 14th. The event is being hosted by the Paxton Park District. Event Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild says the winners of the Ford County event can move on to a state show that is being held in Champaign later this Spring…


Ford County Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild


(Champaign County--jc)  A proposed rural Gifford event center has several more steps to accomplish before the idea can move forward. The local county zoning board gave it’s O-K earlier this month. One issue to be decided is traffic on local rural roads to the proposed event center location. A special use permit will be the topic of the Champaign County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on March 28th in Urbana. With a positive committee recommendation, the issue would move the county board later this Spring.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The title of the play that debuts this weekend at the Paxton Market Street Theatre is…”Let Him Sleep, Till It’s Time for his Funeral.” It is a comedy written by Peg Kehret. The Tri County Players are performing the play with opening night on Friday at the Theatre in downtown Paxton. The story revolves around a man turning 60 and a birthday celebration and funeral  celebration.


The National Weather Service Says the Flooding in Nebraska and Iowa is Just a Preview of Widespread Major Flooding to Hit Much of the Country this Spring

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Weather Service says the flooding in Nebraska and Iowa is just a preview of widespread major flooding to hit much of the country this spring. More than 200 million Americans will be at risk for some kind of flooding _ with 13 million of them at risk of major flooding. The Mississippi, Missouri, Great Lakes, lower Ohio lower Cumberland and Tennessee rivers and their basins are at biggest risk.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce has announced its Grand Marshall for the 4th of July Freedom Celebration Parade.  This year’s Grand Marshall is Brad Gould. Gould is set to be the President of The Illinois Veterans of Foreign War Commander in June. Gould has been instrumental in starting the Champaign County Veterans Assistance Commission. Gould lives in Rantoul.



(Springfield--ba)-A major gas tax increase could cause problems for low income families. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Springfield--jc)  -- A measure one Illinois lawmaker says will give non-home rule communities the ability to pay for storm sewer maintenance is being called a rain tax by another. Democrat State Representative Anthony DeLuca of Chicago says  House Bill 825 is a natural extension of existing state law and would allow non-home rule municipalities the ability to charge a fee to maintain their stormwater sewer system, Republican State Representative Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee, says the measure would allow rain to be taxed by, as the bill states, allowing “stormwater utility charges to offset the cost of owning, maintaining, and improving local stormwater infrastructure. Skillicorn said the bill should be voted down. He said the bill was open-ended and could lead to higher costs for residents who are already overtaxed.



(Washington--jc)  -- What are the issues on the west side of Illinois that have implications closer to home. U-S-D-A meteorologist Brad Rippey discusses flooding issues along the lower Missouri and mid-Mississippi River systems and concerns of future events..



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey



BENTON, Ill. (AP) — An 82-year-old man who says he was desperate when he robbed an Illinois bank has been sentenced to 10 weekends in jail. Federal Judge Phil Gilbert told Arthur Bays that he's never seen a criminal as old as him. Bays had a toy gun in his waistband when he demanded money from a teller at State Bank of Whittington in Benton last July. He got $12,500. Bays told the judge that he was talked into buying a new car after learning that it would cost $2,000 to fix the air conditioning on his vehicle.


DEKALB, Ill. (AP) — Officials say an early morning fire in a maintenance building at the municipal airport in DeKalb caused an estimated quarter-million dollars in damage. The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle reports that city firefighters and those from neighboring communities were called to the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport at about 6:45 a.m.


(paxton--jc) The Paxton Chamber of Commerce has an annual meeting next month. Paxton Area  Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley says the event is set for April…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Ashley Tolley



( Springfield--jc)  -- General contractors in Illinois may be on the hook for the wages of their subcontractors' unpaid employees if state lawmakers successfully pass a law requiring just that.Under state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz’ legislation, a contractor who hires others to do a job could be forced by the Illinois Department of Labor to be responsible for unpaid wages to workers that the subcontractor failed to pay. House Bill 2838 provides for primary contractor responsibility for wage and benefit theft in the construction industry to stop worker exploitation and bring tax dollars back to the state currently being lost by lawbreakers



(Rankin--jc)  -- The old school building on the east side of Route 49 continues to be a topic for Rankin Village Leaders. The property is considered an eye-sore, but local officials say clean up could be more due to potential asbestos in the ageing building. Vermilion County public health officials have been working with the owners of the building to find a resolution. Rankin Village board members are expected to bring up the issue when they meet on April 9th at 5-45 with a public hearing on the building. The regular monthly meeting begins at 6pm at the Rankin Lion’s Club building



(Woodworth--jc)  One local Christian school is hosting a fish fry today. St Paul’s Lutheran School in Woodworth is hosting a “Woodworth Style” fish fry. Carryouts are available starting at 4pm with serving in the school gym at 5pm. On the menu is Woodworth Style  fish, coleslaw, baked beans and pie.


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A scientific report says the Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., which likely will bring more flooding and other extreme weather events such as heat waves and drought. The warming climate also could mean less overall snowfall even as lake-effect snowstorms get bigger. The report by researchers from universities primarily from the Midwest says agriculture could be hit especially hard, with later spring planting and summer dry spells.



(Springfield--ba)- A failing state tuition program could be giving refunds to some Illinois students. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Paxton--jc)  -- If you owe the city of Paxton money from an ordinance violation, you can expect to be contacted to pay in the near future. The city of Paxton hired Credit Collection Partners to work on the past due payments. The company adds a surcharge to the collectible amounts to pay for their service. Ford County also has an agreement with Credit Collection Partners.



(Undated--jc)  Sunday is T B Day. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Rantoul--jc)  -- One local Rantoul Church is hosting  a clothing giveaway on Saturday. The event is set for the Bethany Park Church on Grove Avenue in the village The   clothing giveaway is from 9 a.m. to noon VIsitors should bring bags

and use the west entrance to the church



(Gibson City--jc)  Do you have some household batteries, old-oil based paint, antifreeze, lawn chemicals and need to get rid of them. The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District has an event tomorrow to dispose of unwanted waste. The Household Hazardous Waste Recycling event takes place from 8am to 3pm in downtown Gibson City. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is sponsored the waste take-back event. Other items you may bring include, insecticides, used motor oil and biological waste. Items may be brought for free during the collection times at 115 South Sangamon in Gibson City.


(Springfield--jc)  Unemployment remained steady in February. Kim Howard reports…




(Paxton--jc)  Tomorrows Paxton IGA cookout will benefit the Upper Room Bible Church in Paxton. The cookout takes place from 10am to 2pm in the IGA parking lot. On the menu is pork chop sandwiches, chips, and pop..


(Rantoul--jc)  Spring has just started, but plans for a summertime ag event continue for property surrounding the Rantoul airport in August. The 20-19 Half Century of Progress Show is set for August 22nd through August 25th. On display at this year’s show will be vintage fire trucks from around the area including a 1968 International Truck from the Limestone Fire District in Kankakee County.




MILWAUKEE (AP) —  MillerCoors has filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch, saying its St. Louis-based rival wants to "frighten" people away from Miller Lite and Coors Light by claiming those beers have corn syrup. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Wisconsin federal court but the feud between the country's two largest brewers began when Anheuser-Busch aired commercials making the corn syrup claim during this year's Super Bowl . Corn syrup is a fermentation aid used by several brewers , including Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. But no corn syrup remains in the beers once fermentation is complete. MillerCoors says Anheuser-Busch is preying on health conscious consumers who have negative connotations of corn syrup, sometimes confusing it with the high-fructose corn syrup in sodas. MillerCoors wants a judge to order Anheuser-Busch to stop the ads. Anheuser-Busch says it stands by its campaign and won't change it.


Catholic Priests and Lay Persons Publicly Accused in Illinois of Abuse Have Been Listed in a Report

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys who have represented clergy abuse victims across the United States  have released a report that lists the names of every Catholic priest and lay person in Illinois who has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, the attorneys provided an 185-page report that includes background information and work histories of 395 priests and lay people accused in the state's six dioceses. The report did name several clergy who served in Paxton, Ford County, Iroquois County and Champaign County.


(Washington--jc)  -- What is the current state of the farm economy? Stephanie Ho has the details…



FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has toured flooded northern Illinois neighborhoods and asked the state's emergency operations center to expedite help to affected areas. The National Weather Service says the Rock and Pecatonica rivers have been at flood stage since last week. About 200 people have evacuated. Pritzker told residents the state "committed to being your partners in the future."


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man has pleaded not guilty in a federal case accusing him of fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy who was trying to serve an arrest warrant at a hotel. Floyd E. Brown of Springfield appeared in Rockford federal court Wednesday morning sitting in a wheelchair and wearing green jail scrubs. A grand jury Tuesday indicted him on murder and weapons charges.



(Springfield--jc)  -- State lawmakers are working on a couple of bills to help increase organ donation in Illinois. There is a real need for live organ donors to provide kidneys and bone marrow to those who are sick says Villa Park Representative Deb Conroy, whose bill helps donors with life insurance policies..


Villa Park Representative Deb Conroy



(Rantoul--jc)  A Rantoul based insurance agency is moving to a larger building to house its operations. The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Insurance Providers Group location at 423 South Murray Road across from the Rantoul Wal-Mart Superstore. The event is set for Tuesday April 2nd at 11-30am. The company had been using a building on the former Chanute Air Force base.



(Gifford--jc) It’s Spring and time for spring projects.  A school project is set to begin soon at a portion of the Gifford School gym. Gifford School Superintendent Rod Grimsley informed the school board this month that  work will begin on the south wall of old gym next week while the students are on spring break. Gifford school leaders are also in the process of getting some quotes on what to do with the holes in the parking lot right in front of the new bus barn.



(Paxton-dg)-The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School board recently voted to end it’s co-op with Rantoul for IHSA Wrestling. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure says the redistricting in IHSA Football played a part in not continuing wrestling at PBL.


PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure


(Springfield--jc)  -- Right to life advocates were at the state capitol on Wednesday to rally against abortion legislation.  A couple of bills are under protest, including an appeal of a law requiring teens to notify their parent or guardian before getting an abortion. Another overhauls state abortion laws and lifts a ban on partial-birth abortions. State Representative Avery Bourne of Litchfield says these changes are extreme…



State Representative Avery Bourne of Litchfield

Supporters of the measures say the laws  to be updated to better protect a woman’s right to choose.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A bill in the House would force municipalities to get approval from voters before selling public assets like water and wastewater treatment plants to private companies. Water companies like Aqua Illinois and Illinois American Water have been offering municipalities in the state cash for the ownership of their water systems and wastewater systems. The private companies then can seek approval from the Illinois Commerce Commission to raise water rates for customers. State Representative. John Connor, the Lockport Democrat who sponsored the bill, says the legislation would require a ballot referendum to approve the sale and it wouldn’t just be for the residents of that municipality.



(Springfield--jc)  Organ donation continues to be a topic at the state capitol. Some roadblocks for employees has occurred at some businesses in the state. National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Spokesperson Megan Craig says one measure in Springfield will offer business some incentives for allowing employees to participate in being an organ donor…



National Kidney Foundation of Illinois Spokesperson Megan Craig.



CHICAGO (AP) — Ground has been broken on the first phase of a $1.2 billion expansion of a terminal at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and airline officials attended the Wednesday event. City officials say that Terminal 5 will gain another 350,000-square-feet by 2021 to make room for more concessions, airline lounges and passenger amenities. There also will be more security lanes and ten new gates.


(Springfield--jc)  --Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration is setting new rules that go beyond federal regulations for the herbicide dicamba to try to reduce the number of complaints about misuse of the popular product. The new rules set forth will ban spraying the chemical when the wind is blowing toward residential areas, establish a June 30 cutoff date for application and other requirements.The affected formulations of dicamba are Engenia by BASF, XtendiMax with Vaporgrip Technology by Bayer, and FeXapan plus Vapor Grip Technology by DuPont/Corteva, according to a news release.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Parkland College trustees approved curriculum for a new career certificate that will help bridge the digital divide in the district. At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the school's new, six-credit-hour certificate, Introduction to Computers in Business. The program will go through a final review for approval with the Illinois Community College Board in the new academic year. The certificate will assist efforts to close the widening gap between those who have computer skills and those who do not in Champaign County.


(Rantoul--jc)  The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a candidates forum on Saturday at noon at Rantoul Township High School. Candidates for Rantoul Village Board and those running for school board at the high school and Rantoul City Schools and library board candidates will be participating in the forum. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen says its an opportunity to learn more about the candidates…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen. The forum is set for Noon on Saturday at the high school.


(Sibley--jc) The decision from the state of Illinois Ag department is coming, but not by Wednesday’s deadline. At issue is a mega-hog farm near the village of Sibley. The state has asked for more information about the hog farm.The Ford County Record has more on the issue.


(Springfield--jc) --  Right to life advocates were rallying at the state capitol against abortion legislation on Wednesday. In updating our story, protesters were speaking out against some new bills that make changes to Illinois law. Those include a proposal to lift a ban on partial birth abortions and a second bill that would allow teens not to tell parents about an abortion, before getting one. State Representative Terri Bryant of Mount Vernon says the legislation goes to far…



State Representative Terri Brant of Mount Vernon



(Rantoul--jc)  --Rantoul authorities say the local police department will be testing for new officers next month. Rantoul Police Chief Tony Brown says the police department is testing for officers on April 13th. Rantoul Police and Fire Commission members will conduct the test. Applications to the Rantoul Police Department are due by March 31st. More information is found by contacting the local police department.

A Private Immigration Detention Center Could be Coming to Dwight

(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker unveiled his plan for a progressive income tax and one local state representative finds the plan troubling. State Representative Mike Marron says the original plan for a Millionaire’s tax is now a graduated income tax for those making 250 thousand dollars annually..


104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


DWIGHT, Ill. (AP) — A Virginia-based company is one step closer to building a private immigration detention center near Dwight after trustees  approved the plan despite pushback from activists. Dwight trustees voted to annex and rezone 88 acres where Immigration Centers of America plans to build a detention center. More than 200 people attended the village meeting, which was repeatedly interrupted by protesters.Dwight Mayor Jared Anderson says the project could stimulate the region's economy by creating about 300 jobs, The  community and area lost jobs with the closing of the women’s prison in Dwight. Some groups against the project continue to protest the idea.



(Gibson City-jc)  -- A loan application is the topic for the Gibson City C-DAP committee. The group will discuss a loan application from Jay’s Place. The Gibson City C-DAP committee meeting takes place at 8 tomorrow morning at city hall.



(Undated--jc)  -- A Wilmington man was fatally injured in a motorcycle versus van and lexus accident in Kankakee County on Monday night. Police say 30 year old Kristopher Cortese of Wilmington was pronounced dead at the scene by Kankakee County authorities. Cortese was going south along Route 45-52 just after 9 Monday night and was struck head on by a northbound van and a second vehicle also was involved in the accident. The accident remains under investigation this morning.


CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys who have represented clergy abuse victims across the United States say they are releasing a report that lists the names of every Catholic priest and lay person in Illinois who has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct. Today, the attorneys say they will release a 185-page report that includes background information and work histories of 395 priests and lay people accused in the state's six dioceses. It is not clear how much of the information will be new.


SEATTLE (AP) — A federal appeals court has thrown out a $4 million copyright infringement ruling against the Seattle-based online real estate company Zillow. Zillow faced a 2015 lawsuit from VHT, the nation's largest professional real estate photography studio. VHT said Zillow's use of its photos violated VHT's copyright. A federal jury awarded VHT more than $8 million, an amount a judge later cut in half. Last Friday, however, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that award



(Springfield--jc)  --An Illinois lawmaker wants the state to have a say in selecting the executive director of a private foundation that supports the state-run Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The foundation had sought state money to help pay off the remaining 9 million dollars of a loan that comes due later this year. The foundation purchased Abraham Lincoln artifacts, including a stovepipe hat that may have been Lincoln’s.State Senator Andy Manar, Democrat of  Bunker Hill, says his measure requiring the state to appoint a director for the foundation is about resetting the relationship between the private foundation and the public institution.



(Springfield--jc) -- Low income taxpayers and seniors can get help filing their taxes at locations throughout Illinois. The I-R-S and A-A-R-P offer free counseling to qualifying individuals at 300 sites around the state says Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Hortsman. Help is available by appointment at the Rantoul Public Library and the Mahomet Library. More information is found on line at  tax-dot-Illinois-dot-Gov.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A talent show is coming to Rantoul in early April. The event is set for April 7th at the high school says event spokesperson Paula Hopkins…


Rantoul Talent Show Spokesperson Paula Hopkins



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County Historical Society is set to meet tomorrow night in Paxton The 7pm meeting will take place at the Water Tower museum in downtown Paxton . Society member Jim Jarboe will speak at his collection of Civil War weapons. The meeting is open to the public and there is no admission charge.


(Minnesota--jc) A man from Clarence, who is accused of firebombing a mosque in Minnesota in 2017, has a trial date this fall. The News Gazette reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer says the trial of 48 year old Michael Hari of Clarence will  begin September 30th at the federal courthouse in St. Paul, Minnesota. WPXN news will continue to follow this story as it warrants.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois could get an official state drink and an official state microbe.The northern cardinal is the official state bird. The monarch butterfly is the official state insect. The violet is the official state flower. And the white oak is the state tree. There's even a state fossil, the Tully monster, and state soil is Drummer silty clay loam. One state Senator wants to go even smaller. State Senator David Koehler, Democrat-Peoria, got an idea from a local columnist in a “kind of … almost tongue-in-cheek kind of way” to designate an official state microorganism. House Bill 3073 isn’t likely to settle the soda vs. pop debate, but one state representative wants to see if Illinois can make Ski the state's official drink. Popcorn is the official snack of the state of Illinois. The state vegetable is sweet corn. Legislators in the Land of Lincoln have even made pumpkin the state’s officials pie.State Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, is looking to make the citrus, cane sugar drink Ski the official state soda.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- What do Hank Gamel, Chad Smith, Sherry Johnson, Mark Wilkerson and Gary Wilson have in common. They are all candidates for trustee positions on the Village of Rantoul board in April. The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has set up a candidates forum at noon on Saturday at Rantoul Township High School. Candidates for school board races at Rantoul Township High School and Rantoul City Schools will also participate in the forum on Saturday



(Morton--jc)  -- A woman was found dead in a vehicle along eastbound Interstate 74 yesterday. Police say the vehicle was parked on the shoulder near Morton. Police closed the eastbound lanes just before noon. The victim was  pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m. No foul play is suspected. Traffic was slowed around the scene for several hours.



(Springfield--jc)  One group is set to help small non-profits in the state. Through Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs office,  Charitable Trust is helping small non-profits across Illinois in areas of workforce & economic development, housing, and food programs.  Those interested in applying have until March 31st to apply, on line at the Charitable Trust website or by calling the State Treasurer’s office in Springfield.



(Ford County--jc)  -- Ford County artists, you are needed. The Ford County Amature Town and Country Art Show takes place on April 14th at the Paxton Park District Building on Fall Street. Event Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild says the event is for Ford County residents…



Ford County Amature Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson  Shawn Fairchild. More information is found on line at the Paxton Park District web site.



(Crescent City--jc)  Five area fire departments were called to a garage fire in Crescent City on Tuesday afternoon. The fire was at a property at 803 South Street as reported by the Times Republic. No word on damage estimates was given



(Springfield--jc)  -- Tuesday was Agriculture  Legislative Day in Springfield. Famers, lawmakers and F-F-A members from around the state were at the state capitol. Under discussion were topics facing the ag community including promotion of agriculture and more Ag teachers says Illinois Ag Director John Sullivan…



Illinois Department of Ag  Director John Sullivan.



(Chicago--jc)  -- The state’s leading manufacturing group said it's on the defensive in Illinois, but plans to push for policies that it can get through the Democrat-controlled legislature. Governor . J.B. Pritzker encouraged more innovation and creation in Illinois to grow the state's manufacturing base at the m-HUB Manufacturing Industry Celebration last week in Chicago. Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President and CEO Mark Denzler said Tuesday that manufacturers feel like they are on the defensive in Illinois because of a number of mandates and regulations in energy policy, labor law and the state's minimum wage increase. Denzler added that the graduated income tax will cause a number of manufacturers to substantially increase costs. Energy legislation is also a topic the Illinois Manufacturers are watching



(Paxton--jc)  The annual Draggin’ Main event is set for the city of Paxton in April. Organizers say the downtown Paxton event takes place on April 20th. From 6pm until 11 pm car enthusiasts to the public are invited to participate. More information is found by contacting organizer Debbie Chapman-Herman. Draggin’ Main was popular for area residents for over 50 years in the city of Paxton.


Residents in Northern and Western Illinois Continue to Deal with Flooding

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — Residents in northern and western Illinois continue to deal with flooding as rivers swell from melting snow and recent rains. National Weather Service readings Monday show major flooding along the Pecatonica River at Shirland and Freeport and the Rock River in the Rockford area and Moline. The Mississippi River also is at major flood stage from New Boston, Illinois, south to Burlington, Iowa.


LEMONT, Ill. (AP) — The Department of Energy plans to spend $500 million to build what could be one of the world's fastest computers at Argonne National Laboratory outside Chicago. The department said Monday that the supercomputer will be able to do more than one quintillion operations per second. That's equal to a 10 with 18 zeros behind it. The computer will be named "Aurora" and plans are to turn it on in 2021.



(Rantoul--jc)  The Northern Champaign County  and Ford County Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization held a recent bowling event in Rantoul that saw all lanes filled for two sessions. The money is being used to support the local efforts of Big Brothers-Big Sisters. Local Director Kristian Hopkins of Rantoul says there is a need for “Bigs” to help out with some area youth. Hopkins says those interested have several ways to contact the organization…



Big Brothers Big Sisters Local Director Kristian Hopkins of Rantoul.



(Washington--jc)  --The U.S. pet food industry is experiencing growth in export markets - a trend one industry insider expects to continue, despite some trade challenges. Rod Bain reports…




CHICAGO (AP) — Experts in Illinois say preparations for next year's U.S. Census are important because there's a lot at stake, including billions in federal funding and congressional seats. The Chicago Tribune reports that an analysis by George Washington University's Institute of Public Policy has found that at least $34 billion in federal funding for programs that assist Illinois residents is tied to census figures. The Illinois Complete Count Commission says Illinois could lose up to two congressional seats.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Four new sites have been added for this year's Illinois Spring Trout Fishing Season. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says this year's season opens 5 a.m. April 6 at 58 ponds, lakes and streams throughout the state. The new sites are Baumann Lake in Cherry Valley, Weldon Springs Lake in DeWitt County, Casey Park Pond in Casey and Belk Lake in Wood River. The agency stocks more than 80,000 rainbow trout for the spring season and another 80,000 trout for the fall season.


(Springfield--jc)  Tickets will be available at ticketmaster-dot-com starting April 20th for tickets to acts coming to the Illinois State Fair.  State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth says there are 3 tiers of tickets, plus the V-I-P track ticket and pre-show party…



State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is  hosting the Official R-A-C-C Election Candidates Forum for candidate seats on the Village of Rantoul, Rantoul High School and City Schools boards and  Rantoul Library Board Seats .

The forum is set for Saturday March 23 at Noon at the Rantoul Township High School Cafetorium. Candidates are asked to call the local chamber with questions and to sign up for the forum. Phone 893-3323,



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- A blood drive is set for today in Cissna Park. The drive is set for Creekside Prairie on the village’s north side. Times to give blood start at 2pm and run through 7pm tonight.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois’ governor said small businesses in Illinois should be paying higher taxes and that taxpayers can expect deep cuts to government services if they don't approve his 3 point 4 billion dollar progressive tax plan. Governor. J.B. Pritzker visited Belleville City Hall on Monday to promote his plan. He was backed by mayors from the Metro East area who support changing the state constitution’s flat income tax to a structure where those who earn more pay higher tax rates. The governor's tax proposal includes modest rate reductions from the state's existing 4.95 flat rate for 97 percent of taxpayers. Those making more than $250,000 a year would pay 7.75 percent or more in state taxes. The governor says several neighboring states use the progressive tax and it is time for Illinois to get on board.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is providing more information about a settlement with 4 fast food chains over employee no-poach agreements. Under the deal, Dunkin, Arbys, Five Guys and Little Caesars will stop making workers sign  no-poach clauses. Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson says employees sometimes do not even know about that rule…



Illinois Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson

Agreements with Panera and Wendy’s have also been reached



(Rantoul--jc)  -- What to do this summer at Rantoul Township High School? That is the question before the Rantoul School Board of Educations, Building and Grounds committee tomorrow night. The committee will look at summer projects at their meeting at 7 on Wednesday evening.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is working to modernize outed banking rules for the legal cannabis industry. Currently, banks and credit unions are not supposed to do business with marijuana  companies. That is the old law. Frerichs says the legal companies need new banking rules…



Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Police is warning to drivers to follow the state’s “move over” law or face a penalty of up to $10,000.The law requires motorists to move over from stopped emergency vehicles, which includes police, fire and EMS, construction, tow truck drivers and the general motoring public when they have an emergency and have emergency flashers activated on the side of the road, said Sgt. Christopher Watson of the Illinois State Police.Watson said that the law was designed to not only keep first responders safe, but also to protect the public.



(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois State police have announced results of Nightime Enforcement patrols from over the St Patrick’s Day weekend.  State police in District 21 in Ashkum conducted the patrol in Kankakee County. 32 written warnings were given along with 7 driver licenses offenses, 3 insurance violations and two alcohol citations. On Friday night into Saturday morning, State police conducted an ACE patrol. 12 citations were given, including 4 registration violations and 4 driver license offenses. With the road safety check on Sunday, State troopers handed out 34 citations in Kankakee County that included 10 insurance violations and 5 alcohol citations.


(Paxton--jc)  One Paxton restaurant is set to close and a new restaurant will open on the west side of the city. In a facebook announcement, the Country Garden will close this weekend as the owners are retiring. A new restaurant is taking its place. The restaurant is located on Route 9 on the west side of I-57 in Paxton.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson City Swimming pool exploratory committee is set to talk with pool builders. The group will meet with Mike Friend of the Farnsworth Group. The local committee is looking a investment costs, design  and size of a proposed new pool for Gibson City. The committee meeting starts at 7 tonight.



(Washington--jc)  The struggling ethanol industry probably won't see a quick increase in demand from year-round sales of E15 blended gasoline. Gary Crawford reports…




(Collinsville--jc)  --An effort is underway to establish a downstate site as a national historical park.  Supporters are trying again to convince federal lawmakers to make Cahokia Mounds a part of the National Parks Service. The 2,200-acre site in Collinsville draws about 300,000 visitors a year. Ed Weilbacher, vice president at HeartLands Conservancy, said Cahokia Mounds more than qualifies for the designation.



(Chicago--jc)  --Job seekers should be on high alert for potential scams.That’s the word from the Better Business Bureau, which reported the number of employment scams increased in 2018 along with financial losses. Better Business Bureau President Steve Bernas says there are some warning signs to look for. One is that when you post your resume online on a job site and they reply back immediately you have a job that pays a lot of money for doing little to no work and with little to no education or experience. The Better Business Bureau report said these scams are effective because they prey on people who may be desperate for work. Employment scammers often impersonate leading brands like Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft when fishing for information.



Rising Waters Starting to Flood Homes in Northern Illinois

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — Rising waters along the Pecatonica and Rock rivers have flooded homes in northern Illinois cities like Freeport, Rockford and Machesney Park. The (Freeport) Journal-Standard reports the American Red Cross opened a shelter Friday night for those displaced by flooding in Rockford. The National Weather Service on Saturday said record crests were possible along the rivers. The Mississippi River also saw moderate flooding Saturday at Rock Island south to Gladstone.


CHICAGO (AP) — New state data shows Illinois high school graduates have increasingly enrolled in out-of-state colleges and universities in recent years. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Illinois Board of Higher Education figures reveal the exodus continues. More than 48 percent of public high school graduates who enrolled in four-year universities in 2017 decided to attend schools that aren't in Illinois. That figure has climbed from about 46 percent in 2016 and 45 percent in 2015.


STAUNTON, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State Police trooper is recovering after being wounded during a shootout with a suspected carjacker who was killed. Officials say state police were informed Saturday by the Glen Carbon Police Department of an armed carjacking in the city. A suspect was spotted by state police on Interstate 55 in southern Illinois and after driving the auto on the median fled on foot. The man fired his weapon, wounding at trooper who returned fire. The fleeing man was killed. He remains unidentified.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois Healthcare is hoping to expand access to trauma care in the southern part of the state. The Southern Illinoisan reports that SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale has applied to the Illinois Department of Public Health for Level II Trauma Center designation.



Tobacco 21 legislation is headed to the governor’s desk. The bill just passed by the senate raises the age to purchase tobacco products including e-cigs and vapes from 18 to 21. Senator Laura Fine Of Glenview says 38 communities have already passed similar ordinances.



Supporters says this will help prevent more teens from smoking and developing a life-long habit. Governor JB Pritzker has said he will sign the measure into law.



(Springfield--jc)  --A state Senator wants single-occupancy restrooms throughout the state in schools and businesses with public accommodations to have a gender-neutral sign. Amendment One to Senate Bill 5-66 from Senator Melinda Bush, Democrat of Grayslake, would require any single-occupancy restroom to be labeled with a gender neutral designation. Some Democrats are worried the measure may add to what some business owners see as a growing list of regulations that make doing business in the state more difficult. Bush said the measure does not require any new plumbing or new facilities be built, it would only require that if the place of public accommodation has a single-occupant bathroom that it have a gender-neutral label. If passed, such restrooms could only be used by one person at a time, or by a family.



BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois judge has rejected a state motion to reconsider granting a new trial to a man who has spent 27 years in prison for his father's 1991 beating and stabbing death. McLean County Judge Scott Drazewski rejected the motion during a hearing Friday for 52-year-old Donald Whalen. The judge last month ruled Whalen should receive a new trial in the killing of William Whalen, who was found stabbed and beaten in his downtown Bloomington bar.



(Rantoul--jc)  A Rantoul man is set to become the next Illinois V-F-W Commander this Spring. Brad Gould will be taking over as the V-F-W Commander of Illinois on June First. The mission of the V-F-W is to foster camaraderie among veterans, to serve veterans, their families and communities.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is back home after being in a car crash last week and spending time in the hospital. Bennett provides an update…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Washington--jc)  -- Are there jobs in the Ag sector for those entering the job fields. U-S-D-A Deputy Secretary Steve Censky says a new website is  focused on that subject..



U-S-D-A Deputy Secretary Steve Censky


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Blue Collar Jobs Program offers tax incentives to companies making significant capital investments in Illinois based on the withholding tax paid to construction workers. These tax credits only become available after the work has been fully completed. One area legislator is introducing a measure to expand the current Edge tax program. 104th district State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian says this is a great idea to help businesses grow in the state…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


 (Springfield--jc)  -- Some state Senators want to tell companies how many women should be on their corporate board, but some Democrats say it’s bad policy. Senate Bill 76 from Senator Cristina Castro, Democrat of Elgin, was heard in a committee last week. The measure would require that by summer 20-20 there be at least one women on corporate boards. By the end of 2022, boards would have to have a minimum of three of six board members be women and at least two of five board members be women, depending on the size of the board. It would also require the publication of such information. “If you’ve looked at this last election, you can see the power of women. And women want equity,” Castro said in committee.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Protecting K9 Heroes is pleased to announce that K9 Wyatt of the Rantoul Police Department , has been granted a K9 Trauma Kit and a Narcan kit. These gifts of protection were made possible by donations to Protecting K9 Heroes. Wyatt is a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois mixed with German Shepherd and is assigned to Officer J. King. He enjoys chasing anything outside like balls and sticks. He loves working and is usually the first to the patrol car. He dislikes going to the vet. He is certified in Patrol, Tracking, and Narcotics.


(Washington--jc)  -- U-S-D-A Rural Development was the topic of a  special Farm Bill implementation listening session last week. Rod Bain reports….




(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker calls the mass shooting in New Zealand heartbreaking. Although the terrorist attack on a mosque occurred far away, the governor says it is still a concern here in Illinois…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Springfield--ab)  -The unemployment rate was up…as were jobs in most Illinois metro areas in January. 13 out of 14 metro areas had an increase in the jobless rate from January of last year to January 2019. The good news is that 11 metro areas saw over-the-year job growth says State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough (goff)...



I-D-E-S Spokesperson Bob Gough

Metro areas with job losses compared to January of 2018 include Bloomington and the metro east area.



(Springfield--jc)  -- New legislation addresses the rising number of pregnancy-related deaths in Illinois. A state public health report found that 73 Women die annually within one year of pregnancy and the majority are preventable.State Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin is pushing for mandated insurance coverage of post-partum complications...



State Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin



(Farmer City--jc)  -- The 20-19 Farmer City Heritage Days are set from May 30th through June 2nd. The new design logo is ready for this year’s celebration. T-Shirts are ready for pre-order. The cost is 15 dollars. E-mail inquiries may be made at farmer-city-heritage-days-at-hotmail-dot com.




Shots Fired in Rantoul, Suspects Flee

(Rantoul--jc) Rantoul Police Officers were dispatched to the area of Bel Place and Bel Air Driver around 1-30 Thursday afternoon. for a report of possible shots fired. Officers responded to the area and spoke with several area residents who reported hearing two gun shots in the area. Officers were initially unable to locate any evidence of a shooting. As the investigation progressed officers located two victims who reported they arrived at a residence in the area and observed three male subjects nearby. One of the three male subjects then fired two shots from a handgun at the two victims. The two victims went into a residence while the three suspects fled the area on foot. No injuries were reported and no damage or evidence was located.The suspects were described as three teen-aged African-American males, two wearing dark colored hoodies and the third wearing a gray-colored hoodie. Based on interviews, Rantoul Police do not believe this was a random act.Detectives continue to investigate. Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Rantoul Police Department at (217) 893-5600, or Champaign County Crimestoppers at (217) 373-TIPS.


(Springfield--ab) Tobacco 21 legislation is headed to the governor’s desk.

The senate joined the house in banning anyone under the age of 21 from buying tobacco products in Illinois. Senator Julie Morrison Of Deerfield says they want to help keep teens from picking up the habit.



Illinois State Senator Julie Morrison of Deerfield

The ban include e-cigs and vapes. Governor J-B Pritzker has said he will sign it into law.


PEKIN, Ill. (AP) — The father of a man accused of killing four people at a Tennessee Waffle House is facing a weapons charge in Illinois. Jeffrey Reinking was charged Thursday in Tazewell County Circuit Court with the unlawful delivery of a firearm. Prosecutors say he gave his son, Travis Reinking, an AR-15 in November  2017 despite knowing he had been a psychiatric patient at a hospital within the last five years. Jeffrey Reinking posted bond and is due to be arraigned April 25. His son remains jailed.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Some issues on dispatching is the topic between two local law enforcement groups in Ford County. City of Paxton Police Chief Coy Cornett and Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran continue to meet to work out solutions to the dispatching issues.


JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials are planning a groundbreaking ceremony for a 200-bed hospital to treat mentally ill prison inmates. The ceremony hosted by the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Capital Development Board will be Monday in Joliet. The Corrections Department settled a 2016 lawsuit requiring the state to provide adequate services to about 12,000 inmates who suffer from mental illness.


(Roberts--ab)  It’s almost Spring and time for area communities to do some cleaning. In Roberts,  bids were taken to get some help cleaning up and village clean up day is June 1st says Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner...



Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner



(Gibson City-jc) -- One community has a group met on Thursday to look at the possibilities of building a new pool. The Gibson City Swimming Pool Exploratory committee continues to look at structures, goals, costs and a timetable for the proposed project. More meetings are planned


(Paxton--ab) The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board heard anan update on the progress on the Clara Peterson school addition. P-B-L School Superintendent Cliff McClure says inside work continues....



P-B-L School Superintendent Cliff McClure


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County relay for life group is hosting a Euchre party fundraiser tonight in Gibson City. The Chic Meredith Relay Team says the game begins at 6-30 tonight at the Moyer Library. The fee to participate is 10 dollars. Snacks will be provided. Those interested may sign up at 217-784-5267.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on  Saturday. Raising money with the cookout is the Pink Heals group. On the menu is . Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and  pop..


(Chicago--jc)  --Illinois Democrats are still talking about Gov. J.B. Pritzker's progressive income tax plan behind closed doors.Pritzker wants to amend the state constitution's flat income tax structure with a progressive one that has higher tax rates for those who earn more. The governor calls it a “fair tax” system. He has said the progressive tax rates and income brackets he’s proposed would generate $3.4 billion a year in additional revenue for the state.Ultimately, though, outside of promoting the idea, Pritzker has no role in getting the proposed constitutional amendment in front of voters. That’s entirely up to lawmakers in both chambers of the state legislature. If the House and Senate approve the measure with three-fifths majorities, the question would go to voters, who would have the final say at the ballot box. Democrats have supermajorities in both chambers.


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois students will see an increase in their health insurance costs for the upcoming academic year. The university's Board of Trustees set student health insurance premiums during its Thursday meeting. The steepest increase will come at the University of Illinois' Springfield campus, where premiums will rise 63 percent, going up to $866 per semester from $336. School officials say that's because of an enrollment decline in the insurance plan and increases in claims.



(Thomasboro--jc)  The Thomasboro police department is growing. The local board approved the hiring of Janeen Henderson for around 30 hours weekly Henderson is from  Washington, Illinois and will commute for the job 3 days per week



(Ludlow--jc) A machine shed west of Ludlow caught fire Thursday morning and was a complete loss. Sangamon Valley District  Firefighters and several other departments battled the blaze for several hours. The contents in the building, including a mower and tools, were lost. Five area departments helped in the incident. They included Paxton, Ludlow, Elliott, Rantoul and Thomasboro.  The high winds hampered efforts. No one was injured in the blaze.



(Springfield--jc)  -- A group of lawmakers is introducing “March to Mental Health,” a package of legislation aimed at improving care and treatment in Illinois. There are 5 bills. They include to allow Pharmacists to administer anti-psychotics, and another requires    more comprehensive insurance says State Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake…


Illinois State Senator Melinda Bush of Grayslake



(Springfield--ab) The unemployment rate was up…as were jobs in most Illinois metro areas in January.  All but Chicago and the suburbs saw an increase in the jobless rate from January of 2018 to January of 2019. But State Department Of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough (goff) says most areas saw job growth.



Over-the-year job losses were seen in Bloomington, The East St. Louis Area And Danville.



(Springfield--ab) State and local police are boosting patrols for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend.  The increased enforcement is already under way says State Department Of Transportation Spokesperson Jessie Decker.



Decker says the best way to do that is to make sure you have a plan to get home before you head out. last year, eight people died on Illinois roads on St. Patrick’s Day.



(Gibson City--jc) --  Gibson Sibley Melvin Sibley school board members will be approving some field trips when they meet in monthly session on Monday night. They include one for high school seniors to Parkland College and the Kindergarten class to the Miller Zoo in Bloomington and the F-F-A to Springfield.  Board members also are expected to approve next year’s calendar. The G-C-M-S school board meeting comes to order at 6-15 on Monday night.

(Champaign--ab) In October 2017 the University of Illinois System officially launched a comprehensive fundraising initiative with an ambitious $3.1 billion goal. Now, less than a year and a half into the public campaigns, the U of I System has surpassed the $2 billion mark—or 64.8%—in funds raised toward this goal.The University of Illinois Foundation has secured an additional $26.9 million for the UI Alumni Alliance, U of I System or the Foundation and these gifts are directed to support the universities. This figure, combined with the amounts raised by the three university campaigns, brings the total to over $2 billion as of March 14, 2019.The University of Illinois System is supporting these campaigns with a brand messaging platform called, “Altogether Extraordinary,” which showcases the demand, growth, and life-changing impact of the U of I System’s three, best-in-class universities.


Central Illinois Under a Code Red Wind Alert Today

(Undated--jc)  The area is under a code red wind alert for today. High winds gusting from 55 to 60 miles per hour are expected. Semis and large trucks are also advised to drive safe due to the high winds. Travel is difficult for large vehicles. Area residents are asked to keep an eye out for downed power lines and trees. The potential of hail, rain and a remote tornado also exist today in the area.


WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners have gathered to remember a sheriff's deputy who was shot and killed while trying to serve an arrest warrant at a hotel. The main gym at Woodstock North High School was filled during Wednesday morning's funeral for McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner. Police say Keltner was killed by a suspect while serving with a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force last week.


(Washington--ab)  --It's a tough world market right now for sellers of U.S. wheat. Gary Crawford has the details…





(Roberts--ab)  --The Roberts Public library is closed and there is a way you can get your hands on the books. On May 18th there is a book give-a-way and Village of Roberts mayor Rick Flessner says there is no cost to getting books...



Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner


(Springfield--ab)  Supporters of a stronger state equal pay law are hoping the third time is a charm. Lawmakers have passed bills prohibiting employers from asking someone their wage history the past two years…but they were vetoed by the former governor. The latest version just passed the house and also tightens pay discrimination laws says Elgin Representative Anna Moeller.



State Representative Anna Moeller of Elgin

The legislation passed the house and will now be considered by the senate.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The end of the fiscal year for the city of Paxton is April 30th. Local leaders say the city will end the current year within budget. The announcement came at this weeks city council meeting. Paxton City Council members continue to work on next year’s budget.


(Chicago--jc)  --An association that represents convenience stores throughout the state says the governor should find budget efficiencies instead of increasing taxes on products they sell. Governor J.B. Pritzker wants to increase the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 32 cents. That’s expected to raise 55 million dollars in revenue.  Illinois Association of Convenience Stores Executive Vice President Bill Fleischli represents thousands of convenience stores around the state. He says Pritzker’s proposal will make Illinois' taxes on cigarettes about $2.30 a pack in Illinois. He said that would push Illinois' taxes on cigarettes to the highest in the region, behind Wisconsin.



(Ludlow--jc) --  A Paxton based business has been hired to do mowing in the community of Ludlow. Ludlow village leaders have re-hired Biggs Lawn Care of Paxton to provide the mowing on village property. The price per each mowing is 175 dollars. Biggs Lawn Care has done the mowing in Ludlow for 14 years.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man with six convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol will be sentenced next month. 57 year old David Pribble pleaded guilty to a case that allows him to avoid a seventh DUI conviction. That charge was driving with a license that had been suspended or revoked for driving under the influence. He will be sentenced on April 18. Under a plea agreement, felony counts of  aggravated DUI with six or more convictions will be dismissed at his sentencing.


(Springfield--ab) -- A bill requiring schools to teach kids about the contributions of lesbian, gay and transgender people throughout history passed the house Wednesday. Supporters says history curriculum shouldn’t be discriminative and leave out certain groups of people. but opponents, like Representative Tom Morrison of Palatine have concerns.



State Representative Tom Morrison of Palatine

The LGBTQ history requirement applies to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. the senate will consider the legislation next.


NEW YORK (AP) — A handful of Verizon customers could soon have faster wireless service — but they'll have to pay $10 a month more.Verizon says it'll flip the switch next month on a much-hyped, next-generation "5G" phone network . Service will start in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis. Verizon expects to have 5G in 30 cities this year.For now, few people will sign on. The offer is available only on unlimited plans, which currently start at $75 for one person or $160 for a family of four without 5G. On family plans, each 5G line would cost $10 extra.


(Rantoul--jc) -- The Rantoul based Big Brothers-Big Sisters program had a huge fundraiser this past weekend to raise money to support the local program. What the local group needs is mentors, especially those for young boys says Big Brothers-Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins…



Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins of Rantoul


(Springfield--ab)  --Supporters of a stronger state equal pay law are hoping the third time is a charm. For the third year in a row, the house has passed a bill banning employers from asking job applicants for their salary history and strengthening wage gender discrimination statutes. It’s supported by Representative John Carroll of Northbrook.



State Representative John Carroll of Northbrook

Similar bills have passed the last two years but were vetoed by then-governor bruce rauner. this latest version now moves to the senate.



(Paxton--jc)  PRIDE in Paxton has a new 2 thousand dollar donation from the city of Paxton. The money will be used to maintain the flowers and flowerpots in the downtown area of the city. The local nonprofit group is also looking to help the city replace some aging banners in the downtown area of the city.


(Springfield--jc)  Local State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian is sponsoring legislation which will create an incentive program for blue collar jobs in the same vein as other programs that are given to businesses for locating in Illinois, creating jobs or retaining jobs in Illinois, or otherwise would leave Illinois. The 104th district state representative says its called the Illinois Blue Collar Jobs Program…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


(Paxton--jc)  --The annual Paxton Community Sale is set to begin at 10 A M sharp on Saturday April 6th at Coady Park in the city. The annual sale is sponsored by the Paxton Park District. A flea market, food vendors and live auctions hilite the event. More information about the event is found by contacting the park district office in Paxton.


Governor J-B Pritzker Says Taxpayers Can See for Themselves How They Would Do Under the Fair Tax Proposal

(Springfield--ab)  -- Governor J-B Pritzker says he wants taxpayers to see for themselves how they would do under his fair tax proposal. Governor Pritzker says 97 percent of Illinoisans will see some relief under his graduated income tax plan. A new online calculator will give people an idea of just how much they will save.



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The governor’s plan raises the income tax for those making over 250 thousand. the calculator is available at: illinois dot gov forward slash fair tax calculator.



(Bloomington--jc)--  Following a very serious car accident late last week, Tom Bennett’s  colleagues took a moment on the House floor Tuesday to wish him well in his recovery.  House Minority Leader Jim Durkin talks about the 106th District Republican…



Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin

Bennett suffered 10 broken ribs, 6 with multiple breaks, as he was returning to his home in Gibson City from his district office in Pontiac Thursday night around 9pm.  He remains hospitalized in Bloomington.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is proposing to allow year-round sales of gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol, seeking to calm a dispute between the oil industry and corn farmers. The proposal Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency fulfills a pledge that President Donald Trump made to U.S. corn farmers, who see ethanol as an important driver of demand for their crops. Oil refineries have been seeking exemptions from government requirements to include ethanol in their fuel mixes. The dispute between the industry and farmers and lawmakers from Midwest states sparked a billboard campaign and at least one tractor rally in the Midwest last year.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A study has found that an Illinois' teacher shortage has become particularly acute in central and southern sections of the state. The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools has released a study showing that 89 percent of school districts in central Illinois have trouble filling teaching positions with qualified candidates. Southern Illinois fared worse, with 92 percent having staffing issues. Association president Mark Jontry notes the pay for new teachers is not high.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The roof project at the Rantoul Public Library has a cost of 170 thousand dollars. The local library board and staff have saved up around 90 thousand dollars for the project. Some fundraising has closed the gap between the two figures. More fundraising continues for the local structure, Rantoul Public Library Director Holly Thompson says workers have done a great job helping with the recent hard rain and high winds and continue to complete the project…


Rantoul Public Library Director Holly Thompson

A local group called H-M-S Hotspur is hosting an auction and euchre party at the library on April 5 to help raise money for the roof. Some silent auction items are on display now at the Rantoul library. Bids will be taken on the items through the fundraiser on the 5th of April.


Chicago, IL – Illinois State Police  officials would like to invite all individuals who are interested in becoming ISP Troopers to participate in a Physical Fitness Inventory Test  Seminar being held on Saturday, March 23. The seminar takes place from 8:00 a.m. to Noon at Olivet Nazarene University in the Student Recreation Center in Bourbonnais  Certified PFIT monitors will be in attendance to provide hands-on instruction on how to successfully pass the test



(Fisher--jc)  -- Fisher Village leaders will look at setback requirements for a housing development on Green Street when they meet tomorrow night in monthly session.  Local leaders will look to pass a resurfacing road project on third street. The project has a price tag of just over 442 thousand dollars The Fisher Village board meets at 6 tomorrow night at the Fisher Community Center.

(Springfield--jc)  -- A new report from the Illinois Board of higher education show that high school graduates are continuing to flock to out of state colleges. In 20-17 nearly half of college bound grads headed to 4 year schools in neighboring states. The Boards Director of Information Eric Lichtenberger says the trend continues to rise in percentages…



Illinois Board of Higher Education Director of Information Eric Lichtenberger.



(Ford County--jc)  A Ford County man pleaded guilty to reckless homicide concerning a crash the fatally injured a Paxton woman in 20-16. 27 year old Thomas  Hoekstra of Paxton made the plea on Tuesday in Ford County Court He will be sentenced in May.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois House lawmakers are voting to raise the age to buy cigarettes in Illinois. Smokers will have to be 21, instead of 18 to purchase tobacco  products under the “tobacco 21” legislation. State Representative Monica Bristow of Alton is a former smoker and supports the measure…



State Representative Monica Bristow of Alton.



(Washington--jc)  -- Cattle placements into feedlots during January were  5 percent less than January of 2018. Gary Crawford has the numbers…




The Illinois Department of Public Health is Warning About Unproven Stem Cell Therapies

EUREKA, Ill. (AP) — A judge has cleared the way for a solar energy project in central Illinois. Judge Charles Feeney says Woodford County's permit denial was "arbitrary" and "unreasonable" and violated the rights of SolAmerica Energy. Many property owners and the city of Eureka opposed the permit. The County Board voted against the permit last year, a step that led to the lawsuit.

The proposed site is on land near the Eureka city limits, 20 miles east of Peoria.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man accused of fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy attempting to serve an arrest warrant made his first appearance in court. Floyd E. Brown of Springfield is charged with first-degree murder in the death of McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner. The deputy was shot Thursday while working on a task force trying to serve a warrant at a hotel in Rockford, about 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) northwest of Chicago. The 39-year-old Brown did not enter a plea Monday.


(Springfield--ab)  -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about unproven stem cell therapies. Public Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Layden says there is concern across the country and in Illinois about doctors using stem cell products that haven’t been approved by the F-D-A.



Illinois Public Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jennifer Layden

Risks of getting these unapproved stem cell treatments include bacterial infection, growth of tumors and a bad reaction at the site of injection.


(Paxton--jc)  A Gibson City man was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Monday for sexually molesting an 11 year old girl. Ford County judge Matt Fitton sentenced 43 year old Ryan Schoolcraft in Ford County court in Paxton.  Schoolcraft was found guilty in January of two counts of criminal sexaual assault.


(Springfield--ab)  -- The Illinois State Police is looking to boost its ranks. State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly says they are short about 500 sworn officers…and is urging lawmakers to approving funding for new cadet classes.



State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly

Kelly says recruitment is often challenging given the risks of the job and more competitive pay and benefits offered at other departments. the state police is accepting applications through the end of may for october’s cadet class. apply at: illinois trooper dot com.



CAIRO, Ill. (AP) — After more than two weeks, a bridge connecting Illinois and Kentucky has reopened over the Ohio River. The U.S. 51 bridge closed on Feb. 22 due to high water on the Wickliffe, Kentucky, side. Kentucky officials say 4,700 vehicles cross the bridge each day; trucks make up 35 percent.



ILLIPOPOLIS, Ill. (AP) — Roman Catholics in a southern Illinois county are down to one church for weekend Mass. A decision to close two of Hamilton County's three Catholic churches took effect over the weekend. There were no Masses at St. John Nepomucene in Dahlgren or St. Clement of Rome in McLeansboro. They're now designated as chapels. The area's "mother church" is St. John the Baptist in Piopolis. Bishop Edward Braxton made the announcement in February. He called it a "challenging process."


(Springfield--jc)  -- Lawmakers are back in Springfield and one matter the Senate is poised to take up would prohibit people younger than 21 from buying tobacco and e-cigarettes, but other measures targeting vaping products are also on the horizon. State Senator Terry Link, Democrat from Indian Creek, wants to put e-cigarettes and vaporizers into the Smoke Free Illinois Act. Link says that would mean you couldn’t do it in a public building at a restaurant or local bar.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County relay for life group is hosting a Euchre party fundraiser on Friday in Gibson City. The Chic Meredith Relay Team says the game begins at 6-30 on Friday night at the Moyer Library. The fee to participate is 10 dollars. Snacks will be provided. Those interested may sign up at 217-784-5267.



(Onarga--jc)  -- One local bank is sponsoring a free movie day next month. The Federated Bank is hosting the free movie event on April 13th at 1pm at the Onarga Theatre. There is free admission and free pop and popcorn. More information is found by contacting the bank.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposal to change Illinois’ flat income tax to a graduated one with higher rates for those who earn more, means taxing higher earners would make the state less competitive nationally, according a tax policy group. A new Tax Foundation analysis of the “Fair Tax for Illinois,” as the governor has branded it, shows that it would put in place in some of the highest individual and corporate income taxes in the country and what the nonprofit called one of the least competitive overall tax codes, causing the state to decline from 36th to 48th in the group's State Business Tax Climate Index. Analysts for the nonprofit have annually called Illinois’ flat income tax its “saving grace” in terms of overall taxation competitiveness. It’s kept Illinois closer to the middle of the pack in terms of the foundation's ranking.


(Champaign County--jc)  A proposed rural Gifford event center has several more steps to accomplish before the idea can move forward. The local county zoning board gave it’s O-K earlier this month. One issue to be decided is traffic on local rural roads to the proposed event center location. A special use permit will be the topic of the Champaign County Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on March 28th in Urbana. With a positive committee recommendation, the issue would move the county board later this Spring.


(Springfield--ab)  Illinois enjoyed some nice job gains in January.

January’s unemployment rate came in at four point three percent…the same as in december. but payrolls hit a new high, with over 24 thousand jobs added says Illinois Department Of Employment Security Spokesperson Bob Gough…



I-D-E-S Spokesperson Bob Gough

Gains were also seen in the educational and health services and leisure and hospitality sectors.



(Paxton--ab) The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board meets tonight  and the agenda is loaded with items of action. Items of note will be to approve the 2019-2020 academic calendar for the district, getting rid of the Paxton Buckley Loda Wrestling team. A report will be given on the Clara Peterson renovation and Eastlawn demolition. Tonight’s meeting begins at 7 at the board meeting room in Paxton.


(Washington-jc)  -- What is the new forecast for the 20-19 steer prices. U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam has the numbers…



U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam



(Rantoul--jc)  Those in the Rantoul area needing some help to keep their kids active have some help with a local civic group. The Rantoul Foundation is set to help with some charges and fees for programs offered in Rantoul. To apply for vouchers, those interested are asked to contact the Community Service Center in the village, by calling  893-5700.


(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s flood safety awareness week and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency is reminding about some steps  you can take to protect your home. As Spring approaches, I-Ema Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says to make sure you have flood insurance…


I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark.

(Paxton--jc)  -- If you like the decorated flower pots in the downtown area of Paxton, a vote by the city council tonight could extend to project. City of Paxton leaders meet tonight could provide a donation to PRIDE in Paxton to help with the flower pots and also banner purchases for the downtown light poles in the city. Paxton leaders are also expected to hire an engineering firm for the proposed “street scape” project. The city council meeting comes to order at 7 tonight on the 2nd floor of city hall.



(Gibson City--jc) With a third place finish in the state, fans of the Gibson City Melvin Sibley Falcons can order a two sided state T-Shirt to commemorate the 20-18-20-19 season. Orders for the 12 dollar t-shirts may be made by filling out a form and those forms are available at the high school in Gibson City. Deadline to order the shirts is Friday March 15th. Pick up date for the shirts is March 21st at the high school.


Are Chicago Politicians Pushing Windy City Policies onto the Rest of the State?

(Springfield--ba)  State representatives from different ends of Illinois disagree on whether Chicago politicians are pushing Windy City policies onto the rest of the state. There's been lots of debate on the topic over the years, but one often-cited study based on a snapshot of the state found that downstate communities received more money from the state government than they contributed in taxes. Others note that Chicago takes from the rest of the state, pointing to the hundreds of millions of dollars the state sends to Chicago Public Schools. Sponsors of HR101 also say Chicago politicians are pushing Windy City policies on the rest of the state with no regard for rural concerns.

(Champaign--jc)  -- How did the first full  week of March do in the weather category. Illinois Water Survey of Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says cold and snowy…



Illinois Water Survey of Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner


CHICAGO (AP) — One of the people injured in a deadly warehouse shooting last month is suing Illinois State Police, saying authorities wrongly let the gunman purchase the weapon used in the attack. Henry Pratt Co. employee Timothy Williams on Friday filed the lawsuit. It says he was shot three times after colleague Gary Martin opened fire, killing five other co-workers. Illinois State Police declined comment, saying they don't discuss pending litigation.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- A leaky roof during high winds and a huge rain on Saturday, closed the Rantoul Public Library. The roof has been as issue for the local Library for some time and now library officials are looking for ways to make repairs. Staff members used plastic coverings to protect the books. The estimate to replace the roof is 17 thousand dollars.



(Undated--jc)  As lawmakers prepare to mirror a Chicago tax on shopping bags, a state Representative from the Windy City said it will hit the most vulnerable the hardest. State Senator Terry Link, Democrat from Indian Creek, sponsored Senate Bill 12-40, which would add a 7-cent tax to all single-use bags, paper and plastic. That’s similar to what Chicago already has in place. State Representative. Michael McAuliffe Republican from Chicago, says he has seen the bag tax in action in his jurisdiction and it hits the poor and the elderly the hardest.McAuliffe also said lawmakers should expect a strong reaction from taxpayers if the bag tax goes statewide. Some are expecting the same reaction as the soda tax in Chicago in 2017 that was repealed after just two months.


(Bloomington--jc)  -- Local State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City continues to recover at a Bloomington hospital. He was involved in a serious accident Thursday night.  Bennett suffered multiple broken ribs. Bennett represents the 106th district. He was expected to remain at the St Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington through the weekend.



(Paxton--ba)-This Monday the Paxton Buckley Loda Panther Regiment will once again travel to the city of New Orleans. Students will visit the French quarter, take a swamp tour, visit the WWII museum, as well as many other activities. This will be Band Director Tim Hess’s last trip. The trip begins today.


(Urbana-jc--)  The vote for the “alma ottter” at the University of Illinois did not pass a non-binding referendum this week. U of I students voted down the proposal with 3807 against the otter and 3510 for the mascot.



(Springfield--jc) --  Tickets to concerts like Dan and Shay, Pentatonix, Old Dominion and Snoop Dog will be available at the ticketmaster-dot-com on April 20th. The Illinois State Fair Box office opens on April 22nd says State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth…



State Fair SPokesperson Morgan Booth



CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is starting to make strides toward improving retention through a program that offers freshmen a special orientation aimed at getting them acquainted with college life. The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports that the Saluki Success Program covers study habits, mental health awareness, sexual consent and cultural sensitivity. The class started in 2015 and has four dedicated instructors. The school says early data show the program is making a positive impact on student retention and success


JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — The family of a World War II veteran who died when his plane was shot down over France in 1944 is to receive his lost medals. Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs' office says he will return 1st Lt Walter B. Ingledew Jr.'s medals to his family Monday at the Stone City VFW Post in Joliet. The treasurer's office found the medals in a safe deposit box that was turned over to the state. The medals include a Purple Heart, two Campaign Stars and two Air medals with four oak leaf clusters that are received for meritorious achievement in aerial flight. Ingledew served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces.


(AP) — A sheriff in Illinois is warning people about a sophisticated phone scam.

In a news release, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says residents are reporting that they are receiving an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be a representative of Apple Inc. warning them that their device or iCloud account has been compromised. The caller then asks for personal information such as passwords or usernames.The calls that come from numbers including (800) 275-2273 and (703) 336-8450 appear legitimate because the residents' caller identification shows the calls are coming from Apple Customer Service or Apple Inc. But Dart says that Apple — which is aware of the scam — says that its service representatives never ask customers for such personal information over the phone.


(Rantoul--jc)  A candidates forum is set for Thursday in Rantoul. The venue is the Rantoul Municipal Building on Tanner Street starting at 6pm on Thursday. Candidates to speak include those running for Rantoul Village Board, Rantoul Township High School board, local library. All candidates will be given a two minute opening remark period. Then  questions will be asked from the audience through a moderator. The Spring election is set for Tuesday April Second. The forum is sponsored by The League of Women Voters, Rantoul Residents for Representation and the Rantoul Press


(Paxton--jc) Paxton City leaders will look to make donations to the Pheasants Forever group, and a donation to the Show bus when they meet in monthly session tomorrow night. Other agenda items include signing a contract with Credit Collection Partners, repairs along Holmes Street and approve a request by American Legion Riders to collect donations at the intersections in the downtown area  Saturday April 27th from 8 am to Noon. The Paxton City Council meets Tuesday night at 7 on the second floor of city hall.



(Washington--jc)  What does the farm income forecast look like for 20-19. U-S-D-A Deputy Chief Economist Warren Preston has the numbers… 



U-S-D-A Deputy Chief Economist Warren Preston


(Rantoul-jc)  --Rantoul Village leaders will look to amend an agreement with a California investor.  John Van Der Velde has asked the village for another term for him to buy four hangers and the A-T-and-T Call Center near the local airport. The original purchase price of 5 point-45-Million would remain the same. The proposed amendment would lengthen the lease agreement paid by the village to the Van Der Welde group for 10 years  instead of 5. The Rantoul Village board meets at 6-15 Tuesday night at the municipal building on Tanner Street.



ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois man faces federal murder charges in the shooting death of a sheriff's deputy that led to an hourslong standoff with police along an interstate. Floyd E. Brown is scheduled to appear in court Monday in Rockford, where prosecutors say he shot and killed a deputy working with a U.S. Marshal's Service fugitive task force serving Brown an arrest warrant.


(Undated--jc)  --University of Chicago was ranked the most exclusive school in Illinois, according to a new study by the website 24-7 Wall Street, that examines acceptance rates and characteristics of university students nationwide. University of Chicago has an acceptance rate of 8.7 percent, and 75 percent of its students have SAT scores above 1480. The yearly net cost to attend the campus is nearly 35 thousand dollars.To determine the most selective universities in each state, 24/7 Wall St. examined the National Center for Education Statistics’ data on four-year schools, as well as other sources.  Notre Dame was top on the list in Indiana and Washington University in St Louis was the top exclusive school in Missouri.



(Roberts--jc)  Village of Roberts leaders have set a day in May for an open house and liquidation day for its library. The village has been in the process of closing the local library and distributing books. The day for the event is Saturday May 18th.


Governor JB Pritzker has Announced his Graduated Income Tax Proposal

(Springfield--jc) Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is unveiling his graduated income tax proposal, saying most taxpayers will see some relief. The plan goes like this, earn less than 10 thousand dollars, you pay 4 point 75 in income taxes. Earn between 10 thousand and one hundred grand, you pay 4 point 95 percent.Those making 100 to 250 thousand dollars pay the current 4 point 95 percent. The big jump is for those making over 250 thousand dollars. There tax would be between 7 point 75 percent and 8 percent. The governor says this is needed…



Illinois Governor J B Pritzker

The governor says the additional tax would bring in an additional 3 point 4 to 4 Billion dollars, annually.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Reaction to the announcement coming from the states Chamber of Commerce. A leading Illinois business advocate says Gov. J.B Pritzker has it "backward" in trying to solve the state's fiscal crisis with a graduated income tax plan. Todd Maisch is president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. He says Pritzker's plan to raise $3.4 billion in new revenue from a progressive tax structure will drive out businesses. Maisch says the Democratic governor and state lawmakers should get spending under control first, then boost the economy, then turn to revenue.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Springfield has approved an ordinance that would allow the city spend up to $50,000 to keep Abraham Lincoln's home open during a federal government shutdown. The State Journal-Register reports the City Council unanimously passed the ordinance Tuesday. It gives the city the option of using lodging taxes to keep the Abraham Lincoln Home National Historic Site open for about a month. Many tourists were disappointed when the site closed during the partial government shutdown that started Dec. 22.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A man suspected of fatally shooting an Illinois sheriff's deputy has been charged with first-degree murder. Winnebago County State's Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross says the charge against 39-year-old Floyd E. Brown of Springfield was upgraded after McHenry County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Keltner died of his injuries. Authorities say Brown was taken into custody hours after he fled a Rockford hotel where a warrant for his arrest was being served.




(Buckley--jc)  -- It’s a day for the ladies in Buckley on Sunday. A Girls Day Out takes place on Sunday at the 103 Restaurant Banquet Center in the village. Spokesperson Angie Glad says over 25 vendors will be there…



A Girls Day Out Spokesperson Angie Glad

Prizes and other giveaways are planned for the event. All area ladies are invited for the fun event.



(Farmer City--jc)  --- Local state Senator Chapin Rose and State Representative Dan Caulkins will be in Farmer City this morning. The two local legislators will be at Imo's Restaurant from 7-8 am.


(Springfield--ab)  -- Problems with home repairs and remodeling lead Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s top 10 list of consumer complaints.

The office received more than 21 thousand complaints last year…and for the first time since 2000…construction related issues came in at number one. other top complaints pertain to consumer debt, identity theft and scams. Attorney General Raoul says they often begin with a bogus phone call.



Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul

The office also logged many complaints about used car sales, cell phones and cable and satellite t-v.


(Springfield-jc) --  With an economy that’s producing more job openings than there are people to fill them, applicants and even newly-hired workers walking away from their jobs, leaving no notice to their employers.The term “ghosting” comes from the dating world, when one party suddenly cuts off contact with the other without notice. Multiple outlets are now reporting job applicants and even newly-hired workers are ghosting employers, skipping interviews or not returning to work, leaving no notice.The situation has even gotten the attention of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In a “Beige Book” report on Chicago from last December:


(Rantoul--jc-- Big Brothers Big Sisters will hold its annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake event from 5 to 7 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m tomorrow at the Country Tyme Lanes on Grove Avenue in Rantoul. Big Brothers-Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins says this is the main fundraiser to support the group…



Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins.  The rock-and-roll-themed bowling event will also feature door prizes, raffles and drawings.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has unveiled his plan for a graduated income tax. The Governor says most taxpayers will see some relief.

The new tax structure would start at 4 point 75 percent and cap out at nearly 8 percent. The governor says this additional tax will be good for the majority of Illioisans…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The new income tax would bring in 3 point 4 to 4 Billion dollars per year


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Republican opposition to the graduated tax plan Gov. J.B. Pritzker is floating has been swift. The Democratic governor announced Thursday a plan to change Illinois' flat-rate tax structure to one that ranges from 4.75 to 7.95 percent. He claims it would raise $3.4 billion extra a year while the vast majority of taxpayers would pay less in taxes. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs said the GOP opposes "a $3.4 billion tax increase on Illinois families and businesses."



(Bloomington--jc)    Illinois Wesleyan University is offering a voluntary retirement incentive program, merging some academic departments and reducing visiting faculty positions as part of an effort to find $1.1 million in budget savings for fiscal year 2020. The changes were provided this week during budget update meeting. President Eric Jensen says the challenges facing all higher education in the state of Illinois prompted the move. University officials hope the cuts can be made over the next couple of years to keep in the budget in line.


(Washington--jc)  Farm profits this year could go up, but not enough to make up for last year's income drop. Gary Crawford reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  A candidates forum is set for next Thursday in Rantoul. The venue is the Rantoul Municipal Building on Tanner Street starting at 6pm on Thursday. Candidates to speak include those running for Rantoul Village Board, Rantoul Township High School board, local library. All candidates will be given a two minute opening remark period. Then  questions will be asked from the audience through a moderator. The Spring election is set for Tuesday April Second. The forum is sponsored by The League of Women Voters, Rantoul Residents for Representation and the Rantoul Press



(Watseka--jc)  --  The Iroquois County Clerk’s election department will be open Saturday, March 30th from 8:30 a.m. to noon.  Registered voters’ who would like to vote before the April 2, 2019 Consolidated Election, may come into the County Clerk’s Office up through the early voting deadline, Monday, April 1st, to cast their vote  The County Clerk’s Office office hours are, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The Rantoul School District will have their monthly meeting on March 11th. The board will discuss and vote on proposed board policy amendments on various topics. The board will also look at the Superintendents employment contract and  approve the 2019-2020 academic calendar.


(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton IGA is hosting a cookout from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on  Saturday. The parking lot cookout will help raise funds for Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s class of 2024. On the menu is Pork chop sandwiches, chips and pop


Illinois State Police have Reforms Designed to Make it harder for People to Keep Guns After Losing the Right to Own a Firearm

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police officials have come up with several reforms designed to make it harder for people to keep guns after losing their right to own a firearm. The changes revealed Wednesday deal with how firearm owner's identification cards are revoked, how guns are seized and how related records are kept and shared. It calls for greater enforcement of the revocation laws that have long been ignored.The proposals are a reaction to the fatal shooting in Aurora last month of five people by Gary Martin. As a convicted felon, Martin never should have been allowed to purchase the handgun used in the shooting.Acting State Police Director Brendan Kelly says the federal government must do more to address the incomplete FBI databases and do more back ground checks.


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has met with an Illinois congressman who was deployed last month to the U.S.-Mexico border with his Air National Guard unit. Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Wednesday that his first-hand experience led him to conclude that the situation at the border represents a legitimate national emergency. He says he "came back absolutely convinced."


(Springfield--jc)  -- A-A-R-P is urging lawmakers to pass two bills aimed at improving the care for older Illinoisans. The first legislation requires the state to set up a database where people can see nursing home reports and violations, sets up rules for administering psychiatric medication and addresses minimum staffing levels says Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins of Chicago…



Illinois State Senator Jacqueline Collins of Chicago.


(Paxton--jc)  - The Pit Crew at Clara Petersen School in Paxton has an event coming this Spring. WPXN ‘s Austin Burklund has the story…




URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois Board of Trustees is scheduled to decide if the school's new track will be named after longtime coach Gary Wieneke. U of I  Chancellor Robert Jones is recommending trustees approve naming the running portion of the track and field project the Gary R. Wieneke track. Wieneke retired in 2003 after 36 years with 13 Big Ten championships. The board meets next week.



(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s Women’s History Month. Local State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian, took a few moments on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives to honor a well-known figure in Vermilion County history.  Marron spoke on Rita Garman, current Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois who represents the Fourth Judicial District on the Supreme Court…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron


(Paxton--jc)  --Paxton Buckley Loda School Senior art students artwork will be on display at the Eric Show through March 29th.  A public viewing with area students is set from 4-30 until 7 tonight at the Illini Union on the campus of the University of Illinois. 19 other area schools will also be represented. They include Gibson City Melvin Sibley, St. Joe Ogden, Rantoul Township High School, St Thomas More, Oakwood and Monticello High School. The artwork will remain part of the Eric Show through March 29th.




(Springfield--jc) - You have to hand it to the state of Illinois. When it comes to taxing its residents, the state doesn't discriminate.As Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Democratic lawmakers move forward with plans to change the constitution to allow for what they've dubbed a "fair" income tax, a new report indicates that Illinois has been fair when it comes to taxing all income levels in the state.The report from financial website Wallethub, 2019's Best States to Be Rich or Poor from a Tax Perspective, indicates that Illinois ranks second- or third-worst when compared to other U.S. states and Washington D.C. in taxing low-, middle- and high-income wage earners. That's "fair" as in fairly high taxes for everyone.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting their annual banquet tonight. The event is set for the Kruse Center on the cities east side.

Several awards will be given out. A meal, and comedy show also hilite the event.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former campaign worker for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan whose federal lawsuit claims her career was hindered when she complained about sexual harassment has alleged in court filings that "nothing was done in response" to other complaints against a Madigan staffer in 2015 and 2016.

The powerful Democratic speaker's office responded that the staff member, Travis Shea, was reprimanded. But it said that the speaker, who has faced criticism for more than a year over his handling of sexual harassment complaints among legislative office and campaign staffs, was not made aware of the incidents at the time. The Illinois Republican Party demanded Wednesday that Madigan release a full accounting of complaints against his staff members and how they were resolved.



(Bloomington--jc)  -- What are the rates of any proposed graduated tax. That is a question that some in Springfield want an answer to.  105th District State Representative Dan Brady is pursuing the answer…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Undated--jc)  -- Lawmakers from another state say the proposed progressive tax is a mistake. WPXN’s Austin Burklund has the story…


SPRINGFIELD — Illinois law enforcement groups want to pump the brakes on proposed legislation that would do away with a requirement that Illinois cars display a front license plate. A bill proposed by East Dundee Republican Representative  Allen Skillicorn would instruct the secretary of state’s office to issue only one license plate to drivers, instead of two, for cars, trailers and trucks. The plate would attach to the rear of the vehicle. Executive Diretor of the Illinois Associations of Chiefs of Police Ed Wojcicki says  removing the front plate would make it harder for police officers and other law enforcement officials to do their jobs. Opposition also is coming from the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association.


Carmi, IL - Illinois State Police Zone 7 Investigations is requesting public assistance in locating a missing 19-year-old Harrisburg woman, Brooke Naylor. Naylor, pictured below, is described as 5 foot 3 inches and approximately 115 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen

in Harrisburg on March 3, 2019. Naylor was last known to have her brown dog, a Boxer, with her. Her abandoned Chevrolet Malibu was located on the Eldorado Ridgeway Blacktop approximately halfway between Route 142 and Route 1. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Brooke Naylor, please contact the Illinois State Police at (618) 384-9945.



(Springfield-jc)  -- More than 14 hundred people commit suicide each year in Illinois and new legislation aims to lower that number. The bill would create the office of suicide prevention says American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Illinois’ Steve Moore…



American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Illinois’ Steve Moore



(Springfield--jc)  Like Governor Bruce Rauner after his first months in office, Governor  J.B. Pritzker’s job approval rating has tumbled.So low, that President Donald Trump has a higher approval rating. In a We Ask America poll, 800 registered Illinois voters gave Pritzker a job approval rating of 37 percent. The pollsters asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the job J.B. Pritzker is doing as Illinois governor,” to which 37 percent approved, 36 disapproved and 27 percent had no opinion.When asked the same question about President Donald Trump, pollsters received a 41 percent positive response .Ideas Illinois president Greg Baise, who commissioned the poll, said Pritzker is likable, but his proposals for higher taxes and spending aren’t going over well.The poll respondents were more optimistic about the rest of the nation than they are in their own state, largely, Baise said, because residents aren’t being brought realistic solutions.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village officials are in the process of hammering out a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year. One year ago, the process dragged out over potential job cuts and some deficit numbers.  A hearing on the budget will be scheduled at 5:45 p.m.on March 12th The monthly board meeting follows the hearing.


(Rantoul--jc)  Like to bowl? Then Saturday is a time to bowl and also help raise money for the Big Brothers-Big Sisters Rantoul based program. The annual Bowl for Kids Sake takes placd on Saturday starting at 5pm at Country Tyme Lanes on Grove Avenue in the village. The theme for this year’s event is Rock and Roll. The event also features door prizes, raffles and drawings.



(Melvin--jc)  The movie, “The Grinch” will be shown for free on Friday March 15th. The venue is the Melvin Community Hall. The movie starts at 7 that evening.


Missing Local Rantoul Man Found Safe

(Rantoul--jc)  -On March 5 at approximately 7:49pm the Rantoul Police Department was notified of a missing person. Melvin Fox was reported missing from his residence in the South Pointe area by his family. Rantoul Police immediately began a search of the area, but were unable to locate him. As the search continued, Rantoul Police received assistance from the Rantoul Fire Department, Rantoul Recreation Department, Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, University of Illinois Police, Illinois State Police and the Illinois State Police Air Operations Unit. At approximately 11:31pm, Officers were able to locate Fox after he was spotted by the Illinois State Police Air Unit. Fox was found walking in a large farm field approximately ½ mile south of Chandler Dr. and ½ mile west of US Rt. 45 in rural Rantoul. Fox was found in stable condition and was transported to Carle Hospital for precautionary reasons. The Rantoul Police Department would like to thank all the agencies that assisted in locating Fox.


(Chicago--jc)  -- Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 54 attorneys general Tuesday urged Congress to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence  or Traced Act. The measure would curb illegal robocalls and spoofing. With the letter Tuesday, Raoul and the attorneys general urged Congress to support the TRACED Act. Raoul stated that  complaints related to robocalls continue to be among the most common consumer complaints in Illinois and nationally. The legislation will require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls, and creates an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.


A bill in the Illinois Senate restricts where people can use e-cigarettes and vape pens. The measure, sponsored by Senator Terry Link of Waukegan, includes alternative smoking products like e-cigs in the Smoke Free Illinois Act. That means they couldn’t be used in enclosed public places, like a restaurant or business, or within 15 feet of the entrance.



State Senator Terry Link of Waukegan

Link says he will work with opponents to address their concerns


CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Board of Education says it is switching to a new standardized test this month for third through eighth graders across the state. Students will be given the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, or I-A-R, instead of the widely criticized PARCC test. Board of Education spokeswoman Jackie Matthews says the I-AR is about a third shorter than PARCC. Matthews says more sweeping changes are coming, including quicker results and more locally created questions.The PARCC exam was launched in 2015 and was met with criticism from school administrators and parents. They said it was too long and too difficult.


(Armstrong--jc)  The Armstrong F F A is set for its dinner and auction a week from Saturday. The alumni dinner and silent auction takes place at the high school in Armstrong. Dinner begins at 4-30 on the 16th. A silent auction takes place from 4-30 until 7pm. A live auction of items begins at 6pm.



(Washington--jc)  -- A USDA economist offers her take on trends involving the organic dairy, produce and grain markets. Rod Bain has the story..




(Farmer City--jc)  --The City of Farmer City is accepting bids for the rebuild and extension of electric from the City's Power Plant to the northwest quadrant of I-74 and Rt. 54.  Bid documents may be purchased from B-H-M-G Engineers in Arnold, Missouri for twenty dollars. Any questions, please contact City Manager Sue McLaughlin at (309) 928-3412.


(Paxton--jc)  Ford County Board members could set up another meeting on wind farms when they meet in monthly session next week. The zoning committee meeting could also have a proposal ready for the full Ford County board to vote. Local Ford County leaders have been discussing its Wind Farm ordinance for around 2 years.


(Springfield--jc)  --Two bills sitting in the Illinois House would change estate tax laws, one by raising the tax threshold and the other by removing the tax completely.State Representative. Avery Bourne of Raymond, has introduced Illinois House Bill 14-54 which would repeal the estate tax — sometimes called the “death tax.” This is the second time Bourne has introduced the bill.Bourne said the existing estate tax disproportionally affects Illinois farmers.Bourne said that some estates can be taxed up to 16 percent. potential loss of tax revenue could instigate pushback on the bill.


Treasurer Mike Frerichs’ office is touting the success of the secure choice retirement program. In updating our story, Secure choice automatically enrolls businesses and their employees which don’t have a pension or 401-k plan, although workers can opt out. So far nine thousand people have accounts, saving over one million dollars says Treasurer Frerichs..



Illinois Treasure Michael Frerichs



(Washington--jc)  -- Analysts say they don't expect an increase in ethanol production this year or in corn use to make it. Gary Crawford reports…




(Buckley--jc) --  The Buckley Village Board has set a meeting concerning the towns sewer system for later this month. Work on the aging system is needed and local leaders are set to considered extensive work for the major project. Buckley leaders have set a meeting for Saturday March 30th at 10 am at Christ Lutheran High School to discuss the potential 3 million dollar project with local residents.



(Springfield--ab) Infrastructure in Illinois needs a big boost and both sides of the aisle in Springfield may be able to work together on it says Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


(Watseka--jc)  Iroquois County’s E-T-B-S committee meeting is set for later today and on the agenda is the Iroquois Complex tower rent and a purchase from Verizon for a mobile command center. A computer purchase is also an expected topic. The E-T-B-S committee meeting comes to order at 5 this afternoon at the Administrative Center in Watseka.


(Washington--jc)  -- Soybeans are in a difficult spot in the world market at the present moment. U-S-D-A Outlook Board Chairman Seth Meyer says the situation takes a look at the situation…



U-S-D-A Outlook Board Chairman Seth Meyer.



(Champaign--jc)  -- The Parkland College Foundation is hosting its "50th Anniversary Day of Giving" Celebration today. During the  event, Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen and Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin, will read proclamations of support from the Cities of Champaign-Urbana, and Parkland College Trustee Jim Ayers will read the proclamation from the City of Monticello. Foundation Director Tracy Wahlfeldt will read a special certificate from Senator Scott Bennett.. Special giveaways and sweet treats round out the festival.


U.S. regulator Wants to Meet with Walgreens Leaders to Discuss Whether the Drugstore Chain has a Problem with Illegal Tobacco Sales to Minors

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois lawmaker has proposed legislation that aims to provide a more comprehensive definition of consent for sex education classes in the state. The State Journal-Register reports that the bill defines consent as "a freely given agreement to sexual activity." The bill directs schools to use the definition when discussing consent, since current state law doesn't offer a specific definition. Advocates say the more detailed definition will help students better understand boundaries.


(Undated--jc)  --California and several other Democratic-led states have announced they are challenging the Trump administration's effort to set up obstacles for women seeking abortions. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday that the state filed a federal lawsuit aiming to block a new family planning rule from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. The rule bars taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring patients to abortion providers. Illinois is among the states in the democratic challenge.


(Undated--jc)  -- A top U.S. regulator wants to meet with Walgreens leaders to discuss whether the drugstore chain has a problem with illegal tobacco sales to minors.Scott Gottlieb of the Food and Drug Administration said Monday Walgreens is a top violator among drugstores that sell tobacco products including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. He says inspectors have found nearly 1,800 instances since 2010 in which one of the company's stores violated the law.Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. runs more than 9,500 U.S. drugstores.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Park Board officials are in the process of getting bids for a multi-purpose court that could be built in Wabash Park. The local board may issue around 120 thousand dollars in bonds for the proposed project.  The project has received support from Rantoul City Schools and the local Rotary club. The subject is expected to be a topic this month for the Rantoul Park board.


(Rantoul-dg)-The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce along with the Rantoul Historical Society dedicated a new roof Monday afternoon that was recently added to the Historical Society building. The Historical building houses the treasures of the past of the village of Rantoul. This was accomplished with the help of State Senator Scott Bennett of Rantoul, Former State Representative Chad Hays, and a grant from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.  Senator Bennett and Representative Mike Marron were in attendance.


(Springfield--ab) 11 Illinois State Troopers have been hit by passing motorists so far this year. The latest incident occurred this weekend when a trooper was struck in his squad car in montgomery county. Back in january a trooper was killed at the scene of a roadside accident. State police spokesperson Mindy Carroll says it’s a dangerous situation on the side of the road.



State Police Spokesperson Mindy Carroll

Motorists are reminded about the state’s “move-over” law, requiring them to slow down, move over if possible and be alert when any vehicle is stopped on the side of the road.



(Springfield--ab) The Illinois state government is looking into legalizing recreational use of Marijuana.  104th District State Representative Mike Marron, a Republican from Fithian has concerns ...



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.


(Gibson City--jc)  The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District is sponsoring a household hazardous waste recycling project later this month in Gibson City.  The March 23rd event takes place at 115 South Sangamon Avenue in the city from 8am until 3pm. Among items that can be recycled include used oil, antifreeze, pool chemicals and medicines. The event is also sponsored by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting is set for next month. Engelbrecht Farms is the venue for Tuesday April 16th. Happy Hour begins at 5 to start the evening’s festivities.


(Springfield--jc)  As Governor. J.B. Pritzker prepares for talks with legislative leaders about possible tax rates and income levels for a progressive income tax in Illinois, a pro-business group is calling for those discussions to be done in public. The group says the governor dodged questions on the campaign trail about where he wanted the rates to be, but said he'd like to see tax cuts for middle class and tax increases for the wealthy. The governor says he's now ready to negotiate rates with legislative leaders. Governor Pritzker says the first step is for  conversations with leadership about rate structure, for the graduated income tax, and a fair tax system. Greg Baise, the leader of Ideas Illinois, a group formed to oppose a graduated income tax system in the state, said any such negotiations should be done in the open, especially around tax time.


(Undated--jc)  Representatives of Illinois’ villages, towns and cities are confident that municipalities will be able to get more state tax money with newly-installed Democratic supermajorities and a Democrat in the governor’s office. The Illinois Municipal League announced Monday a list of changes the group wants to usher through in Springfield. Chief among them is raising the percentage of state tax revenue municipalities get from the Local Government Distributive Fund which had been reduced in recent years. I-M-L Executive Director Brad Cole said the group has seen support for that among Democrats in the General Assembly and think freshman Governor J.B. Pritzker also will be receptive.



(Springfield--ab)  The Illinois Department of Human Services is a launching a new website for those fighting gambling addiction. The website: we-know-the-feeling-dot-org,  compliments the existing 1-800-gambler hotline, and offers treatment and recovery options says D-H-S’ Dani Kirby...



Illinois Department of Human Services Spokesperson Dani Kirby



(Springfield--jc)  Country group “Old Dominion” is joining the Illinois State Fair Grandstand lineup. The group will play on Thursday August 15th says Illinois State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth…



Illinois State Fair Spokesperson Morgan Booth



(Springfield--jc)Many public employees in Illinois are able to save up rolled-over sick days to boost retirement payouts, but lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation that would keep officials from being blindsided by those costs.The amount that a public pensioner in Illinois receives in retirement is based on their pay in the last years of their career in public service. It’s become common for some workers to save up sick days and cash them out in this window to boost their annual pay, thus boosting their retirement pay as well.State Rep. David McSweeney’s legislation, which was unanimously approved by a committee, wouldn’t ban the practice, but it would require many of the workers to disclose how many sick says they’re holding onto. The state's constitution prohibits the diminishment for pension benefits


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs’ office is touting the success of the Secure Choice Retirement program. About 9 thousand people have opened accounts, saving more than 1 million dollars to date. State Treasurer Frerichs says secure choice is for people who don’t have a retirement savings option at work..



State Treasurer Mike Frerichs.



(Woodworth--jc)  --The Iroquois County Republican Central Committee’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner has been set for 6 p.m. Thursday, March 14. This year’s event will again take place at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Woodworth. Tickets for this year’s event are available from any precinct committeeman, or by calling 815-278-1513. St. Paul’s Lutheran Parent/Teacher League will decorate and prepare the meal The featured speaker will be Peter Breen, a former State Representative who currently serves as a lawyer with Thomas Moore Society, a non-profit law firm which focuses on the defense of First Amendment rights.



(Undated--jc)  There is some more snow in the forecast, as most in the area are looking for spring like weather as soon as possible. With the warmer weather, local cities and towns will look at road repair and pot hole repair. The extreme temperatures, large amounts of snow and temperature changes have caused many potholes and road issues.  Road crews will be out in road repair in many area cities and towns, when the weather becomes more stable. We will hear from Doug Quick about the latest forecast, following this newscast this morning. WPXN news invites you to show us your local road pot holes, and e-mail a picture to news-at-WPXN-radio-dot-com. We will post the results on our website.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has named leaders in three cabinet-level agencies.The Democrat announced the appointments Monday. Paula Basta will be director of the Department on Aging. The governor tabbed Ron Guerrier as chief information officer for the Department of Innovation and Technology. And the director of the Department of Insurance will be Robert Muriel. Basta has been a strong advocate for seniors and LGBT rights. She is director of senior services for the Chicago Housing Authority and teaches at Loyola University.Guerrier has more than two decades' experience in information technology in the private sector. He last served as CIO for Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager.Muriel is a trial lawyer specializing in civil and commercial litigation. It includes insurance, bad-faith claims, financial fraud and more.


Environmentalists Praising Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's Proposal for a 5-cent Tax on All Plastic Bags Used at Checkouts Across the State

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Lottery's transition to a new central gaming system has caused trouble for some retailers, including overpayments to winners. Illinois Lottery spokesman Jason Schaumburg says the ticket validation issue was discovered Feb. 20 and resolved the same day. He has no estimate of how much extra money was awarded. Stores that paid out incorrect winnings can be reimbursed if they submit a written account of the error to the central lottery office in Springfield.


(Rantoul--jc) --  Personnel is the topic for a committee meeting tonight at Rantoul Township High School. The committee will talk about employees in a closed session planned for 5pm today. The next full Rantoul Township High School board meeting is set for one week from today.



CHICAGO (AP) — Environmentalists are praising Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's proposal for a 5-cent tax on all plastic bags used at checkouts across the state, but not all shoppers are excited about the idea. Truck driver Jim Pruim tells the Chicago Tribune that while the bag tax isn't much of a financial hardship, he's concerned about government overreach. Pritzker says the tax could reduce waste and raise revenue. The state's budget proposal says the tax could generate up to $23 million.

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A judge has delayed the trial of the man accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China. U.S. District Judge James Shadid  set Brendt Christensen's trial for June 3. Christensen's trial was originally to begin April 1, but defense attorneys requested more time to prepare a mental-health expert. Prosecutors say Christensen tortured 26-year-old Yingying Zhang before killing her in April 2017. He has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping resulting in death.


(Orlando--jc)  The National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers today announced their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports and  S-M-C-A preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Members representing the four organizations will be advocating members of Congress to ratify the agreement this year while also urging the Administration to keep the current NAFTA agreement intact until the new agreement is ratified.



(Undated--jc)  On Friday, Hy-Vee, Inc. announced its commitment to delivering much-needed milk to local food banks in its eight-state region by partnering with The Great American Milk Drive throughout the month of March. This is the third consecutive year of the companywide partnership. During the month-long campaign, every Hy-Vee store will offer customers the opportunity to donate $2 or $4 toward the purchase of milk when they check out. At the end of the month, all donations will be used to purchase milk from area processors to be distributed to local food banks.


(Champaign--jc)  -- The driver of a semi truck carrying hogs along Interstate 57 on Friday was unhurt in the incident. The driver of the second vehicle, 59 year old Kirankumar  Topudurti of Champaign was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Local authorities remained on the scene to gather the hogs and clear the scene.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Community organizations may apply for $4 million in grants to gear up for the 2020 Census and to help immigrants interact with government agencies. WPXN’s Austin Burklund has the story…





(Springfield--jc)  With Democratic state leaders pushing for a progressive tax, one area lawmaker says Illinois can not afford to put another tax on the backs of taxpayers.  Illinois does have 3 plus billion dollars budget deficit and a backlog of billions of dollars of unpaid bills. 106th district State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says another huge tax increase on a large group of middle class and upper class Illinoisans is not the answer…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


CHICAGO (AP) — The federal court system in Illinois where Abraham Lincoln argued cases before becoming president and where Al Capone saw his Prohibition Era crime spree come to an end is marking the 200th year since its founding. Events marking the bicentennial begin Friday morning at Chicago's federal courthouse. They include the cutting of a ceremonial cheesecake and unveiling of a new painting of the building by a district judge.


CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago foundation is launching the second $100 million grant competition open to organizations that can identify a critical social problem and propose a lasting solution. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's 100 & Change competition will take proposals from April 30 to August 6. Ideas can come from any organization, anywhere in the world.



CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — The Southern Illinois University Salukis have a new, more modern-looking logo.The Southern Illinoisan reports that the new logo is a sideways shot of a Saluki dog's head, with flowing fur and sharp teeth. SIU Athletic Director Jerry Kill unveiled the new logo during a short ceremony at the SIU arena. He says the logo is the perfect face for his rebuilding athletic department. The logo will be phased into uniforms for the university's 17 sports. It also will appear at the center court of SIU Arena and in the middle of the new turf at Saluki Stadium.


(Washington--jc)  The latest look at the numbers of dairy herds is in a downward trend. U-S-D-A livestock analyst Shayle Shagam says the numbers shows fewer active herds…



U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shale Shagum



(Ford County--jc)  The Spring Consolidated election takes place  on April 2 in Illinois. Early voting started on Friday. Voters may go to the county courthouse in Paxton to vote now through the first of April. Voters can stop by the county clerk’s office between 8-30am and 4-30pm Monday through Friday to vote. Voters in other counties are asked to contact their local county clerk office for times and places to vote.


(Springfield--ab) The Illinois government is moving at a rapid pace with having complete democratic majorities in both houses and having a democrat at the helm in the executive role. Republican Representative Mike Marron of Fithian says the pace takes some adjusting to...



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian



JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Autopsies have determined that a Joliet man shot and killed his girlfriend and their two children before he fatally shot himself as police initially believed. Joliet Police have said last week, that the deaths appeared to be murder-suicide and after the autopsies showed each victim died of a single gunshot. The  autopsies conducted by the Will County Coroner's office confirmed detectives' suspicions.Police found the bodies of 34-year-old Brandyn Lee, 28-year-old Jaquelon Gaskin, 6-year-old Gianna Lee and 1-year-old Giovanni Lee on Wednesday night in their home. The investigation determined there had been no calls to police about "domestic issues" at the residence but police said evidence at the scene and witness statements led detectives to the conclusion that Lee killed the others before killing himself.


(Flatville-jc)  A Champaign County Zoning Appeals board is set to meet later this week to consider a zoning development request from a Champaign County family to pursue an event center near Flatville. The Miller family wants the county to change the zoning designation. The Champaign County zoning board meets on thursday  night at 6-30 in Urbana, to consider the request.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois drivers would only need one license plate under terms of a bill moving forward in Springfield. House Bill 1623 would allow motorized vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, trailers, semi-trailers, motorized pedal cycles or truck tractors to only install one license plate, allowing for a reduced cost to the state. It’s about saving money, says  State Representative . Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee. Skillicorn says the measure would save the state 800 thousand a year.


(Urbana--jc)  -- The Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation in Urbana is in the process of developing energy using a sustainable crop byproduct.  The project, which was funded by the Department of Energy through a 115 million dollar grant, has been progressing steadily, said director Evan DeLucia. He says the first year was a capacity-building year. The center has built out their farms and gotten new crops in the ground. Satellite farms are located in  both Florida and Iowa for some same crops and some related crops.


Seizure of Cocaine leads to 2 Arrests in McLean County this Week by ISP

MCLEAN COUNTY, IL:   For the second time in a week, a substantial cocaine

seizure has been made by Troopers assigned to Illinois State Police  District 6. The traffic stop of a passenger vehicle on Interstate 74 at Milepost 122 yielded over 12 pounds of cocaine and the arrest of one suspect. On Wednesday, an ISP Trooper stopped a passenger car on Interstate 74 near Carlock, Illinois after observing a traffic violation.  During the stop, signs of possible criminal activity were observed by the Trooper. Upon investigation , troopers seized five kilograms of suspected cocaine concealed in a bag. 60 year old Carlos Borge of West Valley Utah was arrested for controlled substance trafficking, A McLean County judge set his bail on Thursday at 200 thousand dollars,


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Continued reaction from area Republican lawmakers concerning a resolution  stating opposition to any measure that would allow for the creation of a graduated income tax on Illinois residents. 106th State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City had this to say.



106th State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

All 44 members of the Illinois House Republican Caucus are co-sponsors of House Resolution 153.



Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Police (ISP) Merit Board is currently processing applications for Cadet Class 130, which is tentatively scheduled to begin in October 2019.  In order to be considered for Cadet Class 130, the ISP Merit Board must receive your completed application and required documentation by April 30, 2019. Anyone interested in joining the ranks of the ISP is encouraged to visit the ISP Merit Board website at for application information.  



(Crescent City--ab)  The Iroquois County Emergency Management Agency will be hosting an annual Weather Spotter Seminar at the Crescent City Community Center at 6 PM on 11th March. The main presentation will be from the National Weather Service on how to spot severe weather, such as tornadoes. This seminar is open to the public. Admission is free. Pre-registration is encouraged, which can be done by contacting Iroquois County EMA at (815) 432-6997 or by email at e-m-a-at c-o-dot-Iroquois-dot i- l-dot-u-s


JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a 6-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy are among four dead in what Joliet police are calling an apparent murder-suicide. The Will County coroner's office said Thursday afternoon that Gianna Lee and Giovanni Lee were found dead shortly after 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. An investigation is ongoing, but police say no one is being sought in connection with the deaths.


(Paxton--jc)  -- You can run and help a local high school group at the same time.   A Delta Dash 5-K is set for 9am on Saturday March 16th at Paxton Buckley Loda High School in Paxton. The local high school community service group trip over their spring break goes to the Mississippi Delta. Proceeds from the race help offset the groups costs. Project co-ordinator is P-B-L Teacher Emily Wood. Wood says the trip is a great service project for the participating students…



P-B-L Teacher  and Delta Dash 5-K Coordinator Emily Wood



(Washington--ba)-The World Trade Organization has ruled in favor of the U.S. in its cases against China's domestic price supports for wheat, corn, and rice - policies our nation says has kept grain exports out of China. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.




(Rantoul--jc)   One area F -F-A Chapter is set to receive a Monsanto company grant. With the help of Maury Busboom, the Rantoul Township High School F-F-A chapter has netted a 2 thousand 500 dollar grant. The local F-F-A group is expected to use the money for a gardening lab to produce fresh vegetables.  Monsanto has given away grants to programs across the country for the past 10 years.



(Paxton--jc)  The annual Paxton Draggin’ Main event has been set. The Ford County Press reports that Draggin’ Main 20-19 will take place on Saturday April 20th from 6pm until 11pm. Organizers with the event again, invite car enthusiasts and the public to this year’s downtown Paxton celebration.


(Springfield--jc)  -- New clean energy legislation is being introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. The clean energy jobs act includes ambitious goals like achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 20-50. State Representative Chris Welch sponsored the bill…



State Representative Chris Welch of Westchester.

Welch says the bill also strives to make sure all 102 Illinois Counties benefit equally from clean energy progress and jobs.


CHICAGO (AP) — Planned Parenthood of Illinois says it will still provide abortion referrals despite the risk of losing millions of dollars in federal funding under a rule enacted by the Trump administration. The Chicago Tribune reports that the rule issued last week bars taxpayer-funded family-planning clinics from making abortion referrals. Planned Parenthood of Illinois says it will no longer take federal money from the Title X family-planning program if the rule goes into effect in two months.


(Chicago--jc)  -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about a possible measles exposure in northern Illinois An Illinois resident with the measles arrived at Midway airport in Chicago on February 22nd People who were there between 9pm and midnight may have been exposed. Treatment was obtained by the person at Northwestern Delnor Hospital on February 24th. Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi (‘En-gozi) Ezike (‘eh-zee-kay) says anyone in those areas should be watchful for measles…



Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike.


WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The nation's farmers are struggling to pay back loans after years of low crop prices and a backlash from foreign buyers over President Donald Trump's tariffs, with a key government program showing the highest default rate in at least nine years. Many agricultural loans come due around January First, in part to give producers enough time to sell crops and livestock and to give them more flexibility in timing interest payments for tax filing purposes.

Kansas State University Department Head of Ag Economics Allen Featherstone says it is beginning to become a serious situation nationwide at least in the grain crops — those that produce corn, soybeans and, wheat.Featherstone says that while the federal government shutdown delayed reporting, January figures show an overall rise in delinquencies for those producers with direct loans from the Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency. Nationwide, 19.4 percent of FSA direct loans were delinquent in January, compared to 16.5 percent for the same month a year ago.


(Springfield--jc)  With newly elected Governor J-B Prizker presenting his initial budget address this month, area politicians are providing more insight from their perspective. Most Republican representatives have questioned the idea of a progressive tax. 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian says one positive is more money for higher education…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Desert Storm Vets were honored at the state capitol on Thursday. The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs hosted the ceremony, recognizing the brave men and women who fought during the Gulf war says V-A Spokesperson Gwen Diehl…



V-A-Spokesperson Gwein Diehl



(Undated--jc)  --Illinois high schools students could soon be learning more about fake news.A plan to add media literacy courses in high schools across Illinois is moving forward at the State Capitol. State Representative. Elizabeth Hernandez, Democrat from Cicero, is driving the idea.  She said young people need to learn how to read the news they see on the internet or on social media.Hernandez tried with a similar plan last year. She's changing this year's version from a requirement to a suggestion, and hoping to find enough support. Hernandez says she is trying to emphasize fake news and use the measure to help high school students to recognize the difference between facts and false information. The issue is now in the hands of the full Illinois House after a House panel  unanimously approved her idea this week.



(Iroquois County--jc)  -- Iroquois County E-M-A officials remind local businesses to be prepared. WPXN’s Austin Burklund has the story…



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