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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-04

Illinois State Legislature has until May 31st Deadline to Pass Legislation with Simple Majorities

(Springfield--jc)  -- As state lawmakers prepare to come back to the capitol to tackle potential tax increases to pay for the most expensive budget in state history, it’s expected to be a mad rush to the May 31st finish line. Illinois’ 101st General Assembly has been on spring break for the past two weeks. There have been a few committees meeting to focus on issues like infrastructure, sports betting, and budget requests from state agencies, but lawmakers have not been in full session to cast votes on legislation.There’s a May 31 deadline to pass legislation with simple majorities. That includes the budget for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is eyeing a $39 billion budget paid for with an additional $1.1 billion in new revenue.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Raining again, and farmers are not getting much time in the fields. Some planting is underway as we hear in the weekly crop report. Only about 2 days were suitable for fieldwork this past week, but producers managed to get 3 percent of soybeans planted says State Crop  Statistician Mark Scheleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Scheleusener.

44 percent of the winter wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Topsoil is rated 2 percent short 45 percent adequate and 53 percent surplus.



(Loda-jc)  Rain today, but better Spring weather is on its way and one area golf course is offering a buddy pass. Lakeview Golf Course in Loda Manager Doug McCoy says its a great way to plan for a fun year of golf…



Lakeview Golf Course in Loda Manager Doug McCoy.

The Tin Cup Restaurant is also open Tuesdays through Sundays at the golf course.



(Coal City--jc)  --A school employee in Illinois filed a federal lawsuit against a local school district and the state's largest public sector union, claiming both refused to stop deducting union dues from her paycheck months after she left the union. Susan Bennett, a janitor at the Moline-Coal Valley School District since 2009, withdrew from her union shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that forced union dues as a condition of employment violated the First Amendment. The high court's decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 struck down forced union fees as unconstitutional. Bennett alleged the school district refused to stop deducting union dues from her paychecks in the lawsuit, which was filed in the Central District of U.S. District Court


(Chicago--jc)  --The potentially deadly “kissing bug” has made its way to Illinois. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection is warning residents that the Chagas disease earned the name the “kissing bug” because the bugs that transmit the disease typically bite people’s faces. Health officials say symptoms can include fatigue, fever, rash and swelling, but some can lead to stroke or heart failure.



(Washington--jc)  Sarah Tomlinson is with the U-S-D-A Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Her office is looking to advance the use of radio frequency backtags in livestock markets..



U-S-D-A  Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services Spokesperson Sarah Tomlinson


(Paxton--jc)  What will the hours be to swim at the Paxton Pool this year?

The Paxton Park District Board voted to shorten pool hours this Spring and Summer. A group called “Save the Paxton Pool” is looking to raise money to keep the pool open, as in past years. Park District Board leaders have called a special meeting for 6pm Thursday to discuss the issue.


(Washington--ba)-- Winterization of your gas-powered lawn mower means maintenance and repair to get it ready for its workload this Spring and Summer. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.



(Rantoul--jc)  Potholes and road repair. That is a topic for all towns and cities this time of year. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says this issue is one the occurs every Spring..



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith


(Washington--ba)-Honey consumption has increased over the last decade.

Margaret Lombard of the National Honey Board discusses the growth of honey as a food ingredient.



Margaret Lombard of the National Honey Board


(Springfield--jc)  --States are moving out of recession revenue holes.  Each state is doing it a little differently but most state governments have returned to their pre-recession revenue levels, according to a new analysis of their ledgers.The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed each state’s revenue in the third quarter of 2018 and compared it to their pre-recession levels in Q3 of 2008. Research officer Justin Theal said the study found that only nine states have yet to reach the level of tax revenue that they brought in before the economic downturn.Illinois shot past pre-recession revenues in 2011 but not because of a growing economic recovery, rather a historic income tax increase lawmakers promised would be temporary.


(Springfield--jc)  -- As National Donate Life month comes to a close, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is urging people to sign up to be an organ donor. One person’s organs can help up to 25 others, but White says too many paitents die while waiting for one to become available…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

More information is found on line at  Life-Goes-On-Dot-Com


(Chicago--jc)  -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is investigating two cases of Legionnaires’ disease at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center in Chicago, and a report of legionella in the facility’s water system.The investigation was limited to that facility as of this weekend.



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMA) and the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores are partnering with hundreds of small business owners across Illinois to “Tank the Tax,” a movement to oppose legislation that would nearly double the current tax on gasoline motorists that pay at the pump. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.



The Illinois State Police Have Seen a Slow But Steady Decline in Their Numbers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Former Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie has been named to the Pollution Control Board by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Currie, who is replacing board member U-Jung Choe, who was appointed by Bruce Rauner in 2018. Currie, who was appointed to the board on Friday by Pritzker, will be paid $117,000 annually. The five-member Pollution Control Board is an independent state agency that establishes environmental control standards for Illinois. Currie's appointment requires Senate approval.


CHICAGO (AP) — An official says the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is reviewing unproven allegations of child abuse or neglect after the death this week of 5-year-old Andrew "AJ" Freund. Anne Gold is DCFS associate deputy for child protection. She told a House committee Friday that agency administrators are reviewing unfounded cases for any child three years old or younger.


(Washington--ba) Taiwan is a diverse market for US ag products, and this can provide many opportunities for the ag economy to grow. USDA’s Stephanie Ho Reports.



(Champaign--jc--  Parkland College commencement Exercises is set for Thursday May 16th at 8pm. The location is the Krannert Center in Urbana. This year’s keynote speaker is Seth Fein. Fein is an event curator and publisher.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Another kids clothing store is leaving Market Place Mall in Champaign. The Children’s Place is closing next month. The chain is closing several hundred of its stores, nationwide. The move was also prompted by the building of a new Costco store on the west side of the property. Two other stores in that area of the mall will be relocating at MarketPlace.


(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County Treasurer, Kurt Albers has  announced that the deadline to pay mobile home taxes without penalty is Wednesday May 1st. A penalty is assessed after that date. The Iroquois County Treasurer’s Office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in Watseka. There is also a drop box at the  Administrative Center during non-office hours.


(Fisher--jc)  -- Plans continue for the village of Fisher  Lucky Foot Festival. Among the activities  are Little League baseball, bouncy houses, face painting,  softball, and a car show. This year’s show is in honor of Ranae Helpingstine. The Ranae Helpingstine Memorial Car Show is set for Saturday June 8th in Fisher. Registration begins at 10 that morning with awards at 3.


(Paxton--jc)  Congratulations to the Max-D Monster Jam team on their win in the 20-19 Stadium Championship Series. Next, for the team based in Paxton, is the World Championship Series in Orlando Florida from May 10th through 12th. Several of the drivers on the team will be competing at the various events.


CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois State Police have seen a slow but steady decline in their numbers, leaving many to wonder if there are enough troopers to patrol roads, investigate highway shootings or oversee the concealed-carry gun program. Data from the state police shows the number of troopers has dropped by almost 20% over the past 20 years. Spending cuts, retirements, new responsibilities and a recent Illinois budget stalemate have been factors. Gov. J.B. Pritzker is proposing $7 million to train new cadets.


CHICAGO (AP) — A photographic memorial honoring service members who have died since the 9/11 terrorist attacks will stop in Chicago. "Remembering Our Fallen" will be displayed at the Gallagher Way entertainment center now through Wednesday. It features 31 "Tribute Towers" with photos of more than 5,000 service members. There's a separate display to recognize service members who died in training or on military bases.


BATAVIA, Ill. (AP) — The first bison of the spring has been born at the U.S. Energy Department's Fermilab facility, west of Chicago. Officials say the calf was born on April 20, one of 12 to 14 expected this spring. The public is welcome to photograph and see the herd at the lab in Batavia, about 35 miles west of downtown Chicago. Admission is free.


(Springfield--jc)  --Sports gambling is a topic in Springfield this week as lawmakers get back to work on the budget and other issues. Potential new revenue for the state to local cities is one positive on sports gambling. Illinois State University Athletic Director Larry Lyons says he is worried that college students would gamble on college sports…



Illinois State University Athletic Director Larry Lyons.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker is calling on lawmakers to approve sports wagering in the state.


(Fisher--jc)  -- The volunteers were ready and the equipment purchased and ready, but Mother Nature intervened with a park playground project in Fisher on Saturday. Among those volunteering to help with the project were Officials from Illinois American Water, the Fisher High School Football team and others. The plan is to come back this Saturday at 8am to finish the installation at Lammle Park.



(Washington--ba)-What are some ways to store and prepare asparagus for enjoyment throughout the Spring? USDA’s Rod Bain Reports.




(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City hosted opening ceremonies for its baseball and softball leagues on Sunday. West Park has a new name for its ball diamond. It is named Roy Roemer Field. Roemer is remembered as the town’s best fan. He passed away in October of 2017, City officials are planning a dedication ceremony at the field this Spring.


(Mahomet--jc)  -- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois has a fundraiser coming in June. The golf fundraiser is called  Golf for Kids Sake. Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins says one way to help is to sponsor a hole for the golf scramble…



Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins.

To register to play, call the Big Brothers Big Sisters office.



(Champaign--jc)  A memorial site was dedicated on Sunday in Champaign. The memorial stands at the west entrance to Parkland College. The memorial is dedicated to Champaign  County workers lost while working in the county.


Illinois Could Miss Out on Sports Gambling if Neighboring State beat it to the Punch

(Springfield--jc)  -- One of the chief forces working to bring sports betting to Illinois is worried about what would happen if neighboring states beat Illinois to the punch. Illinois Governor  J.B. Pritzker plans to use 212 million dollars in revenue from selling legal sports betting licenses in his upcoming budget. Although a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision gave states the green light to regulate and tax the activity, Illinois has yet to act. Democratic state Representative Michael Zalewski said Illinois could miss out if neighboring states legalize sports betting first. Part of the overall equation is tax rates. Industry groups warn high rates will keep illegal bookies in business by consumers not looking to pay the expense. They also have said that having online betting would ensure people have easy access to recreational wagering.


PEKIN, Ill. (AP) — The father of the man accused of killing four people at a Waffle House in Tennessee last year has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the gun used in the shooting. Jeffrey Reinking is accused of giving an AR-15 style rifle to his 30-year-old son, Travis Reinking, who allegedly used it in Nashville on April 22, 2018. The elder Reinking contends he was never owner of the gun and had sought the advice of the Tazewell County Sheriff's Department on whether to return the gun to his son



BEACH PARK, Ill. (AP) — The National Transportation Safety Board is sending a team to Illinois to investigate a chemical release from two containers that caused a toxic plume that sickened dozens of people. The team of four will be on the scene in Beach Park on Friday, when they will begin their work. Authorities say a tractor was towing two separate two-ton containers of anhydrous ammonia when the leak occurred around 4:30 a.m. Thursday. The leak created a toxic cloud that lingered for several hours over Beach Park.



(Paxton--jc)-Wanted...nominations for the annual Golden Deeds Awards.  The awards are handed out each year at the Paxton Old-Fashioned 4th of July celebration. Nominations need to include all of the nominees volunteer activities. Deadline for nominations is June 15th. Mail nominations to...Golden Deeds Awards, P-O-Box 299, Paxton Illinois.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Atrel is the site of research on railway ballast and related geotechnical phenomena.  The facility is located on a property in Rantoul. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the local group does testing on road materials, but much more…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith


(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a Danville man who has died from injuries he received in a shooting incident that occurred during an altercation in Danville on Wednesday. 25 year old Roosevelt Anderson Junior was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at 3:05 Thursday afternoon from a gunshot wound to the head. This incident is under investigation by the Danville Police Department and the Coroner’s Office



(Washington--jc)  -- Some changes are coming to the federal livestock and dairy insurance programs. Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre says the changes will take effect on July First…



Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre


(Undated--jc) --  Tomorrow is National Prescription Drug Take Back day, where you can find a location to safely dispose of excess prescription drugs. Stephanie Ho reports…



Local events are set in Iroquois County at the Sheriff’s office and at Northfield Mall in Bourbonnais




(Buckley--jc)  -- Garage Sales are today and tomorrow in Buckley. The St. John’s Ladies is hosting a garage sale and bake sale at Christ Lutheran High School today and tomorrow that starts at 7-30.



(Paxton--jc)  -- A cookout is set for the Paxton I-G-A parking lot on Saturday from 10am until 2pm. One the menu is ribeye sandwiches, chips and pop. The profits benefit the Upper Room Church in Paxton.



(Spirngfield--jc)  -- Jobs were up in 8 of the state’s 14 metro areas last month.  While the unemployment rate rose slightly in 12 metro areas compared to year ago, jobs were added in Chicago, Peoria and Carbondale says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro…



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro



(Cullom--jc) The   Tri Point School board is set to meet on Monday night for its reorganizational meeting. The meeting takes place in Kempton at 7pm. The board will elect its president and secretary during the meeting.


(Clinton--jc)  Dewitt County board leaders have voted down a wind farm project. The vote was 7 to 5, but a supermajority was needed for the project to go forward. The board held several meetings on wind farms. It is not known if the wind farm group involved in the project will continue to try and come up with an agreement with Dewitt County leaders. Closer to home, Ford County leaders continue to address set backs on proposed and future wind farm projects in the county


(Rantoul--jc) Rantoul City School leaders have set its graduation for 8th graders. This is the first time for several years a ceremony will be held at the local junior high school. School board members have set the time during the 9 am hour of school. Some parents and other concerned citizens are pushing to get the school board to change the time of the graduation so more parents, guardians and friends could attend the event.


(Paxton--jc) The city of Paxton is set to repair around 10 different roads in the city using its annual allotment of motor fuel tax money. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says that process has started. Ingold adds that the city will also use some general funds to do some additional road repair in the city this Spring and Summer…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Washington--jc)  How does technology help with the issue of tracing animal disease.  Sarah Tomlinson is a spokesperson for the U-S-D-A’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Tomlinson says says of the technologies developed or in development regarding radio frequency ID tags, will help identify any issues with diseased animals…


U-S-D-A Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Spokesperson Sarah Tomlinson



(Fisher--jc)  -- One local community is set to put up new playground equipment on Saturday. Volunteers are set to meet at Lammle Park in Fisher to help put up the playground equipment. The set up begins at 8 tomorrow morning.


(Gifford--jc)  -- Gifford School Board members have elected Matt Lomax as their board president in the reorganizational meeting this week. Travis Huls is the board vice president,  Neil Baker as Secretary and Jaci Davis as Treasurer


(Paxton--jc)  Ford County mobile home owners are reminded they have one week to pay their mobile home tax bills. Bills paid late will incur penalties and interest. The Ford County Treasurer’s office is open Monday through Fridays from 8-30am to 4-30pm at the courthouse complex in Paxton.


(Bellflower--jc)  Garage sales this weekend are being held in Buckley. More garage sales are set for the village of Bellflower on Saturday. Maps for both sites are available.


Governor Says He's Not Worried About Property Tax Investigation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he has "no concerns at all" about a media report that federal authorities are investigating a property tax break he got by taking toilets out of a Chicago mansion he owns. The billionaire told reporters Wednesday he's certain that any review would show "all the rules were followed" in the tax appeal. WBEZ radio cited an anonymous source in reporting that Pritzker is under investigation. The U.S. attorney's office would not comment.


(Springfield--jc) --  The Illinois attorney general wants something done about electric companies that he says are taking advantage of people.Most people in Illinois have a main utility in their area. ComEd, Ameren, MidAmerican Energy, companies like that.But people can also buy their power from an alternative supplier.CleanChoice pointed to a poll that it says shows 76% of Illinois residents want the freedom to choose clean energy for their home. Kwame Raoul said he wants lawmakers to implement new regulations on alternative energy companies by the end of the spring session.


(Spirngfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker is defending his proposal to address the state’s $134 billion unfunded pension liability. Pritzker’s proposal for the coming budget restructures pension payments and pays less than what’s required in the coming years. Despite critics, including some unions and Democrats, opposing the governor’s pension proposal seeing it as the state again kicking the can down the road.



(Paxton--jc)  Mobile Home Taxpayers in Ford County have until the end of business on Friday May 3rd to pay their taxes on time. The tax bills may be sent to the Ford County Treasurer’s department or dropped off at the county courthouse in Paxton. Office hours are from  8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State public health workers are increasing accessibility to vaccines in response to an outbreak of measles in the U.S. that includes seven cases in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health says it's also expanding outreach in communities with low vaccination rates and educating the public on the importance of vaccines. Gov. J.B. Pritzker says his administration is "taking the threat posed by a rise in measles cases very seriously."


(Springfield--jc)  Ticket sales for Illinois State Fair Grandstand Concerts are already breaking records. More than 28 thousand tickets were sold over the past week. State Fair  Manager Kevin Gordon credits the lineup that includes Reba...



State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon.

Acts coming to the Illinois State Fair include,  Snoop Dog, Bad Company and Reba.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says a new Illinois State Police tracking system should help chip away at the backlog of D-N-A evidence that needs to be processed. Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly says the Laboratory Management System makes it easier to track and process. Kelly says this will also help show exactly which steps are causing the most delays…



Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly


(Paxton-dg)-The Country House Restaurant is now open on Paxton’s west side in the former home of Country Gardens. New Owners Pete and Heidi Estrada have been in the restaurant business for many years. Pete has been cooking for over 30 years. Heidi talks about some favorites to look forward to at the Country House...



Country House Owner Heidi Estrada. It is Heidi’s birthday today, so if you happen to go the Country House today welcome them to Paxton and wish Heidi a Happy Birthday.



(Rantoul--jc) -- Officials with the village of Rantoul continue to work for an agreement with the A-Tel group to bring an autonomous vehicle testing site to town. It is a proposal at present date, but Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says it is a very active topic for local civic leaders…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says a new Illinois State Tracking system should help chip away at the backlog of D-N-A evidence that needs to be processed. The Laboratory information management system streamlines data collection and evidence. The governor says the new system will help with the current backlog of cases…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Undated--jc) Illinois state government is ready to send out mobile vaccine stations to neighborhoods, host vaccination clinics at events popular with parents and children, and set up at fairs, neighborhood celebrations, churches and more. The Illinois Department of Public Health says it’s in response to seven measles cases in Illinois, and 71 reported across the country last week alone.


(Watseka--jc)  -- The Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department will again be partnering with the D-E-A to provide a safe disposal of unused prescription drugs. Ons Saturday, bring your unused prescriptions to the Iroquois County Sheriff’s department west door and they will be collected no questions asked. The prescriptions can also be turned into the Iroquois County Courthouse Monday through Friday 8:30-4:30 or at the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department throughout the year.



(Paxton--jc)  Snow, then salt, then melting, then pot holes. With Spring, the potholes are numerous in all areas rural and town and city. In Paxton, city leaders are looking to repave as many roads as possible with a budget of around 150 thousand dollars. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the process has started…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

WPXN news will have more with the mayor on motor fuel tax issues on the noon newscast today



(Ohio--jc)  Have you ever wondered how 4-H got started? Summer is coming and so are summertime fairs and festivals. Area 4-H Clubs are working on projects ranging from fruits and vegetables to  cows, hogs and rabbits. Ohio State University Extension Spokesperson Cathann Kress says before the clubs 4-H was more business…



Ohio State University Extension Spokesperson Cathann Kress


(Farmer City--jc)  -- What do Jack Daniel, the Fuedin’ Hillbillies, Dave Woolridge, Tyler Rich, Hippie, Bill and Tom, Puddle of Mudd, The Robert Brown Band, and the Walkabouts all have in common. The answer is that all these bands will be playing at the Farmer City Heritage Days this year. The Farmer City Heritage Days runs from Thursday May 30th through Sunday June 2nd.


(Rantoul--jc)--  When the Hap Parker Aquatic Center opens later this Spring, an adult swim time will be set. With a a paid pool pass, adult swim times at the local facility will be from 7-30 until 8-30 weekday mornings. A second adult swim time is the noon hour on Mondays, Tuesdays. Thursdays and Fridays. More information on pool passes and special swim hours is found by contacting the Rantoul Recreation Department.


Illinois is Ninth Most Addicted Gambling State in the Country

(Undated--jc)  --As Illinois looks to expand gambling to include sports betting, a new Wallet-Hub report found the state is the ninth most gambling addicted in the country. Among the metrics reviewed, Illinois ranked No. 1 for gambling-related arrests. And even though it’s not yet legal, Illinois ranked No. 1 for sports gambling, according to the report. Nevada was the most gambling-addicted state, the report found.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois’ budget imposed by lawmakers over former Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto and hiking income taxes by 40 percent was given a largely failing grade by one nonprofit. The nonprofit Volcker Alliance gave Illinois mostly “D” grades and a “D-” in its state-by-state assessment of 2018 fiscal year’s governmental performance. The “D-” was for legacy costs. It’s the lowest mark the nonprofit uses. The alliance criticized the state for again including the sale of the James R. Thompson Center in its budget and for again failing to sell the building. Pritzker notably didn't include that gimmick in his budget proposal. Illinois remains one of the lowest-rated states.


(Paxton--jc)  -- When the Paxton Buckley Loda School board holds its reorganizational meeting tonight, two new school board members will be sworn in along with incumbent board member Steve Pacey of Paxton. Elected earlier this month are Dana Bergandine and Jason Dirks. Both are from Paxton. The P-B-L school board will also look to elect a President The meeting comes to order at 6 tonight at the meeting room at the unit office area in Paxton.


The Department on Aging requested $1.2 billion for the coming fiscal year, an increase of more than $100 million from the current fiscal year.Darby Anderson of Addus HomeCare opposes the department’s request saying there’s not enough funding to address the recently mandated minimum wage increase to $15 an hour by 2025.



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Clean up Day is set for May 18th. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says its a way to keep the village looking clean. Smith says the clean up day has been a part of village activities for several years…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith



(Washington--jc)  What are the best ways to bring high speed internet access to rural areas? U-S-D-A is now accepting funding applications for pilot project proposals to find out the best ways. Gary Crawford reports…




(Paxton--jc)  With the final Saturday in April, the Ford County Water Tower Museum will be opening from 11a.m. until 2 p.m There is no charge for admission. More information about the museum is found by calling the museum at 379-4111.



(Springfield--jc)  A state audit shows that more than half of Illinois' 656 local police and firefighter pension funds haven't been examined as frequently as state law requires. The Auditor General’s office found the Illinois Department of Insurance didn’t perform required examinations of the local funds once every three years. More than half of the funds had only been audited once since 2004. Many local public safety pensions are underfunded.



(Rantoul--jc) With over 160 schools applying for a “Safe Routes to Schools” grant several school systems in East Central Illinois will receive some help the the Department of Transportation. Rantouls Northview school has received a 200 thousand dollar grant for the program. Road improvements, anda better bike path are part of the project. Rantoul Village officials will be looking at ways to use the grant dollars for the betterment of the village. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker handed out the grants on Tuesday…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

Blue Ridge Schools in Farmer City and a school in Kankakee were also winners of grant money


(GIbson City--jc) Gibson City Water Department officials say they will be doing hydrant flushing starting on Sunday. City workers will start on the northwest side of town going northeast and also southeast going southwest. Hydrant flushing should take about one week.


(Springfield--jc)  --Lawmakers are pushing Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other legislators to pass legislation setting gender and race requirement for public corporations.The bill would require all publicly-traded companies headquartered in Illinois to have at least one African American and one person who identifies as a woman on their boards or face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for each day they’re out of compliance.State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, called the legislation a step toward parity for African-Americans and women.


(Springfield--jc)  -- As lawmakers prepare to reveal and possibly pass a measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use, some want to slow the effort down.Earlier this month, Senate Bill 7 to legalize pot for recreational use without any substantive policy changes passed out of committee, setting up lawmakers for a quick gut and replace. That could happen as early as next week when they return from Spring Break. Luke Niforatos from Smart Approaches to Marijuana has been lobbying lawmakers to slow the process down.


(Washington--jc)  --  Food waste is a huge problem, and USDA wants more young people to be aware of it. Stephanie Ho has the information…




Pesotum, Il. (04/22/19) – The Illinois State Police , assisted by the Champaign Police Department, conducted an Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement or Ace patrol over the weekend in Champaign. The purpose of the ACE program is to reduce/deter underage drinking in Illinois. The goal of this program is to prevent, deter and take enforcement action in response to violations of laws associated with impaired driving, the sale of alcohol to a minor, the illegal consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs by minors, and increase police presence in the campus area. As a result of the ACE detail, citations were issued  to Brothers Bar and Grill, Red Lion and 51 Main.


(Kankakee County--jc)  A Kansas City Missouri man was fatally injured in a two vehicle accident along Illinois Route 17 in Kankakee County on Tuesday afternoon. Police say 70 year old Larry Dollinger of Kansas City lost control of his pickup going east. His vehicle struck a grain truck, head on. Dollinger was pronounced dead at the scene by the Kankakee County Coroner.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is urging lawmakers to protect consumers from deceptive alternative retail energy suppliers. Kim Howard reports…



(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City Pool Committee members are taking a close look at the local pool on Monday night when they meet at 6-30. The members are assessing the pool for the current year and making determinations about the local pool for next year. The committee is set to make recommendations to the Gibson City Council on any repairs or upgrades needed for this Spring and Summer at the pool.


(Undated--jc)  -- The Illinois State Police is offering the do’s and don’ts of reporting a reckless or drunk drivers on the highways. The public is always encouraged to help out and call 9-1-1 if they see someone driving dangerously down the highways.  State Trooper Mindy Carroll says key details are needed…



State Trooper Mindy Carroll




(Rantoul--jc)   Rantoul Rec Department officials say one week remains to enrolled area kids in the Adventure Camp or swim lessons. On-line registration is available or call the office at  893-5700. May first is the deadline to participate.

Wet Conditions Kept Most Farmers Out of the Fields Last Week

(Springfield--jc)  Illinois state lawmakers are still off for spring break, but when they return next week, majority Democrats will be looking for more than $1 billion in new revenue Gov. J.B. Pritzker is looking to spend in the coming budget.The new revenue would be from legalized sports betting and recreational cannabis licenses, and proposed taxes on plastic bags, increased cigarette and e-cigarette taxes, and more.


(Undated--jc)  Wet conditions kept most farmers out of the fields as we hear in the weekly crop report. The state’s average topsoil moisture is rated at 45 percent adequate,and  54 percent surplus says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

Just one percent of corn has been planted in the state.  55 percent of winter wheat is rated in good to excellent condition.


(Vermilion County--jc)  There is still no word on any movement with the chief executive officer from the East Central Illinois Community Action Agency. Illinois officials have threatened to pull funding after alleged mismanagement of funds by a local official. CEO Angele Thibodeaux Burns has not given any indications she will step down. The East Central Illinois Action agency has several locations from Danville and Paxton.


(Springfield--jc)  --With both federal and state government mulling gas tax hikes, Illinois residents could potentially see higher prices at the pump.A report from Americans for Prosperity measured the cost of a proposed federal tax increase on motor fuel by state. If the federal increase were approved, Illinoisans would pay an additional $240 a year for gas on average. However, state lawmakers are also looking to fund infrastructure spending with a 19-cent per gallon state gas tax increase. AFP Illinois director Andrew Nelms said the two potential increases would be a significant hike for Illinois drivers to absorb.


NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University faculty and students are hoping to help the environment by creating more sustainable construction materials.The project uses recycled glass to make a concrete-based building material more eco-friendly. They have received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their work. The team is testing more than a dozen combinations of cement, fly ash and glass to see which will be best. The final product is called "flowable fill" and is used to fill trenches and stabilize soil.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- To shop local and to make the businesses a destination, continues to be the goal of the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce. Executive Director Belynda Allen says the shop Rantoul program, Interstate 57 billboards, to Spring and Summer activities are just a start of destination Rantoul…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen


(Loda--jc)  A new restaurant is opening today in the Loda area. The Tin Cup Restaurant is part of the clubhouse complex on Lakeview Golf Course in Loda. The new restaurant manager is Peggy Burton. Burton says they are ready to open today for lunch and for dinners Thursdays through Saturdays…



Lakeview Golf Course Tin Cup Restaurant Manager Peggy Burton.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A state representative and Chicago Community Activists say the bes way to tackle violence in Illinois is to treat it like a disease. State Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago says there is a lot of talk about ending violence, but not enough about why it’s happening in the first place…



State Representative La Shawn Ford of Chicago

Ford has plans to introduce a resolution in the house calling for violence to be addressed by focusing on mental health issues, substance abuse and lack of education.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Monday was Innovation and Technology Day in Illinois. Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker spoke at a roundtable discussion in Chicago with the subject of making Illinois a tech industry leader…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Thawville--jc)  The village of Thawville is under a boil order. That boil order is until further notice.


CHICAGO (AP) — An air traffic control tower at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been awarded gold status by a group that monitors standards for eco-friendly buildings. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Green Building Council announced the gold certification Monday for the south air traffic control tower at O'Hare. City officials say it's the first gold-certified air traffic control tower in the U.S. The tower is one of three that the FAA operates at O'Hare.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A new report says Illinoisans should expect to see nearly $500 a year extra in gas taxes if both the federal and state governments increase their motor fuel surcharges.Americans for Prosperity said drivers filling up in Illinois would see a $240 a year increase from just the proposed federal increase.Add a proposed 19-cent per gallon state gas tax increase floated at the Illinois statehouse and the total average increase a year would be $480.


(Undated--jc)  There are more Illinois cities in the bottom 100 than in the top of a list for best and worst cities to start a small business.Of more than 1,260 cities nationwide reviewed by consumer finance website WalletHub, Carbondale and North Chicago were No. 12 and No. 76 respectively.But there were six Illinois cities are among the worst 100 cities in the country to start a small business with Wilmette being the fifth worst.



(Paxton--jc)  The “Save the Pool” group met last night at the Cobblestone Hotel on Paxton’s west side. The purpose of the group is to help the Paxton Pool open for the summer. Paxton Park District board members voted to just open the pool for limited hours due to the annual cost of running the local facility. The Save the Pool group is looking to raise 25 thousand dollars to help the pool open later this Spring.


(Rantoul--jc) With several new businesses, a recent restaurant expansion and a potential agreement concerning an autonomous vehicles investment, the village of Rantoul continues to improve on the economic development front. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says it has been three years since the Holiday Inn started operations on the west side of the village…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith



Ashkum, IL. – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announced today activity and enforcement figures for March 2019. Illinois State Police District 21 Troopers issued 333 citations, 566 written warnings, including 5 DUIs, 7 seatbelt citations, 10 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 538 motorists, conducted 159 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 129 traffic crashes. There were two fatal crashes investigated by District 21 in March. According to the National Safety Council the major contributing factors to motor-vehicle deaths in the United States are lack of occupant protection, alcohol, speeding, young drivers, distractions, and large trucks. In an effort to reduce fatalities, the Illinois State Police uses enforcement activities and educational programs to fight these major contributing factors.


(Paxton--jc)  The Grand Ole Flag project in the city of Paxton continues to move forward. The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board gave its O-K for the area for the giant flag. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the cities part will now be to get approval from the state and Federal Aviation Administration…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Paxton--jc)  -- Along with the Tin Cup Restaurant at the Lakeview Golf Course in Loda, another restaurant has made its debut this month. The Country House Restaurant is now open on Paxton’s west side. The restaurant is open from 6am to 8 pm Monday’s through Saturdays.  Sundays hours are 7am to 8pm.


Southern Illinois University officials hope Illinois Veteran's Education Will Get Paid For

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University officials hope the new governor will fund a decades-old state commitment to educate veterans that has been passed off on universities in recent years. The Illinois Veterans Grant pays for all Illinois veterans' tuition and required fees at its public colleges, community colleges and universities if they return to the state after completing their service. The state hasn't reimbursed any colleges under the program since 2012.


NEW YORK (AP) — There's at least one area of agreement among conservative, centrist and liberal leaders in the United Methodist Church: America's largest mainline Protestant denomination is on a path toward likely breakup over differences on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT pastors.The differences have simmered for years, and came to a head in February at a conference in St. Louis where delegates voted 438-384 for a proposal called the Traditional Plan, which strengthens bans on LGBT-inclusive practices. A majority of U.S.-based delegates opposed that plan and favored LGBT-friendly options, but they were outvoted by U.S. conservatives teamed with most of the delegates from Methodist strongholds in Africa and the Philippines. Many believe the vote will prompt an exodus from the church by liberal congregations that are already expressing their dissatisfaction over the move.


(Gifford-jc) Gordyville USA near Gifford is the venue for an area F-F-A Ag Expo. The Rantoul F-F-A chapter ag expo will feature a petting zoo and activities for kids.The event runs from 9am until 2pm on Tuesday.  The group is inviting area schools to attend. The public can attend from 2-30 until 4-30 tomorrow.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker predicts a growth in wind-energy development after signing a law streamlining zoning rules. The Democrat signed legislation Friday that allows only counties and municipalities to establish standards for developing wind farms. Townships will no longer have authority in the process.


(Springfield--jc) Today is Earth Day and the Illinois Department of Transportation is giving out 5 thousand trees to local school districts. The effort is in celebration o of Earth Day and a way to improve communities in Illinois says I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker…



I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker.


630 am new(Springfield--jc)  An expert says Lyme disease cases in Illinois will likely continue to rise this year after having shown a gradual increase in recent years.Chris Stone, director of the Medical Entomology Laboratory at the Illinois Natural History Survey, said Lyme disease has doubled over the last decade.Stone said there's no definite way to forecast the increase of Lyme disease, which is caused by tick bites, but the trend in recent years gives experts an idea of what should be expected.


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana is scheduled to speak later this month at a congressional prayer breakfast in southern Illinois. Scalise was injured in June 2017 when he was shot while practicing for the annual congressional baseball game in Washington. The Belleville News-Democrat reports Scalise is speaking at the request of his Washington roommate, Republican U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville.


(Paxton--jc)-- Work on the new Clara Petersen grade school continues. Some work on city intersections into the new facility are costing the city of Paxton an investment in the roads leading into the new facility. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the work will help widen the roads for buses and school traffic…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold



(Paxton--jc)  -- A group called “Save the Paxton Pool” has been formed after officials with the Paxton Park District gave notice on reduced hours for the local pool this summer. The group is looking to find its leaders and have met once to find direction and to initially plan strategies. WPXN News has talked with group members and will continue to follow them on future newscasts. Anyone interested  in helping with the group are invited to a meeting on tonight at 6pm at the Cobblestone Hotel on Paxton’s west side.


(Buckley--jc) Garage sale days are Friday and Saturday in Buckley. The St. John’s Lutheran Church Ladies Aid is planning a garage sale and bake sale at Christ Lutheran High School. The sales begin at 7-30 each morning.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois farmers grow quite a bit of corn and soybeans. Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service say the Prairie State ranked first in the nation in terms of soybean production and second in corn production in 2017. Illinois also has the most horseradish acres and pumpkin farm acreage.


(Chicago--jc) One Illinois based public health organization is seeking public funds to battle against anti-vaccination rhetoric that it says has fueled a measles outbreak. WPXN’s Joel Cluver the has story…




(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members have set their reorganizational meeting for Tuesday night. The board will seat its members and the elect a board president and place committees. The meeting comes to order at 7 Tuesday night at the high school.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Village of Rantoul is set to invest 15 million dollars if a proposal moves forward with the University of Illinois. The A-Tel company is already using a portion of the former Chanute Air Force Base and the group along with the University of Illinois want to bring autonomous vehicle testing to that area. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says the idea will be a good economic development for the village…


Village of Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith



(Springfield--jc)  -- While members of the General Assembly debate allowing recreational marijuana in Illinois, the state’s Department of Agriculture is preparing for legalization. Director of Agriculture John Sullivan says he wasn’t sure the department would need to draw on the requested $8 million, but like medical marijuana, plants intended for recreational use would be grown and processed in officially sanctioned cultivation centers and distributed through licensed dispensaries. Sullivan says it’s very different than a customary crop, such as corn or soybeans or wheat.  The growing of marijuana is as very heavily regulated and it’s a tremendous amount of oversight and a tremendous amount of security at the growing centers Other areas of concern are employee safety and security and proper delivery. Sullivan says he envisions any dollars dolled out by the state in a new bill would be used for regulatory purposes.


(Springfield--jc)  -- If acting State Police Director Brendan Kelly has his way, more troopers would be on Illinois roadways enforcing distracted driving. Kim Howard reports…



(Springfield--jc)  -- Nearly six in ten people who use recreational cannabis in states where it is legal drive while high, according to polling.Insurance comparison site The Zebra polled more than 800 marijuana users that live in states where it’s legal to use recreationally. Fifty-nine percent said they drive while under the influence.Market insight director Alyssa Connolly said the anonymous responses from those polled show that the some based their decision to drive on how they felt at the time.Beyond field sobriety testing, Connolly said there’s no way to accurately test for levels of impairment, which creates issues for law enforcement.The inability for law enforcement to detect marijuana intoxication in a breathalyzer-type way has left some lawmakers saying they won’t support legalizing recreational cannabis.




GALESBURG, Ill. (AP) — The head of one of Chicago's premier attractions is slated to give the keynote address to Knox College graduates this year. The western Illinois school announced Tuesday that Shedd Aquarium CEO Bridget Coughlin will deliver the 2019 commencement address on June 2. Commencement speakers at the Galesburg-based college have previously included Barack Obama,  and comedian Stephen Colbert.


(Springfield--jc)  --It's not out of the ordinary for Illinois lawmakers to propose a lot of new laws. But for those bills to get approval by Illinois Senators, and unanimously for that matter, it's noteworthy. The Illinois Senate spent the last days before thes spring break passing a number of new proposed laws. One would create a statewide database for people who violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, another would allow schools to teach hunter safety and a third would create a website to report potholes statewide. State Sen. Dan McConchie says the potholes website idea has worked in the Chicago area for a number of years.The State Senator is proposing the idea for a statewide website. The measure moves to the Illinois House when they get back to work after the Easter Holiday.


(Rantoul--jc)  The Community Service Center, based in Rantoul, is hosting a food distribution event on Saturday. The food distribution starts at 9 in the morning. All low-income residents of Champaign County are eligible.  Those eligible need to bring an I-D with current address and a box. More information is found by calling the Community Service Center at  893-1530.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum is hosting a new train exhibit in May. The exhibit is called, All-Aboard--America’s Love of Railroads. The exhibit kicks off May 10th to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad says  museum spokesperson Chris Wills…



Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills

Admission is free to the exhibit on May 12th and then will remain at the museum through the end of the year.



 Illinois Spends More on Public School Administrators Per Student Than Any Other State in the Nation.

(Springfield--jc)  Illinois spends more on public school administrators per student than any other state in the nation. A new analysis of public school spending by the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council found Illinois spends $544 per student on administrative, non-teaching costs. That’s more than double the national average. Illinois was the only state that spent more than $1 billion in administrative costs in 2016. Illinois has 852 school districts. That's more than any other state.


(Chicago--jc)  Will Governor. J.B. Pritzker have to stop pushing for his graduated tax plan if the constitutional amendment makes it to the ballot? Illinois state law bans the use of public funds to promote a ballot initiative as well as a constitutionally-elected officer from “campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question The Daily Herald Editorial Board criticized Pritzker for traveling the state to promote what he calls a "fair tax" and for posting a calculator on Illinois’ public state website asking people to find out how their taxes would be different under his proposed rates should the income tax change the way he wants it to.


(Undated--jc)  Metro areas in the state are losing population. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the numbers…



(Gibson CIty--jc) Gibson City leaders will hear a special use liquor permit for a local festival when they meet on Monday night.  A live music festival is scheduled in the city on May 17th. The council will also hear an announcement concerning the “Friday Night Under the Lights In Downtown Gibson City”. An update on the Ed Day Skate Park and a look at the local ball diamonds is also  on Monday night’s agenda. The Gibson City Council meeting comes to order at 7 on Monday at the meeting room on 8th street.


(Ludlow--jc)  -- Ludlow village leaders want to hear from residents on a proposed water main and pump house replacement project. A public hearing is set for Tuesday April 23rd at 6pm, One proposal for the village is a 2 point 8 million dollar renovation project. Just under 70 percent would be paid for by the U S Department of Agriculture. The hearing is an informational meeting and public input is wanted.



(Bloomington--jc)  As Illinoi Governor JB Pritzker continues to push a graduated tax through the House and Senate in Springfield, one local state senator has some concerns. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the issue needs more safeguards before a constitutional vote takes place…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington

The issue is expected to move forward when lawmakers return to Springfield after the Easter holiday



(Washington--ba)-Measuring portion size is one way to limit the candy and sugary treats in Easter baskets. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.



(Washington--ba)-Egg producers are seeing prices falling at a time when those prices would be expected to go up. UDSA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Paxton--jc)  At the Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday, its pork chops, chips and soda. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm . Funds raised help the Paxton Peace Meal Program.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- It’s Easter Egg hunting time on Saturday in Rantoul. The Rantoul CORE group is hosting the event at noon on Saturday at Wabash Park. Some prizes will be awarded and the Easter Bunny will also be in attendance. The event is open to all children


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois education officials are considering whether the cost of teacher licensure tests may be contributing to the state's teacher shortage.The Illinois State Board of Education discussed  how to solve the problem while still maintaining high quality in classrooms. Higher-education partners and teacher candidates have told board members that one basic skills test costs $113 and another test is $300. The board indefinitely has put on hold the Test of Academic Proficiency starting June 30 while it studies other ways to test teachers' basic skills. Three bills are pending in the Illinois General Assembly that would eliminate the test or refund the cost to certain teachers. A board lobbyist says it has taken a neutral position on bills eliminating the test.




(Washington--ba)-Since Easter lilies in the ground don't bloom until summer, how are they produced to be available for the Easter holiday? USDA’s Rod Bain reports.




(Paxton--jc)  -- It’s Draggin’ Main in Paxton Saturday evening. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the details…





(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Department of Transportation is giving out 5 thousand trees to local school districts. Handing out seedlings to some schools has become  a tradition in honor of Earth Day on April 22 says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Jessie Decker…



I-Dot Spokesperson Jessie Decker


CHICAGO (AP) — The year's Chicago Gospel Music Festival will include a tribute to the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin. The 2019 festival runs May 31 to June 1 in Chicago's lakefront Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. City officials say the first night of the festival will feature artists honoring Franklin with a program called "Amazing Grace." Franklin died last summer at age 76.


(Springfield--jc)  --Craft distillers in the state have received good news from the Illinois House.A measure recently approved would license them based on size, giving smaller distillers some advantages. The system is modeled on the way craft brewers and winemakers currently are treated in the state.State Representative Tom Demmer of Dixon, is the lead sponsor of the bill in the House. He said the industry is small, but growing in Illinois.



(Paxton--jc)  -- One local company in Paxton is hosting an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday. Officials with Accolade Healthcare Paxton Senior Living Facility say the event is set for Saturday starting at 10am. The event is open to kids ages 1 through 10.  The Easter Bunny will also be in attendance for pictures


Some Democrats are Unhappy with J.B. Pritzker's Plan to Short the State's Teacher Pension Fund

(Springfield--jc)  --Some Democrats are unhappy with Gov. J.B Pritzker’s plan to short the state’s teacher pension fund for several years.On the campaign trail, Pritzker said the state should pay more into pensions, likening it to paying down a credit card debt earlier. But in his first budget proposal, he said the state should restructure payments and pay less than what’s required in the coming years. The state would pay more after voters approve his proposed graduated income tax structure, which would hike rates for those making more than $250,000 a year.Speaking on "Chicago Tonight," Deputy Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, said not all Democrats are on board with that idea.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A Champaign-area bus company sued last year for an ad that the state's top law enforcement official said harassed and discriminated against Chinese students at the University of Illinois will be allowed to keep operating. The consent decree approved by a federal judge to settle former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's lawsuit calls for Suburban Express to make a six-figure payment for customer refunds, implement anti-discrimination training for employees, and be closely monitored by the attorney general's office for three years. In adding to the story, the News Gazette reports that Suburban Express may have violated the consent decree. The Attorney General’s office is seeking a 10 thousand dollar fine. A hearing on that issue is set for next week.


(Undated--jc)  -- The American Alliance of Museums recently re-accredited the Illinois State Museum, giving the facility one of the highest distinctions available to museums.There are an estimated 33,000 museums in the U.S. About 1,070 museums nationwide qualify for accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.Robert Sill, interim director of the Illinois State Museum, said the museum had to go through a rigorous process to get its accreditation.



(Gibson City--jc)  Two bills that that were stopped in committee during the first part of the Spring session in Springfield dealt with gun laws. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the 2nd amendment would have come into play with the measures…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson city


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School board has set its reorganizational meeting. The local board will meet on Wednesday April 24th at 6pm. At that time, two new board members will be sworn in and board officers will be appointed for a two year period.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging the public to be prepared for strong spring storms. After a recent April snowstorm, the forecast calls for severe storms and  code red warning today. I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says its important to be prepared…



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark


(Washington--jc) Are you hunting eggs this year? We hear from Gary Crawford…



(Saybrook--jc) One local American Legion Post has a new way to welcome legion members and guests. The Saybrook  American Legion Post has placed a new sign at the David Humphrey Daniel Legion Post 427.


(Rantoul--jc)  The Rantoul Recreation Department has announced a special sale for pool passes at the Hap Parker Aquatic Center. The sale will run from May 1st through May 8th. One special is a family of 4 season pass is 250 dollars. During the special sale dates, the family season pass is 200 dollars. Other deals are also available. More is found by contacting the Rantoul Recreation Department.


(Springfield--jc)  When it comes to fatal crashes on Illinois roads, the top reason is distracted driving. Kim Howard reports…



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Agriculture plans to honor former state agriculture director and former U.S. Agriculture Secretary John Rusling Block. The agency said Wednesday that it plans to dedicate a plaque with Block's likeness on Monday morning at the Illinois Department of Agriculture building in Springfield. Block served at U.S. agriculture secretary under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1986.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City Melvin Sibley School board members will meet on Monday for its reorganizational meeting. The new board will elect a board chairman and other officers. The board will also look at donations for the Gibson City Melvin Sibley Boosters Club. The reorganizational meeting comes to order at 6-15 on Monday night at the meeting room at the high school.


CHAMPAIGN — The Parkland College Foundation has announced its selection of David J. Downey, founder and president of The Downey Group, as the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year. Mr. Downey will receive the V. Dale Cozad Entrepreneur of the Year Award during Parkland College's 10th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Banquet, presented by SUPERVALU, Inc. An annual fundraiser for the Parkland College Entrepreneurial Program, the banquet will be held Wednesday, June 12, at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.  


(Gifford--jc)  A work conflict is the reason the Gifford Grade school board has changed its meeting date. The date for this month’s meeting is 6pm on April 24th at the school board meeting room.


(Washington--jc)  -- It will cost the Easter Bunny considerably less to bring us those eggs this year. Gary Crawford reports…




(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Public Health Department is now offering Shingrix vaccine to adults 55 years of age and older. Shingrix helps protect against shingles, a painful rash that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.  According to the Centers for Disease Control , two doses of Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles. About one in every three people in the United States will get shingles. The risk of shingles increases as you get older.  The Ford County Health Department has set a charge of 160 dollars per per dose. Staff members at the Paxton office can help you determine whether your insurance company will cover any of that cost. Contact office at 217-379-9281 to schedule an appointment.


(Chicago--jc)0 A pro-progressive tax group has released more commercials that will run statewide to convince Illinoisans and their lawmakers to support a graduated income tax.Think Big Illinois announced three new ads  that are set to run on radio and television in markets across the state.The ads say a progressive tax that takes higher percentages of a wealthier person's income is fairer than the flat tax the state currently has.


In case you were on the fence about what type of candy to hand out to the kids this Easter, go with the Reece's.Retail research site says Illinoisans' favorite Easter candy remains Reece's Peanut Butter Chocolate Eggs.Twenty-eight other states also had the non-cupped peanut butter chocolate treats as their top confection for the holiday.  

Illinois Lawmakers say That State Workers Should Live in Illinois

(Springfield--jc)  Should Illinois’ state workers be required to actually live in Illinois?Illinois lawmakers in the state Senate gave that question a resounding “yes” .The legislation would give a new employee not living within the state's boundaries three months to establish residency in Illinois. Under the issue, any position filled after December 31 of this year, any person may be appointed to a position based in the State of Illinois but they would need to become a resident of the State of Illinois within 3 months


(Paxton--jc)  Around 90 Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce members attended the annual meeting last night at the Engelbrecht Farm Event Center. Those attending enjoyed a meal catered by the Pueblo Lindo Restaurant and heard from several speakers including Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold who provided an update on the Paxton Streetscape program. Alan Meyer was elected as the new President of the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce.


(Springfield--jc)  --Hundreds of political groups across the state of Illinois are likely missing the deadline to file paperwork with the Illinois State Board of Elections.ISBE said Monday that 1,143 political committees still had not filed required quarterly reports, which were due by midnight. The agency said that figure accounts for more than a quarter of all the active political committees in the state.


(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois senate unanimously passed a bill this week to raise awareness about the state’s move-over law. The legislation requires the secretary of state’s office to include a reminder about the law in registration renewal notices…and to include a question about it on the written driver’s exam. It’s sponsored by Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet and prompted by the increase in state troopers being hit by passing motorists.


51st District State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet


(Paxton--jc)  -- A group called “Save the Paxton Pool” has been formed after officials with the Paxton Park District gave notice on reduced hours for the local pool this summer. The group is looking to find its leaders and have met once to find direction and to initially plan strategies. WPXN News has talked with group members and will continue to follow them on future newscasts. Anyone interested  in helping with the group are invited to a meeting on Monday night at 6pm at the Cobblestone Hotel on Paxton’s westside.



(Watseka--jc)  After devastating floods in the Iroquois County seat of Watseka, one business has its sign back up at a new location. The Watseka McDonalds sign was erected on Tuesday at the restaurant’s location along Route 24 near the downtown of the city.


CHICAGO (AP) — The cardinal of the Archdiocese of Chicago is offering prayers for the people of France after fire engulfed parts of Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral. Cardinal Blase Cupich asked others to join him in offering prayers for first responders, renovation workers and cathedral staff. It took firefighters more than 12 hours Monday and Tuesday to extinguish the blaze. Cupich says Chicago Catholics stand "arm in arm" with the people of France. 


(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a woman who reportedly fell from the roof of a home located at 54 E. John Street in Champaign, on the early morning hours of April 13. 21-year-old Destyni Thomas of Urbana, was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at just before noon on the 13th. Thomas died from a traumatic head injury she received from the fall. This death is under investigation by the Coroner’s Office and the Champaign Police Department.


(Springfield--jc)  - Most people may soon be able to get booze delivered with their groceries. The State Senate passed a bill setting a statewide standard for alcohol delivery. It’s sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar…



State Senator Andy Manar



(Paxton--jc)  -- Should 5th grade students be allowed to participate in Paxton Buckley Loda cross-country and track and field programs. That is one question for the P-B-L School board. The issue came before the board at this month’s monthly meeting. The board is looking for input on the subject and the request will be part of a future board meeting.


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The College of Engineering at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign will be renamed in honor of alumnus William Grainger. School officials say The Grainger College of Engineering name recognizes a new $100 million gift from The Grainger Foundation. The foundation has committed more than $300 million to the school. UI officials say that's the largest amount ever give to a public university to name a college of engineering. The new name is pending approval from trustees.


(Springfield--jc)  Have you seen the don’t drink, don’t text signs along the Interstate 57 and Interstate 74 corridor? As a part of a promotional campaign, the Illinois Department of Transportation has been posting clever phrases to its digital information boards. WIth the spirit  of Tax Day, the department's latest anti-drunken driving initiative sign reads "Think taxes are expensive? A DUI costs $18,000."


(Springfield--jc)  --As Illinois lawmakers prepare to vote on a constitutional amendment to change the state's flat income tax to a graduated one, debate on the topic continued Monday even with the legislature off for a two-week break.The City Club of Chicago hosted four lawmakers this week, two Democrats and two Republicans, to make their case regarding a progressive income tax, which would have higher rates for higher earners.Peoria Republican Senator Chuck Weaver said the biggest reason Democrats want a progressive tax is to make it easier to raise taxes on a small number of high-earners.


(Springfield--jc)  Farmers are struggling to get time in the fields as we hear in the initial weekly crop report. Just over 1 day was suitable for fieldwork this past week says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener



(Rantoul--jc)  - Rantoul police and Champaign County Crimestoppers are seeking information about an armed robbery in Rantoul that happened early Tuesday morning. Authorities say a subject entered the Casey’s store on Route 45 and Route 136 around 4-30 Tuesday morning. The suspect showed a knife and demanded cash. The suspect left with an undisclosed amount of cash. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police or Champaign County Crimestoppers


(Champaign--jc)  -- What are the prospects of more flooding this Spring both locally and statewide. Illinois water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says we can look forward to above average wet conditions…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner.


AURORA, Ill. (AP) — Autopsies on the five employees killed when a gunman opened fire in February at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant determined that all of them had been shot more than once. The (Aurora) Beacon-News reports that the reports released on Tuesday by the Kane County Coroner's Office concluded that none of the five victims was shot at close range.


(Gibson City--jc)  The proposed graduated tax issue continues to move forward in Springfield. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says he is opposed to giving a blank check to raise taxes…


106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Bennett was in attendance of last nights Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Banquet held at Engelbrecht Farms in rural Paxton.



(Rankin--jc)  -- Rankin village leaders continue to work with owners of the property that housed the former Rankin school on the east side of Route 49. Owners of the property have paid fines from the Vermilion County Public Health Department. Owners of the property have a purpose for the land with a special needs school. Rankin Village leaders want to see the matter resolved without using town funds.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Freedom Festival Celebration and Parade plans continue. This years event in the village will feature a Freedom Festival Sundowners Car Show. The Car Show will run 4 to 8 pm on July 3rd,t and will include cars as well as trucks and motorcycles. The event is sponsored by Reynolds Towing. Greg’s Truck and Auto is another sponsor for this years car show. The 2019 Freedom Festival Celebration will begin at 4 pm and continue until 11 pm at the Hap Parker Aquatic Center in Rantoul with live bands , an expanded  and free Kids Zone , Beer Tent and Garden and the legendary grilled BBQ by the Rantoul American Legion. Other attractions this year are numerous food vendors, activities at the Hap Parker Aquatic Center , ending with the famous Rantoul Freedom Celebration Fireworks Extravaganza sponsored by the Village of Rantoul at dusk.There is no charge for parking. One fundraiser at the event are rides on the Hall Brothers Racing Monster Truck Raminator. The money raised will help support the RantouL Veterans’ Memorial.Then on July 4, you can start the day with the  Rantoul Rotary Breakfast starting at 7-30. The annual parade steps off at 10am on July 4th. Those wanting to help or participate with the local festival are asked to contact Belynda Allen at the chamber office at 893-3323.


(Paxton--jc)  The city of Paxton is set to launch its new website today. The announcement was made at last night’s Paxton Chamber event. More information is found on line at city-of-Paxton-dot-com.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Need help learning how to meditate?  A program at a local library can help. Learn the basics of mindfulness meditation, and how to get the most from your practice at the Mindfulness Meditation Group in Rantoul every Sunday afternoon from 1:30- 3. There will be instruction, discussion, and meditation. You will learn how to: overcome stress and depression, improve your relationships with loved ones, heal and transform the wounds from your past, enhance your spiritual development, and realize true inner peace and happiness. It is ideal for both beginner and experienced meditators. The cost is FREE and there is no need to register. More information is found by calling the Rantoul Public Library.


Nutrien Ag Solutions Announces an Increase Sponsorship of the National FFA Organization

(Mahomet-jc)-Mahomet-Seymour Community Unit School District #3 is proud to announce that in recognition of his significant accomplishments as an educator, coach and friend of the students of the Mahomet – Seymour Schools, the weight room at Mahomet-Seymour High School will be named in honor of Jim “Riz” Risley. Earlier this year, the Mahomet-Seymour Board of Education took action, per Board Policy, to name this facility in honor of Coach Risley. A presentation ceremony to recognize Coach Risley and to dedicate the room in his honor will be held on Friday May 10.


CHAMPAIGN – The State Farm Center Theatre presents Diana Ross on Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, April 22 at 10 a.m. Diana Ross is considered one of the most successful recording artists and entertainers of all time. 2019 will be remembered as a milestone in history with a year-long Diamond Diana Celebration marking the 75th birthday of the iconic superstar.From her landmark solo career to the early days as the leader of The Supremes, Ross helped shape the sound of popular music, changing the landscape and paving the way for contemporary music.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson City Exploratory Pool Committee is set for a road trip. Members of the committee are expected to go to Flanagan and Pontiac on Thursday afternoon to view indoor pool facilities in the two communities. The committee is looking at ways to improve or replace the current pool and pool facilities. WPXN News will continue to follow this story as it develops.



INDIANAPOLIS (Monday, April 15, 2019/National FFA Organization) – Nutrien has just announced an increase in their sponsorship of the National FFA Organization. In the past, the company has worked with FFA to ensure the future of agricultural education by their generous support that provided student members with the opportunity to grow into the world’s future leaders. This year, Nutrien Ag Solutions will serve as a silver sponsor to the National FFA Organization. They will support areas such as the New Century Farmer program; Washington Leadership Conference, Ag Sales- Entrepreneurship Proficiency; support for the National FFA Expo, to name a few. In addition, they fund FFA Alumni and Supporters grants as well as the National Association of Agricultural Educators.


(Gifford--jc) There will be lots of bidding and more at Gordyville U S A later today. A kickin’-cancer event includes University of Illinois Men’s basketball coach Brad Underwood. Auctions food and surprises hilite the event near Gifford and starts at 5-30 this afternoon.



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois senate unanimously passed a bill this week to raise awareness about the state’s move-over law. The legislation requires the secretary of state’s office to include a reminder about the law in registration renewal notices…and to include a question about it on the written driver’s exam. It’s sponsored by Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet and prompted by the increase in state troopers being hit by passing motorists.



Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet



(Springfield--jc)  --The sponsor of legislation that would allow some immigrants in Illinois to enroll in Medicaid said lawmakers will vote on the matter later this spring.The bill would allow legal immigrants in Illinois via the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and on permanent work visas, known as I-766 Employment Authorization Documentation, to enroll in the state’s Medicaid program that now accounts for more than a quarter of state spending and serves more than three million people. Medicaid spending totaled about $19.3 billion in state and federal funds in 2016.Sponsor Delia Ramirez said most of these immigrants are taxpayers in the country legally who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid.


(Champaign--jc)  Those traveling along Bradley Avenue in northern Champaign, may want to take another route to get to their destinations. Overnight construction work started last night and into this morning,  and runs through the remainder of the week on the bridge that carries Bradley Avenue over Interstate 57. The work takes place from around 10pm each night and run through 6 in the morning this week


(Washington--jc) How did the spring tradition of decorating eggs get started? The answers vary. Gary Crawford has the story…




(Watseka--jc)  Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagen announces that the annual Sheriff’s police scholarship applications are now available. The scholarships are funded by the department’s golf outing each year. Applications are available on the county’s website. Applications are due by May 17th


(Springfield--jc) --   The Illinois Senate is voting to lower the age that children have to start school. The legislation changes the compulsory school age from 6 to 5 years old. Proponents say children need a solid start to learn, but critics, like State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria says some are just not ready…



State Senator Chuck Weaver of Peoria.

Under the bill,  kids born after May 31st of the school year could wait to start until they are 6. The measure is now in the Illinois House


(Washington--jc) Some loan limits are higher for ag professionals. U-S-D-A Undersecretary of Agriculture Bill Northey cites some higher loan examples.



U-S-D-A Undersecretary of Agriculture Bill Northey



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is opening a new simulation center in Chicago to provide hands on training to workers. The center helps expose caseworkers and investigators to potential scenarios they may face out in the field says Governor J-B Pritzker.



Illinoia Governor J-B Pritzker



(Paxton--jc)  When indoor activities begin again for the Paxton Park District, the facility they will use, will be a new one. The local park district and the Paxton Buckley Loda school board have finalized another agreement to use the gym in the new Clara Petersen School this fall and winter.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is making another move in its effort to reverse declining enrollment by stationing additional recruiters in Chicago and St. Louis. Associate Chancellor Jennifer DeHaemers notes out-of-state institutions have increased their presence in Illinois, upping the competition for students. She says the additional recruiters in the cities will help SIU be more competitive. The campus's enrollment is about half of its 1991 peak of 24,869 students.



(Springfield--jc)  -- It’s on to the state House for legislation that would require towns that hire part-time firefighters to pay part of their full-time pensions.Should the bill become law, any town larger than 5,000 people that hires a part-time firefighter would be required to pay into the pension system of their full-time employer. State Senator Melinda Bush said larger departments are beginning to keep their full-time firefighters from taking extra work. Bush says this is a liability issue. The bill was opposed by dozens of fire departments and firefighters. State Senator Craig Willcox said the bill could result in no part-time work for firefighters across the state. The bill would also allow the state comptroller to withhold state distributed funds from towns until they’ve paid what they’re supposed to for pensions. State Senator Don DeWitte said the bill would force property tax increases or service cuts to pay for unexpected pension bills.



(Springfield--ba)-The public may soon have a place to report potholes. The Senate unanimously passed a bill creating a new website where motorists can log potholes and other road dangers in Illinois. It’s sponsored by Senator Dan Mcconchie of Hawthorn woods.



Senator Dan Mcconchie



(Springfield--jc)  -- Fines for illegally passing a school bus in Illinois may be doubled House lawmakers passed a bill raising the fine for driving around a school bus with it’s arm extended from 150 dollars to 300 dollars. Repeat offenders would pay 1 thousand dollars instead of the current 500 dollars. State Representative Darren Bailey of Louisville says the stiffer penalties are meant to be a deterrent…


State Representative Darren Bailey of Louisville.

Those on the other side of the issue say enhanced penalties do not work



Gibson City, IL, April 15, 2019 –Trade publication Becker's Healthcare has released its 2019 list of leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. This year’s featured CEOs lead hospitals consistently recognized by the National Rural Health Association and  American Hospital Association as top institutions. .For the sixth year in a row, Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services CEO Rob Schmitt has been named among these top 60 rural hospital and health system CEOs to know, one of only two CEOs selected from Illinois. Schmitt, who has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare leadership, is a fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.



(Boston--jc)  Daniel Romanchuk, 20, is the first American man to win the Boston Marathon wheelchair division since 1993 and the youngest to have done so thus far. He won the race in 1 hour, 21 minutes and 36 seconds, repeating a feat he accomplished at the New York Marathon in November and the Chicago Marathon in October. Last year, Romanchuk also placed third in marathons in Boston and London. Romanchuk is a Parkland College student with plans to transfer to the University of Illinois.


(Paxton--jc)  How many people in Paxton use the “Show Bus” public transportation service. That is the question before Paxton City leaders. The City of Paxton has made donations to the group that has routes through 9 area counties, including Ford. Paxton leaders are seeking input from Show Bus. Donations to the group and information on usage is an expected topic when the Paxton City Council meets in May.

(Paxton--jc)  -- One local company in Paxton is hosting an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday. Officials with Accolade Healthcare Paxton Senior Living Facility say the event is set for Saturday starting at 10am. The event is open to kids ages 1 through 10.  The Easter Bunny will also be in attendance for pictures

Hog Farm West of Sibley in Ford County, Given the Go-Ahead From Illinois Department of Agriculture

(Undated--jc)  Today is tax day. Today is the final day to file your taxes on time. Those needing more time can get an automatic extension.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Department of Agriculture officials have given the go-ahead for a hog farm west of Sibley in Ford County. At stake is a 5 thousand 600 number hog operation. The Hartman Family Farm where the hog operation is set to be located is one and one half miles west of Sibley along State Route 165.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A  measure which would prohibit any public or private college or university in the state from asking about or considering an applicant’s criminal history during the admissions process was defeated in the Illinois House of Representatives Friday morning.The bill, sponsored by Chicago Democrat Mary Flowers, provided exceptions to comply with federal law and a state law that requires medical schools to check the criminal history of applicants, but that wasn’t assurance enough for many members, especially those who have colleges, universities, and community colleges in their districts. Local State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington was one who also opposed the measure…



Republican State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington

Several local community colleges and universities also opposed the measure.


CHICAGO (AP) — Wintry weather in northern Illinois has forced the cancellation of flights at Chicago's two major airports. By late Sunday afternoon, around 1,000 flights had been canceled at O'Hare International Airport. Delays at O'Hare averaged nearly an hour and about 30 minutes at Midway. Flights are back to near normal this morning.


(Undated--jc)  Could Chicago become its own city-state? One downstate lawmaker wants that to happen. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Loda--jc)  4 Rantoul residents were injured in a van versus semi-tractor trailer accident on Saturday night, Police say that 37 year old Petana Meteo of Rantoul was traveling south along Interstate 57 near Loda when her vehicle was struck from behind by a semi driven by  58 year old Pamela Owens of Michigan. The impact of the crash caused both vehicles to cross over into the northbound lanes. Traffic was rerouted through Buckley and Paxton for several hours on Saturday night. Meteo, 40 year old Felipe Juan-Felipe of Rantoul and two juveniles in the van were all taken to a local hospital with injuries. State Police continue to investigate the accident this morning.


(Chicago--jc)  For all of the outcry and political promises to help property taxes, Illinoisans still pay the second highest rates in the nation. A report from ATTOM Data Solutions says the state’s 3.2 million homeowners paid 2.2 percent of their home’s worth in local taxes in 2018. That’s higher than any other state in the nation except New Jersey. The average Illinois homeowner paid $5,000, but it’s still common for homes in some suburban counties and the Rockford area to see taxes be the majority of their monthly mortgage payments.Illinois’ 7,000 units of local government and low state investment in education often gets blamed for high property taxes.



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul leaders are providing more information about a proposed 257 acre tract on the south east side of the village that would be used by a partnership of universities including the University of Illinois for automatic vehicle testing. The facility would use a near 2 mile test track and would involve students workers and also bring business to the village. WPXN news will have more on this issue all next week on our news casts.


SHELBYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Eastern Illinois University has launched a program that encourages students training to be teachers to consider looking for employment in rural communities.Doug Bower, dean of education at Eastern Illinois, says the program is called Teacher Corps. The (Decatur) Herald and Review reports that under the program, students are taken to rural districts to tour schools and talk to teachers about their experiences working there.



(Ludlow--jc)  -- Ludlow village leaders want to hear from residents on a proposed water main and pump house replacement project. A public hearing is set for Tuesday April 23rd at 6pm, One proposal for the village is a 2 point 8 million dollar renovation project. Just under 70 percent would be paid for by the U S Department of Agriculture. The hearing is an informational meeting and public input is wanted.


(Urbana--jc)  An overturned semi loaded with cows caused an issue with traffic on Sunday afternoon east of Urbana. Authorities say the driver lost control of his rig and several animals were roaming along  Interstate 74. Traffic was slowed for several hours as the animals were gathered by authorities.


(Mahomet--jc)  When the Mahomet Seymour School board meets tonight they will look to hire a Principal for the Middletown Prairie School in the district. School board members could also adjust the school calendar as only 2 winter days were used this year. The last day of school could be May 29th. The board will also honor outgoing board members at a reception at 6-30 Monday night at Middletown Prairie School before the 7pm meeting


(Undated--jc)  April is National Donate Life Month, and all across the country agencies are mounting campaigns to educate people about organ and tissue donation and encourage them to sign as organ donors.In Illinois, the Life Goes On campaign is a project of Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. This year’s ads feature 11-year-old Sofia Sanchez, who was awaiting a heart transplant when the popular rap artist Drake visited her. Sanchez’s transplant was successful, and White says her charm and Drake’s popularity are bringing the message to a huge number of people.According to White, 4,700 people in Illinois are awaiting transplants, and each year 300 people die in the state because they don’t receive an organ transplant in time.


(Joliet--jc)  --About 35 percent of inmates serving time in the Illinois Department of Corrections are mentally ill and up to 13 percent are considered seriously mentally ill.  A new treatment center in Joliet wants to help these inmates get treated both inside and outside the corrections facility. The 180,000-square-foot inpatient treatment center is currently under construction and is expected to open its doors in 2021. The pricetag on the project is 150 million dollars.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The state is getting some federal dollars to help fight the opioid crisis in Illinois. D-H-S Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin says the 15 million dollars in federal funding will be used to expand substance abuse treatment at jails and hospitals and also community outreach programs..



Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin


(Springfield--jc)  - The Illinois Senate is voting to lower the age that children have to start school. State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood says the state has place so much emphasis on early childhood education, it’s important that kids are in school by age five…



State Senator Kimberly Lightford



(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West School District school board members will look at the vote on a failed referendum when they meet on Wednesday night in Gilman. Voters in the district voted down a 25 million dollar new school and athletic facility project. Among other items,  the board will honor out-going Board Members – Domitila Garcia, Vicki Killus and Kyle Kraft. The Iroquois West School board meeting comes to order at 7 on Monday night at the high school in Gilman.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Despite a law signed Friday to have the state dictate collective bargaining policy to local governments, the U.S. Supreme Court could take up the issue of so-called right-to-work zones. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court Case case from Illinois – Janus v. AFSCME – ruled public employees can’t be forced to pay union fees as a condition of employment. Before that, the village of Lincolnshire Illinois passed an ordinance giving that freedom to all workers, including in the private sector, in its jurisdiction. Lawmakers last session passed the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, but former Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the measure. Rauner said local jurisdictions should be allowed to pass such measures to help shore up costs.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- It’s Easter Egg hunting time on Saturday in Rantoul. The Rantoul CORE group is hosting the event at noon on Saturday at Wabash Park. Some prizes will be awarded and the Easter Bunny will also be in attendance. The event is open to all children


Taxes Need to be Filed By April 15th

(Springfield--jc) The tax deadline is almost here and one fact to know is that Illinois taxpayers paid a higher percentage of their income in taxes than residents of all but eight other states, and that was before the most recent income tax hike. Using 2017 income tax data and the latest property, sales and excise taxes, financial data firm WalletHub found that Illinoisans paid 9.67% of their annual income in local and state taxes. This also considers that Illinois residents earn a median income that’s $2,600 higher than the average American. WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said Illinois’ property taxes are the main driver.


(Urbana--jc) Urbana police are seeking information about a car vs pedestrian

fatality that happened just before 4 Thursday afternoon. Police say a pedestrian was struck at the corner of Main and Vine in Urbana when the pedestrian was struck by a truck. Authorities are seeking information from anyone who may have seen the accident. The driver of the vehicle was questioned. Those with any information may call Urbana police.


Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of an Urbana,  woman who has died as a result of injuries sustained after being struck by a motor vehicle near the intersection of Main Street and Vine Street in Urbana on Thursday  49 year old Shelly Taylor of Urbana died at Carle Foundation Hospital . An autopsy has been scheduled for later today at the Champaign County Coroner’s Regional Autopsy Facility. This death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Urbana Police Department.


(Washington--ba)-Presidential candidates will have to make their tax returns public under legislation passed by the Senate. The bill requires candidates running for President and Vice President to release their income tax returns if they want to appear on the ballot in Illinois. It’s sponsored by Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago.



Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago



(Normal--jc)  With a demonstration earlier this week, two American Federation of State County and Municipal Union members at Illinois State University continue to look for a new contract. The two unions, representing more than 500 workers have been working without a contract since last June. The Pantagraph reports that a meeting between the union and the university will take place next week.



(Washington--ba)-Students may soon be learning about hunting safety under a bill passed by the house. The measure allows schools to offer curriculum about safe hunting practices to students. It’s sponsored by Representative Monica Bristow of Alton.



Representative Monica Bristow of Alton


(Springfield--jc)  -- Noncitizen students and transgender individuals not eligible for federal student loan aid because they’ve failed to register for the selective service would be able to access tuition assistance in Illinois under a plan passed by the House.  State Representative, Elizabeth Hernandez, Democrat from Chicago, has the Retain Illinois Students Act which would give Monetary Award Program money to noncitizen students who have not obtained lawful permanent residence. Hernandez says they are residents of Illinois.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Aspiring student entrepreneurs from Parkland College will soon pitch their ideas before local venture capitalists, startup experts and community members as they vie for 3 thousand dollars in seed money. Parkland College's Entrepreneurial Network   will hold its first-ever CobraVenture Pitch Showcase Monday, May 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Parkland College Student Union. The contest will highlight students from the CobraVenture program's pilot student accelerator lab, which launched in January.


(Gibson CIty--jc)  It’s a baseball theme for one local fundraising event tonight in Gibson City. the Gibson Rotary Club is hosting the “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”  fundraiser at the Sand Trap on Route 9 in Gibson City. Tickets for prizes, music and a meal are 25 dollars. The festivities begin at 5-30. The band Libido Funk Circus will perform.



(Paxton--jc)  -- At the Paxton IGA cookout tomorrow it’s Ribeye Sandwiches, chips and pop. Profits from the cookout go to the Prairie Champions 4-H Club. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm

(Washington--ba)-Less than 4 days are left to file your taxes. Taxes need to be filed by Monday, April 15th, and help is available if you need it says Illinois Department of Revenue spokesperson Terry Horstman.



Illinois Department of Revenue spokesperson Terry Horstman


(Champaign County--jc)  -- Rural Sidney yes and rural Ludlow no. A site near Sidney was chosen for a rural solar site. A 37 acre tract of farmland near Ludlow was not. 1 thousand sites proposed to net the solar projects, but only 10 percent  could see that happen with the Future Energy Jobs Act. The News Gazette says the Sidney a 2-megawatt project is the only one in Champaign County. Forefront Power is the project leader.



(Washington--ba)-The 2017 Census of Agriculture looks for the first time at farmers with military service. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.



USDA’s Stephanie Ho


(Washington--jc) --Two experts say the more farmers do to keep cropland soils in top condition, the less damage those fields will suffer from weather disasters. Gary Crawford reports…






(Springfield--jc)  -- Two area legislators have teamed up to sponsor legislation on behalf of Kankakee area leaders to allow for the expansion of the Kankakee River Conservancy District to help address the area’s destructive flooding issues. The Kankakee District already exists but contains only a small territory along the river, and does not cover a large enough portion of the flood basin to effectively mitigate flooding. A bill passed the House on Wednesday Sponsored by 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.  79th District State Representative Lindsey Parkhurst of Kankakee says the measure is a positive for the flooding issues…



79 District State Representative Lindsey Parkhurst of Kankakee

The bill is now in the hands of the Illinois Senate.


Pecatonica, IL – Illinois State Police  officials announce the arrest of Craig W. Dittmar  for his involvement in the March 28th, fatal crash which resulted in the death of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story. While inspecting a vehicle on Route 75, she was struck and killed


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The annual J W Eater Junior High School production is set for this weekend. The play is called Jolly Roger and the Pirate Crew. The performances are set for tonight at 7 and Saturday afternoon at 2. Local Theatre Director Jessica Holmes is helping with the play.


(BUCKLEY-dg)-The Buckley Lion’s Club is hosting Bingo tonight at the Buckley American Legion Building. Bingo starts at 6:15 with sandwiches available at 5pm.



(Rantoul--jc)  - Its hunting for Easter Eggs time. The Rantoul Public Library is the venue for the Easter Eggstravaganza. The event with various age groups begins at 10 Saturday morning at the library.


(Champaign--jc)  Champaign Counties next free electronics recycling collection is set for May 18th. The event takes place from 8am until Noon at Parkland College. On line registration is going on now to bring items. Residents must go on line and get a ticket to participate.



The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce and Insurance Providers Group of Paxton is hosting Bingo on Saturday evening from 6-8pm at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Parish Center.


World Pork Expo 2019 Cancelled

(Springfield--jc) -- A bill sponsored by local state Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City deals with electronic monitoring in a community integrated living center or a state-operated developmental center. Representative Bennett says House Bill 3-44 also residents to used the surveillance system in their rooms. Co Sponsor State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville says there is no cost to the state.…



State Representative Charlie Meier of Okawville


(Paxton--jc) --  The next step to place a 150 foot United States American Flag in Paxton on school property is complete. The Paxton Buckley Loda School board on Wednesday night agreed to lease the ground near the high school football field to the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce for the project.



(Des Moines-Iowa)  -- The National Pork Producers Council's board of directors announced its decision to cancel World Pork Expo 2019 out of an abundance of caution as African swine fever  continues to spread in China and other parts of Asia. World Pork Expo, held each June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, hosts approximately 20,000 visitors over three days, including individuals and exhibitors from ASF-positive regions. African swine fever affects only pigs and presents no human health or food safety risks. There is currently no vaccine to treat the swine disease.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A bill in the Illinois House would allow at-risk minors as young as 12 to independently get and take HIV prevention medication. The legislation would allow minors as young as 12 to see a doctor and receive contraceptives, including an HIV prevention drug, without the notifying or getting consent from a parent. Sponsoring state Rep. Lamont Robinson Jr. said the bill was designed to help at-risk youth with either abusive parents or no parents at all.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Lawmakers are trying again to raise the minimum salary for teachers in Illinois. The House passed a bill to gradually boost the base teacher salary over the next 5 years, up to 40 thousand dollars. The current minimum, set in the 1980s, is 11 thousand dollars annually. State Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville says the hope is this bill be help address the state’s teacher shortage…



State Representative Katie Stuart of Collinsville.

A similar measure was vetoed by then Governor Bruce Rauner


(Rantoul--jc) Cadets at the Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge program are participating in a jobs-education fair today at the local campus. It’s a opportunity to look a job choices, college education to military options says Lincoln’s Challenge Public Relations Spokesperson Michael Comacha…



Lincoln’s Challenge Public Relations Spokesperson Michael Comacha.



(Kankakee--jc)  -- The future of one Kankakee County mall remains uncertain. The Kankakee Journal reports that a portion of the Northfield Square Mall may be razed as part of a redevelopment for the mall. The decision is in the hands of the Greater Waukegan Development Coalition. Owners of the property is Namdar Realty Group of New York.  



(Springfield--j)  The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices will host a series of public hearings as it works towards its final report and recommendations in December. The Commission recently released its preliminary report concerning pretrial reform in the Illinois criminal justice system. One hearing is set for Springfield on April 22 and another in Urbana at the I-L-E-A-S Training Center on May 6th.



(Farmer City--jc)  -- If you heard racing at the Farmer City Raceway on Wednesday morning there was a good reason. The University of Wisconsin-Stout S-A-E Baja team stopped by to use the track for practice and testing the Baja vehicle. The group was on their way to Tennessee for a competition with the Society of Automotive Engineers.


CHICAGO (AP) — Measles outbreaks across the country have prompted several Illinois health systems to pressure parents who haven't vaccinated their children to do so. Department of Pediatrics vice chairman Dr. Matthew Davis said Lurie Children's Hospital decided to step up its efforts to reach unvaccinated children because the current spread of measles. The Centers for Disease Control and recommends all children get two doses of measles vaccine, which it says is 97% effective. A measles outbreak occurred locally in Champaign County in January and February of this year.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Demolition work on a building in Paxton that was completely destroyed by a fire began this week.  The building owned by the Baier family in the city also housed numerous antique vehicles, and a vintage fire truck.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City Fire Department volunteers helped with a garage fire in the city on Wednesday night. Firefighters were on the scene for several hours and had the blaze under control by 8-30 last night. No world on damage to the building was provided.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman and his wife, Hope, have pledged a 100 thousand dollar donation to the construction of the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Center, the new state-of-the-art training facility for Fighting Illini Football. The gift will name a corridor in the building that recognizes all former letterwinners as the Josh and Hope Whitman Alumni Hall.Whitman joins a growing number of former Illinois football players who have made investments into the facility. Former offensive lineman Stu Levenick kicked off the fundraising with a $5 million gift. The project has also seen significant donations from, among others, the family of former offensive lineman Kai Anderson, former offensive linemen Bill Castonzo and Bob Noelke, and former wide receiver Chad Ruskey and former quarterback Rich Erickson.



(Springfield--jc) Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says his proposals that includes the shift to a graduated income tax  will help Illinois back on a better fiscal path. The issue is moving through the state legislature in Springfield…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Springfield--jc)  It’s “Work Zone Awareness Week” and the Illinois Department of Transportation wants motorists to “Drive Like You Work Here.” Drivers need to slow down, stay off their cell phones, obey the signs and be alert says Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Guy Tridgell…



I-DOT Spokesperson Guy Tridgell

Big fines and jail time await those who do not follow the law. Each year in Illinois, more than 53 Hundred crashes occur in zones.



Changes could be coming to the state’s high school basketball tournaments. Officials with the Illinois High School Association currently are accepting feedback from school administrators across the state about a proposal to adjust the schedule of the organization’s state championship games. Under the plan, all four classes of girls would play in the state finals on a single weekend and all four classes of boys would play on the following weekend.I-H-S-A Assistant Executive Director Matt Troha says school leaders are looking to reinvigorate the state basketball tournament. The Boys tournament would fall on the first weekend of March to avoid the college tournament.



(Paxton--jc)  The Ford Town and Country Art Show is set for Sunday in Paxton. Organizer Shawn Fairchild says entries for school age children is free, for adults just a small charge…



Ford Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild

The event starts at 2, Sunday afternoon at the Paxton Park District Building


(Washington--jc) U-S-D-A has a first look at corn planting locally and nationally. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  -- The annual J W Eater Junior High School production is set for this weekend. The play is called Jolly Roger and the Pirate Crew. The performances are set for Friday night at 7 and Saturday afternoon at 2. Local Theatre Director Jessica Holmes is helping with the play.


Governor JB Pritzker Announces Amendment to the State's Constitution Moving Illinois to a Graduated Income Tax Structure

(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor JB Pritzker is announcing an amendment to the state’s constitution moving Illinois to a graduated income tax structure. The constitution currently requires a flat tax system, where everyone pays the same rate. Governor Pritzkers proposal, taxes workers based on how much they earn. The governor says 97 percent of Illinoisans will see tax relief under his plan…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

Some Republicans believe that the proposal then would give Democrats the ability to raise taxes again. If the amendment is approved by the legislature, voters will then get a chance to say yay or nay to it on the November 2020 ballot


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Attorney General Kwame Raoul is noncommittal about a proposal to create a statewide investigative unit to review claims of innocence by those convicted of crimes. The Democrat said through a spokeswoman Tuesday that ensuring a conviction is correct by evaluating new evidence or circumstances "is the responsibility of every prosecutor." Private investigator Bill Clutter wrote Raoul to suggest a statewide "conviction integrity unit" to investigate innocence claims.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A former Illinois State Trooper was found guilty Tuesday in Ford County court in Paxton of felonious disorderly conduct for calling 9-1-1 and falsely reporting someone was assaulting him.  61 year old Bradley Cluver of Gibson City was found guilty yesterday. He is set to be sentenced on May 14th.


(Washington--jc)  -- One ag meteorologist is looking at spring wheat. U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey says this is a first look at planting wheat…



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey



(Springfield--jc)  Concerns have quieted over artifacts connected to Abraham Lincoln possibly going to auction if millions of dollars aren’t raised for a private foundation, a couple of state lawmakers say.The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation is a private entity created by state statute and meant to support the public museum, which houses valuable artifacts connected to Lincoln and other figures with Illinois connections. The private foundation reportedly owes $9 million for the artifacts and the loan comes due later this year. Last year, the private foundation was lobbying state lawmakers for a taxpayer bailout to pay off the loan.


(Undated--jc)  Two counties will help replace on bridge this year. The Ford County Board and Iroquois County board are sharing the costs of a bridge replacement project on a bridge that spans to two counties. The bridge is located between Milks Grove Township in Northwestern  Iroquois County and Rogers Township in the northern part of Ford County. The cost for Iroquois County putting is 560 thousand dollars and Ford County 286 thousand dollars.


(Springfield--jc)  It’s work zone awareness week and the Illinois Department of Transportation wants motorists to “Drive like you Work Here.” Kim Howard reports…



(Gibson City--jc)  Several bills did not make it out of an Illinois House committee in Springfield this month. 106th district State Representative Tom Bennett talks about two abortion type bills that failed to get support…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Rantoul--jc)  -- It’s a Community Coffee on this morning at 7-30 at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office. Business professionals are asked to bring business cards, ideas and use the time to network with other business owners in the Chamber.



MARION, Ill. (AP) — The Marion Veterans Affairs Medical Center in southern Illinois will be the home for several days in May of The Moving Wall. The wall is a half size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington and will be on display in Marion beginning May 2 through May 5. The Moving Wall travels across the country to commemorate the war, which dramatically divided the nation in the 1960s and 1970s.



(Washington--ba)-Ever wonder what the date label on your food packaging really means?

USDA’s Stephanie Ho explains.



USDA’s Stephanie Ho


CHICAGO (AP) — Lawyers for an ex-University of Illinois student accused of killing Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang say school counselors didn't offer him adequate care when he sought help for homicidal thoughts months before Zhang went missing. In a filing unsealed this week, Brendt Christensen's attorneys said he told campus counselors he'd been "ruminating" about committing murder but that his treatment by counselors had been substandard.  Prosecutors say that claim would be inaccurate and irrelevant.



CHICAGO (AP) — Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, has filed for bankruptcy in a federal court in Chicago. In announcing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition filed Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the company said it was "caught in a tidal wave of marketplace changes and business issues which, despite exhaustive efforts, could not be overcome." The company was founded in 1942.


(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Department of Human Services, which has one of the largest line items in the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, is seeking additional money to cover the cost of the state's new minimum wage and expand access to child care assistance. A Senate appropriations committee discussed Senate Bill 2228 this week. The measure asks for a total of $6.8 billion for DHS. Among the various line items is $28.5 million to help the aged, blind or disabled, $134.2 million for temporary assistance for the needy. There's another line item is $431.7 million for Child Care Services.Included in the increased funding request is $107.4 million for increasing the minimum wage of certain caregivers paid with tax dollars.


(Champaign--jc)  Warm temperatures yesterday and some cooling coming today, especially in the northern part of the WPXN Listening area. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner has the look at the next several days…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner

The Doug Quick weather forecast calls for rain this morning. There is a Code Red Weather advisory for Thursday


The Governor's Graduated Income Tax Plan May Not Have Enough Support in the Legislature

(Springfield--jc)  --The debate over how Illinois should tax income is getting heated amid reports that the Democrats, who control both chambers of the state legislature with supermajorities, may not have enough support to pass the graduated tax plan that Governor J.B. Pritzker's is counting on to stabilize the state's finances and pay for the promises he made on the campaign trail. The governor is pushing to change the state constitution’s flat income tax to a structure that taxes higher earners higher rates. Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment One would pose the question to voters, but has yet to advance out of a Senate committee.  No public hearing has been scheduled on the amendment yet. The deadline for bills to pass out of their originating chamber is April 12. After that, the House and Senate take two weeks off before coming back to finish out Spring session that ends May 31.The measure would have to be passed by both chambers to put the question to voters on the November 2020 ballot. To become law, three-fifths of those who vote on the amendment would need to approve it.



(Washington--ba)-Other than some potential dryness in the Deep South, the latest U.S. Drought Monitor reports some of its lowest overall totals in months. USDA’s Rod Bain Reports.


(Rantoul il--jc)  -- A Rantoul juvenile has been arrested in a shots fired incident in the village on Saturday. Authorities say th 16 year old was arrested at Rantoul Township High School Monday morning. Rantoul police investigations reveal that 3 male youth were running from the scene. No one was hurt in the shooting. The youth faces felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon, mob action and possession of a stolen firearm.



The state of Illinois may soon provide the seed money for kids in the state to go to college.The Illinois House last week approved a plan to create a college savings fund for every child born or adopted in Illinois starting in 2021. The state would provide an initial $50 investment. That $50 could grow, and families could access the money starting when a child turns ten.The program to cost about $10 million a year. Some Republicans said the state can't afford it. And state Representative Grant Wehrli said he worried that Illinois would squander the money.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The lease amount is expected to be one dollar per year. The Paxton Buckley Loda School board is set to discuss the lease of school property near Interstate 57 when they meet on Wednesday night at the high school in Paxton. The efforts to build a spot near I-57 to fly a 30 by 60 foot American flag. The exact location would be just north of the P-B-L football field. The P-B-L School board meets at 7 on Wednesday evening.



Tomorrow is the Day !! A Representative from Senator Scott Bennett's office will be at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Office from Noon to 1 pm answering his constituents questions about issues. All are welcome.



(Kankakee--ba)-An opportunity to dispose of old prescription drugs is coming later this month. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett reports.



(Paxton--jc) Wanted children ages 3 to 5. A developmental screening is offered on Thursday at the Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church in Paxton for kids in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School district. They will be tested for vision, hearing, speech and preschool skills. Parents interested may call the Clara Petersen School in Paxton at 379-2531. The preschool screening is a service of the P-B-L school district, the Ford County Public Health Department and the Ford County Special Education Cooperative.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders are expected to purchase pump station equipment for just over 144 thousand 800 dollars when they meet tonight in monthly session.  Purchasing utility cable and materials from Anixter for 59 thousand dollars is also on the agenda tonight. Rantoul Village board members will also look at a resurfacing project on Maplewood Drive. Tonights meeting gets underway at 6 tonight in the municipal building on Tanner Street.


SPRINGFIELD - Illinois small business owners and local Veterans of Foreign Wars , Disabled American Veterans  and American Legion posts and chapters launched the Bet on Main Street coalition Monday, telling lawmakers in Springfield that a proposed massive tax increase on video gaming would hurt communities across Illinois. Bet on Main Street members will be vocal advocates for policies related to video gaming, which has supported Illinois small businesses, spurred hiring in local communities and provided much-needed revenue for DAV chapters, American Legions and VFW posts, which support Illinois veterans. More information is found on line at bet-main-street-dot-com.


(Washington--ba)-If you're not quite sure what the dates on your food packages mean, then USDA has the answers to your questions. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.


(Springfield--jc) Commuters who use a portion Interstate 80 could soon be paying tolls for the repair and expansion of the busy highway. Legislation filed in the Illinois House of Representatives would give a portion of I-80 between the 294 interchange and Route 47 in Morris to the state’s tollway authority.P.S. Sriraj, director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the transfer would expedite the process of repairing some of the most dilapidated bridges in the state in comparison to funding construction through a capital bill that would need to address other state projects as well.



(Fisher--jc)  -- Some national acts are coming to this years’ Fisher Fair. Mark Chesnut will peform on Friday July 12th featuring Drew Baldridge and the Fuedin’ Hillbillies. Show starts at 7pm. Tickets available at Fisher Fair dot com.



CHICAGO (AP) — Striking Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians have rejected a contract proposal management described as its "last, best and final" offer.

The members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association voted on and rejected management's offer on Monday. Union officials said the offer would leave musicians' salaries "further behind the orchestras of Los Angeles and San Francisco."Association lead negotiator Steve Lester says the union's proposal addressed management's concern about pension funding "while guaranteeing the Musicians and the Orchestra the security deserved."



(Gibson City--jc)  -- Wanted, card players to help raise money for the Ford County Relay for Life. The Chic Meredith team is hosting a euchre party on Friday night at the Moyer Library. The dealing begins at 6-30 Friday night. There is a 10 dollar entry fee and snacks will be provided. To sign up call 217-784-5267 and leave your name and phone information.



(Cissna Park---jc)  They play volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter, and are also part of the F F A,  but now is the time to hit the stage in Cissna Park this weekend. High School students at Cissna Park High school will perform the musical “Beauty and the Beast on Friday and Saturday. Julian Stadeli plays the beast and Anna Jennings is Bell.

Christian Stadeli was cast as Gaston. Other performers are Connor Lober as Maurice,  Keegan Boyle as Cogsworth, Gavin Speers plays Lumiere. Also Bridgett Beltran as Mrs Pots and the Feather Duster played by Kristen Walder. Anna Hylbert is the Dresser. The performances are Friday and Saturday at 7pm You also will see Janette Beltran as LeFou and Miss Lillyana Verkler as young Chip.


You Must be 21 to Buy Tobacco Products, Beginning July 1

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a bill banning the sale of tobacco products to minors. Pritzker on Sunday signed legislation raising the legal age for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. With Pritzker's action, beginning on July 1, Illinois will join six other states and Washington, D.C. in banning sales to those under 21. The legislation also does away with penalties for underage possession. Businesses will face fines for selling to underage customers.


(Springfield--jc)  Young farmers in Illinois are getting a chance to develop skills with help from the Illinois Farm Bureau. Mike Doherty, senior economist and policy analyst at Illinois Farm Bureau, says  the bureau’s Young Leaders Program has become popular The program is for young farmers and farm couples and gets them involved in agriculture, exposing them to the decision making and the business of agriculture. The program is  geared toward men and women 18 to 35 years old who have a passion for all aspects of agriculture. Farm Bureau also has similar programing in several universities and community colleges.



(Roberts--jc)  -- A Car Show and dance is set for one Ford County town this July. The event is sponsored by the Living Word Church of Roberts on Saturday July 20th. The band Statesboro will be performing



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge has denied an ex-University of Illinois student's request to be granted his master's, withheld after allegations he sexually assaulted another student.  A due-process lawsuit was filed last month for the Indian citizen. It said he could lose his job if he didn't have the degree by April 15 and could be unable to extend his visa. The accusations were made after he graduated but before he got the degree. A school panel ended up dismissing him.



(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said Friday that the state's Medicaid program will use state and federal funds to cover sex reassignment surgery, but the governor's office hasn't said how much the policy change could cost. Pritzker’s administration said the state’s Medicaid program will begin covering gender-affirming surgeries for members under new policies being established. The proposed rule, the administration said, would allow Medicaid members 21 and older diagnosed with gender dysphoria to be eligible for genital and breast-related surgeries.About 1,400 of the state's 3.1 million Medicaid members are diagnosed with gender dysphoria, according to a news release from the governor's office. Last year, about 2,500 prescriptions for hormone therapy were covered.Coverage could be available starting this summer after a public comment period.


(Springfield--jc)  -- This is alcohol awareness month and the Illinois Department of Human Services says help is available for those struggling with addictions. It’s estimated one in every 12 adults suffer from alcohol dependence,which can lead to long term health problems says D-H-S Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin…



Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin



(Watseka--jc) -- Iroquois County leaders will look to approve a resolution and deeds for the sale of property in the delinquent tax process when they meet on Tuesday morning at 9. County leaders are also expected to join the city of Watseka in an electronic recycling event on June 1st.  Lease renewals will also be a topic for Iroquois County board members.



(Gibson CIty--jc)  106th District State Representative Tom Bennett continues to work from his home in Gibson City. Bennett reminds motorists to be safe and obey Scott’s law…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Paxton--jc)  Let the negotiations begin. Members of the Ford County Board will meet later this month or in early May to hammer out a new deal for the County’s Sheriff’s department. Local leaders say the state’s rising minimum wage could be a factor in negotiations. Board representatives will be meeting with reps from the Fraternal Order of Police Illini Lodge 17..


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul police continue to investigate reports of shots fired on Saturday morning around 11. Police says the shots were fired in the 15-Hundred block of Kessler Drive. Police believe an hispanic male was the target. Police are searching for a handful of high school aged males in connection with the incident.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A bill that would ban colleges from asking applicants about their criminal history would hurt campus safety efforts, according to police chiefs at several Illinois universities.The Democratic lawmaker who sponsored the Criminal History in College Applications Act said there's no proof that including such a question on college applications improves public safety and that it deters some people from applying. "Everyone deserves a second chance," said state Representative Mary Flowers, of Chicago. Aaron Woodruff, the police chief at Illinois State University, is among those who oppose the measure.


(Paxton--jc)  Paxton City Council members will look at the repair project for the Pells Park Pavilion when they meet tonight in monthly session. City leaders will also discuss stop signs at Franklin, High and Meridian Terrace. Motor Fuel tax money and road repair is also on the agenda. The Paxton City Council meeting comes to order at 7, on the second floor of city hall.


(Champaign--jc)  -- The local area and the state of Illinois has seen above precipitation since December. Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says that is the main reason that Spring flooding remains a possibility…



Illinois State Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kershner

(Rantoul--jc)  It’s Spring, so let the road construction begin. Work along Interstate 57 starts today on northbound and southbound lanes of I-57. The patching work also continues on I-74 in Champaign County. Illinois Department of Transportation officials remind motorists to slow down, do not used mobile devices  and move over so all workers can do their job safely.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- The United Fund Drive begins on Friday in Southern Iroquois County. The Ash Grove, Pigeon Grove and Fountain Creek townships are the area for the drive to fund 10 non for profit agencies. Officials with the United Fund Drive are looking for volunteer help in the Fountain Creek area. The fundraising then will continue through the month of April


(Springfield--jc)  -- One area Republican lawmaker is blasting the Democratic majority in Springfield over a measure to give money to all babies for a college tuition program. Republican State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur says Democrats have ignored suggestions from Republicans. Caulkins says lawmakers need to cut the budget, and get the Illinois economy back on track. In addition to reforming medicaid, Caulkins says that voters should have the opportunity to amend the state constitution to enact meaningful pension reforms. The Republican also said that raising taxes on everything is not the way to solve our fiscal problems.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Senate Democrats are stressing the need for an accurate cout in the 20-20 census. New legislation would provide 25 million dollars in grants for census education and local outreach efforts says Illinois State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood…



State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood

(Paxton--jc)  -- With a recommendation from it’s buildings and grounds committee, the Paxton Buckley Loda school board is expected to provide a date for a live auction of items at the soon to be razed Eastlawn School.  The local Ford County Historical Society will also save some items from the school. The PBL School board meets on Wednesday night at 7 at the high school in Paxton.

Paxton Community Sale set for 10am Saturday Morning

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A man who was upset that a landlord didn't return his security deposit has pleaded guilty to setting a fire that killed two brothers in Kankakee.  Alex Sawyer will be sentenced to 20 years to 30 years in prison after his guilty plea Thursday. A fire killed 4-year-old Justice Stewart and 2-year-old JuShaun Watson in 2016. The boys' mother, Crystal Ward, says she favored a plea deal instead of a trial because she didn't want "any chance" for Sawyer to be acquitted.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Supreme Court says a union lobbyist who worked just one day as a substitute is entitled to a teacher's pension, reinforcing its previous opinion that retirement benefits promised to public workers can't be "diminished or impaired." The 4-3 decision Thursday affected just one member of the Teachers' Retirement System. The court's opinion that pension cuts are unconstitutional has flummoxed lawmakers attempting to close a $134 billion shortfall.



(Washington--ba)-Many farmers in flood areas may be using the prevented planting features of their crop insurance policies this spring. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Springfield--jc)  -- As 2 Illinois State Police Troopers are laid to rest this week, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says more must be done to get the public to obey Scott’s Law. 16 troopers have been struck this year and the governor says these are senseless tragedies…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker




(Melvin--jc)  On your things to do list on Saturday, the band called Battle Creek Country is set to perform in Melvin.  The venue is the Melvin Community Hall at 7pm. Admission is 10 dollars and food will provided by those raising funds for the  Piper City Sesquicentennial Celebration.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinoisans already pay some of the highest taxes in the country at the pump. But a political problem for Gov. J.B. Pritzker could mean they’ll pay even more. How? Pritzker’s tax plan doesn't have enough support to pass the General Assembly. But some gifts, wrapped in a capital spending bill, could change that. Despite Democratic supermajorities in the House and Senate, Pritzker has thus far failed to push through one of his key campaign promises: a graduated, or progressive, income tax hike. The governor needs lawmakers to pass a constitutional amendment eliminating the state’s flat income tax protection, which would then head to voters on the 2020 ballot. But scheduling in the General Assembly indicates Pritzker will fail to get his amendment before a key deadline: April 12, when lawmakers leave Springfield for a two-week spring break. He’ll have to make another big push before session ends on May 31.



(Urbana--jc)  -Crimestoppers in Champaign County say that with the amount of shootings in the county, an initiative for a cash reward has started. The new idea is that anyone who contacts Champaign County Crimestoppers that leads to the arrest of a person who uses a gun during a felony crime will receive the maximum 1 thousand dollar rewards. To date three people have received the award and several more are pending. This deal runs through the end of the month. More information is found on the groups website.




(Gifford--jc)  -- A Coaches versus Cancer event is coming to one local venue later this month. Gordyville USA is the venue to for this years event on April 16th. It starts at 5-30 in the afternoon. U of I Basketball Coach Brad Underwood and other Illini coaches are expected to attend. Other activities with a silent auction, pictures and surprises hilite the event. Tickets may be purchased online at Coaches-versus-cancer-dot-Illinois-dot-com. Gordyville USA is donating the venue for the fundraiser.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The 20-19 Paxton Community Sale is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow, at Coady Park, located at the intersection of Fall and Summer streets on Paxton’s east side. Sponsored by the Paxton Park District, the Community Sale features live auctions and a flea market, along with food vendors.  Items may be brought to the sight starting at 1 this afternoon. Also starting again at 6 Saturday morning. The sale starts at 10 am sharp


(Springfield--jc)  -- Teens will learn more about giving consent in their sex education classes under a bill that pass the Illinois House on Thursday. The legislation provides a clear definition of what constitutes consent for teachers to talk about with students. It’s sponsored by State Representative Ann Williams of Chicago..



State Representative Ann Williams of Chicago


(Washington--ba)- The latest example of new meat cuts to generate consumer demand and sales involves a pork product using a rarely used muscle of the animal. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.




(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members will look at the golf co-op with Paxton Buckley Loda when they meet on Monday night in monthly session. Board members are also expected to post bid specs for the districts roof project and also look at summer hire positions. The Rantoul Township High School Board of Education meets on Monday night at 7 at the high school.



Champaign, Ill. – The State Farm Center announced Thursday that one of the most popular and indelible rock acts of all time, FOREIGNER, will perform on Sunday, June 23. FOREIGNER has sold over 80 million albums worldwide, with ten albums certified as multi-platinum, making them one of the best-selling music acts of all time. They join the list of 2019 State Farm Center headliners this spring that includes Kenny Chesney and Styx. Tickets go on sale to the public Thursday, April 11, at 10 a.m.



(Gibson City--jc)  Though working from home,106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City remains busy with legislation. Bennett says two bills have moved in the House this week including one to protect kids and another to award diplomas…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson city



(Rantoul--jc) --  If you see a bunch of runners at Rantoul Township high school later today there is a good reason. A 5-K run and walk event to support the R-T-H-S track program  and Rantoul Rockets summer track program is set just before 6. Registration begins at 4-30 at near the main gym at the high school.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- A fund drive in Southern Iroquois County begins one week from today. The United Fund Drive is being done in Pidgeon Grove, Ash Grove and Fountain Creek Townships in the Cissna Park area starting on the 12th. 10 groups will benefit from the money raised. The efforts will continue through the end of the month.


(Rantoul--jc) Rantoul Chamber officials are using its lunch and learn program this month to help small businesses and employees with retirement and savings plans. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen says some plans are available…



Rantoul Area CHamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen

The event is set for April 26th from 11am until 1pm. More information is found by calling the chamber at 893-3323.


(Paxton --jc)  The Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday will raise money for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Loda. The cookout takes place from 10am until 2pm. On the menu is pork chop sandwiches, chips and  pop.



(Rantoul--jc)  --A silent auction at the Rantoul Public Library March continues today. The event runs through today with efforts to raise funds for the library’s new roof! There are more than 100 items to choose from. Final bids tonight at 7pm. Library officials have around 90 thousand of the 150 thousand dollar project. More fundraising and a loan with the village is also helping fund the new roof project at the local library.



Illinois' State Treasurer Could Soon Become the Lien Holder of Your Student Loan Debt

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois’ state treasurer could soon become the lien holder of your student loan debt. An initiative of Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ office would allow him to refinance an Illinois resident’s college loans at low-interest rates in hopes that it will help them better afford their payments. The office could extend up to 5 percent of the $31 billion it manages to help with student loans. That's about $620 million. Local State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana says the program would help reduce the number of local student loan defaults. Ammons adds that the  goal is to get the interest rate low enough so that people can really afford to make their payments. If the bill passes. the interest rate would be set by the treasurer.The treasurer’s office said there would be an upfront cost of $150,000, but the interest on payments from students should then cover the administrative costs thereafter.


GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (AP) — A visitation and funeral are set for an Illinois State Police trooper who was killed when a wrong-way driver struck his squad car.State police say the visitation for 36-year-old Trooper Gerald Ellis will be this afternoon and funeral will be Friday morning at the College of Lake County's James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts in Grayslake. Ellis will have a private burial. Ellis died early Saturday in the accident along Interstate 94 in northern Illinois. He is the third state trooper to die in a traffic crash so far this year.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Each baby born or adopted in Illinois would get a savings account under a bill passed by the Illinois House on Wednesday. The state would kick off the account with a 50 dollar investment, in hopes parents will keep adding to it over the years. It’s sponsored by State Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston…



State Representative Robyn Gabel of Evanston

34 other states have a similar program. The cost would be 9 million dollars per year.



NEW YORK (AP) — Six states, including Illinois, and the District of Columbia sued the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday, saying it weakened nutritional standards in school breakfasts and lunches when it relaxed the requirements affecting salt and refined grains last year.The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court asked a judge to overturn the changes, saying they were carried out in an arbitrary and capricious manner. The government "significantly weakened" nutritional standards for sodium and whole grains, according to the lawsuit, without giving the public a chance to comment on them and in opposition to nutritional requirements for school meals set by Congress.



(Springfield--jc)  One Central Illinois Lawmaker is pushing for tougher penalties for Scott’s Law violators. 16 Illinois State Police Troopers have been struck by motorists not following the state’s move-over law this year. There have been 3 fatalities. State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield says his bill creates tougher laws…



State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield



(Buckley--jc) One question before village leaders in one southern Iroquois County is what to do now, that a referendum to upgrade its sewer system failed. The plan voted down by Buckley residents would have put approximately 3 to 4 million dollars in needed upgrades. Iroquois County officials and state officials say the situation with septic tanks and the aging sewer will not go away. Local leaders are expected to put together another plan when they meet as a new board with the Spring election completed


The Rantoul Beautification committee is hosting an event that spotlights local stars and a chance to raise money for projects. Rantoul’s Got Talent is a new venture says  Rantoul Beautification committee spokesperson Paula Hopkins.



Rantoul Beautification committee spokesperson Paula Hopkins.

The event is Sunday April 7th at 2pm at Rantoul Township High School.


(Springfield--jc) --  No local government in Illinois would be able to restrict collective bargaining issues for public or private unions under a measure that is one step closer to being sent to the governor’s office .State Representative Lance Yednock, Democrat of Ottawa, sponsored Senate Bill 14-74 in the House. Yednock says the U.S. Congress didn’t include political subdivisions in the National Labor Relations Act and doing so avoids confusion with the 7 thousand units of local government in Illinois.  


(Washington--jc)  Weather forecasters are predicting a wet Spring and that has issues for local and state to farmers around the country. U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey looks at the national numbers for topsoil as we start the month of April..



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey


(Springfield--jc)  --Legislators from both sides of the aisle are sitting down to begin hashing out details of the state budget with less than two months before the end of spring legislative session and the May 31 deadline to pass a budget with simple majorities. House Majority Leader Greg Harris, Democrat from  Chicago says that Democrats and Republicans would work together. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, Republican from Western Springs, says the state needs a balanced budget. Durkin says the governor indicated he had a 1 point 2 billion dollar increase in spending, and Durkin adds that Illinois needs to live within our means.A balance budget is a must for Durkin and measures to create jobs and help the economy Democrats are pushing for more gas taxes, a gambling tax and plastic bag tax to bring in more dollars to the state’s coffers..


(Springfield--jc)  Each baby born or adopted in Illinois would get a college savings account under a bill passed by the Illinois House on Wednesday. The account would be set up with 50 dollars from the state. The cost would be around 9 million dollars per year and the account would be handled by the state. State Representative Grant Wehrli of Naperville voiced his concern…



State Representative Grant Wehrli of Naperville




(Washington--jc)  Do you know how much food is wasted each year. You may be shocked to find out. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Farmer City--jc)  -- The 12th Annual Illini 100 presented by Douglas Dodge kicks off with Open practice from 6-9 tonight at the Farmer City Raceway. The campgrounds at the raceway will be open tonight.  One purse for the winner on Friday night is 6 thousand and the winner of the Illini 100 on Saturday nets a prize of 15 thousand dollars. The races kicks off a season a racing at the Farmer City Raceway.



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois Sheriff’s Association would like to announce the 2019 Officer Safety and Scott’s Law Safety Initiative. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Undated--jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the day is Butcher Boys Burgers in Rantoul. The local business  is celebrating its 9th anniversary all day on Friday. One way to celebrate tomorrow at Butcher Boys Burgers in Rantoul is free jello cake says owner Jerry Glazik...



Butcher Boys Burgers of Rantoul owner Jerry Glazik

The anniversary celebration is all day tomorrow with free jello cake.

You can hear the entire Business of the Day interview in our noon newsblock today

Area Elections Results are in

Election results

Champaign County

Steve Thomas was re-elected Mayor of Ludlow in Tuesday’s election He won over challenger Ross Radke

For Village of Rantoul Trustee. Elected are Hank Gamel, Gary Wilson and Sherry Johnson

For the 2 year position Mark Wilkerson was elected



Iroquois County

In the Iroquois West School district bond and buildings question. Voters said no to the proposal. 80 percent voting no and 20 percent voting yes. 1113 voting no and 285 voting yes

In spend up to 4 million dollars on the town’s sewer system. The vote was 93 No and 63 yes.

For Buckley Trustees. Elected are Shane Stachura, Ernie Hoopingarner and Ardell Goetting

Loda Village Trustee elected area Jon Boone, Ronda Breeden and Gene Breeden Junior


In Ford County

For Gibson City Alderman in Ward 2, Aaron Franks defeated Nelda Jordan 91 to 53. In Ward 4 Denis Fisher beat Laura Miller 40 t 28.

There were 23 write in votes for the City of Paxton Ward 1 position.


(Springfield--jc)  --Fewer Illinoisans enrolled in insurance plans offered through the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act as costs increased and the lawmakers eliminated the penalty for not having coverage.Nearly 7 percent fewer Illinoisans enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans this year than last, according to a Chicago Tribune report. Enrollment also declined nationally, by about 3 percent on average. In 2017, there were 334,979 consumers in Illinois who selected an exchange plan, numbers from the federal government show.  In 2018, there were 312,280, a decline of 6.77 percent. Goldwater Institute’s Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez Bauman said part of that has to do with the elimination of the federal penalty for not having health insurance coverage. Another factor is the increasing cost of health insurance coverage. U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, Republican from Taylorville, says insurance costs have gone up 108 percent since 2013 as competition has declined in most areas of Illinois where there are one and two providers.


(Springfield--jc)  -- April is Autism Awareness month in Illinois. Governor JB Pritzker says every Illinoisan deserves to reach their potential…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois will start selling beer in general seating areas at Memorial Stadium and State Farm Center this fall. School athletics officials said Tuesday that beginning with the 2019 football season beer will be available at several stands around Memorial Stadium, where the Illini football team plays. Alcoholic beverages will continue to be sold in premium seating areas. A portion of sales will go to pay for more police officers and additional security at home football games.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul officials welcomed a business making a move into a larger facility today. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on the west side of Rantoul for the new location of Insurance Providers. The business has been located on the former base for many years. With growth, the company needed a new space and will be operating at 423 South Murray Road in the village


CHICAGO (AP) — The Art Institute of Chicago has indefinitely postponed a major exhibit weeks before it was due to open, citing concerns that the culture and voices of indigenous peoples are not adequately represented. Native American scholars against the opening say that much of the Mimbres pottery came from one collector who stole the objects from ancestral gravesites. The Art Institute said in Monday's news release that officials realized the need to collaborate with voices connected to the Mimbres people.


(Washington--jc)  -- Many farmers are going to be playing catch-up with planting this year. Gary Crawford reports…



(Rantoul--jc)  -- One local church is set to celebrate its 65th anniversary on Sunday. The Bible Baptist Church was built on a lot along Chanute Street in Rantoul  and was incorporated in 1954. A new facility was built in 1975. The celebration service is set for 9-30 on Sunday morning.


(Iroquois County--jc)  Illinois State Troopers are working with the Illinois Department of Transportation on work zone safety. The efforts are in Iroquois County along Interstate 57 north of Clifton and into the Kankakee area. I-Dot officials and state police continue to remind the motoring public to slow down in construction zones, watch out for highway workers and move over for emergency vehicles.


(Bloomington--jc)  -- Bond was set at 25 thousand dollars for a Benson Illinois woman accused of embezzling more than 161 thousand dollars is cash from sales at The Bone Student Center at Illinois State University The Pantagraph reports that 58 year old Debbie White was arrested Monday morning. Officers say a live camera feed watched White’s actions. Her next court appearance is on April 12th.



(Rantoul--jc)  - - The Rantoul police department is raising awareness for Autism in the month of April. One Rantoul Police Department squad car has been marked with  special decals. April is autism awareness month. Facts about Autism include that 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Boys are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls. And autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. There is no medical detection for autism



(Gibson City--jc)  -- 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says bill 3-44 deals with electronic monitoring at some state centers. The bill is being heard in Springfield this session…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Roberts--jc)  -- Roberts Village leaders approved their annual appropriations ordinance at their monthly meeting this week. The ordinance was 3 point 4 percent higher than the previous year. Board members also learned that the local water tower needs inspected and lead paint issues could turn into a costly project for the village.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- K-Meg agents remind the public not to be the dealer. They have set up a drug take back day later this month. The event to bring unused or expired medication for safe disposal is Saturday April 27th from 10am to 2pm at the Northfield Square Mall in Bourbonais.


(Paxton--jc)  -- the 2019 Ford County Town and Country Art Show is coming on Sunday April 14th.  Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild says entries for students in the county is free and there is a small charge for adults…



Ford County Town and Country Art Show Spokesperson Shawn Fairchild


Spring Elections are Today

(Warren--jc)   Visitation and Funeral Service Information for a fallen Illinois State Police Trooper is set for today and tomorrow. Visitation for  Brooke Jones-Story is from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Warren High School in Warren. A Law Enforcement walk-through will begin at 6:00 p.m. Jones-Story’s funeral is  Wednesday afternoon at 2 at the high school. Our thoughts go out to Jones-Story’s family and friends. State police continue to tell motorists to slow down and move over during any emergency type situation.


-  Illinois lawmakers have introduced a bill that would mandate specific patient-to-nurse ratios in hospitals. Limiting the number of patients assigned to nurses at Illinois hospitals could potentially save lives. Lawmakers in the state have drafted legislation to help, but one medical professional said the proposed bill is lacking a crucial element.Catherine Ryan, clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Nursing, says nurses with a high number of patients assigned to them are exhausted, which makes it difficult to manage patients.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker's administration is pleased with the findings of a peer-reviewed study of a graduated income tax despite its conclusion that it would raise less revenue than the Democrat predicts. The study released on Monday by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal reviewed various scenarios for a system requiring the wealthy to pay more. Illinois has a 4.95% flat rate. Researchers determined that the governor’s proposal would raise $3.1 billion more annually. Pritzker says the estimate is 3 point 4 Billion dollars.Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner says the administration used more recent tax data not available at the time the study began. She says researchers based revenue on 2018 incomes. A tax-plan change would require voter approval in 2020 at the earliest. Pritzker's assumption draws on expected higher incomes in 2021.


(Paxton--jc  A warrant for failure to appear for a court appearance was ordered Monday for a Gibson City man. The warrant is for 43 year old Adit Bhiday of Gibson City. Bhiday is charged in Ford County court with 3 Class 4 felonies of disorderly conduct for allegedly threatening to blow up a gibson city school building. The warrant was issued at noon on Monday.



ST. LOUIS (AP) — A wall of rocks and sandbags is protecting scenic Clarksville, Missouri, from the surging Mississippi River as the spring flood closed roads, threatened homes and temporarily shut down a bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois. Another round of heavy rain over much of the Midwest on Saturday caused another spike in water levels along the Mississippi River and many of its tributaries, especially in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.


(Undated--jc)  -- Measles cases for the first 3 months of 20-19 have surpassed the amount of cases in 20-18. WPXN News Reporter Braedon Arnett has the details…



The measles outbreak in Champaign County has been closed by Champaign County Health Department officials. The last measles case in Champaign County was in mid February.



(Washington--ba)-An enhanced online tool will be available to help people make sense of the data in the upcoming Census of Agriculture. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Springfield--jc)  --Governor JB Pritzker is reminding low income taxpayers to see if they are eligible for the earned income tax credit. Workers earning 54 thousand dollars or less show familiarize themselves with the E-I-T-C. Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman says people often miss out on the credit…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Terry Horstman



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Thrift Shop has its semi-annual bag sale. It starts on Wednesday where the cost is 3 dollars per bag. Thursday and Friday is twenty five cents per bag and free on what is left on Saturday. The Paxton Thrift Shop is located at 110 North Market in Paxton.


(Undated--jc)  The polls are open for  Spring election day. Contested races in Ford County include a Ward 2 race for Gibson City Alderman between Nelda Jordan and Aaron Franks. There is another contested race for the Gibson City Council between Laura Miller and Denis Fisher. One race has two candidates running with 3 positions open. That race is for Paxton Buckley Loda School Board. Running on the ballot are Steve Pacey and Dana Bergandine.

In Vermilion County, among contested races. Four are running for 2 spots on the Hoopeston Area School Board. They are Lee Cox, Chris Small, Dave McFadden and Connie Catron. Another Hoopeston Area School board race is between Rich Eisenmann and JoHanna Gash.

In Iroquois County, a contested race for Iroquois West School board. 5 are running for 4 positions. Candidates area Clinton Perzee, Rodger Bennett, Amy Jo Schunke, Robert Cramer and Adam Vice.

In Champaign County 4 candidates are running for 3 positions on the Gifford School District Board. They are Caroline Franzen, Alyson Suits, Michael Schluter and Traci Harris. In Ludlow, incumbent Village President Steve Thomas is being challenged by village trustee Ross Radke for Ludlow Village President.


(Springfield--  The death of another Illinois State Trooper over the weekend will likely have more Illinois lawmakers looking to do something more to protect troopers and punish drivers who fail to follow state laws.One central Illinois lawmaker said the state has to do better. Trooper Gerald Ellis died early Saturday after being struck by a wrong-way driver in the Chicago suburbs. He is the third State Trooper to die so far this year. The other two, Trooper Brooke Jones-Story and Trooper Christopher Lambert, died in roadside wrecks. State Rep. Tim Butler said Illinois' existing law that requires drivers to move over for troopers, Scott's Law, is not enough.


Gilman--jc)  -- Voters go to the polls  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. Polls are open and run til 7pm tonight..


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul’s loan committee will look at requests for loans this afternoon.  Jennifer Kitchens is looking for a loan of 30 Thousand dollars to purchase and operate the Hap-E-Dog Bath Haus at the Rantoul Plaza Shopping Center. Jorge Maltos is seeking 50 thousand dollars for building costs and also adding an outdoor seating area for Casa Fiesta Restaurant on east Sangamon Avenue in the village. The Village loan committee will also hear about a request  for 350 thousand dollars in an Economic Development Assistance loan that is being requested by Vijay Patel for structure and parking lot improvements at the Maple Grove Plaza. The committee meets at 1 this afternoon in the municipal building on Tanner Street.


(Rantoul--jc)  There are several contested races in the village of Rantoul for election day today. They include.. For Village Board 4 are running for 3 positions. They are Hank Gamel, Chad Smith, Sherry Johnson and Gary Wilson. Another contested race for village trustee for a two year term is between Mark Wilkerson and Jasmyne Boyce.

-6 candidates are for running for 3 seats on the Rantoul City Schools school board. They are incumbents Joan Fitzgarrald and John Brotherton. Others are board appointee Andy Graham  along with Jack Anderson, Joe Robinson and Edwin Everly.

-For Rantoul Township High School board, 5 are seeking 3 positions on the local school board. They are incumbents Janet Brotherton, Roger Quinlan and Jeremy Larson and challengers Monica Hall and Matthew Walters..


(Washington--ba)-Wheat acreage this season was expected to be down, but USDA’s planting intentions report shows some larger than expected reductions for some types of wheat. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Gibson City--jc) Working from his home, 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City continues to work on some measures getting some attention in the state. Bennett says House Bill 25-83 deals with water districts…



Bennett adds he continues to be grateful for the support from everyone...



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Springfield--jc) Democrats seeking to change the state's flat income tax to a graduated structure with higher tax rates for higher earners have challenged opponents to present other viable options for addressing the state's financial problems. Republican lawmakers have suggested ways to cut state spending, but those plans are unlikely to advance in Springfield, where Democrats control both chambers of the legislature with supermajorities and have the governor's mansion. And Republicans have yet to present a unified plan. One Republican lawmaker said residents should get a chance to vote on whether or not to keep the pension protection clause in the state constitution. That clause protects promised pensions from being reduced. Republican State Representative. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills, who for years has been pushing for Illinois to cut spending, answered that charge. He said changes are needed to reduce the growing cost of pensions for retired state workers. He says that is where the state’s money is going.


(Paxton--jc)  The annual Paxton Chamber of Commerce Annual meeting is set for two weeks from today at Englebrecht Farms. Paxton Chamber Director Ashley Tolley says a catered meal is part of the event…



Paxton Chamber Director Ashley Tolley.

Those wishing to attend are asked to R-S-V-P to the chamber by Friday.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County Service Group is set for a ball with a ballgame theme. The Gibson City Rotary Club 20-19 Rotary Ball takes place on Friday April 12th at the Sand Trap in Gibson City. A meal begins at 6-30 that evening with music provided by Labido Funk Circus starting at 7-30. Tickets with the meal are 25 dollars and tickets without the meal are 15 dollars. The theme is baseball and the public is invited to attend, wear your favorite team colors for a fun evening on the 12th.

The Death of Third Illinois State Trooper This Year, Caused by Wrong Way Driver

GREEN OAKS, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois State Police trooper was killed early Saturday when a wrong-way driver struck his squad car, the third death of a state trooper this year and second in three days. The driver of the other vehicle also was killed, said acting Illinois State Police director Brendan Kelly. The driver wasn't identified. State police say 36-year-old Trooper Gerald Ellis was driving home Saturday when he was hit at about 3:25 a.m. in Green Oaks.


CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois could lose more than $18 million in funding if it doesn't speed up processing times on food stamp applications within the next month. The  USDA, which runs the food stamp program, sent the Illinois Department of Human Services a letter saying that the agency has until April 21 to improve timeliness or develop an effective strategy to make it happen. Illinois is among the 10 worst states for timeliness rates.


WILLOWBROOK, Ill. (AP) — A new state report has found women and girls living near a suburban Chicago plant had higher than expected rates of certain cancers associated with ethylene oxide exposure. The Illinois Department of Public Health released the data Friday. It's the first tally of cancer cases in west suburban communities near the Sterigenics facility. Sterigenics says the state lacks information about other potential cancer factors. The state shut down the plant last month.


(Springfield--jc)  Some Republican Senators in Springfield continue to try bring a proposal concerning any new tax on Illinoisans. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the state should use a supermajority vote not just a majority vote to raise taxes on Illinoisans…



53 District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington




(Urbana--jc)   A pair of Rantoul men are expected to be formally charged later today for possession of cannabis and ecstasy. After a traffic stop along Interstate 57,  24 year old Stephon Austin and 21 year old Buddy Tackett-Anderson are due back in Champaign County court today.


(Springfield-jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are closer to sending Governor J.B. Pritzker legislation that would allow for more college students at public universities to unionize. Former Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed similar legislation last year. State Representative Will Guzzardi’s legislation would classify research assistants working in Illinois’ public universities as formal employees.State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said Guzzardi’s bill would push the cost of college tuition higher for Illinois’ public schools. The University of Illinois system has had two graduate student strikes in the last year. This legislation would allow research assistants to unionize and, potentially, strike if they cannot come to terms with the school on issues related to their working.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- One Rantoul business is set for a ribbon cutting for its new location next week.  Insurance Providers Group of Rantoul is moving to a larger location along Murray Road on the west side of the village. The ribbon cutting is set for 11-30 Tuesday Morning. Along with representatives from the business, Rantoul village leaders and chamber officials will help with the ceremony on Tuesday morning.


(Washington--ba)-How can you keep your freezer food safe in a power outage? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Watseka--jc)  Some new jobs are on the way in the Iroquois County city of Watseka. T and D Metals has purchased the former Big R building along route 24. The company plans to use the facility for a manufacturing project. Between 30 and 35 jobs are expected with the new facility.




(Rantoul--jc)  One Rantoul township High School Class used their expertise to help the track team. Mr Bud Root’s metal class constructed some hurdle carts to make it easier to transport hurdles. The track coaching staff and members of the Eagle track team thanked the class for the carts.



(Springfield--jc) Snap benefits are ready. Kim Howard reports…



(Rantoul--jc) On Friday, Rantoul Police Detectives continued the investigation into the shooting reported on March 28. As a result, the METRO SWAT team executed a search warrant in the 200 block of W. Frost Avenue in the village. In addition to the METRO SWAT team, Rantoul Police were assisted in the investigation by members of the Champaign County Street Crimes Task Force. No arrests have been made to this point and the investigation continues.If anyone has information on the identity of the suspect or vehicle used in this crime they are encouraged to call the Rantoul Police Department at  893-5600 or Champaign County Crime Stoppers at (217) 373-8477.


WARREN, Ill. (AP) — Funeral services are set for an Illinois State Police trooper who was struck and killed by a truck last week during a traffic stop. A visitation for Trooper Brooke Jones-Story will be held Tuesday at Warren High School in the northwestern Illinois community of Warren. Funeral services for the 34-year-old officer will be Wednesday, also at the high school, followed by a private burial. Jones-Story was fatally struck Thursday by a truck as she was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle in Freeport.


(Champaign County--jc)  -- Local Fire departments were busy battling  several fires including two house fires in northern Champaign County over the weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, firefighters were called to a Penfield home. The two story house was a total loss and initial reports say the blaze was caused by a furnace issue. One resident of the house, Jim Evans, was taken to a local hospital suffering smoke inhalation. On Sunday, Rantoul firefighters were called to a home on Maplewood Drive on the east side of town. The call came in around 4-30 Sunday morning. The home, owned by Jerry Glazik, was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived. A fireplace heater is believed to be the cause of that house fire.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Fifty years after the University of Illinois opened an African-American cultural program, the group is moving into a permanent home. The News-Gazette reports that construction of the $5.9 million glass-and-brick structure for the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center is nearly complete. The center's director says a "soft opening" is planned this spring. A grand re-opening event will be held in the fall to commemorate the center's 50th anniversary.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Preserving items at Eastlawn School in Paxton will be one topic for the Paxton Buckley Loda School Board Buildings and Grounds committee tonight. The committee is also expected to hear an update on the demolition of the aging facility as students will move into a new school next fall. Lee Farms Excavating of Thawville has been hired to tear down the Eastlawn school later this summer. That project is set to begin around August  26th with asbestos abatement and the demolition to follow. Cost to tear down the nearly 100 year old building is one point 5 million dollars.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Chamber officials have announced an addition to this summer’s Freedom Celebration. Hall Brothers Racing of Rantoul will be participating in the local event. Hall Brothers Racing will be offering rides in the Raminator Monster Truck. All of the money raised for the rides will benefit  The Rantoul Veteran’s Memorial. Plans continue for the annual celebration set for the 4th of July holiday this year.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former Springfield man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for Medicaid fraud. A federal judge sentenced 53-year-old Kevin Schaul on Friday. He must also pay restitution of nearly $583,000. Schaul now lives in Augusta, Missouri. He pleaded guilty in August to five counts of health care fraud related to his business. Childrite Medical Supply Inc. sold incontinence products to Medicaid recipients.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A graduated income tax could narrow Illinois' growing income disparity, cut property — as well as income — tax bills and deliver billions of dollars in extra annual revenue to combat state deficits and underfunded public schools and infrastructure, according to a study released. The peer-reviewed exam by the Project for Middle Class Renewal and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute constructed eight scenarios based partly on progressive income tax structures among Illinois neighbors. The Associated Press obtained the study in advance of its release.


(Watseka--jc)  The Iroquois County management committee will look at some county farm management issues when they meet this morning in Watseka.  Building efficiencies, a panic button discussion and some leases contracts are all on the agenda. The committee meets at 9 this morning at the administrative center in Watseka



(Ludlow--jc)  -- Ludlow Grade School is looking for its next class of kindergarten students. Parents or guardians are asked to call the school office at 27-396-5261 to pre register those kids who will be five years of age by September First. The pre registration runs from April 1st to May 17th.



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