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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-05

People Who Have Firearm Owner Identification Cards May Soon Need to be Fingerprinted

(Springfield--ba)  -- People who have firearm owner identification cards may soon need to be fingerprinted under legislation passed this week in the Illinois House. Under legislation approved in the Illinois House  this week, fingerprints would be required for anyone who applies for or renews a Firearms Owners Identification Card.   The fingerprint data base would be available to the Illinois State Police investigating other cases. The measure passed 62 to 52 and now goes to the Senate. 106th district State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson voted against the bill and spoke against it during floor debate.



State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur voted against the bill and spoke against it during floor debate.



State Representative Dan Caulkins of Decatur

The issue is now in the Illinois Senate today


Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is below the middle of the pack when it comes to best and worst states for jobs.Consumer finance website WalletHub ranked Illinois No. 31.Of the factors reviewed, Illinois had the 45th worst commute time, was 39th for unemployment rate, 38th for job satisfaction, 35th for job opportunity and 30th for employment growth.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The state of Illinois is looking to start putting away some money for kids to go to college.The Illinois Senate on Wednesday approved a plan that would set aside $50 for all kids born or adopted in the state after Jan. 1, 2021. State Senator Pat McGuire said the idea is to save something for college.State Senator Jacqueline Collins said $50 isn't much, but anything helps. The state is setting aside $10 million to start the saving accounts. The plan now goes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker's desk.



(Washington--ba)-Severe weather events are bad enough, but when the bad weather keeps coming, it's really a problem. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.





(Springfield--ba)-Governor J-B Pritzker has activated the Illinois National Guard to help with flooding along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.  Historic flooding is affecting many communities and the forecast continues to call for more rain. Governor Pritzker says this is a grave situation and that the state is here to help.



Governor J-B Pritzker


(Paxton--ba) --  A local mobile food pantry event is being held in Paxton next month. Paxton Mobile Food Pantry Spokesperson  Judy Popel says to sign up and make sure to bring boxes for the food...



Paxton Mobile Food Pantry Spokesperson Judy Popel


(Gibson City--jc)  --One local church has made its last payment on the church property and they are celebrating on Sunday. The Gibson City Bible Church has been located along Route 47 since 2003. Church goers will take part in a lunch and free concert in the 26 thousand square foot facility on June 2nd.Church services begin at 10-30 on Sunday morning



(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday is pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda.The money raised goes to the Knights and Columbus. The cookout runs from 10am to 2pm.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Democrats who control the Illinois House on Thursday approved tiered income-tax rates that would take effect if voters opt for revamping state taxation to hit higher incomes harder, a plan they say is aimed at attacking the state's crippling debt. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Senate will take up expanded protections for abortion after committee endorsement. The Public Health Committee approved Grayslake Democratic Sen. Melinda Bush's measure Thursday. Abortion is legal in Illinois because decades-old statutes restricting it have been overruled by court rulings. But at least six Republican-leaning states have curbed abortion rights. Conservatives hope that legal challenges on the issue will persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to repeal legalized abortion.


(Springfield--ba)  --People who have firearm owner identification cards may soon need to be fingerprinted under legislation passed this week in the Illinois House. Under legislation,  fingerprints would be required for anyone who applies for or renews a Firearms Owners Identification Card.   The fingerprint data base would be available to the Illinois State Police investigating other cases. The measure passed 62 to 52.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — The man who became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent for crimes in Illinois has admitting abusing two boys in Missouri. Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts for crimes that occurred in the early 1990s. He was serving at a parish in north St. Louis County at the time. The 74-year-old now lives in suburban Chicago. Church and court files say he has admitted abusing as many as 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California. He was removed from the ministry in 2002.


(Paxton--ba) --  The Grand Ole Flag project is proceeding with a June 14th launch date for fundraising. Paxton Fire Chief Denny Kingrien says the plan is to start the paver bricks fundraiser on flag day in June....


Paxton Fire Chief and Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Midwestern farmers are enduring a spring like no other. Most of the nation's corn and soybeans are grown in the Midwest, and farmers in the region have for years struggled with low prices that got even worse due to a trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Amid those problems, farmers haven't been able to plant because of seemingly endless storms. President Donald Trump promised $16 billion in aid but that led to confusion because details about the payments won't be released until later.


(Springfield--ba) Students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class will be automatically admitted to some state universities under a bill headed to the governor’s desk. The idea is to help keep students in Illinois and increase minority enrollment. Graduates in the top 10 percent who also meet a college’s S-A-T or A-C-T requirements will be accepted automatically. Representative Andre Thapedi of Chicago says it only applies to Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Illinois universities.



Representative Andre Thapedi of Chicago


(Melvin--)  --Appearing tomorrow at the Melvin Community Hall is Stillgrass. They provide a celebration of song with foot stompin’ fun, back porch harmonies and a harvest of tone. Doors open at 5:30pm. Show starts at 7pm. Adults $10 kids 10 and under are free. Food will be served by the melvin United Methodist Church.


(Potomac--jc)  --- The Potomac library will be closed starting Monday and running through Thursday next week. The reason is so Director Elizabeth Osborn can attend a workshop in the state capitol. Summer hours at the library starting the following week will be 10am to 3pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays/

World Punkin Chunkin Championship Coming to Rantoul

(Springfield--jc)  --Restrictions on home cultivation and a tightened process for clearing past pot convictions helped move the plan to passage. The Democratic-led chamber approved it 38-17 Wednesday night.The measure would allow residents 21 and older to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries. Possession of up to once ounce (30 grams) would be allowed for residents. Non-residents could possess 15 grams.


(Urbana--jc)  -- A Rantoul man was sentenced to 6 years in prison for his 15th conviction for driving under revocation.  Judge Brett Olmstead sentenced 34 year old Edward Duckworth to the prison term on Wednesday in Champaign County court.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The cost of a sports court in Rantoul will be 150 thousand dollars. 30 thousand dollars has been given by Rantoul City Schools. The new courts will be for tennis, volleyball and pickleball. The local Rotary club has also pitched in 5 thousand dollars. Rantoul Park Board officials say they will be issuing 120 thousand dollars in bonds to help pay for the project.


(Washington--ba)-The newest USDA forecast continues to project a small price hike for grocery store food this year. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports...




(Buckley--jc)  The 67th Buckley and Buckley Loda High School Alumni Banquet takes place on June 8th at the 103 Restaurant and Bar in Buckley. Tickets are 25 dollars. A social hour starts at 5 with dinner at 6. Tickets are available by calling the Buckley State Bank. Reservations are needed by June First.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The parents of a visiting University of Illinois scholar who disappeared two years ago have arrived in Illinois from China for the trial of the man accused of abducting and killing her.  Ronggao Zhang and Lifeng Ye arrived in Champaign with their son. Their daughter, Yingying Zhang, vanished from the Urbana-Champaign campus in June 2017. Former student Brendt Christensen is charged with killing Zhang, whose body hasn't been found.. Christensen is due back in court today.


(Sibley--jc)  -- The Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive is set to make another run this summer. The event takes place on July 7th. Event Spokesperson Russ Tjarks says this year’s run will take the drive to the Fairbury area…



Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks.

More information is found by calling 217-249-2377



(Springfield--jc) -- Continued wet weather is leaving corn and soybean planting more than 50 percentage points behind the 5 year average. One day was suitable for fieldwork this past week says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

14 percent of soybeans are now planted. Last year 89 percent of soybeans were planted by this date.


(Rantoul--jc)  The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting several free movies this Spring and Summer. The first movie is set for June 12. The feature film is “Ralph breaks the Internet-2.” Those attending the showing at Willow Pond Golf course have the opportunity to win a cool prize from WPXN radio. One lucky person will win 4 passes to Knight’s Action Park in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are winding down their spring session facing several outstanding issues. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn Friday until the fall. Legislators must adopt a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Other prominent issues include a multibillion-dollar state construction plan and proposals for sports betting. Lawmakers also want to set rates for a proposed graduated income-tax structure that goes to voters late next year.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Some Illinois lawmakers want to change how much money fired college coaches can collect.A bill has been approved in the House and the Senate that would amend the state’s Government Severance Pay Act, signed into law last August by then Gov. Bruce Rauner. The measure came in the wake of large exit packages for former Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker and former College of DuPage President Robert Breuder.The existing law ends severance for executives fired for misconduct and limits severance packages to 20 weeks’ salary for others. The pending proposal would exempt from that provision any college athletic department employees who are paid through non-state-appropriated funds. University officials who support the bill have said the change would only apply to employees who are not paid via taxpayer dollars. Jonathan Lackland, director of governmental relations for Illinois State University, said the amendment helps to close “loopholes” in severance packages.



(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Senate has voted to legalize recreational  marijuana. The bill allows Illinoisans 21 and over to possess up to 30 grams of pot starting in January of next year. Those with a medical marijuana card could grow their own marijuana at home. The bill is supported by 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. The issue now goes to the Illinois House for consideration today


(Onarga--jc)  An idea garden is the focus of an open house in June in Onarga. The Ford  Iroquois Master Gardeners are holding the event from 10am until noon on Saturday June 22nd at the Onarga Library. Those attending the open house will learn about things like composting, weed control and bees. More information is found by contacting the extension office in Onarga.



(Rantoul--jc) --  The World Punkin Chunkin Championship is coming to Rantoul. In updating our story from Wednesday, the event will take place on the location of the former Chanute Air Force Base in November.  Officials with the event say it will draw tens of thousands of spectators and participants from around the world. The event will run November first, second and third. Reaction to the news from Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen



(Rantoul --jc)   The village of Rantoul received more positive news on Wednesday. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says Rantoul was chosen as one of 15 supersites for its 500 acre tract to get help in development…



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer



(Watseka--jc)  The 20-19 Iroquois-Ford Relay for Life event is set for Friday June 7th. The event takes place in Watseka at the high school track. The day begins at 5pm. A luminaria ceremony, survivor lap, and caregiver walk will be part of the event. Several Ford County teams are raising money for the event including those with the Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois, Gibson Area Hospital and the Sibley Burr Oaks Tractor Drive team. Help your favorite individual or team by donating on line today.


More Severe Weather Hits the Area

(Vermilion County--jc) --  Some severe weather occurred Tuesday night in Vermilion County.  Several Tornado touchdowns were recorded in the county near Danville and Henning. Also golf ball size hail was reported in Fisher and Northern Champaign County. No word on damage reports was provided.


(Springfield--jc) --Illinois was ranked the 35th best state in the nation, based on criteria such as health care, public education and economic growth, according to a new analysis by U.S News. The ranking included more than 70 metrics aimed at measuring how well states are working on behalf of their residents. Weighted most heavily in the analysis was health care quality, access and affordability, followed by the performance of their K-12 schools and higher education systems. Illinois ranked 22nd among the states on health care, 19th on education, 41st on its economy and 24th on infrastructure.


(Springfield--jc)  - More reaction from Springfield, after a vote to send a progressive tax issue to the voters in November of next year. Supporters say taxing people based on their income is fairer than taxing  everyone at the same rate. Additionally, State Representative Robert Martwick, Democrat from Chicago says this tax will generate new revenue..



Opponents, like Republican State Representative Mark Batinick of Plainfield

argue this will be bad for business and make it easier for lawmakers to continue to raise income tax rates…




Republican State Representative Darren Bailey of Louisville agrees with Batinick…



Voters will be asked about moving to a graduated tax on the November 20-20 ballot.



Washington--jc)  -- There are three parts of USDA's trade relief strategy for farmers hurt by trade disruptions. Stephanie Ho reports..



(Paxton--jc)  -- A resolution passed in Springfield will designate a section of Illinois route 9 in Paxton after a police officer fatally injured in the line of duty. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says resolution 77  names Route 9 in Paxton between Washington and High as the “Trooper Marvin C Archer Memorial Road”...



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

On June 18, 1946 Illinois State Police Trooper Marvin C. Archer, a World War II veteran, was killed in a gunfight while attempting to apprehend two vehicle thieves at the intersection of Illinois Routes 6 and 9 near Paxton. WPXN News will have more from Representative Bennett on our Noon news cast today.


(Paxton--ba)-One local school district is looking for sponsors for an upcoming running event.

The Paxton Buckley Loda Booster Club is organizing an running a Do or Dye 5k run on July 4th, and is looking to have any local associations or businesses to help sponsor the event. There are 3 different tiers of sponsors, and some benefits include having an advertisement along the course as well as large ads on the competitor’s T-shirts. You can visit the PBL Booster Club’s Facebook page for more information.




(Ford County--jc)  Want to be a County Fair Queen?  Then the place to be tonight at 6 is Kief Realty downtown Paxton. The 2019 Miss Ford County Fair Queen Pageant will be  held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 24, at the Ford County fairgrounds in Melvin. Any female at least 16 years old and not older than 21 by Jan. 1, 2020, is eligible to participate.   


(Springfield--jc)  --The Illinois House has endorsed expanded abortion protections as a half-dozen other states strive to restrict the procedure. Chicago Democratic Representative Kelly Cassidy's Reproductive Health Act was approved 64-50 this week.  It rescinds 45-year-old regulations on abortion which court injunctions have long blocked. It requires insurance coverage for abortions, contraception and related medical care Cassidy repeatedly maintained that the measure simply codifies existing practice. She says restrictions in other states will become tests for a U.S. Supreme Court with two recent appointees who oppose the 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing abortion..  Rockford Representative Maurice West is a minister. He says he has received death threats because he supports the measure…




Representative Avery Bourne of Raymond opposed the abortion expansion measure…





CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Chicago says it will be the first U.S. university to create a school of molecular engineering, thanks to a $100 million donation. The university announced Tuesday that the new school will be known as the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. It will be supported by a gift from the Pritzker Foundation. It's the university's first engineering school and its first new school in three decades.


(Paxton--ba)-What's expected this year, in terms of hurricanes? USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP) — After several quiet years, the central United States is seeing an unusual surge in tornadoes thanks to persistent cold in the Rockies and warm, moist air from the Southeast that keeps churning into a volatile mix. The U.S. has experienced a lull since 2012, with tornado counts tracking at or below average each year and meteorologists still working to figure out why.


(Springfield--jc)  Continued reaction from Springfield after lawmakers approved a progressive tax measure that will be put to the voters next year. Decatur Republican Dan Caulkins says the graduated tax is a jobs costing tax…



State Representative Dan Caulkins-Republican from Decatur.



ASHKUM – Illinois State Police  District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announces the results of Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols held in Kankakee, Iroquois, and Ford Counties on May 20. These OREPs provided extra patrol coverage for state police, so officers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up. During the detail, troopers handed out 17 seat belt citations.



(Rantoul--jc)  Summer vacation has just begun, but one local school is set to remind parents and guardians of registration for the 20-19 20-20 school year. The J W Eater school will host centralized registration on August first from 8am until 8pm.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County town will be cleaning up in mid June. Gibson City leaders have set June 15th as community clean up day. More information is found by contacting city hall .


Illinois House voted to Pass An Amendment That would Eliminate Illinois' Flat Income Tax Protection.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 27, 2019) – The Illinois House voted 73-44 Monday to pass Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1, an amendment that would eliminate Illinois’ flat income tax protection. The measure will allow lawmakers to double or triple tax the same dollar earned, and open the door for the nation’s highest tax on business income. Now, an amendment to change Illinois’ income tax structure will appear on the November 2020 ballot.  Reaction from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A House Democrat is reviving a plan to expand casino gambling in Illinois by linking it to a popular sports betting measure. Blue Island Democratic Rep. Robert Rita got Executive Committee approval Monday to proceed with the long-discussed plan. It would allow a land-based casino in Chicago and riverboat casinos in Rockford, Lake County, the south suburbs of Chicago, Danville and southern Illinois with additional gambling at existing sites including horse racing tracks.


CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago Tribune investigation suggests that tens of thousands of Illinois residents whose gun licenses have been revoked could still have firearms The problem was underscored in February when a man killed five former colleagues and wounded five police officers in Aurora, using a gun he kept despite the revocation of his Firearm Owner's Identification card in 2014. The Tribune reports that since 2015, nearly 27,000 Illinois residents whose FOID cards have been revoked haven't updated authorities on what they have done with their guns. Local police departments are supposed to ensure those whose licenses have been revoked surrender their permits and transfer firearms to police or a legal gun owner.Acting Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says he's shocked by "the depth and breadth of the problem."



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — People who have records of extraordinary service to improving conservation efforts and outdoor recreation in Illinois are eligible for induction into the state's Outdoor Hall of Fame . The Illinois Conservation Foundation announced this week that it's accepting nominations for the 2019 Hall of Fame class. The foundation since 2002 has recognized people who have promoted fishing, hunting, conservation and safety education, led efforts to preserve or enhance fish and wildlife habitat or to protect and restore state lakes and rivers.Nominees will be inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame this fall at the annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Gala.Nominations must be submitted on the official form by June 30.


(Gilman--jc)  -- Farmers continue to try to get the corn and soybeans planted this Spring. One potential cash crop new to the area and state is hemp. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece says there is opportunity, but with opportunity a place to take a crop is also needed…



Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.


Champaign--jc)  Local craft beer could soon be more expensive in Illinois under the governor’s proposal to increase alcohol taxes to help pay for infrastructure projects.As a way to increase revenue for new statewide construction projects, some at the statehouse are looking to increase taxes on a range of things. Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office has proposed doubling the motor fuel tax, increasing vehicle registration fees, placing a surcharge on ride-sharing services, imposing a 7 percent tax on streaming media services and even increased taxes on alcoholic beverages, including beer.Matt Potts of Destihl Brewery in Normal and Champaign said Illinois craft beer industry brings economic activity to the state and shouldn't be subject to a sin tax.Potts says increasing taxes is the wrong approach. He said lower taxes allow businesses to grow, which helps fill state coffers through increased payroll taxes and other economic activity. He said that was evident when the federal government recently lowered excise taxes for beer.



(Decatur--jc) --  Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  Reaction to the day from State Representative Dan Caulkin, Republican from Decatur…



State Representative Dan Caulkins, Republican from Decatur.



(Paxton--jc)  - Volunteers with the Paxton Auxiliary and Paxton American Legion Post say the donations were above what they expected during the Poppy Days collections in the downtown area of Paxton and the Paxton IGA Friday and Saturday. The money raised will be deposited later today. All those with the collection efforts say “Thanks” to all who donated and helped.


(Undated--jc)  There were hundreds of Memorial Day Observances throughout the area on Monday. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the day is the day to remember those who served…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are expected to address an ordinance proposal concerning  solar and wind energy when they meet tonight. Another agenda items is a facade grant for Syd and Sadie’s Boutique at 102 North Sangamon in the city. City council members will also look to amend a loan agreement with Gibson Area Hospital and a special license for the Bayern Stube for the Friday Night Under the Lights events. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 tonight



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois House Monday passed a bill to require protections on closed ash impoundments, a measure long sought by environmental advocates in the state with the nation’s most coal ash repositories and it is good news for Vermilion County. Senate Bill 9 orders the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to develop rules regarding the closure of coal ash repositories and creates a process for public input on individual closure plans that must be filed with the state. House bill sponsor, State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian says the process will provide more safeguards than exist under federal coal ash rules…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian


(Paxton--jc)  -- This week is the scheduled start for Carle Hospital to begin to tear down the former Paxton Hospital Building. The local health care company has announced no new plans for the space, but helping the city reclaim the area along route 9 in the city.



(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West school board members will look at an interim superintendent position when they meet this afternoon in special session. The meeting comes to order at 5-30 this afternoon in the high school board room in Gilman. Also at 7 tonight, the Iroquois West School Board will continue negotiations with employees of the district concerning a new contract. That meeting will be in closed session



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — House Democrats in Illinois have advanced a measure to replace the state's abortion law with less restrictive language that gives people "a fundamental right" to make decisions about their reproductive health. A House committee approved the legislation on a party-line vote, sending it to the House floor today. All committee Republicans voted no. Among other provisions, the bill requires private health insurance companies that cover pregnancy-related benefits to cover abortion. Supporters say the measure is necessary to counter other states' action to restrict abortion procedures and the appointment of U.S. Supreme Court justices who oppose abortion.Republicans criticized Democrats, who control the Legislature and the governor's office, for holding the hearing on the Sunday night of a holiday weekend and posting notice just one hour before the hearing.


(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County E-M-A officials continue to provide updates on properties in the Watseka area devastated by the recent straight line winds and severe thunderstorms earlier this month.on the recovery. Power outages have been restored caused by storms on May 23rd. Lutheran Church Charities continues to help with crews with clean up efforts. Roads are almost all back to normal this morning.



(Melvin--jc)  The group Stillgrass is set to perform in Melvin at the Community Center on Saturday night at 7.  Tickets are 10 dollars. The doors open at 5-30. Food will be available for purchase from the Melvin Methodist Church.

Pools in Paxton and Rantoul Set to Open This Weekend

(Springfield--jc)  -- Legislative leaders met with the governor Thursday for the first time since April 11 to discuss the budget and infrastructure, but sticking points remains as the end of the legislative session approaches.With a week left before the end of the session and deadline to pass a budget with simple majorities, leaders from both chambers met with Gov. J.B. Pritzker in his office late Thursday. House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and the governor did not comment after the meeting.Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, emerged from the governor’s office after the hour-long meeting and said they talked about the budget. He said he thinks it’s close thanks to April’s revenue windfall and projected increased money captured from taxpayers.


(Washington--ba)  -- If you're a military veteran engaged in farming or ranching, you now can get more crop insurance benefits. Stephanie Ho reports...



(Springfield--ba)-Lawmakers passed a bill ensuring all single-occupancy restrooms are gender neutral. Supporters say this will benefit transgender people, parents taking their opposite-sex children to the bathroom and adults needing help from a caregiver. The measure is sponsored by representative Sam Yingling of Round Lake Beach.



State Representative Sam Yingling of Round Lake Beach


(Undated--jc)  Work to repair downed power lines along route 24 just east of Watseka in Iroquois continues this morning. Workers were on the scene early Thursday after storm damaged the poles. Damage of downed power lines also occurred in Vermilion County near Muncie. Route 150 was also closed on Thursday in that area. Area police agencies say to check your routes this morning to make your commute to avoid roads that remain closed or have power line issues.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Researchers involved in an Illinois tick research and surveillance program are hoping the public will be generous in passing on to them the little bloodsuckers. The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine says the Illinois Tick Inventory Collaboration Network received more than 900 ticks last year that people from 28 counties pulled from themselves or their animals.Rebecca Smith, a program coordinator, says researchers are still in the process of testing ticks that were sent to them last year. She says researchers are hoping to learn more about where and when ticks are active and spreading disease in Illinois.Because the research program is expanding this year, researchers are seeking more volunteers to take part.


(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Evangelical Church is hosting their 37th annual chicken and pork Memorial Day Cookout on Monday. Event Spokesperson Andy Schaumburg says  anyone can also donate a meal or two to the Hands of Christ food Pantry in Paxton…



Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church of Paxton Spokesperson Andy Schaumburg.

The number for the church is  379-3554. The cookout runs from 11am to 1pm on Monday at the church.


(Springfield--ba) Pro-choice advocates are hoping for a vote on an abortion bill before the end of the legislative session. The reproductive health act has been languishing in the legislature…but may soon be discussed in a house committee. Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago says it’s important to protect women’s rights...



State Representative Kelly Cassidy Democrat from Chicago



(Paxton--jc)  Several structures that have been a part of the Paxton City skyline are set to be razed this Spring and Summer. Carle Foundation Hospital officials have announced the former Paxton Hospital Building will be demolished starting next week. The East Lawn Grade school is also set to be torn down in August of this year. The school is currently being used for this school year and Thursday was the last day of school at East Lawn  and the PBL School district.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The pool is filled, the chemicals are ready and we await some warmer eather as the Rantoul Hap Parker Aquatic Center is set to open this weekend.  It takes about 350 thousand gallons of water to fill the pool on Rantoul’s west side. Opening day is Saturday and those who bought passes during a recent sale will be able to enter the pool at 11-30 Saturday morning. The pool opens to the public at Noon.


(Paxton--jc)  -- This Saturday’s I-G-A cookout features ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda. Money raised goes to St Peter’s Lutheran Church. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm at the Paxton I-G-A parking lot.


(Washington--ba)-Events involving China are having profound effects on U.S. hog and pork markets.

Gary Crawford reports...



(Pesotum--jc)  -- While a District 10 State Trooper was  was conducting a traffic Thursday afternoon around 2-30 along Interstate 72, the trooper was approached by a motorcyclist who stated that a road rage incident had just occurred and a weapon was displayed in his direction. The Trooper immediately caught up to and identified the suspect vehicle and conducted a felony traffic stop.. An investigation was conducted and a handgun was located in the vehicle. The driver, Billy B. Ashlock of Lead Hill Arkansas, was arrested for the Unlawful Use of a Weapon and was taken to Macon County Jail. The investigation is still ongoing.


(Undated--jc)  The 20-20 Census, home rule and declining population. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Paxton--jc) City of Paxton leaders continue to look at putting new stop signs at several locations in the city.  The areas are Maple and Pells, Maple and Orleans and Ottawa and Union. The city council is expected to vote on the new stop signs when they meet in June.


(Springfield-jc)  The Wall of Remembrance is open now through the 4 of July in Springfield. The wall is located in the Capitol Rotunda and features pictures, stories and memories of those who have served our nation. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman was in attendance on Thursday and says this is a small but important way to honor veterans…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman-Republican from Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  -- Drivers who violate right of way rules and injure pedestrians in crosswalks could soon receive a 1 year driver’s license suspension, due to legislation co-sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) in the Senate and filed by Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) in the Illinois House. House Bill 2383 would require a 1-year suspension of an individual’s driver’s license if they commit a right-of-way violation at a crosswalk or a crosswalk in a school zone that results in bodily harm or death. The legislation was filed by Parkhurst in response to the death of Iroquois County resident Mason Knorr, who was killed in a traffic crash when a semi failed to obey a posted stop sign.



(Paxton--jc) Volunteers with the Paxton American Legion will be located at some street corners today and Saturday. It’s Poppy days in the city of Paxton. Donations will be taken for veteran’s  to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. Poppy Spokesperson Pat Milchuck says this is a way to honor veterans and get younger people some knowledge about our veterans…


Paxton Poppy Days Spokesperson Pat Milchuck


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Memorial Day Holiday weekend is here and among the activities for the unofficial start to summer is at the local pools. The Paxton Park District pool is filled and ready to go. Paxton Park District Board members voted to open the pool Mondays-Wednesdays-and Fridays from 1pm to 5pm. Evening hours are Tuesdays-and Thursdays 6 to 9pm. Pool passes are also now on sale on the Paxton Park District website or by calling 379-4203.


High Winds Cause Damage and Power Outings in the WPXN Listening Area

High Winds of over 80mph were reported in northeastern Iroquois County. Several reports of damage came in from east of Loda to Watseka. Damage included snapped trees, down limbs to scattered debris and damaged buildings. Power was also knocked out in the WPXN Listening Area.


(Undated--jc)  -- Memorial Day is coming up, which means more people will be hitting the roads in Illinois, but they won't be alone.Memorial Day is traditionally the start of the summer driving season. It's also traditionally the Illinois State Police's busiest time.The state of Illinois is one of the states taking part in a national "Border to Border" campaign this weekend. The effort is organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign. The goal is to use the power of 10,000 agencies around the country to increase seat belt use and save lives.The unofficial start to summer is 5pm on Friday.



(Washington--ba)-U.S. beef is once again granted full access to the Japan market. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Legislation clearing the Illinois House Wednesday would allow school districts to take additional measures to lock classroom doors to protect students and staff in the event of an active shooter situation. State Representative Dan Brady says the legislation can literally be a lifesaver--if a gunman gains entry to a school building…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the summer movie series set for WIllow Pond Golf Course. This year’s summer movies are ;Ralph Breaks the Internet on June 14; Captain Marvel July 12 and the Lego Movie August 9th. All movies will start around dusk. The Chamber also has sponsorship opportunities for each movie. Businesses interested may call the chamber office at 893-3323.


(Springfield--jc)  With time running down to pass a balanced budget in Springfield, lawmakers continue to go along party lines with Democrats favoring a graduated tax, to pass on funding pensions, pending a state constitutional amendment and Republicans seeking to use the 1 point 6 Billion dollar surplus to pay on pensions and some bills. Reaction from 105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington.




106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says if the two sides work together over the next week, a balanced budget can be reached…


106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Gifford-jc)  -- The Gifford School district has no plans for an amended budget for the current fiscal year. With the next year’s budget, local school officials say there should be little effect of the Champaign County Property Tax bills being mailed out later than usual. Superintendent Rod Grimsley says the school’s budget is not prepared annually needing early tax money



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Seward Johnson’s monumental sculpture of Abraham Lincoln was installed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Wednesday in a joint initiative by the presidential library and the City of Springfield. “Return Visit” – which stands 31 feet tall and weighs 37,000 pounds – depicts Lincoln discussing the Gettysburg Address with a modern man. It will be displayed in Springfield until September of next year. “The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is home to one of the five copies of the Gettysburg Address written in Lincoln’s own handwriting.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The pool is filled and ready to go. Officials with the Paxton Park District say the pool is filled and now is the time to purchase pool passes for the year. Several options are available. More information is found on the Paxton Park District website or by calling 379-4203.





(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor J.B. Pritzker’s $41 billion, six-year capital construction counts on revenue from doubling the state’s gas tax, increasing vehicle registration fees, higher alcohol taxes, imposing a surcharge on ride-sharing services and levying a 7-percent tax on streaming media services.Pritzker defended those plans Wednesday amid renewed criticism from across the aisle. A Republican state Representative said that instead of increasing taxes to pay for infrastructure projects the state needs, lawmakers should find efficiencies in how the state spends what it already collects from taxpayers.Lawmakers have a deadline of May 31 to pass legislation with simple majorities. After that, for anything to take effect immediately, it will take super majorities in both chambers.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- On your things to do this summer, put the Half Century of Progress on your calendar. The 4-day event starts on August 22nd and runs through August 25th at the Rantoul Airport area. The show starts with the raising of the largest U.S. flag each day. Demonstrations for broom corn, corn shelling, field tilling and more. Tractor and farm displays, vendors and plenty of food also hilight this years Half Century of Progress Show August 22nd through August 25th in Rantoul


(Springfield--jc)  -- Good news from the Illinois State Fair, -- Adult admission is dropping to just 5 dollars on most days. It will cost 5 bucks instead of 10 to get into the fair on Sunday through Thursday says Illinois State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon…



Illinois State Fair in Springfield Manager Kevin Gordon

The state fair runs from August 8th through the 16th at the fairgrounds in Springfield.



CHICAGO (AP) — CEO Oscar Munoz says he will be aboard United Airlines' first flight of a Boeing 737 Max once regulators agree to let the aircraft fly again. Munoz made the promise after Chicago-based United's annual meeting with shareholders. In crashes in Indonesia in October and Ethiopia in March, an automated system called MCAS mistakenly turned the noses of the planes down in response to faulty readings from a single sensor. 346 people died. As a result, regulators grounded the plane.



(Springfield--jc)  -- State lawmakers will get a chance to ride along with their local deputies under a new program. The Illinois Sheriff’s Association is launching the new effort in hopes of building better relationships between police and policy makers. Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell says he wants legislators to see what they face everyday…


Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell


(Fisher--jc)  Fisher village leaders are looking to move forward after agreeing to purchase two and one half acres of farm land adjacent to Richmond Park. The new part of the park will be used for the local softball program.  Village leaders will look to pass an ordinance to finalize the land purchase. Local residents are expected to help with the project.


(Rantoul--jc)  Congress Avenue and Garrard Street is the location for the upcoming farmer’s market in Rantoul. The first one will be next Wednesday. The farmer’s market will run from 4pm to 7pm. Markets will run every other week.


(Springfield--ba)House Republicans are on board with an insurance tax to generate hundreds of millions that could benefit the state. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story...



A Second Lawsuit Filed Against People's Gas

MAHOMET, Ill. (AP) — A second lawsuit has been filed against a gas supplier in connection with a 2016 gas leak in central Illinois that contained private wells. The lawsuit filed in Champaign County Circuit Court accuses Peoples Gas of contaminating drinking water when a large amount of natural gas was leaked into the Mahomet Aquifer. The action Monday by 21 residents brings to 38 the number of people who are suing Peoples Gas because of the leak from Manlove Field, an underground natural-gas storage facility.


CHICAGO (AP) — The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother but was later charged with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb. Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold would not provide any details on Tuesday about the investigation of Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.



(New York--ba)  -- Nearly two dozen states and municipalities are suing the federal government to stop a new rule letting health care clinicians object to providing abortions and other services that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




PESOTUM – Illinois State Police  District 10 Commander, Captain Louis Kink, announces the results of Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols in Champaign County on May 18. These sTEPs allowed the ISP to provide increased enforcement for impaired driving, occupant restraint, speeding, and distracted driving violations during the National “Click It or Ticket” Campaign. State Police handed out 25 speeding citations and warnings during the patrol.


(URbana--jc)  A ticket against an East Lynn resident was dismissed in Champaign County Court. The incident in question is a fatal crash along Route 45 between Thomasboro and Urbana. The News Gazette says that authorities view this as a tragic accident that claimed the life of 23 year old Shana Outlaw in 2018



WATSEKA, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials  joined members of the Watseka City Council, other local and state officials and community representatives in a ceremony commemorating the start of the Watseka Flood Mitigation Project last night. The project includes the planned acquisition and demolition of 65 structures located in floodplain, along with the clearing of the property. The acquisition and clearing of the floodplain property will reduce the need for future federal and state disaster assistance to affected residents in Watseka.  By removing these structures, the project will also reduce the need for public rescues and emergency services during flood conditions within the watershed. The project will also allow the City of Watseka to expand its public open space.The IDNR is providing more than $5.3 million in flood mitigation funding for the project.



(Springfield--jc) -- While the Illinois House Revenue Committee passed a progressive tax measure along party lines and the issue is in the hands of the entire Illinois House today, one Republican leader says property tax relief needs to be address. Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs says property tax relief needs to be addressed, but no property tax relief is on the horizon…



Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs



(Gifford--jc)  -- Gifford School Board members were updated on the gym project at the school. The masonry work has been completed. The next steps to paint the entire gym. School leaders in Gifford also  were informed that one summer project is on the calendar and that is the parking lot at the school.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Officials of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria say their counterparts in the Archdiocese of New York are trying to halt the transfer of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen's remains to Illinois. Earlier this month, New York's Court of Appeals rejected the archdiocese's argument that lower courts erred in giving permission to a Sheen relative to transfer his remains to Peoria, where he was ordained 100 years ago. The Peoria diocese wants to inter Sheen's remains this year in St. Mary's Cathedral.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Monday is Memorial Day. The Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church is hosting their 37th annual cookout  Cookout spokesperson Andy Schaumburg talks about the event..



Evangelical Covenant Church Memorial Day Cookout Spokesperson Andy




(Rantoul-jc)  -- Business owners and professionals are invited to a Community Coffee this morning at  7:30. at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bring your business cards, ideas, and network with other business owners and professionals or members in downtown Rantoul.


(Washington--ba)-Both corn and soybean plantings and development are far behind the usual pace. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are one step closer to putting Governor J.B. Pritzker's signature campaign promise on the 2020 ballot: A proposed change to the Illinois constitution that would allow for higher income tax rates on higher levels of income. The House Revenue Committee passed the measure along party lines with Republicans, who are a super-minority in the chamber, unanimous in their opposition.  Reaction to the bill from 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Springfield--jc)  Earlier this month the Illinois Senate passed the bill, which was crafted through discussions among environmental groups, power plant owners and other stakeholders.   The House Energy and Environment committee passed the bill on May 16, and it now needs to pass a full House vote before the session closes at the end of May. Senate Bill 9 orders the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to develop rules regarding the closure of coal ash repositories and creates a process for public input on individual closure plans that must be filed with the state. The bill is sponsored by 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The pool is filled, the chemicals are ready and we await some warmer eather as the Rantoul Hap Parker Aquatic Center is set to open this weekend.  It takes about 350 thousand gallons of water to fill the pool on Rantoul’s west side. Opening day is Saturday and those who bought passes during a recent sale will be able to enter the pool at 11-30 Saturday morning. The pool opens to the public at Noon.


(Champaign--jc)  With the Spring semester complete, work on parking lots begins at Parkland College in Champaign. Summer long resurfacing is planned for the B-1 and B-7 parking lots at Parklands B wing starting on Tuesday May 28th. Those using the area the area are asked to use caution and look for alternative routes to classes and programs.


(Gilman--jc)  -- The wet weather continues to hamper local planting efforts. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Director David Treece says there is still time for farmers to complete their original acreage plans



Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Director David Treece


(Rantoul--jc)  Among the schools with graduation services set for Friday night is Rantoul Township High School. School officials have announced that the commencement exercises will be held in doors this year. The Pomp and Circumstance ceremony begins at 7-30. You can hear the names of the Rantoul Graduates on our High School Senior salutes now on WPXN.



(Undated--jc) --  Do you want to serve Illinois as an Illinois State Trooper.  Those interested have until the end of May to apply. Cadet Class 130 will start in October.  Applications and more information is found online at illinois-trooper-dot-com


(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County property tax bills were expected to be mailed out this week, but more delays have occurred. Now the bills are expected to be mailed out on Tuesday. The due date for the first installment, if the bills are mailed out on May 28th would be June 28th. Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers says bills are being delayed in his county. Ford County property taxes are also on the wait to mail list


(Paxton--jc)  Among the Memorial Day observances in the area is one at Glen Cemetery in Paxton. The annual program begins at 11am on Monday Memorial Day. The Paxton Buckley Loda Marching Band will provide music and the parade begins at 10 Monday morning at Eastlawn School. The Paxton American Legion Honor Guard will lead the parade on Monday morning. This Saturday, legion members are asking the public’s help to place American Flags on the graves on veterans. Those interested in helping are asked to be at the Glen Cemetery gazebo at 9 Saturday morning


Seatbelt Enforcement Increased for Memorial Day Holiday

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — It's "border to border" seat-belt enforcement for Illinois police agencies through Memorial Day.Officials from the Departments of Transportation and State Police joined more than 200 local law enforcement agencies in Monday's announcement. The "Border to Border" campaign will feature stepped-up enforcement of mandatory seat-belt use with increased patrols and enforcement zones through next week's holiday.


(Springfield-ba) The Illinois Department of Public Health is working to stop the spread of measles and get more children vaccinated.  The number of measles cases continues to rise across the country…so acting Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike says the state is tackling the problem from several angles...



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike


(Paxton--jc)  Next year’s Paxton Buckley Loda F-F-A leadership team has been announced. They include President Autumn Bruens. Vice President-Austin Jones,

Secretary Jasmine Miles, Treasurer Landon Wilson and Reporter Lizzy Reutter. Others on the officer team area Sentinel Dalton Busboom Historian Christina White, and vice presidents Maci Kingren and  Gracie Wagner.



(Roberts--jc)  THe village of Roberts in Ford County has two events coming up this summer. Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner says one is a music celebration and the other is a clean up day…



Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker ponied up $50,000 of his own money in the search for a new director for the Department of Children and Family Services.The Chicago Tribune reports Pritzker paid a Massachusetts company for the search before he took office


(Iroquois County--jc)  Area police agencies reported a serious vehicle crash that happened around 7-30 last night. The accident occurred on the Kankakee-Iroquois County line along route 45-52. The intersection was blocked due to the accident. Other details are sketchy at this time.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Bradley University in Peoria has announced President Gary Roberts will retire next year. Roberts will depart when his contract expires at the end of May 2020, capping a 4 1/2-year stint heading his alma mater. The brief tenure for Roberts was not unexpected. He was planning his retirement when he was recruited by Bradley University



(Springfield--jc)  Things will probably start getting a little testy as lawmakers returned to Springfield for House session on Monday  afternoon. There are only 11 scheduled days remaining before the May 31stdeadline, 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the minority Republican party sees a plan to balance the budget without raising taxes…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

Fellow Republican Dan Brady of Bloomington agrees that a balanced budget can be achieved without new taxes…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  --Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for a vacancy in the Eighth  Judicial Circuit. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Judge Mark A. Drummond on August 5. Judge Drummond has been an At-Large Circuit Judge in the Eighth Circuit since 2004. Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul police continue to seek information about multiple shots fired in the 13 hundred block of Harmon Drive on Sunday. Police believe shots were fired from a person getting out of a white colored vehicle. No additional information was provided. Police found 6 shell casings in the area. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers or Rantoul Police. That number is 893-56-hundred.


(Springfield--ba)-Legislation headed to the governor’s desk aims to better protect animals in kennels. The bill requires kennels that aren’t staffed around the clock to be equipped with a fire alarm that automatically notifies first responders. Senator Don Dewitte of St. Charles says it was prompted by a tragic fire in west Chicago back in January.



Senator Don Dewitte


(Kankakee--jc)  Kankakee Police are attempting to locate missing seven (7) year old juvenile Jahriese Jones. The young boy was last seen talking to his mother on May 11th. Police are canvassing the area in an attempt to locate Jahriese or his mother Portia Coble since being notified yesterday. Kankakee Police are seeking the public’s help in locating the 7 year old.  If you have seen them or know their whereabouts please call police at 815-933-0417.



(Buckley--jc)  The 67th annual Buckley and Buckley-Loda High School Alumni Banquet is set for Saturday June 8th at the 103 East Restaurant in the village. Social hour starts at 5 with dinner at 6. Cost is 25 dollars per person.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- A continued look at some on-going and future economic development in the village of Rantoul. The A-Trel group, associated with the University of Illinois is on a portion of the village on the the former Chanute Air Force Base. If an agreement is reached, the group would be working with local, national and potential some international companies on road surface to autonomous vehicles says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith


(Springfield--ba)-Illinois has some of the highest workers’ compensation in the nation, according to a study from the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story.




(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker will decide if the state will get tougher on people who injure others while texting and driving.  The fine for texting while driving in Illinois is currently 75 dollars. The Illinois Senate agreed with the Illinois House to raise that fine to 1 thousand dollars and loss of license. The measure is now in the hands of the governor.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Farmers finally got a little time in the fields over the past 7 days. Around 2 and one half days were suitable for  fieldwork, giving some producers a chance to start catching up says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

9 percent of soybeans have been planted and the first cutting of alfalfa hay is 5 percent complete.



The Paxton Swine and Dine Committee is pleased to announce Nashville recording artist, Jerrod Neimann as the 2019 Festival headliner.  Johnny McGuire will be the opening act. The event takes place at 7pm September 21, Downtown Paxton. General Admission is free and pit passes are available at Paxton Chamber dot com.




Illinois Hit harder Than Any Other State by Ongoing Trade Battle

(Undated--jc)  The ongoing trade battle between the U.S. and China has hit Illinois harder than the rest of the nation. The Trump Administration has been engaged in a months-long trade war with China that has included retaliatory tariffs slapped on exports to each country.  Senior vice president at the U.S. China Business Council Erin Ennis, says that U.S. exports to China declined by more than $10 billion compared with 2017. Ennis adds that Illinois saw the largest decline of any state. Illinois exported $5.6 billion worth of goods and in 2018, Illinois only exported 3.8 billion. The biggest sector hit was Illinois soybean and soybean byproduct industries. This is reflected in lower commodity prices for farmers selling their crop on the market.The Trump administration said the Chinese government has been manipulating trade and currency get a better deal with the U.S.



(Mahomet--jc)--  A closed door session will start the Mahomet Seymour School Board meeting tonight at 6. The board is then expected to hire Dustin Day as an assistant principal for the Middletown Prairie school, approve Marissa Hill as the Coordinator of Student Services and Chad Benedict as High School Principal. The board will also hear a medical cannabis update, approve the handbook and meal prices for the next school year. The meeting begins at 6 tonight


(Washington--ba) -- High water is continuing to be a problem for the Mississippi River. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.



(Gibson City--jc) When the Gibson City Pool Committee meets tonight. the main topic of discussion will be the process to hire an assistant manager for the local pool. The committee meeting comes to order at 6 tonight at city hall.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Poppy days in Paxton will be  Friday and Saturday at several downtown locations. Volunteers from the American Legion will also be at Paxton IGA. Paxton American Legion Poppy Sales Spokesperson Pat Milchuck says it’s a tradition  in the city…



Paxton American Legion Poppy Sales Spokesperson Pat Milchuck



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Like to garden, like to volunteer, Then the Rantoul Youth Center needs you. Andy Graham with the Rantoul Recreation Department leads the way to provide fresh vegetables for local youth with the garden project. Those wanting to help are asked to call the Youth Center in the village.



(Gilman--jc) Just a few farmers are back in the fields today throughout the entire WPXN listening area. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau manager David Treece says even a small shower continues to delay area farmers from planting corn and soybeans…



Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago health officials say they've confirmed a measles case and are working to contact those who may have been exposed to the infection. The Chicago Department of Public Health said Saturday they confirmed the case Friday and exposures may have occurred Thursday at O'Hare International Airport and in downtown Chicago and Friday at the University of Illinois-Chicago. This is at least the second confirmed case in Cook County since March. The confirmations come amid a measles outbreak in the U.S.


(Springfield--ba)-Some “SNAP” recipients may soon be able to use their benefits in restaurants.

Lawmakers passed a bill setting up a program where the elderly, homeless and disabled can use their benefits to get a good meal at a restaurant. It’s supported by Senator Dan Mcconchie of Hawthorn Woods who uses a wheelchair.



Illinois State Senator Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods



(Gibson City--jc)  A Coffee and Conversation event is set for Thursday in Gibson City. Curt Homan with the Gibson Area Hospital is the featured speaker. The event runs from 9 til 10am at the American Lutheran Church on Route 9 in Gibson City. Homan will talk about current expansion and future plans for Gibson Area Hospital.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois would pour $41.5 billion into state construction projects over six years to rebuild and maintain roads, mass transit, schools and affordable housing, raise recreation areas, expand broadband and more under a plan Gov. J.B. Pritzker sketched out Friday. It would mean a doubled motor fuel tax, to 38 cents per gallon at the pump, and registering a car less than three years old would cost $199 a year, up from $100.


(CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Southern Illinois University Arena has a new name, thanks to the largest corporate naming rights agreement in the history of the Carbondale campus. The Southern Illinoisan reports after 55 years, SIU Arena is now the Banterra Center. The basketball arena is now named for Banterra Bank, which has 40 branches across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri. The naming agreement guarantees $4 million to SIUC in the first 10 years.


(Springfield--jc) One Republican leader in Springfield says the state has the ability to get to a balanced budget without raising taxes. Republican House Leader Jim Durkin says the surplus from April is the proof…



Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs


(Paxton--jc)  -- The brick fundraiser for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project has started. The group is selling bricks of 4 by 8 for 100 dollars and 8 by 8 for 250 dollars. The bricks can be personalized. More information is found by contacting the Frederick Bank in Paxton or on line at thats-my-brick-dot-com-forward-slash-paxtonflag

These bricks will line the walkway to and the area surrounding a special flagpole behind the Paxton Jr. High/High School. All proceeds from these bricks will go towards the purchase of a flagpole that will measure 150 feet, and will be the tallest structure in the city of Paxton. The flag hanging from the pole will measure 30 by 60 feet.


CHICAGO (AP) — Two generations of an Illinois family have worked to recreate grassland habitats in an effort to save the endangered prairie chicken. The Chicago Tribune reports that the birds once numbered in the millions across the state but there are now about 200 left. The United Nations' Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services published a pioneering scientific study this week on biodiversity. The study found that 1 million species, including the prairie chicken, remain imperiled.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A 31-foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln will make its debut this week in Springfield after stops in Chicago and Peoria. The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports the 19-ton sculpture named "Return Visit" will be located in front of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum starting Wednesday. It is scheduled to stay there through September 2020. The statue depicts Lincoln standing with a modern-day man holding the Gettysburg Address.


(Rantoul--jc)  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign and Ford Counties has several mentoring programs from school to community based mentoring. Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins says the group uses various ways to help area kids…


Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins

(Paxton--jc) -- The Academic Awards program at Paxton Buckley Loda High School is set for tomorrow night at 7. The awards will be handed out  in the high school commons area. A reception begins at 6-15 on Tuesday night.

Sponsors Needed for Paxton Buckley Loda Education Foundation's Programs

(Paxton--jc)  -- Wanted, sponsors for Paxton Buckley Loda Education Foundation’s programs for the next school year. The local nonprofit helps with the bookfair, book of the month, teacher requests to the Senior awards program. Businesses interested may contact the foundation online at secretary-at-p-b-l-foundation-dot-org


(Rantoul--jc)  -- One business in the Rantoul Plaza on Rantouls east side is closing due to the health concerns of one of its owners. The Diamond Sports Training Facility will close by the end of the month. The space will be available for rent and more information is found by calling Ron Minch at 892-5959.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is embedding a new geothermal heating and cooling system within the foundation of a building addition on its engineering campus as part of an effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions.The project will install geothermal heat exchanger loops in the foundation of a novel "smart" pedestrian bridge. The bridge will link the 13,000-square-foot Hydrosystems Laboratory extension to the Newmark Civil Engineering Laboratory. Officials say that by using the 50-foot-deep rods currently being drilled for the foundation, the project will reduce general geothermal installation expenses in addition to providing for on-site research.



(Washington--ba)-- It's been about a year and a half since leaders from Mexico, Canada and the U.S. signed the USMCA trade deal. It still hasn't been approved by lawmakers in the three countries. What's the holdup? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.


(Washington--ba)-Jobs were up last month in Illinois. The state gained nearly 21 thousand jobs in April…and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at four point four percent. Overall it was a pretty good month says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro.



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro


(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police are reminding the motoring public about some exits along Interstate 57 between Tuscola  and Champaign that no longer have fuel, even though some signs show active gas stations. Tuscola has several fuel station options, but mile marker 220 at Pesotum, 229 at Monticello Road and 232 Curtis Road have no gas stations along the Interstate. The Champaign exits of 235 and 237 have options off the Interstate.  The Olympian and Market Street exits have fuel options.



(Washington--ba)-Illinois State Police Troopers issued more than 560 tickets during a special distracted driving effort. During Distracted Driving week last month…troopers across the state focused on drivers who weren’t paying attention because of texting or talking on their cellphones. Troopers issued 569 distracted driving citations during that time…and another 57-hundred tickets for other violations. Lieutenant Joe Hutchins says they hope people realize how dangerous their behavior is.



State Police  Lieutenant Joe Hutchins


(Cissna Park--jc)  The Country Theatre Workshop located along Route 49 north of Cissna Park is presenting a variety show called “Peace, Love and a Parking Lot” Saturday night at 7-30 and Sunday afternoon at 2pm. Tickets are 15 dollars. The project is set to raise money for a parking lot at the Theatre.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Buckley Loda High School band is hosting the 20th annual Salute to Veterans Concert on Saturday Night at 7. The concert takes place in the high school gym. At 5-30 tomorrow afternoon, the PBL Band Parents are offering a lasagna dinner

(Washington--ba)Local Farm Service Agency offices are scheduled to accept applications for continuous Conservation Reserve Program sign-up starting June 3rd. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.



(Springfield--jc)--  Paying restitution is usually the last thing to be paid in court cases. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City has sponsored House Resolution 20, that urges restitution be paid to the victim  before any court or law fees. Representative Bennett said the resolution passed the Illinois House on Thursday.


(Gibson--ba)-One school district is talking about future funding for field trips. Gibson City Melvin Sibley board members discussed to trips to Six Flags for the senior class as well as the FFA. They have also discussed a Lee Farms trip for the students who are enrolled into the Functional Life Skills class.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is embracing recommendations from the independent report on the agency. The report came from the University of Chicago’s Chapin Hall group and the governor says it’s time for an overhaul…



Illinois Govenor JB Pritzker.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The first monthly car cruise is set for Gibson City today.  The Friday Nights under the Lights starts at 6 and runs through 10 tonight. Cruising Sangamon Avenue, a cookout at the American Legion, along with music and the Ed Day Skate Park doing a Queen of Hearts contest are all part the the monthly celebration.



(Melvin--jc)  -- The movie “Ralph Breaks the Internet” will be shown for free at the Melvin Community Hall tonight at 7pm.  Those attending are asked to bring a blanket for seating.

(Lake Iroquois--jc)  -- Garage Sales this weekend at Lake Iroquois Loda. Hours today are 8am until 5pm and Saturday from 8am til 1pm


(Paxton--jc)  -- The weekly cookout at the Paxton IGA is from 10am til 2pm on Saturday. The money raised this week goes to the Loda Truck and Tractor Pull Association. On the menu is pork chop sandwiches, chips and pop.


Paxton- Buckley- Loda Hires New High School Football Coach

(Paxton--jc)  Paxton Buckley Loda High School has a new Football Coach for the 20-19 season. P-B-L School board members hired Joshua Pritchard from the Petersburg Porta school district. Pritchard will replace popular coach Jeff Graham who resigned from the P-B-L school system at the end of this fiscal year to take a Superintendent’s job in the Ludlow School district in northern Champaign County.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he will quickly adopt "every recommendation" made in a report on suggested improvements to the Department of Children and Family Services. The Democrat and DCFS Director Marc Smith faced reporters Wednesday after releasing a review of the child-welfare agency by the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall research center. The report found that DCFS often endangers children with its focus on keeping troubled families intact.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A preservation group is on the side of some local residents who would like to see Eastlawn school building saved. Landmarks Illinois is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve historic buildings in the state. The aging facility is scheduled to be razed this summer. The Paxton Buckley Loda school board moved earlier this year to hire Lee Excavating from Thawville to tear down the school at a cost of 1 point 1-5 million dollars. An auction for items at the school was set for July 13th.


(Undated--jc)  -- Ford County real estate tax bills are set to be mailed by the middle of June. The first installment will be a due date 30 days after the mailing. Champaign County Treasurer office officials are working to get real estate tax bills out by the end of this month. In Iroquois County, issues beyond the control of the local treasurer’s office, have delayed the printing and calculation of the bills for Iroquois County real estate owners. Bills in Iroquois County will be mailed out once the issues have been resolved.


(Urbana--jc)  -- The Native American Guardians Association is hosting a meeting at the University of Illinois-Springfield campus this afternoon at 1. The group is revealing the newly proposed authentic Fighting Illini Athletics American Indian Half-time Unity celebration. The “In their Honor” video includes some Peoria Tribe Indians from Oklahoma.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Drivers who ignore Illinois’ Move Over Law may soon face tougher penalties. New legislation raised the fins for not switching lanes when a vehicle with flashing lights is on the side of the road. Democrat State Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago says with 16 state police officers struck so for this year, they need to do something…



Democrat State Senator Tony Munoz of Chicago

Under the bill, the first offense would be 250 dollars and the second would be 750 dollars. An additional fee of 250 dollars will be added on top of the fins to help pay for public education efforts concerning the move over law.



HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A semi-trailer hauling honey overturned on a northwestern Indiana highway, spilling some of the sticky substance and restricting travel for hours. State police say the truck was hauling about 41,000 pounds of amber honey along Interstate 80/94 through Hammond when the driver lost control and the truck overturned about 6 a.m. CST Wednesday. At least four containers of honey were leaking and mixing with diesel fuel from the overturned vehicle. Three of the highway's eastbound lanes remain closed.


(Rantoul--jc)  In the third part of our series on the A-Trel Company, operating in Rantoul, today we look at what they are doing now. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says it’s more than road testing…



RantouL Mayor Chuck Smith.

It is the hope of Rantoul village leaders that a new project with A-Trel, the University of Illinois and the village will lead to autonomous vehicle testing in Rantoul. The investment from Rantoul would be around 15 million dollars for the state of the art facility.


(SPringfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers have taken some initial steps to protect taxpayers from what local units of government can spend on weekend trips to Chicago for training conferences, but a couple of lawmakers said that getting enough support to advance further legislation won't be easy. State Representative David McSweeney, Republican from Barrington Hills, got legislation signed into law that bans local officials in Illinois from spending public money on entertainment but says bills to keep them from spending on travel, meals, and lodging expenses falling on taxpayers have not been successful because or lobbyist groups. Training conferences don't have to be lavish affairs at luxury hotels in Chicago He was also able to require taxing bodies to disclose budgets for convention spending.State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, said local taxpayers can’t attend every meeting because there are so many units of

government in the state – nearly 7,000.


(Bloomington--jc)  The hope of one local lawmaker is that the 2 major parties work together to get a balanced budget this month. That would include no new taxes and stabilizing pensions says 105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington…



105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  --Proponents of a plan to tax and regulate recreational marijuana use for adults in Illinois plan to address a growing list of concerns, including how the tax money will be spent and how the state should treat people who were convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past.The bill includes provisions for expunging criminal convictions for certain marijuana-related crimes. State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said that could wipe out past convictions for acts that could still be prosecuted even if the bill were to pass as written. He said the legislature could just stay out of expungement, and leave it in the hands of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.



(Springfield--jc)  Even inmates at Stateville Correctional Center are graduating. Kim Howard reports.



(Rantoul--jc)  The village of Rantoul  continues to look into the possibility of joining the Vermilion County Land Bank.  The village is using a 150 thousand dollar grant to provide more insight in the positives or negatives in a land bank. Several meetings on the issue have already been held with more meetings to come in the near future.



(Washington--jc) What is the latest on the topsoil moisture picture are the area, state and nation. U-S-D-A meteorologist, Brad Rippey, has the  details…



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey



(Rantoul-jc)  -- Another reminder about a free benefit for Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce members. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allens says members are invited to place business card fliers, and business cards at the chamber office in the downtown area.



(Paxton--jc)  A ribbon cutting for another new business in the city of Paxton was held on Wednesday afternoon. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold along with officials from the chamber of commerce welcomed Chakra Studio to the downtown area of the city. Classes also started at Chakra Studio on Wednesday.



Paxton Native Sets Guinness World Record

(Springfield---jc)  --Lawmakers have two weeks to finish crafting a proposed $39 billion spending plan for the next state budget, which begins July 1.While lawmakers have had session days off and on throughout the year since January, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget isn’t expected to be finalized and sent to the governor until the last minute.Details on the fiscal year 2019 budget only became public last year in a Senate committee hours before it was pushed out of that chamber and into the House. That was with a House and Senate with Democratic majorities and a Republican Governor. Even though Democrats hold the governor’s mansion and have supermajorities in the House and Senate, the new budget could follow the same last-minute trajectory as last year.


(Urbana-jc)  -- You may not want it yet, but Champaign County tax bills will be mailed out soon. Officials with the Champaign County Treasurer’s office say the bills will be mailed out around May 28th. The first due date, once the tax bills are mailed will be 30 days later.



(Paxton--dg)  -- Have you seen the footage online yet for a world record. A Paxton Native set a Guinness World Record over the Weekend. Colton Eichelberger who drives for the Maximum Destruction Monster Truck team based in Paxton jumped seven Monster Jam Trucks at the World Finals in Orlando on Saturday. After the feat, he said it looked like there was room to clear a few more. We’ll have to wait and see if he can improve on the jump.


(Gibson City-jc)  -- City of Gibson City’s Ed Day Skate Park committee will meet tomorrow night. The group will look at their Queen of Hearts fundraiser, garage sale and gun raffle. A look at finances for the proposed park and plans to visit other skate parks are also on the agenda. The Ed Day Skate Park committee meets at 6-30 Thursday evening at the Gibson City, city hall.



(Springfield--jc)  A new instant lottery ticket will benefit police memorials around the state. The “Blue” ticket joins the specialty games, and all the proceeds support memorials honoring fallen officers. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says some of the money raised will also go towards the costs of bulletproof vests…


House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.


CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A historic site in southern Indiana is now part of a new 1,200-mile expansion of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail. The News and Tribune reports national, state and local leaders gathered Monday at the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center in Clarksville to officially recognize the trail's expansion. The expanded recognition includes areas in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and new portions of trail in in Illinois and Missouri.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has joined with state lawmakers in promoting legislation that would increase penalties for drivers who don't slow or change lanes to avoid vehicles on the side of the road. The proposed legislation to strengthen Scott's Law is a reaction to the deaths of two Illinois State Police troopers this year as they performed their duties. The proposal, filed Tuesday, would increase the minimum fine for a first violation of the move-over law to $250 from $100.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is working on producing a Paxton restaurant brochure that will be distributed regionally.  If your food establishment would like to be included, please either email the chamber office p-a-c-c-director-at-outlook-dot-com or call 379-4655.  The cost for a full color spot is $100 but no charge for chamber members.


(Paxton--jc)  Work on the proposed Streetscape program in the city of Paxton continues to move forward. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says an environmental study to a plan to bids and construction are coming together…


Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

The entire project needs to be completed by the end of 20-20 in Paxton.


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating the Mother's Day birth of a newborn western lowland gorilla. Zoo officials say the male infant was born at about 2 a.m. Sunday to mother Rollie and father Kwan, who weighs in at more than 400 pounds. The newborn has no name. He'll make his public debut Wednesday when the zoo's Regenstein Center for African Apes reopens. His weight is estimated at 4 to 5 pounds.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton Buckley Loda School board members are expected to name a new high school football coach when they meet tonight in monthly session. An update and approval for some lighting and signage at the new Clara Petersen School, summer projects and school fees for the upcoming school year will also be discussed. The P-B-L school board meets at 6 tonight in the board room at the High School Junior High Complex on Paxton’s west side.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is launching a public education campaign on Illinois’ move over law. Reminders will be added to driver’s license and vehicle registration renewal notices and a test question about the move over law will be added to the driver license exam says Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White


(Washington--jc)  What are the global supply and demand estimates on U-S corn with China in the mix. U-S-D-A World Ag Outlook Board Chair Seth Meyer looks at the latest numbers….


U-S-D-A World Ag Outlook Board Chair Seth Meyer



(Watseka--jc)  With Spring comes some bridge projects in one area county. Some work is moving forward on several bridges in Ash Grove and Milford townships. New bridges are coming to Danforth, Ashkum and Beaverville townships.


(Springfield--jc)  Budget talks continue in Springfield, and one area Republican says an April surplus shows that no new taxes are needed. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the two sides need to work together with no new tax on things like bags and more…




106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



(Rantoul--jc)  In the second of a three part series, WPXN news takes a look at the A-Trel group and the University of Illinois College of Engineering as they occupy a portion on the former Chanute Air Force Base in the village.  A-Trel stands for Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory. The group is a transportation research, educational and test lab located in Rantoul. The village of Rantoul and the of I are proposing to work on autonomous vehicles, testing road surfaces and partner with national and international vehicle companies. The idea is in the idea stage. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says under the proposal, cars would be tested in tunnels, and all types of roads on the closed course…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.


(Springfield--jc)  --  Following heavy rain and flooding throughout Illinois, Attorney General Kwame Raoul Tuesday warned Illinois residents to be on alert for scammers looking to exploit homeowners and business owners who may be in need of repairs from storm-related damage. Earlier this month, a state disaster proclamation was issued for 34 counties related to flooding, and residents in communities along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers have been asked to prepare for possible evacuations due to floods. Raoul cautioned Illinois residents that scammers often move quickly into communities to take advantage of people with damage to their homes or businesses. Raoul noted these “storm chasers” use the opportunity to pressure people into making quick and often expensive decisions about cleanup and construction work. Raoul also warned residents that scam artists may be operating as insurance adjusters or public adjusters.



(Rantoul--jc)  On Saturday, those with the Rantoul Public Library are having a Vehicle Day from 10am until 2pm. Those attending the event will be able to learn about all types of vehicles. Laser tag, face painting, crafts and food will also be part of the event at the local library


Farmers Continue to Bear the Brunt of Trade Wars

(Undated--jc)  --- Farmers continue to bear the brunt of trade wars. That’s according to the Illinois Farm Bureau. In a statement Monday, the I-F-B said corn and soybean prices are depressed already and with a huge grain inventory, they are worried export markets will be further diminished. U.S.  President Donald Trump's tariffs on Chinese goods are expected to be met with similar tariffs from China on U.S. goods, including agricultural products.


(Urbana--jc)  -- An Urbana High School student was arrested on Monday for allegedly threatening another student on social media. School officials called Urbana police about the situation. The student was arrested and taken to the Champaign County Youth Detention Center on a disorderly conduct and illegal possession of ammunition charge



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — An 18-year prison sentence has been handed a central Illinois man found guilty but mentally ill of attempted murder and child abduction. Thomas Boitnott of St. Joseph was accused of taking his then-6-month-old daughter from her home in 2015 and abandoning her in a soybean field in a rural part of town. In handing down an 18-year sentence on Monday,  Champaign reports Judge Jason Bohm said Boitnott's daughter, now 4, should be an adult when he gets out of prison and can decide if her father is a part of her life.



(Washinton--ba)  -- What are the details from the latest National Interagency Fire Center wildfire outlook for this May. U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey has the latest..



USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey


(Gibson City--jc)  More reaction coming from some state lawmakers over the 1 point 6 Billion dollar surplus of funds into the state’s coffers in April. The consensus of Republican Party leaders is that Illinois is showing the ability to get to a balanced budget without a progressive tax or other additional tax on Illinoisans. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the two sides need to work together for the budget…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



(Springfield--jc)  -- State lawmakers are back Today for the final two weeks of legislative session. In addition to a proposed $39 billion spending plan and tax and fee increases proposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, lawmakers may also deliberate legalizing cannabis for recreational adult use, expanding gambling to include sports betting and a gas tax hike to pay for statewide infrastructure projects.Session ends May 31.  



(Cissna Park-- jc) --  Some road construction in Southern Iroquois County began on Monday. The area is Route 49 just south of Cissna Park . Illinois Department of Transportation officials says to expect delays in the area. The construction on Route 49 will run from the second curve to the Vermilion County line. Work is expected to be completed in late June.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The A-trel group, associated with the University of Illinois, continues to work on a 47 acre tract on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul.  In the first part of a three part series, WPXN News looks at the economic development benefits for the village and area. Officials with the U of I College of Engineering are using the facilities to  seek better roadways, airports and rail systems. Rantoul Village leaders are hoping to expand with work on autonomous vehicles. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says one reason Rantoul works for the proposed project is all the weather for all the seasons…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith

WPXN News will have more on the subject on Wednesday’s am news.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A member of local State Senator Scott Bennetts office will be at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office today from noon til 1. They will answer questions and hear concerns of constituents.


(Vermilion County--jc)  -- A Williamsport Indiana man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for molesting a child in Vermilion COunty last year. The News Gazette reports that 29 year old Johnathon Trammell plead guilty to the class x felony on Monday. Under the truth in sentencing law, he must serve 85 percent of the sentence.


(Springfield--ba)-- Over 600 Illinois farmers have applied for hemp licenses as a crop. WPXNs Braedon Arnett looks at the history of hemp and its practical purposes in the marketplace today...



(Springfield--jc)  -- Wet conditions continue to plague Illinois farm fields. In updating the weekly crop report, corn planting advanced by just one point last week, to 11 percent complete. No progress on soybean planting in Illinois over the past 7 days. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 35 percent of winter wheat has headed…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

Just a few fields in Champaign, Vermilion, Ford and Iroquois Counties have been planted. The consensus of area farmers is that several more days need to be warm and dry before planting can begin. Some farm field prep work continues today in the WPXN listening area.



(Undated--jc)  Maybe some good news are area farmers, some sun and somewhat warmer weather this week as the planting season continues to stall. Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says some mostly dry weather is here…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders are expected to give their o-k to purchasing two transformers for the village at a cost of around 111 thousand dollars when they meet in monthly session tonight. Local leaders are also ready to approve an investment in body cameras for the Rantoul Police department. Local leaders will be asked to approve 28 Axon body cameras at a cost of 21 thousand  447 dollars. An agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police, and a grant agreement with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources are also agenda items. The Rantoul Village Board meeting comes to order at 6 Tonight in the meeting room on Tanner Street.



(Rantoul--jc)  Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Rantoul and Ford County Director Kristian Hopkins says the program is seeking additional “Bigs” to help with area kids. Hopkins says the process takes a little time, but it is worth it…



Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rantoul and Ford County Director Kristian Hopkins. Big Brothers-Big Sisters plans a fundraiser golf outing on June 21st at Lake of Woods Golf Course in Mahomet


(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois Department of Revenue is offering some relief to flood victims struggling with their state taxes. Taxpayers in 34 flood ravaged counties can request a waiver from penalties and interest  for income taxes, withholding, sales, specialty and excise taxes. Department of Revenue spokesperson Sam Salustro says those seeking a waiver should e-mail Rev-dot-disaster-relief-at-Illinois-dot-gov…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro


(Watseka--jc)  -- A flood mitigation meeting is set for the Iroquois County town of Watseka later this month. The meeting is set for Trinity Church in Watseka on May 21st.The meeting starts at 7pm. The city of Watseka is also receiving  some federal funds to use for flood prevention.


(undated--- Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Louisville, Tulsa, Austin and Ft. Worth are among the stops planned for the fall continuation of the “Imagine Nation Tour.” Multi-platinum selling MercyMe will spearhead the run alongside fellow GRAMMY® nominee Crowder and GMA Dove nominee Micah Tyler. They all will perform at the State Farm Center in Champaign.  Tickets go on sale on Friday


No New Taxes Needed, Says Some in Springfield

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is planning to name its Micro and Nanotechnology Lab after an engineering visionary who made the first practical LED. Professor Emeritus Nick Holonyak Jr. found a new alloy in 1962 that would emit light in the red part of the visible spectrum.  U-I trustees will vote this week on whether to name the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory after Holonyak. Energy-saving LEDs are universal, used in everything from flashlights to spacecraft.


(Springfield--jc) A 1 point 6 Billion dollar surplus in revenues provided for April has some in Springfield saying the state does not need more taxes from its businesses and citizens. Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs says a balanced budget can be reached without a tax increase…



Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The former Paxton hospital is set to be demolished, starting later this month. The property owners say the process could take about a month to complete. Carle Hospital officials do not have immediate plans for the property along Route 9 in the city.



PORTER, Ind. (AP) — Indiana Dunes National Park says visitors can reserve campsites, beginning Wednesday. In past years, all 66 sites at Dunewood campground were distributed on a first-come, first-served, basis. Under the new system, 34 sites can be reserved up to six months in advance. The remaining 32 sites will remain first-come, first-served. The price is $25 per night. The campground is open April through October.

(Watseka--jc)  the 20-19 Iroquois County Relay for Life is set for Friday June 7 in Watseka. The annual event kicks off at 5 in the afternoon. Teams that have been fundraising for the year will bring their dollars in to donate to the American Cancer Society. Teams will walk the track a Watseka High School. A lumineria ceremony and family activities are planned. This year’s event also includes money raised from Ford County teams.


(Undated--jc)  -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released results of its 2018 census of every farm in the country. That includes the more than 72 thousand farms in Illinois, which generated 17 billion dollars in revenue that year, a 3 billion dollar increase from 2012, the last time the once-every-five-years census was conducted.That report concludes that the agricultural sector is the most lucrative industry in the state. Acting Agriculture Director John Sullivan points to a variety of factors that contribute to the success: Illinois is the Number  1 producer of soybeans and Number 2 producer of corn in the country. In addition, the report includes processing that goes on in the state, including turning soy and corn into livestock feed, and growing and processing the livestock in Illinois, as well as keeping production of ethanol in Illinois.


(Springfield--ba)-- Several groups visited the state capitol to express their opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. Opponents like Representative Marty Moylan of Des Plaines cite several reasons that smoking pot for fun should not be allowed...



State Representative Marty Moylan of Des Plaines



(Bloomington--jc)  -- No tuition increases for incoming freshmen at Illinois State University for the 20-19- to 20-20 academic year. One increase will be a 10 dollar fee per credit hour. The decision was made  by the I-S-U board of trustees on Friday.


CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Urban League says Illinois should spend $33 million to spread the word about the 2020 census. The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois could lose billions of dollars in federal funding and one or two congressional seats if there's an undercount next year. An undercount happens when the census counts a smaller number of people or homes in a population than shown by an independent estimate. At least $34 billion in federal subsidies for Illinois is tied to census data.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers and Gov. J.B. Pritzker have learned that the state's take from income taxes in April was 60% higher than anticipated. Now there's disagreement on how to use that unexpected $1.5 billion windfall. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says it is reason enough to call off the Democratic governor's revenue-raising plans. But Pritzker and Democratic legislators say it's far from a solution to Illinois' shaky financial position. Reaction from 104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron -Republican from Fithian


ARTHUR, Ill. (AP) — Volunteers are planning to add a marker at the grave of a Douglas County woman that recognizes her relationship to a Revolutionary War veteran. The ceremony Sunday comes more than 100 years after Arthur housewife Florinda Wood Martin died. The  Tuscola chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will add the marker at Martin's grave in Arthur Cemetery on Mother's Day. The group says Martin's father, Alexander Wood, fought in the American Revolution.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a 14-year-old boy was fatally shot inside a Champaign home where an older teenager suffered a gunshot wound. The Champaign County coroner says Elijha James Booker of Champaign died soon after he was shot about 1:30 a.m. Saturday at a home he was visiting. Police say a 17-year-old boy was also shot but was treated and released from a local hospital. Police are investigating what happened. Police are looking to the public for information in the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County authorities or crime stoppers.


(Paxton--jc) City of Paxton leaders are set to meet tomorrow night and hear some figures for the proposed “Paxton Streetscape” program.  Local leaders will also hear a report on the Paxton “Grand old Flag” at Tuesday night’s meeting. Dealing with some raises, hiring summer help and a donation to the Show Bus also are agenda items. The Paxton City Council meets at 7 Tuesday night on the second floor of City hall.


CAIRO, Ill. (AP) — The former director of a southern Illinois housing authority is unlikely to face federal criminal charges for wrongly using agency money on personal expenses. Federal prosecutors have spent several months reviewing the case against James Wilson while he led the housing agency in the city of Cairo. A federal prosecutor says he believes a $500,000 civil settlement Wilson reached last year is "a just resolution to the serious allegations."



(Washington--ba) What is the latest on pastures, rangelands and conditions.

USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey, has the details...




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Fair karaoke contest is returning this summer, and the winner will get to perform on the fair's biggest stage.

Organizers said Tuesday that nine regional county fairs will host qualifying rounds of State Fair Karaoke this summer. The top two winners from the regional contests will compete at the finale at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield on Aug. 11. The overall winner will be chosen that day. Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says it's a great opportunity for local talent to perform on the grandstand stage. It's also another type of free entertainment for people attending the fair.


(Gibson City-jc) --  Gibson City Street and Alley committee members along with the Water and Sewer committee will talk about a proposed storm sewer project at Gibson Area Hospital when they meet tomorrow night. The group will also hear about the cities water plant filters. The two committee meeting comes to order at 7 Tuesday night in the Gibson City Council Chamber office.


Eastlawn-Clara Petersen school Pit Crew carnival is set for 10am until 2pm on Saturday

(Arcola--jc)  A car versus bus accident was reported near Arcola on Thursday afternoon. Police say a car vs school bus accident happened just before 3pm along Illinois Route 133. 19 year old Korbin Barrett of Arcola lost control of his vehicle and struck the bus head on.  Barrett was taken to a hospital with non life threatening injuries. The driver of the bus and one passenger received minor injuries.


(Washington--ba) -- How does the 2019 corn planting progress for early May compare to other years. Rod Bain has the numbers...




URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man who expressed remorse for killing a man while trying to collect a drug debt has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Cornelius Freeman was convicted of second-degree murder for the March 2018 fatal shooting of 26-year-old Michael White of Chicago. The 40-year-old Freeman said he thought White was about to shoot him, prompting him to fire as White reached into his car. Freeman was captured later in Kentucky. Prosecutors argued Freeman deserved at least 27 years in prison.


(St Joseph--jc)  -- The Village of St Joseph  will hear a report on some donated benches when they meet on Tuesday night at 7. Also  on the agenda is a look at costs to repair some playground equipment at the Sports Complex in town.  A sewer line project and the the annual budget will also be topics for discussion. New board members will also be sworn in at Tuesday nights meeting

CHICAGO (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union says investigators assigned to look into the well-being of an Illinois boy beaten to death were overloaded with child abuse cases. An ACLU attorney told a federal judge Children and Family Service investigators assigned to AJ Freunds' case were juggling caseloads exceeding limits set forth in a federal consent decree. The decree mandates DCFS investigators shouldn't be assigned more than 153 new cases per year, with limits of 12 to 15 per month.


(Washingtondc--jc)--  Two Paxton business owners were in the nation’s capitol this week attending a committee hearing on internet usage. Alan and Marcia Meyer are owners of Mom and Pop’s Kettle Korn Stop in downtown Paxton. They met with Republican Congressman John Shimkus among other national leaders to talk about the importance of developing an internet privacy policy law. The hope of the meeting was to help set a nationwide policy for the internet used by small businesses across the nation.


(Watseka--jc)  The Iroquois County Transportation and Highway Committee is set to meet this morning at 9 in Watseka. On the agenda is to open bids for a slab road project near Ashkum. Other topics include preliminary engineering agreements in Stockland and Milford townships, a resolution for a bridge in Woodland and the state’s capital bill.



(Paxton--jc)  The cookout at the Paxton IGA on Saturday will benefit the Paxton Buckley Loda band program. The cookout runs from 10 am to 2pm  On the menu is ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and pop.


(Paxton--jc)  The Eastlawn-Clara Petersen school Pit Crew carnival is set for 10am until 2pm along the blacktop at Eastlawn school tomorrow. Games, inflatables, raffles, prizes and food will all be part of the local fundraiser. A 5 dollar wristband covers all the inflatables and carnival games cost just a quarter. A silent auction will take place. WPXN’s Joel Cluver is serving as the events master of ceremonies.



(Washington--ba) More rain means topsoil moisture is on the rise too. Rod Bain reports....



(Springfield-jc)  Today’s State House session is canceled. The Illinois House also canceled Monday. The Senate was not scheduled Monday.That leaves the House with only 16 session days and the Senate with 14 days before the May 31 deadline to pass a balanced budget with simple majorities.


(Springfield--jc--)  -- Businesses in Illinois that are open to the public may soon be required to have diaper changing tables available to both mom and dad. State lawmakers are close to sending a bill to the governor’s desk. House Bill 37-11 requires all public restrooms in a public building to have a baby changing facility that is physically safe, sanitary and usable for the purpose with certain exemptions and requires signage at or near the entrance to the baby changing station indicating the location.


(Paxton--jc)  What will some of the streets and corners look like with the proposed Paxton Streetscape program. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says  the blocks along Market Street in the downtown area will be part of the project…

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold

The start up process for the streetscape program is underway. The project is set to be completed by the end of 20-20.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A surplus is showing in the current fiscal year. That is good news says Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs…



Republican House Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.

Durkin added that he and the republican party believe no new taxes are needed to get to a balanced budget by the end of this month. The next fiscal year begins July First.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is the 11th best state in the country to be a police officer and, of its neighbors, is behind only Indiana. But Illinois’ ranking is down over several years. Part of Illinois’ rankings for 2019 include the state being 3rd for median income for law enforcement, 9th for protection expenses and 14th for officers per capita.Overall for police, WalletHub ranked Illinois 7th in 2018 and 4th in 2017.



(Springfield--ba)-Lawmakers are passing a bill aimed at helping more students go to college. The retention of Illinois students and equity, or “RISE Act” makes sure students who may not qualify for federal college aid, like undocumented immigrants and some transgender people, can apply for state aid. Senator Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove spoke against the proposal.



State Senator Jim Oberweis



(Gibson City--jc)  A meeting of the city of Gibson City personnel committee has been cancelled. The committee was set to meet next Tuesday.


(Buckley--jc)  -- One local community has a painting party,  movie night, and fun day coming up. Officials with the village of Buckley says the village paint party is set for May 13th, 7pm, at Christ Lutheran High School. The first movie night of the season is June 8th and the annual Buckley Fun Day takes place on June 15th at Buckley Lake. WPXN will be broadcasting live at the Buckey Fun Day as part our our Summer Fun Tour 20-19.

Illinois Collected $1.5 Billion More Than Expected Last Month

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois collected $1.5 billion more than expected last month, a windfall that could wipe out most the state's budget shortfall and help avoid a proposed pension holiday, but lawmakers disagree on what to do with the surplus. Illinois House Republicans want Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Democrats to end calls for increasing taxes now or in the future. The state’s comptroller urged caution.State government collected 38 percent more from taxpayers in April than it did a year ago.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana is the latest state to legalize sports gambling. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Wednesday allowing sports betting and allowing the construction of two new casinos in the state. Indiana, Montana and Tennessee have legalized sports gambling this year and six other states did so last year after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed it nationwide. Indiana's sports wagering could start in September. In Illinois, representatives from several major league sports organizations were in Springfield Wednesday to discuss sports betting.A House Revenue and Finance subcommittee is set to  discuss measures to legalize such wagering.


(Paxton--jc)  Today’s WPXN Business of the Day is Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop. The local business has been serving customers for over 70 years. Owner Andy Hudson says while some regional and national companies are starting at med-pak plan, Hudsons has provided that service for over 10 years…



Hudson Drug and Hallmark is a family owned pharmacy and a store with the largest selection of Hallmark cards, plus Mother’s Day gifts and more .Hudson Drug and Hallmark store owner Andy Hudson says one area of the business that has seen growth is the delivery to towns like, Rantoul, Gifford, Potomac, Onarga, Cissna Park and Gilman.  The delivery of medications also hilites Hudson’s as a destination in Paxton…



You can hear a full interview with Andy Hudson over the noon news block today.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The price at the pump as well as your license plate and driver’s license fee would go up under a plan to raise money for the state of Illinois. Democrat Senator Martin Sandoval says the proposal would bring i2 point 4 Billion dollars…


The plan also calls for vehicle registration fees to double. The new fee would be 100 dollars for cars and 200 dollars for trucks. If you register an electric car the fee goes from under 20 bucks to 1 thousand dollars. You can also add money to your gallon of gas. The proposal would increase the gas tax from 19 cents per gallon to 44 cents per gallon and then be tied to inflation. State Representative Don DeWitte, Democrat, from West Dundee says that is reasonable…



(Roberts--jc)  -- Motor fuel tax money is ready to be used in one Ford County town. Officials with the village of Roberts will use just over 15 thousand dollars in motor fuel tax money for seal coating of various streets, also some patching and culvert work. Roberts village leaders have also set May 13th as a day to flush hydrants in town.



(Springfield--jc)-- 104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian says his bipartisan resolution creating a Coal Ash Task Force, has moved out of committee this week. Marron says the task force’s goal will be to bring legislators, coal company representatives, environmental experts, and the public together to study the effects of coal ash on the Vermilion River and the rest of the state.



104th District State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian



(Springfield--jc)  -- This is mental health awareness month and the Illinois Department of Human Services says it is a time to talk more openly about the topic. Each year mental health awareness month is held to note the importance of taking care of your mind as well as your body D-H-S Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin says mental illness is a problem that should not be ignored…



Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin



(Springfield--jc)  -- Students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in Illinois could soon have a new class in voting and government. The Illinois Senate is going to take up a proposed requirement to teach civics in middle school. Illinois high schools already teach civics, but Shawn Healy with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation said students need an earlier start than that. A Senate panel cautiously approved the idea. Lawmakers are cautious because they're not sure schools can fit a full semester of civics into an already crowded school day.


(Monticello, Piatt County, IL – ) As a result of an investigation by the Illinois State Police, James E. Donaldson, 61, of Monticello  was arrested on warrants for Theft and Official Misconduct, both felonies. He was transported to the Piatt County jail and posted bond. If convicted, these felonies range from probation to up to 5 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. State Police say no other information will be released at this time.



(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County Sheriff’s Department personnel remind those who mow grass along roadways to make sure the grass clippings do not cover the roadway. It is illegal to spread grass clippings on roads. The grass clippings on roadways causes a major driving hazard for motorcyclists.


(Gifford--jc)  A Gifford resident was fatally injured in a house fire in Gifford, Wednesday afternoon. Authorities say 43 year old Shane Rasor was the lone occupant in the house at the time of the blaze. No word on the cause of the fatal fire. No foul play is suspected. Rasor later died at a Champaign hospital.


(Springfield--jc)  --A group representing gas station owners is pushing back as lawmakers consider multiple proposals to raise the state's gas tax. One proposal from state Senator Martin Sandoval, Democrat from Chicago, would increase the gas tax by 25 cents per gallon and tie future annual increases to the rate of inflation. House Bill 3233 would also increase registration fees for regular vehicles to $148, up from $101. Electric vehicles would pay a $1,000 registration fee. Combined, the higher taxes and fees would bring in $2.4 billion for Illinois’ infrastructure, Sandoval said.Illinois Petroleum Marketers’ Association President Bill Fleischli said the state already gets $4 billion in revenue from gas taxes through federal and state sources.



(Springfield--jc)  -- One in 489 properties in Illinois started the foreclosure process during the first quarter of the year – the fifth highest foreclosure rate in the nation,

According to an Attom Data Solutions analysis of property data. A total of 10 thousand 909 properties in the state had foreclosure filings during the first three months of 2019. That’s out of 5 million 334 thousand  housing units statewide. The foreclosure rate in the state was down 12.6 percent from the same period a year earlier.



(Roberts--jc)  -- Roberts officials have set up May 18th as an open house and liquidation day for those wanting items from the Roberts Library. The event is set for 8am til noon.  Roberts village board members also have donated some paperbacks to the Ford County jail for use by prisoners. Several table and chairs will also be going to the Roberts gym to be used by area youth.


(Buckley--jc)  One local Christian High School has set the date for their annual fundraiser. The 15th annual Knight for Christ benefit  auction will take place Saturday August 24th at the Garden Hotel in Urbana. A catered meal, silent and live auction will be featured. Money raised goes to support Christian education at Buckley base Christ Lutheran High school.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- At the end of this month, you will see Porsches, Lamborghinis, to customized vehicles in Rantoul. The event is called a “Crown Rally.” The Rantoul Airport will be used as a checkpoint for the event which starts in Chicago and goes to Indianapolis. Hundreds of cars are expected to participate in the event.  The vehicles will make a one lap timed legal speed event. The Crown Rally is not open to the public.


(Springfield--jc)  A new proposal to raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 1 dollar emerged at the state capitol. The one buck increase would raise the statewide sales tax to 3 dollars. That is in addition to any local sales taxes. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike says this will help reduce the number of smokers…



Illinois Department of Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike.

The new tax proposal would also raise tax on cigars and other tobacco products.

The tax is expected to bring in an additional 180 million dollars to the Illinois coffers.



(Paxton--jc) The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce invites the business and civic public to a business after hours. Accolade Healthcare of Paxton is the host venue for the event. Chamber officials say  to use the time to network with fellow businesses in the city. The event runs from 5pm to 7pm. Refreshments and door prizes will be offered.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state prison officers who have died in the line of duty are being honored as part of National Correctional Officers and Employees Week. The ceremony for fallen heroes takes place Wednesday. It will be at the memorial wall on the campus of the Illinois Department of Corrections in Springfield. The event is co-hosted by the Illinois Department of Corrections and the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members will look to accept a bid for  a roof project when they meet on Monday night. Approving the student handbook for the next school year, and a Tax Increment Financing district extension from the  village is also on the agenda. The Rantoul Township High School Board meets at 7 in the high school board room.

New Recreational Marijuana Proposal Reflects on Some of the Lessons Learned by Other States

(Springfield--jc)  -- The new recreational marijuana proposal reflects on some of the lessons learned by other states. The plan is the result of hearings and studying how legalizing pot has worked elsewhere says State Senator Heather Steans, Democrat from Chicago…



State Senator Heather Steans, Democrat from Chicago.

Misusing the legal product is an issue in Colorado. One proposal also includes at public education campaign.


(Champaign--jc)  - Champaign based Suburban Express has shut down its operations. The News Gazette reports that the closing was confirmed by owner Dennis Toeppen on Tuesday. The Illinois Attorney General’s office had filed a lawsuit the alleged Suburban Express discriminated and harassed its customers. A 100 thousand dollar payment to the Attorney Generals office will also be made this month.


Springfield--jc)  -- They went too fast. That’s what House Speaker Michael Madigan said of the Senate’s debate on a proposal to change the state constitution's flat income tax to one with higher rates for higher earners.Madigan spoke to a class of journalism students in talking about the Senate’s 7-minute debate on the amendment, according to media reports. The package of bills linked with the proposed progressive tax is in the House Rules Committee.


(Paxton--jc)  The City of Paxton has a around 1 million 200 thousand dollars for its proposed Streetscape program.  One goal is reconstruction of a portion of Market Street in downtown Paxton, says Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold…


Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says that includes lighting, curbs and sidewalks to Market Street in downtown Paxton...



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

Bids and improvements to the downtown will come in early 20-20.


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — A portion of Interstate 55 near Bloomington will be renamed to honor a former resident who killed while serving in Afghanistan. The Pantagraph reports a dedication ceremony is scheduled for May 18 at VFW Post 454 in Bloomington to honor Sgt. Anthony R. Maddox. Before the ceremony, a motorcycle procession will leave from the VFW and travel along the stretch of interstate that's being renamed. Maddox died in an accidental explosion while serving with the Army in 2013. He was 22.


(Buckley--jc)  -- Soon, when you drive through Buckley along Route 45 in the downtown area, a beautification project is ready for Spring and Summer. Buckley Village leaders welcomed the donation by Jeanette Tobeck to buy and plant flowers in the downtown area.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A state representative from southern Illinois has resigned to become the director of law enforcement for the state Department of Natural Resources.Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday announced that he appointed Jerry Costello II to the post. The Smithton Democrat has served in the Illinois House since 2011. Pritzker says his experience as a police officer and in Operation Desert Storm "brings much value to an important piece of state government."Costello graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale before joining the Army and serving in Iraq.




(Undated--jc)  -- Yes, bad weather has hampered the progress on major crops. What is the latest information. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Paxton--jc)  The end of the school year is coming soon, Officials with the Paxton Buckley Loda School have set senior awards night for May 21st at 7pm.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has ordered the Illinois River closed to all traffic due to high waters north and south of Peoria. The (Peoria) Journal Star reports the closed area stretches about 45 miles from Lacon to Kingston Mines. The National Weather Service has the river at major flooding levels from Peoria south to its confluence with the Mississippi River. The weather service forecasts high waters through the week and says more rain through Thursday could prolong flooding.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services says the agency has already taken steps to remedy problems uncovered in a state audit. Marc Smith pledges in a prepared statement Tuesday that DCFS will "take all the necessary steps to overhaul long standing policies and procedures that have failed Illinois' children.


(Springfield--jc--)  -- A new recreational marijuana proposal reflects on some lessons learned by other states. In updated our story from this morning, lawmakers are  negotiating in Springfield, but also are listening to what works and does not work says Democrat State Representative Kelly Cassidy of Chicago…



State Representative Kelly Cassidy, Democrat of Chicago


(Buckley--jc)  One local Christian High School has set the date for their annual fundraiser. The 15th annual Knight for Christ benefit  auction will take place Saturday August 24th at the Garden Hotel in Urbana. A catered meal, silent and live auction will be featured. Money raised goes to support Christian education at Buckley base Christ Lutheran High school.



(Springfield--jc)  -- With Spring comes more motorcycles on the road. Make sure to make the roadways safe.  Kim Howard reports…



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An unexpected tax-revenue windfall has so bolstered Illinois finances that Gov. J.B. Pritzker has nixed a plan to reduce pension-payment obligations next year. A letter to lawmakers Tuesday from the Pritzker administration reported $4.1 billion in individual and corporate income tax revenues in April. That's up 38% from 2018 and $1.5 billion more than initially projected. Pritzker will apply it toward the required $9.1 billion payment to the state's woefully underfunded pensions.



(Rantoul--jc)  There are some age restrictions at one local Rantoul business after some issues with junior high students happened. The Rantoul Dunkins has seen some rowdy students in the hours following school recently. Rantoul Police are working with the local business to look to some solutions. Now, no one under 18 will be allowed in the business after 1pm without a parent or guardian



(Undated--jc) If you are stopped for speeding, especially along  one of the many miles of Interstate roads and you just see construction workers, there is a reason. Illinois State Police troopers have been dressing like construction workers on some Interstate roads to slow traffic and save lives.  State Police officials say to follow the posted speed limit, stay alert and stay off your electronic devices.



(Cissna Park-- jc) --  Some road construction is set to begin on May 13, just south of Cissna Park on State Route 49. Illinois Department of Transportation officials says to expect delays in the area. The construction on Route 49 will run from the second curve to the Vermilion County line. Work is expected to be completed in late June.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — The cost for a new track and soccer facility at the University of Illinois has bounced 50% higher. It is now estimated the complex will cost nearly $21 million compared with the around $14 million estimate last year. School officials in the Champaign-Urbana area partly blame trade tariff for pushing the price of steel and aluminum higher. Construction costs are also higher because of a shortage of construction workers in a strong economy.



The Midwest is About to Get More Rain Than it Needs

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The flood-ravaged Midwest doesn't need more rain, but it may get it anyway. The National Weather Service predicts several days of wet weather this week in the central U.S. Hydrologist Mark Fuchs said Monday that parts of eastern Kansas could get up to 5 inches of rain by Friday, and that parts of Iowa and Missouri could get 3 inches. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers and their tributaries are already flooding, causing levee breaches and evacuations.Closer to home,  some recent flooding levels continue to be monitored with Sugar Creek in the Milford area, the Iroquois river in Chebance, Iroquois and Watseka in Iroquois County. Other areas include the Sangamon River near Monticello and the Vermillion in the Pontiac and Danville areas.


KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — Prosecutors in northern Illinois say they are reconsidering whether to retry a man convicted of a 1999 murder after a child witness recanted his testimony. Terrence Haynes is scheduled to go on trial June 10 for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Cezaire Murrell. Haynes claims he was forced to shoot Murrell after the man threatened him with a gun. An appellate court earlier this year ordered Haynes' release from prison and granted him a new trial.


(Washington--ba) What’s up with clutter. One former expert has some advice.

Retired University of Illinois Extension expert Karen Chan shares some ways to approach and address an area where clutter may be evident.



Former University of Illinois Extension expert Karen Chan


(Washington--ba) There's very little drought to report in the latest USDA Drought Monitor. Gary Crawford reports.




(Urbana--jc)  Bond was set at 50 thousand dollars for a Ludlow Village Board member. 62 year old Ross Radke of Ludlow was arrested over the weekend and has been charged with possession of a firearm without a foid card and 2 counts of unlawful use of a firearm. The Rantoul Press reports that Radke is due back in court on May 16.



(Ford County--ba)-- The Ford County Fair is coming up in June. That also means it’s Fair Queen pageant time. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has the story…



(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a woman involved in a two vehicle crash that happened Monday afternoon near the intersection of Cardinal Road and Rising Road in Champaign County Ilsa L. Walden, age 42, of Champaign was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:00PM  by the coroner’s office. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. This incident is under investigation by the coroner’s office and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Department.


(Watseka--jc)  -- The Iroquois County  Tax Committee is set to look at the annual list of tax bills to be voided when they meet this morning in Watseka. The Incobrasa project in the county and solar projects also hi-light the meeting. The Iroquois County Tax Committee meets at 9 this morning in Watseka. The Iroquois County Health committee meets at 9-30 this morning in Watseka.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The House could take up a package of bills when members consider changing the state constitution’s flat tax to a structure with higher rates on higher earners as Illinois lawmakers head back to Springfield.The plan appears to have momentum, despite critiques from nearly all sides. Critics have said the proposals fail to address the state’s spending problems, its lowest-in-the-nation credit rating, or the state’s population loss.After clearing the Senate on Wednesday, the proposed Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 1, progressive tax rates in Senate Bill 687, estate tax repeal in Senate Bill 689 and property tax freeze in Senate Bill 690 are in the House. Sponsors of the measures have said they all must pass together or the package will fall apart. All of those measures are in the House Rules Committee.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A measure that already passed the Senate to bar drivers from using video devices while behind the wheel hit a snag in the House.Senate Bill 86 would prohibit a driver from using a video device, with the exception of the built-in navigation devices in newer vehicles.The synopsis of the bill includes cellular telephones, tablets, laptops, two-way messaging devices and electronic games into the category of prohibited devices for drivers who are behind the wheel. The measure also says using an electronic communication device does not include the minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device.



(Paxton--jc) The Paxton Streetscape program continues to develop. Several businesses in the downtown area of Paxton have completed facade projects or upgrades to buildings. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says the number of open businesses continues to grow in the city and the streetscape program is there to provide incentives…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

The city will use around 1 point 1 million dollars from a state fund to help with a street project on Market in the city among other downtown improvements.



(Spirngfield--jc)  -- Last week was a bust for Illinois farmers as we hear in the weekly crop report. Rain over the past week averaged more than 2 inches above normal and kept farmers out of the field says crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

To date, 10 percent of corn and 3 percent of soybeans have been planted statewide. WPXN news will have another crop report on our noon newscast.



(Washington--ba)-Some believe an electric lawn mower requires less maintenance than a gas-powered counterpart, yet an Extension expert says there is still care needed to assure proper operation. Rod Bain has the story...




(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Village leaders will seat the new board when they meet later today. The regular study session begins at 6, and local board members are expected to accept the Os-lad grant of 360 thousand dollars. Rantoul Village leaders are also expected to purchase 28 body cameras and accessories for  just over 21 thousand 700 dollars. The Rantoul Village board meets at 6pm in the boardroom on Tanner Street.



Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Says He's Reached an Agreement on a Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Starting Next Year

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he's reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year. Pritzker joined fellow Democrats Saturday to announce the legislation. It would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries. Illinois residents could possess up to about an ounce of marijuana. The legislation also would automatically expunge some marijuana convictions.


CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois state Senate president and Democratic National Committee member Thomas Hynes has died. He was 80. Son-in-law Cheever Griffin confirmed that Thomas Hynes died Saturday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital from complications of Parkinson's Disease. Hynes was a powerhouse in Chicago politics for four decades.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Legislators start the first full week of May with a lot of issues that range from canibus and sports gambling to a balanced budget. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the agenda will be busy all month..



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Paxton--jc)  Another new business is coming to the city of Paxton. Pizza Palace is set to open later this month in the former Pizza Hut location on the city’s west side.

Pizza Palace has two other locations, one in Gilman and one in Ashkum in Iroquois County. A May 14th opening date is planned.


There’s $300 million at the Illinois comptroller’s office in bond proceedings meant to fund optional pension buyouts.Of the five pension funds, the State Employees Retirement System said there was about 23 percent of eligible members who took one of the options with more than $30 million to be paid later this month.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The City of Paxton Streetscape program continues to develop. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold says bids for the project will be let in early 20-20 and the project completed by the end of next year…



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


(Springfield--jc)  -- There are still no details on what kind of framework for legalizing cannabis that lawmakers expect to debate and vote on at the statehouse.Observers speculated a Senate bill would be amended this week to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis, but lawmakers will be back on Tuesday.Gov. J.B. Pritzker is banking on $170 million from cannabis licensing fees in the budget that starts July 1.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Lottery wants to know. And the holder of the ticket only has until May 9 to claim the ticket.Illinois Lottery officials say the Powerball Quick Pick ticket was sold at a convenience store in Chicago on Cermak Road.The numbers were 11-16-38-50-69.There are four seven-figure prizes unclaimed for a total of more than $4 million.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting another Business After Hours on Thursday. The event is set for 5pm to 7pm at Accolade Healthcare on Fulton Street in the city. The networking event will feature appetizers, open bar and a door prizes.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce will be open on a limited basis this week. The office will be staffed from 9am til 1pm through the week. Any questions or inquiries may be made on line at d-i-r-at-rantoul-chamber-dot-com.


(Champaign County--jc)  -- The Southbound lanes of Interstate 57 were closed for about 4 hours Sunday afternoon. A vehicle crash happened around noon on Sunday. The lanes were reopened around 4 on Sunday.


(Undated--jc)  -- Amid a nationwide measles outbreak, the Illinois Department of Public Health is taking steps to increase vaccination rates to prevent measles cases here.  I-D-P-H Director Jenny WInkler says the Illinois Department of Public Health is proactively working to increase vaccination rates and educate the public on the importance of vaccines to prevent the spread of measles.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 704 cases of measles in 22 states. Seven

measles cases have been identified in Illinois, including several in Champaign County locally. The Illinois Department of Public Health plans to increase access to vaccines by expanding outreach in communities with low vaccination rates and helping with community events. Health department officials say they also want to provide proper information about measles vaccinations.


(Paxton--jc)  Organizers with the annual Paxton town wide garage sales have set the dates this year for Friday June 7 and Saturday June 8th. Residents may sign up for to be included on  a map of the sales by calling Erica Grohler at 217-379-9174. The deadline to get on the map is May 25th. Garage sale goers from over 50 to 75 miles have come to the 100 plus sales in the city.


(Rantoul--jc)  Village of Rantoul leaders continue to look at an autonomous vehicle project to develop on the former Chanute Air Force Base area.  The project would be a major boost to local economic development. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says A-Trel is one potential company, another is the new car dealership building near Wal-Mart by Shields Auto Center…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith



(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a Bement  woman who has died after being involved in a motor vehicle crash in Hickory Point Township on Friday. 77 year old Evelyn L. Dick,was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital on Saturday. Ms. Dick was reportedly traveling on County Highway 20 when her vehicle collided with a second vehicle at the intersection of Greenswitch Road. Ms. Dick died from complications of injuries she received during the crash. No autopsy will be performed. An inquest may be held at a later date


(Rantoul--jc)  Making Rantoul a destination for transportation is the focus of local leaders. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen says the possibilities are numerous…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen



(Urbana--jc) Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a male subject who has died from injuries he received during a shooting incident early Sunday morning in the 400 block of Edgebrook Drive in Champaign. Twenty-one-year-old Scot  Roth was pronounced dead early yesterday in the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.. An inquest may be held at a later date. This death remains under investigation .



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Golf cart owners in one southern Iroquois County town need to get their cart stickers renewed. The local stickers in Cissna Park expired at the end of April. Golf Cart owners have until June 6th to get the renewal sticker.



(Rantoul--jc)  Route 136 east of Rantoul was blocked for several hours on Saturday due to a vehicle versus motorcycle accident. The driver of the motorcycle received non-life threatening injuries. The road was reopened after a couple of hours.



(Undated--jc)  --The latest Census count on units of government in each state shows Illinois still has hundreds more than any other despite being the sixth most populous state.The U.S. Census has released its biennial Census of Governments report, this year showing the count of state and local governments in 2017. Illinois dropped in its total units of government count, but at 6,919, it still has 1,575 more than Texas, the state with the second most.The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning said in its “On to 2050” report that the state needs to examine areas where consolidation and shared services can streamline government, but Senior Policy Analyst Lindsay Hollander said it can’t just be for the sake of lowering that number.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Those interested have until May 23rd to apply for a Spring Community Foundation of Rantoul grant. Applications are available on the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce website. The address is rantoul-chamber-dot-com



Some Flood Watches and Warnings Continue Today

(Undated--jc)  With all the rain over the past several days, some flood watches and warnings continue this morning. Several areas of concern include Sugar Creek n the Milford area and the Iroquois River in the Watseka area. Other flood levels are being reported along the Sangamon River in the Monticello area and the Vermilion River around Pontiac. Some flood levels are expected through the weekend with others cresting by Monday. The covered bridge at Lake of the Woods is also closed due to high waters.


(Springfield--jc)  --The Illinois House Executive Committee held a hearing Thursday morning on casino expansion in the state of Illinois.   Vermilion County Board Chairman Larry Baughn addressed the committee on what casino gambling would mean for his area. Local State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Fithian says the casino idea has been discussed for years…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian



(Washington--ba)-Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tells reporters in Washington that he has had no discussions about a new round of trade mitigation payments to farmers.



Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are looking to nudge public investment funds in the state toward what they call “responsible investing.”  The measure, which passed a Senate committee, would have any public entity in Illinois that invests taxpayer funds to establish guidelines that adhere to environmental, social and governance, or ESG, best practices.Specifically, it would require any public entity that has funds to invest to include in their best practices policy. That means corporate governance and leadership factors, environmental factors, social capital factors, human capital factors and business model and innovation factors.


(Rantoul--jc)  With a community cleanup day coming on the 18th, work on entrance signs into the village, the addition of new businesses, Rantoul is looking to continue to put community pride as a top priority. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says that type of work will continue…



Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith


UNDATED (AP) — More than half of Americans want major changes to the system of government, including about 1 in 10 who want a complete overhaul. That's according to a new survey by the University of Chicago Harris School for Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showing that dissatisfaction with the government system is closely tied with policy concerns. While 61% of Democrats want big changes, 52% of Republicans do as well.



(Washington--ba)-How would the U.S. economy be affected by bringing broadband to every rural citizen? A new report by USDA’s Gary Crawford has the answers.





(Saybrook--jc)  A spaghetti dinner is set for the Saybrook Sons of the American Legion today.  The menu is all you can eat Spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. The dinner runs from 5 to 7. Carryout orders also available.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A cookout for charity is set for the Paxton IGA on Saturday.  On the menu is pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda. Profits go to the Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners program.


(Undated--jc)  Garage sale days today and tomorrow in Cissna Park.


Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Senate approved an amendment to the constitution, replacing the current flat tax, with a graduated system, based on what you earn. Senator Don Harmon of Oakbrook argues that 97 percent of Illinoisans will pay for the same or less under the plan…



Illinois State Senator Don Harmon of Oakbrook

Republicans like Senator Dale Righter of Mattoon oppose the plan, saying this will lead to more tax increases…


Illinois State Senator Dale Righter of Mattoon.

The issue is in the hands of the Illinois House this afternoon. Illinois voters will have the final say if the amendment moves to a vote next fall.



TAYLORVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Construction work is set to resume five months after a central Illinois city was struck by a rare December tornado, officials said. The December First tornado injured more than  25 people in Taylorville. Over 700 buildings in the town of about 11,000 were damaged by the devastating twister, rated an EF-3 storm with winds between 136 and 165 mph. Mayor Bruce Barry said local ministerial alliances and fundraiser group Missions for Taylorville have raised $700,000 as recovery work continues. Barry added that their goal is to establish long-term reconstruction plans.




(Washington--ba)- How close might the U.S. and Japan be on an agreement on agricultural trade issues? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Pool has some additional daily open hours after a vote during a special meeting last night. Park Board members voted to open the pool during the afternoons on Mondays,  Wednesdays and Fridays. The local pool will also be open Tuesdays and Thursdays in the evening. No weekend hours will be offered,


(Gibson City--jc)  The Illinois House and Illinois Senate were back in session this week. Lawmakers are working on issues from a proposed graduated tax, to casino expansion to the budget. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says he is back, but his recovery from a car accident continues…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Cissna Park--jc)  An open house and retirement party for a popular teacher and high school basketball coach is set for May 11th.  Fans and Friends of the Cissna Park Timberwolves will honor Teacher and Coach Kevin Long on Saturday May 11th at 7pm. The event takes place at the Cissna Park American Legion Home. A program starts at 7-30 that evening.



(Paxton--jc)  One local school has an arts festival set for Saturday. The Paxton Buckley Loda Fine Arts Festival takes place on Saturday starting at 4pm. A performance is set for 5. A donation of 5 dollars per person is requested.


(7am new--jc)  Potomac residents, listen up, the village is reminding Potomac residents that the town clean up day is tomorrow from 7am until 10am. The cost is 20 dollars per load. Some restrictions apply.


(Melvin--jc)  - Marvin Lee along with Dyke Corson and Maddie Flessner will perform at the Melvin Community Hall on Saturday night. The concert begins at 7. Food will be available from the Friends of the Melvin Library starting at 5-30.


Arlington International Racetrack Owner Richard L. "Dick" Duchossois to be Inducted into Horse Racing's National Hall of Fame

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — The owner of Arlington International Racecourse in suburban Chicago is being inducted into horse racing's national hall of fame. In a news release, the track says Richard L. "Dick" Duchossois will be inducted Friday at a ceremony at Arlington.


CHICAGO (AP) — Nine state workers who are no longer members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are seeking the return of some the fees paid the union. In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, the Liberty Justice Center contends more than 2,700 state employees are entitled to money they paid to AFSCME from May 1, 2017 through June 28, 2018. The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled it unconstitutional to make public employees pay union dues.


(Paxton--jc)  The “Save the Pool” group has been meeting for several weeks to look at strategies to keep the Paxton Park District pool open for as many hours as possible. In April, the local Paxton Park District board, 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.   What will the hours be to swim at the Paxton Pool this year?

Park District Board leaders have called a special meeting for 6pm tonight to discuss the issue.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Senate has approved a graduated income-tax structure that charges a rate of 7.99 percent for the most affluent residents. The plan by Olympia Fields Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson was approved 36-22.  Hutchinson says she sees no reason not to move forward with the proposal…



Democrat State Senator Toi Hutchinson of Chicago.


53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman-Republican from Bloomington says some feel this is just the start of an easy way to raise taxes on all Illinoisans…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman-Republican from Bloomington



(Paxton-dg) Today’s Business of the day is Houston Plumbing Heating and Cooling. General Manager Lisa Pierman reminds us why it is important to keep our Air Conditioners tuned up.



Houston Plumbing heating and Cooling General Manager Lisa Pierman


She goes on to talk about their Cool Cash rewards…




(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers discussed further phasing out cash bond requirements for people arrested for low-level criminal offenses. Former Governor  Bruce Rauner signed a law in 2017 that required a bail hearing for people couldn’t afford to bond out of jail. Now, lawmakers are looking into whether they should institute a “no-cash bail” system, possibly for those facing low-level felonies as well. White County State’s Attorney Denton Aud told lawmakers a high bond is a de facto way to keep dangerous people off the street.Other state’s attorneys gave instances where dangerous domestic abuse suspects could be released and return to their homes. State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said poor people are often stuck in jail while awaiting trial while wealthy people can be back on the streets in hours.



As the end of the school year quickly approaches, area High School FFA Chapters will be finalizing another year.  The Fisher FFA has a couple of upcoming events. Fisher FFA Secretary Lacey Cotter talks about those events.



Fisher FFA Secretary Lacey Cotter


(AP) — A trial is underway in Chicago of a man accused in the 2012 murder of an informant who cooperated with a federal investigation into a central Illinois drug ring. Marquelle Palmer of Bloomington is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Melissa Woods, whose body was found in the basement of a boarded-up building in Chicago. Woods was to testify in a drug case targeting Palmer, his brother and more than a dozen others.



(Springfield--jc)  --Proponents are promoting a package of bills to go along with a proposed change to how the state taxes income. Attached to a proposed rate structure is an end to the state estate tax and a limit to what schools can levy in local property taxes. State Senator. Andy Manar said the property tax freeze has two exemptions: pensions and debt. Republicans oppose the package.



(Undated--jc)  --Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers Riders  hosted dedication ceremonies during their 1,200-mile bicycle journey from St.Louis, Missouri, to Washington, D.C. for National Police Week.  Riders stopped at the Illinois Police Officers Memorial in Springfield, for a dedication for Trooper Brian McMillen. Trooper Brian McMillen tragically lost his life in the Line of Duty on October 28, 2007. Today at  approximately 1:30 p.m., the riders will stop for a dedication near the intersection of Champaign County Road 1400 North and 500 East, one mile south of Bondville. Sergeant Rodney Miller was a 16-year veteran of the ISP who died in a tragic car crash near this location on May 12, 2006.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Cruising in Gibson City begins in a couple of weeks. The Friday nights under the lights in downtown Gibson City begins on Friday May 17th in Gibson City. Organizers are inviting those with classic cars to individuals to join in the cruising fun.


BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Two workers at a southern Illinois pre-school are accused of making children stand naked in a closet as punishment. Teacher Mary Agbehia of Edwardsville and teachers' aide Shavonda Willis of Fairview Heights are workers at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis. The St. Clair County State's Attorney's office announced Wednesday the women are charged with felony aggravated battery for alleged physical contact with the children and unlawful restraint.


(Undated--jc)  With the Spring weather comes more motorists on the road, more motorcyclists too. Keep watch. Kim Howard reports…



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