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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-06

Montgomery Gentry and Mitchell Tenpenny at the Ford County Fair Tonight

(Undated--jc)  --The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a question about immigration status will not be allowed on the 20-20 Census, a decision that marked a setback for President Donald Trump’s administration, but a potential win for Illinois. The reason is a large immigrant communities and billions of dollars in federal funding on the line. A lower court in New York previously ruled that the question would result in noncitizen households responding to the census at lower rates after Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced in March 2018 that he had decided to reinstate a question about citizenship on the 2020 decennial census questionnaire. Illinois, has been losing people and is reliant on immigrants to cancel out some of those losses


(Melvin--ba) Evie Ellis of Paxton continues to hand out ribbons and take lots of photos at the Ford County Fair in Melvin. Ellis will also compete next January in the State competition in Springfield. Ellis says Ford County has great leadership with the annual pageant…



Ford County  Queen Evie Ellis of Paxton



(Undated--jc)  Fill up your gas tank before Monday, when the state's gas tax will double and vehicle registration fees will increase. Governor. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign legislation today that would double the state’s gas tax to pay for a 45 billion dollar infrastructure plan along with another bill to hike the tax on a pack of cigarettes by 1 dollar. Monday marks the beginning of the fiscal year. Once Pritzker signs Senate Bill 19-39, which doubles the state’s motor fuel tax and increases vehicle registration and other driving fees, and Senate Bill 690, which expands gambling, taxes are on the rise in Illinois.


(Paxton--jc)  Authorities have identified the woman who died in a mobile home fire in Paxton on Wednesday night. 67 year old Peggy Elkins was fatally injured in the blaze. No foul play was suspected. No damage estimates were available.  The Ford County Record reports that cause of death was not the fire. Ford County Coroner Rick Flessner believes a cardiac incident was the cause of death.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Ameren Crews continued some work on transformers along Route 9 in the city of Paxton on Thursday.  Traffic along Route 9 near Signs and Designs, Casey’s and The NAPA store were one lane traffic. Area police agencies remind the motoring public to slow down,  especially in construction zones. 


(Springfield--ba)   --The home of a former top political aide to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was raided by the federal government. Federal agents searched Kevin Quinn’s home, Quinn is the brother of Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn. He’s also central to a sexual harassment retaliation complaint filed by a former Democratic staffer. The focus of the federal investigation and whether it’s connected to Quinn's work with Madigan is unclear. 

(Springfield--ba)- The Illinois Fire Marshal’s office is reminding the public about state fireworks laws and safety.  Hundreds of people across the country head to the emergency room each year because of fireworks injuries around the Fourth of July holiday. One favorite, sparklers, can be especially dangerous, says Fire Marshal spokesperson JC Fultz.



Illinois Fire Marshal Office spokesperson JC Fultz.


(Gifford--jc)  -- The 20-19 Gifford celebration is set for today and tomorrow. Tonight at 6-30 is the Marvin Lee Band. The movie “Moana” will be shown at 8-30 in Roessler Park. Emord Park in Gifford will be the location for many of the Saturday events.  Starting at 7 tomorrow morning its a 5-K Run and walk. The annual parade steps off at 11. This year’s grand marshal is Linda Tiarks. She just retired after a 28 year career at Gifford Grade School. Afternoon events include the flag raising at noon, the Little Miss Gifford Pageant at 1pm and the Kiddie Tractor Pull at 2-30. New this year is a wing eating contest. Back at Roessler park at dusk are fireworks. WPXN will be broadcasting live  at 10-30 with Becky Puetz It’s Summer Fun Tour Stop number 6.



(Paxton--jc)  The cookout on Saturday from 10am until 2pm at the Paxton IGA will feature pork chop sandwiches, chips and pop. This week’s fundraiser helps the group called “Inner Guard Widow Sons.”


(Melvin--jc)  -- It’s concert day at the Ford County Fair in Melvin. Montgomery Gentry performs after opener Mitchell Tenpenny. The concerts begin at 7-30 says Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller…



Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller.

WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour today from the fair in Melvin.



LEWISTOWN, Ill. (AP) — A man suspected of fatally shooting an Illinois sheriff's deputy has been charged with first-degree murder and ordered held on $5 million bond. Forty-two-year-old Nathan Woodring of Avon appeared in Fulton County Circuit Court on Thursday. He's accused of killing 39-year-old Fulton County Deputy Troy Chisum after Chisum responded Tuesday to a battery and disturbance call at a home in Avon in rural western Illinois.



OAK LAWN, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health says it's investigating four cases of Legionnaires' disease in individuals at a suburban Chicago hospital. It said Thursday that two of the four were patients at Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn within the past two months. The agency says it will visit the hospital this week to test its water and that the hospital is working with it to strengthen its water management.



(Rantoul--jc)  When the Rantoul 4th of July Parade steps off next Thursday morning at 9-30, the Grand Marshall is from town but also serves as the State Commander of the Veterans of Forein Wars. He is Brad Gould. Gould says he is originally from Indiana..



Rantoul 4th of July Parade Grand Marshall-Illinois VFW Commander Brad Gould


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — For those kids looking to step inside a 7-foot eyeball, the Children's Museum of Illinois is the place to go. The (Decatur) Herald & Review reports the interactive display called "Peek Inside" that allows visitors to see the eye from the inside out will be open to the public within a few days. Dr. John Lee, a local ophthalmologist, designed it hoping that if people know more about the eye and eye diseases they will be better equipped to spot those diseases in time to protect their sight.


(Washington--jc)  The U-S-D-A is making available to the public reports that break down information from the 2017 Census of Agriculture data by congressional districts. Stephanie Ho reports..



(Melvin--jc)  -- The newly crowned Little Miss and Little Mister at the Ford County Fair are both from Gibson City. They are Mister Levi Johnson and Miss Autumn Eads.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has activated an additional 80 Illinois National Guard troops for flood-fighting efforts in southern Illinois. The governor's office said Thursday about 140 Guard troops now are being used for sandbagging operations, levee monitoring and security in East Cape Girardeau, McClure and Gale.


Starting Monday, You Must be 21 to Buy Tobacco Products and E-Cigarettes

A Paxton woman is dead following a house fire that happened around 10pm last night. Ford County Coroner Rick Flessner said the woman was alone and no foul play is expected. No word on what started the fire. The woman’s name hasn’t been released.



CHICAGO (AP) — The family of a scholar from China killed by a former University of Illinois doctoral student says they're aware he offered to divulge where her remains were but weren't convinced the body would actually be found. A Wednesday statement from Yingying Zhang's relatives says they were "leery" of Brendt Christensen's offer "because he had lied so many times in the past." The defense said in a Tuesday filing that Christensen made the offer, asking for a life sentence in exchange.



(Springfield--ba)  -- One of the key components of the state’s new marijuana law is addressing those previously convicted for minor violations. About 700 thousand records could be wiped clean under the law. More than half are eligible to be automatically expunged or pardoned if the offense involves less than 30 grams of weed. Governor JB pritzker says tough marijuana laws have hit minority communities especially hard...



Illinois Governor JB pritzker



(Springfield--ba)  -- Starting Monday, people younger than 21 won’t be able to buy tobacco products or e-cigarette in Illinois.The new law, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed earlier this year, was designed to discourage young people from smoking or using other products that contain nicotine by raising the age limit to buy those products from 18 to 21. Supporters of the measure said smoking leads to higher health care costs that could be picked up by taxpayers and the more smoking is reduced, the more taxpayers will save down the line.



(Washington--ba)--How much of this past season's crops are still in storage? We'll find out this week. USDA’s Gary Crawford has that story.


(Undated--jc)  What is the analysis on Illinois bad financial situation. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Paxton--ba)  -- Ford County, as Trustee, has completed their tax deed proceedings on real estate properties that were delinquent for 2015 and mobile homes that were delinquent for 2016 and prior real estate taxes. The County, as Trustee, will now offer for sale, the real estate and mobile homes obtained to the public. They will offer approximately 21 real estate items and 1 mobile home item through a sealed bid auction sale. All sealed bids must be in the Ford County Treasurer’s Office located at the Ford County courthouse no later than July 12th.



(Undated--jc)  The 7th annual mid-summer fun run sponsored by the Gibson City based American Legion Riders is set for Saturday July 13th. Group Spokesperson Tabitha Renfo says the motorcycle ride fundraiser for local Veterans goes through 4 counties on July 13th…




American Legion Riders- Ford County Old Timers Spokesperson Tabitha Renfro



(Paxton--jc)  -- There is a free swim this afternoon at the Paxton Park District Pool. The event from 1pm to 5pm is sponsored by Shields Auto-Mart of Paxton.


(Paxton--ba)  Evie Ellis of Paxton was crowned the 20-19 Miss Ford County Fair Queen. Ellis was a guest during our live broadcast yesterday and says her future plans are college and career....



Ford County Fair Pageant Queen Evie Ellis


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza publicly shared her frustrations with state agencies and the Illinois Auditor General’s office. The reason is  tardiness in getting Illinois’ official budgetary post-mortem from 2018 to her so that she can release it to the public. July 1 will mark the beginning of Illinois’ new fiscal year for accounting purposes but the state has yet to release its

 comprehensive annual financial report, from the fiscal year that ended in June of 2018. No timetable for the report was provided by the Auditor General’s office.


AVON, Ill. (AP) — A sheriff's deputy in Illinois has been killed as authorities surrounded a suspect barricaded in a home. Illinois State Police say the Fulton County sheriff's deputy was responding to a battery and disturbance call about 2 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Avon, about 165 miles southwest of Chicago. Multiple shots were fired. The sheriff's office says 39-year-old Deputy Troy Chisum was fatally shot. Additional details weren't immediately released. The standoff continued hours later.


(Urbana--jc) Bond was set at 250 thousand dollars for two Champaign men arrested in Rantoul earlier this week on armed robbery charges.  23 year old Trevoy Fonville and 24 year old Elijah Duckword were arrested on Tuesday. The Rantoul Press also reported that U-S Marshals helped in the arrest. The pair are due back in court July 9th. A third person, 25 year old Dashiona Fonville, remains in custody on 200 thousand dollars bond. 


(Paxton--jc) Work on the demolition of the former Paxton Hospital building continues this week. Around two-thirds of the building is now gone as crews continue the razing process. The building is owned by Carle Foundation Hospital. Hospital officials have not revealed any plans for the property, other than the demolition process to date. 



(Melvin--jc) --  Today at the Ford County Fair in Melvin, the Open Class and Junior Sheep Show begins in the 8am hour. The Open Beef Show and Junior Rabbit Show start at 9 this morning. Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller says expected numbers for cattle and sheep are about the same, but hog entries are up…



Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller

 Registration for the Childrens Tractor pull starts at 5-30 with the event to start at 6 in the dance building. In the grandstand tonight it’s the Illiana Truck and Tractor Pull. WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour as part of our Summer Fun Tour Stop number 5.



(Rantoul--jc)  The Village of Rantoul and the Citizens Advisory Committee wish to invite public comments at a public hearing to be held at 6 tonight in the Board Room of the Rantoul Municipal Building on  South Tanner Street. The purpose of the hearing is to receive public comment on the use of $337,165 of Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the fiscal year beginning in May of this year.. Last year, the Village spent CDBG funds for housing rehabilitation, infrastructure improvements, demolition, social services, and administration.  


HOUSTON (AP) — An attorney for the family of a 2-year-old girl struck by a foul ball during a game last month between the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros says the girl suffered a skull fracture.Attorney Richard Mithoff on Wednesday provided the first update by the girl's family on her condition since she was hit during the May 29 game in Houston.Mithoff says the girl had bleeding and swelling in her brain as well as a brain contusion after she was hit. He says she had a seizure after she was hospitalized and is taking medication to prevent more seizures.

Tonight at the Ford County Fair it's Martin Xtreme Supercross Racing.

(Springfield--jc)  -- Democrats stand to get more money for their legislative districts than Republicans under a proposed $45 billion infrastructure plan, a top state Democrat said. A Republican involved in the late-night negotiations said talks with Governor J.B. Pritzker's office resulted in more money for Republican districts, but said the spending was still lopsided at the end of the legislative session. Democrats have veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Once the new capital spending plan signed into law earlier this month is finalized, districts represented by Illinois’ Democratic lawmakers will, on average, get more than districts represented by Republicans by what a high-ranking Democrat described as a two-to-one margin.


(Melvin--jc)  - Tonight at the Ford County Fair it’s Martin Xtreme Supercross Racing. The event begins at   7 tonight. There is also a gate reduction to 3 dollars and a 15 dollar armband night for the carnival will run from 6pm to 10pm. Kurt Blunier will be DJ'ing in the beer tent from 7-10:30.

 WPXN continues Summer Fun Tour Stop number 5 over the noon hour today. Today’s guest is 20-19 Miss Ford County Fair Queen Evie Ellis.


(Undated--ba) Summer time is grilling time. It’s Safety time too. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has some food safety tips....



(MATTOON, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois teacher has been named a Carnegie hero after subduing a teen who opened fire at Mattoon High School in September 2017. The Carnegie Hero Fund announced this year's honorees  including 40-year-old teacher Angela McQueen of Mattoon. The award is given to those who risk their lives to save others and includes a financial grant. 



(Pontiac--jc)  Bond for a Livingston County man was set at 250 thousand dollars on child pornagraphy charges. State Police say 37 year old Jay Pitchford, formerly of Pontiac was arrested in Arizona this week. Pitchford was arrested by the U. S Marshals Service.


(Melvin--jc)  With the selection of a new Fair Queen at the Ford County Fair Monday night, also comes proud families, friends and parents. 17 year old Evie Ellis of Paxton is the new Miss Ford County Fair Queen.  Her Mom, Sally Ellis of Paxton says this is a wonderful experience for her daughter…



Fair Queen Mom and proud parent Sally Ellis of Paxton.


(Ludlow--jc)  Paxton Buckley Loda Teacher and coach Jeff Graham is set to begin a new job in a nearby district on Monday.  Graham will be taking over for Dru Lobmaster as Superintendent and Principal in Ludlow on July First. One of the first agenda items for the new Superintendent will be to take care of a new contract with teachers. That issue has been agreed upon and will be a subject at the July meeting of the Ludlow School district.


(Watseka--jc) -- The Watseka Wednesday farmers’ market is available to the general public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Old Courthouse Museum in  Watseka. The market is open to anyone who would like to set up a table or booth area to offer their wares, which can include garden produce, baked goods, to craft items  More information about the free farmers’ market, call the museum office at 815-432-2215. On Saturday, the annual Garden Faire will take place on the grounds of the museum. Vendors will offer similar items. The Red Barn, located on the museum grounds, will offer food and drinks.



(Paxton--jc)  The First Methodist Church in Paxton is the venue for choir practices for the city’s 4th of July Community Choir. The next rehearsal is tonight at 7pm  If you love church and love to sing you are invited to attend. The choir will sing several patriotic tunes at 9-30 a m Thursday July 4th at Pells Park in Paxton.


(Springfield--ba)--  Farmers and ranchers with expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts may now re-enroll in certain CRP continuous signup practices or, if eligible select a one-year contract extension. USDA’s Farm Service Agency also is accepting offers from those who want to enroll for the first time in one of the country’s largest conversation programs. FSA’s 52nd signup for CRP runs from June 3 to August 23.


(Springfield--ba)  --Illinois has approved the most stringent laws in the nation for the use of a cancer-causing sterilization agent commonly used to clean medical equipment.Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Matt Haller Act – named after one of the local residents who died of cancer believed to be from ethylene oxide – on Friday. It sets strict emissions requirements. Companies in Illinois have six months to comply with the emissions requirements or face being shut down by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency



(Crescent City--jc)  -- One fair continues this week and another is set for mid-July. At the Ford County Fair today at the Ford County Fair its  Martin Xtreme Supercross Racing. The event begins at  7 tonight. There is also a gate reduction to 3 dollars and a 15 dollar armband night for the carnival will run from 6pm to 10pm Kurt Blunier will be DJ'ing in the beer tent from 7-10:30. Soon it will be time for the Iroquois County Fair. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has that story.


(Springfield--ba)-Adults in Illinois will be able to enjoy recreational marijuana come January first. Governor JB pritzker signed the new law…letting Illinois residents 21 and older possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, five grams of cannabis concentrate and edibles with up to 500 milligrams of THC. He says it's the right thing to do.



Illinois Governor JB pritzker 



(Washington--ba)-USDA has released the names of 40 funding recipients under its Community Facilities program, which still has two billion dollars available for projects this year. USDA’s Stephanie Ho has that story.




ST. LOUIS (AP) — An advocacy group for Mississippi River communities says this year's prolonged flooding has created more than $2 billion in damage. Mayors from river communities agreed Tuesday that this year's flood has been particularly damaging because of how long it has stuck around. Colin Wellenkamp of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative says the river has been above flood stage at some southern towns for more than 200 days.


(Springfield--jc)  --Members of the state's largest employee union ratified a new contract, but just how much the four-year deal will cost remains unclear. The contract includes more than 11.5 percent in raises over four years for nearly 40,000 employees, a $625 stipend for every year an employee worked without a contract during the four years of former Governor. Bruce Rauner's administration, and other benefits.  The position of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council is this is a fair contract for all. The cost though remains unclear..Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski said that’s a disservice to the people who will pay for the new contract. The new fiscal year 20-20 budget will be enacted on Monday. No factors for higher employee costs were not totaled for the new budget.


CHICAGO (AP) — Bloomington  officials say the owner of an exotic cat that escaped and scratched two people before being killed by police is facing a fine. City attorney Jeff Jurgens says the owner of the caracal cat is facing a $1,000 fine for not registering her animal and a $100 fine for permitting the cat to run at large. Police spokesman John Fermon says after attacking a 32-year-old woman and her daughter Sunday, the cat also tried to attack a medium-sized dog. The caracal is native to Africa.



(Melvin--jc)  -- The Ford County Fair continues today at the fairgrounds in Melvin. Ford County Fair Officer Dallas Meyer says the local fair has a long history of bringing in national acts to Melvin…



Ford County Fair Officer Dallas Meyer. 



(Paxton--jc)  There is still time to donate items for a garage sale and bake sale in Paxton set for Saturday. Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living will be hosting a community garage sale and bake sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the nursing home on Fulton Street in the city.

Jury Finds Former University of Illinois Student Brendt Christensen Guilty of Kidnapping and Slaying of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A lawyer says the family of a Chinese scholar will ask a federal jury to recommend that the man convicted of abducting and killing her be put to death. The jury found former University of Illinois doctoral student Brendt Christensen guilty Monday in the kidnapping and slaying of the 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. Zhidong Wang represents Zhang's family. He told reporters shortly after the verdict that the family has already asked prosecutors to request the death penalty.


LAS VEGAS (AP) — "Jeopardy!" champion and professional sports gambler James Holzhauer made his World Series of Poker debut in Las Vegas, planning to donate half of his winnings to charity. Holzhauer won the first hand he played in a No-Limit Hold'em event. He planned to partner later in the day with Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton in another contest.



(Iroquois County--jc)  Illinois State Police and Iroquois County Sheriff’s police continue to investigate the death of a Watseka man. The death of 38 year Daniel Gutierez happened over this past weekend.  He lived in the 200 hundred block of 8th street. 



(Paxton--jc) --  A L-G-B-T-Q march is planned for this Sunday in Paxton. The march is planned for an 11 a m start at Pells Park in the City. The event will also move to the downtown area of the city. More information is found by contacting Paxton resident Tyger McClure. The event coincides with the 50 anniversary of the Stonewall riots of New York City



(Springfield--jc)  -- Over the past week, there were just 2 days suitable for fieldwork. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says some planting still needs to be done…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

67 percent of the soybean crop has emerged with 42 percent rated in good to excellent condition.  15 percent of winter wheat has been harvested



MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — Indiana casinos will compete effectively against a slew of new casino sites in Illinois, the state's governor said. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb called gambling an "uber-competitive industry" after lawmakers in both states approved the legalization of sports betting this spring. Holcomb says the competition is on all the borders of Indiana, not just Illinois. A casino is planned locally in the Vermilion County city of  Danville,



(Melvin--jc)  -- Ford County has a new queen. She is Evie Ellis of Paxton.  This year’s first runner up is Kaitlyn Harders of Melvin and the second runner up is Cheyenne Wise of Loda. 

During our Summer Fun Tour Stop number 5 at the Ford County Fair today over the noon, one expected guest is Evie Ellis.


(Bloomington--jc)  With a recent report showing that suicide rates among farmers are more than five times the national average, the Illinois Farm Bureau is taking steps to help farmers in need. It is common knowledge that agriculture is a  high-stress occupation, that is dependent on the weather The 2019 crops year has proven to be a challenging one for farmers due to wet conditions throughout the Corn Belt. As a result, farmers had to get their crop in quickly, and working long hours to get it done. This is just the latest in a series of problems Illinois farmers face. The Illinois Farm Bureau is taking steps to ensure farmers have access to the help and information they need.



(Ford County--jc)  -- A two vehicle accident occurred south of Elliott in Ford County late Monday afternoon. Authorities say those involved were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. 


(Undated--jc)  -- Illinoisans are flocking to border states to buy fireworks that aren't widely available in Illinois ahead of Independence Day.Fireworks stores in neighboring states depend on Illinois residents crossing the border to buy pyrotechnics. While there are more than 120 state licensed fireworks stores in Illinois, buyers still must get a permit and have an inspection to legally display such fireworks.Justin Bartlett, managing partner with Crossroads Fireworks in Bettendorf, Iowa, said the business gets customers from Illinois.


(Springfield--jc)  --Beginning in 6 days, drivers in Illinois caught by police using their cell phone behind the wheel will be charged with a moving violation.That means a guilty infraction will go toward the state’s three-strikes rule that suspends a driver’s license after three moving infractions a year.


(Melvin--jc)  Tickets for the Montgomery Gentry Show on Friday night at the Ford County Fair are available. Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller says there are several ways to get your tickets to this national act coming to Melvin…



Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller

WPXN will continue its live broadcasts from the Ford County Fair over the noon hour today. One planned guest is Evie Ellis, the newly crowned Miss Ford County Fair Queen 2019.


Ford County Fair Queen Pageant Tonight in Melvin

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A union representing thousands of Illinois state workers says its members have approved a four-year contract that offers lump-sum payments and a series of raises. AFSCME Council 31 says workers will get $625 for each of the past four years worked. There will be a 1.5% percent raise in January, followed by a 2.1% percent raise in July 2020. The union says a pair of 3.95% raises will take effect in 2021 and 2022. Health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses are going up.


(Mahomet--jc)  -- When Mahomet Seymour School board members meet on tonight, they are expected to approve Patrick Bailey as an Assistant Principal at the high school. Looking at a compensation bill for worker liability, hearing a report on the district risk management plan and talking about a grant application also are on the agenda. The Mahomet Seymour School meeting comes to order at 7pm.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A judge has set closing arguments for today after a former University of Illinois student accused of killing a scholar from China declined to testify in a trial that could lead to the death penalty. Prosecutors and Brendt Christensen's lawyers rested their cases Friday in federal court. Christensen told a judge that he understood his right to testify but would remain silent. Christensen is accused of luring Yingying Zhang into his car in 2017 and killing her at his apartment.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Public Library will present fun for everyone: Aaron Fowler has performed all across this country in schools, libraries and community concerts. Aaron’s summer library program is entitled “Look to the Skies, Lift up a Song.” It will be filled with lots of singing, movement and some out of this world fun! Bella (4 year old yellow lab-Professional Therapy Dog) will be with him again this summer. Going to have her practice wearing her space helmet. Friday, June 26, 2-3 pm. Children under 8 years old must be accompanied by a person over 13 years of age. At Rantoul Public Library, 217-893-3955, 106 W. Flessner.



(Melvin--jc)  The 20-19 Ford County Fair started on Sunday. The weeklong event will feature a queen pageant, motorcross racing, tractor pull, donkey races and a demolition derby. Friday’s big concert is Montgomery Gentry.Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller says the process to bring a national act to the local fair, is year long..



Ford County Fair President Kirk Miller

WPXN will be broadcasting live starting in the noon hour today


(Loda--jc) --  Village of Loda officials are continuing to look at ways to fund a water tower project. Village leaders have been working with the village engineer on ways to get the project completed. Seeking grants or other money to help fund the project are also plans by the local board. The water tower topic is an expected agenda item for the Loda board this summer and fall



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Recreation Department officials say the Red Slide at the Hap Parker Pool is back up and running. The slide was fixed by pool maintenance staff.  The Hap Parker Aquatic Center is open Monday through Friday from 1pm to 7 pm and Noon to 7pm on weekends.



(Rantoul--jc) Rantoul has shown itself as a destination for some events, ballgames and yearly celebrations. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says with the Half Century of Progress making its return this August, to games at the Bill Seeber Complex, to the Rantoul Freedom celebration, the Pumpkin Chuckin Competition is another event on the calendar in November…


Rantoul VIllage Administrator Scot Eisenhauer


(Undated--jc)  --Illinois’ youth and working-age professionals are leaving in greater numbers than other age groups, including retirees, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.U.S. Census information shows the state's population declined by 45,000 people in the year ending last July.New data released Thursday showed that Illinois’ population losses were primarily attributed to people younger than 65. Nearly every age bracket from children under five to adults age 55-60 lost population.



(Springfield--jc)  -- 3 new laws for immigrants in Illinois were signed into law by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. The first law prevents local police from participating in U-S Immigration and Customs enforcement efforts, a second bans Immigrant Detention Centers in Illinois.  The governor says 1 point 8 Million Immigrants live in Illinois…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders will look to hire The Kemper C-P-A group for the city’s annual audit when they meet on Monday night. Council members may also consider a lift station at Lot 12  in Jordan Park. Gibson City leaders are also expected to go into executive session to talk about compensation for certain city employees. The Gibson City Council meeting comes to order at 7pm on tonight.


(Paxton--jc)  The next free swim at the Paxton Pool is Thursday June 27. Shields AutoMart is the sponsor of the event. The free swim on Thursday is from 1pm to 5pm. Several businesses and organizations are sponsoring the free swims throughout the summer months at the Paxton Park District pool.


(Melvin--jc)  The Ford County Fair Queen pageant is tonight. Joel Cluver has the details…



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois home sales were down slightly compared to last May while median prices posted another year-over-year increase, data from Illinois REALTORS® show. Statewide home sales in May totaled 17,034 homes sold, down 1.3 percent from  May 2018. The statewide median price in May was $219,000, up 1.9 percent from May 2018, when the median price was $215,000. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Do you need help with building your on-line business presence? The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a lunch and learn on Thursday at the Cobblestone Hotel in Paxton. The event is set for noon with a light lunch. More information is found by calling Ashley Tolley at the chamber office at 379-4655

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to Receive Lincoln's Bible

(Roberts--jc)  -- Firefighters from several area departments were called to a house fire in Roberts Thursday  morning. The home at 207 Hickory Drive was the location of the fire. Fire Departments from Roberts and Buckley with aid from Melvin and Loda also  responded to the blaze. Fire Marshal officials believe an electric short circuit was the cause of the blaze. No one was hurt. The Ford County Record reported that firefighters were called back to the home on Thursday afternoon after some smoke was seen coming from the home.


CHICAGO (AP) — The girlfriend of an ex-University of Illinois student charged with kidnapping a visiting scholar from China says he seemed proud as he told her he killed Yingying Zhang. Star prosecution witness Terra Bullis testified Thursday for a second day at Brendt Christensen's trial. He told her he raped and then beat the 26-year-old to death. He told her Zhang was his 13th victim, writing the number 13 on her hand. Investigators haven't been able to corroborate the claim.


(Springfield--ba)-In updating our story from Noon The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is now home to a rare artifact…a Bible owned by the 16th president. An inscription on the front of the bible says it was given to Lincoln in 1864 by the “Ladies of the citizens volunteer hospital of Philadelphia.” After he died, Mary Lincoln gave it to a baptist minister and family friend, Noyes Miner. The Miner family has kept the bible safe all this time and is now donating it to the museum says State Historian Sam Wheeler.



State Historian Sam Wheeler.



Most U.S. pastures are benefiting from excessive wetness. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The head of the Illinois Gaming Board has stepped down after serving four years in the post. Springfield attorney Don Tracy was named chairman by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner in early 2015. Gov. J.B. Pritzker's spokesman Jordan Abudayyeh said Thursday a replacement will be named soon. When Tracy was appointed to the position, Rauner cited his background as an attorney and business owner. Tracy's resignation comes as Pritzker is expected to sign legislation expanding legal gambling in Illinois.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- One summer event that is returning to the Rantoul Airport this Summer helped village officials in their efforts to land the National Pumpkin Chuckin’  Competition. The bi-annual Half Century of Progress will encompass the Rantoul airport in August. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says having that event was a positive in negotiations for the Pumpkin Chuckin’ event to locate in Rantoul.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The 7th annual Mid Summer Fun Run is set for Saturday July 13th. The event is sponsored by the Ford County Old Timers. Group Spokesperson Tabitha Renfro says the money raised the event helps out veterans in Champaign and Ford Counties…



Ford County Old Timers Group Spokesperson Tabitha Renfro.

Those wanting to participate in the ride from Urbana to Danville to Hoopeston and Paxton are asked to contact the organization for details.



(Paxton--jc)  --Tomorrow at the Paxton IGA, the Saturday cookout will feature ribeye sandwiches, chips and pop. This weeks proceeds go the the Loda United Methodist Women’s group. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has issued disaster proclamations for two more counties affected by flooding.Pritzker said Thursday he added Knox and Henry counties in western Illinois to the counties receiving disaster proclamations. That brings the total in Illinois to 37 counties.Pritzker's office says the state has been fighting flooding for more than 100 days, and many rivers remain in major flood stage.


MOMENCE, Ill. (AP) — The body of a 67-year-old Chicago man who went missing after his boat crashed into a logjam on the Kankakee River in eastern Illinois has been found.The Daily Journal reports that authorities recovered Mike Stefano's body Thursday morning from the logjam.Stefano, his friend, James Hubona, and Stefano's dog, Buster, went into the water on June 8.Hubona was rescued by kayakers who tossed him a life jacket. Hubona said the boat went around in circles before hitting the logjam


(Paxton--jc) Wanted...singers. Organizers with the Paxton Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration need singers for the community choir. That group will perform at the Pells Park celebration on the 4th at 9-30.  The next rehearsal is set for 7pm on Wednesday June 26 at the First United Methodist Church. More information is found by contacting the Paxton Chamber of Commerce



(Undated--jc)  -- Today is the first day of Summer. Are you ready to travel. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has some safety tips for your vehicles tires….



OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Bankers surveyed in parts of 10 Plains and Western states, including Illinois, are seeing improvement in the region's farm economy. The Rural Mainstreet survey released Thursday shows the survey's overall index rising from a stunted 48.5 in May to 53.2 this month. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says higher agriculture commodity prices and rebuilding from recent floods boosted June's index. Goss also noted that despite negative consequences from trade tensions and tariffs, nearly 7 of 10 bank CEOS surveyed support either raising or continuing the Trump administration's current tariffs.


(Paxton--jc) --  It’s been one week since the launch of a brick paver program to help fund the Paxton Grand Ole Flag Project. Spokesperson Denny Kingren says the flag is 30 feet by 60 feet…



Kingren says two options are available for the paver bricks…



Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren

The plan is to have the flag project completed by Flag Day 20-20. Those wanting paver bricks may go on-line at Thats-my-brick-dot-com-forward slash-paxton-flag


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois’ laws for distracted driving are being reclassified so that texting behind the wheel will carry a stiffer penalty next month.Beginning July 1, distracted driving will be treated as a moving violation, meaning that it will still carry the same $75 fine for the first offense, but it will also go toward the state’s three-strikes rule that suspends a driver’s license after three moving infractions within a year.Illinois State Police spokeswoman Mindy Carroll said she hopes the change will make drivers think twice before they look at a hand-held device.



(Springfield--ba)-- The summer concert season is here and with that comes ticket scammers looking to take advantage of some high-profile concerts coming to Illinois, including the Rolling Stones tour opener Friday at Soldier Field. Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, said some events have high enough demand that tickets are selling for thousands of dollars each. With that demand comes ticket scammers offering relatively cheap tickets and convincing stories of authenticity. There have also been stories of buyers and sellers making transactions at unsafe meeting places, heightening concerns about dealing with untrustworthy sources.


(Onarga--jc) The Onarga Public Library is the venue for the University of Illinois  Extension Ford Iroquois Master Gardeners Idea Garden event on Saturday. The event runs from 10 until noon. Those attending will view some summer beauty. Kids games and learning about beekeeping will also be offered


State Board of Education Is Awarding One Million Dollars In Grants To Help Address The Teacher Shortage In Illinois

(Springfield--ba)   --The State Board of Education is awarding one million dollars in grants to help address the teacher shortage in Illinois. The money is going to seven districts around the state and will be used to either promote leadership opportunities for teachers or set up residency programs between high-need schools and universities. Deputy Superintendent Jason Helfer says they hope to award additional grants to other districts as well.


Deputy Superintendent Jason Helfer

No area districts are receiving money this time, but state officials hope to hire more teachers to additional districts in the near future.



(Washington--ba)-An expert says some of us may misinterpret the planting percentages in the USDA crop progress reports. USDA’s Gary Crawford has the story.



(Urbana--jc)  A Champaign county woman was sentenced to 4 years probation on Tuesday, after pleading guilty to stealing 15 thousand dollars from the Fisher School District. The News Gazette reports that 47 year old Elizabeth Bidner of rural Mahomet received the sentenced in Champaign County court on Tuesday.


(Springfield--ba) The pride flag flew above the Illinois Capitol for the first time ever this week, but it shouldn't be a surprise, given Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's longtime support of LGBTQ equality. The state's new governor said his mother was a supporter of LGBTQ rights. Pritzker last week told a crowd at an LGBTQ pride event in Chicago that her advocacy never left him.



(Undated--jc)  --Midwestern bankers are tightening the purse strings on farm credit lines amid some of the toughest financial times for farmers in decades.A survey of bank CEOs by Creighton University’s Heider College of Business found they expect the percentage of farm loan defaults over the next 12 months in a number of Midwestern states, including Illinois, to be double the default rates for 2017.The survey is a part of Heider’s Rural Mainstreet Index, which fell below “growth neutral” for the first time since last November.


(Rankin--jc)  -- Wanted. Fire Departments to participate in the Waterball Fights in Rankin. The date for the competition is Saturday July 6th at 11am. Teams will consist of 3 fireman with a best of three format. Following the fireman competition is a kids water ball competition at the Rankin celebration. The kids event starts at



(Washington--ba) Planting progress for major crops like corn and soybeans are at record or near-record lows. Stephanie Ho has that story.




(Paxton--jc)  -- Paver bricks for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag Project are now available.  Spokesperson Denny Kingren says the bricks can be engraved and two sizes are available…


Paxton Grand Ole Flag Project Spokesperson Denny Kingren

To buy a brick, go on line at that’s-my-brick-dot-com-forard-slash-paxton-flag



(Undated--jc)  --A state Supreme Court decision in Rhode Island could possibly remove a hurdle to reforming Illinois’ pension debt load, but an expert said lawmakers here would first have to change course.Rhode Island’s highest court ruled earlier this month in Cranston Police Retirees Action Committee vs the City of Cranston that the city could freeze a cost of living adjustment for its police and firefighter retirees and not break the U.S. Constitution’s Contract Clause protection.Mike Stenhouse, CEO of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, said the city of Cranston’s budget was so upside down that the benefit freeze was deemed reasonable and necessary, a designed exception in interpretations of the clause.


(Cullom--jc)--  Tri Point School leaders approved a bid from Compass Insurance Partners for the district at a cost of 83 thousand 865 dollars. Clover Lead Farms was also awarded the milk bid for Tri Point. The Bread contract went to Aunt Millies. The Tri Point School board tabled to set the date for next year’s graduation. One date proposed was May 15th, 20-20.


(GIbson City--jc)  -- A historical walk event is set for Gibson City next month. The 20-19 “Gibson City, Through the Years” Historical walk takes place on Sunday July 21st at North Park in the city. Several area citizens will re-create some people and businesses from Gibson City’s  past. They include actors performing as Henry Hager of Hager Lumber, and Elmo Meiners of M and W Gear. Tickets go on sale July First. Those tickets will be available at Moyer Library.


(Springfield--jc) -- Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady says the new state budget was "as balanced as any budget" Illinois has adopted in decades, even though he voted against it. Brady gave his account of the flurry of legislation passed over the last month during a discussion in Chicago.  Brady told the group how Republicans fought to keep the Invest in Kids private school scholarship program over Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s plan to phase it out. The scholarship program is funded by private donors who get a 75 cents-on-the-dollar tax credit via the Illinois Department of Revenue.


(Springfield--ba)  -- An economist from a nonpartisan think tank said poverty rates could climb if Illinois changes from a flat income tax to a structure with higher rates for higher earners. Illinois' poverty rate is about 14.3 percent, which is right in the middle of the pack of all U.S. states and territories.  State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said the soon-to-be new adult-use cannabis industry will help address poverty in Illinois with more jobs.



(Rantoul--jc)  - Rantoul Village leaders are looking to help re-develop Heritage Lake in the village. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says the village is moving forward with some economic development ideas for the property…



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer.

With the A-trel project in the village, local leaders expect the group to continue to develop their plans and have a ground breaking sometime over the next year.


(Washington--ba)  -- How will projected higher feed costs affect the hog sector?  Gary Crawford has that story.




PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A University of Illinois graduate student told jurors Tuesday that the man on trial for killing a 26-year-old visiting scholar from China tried to get her into his car by posing as an undercover police officer, saying she felt physically ill when she recognized him days later in a police photo display. Emily Hogan testified that Brendt Christensen, now 29, pulled up to her as she walked alone to a bus stop on the morning of June 9, 2017, the day Yingying Zhang went missing. Christensen was arrested on June 30, later pleading not guilty to a federal charge of kidnapping resulting in death. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce officials are seeking volunteers to help with the city’s 4th of July celebration, The popular Old Fashioned 4th of July  is set for Pells Park in Paxton. Anyone wanting to volunteer may contact the chamber of facebook. WPXN will again sponsor the Official Watermelon eating contest on the 4th of July in Paxton.


(Onarga--jc)  A business in the Iroquois County town of Onarga is relocating for  a time, while its downtown location is razed and re built. Demolition work  at the Beherns Farm and Home’s location in the downtown area began on Tuesday.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Filling a Manager position and a report on the diving board are hilites of a pool committee meeting Thursday night in Gibson City. The committee will also look at pool finances. The Gibson City pool committee meets at 6 tomorrow night.


Mosquitoes Could Be Thick This Summer

(Springfield--ba) Flooding this time of year often means more pesky mosquitoes. Blame the weather for the increase in floodwater mosquitoes, which like to breed in cooler, wet conditions. Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold says the best way to protect yourself is to cover up.



Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A witness is telling a jury that the former University Illinois doctoral student charged in the slaying of a visiting Chinese scholar used his computer to research serial killers, decomposing bodies and downloaded photographs of bound and gagged women. FBI Senior Forensic Examiner William O'Sullivan, on Monday,  walked the federal jurors through Brendt Christensen's computer use in the weeks before YingYing Zhang disappeared in June 2017. Zhang's body has never been found.


(Chicago--jc)  -- Good news for Northwestern University. Northwestern University finished 10th in a ranking of best education schools by U. S News that examined 258 campuses around the nation.The Evanston school’s tuition was not provided. The universities ranked by U.S. News were examined using weighted averages of 10 metrics, including a peer assessment by school deans, educational professionals’ assessments, student acceptance rates, verbal scores on standardized tests, doctoral degrees granted per year, research expenditures and student-faculty ratios.


(Iroquois County--jc)  The northbound lanes of Interstate 57 were down to one lane for several hours on Monday.  A semi rollover accident caused the slow down. State police continue to remind the motoring public to take extra precaution around construction zones and accident sites,  The area near the 300 mile marker near Chebanse is now back to normal.


(Sibley--ba)--  One local Ford County town is hosting an appreciation day in July

Sibley Appreciation Day is set for July 6th.Spokesperson Don Meyer talks about the origins of this event.



Sibley Appreciation Day Spokesperson Don Meyer



(Springfield--jc) --Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin is being called out by a fact checker about his claim that there are parts of Interstate 80 that are too fragile for school buses to cross.Politifact rated that statement "mostly false" saying the Department of Transportation has given a bridge along the route a low rating, but knows of no ban on the crossing.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Corn planting is nearly complete as we hear in the weekly crop report. After a very late start, 88 percent of corn has now been planted says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

70 percent of soybeans have been planted and 50 percent emerged.  6 percent of the winter wheat crop has been harvested


(Ashkum--jc)   Illinois State Police  District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announces the results of Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcementpatrols in Kankakee County on June 15. During the patrols 6 driver license, 5 registration violations and 3 insurance violations were reported.  The ACE patrols allow state police to focus on preventing, detecting, and taking enforcement action in response to violations associated with impaired driving and illegal transportation or consumption of alcohol or drugs.



(Paxton--jc)  -- One local Senior Living Center is hosting a community garage sale later this month.  Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living Centers garage sale and bake sale is set for the home at 450 Fulton Street in Paxton. Officials with Accolade are currently accepting items for the sale.


(Springfield--jc)  -- An economist from a nonpartisan think tank said poverty rates could climb if Illinois changes from a flat income tax to a structure with higher rates for higher earners. Illinois' poverty rate is about 14.3 percent, which is right in the middle of the pack of all U.S. states and territories.  State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said the soon-to-be new adult-use cannabis industry will help address poverty in Illinois with more jobs. State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said another industry to create more jobs is the green and renewable energy sector.

Democrats also want to address income inequality, and some have said changing Illinois flat income tax to one with higher rates on higher earners will help. Illinois Policy Institute Chief Economist Orphe Divounguy said research shows tax increases hurt the economy and the move to increase taxes on small businesses through a progressive income tax could increase poverty. He cited Connecticut as an example.


(Champaign--jc)  Some wet weather is predicted for the next several days as we head into the first day of Summer on Friday. Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kerscher says  the heaviest rain will be in southern Illinois…



Illinois Water Survey of Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner


(Springfield--ba)  --Environmental advocates are considering it a win after Illinois passed a bill last month to ban a chemical that is often found in receipts and considered harmful. According to House Bill, 2076, “the Environmental Protection Act prohibits the manufacture, distribution, or use of paper containing Bisphenol A for the making of business or banking records.” The bill also “requires paper manufacturers to, among other things, replace Bisphenol A with an alternative chemical,” it states. B-P-A has been banned from receipts in other parts of the world, such as Canada and Europe, and Illinois has become the second state in the USA to ban it, after Connecticut.



(Washington--jc)  -- U-S-D-A officials continue to look for the most accurate acreage reporting from farmers. U-S-D-A National Ag Statistics Service Spokesperson Lance Honig says some farmers are still in the decision stage…



U-S-D-A National Ag Statistics Service Spokesperson Lance Honig



(Paxton--jc)  -- The demolition of the former Paxton Hospital continues today. The work to raze the building began several weeks ago. Carle Hospital owns the property. No specific uses for the property are planned. The demolition is expected to continue into early Summer.


(Sibley--ba)  -- The Sibley Burr Tractor Drive is set for July 7,Sibley Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks talks about his own personal experience with cancer, and why he decided to be a part of this now annual event…



Sibley Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks


(Rankin--jc) State Fire Marshal officials were in Rankin on Monday to try and find a cause of the blaze that completely destroyed the former Rankin Grade school building. In updating our story, the building had been in disrepair for years and the owner of the property facing fines from the Vermilion County Public Health Department. The Ford County Record reports that Vermilion County Public Health Department Administrator Doug Toole will contact property owner Herbert Polchow to get a timeline for the clean up of the property


Former Rankin Grade School Building is a Total Loss in Early Morning Fire

(Rankin--jc) --  The State’s Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the fire of a former grade school building in the village of Rankin. The structure caught fire in the early morning hours of Saturday. The building was completely engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.  The building is a total loss.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Torrential rain this spring prevented most Midwest farmers from planting their crops but while the federal government provides help to growers of corn and soybeans, those who grow specialty crops are largely on their own. Although the lack of federal safety net programs for farmers who grow everything from arugula to zucchini isn't new, one of the wettest springs in U.S. history has focused attention on the special status of commodity crops, primarily corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and wheat.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois officials are warning people who plan to recreate in lakes and rivers to be cautious about blue-green algae that can cause sickness or other health issues. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Public Health say water conditions are ideal for the algae growth.


(Onarga--jc)  -- The Idea Garden is the location for an open house on Saturday in Onarga. The University of Illinois Extension’s Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners will be showing the colors of summer at the event which runs from 10 til Noon. The Idea Garden is at the Onarga Public Library at 209 West Seminary in the village.


(Sibley--ba) --One annual event is focusing on honoring veterans as well as fighting cancer. Sibley Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks says the event is set for July 7th....



Sibley Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks



(Bellflower--jc) --  McLean County Sheriff released information about a fatal house fire in Bellflower. A house in the 400 block of first street in the village was observed engulfed by fire just after 5 Sunday morning. Assisting with the blaze, were fire departments from Bellflower, Saybrook and Farmer City. Upon investigation, a female was located deceased in the residence. The cause of the fire and fatality remain under investigation by McLean County authorities.


DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) — The DuQuoin State Fair in southern Illinois is dropping a $2 entry fee. The admission fee for people 13 and older was started in 2016. Fair manager Josh Gross and John Sullivan, the head of the Illinois Agriculture Department, said they heard many complaints. Sullivan says he's "thrilled" to make the fair free again. The Southern Illinoisan reports that parking at the fairgrounds will be $15 while parking near the Southern Illinois Center will be $10.


(Gilman--jc)  Iroquois West School Board members will let bids for Bread, Milk and Fuel when they meet tonight in monthly session in Gilman. Iroquois West school leaders will also look to approve the amended fiscal year 20-20 calendar and approve its commercial insurance policy. The meeting comes to order at the high school board room in Gilman at 7.



(Springfield--jc)  -- In the past ten years since the end of the Great Recession, Pew Charitable Trusts says Illinois increased overall spending 11 percent, but its pension funding dropped from 54 percent funded in 2008 to 35 percent in 2016.The report also says higher education spending per student increased 32 percent, the largest increase of any state reviewed.But Pew says Illinois' spending on K-12 education was down 22 percent per student since 2008.



(Mahomet--jc)  -- The 2019 Big Brothers Big Sisters Golf Outing is set for June 21st at Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet. The donation is 125 per golfer. Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins says that includes the golf and more…


Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Kristian Hopkins.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois woman who admitted to seriously injuring a 5-month old boy at her home-day care business has been sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison.  59-year-old Debbie May of Champaign was sentenced on Friday. In April she entered what is called an Alford plea to aggravated battery, a plea that allows criminal defendants to maintain their innocence while acknowledge that there was enough evidence to persuade a jury to find her guilty.



(Gibson City--jc) Gibson City Melvin Sibley School board members will look at costs to repair the elevator at its Middle School in gibson City when they meet in monthly session.  The estimated cost will be just over 46 thousand dollars. School board members are also expected to approve bids for bread, dairy and trash collection. The G-C-M-S school board meets at 6-15 tonight at the middle school board room.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — An exhibit of unique typewriters, including one used by the founder of Playboy, will open later this month at the University of Illinois. The university's Rare Book & Manuscript Library will feature typewriters used by Hugh Hefner and Roger Ebert. Both men were alumni of the university. Hefner's Underwood Standard portable typewriter that he used in college and to write for Playboy is one of the main exhibits. It is on loan to the library after being sold at auction in December for $162,500.The typewriters used by poet Carl Sandburg and novelist James Jones will also be featured.


(Melvin--jc)  -- The 20-19 field of candidates for the Ford County Fair Queen Pagent is set. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the details…


(Pontiac--jc)  -- Illinois State Police (ISP) Zone 5 Investigations is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing 51-year-old woman, Beatrice Field, of Jasper, Indiana. On June 13, State police Investigations responded to an abandoned vehicle (Kia) at the Limestone Rest Area near Pontiac. The vehicle had been abandoned since May 29.  Field was identified on a rest area surveillance video walking from the vehicle on May 30. Field,is described as 5’ 0” and approximately 100 pounds. Foul play is not suspected. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Beatrice Field, please contact I-S-P Pontiac Communications Center at (815) 844-1500.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Tri-County Players theater group is presenting the show “Wonderland”  this weekend and next weekend at the Market Street Theater in downtown Paxton. The Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m., while the Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Seats  are available by callingt 217-379-7028. You can hear more about the Tri County Players production of Wonderland with an interview with Brandon Irish on our Noon news today.



(Rankin--jc)  --Rankin’s Fourth of July celebration will be held Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6, at Centennial Park on the village’s southwest side.A truck and tractor pull takes place on Friday July 5th at Centennial Park starting at 6pm. On Saturday,  food, a water ball fight, music, pie eating contest, joke-telling contest, watermelon seed spitting to an egg tossing contest hilite the day. Fireworks take place around 9 that evening.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The latest class for the Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge program graduated over the weekend. The ceremonies were held at the Decatur Civic Center. Lincolns Challenge Program Public Information Director Michael Camacha says the program continues to grow in its partnership with the village or Rantoul and area…



Lincoln’s Challenge Program Public Information Director Michael Camacha



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul area Chamber of Commerce Movies in the park was postponed Friday night due to inclement weather. The movie Ralph Breaks the Internet will be shown this Friday at Willow Pond Golf Course.

Bricks Can Now be Purchased to Support Paxton's Grand Ole Flag Project

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Testimony in the trial of a former University of Illinois doctoral student accused of killing a visiting scholar from China revealed that the defendant bought Drano and garbage bags three days after the slaying. The detail came Thursday during the second day of the federal murder trial of Brendt Christensen in the June 2017 death of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.


(Springfield--ba)-Thanks to a wet spring there are plenty of mosquitoes and gnats to contend with this summer. Bugs are always annoying but this year the buffalo gnats seem particularly nasty. State Public Health Director Doctor Egozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay) says they are attracted to the air we breath out, perfumes and even our deodorant. They also aren’t fended off easily.



State Public Health Director Doctor Egozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay)



(Wasington--ba)  -- A 2018 Farm Bill program securing scholarship funds for 1890's land grant universities received recognition and created celebration at USDA headquarters this week. Rod Bain reports...




SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Museum has named a new director.

The state's Department of Natural Resources says Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko has been appointed after a nationwide search. She has served in leadership posts at the Abbe Museum in Maine and the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Indiana, which won awards during her tenure.




(Buckley--ba) Buckley fun day is set for tomorrow at Buckley Lake.  Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura says there are lots of activities to enjoy...



Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura

WPXN will be broadcast live Saturday from 10 until noon at Buckley Fun Day. It’s Summer Fun Tour Stop number 4.



(Springfield--jc)  The State F F A Convention is complete for the year. On Thursday Gage Miller of Cambridge in Henry County was elected as the new Illinois F F A President. He succeeds Sophia Horton of Fisher in the position.


(Springfield-jc)  -- Come the end of September, 370 million dollars in back pay will be going to tens of thousands of state employees from early career raises from a contract that expired back in 2015. The courts sided with unions in a fight with former Governor Bruce Rauner that the raises must be paid. The State Journal-Register reports the interest on the back pay has yet to be calculated. The AFSCME union, which endorsed Governor. J.B. Pritzker, is voting to ratify its first new contract with the state since 2015.


(Paxton--ba) This Saturday on Scotts Tips for Success, Scott Allen from Paxton Hardware and Rental talks about Julie. Allen says it is important to know Julie  8-1-1 before digging on your property.



Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen



(Watseka--jc)  July 16th is the deadline for Iroquois County property owners to  pay their first installment of 20-18 taxes due in 20-19. Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers also announced that the second installment is due on September 16th.


(Springfield--ba)-A bill awaiting the governor’s signature aims to better protect students from sexual abuse at school. The legislation creates an alternative hearing process for students reporting sexual abuse or harassment, so they don’t feel intimated or further traumatized. State. Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Plainfield is a co-sponsor of the measure...


State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant of Plainfield


(Buckley--jc)  -- Running, eating, fishing, tractors and a duck race hilite Saturday’s Buckley Fun Day at Buckley Lake. The 5-K race and walk starts the day at 7-30 Saturday morning. The Ladies Aid bake sale begins at 9. The annual fishing derby runs from 8am until 10am. Golf cart parade is set for 10-30. Food stand opens at 11 and the annual Buckley Fun Day Duck race takes place at 4-17 Saturday afternoon.



(Rantoul--jc)  It’s graduation time for the next class at Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge. Class 52 will go through the pomp and circumstance tomorrow in Decatur. Saturday’s ceremony begins at 11am at the Decatur Civic Center.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is the only state in America that has yet to release its official report from fiscal year 2018 and state officials don’t yet know when it will be released.Every state, most cities, and other forms of government must have a comprehensive annual financial report, or CAFR, done as a way for not only citizens to better understand their local government finances, but also to give officials a better idea on the baseline costs for upcoming budgets.Illinois is often one of the last states to finish its report and this year, state officials have yet to do it, making it the latest since 2011 when Comptroller-turned Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes released it on June 30, 2012, a full year after the fiscal year ended.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Organizers with the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project are announcing a brick paver project today. Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren says the bricks are available starting today…



Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kinrgren

Again,the bricks are  4-by-8-inch bricks, dedicated with a donation of 1 hundred dollars. 8 by 8 bricks will be sold for 250 dollars each. The bricks are available at the My Brick’s website. It’s online at Thats-my-brick-dot-com-forward slash-paxton-flag. We will have this information on our website too.

WPXN, in conjunction with the fundraiser, will play the national anthem each day in the 5pm hour. Listeners may provide a donation to the flag project and dedicate the National Anthem to a family member, veteran, or message. Call the radio station at 379-9796 for more details or message at news-at-wpxnradio-dot-com



(Milford--ba)-- Milford Fun Days is this weekend in the southern Iroquois County town.  Milford Fun Days’ Spokesperson Jason Reed says a parade games music and more hilites the day on Saturday....



Milford Fun Days Spokesperson Jason Reed


(Ford County--jc)  Ford County Health Department Officials expect lots of mosquitoes this summer. Joel Cluver has the details…




(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA Cookout tomorrow is pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda. This week’s proceeds go to the United Methodist Womens Group. The cookout runs from 10am until 2 pm at the IGA on Saturday.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Has Signed Sweeping Abortion Protections into Law

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed sweeping abortion protections into law that establish women's access to the procedure as a "fundamental right." The legislation signed into law Wednesday puts Illinois at odds with Republican-led states that have been embracing steep abortion restrictions....



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The measure voids old abortion regulations that were on the books but had never taken effect because of court orders. It also requires insurance coverage for abortions, contraception and related medical care.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — As a federal prosecutor on Wednesday shared with jurors grisly details of how they claim a former University of Illinois doctoral student kidnapped a visiting scholar from China, then beat her to death with a baseball bat , defense attorneys intent on sparing their client a possible death penalty offered an exceptional claim: He did it. Opening statements began Wednesday in the federal death-penalty trial of Brendt Christensen, who is accused of killing 26-year-old Yingying Zhang.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Pope Francis has deemed the first known black Roman Catholic priest in the United States to be "venerable," positioning the former slave for possible sainthood. The Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, says the pontiff's designation Wednesday of the Rev. Augustine Tolton as venerable means the church intensely scrutinized his life and recognizes it as one of "heroic virtue." The designation puts Tolton two steps away from possible canonization.


(Paxton--jc)  One group continues to seek another use for the Eastlawn School Building. The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board says they have already made plans to tear down the building as part of a new school project. No one came to the board during the referendum process and planning stages concerning the future of the aging building. A group wanting to save the structure made their pitch at last nights school board meeting. The consensus of the board is to continue with their plans.


(Milfor--ba) The annual Milford Fun Days are this weekend. The weekend is full of activities says Spokesperson Jason Reed...


Milford Fun Days Spokesperson Jason Reed


(Springfield--jc)  -- Some success stories with the Paxton Buckley Loda F F A from the state convention in Springfield. The local chapter had 3 students compete in the state Agriscience fair. Autumn Bruens and Lizzy Ruetter won their area of Plant Systems and were announced as National Finalist candidates. Christina White also competed. Mikayla Jones was named one of the top 10 chapter presidents. Kelsey Vaughn was recognized as one of Illinois' American Degree candidates. PBL was also recognized multiple times for National Chapter Awards.Today is the final day for the F F A convention. Fisher High Schools Sophia Horton will serve her last day representing the state as F F A President. A new slate of officers will be elected later today.

Paxton, IL—06/19/19—The Ford County Sheriff’s Office is excited to announce the implementation of the Medical Priority Dispatch Systemto better serve the residents of Ford County in emergency situations. With this new system, emergency dispatchers will follow nationally recognized standards and research-based protocols to identify life-threatening situations and to safely prioritize calls for fast response. The protocols guide emergency dispatchers through a series of questions they ask callers in order to identify the issue so they can send the correct help to the victim.  Emergency dispatchers will also use the questions to provide responders with accurate information so they can more effectively give care once they’re on the scene. Additionally, with the MPDS® emergency dispatchers can provide lifesaving and safety instructions to callers and victims before responders arrive. For example, by using the MPDS, the emergency dispatcher can instruct a caller on performing CPR or delivering a baby.



(Paxton---jc)  -- Officials with the Paxton Ole Fashioned 4th of July Celebration are looking for the next Little Mister and Little Miss for the annual celebration. Entry forms are found on  the Paxton Chamber of Commerce website. The contest is set for 6pm July 3rd at Pells Park in the city. WPXN will be sponsoring the annual watermelon eating contest on the 4th of July at the park.

(Springfield--jc)  --A case challenging Illinois’ Firearm Owners Identification card law is headed to the Illinois Supreme Court, but a gun rights group said it could end up in the nation's highest court. Illinois State Rifle Association Executive Director Richard Pearson said the case out of White County involved a disabled woman who had a single-shot .22 caliber rifle. Pearson says the judge in White County said the FOID card is unconstitutional in the home. The case now bypasses the appellate court because it deals with constitutional issues If the state Supreme Court agrees with the White County judge's decision, Pearson said it means people could keep a firearm in the home without a FOID card.


(Springfield--jc)  --New polling found Illinois’ proposed progressive income tax ballot initiative may be off to a rocky start in terms of public opinion.A  We-Ask-America poll of 800 likely Illinois voters shows support for changing the state’s flat income tax to one that would allow lawmakers to tax higher earners at higher rates stood at 51 percent as of the last days of May. While 51 percent would be just enough for the measure to succeed in November 2020, it has dropped eight percentage points since February. Governor. J.B. Pritzker says that groups like Ideas Illinois, which funded the poll, have spread misinformation about what his income tax proposal would do.


(Springfield--jc)  --With Fathers’ Day just around the corner, consumer finance website WalletHub ranked the best and worst states for dads. Illinois came in just above the middle of the pack at No. 21. The highest ranked subcategory was daycare quality, where Illinois ranked No. 7. Illinois ranked No. 47 for the unemployment rate for dads with children younger than 18.



(Paxton--jc)  A food distribution event is set for one local church today. St Marys and St Joseph Parish Center Spokesperson Judy Popel has the details…



St Marys and St Joseph Parish Center Spokesperson Judy Popel


FAIR OAKS, Ind. (AP) — Authorities have arrested one of three people charged with animal cruelty following the release of video showing workers kicking and throwing young calves at a northwestern Indiana dairy farm that's an agritourism destination. The Newton County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday 36-year-old Edgar Gardozo-Vasquez of Brook is being held at the Newton County Jail on a felony charge of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal and misdemeanor animal cruelty at Fair Oaks Farms.


(Gibson City--dg)  -- The seventh annual Mid-Summer Fun Run, sponsored by the American Legion Riders Post 568 in Gibson City and the Ford County Old-Timers, will be held Saturday, July 13. The event starts at the Urbana VFW post with signups starting at 10:30 a.m. The ride leaves the VFW post at noon. Food, beverages and entertainment will be provided at the final stop, the Carter household. There will also be 50/50 drawings, live music, an auction, a bonfire after dark and free camping. Donations of $20 per person will be accepted for the poker run ($15 at the gate). All profits and donations will benefit local veterans in Champaign County. Participants must be at least 21 years old. For more information or to make a donation, contact Larry Carter (217-841-6357), Ted Kaiser (217-249-4556) or Steve Bemount (217-841-8181).



The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce annual Fish Fry is today from 5-7 pm at North Park Pavillion. Musical Entertainment will be provided by the Gibson City Community band from 6-7pm.  Menu included all-you-can-eat fish along with baked beans, coleslaw, macaroni salad, chips, bread and drink. Cost is $5. Carryout orders will be available. Desert provided by the G-C-M-S Band Boosters.



Illinois lawmakers Looking to Free Up some Money to Cover the Cost of Emissions Testing

(Springfield--jc)  --After lawmakers accidentally removed the five-hour minimum for a school day in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation to restore it while still allowing schools more flexibility than before. The law  allows apprenticeships, dual-credit, career development and blended learning days to count toward a student’s required attendance total.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A jury has been selected in the trial of a former graduate student accused of kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China. A federal judge in Peoria, Illinois, told jurors to return today for opening statements. Brendt Christensen could be sentenced to death if convicted in the 2017 slaying of Yingying Zhang, whose body hasn't been found.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers are looking to free up some money in the state's budget by using some motor fuel tax revenue to cover the cost of emissions testing, but the state’s Constitution may not allow it. The last change to Illinois’ Constitution was the Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment, which voters passed in 2016. It forbids lawmakers from using transportation funds for non-transportation spending. State Sen. Heather Steans’ bill, which passed both houses and now only needs Governor J.B. Pritzker's signature, would allow for the state’s emission testing done by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to be paid for using revenue generated by the Motor Fuel Tax, the state tax levied on each gallon of gas.


(Washington--ba)  -- Where does the Winter and Spring wheat crop stand as we close in on the middle of June. Gary Crawford has  the latest....



(Springfield--jc)  --Hundreds of FFA members from all over the state are in the capital city for the organization's annual convention.The event will culminate with the selection of a new state board. That board will replace the first all-female board, which was elected last year. The state leaders for the past year included Sophia Horton from Fisher…



Current State F F A President Sophia Horton of Fisher


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The National Punkin Chuckin’ Festival is on its way to Rantoul. The three day event will be the first three days of November this year. Rantoul Village Administrator Scot Eisenhauer says the local area can expect 35 to 40 thousand people to attend this three day festival…



Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer



(Roberts--jc) --  One Ford County Church is helping  sponsor a dance and show in July. The Living Word Church of Roberts is hosting the band Statesboro on Saturday July 20th in the park pavilion.



(Washington--ba)-- What to eat and what is good for you.  Hayden Stewart of the Economic Research Service has the  affordability of produce in meeting USDA dietary guidelines...



Hayden Stewart of the Economic Research Service


(Springfield--jc)  --One of the hundreds of bills Governor J.B. Pritzker is set to consider would allow victims of revenge porn to sue the person who posted the images online for up to $10,000 in civil damages. Posting sexually explicit content of someone online without their consent is already a crime in Illinois. State Representative. Mary Edly-Allen, Democrat from Libertyville,  helped Senate Bill 15-0-7 pass to give victims the ability to file a civil lawsuit. The bill creates a civil remedy for non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images.


(Paxton--jc)  When the Paxton Buckley Loda School Board meets tonight, a group that wants to save the  Eastlawn school building may be in attendance. During the entire process of a new school project and after a voter referendum, no one has come forth to save the aging building until earlier this Spring. The group  is looking at several Historic organizations to potentially help their cause. It is not -- certain how many signatures may be brought before the school board tonight. The concensus of the board from a media release earlier this month is to proceed with the school project as planned.


(Washington--ba--  )Soybean planting remains far  behind normal. Gary Crawford reports.


(Paxton--jc)  - Those with the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project say they are just days away from launching fundraising efforts. The group says they will launch on Friday, which is Flag Day.  The project is a 30 by 60 foot flag on a 150 foot pole to be located on Paxton’s west side near Paxton Buckley Loda High School. A brick fundraiser will officially start on Friday as the group looks to raise an initial 40 thousand dollars for the “grand ole flag.” WPXN radio will also make an announcement on Friday with a fundraising idea for the flag.



(Spirngfield--jc)  -- Illinois lawmakers have said the state budget they passed and Governor J.B. Pritzker enacted was balanced and properly contributes to public pension accounts, but an accounting watchdog said that’s misleading. Senate President John Cullerton, Democrat, from Chicago, says the  state's budget is balanced and makes payments to the state’s pension funds as required by law. Truth in Accounting Research Director Bill Bergman said state law requires a payment below what it would cost to actually start reducing the state’s billions of dollars in public retiree debt.  He refers to a 440 million dollar bond offering in April.


TREMONT, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say the remains of a central Illinois Marine have been recovered, months after he died in a plane crash off Japan's southern coast. Cpl. Daniel Baker of Tremont was one of six Marines who died in the Dec. 6 crash. The 21-year-old was aboard a refueling plane that collided with a fighter jet. The Marine Corps says Baker's remains were found during a salvage operation conducted from May 27 through June 7.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The public is urged to watch out for blue-green algae in Illinois lakes and rivers. Most algae is an important part of the ecosystem, but blue-green algae can produce dangerous toxins. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Biologist Teri Holland describes blue-green algae…


E-P-A Biologist Teri Holland


(Springfield--jc)  -- The new Illinois budget has more money for mental health treatment. Governor J-B Pritzker says most everyone knows someone who is dealing with a mental health issue. The governor says an 80 million dollar increase in state funding, will help more people…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker

We will hear more from the governor on the topic on our Noon news today.


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Chamber of Commerce officials say they hope to name a new Executive Director by the first of August. Current director Belynda Allen has left the office to take an Economic Development position in Hancock County in western Illinois.



Corn and Soybeans Well Behind 5 Year Average

(Springfield--jc)  -- Farmers finally got some time in the field this past week. 73 percent of corn and 49 percent of soybeans have now been planted, but they are well behind the 5 year average says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener..



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

The first cutting of alfalfa is 41 percent complete. Average Statewide topsoil moisture is 54 percent adequate and 42 percent surplus.



CHICAGO (AP) — The trial of a former graduate student charged with kidnapping and killing a University of Illinois scholar from China is the first federal death-penalty trial in Illinois since it abolished capital punishment in 2011. Activists who fought to end executions in the state are dismayed. A leader in Illinois' anti-death penalty movement, Rob Warden, says federal authorities are "imposing capital punishment on a state that abolished it." He calls that "morally offensive."


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul police are seeking assistance in locating a Rantoul woman. 87 year old Lela O’Brien was last seen around 1-30 Monday afternoon  in the front lobby of Eagles View Supportive Living and Memory Care in Rantoul. O’Brien is described as a white female, Five feet--two inches tall, weighing around 130 pounds. She has dementia, but will answer to her name. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Rantoul police.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois city is defending a popular meteorologist who has been absent from local television newscasts since he criticized a corporate weather-alert brand. Joe Crain noted community criticism on live TV June 5 over "Code Red" weather alerts implemented by station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair did not respond to a request for comment. Several local businesses have pulled advertising from WICS. Even U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says people should speak up for Crain.



Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says many farmers hit by disasters will start to see help from the new disaster bill in "weeks, not months". USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.


The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board is meeting tomorrow and will hear the latest on the new Clara Petersen School project. Additional agenda items include, the process  of the Eastlawn Elementary demolition, and seeking proposals for waste services for the next school year. The meeting is set to take place at 6:00pm.


(Undated--jc)  -- A new report indicates Illinois is doing better than the rest of the country when it comes to food insecurity.The annual study from Feeding America says just under 11 percent of the state’s population struggle to afford nutritious meals on a regular basis.That compares to the national average of 12.5 percent. North Dakota has the lowest rate in the country at about 7 percent, while Mississippi has the highest at nearly 20 percent.



(Rantoul--jc)  It’s graduation time for the next class at Rantoul based Lincoln’s Challenge. Class 52 will go through the pomp and circumstance on Saturday in Decatur says Public Relations Director Michael Camacha…



Lincoln Challenge Public Relations Director Michael Camacha

Saturday’s ceremony begins at 11am at the Decatur Civic Center.



(Rantoul--jc)  The International Monster Truck Museum Hall of Fame has two area nominees. They are Mark Hall and Tim Hall.  The brothers are part of the Raminator Monster Truck. The local group travels, competes and offers the Raminator for events and shows across the country. The Hall Brothers and Raminator will be in Wyoming on July 6 for a Tailgating for Hope event in Pinedale Wyoming.


 (Springfield--ba)-It’s been 100 years since Illinois moved to give women the right to vote. At a ceremony honoring the 19th Amendment in Chicago, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton spoke of how far the country has come…and pledged to continue fighting for women’s rights.



Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton


MOMENCE, Ill. (AP) — A man and a dog are presumed drowned after their boat crashed into a logjam on a river in Kankakee County. Momence Fire Chief Jim Spoon tells The Daily Journal that the logjam on the Kankakee River is about 25 feet (7.6 meters) wide, near the Illinois-Indiana border. Another man who was thrown from the boat Saturday survived.Spoon says the river was too swift for divers Sunday. Indiana authorities were helping Illinois police in the search.

James Hubona says he was lucky: Kayakers heard his calls for help and threw him a life jacket. He identified his missing friend as Mike Stefano, a former Chicago police officer, and his dog Buster.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois is among the most fun states in the country.Coming in at No. 11, the Land of Lincoln ranked high for performance arts, restaurants and fitness centers per capita, according to consumer finance website WalletHub.Illinois ranked No. 30 for casinos per capita, but that could change with a pending law to create 6 new casinos along with other gambling expansion measures. One of those casinos is projected for Danville.


(Watseka--jc)  Iroquois County Relay for Life officials have announced that the event this past weekend raised almost 90 thousand dollars. Money raised through August will go on the current year’s total. Those with the local relay say thanks to all who helped with this year’s event.



(Ford County--ba)-Ford County has completed their tax deed proceedings on real estate properties that were delinquent for 2015 and mobile homes that were delinquent for 2016 and prior real estate taxes. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has that story.




FAIR OAKS, Ind. (AP) — Three people have been charged with animal cruelty following the release of video showing workers kicking and throwing young calves at a northwestern Indiana dairy farm that's an agritourism destination. The Newton County Sheriff's Department said Monday that misdemeanor charges have been filed against three people related to the Fair Oaks Farms case. The department didn't identify those charged or release details of the allegations.


(Springfield--jc)  State lawmakers aren’t expected back in Springfield until this fall but when they’re in session a couple of freshman say things can be chaotic.Decatur Republican state Representative Dan Caulkins says the place “runs like a circus with a hidden ringmaster.”.Rockford Democratic state Representative Maurice West said it’s similar to the HBO series “Game of Thrones” where he’s running full force toward an unknown goal with competing groups either chasing or attempting to block him.




Illinois Dispensaries Preparing for the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana.

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois dispensaries are staffing up and remodeling in preparation for the legalization of recreational marijuana. The General Assembly approved the marijuana legislation last week and it now awaits a signature from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. If he signs, Illinois will become the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to permit recreational use. Companies already in the medical marijuana market said expansion to meet recreational needs could result in a hiring boom.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has mobilized its third round-the-clock team to assist the flooding fight in Monroe County. IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said Saturday that the latest Joint Quick Reactionary Task Force will be based in Valmeyer along the Mississippi River. The other two are in Hardin and Jerseyville. Tate-Nadeau says the teams are responsible for monitoring levees, providing manpower to bolster levees and assist the community in an emergency setting.


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A group is recommending that the University of Illinois erect a plaque or monument to commemorate the history of Chief Illiniwek, the mascot who was dropped amid much criticism in 2007. The Chancellor's Commission on Native Imagery says the site outside Memorial Stadium, as well as a public retirement, could provide "healing and reconciliation." The group also recommends regular activities involving the university and Native Americans who consider Illinois to be their ancestral home.


(Undated--jc)  -- Students from across Illinois who are members of Future Farmers of America will descend on the capitol city Tuesday for their annual convention.There’ll be new executive officers selected for the coming year.This year’s FFA executive officers in Illinois were the first all-female board. The FFA President  this year has been Sophia Horton from Fisher.



(Champaign--jc)  The May numbers are in for May weather. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says May was one of the wettest on record…



Illinois Water Survey-Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner


(Springfield--jc)  -- If Illinois voters approve a constitutional amendment to change the state’s flat income tax to a structure with higher rates on higher earners, a tax professional says it will hurt jobs. Leonard and Associates Managing Partner Michael Leonard said higher taxes on small businesses will hurt their offerings to employees and may trigger them to invest in other states. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the proposed rates that would only take effect if voters approve the idea at  the ballot box in November of next year.


(Urbana--jc)  --University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign finished first in a ranking of best library and information studies programs by U.S. News The local school’s peer assessment score was 4.7. The study ranked master’s degree programs on a scale of 1 being low and 5 being outstanding.Deans, directors and senior faculty members provided the assessment information. U.S. News calculated the numerical rank for these programs but did not publish the information for editorial reasons.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has its first Summertime Free movie coming on Friday night. Executive Director Belynda Allen says they will show the movie Ralph-Breaks the Internet…



Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Belynda Allen


CHICAGO (AP) — An unusually wet spring resulted in a delay in the planting of the Illinois corn crop.The U.S. Department of Agriculture says as of June 2, Illinois farmers have sown corn seed in 45% of the acreage dedicated to the crop. That is 53% below the five-year average. Of the seeds that have been laid, only 32% have emerged.Rodney Weinzierl of the Illinois Corn Growers Association last Wednesday counted three rainstorms moving over the Bloomington area. Each narrowly missed his 500 acres of farmland, allowing him his first opportunity to plant this year. He worked through the day to get two-thirds of his corn seeds in the ground.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Local governments in Illinois can now see just how much they, and their neighbors, are getting in tax money from the state. The Illinois Department of Revenue's latest addition to its website is designed to let officials cities, towns, and counties know exactly what they're getting from the state.  The MyLocalTax section provides the latest numbers on the local share of sales taxes, gas taxes and dozens of other taxes collected by the state and sent back to local governments.


(Paxton--jc)  -- A drainage Water Way  cleaning and M-F-T Bids hilite the Paxton City Council meeting Tuesday night. City council members will also look to approve some street repairs and patching. Purchasing a new pump for the Vermilion Street Lift Station, approving a collections day for PRIDE in Paxton on July 27th and a solar energy savings program are all agenda items. The Paxton City Council meets at 7 tomorrow night on the second floor of city hall.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- One reason that the village of Rantoul is set to host the World Punkin’ Chuckin’ Contest is the organizers were actively seeking a new site.  A portion of the former Chanute Air Force base in the village was a perfect site. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer says the village and area are glad they chose Rantoul…


Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer

Officials from the group continue to develop their plans for the November First through Third event that will bring 10 thousand plus visitors to the local area from around the state, national and several foreign countries.



(Melvin--dg)  --Tickets are being sold for the Melvin fire department’s annual raffle, which will award as prizes either $500 in cash or a choice of one of five guns or a gun safe. The drawing will be held June 29 in conjunction with the Ford County Fair’s demolition derby. Raffle tickets cost $10 each and can be purchased at RTD Auto in Roberts at 217-395-2180, AHW in Melvin, BCS in Gibson City or from any Melvin firefighter.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Lottery could soon offer sports betting at retail locations as part of recently passed gambling legislation in Springfield. Senate Bill 690, approved at the tail end of the legislative session, would create a pilot program to allow the Illinois Lottery to offer sports wagering. Additionally, the bill also allows for six new casinos in Illinois and legalizes sports wagering. The Illinois Lottery pilot program would allow for up to 2,500 sports betting locations across the State of Illinois in the program’s first year. An additional 2,500 locations could open in the second year, for a total of 5,000 locations in the first two years of the program. The locations would be Lottery retail outlets.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members will look to set wages for bus drivers at their monthly meeting on Monday night. An awning project, bus purchase and the approval of a band trip will also be discussed. The Rantoul Township High School Board meets on Monday night at 7 at the high school.



(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County board members are looking to provide a 75 percent tax abatement for one county business when they meet this morning in monthly session. Gilman based Incobrasa has requested the abatement for a 10 year period. County leaders are also expected to vote on a solar ordinance and vote on a resolution to oppose a firearms Identification Owners Card Act. The Iroquois County board meets at 9  this morning in Watseka.


Taxes Going Up on Many Items as July 1

(Springfield--jc)  -- People who buy gas in Illinois, pay to park , buy a new car, register a vehicle, smoke or buy things online, will soon be paying more in taxes to the state of Illinois.A slew of tax increases are coming July 1 with the various budget, gambling expansion and public works construction bills lawmakers passed in the final days of session last weekend. Drivers will pay higher taxes and fees. For those who drive about 12,000 miles a year, the doubling of the gas tax from 19 cents to 38 cents per gallon would mean an additional $114 to the state, but that will vary depending on gas mileage. Car owners will also pay $50 more for annual registration. For those buying a new car, the vehicle documentation fee nearly doubles to $300.  Smokers will also feel the pinch because there’s an extra $1 per pack tax, bringing the total tax to nearly $3 a pack. Shopping online will also have a sales tax tacked on, in part because of new language passed by the state legislature this session.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge at the trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing a visiting Chinese scholar says jurors should be ready to deliver opening statements mid the middle of next week. Thursday is the fourth day of jury selection at Brendt Christensen's trial in Peoria. Judge James Shadid says the final selection of 12 jurors and six alternates could happen Monday, with openings on Wednesday.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are set to consider a special license for Rick’s Recreation Center for the Corn Belt Shriners Golf Event when they meet on Monday night at 7. Planting new trees and working on the downtown planters, and an amendment to Gibson City’s  second Tax Increment District also are topics for city officials. Council members will also hear about traffic options as a railroad crossing reconstruction project is set to begin soon. The Gibson City city council meeting comes to order at 7 Monday evening.


(Rantoul--jc)  A Rantoul resident will become the commander of the Illinois V-F-W next week. Brad Gould will also be the grand marshall of the local Rantoul Freedom Festival Parade on July 4th in the village. Gould has family ties to the local area, but grew up in Indiana….



Rantoul resident and soon to be Illinois V-F-W State Commander Brad Gould.



(Cissna Park--jc) The Cissna Park community, Illinois State Police, family and friends are mourning the death of a popular state trooper, American Legion member, civic leader and friend. 75 year old Francis Thompson passed away on Wednesday at his home in rural Buckley.  Thompson was a member of the Illinois State Police for over 31 years and also a Vietnam war veteran. His funeral is set for 11am Monday at Ash Grove Church in rural Onarga



(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Police Department’s shooting range will be open to the public on Saturday from 10am until 1pm. The daily fee is 10 dollars. Those attending are to provide their weapon, ammunition along with ear and eye protection Paxton Police officers will be on hand for safety purposes.


(Washington--ba)-With tension rising between two economic superpowers, USDA’s Gary Crawford

reports on the current state of trade talks between the US and China.




(Springfield--jc)  -- A decree from Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois on Thursday banned House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton from receiving Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield."In addition, Illinois Catholic lawmakers who voted for either of these abortion bills are not to present themselves to receive Holy Communion," according to a news release.


(Springfield--ba)  -- Vape shop owners are up in arms over an effort to prevent them from allowing customers to sample products in their stores. The proposed legislation is described by supporters as regulating an unregulated and possibly dangerous industry of electronic cigarettes and vaping products. Adding vaping to existing Tobacco 21 laws would ban vape shops from allowing customers to sample products in their stores. The bill awaits a full vote in the Senate, something that could happen during fall session.



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 June 4,. These OREPs provided extra patrol coverage for the ISP so officers could focus on saving lives by making sure all vehicle occupants were buckled up.  State police handed out 16 seat belt citations and 10 warnings during the patrol



(Paxton--jc)  -- It’s townwide garage sale days today and tomorrow in Paxton. Over 100 sales take place around town and nearby in the country. Maps are available at Casey’s locations and Village Pantry in Paxton.


Ashkum, IL. – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announced today activity and enforcement figures for May 2019. Illinois State Police District 21 Troopers issued 919 citations, 904 written warnings, including 7 DUIs, 132 seatbelt citations, 23 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 205 motorists, conducted 204 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 83 traffic crashes. There was one fatal crash investigated by District 21 in May.




(Paxton--jc)  The riders made it through the city of Paxton. The Illinois State Police sponsored runners   went past the WPXN studios around 1pm on Thursday afternoon. The group started in northern Illinois, stayed in the Kankakee area on Wednesday night and moved through the local area on Thursday. The group is raising money for Special Olympics. The end of the run will be in Normal tomorrow with the opening of the Special Olympic games.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Emergency Management Agency is looking for dedicated volunteers to join their group Duties include but not limited to traffic control, storm spotting, group activities, also includes meetings and trainings. No felonies or major traffic violations. Must have valid driver license.  Look them up on facebook for more information.



(Springfield--ba)-A new World War Two exhibit is now open at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield. The exhibit is called “In This Great Struggle…The Greatest Generation Remembers World War Two.” Museum Executive Director Alan Lowe says it includes interviews with veterans who served during the war.



(Paxton--jc)  On the menu at the weekly Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday is Ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and soda. The meal is offered from 10am to 2pm. Money raised goes to the Paxton Emergency Management Agency.



Paxton Police Looking for Help on Damaged Windows at The Frederick Community Bank Plaza

(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Crimestoppers is seeking information about windows being shot at in downtown Paxton. Officials now say the incident happened previously to the alarm going off at the Frederick Community Bank Plaza building in Paxton on Friday. Upon arrival, Paxton police found that several of the windows had been damaged with B-B- gun pellets.  The damage to the building was estimated to be 1 thousand dollars.If you have any information on this crime, you are asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173. You do not have to give your name and you could receive a 1 thousand dollar reward.


(Springfield--jc) --  Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker plans to spend $29 million to help ensure all of the state's residents are counted in the upcoming Census, which could have broad implications for the state in terms of federal funding and representation in the U.S. Congress.He announced an executive order to help ensure an accurate count. He also blamed the state's flat income tax for Illinois’ declining population.Speaking Tuesday to the Forefront group in Chicago, Pritzker said an inaccurate Census count could have “truly dramatic consequences” for Illinois.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — A newlywed Illinois prison guard has been charged with assault after his wife recorded a fight that ended with her being found dead at the bottom of a parking garage near the St. Louis stadium where the Cardinals play. Thirty-year-old Bradley Jenkins, of Taylorville, was charged this week with third-degree domestic assault. After his wife, 27-year-old Allissa Martin, was found dead over the weekend, police found her cellphone, its camera still recording.


CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge in central Illinois will continue vetting would-be jurors at the death penalty trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing a visiting Chinese scholar. Tuesday will be the second day of a process to pick a jury to hear evidence against Brendt Christensen. Prosecutors say he lured Yingying Zhang into his car in 2017 and later killed her.


(Springfield--ba)  -- State lawmakers are expanding the state’s medical cannabis program. The program began in 2013 as a pilot venture and was set to expire next year. The legislature voted to make it permanent and to add more ailments marijuana can be used to treat. House G-O-P leader Jim Durkin says he initially had doubts, but was convinced after hearing the stories of people who benefited from medical marijuana.



Illinois House G-O-P leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs



(Rantoul--jc)  What is the future of the four air hangers on the former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul. Village of Rantoul leaders put that on last nights agenda. The reason is that a Californica businessman has pulled out of his efforts to buy the properties. Local leaders say they are getting some interest in the 4 hangars and the aviation center. The subject was one in executive session and more on the subject is expected to continue this Spring and Summer



DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Howard Buffett's foundation plans to build sober housing apartments as part of the $30 million drug treatment campus he's funding in the central Illinois city of Decatur. Buffett is the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett and the former Macon County sheriff.  The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has pledged $2.8 million to build two 10-unit apartment buildings for the campus.


(Iroquois--ba) --The Iroquois County Relay for Life is this Friday, American Cancer Society Spokesperson Carrie Robinette says  several different events are planned for the relay at Watseka High School.



Iroquois County Relay for Life Spokesperson Carrie Robinette

WPXN will be broadcasting live Friday at the Iroquois County Relay for Life.  It’s summer fun tour stop number 2.



(Undated--jc)  A popular medical official who passed away in May from a recent illness will be remembered at an open house memorial later this month.  Family medicine practitioner Lisa Oakley will be remembered during the memorial set for Saturday June 15th from 1 until 4pm at the Fire Service Institute in Champaign. Oakley was part of the Paxton Clinic for over 25 years.


(Saybrook--jc)  The event schedule for the Saybrook Stars and Stripes Festival has been announced.  The annual parade steps off at noon. Carnival games begin at 1 on the 22nd. Craft vendors, kiddie tractor pull, Simon Sez game, Inflatables, and food hilite the day A beer garden opens at 1 and runs through 11pm at The Shed. A pie eating contest, cake walk and music by Seasonal Disorder are additional events. Fireworks are planned for dusk in Saybrook on the 22nd.



(Paxton--jc)  Members of the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project are looking to a Flag Day launch date for their fundraising efforts. The plan is to place the giant flag on Paxton’s west side on Paxton Buckley Loda School property near Interstate 57. The group will be selling pathway bricks to help pay for the project. More information will be released on Flag Day.


(Springfield--ba)-The summer food service program provides healthy meals and snacks to low income children. The goal is to make sure kids don’t go hungry while they aren’t in school says the state board of education’s Megan Kuchner.



ISBE Principal Consultant Megan Kuchner


(Springfield--jc)  -- When Governor J.B. Pritzker signs the various bills to enact the next state budget for Illinois, local school districts and public universities will be able to increase end-of-career employee pay up to 6 percent in one year without being required to pay the higher pension costs directly into the pension funds. The pension-spiking cap was lifted from last years’ 3 percent level to 6 percent.State Senator. Jim Oberweis said that will compound the state’s $136 billion unfunded pension liability. Teachers say it will help save their profession.


(Springfield--ba)  -- Some new business reforms and expansion are set to take place in Illinois.  106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City stopped by the WPXN studios on Tuesday. Bennett says  the impact that these plans will be positive for his district and the state of Illinois...



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett Republican from Gibson CIty


(Springfield--jc)  -- Smoking in cars with kids could soon be illegal in Illinois.Smokers in Illinois are one signature away from not being able to light up with kids in their car. Lawmakers approved a plan to ban smoking in cars with kids during their last-minute push at the statehouse last week.State Senator Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, said the idea is to protect kids from secondhand smoke.



(Fisher--ba)  -- Fisher’s Lucky Foot Festival is set for this Saturday. Lucky Foot Spokesperson Joe Wier says music will be a large part of the day…



Fisher Lucky Foot Festival Spokesperson Joe Wier

WPXN will be broadcasting live at the event from 10am until noon on Saturday. It’s Summer Fun Tour stop number 3.


(Rantoul-jc)  104th District State Representative Mike Marron will be meeting with constituents today in Rantoul. The local state representative will be at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office from 10 until 11-30 this morning.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- Kankakee County officials are seeking the public’s help in finding a person who stole an American Flag at the Kankakee County Courthouse. The incident happened late night on May 29th. Anyone with information is asked to call Kankakee County Crimestoppers at 815-93207463.


(Melvin--jc)  --Looking for something different to do this summer? Why not show off your talents by making an entry in the Ford County Fair. Whether your talent is in photography, cooking, art or gardening, the fair offers a number of exhibit classes you can enter for a chance to win a blue ribbon and prize money. Classes are offered for people of all ages including junior classes for kids through 18 years of age. There are even men only baking classes to enter.  Livestock classes are also available.



SPRINGFIELD, IL, - Ford County has been issued a final property assessment equalization factor of One, according to David Harris, Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue. The property assessment equalization factor, often called the "multiplier", is the method used to achieve uniform property assessments among counties, as required by law.  If there were no equalization among counties, substantial inequities among taxpayers with comparable properties would result.


Corn Farmers Have a Huge Decision to Make as the June 5th Deadline Approaches

(Springfield--jc)  --Corn farmers in Illinois have a decision to make: Do they plant or do they punt?Federal crop insurance programs start paying less and less soon. Farmers in Illinois, and the rest of the country, need to decide if they will try and plant a corn crop this year, or if they will simply take the payout. Illinois Department of Agriculture boss John Sullivan said it’s an important decision to make. The preventive plant date for most of Illinois is June 5.About 35 percent of Illinois’ corn crop had been planted as of last week. Last year, it was 99 percent.Farmers are facing a similar crop insurance deadline for soybeans on June 15 or June 20, depending on where they live.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge in central Illinois is questioning would-be jurors at the death-penalty trial of a former University of Illinois student charged with killing visiting Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang. One potential juror told the judge on the first day of jury selection Monday that she opposed capital punishment because she said God didn't approve of vengefulness. The selection of jurors to hear evidence against 29-year-old Brendt Christensen is expected to take more than a week.


(Undated--jc)  -- Federal prosecutors are seeking to postpone Michael Hari’s July trial until after his trial in Minnesota. The Record reports that the Minnesota trial is expected to continue through the month of September. Hari is charged in Federal Court in Urbana  with alleged acts of terrorism A June 18th status hearing will decide which case goes first.


(Washington--ba)  The Agriculture Secretary spoke Monday about some of the topics discussed earlier in the day between himself and Mexico's Ag Secretary visiting the Nation's Capital.  Rod Bain reports.



(Paxton--ba) -- The position of the Paxton Buckley Loda Board is clear on the demolition of Eastlawn Elementary school. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has that story...



(Iroquois--ba) --The Iroquois County Relay for Life is this Friday, American Cancer Society Spokesperson Carrie Robinette says  several different events are planned for the relay at Watseka High School.



Iroquois County Relay for Life Spokesperson Carrie Robinette  

Friday afternoon at 5pm is WPXN Summer Fun Stop Number 2. Becky Puetz will be broadcasting live to help kick off the Relay For Life Event at Watseka High School.



(Springfield--jc)  Planting continues to lag behind as we hear the the weekly crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 45 percent of corn is in the ground, compared to 98 percent normally…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

Just 30 percent of the winter wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition.



(Undated--jc)  -- A former University of Illinois and now professional sports gambler’s time on Jeopardy has concluded. James Holzhauers played 33 games, but lost to a Chicago librarian on Monday. His average daily winnings was 77 thousand dollars and he finished 58 thousand dollars short of Ken Jennings record of 2 point 52 million dollars


(Watseka--jc)  The Watseka McDonalds store is expected to open this morning. As of 10-30 this morning the Watseka McDonald’s is officially open. Store hours will be from 5 am to 11pm Mondays through Thursdays and 5am to midnights Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday hours are 6am to 11pm. The store has a modern urban look. Watseka city leaders were given a private look at the new store last night.




(Springfield--jc)  --More reaction from area lawmakers after the passing of a new budget, infrastructure package, gambling bill and marijuana bill over the weekend 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says  the reforms in the budget are good for Illinoisans.



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett, Republican of Gibson City



KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — Prosecutors in Kankakee County have dropped charges against a man who spent nearly two decades in prison for a murder conviction in a case he says was self-defense. The Chicago Tribune reports Terrence Haynes' attorney told him when he arrived at court Monday morning that he wouldn't be retried in the 1999 shooting death of 18-year-old Cezaire Murrell. Last month prosecutors said they were reconsidering whether to retry Haynes after a child witness recanted testimony.



CHICAGO (AP) — The MacArthur Foundation plans a $5 million grant to create a new Chicago Public Library branch at the Obama Presidential Center. The Chicago-based nonprofit made the announcement Monday, saying the money will help pay for construction at the planned site of former President Barack Obama's $500 million presidential center in Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side.



(Joliet--jc)  -- A Joliet worker who wants to kick the Teamsters out of her workplace is taking her complaint to the National Labor Relations Board after a regional ruling blocked a union decertification vote. Angelika Van Meeteren, who works at the Langer Transport Corp. facility in Joliet, asked the National Labor Relations Board to review a ruling that prevented workers at the company from holding a decertification vote.


(Undated--jc)  --Who is the largest employer in Illinois. The answer is Walmart.

Walmart employs 52,603 workers in Illinois, making it the largest employer in the state,State governments are often the largest employers in individual states, but the 24-7 Wall Street  group include public entities that operate as companies, such as hospital groups and state university systems. Walmart was classified as being in the retail industry in the study. Walmart was found to be the largest employer in 22 states.



(Fisher--jc) Fisher’s 3rd annual Lucky Foot Festival is set for Saturday. The day starts with  a 5-K run and a Pig Out day for youth baseball and softball. Event Spokesperson Joe Wier says the smells of a Barbeque contest and other food like pork chops will also be part of the celebration..



Fisher Lucky Foot Festival Spokesperson Joe Wier.

WPXN will be broadcasting live from the event on Saturday between 10 am and noon.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois state lawmakers repealed a measure that was intended to curb pension spiking for public educators as the state's unfunded pension liabilities continue to grow. The bill enacting the next budget for the state of Illinois that is on the way to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk would allow local schools and public universities to give teachers end-of-career pay bumps of up to 6 percent without having to pay for the increased pension costs of those raises. As part of the budget implementation bill for the coming fiscal year lawmakers passed

in overtime session by the Senate Sunday, language was included to repeal last year’s 3 percent cap on pension spiking.


Sunday Through Thursday Admission at State Fair Just $5 This Year

(Springfield--jc)  -- One local Republican lawmaker says some jobs reform measures moved through the state legislature before they adjourned on Sunday. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says it was a positive from the weekend..



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett, Republican of Gibson City



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers are in line for a $1,600-a-year pay hike after what was described as a paperwork mix-up that was never reversed. The House approved a $39.9 billion budget and adjourned Saturday night without taking action on a measure that would have prohibited a 2.4% cost-of-living increase in legislators' base $67,836 salary. It would be the first pay increase for legislators since 2008 and would take effect July 1 if Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the budget agreement.


CHICAGO (AP) — A former University of Illinois graduate student is set to stand trial in the 2017 disappearance and suspected killing of a visiting scholar from China whose body hasn't been found. Jury selection starts Monday in the federal trial of Brendt Christensen, who could get the death penalty if he's convicted. Prosecutors allege that he abducted, tortured and killed 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. Her family has flown in from China for the trial.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Secretary of State has a public education campaign on Illinois’ move over law. When  you get your driver’s license and vehicle registration renewal notices, you will be asked a test question about slowing down and moving over says Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White



(Springfield--jc)  --In an effort to attract more visitors, the Illinois State Fair has lowered this year’s admission prices. Illinois State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon said the adult admission prices for Sunday through Thursday was lowered from $10 to $5 for this year’s fair, which is set to open in August.When he started working with the Illinois State Fair, Gordon said he took five years of audited data for gate and parking and determined that higher prices lead to fewer visitors.Gordon said the lower admission prices allow visitors to pay for their tickets and still have money for other things inside the fair.



(Washington--ba) USDA’s Agriculture Secretary Perdue is urging China to live up to its commitments to buy U.S. soybeans.  Stephanie Ho reports.



BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — The president of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington has stepped down. Eric Jensen announced Friday that he was retiring and resigning effective immediately. Jensen says he's about to turn 64 and the time was right to leave the job he's held since 2015.  A national search will be conducted in the hopes of having a new president in place by the fall of 2020.


(Gibson--ba) One local committee is getting together soon to discuss a upcoming presentation. The Gibson City pool Committee is gathering on June 6th at 7:00pm to begin working on a presentation in hope of bringing it forward to the Gibson City council.



(Rantou--jc)  -- One local police department is looking for officers with experience. The Rantoul Police Department posted the job offer. Officials say the starting salary is just over 60 thousand dollars, and for officers with 3 or more years of service the starting salary is over 73 thousand dollars. Additional incentives come with the job. More information is found on line at police-dot-my-rantoul-dot-com-forward slash-careers.



(Paxton--ba) -- The City of Paxton has will be misting for mosquitoes this summer. This process will start on Tuesday, June 4th in the evening and will continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays until no longer needed. It is advised that residents of Paxton plan and take necessary action during the times of the misting  process.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers have wrapped up their spring session after a whirlwind week that produced a budget, a state construction plan and billions of dollars in tax increases to fund it, more gambling, legalized marijuana use and protections for abortion. The Senate took final action Sunday on a $39.9 billion budget and a $45 billion infrastructure improvement plan. It doubled the state's gasoline tax to 38 cents per gallon. Future increases would be tied to inflation but legislation ensures that the road fund where it's deposited can't be used for other purposes. Local state Representative Mike Marron, Republican of Fithian says his negative vote was due to the limited time to actually view the budget…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian


(Springfield--jc) --  On your things to do this summer, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum is hosting a new train exhibit. Its a possible summer destination.. The exhibit  is called, All-Aboard--America’s Love of Railroads. The exhibit is housed across the street from the museum in Springfield in Union Station says Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum spokesperson Chris Wills…



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum spokesperson Chris Wills

The exhibit runs through the end of the year.


MACON, Ill. (AP) — Authorities in central Illinois say a Decatur man has died after his motorcycle collided with a deer. Macon County Coroner Michael Day said Saturday that 67-year-old George L. Hampsten died Friday on U.S. 51 in Macon, about 10 miles south of Decatur. The coroner says Hampsten was riding north when a deer ran across the roadway, striking the motorcycle.



KIRKLAND, Ill. (AP) — A northern Illinois couple who wanted their farmland turned back into prairie after they died will see it done while still living. The DeKalb County Forest Preserve District already is converting 57 acres  donated by Jim and Joretta Chambers of Kirkland into prairie. Over the next five years, the same will be done with another 236 acres purchased by the district earlier this year. Preserve district Superintendent Terry Hannan says the couple told him when they first came up with the idea -- about 20 years ago -- that they didn't think they'd live so long. The Chambers now are both 90 and want to go forward with the plan. The land is along the Kishwaukee River between Kingston and Genoa, northwest of Chicago.


(Paxton--ba)-Summer is here, and that also means it’s time to relax and swim in the pool. Scott Allen of Paxton Hardware and Rental has some advice for pool owners who are just setting up their pools or have kept them out through the winter.



Paxton Hardware and Rental owner Scott Allen


CHICAGO (AP) — Faculty and graduate student workers at Illinois universities are protesting as college unions seek improved wages, benefits and job security. This spring, employee strikes took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago and Loyola University. At least three protests were planned at other campuses in the state during the school year but were stopped.

Another protest is now likely, as graduate students at the University of Chicago voted last week to allow a walkout in protest of the administration's unwillingness to recognize them as a union



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — About 20 attorneys plan to volunteer this fall to help people expunge or seal their criminal records. The Sangamon County Expungement and Record Sealing Summit is scheduled for October 19th in Springfield.  The attorneys will assist with cases where a person was arrested but not convicted. Petitions are filed with the circuit clerk, state police, prosecutors and the arresting and booking agency. Only about 15% of petitions are denied.



(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Chamber of Commerce has set the date and theme for this year’s golf outing. The event is set for Friday August 23rd at Lakeview Country Club in Loda. This year’s theme is “Back to the 80s.”  The money raised goes to the Community Improvement Fund. Register your foursome for 350 dollars. Hole sponsorships are also available by contacting the Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce


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