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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-07

Some Ideas were Heard Last Night in Paxton on the Future of Marijuana Sales in the City

(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that he was excited to implement the state's gambling expansion law, but it’s unclear when that will happen.The gambling law the governor signed last month will help fund a $45 billion, six-year infrastructure plan. The measure included adding a $1 per pack tax to cigarettes and was coupled with another bill doubling the state’s gas tax and increasing other driving fees to pay for both horizontal infrastructure like roads and bridges and vertical infrastructure like public universities. After watching a race at Fairmount Park in Collinsville on Tuesday, Pritzker told the crowd that the state is taking the allotted 40 horse-racing days and increasing it to 100 racing days.


(Paxton--jc) The meeting of the city of Paxton long term planning committee heard some ideas last night on the future of marijuana sales in the city. The state of Illinois will become the 11th state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana on January 1st. Several at last night’s meeting say the city should be proactive and allow the sale of marijuana and look to gather in sales tax revenue. City leaders were using the meeting to discuss the idea. If the city council and mayor would pursue sales, they would need to pass a new ordinance. Monticello, GIbson City, and St Joseph are other area towns looking into sales of legal marijuana starting in 20-20.


OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) — Two skydivers are said to be fine after they collided in midair during a jump outside Ottawa. A spokesman for Skydive Chicago said one of the licensed skydivers was knocked unconscious in the collision Tuesday. However, his automatic activation device opened his parachute. Because he was unable to steer, he landed in the Fox River. The Ottawa Fire Department says the other skydiver landed at the airport and both were taken to OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa for evaluation.


(Washington--jc)  -- Farmers will likely be given the go-ahead to grow hemp in 2020, but will they be able to have a crop insurance policy for their crop? Gary Crawford reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  Champaign County not only has a local citizen as the Illinois Veteran’s of Foreign War State Commander, but also an advocate for local veteran’s in the area.  Rantoul resident Brad Gould is the current V-F-W State Commander, he also heads a group in Champaign County for veteran’s assistance. Gould says his office in Urbana is an easy reach by phone, when veteran’s have questions and issues…


Illinois V-F-W State Commander and Rantoul resident Brad Gould


(Springfield--jc)  -- A new state law aims to further protect the public from food allergies. The law requires products with sesame that are sold in Illinois be labled as such. State Representative Johnathon Carroll of Northbrook sponsored by bill…



State Representative Johnathon Carroll of Northbrook

There is also a push to put sesame on a list of common food allergies at the federal level.


(Gibson  City--jc) August summer activities continue with a group based in Gibson City to host a kids day. The Corn Belt Shrine Club’s Kids day is set for Noon to 3pm on Sunday August 18th at North Park in the city. A parade kicks off the day at 11-30 along Sangamon Avenue. Hot dogs, go-kart rides, a cake walk and other games for kids will be offered. All activities are just 25 cents.




(Springfield-jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed legislation to bolster the state’s “Move Over” law, The legislation increases the penalties for not slowing down and moving over when you see a vehicle with flashing lights stopped on the side of the road. The governor says there will also be higher fines for highway construction zone violations…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

This year, 22 stationary Illinois State Police squad cars have been struck by motorists and 2 troopers died as a result of those accident.


Ford County, IL - Ford County Public Health Department is collecting dead birds through October 15  Christy Wallace, Vector Program Coordinator is asking for assistance from the public in the collection of dead birds found in Ford County.  Collecting and testing dead birds are important components of our West Nile virus surveillance program. If you find a dead bird, contact Ford County Public Health Department (217)379-9281.  However, before you submit a dead bird, please ensure the following criteria are met they include that the bird is dead, but the carcass is in good condition. Birds should be dead no more than 48 hours prior to collection and shows no sign it died of causes other than West Nile.




(Washington--jc)--  Although taken by producers every 5 years, work is ongoing to develop the Census of Agriculture ... both products from the last Census, and the latest Census scheduled for 2022. Rod Bain reports..



(Springfield-jc)  --The architect of a plan to buy out a portion of state retirees’ raises defended the program after a report found it saved the state about $13.1 million, far short of the $445 million it was expected to save the state this year. A report from the Civic Federation found the plan to offer retiring state pensioners a buyout of a portion of their annual raises in retirement had saved the state little more than $13.1 million. Former Gov. Bruce Rauner had estimated it would save the state an estimated $445 million this year. State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, who crafted the buyout legislation, said the program wasn’t fully implemented and that Rauner’s administration overestimated the projected savings to shore up the state’s budget. 



(Watseka--jc)  Iroquois County’s Policy and Procedure committee will hear an update on flood matters in the county when they meet tomorrow morning in Watseka. The county committee is expected to approve revised job descriptions for the Finance Center  and hear an E-M-A report. The Iroquois County Policy and Procedure committee meets at 9 tomorrow morning in Watseka.


(Washington--jc)  -- It’s drier than normal conditions for crops in the midwest. U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey  says despite some midwest rains, the Corn Belt is dry…



U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has announced the names of two U.S. soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan on Monday. The Defense Department says 20-year-old Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer of Stryker, Ohio, and 24-year-old Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance of Chicago died "as a result of wounds sustained in a combat related incident" in Tarin Kowt, in southern Afghanistan. Pentagon spokesperson Jessica R. Maxwell says the incident is under investigation.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Do you want to celebrate National Coloring Book Day? Your opportunity will be Friday in Rantoul as the Rantou Public Library will host an open house. The observance runs from 10am until 4pm on Friday. Supplies will be  provided for those who want to color at the library on Friday.


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's transportation agencies are boosting services to accommodate tens of thousands of people attending Lollapalooza. The Metra commuter train and the CTA subway agencies will expand capacity for one of the nation's most popular music festivals. It takes place Thursday through Sunday in Chicago's Grant Park. 


(Cissna Park--jc)  Do you have talent? If the answer is yes then you are wanted for the Cissna Park Old Settler’s Talent Show set for August. The annual event sponsored by the Cissna Park American Legion takes place from Thursday August 15th through Saturday August 17th in the park in Cissna Park. A junior division will feature groups and individuals 14 and under. The senior division is for groups and individuals 15 to 21. The show starts at 7-30pm. Some one will also win a brand new car at this year’s Old Settlers celebration.


Illinois Crops are Progressing as They Should be

(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a male discovered deceased outside an apartment building in the 300 block of South State Street early Monday morning. 23 year old Julian A. Cummings, of Champaign, was pronounced dead at 8:20AM Monday at the scene. Preliminary results from a Monday afternoon autopsy Mr. Cummings’ death is due to natural causes. Final autopsy results are pending toxicology and other testing. This death remains under investigation by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Champaign Police Department.


(Springfield--jc)  -- After a late start, Illinois crops are moving right along as we hear in the weekly crop report. 52 percent of soybeans are blooming and 14 percent are setting pods. That is well behind the usual pace but a nice increase over last week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener updates on corn…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener.

98 percent of winter wheat has been harvested and the 2nd cutting of hay is 76 percent complete.


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Five Democratic governors of states in the Great Lakes region want candidates in next year's presidential election to back a plan for protecting their freshwater resources. Led by Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, the governors Monday proposed a six-point platform that seeks increases in federal spending on water treatment infrastructure and environmental cleanups. Whitmer told The Associated Press she's hoping for support from Democratic hopefuls as well as President Donald Trump.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Registration is now open for Youth Karate, Intro-Belted will be combined into one class. Classes are 8 sessions, First class of the season will start August 15  with the next class starting October 3. More information is found by calling the Rantoul Recreation Department at 893-5700.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Personnel is the focus of a Rantoul Township High School board meeting this week. A special meeting is set to come to order at 7 on Thursday night at the high school. 


PESOTUM – Illinois State Police District 10 Commander, Captain Louis Kink, announces the I-S-P will conduct Roadside Safety Checks  in Macon County during August. The details combine a strong sense of public awareness and enforcement in order to save lives of the motoring public.  I-S-P has zero tolerance for impaired driving in Illinois. Officers working the detail will be watchful for drivers who are operating vehicles in an unsafe manner, to driving under the influence and distracted driving


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo will remain free to all until mid-century under an agreement zoo operators reached with the city's park district. The Lincoln Park Zoological Society, which operates the zoo, and the Chicago Park District, which owns the zoo's land and buildings on the city's North Side, extended their operating agreement to Dec. 31, 2049. Zoological society CEO Kevin Bell says keeping the zoo free is a great thing for the city and for people visiting Chicago.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The subject will be recreational marijuana  use and sales. The place will be the second floor of city hall in Paxton. The city of Paxton long-term planning committee will meet at 7 tonight to look at options, hear from the public and find the right policy for the city. Monticello, St Joseph, and Gibson City are also area towns looking at the legalization of marijuana issue in the state that becomes law on January first. 


(Watseka--jc) --  One Iroquois County health provider is celebrating 25 years in operation in August the I-M-H Home Health will host a meet and greet in the Iroquois Memorial Hospital lobby located in Watseka. The event takes place from 10am until 2pm August 14th.. The Iroquois Memorial Hospital Home Health team will be doing free blood pressure checks, offer refreshments, and giveaway door prizes.


(Champaign--jc)  -- We close out July with normal summertime weather highs and lows. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady says the first weekend of August says its more normal August weather to begin the month…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady


(Bloomington--jc)  -- 7 people will compete tomorrow for the chance to be the new  McLean County Fair queen. They are Autumn Bolen of Cropsey, Genesis Witte of Waynesville, Maddie Kraft of Towanda, Skye Shumaker of Heyworth, Clarissa King and Emily King of Normal, and Callie Yoder of Eureka. The pageant begins at 7 tomorrow night in Cloverleaf Hall.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski is lamenting the level of gun violence in the U.S. after fleeing a gunman during the California festival shooting. Lipinski was at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in northern California with his wife when a gunman fatally shot three people, including two children, and wounded 12 others. The gunman, identified Monday as Santino William Legan, opened fire Sunday as the festival was in its closing hours, sending the crowd scattering.


(Gibson City--jc)  A job and resource fair is set for Thursday afternoon in Gibson City. The event is sponsored by the Moyer Library District and the Champaign CountyRegional Planning Commission. Those attending are asked to dress to talk to potential employers, bring resumes and be prepared to be interviewed for jobs. Thursday’s event runs from 4pm to 6pm at the Moyer Library on Sangamon Avenue in Gibson City.


UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say the driver of a box truck has died after the vehicle was struck by an Amtrak passenger train in northeast Illinois, causing several train cars to derail. In updating our story from Monday, the Will County coroner's office says 77-year-old Richard E. Millette of Frankfort, died following Sunday's crash in University Park. The train was heading from Chicago to Carbondale and was going about 70 mph at the time. Two minor injuries were reported among the nearly 300 passengers on the train.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed a new law to give some Illinoisans relief from high interest rates on their debt. The governor says the consumer fairness act lowers post-judgement interest rates…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Precipitation and temperatures were below normal this past week Statewide topsoil moisture declined 6 percent very short, 34 percent short, 57 percent adequate and 3 percent surplu.State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener takes a look at the soybean crop…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

59 percent of corn is silking and 16 percent is  the dough stage. 44 percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition.



Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law designed to show Illinois property owners how much the tax increment financing districts in their area are diverting into special funds that can be used to spur redevelopment.. Not all property owners may fully understand what a TIF district does, but if they pay property taxes in Illinois they’ll soon see a line on their bill about the TIF districts in their taxing jurisdiction.TIF dollars come from diverting the higher tax revenue from the district as property values increase during a given period of time, often 20 years or more. That money can be used for incentives to spur development in blighted areas.




Hundreds of Illinois National Guard Members are Being Deployed to Afghanistan

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Friday that makes Illinois the eighth state to remove time restrictions on prosecuting crimes of sexual violence.The Democrat signed into law a measure that lifts a 10-year statute of limitations on pressing charges in felony cases of sexual assault and sexual abuse. The law takes effect January First. 



CHICAGO (AP) — Hundreds of Illinois National Guard members are being deployed to Afghanistan, the largest such deployment in a decade. About 400 members of the 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment of the National Guard, headquartered on Chicago's South Side, will begin a more than yearlong deployment in support of counter-terrorism efforts says Illinois Governor JB Pritzker…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

. The soldiers will first spend a few weeks undergoing training in Fort Bliss, Texas, before heading to Afghanistan in late September.



BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An agricultural economist says the Trump administration's decision to base new handouts to farmers hit by the trade war with China on how many acres they've planted might be a fairer way to distribute the cash. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Thursday that the government will pay another $16 billion in aid to farmers affected by the president's trade war with China. Scott Irwin, a University of Illinois agricultural economist says per acre payments are fairer than per bushel.



(KKK-jc)  -- An Amtrak train bound for Champaign derailed near Monee after colliding with another vehicle. Amtrak says the driver of a box truck was killed, but  no passengers on board were seriously hurt. Emergency responders helped out at the scene for hours late into the night.


(Springfield--jc)  -– Illinois schools now have more options for long-term student records that could save taxpayer funds, due to legislation sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman. The republican from Bloomington sponsored the measure, he believes is a common-sense answer to a problem that many  schools face. The measure updates a set of rules for how schools handle, store, and potentially destroy long-term student records. The measure is now law.


(Washington--jc)  -- The USDA has issued a number of state grants to help fight food assistance fraud. An advocate for SNAP reform says Illinois could be more vigilant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that $5.1 million in SNAP Fraud Framework grants were awarded to fund state projects designed to reduce recipient fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.


(Springfield--jc)  -- With the tougher texting laws in place, the Illinois State Police say it is important to know what you can and can not do with your phone while driving When talking on the phone, you must be completely hands free, not just holding the phone and having it on speaker. Illinois State Police Sergeant Joey Watson says when using the phone for directions, the tips are these…


Illinois State Police Sergeant Joey Watson


(Washington--jc)  What is the latest forecast for retail grocery store food prices. Gary Crawford has the story…




(Paxton--jc)  A former Paxton Buckley Loda student, athlete, collegiate football player, honor student and WPXN employee has accepted a position with the N-F-L. Jordan Anderson has accepted a position at N-F-L H-Q as a media assistant. Congratulations to Jordan on the new job. He will be moving to Los Angeles.



(Cissna Park--jc)  One area school has set school registration for one week from today. Those in the Cissna Park school district will have registration on Monday August 5th and Tuesday August 6th. The first full day of classes in Cissna Park is Tuesday August 20th.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker issued his first veto of the 47 bills the governor acted on Friday. Pritzker vetoed Senate Bill 2026, a measure to alter the process of how the state applies for certain federal waivers for various taxpayer funded programs. It is unclear if the sponsors will seek an override.


(Undated--jc)  -- Motorists filling up in Illinois have been paying double the gas tax all month, but there are ways they can save money if they do some research. Governor. J.B. Prtizker signed an infrastructure package that doubled the state’s gas tax from 19 cents a gallon to 38 cents last month. It went into effect July 1. The measure, along with an increase in vehicle registration and other driving fees, is supposed to help pay for a $45 billion, six-year infrastructure plan. petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said Illinois motorists are definitely feeling the increased gas tax, especially those who don’t live close to a border to fill up in another state.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Christmas in July fundraiser for the city of Paxton Christmas parade committee was another success on Saturday in the city. Volunteers gathered 635 dollars in donations. The money raised will help with expenses for this year’s Paxton Christmas parade. The theme for this  year’s parade is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The parade steps off at 1-30pm the Saturday after Thanksgiving.


(Loda--jc)  Loda Good Ole Days is now complete for another year. The three day event featured pageants, a parade, kids games, talent show and a huge truck and tractor pull. Organizer Alecia Whitcomb says the town is proud of its efforts in the village park…



Loda Good Ole Days Organizer Alecia Whitcomb



(Watseka--jc)  -- Do you remember the show “Hee Haw”. Some of the living members of the hit television show are set to perform in Watseka in August. The Watseka Theatre production takes place on Saturday August 10th. The 4 cast members performing are Jana Jae, Misty Rowe, Buck Trent and Lulu Roman.


(Undated--dg)  -- Piper City will be celebrating its 150th Anniversary this Friday and Saturday. Opening ceremony will be at 5on Friday afternoon with a reveal of a 1969 time capsule to follow. Games on the midway, bingo, bounce houses, and live music featuring a barbershop quartet and the Esh Van Project will provide entertainment for all ages. A grand parade steps off at 1 Saturday afternoon. A show and shine car and tractor show, games and contests will take place at Branch Park. The Sesquicentennial Celebration will conclude Saturday evening  an Alumni Dinner, along with games on the midway, bingo, bounce houses, and live music featuring The New Relation.



(Gifford--jc)  Let the junior high softball practice begin. Those in the Gifford area along with a coop with Potomac and Armstrong schools have I-E-S-A softball practice starting this afternoon at 4. Physicals are required before athletes can participate. 


Loda Good Ole Days Starts Tonight with Pageant

(Washington-jc)  -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Thursday announced further details of the 16 billion dollar package aimed at supporting American agricultural producers while the Administration continues to work on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals. In May, President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a relief strategy in line with the estimated impacts of unjustified retaliatory tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods and other trade disruptions. Perdue has the details…


U-S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The subject will be recreational marijuana  use and sales. The place will be the second floor of city hall in Paxton. The city of Paxton long-term planning committee will meet at 7 on Tuesday night to look at options, hear from the public and find the right policy for the city. Monticello, St Joseph, and Gibson City are also area towns looking at the legalization of marijuana issue in the state that becomes law on January first. 


(Springfield--jc)  -- June brought some good news on the jobs front. Jobs increased by 95 thousand last month says State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro…


I-D-E-S Spokesperson Sam Salustro


CHICAGO (AP) — Public health officials say Illinois is among 24 states affected by a recall of fennel seed products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Mountain Rose Herbs of Eugene, Oregon, is recalling all sizes of its fennel seed, ranging from 4 ounces to 50 pounds. Customers should not consume the seeds and can return the products for a full refund.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is awarding more than 5 million dollars in adult literacy grants. The money will fund 113 local literacy projects around the state says Secretary White…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White



(Loda--jc)  -- Today is day one of three for the annual Loda Good Ole Days celebration. The Little Mister and Little Miss Pageant and a Junior Mister and Junior Miss Pageant takes place at 6 in the park pavilion. DJ Myles plays music after tonight’s pageant. Event spokesperson Alecia Whitcomb says Sunday features the truck and tractor pull and Saturday is a full day of family activities with fireworks...



Loda Good Ole Days event Spokesperson Alecia Whitcomb

WPXN will be broadcasting live on Sunday from 10-30 until noon from the truck and tractor pull. Its Summer Fun Tour Stop 15.


(Paxton--jc)  The Paxton Train Depot is open  to to public again. The depot and train car are located in the downtown area of Paxton along North Market Street. The building is full of historic information on trains and train travel through the years in East Central Illinois. 



(Melvin--jc)  A-H-W L-L-C is growing again. The John Deere dealer with 16 stores in Illinois and Indiana has purchased another John Deere dealership in the area. A-H-W has purchased Arends and Sons of Gibson City. The sale took place this week and the transfer of the business is set for August.



(Paxton--jc)  -- The cookout at the Paxton IGA will be raising money for the Hands of Christ Food Pantry in the city. On the menu are pork chop sandwiches, chips and soda The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm in the IGA parking lot.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says consumers can now file claims in the huge settlement of Equifax. A-G Spokesperson Annie Thompson says a new website will help with that process…


Attorney General office Spokesperson Annie Thompson

That website is Equifax-breach-settlement-dot-com



(Mahomet--jc)  --A state senator is questioning a proposed expansion of two public universities on a vacant block in Springfield.Southern Illinois University and University of Illinois, Springfield, say they’re interested in a joint operation to be developed on the block north of the Governor’s Mansion. State Senator. Chapin Rose of Mahomet says with enrollment trending down, he doesn’t see the need.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Checks totalling $10,000 to a former political operative of House Speaker Michael Madigan from a former ComEd lobbyist are the subject of federal investigators.The Chicago Tribune reports the checks from Mike McClain to Keven Quinn came after Quinn was let go following a sexual harassment retaliation complaint. Both were subjects of federal raids in May.


(Gifford--jc)  -- A water main project could be in the future for one area town. After the tornado of 20-13, some new improvements came to the village. One was a new water tower. Gifford, like most other towns their size, are looking to improve infrastructure. Gifford Mayor Derald Ackerman says one project in the near future would be upgrading the water main in a portion of town…



Gifford Mayor Derald Ackerman


(Urbana-jc)  -- There are two more big days for this year’s Champaign County fair. Today. The 4-H Horse show is set for 9 this morning. Gates open at 10. Its national country music star Dustin Lynch, with Dylan Scott and Jimmie Allen tonight at 7. On Saturday, it’s First Responder Day. Champaign County Fair President Bill Alagna says its the city and county coming together…



Champaign County Fair President Bill Alagna 

 Gates on Saturday open at 10am. The carnival opens at noon with a 25 dollar ride bracelet special,  along with the I-T-P-A Tractor Pull at noon. The I-P-A Tractor and Semi pull at 5pm



(Springfield--jc)  --The unfunded liability of downstate police and fire pension funds has grown more than 9 percent per year since 1991.The Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reports the more than 640 funds combined were more than 75 percent funded in 1991. In 2017, they were 55.4 percent funded. Total unfunded liabilities are more than $11 billion.



(Paxton--jc)  -- A senior fair is set for August in Paxton. The event will be at Paxton’s Pells Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, August 10th. The senior fair will feature goods and services of interest to area senior citizens. The event is free to attend.


Its' 4-H Day at the Champaign County Fair Today

(Collinsville--jc)  -- As trade talks dredge on, Illinois’ senior Republican House member says farmers in his district are pushing for the federal government to move on a deal with Mexico and Canada, but he suspects politics are getting in the way. The agricultural community has been pushing Washington to hammer out a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement since Trump administration officials said they are seeking a better deal.Southern Illinois Representative. John Shimkus, Republian from Collinsville, toured his district speaking to farmers, who he says are rightly stressed about the poor crop conditions. But they’re also pushing him and others to move forward with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Democrats, Shimkus suggested, are slow-walking the deal because they're reluctant to give Trump any kind of political win.


(Springfield--jc  -- Illinois’ new capital bill contains funding that will address what officials say has been an ongoing problem for years. The capital bill sets aside 80 million dollars to assist mental health facilities all over the state .Mark J. Heyrman, facilitator with the Mental Health Summit and Mental Health America of Illinois, says there has been a lack of community mental health services.With diminishing financial support, state psychiatric hospitals and community facilities were forced to close their doors. One fact is there used to be 33 thousand  state psychiatric hospital beds and now there are 1 thousand 200.


(Provo--jc)  -- Illinois’ governor was in Utah Wednesday. Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office says the freshman state executive attended a series of meetings hosted by the National Governors Association in Salt Lake City. His office says the goal is to advance Illinois’ priorities.



(Buckley--jc)  More activities are being planned for Buckley Lake later this year. The village held a movie night, Fun Day and numerous family and church events already this year. Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura says ideas are needed for a fall time movie and more…


Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura



(Chicago--jc)  --Is powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan the target of an FBI investigation into political corruption in Illinois?b The Feds won't say, of course, but it sure feels like he's a person of interest at the least.A series of recent events indicate there's a heckuva lot of smoke around Madigan, if not a full-on raging fire.Madigan's home or offices haven't been raided, but FBI agents executed search warrants at the homes of three of his closest allies in recent months.And on Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that federal agents are investigating $10,000 in checks that lobbyists with Illinois energy giant ComEd sent to one of the Madigan allies whose home was raided recently. 


(Washington--jc)  --In just a few short weeks some major growing areas have gone from oversaturated to dry soils and crop stress. Rod Bain reports…



(Urbana--jc)  Its’ 4-H Day at the Champaign County Fair today. The 4-H Sheep Show, 4-H Rabbit Show 4-H Swine Show and 4-H Goat and 4-H Beef Show are set for this morning. Gates open at 10 at the fairgrounds along Coler Avenue in Urbana. Tom Gordon of Urbana has been a long time fairgoer and is closely tied to the local fair. Gordon says he remembers getting a social security card at the fair in the 1940s…


Urbana resident and Champaign County Fairgoer Tom Gordon

A kids pedal tractor pull begins at 3 this afternoon, The carnival opens at 5 and motor madness motorsports extravaganza begins at 7 tonight. 



(Springfield--jc)   -- More apprenticeship programs will be available at some Illinois Community Colleges thanks to a 4 million dollar federal grant. The money will help around 16 hundred students participate in various programs says Illinois State Community College Board Spokesperson Matt Berry…



I-S-C-C-B Spokesperson Matt Berry

The program will be offered locally at Parkland College in Champaign.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- A hymnfest is set for Gibson City in mid-August. The event takes place at 3pm on August 11th at the Gibson City United Methodist Church. The Gibson Area Music Foundation is sponsoring the hymnfest with Director Milt Kelly, organist Heidi Brown. The event will feature popular hymns and the stories behind them.


CHICAGO (AP) — Public health officials say Illinois is among 24 states affected by a recall of fennel seed products over possible Salmonella contamination.

Mountain Rose Herbs of Eugene, Oregon, is recalling all sizes of its fennel seed, ranging from 4 ounces to 50 pounds. The product was sold online, at retail shops and distributed to vitamin and health food stores in two dozen states. Refunds are available.


(Washington--jc)  ItIt appears that U.S. trade talks with China may be advancing soon from the telephone to the negotiating table. Gary Crawford reports…



(Kankakee--jc)  Kankakee Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred along Evergreen Street in the city last night around 6pm.  As police arrived, a man was found shot in the street. Kankakee Crimestoppers are seeking any information about the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call Kankakee County Crimestoppers at  815-934-7463.


(Rantoul--jc)  Illinois V-F-W Commander and Rantoul resident Brad Gould is busy with his new position this year. Gould was elected as to the top spot last month. Gould says a writing competition and visiting districts in the state to trips to the nation’s capitol are on his job duties…



Illinois V-F-W Commander and Rantoul resident Brad Gould


(Undated--jc)  A lawsuit against a Ford County bed and breakfast operation west of Paxton will proceed. The defense in the case of Timber Creek B and B had asked to dismiss the case, but that was denied in local court on Wednesday. The lawsuit stems from a 20-11 case of penalties imposed for discriminating against a same sex couple from Tuscola. More information is found in the Ford County Record.



(Ashkum--jc)  Those with the Iroquois County Fair, the Ashkum community along with family and friends are mourning the death of a popular local fair president, ag leader, family member and friend today. The visitation for 76 year old Marvin Perzee is set for 2pm to 5pm at the 4-H Building at the Iroquois County Fairgrounds north of Crescent City along Route 49. Perzee was a well respected member of fair community throughout the area, state and nation. He served the local 4-H chapters and the local fair for his lifetime. He will be missed, but always remembered. Perzee’s funeral takes place at 5pm at the fairgrounds. Visitation will continue following the funeral service today. 



(Paxton--jc)  -- Elevator repairs and upgrades will be on the agenda of a Ford County committee in August. The Ford County Public Health Commission has been looking into repairs to the elevators at the courthouse in Paxton for several months. Costs for repairs and what upgrades are expected to be agenda items at the August 13th, 9am meeting in Paxton



(Loda--jc)  The 20-19 Loda Good Ole Days are set for this Friday Saturday and Sunday in the Southern Iroquois County town. Event Spokesperson Alecia Whitcomb says some competitions and music hilite the evening on Friday…



Loda Good Ole Days Spokesperson Alecia Whitcomb



(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Gibson City  Police,Health, Light and Nuisance Committee is set to meet on Monday night at city hall at 7. . The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss new squad car for the police department, reports of complaints about vehicles without current registration, property that is dangerous and presents hazards to the community and other nuisance complaints. The public is invited to the committee meeting to address any concerns.


Today is Speed Awareness Day In Illinois

(Springfield--jc)  -- Today is speed awareness day in Illinois. It’s a day to remind the public to slow down. Lou Jogmen with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police says ignoring the speed limit has become all too common…



Lou Jogmen with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police in Illinois.

The probability of death or serious injury in a crash doubles for every 10 miles per hour over 50 miles per hour. Illinois State Police are boosting the amount of patrols today for Speed Awareness Day in Illinois


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois Democrat says he will challenge Republican Congressman John Shimkus next fall and is conceding he has no chance of winning. John W. Hursey Jr. of Collinsville has filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to run in the 15th Congressional District race as a Democrat. The district runs from Collinsville in the west to the Indiana state line in the east. The 61-year-old Shimkus has served in the House since 1997. He received 71 percent of the vote last year.


KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — The Democratic chairman of an Illinois county is facing criticism for posting an image on social media comparing Make America Great Again hats worn by supporters of President Donald Trump to Ku Klux Klan hoods. Crain's Chicago Business reported the Kankakee County Democrats posted the image Friday.


CHICAGO (AP) — A lawyer for a former Northwestern University professor charged in the 2017 stabbing death of his boyfriend responded to a co-defendant's guilty plea with a vow to continue fighting the charges. The Chicago Tribune reports that Wyndham Lathem's attorney, Adam Sheppard, told reporters on Tuesday that Andrew Warren appears to be "shifting blame" and that he expected to attack Warren's credibility at trial.


CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed two laws aimed at protecting young immigrants, including those whose parents are deported. The governor says he disagrees with the Republicans on the issue…



Illinois Governor JB Prtizker.

 One law extends the time a child can have a short-term guardian if their parents are detained or deported by federal immigration authorities. The other helps young immigrants seeking special visas as victims of abuse or neglect.



(Urbana--jc) --Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has  released the name of a Mahomet woman who was involved in a motor vehicle crash in rural Coles County, on Sunday.  25 year old Kayla L. Kelley was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana on Sunday morning as a result of traumatic injuries she received during the crash. Ms. Kelley was reportedly driving a Toyota Rav 4, when she lost control of her vehicle, causing it to roll over. She was ejected from the vehicle. No autopsy will be performed, although an inquest may be held at a later date. This death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police District 10.


(Urbana--jc)  -- It’s Livestock Day today at the Champaign County Fair. The Junior Swine starts the day at 8 this morning. The, Junior Beef and Junior Sheep shows begin at 8-30 this morning. Gates open at 10 and the carnival opens at 5 this afternoon. Motorcycle races hilite the entertainment tonight starting at 6-30 and the Crazy Johnny Band is the musical entertainment in the Beer Pavilion tonight from 9 til midnight. One must stop at this year’s fair is Culler’s Fries. Culler’s Fries owner Jim Cullers says they have been located at the Champaign County Fair and State Fair in the same location for decades…



Culler’s Fries Owner Jim Cullers. 

Culler’s Fries will also be in operation at the Half Century of Progress Show in Rantoul next month. 



(Paxton--jc)  -- One local grocery store has made a donation to the Paxton Pool with its round up program. The Paxton based “Save the Paxton Pool Committee” received a check in the amount of 3 thousand 784 dollars this week from the Paxton IGA. The local group continues to raise money for the Paxton Park District Pool. Businesses, civic groups and individuals may sponsor a “free swim” event at the pool through the summer hours. More information is found by calling the Paxton Park District at 379-4203 The next free swims are Thursday from 1pm to 5pm sponsored by Pax-Nasz and Saturday from 1pm to 4pm sponsored by the Farmers Merchants Bank of Illinois



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Village of Rantoul leaders are looking to the local court system to get the owner of the Home Theatre building in downtown Rantoul to repair the facility.  The Press reports that the owner wants to fix up the property and again offer movies. A fine was levied against the property and some nearby property owners are concerned about the theatre building and its future. Village leaders are expected to address the issue at meetings this summer.


(Springfield--jc)  --The new course to become a firefighter in Illinois could make it a lot easier for people to become firefighters. About 70 percent of firefighters in Illinois are volunteers. But the ranks are thinning, thanks in part to the weeks of training that used to pull wannabe firefighters away from home. The Illinois State Fire Marshal is changing that.Fire Marshal spokesman J.C. Fultz says a new blended training program will allow firefighters to learn the classroom stuff online at home during the week, and train on the job one the weekends. 


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois is one of the worst states when it comes to allowing former state officials to perform lobbying activities after they leave office. That’s according to a new study from the group Public Citizen. The report says while some states have bans on former lawmakers lobbying, either forever or for different “cooling off” periods of one to six years, Illinois has no restrictions.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Last weekend was hot and humid. The weather for the final full week of July is more summer friendly. Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says more typical July weather is here…



Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Brian Kerschner




(Gifford--jc)  It’s still July, but school officials in Gifford have set school registration times for the 20-19 to 20-20 school year. Gifford students will register for school on July 30th and July 31st. Registration is from 9am to noon and 1pm to 4pm each day..



SPRINGFIELD – A federal grant will allow the Illinois Community College Board to serve more than 1,600 apprentices in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that will lead to employment in the information technology sector. 

The $4.0 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, will support the development and expansion of apprenticeship programs in partnership with ten Illinois community colleges including Parkland College in Champaign.



(Loda--jc)  The 9th annual Loda Good Ole Days Truck and Tractor Pull is set for Sunday on the west side of Loda. Loda Good Ole Days Spokesperson Mallory Lithgow says this years event is in honor of a “dear friend” who passed away earlier this year…



Loda Good Ole Days Spokesperson Mallory Lithgow.

WPXN will be broadcasting live on Sunday morning as part of our Summer Fun Tour from 10-30 to noon. It’s Summer Fun tour stop 15.


(Watseka--jc)  -- It seems summer has only just begun but now is the time to schedule your child’s back-to-school vaccines. The Iroquois County Public Health Department recommends scheduling your appointments early to beat the rush.  Officials say if you wait until August to schedule your child’s school vaccinations, you may not be able to obtain an appointment before the first day of school.



(Peoria--jc)  One college based in Peoria is closing. Midstate College, in operation for over 130 years, is closing permanently on August 14th. The announcement was given to students this week. School officials are now working on transfers for enrolled students.



(Rantoul--jc)  If you saw police moving around Rantoul Township High School on Tuesday morning and afternoon, there was a good reason. The Champaign County Metro Swat Team was conducting training at the local school. Several police vehicles and cars were stationed around Rantoul Township High School throughout the day.


(Cissna Park)  -- One local school has its alumni reunion set for August 16th. Graduates from Cissna Park High School are invited to Creekside Prairie on the north side of the village. Registration starts at 2pm with a program at 3pm. Honored classes include 1959, 1969 and 1994. Cissna Park Schools will be open from 1pm to 2-30 that afternoon for those interested.



Several Local Communities Will Be Discussing on Whether to Allow Marijuana Sales

(Springfield--jc)  Some major laws signed by Illinois’ governor will soon go through the rules process.The cartoon classic "Schoolhouse Rock" explained how a bill becomes a law in the U.S. Congress. The process is similar in the Illinois state legislature. But how laws are ultimately enacted in Illinois is another story.State Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is on the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, or JCAR. That’s a body with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans from both chambers who hammer out details on how some laws will be implemented by the various state agencies.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois will get over $7 million in Equifax's $700 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission and others over a 2017 data breach that exposed private information of nearly 150 million people. The proposed settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will provide up to $425 million in monetary relief to consumers. Federal officials coordinated the investigation with attorneys general nationwide, including Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.


CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois Republican group has apologized and removed from its Facebook page a post that showed images of four Democratic congresswomen who have been criticized by President Donald Trump and referred to them as the "Jihad Squad." The post appeared Friday night on the Republican County Chairman's Association page.


(Rantoul--dg)  --The Half Century of Progress vintage farm show is one month away. The 4 day event runs from August 22 through the 25th on the Former Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul. With over 700 acres to work with, Half Century of Progress Spokesperson JC Reitmeir says it’s the largest show in the United States.



Half Century of Progress Spokesperson JC Reitmeir


(St Joseph--jc)  One Champaign County Community is set to hear a presentation from the Vermilion County Land bank when they meet tonight in monthly session. The St Joseph village board is also expected to discuss options for the village with the legalization of marijuana and what the village plans to offer or not offer in town. The St Joseph village board meets at 7 tonight. Hiring seasonal help and bike parking in the downtown area are also on tonight’s agenda. Monticello, Paxton and Gibson City are area towns considering action on the subject of legal marijuana use.



Big R Stores—the farm, home, and outdoor retailer founded in 1964—announced that it is changing its name to Stock & Field. The new name allows the brand to send a clear message about their offerings and commitment to providing every rural lifestyle enthusiast with a one-stop destination to gather all of the mission-critical products they need to pursue their work and hobbies. The retailer has operated under the Big R Stores name since 1964 when Bill and Pat Crabtree opened the first store in Watseka, Illinois. Since then, the company has grown to 25 locations across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan—including new stores opening soon in Portage, Wisconsin and Lansing, Michigan. The Stock & Field Lansing store will mark the Company’s first expansion into Michigan.



(Paxton--dg)  --The Knapp Miller Funeral Home in Paxton has new owners. Kendall Cox and K’lee McGeary have purchased the funeral home and the new name will be Cox Knapp Funeral Home. Owner Kendall Cox says he appreciates the opportunity the Knapp family has given him in being able to own a business in his home town.



Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox



(Springfield--jc)  -- It was a hot week for Illinois crops and winter wheat harvesting is almost complete as we hear in the weekly crop report. 94 percent of winter wheat is now out of the ground. Soybeans are blooming and 2 percent are setting pods says State Crop Statistician Brad Summa…


State Crop Statistician Brad Summa



(Urbana--jc)  -- Today is Senior Citizen Day at the Champaign County Fair. There is free gate admission for Seniors until 2pm. The gates open at 10. The Open Beef Show starts the day at 8-30 this morning. Marvin Lee and Friends performs at 10am. Activities for Seniors go from 10am until 2pm. The carnival opens at 5 with Harness Racing at 7. WPXN will be broadcasting live from 12-30 until 2. It’s summer fun tour stop 14.


(Springfield--jc)  --Participants in a roundtable discussion Monday in Springfield are seeking ways to combat a shortage of trained professionals in the healthcare industry. Among the issues raised by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis and Illinois health professionals were immigration and education. Davis,a Republican from Taylorville, said the demand for nurses, doctors and facilities is going to explode as the Baby Boomer generation will demand more healthcare resources. Davis says we do not  have enough physicians, we do not have enough nurses, and we do not have enough facilities in rural areas of this country,



(Undated--jc) --  A conservative former state lawmaker who resigned to nearly defeat incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner last year is entering the race for Congress but Rauner’s lieutenant governor stands in the way.Former state Rep Jeanne Ives formally announced Sunday that she would run for Illinois’ sixth Congressional seat.She positioned herself as a coalition builder who would restore civil discussions in Washington’s highly charged environment in her new campaign ad released  this week.



(Springfield--jc )  -- The weekly crop crop report shows 94 percent of the winter wheat crop harvest.  Also 36 percent of corn is silking and 1 percent is in the dough stage. State Crop Statistician Brad Summa says 96 percent of soybeans have now bloomed…



State Crop Statistician Brad Summa

Topsoil moisture is rated as 1 percent very short, 19 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

(Ford County--jc)  A five mile stretch of Route 115 in Ford County remains closed today. I-Dot Officials say a box culvert repair project will keep the road closed for the remainder of this week.  Motorists should take other routes around the construction area. State Police continue to remind the motoring public to slow down, move over and drive extra careful in construction zone areas.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding employers they need to have health and safety information posted in the workplace. The poster lists employee rights and employer  responsibilities says Illinois Occupation Safety and Health Administration Director Ben Noven…



Illinois Occupation, Safety and Health Administration Director Ben Noven



(Paxton--jc) Plans continue for the Swine and Dine Festival in Paxton. The Chamber and City say the day begins with the grilling competition. A bags tournament, food trucks, inflatables and music also hilite the one day event. This year’s event takes place on Saturday September 21st in downtown Paxton. A free concert featuring Johnny McGuire and Jerrod Neimann is set for the downtown area that night.


(Washington--jc)  -- Some more key numbers coming out with the latest U-S-D-A cattle inventory report. U-S-D-A Livestock Analyst Shayle Shagam has some numbers…



U-S-D-A Analyst Shayle Shagum


(Paxton--jc)  With the recent hot and humid weather, the city of Paxton Christmas Committee is announcing the theme for this year’s Christmas Parade. Its Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The parade steps off on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The group will be standing along several street corners in downtown Paxton on July 27th for donations to help with expenses for this year’s parade.

Illinois Lawmakers Looking at Capping Property Tax Increases for Apartment Buildings that Include Low-Income Housing

(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois lawmakers are looking at capping property tax increases for apartment buildings that include low-income housing in a portion of the building.State senators gathered last week in Chicago for a hearing to discuss Senate President John Cullerton’s Senate Bill 2259. It would put caps on how much assessments on apartment complexes could rise if the owner commits at least 20 percent of the building's units to be reserved for families that make less than a set income depending on the area. The caps would gradually be reduced over the course of ten years. New construction is typically assessed for a higher dollar value once it’s finished because it’s worth more than it was as an open lot.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he’ll call lawmakers back to Springfield if the House’s top Republican wants to change legislation that put stronger standards on the emissions of a cancer-causing chemical. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said Pritzker fast-tracked re-opening of “corporate polluter.”Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul released statements Friday defending their decision to allow a medical instrument sterilization company to reopen its facility in suburban Chicago in December as long as the company adheres to new emissions standards. Residents and lawmakers had wanted the plant shut down over concerns about ethylene oxide emissions causing cancer.


(Loda--jc)  -- The annual Loda Good Ole Days begins this Friday and runs through Sunday in the Southern Iroquois County town. On Friday it’s the Little Mister and Little Miss along with the Junior Mister and Junior Miss Pageant at 6. Food and a D-J follow the pageant.  On Saturday the parade steps off at 10am. The lineup starts at the former Loda school building. Children games, a talent show, dance and fireworks hilite the day on Saturday. Sunday its the annual Truck and tractor pull at noon. WPXN will be broadcast live on Sunday morning to help kick off the event. It’s Summer Fun Tour Stop 15.



(Iroquois County--jc)  You can add southeastern Iroquois County as a potential spot for a mega-hog farm. A farm near Sibley in Ford County remains a possibility for a large hog farm. The Illinois Department of Agriculture is hosting a public information meeting on Tuesday August 6th. The meeting will take place at the Administrative Center in Watseka. The Parks Livestock group, based in Stockland, is the company backing the proposed project.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Authorities have suggested that the remains of a slain scholar from China may never be found despite a vow from prosecutors that the search will continue. Brendt Christensen, a former doctoral student in Illinois, killed Yingying Zhang in 2017. In recent filings, prosecutors said they rejected a plea deal with Christensen after concluding it'd be impossible to verify any details Christensen would provide about where Zhang's remains are. He was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole



(Undated--jc)   Speed Awareness Day is Wednesday July 24th. State police will be out in full force, enforcing the speed limit. State police continue to advise motorists 

to obey the speed limits. Speed Awareness Day is Wednesday July 24th in Illinois



(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois Department of Transportation officials say the extreme heat on Friday  caused some road buckling in the area. A portion of Interstate 57 in the northbound lanes near Buckley, did break up. I-Dot officials were called to the area and the road was repaired. A portion on Interstate 55 near Shirley also buckled on Saturday.  Local and State police remind the motoring public to be aware of any road buckling issues and to drive safely.



(Crescent City--jc)  Today is the final day of the Iroquois County Fair, north of Crescent City along route 49. The major event on the schedule today is the livestock sale. The sale starts at 1-30 this afternoon.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois businesses are expressing concerns about a bill on the governor’s desk that prohibits employers from including salary history questions on job applications. According to House Bill 0834, the legislation “prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer.” Mark Grant, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business in Illinois, said it’s going to take some time for small businesses to understand that this is “the law of the land and they're going to have to adhere to it.”


(Chicago--jc)  --An annual survey has revealed information about drunken driving arrests across Illinois.As the state’s largest city, Chicago had the highest number of DUI arrests last year at nearly 1,900. Rita Kreslin, executive director of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, said things have been sliding in the wrong direction. Among all other cities, Rockford tops the list. The northern Illinois city made 552 DUI arrests last year, up nearly 13 percent from 2017.  Closer to home, DUI arrests jumped in Bloomington by just over 30 percent from 20-17



(Springfield--jc)  -- A bill eliminating medical co-pays for prisoners is in the hands of Governor JB Pritxker.  A similar measure died last year when then-Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it, but proponents hope Gov. J.B. Pritzker will sign House Bill 2045, which eliminates prisoner copays for medical care.The bill was sent to the governor June 28.Prisoners in Illinois who want to see a doctor must fill out a request and say, in writing, what is wrong and why they think they need care. Their requests are reviewed by nurses who decide which cases merit a medical visit and which, for example, can be remedied with medication



(Urbana--jc)  It’s Kids Day at the Champaign County Fair today on the grounds along Color (KO-lar) Avenue in Urbana. The open swine show, open sheep show  and open dairy show begins at 8. Gates open to the public at 10 with preschool rides in Kiddie land. Its the Cincinnati Circus Companies Big Show at Noon 5pm and 7pm at the Champaign County Fair today. The carnival opens at 5. WPXN will be broadcasting tomorrow from the fair from 12-30 to 2pm



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State health officials say more data on pregnancy and babies will available to the public. The Illinois Department of Public Health says it is adding maternal and child health data to its public health community map. The feature shows information on the quality and access to healthcare throughout the state, including racial disparities.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois trooper killed in the line of duty has been honored on a memorial wall in the Illinois State Police Memorial Park. The State Journal-Register reports that friends, family members and colleagues of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story gathered Saturday to add the 34-year-old's name. She was killed in March when a semitrailer struck her while she was conducting a traffic stop on the highway near Freeport.


(Rantoul--jc)  The next meeting of the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners is set for Wednesday afternoon at 1pm. The meeting is set for the conference room of the Rantoul Police Department on Grove Avenue.


Jobs Were Up and Unemployment was Down Last Month in Illinois

(Springfield--jc)  --The Illinois Senate could take action on a measure to require Illinois residents to submit fingerprints to get a Firearm Owners Identification card when lawmakers return this October. A Second Amendment advocate is urging police groups to oppose the bill. Senate Bill 1966 passed the House in May. It would increase fees FOID cards while decreasing how long the cards remain valid. It would also require applicants to submit fingerprints to get the card. The card is required to legally have a firearm or ammunition in the state.


 (AP) — A federal judge has castigated an ex-University of Illinois student for showing no remorse for his slaying of a scholar from China and for not apologizing to his victim's family. Judge James Shadid spoke Thursday as he sentenced Brendt Christensen to life in prison hours after jurors couldn't agree on whether the 30-year-old should be put to death for killing 26-year-old Yingying Zhang. Shadid said Christensen's "inexplicable act of violence" was done to "fulfill self-absorbed fantasies."


(Paxton-dg)-The Knapp Miller Funeral Home in Paxton has new owners. Kendall Cox and K’lee McGeary have purchased the funeral home and the new name will be Cox Knapp Funeral Home. Owner Kendall Cox said the time was right to come back home to Paxton.



Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox


(Crescent City--jc)  -- Today at the Iroquois County Fair near Crescent City along Route 49,  it’s the 4-H Beef Show at 8 this morning. The Sheep, Swine and Goats shows also start at 8. The Draft Horse Halter show takes place at 9 with a noon Draft Horse Hitches Show. There is a Talent Show  this afternoon at 5-30. On stage tonight is the Petersen Farm Brothers at 7-30. The WPXN Ice Cream Booth opens over the noon hour today. We will also be broadcasting live at Noon today from the fair. Its Summer Fun Tour Stop 13.


(Springfield--ba) -- Jobs were up and unemployment was down last month in Illinois. The state jobless rate for June came in at four point three percent. That’s down from four point four percent in may. Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro says payrolls increased by more than 11 thousand.



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro.



(Paxton--jc) --  With the excessive heat now through Sunday several area communities are offering cooling centers for those needing a place to keep cool. In Rantoul, the Forum Fitness Center on the village’s west side is available as a cooling center. In Paxton,  the E-M-S building on State street has been designated as a cooling center. 


(Piper City--jc)  He will be remembered as a teacher, coach, mentor and family friend. 76 year old Dale Cupples passed away earlier this week.  Cupples coached various teams for 39 years and he also was a social studies teacher for 43 years. A memorial service is set for Sunday at 2-30 at the Tri Point Junior High Gym in Piper City, which also bears his name.


(Melvin--jc)  -- It’s free movie night tonight in Melvin. The Movie “Dumbo” will be shown at 7 tonight at the Melvin Community Hall. Those attending are asked to bring a blanket to sit upon..


UNDATED (AP) — So far this week, anticipated nationwide immigration raids have not materialized at the expected magnitude. Yet the mere prospect of such raids has provided evidence that legions of pastors, rabbis and their congregations across the United States stand ready to help vulnerable immigrants with offers of sanctuary and other services. Jewish rabbis have organized a network of more than 70 synagogues committed to this cause. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services has launched a similar effort.


(Bellflower-jc)  Dan Basham and Dave Raymer will join the Bellflower Country Opry Band on Saturday. Admission is 10 dollars. The show starts at 7 with a baked spaghetti meal at 5pm



(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA Saturday from 10am until 2pm is Ribeye Steak Sandwiches, chips and pop. The proceeds go to the Loda Lions Club.

(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor. J.B. Pritzker said Thursday that Illinois won’t accept money from the federal government for family planning centers after a federal rule barring tax dollars for centers that promote abortions.Last month, a federal appeals court upheld President Donald Trump's so-called “gag rule.”“The gag rule holds hostage federal funding for contraception for low-income women unless providers refuse to refer or provide abortion services along with other reproductive health care,” Pritzker said in a statement Thursday.



(Washington--ba)-..-  If you need help finding the right USDA farm loan, USDA has a new online tool for you. USDA’s Stephanie Ho has that story.



(Urbana--jc)  Today is the initial day of the Champaign County Fair at the grounds on Colar Street in Urbana. The gates open at 4 this afternoon with the carnival starting at 5. There are stock car races at 6-30 at the track and it’s music from 9 til midnight in the beer pavilion. The Champaign County Fair runs through July 27th.



(Springfield--ba) --  Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs’ office will hold a live auction of unclaimed property during the Illinois state fair in Springfield. The auction will be held on Saturday, august 17th and feature a variety of items says Treasurer Frerichs.



Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs


(Chicago--jc)  --Federal agents searched the home of another longtime associate of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, but it's not clear what they were investigating.Agents searched the Quincy home of former Springfield lobbyist Mike McLain in mid-May.  That’s around the same time agents searched premises connected with two other Madigan associates, political operative Kevin Quinn and former Chicago Ald. Michael Zlaewksi.It’s unclear what federal agents were investigating. The Tribune reported the search warrant indicated investigators were looking for connections to possible criminal acts. 


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- The theme for the annual Cissna Park Old Settlers parade is “Patriotism.” The annual parade steps off at noon on Saturday August 17th. The staging area will be around Knapp Funeral Home and will turn on Route 49 to the village park. The three day event features a talent show, musical entertainment, Swyear Amusements on the midway, beer tent, and plenty of “shade and water.” The event takes place from August 15th through the 17th in Cissna Park. 


(Springfield--jc)  -A state lawmaker who supported doubling the state’s gas tax to pay for infrastructure projects said a new audit could mean some planned projects won't get funded.The audit found that dozens of bridges in Illinois weren’t inspected in a timely manner.The Illinois Auditor General released an audit Thursday of the Illinois Department of Transportation for a two-year period ending June 2018. Among other issues, the audit found that 78 bridges that weren’t inspected on time. Twenty-eight bridges were overdue for routine inspections, some were up to 4 years overdue. Ten were listed as the responsibility of an adjacent state and five were rated structurally deficient, the audit said.



(Gibson City--jc) -- It’s Friday Night Under the Lights in downtown Gibson City tonight.The monthly car cruise takes place from 6pm to 10pm. The event features cruising along Sangamon Avenue. Music with Dan Kerfoot and his musical friends, steak sandwiches sponsored by the Legion Riders, a Queen of Hearts Drawing, anda project presentation from Gibson Area Hospital hilite the event. A blessing of the cars kicks off the cruise at the New Beginnings Christian Church.



Illinois Transportation Officials Warn Drivers to Watch for Road Blowouts During the Intense Heat.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois transportation officials are warning drivers throughout the state to watch for road blowouts during the intense heat. Transportation Secretary Omer Osman says the "potential for pavement failures will increase" this week as the heat index likely tops 100. High temperatures can cause roads to expand and blow out. State crews will be monitoring the conditions and can make repairs as quickly as possible.


(Springfield--ba)  -- As temperatures soar…the Illinois State Fire Marshall’s office is reminding families about pool safety. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages one to four nationwide…and six kids under 15 died from drowning last summer in Illinois. Fire Marshall spokesperson JC Fultz has these safety tips.



Fire Marshall spokesperson JC Fultz


(Crescent City--jc)  -- The newly crowned queen of the Iroquois County Fair is Brianne Miller on Martinton. She was also selected as Miss Congeniality. The first runner up was Taylor Hasselbring of Cissna Park. WPXN’s Becky Puetz will be broadcasting live over the noon hour today from the Iroquois County Fair. The WPXN charity ice cream booth will also be in operation today and through Sunday at the fair.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Ford County E-M-A is hosting a training event on July 27 from  9am to noon . The subject is “HazMat Awareness”; this is an open invitation to anyone working in emergency services to join in  for this event. Those interested may call 217-379-9415.



CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois State Rifle Association is challenging a law requiring more oversight for firearms dealers. The advocacy group said Wednesday that the complaint filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court seeks to keep the law from taking effect. The ISRA alleges it puts "undue burdens" on dealers and the state hasn't outlined how the law must be implemented.



(Springfield--ba)-What do you do if you see a child or pet locked up in a hot car? The Illinois state police offers some guidance. ISP Trooper Mindy Carroll says the first thing you should do is call

9-1-1. Give them your location and description of the vehicle, and then wait at the car until help arrives.



ISP Trooper Mindy Carroll 


(Springfield--jc)  -- A task force of lawmakers could soon come together to address Illinois’ second-highest-in-the-nation property taxes, but one Republican said he's worried the task force will be used to drive support for a proposed progressive income tax.One of the many bills passed in the Spring session was a measure to create a Property Tax Relief Task Force. While Gov. J.B. Pritzker hasn't yet signed the bill, Illinois House Republicans announced its members. Among others, Republican House leadership appointed state Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, to be part of the group.Butler said there are already ideas that can be fine-tuned such as relieving state mandates on local governments that drive up costs for taxpayers.



(Springfield--ba)-What are two of the top priorities of those in the livestock and meat business? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.




(Springfield--ba)  --As state officials prepare rules for Illinois to begin legal sales of adult-use cannabis starting January First, municipalities across the state are taking different approaches when it comes to allowing recreational marijuana sales – some want it, others don't. Consuming cannabis in public will still be illegal in Illinois, but adults will be able to buy it. Just where adults will be able to buy it for recreational use is still up in the air as municipalities evaluate how the new law works for their communities.The law gives local governments the authority to regulate the sale of cannabis through zoning. Municipalities can't ban recreational marijuana use, but officials can dictate where a dispensary can set up shop, if at all.


(Urbana--jc)  With the Brendt Christensen trial in the hands of the jury, another high profile trial will begin in federal court in Urbana in the middle of September. A judge has decided that the trial of 48 year old Michael Hari of Clarence will start on September 17th in Urbana The charges include the attempted bombing of a women’s health care center in Urbana and the bombing of a mosque in Minnesota. Hari’s trial in Minnesota is expected to begin following the case in Illinois. A Status hearing in the case takes place next Tuesday in federal court in Urbana. 



(Paxton--jc)  -- Charges are pending against a Paxton couple arrested on Wednesday concerning a marijuana manufacturing charge. Authorities say 30 year old Angela Moss and 29 year old Cal Rowan were arrested on a manufacturing, delivery and possession charges Wednesday morning. No bond was set and charges are expected later today.



(Chicago--jc)  --Planned Parenthood of Illinois isn’t getting any more federal tax money, but it has received millions of tax dollars from Illinois in the past decade.A federal appeals court last month upheld President Donald Trump's new rule prohibiting federal dollars from going to family planning centers that promote abortion.Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO Jennifer Welch said the organization isn't taking any more federal dollars because of it, but that its “doors remain open.”


(Urbana--jc)   A Rantoul resident was sentenced to 5 years in prison on an unlawful use of weapons by a felon charge. 29 year old Aamarlon Parker of Rnatoul was sentenced on Wednesday in Champaign County court.


(Crescent City--jc)  -- Today at the Iroquois County Fair near Crescent City along Route 49 the Pork Premiere Classes, Swine, Dairy  and Goat contests begin at 8. General projects for 4-H will be judged at 9. Entertainment includes the Rhinestone Girls at 2pm 5pm and 7pm. The annual Demolition Derby is at 7-30 tonight. WPXN’s Becky Puetz will be broadcasting live at the Fair over the noon hour today. The WPXN ice cream booth will be opening this afternoon.


Reverend Jesse Jackson Wants President Trump to Pardon Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

CHICAGO (AP) — The Reverend Jesse Jackson is urging President Donald Trump to pardon former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for his corruption crimes. Jackson and his son, Jesse Jackson Junior., say Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence was "unfair and unnecessary." They say he was a governor who "cared for the people." Blagojevich has served half of his sentence. He asked Trump last year to commute, or shorten, it. The president has talked about releasing the ex-governor but no action has been taken


(Springfield--ba) More than half of the gun dealers in Illinois licensed with the federal government have yet to apply for a state license. The Firearm Dealers Licensing Act takes effect today. The law requires a state license with a host of new regulations on top of a federal license. Small businesses say it’s too burdensome. The ATF said as of June this year there were 2,351 licensed dealers in Illinois. Illinois State Police say only 1,140 have applied for the state license.



(Washington--ba) -- The Labor Department has announced plans to modernize a long-time guest worker agricultural labor program, with reaction to the news from the Agriculture Secretary. USDA’s Rod Bain reports.



(Springfield--ba) -- The outcome of a challenge brought by a coalition of road builders against Cook County could determine how the so-called transportation Lockbox Amendment will be implemented across the state. The amended requires certain taxes to be used for infrastructure. The builders sued Cook County for using revenue from transportation-related taxes for criminal justice projects instead.


(Undated--jc)  -- Now that Chicago’s visiting alligator has been caught, officials remind the public that reptiles do not make good pets. It is illegal to own an alligator in Illinois unless you have a special permit says I-D-N-R Herpetologist Scott Ballard…



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Herpetologist Scott Ballard


(Watseka--jc)  -- An Iroquois County man was sentenced to 9  years in prison on Tuesday in Iroquois County Court. The Times reports that Jerry Pintelton of Watseka was sentenced yesterday for a shooting incident that happened in Watseka in August of 20-15


(Undated--jc)  -- Ameren Illinois presented the Eastern Illinois Foodbank with a 4 thousand dollar grant to help fund three food mobiles that will supply approximately 30 thousand pounds of food to 300-450 households.  Eastern Illinois Foodbank provides food to agencies like food pantries, soup kitchens, snack programs and shelters who serve individuals and families struggling with hunger due to poverty in the local area. 



(Gifford--jc)  -- Gifford Grade school leaders are looking at options to deal with water issues on the school’s parking lot areas.  Superintendent Jay Smith also informed the board on Monday that the annual audit will be completed by the end of July and taxes are starting to trickle in from the county. 



(Rankin--jc)  An ice cream social is set for Rankin this evening  Grace Lutheran Church is the venue for the event from 5pm to 7pm. On the menu is sandwiches, salads, pies, cake and homemade ice cream.  A free will donation will be taken.


(Chicago--jc-- Illinois lost 114,000 people  to other states, or roughly 313 residents per day according to U.S. Census Bureau data.The state’s outmigration crisis is due to primarily working-age residents between the ages of 25 and 54 looking for work elsewhere.From July 2017 to July 2018, Illinois’ population shrank by more than 45,000 people, behind only New York for the worst raw population decline in the nation.Since 2014, when Illinois’ population decline began, the state has lost more than 157,000 people – or the equivalent to losing one of its largest cities. Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposals this year included 19 taxes and fees totaling $6.9 billion, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.



(Springfield--ba) You might want to get some yard work done this morning because  the rest of the week, much of the state will have excessive heat. Temperatures in central Illinois could be up to 96 in some areas with plenty of sunshine. Be sure to stay hydrated and stay out of direct sunlight. 



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Registration is now underway in Rantoul for co-recreational softball. A 250 dollar fee is also due per team and the deadline to enter your team is August 19th. More information is found by contacting the Rantoul Recreation Department at 893-5700. Games begin on August 29th


(Springfield--ba) --The Illinois lottery is celebrating the nation's first-ever lottery week. The lottery has contributed over 20 billion dollars in revenue to the state since 1985. A good chunk of that goes towards education, as well as capital projects and special causes says spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. Local businesses benefit as well.



Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg



DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Fishermen with a net are removing thousands of Asian carp from Lake Decatur dam in central Illinois. The Herald and Review reports that the effort began Monday, days after the state was told that many fish were gathering there. The invasive species will be trucked to a company in Bushnell, which will process them for fish meal and fish oil. Kevin Irons of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says some fish appear to be 20 to 30 pounds. The net is 30 feet deep.



(Cullom--jc)  -- Tri Point school leaders have set their budget hearing for fiscal year 20-20. That hearing is set for Monday August 19th at 6-45pm in the Tri Point Board room. The tentative budget is on public display at the district office.  


(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County leaders continue to look  at options on 2 point 77 million dollars in escrow funds concerning roads in the county and the Kelly Creek Wind Farm. The funds are part of a settlement in a dispute over road repairs made after the wind farm’s construction. More on the topic is expected in August at the Ford County Board meeting.


CHICAGO (AP) — Planned Parenthood of Illinois says it will stop accepting federal funds because of new Trump administration rules barring family planning clinics from referring women for abortions. The administration notified clinics Monday that in the addition the abortions the clinics perform must be financially separate from services supported by the grant dollars. Spokeswoman Julie Lynn said Tuesday that Planned Parenthood of Illinois will not accept federal funds as long as the regulations are in effect.



(Crescent City--jc)  -- What do Grace Alhden of Ashkum,  Taylor Hasselbring of Cissna Park, Abigail Wagner of Milford, Samantha Jensen of Onarga, Brianne Miller of Donovan and Morgan Gash of Hoopeston have in common? They are the 6 ladies vying to become the 20-19 Miss Iroquois County Fair Queen. The pageant is set for tonight at 8pm at the Iroquois County fairgrounds north of Crescent City along Route 49.

The Illinois lottery is Celebrating the Nation's First-Ever Lottery Week

(Springfield--ba)  -- The Center for Illinois Politics says in the period of one year 98 children involved in investigations with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services died.The Chicago-based nonprofit also examined the agencies finances and found the agency will spend about $81,000 per child under its custody, including foster care, institutions and group homes. A DCFS spokesman says the figure is lower because the agency provides other services. The report also shows the revolving door of directors at the agency. It has had 13 different directors since 2011.


(Effingham--jc)  -- The man who started the county gun-owner sanctuary resolution efforts in Effingham County said more than half of the state’s counties have measures in place to oppose onerous gun laws. Effingham County Board Vice Chairman David Campbell said 65 of the state’s 102 counties have passed gun sanctuary resolutions. Campbell said he and others are working to encourage more counties to adopt such resolutions.



(Washington--ba)  -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline to file crop acreage reports for agricultural producers in Illinois impacting  by flooding and heavy moisture. WPXN’s Braedon Arnett has that story.




CHAMPAIGN, Ill.— A Parkland College Adult Education program that trains adult residents to assist their kids and grandkids with school subjects will soon receive funding from a new state family literacy grant and is currently looking for volunteer tutors to boost program offerings. The Project READ "Parent and Family Learning Lab," which launched in February as "Parent Lab," has been awarded a fiscal year 2020 grant by the Illinois State Library's Penny Severns Family Literacy Program. The state program supports initiatives that provide comprehensive literacy instruction and support to families.



(Urbana--ba) -- Urbana’s finest public servants will become dinner servers on Monday, July 29 as Members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge # 70 work at the Longhorn Steakhouse at 2010 N Prospect in Champaign. A portion of the restaurant’s proceeds from the officer’s shift of 5 to 8pm will help fund the FOP’s charitable community events throughout the year.



(Washington--ba)  --New USDA rice forecast shows slightly improved price prospects for U.S. growers. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Loda--ba)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a retro themed annual Golf Outing. The Lakeview Country Club in Loda is the venue for a Flashback to the 80’s golf event,  Proceeds go to the Community Improvement Fund. The outing will be Friday, August 23, with Lunch at 11am provided by the Tin Cup restaurant.


(Springfield--ba) The Illinois lottery is celebrating the nation's first-ever lottery week. The week is in recognition of lotteries across the country and their contributions. In Illinois, the lottery has provided more than 20 billion dollars in revenue to the state since 1985 says Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. Much of that goes to education.



Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. 


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The mother of a former University of Illinois student convicted of killing a Chinese scholar told the jury deciding his fate it would be horrible if he is put to death. Ellen Williams testified Monday that Brendt Christensen's crime is "horrible" and she feels "bad." Williams' testimony is part of the penalty phase of Christensen's trial. The federal jury that found him guilty last month in the 2017 killing of Yingying Zhang now must decide if he should be executed or serve life in prison.



(Springfield--jc)  Crops and producers continue to play catch-up, as we hear in the weekly crop report. 96 percent of soybeans are now in the ground State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says the corn crop is catching up…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

90 percent of winter wheat has been harvested and the 2nd cutting of alfalfa is 39 percent complete.  Topsoil moisture is 1 percent very short, 18 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus



(Champaign County--jc)  -- Champaign County Crimestoppers is seeking your help in solving a crime that occurred on Tuesday July 9th at Aldis in Champaign. Authorities say a man and a woman distracted an elderly customer and then stole her purse. The woman’s credit cards were used for over 1 thousand dollars in purchases in Mahomet. The suspect is described as an older female, black, 5 feet tall and weighing around 175 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477


(Undated--jc)  Have you encountered the new fees from the state yet? WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Rantoul--ba) Loans will be on the minds of Rantoul Village leaders tonight. The Rantoul Village Board of Trustees will meet to discuss a micro loan to Kiefer Photography, approve an EDA Loan to Rantoul United  Pentecostal Church, motion to authorize and approve the purchase of a Portable Trailer Bypass Pump. the meeting comes to order at 6 tonight in the meeting room on Tanner Street.




(Urbana--jc)  The next court appearance for a Clarence man in a domestic hate crime in Illinois is one week from today. 48 year old Michael Hari is accused of an attempted firebombing in Champaign, locally. A separate charge of bombing a mosque in Minnesota is expected to be heard in court in September. Three other defendants in the cases are awaiting sentencing.


(Springfield--ba)  --Governor JB Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul are urging immigrants to know their rights.  Governor Pritzker says Illinois stands as a firewall against the president’s attack on immigrant communities. With that in mind, Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson offers some tips for those confronted.



Illinois Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson 



(Buckley--jc)  -- A sanitary sewer project remains a topic for local leaders in one Southern Iroquois County town. Officials in the village of Buckley are looking at ways to fund a sanitary sewer project in town. Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura says the town council and her office are trying to do what is best for Buckley…



Buckley Mayor Sherry Stachura


(Paxton--jc)  -- It is because of higher operating costs. That is the reason City oF Paxon residents will be spending more for their water and sewer rates. City leaders gave their O-K for the increase this month to be three percent. The increase is one percent more than the fees have seen over the past 10 years.  The additional fees for those in the city is just under 1 dollar per month


(Paxton--jc)  -- With the heat and humidity pushing temperatures into the 90s and the heat indexes into the 110 degree range, the Paxton Emergency Management Agency is reminding local residents that heat related deaths in vehicles are preventable. Also, check on your elderly neighbor with this weeks high heat conditions. 



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois woman checked her mail and learned about a man's travels in Hong Kong. But Kim Draper doesn't know the man — and the postcard is 26 years old.Draper, who lives in Springfield, says the postcard from 1993 appears to have been written by a father to his children. She tells The State Journal-Register that she's been searching online for Leena Kizilbash, who could be living in Massachusetts.


State is Behind Schedule on Gambling Expansion

CHICAGO (AP) — Several thousand protesters have marched through downtown Chicago to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies, including planned sweeps in several American cities, including Chicago. The protesters at Saturday's march belted chants critical of President Donald Trump and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Many carried placards with messages including "No kids in cages" and "Abolish ICE."  A similar protest was held in Champaign, locally.


JOLIET, Ill. (AP) — The Will County Forest Preserve District welcomes patrons to enjoy themselves, but "Don't Be a Jerk." The Forest Preserve's campaign is aimed at littering, unleashed dogs, improper use of its 125 miles of trails. Forest Preserve CEO Ralph Schultz tells the (Joliet) Herald-News that those are the complaints administrators hear the most. Police have issued 41 citations for such offenses so far this year. But complaints indicate they're happening more often.


WASHINGTON (AP) — American Airlines says it will keep the Boeing 737 Max plane off its schedule until Nov. 3, which is two months longer than it had planned. In a statement Sunday, American says the action will result in the cancellation of about 115 flights per day. It says it "remains confident" that the Boeing plane will be recertified this year. But some airline executives are growing doubtful about that timetable.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The new Clara Petersen School in Paxton will be ready for occupants in September.  The new two-story 63 thousand 400 school will have it’s dedication ceremony on Saturday September 28 at 10 that morning. The public will be invited to tour the new building. School starts September 6th for students in the Paxton Buckley Loda School District.


(Champaign--jc)  The first 6 months of 20-19 were wet and cold. The first two weeks of July  are just the opposite with hot and humid conditions. Brian Kerschner with the Illinois Water Survey in Champaign says January through June was a record setter…



Kerschner says the 6 to 10 day outlook will be warmer and more humid...…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner.



(Springfield-jc) --  Elected officials, including two Republican lawmakers, talked with residents Saturday about two controversial efforts, one that would separate Chicago from the rest of the state and another to encourage more counties to pass resolutions declaring themselves gun sanctuary counties.While gun sanctuary resolutions have caught on in some parts of the state, the measure to break Chicago off from the rest of Illinois is unlikely to gain traction in the General Assembly.Residents in Sangamon County heard from two Republican state representatives, the Effingham County Board Chairman and Vice Chairman and two gun-rights activists at a town hall meeting Saturday. They discussed an effort to separate Chicago from Illinois and why county boards across the state are passing gun-owner sanctuary resolutions.


(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West School board members will look to award bids for bread and milk when they meet tonight in monthly session.  Bids for a boiler project are also on the agenda. The Iroquois West School board meets at 7 tonight in the board meeting room in Gilman. 


(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul resident Mark Hall took first place in racing on Saturday evening at the Summer Smash Monster Bash in Evansville, IN! Meanwhile in Bloomsburg, PA, Mat Dishman has taken two second place finishes with one more race tomorrow. Great job team!


(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois' new gambling expansion is barely two weeks old, but the state is already behind schedule.Illinois lawmakers intentionally set the state on a fast track to open casinos in Chicago, Rockford, Waukegan, the south suburbs, Danville, and in southern Illinois.But the state is not keeping up the pace.The state should have named a firm to study a Chicago casino on Friday. That hasn't happened. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said it will, eventually.


(Washington--jc)  --A U.S. Senator wants to send a message to states like Illinois that have accumulated large pension debts: Don’t look to the federal government for a bailoutA newly-filed resolution by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, states that Congress should not be responsible for bailing out fiscally-irresponsible states.  Cotton says the sense of the Senate is that the Federal Government should take no action to redeem, assume, or guarantee any debt, including pension obligations, of a State and if any negotiations are proposed, Congress should be notified before the process begins.



(Springfield--jc)  --A state legislator who represents the Illinois State Fairgrounds said he's worried Governor. J.B. Pritzker's administration is on a slippery slope of state-sponsored censorship after canceling the performance of a band at the DuQuoin State Fair and that a boycott of the event would only hurt the local community. Pritzker's administration canceled a scheduled performance by Confederate Railroad, a country music act from Georgia, administration because the band uses the Confederate flag, which is associated with racism, slavery and treason. State Representative Tim Butler, Republican from Springfield says he is no fan of the Confederate flag, but said the government should not engage in censorship.



(Champaign--jc)  -- Illinois V-F-W Commander and Rantoul resident Brad Gould also helps with the veteran’s assistance in Champaign County.  Gould says he is one who helped the program start…



State of Illinois V-F-W Commander Brad Gould of Rantoul

The Ford County Old Timers held a motorcycle rally and fundraising event on Saturday that helps fund programs for veterans in Ford, Champaign, Vermilion and Iroquois Counties locally



(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County Treasurer, Kurt Albers, announced that the deadline to pay the first installment of real estate taxes without penalty is Tuesday . After that date, 1 and one half percent interest on all property must be added to the first installment each month it remains unpaid, according to the Illinois State Statutes.  There is also a drop box on the south side of the Administrative Center in Watseka near the 911 Center.


(Cullom--jc) Tri Point School leaders will look at approve participation in the K-C-C early start program and set a budget hearing when they meet tonight. A conference workshop update and a look at collective bargaining matters will also be on tonight’s agenda. The Tri-Point school board meets at 7 tonight in Kempton.


(Gibson City--jc)  Its the monthly Gibson City Friday nights under the Lights this Friday. A blessing of the cruising cars and other vehicles will be done at the New Beginnings Church on Sangamon Avenue at 6. The cruise starts soon after and musical entertainment, a queen of hearts contest,  and plenty of food will be available on Friday night in Gibson City.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul School board members were hear some readings on proposed policy issues when they meet tonight in monthly session.  Costs for girls sports uniforms and lunch fees are also on tonight’s agenda. The Rantoul Township High School board meets at 7 tonight at the high school. 


(Paxton--jc)  -- Hundreds of items  were sold on Saturday at an auction in Paxton. Officials with the Paxton Buckley Loda school district held the auction at Eastlawn school in Paxton. Items sold ranged from industrial food equipment to trophies and school desks. The building will be razed as the district opens a brand new addition to its Clara Petersen School in September




Governor J.B. Pritzker Defends His Decision to Remove Country Band Confederate Railroad from the Duquoin State Fair

(Springfield--ba)  -- Legislation on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk would overhaul how Illinois workers who live in other states are taxed with implications for both businesses and employees. The legislation would put Illinois in line with how other states operate and would give businesses leeway that other states have used to go after companies for tax revenue, according to tax experts. About 4.3 million employees, or 3.2 percent of the workforce, work from home at least half the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics.



(Springfield--ba)  -- Governor JB Pritzker is defending the decision to remove the country band, “Confederate Railroad” from the concert lineup at the Duquoin state fair.  Officials pulled the act from the southern Illinois fair over concerns about the group’s name and use of the confederate flag. Some have questioned why rapper Snoop Dogg hasn’t been nixed from state fair in Springfield’s lineup as well, citing his 2017 album “Make America Crip Again” and imagery of dead body with a toe tag reading “Trump.” Governor Pritzker responds:



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Springfield--ba) --The Illinois department of labor is urging employers to have a plan in place to address workplace violence. Workplace violence can include anything from verbal threats to a mass shooter. With that in mind…it’s a good idea for businesses to prepare says Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Administration Director Ben Noven.



 Illinois Occupational Safety and Health Administration Director Ben Noven.



(Iroquois County--jc)  -- The extreme hot and humid temperatures are causing some issues on local and area roadways. Iroquois County Highway Department officials say a portion of Illinois Route 24 near Sheldon buckled due to the extreme weather conditions. I-Dot officials were on the scene, Wednesday afternoon,  to repair the portion of the road.


(McLean County--jc)  -- A McLean County man is due back in court on a charge of attempting to drown a police K-9.  McLean County authorities say officers went to a campsite in rural Shirley to look for a Shirley man wanted on two local felony warrants. Upon investigation, police were attempting to arrest 40 year old Stephen Sholty, and as he fled the alleged incident occurred. Sholty is due back in court on July 16th.


(Penfield--jc)  Everything agriculture  is set for the I and I Grounds in Penfield starting today and running through Sunday. The 20-19 Historic Farm Days features daily farm demonstrations like threshing and corn shucking.  Tractor parades to a open school house also hilite the 4 day event. WPXN will be broadcasting live from noon to 1-30 today as part of our Summer Fun Tour. Its’ stop number 12. 



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Those wanting to view the proposed annual ordinance for the village of Cissna Park have the opportunity now. Cissna Park Village Leaders have placed the appropriations ordinance for public inspection. Local leaders are expected to vote to approve the budget when they meet on July 15th.


(Fisher--ba)--  The trio are reigning. The Fisher Fair Pageant Queens have been crowned and now they are handing out ribbons, announcing in the grandstand and more. . 19 year old Gabriel Shook of Dewey is your Fisher Fair Queen, 12 year old Makenna Hamilton of Ogden is the Junior Miss Fisher Fair, and 6 year old Maddie Wilson of Rantoul is your Little Miss Fisher Fair. The Fisher Community Fair runs through Saturday.


MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. (AP) — A man charged with murder in the death of an Illinois child welfare worker entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to 21 years in prison. Andrew Sucher was accused of attacking Department of Children and Family Services worker Pamala Knight when she tried to take a child into protective custody in September 2017. Under the deal announced Wednesday by public defenders and the Carroll County state's attorney's office, Sucher will serve 100 percent of his sentence.


(Springfield--ba)  --The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is working with the federal government to implement the single largest tax included in the new state budget, an assessment on managed care organizations in Illinois that officials have estimated will bring in hundreds of millions in revenue for the state. However, insurance broker Dave Castillo questioned if the feds would approve a plan he said seems to be using the same tax dollars twice.



(Undated-jc)  -- Illinois’ state budget and those of local towns are more restricted by changes to pension investments than other states because of automatic annual raises for retirees in Illinois.The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found Illinois state and local governments have to pay the same amount to retirees getting 3 percent compounded annual increases regardless of the broader economic conditions.


(Gibson City--jc)  Some business initiatives passed by Illinois leaders are one step closer to bringing jobs to the state and local area.. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett, of Gibson City, says there was support on both sides of the aisle…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



(Fisher--jc)  -- The Mark Chesnutt, Drew Baldridge and Fuedin’ Hillbillies concert is one day away for the Fisher Community Fair. Today is Donkey races day. That event filled with local leaders and celebrities is set for 7 tonight. A Sheep show begins at 8. A farm frenzy starts at 9-30.  Bingo starts at 1 this afternoon and it’s Jim Kates performing in the commercial building at 7.



(Washington--jc)  After several incidents of sports fans getting hurt at sports stadiums, Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is urging major league teams to require more protection for spectators. Durbin wants the leagues to extend protective netting at ballparks to ensure errant balls don’t hit fans  A fan was recently hospitalized after being hit by a foul ball at a game between the Cubs and Astros.


(Champaign--jc)  -- It’s really no surprise, but the first 6 months of 20-19 were the wettest in Illinois history. The collection of weather data dates back to 18-95. The new record is 20-19 says Illinois Water Survey of Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner…



Illinois Water Survey of Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul Village leaders are expected to give their o-k for a loan to a downtown business. Kiefer Photography  owners are asking for a 30 thousand dollar micro-loan to repair damage to their building in downtown. Some of the damage was caused by falling bricks. Work on a nearby business at, A House of Flowers by Paula, had recently been completed. The new request could be granted at the July meeting of the Rantoul Village Board next week.



(Bayles Lake--jc)  -- You are asked to attend, but also bring your lawn chairs for music on Sunday night at Bayles Lake. The music in the park takes place at 6 on Sunday evening. Prairie City will perform. Members of the United Methodist Church will be collecting a free will donation to benefit needy Children in Illinois during the concert at Robinson Pavilion.



(Fisher--jc)  Its Donkey races tonight at the Fisher Community Fair. Fair President Todd Cotter says its family entertainment and the donkeys are the stars…



Fisher Community Fair President Todd Cotter.


A Marijuana Dispensary Could Be coming to East Central Illinois

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said Tuesday that his office does not share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any other law enforcement agency on the issue of a person’s legal status in the United States. White made his comment in response to published stories saying that ICE and the Federal Bureau of Investigation use photos from Drivers License offices nationwide as a means to identify undocumented persons. Illinois was not mentioned as one of the participating states. 


(Paxton--jc)  -- The items will be up for auction on Saturday. The items in question are inside the Eastlawn School Building in Paxton. Officials from P-B-L set the date for auctioning off items for 9 a m Saturday. Local auctioneer Brad Strebeck will take the bids for everything from food equipment, theatre seats, old trophies, band equipment to antique doors. A complete list of items is found on line at  strebeck-auctions-dot-com.


(Springfield--ba) --  From increasing the state's gas tax and minimum wage to carving out tax credits for some businesses, associations representing different sectors of Illinois' economy have different takes on how new measures passed during the last legislative session will affect businesses. A report the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association released showed the impact in various counties in central Illinois. In Macon County, manufacturing makes up 40 percent of the county’s gross domestic product. In Champaign County, it is 6.8 percent of the county’s GDP. Sangamon County’s manufacturing sector makes up nearly 3 percent of the county GDP, while in McLean County about 2 percent of the county’s GDP comes from manufacturing.




(Paxton--jc)  Summer in Illinois is hot and humid. The Paxton Park District has set up some free swim times courtesy of local organizations and businesses. The first is Thursday from 1pm to 5pm with the thanks going to the First Lutheran Church of Paxton.This weekend on Saturday from 1pm to 4pm and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm its a free swim for the public courtesy of the Pueblo Lindo Restaurant.



(Fisher--jc)  -- The first day of the 20-19 Fisher Community Fair is complete. Day 4 on Friday is national concert day. Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter says bringing in  Mark Chesnutt, Drew Baldridge along with the Fuedin’ Hillbillies has seen excitement from the Fisher community and area…



Fisher Community Fair President Todd Cotter



(Springfield--ba)  -- The state board of education is reminding that free and reduced meals are available not just at school…but also at participating daycares and after school programs. The child and adult care food program is federally funded…reimbursing daycare centers and programs says Illinois State Board of Educations Spokesperson Tim Murphy...



 I-S-B-E Spokesperson Tim Murphy.



(Paxton--ba)  -- An update on the Clara Petersen School project is expected tonight in the monthly meeting of the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School board.  Summer is also renovation time at the high school in Paxton.



(Watseka--jc)  -- The Watseka Unit 9 School District has a new interim Superintendent. He is Gary Miller. The local school board made the interim pick on Tuesday afternoon as they continue to look for a permanent replacement for the districts superintendent position


(Champaign--jc)  -- One person was injured in a rollover accident Tuesday near the Interstate 57-to-Interstate 72 interchange. Police say 21 year old Daimika Curry lost control of his vehicle Tuesday afternoon around 1-30. He was taken to a local hospital. Curry was wearing a seat belt. He received citations for having no insurance and driving with a suspended license



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois State Museum Society is offering day trips for people to explore the state's history and culture this summer by coach bus. The first trip is scheduled for Aug. 10 and will feature a visit to the Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery and a 90-minute walking tour of the Old Joliet Prison. The second trip is Sept. 14 and will focus on African American history.


CHICAGO (AP) — A transgender woman who had battled the Illinois Department of Corrections over alleged abuse while she was incarcerated has been released from prison. Deon "Strawberry" Hampton of Chicago was released Monday from Logan Correctional Center outside Lincoln. Prisoner Review Board spokesman Jason Sweat says the Corrections Department recommended restoration of good conduct credit to the 28-year-old Hampton and the board approved. He says that made Hampton eligible for release.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The mother of a Chinese scholar who was kidnapped and killed by a former University of Illinois doctoral student has told a jury about the loss she feels. Lifeng Ye's video testimony was played Tuesday for the jury that last month convicted Brendt Christensen in Yingying Zhang's 2017 death. The same jurors will decide if Christensen should be given the death penalty. Lifeng Ye spoke through tears of never seeing her daughter wear a wedding dress or have children of her own.


(Champaign--jc)  -- July is here and the temperatures are hot. Brian Kerschner is with the Illinois Water Survey in Champaign says July weather means hot and humid conditions…



Illinois Water Survey-Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner



(Vermilion County--jc)  Could a marijuana dispensary be coming to East Central Illinois.  A public hearing on the issue has been set for next month. The date is Tuesday August 13th at 6-30 that evening. The hearing takes place at the Lion’s Club Building in Rankin. Recreational marijuana becomes legal on January First. 


(Fisher--jc)  -- It is day 2 at the Fisher Community Fair today. It is Childrens day. Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter says fishing for prizes to Plinko are games this morning…



Fisher Fair President Todd Cotter. 


(Kankakee--jc)  -- Interstate 57 continues to be closed overnights between mile marker 315 and 318 due to a bridge removal project. Both northbound  and southbound traffic, during the overnight hours, are being re-routed. The road closures are expected to continue through the end of this week. 



There are some similarities between corn and soybean crop development. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Paxton--ba)  -- One local church is selling a breakfast to support an upcoming mission. A group from The American Lutheran Church in Rantoul  is selling breakfast burritos to support a trip to Tanzania. The suggested donation for a bag of 5 burritos is $10, More information about the fundraiser is found by contacting the church office.




(Mahomet--jc)  Traffic was backed up for several hours along Interstate 74 between Mahomet and Champaign on Tuesday afternoon. Authorities say a rollover accident was the cause. Three people were taken to Champaign hospitals with injuries sustained in the crash. Traffic was slowed for several hours.


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Wanted...your talent. A talent show is set for Thursday August 15th in Cissna Park at the annual Old Settlers Celebration. The show will be on the stage in the park, beginning at 7-30 pm.  More information is found by contacting Lynn Hasselbring at Lynn-Hasselbring-at-C-P-Schools-dot org.



Don't Leave Your Kids or Pets in a Hot Car

(Undated--jc)  --As the summer moves into its hottest days, there is a push to nationalize the effort to prevent parents from leaving kids in hot cars.Leaving a child unattended in a car in Illinois under certain circumstances is a misdemeanor for the first offense. It can be a felony for subsequent offenses.Nearly 20 other states have similar laws of their own. But there is a push to take the issue to Congress.


NAPERVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A survivor of a northern Illinois private plane crash that left one dead says her husband, who piloted the plane, is a hero because of his efforts to prevent the tragedy. Investigators say 70-year-old Raymond Jakubiak of Naperville was flying his 1981 Beech A36 single-engine aircraft from Nashville to the Chicago area when it began experiencing engine problems Friday. The plane caught fire after Jakubiak made an emergency landing in a wheat field near Chebanse in northern Iroquois County.



PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A prosecutor is telling a federal jury that convicted of a former University of Illinois doctoral student convicted last month in the kidnapping and killing a Chinese scholar deserves the death penalty because the crime was "cold, calculated, cruel and months in the making."



(Springfield--ba) -- A house committee is discussing the removal of more than 200 books from a downstate state prison library. The books were taken out of the Danville correctional center’s education justice project collection…used by inmates taking college courses. The program director…Rebecca Ginsburg with the university of Illinois says the books are a vital part of the curriculum.



Rebecca Ginsburg with the university of Illinois 


(Undated--jc)  -- A fundraiser for veterans is set for Saturday.  The 7th annual Summer Fun Run is sponsored by the Ford County Old-Timers begins at the Urbana V-F-W. The motorcycles will go to Danville, Hoopeston and end in Paxton Saturday afternoon. Anyone wanting to participate have several options says event Spokesperson Tabitha Renfro…



7th Annual Summer Fun Run Spokesperson Tabitha Renfro


(Springfield--jc)  Under a new program in Illinois, the state will be providing financial assistance to independent pharmacies serving Medicaid customers in small communities. The Critical Access Care Pharmacy Program is funded with legislative authority and the first payments have been submitted to the Comptroller's Office for distribution, with payment amounts based on the Medicaid prescriptions that pharmacies fill according to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Executive Director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association Garth Reynolds says the funding does not solve the entire reimbursement problem, but it does provide some financial assistance to pharmacies in the most needed areas in the state.


(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County leaders are set to  support the activity to work towards and with the city of Watseka to establish the Iroquois County River Conservancy District b.  The issue is one this morning at the county board meeting in Watseka. A motion to remove specific wording from the Resolution Opposing the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act is another topic. The Iroquois COunty board meets at 9 this morning in the administrative building in Watseka.



(Gibson City--jc) -- Money for new roads will go to new road projects. That is the way the new law reads for the 45 Billion Dollar Infrastructure program. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says that was an important component for supporting the program…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


 (Undated--jc)  --While Illinois drivers pay more for gas after lawmakers doubled the state's gas tax and increased vehicle fees to pay for a $45 billion infrastructure plan, federal lawmakers have yet to reach a consensus on how to move forward with a national infrastructure funding plan. The state plan doubled the state’s gas tax and increased vehicle registration and other fees to pay for the $45 billion, six-year state infrastructure plan called “Rebuild Illinois.”Illinois electric vehicle drivers will pay $248 annually for vehicle registration. That's up from $17.50 a year.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The HUD Action plan and an improvement project for around 340 thousand dollars at the local waste water plant are on the agenda for Rantoul Village leaders when they meet tonight. The monthly study session will also feature a micro loan request  from Kiefer Photography. A tobacco ordinance is another topic for local leaders. The Rantoul Village Board study session comes to order at 6 in the municipal building on Tanner Street


(Springfield--jc)  -- 38 percent of soybeans are rated in good to excellent condition as we hear in the weekly crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says the corn crop is growing fast…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

Average statewide topsoil moisture is 6 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 28 percent surplus


(Buckley-jc)  You can add the village of Buckley to the list of towns that have aging sewer type system issues. Village leaders are looking at options as the village looks to the future to possibly do a major project, says Buckley Village Mayor Sherry Stachura…



Buckley Village Mayor Sherry Stachura


(Champaign--jc)  -- Parkland College is launching a new program on campus this fall that trains students for entry-level work as I-T help-desk technicians, an initiative supported by Google. Completing the six-credit-hour Google I-T Support Professional course  certifies students to provide entry-level support in just one semester at Parkland College and help fill a growing need. According to Google, Google Help Desk technicians are in-demand with many national corporations, from G-E and Intel to Smucker's and Walmart. The national median wage for I-T support specialists is $52,000, and about 150,000 unfilled  support jobs need to be filled across the U.S. No experience with computers is needed beforehand to start the program. For more information, please contact Cyndia Hinton, program manager 217-351-2414



(Springfield--ba) --Illinois will become less reliant on coal-fired power plants by the end of the year. Under an arrangement with the state, Vistra Energy soon will shut down 40 percent of its eight-facility fleet in central and southern Illinois. Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association, said that could cause problems with energy reliability. He said coal can compete with alternative energy if the alternatives were highly subsidized.



(Paxton--jc)  There could be an increase to your water bills  after tonight’s Paxton City Council meeting. Local leaders are set to discuss a one percent increase in the water and sewer rates in Paxton.  A solar ordinance is also a topic for council members this evening. The Council is expected to give their o-k for volunteers with the Paxton Nursery school to ask for donations on downtown street corners on August 23 and August 24. The Paxton City council meeting comes to order at 7pm on the second floor of city hall



(Rantoul--jc)  -- A long time and respected member of the Rantoul Township High School board is stepping down. The Press reports that local businessman Doug Jordahl is stepping down after serving the local school district for just over 22 years. The board is looking to fill the vacancy as soon as possible.



(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City has a new police officer. He  is Hunter Johnson. Johnson was sworn in last night during the city council meeting.







6 ladies Will be Running for Iroquois County Fair Queen

CHICAGO (AP) — Eight buildings designed by famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. They include the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles and the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois. The Wright buildings mark the 24th site on the list. Currently, there are 1092 designated World Heritage sites in 167 countries.


QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — Officials say four airlines have submitted proposals to offer passenger service at Quincy Regional Airport. The (Quincy) Herald-Whig reports Boutique Air, Air Choice One, Cape Air and SkyWest Airlines have filed paperwork with the U.S. Department of Transportation to offer flights. They have applied to be part of the Essential Air Service program, which gives subsidies to airlines offering passenger service to rural airports. SkyWest currently has a contract.


(Crescent City--jc)  -- What do Grace Alhden of Ashkum,  Taylor Hasselbring of Cissna Park, Abigail Wagner of Milford, Samantha Jensen of Onarga, Brianne Miller of Donovan and Morgan Gash of Hoopeston have in common? They are the 6 ladies vying to become the 20-19 Miss Iroquois County Fair Queen. The pageant is set for Wednesday July 17th at 7pm at the Iroquois County fairgrounds north of Crescent City along Route 49.


(Springfield--ba)  -- The 4th of July Holiday is complete, but Governor JB Pritzker is asking the public not to text and drive. Governor Pritzker says distracted driving kills more people than drunk driving in Illinois…and is a big concern.



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker 



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Officials say the deadline for entries to participate in the parade that opens the Illinois State Fair is approaching. Entries for Twilight Parade participants are due Monday. The parade committee will choose about 60 entries based on the applications. The theme this year is "Building our Future."


CHEBANSE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a Tennessee woman died and two suburban Chicago residents were injured after a small plane made an emergency landing in an Illinois field. Iroquois County Sheriff's Police said Saturday Raymond Jakubiak of Naperville was flying a Beech A36 single-engine aircraft from Nashville to the Chicago area Friday afternoon when he began to experience engine trouble.. Jakubiak attempted to land in a wheat field near Chebanse , where the plane was damaged and caught fire. Jakubiak and passenger Dorothy Stockard of Hermitage, Tennessee, were taken to Loyola University Medical Center near Chicago, where Stockard died. Passenger Wrenne Jakubiak of Naperville was treated for injuries and released.National Transportation Safety Board investigators are looking into the cause of the accident.



(Springfield--ba)  --A state senator plans to continue a push for more regulations for vaping products and e-cigarettes in Illinois over opposition from the industry. Illinois recently raised the purchase age of vaping products from 18 to 21, as part of the Tobacco 21 law that took effect this month. Lawmakers also increased the taxes on vaping products. State Sen. Terry Link, D-Vernon Hills, said he plans to seek further regulations, including a ban on flavored vaping products.


(Loda--jc)  A Team Walk is set for Lakeview Country Club in Loda in September. Money raised will go to find a cure and raise awareness of Huntington’s Disease. The walk on the course and a scramble golf tournament are the events for the day.  The walk steps off at 8am Saturday September 7th. The golf tournament tees off at 11am. Those wanting to participate in the walk may contact Samantha Cox at 217-249-1421. The walk donation is 25 dollars.



(Washington--jc)  --- The Environmental Protection Agency  released the proposed Renewable Volume Obligation rule for 2020.  National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp says that once again E-P-A has failed to account for lost volumes due to refinery exemptions and uphold the President’s commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard . Chrisp adds his frustration is that the E-P-A did not account for potential waived gallons going forward in the proposed rule. The position of the National Corn Growers Association is that farmers are facing a very tough economic environment and the continued waiver abuse chips away at farmers bottom line. Since early 2018, the EPA has granted 53 RFS exemptions totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. There are currently 38 pending petitions for 2018.



(Champaign--jc)  -- The weather stats are in for the month of June.  Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner says wet and cool…



Illinois Water Survey-Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner


(Roberts--jc)  -- The process to repaint the water tower in the Village of Roberts has begun. Roberts Village leaders are working with the Farnsworth Group from Champaign for the bidding process.  Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner says the project is expected to cost around 115 thousand dollars. Village plans are to borrow the money and have the project completed by Spring of 20-20.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A plant pathogen that causes an invasive tree-killing disease has been found in Illinois.The Illinois Department of Agriculture says the pathogen that causes sudden oak death has been confirmed in ornamental plants at 10 Walmart stores and one Hy-Vee.The issue first emerged with rhododendrons at an Indiana Walmart in late May.Agriculture officials traced the pathogen to plans from nurseries in Washington and Canada sold through an Oklahoma store. Officials received shipping records and found that 18 states overall received the plants. The stores have issued recalls of the infected plants.So far, no oak trees in Illinois have been infected with the incurable disease.Experts say sudden oak death poses no threat to humans, animals or food sources.


(Undated--jc)  -- Illinois will become less reliant on coal-fired power plants by the end of the year.Under an arrangement with the state, Vistra Energy soon will shut down 40 percent of its eight-facility fleet in central and southern Illinois.Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association, said that could cause problems. The news comes as state lawmakers continue to debate the future of the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The legislation sets a goal of making Illinois’ power grid free of carbon-based fuels by 2030, and would put the entire state on a path to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. As of 2018, renewable energy resources accounted for slightly more than 7 percent of net electricity generated in Illinois.




(Springfield--jc) One of the components of the new budget for the state of Illinois is some major projects at area and state colleges and universities Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says they are designed to help Illinois to become a leader in higher education…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Paxton--jc)  -- When city of Paxton leaders meet in monthly session tomorrow night, they are expected to discuss and approve the local Teamster contract. Another agenda item is approving the Annual Appropriation Ordinance. They City of Paxton Council meeting comes to order at 7pm Tuesday on the second floor of city hall.



(Sibley--jc)  The annual Sibley Burr Oak Tractor Drive took place on Sunday with a route from the Sibley area to Fairbury. The local event raises money for the Ford County Relay for Life but has also will continue to honor veterans says event spokesperson Russ Tjarks…



Sibley Burr Oaks Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks.


(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City council members are set to look at a facade grant for a downtown business when they meet tonight. The grant application is from the  Bayern Stube located at 209 North Sangamon Avenue in the city. Gibson City leaders will also look a special license for the Sand Trap for the annual Harvest Fest Event. Other agenda items include bids for a backhoe and wheel loader and to purchase some picnic tables for local parks. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 tonight.



(Fisher--jc)  The numbers are 3, 10 and 17. Three young ladies are vying to become the Fisher Community Fair Queen tomorrow night.. There are 10 candidates for Junior Miss Fisher Fair and 17 candidates for Little Miss Fisher Fair. The pageant starts at 6-30 on Tuesday night. Tuesday is the first day of the 5 day event.   The annual Fisher Fair features a tractor pull, donkey races and a demo derby. County Music Singer Mark Chesnutt performs on Friday night at the fair. WPXN will be broadcast live on Wednesday morning at 9. It’s Summer Fun Tour stop 11.


4th of July Activities Continue in Area Communities This Weekend

(Champaign--jc)  -- Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says higher education in Illinois will receive a much-needed pick-me-up under his new “Rebuild Illinois” program. The program includes money for a new quantum physics facility at the University of Illinois to a parking lot at Morton College says the governor…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. The Governor says making these investments in higher education will keep more students in Illinois for College


 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Cook County judge has ruled that Illinois lawmakers violated the state constitution by freezing their salaries from 2009 to 2017. Associated Circuit Judge Franklin Valderrama's ruling this week indicated that the prohibition on altering a legislator's compensation during a term of office includes freezing it. State Comptroller Susana Mendoza argued that the ban doesn't apply to pay reductions. She says it is meant to keep office-holders from enriching themselves.


CHICAGO (AP) — A Beluga whale has given birth to a calf at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. The 38-year-old beluga whale, Mauyak, delivered on Wednesday evening. Shedd officials say the mother and calf are doing well and will remain under 24-hour observation by the aquarium's animal care team. They are currently not viewable by the public.


Springfield--jc)  -- The 4th of July Holiday weekend continues and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is urging the motoring public, not to drink and drive. Secretary White says between friends, ride sharing services and public transportation, there is no excuse to drive under the influence…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White


(Undated--jc)  Holiday activities continue in several area towns today in Allerton Park, Clinton Tuscola and Onarga.  In Rankin, the Fourth of July celebration will be held today and tomorrow at Centennial Park on the village’s southwest side. WPXN will be broadcast live at the celebration to help kick off the Truck and Tractor pull this afternoon. Summer Fun tour stop number 10 runs from 4 to 6pm. A full day of activities are set for Saturday  with waterball fights, a cake walk, children’s games, to a watermelon seed spitting contest and pig calling contest. There is a DJ and fireworks on Saturday night.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State officials are urging boaters to stay safe as the holiday weekend begins. Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director of Law Enforcement Jerry Costello says there'll be increased traffic on lakes and rivers and recent fatalities are a "stark reminder on the importance of boating safety." State officials say all boat operators should check to make sure there are enough personal flotation devices on board.



(Rantoul--jc)  Rantoul resident and current Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars State Commander Brad Gould was the grand marshal of the Rantoul Freedom Celebration parade on Thursday. Gould talks about his path in the V-F-W to becoming the commander in June…



Rantoul resident and V-F-W State Commander Brad Gould


(Paxton--jc)  Saturday’s fundraiser cookout at the Paxton IGA parking lot will feature ribeye sandwiches, chips and soda. The proceeds will benefit a local toy drive organized by local realtor Kaye Harper. The cookout runs from 10am to 2pm.


(Chicago--jc)  -- A former lawmaker who voted at least once to cut his own pay while in office and later sued  to get that money back can proceed with his case, a Cook County judge ruled. Illinois’ comptroller said it’s an example of why taxpayers don’t trust politicians. Former state Senators. Michael Noland of Elgin and James Clayborne of East St. Louis, both Democrats, filed an amended complaint in 2018 seeking acts passed by previous legislators that froze lawmaker pay and required furloughs and compensation forfeiture in certain years during their terms to be declared unconstitutional 


(Gibson City--jc)  Firefighters in Gibson City were called to a home fire on North Wood Street on Thursday evening. No word on damage estimates or cause of the fire were provided. WPXN news will update this story as more information becomes available.


(Springfield--jc)  The 4th of July weekend is upon us. Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says 2 out of 4 traffic fatalities over the 4th of July holiday involve alcohol…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.


(Buckley--jc) Officials and residents in the village of Buckley have dedicated the refurbished windmill at Buckley Lake. The ceremony was held on Thursday morning following the village parade. Buckley Mayor Sheree Stachura says several groups and individuals helped with the project…



Village of Buckley Mayor Sheree Stachura



(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois homeowners have missed $269 billion in home equity growth in the last ten years due to the state’s lower than average home appreciation, according to an analysis of one of the largest pools of home sales data in the world. An analysis by economic watchdog website Wirepoints of home sales data provided by Zillow found that Illinois homeowners would have seen $269 billion in home value growth had home appreciation in Illinois kept pace with the national average since 2009.Zillow’s data showed the total value of all homes in the United States in 2009 was $24.2 trillion. It increased to $32.4 trillion as of May 2019, an increase of more than 33 percent.


(Sibley--jc)  The annual Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive is set for Sunday. The event raises money for the Ford County Relay for Life. Those participating will be driving tractors along a route and will also honor veterans.  Organizer Russ Tjarks says a route to Fairbury is planned this year…



Sibley Burr Oaks Area Tractor Drive Spokesperson Russ Tjarks

A raffle for a pedal tractor will also be held.


(Paxton--jc)  Paxton Chamber officials announced the winners of the Little Miss and Little Mister Contest at the Old Fashioned 4th of July event at Pells Park. The Little Miss is Tinley Eichelberger   and the Little Mister is Beau Glazik of Paxton.

The winners of the WPXN Watermelon eating contest, 

Youth Division Kindergarten through 3rd grade… 6 year old Brenda Blangin of Paxton

Junior High Division 4th Grade through 8th grade...13 year old John Dietricks of Paxton

Adult Division 17 year old Liam McMillan of Paxton


Several Area Communities Start 4th of July Festivities This Afternoon

(Odgen--jc)  -- Westbound lanes of traffic were closed down for about 5 hours early this morning along a portion of Interstate 74 in Champaign County. The closure was in the westbound lanes from Odgen to St Joseph.  Road repairs were completed during that time.



LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Testing in three southwestern Michigan waterways has turned up no trace of Asian carp that have damaged the environment and economy in other parts of the U.S. The state Department of Natural Resources says 336 water samples have been taken this year from the Kalamazoo River and Ottawa County's Spring Lake and Lake Macatawa. They were analyzed for Asian carp DNA. None tested positive.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois man has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the 2017 beating death of his two-month-old son. Eric Cutler pleaded guilty in May to first-degree murder in the death of Millieon Cutler, who died of blunt-force trauma to his head and body. Authorities say the boy suffered skull, rib and pelvic fractures from the March 2017 beating. The 24-year-old Cutler must serve 100 percent of the sentence handed him by Sangamon County Circuit Judge Adam Giganti.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The state of Illinois is going to look at how schools in the state are handling and welcoming transgender students. Illinois' new transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students task force will spend the next six months looking at everything from dress codes to bathrooms to pronouns in Illinois schools. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an order that creates the task force.



(Springfield--ba) -- Corn planting is still not complete as we hear in the weekly crop report. 95 of corn has been planted…compared to 100 percent normally says Illinois State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener...



Illinois State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Freedom Celebration starts this afternoon at 4 on the grounds near the Hap Parker Aquatic Center. The event kicks off with the Sundowners Anything on Wheels Car Show. The aquatic center will have a free swim from 4pm to 9pm. Music, kids games and volleyball also hilite the event on Wednesday. Rantoul based Hall Brothers will also offer monster truck rides. Fireworks take place at dusk. WPXN will be broadcasting live at 4pm this afternoon. It’s Summer Fun Tour Stop number 7.



(Washington--ba)  Prevented planting claims could hit record levels. USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.



(Buckley--jc)  Do you want an roll-top desk? The village of Buckley has one.  Village leaders are asking for bids on the desk. Anyone interested is asked to call the village hall and bids will be opened at the August meeting of the Buckley Village Board.


SPRINGFIELD – More than 117 million visitors traveled to Illinois in 2018, setting a new record number of visitors for the state. Visitors to the state spent $41.7 billion, boosting Illinois’ economy by $2 billion over the previous year, according to data provided by the U.S. Travel Association. This record growth resulted in a 5.1 percent increase in visitor spending over 2017— higher than the national visitor growth rate of 4.9 percent. State and local tax revenue generated from visitor spending jumped 7.1 percent to $3.3 billion, creating an additional $220.8 million for the state and local communities.



(Chicago--jc)  --The head of a free-market think tank in Illinois and a New York-based hedge fund claim  Illinois officials went afoul of the state constitution when they issued debt, according to a lawsuit seeking to invalidate $14.3 billion in state bonds. The petition brought by Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman, in his capacity as a taxpayer, and Warlander Asset Management, a fund that owns $25 million in Illinois bonds bought in multiple offerings, aims to enjoin the state from paying the more than $14 billion in debt service left on two bond offerings. Tillman also is the chairman of the board of the Franklin News Foundation, which publishes The Center Square. The petition, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court this week, claims Illinois’ Constitution requires bonds go to a specific purpose, roads for instance, instead of financing deficits as they allege the state did in 2003 and 2017.



(Springfield--ba) --Corn planting is still not complete as we hear in the weekly crop report. Rain has continually delayed work in the fields…leaving farmers behind schedule. 95 percent of corn has now been planted…and 89 percent emerged. 42 of corn is rated in good to excellent condition, a slight decline. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 87 percent of soybeans have been planted.



State  Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener


(Gibson City--jc)  -- The Cornbelt Shriners along with Gibson Area Hospital are hosting a street dance in downtown Gibson City on Saturday. The first band starts at 5-30. 90s Daughter will take the stage at 8. There is a 5 dollar cover and the money raised goes to Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Live-Like-Jay Scholarship fund. Food will also be available during the fundraiser.


(Springfield--jc)  --Providing tax relief for some property owners is driving up costs for others, especially in two northern Illinois cities, according to a new report.A report by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy and Minnesota Center for Fiscal Excellence found that businesses in Chicago paid the third-highest tax rates in the nation on commercial property in 2018 largely because of tax breaks for homeowners shifted the burden to business properties.“The city has a fairly classified property tax system that imposes a higher effective property tax rate on office buildings and other types of commercial properties,” said Adam Langley, associate director of tax policy and data initiatives at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


(Urbana--jc)  --Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a Champaign child who has died as a result of an injury sustained in an incident in which a pellet rifle discharged along  Rosewood Drive on June First. One year old Loryn. Brown,of Champaign was pronounced dead Monday afternoon at the Carle Foundation Hospital Emergency Department in Urbana. Preliminary results from the autopsy performed Tuesday indicate Ms. Brown died as a result of a rifle pellet wound to the chest. An inquest may be held at a later date. The investigation into this incident is ongoing by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Champaign Police Department. 


(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Old-Fashioned 4th of July celebration begins later today in the Pells Park Pavilion.  The event at 6 tonight is the Little Mister and Little Miss Contest. The two event continues tomorrow at Pells Park with a worship service, food, the band Back Paiges, a watermelon eating contest and fireworks at dusk.



(Sibley--jc)  -- Sibley’s Sparkling Shuffle 5-K is this evening. Registration is at 7-30pm at the Sibley Pavilion and the running begins at 9pm. The course is lighted and also has actors, lighted houses, Uncle Sam and music.


Flags to be Flown at Half Staff over the Weekend in Honor and Rembrance of Fulton County Sheriff Deputy Troy Chisum

(Springfield--ba)  --Buying things in the capital city just got more expensive. Monday marked the beginning of an additional one percent added onto sales taxes in Sangamon County. Springfield schools will get an estimated $10 million in new revenue for facilities. Additional revenue raised will be used for school facilities throughout the county. Voters approved the increase last November. That would bring the sales tax for Springfield’s South Central Business District, where Legacy Point is, to 10 percent.



(Washington--ba) U-S-D-A had some surprises for the corn markets in its acreage and stocks reports. USDA’s Gary Crawford has that story.





(Springfield--ba) Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office ordered flags in Illinois to be flown at half-staff over the weekend in honor and remembrance of Deputy Troy Chisum of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department from sunrise Saturday until sunset Monday. Chisum was killed in an armed standoff last week in Avon, Illinois.


(Springfield--ba) --Illinois is sending an additional $375 million in state funds to public schools as part of an overhaul of the state funding formula. Some have said school districts should invest some of that into shoring up security measures, but one regional official said schools have to be safe without resembling a prison. A number of school officials from across the state gathered in Wrigleyville last week to hear Nicholas Demchenko, vice president of Chicago-based EncompassAV and his associates pitch cloud-based security cameras from startup Verkada for their schools.



(Gibson City--jc)  - Its time for visiting the area as lawmakers have completed their task of getting a new budget. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says during the entire month of June he has been busy talking with constituents in the area…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Freedom Celebration starts on Wednesday at 4 on the grounds near the Hap Parker Aquatic Center. The event kicks off with the Sundowners Anything on Wheels Car Show. The aquatic center will have a free swim from 4pm to 9pm. Music, kids games and volleyball also hilite the event on Wednesday. Rantoul based Hall Brothers will also offer monster truck rides. Fireworks take place at dusk.



(Springfield-ba)-Illinois congressmen from both parties are looking to bring back a flying mission to the 183rd Wing of the Air National Guard in Springfield. Republican U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis, Mike Bost and Darin LaHood, along with Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth signed a letter looking for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to make that happen.


ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — Power has been restored to more than 139,000 utility customers following a severe thunderstorm that moved across northeastern Illinois.

ComEd says about 9,800 of its customers remained without service Monday afternoon. The utility says the Sunday storm included wind gusts up to 74 mph, lightning and heavy rain.Communities impacted by the storm included Rockford and Momence. Closer to home, a tornado touched down near Gilman in Iroquois County. Hail, heavy rain also caused some damage throughout the area over the weekend. Also, a plane was flipped at the Rantoul Village Airport



(Springfield-jc)  --The head of a free-market think tank in Illinois and a New York-based hedge fund claim Illinois officials went afoul of the state constitution when they issued debt, according to a lawsuit seeking to invalidate $14.3 billion in state bonds.The petition brought by Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman, in his capacity as a taxpayer, and Warlander Asset Management, a fund that owns $25 million in Illinois bonds bought in multiple offerings, aims to enjoin the state from paying the more than $14 billion in debt service left on two bond offerings. Tillman also is the chairman of the board of the Franklin News Foundation, which publishes The Center Square.The petition, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court on Monday, claims Illinois’ Constitution requires bonds go to a specific purpose, roads for instance, instead of financing deficits as they allege the state did in 2003 and 2017.


(Loda--jc)  -- The annual Loda Good Old Days are set from Friday July 26 and running through Sunday July 28th. A Family night in the Pavilion start the 3 day festival. A 10am Saturday parade, Childrens Games,  a mud volleyball tournament, talent show with open-mic night  and fireworks hilite Saturday.  On Sunday its the annual Loda Good Ole Days Truck and Tractor Pull at noon.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- In anticipation of the heat index reaching near 100 degrees this week, the Village of Rantoul has opened a cooling shelter at the Forum, located at 200 West Flessner Avenue. The Forum is open from 5am to 9pm, and anyone needing a place to keep cool is welcome to go to that building where accommodations will be made. If you need a cooling shelter outside of those hours, please call Rantoul Police and the shelter will be opened.


Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul led a multistate group of 16 attorneys general in urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to rescind its proposal that would prevent transgender and gender nonconforming individuals from having equal access to safe homeless shelters.In a letter sent Monday to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Raoul and the attorneys general argue that HUD’s proposal to repeal a 2016 amendment to the Equal Access Rule will compromise the safety of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals staying in homeless shelters. HUD adopted the 2016 amendment after four years of research into transgender and gender nonconforming people’s access to shelters and considered the disproportionately high rates of homelessness experienced by transgender youth. 



(Bloomington--jc)  One local State Senator says the 4th of July, just like Memorial Day and Veterans Day is a time to enjoy a cookout to fireworks, but also a time to remember our heritage and those who fought for our freedom. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says take some time to remember...



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington


(Monticello--jc)  -- The Monticello Freedom Festival is set for tomorrow from 4 until 11 pm. Food, kids games, DJ Big Daddy Mac, pony rides raffles and fireworks hilite the day. There are also train rides from the Monticello Railway Museum to Lodge Park for  the fireworks.



(Undated--jc)  Real Estate taxes remain a question for several area counties and another is now past due on the first installment. Ford County Tax payers continue to wait on the process as do tax payers in Iroquois County. The first installment of taxes in Champaign County were due on Monday



Tornado Touchdown Near Gilman Sunday Afternoon

(Undated--jc) Severe weather moved quickly through East Central Illinois on Sunday afternoon. A tornado touchdown was reported near Gilman, Sunday afternoon. Hail, heavy rains and strong winds were also reported throughout the area. 


(Springfield--ba)   --It’s not just Illinois most expensive budget that begins Monday, it’s also the day the state's gas tax will double to pay for a $45 billion statewide capital spending plan. Governor  J.B. Pritzker said families affected by the higher taxes can look to the yet-to-be-approved progressive income tax for relief. Today marks the beginning of the new fiscal year. With the governor's signature of a pair of bills Friday, it also marks a doubling of the state’s gas tax, increased diesel taxes, increased vehicle registration fees and other driving fees for Illinoisans. The tax increases will pay for a six-year, $45 billion infrastructure plan.


CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors who secured a guilty verdict this week against a former University of Illinois doctoral student for killing a visiting scholar from China have suggested it won't ever be possible to recover her remains. They made that assertion in a filing unsealed Friday. It's a response to Brendt Christensen's lawyers, who said he offered after his 2017 arrest to plead guilty and divulge where Yingying Zhang's remains were for a life sentence.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gas prices are going up today in Illinois. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed into law a $45 billion capital plan to build and upgrade bridges, roads, schools and parks. It will be paid for by expanding gambling and make it more expensive to do things like drive and smoke cigarettes. Pritzker signed the plan on Friday in Springfield. The new gas tax is 19 cents per gallon higher than they were on Sunday.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials say a survey this month for Asian carp in Chicago-area waterways found no trace of the invasive fish. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said Friday it teamed up with the Illinois Natural History Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the June 3-14 investigation of 602 sites for fish and surveillance of more than 400 sites for environmental.



(Loda--jc)  A music in the park event is set for an area pavilion. The group Prairie City and Friends is set to perform at the Robinson Pavilion on Sunrise Drive at Bayles Lake later this month. The concert will start at 6pm Sunday July 14th. A free will offering will be collected to benefit the United Methodist Children’s homes in Illinois. Picnic tables are available for seating, or you may bring your own lawn chairs. 



CHICAGO (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has created a task force to look at the rights of transgender students in Illinois. The Chicago Democrat signed an executive order on Sunday, the day of Pride Parades nationwide including in Chicago. The order also directs the Illinois State Board of Education to protect the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming students, including publishing resources on legal rights. A similar event was also held in Paxton. 


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A federal judge who was removed from hearing criminal cases last summer as he was presiding over two of Illinois' highest-profile cases will be resuming all his duties in September. The  News-Gazette reports that a judicial panel admonished Judge Colin Bruce for exchanging emails with a U.S. attorney's office employee about one of his trials but concluded his decision-making on the bench wasn't affected.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Leaders of the Evangelical Covenant Church have voted to defrock a Minneapolis pastor and expel his church for permitting gay marriage. The Rev. Dan Collison had his credentials removed at the Evangelical Covenant Church's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, on Friday night. Leaders also voted to expel Collison's First Covenant Church, a founding member of the 134-year-old denomination. A Michigan pastor also was defrocked for officiating at his son's same-sex marriage.



(Springfield--jc)  -- The legalization of recreational marijuana might have the unintended consequence of shrinking the already small pool of potential truck drivers in Illinois, but Matt Hart, executive director of the Illinois Trucking Association, said his organization is pleased the legislature maintained federal standards for his industry. Hart added the at the end of the day, safety is the top concern at the Illinois Trucking Association.Traces of marijuana can remain in a person’s system for up to 30 days or more, unlike alcohol, which for most people is metabolized in hours. Therefore, someone can test positive for marijuana days or even weeks after using the drug.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois pharmacies are supporting House Bill 465, which would establish new state oversight of pharmacy benefit managers if signed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker. Garth Reynolds, executive director at Illinois Pharmacists Association, says the bill establishes an oversight enforcement mechanism for pharmacy benefit managers in Illinois for the first time.  Reynolds adds that pharmacy benefit managers are subcontractors of health insurance, mainly the medical side and as subcontractors, pharmacists have not really fit into the current insurance code the way it is in Illinois.”


(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton’s Old Fashioned 4th of July is set for Thursday, but the festivities begin in a renovated Pells Park Pavilion on Wednesday. The 20-19 Little Mister and Little Miss contest is set for 6 on Wednesday night. A full day of activities continues on Thursday with patriotic music, food and the official WPXN City of Paxton watermelon eating contest Thursday afternoon . There will be fireworks at night on Thursday in Paxton


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