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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-08

GCMS and PBL Students Collecting Money and Food at Tonight's Football Game in Gibson City

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin health officials say nearly nine out of 10 cases where vaping led to people developing a severe lung disease involved THC products, such as waxes or oils. Health officials said Thursday that 89% of the 27 people they interviewed who became sick reported using e-cigarettes or other vaping devices to inhale THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Health officials say despite the finding they're still investigating all possible causes for why people became ill.


(Champaign--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a male driver who was involved in an automobile versus semi tractor-trailer collision near Ogden on Thursday morning.. 42 year old Michael D. Whitman, of Savoy, was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:29AM  Thursday. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning, and an inquest may be held at a later date. This crash is under investigation by the coroner’s office and the Illinois State Police.


The PBL/GCMS Game at Gibson City is the WCIA Tackle Hunger Game of the Week. Students representing both schools will be collecting money before the game at the south and east gates and a table will be set up by the concession stand during the game. All money and food taken in by PBL Students will help support Paxton’s Hands of Christ Food Pantry and proceeds for GCMS goes to their account at the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. Please give what you can.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has a hairline fracture on his left thighbone and a doctor has ordered rest for four to six weeks. The Democrat's office said Thursday that Pritzker doesn't know how the injury occurred. It was not a recent injury. But pain in his knee became more significant in recent weeks while attending public events where he stood or walked long distances. A statement says that Pritzker is in "good spirits" and will remain "fully engaged" in government business.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Public finance analysts are now poring through hundreds of pages of financial information about how Illinois spent tens of billions of tax dollars from a fiscal year that ended 425 days ago.Truth in Accounting said Illinois’ Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2018 comes 245 days after the standard reporting guidelines urging such reports be published after a fiscal year ends.


(Springfield-jm) -- The state now has five dispensaries that are authorized to sell recreational marijuana. The sites approved already sell medical cannabis but will soon be able to add pot to their product list. They are located in Mundelein, Joliet, Naperville, Canton and Effingham says Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Spokesperson Chris Slaby…



Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Spokesperson Chris Slaby. The department will continue to review applications from current dispensaries. There are 55 around the state.



(Undated-jm) -- Area jobless rates are down compared to one year ago. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the unemployment rate in Ford County fell from five point one percent to four point four percent. In Iroquois County, the rate fell to three point seven percent from four percent a year ago. 


(St Joseph--jc)  With the Farm Progress Show in Decatur and, the Half Century of Progress complete in Rantoul and the Thresherman’s Reunion continuing today in Pontiac, some things are new at one local seed company. Sun Prairie Seeds in St Joseph is offering some additional varieties says company spokesperson Jarrod Widdick…



Sun Prairie Seeds-Champaign County Seed Company-St Joseph Spokesperson Jarod Widdick.


(Bloomington--jc)  - The state has put together a property tax task force in place to look at the state’s high rates and potential solutions. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington says the hope is those on the committee can bring forth some solutions..



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



(Washington-jm) -- USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has some candid thoughts on progress in reaching a US-China trade deal. Stephanie Ho reports…



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois state lawmakers are eyeing a different governing structure for the state’s public universities after a hearing this week about severance packages for administrators. An attorney for Western Illinois University said former President Jack Thomas's exit package wasn’t a severance agreement, it was a transfer agreement worth more than $570,000.State Sen. Bill Cunningham said that sidestepped the spirit of a law that limited severance payouts.



(Chicago--jc)  --Forty new sites to care for dementia patients are expected to start becoming available over the next three years in Illinois.The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services said many will be ready in 2020.The Supportive Living Program allows patients to have their own apartment in a community setting. The expansion will help nearly 1,600 Medicaid members with dementia.



(Washington--jc)  -- The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed surveillance balloon tests designed to locate drug traffickers over several states were part of a Congressionally approved project called COLD STAR, but the department said no tests will be happening over Illinois “at this time.”The Guardian earlier this month reported 25 high-altitude surveillance balloons launched from South Dakota would be coming down somewhere in Central Illinois in September. State Police didn’t know about it. Officials with Scott Air Force Base referred questions to the Department of Defense. A Department of Defense spokesperson said the tests have already been conducted and that no tests impacting Illinois airspace were planned.



(Washington-jm) -- What are the prospects for U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2020? Gary Crawford has the details…



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City city council recently held their meeting. The council approved spending nearly $60 thousand for two pickup trucks from Anderson Ford. The trucks will be used by the streets and alleys department and the sewer department. The council also approved two recent donations to the city. The Ed Day skatepark committee donated $2,000 towards the new skatepark while Gibson Area Hospital donated $3,700 towards construction of a pavilion at the dog park.



(Springfield-jm) -- New eligibility guidelines are now set for this school year’s free and reduced-price meal programs. Families need to apply each year for the federal school nutrition program that provides healthy meals to low income students. State Board of Education Principal Consultant Tim Murphy says kids shouldn’t have to worry about their next meal…



State Board of Education Principal Consultant Tim Murphy. Murphy says schools usually hand out the application forms to parents, and families can apply any time during the school year. They will have to meet the new income guidelines to qualify.


(Undated--jc)  It’s not ice cubes for the entire upcoming winter, but Illinoisans should plan for plenty of snow and a colder-than-normal winter. That is  according to the Farmers’ Almanac, which is out with its weather forecast for next year. Peter Geiger, the editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, said Illinois can expect to see what the publication called a “Polar Coaster” this winter. Some of the predicted snow and cold is coming in late January into February 20-20.

Illinois Lottery Announces a Record Contribution to State Schools.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (AP) — The owner of Arlington International Racecourse has announced the company will not seek a license to add casino gambling at the track. Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen says state law requiring the track to dedicate a portion of casino earnings to racing purses makes placing casino games at the suburban Chicago track untenable. Carstanjen noted Arlington would enter the gambling market with a tax rate that would be approximately 17.5% to 20% higher than the existing Chicago-area casinos.


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says President Donald Trump will take action to soften the effects of oil refinery exceptions for blending corn-based ethanol in motor fuel. Perdue spoke to farmers and agribusiness leaders Wednesday in Decatur. He says it was "disappointing" that Trump's Environmental Protection Agency granted the waivers. They came after Trump allowed for year-round sales of 15% ethanol blend in fuel.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Lottery is announcing a record contribution to state schools. More than 731 million dollars of lottery proceeds went to the common school fund this past fiscal year. Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg says that’s a nearly two percent increase over the previous year and a good reminder of where some of your gambling money goes…



Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. During fiscal year 19, the lottery also paid 165 million dollars in commissions and selling bonuses to retailers and nearly two billion dollars in prize money to lucky winners. 


(Champaign-jm) -- Non-bargaining employees for Champaign County will see a pay increase. Following an 11 to 7 vote, the county board approved the 3.1 percent increase that will take effect January 1st. As part of the agreement, employees will have to pick up 14 percent of their health insurance.



(Pontiac-jm) -- The 71st annual Central States Thresherman’s Reunion gets underway today in Pontiac. The featured tractors at this year’s show include Oliver, Massey-Harris and Pre-1935 tractors. President Dave Herz talks about the weekends activities…



Central States Thresherman’s Reunion President Dave Herz. The event runs through Labor Day Monday.


(Kankakee--jc)  -- Kankakee County authorities are warning the public about a scam.  Sheriff Mike Downey says area residents have received calls from someone identifying himself as Sheriff Downey and saying the resident owes fines to the I-R-S.  The phone number is a spoof number. The scammer threatens arrest and requests a payment for the fine with gift card numbers. Sheriff Downey says county sheriff offices do not threaten arrest, or ever ask for gift card numbers. Those receiving calls should inquire at the Kan-Comm Dispatch at 815-933-3324



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul residents will be able to weigh in on whether or not the village should allow the sale of cannabis. The village board will allow the public to speak about the issue at their September 3rd study session. Illinois became the 11th state in the country to legalize cannabis, while becoming the 1st state to approve the commercial sale. Under the law, communities can ban the commercial sale.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois teachers have a new avenue to appeal an evaluation. Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 12-13 this week. It sets up a bargaining process between the school district and a union representative when a teacher appeals an unsatisfactory rating.The governor’s office said in a statement that the measure allows for local district and union officials to determine the criteria for a successful appeal.

(Springfield-jm) -- It is now illegal to smoke in a vehicle with minors present. Governor J-B Pritzker recently signed House Bill 2276 into law making it a petty offense to smoke in a vehicle when a person under the age of 18 is present. The first offense is a $100 fine with subsequent offenses costing $250 each. Proponents of the measure say the new law is intended to reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke.


(Springfield-jm) -- Expect to see more police out on the roads this Labor Day Weekend, looking for drunk drivers and other violators. Extra patrols and roadside safety checks will be targeting drunk drivers this holiday weekend. Illinois Department of Transportation Spokesperson Guy Tridgell says there’s really no excuse for driving under the influence when there are so many options to get home safely…



I-DOT Spokesperson Guy Tridgell. Tridgell says you also need to be careful if you’re planning a Labor Day party, since you can be held liable if a guest is involved in a drunk driving crash.


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is warning the public about potential travel delays and closures at Starved Rock State Park over the Labor Day weekend. Starved Rock and nearby Matthiessen are some of the most popular parks in the state, so it’s going to be crowded says D-N-R Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. The busiest times are usually between 11 and 3. Visitors are urged to check D-N-R’s facebook and twitter pages for updates.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Penfield man has been sentenced to four years probation and six months in jail after admitting to having sex with an underage female. 22-year-old Harrington Matherne the third received the sentence in Champaign County court after pleading guilty to a single count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Police say the teen was not of legal age to consent when the crime took place.



(Ludlow-jm) -- One area school district is seeing black when it comes to their budget. The Ludlow school district is expecting their budget to be over $161,000 in the black this school year. The district anticipates over one point one million in revenue while spending just over 967 thousand. The budget is expected to be approved at the September 12th school board meeting.



(Paxton-ba) -- The new sign is up and the Cox-Knapp Miller Funeral Home in Paxton has begun construction work on it’s new chapel. They are still operating as scheduled, owner Kendall Cox says there are several ways to get ahold of them.



Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox


(Thomasboro-jm) -- The Thomasboro school board is facing some tough decisions. The district received word from the Illinois State Board of Education that they can no longer continue to operate with a $100 thousand deficit in the education fund. That fund covers teachers salaries as well as supplies and materials. The State Board of Education made three recommendations: sell bonds, propose a referendum to voters or make cuts.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new law signed by Governor J-B Pritzker that would suspend the driver's license of a driver who violates right-of-way laws and injures pedestrians in a crosswalk is in response to the death of an Iroquois County man. Mason’s Law, co-sponsored by State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington and State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst of Kankakee and named after Clifton resident Mason Knorr, would require a one year suspension of an individual's drivers license if they commit a right-of-way violation at a crosswalk or a crosswalk in a school zone that results in bodily harm or death. Knorr was killed by a semi when it failed to stop at a stop sign.


(Paxton--jc)  - The Just an Angel organization hosted a benefit at Murdocks in Loda last weekend for a 7 year old girl with heart issues. The event was a success and organizer Dale Puls says thanks to all who helped with the benefit for Macie. Puls says anyone wishing to donate to help Macie can do so at the Paxton Busey Bank…



Just An Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls of Paxton


The state of Illinois has put out requests for proposals in an effort to get the Thompson Center in Chicago off of the taxpayer rolls. The sale of the state-owned building, which costs $17 million a year to operate, had been budgeted in previous state budgets, but was never sold.Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the requests for proposals announced Tuesday start the process of selling the facility. He said the proceeds would be used to pay the state's underfunded pension systems.



(Washington-jm) -- Cool weather is expected to continue hindering development of the nation's soy and corn crops. USDA’s Stephanie Ho has the details…




Punkin Chunkin Weekend Passes in Rantoul are Currently on Sale for $20 Until September 1

(Cheneyville--jc)  State Police along with Vermilion County authorities continue to investigate a fatal car accident that occurred east of Hoopeston near Cheneyville on Monday evening. Police believe that 36 year old Migel Vera of San Benito Texas  lost control of his vehicle on Route 9. A passenger in the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. 


(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School Board approved an area church as a rally point in the case of an emergency. Should Clara Peterson ever need to evacuate, children would be sent to First Lutheran Church after the board approved the church as the evacuation location at their August meeting.


(Paxton-jm) -- The 2019 Paxton Swine n Dine is less than a month away. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, September 21st in downtown Paxton. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer says talks about the different categories you can enter in…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer. Other activities include food vendors, kids inflatables, a DJ, remote control cars for kids, a bags tournament. Capping off the evening is country music superstar Jerrod Nieman. WPXN will host its on the sidelines show downtown that morning.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Punkin’ Chuckin’ is coming to the Rantoul airport the first three days of November. Weekend passes are currently on sale now for only $20 until the end of August. They will be $30 starting September 1st. Children 10 & under are free.  The national organization choose the Rantoul site for its annual competition. Between 10 and 20 thousand people are expected to come to the Rantoul area from around the United States and several other countries for the event.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law promotes diversity on corporate boards in Illinois. Under the law, publicly-traded companies that are headquartered in Illinois must submit an annual report about how many women and minorities have a seat at the table. Representative Chris Welch of Hillside says the University of Illinois will then analyze the data and issue reports and a rating system for businesses about corporate board diversity…



State Representative Chris Welch of Hillside. The first report from the U of I is expected in 2021.


(Loda-jm) -- A pair of homes in the Iroquois County village of Loda could be coming down. The village recently received authority to tear down the homes. Bids could be sought for the project as early as the September village board meeting.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity. On August 16th, Lisa Latham of Melvin was arrested on a Ford County warrant. On August 20th, Joshua Wright of Paxton was arrested on a Ford County warrant for failure to appear. On August 24th, Reginold Dixon of Loda was arrested for driving with a revoked driver's license and obstructing identification and ticketed for operating an uninsured motor vehicle and operating a motor vehicle with no rear registration lamp following a traffic stop at Railroad and Franklin. Dixon’s passenger, Cheyenne Morano of Loda was also arrested for obstructing identification.


(Paxton--jc) Officials with the Iroquois West Booster Club invite sports fans to Hometown Hero Night on Friday September 13th. The Paxton Buckley Loda Panthers take on the Iroquois West Raiders that night at John Boma Field at Iroquois West High School in Gilman. The booster club is selling T-Shirts that show the American flag along with the logos of the two schools. T-Shirts are 15 dollars each. Orders may be made by contacting the Iroquois West Booster club or the PBL Booster Club and are due by September 6th. WPXN will be carrying the game live on radio that night. 



(Kankakee--jc) --  A Kankakee man has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, resisting a police officer and aggravated battery stemming from an incident early Sunday morning along Interstate 57 in Kankakee County. Police say 31 year old Darrell Catchings of Kankakee was walking along the interstate early Sunday morning. Upon investigation, several guns were found on the subject. He appeared in court yesterday.



(Washington-jm) -- Several agricultural commodity groups are excited about export prospects to a major market now that a trade agreement in principle has been reached between the U.S. and Japan. Rod Bain reports…



 (Champaign-jm) -- A popular store in MarketPlace Mall in Champaign is moving. Old Navy will move from their current spot in the former Bergeners wing over to the Dick’s wing. The move isn’t expected to happen until after Thanksgiving. The current location will remain open until the new spot is ready. Old Navy isn’t the only store moving at MarketPlace Mall. Lenscrafters is also moving to the Dick’s wing.


(Pontiac-jm) -- The 71st annual Central States Threshermans Reunion gets underway tomorrow and runs through Labor Day in Pontiac. President Dave Herz talks about this years featured tractors…



Central States Threshermans Reunion President Dave Herz.



CHICAGO (AP) — A Muslim civil rights group says an Illinois driver's license rule violates religious rights The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a federal lawsuit this week challenging the rule that requires anyone wearing a religious head covering while taking a driver's license photo to sign a form saying they may lose their license if they're later seen in public not wearing it.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law aims to better protect students from sexual abuse at school. The law changes how students are questioned after making a report of harassment or abuse, so that they don’t feel intimidated. It also requires schools to review their policies for handling these cases and to report when a teacher is convicted of certain crimes to the State Board of Education says Assistant General Counsel Angie Brancato…



State Board of Education Assistant General Counsel Angie Brancato. The changes were prompted by a series of reports by the Chicago Tribune, detailing the abuse of students in Chicago Public Schools.



(Decatur--jc) The 20-19 Farm Progress Show is on-going through Thursday in Decatur. Illinois State Police are advising that  Illinois Route 48 from Interstate 72 to Mound Road in Decatur will experience heavy traffic today through Thursday. Expect traffic delays from 6am-10am in this area for these three days.  Troopers are manually operating the traffic lights at various locations around the Farm Progress Show. Unless you are coming to the show it is highly encouraged you find an alternate route.


(Ashkum--jc)  -- Illinois State Police in Ashkum have released details on a roadside safety check detail in Kankakee County from over the weekend. District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsey says during the safety check, 9 insurance violations were handed out, along with 5 driver’s license offenses and 2 alcohol violations. The safety check was held from late Saturday night into early Sunday morning in Bradley.


Champaign, Ill. - Eastern Illinois Foodbank  will honor its community partners at a Partner Recognition Event sponsored by the East Central Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council. The annual event will take place on Thursday, September 5th,  at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign from 5pm – 7pm. The event will feature awards given to the foodbank’s community partners that have contributed to its mission over the last fiscal year. Eastern Illinois Foodbank provides food to agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, snack programs and shelters throughout the area.


(Paxton-dg)-Hardee’s restaurant in Paxton has some new specials. Store Manager Mike McDonald talks about those specials. 



He goes on to talk about the discounts for all teachers, staff and students.



Hardees’s in Paxton Manager Mike McDonald


(Washington-jm) -- There are signs of new optimism for a trade agreement with China. Gary Crawford reports…






Some Improvements to the Crop Conditions

CHESTER, Ill. (AP) — The deaths of three Illinois prisoners over three days from "probable intoxication" of an unknown substance have raised questions about drug use behind bars and whether inmates are watched closely enough. In a report posted online on Monday, WBEZ says documents and interviews suggest lax supervision before at least one of the deaths that occurred in September of last year at Menard Correctional Center in Chester.



(Springfield-jm) -- Some improvement in Illinois crop conditions over the week in the latest crop report. The past week was cooler and wetter than normal, with average statewide topsoil moisture now at eight percent very short, 26 percent short, 62 percent adequate and four percent surplus. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 93 percent of soybeans are now blooming…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The corn crop improved to 49 percent in good to excellent condition, with 75 percent in the dough stage and 34 percent in the dent stage. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 71 percent complete.



(Champaign--jc)  --Parkland College Career Exploration Night, sponsored by the school's Career and Technical Education division, will be held September 4th from 4 to 6 p.m. The event is set for the Tony Noel Agricultural Applications Center and the Parkhill Applied Technology Center on the main campus. Current and prospective Parkland students are invited to meet employers, get expert advice on a career path, learn how to make a great first impression, and tour high-tech learning labs.  To reserve a spot at the event may go on line at parkland-dot-e-d-u-forward slash-c-t-career night.



(Undated--jc)  A long time, popular law enforcement officer passed away on Monday. Iroquois County Sheriff’s officials say Chief James Brammer died on Monday morning. Brammer was 73. Chief Brammer worked for the Iroquois County Sheriff’s department, Onarga Police Department and Chief of the Buckley Police Department over his decades career.  Jim was a good friend of WPXN radio and we think of him as a man who exemplified honesty, caring and one who dealt with the public in a professional manner. He will be missed



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. There will be some renovations including the addition of a  a chapel. Owner Kendall Cox talks about the renovations...


Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school board approved increases to sports officials. At the varsity level, officials pay will increase to $75 a game for basketball, $70 for volleyball and $65 for baseball and softball. JV and middle school officials will also see an increase. Football officials will remain at $70 per game.


(Champaign-jm) -- Home sales in Champaign County were down 12 percent in July. According to the Champaign County Realtors Association, 282 homes sold last month, down from 321 in July 2018. 2019 hasn’t been a good year for home sales in Champaign County. Year to date 1,654 homes have sold, down from 1,808 this time last year. 


(Rantoul-jc)  -- TheRantoul Rec Dept and Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce are excited about the quarter plunge and the movie at the Aquatic Center this friday. 250 dollars in quarters will be put in the pool area. Jimmy Johns of Rantoul will be there with treats to. Plus a movie after the quarter drop



(Chicago--jc)  Chicago’s Federal Reserve branch projects slower economic growth.The central bank’s national activity index fell from June to July and also slowed for the three-month moving average.Among the measurements, total industrial product decreased as did manufacturing production.That points to slower economic growth.


(Springfield--jc)  -- State Republican leaders won't back a proposal from some of the party's members to split the state in two by separating Chicago from the rest of Illinois. A group of Illinois Republicans in mostly southern Illinois have been hosting gatherings around the state to talk to people about a plan to get the federal government to split Illinois into two states. State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, filed House Resolution 101 in February. 


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is among 19 states suing over the Trump administration's effort to alter a federal agreement that limits how long immigrant children can be kept in detention. Attorneys general in California and Massachusetts are leading the effort and filed the lawsuit Monday. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says "every American should be outraged" by the treatment of migrant children at the border.



(Springfield-jm) -- Some improvement in Illinois crop conditions over the week as we hear in the latest crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 75 percent of corn has reached the dough stage…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Soybeans also improved, with 50 percent rated in good to excellent condition. 93 percent of soybeans are blooming and 79 percent are setting pods. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at eight percent very short, 26 percent short, 62 percent adequate and four percent surplus.


(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has a new director. Amanda Vickery takes over for Belinda Allen as director. Vickery comes from Danville where she served the city of Danville from 2015 to 2019. A meet and greet will be held on September 12th from 4 to 6 pm at the chamber office.



(Rantoul-jm) -- An out of control fire in a burn barrel is the likely cause of a shed fire in Rantoul Monday. Firefighters were called to the fire on Mahoning Avenue. The fire is estimated to have caused $500 in damage.



(Springfield--jc)  --The state lawmakers who crafted Illinois’ recreational cannabis law don't want local municipalities to overtax it. In a recently published "Municipal Toolkit," state Sens. Heather Steans, D-Chicago and Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, and state Reps. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, and Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, advised local governments to “proceed with extreme caution and avoid immediately taxing to the cap.” The document noted that municipalities that opt to allow recreational cannabis sales will be able to impose a tax of up to three percent beginning in September 20



(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law expands health insurance coverage for mammograms and other breast cancer screenings. The law requires both private insurers and Medicaid to cover diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds and M-R-I’s when prescribed by a physician. These tests are usually ordered when doctors need to get a better look after a routine mammogram says Governor J-B Pritzker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law takes effect January first.



(Chicago--jc)  -- Illinois is closer to the bottom than the top of a ranking of hardest working states. Consumer finance website Wallet-Hub ranked Illinois Number 42 of all states. Among various factors reviewed, Illinois got poor rankings for volunteer hours, where it ranked Number 47 overall.


CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Officials say Carbondale has been chosen as one of several Midwest cities to host international artists for the next few years. It's called Arts Midwest World Fest. Artists from around the world will stay for a week in Carbondale, performing and working with school groups. Lisa Janssen is executive director of Carbondale Community Arts. She says hosting the festival is a prestigious honor.


University of Illinois Campus Will be 100% Free of Smoke and Tobacco Products.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Officials say the University of Illinois campus will be 100% free of smoke and tobacco products. The university says the rules build on a 2014 policy that banned smoke-producing tobacco products. Now all forms of tobacco, including chewing tobacco and snuff, along with vaping devices are also prohibited. The policy applies to students, faculty, staff and visitors anywhere on campus, indoors or outdoors. It also applies to private vehicles that are parked on campus. Today is the first day of classes at the U of I.


VALMEYER, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois county has repealed an ordinance that would enable the construction of wind farms, stalling a proposal to build 50 turbines along the Mississippi River. The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the Monroe County Board voted to suspend the Wind Energy Conversion Ordinance after residents voiced safety concerns about the Southern Illinois Wind project. The board chairman says it won't accept applications for special-use permits for about 18 months.


(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul firefighters were called to a fire on the former Chanute Air Base over the weekend. Firefighters were called to the fire on Saint Andrew's Court just before 11 PM Saturday. No word on if there were any injuries. A cause has not yet been released.


(Undated--jc)  -- Some experts in Illinois want to bring mental health care providers to remote areas of the state lacking such services through telepsychiatry, which uses video conferencing to connect psychiatrists with patients. Telepsychiatry has been in use in Illinois and other parts of the country, but there is legislation on the governor’s desk that would authorize Medicaid to pay for such treatment, said Mark Heyrman of Mental Health America of Illinois, a nonprofit organization that promotes mental health and works to prevent mental illness and improve care and treatment of mental and emotional disorders. Heyrman is a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School who serves on the organization's board of directors.



DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say an inmate in a holding cell at the courthouse in eastern Illinois was shot after stabbing a sheriff's deputy several times in the face.  Vermilion County Sheriff Pat Hartshorn said the incident happened Friday morning in the county courthouse in Danville.There was no immediate information about the inmate or why he attacked the Vermilion County sheriff's deputy. The Illinois State Police are investigating because the incident involved an officer-involved shooting. Officials say the courthouse remains open.


(Springfield--jc)  --An audit of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services shows significant deficiencies and noncompliance in handling cases of alleged neglect and abuse. While the number of instances where the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services didn’t follow up on cases in a timely manner was small, Family Justice Resource Center Executive Director Michelle Weidner said each case involved the life of a child and their family. 


(Washington--jc)  -- Growers await if more tranches of U-S-D-A Market Facilitation Program payments will be issued. What could that mean for 20-19 taxes. Roda Bain has the details…




(Undated-jm) -- This past weekend felt more seasonable with highs in the 70s. Kevin Grady with the Illinois State Climatologists Office has a look at the outlook over the next couple of weeks…



Illinois State Climatologists Office’s Kevin Grady.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Hap Parker Aquatic Center in Rantoul will mark the unofficial end of summer with a movie at the pool. The pool will show Ralph Breaks the Internet on Friday, August 30th starting at 7:30 pm. A quarter plunge will also take place, with $250 worth of quarters being dumped into the pool.



(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois resident who was hospitalized with a respiratory illness after vaping has died. 22 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 17 to 38, have had serious breathing problems after vaping or using e-cigarettes. One has now died and officials are looking into 12 other possible cases. State Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay) says they are working to determine the connection…



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi (en-gozi) Ezike (eh-zee-kay). Nationwide, there have been about 150 cases. Ezike says the C-D-C has found that in some instances, including Illinois, people were vaping a product with T-H-C.


(Washington-jm) -- The US Department of Agriculture their Cattle Feedlot Report Friday. USDA Livestock Economist Seanicca Herron has the details…


(East St. Louis-jm) -- An Illinois State Trooper is dead after a shooting in East St. Louis Friday. According to Illinois State Police, Nicholas Hopkins and several other officers were executing a search warrant Friday morning at a house when gunfire was exchanged and Hopkins was struck. He was taken to an area hospital where he passed away Friday evening. Trooper Hopkins was a 10 year veteran of the Illinois State Police force.


(Paxton-jm) -- Business in downtown Paxton is starting to pick up. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President and Mom and Pop Kettle Korn Stop Owner Alan Meyer talks about some of the changes…



Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President and Mom and Pop Kettle Korn Stop Owner Alan Meyer.


(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul senior facility will be holding a euchre tournament this week. The Villas of Hollybrook will hold the tournament on Tuesday, August 27th starting at 6 pm. For more information, call Colleen at 282-9854.


(Springfield-jm) -- Preliminary numbers show attendance at this year’s Illinois State Fair was up by 37 percent. Close to 509 thousand people visited the fair last week, up from about 371 thousand in 2018. State Fair Spokesperson Krista Lisser attributes the increase to several factors…


Illinois State Fair Spokesperson Krista Lisser. Lisser says lowering the cost of admission during the week to just five dollars also really helped, as well as a solid grandstand lineup that brought in record ticket sales and revenue. 



(Urbana--jc)  A Champaign County man is facing multiple gun charges concerning an incident at the America’ Best In on University Avenue on Thursday night. Police say 50 year old Tommie Valentine Junior was arrested on an aggravated discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and a stolen firearm



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says a new law will expand youth hunting opportunities in Illinois. For starters, the law lifts the one-year cap on the state’s apprentice hunter license says Governor Prtizker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The law also creates a three-year pilot program that allows young hunters statewide access during the three-day youth-only deer hunting season. 



Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker Signed Legislation Raising Teachers' Minimum Salary

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The primary election may not be for another six months but candidates will soon be able to start circulating petitions. Candidates for established political parties can begin circulating nominating petitions for the primary election on September 3rd. Paperwork must be turned into the county clerk’s office between November 25th and December 2nd. The primary election in Illinois is March 17th.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed legislation raising teachers' minimum salary to $40,000 over four years to address a statewide shortage of classroom leaders. The current minimum teacher salary ranges from only $9,000 to $11,000. The new law signed by Pritzker Thursday raises the minimum to $32,076 for the 2020-2021 school year, $34,576 in 2021-2022, $37,076 in 2022-2023 and $40,000 in 2023-2024. It was needed says the governor...


***News  4993nws salary1***


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Springfield-jm) -- Jobs were up last month in all Illinois metro areas for the first time in 19 years. July nonfarm jobs increased over the year in the state’s 14 metro areas, building on recent momentum says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro…


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Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Areas with the most growth compared to a year ago include Chicago, Rockford and the suburbs, but also downstate communities like East St. Louis and Champaign-Urbana. The unemployment rate dropped in 11 metro areas last month.


(Rantoul--jc)  Four days of agriculture began Thursdays morning in Rantoul. The village will see between 25 and 30 thousand people attending the Half Century of Progress each day. Event spokesperson JC Reitmeir says one reason for the show is the farm equipment…


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Half Century of Progress Show Spokesperson JC Reitmeir

Today, the flag raising at 8am with the largest U S Flag on the east side of the event. Field demonstrations in the morning and afternoon.  1pm parades also hilite the event. On the grounds find the Licorice Guy Booth, the lady from Minnesota that does farm embroidery and the license plate sign lady from Grant Park There is plenty of food from Spring Creek Barbeque to Mission’s R Us. On Saturday at 3pm it’sOrion Samuelson and Max Armstrong on  the stage .


(Kankakee--jc)  State Police are reminding motorists that the Interstate 57 construction zone from mile marker 308 to mile marker 315 is slowing traffic in that area. Those who can, are asked to take alternate routes during the construction period around Kankakee. State Police continue to tell motorists to slow down in construction zones and always turn off your cell phone. 



(Rantoul--jc) Monday nights are Pickleball nights in Rantoul. The Pickleball courts were finished earlier this month and Rantoul Recreation Department officials say the contests begin at Wabash Park on Monday nights at 7. 



(Bloomington-jm) -- A Gibson City business is expanding into the Bloomington-Normal market. Hustedt Jewelers bought William MarKen Jewelers and will rebrand the store. Hustedt Jewelers opened in Gibson City in 1983 and opened a second location in Pontiac in 2013. 


DU QUOIN, Ill. (AP) — The Du Quoin State Fair is about to start. The fair that runs through Sept. 2 will open this afternoon with a 5:30 p.m. ribbon cutting followed a half hour later with a Twilight Parade inside the fairgrounds.



(Paxton--jc)  -- It’s time for the annual Pork Chop Kickoff at Paxton Buckley Loda High School’s Zimmerman Field at I-57 Stadium. The public eats at 5 this afternoon and the football team scrimmages at 7-30. The Panthers open the season in Gibson City, one week from today against the defending state champion Falcons of Gibson City Melvin Sibley. Our pre-game begins at 6-05pm next Friday night.


(Paxton-jm) -- Today is the day for a back to school supply drive at a Paxton bank. The Frederick Community Bank is collecting donations from 11 to 2 at their drive up facility at the corner of Pells and Market. The donations will be distributed to the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District.


(Springfield--jc)  -- 3 new criminal justice reform laws are now on the books in Illinois. The first law lets inmates given a long sentence prior to 1998 to earn good time credit for taking college courses or completing substance abuse programs. Reaction from Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton…


***News nws4995 reform2***


Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton

The other 2 bills ensure those being held while awaiting trial can cast a ballot and the other educates soon-to-be released prisoners about the voting process


(Loda--jc)  -- A benefit for a 7 year old heart transplant patient is set for Murdocks Restaurant in Loda on Saturday. The “heart strong” benefit will raise money for on-going medical bills for Macie Marie Meier. Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls says the event starts with registration at Murdock’s in Loda at 10 tomorrow morning…


***News nws 4998 heartstrong1***


Just an Angel Spokesperson Dale Puls. Again, the event starts with sign in at 10 tomorrow morning. The donation for the cruise is 15 dollars per person or 20 dollars per couple. The event also features raffles, a silent auction, food and music.



(Loda-jm) -- Another area community is considering whether or not to allow recreational marijuana businesses. Loda village leaders are expected to discuss the issue at their September meeting. Recreational marijuana will be legal to buy and use by adults starting January 1. 



LIVINGSTON COUNTY, IL: A traffic stop made by an Illinois State Trooper on Thursday morning, led to the arrest and the seizure of suspected cannabis weighing more than 38 pounds. A District 6 Illinois State Trooper stopped a passenger vehicle after observing a traffic violation. Upon investigation, suspected cannabis was detected. Arrested for possession of 38 pounds of cannabis, cannabis Trafficking and , Delivery of Cannabiswas 45 year old Anita L. Williams, of Peoria. Williams has been incarcerated in the Livingston County Jail in Pontiac



(Springfield--jc)  A recent sexual assault law puts more protections for victims. The bill was sponsored by 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington. Barickman says protecting and helping victims of assault is the main focus of the new law…


***News nws4999  newlaw1***


53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Bloomington


(Gibson City--jc)  When Gibson City leaders meet on Monday night, they will look at special licenses for several groups and businesses in conjunction with the upcoming Harvest Fest. Special license requests have been made by Burgers and Beer, Railside Golf Course and the Gibson City American Legion. Selling a police squad car and looking at truck bids are also on the agenda. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 on Monday night.


(Central Illinois--jc)  The owner of a number of coal-fired plants wants Illinois lawmakers to take action after the company announced it plans to close four plants. 

Vistra Energy announced this week  it will close four facilities in Central Illinois. The company cited the Illinois Pollution Control Board’s June decision requiring it to shut down two gigawatts worth of coal-produced energy facilities by 2020. 


(Paxton--jc)  The cookout at the Paxton IGA on Saturday will feature pork chop sandwiches, chips and pop. The money raised will go to the Paxton Girl Scouts. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm..

The Illinois Department of Labor Reminds Youngest Members of the Illinois Workforce That They Need a Work Permit to be Employed in Illinois

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arraigned on heroin charges in Champaign County court. 27-year-old Lavonte McWilliams was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. McWilliams was arrested on August 6th after a search of his home following a shooting in Champaign in late July. During the search, police found 10 grams of suspected heroin, a scale and packaging materials. His next court date is October 8th. If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces probation to up to 15 years in prison.


(Springfield--ba) Funding is available to help pay for school field trips to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and museum in Springfield. Schools where more than 30 percent of the students are low income are invited to apply for the  Winnick family field trip grants. They cover the cost of admission and provide money for transportation says museum spokesperson Chris Wills.



Presidential Library and Museum spokesperson Chris Wills.



(Springfield--ba) The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding the youngest members of the Illinois workforce that they need a work permit to be employed in Illinois after the number of permits the state issued to teen workers spiked in 2018. Fourteen-year-olds and 15-year-olds in Illinois must get an employment certificate before they can start a job. The Illinois Department of Labor used the start of the school year to remind young workers, and their employers, about the permits.

Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik said the restrictions for the young workers were put in place for their protection.


(Loda-jm) -- The village of Loda is looking for answers after an audit by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency uncovered a significant amount of water usage could not be accounted for. The audit found that nearly 15 percent of the water used in the village could not be accounted for which prompted village leaders to install a water meter at the fire department.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White reminds drivers to be careful as children head back to school. Last year, nationwide, 17 kids were fatally injured by motorists who failed to stop for a school bus. White says be aware of your surroundings…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The 20-19 Half Century of Progress Show opens officially at 7 this morning. The flag raising ceremony begins at 8, along with the Half Century Tractor ride. Field demonstrations with broom corn, corn shelling, soybean combining and tillage work starts at 8-30. The tractor Ride returns to the grounds around 1 this afternoon.  It’s back to field demonstrations in the afternoon. The popular band Back Paiges performs from 3pm to 6pm. A tractor pull starts at 4. WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour today as part of our Summer Fun Tour. Its stop number 17.



(Springfield--jc)  -- 3 new criminal justice reform laws are now on the books. 2 of the bills signed by the governor aim to engage more people in elections. Governor JB Pritzker says those who get out of prison will learn more about the voting process…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

The 3rd law creates incentives for inmates serving long sentences to earn good time credit by taking college and life skills courses.



(Urbana-jm) -- The 2019 Urbana Sweetcorn Festival takes place this week. The two day festival takes place Friday and Saturday nights in downtown Urbana. Live music and hot corn hi-lite the activities. On the stage Friday night beginning at 5 pm is Feel Free, followed by The Nightcaps at 6:30, The Tons O’Fun Band at 8:15 and Wreckless Whiskey at 10:30. Saturday night, Bruiser and the Virtues kicks things off at 7 pm followed by Them Guilty Aces at 8:30 and Captain Rat and The Blind Rivets at 10:15.


(Melvin-jm) -- Officials believe lightning may have started a fire that destroyed a home near Melvin Wednesday. About 30 firefighters from Melvin, Roberts and Gibson City fire departments battled the blaze at 925 N 800 E. The home was vacant at the time and is a total loss.


(Springfield--ba) Governor JB Pritzker is signing a new law to better protect immigrant tenants. The law aims to make sure immigrants are safe from harassment by their landlords says Governor Pritzker.



Governor JB Pritzker



(Paxton-jm) -- Asbestos abatement is expected to begin soon at Eastlawn Elementary. Work is expected to begin Monday and should be completed by the end of October. Demolition of the oldest building in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district is expected to be completed by Christmas.



(Gifford-jm) -- The Gifford Fire Protection District will hold their spaghetti dinner fundraiser this Saturday. The fundraiser will run from 4-8 pm at the German Fall Festival Building in downtown Gifford. A golf cart raffle will also take place at 6pm.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA has begun processing payments for the first round of the Market Facilitation Program. Stephanie Ho reports…





(Rantoul--jc)  Four days of agriculture start this morning in Rantoul. The village will see between 25 and 30 thousand people attending the Half Century of Progress each day says event Spokesperson JC Reitmeir…



Half Century of Progress Show Spokesperson JC Reitmeir

WPXN will be broadcast today from the event over the noon hour Its’ Summer Fun Tour Stop 17.



(Champaign--jc)  -- The dog days of August are here. What can we expect over the next week in the weather department. Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady says higher temps and some additional precipitation…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady





Assisted Living Could be Coming to Paxton

(Springfield--ba)  -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said a lawsuit challenging the Illinois Gun Dealer License Certification Act is “not ripe for judicial review” and should be dismissed because state police have yet to fully implement the act and that no part of the law has been used to stop dealers from doing business.The attorney general responded this week to a lawsuit in Sangamon County Circuit Court filed by several gun stores across the state and the Illinois State Rifle Association.The association last month sued the state over the law, which requires federally licensed gun dealers in Illinois to get a state license in addition to federal license.


(Gilman-jm) -- Three area fire departments received new equipment last night. The Gilman, Onarga and Danforth fire departments received tools for grain bin extrication. The new equipment was donated by Cargill.



(Washington--ba)-Soybean Conditions have gone down. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois County village of Gilman is looking for a new cop. Officer Brian Norton stepped down to take a position with the Ford County Sheriff’s Department. The village is considering a contract with the county after only three applications were received to fill the opening.

(Springfield--ba)--Governor JB Pritzker is supporting planned parenthood’s decision to forgo federal funding over a new abortion gag rule. The rule prevents clinics accepting title 10 family planning funds from talking to patients about where they can get an abortion. Planned Parenthood officials say this is an attack on reproductive health care…and Governor Pritzker agrees...



Governor JB Pritzker



(St Joseph--jc)  -- Sun Prairie Seeds, based in the Champaign County community of St Joseph held a field demonstration Tuesday at the plant. One Sun Prairie Seeds Farmer is Gary Fugh of rural Fisher. Few says he has been planting Sun Prairie Seeds since 1983…



The Field Day at Sun Prairie Seeds provided area farmers with a view of  different varieties of corn and soybeans in the field. Product information was also available. Fugh says one popular variety is Sun Prairie Corn 28-40…



Sun Prairie Seeds Farmer Gary Fugh of rural Fisher.


(Loda-jm) -- Site work has started on a former Paxton Buckley Loda school building that has another future use.  The former Loda Grade School is getting new life. Aardsma Research and Publishing is looking to renovate the 96 year old building. The company would use the building as an anti-aging lab. The local company has started work on the building for its transformation.



(Springfield--ba) The results are in. In one day, 200 agencies, both public and private, made an all out push to raise awareness about driving too fast. The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police said the participating agencies issued more than 3,200 speeding citations on August 4th. They also helped spread the word about the dangers of speeding.


(Chicago--jc)  --Illinois spends the most in the Midwest per student on education. But instead of going to classrooms, a big chunk of that money props up bloated education bureaucracy. Over 9 thousand school administrators earned more than 100 thousand dollars a year, and they’ll each receive 3 million dollars or more in pension benefits during their retirement, according to an Illinois Policy Institute analysis of the most recent public data available. While school districts pay administrators’ salaries and benefits through local property taxes, state taxpayers are on the hook for those pension costsIllinois has the fifth-largest number of school districts in the nation. Most Illinois school districts serve fewer than 1 thousand students.


(Paxton-jm) -- Assisted living could be coming to Paxton. Accolade Healthcare of Paxton Senior Living is considering a three phase construction project at their facility on Fulton Street. Phase one would involve the construction of a 44 bed assisted living wing. Phase two would renovate the existing independent living area in the basement of the facility. Phase three would construct 8 to 12 single-story townhomes near the facility. The company also hopes to add 12 skilled nursing beds while bringing in an additional 5 to 10 jobs to the area.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority is offering a new gant program to help homebuyers pay for closing costs. Closing costs can quickly add up, and that is the reason for the grants says I-H-D-A Spokesperson Andrew Field…



Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field

More information is found on-line at I-H-D-A- mortgage-Dot-Org.

(Paxton--dg)  -- Site improvements have started on the former Knapp Miller Funeral Home in Paxton. The new name of the business is the Cox-Knapp Funeral Home. A building expansion project continues. Owner  Kendall Cox says there are several ways to contact the funeral home in your time of need…



Cox Knapp Funeral Home Owner Kendall Cox



(Roberts--ba) One town in Ford County is funding a project to make their local water system safer. Roberts village Mayor Rick Flessner talks about why they are re-painting their water tower.



Roberts village Mayor Rick Flessner 



(Washington--ba)-There's been a slight decline in corn condition. USDA’s Stephanie Ho reports.




(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul non-profit will be holding their annual fundraiser this Friday. Jesus is the Way Prison Ministries will hold their fundraiser on Friday from 6 to 8 pm at the Laborers International Union North American Local 703 in Urbana. Tickets or more information is available by calling 892-4044.




Frederick Community Bank in Paxton Collecting School Supplies to Donate to PBL School District

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will not use federal family planning funds as long as Republican President Donald Trump's administration prohibits women's health clinics from referring patients for abortions. The Democrat called Trump's requirement a "gag rule" Monday on a national conference call in which Planned Parenthood announced it is ending participation in the family planning program rather than follow the rule.


(Champaign--ba)    (AP) — The parents of a slain University of Illinois visiting scholar Yingying Zhang are giving $20,000 to the people who provided information that led to the arrest and conviction of their daughter's killer. The family's attorney hasn't said who will receive the money, but two women were instrumental in the successful prosecution of former doctoral student Brendt Christensen, who last month was convicted in Zhang's killing and sentenced to life in prison.


(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybeans improved a little as we hear in the weekly crop report. 89 percent of soybean acres are blooming says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The condition of the corn crop rose slightly to 42 percent in good to excellent condition, with 12 percent in the dent stage. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 57 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 11 percent very short, 40 percent short, 47 percent adequate and two percent surplus.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Police director didn’t know anything about more than two dozen surveillance balloons launched states away that are expected to come down in Central Illinois next month.The Guardian says the U.S. Military  was conducting a test across six midwest states using 25 high-altitude balloons packed with technology. The balloons were launched in South Dakota. They will drift over to Central Illinois sometime in September.



(Springfield--ba) SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A Democratic state senator is apologizing for a mock assassination of Republican President Donald Trump staged at a weekend fundraiser. The incident occurred Friday night at Chicago Senator Martin Sandoval's golf outing in the Chicago suburb of Winfield. Photos showing a man with a fake rifle points it at someone wearing a Trump mask. Sandoval calls the incident "unacceptable." He says he doesn't "condone violence against the president or anyone else."


(Gibson--ba)  --Summer is not over yet, and one city committee  is assessing the current 2019 pool season. The Gibson City Pool board will be meeting Wednesday night to assess the summer. The group is also looking to fill a management position.



(Gifford--ba)  --One school district is meeting to talk about a budget for the future. The Gifford Board of Education is meeting to discuss a future budget as well as a budget hearing. The local board meets tomorrow night at 5-30 at  the school in Gifford.


(Rantoul--ba) The  Half Century of Progress begins in just two days at the Rantoul airport. . Event Spokesperson JC Reitmeir says something new is coming to this year’s show...



Half Century of Progress Spokesperson JC Reitmeir.  WPXN will be broadcasting live over the noon hour on Thursday to help kick off the event.



(Beloit-jc)  -- The Rantoul based Raminator Monster Truck team continues to make appearances around the area and nation. On Friday the group will be in Southern Wisconsin. The event is hosted by Bryden Motors in Beloit from 10am until 3pm on Friday.


(Fisher--jc)  A business in Fisher has the go-ahead to build a laundromat with a separate gaming room. The local board voted to give the proper liquor license to the local business owner. The business will be located next to the Ingolds grocery store in downtown Fisher. 


(Paxton-jm) -- Those wanting to receive medical care after hours can now do so in Paxton. Gibson Area Hospital is announcing extended hours for the Paxton Clinic. The clinic will now take walk ins on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 6:30 pm.


(Paxton-jm) --  School does not start till early September in the Paxton Buckley Loda School district. One local bank is hosting a school supply collection day this week. The Frederick Community Bank in Paxton is collecting donations for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. The supply drive takes place on Friday from 11-2 at their drive up facility in Paxton.


(Urbana--jc)  Add the city of Urbana to the list of area communities to talk about legal marijuana sales. The city hosted a meeting last night on the subject. Urbana leaders contend the money side of  legal marijuana sales could bring several hundred thousand dollars into city coffers. Paxton, St Joseph, Gibson City, Rantoul and Monticello are other communities looking a local marijuana sales. Marijuana becomes legal to sell on January First in Illinois. 


(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law will expand banking opportunities for Illinoisans. Governor J-B Pritzker says one in five households does not use a bank. This law creates the “Bank on Illinois” Program, which will publish a list of appealing banking opportunities…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says many of the people that don’t use a bank are paying high fees to cash checks or are racking up a lot of interest with payday loans. Illinois is the first state in the country to implement this type of program statewide.


(Chicago--jc) A former Ford County attorney, and local circuit judge will be 

serving  the Illinois State Bar Association. Retired judge Steve Pacey of Paxton will serve on several committees for the state bar association. Pacey served the 11th circuit as judge from 1996 through December 20-13.



(Springfield--ba)-The Illinois Attorney General is expected to file a response to the Illinois State Rifle Association’s lawsuit challenging the state’s Gun Dealer Licensing Certification Act. The Illinois State Rifle Association is suing because the rules for the law that went into effect last month haven’t been filed. The case has a hearing Sept. 5. Illinois State Police say rules have been filed, but there’s a month’s long review process underway.



(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybeans improved a little as we hear in the weekly crop report. After a week of above average rain and temperatures, State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 55 percent of corn is now in the dough stage…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 89 percent of soybeans are blooming, and 67 percent are setting pods. 40 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture was considerably wetter this past week at 11 percent very short, 40 percent short, 47 percent adequate and two percent surplus.


(Springfield--ba)-Illinois’ community college system is among the worst of all 50 states in the nation, according to a new analysis. Consumer finance website WalletHub ranked Illinois’ community college system No. 40 overall, and that’s even with eight states, such as Alaska and Indiana, not being ranked because of a lack of data. The state rankings were based off rankings of individual community college systems within each state.

Governor Pritzker Signs 49 Bills into Law

(Springfield--jc)  -- Governor J.B. Pritzker announced late Friday that he signed 49 bills into law, including one that would allow graduate students to unionize. Among the bills the governor signed was House Bill 252, which would allow public research assistants, graduate assistants and teaching assistants to unionize. That law goes into effect January  1. Another bill signed Friday, House Bill 3503, requires insurance companies to offer plans and options to cover hearing aid instruments. 


(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul veteran will be making a trip to Washington D.C. tomorrow as part of the Honor Flight. Alfred Lientz served in the Navy during the Korean Conflict. Lientz and 92 others will depart tomorrow morning from the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield for the nation’s capital. To nominate someone for an honor flight visit Land of Lincoln Honor Flight dot org.


(Undated-jm) -- University of Illinois college students will be making their return to campus this week and Illinois State Police are reminding everyone to slow down. District 10 troopers  issued several citations over the weekend for speeding. They say there will be an increase in troopers on area interstates and highways this week. And with students returning to the University of Illinois this week, campus and Urbana and Champaign Police are warning motorists of increased traffic and traffic changes. Illinois Street between Goodwin and Lincoln will be one way as will Nevada Street, Peabody Drive between 1st and 4th Streets, on Tuesday and Thursday. Maryland Drive and 1st Street will be one way on Thursday.


(Champaign--jc)  -- It’s officially dry in a large portion of East Central Illinois. Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Kevin Grady says the drought monitor puts areas around Champaign is in drought condition…



Illinois Water Survey-Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady



(Gibson City-jm) -- The chief clinical officer and chief operating officer of an area hospital is being recognized. Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services is announcing Robin Rose has been named the 2019 Illinois Rural Health Association’s administrator of the year. According to the organization, the award is presented to a healthcare administrator who has made an outstanding contribution of major significance to rural health in Illinois.


(Springfield--jc)  The recent ag disaster declaration by the U-S-D-A means getting the information and dollars lost amount calculated. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the process continues…


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Cullom--jc)  -- Tri Point School leaders are expected to approve the annual contract for the districts athletic trainers when they meet tonight in monthly session.  School board members will look to set meeting dates for the districts crisis committee and deal with the annual budget The Tri Point School board meets at 6-45 in Kempton.



(Cissna Park--jc)  The three day Old Settlers Celebration in Cissna Park was another huge success. Cissna Park resident Gail Redeker was the winner of a brand new 20-19 Ford vehicle. Old Settlers is sponsored by Cissna Park American Legion Post 527.


(Washington--ba) Researchers have begun work that will eventually lead to a national seed bank for hemp. From where will the material for the bank come? USDA’s Gary Crawford reports.



(Champaign--jc) --  A property accident with no injuries was reported on Saturday in Champaign County. Police say the accident happened around mile marker 226 just after 3 on Saturday morning. The left lane was closed for several hours.


(McLean County--jc)  A McLean County jury has found a former U-S Cellular Coliseum executive guilty  of theft. The three day jury trial for Curtis Webb concluded Friday morning in Bloomington. Webb was found guilty of stealing money from the U-S- Cellular Coliseum. Sentencing is set for 1-30pm on October 28th in McLean County court in Bloomington.


(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to a vehicle fire late Saturday morning. Firefighters were called to the fire on I-57 at the Paxton exit around 11:30 am. No word on if there were any injuries.



(Springfield-jc)  -- Final attendance numbers are not in yet, but the 2019 Illinois State Fair was a success. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says vendor sales were up…



Illinois State Manager Kevin Gordon.

Gordon says promotions, contests and record concert ticket sales were factors in the successful run of the fair.


MARION, Ill. (AP) — A smoking ban at Department of Veterans Affairs' health care facilities will take effect later this year. The smoke-free policy that begins Oct. 1 applies to patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors, and it prohibits cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vape pens and e-cigarettes. The VA has permitted smoking in designated areas. Spokesman Kevin Harris says the change is taking place amid growing evidence that smoking, as well as second hand and third-hand smoke, is a health and safety risk



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The 20-19 Half Century of Progress Show is set to begin on Thursday at the Rantoul airport. The event features 4 days of everything agriculture and is the precursor to the Farm Progress show in Decatur. The event is more than field demonstrations and static displays. There are food vendors, parades, a tractor drive and more. Event Spokesperson JC Reitmeir says a kiddie tractor pull takes place on Saturday at 2pm…



Half Century of Progress Spokesperson JC Reitmeir.



MARKHAM, Ill. (AP) — Four female police officers in the Chicago suburb of Markham allege gender discrimination in complaints filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The (Tinley Park) Daily Southtown reports the complaints follow Terry White's promotion to chief of police last year and were filed between February and May. White declined the newspaper's questions about the allegations, as did Mayor Roger Agpawa. They released a statement saying the matter will be "resolved through the proper channels."


(Bloomington--jc)  Leaders in the Illinois Republican party continue to look at the future to rebuild office holders in the state, region and local area. 53rd district State Senator Jason Barickman says the re growth of the party starts with grass root efforts…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman- Republican Bloomington



(Gibson City-jm) -- More jobs are coming to Gibson City. Alamo Group Inc, announced they recently acquired the Dixie Chopper business from Textron Outdoor Power Equipment. It’s unknown how many new jobs will be created.


(Gilman--jc)  -- Iroquois West School board members will look at two F-F-A field trip requests when they meet in monthly session tonight in Gilman. Setting a budget hearing and looking at a request from the Slow Boys Tractor Club to use school property for a show on September 14th are also on the agenda. The meeting comes to order at 7 tonight at the high school



(Springfield--ba) Illinois finished ninth in a ranking by the website 24/7 Wall St. of identity theft rates across the nation. Identity theft complaints per 100,000 people in Illinois numbered 127. The median loss for all types of identity-theft fraud in the state is $300, with total losses coming in at $30,492,718 last year. The share of identity theft in the state involving credit cards – the most common type of such fraud cases – is 37 percent.

Several Accidents on I-57 has ISP Reminding Motorists to Slow Down and Pay Attention in Construction Zones

DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A former central Illinois man has received two life prison sentences in the deaths of a man and woman. The bodies of Theodore Hill and Zarra Laws Strickland were discovered in a secluded area west of Danville, each with bullet wounds to the head. Glen T. Torres Jr. in April was found guilty of first-degree murder following a trial in Vermillion County Circuit Court. Torres was accused of shooting the 29-year-old Hill and the 28-year-old Strickland as they were riding in a car on Aug. 2, 2015.


(Champaign--jc)  A Semi driver failed to slow down in a construction zone along Interstate 57 in Champaign County on Thursday afternoon. Police say the semi struck a vehicle directly ahead of his vehicle and the accident caused a chain reaction to involve three additional vehicles. The accidents occurred in a construction area at mile marker 237 in Champaign County. No injuries were reported and the semi driver was cited for several violations.


(Springfield--ba)--There’s still plenty of time to enjoy all the food, free entertainment and more at the Illinois state fair in Springfield. Inside the fairgrounds…visitors will find everything from dancing dobermans to free fishing clinics. In the fair’s Thrillville area…Swifty swine pig racing runs several times a day.


(Rantoul--ba)  -- The Half Century of Progress farm show starts next Thursday at the Rantoul Municipal airport property. Event spokesperson JC Reitmeir says the amount of equipment at the  event is an amazing site....



Half Century of Progress farm show Spokesperson JC Reitmeir


(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton emergency personnel were called to an accident on I-57 Thursday evening. The accident occurred near mile marker 260, about a mile south of Paxton. No word on if there were any injuries.



(Springfield--ba)-Governor JB Pritzker is launching “Connect Illinois” …a 420 million dollar program to bring high-speed internet to all parts of the state. Governor Pritzker says the new broadband advisory council will be planning the broadband expansion…focusing on three areas: education, economic development and telemedicine.



Governor JB Pritzker 



(Springfield--ba)-An amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act signed by the governor this week prohibits employers from asking job candidates about salary history, a change that goes into effect at the end of next month and could make finding the most qualified applicant more difficult for small- to medium-sized businesses in Illinois. The head of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce called the new law burdensome to business owners. Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said the law won’t do much for job applicants and creates challenges for business owners.



(St. Joseph-jm) -- One area fire department has received a grant. The St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Department received a five thousand dollar grant from the Bayer Monsanto Grant Foundation. The department plans to use the money to purchase grain bin rescue equipment.



(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is giving farmers more time to pay crop insurance premiums without added interest added to the bills. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Paxton--jc)  -- The cookout at the Paxton IGA on Saturday will help raise money for the Melvin Men’s Christian Fellowship group. On the menu is ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and pop. The cookout runs from 10am until 2pm in the Paxton IGA parking lot.


(Crescent City-jm) -- The Crescent-Iroquois School District has a new superintendent and it's a familiar one to the area. Rod Grimsley was named superintendent this week during a special meeting. Grimsley retired from the Gifford Grade School District at the end of last school year.


(Undated--jc)  With nearly 7,000 units of local government, Illinois is taking some baby steps toward reducing that number with a goal of lowering property taxes in the process. Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker signed the legislation into law that would allow voters to approve of dissolving townships in McHenry County. The northern Illinois county is the first county to move to reduce the number of government entities. State Representative David McSweeney says that 7 thousand units of local government is too many and the new law with help consolidate that number


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Lottery is launching new online features to make playing more convenient. Thanks to a new state law, players can now buy single-draw tickets for lucky day lotto, pick three and pick four both online and through the lottery app says Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg…



Illinois Lottery Spokesperson Jason Schaumburg. 

Additionally, you can scan your instant tickets on the Illinois Lottery app to see if you’re a winner.


(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to six years in prison for selling drugs. 22-year-old Rayvonn Simpson pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver after police found him with ecstasy and cocaine. Also found was a gun and several hundred rounds of ammunition. In return for his guilty plea, charges of being an armed habitual offender, unlawful use of weapons by a felon and possession of cocaine were dismissed. 



(Pesotum--jc)  -- A Minnesota family received only minor injuries in a one car mishap on Interstate 57 Thursday afternoon. Police say that 49 year old Lindy Birch of Cambridge Minnesota was going south on the interstate near Pesotum when some metal in the roadway struck the vehicle. Birch had minor injuries


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Ford County Crimestoppers is seeking information about a burglary at a Gibson City business.. A burglary at Bradbury Auto Sales was reported on Monday morning The business is located on 8th Street in Gibson City. Several items were taken from the business. An Illinois State Police Crime Scene unit helped in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- One Ford County city is preparing for fall garage sales. Gibson City’s town wide fall garages sales take place Thursday September 5th through Saturday September 7th. Those interested in being placed in the garage sales flyer are asked to contact the Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce office by August 31st.



(Ludlow-jm) -- The site of a former church in Ludlow could be getting new life. Trustees of the former Ludlow Christian Church are proposing giving the land to the village to be turned into a park. The church closed several years ago.


(Thomasboro-jm) -- The village of Thomasboro may be expanding. An out-of-state company has approached the village about annexing a parcel of land on the northeast corner of Route 45 and Flatville Road that the company intends to build on. Village leaders will continue discussions at the next meeting.


(Washington-jm) -- USDA's latest look at the value of agricultural lands reveals a year-over-year rise in average value. Rod Bain reports…



(Rankin--jc)  -- Local residents Don and Diane Rasmus were family representatives to designate  a rural Rankin farm as a Centennial Farm. The award was handed out at the Illinois State Fair Ag Day. The rural Rankin farm is owned by Don and James Rasmus, Joyce Carlson and Robert Sprehe. A sign and certificate will be placed at the farm


(Cissna Park-jc)  Today is day two of the 20-19 Old Settlers celebration in Cissna Park. On the stage tonight at 8 on the main stage is the popular local band Back Paiges. The annual parade is set for noon on Saturday. Someone will win a 20-19 Ford car tomorrow night. WPXN will be broadcasting live during the parade on Saturday with Becky Puetz. It’s summer fun tour stop 16.


Governor JB Pritzker Signed Legislation to Expand Insurance Coverage for Life Saving Treatments.

KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A 30-year prison sentence has been handed a northern Illinois man who pleaded guilty to setting a fire that killed two boys. In pleading guilty earlier this year, 65-year-old Alex Sawyer said he was upset a landlord didn't return his security deposit when he set the April 13, 2016 fire in Kankakee that killed brothers 4-year-old Justice Stewart and 2-year-old JuShaun Watson. Sawyer must serve 100 percent of the sentence Kankakee County Circuit Judge Kathy Bradshaw-Elliott handed down Wednesday.


CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys general in 13 states, including Illinois, have filed a lawsuit challenging a Trump administration rule that'll allow immigration officials to deny green cards to migrants who use public assistance, including food stamps or housing vouchers. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal court.


(Pontiac--jc)  106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is helping with a Senior Health Fair in Pontiac this morning. The event  is set for 9am to 11am at the Pontiac Rec Center…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City

The event is in partnership with the Pontiac Parks and Recreation Department


(Springfield--ba)  --Governor JB Pritzker is signing legislation to expand insurance coverage for life saving treatments. One new law requires insurance companies to cover office visits and treatment for tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. The second requires coverage of epi-pens for children with severe allergies. The cost of the pens has risen by more than 400 percent over the last decade says Governor Pritzker.



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Gibson City--jc)  -- It’s time to cruise in Gibson City on Friday night. The monthly car cruise steps off at 6pm and runs through 10pm in the downtown area of the city. Organizers invite car enthusiasts to cruise and also area residents to park their cars and enjoy the monthly summer-time cruise. Dan Kearfott and his musical friends will perform. A cookout at the Gibson City American Legion, Queen of Hearts raffle and shaved ice and ice cream will also be available.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A Ford County youth won first place in the 8 to 10 year division in the Illinois Cream of the Crop photo contest. Paxton resident  Payton Luebchow won the contest with the picture called, “A Day’s Work”. Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs hosted a reception in the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s tent at the state fairgrounds to honor Luebchow and the other two first-place winners of the contest: Austin Kammeyer of Manito, who won first place in the 11-14 age division, and Tanner Mickey of Taylorville, who won first place in the 15-18 age division. 


(Ogden--jc)  Three vehicles with Champaign County residents were involved in a four car accident along Interstate 74 near Ogden on Wednesday morning. Police say a black vehicle with driver unknown, cut off a second vehicle while entering a construction zone causing the remaining 3 vehicles to crash at the site. Several injuries were reported, all with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the black vehicle left the scene State Police say they are investigating the accident. The east-bound lanes were closed for several hours this morning as crews worked to clean up the accident scene.


(Watseka--jc)  It’s National Immunization Awareness month. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story..




ALTON, Ill. (AP) — A marker will be placed at a site in southern Illinois where the state's first soybeans were planted. Officials of the Illinois State Historical Society and others will be present when the marker is dedicated Aug. 23 in Alton. Dr. Benjamin Franklin Edwards traveled to San Francisco in 1849, where he helped shipwreck survivors from Japan. They reportedly showed Edwards their appreciation with a gift of "Japanese Peas." A friend of Edwards later planted the beans in his home garden.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Nearly every politician in Illinois wants to lower local property taxes, but a representative for school boards said sending more unfunded mandates to local districts that are largely funded through property taxes makes that goal harder to reach. As school bells ring for the first time, school boards know they must begin to prepare for a number of new requirements coming in the new school year, including a  higher minimum salary for teachers and statewide curriculum mandates for new civic education classes, lessons on the history of Illinois, L-G-B-T history and more. Ben Schwarm, deputy executive director at the Illinois Association of School Boards, said lawmakers consistently express support for lower property taxes, yet continue to send school districts mandates that will require adding staff or higher costs. 



(Ford County--ba)-- Ford County residents have until tomorrow to pay the first installment of property taxes. Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker says the time is now…



Shoemaker says the 2nd installment date is also coming soon...



Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois State Fair Grandstand concerts are bringing in more money than ever before. The concert series is proving to be a popular lineup this year, bringing in nearly two million, one hundred thousand dollars so far. Only about one thousand concert tickets need to be sold to break that record as well. Upcoming concerts include Old Dominion, Snoop Dogg and Shinedown. 


(Springfield-jm) -- The State Department of Public Health is confirming the presence of a rare tick-borne virus in Illinois. The Heartland Virus first popped up last year when a person in Kankakee County tested positive, and now ticks from that area appear to be carrying the virus. Public Health’s Samantha Debosik (duh-boe-sick) says if you get bitten by a tick, you should watch for these symptoms…



Illinois Department of Public Health’s Samantha Debosik. Those infected usually have to be hospitalized but most fully recover. Debosik recommends wearing light-colored long clothing when walking near tall grasses and shrubs where ticks like to hang out. Bug spray is also a good idea.


(Gibson City--jc)  Gibson City Melvin Sibley School board members are expected to approve several upcoming school fieldtrips when they meet on Monday night. The first is for the G-C-M-S F-F-A to a Decatur event set for August 28th and the second is a 5th grade field trip to LayFayette Indiana on October 4th. Two donations to the G-C-M-S football program in the amount of 500 dollars and 4 thousand dollars will be accepted by the board. Approving the upcoming school year budget is also an agenda item. The board meets on Monday night at 6-15.


(Fisher--jc)  -- Fisher Village board members are set to meet on Monday to discuss a liquor license proposal. In updating our story from earlier this month,  one local businessman is proposing to open a laundromat business, but also use a portion of the building for a video-gaming in a separate part of the building. The licquor license would be a pour only facility. A hearing on the matter was held this summer. 



(Cissna Park--jc)  -- Today is the first of 3 days for the Olds Settlers Celebration in Cissna Park. Swyear Amusements is on the midway for the entire run of the local event. A talent Show hilites activities on the main stage at 7 tonight. The celebration is sponsored by the Cissna Park American Legion Post 527. There is always “plenty of shade and water” at the Old Settlers Celebration in Cissna Park. Someone will win a new Ford 2019 vehicle at the conclusion of the celebration on Saturday night.


Governor JB Pritzker Signed Legislation Expanding the State's Medical Marijuana Program.

(Springfield--ba) -- Governor JB Pritzker  signed legislation expanding the state’s medical marijuana program. One measure makes the pilot program permanent, and adds 11 new conditions like chronic pain, anorexia, migraines and autism to the list of those eligible for medical cannabis. Governor Pritzker says it’s important to provide relief to those suffering...



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker


(Undated--jc)  ---A federal court says Facebook users in Illinois can join a class-action lawsuit against the social media giant, potentially collecting thousands of dollars per account. A federal appellate court ruled unanimously Thursday that Illinois-based users who want to sue Facebook for allegedly breaking state law by collecting biometric data may do so as one large class-action lawsuit. Facebook told Forbes that it plans to appeal the ruling. Google had a similar case dismissed. The lawsuit alleges Facebook broke Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, which requires companies to ask to collect facial, fingerprint or other physical characteristic data and then explain how they plan to use the data.



(Paxton--jc)  -- It’s new to a business in Paxton. It’s a product featured on the T-V Show Shark Tank. It’s backed by businessman Mark Cuban. The Vortex Vault Bed raised to a height of nearly 5 feet, the safe room has been approved by the Texas Tech Wind Institute to withstand an E-F-5 tornado. Illinois Distributor Jim Allen says the safe room is available at 3 sizes….



Illinois Distributor for the Vortex Vault Bed Jim Allen

 A sample of the Vortex Vault Bed may be seen at Paxton Hardware and Rental in Paxton.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- Some Scammers are using  a local police number Rantoul Police say they received several calls on Tuesday about spoofing the local number. Residents have told the local police department they received a call, allegedly coming from the police department. The scammer tells the person on the phone they have an outstanding warrant and to provide a social security number. Rantoul Police say if you receive this type of call, hang up. Do not provide any personal information.


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — An FBI agent testified the accused Illinois militia leader charged with organizing the bombing of a Minnesota mosque kept a cache of guns, including assault rifles that were altered to be fully automatic. The latest is the case against 48 year old Michael Hari of Clarence was a pre trial hearing. The Star Tribune says, special agent Joel Smith said he found four shotguns and four rifles with serial numbers scratched off in a duffel bag tied to 48-year-old Michael Hari at the home of the defendant's friend in Clarence in February 2018. Federal prosecutors  allege Hari and two others drove from Clarence to bomb a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, in hopes of scaring Muslims into leaving the U.S. No one was injured in the attack two years ago at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. Hari has pleaded not guilty.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Many public employees are now required to disclose the number of sick days they plan of cashing out in their final years before retirement. It’s , a move that could help public employers better plan for pension costs. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law.The measure immediately requires any non-union worker who plans to collect a pension via the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund to tell the public body they work for how many sick days they’re holding. 


(Champaign--jc)  Police in Champaign are investigating a shooting along Crescent Street near Centennial High School. The incident happened around 10 last night. 

One person was taken to a local hospital. No other information was available.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health says a Chicago resident in his 70s is the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in the state this year. It said Tuesday the man became ill in late July. The department says 74 counties in Illinois last year reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird, horse, or a human case. It reported 176 human cases, including 17 deaths.


URBANA, Illinois –Eastern Illinois Foodbank and Eastern Illinois University are teaming up to offer new students at E-I-U a unique volunteer opportunity. On Saturday, approximately 60 new E-I-U students will travel to the foodbank warehouse as part of Prowl, EIU’s new student orientation program.During the volunteer event, students will repackage bulk food into smaller portions that will be distributed to  food pantries and soup kitchens. The foodbank serves 18 counties in Central Illinois.


(Manteno--jc)--  Illinois State police say that Interstate 57  southbound lanes near Manteno were closed for several hours last night after a multi vehicle accident. The accidents happened around 2  on Tuesday afternoon. The road was to re open after the vehicles were cleared from the Interstate. 



(Champaign--ba) -- Champaign County R-C Club’s annual Large Scale plane Fly-In on Saturday, August 24 9am to 5pm and Sunday, August 25, 9am to 1pm. R/C planes will be performing various stunts, and the flying field is located at 3616 West  Bloomington Road in Champaign.


(Paxton--jc)  An ordinance concerning a local tax on recreational marijuana purchases made in Paxton is on hold. City council members will continue to look for more input on the issue. City leaders may address a 3 percent sales tax in September. Recreational use of marijuana will become legal on January First in Illinois. Sales tax sign up dates and other state issues remain on the topic of legal marijuana sales. Severa other towns and cities that are looking at legal marijuana sales include Gibson City, St Joseph, Rantoul and Monticello. El Paso and Morton have voted down marijuana sales in their two cities. 


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A consultant has determined that a casino in Chicago would not be profitable enough. The study by Union Gaming Analytics released Tuesday concludes that Illinois casino tax and fee structures are too "onerous" to allow a developer to make more than 1% or 2% profit.. Under Illinois law, a casino operator must pay a $250,000 application fee, a $15 million "reconciliation" fee when the license is issued and gambling position fees. Other state casinos are being planned, including one in Danville in Vermilion County.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois farmers want a trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They also want to use an agreement as a bridge to get past the 2020 election and the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China. During Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair on Tuesday, Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert said farmers have been patient during the ongoing trade disputes lead by President Donald Trump, but their patience is wearing thin. Guebert saysChina has got the willingness and the ability to push things off until after next November’s presidential election period.



(Washington--jc)  -- What information can we gain from the crop report from Monday afternoon. Gary Crawford has the story…




(Paxton--jc)  Paxton Buckley Loda School board members are expected to put the new fiscal year budget on display when they meet tonight in monthly session. Awarding contracts for electric and gas and also purchase a van for the local school district. Setting staff orientation and opening day agendas is also on tonight’s agenda. The Paxton Buckley Loda School board meets at 6 tonight in Paxton.


(Rankin--jc)  -- A presentation concerning a marijuana cafe and dispensary was held in Rankin last night. Rankin resident Davian Kayne Michael Emling, is considering locating his proposed cannabis cafe, bakery and dispensary Some attending were in favor of the project, others cited some concerns. . Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on January First. The issue moves to the local Rankin board. They are expected to deal with the issue at some future meetings.



(Paxton--ba) Two area residents were part of the Illinois State Fair Sale of Champions on Tuesday evening. They included the Grand Champion Poultry Meat Pen, owned by Faith Foster of Paxton. The Grand Champion Meat Goat and Land of Lincoln Grand Champion Steer were animal projects of Tara Hummel of Cabery. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker was outbid by his wife for the Grand Champion Steer, owned by Cole Caldwell of Elmood…



Illinois Governor JB Pritker.


Faith Foster of rural Paxton  talks about her experience in this competition.



 Faith Foster of rural Paxton

Fosters chickens sold for 5 thousand dollars.


(Cissna Park--jc)  The initial day of a three day event in Cissna Park starts on Thursday. On the stage Thursday night at 7 is a talent show. The three day event also features Sywear Amusements on the midway and someone will win a 20-19 Ford vehicle on Saturday evening. The annual Old Settlers Reunion is sponsored by the Cissna Park American Legion Post 527.



(Mahomet--jc)  The Mahomet Seymour school board finance committee is set to meet tomorrow afternoon. Topics include long term debt planning and budget issues. The Mahomet Seymour School Finance committee meets at 2 on Thursday afternoon. 


(Fairbury--jc)  -- Today at the Fairbury Fair is a country music show featuring JoDee Messina. The opening act is Kelsey Hickman. General admission tickets are 20 dollars and the V-I-P Zone is 30 dollars. The first act goes on stage at 6-30 with Messina taking the stage at 8pm The Fairbury Fair starts today and runs through Sunday.


U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is Pushing to Abolish the Federal Death Penalty

(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is in the process of implementing the largest infrastructure plan in the state’s history.The specifics of the plan were left largely obscured until Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted it. Now that details have been released, infrastructure experts have pointed to areas where taxpayers should be aware of potential extra costs. The breakdown of costs released in June by the governor’s office showed three-quarters of the total funds, more than $33 billion, would go to roads and bridges. The rest is devoted to “vertical” infrastructure, a broader range of projects such as improvements to schools and local government structures. Some of the vertical projects have been criticized as unnecessary. Critics have said the state’s fiscal condition should be addressed before building pickleball courts.



(Paxton--jc)  -- Fundraising for the Paxton Grand Ole Flag project is progressing nicely. Spokesperson Denny Kingren says fundraising started two months ago and the group is about half way to the goal…



Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren of Paxton. The group has a target date of 20-20 Flag Day June 14th to have the 30 by 60 foot flag up on a 150 foot pole on Paxton’s west side near Interstate 57.


(St. Joseph--ba) Approving the 20-20 tentative budget is one topic for discussion for the  St. Joseph Community School District tonight. The school board is expected to move a permanent transfer of $728,000 from the education fund to the working cash fund. The meeting comes to order in the grade school conference room at 6-30 tonight.



(Gifford--jc) --  St Paul’s Church of Gifford is sponsor  a food distribution event on Saturday in Rantoul.  The site is the Community Service Center in the village.  The food will be handed out starting at 9 Saturday morning. Low-income residents of Champaign County are eligible to participate.



(Springfield--ba)  -- Veterans were honored at the state fair with special ceremonies and with a parade. Illinois Emergency Management Agency Acting Director and retired Brigadier General Alicia Tate Nadeau spoke to the crowd and looked to the future.



I-EMA Acting Director Brigadier General Alicia Tate Nadeau


(Paxton--jc)  -- Some building maintenance to the E-M-S building in downtown Paxton is a topic for local leaders when they meet tonight in monthly session. Paxton City council members are also expected to approve closing portions of streets around the Eastland School property as that property will be torn down this month. A discussion and look at an ordinance for the selling of recreational marijuana is also set for tonight. The Paxton City Council meets at 7 tonight on the second floor of city hall


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A newly released study says if Asian carp reach Lake Michigan, they probably would find enough food to spread farther. The invasive fish have infested the Mississippi River and dozens of tributaries. Some experts have questioned whether there's enough plankton in Lake Michigan to sustain the fish away from the shoreline. The lake has seen a drop-off in plankton. But a report released Monday by University of Michigan scientists says the carp could feed on other organic material.



(Springfield--ba) -- They were hog-callers and husband callers at the state fair. There were also two repeat winners. The first is Petersburg resident Shirley Flickinger…



Shirley Flickinger of Petersburg

Vermilion County resident Andrew Metheny of Georgetown also had the winning call…


Georgetown’s Andrew Metheny

The Illinois state fair runs through Sunday in Springfield


(Undated--jc)  -- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is pushing to abolish the federal death penalty after President Donald Trump’s administration announced it will be resuming executions again for the first time since 2003. Durbin’s bill would “prohibit the imposition of the death penalty for any violation of Federal law, and for other purposes.Illinois eliminated the death penalty eight years ago.


(Undated--jc) Several area communities continue to look at the idea of a marijuana business operating locally.  They include, Paxton, Gibson City, Rantoul St. Joseph and Monticello. Two communities have said no to the idea in their communities. The Pantagraph says El Paso and Morton have voted not to pursue marijuana sales. The recreational use of marijuana becomes legal on January First. 


(Washington--ba) How does USDA's August crop production forecast - including recent survey data from corn and soybean growers compare to what trade analysts were expecting from this month's reports  Rod Bain reports...



BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Forecasters are warning of dangerously hot weather across a wide stretch of the U.S. South and Midwest. The National Weather Service says parts of 13 states are under heat advisories, from Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the South to Missouri and Illinois in the Midwest. Monday temperatures in the 90s combined with humidity  made it feel like 110 degrees across much of the region, and the heat index could reach 115 degrees in parts of the Deep South.


(Rantoul--ba) The annual Luke Remington Cancer Walk is set for September at Rantoul Township High School Event Spokesperson Sue Sawyer says the event provides fun and fellowship for those participating....



Luke Remington Cancer Walk Spokesperson Sue Sawyer 


(Springfield--jc)  106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is set to serve on an Illinois House committee to look at property tax issues in Illinois. Bennett says finding solutions to high property taxes is a key for growth in the state…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City


(Springfield--jc) --  There was plenty of time for fieldwork as we hear in the weekly crop report. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 93 percent of corn is now silking…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener

80 percent of soybeans are blooming and 49 percent are setting pods.


(St Joseph--jc)  -- St Joseph village leaders are looking into an Oslad grant for use by the village when they meet tonight. Council members will discuss audit services and are looking to hire Hap Industries for Christmas decoration. The St Joseph monthly meeting comes to order at 7 tonight.


(Gibson City--jc)  A railroad crossing project in Gibson City will take about a week to complete. The Northfolk Southern Railroad crossing at the intersections of Illinois 9, Illinois 47 and Illinois 54 will close for a week beginning next monday. The crossing is set to be rebuilt. Motorists can expect delays during the reconstruction project.  In updating our story from yesterday, the railroad is set to do a similar project starting next Monday in McLean.


High Dive Show Back at the State Fair

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — High damage costs from devastating floods are prompting more states to take a long-term look at ways to guard against future floods. An Associated Press analysis of preliminary assessments has identified about $1.2 billion of damage to roads, buildings and other infrastructure from storms and floods in the first half of 2019. Some states are studying ways to shore up their levee systems while also directing more money toward flood protection.


(Bloomington--jc) The second college admission scandal has elected state leaders wondering how to legislate the issue. A report by ProPublica highlighted a practice by which Illinois parents exploit a legal loophole, ceding guardianship of their children during high school, often to a friend or family member. Reaction from local State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington…



State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  -- The high dive show is back at the Illinois State Fair this year. Updating our story from Saturday, the high divers have been gone for a few years. This year they are back in the middle of the fairgrounds says Watershow Production Director Dana Kunze…



Watershow Production Director Dana Kunze

The shows go on each four times between 1pm and 8pm The Illinois State Fair continues through August 18th.


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Board of Education is offering free activity guides at the Illinois State Fair. The Lieutenant Governor’s tent on Main street has the free guides says I-S-B-E Spokesperson Angelique Hamilton…



I-S-B-E Spokesperson Angelique Hamilton



(Gibson City--jc)  -- A Gibson City man built it and a Paxton man helped seal it. A picnic table built by Wayne Link of Gibson City and finished by Larry Carter of Paxton is set to be delivered to the V-A in Danville. The table was part of a fundraiser for the 7th annual Mid-Summer Fun Run sponsored by the Ford County Old Times and Gibson City American Legion. The table also features signatures  from the group.


(Springfield--jc) The Grand Champion Poultry at this year’s Illinois State Fair is a project from rural Paxton. Faith Foster of Paxton  is the owner of the project that finished tops at the state fair. Congratulations to Faith Foster and the winning poultry project.


(Rankin--jc)  A public meeting on a proposed marijuana business near Rankin is set for tomorrow night in the Vermilion County town. The hearing takes place at 6-30 Tuesday night at the Rankin Lion’s Club building. Rankin resident,  Daiven Kayne Michael Emling, is considering locating his proposed cannabis cafe, bakery and dispensary. Emling plans to outlay plans for his operation on Tuesday night. Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on January First.



(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are set to meet on tonight and considered several special licenses for the Fall Harvest Fest event. They include licenses for the American Legion, Burgers and Beer,  and Railside Golf course. Council members will also hear an insurance proposal from P-M-A District Manager Scott Knapp. A purchase of a new police vehicle is also on the agenda. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 tonight.



CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Illinois has launched a two-year study and is offering free soil tests to home gardeners and urban farmers across the Chicago area.It's called the Chicago Safe Soils Initiative . Professor Andrew Margenot is the leader of the project and he says that cities can often be "hotspots" for heavy metals like lead.



(Paxton--jc)  Add the Paxton Evangelical Covenant Church to the list of  recipients for the Paxton I-G-A’s charitable rebate program. The local church received a 1 thousand dollar check on Friday. The local group presented the Paxton I-G-A with 200 thousand dollars in grocery receipts.


PRAIRIE DU ROCHER, Ill. (AP) — The fate of a Mississippi River levee that's awaiting a federal accreditation decision could put a southern Illinois village at risk of flooding. Village President Ray Cole says if the levee in Prairie du Rocher loses FEMA recognition, homeowners' flood insurance premiums could spike by double digits from about $400 a year. The Southern Illinoisan reports that a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found the levee needs millions of dollars in upgrades to meet FEMA regulations on seepage.


CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Republican Party's chairman is urging President Donald Trump not to follow through on the idea he broached of freeing imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Tim Schneider said in a written statement Friday that officials found guilty should serve their full sentences, especially in a state where he says "corrupt, machine-style politics is still all too common." Trump said Wednesday he thought the seven years the Democrat Blagojevich has served so far for corruption was enough.


CHICAGO (AP) — Health officials say at least six young people were recently hospitalized in Illinois after experiencing severe breathing problems possibly related to vaping. The Illinois Department of Public Health says the young people experienced symptoms that included chest pains, shortness of breath and vomiting. The Chicago Sun-Times reports those affected vaped days and weeks before their hospitalization.


(Bloomington--jc)  U-S Route 136 will be closed starting next Monday for about a week at a railroad crossing in McLean. The Union Pacific railroad is making improvements along the tracks. The work should take around 5 days to complete.




(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois is in the process of implementing the largest infrastructure plan in the state’s history.The specifics of the plan were left largely obscured until Governor J.B. Pritzker enacted it. Now that details have been released, infrastructure experts have pointed to areas where taxpayers should be aware of potential extra costs. The breakdown of costs released in June by the governor’s office showed three-quarters of the total funds, more than $33 billion, would go to “horizontal” infrastructure, mostly roads, bridges, mass transit, and similar projects. The rest is devoted to “vertical” infrastructure, a broader range of projects such as improvements to existing schools, government structures, and new projects. 



(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois State Fair Coliseum is now back in business. The 60 thousand square foot three story structure was built in 19-0h-1. The structure was repaired over the years, but was condemned in 20-16. Ag Deputy Director Warren Goesch says it is now the “Crown Jewel” of the fair…



Illinois Ag Deputy Director Warren Goesch



SAVOY, Ill. (AP) — The family of a Chinese scholar whose body was never recovered after her 2017 slaying gathered at a memorial service that included only her photograph and their own memories of her life. On Friday at a memorial service near the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign where Yingying Zhang attended school, her father spoke of a loving daughter who worked hard and would do anything to help her friends.


(Washington--jc)  -- Where are some of the global areas to be highlighted in USDA's latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Rod Bain reports…




(Paxton--jc)  One downtown Paxton business is set to close it’s brick-and-mortar store in the near future. The Central Lean store will close after 8 years in operation in the city. The announcement was made on the store’s facebook page.  No final date was provided. Company officials say the operation for product will continue with deliveries from the farm.



(Paxton--jc) the First Paxton Senior Fair was a success on Saturday. The event took place at Pells Park in Paxton. Around 25 vendors offered services, free giveaways to those attending the free event. More than 150 people came to the event at the pavilion on Saturday. 


President Trump May Free Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

CHICAGO (AP) — President Donald Trump has sent his clearest signal yet that he may be about to free former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich from a federal prison. The 62-year-old Democrat is seven years into a prison term for attempted extortion, bribery and other political corruption. Trump told reporters on Air Force One this week that he thought Blagojevich has been "treated unbelievably unfairly" and that he's sentence was too long. He added he's been thinking "very strongly" about commuting the sentence.


(Washington--jc) --  The U-S-D-A has declared all counties in Illinois disasters, citing historic flooding across the state this year. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…



CHICAGO (AP) — The Archdiocese of Chicago says the first Catholic priest to adopt a child is accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1974. The archdiocese said Thursday that Cardinal Blase Cupich asked Rev. George Clements to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation. The 87-year-old Clements is retired but still assists at area parishes. Chicago Police notified the archdiocese about the allegations. The archdiocese then notified prosecutors and child protective services.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a slew of bills into law this week. Some take effect immediately. One eliminates a basic skills test to streamline teacher licenses and allows public schools to pay student teachers. Another new law effective immediately allows public universities to sell surplus real estate to raise money for deferred maintenance and emergency repairs A third says that beginning next year, 12 year olds will be able to get services for S-T-Ds or substance use disorders. A 4th bill signed by the governor  establishes suicide prevention measures and training for police. 



(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County  Coroner Duane Northrup  released the name of a Broadlands woman who has died after being struck by a tractor-trailer semi on early Thursday morning. 33 year old Emily N. Ray, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:39 AM. as a result of blunt force injuries she received during the incident.  Ray was reportedly struck by a semi on I-74 eastbound near the Neil Street exit in Champaign. No autopsy will be performed however, 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. 



(Gibson City--jc) --   A hymn sing event is set for Sunday in Gibson City. the event begins at 3 Sunday afternoon at the United Methodist Church. Milt Kelly of FIsher is directing the festival and says the songs were chosen by area churches…



Gibson Area Music Foundation Hymn Festival Director Milt Kelly of Fisher



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School board members will be looking a policy language when they meet on Monday night in monthly session. Areas of discussion include investments, transportation  to the violence prevention program. The R-T-H-S board meets at 7 on Monday night at the high school.




(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA cookout on Saturday is Pork Chop Sandwiches, chips and pop. The money raised will benefit American Legion Post 568 Help Hometown Heroes. The cookout runs on Saturday from 10am until 2pm


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is questioning the constitutionality of the Trump administration's expansion of immigration agents' power to deport migrants without having them first appear before a judge. Raoul calls it "outrageous" in a statement Thursday and claims the expansion will lead to racial profiling.


(undated--jc)  --Some Illinois homebuyers may have to settle for previously-owned homes, according to a new report that shows fewer homes are being built in the state. The information from Construction-Coverage-dot-com found that Illinois had 17 new homes built per 10,000 people last year. That’s far below the national average of 41 new homes built per 10,000 people. Analyst Michael LaFirenza, who  wrote the report, said the state’s construction, acts as a sort of barometer for local economic health. Rhode Island and Connecticut had the lowest number of new homes being built, the highest was in the state of Idaho.



(Washington--jc)  --Topsoils in many farming areas are going through a major drying out process. Gary Crawford reports…




(Springfield--jc)  -- The federal Real I-D law has been around for more than a decade but has never been fully implemented, however, starting in October 1 next year, Illinois will be fully compliant with the federal law. After years of delays, the federal mandate for national I-D standards for people to board a plane or enter federal buildings will be fully implemented across the country. Illinois will be ready to comply by that deadline.


(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois House members are looking into a college financial aid scam. Members discussed on Thursday how to close a loophole that has let wealth parents transfer guardianship of their child do they could get financial assistance. Local Representative Carol Ammons of Champaign chaired that meeting…



State Representative Carol Ammons of Champaign.

State leaders are looking at ways to close the loophole and also make sure any changes do not make it harder to for students who need the aid.


(Gibson City--jc)  -- Gibson City leaders are set to meet on Monday night and considered several special licenses for the Fall Harvest Fest event. They include licenses for the American Legion, Burgers and Beer,  and Railside Golf course. Council members will also hear an insurance proposal from P-M-A District Manager Scott Knapp. A purchase of a new police vehicle is also on the agenda. The Gibson City Council meets at 7 on Monday night.



(Springfield--jc)  70 Illinois County Fair Queens and representatives from the state’s 105 fairs and expositions will be celebrating today on the second day of the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. It’s County Fairs and Horse Racing Day at the Illinois State Fair. Today is also the first day on harness racing at the fair’s one mile dirt track, which is the fastest in the world. The Illinois State Fair runs through August 18th.


(Forsyth--jc) Forsyth city leaders have passed an ordinance to ban marijuana sales in their city. The ban passed unanimously.  Urbana officials are on-board with the marijuana sales issue. Other area towns like Paxton, Rantoul, Gibson City, St Joseph and Monticello continue to seek public input. Decisions in those communities will continue over the next several months. Legalized recreational use of marijuana becomes legal on January First.



(Fisher--jc) Could a laundromat business and gaming facility be coming to the village of Fisher. Local leaders in the district held a public hearing on the issue yesterday. Several dozen people attended and the issue raised tempers at times. At question is a new liquor license and whether a laundromat and liquor and gaming go-together. Tax revenue for the village is another part of the equation. Fisher leaders say they will vote on the issue at a future meeting.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The annual “Back to School Day” takes place tomorrow at the Bethany Christian Church in Rantoul.  School age kids from Kindergarten through 8th grade, living in northern Champaign County, will be able to receive new shoes, socks, backpacks and other school supplies Some clothing will also be available. The church is located along Grove Avenue in the village. Students must be present to receive the shoes. Students in Rantoul, Gifford, Ludlow, Dewey and Thomasboro are eligible. Contact Community Service Center of Rantoul today for more information.



(Urbana--jc)   Walk-in interviews will be held for State Farm Center Event Staff later this month. The interviews take place on  August 26th-27th and 28th from 3:30-7:30 p.m. each day at State Farm Center. No appointments are necessary. Simply show up during the open interview time periods Casual dress is acceptable.


Public Hearing Set in Rankin to Hear About Marijuana Dispensary

URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The father of a slain Chinese scholar says his family understands they may never get to bring his daughter's missing remains back to China from Illinois. Ronggao Zhang told reporters in Urbana on Wednesday that he understands how difficult it would be to locate his daughter Yingying Zhang's remains if they are actually buried in an Illinois landfill, as her killer reportedly told his lawyers. Brendt Christensen was sentenced to life in prison last month for her 2017 kidnapping and killing.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Officials are showcasing one of the most popular attractions of the Illinois State Fair.The butter cow was unveiled Wednesday afternoon at the fairgrounds. The sculpture has been a part of the state fair for almost 100 years.This year's cow has been sculpted from 800 pounds of recycled butter. The cow stands near the word "Future" to incorporate the theme of the fair, which is "Building Our Future." The cow is on display at the Dairy Building


(Rankin--jc)  -- A public hearing is set in the village of Rankin on Tuesday to give the public an opportunity to discuss a proposed marijuana dispensary. That business would be located on a farm just north of Rankin in Vermilion County. The public hearing starts at 6-30 Tuesday night at the Rankin Lions Club building.


(Urbana--jc)   A University of Illinois Gies College of Business professor has calculated how much corruption in America costs the average corporation. The study found political corruption is associated with a $7.6 million reduction in an average firm's bottom line and acts like bribery “can readily become an unwritten rule of conducting business in certain areas within the U.S.”

An author of the report also said one-party rule often foments more opportunities for corruption.



(Watseka--jc) In updating our story from this week, Iroquois County Coroner Bill Cheatum identified the teen that was strangled on Monday in the village of Sheldon as Adara “Sissy” Bunn of Sheldon. Bunn was a student at Milford High School. Milford School leaders says grief counselors will be available to students from 8am until noon on Thursday and Friday for students and friends.  A Sheldon man is due back in court to face charges.  Police arrested 49 year old Arthur C. Jensen on Monday. He appeared in Iroquois County where his bond was set at 1 Million Dollars


(Washington--jc)  What are the Ag Trade numbers for the first 9 months of the fiscal year. U-S-D-A Trade Economist Kamron Daugherty has the details…


U-S-D-A Trade Economist Kamron Daugherty



(Buckley--jc)  -- The village of Buckley in Southern Iroquois County is seeking bids to remove 7 trees on village property. Those interested in the job are asked to call the village hall. Buckley Village leaders are expected to open the bids and award the contract at their meeting in September.


(Undated--jc)  --Fallen Illinois State Police Trooper Gerald Ellis is being remembered with an inscription on the wall of the Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation Memorial in Springfield.In March, Ellis was struck and killed near Green Oaks by a driver going down I-94 the wrong way.


(Lombard--jc)  --The county that served as the test case for local government consolidation in Illinois has continued to shed layers of government to save money for taxpayers. DuPage County, located in the western Chicago suburbs, announced that it had dissolved a seventh unit of government when a judge signed an order dissolving the Highland Hills Sanitary District last month. The district served 529 properties in and near Lombard, but was facing a large tax hike to pay for renovations. The dissolution means the county will pay for the repairs and provide water services while a nearby reclamation district will handle the rest.


(Springfield--jc)  Illinois Governor JB Pritzker continues to champion equal pay for all. The governor says the hiring process is to find the best person for the job…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker.

The governor signed a new law to help the hiring process at the end of July.


(Gibson City--jc)  It’s time to sing in Gibson City on Sunday. The Gibson Area Music Foundation is hosting the Hymn Festival at the United Methodist Church at 3 on Sunday afternoon. Milt Kelly of Fisher is the director of the event again this year. The public is encouraged to attend.


(Washington--jc)  The 20-19 growing season has not been a great one so far, but there have been far worse years. Gary Crawford reports…



(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Recreation Department  has been experiencing an outage with their Recreation Software. During this time, they are not able to register for activities or sell any memberships, also customers are not able to access their online accounts.  For the time being, Debit or Credit cards can not be accepted at the Hap Parker Aquatic Center.


(Hoopeston-jc)  Elvis is coming to Hoopeston later this month.  Elvis tribute artist Doug Church will be performing at the Historic Lorraine Theatre on Main street in the city on Saturday August 24th. . Tickets are 28 dollars. The money raised goes to the “Save the Lorraine” foundation. A free will dinner with Church is set for 5pm at the United Methodist Church.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Taxpayers are reminded that Friday, August 16th,  is the due date for the 1st installment of the 2018 payable 2019 real estate taxes. Taxes may be paid at the courthouse, drop box in front of the courthouse, any Ford County bank or by mail if postmarked by August 16th.


Ashkum, IL. – Illinois State Police District 21 Commander, Captain Don Aaron Harsy, announced on Wednesday,  activity and enforcement figures for July. Illinois State Police District 21 Troopers issued 520 citations, 884 written warnings, including 10 DUIs, 32 seatbelt citations, 23 criminal arrests. Troopers also assisted 192 motorists, conducted 242 Motor Carrier Inspections, and investigated 69 traffic crashes. There were no fatal crashes investigated by District 21 in July. 


(Cissna Park--jc)  The annual Cissna Park Old Settlers Reunion starts one week from today. A talent show helps kick off the three day event in the downtown park. Music, Swyear Amusements throughout the park, plenty of food and “shade and water” also hilite the event. Some one will also win a brand new 20-19 Chevrolet car on Saturday night. WPXN will be broadcasting live on Saturday August 17 at noon as part of our Summer Fun Tour.



One Million Dollar Bond Set for Sheldon Man Who Strangled Teen

(Watseka--jc)  An autopsy was performed at the Brian R. Mitchell Forensic Center in Kankakee County yesterday, on the 17 year old female located deceased inside the residence of 49 year old Arthur C. Jensen  of Sheldon Monday night. The teen was a student at Milford High School School officials say counselors will be available starting this week for those needing some help.  Iroquois County Sheriff’s police say preliminary autopsy results showed that the female died of Ligature Strangulation. Toxicology and other forensic tests will be performed by the Forensic lab of the Illinois State Police as the investigation continues. Jensen appeared in the Iroquois County Court in front of Judge James Kinzer Tuesday afternoon in Watseka.. Jensen’s bond was set at 1 Million dollars and a public defender was temporarily appointed. Jensen’s next court appearance is tomorrow afternoon at 1:30PM at the Iroquois County Courthouse in Watseka. WPXN news will continue to follow this story as more official news becomes available. .


NEW YORK (AP) — Pharmacy chain Walgreens plans to close 200 stores in the United States as it seeks to cut costs. The company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday the closings are part of its previously announced plan to trim costs by $1.5 billion in a few years. The Deerfield, Illinois-based company operates over 18,000 stores worldwide. 

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois state senator who was indicted last week on federal charges of taking more than a quarter million dollars in salary and benefits from the Teamsters while doing little or no work has been removed as chairman of the Illinois Senate's Labor Committee but he's still being allowed to sit on the committee. The Chicago Sun Times also reports that State Sen. Tom Cullerton was made chairman of the Senate's Veterans Affairs Committee by the senate president who's also his cousin.



(Gifford--jc)  A shed fire caused major damage at a structure in rural Gifford Tuesday morning. The blaze caused several thousand dollars damage. Two residents were not injured in the blaze. A hot tub is believed to the cause of the fire. Rantoul fire fighters assisted Gifford Fire with the incident.



(Buckley--jc)  -- It is now illegal in one local community to put grass clippings on the towns streets. The new ordinance was adopted for the village of Buckley in Southern Iroquois County. The new ordinance states that village leaders can impose fines for violators.


(Springfield--jc)  The Illinois State Fair starts tomorrow in Springfield. Ticket sales are on pace to break records for the grandstand lineup. The box office has been busy says State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon…



State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon. The state fair runs August 8th through the 18th in Springfield.



(Springfield--jc) --Some of the state’s leading politicians agreed that additional policies are needed to help prevent mass shootings, such as mental-health funding and passing red-flag laws, in the aftermath of shootings in Texas and Ohio.In the wake of the shootings, elected state and national officials are trying to find ways to curb the violence. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said there needs to be a focus on addressing mental health, poverty and substance abuse. As for restrictions on certain guns and gun parts, Pritzker said Illinois can only do so much.


(Springfield--jc)  -- See something, say something.That’s the message the Illinois Emergency Management Agency in the aftermath of mass shootings in parts of the country. I-EMA wants to raise awareness with public service announcements about the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement.



(Springfield--jc) It is the middle of Health Center’s  week. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker also signed into law a measure to eliminate the Medicaid application backlog…



Illinois Governor JB Pritzker



(Undated--jc)  --The Emergency Alert System will be conducting a test this afternoon, nationwide. The test will take place at 1-20 this afternoon. The test is in conjunction with the F-C-C.


(Springfield--jc)  --Illinois’ state parks are getting what the state’s chief steward of public lands said is some much-needed attention as part of the new capital construction plan. That total statewide construction bill will cost taxpayers $45 billion in increased taxes and fees over six years. The money will come from the state's gas tax – which was recently doubled – and increased driving fees, among other sources. With more 300 state parks in Illinois, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan said there has been a lot of deferred maintenance from over the years.



(GIbson City--jc)  In updating our story about the two John Deere dealerships in Ford County merging, the merger between A-H-W stores and Arends and Sons in Gibson City also means the property in Gibson City will close. The Record reports that the Gibson City operation will close on August 26th. The inventory will be put in A-H-W’s other 16 locations. All employees of Arends and Sons are being offered jobs with A-H-W.



(Washington--jc)  t's a rough year for corn and, in some cases, soybeans in several states.Gary Crawford reports…




(Vermilion County--jc)  A 19 year old woman was fatally injured in a two car mishap along Stateline road just past noon on Tuesday. State Police say the teen lost control of her vehicle and went through a T-Road and was struck by a southbound vehicle. Her name has not been released by authorities. No word was given on the two occupants from Covington Indiana in the second vehicle.



7am new

(Paxton--jc)  A Senior Fair is set for Pells Park in Paxton on Saturday.  Event Organizer Mike Evinger says the theme is “bringing seniors and business together”...



Paxton Senior Fair Event Organizer Mike Evinger.

The free event runs from 10am to 6pm on Saturday at the Pells Park pavilion. Around 25 different businesses will be participating during the event.


(Fisher--jc)  -- Fisher leaders are expected to approve a proposal for the Heritage Pond Lighting improvement project when they meet tomorrow night in monthly session.  Local leaders may also create a Class A liquor license authorizing the sale of alcohol for on-premise consumption. A change order for road work on 3rd street is also on the agenda. The Fisher Village board meets at 6 tomorrow night in the Community Center



(Gibson City--jc)  -- Those with the Gibson City Parks, Building and Technology committee will meet next week for a proposal. The committee will hear a presentation on the downtown WI-FI and Speaker System by M-C-S Technologies. The meeting takes place August 15th at 7pm at city hall.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Let the games begin. The new courts at Wabash Park will be ready for play by later today. The Rantoul Park District multi-use courts at Wabash park include tennis courts, volleyball courts and pickleball courts.


Corruption has Cost Illinois Taxpayers Nearly $10 Billion Since 2000

(Springfield--jc)  -- Corruption has cost Illinois taxpayers nearly $10 billion since 2000.That’s according to a new report from the Illinois Policy Institute.The group said corruption has contributed to the state’s economic slowdown and prevented the private sector from adding more than half a billion to the economy each year.


(Springfield--jc)  Before Illinois’ governor doubled the state’s gas tax last month, Illinois had the 21st highest taxes on motor fuel.The nonpartisan Tax Foundation now puts Illinois at No. 3, only behind Pennsylvania and California.


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A 29-year-old Springfield, Missouri  man is charged with three counts of second-degree murder after a crash killed three people. Andrew Lynch is jailed with no bond this morning after a wreck Saturday killed 41-year-old Jamin Seabert; 39-year-old Kimberly Seabert, both of Reeds Spring, and 19-year-old Braeden Seabert, of Watseka. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports Lynch hit a vehicle at a stop light in Springfield, then went through the intersection and hit the Seaberts' vehicle.


(Springfield--jc)  -- There’s been a lot of focus on opioid abuse in years.  The latest on a new report from the State Criminal Justice Information Authority show that methamphetamine is still a huge concern in Illinois.  Researcher Lauren Weisner says the most cases are in Central and Southern Illinois.,..



State Criminal Justice Information Authority Researcher Lauran Weisner



(Danville--jc)  -- Interstate 74 in Danville was slowed Monday morning due to a semi accident and fire. In updating our story, the exit to Bowman Avenue in Danville was closed for a time Monday as crews removed the semi from the roadway and ditch area. 


(Hoopeston--jc)  -- It’s time at the historic Lorraine Theatre  along Main Street in Hoopeston for another trivia night. The event takes place on Saturday August 17th starting at 6pm. The 15 dollar entry fee also includes a Pizza King Personal Pizza. Officials with the “Save the Lorraine” foundation are looking for 10 groups with up to 5 people in each group to participate. Some prizes will be provided  and some additional theatre snacks are available, Contact the theatre for more information


(Champaign--jc)  -- July was hot and dry, the month of August started out cooler, but still dry. Farmers need a rain. Some lawns and gardens too. What is the 6 to 10 day outlook for weather? Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady has the answer…



Illinois Water Survey Spokesperson Kevin Grady


DIXON SPRINGS, Ill. (AP) — After years of inattention due to a state budget standoff, parks around Illinois are seeing a flurry of maintenance activity. An indication of the sprucing up of Illinois' parks is the work done at the Dixon Springs State Park. The swimming pool in southern Illinois has received a new slide. The roughly $175,000 pool renovation project includes an upgrade to the chemical monitoring system. Site superintendent Chris McGinness says every picnic table in Dixon Springs will be redone by next summer.



(Paxton--jc)  -- 13 speeding tickets were handed out by the Ford County Sheriff’s office in July. In releasing the monthly report on Monday, sheriff’s officials say 29 traffic citations were handed out. Sheriff’s police also handled 10 non-criminal complaints, one aggravated battery, one unlawful use of a weapon, one possession of Meth and one theft. Ford County also received just under 33 thousand dollars for boarding fees and 600 dollars on a foreclosure sale during July.


(Springfield--jc)  -- A bipartisan group of Illinois state lawmakers joined Governor  J.B. Pritzker to celebrate the signing of a bill they say will save taxpayers money on Medicaid costs, one of the largest items in the state budget. The governor says Health care is a right for all, not a privilege. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1321. Pritzker touted the new budget that was enacted last month, which included $80 million more for Medicaid than the previous spending plan, an increase of 18 percent.


(Undated--jc)  --A promoter and the founder of Confederate Railroad tried to quell controversy and convince state officials that the country group wasn't political or racist, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker's administration canceled the band's performance at the DuQuoin State Fair the day before tickets went on sale, according to internal emails.The emails, obtained through the state's Freedom of Information Act, show how a single act at the smaller of Illinois' two state fairs quickly became national news that had the full attention of the governor's office. Weeks after the band was pulled from the lineup, Pritzker said the use of the Confederate Flag on the band's album cover isn't tolerated in Illinois because it is a symbol of hate. 


 (Washington--jc)  Corn silking is catching up with the five year average, but still behind schedule. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Half Century of Progress Show is coming to the Rantoul Airport area this month. Event Spokesperson J-C Reitmeir says you can expect to see 30 thousand spectators each day, around 4 thousand people also bring equipment, plus vendors too…



Half Century of Progress Event Spokesperson J-C- Reitmeir



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says he's thankful that the state has not suffered a mass shooting like those over the weekend _ without mentioning two major shootings with multiple deaths in the past decade. The Democrat was asked Monday in Chicago about the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which left a total of 31 dead. Pritzker said: "Thank God that it hasn't happened here." He added that officials must determine the best way to "to protect the people here


Champaign, Ill. – The State Farm Center announced today that The Head and The Heart will perform at State Farm Center on Saturday, September 14th.  The Head and The Heart are best known for their #1 singles “Lost in My Mind,” “All We Ever Knew,” and “Missed Connection.” Opening for them will be the rock band The Moondoggies. Tickets go on sale to the public Friday at 10 a.m.


(Farmer City--jc)  -- The Fabulous Farmer City Extravaganza is set for early September. The annual one day event takes place on Saturday September 8th starting at noon at the Farmer City raceway. A car, bike and truck show, motorcyle racing challenge and vendors hilite the event. Those interested in having a booth at the event are asked to call Bolt at 217-819-0581.


(Undated--jc)  State police in Pesotum and Ashkum remind the motoring public to slow down and move over as workers continue to mow along the state roads. Keep the workers safe as they complete their jobs. 


(Cissna Park--jc)  -- It’s the final show of the season at the Country Theatre Workshop in rural Cissna Park. The production of “The Hallelujah Girls” begins on August 15th. The show is about  a group of friends who realize that time is precious and want to live their lives to. the fullest. Then the fun begins. The shows run August 15th through August 25th. 7-30pm performances Thursday through Saturdays and a 2-30pm matinee on the two Sundays. Call the box office at 815-457-2626 for ticket information


Illinois Community Colleges Prepare for Teach Programs in Growing and Cultivation of Cannabis

When recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, it brings with it the potential for job creation in areas from breeding and cultivation to processing, marketing and retailing. The state’s community colleges want to prepare residents to do those jobs.“The law that recently passed the General Assembly and signed by the governor allows up to eight community colleges to establish a careers and cannabis certificate program, and that program allows students to be trained and the marijuana industry including the growing and cultivation of cannabis,” said Matt Berry, chief of staff of the Illinois Community College Board.


DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a measure aimed at helping more Illinois students receive federal financial aid to attend college. The new law makes completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid a requirement for graduation. The application is used by the federal government to determine whether a student is eligible for federal grants and loans.


DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Rapidly rising water levels in the Great Lakes are damaging shorelines and creating uncertainty for lakeshore residents. Duluth has dealt with three major storms on Lake Superior in less than two years, with total damage estimated at nearly $30 million. Duluth's construction project supervisor tells Minnesota Public Radio News high water levels are making the storms even more destructive. But higher lake levels benefit the shipping industry, since deeper water allows ships to carry more cargo.


(Springfield--jc)  --A task force to find property tax relief for Illinoisans who pay the second-highest property tax in the nation is expected to come up with a plan by the end of the year.Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Friday creating the Property Tax Relief Task Force. The governor said the bipartisan group will review the entirety of the state's property tax system, study best practices in other states and make short-term and long-term recommendations by the end of the year. Some Republicans have said that they are concerned the task force will be used to promote Pritzker’s proposed constitutional amendment to change the state's flat income tax to one with higher rates for higher earners. Democrats said lower property taxes are the goal.



(Washington--jc) Ag officials in Washington are working on accuracy. U-S-D-A leaders are working on making the drought monitor system more accurate and more detailed. Gary Crawford reports…



(Springfield--jc)  -- Some teens have experienced severe breathing problems after vaping. Illinois Public Health Department Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike (en-gozi)  (eh-zee-kay) says many people incorrectly assume vaping is a safe alternative to cigarettes...



Illinois Public Health Department Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike.


(Rantoul--jc)  -- The Rantoul Township High School board is set to meet in a special session tonight. On the agenda is to accept the fiscal year 20-20 budget, select a new board member to fill a vacancy and hire a health technician. The Rantoul Township High School board meeting comes to order at 7  at the high school. 


(Paxton--jc)  -- A Senior Fair is coming to Paxton on Saturday. The event takes place at Pells Park in Paxton from 10m  through 6pm. Organizer Mike Evinger says one reason for the free to attend event is to allow seniors in the Paxton area the chance to talk with dozens of businesses and groups in one area…



Paxton Senior Health Fair Organizer Mike Evinger


(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s Panther Regiment marching band did a preview of  their halftime show on Friday at Pells Park in Paxton The Panther Regiment will be led on the field by drum major Mallory Johnson. The first Paxton Buckley Loda football game is set for August 30th at Gibson City Melvin Sibley. The first home game is Friday September 6th against Georgetown RidgeFarm. You can hear all the PBL football games, here on WPXN.


(Champaign--jc) The weather numbers for July have been tabulated. Illinois water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady says July will be remembered as hot and dry…



Illinois Water Survey-Champaign Spokesperson Kevin Grady


(Paxton--jc)  -- Paxton City Alderwoman Susan Satterlee is chairing the next meeting by the city concerning any regulation of recreational marijuana business. The council’s license, permit and zoning committee will meet on week from today at 7pm to continue to look at the marijuana business issue. Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Illinois on January first. Mondays meeting takes place on the second floor of city hall 


(Springfield--jc)  - The Illinois State Board of Education is adopting new statewide learning standards for world languages, in hopes of giving students a more immersive experience. The updated standards guide teachers and students through 5 levels of proficiency says I-S-B-E Consultant Kim Johnson…



Illinois State Board of Education Consultant Kim Johnson



(Springfield--jc)  -- Illinois is unlikely to join the list of states that offer a “back-to-school” sales tax holiday.Sales tax holidays are periods when specific goods are exempted from state, and sometimes local, sales taxes. Many states schedule the events for August when “back-to-school” shopping largely takes place.Illinois held a one-time sales tax holiday back in 2010, but Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said it didn’t provide the boost some expected


(Gibson City--jc)  -- A hymnfest is set for Gibson City on Sunday. 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. The event will feature popular hymns and the stories behind them.


(Paxton--jc)  -- The school building project for the Paxton Buckley Loda School system is nearing completion as local school officials continue to prepare for the first day of school.  The Paxton Buckley Loda High School annual Pork Chop Kickoff is set for August 23rd at the high school in Paxton.



Piper City Celebrates it's 150 Anniversary this Weekend

(Oakwood--jc)  The second accident within one hour along Interstate 74 caused major traffic delays in the area and a fatality. Police say an accident in the westbound lanes near Oakwood slowed traffic just before 3 Thursday afternoon. Then as traffic was moving slowly, a semi struck the back end of another semi causing a crash, as one of the vehicles burst into flames. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours. Traffic was backed up for 4 miles as clean up crews arrived to clear the accident. WPXN news will update this story as more official news becomes available


(Undated--dg)  -- Piper City will be celebrating its 150th Anniversary today and tomorrow. Opening ceremony will be at 5 this 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.


(Paxton--jc)  -- Ford County Public Health Department Offering School Immunizations at the office in Paxton. Public school vaccinations are required for Kindergarten, 6th Grade and High School students. Health Department officials recommend that all children be vaccinated whether enrolled in public, private or home school settings. Available vaccinations include tetanus, diptheria to rubella, meningitis and chicken pox. The Ford County Public Health Department  offers Walk-In and Scheduled Vaccine Appointments. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact Ford County Public Health Department at (217)379-9281. 



(Paxton--jc) A Free Senior Fair is set for Saturday August 10th in the city of Paxton. Organizer Mike Evinger says those attending the event will get to talk with 25 vendors about services for senior citizens…



Paxton Senior Fair Organizer Mike Evinger

The event runs from 10am until 6pm at Pells Park in Paxton on Saturday August 10th. 



(Urbana--jc)  - It was the second day in a row where a bomb threat was made in Urbana. Champaign County authorities were called to Carle Hospital early Thursday with the threat. Police conducted an investigation. No bomb was found. Earlier this week a bomb threat was made at the Urbana Wal-Mart Store. That threat caused the store to be evacuated for about one hour. No bomb was found.


(Champaign--jc)  --In the latest U-S drought monitor, portions of western and central Illinois are considered abnormally dry. July also ushered in warmer weather. Average rainfall in the state was about 3 inches says Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner…



Illinois Water Survey in Champaign Spokesperson Brian Kerschner

The average temperature was just over 77 degrees.


(Bloomington--jc)  -- It’s day 3 of the McLean County Fair today. On the entertainment schedule tonight is the Natu Band followed by Chase Bryant at 8pm. On Saturday at the grounds in Bloomington it’s the annual Demolition Derby at 7pm. The McLean County Fair runs through Sunday


(Mahomet--jc)  -- The Mahomet Seymour School board has a special session meeting set for Monday afternoon.  A closed session discussing pending litigation is the agenda item. The meeting comes to order at 5-30 Monday afternoon at Middletown Prairie School.


(St Louis--jc)  --Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced that a new St. Louis Cardinals permanent Illinois license plate will be coming soon and available for purchase after Labor Day.  White says it’s a way to support your team…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White

The license plate, which features the Cardinals iconic ‘Birds on Bat’ logo, was unveiled by White at Busch Stadium prior to the Cardinals game last night.



(Paxton--jc)  -- On the menu at the Paxton IGA fundraiser cookout is ribeye steak sandwiches, chips and pop. Money raised from 10am until 2pm on Saturday goes to the Loda American Legion

(Springfield--jc)  --A taxpayer advocacy group is touring parts of Illinois highlighting what it said are lavish public sector pensions in an effort to spur change. Taxpayers United of America Founder and President Jim Tobin was in Champaign this week to highlight public pensioners making more than $1 million over the lifetime of their retirement. Statewide, the number of public pensioners getting six-figures a year has increased by more than 2,500. Tobin says this brings the new total to 22,053 retired government employees receiving over 100 thousand dollars per year


(Springfield--jc)  -- The Illinois State Fair opens next Thursday in Springfield. New promotions have been added to attract fairgoers. The goal is to boost attendance, especially by families during the weekdays. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon says they will have a big raffle Monday through Thursday at the fair, a daily treasure hunt and more..



Illinois State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon

Some other new items are 4 new carnival rides, racing pigs and Team Big Air. The fair runs August 8th through the 18th.


(Springfield--jc) -- The hot days of July are complete for the year and August weather is expected to be much of the same thing. Though it’s summer, Illinois Department of Transportation are looking to hire Winter Highway Maintainers and Snow Removal Operators in all 9 districts in the state. Those interested are asked to check out the employment page on I-Dots website


Updated from pm new

(Undated--jc)  --Illinois finished 33rd in a ranking by the website 24-7 Wall Street of relative purchasing power within each state.The value of a dollar in Illinois came in at One dollar-one-cent. Goods and services in relatively poorer states tend to be less expensive than in states that are home to large, wealthy metropolitan areas, according to the analysis .Each state’s dollar value was estimated by dividing 100  by estimates for regional price parity. The best value state is Mississippi and the worst value state is Hawaii.


(Rantoul-jc)  The Half Century of Progress Show is coming to Rantoul later this month. Event Spokesperson J C Reitmeir says a tractor drive helps kick of the event on Thursday August 22nd…



Half Century of Progress event Spokesperson JC Reitmeir

The event runs from Thursday August 22 through Sunday August 25th at the Rantoul Airport area


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois lawmakers say they will investigate the use of a loophole in the state's guardianship law that wealthy families took advantage of to qualify their children for college financial aid. Recent reports indicate some parents were transferring guardianship of their children to friends or relatives to make it appear they came from poorer backgrounds. Members of the Illinois House Higher Education Committee scheduled an Aug. 8 meeting to look into the practice.


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois will get about $382,000 of a national settlement following a computer security expert's whistleblower lawsuit against Cisco Systems Inc. James Glenn had reported security flaws in Cisco video surveillance software used at major U.S. airports and by federal agencies. According to the 2008 lawsuit he filed under the federal False Claims Act, Glenn lost his job instead of being rewarded.


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