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WPXN Blog Archives for 2019-11

A strong economy and low unemployment could help make this a record-setting holiday shopping season

(Undated-jm) -- A strong economy and low unemployment could help make this a record-setting holiday shopping season. The unofficial kickoff to holiday shopping started with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. It is expected to continue through Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, a day designated for giving back to nonprofit groups. The push for online shopping started around 14 years ago. The National Retail Federation coined the term "Cyber Monday." The National Retail Federation said it expects 68.7 million people to be online nationwide taking advantage of online deals Monday. Cyber Monday shopping is expected to be the second busiest day of the Thanksgiving holiday shopping kickoff. Black Friday is the busiest shopping day. The National Retail Federation expects online and other non-store sales to increase between 11 percent and 14 percent this year compared to last year. The total amount of money that will be spent on Monday is expected to be between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion. That's up from $146.5 billion last year.


(Paxton-jm) -- The opening night of the big light display at the Johnson house has been delayed. On their Lighting Up Paxton facebook page, the strong winds from Wednesday damaged some of the lights and with several chances of heavy rain this weekend, they have pushed the opening night to Monday.



(Urbana-jm) -- Two teens have been arrested for an attempted robbery on the University of Illinois campus. Jaiden Feller and Antonio Edwards are charged with aggravated battery. Campus police say they approached a student outside Illini Union. One of the men told the student he liked his backpack and began to pull it. The second suspect then struck the victim. Feller and Edwards ran from the scene empty handed.



(Washington-jm) -- Shoppers are expected to spend more money this holiday season. Gary Crawford reports…




(Undated-jm) -- Black Friday is known as the start of the holiday shopping season, but while you're looking inside stores for the best prices, a thief could be looking inside your vehicle for their own deal. Police say you should lock your doors to your car and put your valuables in the trunk.



(Springfield-jm) -- A poll of Illinois residents found many think Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s progressive income tax proposal will have a negative effect on the state’s businesses, leading to layoffs or relocation in response to the higher rates.  The Illinois Business Association, a nonprofit business advocacy group, commissioned a poll by Chicago-based Ogden & Fry asking Illinois residents about how businesses will fare under Pritzker’s proposed graduated income rates, which are dependent on voters passing a ballot initiative in 2020.  Of 615 randomly sampled likely 2020 General Election voters on Nov. 15, 68 percent agreed with the statement that “Businesses will cut jobs, or relocate jobs out of state, and Illinois’ economy will suffer” under the proposed rates rather than create more jobs to grow the state’s economy.  Fifty-seven percent said they didn’t trust Illinois politicians, saying they though lawmakers would raise rates in the future beyond what was initially proposed.


CHICAGO (AP) — A heart transplant recipient is recovering nicely thanks to his doctors and nurses. And two Illinois State Police troopers. In a news release, the state police says the troopers took the medical team to Chicago hospital after the vehicle they were transporting the heart in had a flat tire on an expressway.



ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Legal marijuana sales to adults are set to open in two Midwestern states. But regulators and industry leaders alike warn that consumers will likely see long lines, high prices and product shortages in the early months. Michigan sales can begin Sunday and Illinois follows a month later, bringing the total of states that broadly allow people over 21 to use marijuana to 11. Companies are rushing to complete renovations at dispensaries, expand growing facilities and hire employees.


(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office says a statewide sting to catch drivers abusing disability parking kicks off on Black Friday. This is the 13th year for the sting, which targets people parking illegally in disability spots at several Illinois shopping malls. Bill Bogdan is the Secretary of State Disability Liaison…



Illinois Secretary of State Disability Liaison Bill Bogdan. Fines are in the hundreds of dollars for those parking without a designated license plate or placard and those who use someone else’s placards to get a good parking spot.



(Ludlow-jm) -- The village of Ludlow is looking for a new trustee. Nancy Cox submitted her resignation at their meeting this month. Cox and her husband are moving to Florida to be closer to family. She served 8 years as a village trustee.



(Paxton--jc)  The City of Paxton Christmas Tree lighting ceremony is set for tonight at 7pm. The winners of the Wonka candy bar promotion will also be announced at tonight’s ceremony. Judges from Paxton PRIDE will also be going around town tonight to judge home decorations. WPXN will also be announcing the winners.


(Undated-jm) -- Animal cruelty is now a federal crime after President Donald Trump signed a law banning torture and other abusive acts. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act introduced in the House by Florida congressmen Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, and Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, expands on the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act, which made the creation and distribution of animal fighting or animal abuse videos a felony .It is now a federal crime for any person "to intentionally engage in animal crushing if the animals or animal crushing is in, substantially affects, or uses a means or facility of, interstate or foreign commerce." 



(Urbana-jm) -- Firefighters from several fire departments were called to a fire north of Urbana. Firefighters were called to the fire at Mack’s Twin City Recycling just after 6 pm. No word on what caused the fire.



(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County Crime Stoppers are asking the publics help in locating a person wanted for sexual assault. Police say they are looking for 22 year old Lorenzo Juan Cristobal after he failed to appear in court on charges of criminal sexual assault and aggravated DUI. Cristobal is Hispanic, 5-foot-5, weighs 125 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Cristobal is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at (217)373-TIPS.


(Paxton-jm) -- The Christmas holiday season will soon be upon us and the city of Paxton is gearing up for several events. The city’s annual tree lighting will take place on Friday at 7 pm at the intersection of State and Market. The parade, themed Chocolate, Gum Drops and Golden Tickets: Imagine the Possibilities will take place Saturday at 1:30 pm and the Business Open House will take place December 6th through the 9th. Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock says there will be several opportunities for kids to see Santa…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Terri Hancock.



(Washington-jm) -- Not everything we think we know about Thanksgiving history is actually true. Gary Crawford reports…






(Springfield-jm) -- State government spending in fiscal 2019 increased at the largest rate since the end of the Great Recession, according to the latest State Expenditure report from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Total state spending reached $2.1 trillion in fiscal 2019, rising from $2 trillion in fiscal 2018. Total state government spending rose 5.7 percent in fiscal 2019. The increased 2019 growth was slightly above the 33-year NASBO survey historical average of 5.6 percent without adjusting for inflation.


CHICAGO (AP) — A new Illinois law aimed at protecting adults and children with sesame allergies has drawn concern from critics who argue the measure is giving families a false sense of safety.  Sesame allergies are becoming progressively common and severe. Earlier this year, Illinois passed a law requiring all food manufacturers to declare foods that contain sesame on their labels. But certain companies may not be following that law, raising concerns for those with sesame allergies, WLS-TV reported. A recent study shows that more than 1.5 million Americans have a sesame allergy. Sesame falls just below the top eight allergens in the U.S., but despite its quick growth, food manufacturers were not required to label sesame on their products.

Wind gusts could reach 60 miles per hour today, stay aware on the roads

(Undated--jc)  It’s more than a windy Wednesday.  Wind gusts could reach 60 miles per hour today. Illinois State Police and other Emergency Agencies are urging  homeowners to secure loose objects. Motorists are advised to be extra careful and be aware of semis and larger vehicles moving on roads through the area. The peak time for winds is expected to be between 3pm and 4pm today. The official start to the Thanksgiving Holiday is 5pm today.  


(Rantoul--jc)  Another update on our stories about shootings in Rantoul. On Tuesday, November 26th,at approximately 09-15 am , Rantoul Police Officers were dispatched to the 200 block of Winding Lane. for multiple reports of shots fired. Officers arrived in the area and were directed to a residence that had been struck multiple times by bullets. A vehicle parked in the driveway of the residence had also been struck by a bullet. Officers learned the residence was unoccupied at the time. The home owner was contacted and responded to the scene.A shell casing and fired projectile were recovered from the scene.A witness reported seeing a dark-colored four-door vehicle driving in the area immediately prior to hearing gunshots.Detectives continue to investigate. Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Rantoul Police Department at (217) 893-5600, or Champaign County Crimestoppers at (217) 373-TIPS.


(Springfield-jm) -- Black Friday is the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season and over the past decade, small businesses have taken a more active approach to sales over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Independent retailers highlight what they have to offer on Small Business Saturday, which is growing more popular. Over the past decade, Black Friday shopping has moved from the early morning hours of the Friday after Thanksgiving to the evening hours of the Thanksgiving holiday. For many retailers, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is critical for their bottom line.


(Urbana--jc)  --Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has released the name of a Mahomet,  man who has died after being involved in a motor vehicle crash in Champaign last week. 35 year old Kyle De Lap,was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, on Monday night. De Lap was reportedly traveling on Neil St. in Champaign, on November 20th. when his vehicle struck a pole at the intersection of Stadium Drive. Mr. De Lap died from complications of injuries he sustained during the crash. No autopsy will be performed. An inquest may be held. 



(Springfield-jm) -- With a new commission coming together to investigate how to change Illinois’ ethics laws, some lawmakers have outlined what they want to see happen amid federal corruption investigations involving lawmakers and lobbyists. In October, state Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, was arrested and charged with bribing an unnamed state senator. Arroyo was a consultant for a firm that lobbies the city of Chicago. Arroyo pleaded not guilty  and resigned from the statehouse. The charges spurred reports of other lawmakers who also work as lobbyists and raised questions about conflicts of interest. Before leaving for the year, lawmakers passed measures that Gov. J.B. Pritzker said were important, such as creating a central database of lobbyists.


(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White is urging the public to plan ahead if they are celebrating on Blackout Wednesday. The night before Thanksgiving has become quite the time to party and Secretary White wants to make sure that doesn’t include drinking and driving…



Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. State and local police have increased patrols through the Thanksgiving holiday, looking for speeders, drunk drivers and more. 


(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School District has a new superintendent. The school board hired Angelo Lekkas to take over for Linda Dvorak who retired. Lekkas, who comes from Genoa-Kingston High School, will take over July 1st. Interim superintendent Robert Bagby will continue in that roll into Lekkas takes over.


(Gifford-jm) -- The Gifford State Bank will be sponsoring a lighted Christmas parade on December 8th. Gifford State Bank Parade Spokesperson Stacey Huls says they are looking for more parade entries…



Gifford State Bank Parade Spokesperson Stacey Huls. Activities begin at 4:30 pm with Christmas music being performed by local and a visit from Santa Claus with the parade beginning at 5pm going down Main Street.


(Gilman--jc)  -- The questions from farmers are  commodity program options in the 2018 Farm Bill. Also how to update program yields for covered commodities. Another is enrolling in Agriculture Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage programs.  Some answers may be found next week in Gilman and Piper City. Farmers can join the Ford and Iroquois County FSA teams for a workshop that will help clarify and guide you through the decision-making process for commodity programs in the 2018 Farm Bill. Workshops are set for Monday morning at 9 at the Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau in GIlman. Another workshop is set for the for the following  week in Gilman and the Piper City Community Building. 



(Paxton-jm) -- Ford County’s budget is looking to be in the red. The county is looking at a $119,000 deficit in the new fiscal year which begins December 1st. The county expects to bring in 4 point 024 million while spending 4 point 143 million.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is offering some reminders on how to protect your family and friends from foodborne illness this Thanksgiving. Generally, food shouldn’t be left out all day says Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike. Leftovers should be placed in small containers within two hours of serving and need to be consumed over the next few days…



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike. Turkeys need about 24 hours for every five pounds to thaw in the fridge or you can place the bird in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. The turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Recreational cannabis advocates expect shortages and “new iPhone” like lines when Illinois’ recreational cannabis law takes effect on Jan. 1.  The state’s recreational dispensaries will be able to open their doors at 6 am on Jan. 1, marking the first time residents can legally purchase cannabis and other THC-infused products. Pam Althoff, a former state senator and executive director of CBAI, said the roll-out of recreational cannabis in conjunction with broadening the list of state-approved medical marijuana treatments to include maladies like chronic pain is something of a “perfect storm” of demand growth. 



(Washington-jm) -- USDA analysts forecast more export sales to China, even without new trade deal. Gary Crawford has the details…



(Springfield-jm) -- Just eight days after a nonprofit organization founded by conservative commentator Glenn Beck requested it be lent a priceless, handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address to display at a “pop-up” museum in Dallas, Texas, the staff at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum had the document packed and ready to move. The man who is said to have overseen and expedited that loan was fired in September by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and the state’s Office of the Inspector General released a damning report revealing it recommended that termination. The report details that former ALPLM Executive Director Alan Lowe “mismanaged” the museum by lending one of five existing copies of the Gettysburg Address that was handwritten by President Abraham Lincoln – which is valued at $20 million – to Mercury One, “an inexperienced, unaccredited, and unknown museum.”


(Rantoul-jm) -- For the third day in a row Rantoul police are investigating a shooting in the village. Police were called to a report of shots fired on Winding Lane Tuesday morning. A vehicle and nearby house were struck but so far no injuries have been reported. Monday evening a teen was shot in the arm on Abram Drive. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Sunday night around 11, police received a report of shots fired in the area of St. Andrews Circle. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul Police or Champaign County Crime stoppers.



(Springfield-jm) -- The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal challenging a controversial state law that allows someone to be convicted of murder if a death occurs during the commission of another forcible felony, even if it is caused by someone else. The ruling means the Illinois law still stands, although at least two bills have been introduced in the state General Assembly to narrow how it’s applied.



(Springfield-jm) -- Starting January 1st, parking area operators will have to collect and remit tax from customers. Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro says parking vendors need to be prepared for the new law…



Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Taxes will be remitted monthly and go towards building projects at universities, state facilities and early childhood centers as part of the state’s Rebuild Illinois program.



(Gibson City-jm) -- County Market is considering adding video gaming to their Gibson City location. Niemann Foods, the parent company of County Market, approached the Gibson City council earlier this month seeking a Class A liquor license. Under Illinois law, establishments that want gaming machines must have a liquor license. The company would build walls and a door around the gaming area. They have rolled out similar plans at stores in Quincy and Taylorville. A vote on whether or not to grant the license will come in the near future.



(Springfield-jm) -- When lawmakers return to the state capitol for the spring session, one of the issues that will look to be addressed is ethics reforms. Local State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says he feels more should have been done during the fall session…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.


(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are looking for the suspect that stole a vehicle over the weekend. Police say a person left their 2012 Ford Edge running to warm up in their driveway near Maplewood and Kenneth. When they came back out the car was gone. Champaign Police found the vehicle following a hit and run. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul Police.



(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man who had been sentenced to probation for a shooting has been resentenced to 4 years in prison for violating terms of his probation. Weylin Williams pleaded guilty in October of 2016 for firing shots at a person in July 2015. Williams had twice been sentenced to probation for the crime. He was given credit for time served.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office has some tips to help prevent fires in the kitchen this Thanksgiving. It’s a good idea to keep kids away from the stovetop and to not step away from food that’s frying, boiling or broiling says Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. He says turkey fryers should only be used outdoors…



State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Fultz says if a fire breaks out in the oven, keep the door shut and turn off the heat. Small stovetop flames should be smothered by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. 



(Springfield-jm) -- When the ball drops and ushers in the New Year, it will be legal to use recreational marijuana in Illinois, but there are still questions about the public health effects of the state’s new law. Proponents of the new cannabis law that will go into effect on Jan. 1 have said it will bring in millions of dollars in revenue from licensing and other taxes and will eliminate the human and financial costs associated with the war on drugs. The public health effects are less clear, a University of Illinois professor said. Even in the earliest states to approve recreational cannabis use for adults, the research is scanty. Doug Smith, director of IU’s Center for Prevention Research and Development says “With alcohol, we actually have really good information on dose response, so you'll start seeing these types of health statistics (about) levels of use,” Smith said. “So we actually have recommendations: You shouldn't exceed, you know, any more than three drinks for men or women shouldn't exceed one (drink) in a particular day. We have nothing like that for marijuana.”.



(Washington-jm) -- Many people insist on stuffing the turkey before cooking it, but food safety experts don't think that's a great idea. Gary Crawford has the details…



Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that Illinois needs fair legislative maps

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating a pair of shootings. The first one occurred Sunday evening around 11 pm. Police received several reports of shots fired in the area of St. Andrews Court. No injuries were reported and no signs of shots being fired were found. Then last night, a 17 year old was shot in the arm on Abrams Drive around 6 pm. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Police are seeking information from the public. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul Police or Champaign County Crimestoppers.



(Springfield-jm) -- The fall harvest is wrapping up as we hear in the last weekly crop report of the season. Temperatures and rainfall were below normal this past week, with four days suitable for fieldwork. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says farmers still have a little work to do in the fields... 



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 91 percent of winter wheat acres have emerged, with 45 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as three percent short, 83 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. 



(Rantoul--jc)  - Do you know basketball and want to help coach some area youth? The Rantoul Park District is seeking coaches for all leagues in Youth Basketball. Those interested are asked to call the Rantoul Park District at 893-5700.



(Paxton-jm) -- A long standing Paxton tradition will continue this weekend as the city will hold their annual Christmas parade on Saturday at 1:30 pm. PRIDE in Paxton Director Terri Hancock talks about the history of the parade…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Terri Hancock. The theme for this year’s parade is Chocolate, Gum Drops and Golden Tickets: Imagine the Possibilities. The annual tree lighting will take place at 7pm Friday at the tree at the intersection of State and Market.



(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton bank is collecting non-perishable food donations to help area families. The Frederick Community Bank is teaming up with the Paxton Area Ministerial Association and the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District to help families during the holiday season. Items will be collected through December 13th.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police is beefing up patrols for the Thanksgiving holiday. State Police have more troopers on the roads and will hold special details says Trooper Mindy Carroll…



Illinois State Trooper Mindy Carroll. Troopers are especially looking for those that pose the most risk on the roads including speeders, drunk or distracted drivers and those not wearing a seatbelt. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Personal income growth in Illinois is lagging behind the rest of the country. A new report released by Pew Charitable Trusts found that the state’s income growth was 49th in the nation over the past decade, at an annualized rate of 1.1 percent. Illinois remained in the bottom ten for the first half of 2019, with a growth rate of 2 percent. The report pointed to low commodity prices, adverse weather conditions, international trade disputes and decreased assistant payments in the second quarter of 2019 to farmers.



(Undated-jm) -- Consumer debt in the U.S. has grown by 25 percent in five years and doubled since the turn of the century, according to the latest Clever Real Estate report. Researchers identified three major reasons for skyrocketing debt: credit cards, financial literacy, and location, based on data analyzed by the Federal Reserve. The average American household held $533 in debt and earned $30,300 in 1950, not including mortgages. In 2018, households had $31,420 worth of debt relative to a median income of $78,646. In 2018, 7 in 10 borrowers who didn’t pay the full balance on their credit debt paid $113 billion in credit card interest and fees, up from $74.5 billion in 2013.

(Springfield-jm) -- Some election contests are taking shape for the March primary ballot for statehouse seats and seats in the U.S. Congress as politicians from across the state file nominating petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Monday marked the opening of the filing period for the March 17 primary. Candidates have until 5 p.m. Dec. 2 to file.



(Springfield-jm) -- The fall harvest is wrapping up as we hear in the last weekly crop report of the season. 88 percent of corn and 95 percent of soybeans have now been harvested, a little behind the five year average says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture stands at three percent very short, 83 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. 



(Gifford-jm) -- Gifford residents can now pay their water bills using their credit card. Before, residents could either pay by cash or check. Now residents can pay their bill either in person at the village hall or online. Those that choose to use their credit card will be charged a two point six five percent fee.



(Undated-jm) -- Area lawmakers continue to discuss the recent fall veto session. One of the issues brought before lawmakers dealt with recreational cannabis says 53rd district state senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Lawmakers will return to the capitol in January.



(Urbana-jm) -- The Rantoul man accused of having sex with a 14 year old girl is facing more charges. Jorge Elvir-Reyes was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault. Now he is facing child pornography charges. The new charges come after police found child porn on his phone. 



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation says its well prepared for winter and highway snow removal. The trucks are ready, and salt is being stored for a winter season that will likely see snow and ice says IDOT Spokesperson Guy Tridgell…



IDOT Spokesperson Guy Tridgell. I-DOT estimates they will have about 19 hundred temporary workers available to help drive snowplows this winter. Last year, IDOT used more than 600 thousand tons of salt to help keep Illinois roads clear.



(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker said that Illinois needs fair legislative maps, but he couldn’t say if he would help usher in a constitutional amendment question for voters to determine how to change Illinois’ political map-making process. Some Democrats and Republicans have said there needs to be a new process to draw legislative boundaries. Critics have said the existing process leads to parties in power drawing maps benefiting their party, not voters.



(Undated-jm) -- A new survey of bankers suggests the economy continues growing in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states, but the ongoing trade disputes continue to hurt the outlook for more growth. The Rural Mainstreet survey's overall index improved to 54.2 in November from October's 51.4. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy. The confidence index for the region remained in negative territory at 44.4 in November even though it was higher than October's 36.5.



(Washington-jm) -- A cranberry expert says there's a whole lot more we can do with cranberries this holiday season than just making sauce. Gary Crawford has the details…



nearly 20,000 pounds of narcotics were seized at ports of entry last year in 12 Midwestern states, including Illinois and Indiana.

CHICAGO (AP) — Officials say nearly 20,000 pounds of narcotics were seized at ports of entry last year in 12 Midwestern states, including Illinois and Indiana. U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced recently that its Chicago field office, which covers the 12 states, had the most narcotics seizures for the second year in a row of any other field office. The agency’s data is from Oct. 1, 2018 to September 30 of this year. In total, there are 20 field offices. More than 15,000 packages were seized at ports of entry.  The top narcotics seized were Ecstasy, prescription drugs and marijuana. 


(Thomasboro--jc)  Firefighters were called to a tractor fire near Thomasboro on Sunday afternoon. Officials say the implement caught fire in a field. No damage estimates were provided.



CHICAGO (AP) — A group representing Illinois school boards has again rejected a resolution supporting teachers and other school employees carrying guns in schools. The Illinois Association of School Boards voted against the measure Saturday during an annual convention. It’s the second consecutive year the group has rejected such a proposal. Much of the support for the measure came from rural school districts that can’t hire school resource officers. While others, including in Chicago’s suburbs, say it’s a safety risk to arm teachers.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching its annual “Winter Weather Get it Together” campaign, urging the public to stay safe on Illinois roads as the weather gets bad. Illinois winters are unpredictable, so drivers need to be prepared for anything says State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Guy Tridgell…



State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Guy Tridgell.  I-DOT says it’s also a good idea to have an emergency kit in your car that includes jumper cables, wiper fluid, blankets, an ice scraper and material like kitty litter for traction.



(Iroquois County-jm) -- The man authorities say threatened  Milford firefighters with a gun when they tried to extinguish a house fire has been charged. Olan Morris is charged with arson and possession of meth. No firefighters were injured. The incident remains under investigation by the state fire marshals office.



(Watseka-jm) -- Watseka police have released the name of the man killed in a stabbing last week. Police say Isaiah Nelson was stabbed in the neck Thursday afternoon. He was taken to Iroquois Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Police arrested Andre Maiden of Kankakee on preliminary charges of aggravated battery.



(Washington-jm) -- You won't find many surprises in Friday's USDA Cattle on Feed report. Gary Crawford reports…




(Paxton-jm) -- Union members of the Ford County Sheriff’s office have a new contract. The county board approved the four year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police earlier this month. Under the new contract, members will see a 2 point 5 percent increase this month followed by yearly increases of 2 point 75 percent, 3 percent and 3 point 25 percent.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Shields in Rantoul is open at their new location by Walmart. The new location offers a wider selection of vehicles. Owner Rick Shields says right now they are running their Black Friday deals…



Shields in Rantoul Owner Rick Shields.



(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers passed a legislative fix during the recently adjourned fall veto session which proponents say could help the state realize $380 million in annual tax revenue by increasing compliance with existing online retail transaction tax laws. Supporters say the new law will ensure the state’s full 6.25 percent sales tax rate and any locally-imposed taxes will be collected at the point of destination on sales made through online marketplaces or by remote retailers that do a certain amount of business in the state. That means retail products purchased online and shipped to Illinois addresses will generate the same tax revenue as products purchased locally in stores no matter where they are shipped from. The new measure would require online marketplaces to collect and remit the tax to the state on behalf of the sellers that utilize their platforms, including third-party sellers.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker is financing another government office rehab. The governor’s office announced Friday that the governor’s offices in the state Capitol will be renovated for about $40,000. Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh (a-boo-DAY’-uh) says the governor’s second-floor private office will be soundproofed and the reception area reconfigured.



(Springfield-jm) -- More than a half of million pounds of pork products are being recalled because they were not inspected by federal inspectors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the meat was processed at Illinois-based Morris Meat Packing and shipped to distributors and stores in Illinois.  The 515,000 pounds of raw pork includes pork loin, pork back ribs and pork chops. They were produced between November 25, 2017 to November 9, this year.



(Springfield-jm) -- Check your fridge, the Illinois Department of Public Health says a recent outbreak of E-coli may be linked to romaine lettuce. At least 40 cases of E-coli infection have been reported in 16 people so far, including one in Illinois. That person had to be hospitalized. Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike says it’s tied to romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California…


Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike. One company, Missa Bay, is recalling some of its ready to eat salad products in response. Symptoms of E-coli often include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.



KANKAKEE, Ill. (AP) — A judge has concluded that an Illinois man who spent nearly 20 years behind bars wasn’t guilty of a crime in the fatal shooting that sent him to prison. The Chicago Tribune reports Kankakee County Judge Michael Sabol granted Terrence Haynes a certificate of innocence after determining Haynes shouldn’t have been charged in the fatal 1999 shooting of Cezaire Murrell. Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe joined in the petition of innocence.



(Washington-jm) -- If you like peanuts, you can thank George Washington Carver for helping make them a fixture in American agriculture. Stephanie Ho has the interesting details…




(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Park District is seeking $100,000 in bonds. The bonds would be for capital improvement work. The district hopes to use the funds to update the bathhouse as well as the shed and mechanical room.



(Undated-jm) -- How does the forecast for the end of November and beyond look. State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details…



State Climatologist Trent Ford.



(Springfield-jm) -- State education officials are seeking public input on potential significant changes to the annual reading and math tests students take each year. The Illinois State Board of Education announced it has launched an online survey to get feedback about how to make those tests “more useful, inclusive, equitable and balanced.”Jackie Matthews with ISBE says they are considering at least three major changes to the way it administers those tests, and is seeking public input about which changes should be given highest priority. One of those is to develop a “computer adaptive” test. Another possible change is to administer “native language” tests for students with limited English proficiency. Finally officials are considering developing “interim” tests that could be given at different points throughout the year to track how well students are progressing toward meeting state standards for their grade level. 


Iroquois County Sheriff Official's Investigating a Rural House Fire in Milford and a Fatal Stabbing in Watseaka

(Milford-jm) -- Fire officials and the Iroquois County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a fire in Milford Thursday night. Firefighters were called to the fire around 6:15 pm. When they arrived they found flames coming from a second story window. When they went in they found a man with a gun. Authorities say the man threatened the firefighters. The man was taken to the hospital and then taken into custody. The state fire marshals office has been called in to investigate.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ highest court ruled Thursday that it is unconstitutional to ban convicted sex offenders from social media sites. Conrad Allen Morger was convicted of sexually abusing a minor and sentenced to four years of probation by a court in McLean County. That came with a binding condition he not use specific internet sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. During oral arguments, held in September in Godfrey, Morger’s representative said the ban is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment fundamental right to freedom of speech.The Illinois Supreme Court agreed in a unanimous decision among the six participating justices.



(Springfield-jm) -- The unemployment rate was down in all of the state’s 14 metro areas last month. Significant improvements were seen comparing October of this year to October of 2018 says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco…



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco. Jobs were up over the year in 11 metro areas with Chicago and the suburbs, as well as Champaign-Urbana and the East Saint Louis areas seeing the most growth. 



(Rantoul--jc)  -- Notice to families that use the Youth Center in Rantoul. The facility will be closed starting today and remain closed through Thanksgiving week for building maintenance. The Rantoul Youth Center will reopen for normal hours on Monday December 2nd.



(Gifford-jm) -- The 37th annual Gifford State Bank Country Christmas Craft Show is this weekend at Gordyville. Spokesperson Stacey Huls talks about what you can expect to find at this years show…



Gifford State Bank Country Christmas Craft Show Spokesperson Stacey Huls. Showtimes are Saturday 8 to 5 and Sunday 9 to 3. Santa will be there from 9 to 3 Saturday and 10 to 2 on Sunday.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton community pool took another loss this past season, but its not all bad news. The Paxton Park District says the pool lost $16,700 during the 2019 season. That’s better than the $23,000 loss the district anticipated. Rates and schedules for the upcoming season will be discussed next month.



(Springfield-jm) -- A fifth person in Illinois has died from a vaping-related lung injury, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports.  A total of 187 people in Illinois, ranging in age from 13 to 75, have experienced lung injuries after using e-cigarettes or vaping. Another 40 possible cases in Illinois are being investigated. Cases have been reported in 32 counties statewide. More than 80% of the cases in Illinois report recent use of THC-containing products, primarily obtaining them from informal sources. 



(Undated-jm) -- Doctors are warning people to not kiss or get near babies if they are sick or feel sick during the flu and cold season peak. Babies are at a higher risk to get Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) during the winter months. RSV is a common respiratory virus that may seem like an everyday cold. Many of the symptoms of RSV are similar to a cold. However, RSV causes a lot more inflammation and secretions in the airway. RSV can last between three and four weeks. Which is much longer than the cold. If your child gets tested positive for RSV and they are not getting better, take them back to the doctor to get reevaluated.



(Washington-jm) -- Will that Thanksgiving turkey cost us more than last year? Gary Crawford has the details…



The Buckley Lions Club will hold their turkey or ham Bingo tonight at the Buckley American Legion. Dinner will be from 5 to 6 pm with Bingo starting at 6:15 pm.


Paxton IGA and Missions R Us will host a ribeye steak sandwich cookout from 10 until 2 on Saturday at the Paxton IGA.


(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County authorities continue to investigate a stabbing in Watseka that happened just past 4pm on Thursday. Authorities say that one person is dead and a Kankakee man was arrested. According to Watseka Police reports, the incident occurred in the 100 block of East Oak. The individual was found with a stab wound to the neck. He was taken to Iroquois Memorial Hospital, where he died. Iroquois County police arrested 23 year old Andre Maiden of Kankakee. Maiden was  charged with aggravated battery. WPXN News will continue to update this story as more official news becomes available



(Springfield-jm) -- Two ideological heavyweights sparred in Chicago not only about Illinois’ proposed progressive income tax change, but about whether high taxes cause people to leave. Truth in Accounting’s panel discussion at the Union League Club in Chicago featured Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. Martire was an architect and chief proponent of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed progressive tax amendment that will be on the November 2020 ballot. Should it pass, it would change Illinois’ Constitution to allow the state to tax income above certain thresholds at higher levels, something Martire said was necessary to make the state’s tax system more equitable. Radio host and former candidate for Illinois governor Dan Proft cut at Martire’s notion that increasing taxes would not exacerbate the state’s population declines. Martire, using California and Minnesota’s population gains as an example, said there’s no peer-reviewed evidence that ties high taxes to people leaving a state. Proft pointed to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute polling, which found that about half of those asked said they’d thought about leaving the state and the most common reason cited was high taxes.


(Springfield-jm) -- As firearm deer hunters head out into the field today, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a few safety reminders. Hunters should wear blaze orange or blaze pink in the fields and double check what they’re shooting at before pulling the trigger says Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Additionally... 



Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Tree stands are another big concern, so it’s advised hunters make sure the stand is secure and wear a fall-arrest safety harness.



Cox-Knapp Funeral home in Paxton will hold an open house on Sunday November 24th from 1-4 pm. The newly remodeled funeral home includes an updated and spacious funeral chapel and large family room and is also handicap accessible. Refreshments will be served and door prizes will also be given away. Cox-Knapp Funeral Home is located at 142 West Patton Street in Paxton. For more information, contact them through their website,



(Monticello--jc)  -- To those who know him,  say this honor is “well deserved”. Monticello School leaders are naming a new gym and school  center in honor of a member of its current teaching staff Arthur “Buzz: Sievers has been with the Monticello School district since 1966. Construction on the Arthur “Buzz” Sievers Center is expected to start next year.


(Paxton-jm) -- PRIDE in Paxton is gearing up for the Christmas holiday season with several activities for the whole family. One of the activities is the annual tree lighting says PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock. Other activities include the parade at 1:30 pm Saturday, the Business Open House December 6th through the 9th and several opportunities for kids to meet Santa.



(Paxton-jm) -- A Veterans Assistance Commission could be coming to Ford County, however, it needs some help getting started. A Piper City man approached the county board earlier this year about the need. After doing some research county board members learned that local veterans groups must spearhead the effort before taxpayer money can be used. It’s estimated around 1,000 veterans live in Ford County.



(Undated-jm) -- A new study on state fiscal transparency concludes that 32 states earned distinction for providing the public “with candid and transparent information about their government’s fiscal health;” 46 states earned clean audit opinions in the most recent analysis. This year, Idaho scored the highest with 88 points and Connecticut the lowest with 50. The 10 states with the greatest level of transparency are Idaho, North Dakota, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, Indiana, Maine, and South Carolina. The 10 least transparent states are Connecticut ranking last, followed by North Carolina, Vermont, Nebraska, New Mexico, Alaska, Missouri, New Jersey, Illinois, California and Michigan.


(Undated-jm) -- Disney said that its new streaming service is secure, denying there was a breach following a report that some users were shut out after hackers tried to break into their accounts. The news site ZDNet found stolen account usernames and passwords selling for $3 on underground hacking forums. Disney's streaming service, Disney+, costs $7 a month or $70 a year. According to a person familiar with the leak, "tens of thousands" of users were impacted.



(Washington-jm) -- Will your Thanksgiving meal cost more than last year? Or Less? Gary Crawford reports…



The 37th Annual Gifford State Bank Country Christmas Craft show will take place Saturday and Sunday at Gordyville USA. Hours are 8 to 5 Saturday and 9 to 3 on Sunday.


Gibson City will hold their annual lighted Christmas parade on Saturday, November 23rd at 6:30 pm. The theme for this year’s parade is silver bells.


Firearm deer hunting season kicks off Friday in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- A measure preventing lawmakers from receiving pay for days they did not hold office has remained in legislative limbo since its introduction in January. Its sponsor said the “simple, commonsense” fix is necessary to address the General Assembly’s “culture.” Representatives and senators are paid in 12 equal disbursements on the last working day of each month. Currently, the statute allows legislators to collect a full month’s salary as long as they hold office at least part of that period, meaning a lawmaker can receive a full month’s pay for working just one day. Springfield Republican Rep. Mike Murphy’s bill proposes to end that “pay benefit,” he said, and conform the legislature’s salary structure to one akin to the private sector’s.



(Springfield-jm) -- Firearm deer hunting season kicks off Friday in Illinois. This is a favorite time of year for many hunters says State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…



State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Hunters must report their harvest by 10 pm of the day the deer was taken. They can do that on D-N-R’s website or by calling 1-866-IL-CHECK. 



(Buckley-jm) -- An area bank will be hitting a major milestone next year. The Buckley State Bank will be turning 100 in 2020. To celebrate, the bank will hold a cookout on July 3rd. The bank is also looking to donate trees to the village.


(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District has received their report card from the state. Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about how the district did…



Paxton-Buckley-Loda Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.



(Paxton-jm) -- Ford County is looking at ways to reduce expenses while raising revenue for the counties jail. One of the ways is to cut a contract for inmate health and mental care and run it locally through the health department and mental health facility. Currently, the county has a contract through Advanced Correctional Healthcare for $54,000 a year. According to the sheriff, that saves the county between 15 and 20 thousand a month.



(Washington-jm) -- The top Farm Credit Administration official says there are some worrisome similarities between the current farm economy and conditions in the early 1980's. Gary Crawford reports…




(Undated-jm) -- About 35 million Americans still have holiday credit card debt left over from last year, according to WalletHub’s 2019 Holiday Shopping Survey. The personal finance site projects consumers will spend as much as $1.1 trillion this holiday season. When analyzing how consumers spend their money and which gift cards are the best buy, WalletHub identified the top cards as those offering flat-rate cash rewards and ongoing bonus rewards. The best, it says, is Capital One Savor Cash Rewards, with the reportedly best initial bonus, followed by Citi Double Cash, with the “best flat-rate cash rewards,” and American Express Blue Cash Preferred, with the “best ongoing bonus rewards.”


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ fiscal stability was recently ranked by U.S. News and World as the worst of all states in the nation, but Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to change the narrative about the state. U.S. News and World Report gave Illinois the bottom spot for fiscal stability. The state’s credit rating is among the worst in the country with more $200 billion in unfunded government retirement benefits. Illinois also had a $6.3 billion bill backlog as of Wednesday. While U.S. News and World Report ranked Illinois No 35 overall, when considering healthcare, education, opportunity and other factors, Illinois regularly ranks among the highest taxed and highest-spending states in similar reports. Kiplinger last month ranked Illinois the least tax-friendly state in the U.S.



(Undated-jm) -- - As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child, local leaders and experts in Illinois are pausing to examine human rights in the juvenile justice system. Mary Schuermann reports…



(Onarga-jm) -- The Onarga Public Library is collecting donations to help those in need. The library is collecting donations for G.O.D’s Food Pantry. For more information or for a complete list of items being collected, call the library at 815-268-7626.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Shields in Rantoul is now open at their new location out by Walmart. Owner Rick Shields says the new location will offer more parking and room for a larger selection of vehicles…



Shields in Rantoul Owner Rick Shields. A date has not yet been set on a grand re-opening however one is being planned.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul is saying no to cannabis establishments. In a split 4-2 vote, village trustees passed an ordinance banning recreational cannabis establishments in the village. Trustees did leave open the possibility of allowing them in the future.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education is taking emergency action to end the use of isolation rooms. Propublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune documented thousands of cases of kids being held in quiet rooms, calling for their parents and sometimes banging their heads on the walls out of frustration. Governor J-B Pritzker says this is unacceptable…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The emergency rules ban all isolated seclusion policies and physical restraints that could impair a student’s ability to breathe or speak normally. They also call for very strict guidelines as to when a student can be restrained. 



(Undated-jm) -- For the first time, patients will know how much a procedure costs and have the option to shop around for services instead of being shocked by a bill after the fact, once two new rules are implemented requiring medical cost transparency. Both rules require that medical pricing information be made publicly available and were devised in response to an executive order issued by President Donald Trump requiring healthcare price transparency. According to a 2019 consumer healthcare survey conducted by Transamerica Health Savings, 37 percent of patients said they were billed for a health treatment or service they were told or thought was fully covered by their insurance plan.

Ameren Illinois is handing out free smart thermostats for residents.

(Undated-jm) -- When the nation’s doctors began moving away from opioid-based pain medication for patients injured on the job, prescribers in many states shifted patients to traditional pain medication while those in Illinois turned patients to significantly more expensive alternatives. In its annual CompScope report, the Workers Compensation Research Institute found that at $192, the average cost of payments per prescription in work-related injury cases in Illinois was the highest among any of the 17 states the organization studies. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday that a constitutional amendment voters will decide on next year will help save the state’s finances and dismissed any proposal to reduce the state's pension costs through a constitutional amendment to remove the state's pension protection clause. During a wide-ranging fireside chat at the Economic Club of Chicago Tuesday, Pritzker promoted his constitutional amendment for a progressive income tax. Voters next year will be asked the binding question that Pritzker ushered through the legislature. Pritzker also campaigned on the issue of changing the state's existing flat income tax to a progressive system that has higher rates for higher earners. During a discussion Tuesday in Chicago, Club Chair Debra Cafaro asked Pritzker why lawmakers shouldn't let voters change the state’s pension protection clause to control the growing cost of public sector pensions. Pritzker dismissed the idea.



(Washington-jm) -- There's bad weather news for farmers in the Midwest, who don't need more rain. Stephanie Ho and U-S-D-A Meteorologist Brad Rippey have the details…



(Gilman-jm) -- There’s a new donut shop in the Iroquois County town of Gilman. Dunkin Donuts has opened a location inside K&H. The  new Dunkin Donuts will serve coffee and of course donuts.



(Undated-jm) -- Ameren Illinois is handing out free smart thermostats for residents. To be eligible, you must be an Ameren Illinois customer, have your heating source provided by Ameren Illinois and live in a qualifying zip code. For more information visit ameren illinois smartsavers dot com.



(Gifford-jm) -- The annual Gifford State Bank Country Christmas Craft Show is this weekend. Over 300 vendors will be set up at Gordyville Saturday and Sunday says Spokesperson Stacey Huls…



Gifford State Bank Country Christmas Craft Show Spokesperson Stacey Huls. Santa will also be available to take pictures with kids from 9 to 3 and Sunday 10 to 2. There is a dollar donation that benefits local charities.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul teen who admitted to possessing a gun in his backpack back in September has been sentenced to 2 years in prison. 17 year old Kristopher Mockbee was carrying a revolver in his backpack when he was captured by police. In exchange for his guilty plea, charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, 2 counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine and armed violence were dismissed.

(Paxton-jm) -- The Christmas holiday season will soon be upon us and the city of Paxton is gearing up for several events. The city’s annual tree lighting will take place on Friday, November 29th at 7 pm at the intersection of State and Market. The parade, themed Chocolate, Gum Drops and Golden Tickets: Imagine the Possibilities will take place the next day, Saturday, November 30th at 1:30 pm and the Business Open House will take place December 6th through the 9th. Pride in Paxton Director Teri Hancock says there will be several opportunities for kids to see Santa…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Terri Hancock. The Wonka bars have sold out at serveral locations and only remain at A picket Fence Florist and Paxton IGA. It’s your chance to win a golden ticket.



(Undated-jm) -- Police and the National Association of Realtors are warning home sellers and realtors of a rising trend. They say drug users and dealers are going to open houses posing as potential home buyers then raiding medicine cabinets when people aren’t looking. The National Association of Realtors advises homeowners remove medications before showing their home.

(Undated-jm) -- There are mixed reactions in Illinois to what appears to be President Donald Trump’s reversal on banning flavored e-cigarette products. In September, following a rash of lung injuries and deaths, Trump announced the proposed ban. The Washington Post reports this week Trump’s reelection campaign saw the outpouring of opposition to the proposed ban and may be reversing course. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, said the president is breaking a promise and the reversal will harm children with addiction and lung problems. But a flavor ban is still possible in Illinois. A measure at the statehouse to do that also included banning flavored tobacco like menthol cigarettes or flavored chewing tobacco, but the tobacco element was removed at the last minute.



(Paxton--dg)  --Cox-Knapp Funeral home in Paxton will hold an open house on Sunday November 24th from 1-4 pm. Owner Kendall Cox is inviting the community to see the  newly remodeled funeral home…


Cox Knapp Funeral Home Business Owner Kendall Cox

Again refreshments will be served and door prizes will also be given away. Cox-Knapp Funeral Home is located at 142 West Patton Street in Paxton. For more information, contact them through their website,



(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker will soon have a bill on his desk that he has promised to veto, setting up what will likely be the first legislative clash between lawmakers and the freshman executive. Pritzker has vetoed seven bills thus far, mostly because similar legislation had already been enacted in other bills. He pledged to veto House Bill 3902 as well. He said that the industry should not be receiving a tax break. Thirty other states provide a similar exemption to aviation maintenance companies.  Pritzker said companies that work on private jets shouldn’t be getting about $50 million in tax breaks after the House passed the measure, but before the Senate called it for a vote.



(Springfield-jm) -- The deadline to apply to be an Illinois State Trooper is being extended, in hopes of attracting more recruits. Applications are now due by January 31st for the next cadet class that’s tentatively scheduled for August. Master Sergeant Hector Alejandre says it’s truly a great career…



Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Hector Alejandre. New this time around, those applying in January do not need to have a bachelor’s degree. They can have an Associate’s degree or 60 credit hours and still meet I-S-P requirements. Applicants will also have to pass an exam, fitness test and background check. Apply online at: illinois trooper dot com. 



(Fisher-jm) -- The village of Fisher will be moving their baseball and softball fields. Village trustees approved spending $12,500 to purchase 3.29 acres directly south of Richmond Park for the new fields. The money will come from surplus funds in the Capital Improvement fund in the 2020 budget.



(Gifford-jm) -- Gifford village trustees have approved a new design for the Main Street water main project. At the October meeting, village trustees heard two proposals. One of the proposals would be to run the water main on the west side of Main Street but would require the encroachment of 19 easements. A second proposal would have ran the water main on the east side of Main Street and require just three easements. Trustees asked the designer if the main could be ran on the east side without the need for easements. That plan is what village trustees approved earlier this month. Work on the project is expected to begin in the spring.



(Undated-jm) -- The fall veto session has ended and local politicians are assessing how the session went. One of the issues lawmakers faced was a request by Chicago’s mayor says 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington…



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Lawmakers will be back at the state capitol for the spring session in late January.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arrested on charges of having sex with a minor. Jorge Elvin-Reyes is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse for allegedly have sex multiple times with a 14 year old girl. He was released on bond and is due back in Champaign County court November 21st.



(Watseka-jm) -- A Watseka man is behind bars on sex assault charges. 54-year-old Earl Norris was charged with predatory criminal sexual assault. He remains in the Iroquois County Jail.



(Washington-jm) -- Shoppers are expected to spend more money this holiday season. Gary Crawford reports…




(Springfield-jm) -- While it didn’t pass before lawmakers left for the year, a measure mandating Illinois employers give all employees, even part-time ones, earned sick pay could come up next year. Lawmaker left last week. They won’t be back until late January. State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, said she plans on amending Senate Bill 471, The Healthy Workplace Act, to require employers to give all employees, including part-time but not independent contractors, mandated sick pay. The measure as it stands now would give an employee five days, or 40 hours each year of paid sick time that would accrue over time.


Gas Prices on the Rise Again

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle say one way to combat the culture of corruption in the halls of Illinois government is to remove politicians from the legislative map-making process. Change Illinois, which advocates for changing how Illinois draws its legislative boundaries said: “Illinois is a leading example of the harm that gerrymandering does to our democracy.” “Put simply, redistricting determines political power,” the group said. “Every 10 years when U.S. Census data is released, political parties draw legislative boundaries and choose voters who are most likely to give them a political advantage on Election Day.” More than half-a-million voters signed a petition in 2015 to get such a proposal on the 2016 ballot, but the measure was stifled in the courts with a challenge from a law firm with connections to House Speaker Michael Madigan. The next legislative maps will be drawn after the ten-year Census results are finalized.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reminding that antibiotics aren’t always the answer when you’re sick. You start feeling crummy and head to the doctor for some antibiotics. But they aren’t usually appropriate when you have a cold, the flu or a sore throat, since those illnesses are caused by viruses says Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike…



State Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says antibiotics are typically used to treat strep throat and urinary tract infections and sometimes bronchitis and ear and sinus infections. 


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Conservation Foundation is awarding four $2,000 scholarships to high school seniors. The scholarships are being offered to students who demonstrate effective, voluntary, long term dedication preservation, protection or enhancement of Illinois’ natural resources. The deadline to apply is March 1st.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois farmers continue to inch towards the finish line as we hear in the weekly crop report. Temperatures were nearly 15 degrees below normal this past week, and precipitation was also down despite Monday’s snowfall says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 80 percent of corn and 92 percent of soybeans have been harvested. 99 percent of winter wheat has been planted with 85 percent emerged. 



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On November 17th, Jason Battishill was arrested on a Ford County warrant for domestic battery and Fidel Hernandez-Morales of Michigan was arrested for no drivers license and ticketed for expired registration, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and disobeying a stop sign. On November 16th, no tickets were issued and no injuries reported following a two vehicle accident on S. Market Street. On November 15th, the theft of jewelry was reported in the 400 block of E. Pine Street. On November 12th, no tickets were issued following a two vehicle accident at Patton and American. On November 11th, Randy Kaiser of Rankin was arrested for DUI and resisting arrest and ticketed for improper lane usage and no tickets were issued and no injuries were reported following a two vehicle accident on I-57 at the Paxton exit, a two vehicle accident at American and Spruce and a single vehicle accident involving a power pole at Market and Ottawa.



(Roberts-jm) -- The Roberts Library has been sold. Roberts Village President Rick Flessner talks about the future of the former library…



Roberts Village President Rick Flessner. The village sold the library for $1,000.



(Undated-jm) -- If you have pulled up to the gas pump within the past week, you have probably seen higher fuel prices. Illinois gas prices have risen 1.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.58 per gallon, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 4,378 stations. Gas prices in Illinois are 6.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, yet stand 10.9 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers will soon send Gov. J.B. Pritzker legislation that puts limitations on when public workers can withdraw from a union and gives labor broad, exclusive access to worker information. Lawmakers approved an amended Senate Bill 1784 last week. The bill was in response to Janus v. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, a 2018 Supreme Court decision that ruled public union activity is inherently political and an employee can't be forced to support a union as a condition of employment. The bill would limit a public worker’s ability to leave their union to a ten-day window akin to an annual open-enrollment period. It also restricts much of the worker’s ability to communicate about their status with the union to only union representatives and restricts the state’s open records law to keep public worker information private. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Most Illinois hospitals scored well in a new patient safety report. The grades were released by a nonprofit watchdog organization, The Leapfrog Group, which aims to educate the public about the safety and quality of health care facilities. More than 100 general and acute care hospitals in the state made the list. “In the last update of the grades, which was back in the spring of this year, Illinois ranked 14th among all 50 states, and now Illinois has moved up to 11th,” said Erica Mobley, director of operations for The Leapfrog Group. “So that is encouraging to see that more hospitals are really putting a focus on safety and that's resulting in higher grades.” There were 108 hospitals in Illinois that received a grade this fall and 46 of those earned an A, while 19 earned a B.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says more than 32 thousand people are now participating in the state’s Secure Choice retirement savings program. Secure Choice is wrapping up its first year and is designed for workers that don’t have access to a retirement program says Treasurer Frerichs…



State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Nearly 47 hundred employers with 25 workers or more are offering the Secured Choice program as required by law. The default investment for employees is five percent of their paycheck, but that can be raised or lowered or they can opt out altogether. 



(Undated-jm) -- The Food and Drug Administration is issuing a recall on generic Zantac. The FDA says the drug may contain high levels of NDMA which is found naturally in water, meats, dairy products and veggies. NDMA is also a known human carcinogen.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois farmers continue to inch towards the finish line as we hear in the weekly crop report. Less than four days were suitable for fieldwork this past week, but farmers were able to get some harvesting done says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 99 percent of winter wheat has been planted and 85 percent emerged. Average statewide topsoil moisture now stands at three percent short, 79 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. 



(Gifford-jm) -- The Champaign County community of Gifford is the latest to ban cannabis sales. In a 6-0 vote, village trustees approved the ban. The village could vote in January on whether or not to establish a 3 percent tax on sales if sales are approved.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton is gearing up for their annual Christmas parade. This year’s theme is Chocolate, Gum Drops and Golden Tickets: Imagine the Possibilities. PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock says they are running a special golden ticket promotion…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock. The annual parade will take place Saturday, November 30th at 1:30 pm.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Historical Society is raising money for their non-profit organization. The group is selling Chanute souvenir coffee mugs for $7 plus postage. For more information or to get your mug, call 217-714-1352.


(Springfield--jc)  --A $9.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration will help the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Department of Public Health improve maternal outcomes in Illinois.According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnancy-related mortality has increased steadily over the last 30 years. The number of deaths has more than doubled since that time, moving from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births to 16.9 in 2016, the latest available data.In Illinois, about 73 women die each year within one year of pregnancy and black women are six times more likely to die of a pregnancy-related condition.With the five-year funding, multidisciplinary researchers from UIC will work with the IDPH Illinois Title V Program and others to launch a series of new systems-level statewide efforts.

The Illinois unemployment rate is holding steady at historic levels.

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers will send Gov. J.B. Pritzker a bill with the first round of changes to the nation’s first lawmaker-originated measure to legalize recreational cannabis.The new bill, includes a number of fixes, including changing when cities and counties can begin collecting cannabis sales tax from September 2020 to July 2020, allowing employers’ the ability to maintain drug-free workplaces, clarifies that cannabis paraphernalia is legal, outlaws operating watercraft and snowmobiles under the influence of cannabis, and a two-year cooling-off period for lawmakers and members of their families before holding any ownership in a cannabis company. That change would take effect in the next General Assembly. Counties and cities that voted to tax recreational cannabis will be able to begin collecting sales tax on local cannabis sales on July 1, not Sept. 1.



CHICAGO (AP) — Foster parents and child care advocates are resisting a new Illinois Medicaid health care plan that is set to roll out next year, questioning whether it will adequately serve the needs of foster children. The plan, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 1, will be run by the private contractor IlliniCare Health. The shift is part of a yearslong effort to reduce the state’s Medicaid costs while attempting to improve services for low-income and disabled residents who qualify for the federal program, the Chicago Tribune reported. The new plan will enroll more than 36,000 current and former foster children in a Medicaid managed care system.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois unemployment rate is holding steady at historic levels. October was another good month says State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco…



State Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco. The largest job gains last month were seen in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and government. 



(Paxton--jc)  --100 Wonka Bars will be distributed between these participating Paxton businesses: Market Street General Store, Hudson's Hallmark, Paxton IGA, Pueblo Lindo, and Paxton True Value.Bars will go on sale this Monday. Sales are for a limited time and a limited quantity. One candy bar per customer, per family, limit one prize per family. Winners of the 5 golden tickets will be announced at the tree lighting ceremony on Friday, November 29 at 7:00 p.m. Grand prize winner will be selected from the 5 golden ticket winners. Grand prize is an autographed picture of Gene Wilder, $50.00 Chamber Bucks, and joining the "Candy Man" on the Grand Marshal float during the Christmas parade.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Recreation Department is holding their annual sale. The sale includes either $50 off an annual pass or buy one month get another month free. For more information call the Rantoul Recreation Department at 893-0461. The sale runs through the end of the month.



(Washington-jm) -- Here's an easy way to compute how big a turkey you need for your holiday dinner. Gary Crawford reports…



(Undated-jm) -- Public health and law enforcement officials say kids should not wear heavy coats in car seats. With cold weather season upon us, many parents put heavy coats on their kids to keep them warm, however, health officials say that puts them in danger should the vehicle they are riding in gets involved in an accident. They recommend putting your child in a fleece or sweater to keep them warm. Infants should be harnessed in first then swaddled.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill would make founded complaints to Illinois' legislative watchdog involving wrongdoing by state lawmakers public. State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, filed House Bill 3962 in an effort to prevent lawmakers from covering for each other to avoid public scrutiny. The bill would require any founded summary report involving unethical or wrongful conduct by the Legislative Inspector General be made public. It would also make public any response from the jurisdictional authority or member. Those reports would be made public even if no disciplinary action was taken.



(Springfield--jc)  -- Some Illinois lawmakers said they didn't get all they wanted to get done before leaving the capitol.The General Assembly wrapped up the fall veto session on Thursday. Lawmakers won’t be back in Springfield until late January.House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said lawmakers accomplished a lot this year. The legislature passed 637 bills this year, including measures to legalize recreational cannabis for adults, a $45 billion capital infrastructure plan funded with tax increases and expanded gambling, a state minimum wage hike and changes to ethics rules.



(Rantoul--jc)  -- One local police department said its farewells to a popular department official on Friday. Kathy Kohl retired Friday from the Rantoul Police Department. She was with the local police department for 27 years. She was an Executive Assistant



(Paxton--jc)  -- Congratulations to the Paxton Buckley Loda F F A Agronomy team for placing 1st at the Section Contest. Team members are Autumn Bruens, Christina White, Jasmine Miles, Lizzy Reutter  Aden Grohler, Keaton Garren, Garrett Sanders, Jeremiah Ager, Mason Bruns and Maddy Backquis.


(Gibson City-jm) -- A group in Gibson City is looking to save the historic Burwell Building. The building at 107 N. Sangamon was built in the 1880’s. The group wants to purchase the building from the current owner who is considering selling the building and renovate it to either a theatre or community center. Those interested in donating to raise funds to purchase the building or want to get involved can call Sharon Heavilin at the Moyer District Library at 784-5343.


(Washington-jm) -- The latest round of Market Facilitation Program payments should be received by eligible producers prior to Thanksgiving. Rod Bain has the details…



(Undated-jm) -- Local law enforcement agencies are warning about several scam attempts during the holiday season. Police say you should not provide personal information to anyone you don’t know and if someone asks to pay for services using gift cards it is likely a scam. Law enforcement officials also warn to never allow anyone to remotely access your computer unless they are a legitimate tech support. Another scam you should be warned about involves someone attempting to be with the IRS. The IRS warns they will not attempt to collect a debt over the phone or send law enforcement to arrest you. The best advice police have is if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.


Democratic state Senate President John Cullerton to step down from Illinois Legislature in January

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Democratic state Senate President John Cullerton has announced he’s stepping down from the Illinois Legislature. Cullerton says Thursday night in a statement that his retirement will be effective sometime in January and that he is fulfilling a promise to his wife, Pam. Cullerton was elected state senate president in 2009 and has been in the Illinois Senate since 1991. His 6th district covers Chicago’s North and Northwest sides.



(Springfield-jm) -- A spokesman for the family of Rod Blagojevich said support continues to grow for the commutation of the former Illinois governor’s 14-year prison sentence. Blagojevich family spokesman Mark Vargas said that most recently former National Rifle Association President David Keene sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for the commutation of Blagojevich’s prison sentence.



(Springfield-jm) -- A propane shortage is prompting a regional emergency declaration that covers seven states, including Illinois. State Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan says the shortage is more of a delivery problem, so this declaration eases trucking regulations…



State Department of Agriculture Director John Sullivan. Supplies are running low here in part due to early cold temperatures and farmers needing more propane to dry wet grain. 


(Gifford-jm) -- The northeastern Champaign County village of Gifford is the latest community to ban recreational cannabis sales. The village board voted 6-0 to ban the sale at this months meeting. Village trustees could vote in January whether or not to establish a 3 percent sales tax on cannabis sales if the village does approve it.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program will be in Rantoul this month. The group will hold an energy assistance day on Saturday, November 16th from 9-1 at the Community Service Center. LIHEAP helps low income residents with their gas and electric bills.



(Paxton-jm) -- A long standing Paxton tradition will continue this November as the city will hold their annual Christmas parade on Saturday, November 30th at 1:30 pm. PRIDE in Paxton Director Terri Hancock talks about the history of the parade…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Terri Hancock. The theme for this year’s parade is Chocolate, Gum Drops and Golden Tickets: Imagine the Possibilities.



(Undated-jm) -- New research in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows underage use of e-cigarettes show no sign of slowing down. 28 percent of high school students and 11 percent of middle school students admitted to using e-cigarettes. That amounts to 5.3 million youth, up from 3.6 million last year. Mint is the most favored after flavored products were banned.



Washington-jm) -- China has lifted a four-year ban on our nation's poultry entering into that market. Rod Bain reports…



CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services banned the use of shackles and handcuffs on youths in its custody after two teenage boys were restrained while they transferred from one Chicago-area shelter to another. The 15-year-old and 17-year-old boys were handcuffed and shackled at their ankles on Oct. 1 while being transferred separately from a Chicago shelter to another in Palatine.



SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers approved requiring more public disclosure about lobbyists Thursday in response to a federal bribery charge against a since-disgraced representative but pushed heavy ethics-reform lifting off to a newly created commission that will report recommendations next spring. Overwhelming votes in both the House and the Senate on the year’s last scheduled day of work in Springfield belied the dissatisfaction House Republicans had with what one lawmaker called a “milquetoast” measure and criticism over the makeup of the commission they fear will be stacked with Democrats.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting a fourth death from vaping related lung injury. 179 people so far have suffered lung injuries after vaping, with four now dead and another 41 possible cases under investigation. Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike says 80 percent of patients report vaping T-H-C…



Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike. Researchers have also found that Vitamin E acetate may be linked. Those affected in Illinois range in age from 13 to 75 years old but the average age is 22. 



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Service Club is accepting donations for their Christmas Envelope Project. The project assists needy families in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. Those interested in donating can mail their donations to the Paxton Service Club Goodfellow Project P.O. Box 224, Paxton, Illinois 60957. Applications for those who may need assistance can be filled out at any local food pantry or at Hudson’s and must be submitted by December 8th. Last year the service club handed out 72 envelopes.



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police troopers have announced several upcoming special patrols in Ford, Iroquois and Kankakee Counties. Troopers will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols on November 19th and November 25th. Troopers will be conducting Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols on November 16th, 17th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 27th, 30th and December 1st. Those patrols will focus on the fatal four: DUI, seatbelts, speeding and distracted driving.



(Undated-jm) -- The Ford-Iroquois 4-H Foundation will hold their annual auction this weekend. Spokesperson Nita Dubble has the details…



Ford-Iroquois 4-H Foundation Spokesperson Nita Dubble. Some of the items on the auction include tickets to Illinois Men’s Basketball and Chicago Cubs baseball to a grill and foursome at a local country club.


(Undated-jm) -- Millennials are in bad shape, and their poor physical and mental health carries serious adverse economic consequences, according to a new report. More millennials or those born between 1981 and 1996 suffer from conditions including hypertension, high cholesterol, depression and hyperactivity at a higher rate than Gen-Xers did at the same point in their lives, Moody's Analytics found in a report drawing on data from Blue Cross Blue Shield. As a result, the economic research firm estimates that, by 2027, health costs for young adults could run as much as 33% higher than they were for Gen-Xers at the same age.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is applauding passage of pension consolidation legislation. Combining the 640 downstate and suburban fire and police pension funds into two large systems will reap big rewards and alleviate a big burden says Governor Pritzker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. It’s estimated that by consolidating the pension systems, investment returns will increase by 800 million to two point five billion dollars over the next five years.


House lawmakers voted to cap the cost of insulin and Governor J-B Pritzker has said he will sign it into law

(Springfield-jm) -- Contact with potentially deadly synthetic drugs is a growing problem for first responders across Illinois and state officials want all public safety workers to have the latest training on how to deal with those drugs. The Illinois OSHA director Ben Noven said all first responders should be aware of the dangers they face when responding to overdoses and other drug scenes. Noven echoed the advice of a police commander for first responders at drug scenes, that they should treat everything as if it was fentanyl because the powerful synthetic opioid is commonly mixed with other drugs, such as heroin and even cocaine. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin that poses serious risks to first responders on aid calls and during criminal investigations.


(Springfield-jm) -- A consolidation bill for municipal fire and police pensions cleared the House Wednesday. The measure moves the state’s 649 separate police and fire pension systems into just two, one for police and one for fire. Representative Jay Hoffman of Belleville says this will really help to prop up the largely underfunded pensions…



State Representative Jay Hoffman of Belleville. Hoffman says this will also greatly reduce administrative costs since each pension system has their own board. The bill now moves to the Senate. 



(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul woman has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a home and threatening the residents. Police say 24-year-old Sierra Brees and another man, who police have not named, entered a home and stole a child’s bike while they were gone. When the residents returned Brees and the man were inside. The man admitted to taking the kids bike and offered to return it if the resident handed over Xanax pills. Brees returned before police arrived and threatened the resident. She is charged with residential burglary and intimidation. Bond was set at $30,000. She is due back in court December 17th.


(Washington-jm) -- Corn growers in this new corn crop year could see stocks falling and prices climbing. Gary Crawford reports…




(Undated-jm) -- The USDA’s Farm Service Agency is reminding eligible voters the deadline to vote for county committee elections is fast approaching. The deadline to vote is December 2nd. For more information, contact your local FSA office.



(Roberts-jm) -- The Village of Roberts has received a violation notice from the state. Village President Rick Flessner says they are working with the state on the issue…



Roberts Village President Rick Flessner.



(Undated-jm) -- A new study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition shows many kids need more rest. Researchers surveyed parents of nearly 50,000 U.S. children ages 6 to 17. They found only 48% are getting the recommended minimum of 9 hours of sleep most weeknights. Many parents and kids are balancing crazy schedules from school and work to after school homework, sports, and activities.


(Springfield-jm) -- A bill calling on the Illinois Department of Transportation to conduct a study on the use of automated red light cameras advanced in the state Senate. Those devices, and the contracts that many Chicago-area suburban governments have with the companies that provide them, are believed to be one subject of an ongoing federal corruption probe focusing on state Sen. Martin Sandoval. Red light cameras are automated devices that photograph vehicles if they pass through a red light without stopping, and generate a citation to the vehicle’s owner. Local governments typically split the revenue generated by the devices with the vendor. According to published reports, Sandoval is said to have intervened on behalf of SafeLight to have IDOT approve red light cameras in locations the agency had previously rejected, all while accepting large campaign contributions from the company and people affiliated with it.


(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers voted to cap the cost of insulin Wednesday. Insulin prices have skyrocketed, leaving patients with some tough choices says Representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago. His bill caps out of pocket costs for insulin at one hundred dollars for a 30 day supply…



State Representative Will Guzzardi of Chicago. This only applies to those with insurance plans regulated by the state. The bill returns to the Senate for approval and Governor J-B Pritzker has said he will sign it into law. 



(Urbana-jm) -- An Urbana man who allegedly forced his way into his former girlfriends house in Fisher and attacking her current boyfriend is in jail facing felony charges. Coleton Rauch is accused of forcing his way into the house, punched and choked the man and threatened to stab him with a pocket knife. He remains in the Champaign County jail on charges of home invasion. Rauch faces between six and 30 years in prison.



(Washington-jm) -- Rural Development water and waste disposal system grants and loans support infrastructure projects in rural communities, and in turn, promote quality of life and economic opportunity for rural residents. Rod Bain reports…




(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Public Library is seeking donations. The library received a loan from the village earlier this year to repair their roof. Now the library has to pay back that loan. Those looking to donate can call the library at 893-3955.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Service Club is seeking the donation of a tree to be used as the city’s Christmas tree. Charlie White with the Paxton Service Club talks about the history behind the downtown tree…



Charlie White with the Paxton Service Club.



(Undated-jm) -- A new study by John Hopkins University says pregnant mothers who use Acetaminophen, a pain reliever often used in Tylenol, could increase their child’s chance of having ADHD and autism. Researchers studied the cord blood of nearly a thousand mother/child pairs. Children exposed to higher levels while in the womb were significantly more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and autism later in life. Researchers warn however, that more research on the possible links are needed.


Car theft increases who you leave your car running to let it get warm.

(Springfield-jm) -- An 88-member task force missed a key deadline to deliver a report on how to reduce the state’s high property taxes, all but guaranteeing none of the group's recommendations will be signed into law this year.Subcommittees of the Property Tax Relief Task Force gave presentations on various focus areas as recently as Nov. 1. A similar meeting of another subcommittee is set for Friday. But the task force has yet to produce a report required by the law the governor signed to create it.



(Undated-jm) -- Rural Americans die more often from potentially preventable causes than their urban counterparts, a new government study shows. These causes include cancer, heart disease, injury, respiratory disease and stroke, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research. Between 2010 and 2017, rural counties saw a widening disparity in preventable deaths from cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, compared to city areas. This is despite the fact that preventable cancer deaths fell to less than 10% of all nationwide deaths from cancer in 2017.Closing the gaps starts with recognizing that people in rural areas tend to be older and sicker than people in cities, the CDC said. Compared to city dwellers, rural Americans smoke more, have higher rates of obesity, report less physical activity during leisure time and are less likely to buckle up when they drive.They're also poorer, have less access to health care and are less likely to have health insurance.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state Senate is voting to make daylight savings time permanent in Illinois. The idea was presented to Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill by high school students in his district. He says they wanted to open a discussion on the subject…



State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill. The bill calls for Illinoisans to set their clocks forward an hour on March 8th and leave them there. But that’s only if there is a change in federal law or Congress grants the state a waiver from the current practice. 



(Undated-jm) -- Bell ringers for the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign are offering more ways to give this holiday season.Rich Draeger, the director of development for the Tri-County Salvation Army based in Peoria, said that in addition to collecting coins and cash outside of stores, shoppers will now able to donate with their smartphone. Donations can be accepted using Apple Pay, Google Pay or by scanning a QR code. The annual Christmastime Red Kettle fundraising campaign is a significant part of the Salvation Army's fundraising efforts.



(Springfield-jm) -- Farmers continue to inch closer to the end of harvest as we hear in the weekly crop report. Less than five days were suitable for fieldwork this past week, but there was some harvest progress says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 93 percent of wheat has been planted and 75 percent has emerged. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at six percent short, 72 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.



(Watseka-jm) -- A Watseka Thrivent Financial representative will be holding an informational session this week. Larry Burton will host a session on Preparing for Long Term Care on Thursday, November 14th at 6:30 pm at his office at 112 East Walnut Street in Watseka. Those interested in attending must RSVP by calling 815-432-0355.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District will hear an update on the demolition of Eastlawn Elementary at tonight’s school board meeting. In addition, school board members will approve the 2019 proposed tax levy and set a public hearing for the levy, consider improvements to Memorial Field, consider new courses for the 2020-2021 school year and hear a report on the districts report card from the state. The PBL School Board meeting gets underway at 6pm.



(Washington-jm) -- With a much delayed harvest for many crops and with uncooperative harvest weather, how certain can we be of USDA's latest crop production estimates? Gary Crawford reports…




(Undated-jm) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they may have made a potential breakthrough in the vaping illness that has killed 39 people so far. The CDC says Vitamin E Acetate, a compound found in supplements, cosmetics and some vaping products, were detected in 29 lung tissue samples. T-H-C, the product found in marijuana, was detected in 23 samples while nicotine was found in 16 samples. The CDC does warn there may be more than one cause. So far 2,051 probable cases have been reported including 163 last week alone.



(Undated-jm) -- As cold weather season gets underway, one group is warning of the dangers of starting your car and letting it run. The America’s Transportation Research Institute says laws in some areas prohibit leaving your car run for longer than 10 minutes. The group also warns that running your car for long periods of time like that can strip your car of oil. Police say they see an increase of car thefts this time of year as a result.


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois officials told lawmakers that the state isn’t doing everything it could to leverage technology to help people with developmental disabilities be independent. State human service leaders talked to an Illinois state Senate Committee about a recent trip to Missouri to study how they help developmentally disabled people to be independent.  Allison Stark with the Department of Human Services Division of Developmental Disabilities said Missouri was more “tech first,” which reduced the need for more personnel.The department estimated about 10,000 Illinoisans with disabilities that have or want independent housing options.Illinois operates under a number of court orders related to minimum standards of care for people with developmental disabilities.



BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois High School Association has ended its appeal of a Cook County judge’s decision to allow Chicago Public Schools athletes to run in the state cross-country meet. The IHSA filed the appeal Nov. 4, but the appellate court decided not to rule immediately, clearing the way for the students to run last Saturday. The IHSA barred CPS runners from the competition because of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. The organization’s rules prohibit teams from postseason competition if it begins while the district is on strike.


(Springfield-jm) -- State officials are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week. Businesses say they can’t develop talent pools fast enough to meet with employment demands, and job seekers say many companies are looking for very specific skills…



Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Erin Gutherie says employers looking to start an apprenticeship program and workers hoping to enter one can visit apprenticeship illinois dot com for more information. 



(Undated-jm) -- New research shows more women are pursuing tech careers. The survey shows a 200 percent increase in women applying for data engineering positions. Out of 100,000 women surveyed, more than a third didn’t have STEM related subjects. More than half however, had technical skills such as coding.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture is hosting a hemp summit next month to answer questions and address concerns about the new industry. The department’s Bureau Chief for Medicinal Plants Jeff Cox says the summit will give farmers an opportunity to discuss the inaugural hemp growing season and more... 



Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau Chief for Medicinal Plants Jeff Cox.  Attendees will also hear from hemp processors and a presentation on market dynamics. Registration is 25 dollars and includes lunch. Visit the Department of Agriculture’s website for more information. 



(Sibley-jm) -- Sibley has approved a new contract with the Ford County Sheriff’s Office. The village will pay $8,948 for patrol service. The payment will be divided into two payments.



(Buckley-jm) -- The village of Buckley has repaired their street sweeper. Last month, village trustees voted to fix the street sweeper instead of selling it. Residents can have their leaves picked up by the street sweeper by putting their leaves on the curb line.



(Springfield-jm) -- Farmers continue to inch closer to the end of the harvest season as we hear in the weekly crop report. 71 percent of corn and 87 percent of soybeans have now been harvested, still well behind the average pace. Farmers are a little ahead when it comes to wheat planting, with 93 percent of acres now planted says crop statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at six percent short, 72 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.



(Springfield-jm) -- A group that advocates for public education in Illinois released a report indicating the state has made some progress in improving educational outcomes over the past five years, but it still has a long way to go to achieve the goal of having 60 percent of all adults attaining some kind of college-level degree or certificate by 2025. According to the Illinois State Board of Education, only 26 percent of 5-year-old children in Illinois showed the social, emotional and academic skills needed to start kindergarten. In other areas, Illinois made slight improvement over the five-year period. For example, 35 percent of fourth-grade students in 2018 met or exceeded state standards for reading skills, a key indicator of a student’s future risk of failing or dropping out of school. But there were fewer students demonstrating mastery of eighth-grade math skills 32 percent in 2018, down from 36 percent in 2013.Postsecondary enrollment among high school graduates rose during the period 53 percent in 2018.



(Washington-jm) -- A Congressman from Illinois who announced earlier this year he will be retiring at the end of his term may be reconsidering that decision. Politico is reporting Oregon Congressman Greg Walden may retire in 2021. He is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the same committee Illinois Congressman John Shimkus serves on. Shimkus could be in line to become chair of the committee.


The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging the public to prepare for winter weather.

(Undated--jc)  --A proposal that would give teachers still in college an additional year of state aid in exchange for committing to teach in Illinois for three years is scheduled for what could be a contentious hearing. State Sen. Don DeWitte, R-St. Charles, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1809. If enacted, the measure would extend Monetary Award Program grant funding to the extra schooling teachers must get before being certified with the state, but only if they agree to work at an Illinois school for at least three of their next five years.Illinois’ Monetary Award Program grants low-income college students tuition assistance. It’s a finite pool of money that’s awarded by the Illinois Study.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Officials at the University of Illinois have named a new vice chancellor for research and innovation. Susan Martinis has been serving in the role on an interim basis since September 2017 and was named a permanent replacement earlier this month, pending a vote by the Board of Trustees. Martinis oversaw several initiatives, including university-wide research centers while she held the job on an interim basis. She’s also credited with strengthening the business infrastructure around university research.


Houston Plumbing Heating and Cooling is the WPXN Business of the Day today. Business manager Lisa Pearman talks about being a Carrier dealer.



Houston Plumbing Heating & Cooling Business manager Lisa Pearman


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs has served on a jury in central Illinois. The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports Frerichs served Monday and Tuesday in Champaign County for a case involving retail theft. He says the verdict was guilty. County officials say prospective jurors are selected from a database that comes from several records including driver’s licenses, registered voters, people who have applied for unemployment.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging the public to prepare for winter weather. Winter hasn’t officially started yet, but many areas of Illinois have already seen snow with more expected today. I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says it’s good to be ready for whatever mother nature throws our way…


Illinois Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Those kits should include water, blankets, flashlights, extra batteries and first aid supplies. Officials say this is also a good time to throw an ice scraper in the car, winterize your home and change your furnace filter. 



CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is giving an Illinois legal aid group $30,000 to educate farmworkers about and to do research on pesticides. The EPA said in a recent statement that the money going to Legal Aid Chicago will, among other things, help it survey corn-detasseling workers and fruit harvesters in Illinois on their knowledge of pesticide use. It says the goal is to improve the health of migrant farmworkers.Legal Aid Chicago says Illinois’ Department of Agriculture has received a record number of nearly 1,000 complaints in 2019 on alleged misuse of pesticides. It says that’s ten times recent averages and illustrates the need for better education.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA has made very few changes to its previous corn production estimate. Gary Crawford reports…




(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Fire Department is looking to continue updating their fleet. The department purchased a new rescue pumper for $564,000 and a new tanker for $300,000 a few years ago. Now the department is looking to upgrade their ladder truck. The current ladder truck is from 1985 and isn’t able to fully meet the departments needs. A new ladder truck is estimated to cost about one point two million dollars.



(Undated-jm) -- Texas Roadhouse is once again offering veterans a free lunch for Veterans Day. The lunch is for active and retired service members when they show their military or VA card. Local locations participating include the Texas Roadhouse in Champaign and Bradley.



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City city council will consider a Class A liquor license for a business at tonight’s council meeting. Niemann Foods, the parent company of County Market is requesting the license. Council members will also consider a farm lease. The Gibson City city council meeting gets underway at 7pm.


(Undated--jc) —  With U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate, proposing legislation that would target private equity firms' operations, the investment industry is going on the offensive with a campaign in Illinois and other states reminding Congress about the taxes it pays and the businesses it helps. Calling the industry “legalized looting” and writing in a Medium post that “private equity firms are like vampires – bleeding the company dry and walking away enriched even as the company succumbs,” Warren and other senators in July introduced the “Stop Wall Street Looting Act


CHICAGO (AP) — Calling “backward” the United States treatment of juveniles, Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli said she plans to ask the Illinois Supreme Court to reverse an Illinois Appellate Court decision last week that permits holding preteenagers in custody. Campanelli’s office represented a 12-year-old boy who was ordered confined in September 2018 by a Cook County judge, despite an ordinance passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that barred the custodial detention of preteenagers. The appellate court, in a 2-1 decision handed down last week, upheld the circuit court ruling that the county board ordinance conflicted with state law and was not enforceable.



EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Records and correspondence spanning the political career of retiring U.S. Rep. John Shimkus are headed to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The (Edwardsville) Intelligencer reports the Republican’s correspondence, photos and official papers will be housed at the Elijah P. Lovejoy Library. The 61-year-old announced earlier this year that he won’t seek re-election after more than 20 years in Congress. His sprawling district includes parts of central and southern Illinois.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is urging the public to prepare for winter weather. As the temperature begins to drop, it’s time to assess whether your family is prepared for winter. In Illinois that can mean freezing temperatures, ice storms, heavy snowfall and even tornadoes says I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark…



I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. I-EMA reminds not to forget the special needs of pets, young children and the elderly when putting together an emergency supply kit. 


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Illinois state Sen. Chuck Weaver has applied to become the next president of Bradley University. The Republican is also up for 2020 re-election and says he’ll file petitions for another term. He says he’s let party leaders know his plans. They’ll take steps to choose a replacement candidate if Weaver’s chosen to lead the private university in Peoria and there isn’t another GOP candidate in the primary. Bradley University President Gary Roberts retires at the end of May 2020. Roughly 80 people have applied for the job.



(Washington-jm) -- What did USDA have to say about soybeans in its new assessment? Gary Crawford has the details…



(Undated-jm) -- Veterans Day services are being held around the area today. A service will be held at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School this morning at 10:30 with a breakfast for veterans beforehand at 9:30. St. John’s Lutheran School in Buckley will hold a veterans service at 10 am. In Gifford, a breakfast at Gifford Grade School will begin at 8 with a service to follow at 8:30. In Gibson City, a service will be held at 9 am at GCMS High School, coffee and donuts will be available for veterans starting at 8:30 am.


Houston Plumbing Heating and Cooling is the WPXN Business of the Day today. Winter predictions show several below freezing temperatures in the near future. You’ll want to make sure your furnace is working properly. You can also take advantage of Cool Cash Savings. Business manager Lisa Pearman gives the number to call if you need service.



Houston Plumbing Heating & Cooling Business manager Lisa Pearman



(Paxton-jm) -- A public hearing on phase one of the Paxton streetscape project will be held in November. The city is looking to apply to use $1.14 million in revolving loan funds for the project which includes resurfacing Market Street from Orleans to Holmes Streets, new sidewalks in the 100 block of North Market and new pedestrian lighting. The public hearing will take place at 6:30 pm tomorrow night.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School school board members are expected to approve their tax levy at tonight’s meeting. In addition, members will discuss property tax relief. The Rantoul Township High School school board meeting gets underway at 7pm.


Recap of Saturday

A lot happened around the WPXN studios yesterday. First off we had our On The Side Line’s morning show hosted by Joel, followed by our annual Ag Auction. After the very successful auction, WPXN had its first ever 8-man football game broadcast on our airwaves as Milford-CP won that game 56 to 6 to advance to the next round in the playoffs. After that PBL secured a victory over Farmington to head to the quarterfinals against Princeton next Saturday.

The American Red Cross is seeking blood donations ahead of the flu season

(Undated-jm) -- The American Red Cross is seeking blood donations ahead of the flu season. The Red Cross says getting the flu shot doesn’t affect your eligibility to donate and there is no waiting period after getting the shot to donate. To find a donation site nearest you visit: red cross blood dot org.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Republicans are proposing a series of ethics reforms they’d like to see passed next week. House G-O-P Leader Jim Durkin says they have a package of five bills that will address many of the problems that have come to light lately…



House G-O-P Leader Jim Durkin. The legislation requires special elections for vacancies in the General Assembly, bans lawmakers and their families from doing paid lobbying work local government and more. Durkin is calling on colleagues to approve the measures during the remainder of the fall veto session next week. 



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda FFA Chapter will hold a breakfast for Veterans this Veterans Day. Breakfast will be served from 9:30 to 10:15 with a celebration to follow. Watseka High School will also hold a veterans day breakfast and service. Breakfast begins at 8:15 with the celebration at 9:15. St Johns School in Buckley is also hosting a Veterans Day program at 10 AM on Monday



(Washington-jm) -- U.S. agricultural exports and this country's agricultural trade surplus both took a hit in the 2018 fiscal year.  Gary Crawford reports…




(New York-jm) -- A Paxton woman recently competed in the New York City Marathon. Samantha Cox ran the marathon in honor of her mother who has Huntington’s Disease. Cox was part of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America team which raised more than $133,000 for the effort.



(Thomasboro-jm) -- The Illinois State Fire Marshals office is announcing $9.3 million in no interest or low interest loans for emergency vehicles to fire departments. Locally, the Thomasboro Fire Protection District is receiving $300,000. The loans must be repaid within 20 years.



(Springfield-jm) -- With a contentious election less than a year away, Illinois elections officials are warning that foreign influence could not only include attempted hacking, but elaborate misinformation campaigns that they’re going to need help stopping.  President Donald Trump will be vying against the eventual victor of the spring Democratic Primary in November of 2020. In Illinois, the top billing will be a ballot initiative to change the state’s Constitution to allow for a progressive income tax.


(Undated-jm) -- A new study out says 90 percent of people show up to work sick with cold and flu symptoms. Half come in citing they come in because of too much to do at work, while 40 percent don’t want to use their sick time. The study says bosses should set an example and take time off when sick and encourage employees to do the same.


Paxton IGA and Toys for Tots will host a ribeye steak sandwich cookout from 10 until 2 on Saturday at the Paxton IGA.


American Lutheran Community Preschool in Rantoul will host their 40th anniversary with a community chili cookoff and silent auction on Saturday from 1-3 pm at American Lutheran Church. Also ask about the  Heavenly Tree program at the church.


PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Appellate Court says it won’t immediately rule on a lower court decision that allows Chicago Public Schools cross-country runners to compete at the state championship meet Saturday. The Illinois High School Association is seeking to overturn an order allowing the runners to compete in the postseason. The IHSA blocked their participation because a teachers’ strike prevented their attendance at the regional meet. The three-judge panel said Thursday it will rule on the IHSA appeal, but not before the meet in Peoria.



(Springfield-jm) -- Treasurer Mike Frerichs is urging Illinoisans to check for any unclaimed property they may be due. Treasurer Frerichs says his office is launching a statewide campaign to get more people to check the “I-Cash” website for old checks, bonds and small items they may have forgotten about. He says they want to emphasize that this is not a scam…



State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Visit Illinois Treasurer dot gov slash I Cash to see if you are owed any money. Frerichs says about one in four people are successful. 



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Ministerial Coop will hold a Thanksgiving service on Sunday. The service will be held at the Rantoul Church of the Nazarene at 5pm. The public is invited to attend.


(Paxton-jm) -- It is 3 weeks from today. PRIDE in Paxton is gearing up for the Christmas holiday season with several activities for the whole family. One of the activities is the annual tree lighting says PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock. Other activities include the parade at 1:30 pm Saturday, the Business Open House December 6th through the 9th and several opportunities for kids to meet Santa.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Watseka man has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to breaking into a Champaign home. 26-year-old Collin Brais admitted to breaking into the home and stealing an xbox back in April. In exchange for his plea, three other criminal cases: residential burglary, possession of a controlled substance and theft and resisting arrest were dismissed. Brais was given credit for 146 days served.



(Undated-jm) -- Kent Gray has announced his intentions to run for the 15th Congressional seat. Currently that position is held by Collinsville Republican John Shimkus. Shimkus announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election. Gray served as a senior staff member for President Donald Trump's election campaign in 2015 and 2016. The 15th Congressional District covers parts of Ford, Champaign and Vermilion Counties.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA's Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network will assist regional projects developing behavior health resources and assistance to producers.  Rod Bain reports…



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Association of School Boards could revisit a resolution that would give school districts the option to arm faculty. Although the legislation failed a year ago, school boards from various regions will vote again later in November at the organization's annual conference. Proponents of the legislation are particularly making arguments for schools in rural areas, which are usually protected by local police or sheriffs instead of school resource officers who can respond more quickly to emergencies.



(Springfield-jm) -- If Senator Andy Manar has his way, people in Illinois would move their clocks ahead one hour this coming spring, then never have to change them again. Manar of Bunker Hill, said in a Twitter post he plans to push for passage of Senate Bill 533 when lawmakers return next week for the final three days of the fall veto session. That bill calls for setting clocks ahead one hour to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 8, 2020, then leaving the state on Central Daylight Time permanently.


The Christmas season is a time for giving. And who better to give a gift to, than a child.  The Buckley State Bank is a Toys for Tots drop off location. They are accepting new toys from now until the first week of December.


The Champaign County Farm Bureau will host their 12th annual Harvest Gala tonight at Pear Tree Estate in rural Champaign. Silent auction begins at 5:30 with dinner at 7 and live auction at 7:30. Cost is $75 per person. For more information or to reserve your spot call 217-352-5235.


The Foosland Sportsman’s Club will hold their splatterobard shoot on Sunday,. Breakfast begins at 6 with the shoot starting at 8.


The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is honoring veterans all month

(Paxrton--jc)  — Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a Rankin  woman who has died after being involved in a motor vehicle crash in Ford County, Illinois on Tuesday.  Mary C. Diskin, 84, was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois at 2:22 PM yesterday. Diskin was reportedly traveling northbound on 2600 E in Ford County when her vehicle entered the intersection and collided with another vehicle traveling eastbound on 200 N. An autopsy will be performed today and an inquest may be held at a later date. This death is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Ford County Sheriff’s Office



(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s college savings plan is receiving national recognition. The state’s 529 savings plan was rated among one of the best in the nation by Moneystar, Inc. The company evaluates and ranks savings plans for every state.



(Springfield-jm) -- When it comes to hunting safety, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says tree stands are one of the biggest concerns. Hunting season is well underway in Illinois and officials want to make sure hunters are taking basic precautions. Especially when it comes to tree stands says D-N-R Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…


Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Torbert says hunters should make sure their stand is installed properly and secure. Hunters are urged to use a safety harness and to check all equipment regularly to ensure it’s working properly. 



(Rural Paxton-jm) -- Ford County coroner Rick Flessner has released the name of a Texas man that died in an accident on I-57 near Paxton last month. 72-year-old Ernst Otis Kiehl of Copperas Cove Texas was traveling to meet his wife in Indiana when his car left the road and struck a guardrail on October 23rd.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District will be holding parent teacher conferences today and tomorrow. As a result, schools will be dismissing at 2:20 pm both days.



(Washington-jm) -- Global demand for pork is expected to rise. Stephanie Ho has the details…




(Springfield--jc)  --Some districts spend far more per student at some schools and less at others, but parents can now find how just how big the difference is after per-pupil spending by school was added to the latest Illinois Report Card.In addition to the district-level data, the Illinois State Board of Education now includes how much is spent per student in each school using each school’s fiscal year 2018 financial reports.


CHICAGO (AP) — If you were worried that Illinois didn’t have enough lawyers, fear not. More are on the way. Illinois Supreme Court justices are scheduled to administer the attorney’s oath to 1,459 people on Thursday. A statement from the high court says that’ll bring the total number of licensed attorneys in Illinois to around 96,500.



(Springfield-jm) -- More improvements are being made to the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. There’s already been repairs to some of the barns and the Coliseum got a major makeover. State Fair Spokesperson Krista Lissner says now they’re working on resurfacing fairground roads…



State Fair Spokesperson Krista Lissner. Resurfacing will also be done along portions of Illinois and Central Avenue and around the Emerson Building. The first phase is expected to be completed before Thanksgiving if weather cooperates. The second phase will begin in the spring. The three million dollars in road improvements is funded by the state’s new infrastructure plan. 



(Rural Paxton-jm) -- Ford County coroner Rick Flessner has released the cause of death for two individuals found dead after a car crash near Paxton in early October. 19-year-old Taylor Johnson of Rantoul and 29-year-old Reynaldo Hogue of Chicago both died of blunt force trauma of the head as a result of the accident. A farmer harvesting corn reported the accident to authorities.


(Hoopeston-jm) -- A former Super Bowl winning quarterback will be in Hoopeston this weekend. Chicago Bears legend Jim McMahon will be signing autographs and Bricks and Ivy Saturday. Tickets are $80-$160. 



(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County Farm Bureau is gearing up for their 12th annual Harvest Gala. This year’s event takes place on Friday, November 8th at the Pear Tree Estate. A silent auction gets underway at 5:30, with a dinner at 7 and live auction at 7:30. Cost is $75 a person. For more information or to register, call the Champaign County Farm Bureau at 217-352-5235.



(Springfield--jc)  — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is honoring veterans all month. Admission is free for Military Veterans and alll Active Duty personnel on Veteran’s Day, Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills says there is also a “Fighting Powell’s” display…



Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills



(Chicago--jc)  — Illinois got low marks on the March of Dimes annual report card on maternal and infant health.The annual report looked at health issues for mothers and newborns, including premature birth rates across the county. As a nation, the United States received an overall grade of a "C." March of Dimes President and CEO Stacey Stewart says Illinois ranked below the national average with a "D+" on the report card. Stewart adds that Illinois has a lot of work to do in the area of infant health. 

Illinois reported fewer traffic fatalities in 2018, following a national trend

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois reported fewer traffic fatalities in 2018, following a national trend. Numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a 2.5 percent decline in 2018, with deaths in Illinois down more than 5 percent. The decrease follows a brief spike in 2015 and 2016, blamed on more drivers on the roads due to an improving economy. Pedestrian deaths remain a concern, as the number of fatalities increased by nearly 3 percent nationally and 12 percent in Illinois.Overall, more than 36,000 people died on the nation’s roads in 2018. Illinois reported 1,031 deaths on the roadways last year, the tenth-highest number in the country.



(Springfield-jm) -- Producers made slight progress this past week as we hear in the weekly crop report. Only about two days were suitable for fieldwork, preventing farmers from making any big headway says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 77 percent of soybeans have been harvested and 83 percent of winter wheat has been planted. Average statewide topsoil moisture increased to one percent very short, five percent short, 65 percent adequate and 29 percent surplus. 



(Urbana-jm) — A Rantoul man was arrested in Urbana on weapon and drug charges. Police say an officer saw Kejuan Coleman leaving a vehicle over the weekend that was emitting a heavy odor of cannabis. When the officer tried to stop Coleman he took off on foot. Officers uncovered a large amount of cash on him, and a gun and cannabis in his vehicle. Coleman was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, delivery of up to 500 grams of cannabis and resisting police. Bond was set at $30,000.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Could the village of Rantoul ban cannabis establishments? That will be the discussion at tonight’s study session. In addition, village trustees will discuss the village’s tax levy and $225,000 in street maintenance in 2020. The Rantoul village board study session gets underway at 6 pm.


(Ludlow-jm) -- Prep work for a water main project in the village of Ludlow is halfway complete. Village leaders recently learned an electrical panel in the water plant will not work with the new system and will have to be moved to phase one of the project instead of phase two. Leaders hope to send the project out to bid in the spring.



(Undated-jm) -- Ameren Illinois customers could see some relief on their energy bills this winter. The company announced rates are expected to be five percent less than last year. That means a typical residential customer who uses 10,000 kilowatt hours per year will save around $22.

(Washington-jm) -- Secretary Perdue is touting U.S. relationships with Japan, which is one of this country's largest agricultural export markets. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Undated-jm) -- Law enforcement officers are urging caution when using public changing tables. Police say the tables are sometimes used by drug addicts looking to get their fix. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Some districts spend far more per student at some schools and less at others, but parents can now find how just how big the difference is after per-pupil spending by school was added to the latest Illinois Report Card. In addition to the district-level data, the Illinois State Board of Education now includes how much is spent per student in each school using each school’s fiscal year 2018 financial reports. Information is available at



(Springfield-jm) -- Producers made slight progress this past week as we hear in the weekly crop report. 95 percent of corn is now mature, and 58 percent of the crop has been harvested. That’s up from 54 percent last week. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans... 



State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 60 percent of the winter wheat crop has emerged. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, five percent short, 65 percent adequate and 29 percent surplus. 



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton is gearing up for their annual Christmas parade. This year’s theme is Chocolate, Gum Drops and Golden Tickets: Imagine the Possibilities. PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock says they are running a special golden ticket promotion…



PRIDE in Paxton Director Teri Hancock. The annual parade will take place Saturday, November 30th at 1:30 pm.



(Paxton--jc)  The demolition process for the former EastLawn School have begun. Workers with Lee Excavating based in Thawville have started the process that will take several months to complete. The aging structure property  will be repurposed by the local school district. Those traveling in the area are asked for their patience as the project continues.



(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County Farm Bureau is gearing up for their 12th annual Harvest Gala. This year’s event takes place on Friday, November 8th at the Pear Tree Estate. A silent auction gets underway at 5:30, with a dinner at 7 and live auction at 7:30. Cost is $75 a person. For more information or to register, call the Champaign County Farm Bureau at 217-352-5235.



(Undated-jm) -- Nestle is recalling some ready to bake refrigerated Toll House Cookie Dough. The company says certain batches contain food grade rubber pieces. Batch codes beginning with 9189 to 9295 are affected. They include Toll House Cookie Dough bars, tubs and tube shaped chubs.



(Springfield-jm) -- After three more troopers were struck by passing motorists in four days, the Illinois State Police is again reminding the public about the state’s “Move Over” law. The number of I-S-P squad cars hit by driver’s not moving over has now reached 26. The move over or “Scott’s Law” requires motorists to slow down and switch lanes if they see a vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road. Some aren’t getting the message says Trooper Mindy Carroll…



Illinois State Police Trooper Mindy Carroll. The Illinois State Police have lost four troopers so far this year. Two were killed as a result of Scott’s Law violations. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Amid a backdrop of federal investigative activity and bipartisan calls for ethics reform, a state legislator introduced a bill that would increase the sentences of state lawmakers convicted of a crime related to their public duties. Barrington Hills Republican Rep. David McSweeney’s bill joins a handful of others that aim to institute a task force to study potential ethical safeguards, increase the fines associated with lying on government forms and bribery, and give the legislative investigator more autonomy in her inquiries. McSweeney’s bill would tack an extra “five years of imprisonment” to the sentence of a lawmaker convicted of a felony “relating to or arising out of or in connection” to his or her public duties, according to the legislation.


Chunk Norris set a new World Record with 4091 feet at the Punkin Chunkin event in Rantoul

CHICAGO (AP) — A published report says the son of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan invited a suburban mayor to a fundraiser for his father around the time he was trying to convince that suburb’s officials to hire his insurance company. The Chicago Sun-Times cites an Aug. 27, 2018, email from Andrew Madigan to Alsip Mayor John Ryan inviting him to a $500-a-ticket “Mayors for Speaker Madigan” event. The email came after yearlong discussions about how Alsip might hire Alliant/Mesirow Insurance Services, where Andrew Madigan is an executive.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Thousands of people were in Rantoul this past weekend for the World Punkin Chunkin Championship. This was the first year the championship was held outside of Delaware. Chunk Norris was the winning machine launching a pumpkin 4,091 feet. Event organizers are already planning next year’s event in the village.



Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a male who has died after he was involved in a semi tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 74 east bound near the 186 mile marker around noon on November 1, 2019. Kenny W. Hill, age 38, of Jacksonville, Illinois was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at 1:01 PM on November 1, 2019. An autopsy was performed on November 2, 2019 and inquest may be held at a later date. This death is under investigation by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Illinois State Police District 10


(Washington-jm) --  The latest step in the 2019 Farm Service Agency County Committee Election process takes place the first week of November with the arrival of ballots in the mail. Rod Bain reports…




(Rantoul--jc)  -- Rantoul Township High School Board members meet in special session tonight. On the agenda is a student diseplenary case. The meeting comes to order at 6pm



(Springfield-jm) -- The National Safety Council is telling employers that some jobs have too much of an impact on safety to allow for any marijuana use by employees. As Illinois prepares for recreational adult-use cannabis starting Jan. 1, the National Safety Council said there was no acceptable amount of marijuana use for employee in a safety sensitive position.National Safety Council Vice President of Government Affairs Jane Terry said the organization wants employers to prioritize safety. Terry said that with existing technology, it isn't possible to test for marijuana impairment. That’s why the National Safety Council is asking employers with employees in safety-sensitive positions to have a zero-tolerance policy. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier tendered notice he will resign his seat on the bench effective Dec. 6. 2020. His three-year term as chief justice of the state’s highest court concluded Oct. 25. Chief Justice Anne Burke succeeded him as head of the court beginning the following day, and according to a spokesperson, Karmeier has requested his seat be filled by election, rather than appointment. During his time leading the court as chief, he helped secure its first budget increase in six years this spring. The branch will receive just more than $405 million from the state’s main checking account, a bump of about $60.5 million. That money will be used in part to alleviate costs paid by local governments for probation, court officials said.



(Springfield-jm) -- After several years of trending downward, the number of children without health care insurance in Illinois and the nation is on the rise again, according to a new report. Mary Schuermann reports…




(Urbana--jc)  --Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the name of a male who has died from complications of injuries sustained in a multiple vehicle crash. David Hooker, age 56, of Sidney, Illinois was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at 9:29 AM on November 1, 2019. Mr. Hooker was reportedly the driver of a vehicle that collided with a semi tractor-trailer on County Road 1000 N in Champaign County on the morning of October 30, 2019. No autopsy will be performed however, an inquest may be held at a later date. This death is under investigation by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office and the Champaign County Sheriff’s Department.



(Paxton--jc)  --The PBL Education Foundation reports 56% of the district’s staff have donated over $8000 to The PBL Endowment Fund. Participating staff made their donations through a payroll deduction plan. President of the PBL Teachers Association, Amy Johnson said, “We have very dedicated teachers and staff in our district. They care deeply for our students so it is not surprising they would be so generous.” These donations will be added to The Endowment Fund’s growing principal. This collective gift will create the staff’s life-long legacy of support as the principal will generate income in perpetuity! The PBL Endowment Fund was created in 2017 to provide a reliable source of income to fund the wide range of quickly changing technology needs within the school district. “



(SPringfield--jc)  -- Some concerns about college athletes and compensation are being addressed by one area lawmaker. State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington says the issue raises some red flags from money and regulation…



State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington


(Springfield--jc)  --Governor J.B. Pritzker could move forward with a campaign plan to create a Medicaid buy-in program after lawmakers failed to override his veto of a bill that would have restricted his ability to unilaterally request waivers from the federal government for health programs.During the fall veto session, lawmakers only addressed one veto and they failed to get enough votes to override it. Pritzker vetoed seven bills that the General Assembly approved. The governor signed nearly 600 bills. He used one amendatory veto.Pritzker vetoed Senate Bill 2026 entirely. State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, the bill's chief sponsor, said it would have protected people with pre-existing conditions by giving legislators the power to request federal health program waivers, rather than unilateral power to the governor.



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