WPXN Blog Archives for 2020-02

The Illinois state health department says it is taking proactive steps against the spread of novel coronavirus

(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform hearing Thursday got into the nuances of elected officials prohibited activities, including what kinds of elected or appointed positions already elected officials can take on. The commission was created amid wide-ranging federal corruption probes that have ensnared elected officials and lobbyists. The next hearing is set for March 5.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  Pork production is surpassing previous expectations while prices are doing the opposite. Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Alyssa Hamilton from St. Joe Ogden High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Iroquois West member Clayton Kolowski

 

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Cheyenne Cade from Armstrong High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Fisher FFA member Dominic Kastens

 


 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City Rotary Club is seeking donations for their annual fundraiser. The fundraiser will take place Saturday, April 4th however the group is requesting donations by tomorrow. Those interested in donating or wanting to participate in the fundraiser are asked to reach out to the Gibson City Rotary Club.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Clara Pete Carnival is just over a month and a half away, PIT Crew President Julie Foster tells us that the Carnival is the biggest event that they have, and it’s a fun inexpensive way for kids and their families to have fun together…. 

 

 

Clara Pete PIT Crew President Julie Foster. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Fire Department is getting a new truck. The village board approved the purchase of a one point two eight seven million dollar one hundred foot ladder truck. The new truck replaces a 1985 75 foot ladder truck. The truck, manufactured by Pierce Manufacturing in Wisconsin, will be delivered to the village in May.

 

 

(Ashkum--jc)  -- State police District 21 in Ashkum says a phone scam has been reported. State police say they are still getting reports of phone scammers that are spoofing people by having the District 21 number show up on their caller ID. The subject making the call provided the name of William Turner. District 21 does not have anyone employed here with that name. Please do not give out personal information to unknown individuals. When in doubt, please hang up and call your local authorities.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The election coming up in November will have a very important first question on the ballot. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the question will be for voters to change the income tax structure… 

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington 

 

 

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois state health department says it is taking proactive steps against the spread of novel coronavirus as federal authorities warn that a spread of the virus in the U.S. is imminent. The 2019 coronavirus, called novel because it has not been observed in its current form prior to its spread in Wuhan, China, starting in December 2019, has been named COVID-19 by authorities. As of Tuesday, there had been 14 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 40 cases in people who were recently repatriated to the U.S. after being held on a cruise ship on which the virus was spreading.

 

The Saybrook American Legion will hold a chicken and fish fry tonight from 4:30-6:30 pm.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Illinois will hold their Bowl for Kids’ Sake at the Country Tymes Lane in Rantoul tomorrow from 4:30-9. Cost is $75 per bowler or $450 per team of 6. For more information or to sign up call 217-417-3860.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers could make Illinois the sixth state to remove a religious or philosophical objection to vaccines required to attend school. In Illinois and most other states, it’s required by law that children be up to date on their vaccination schedule to attend school. As of January, 45 states and Washington D.C allowed religious exemptions for immunizations and 15 of those allowed for philosophical exemptions, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. If lawmakers approve of Senate Bill 3668 and it’s signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, parents would no longer be able to submit a letter to their child’s school objecting to the vaccination requirement. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the success of the states public colleges and universities. The governor says the state has seen an increase in the number of students applying…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Pork Producers Association is offering over $13,000 in scholarships this year. Information on the scholarships are available online at ilpork dot com. The deadline to submit your application is Monday.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake will take place tomorrow. The Rantoul office services over 30 kids in Rantoul and Paxton who will benefit from the outing says Director Kristian Hopkins… 

 

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Rantoul Director Kristian Hopkins. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Spring is almost here and that means the start to another season, road construction. IDOT has announced work will begin in mid March on a major section of road in Urbana that could affect your travel to work. Beginning March 16th, crews will begin work on University Avenue between Wright Street and Cunningham Avenue. Crews will be rebuilding sidewalks, curbs and gutters, resurfacing the road and replacing street lights. The project is expected to be completed in November 2021.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's Ag Outlook Forum was the venue for the latest outlook of livestock and poultry production, prices, and exports for the coming year. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Macie Kingren from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Lexie Wilken with Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Cissna Park FFA member  Clayton Powell

 


 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Parents would be allowed to pull their children out of school active shooter drills if a new bill becomes law. State Sen. Scott Bennett of Champaign pushed Senate Bill 3222 through the Senate Education Committee. It addresses concerns centered around the psychological effects these drills have on kids. Schools are currently required to go through an active shooter drill within the first 90 days of a school year. Only school administrators have the power to exempt students from participating.

 

Lakeview Country Club in Loda will host a comedy night tomorrow. Doors open at 6pm with the show starting at 7:30 pm. 

 

The Thomasboro Fire Department will hold their all you can eat pancake and sausage breakfast on Sunday from 8 to noon.

 

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Central Illinois counties led Illinois in corn and soybean production last year as every region and nearly all counties saw decreases in both crops

(Springfield-jm) -- Officials from three of the state's public universities went before a Senate committee on Wednesday to detail their funding requests funding, including one double-digit increase. Public universities had a difficult during the two-year state budget impasse brought on by the stalemate between former Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratically-controlled General Assembly. With Democrats firmly in control of all levels of state government, some of the state’s universities are asking for more funding than they had received in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s first state budget. Representatives from Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, and the University of Illinois presented requests to the Senate Appropriations II Committee on Wednesday. 

 

 

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois public and charter schools would be mandated to teach students from kindergarten through 12th grade “inclusive, medically accurate, and culturally appropriate comprehensive sex education” if legislation announced Wednesday becomes law. The curriculum, not currently mandated, would include information children and youth need to prevent bullying, foster healthy relationships and prevent abuse or violence, a group of advocates and lawmakers said at a news conference.

 

(Washington-jm) -- Upcoming events with African nations are representative of U.S. interests in growing export markets within the African continent, including ag trade. Rod Bain reports…

 


 

Over 670,000 FFA students are participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Anna Crites from Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

We were also able to talk with Armstrong FFA member Brody Howard

 

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students are participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Jacob Hansens from Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Iroquois West FFA member  Taylor Talbert

 

 

 

(Springfield--jc)  Two area county sheriff departments on behalf of the Illinois Sheriff’s Association, called the Illinois Department of Corrections this week asking why there was a sudden change in policy. The new policy resulted in the release of felons, after completing their sentences, and illegal aliens, were released without notification to Immigrations officials or local law enforcement agencies.Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey says local agencies handle a wide range of criminals, safely…

 

 

Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey

Downey says the outride release of these individuals rather than a transfer to another court issue,  caused a major security issue for the area and state.


 

 

(Gilman--jc)  One Iroquois County school is well-known for a student rifle club. The Iroquois West  Rifle Club would like to invite any interested student and community members to attend a fun, informative and hands-on event  Those attending the meeting will learn more about the rifle club, and also participate in several activities. Those interested are asked to come to the  "Old Jim" Miller Range and multi-purpose room on Thursday March 12th at 7pm. There will be a thorough safety session, brief instruction, followed by some shooting. All skill-levels, ages and positive-learning-attitudes are welcome.More information is found by contacting the Iroquois West School in Gilman.


 

 

SPRINGFIELD – Central Illinois counties led Illinois in corn and soybean production last year as every region and nearly all counties saw decreases in both crops, according to estimates released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA published county-specific soybean figures for 75 of 102 counties and corn figures for 67 counties. McLean county saw corn production at 61,712,000 bushels, Champaign County 48,918,000 bushels, Livingston County 46,927,000 and Iroquois County 45,786,000. For soybeans, McLean County saw production at 18,123,000 bushels, Livingston County 16,121,000 bushels, Champaign County 13,539,000 and Iroquois County 12,391,000 bushels.

 

 

(McLean County-jm) -- The McLean County Public Health Department is reporting three cases of the mumps. The three people are reported to be in their early 20’s and have been appropriately vaccinated. The McLean County Health Department is encouraging the public to make sure they are up to date on their MMR vaccine. Mumps is caused by a virus that spreads through direct contact with saliva or respiratory droplets from the mouth. Symptoms of mumps include fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and swelling of the salivary glands, which causes puffy cheeks and a tender, swollen jaw.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Rantoul will be holding their annual Bowl for Kids Sake on Feb. 29. Big Brothers Big Sisters in Rantoul Director Kristian Hopkins gives us a little background on the event, and that it’s held every year at Country Tyme Lanes in Rantoul, and that this is the 5th year of the Bowl for Kids Sake…. 

 

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Rantoul Director Kristian Hopkins. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Beach Boys will be coming to the Champaign County Fair in July. The legendary group will perform on Thursday, July 23rd at 7pm. Tickets go on sale this Friday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Revenue from Illinois’ 10 casinos has been sliding for more than a decade at least in part because of the state’s smoking ban and the rise of video gambling machines. Illinois gamblers decided to stay at home and the industry is still trying to lure them back, said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. Revenues are now down 40 percent, to $1.3 billion from the high water mark ten years ago. Gamblers are spending money on video gaming machines, which can be found in many bars, restaurants and truck stops.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A proposed bill in Illinois would prohibit schools from using a Native American logo, mascot or any other Native American imagery unless a school follows certain procedures. The procedures include written consent of a Native American tribe within 500 miles of the school and renewed every 5 years, conduct a school-wide program on Native American culture at least twice a year, offer a course to students outlining Native American contributions to society and report to the State Board of Education the programs on Native Americans it offers. If schools dont follow the guidelines they would be barred from competing in playoffs.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Job growth continues to grow in the state. Governor J-B Pritzker says last year saw growth across the entire state…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Kankakee-jm) -- The Kankakee County Sheriff’s office and U-S Marshals are investigating after an inmate was found dead last month. The Sheriff’s office says Willie Weathersby was found dead in his cell at the Jerome Combs Detention Center. An autopsy revealed Weathersby died from an opioid overdose.

 

 

(Decatur--jc)  The Illinois Department of Corrections is using a new policy to release some prisoners after they have completed their sentences.. The policy is to release the individuals, who are illegal aliens, into the state, rather than hand them over to federal officials. Area state Representative Dan Caulkin’s of Decatur says that Governor JB Pritzker is jeopardizing the safety of Illinois citizens…

 

 

Illinois State Representative Dan Caulkin of Decatur 

WPXN News will have more reaction from Representative Caulkin on the noon news today

 

 

Ford County will hold a meeting to continue discussions on the creation of a Veterans Assistance Commission in the county tonight at 7pm at the Roberts village hall.

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Christina White from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Rachel Wilson with St. Joe Ogden High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Cissna Park FFA member Kayla McWethy

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Another electronics recycling event could be coming to Ford County. The Ford County Environmental Committee is recommending the recycling event for sometime next year. The recycling would be in conjunction with the soil and water conservation district. The application to hold an electronics recycling is due to the state by March 1st.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is forecasting a huge corn crop this coming season. Gary Crawford has more…

 

 

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Mediacom and Marquee Sports Network team up to bring local fans Cubs Baseball

(Springfield-jm) -- It may not come as a surprise to residents that a new report again found Illinois’ property taxes were the second-highest in the nation, but the debate about how to address the problem continues, including among members of the Illinois Property Tax Relief Task Force. Behind only New Jersey, Illinois had the second-highest property taxes in the U.S., according to the latest report from WalletHub. The consumer finance website found the average property taxes on a $205,000 home in Illinois were $4,700. The same $205,000 house in Kentucky or Indiana would come with a $1,760 property tax bill.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- In fiscal year 2018, Illinois didn’t have a budget due to the ongoing feud between former Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democratically-controlled General Assembly. In the months before a tenuous general election, the two sides agreed on a 2019 budget that the nonprofit Volcker Alliance now says was, in some ways, just as bad as not having a budget at all. In three of Volcker’s five parameters – legacy costs, budgeting maneuvers, and reserve funds – Illinois got the lowest marks given to any state for its fiscal year 2019 budget. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  If you're low income or disabled or have limited English skills, you may qualify for some free tax filing help right in your own community. Gary Crawford reports…

 


 

(Undated-jm) -- Chicago Cubs fans and Mediacom customers listen up. Now you can catch all the Cubs games on Mediacom. The company reached an agreement with Marquee Sports Network, the Home of Chicago Cubs Baseball, to carry the games. The new channel is 668 HD or channel number 51.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A woman found dead in Champaign Sunday morning was not shot as originally reported. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says an autopsy performed Tuesday did not show Tenesha Jenkins had been shot. Northrup however did not provide a cause of death citing the ongoing investigation.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Spring Session for the Illinois General Assembly will start in a matter of days. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington talks about the budget plan for FY21 that was announced by Governor JB Pritzker last week… 

 

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington. 

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Kaitlyn Miles from Rantoul High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with St. Joe Ogden FFA member Tessa Smith

 

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Felicity Schaeffer from Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 


 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign County judge has cleared the way for work to start on the new I-57/I-74 interchange. There had been a hold up on the project between the state and the owners of two parcels of land. The hold up, was the price the state wanted to pay for the properties versus the amount the land owners wanted for it. Work on the $149 million project is expected to take 3 years to complete.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is addressing a wide range of topics in his second budget address. The Governor also touted the early success of the state’s recreational marijuana program…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A group of Democratic lawmakers renewed their push Tuesday for a bill that would pave the way for price caps on many high-cost prescription drugs, a proposal that is likely to meet strong resistance from the pharmaceutical industry.  House Bill 3493 would establish a five-member Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would have authority to conduct cost reviews and set “upper payment limits” for any brand name drug with a wholesale price of $30,000 or more for a one-year supply or a course of treatment, or for any drug for which the wholesale price jumps by $3,000 or more in a single year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Criminal justice reform advocates rallied Tuesday at the Statehouse in hopes of making Illinois one of only a handful of states to eliminate cash bail in all or most criminal cases. The idea of abolishing cash bonds has been gaining traction at the Statehouse, and this year Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker endorsed it during his State of the State speech in January as part of a broader criminal justice reform initiative.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Some ag-related aspects of the first phase of a U.S.-China trade agreement have been implemented and more are scheduled in the coming weeks. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- A Gilman toddler is being internationally recognized. Wesley Ryatt Short was named an ambassador for Nothing Down, a Downs syndrome awareness organization. Short was one of 29 from around the world selected as an ambassador.

 

The Illinois Farm Bureau will hold a Farm Legacy Seminar tonight at the I Hotel in Champaign at 5pm.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  Food shoppers have seen little to no food price inflation over the last few years, but what's on tap for this year? Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Lizzy Ruetter from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

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We were also able to talk with Cissna Park FFA member Kenadee Edelman

 

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Rachel Ash with Iroquois West High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Armstrong  FFA member Cheyenne Cade

 



(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County Head Start is receiving several million in grant money. The group will receive seven million dollars from the U-S Department of Health and Human Services.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is addressing a wide range of topics in his second budget address. The Governor says he is working with lawmakers and the city of Chicago on getting a casino in the city…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

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Legal cannabis consumers paid more than $10 million in taxes in January

(Springfield-jm) -- Cannabis consumers who bought marijuana products at legal dispensaries in Illinois for the adult-use cannabis law that took effect Jan. 1 paid more than $10 million in taxes in January from nearly $40 million in total retail sales. The Illinois Department of Revenue announced from just the state excise taxes alone, cannabis buyers paid $7,332,058 in taxes in the month of January. The tax on cannabis products is based on potency and ranges between 10 percent to 25 percent. There’s an additional 7 percent wholesale tax tacked on before the sale. In addition to the $7.3 million in cannabis excise taxes that consumers paid, there’s the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax that’s also applied to the sales of adult-use cannabis. That generated an additional $3,147,928 in taxes.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers are considering a bill that would put mental health on a par with physical health in the state’s public schools. Steve Murray, director of counseling at Notre Dame Prep in Niles, said the bill was a step in the right direction. He said the bill was a good start toward recognizing the extent to which children can suffer from issues like anxiety and depression.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Farmers may see a slight increase in farm income this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will hold an adjourned city council meeting tonight. Council members will discuss purchasing a one ton truck with dump bed and plow, discuss replacing a salt bin and discuss the sale of the city’s airport. The Paxton city council meeting gets underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Paxton-jc) -- The First United Methodist Church of Paxton will be having a Prayer Seminar, “Lord, Teach Us to Pray” presented by a team from Aldersgate Renewal Ministries on March 13-14.  The event begins at 7:00 P.M. on Friday evening and will continue from 9:00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. on Saturday.  The cost is $15.00 for the workbook.  Lunch will be provided on Saturday and child care is available if needed with prior notice.  Team leaders will also be speaking at the church at the 8:00 and 10:30 A.M. Worship Services on Sunday, March 15.  For more information or to register, please contact the church at fumcpaxton@gmail.com or 217-379-3817.

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Lizzy Ruetter from PBL High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Iroquois West FFA member Gracie Schleef

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Brody Howard from Armstrong High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Rantoul FFA member  Madison McGinn

 


 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake will be held on Feb 29 at Country Tyme Lanes in Rantoul. Director Kristian Hopkins says that there is still space left, but that space is limited… 

 

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Rantoul Director Krstian Hopkins. In order to be signed up for the event, you must raise $75 dollars for the event, which will be for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. There is still time to raise the $75 dollars and claim your spot for the bowling night. 

 

 

(Urbana--jc)  Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has identified the woman found dead in her Champaign home Sunday as 34 year old Tenesha Jenkins. An autopsy is scheduled for Today. Champaign County sheriff's investigators continue to investigate the death as a homicide.

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Monday it will break ground on a new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility for the Fighting Illini softball program thanks to a $3 million lead naming gift from Rex Martin and his daughters, Ashley Martin and Alexis Martin-Klose. Their gift will honor their late wife and mother, Alice Martin. The facility, pending Board of Trustees approval, will be named the Rex and Alice A. Martin Softball Training Center.  The new $6 million Rex and Alice A. Martin Softball Training Center will provide a premier indoor performance and development facility for Fighting Illini softball student-athletes. The structure, measuring approximately 13,000 square feet, will be constructed as an addition to the existing softball clubhouse and will include a full infield as well as hitting and pitching cages. Construction is expected to begin later this year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is making education a high priority. During his second budget address, the Governor says he wants to make historic investments in k through 12 education…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Bloomington-cf)-- Could the budget be one of danger for schools and more. One area of concern is the governor saying that school funding is tied to a progressive tax proposal.  53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickmen, Republican of Bloomington says the proposed budget by the governor could cost funding for local schools…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A problem with Illinois’ automatic voter registration program that led to hundreds of people who said they weren't U.S. citizens being registered to vote took center stage at a listening session hosted by a central Illinois congressman in Springfield on Monday. The automatic voter registration law was enacted in Illinois with bipartisan support in 2018 and required certain state agencies such as the Illinois Secretary of State to automatically forward the information of a person anytime they interact with a state agency to the Illinois State Board of Elections and then to local elections authorities for voter registration.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- As Illinois lawmakers consider new measures in Springfield, a controversial tax on stock market trades has been put back in line to be considered.  Supporters of the Financial Transactions Tax Act, dubbed the “LaSalle Street Tax” after the bustling Chicago street at the center of the business district, have hailed it as the solution to the state's fiscal problems. But, even some of the state’s most progressive politicians have balked at the premise. Some said they worried the reaction would be an exodus of financial activity.  House Bill 23 was recently reassigned to the House Revenue and Finance Committee. By levying a $1 tax on any financial transaction completed in the state, supporters have said it would bring in estimated $6 billion annually, not accounting for any behavioral backlash. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- U.S. agricultural products should pull in more money this year from the export market. Gary Crawford has the latest…

 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson Area Hospital Auxiliary will be awarding eight scholarships this year. The scholarships are open to those in the Gibson Area Hospital Service Area. More information on the scholarships can be found gibson hospital dot org slash supporting hyphen gibson slash auxiliary. Applications are due back by March 9th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Pork Producers Association is offering over $13,000 in scholarships this year. Information on the scholarships are available online at ilpork dot com. The deadline to submit your application is March 2nd.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Clara Pete Carnival is one of the first signs that spring ison its way.  Clara Pete PIT Crew president, Julie Foster says the group was started to help raise additional dollars for the local school… 

 

 

 

Julie Foster, Clara Pete PIT Crew President

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- Vermilion County missed out on hundreds of millions of dollars due to a census error ten years ago. The county estimates nearly 40,000 people were miscounted during the 2010 census. That error cost the county $560 million over the 10 years. County officials say the county’s head start program as well as funding for road repairs were lost because of the error.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- Fisher is amending their gaming codes for raffles. The previous max retail value in a single raffle is $25,000 with a cap of $15,000 for an individual prize. Under the new rules, the max retail value in a single raffle is $250,000 with a cap of $200,000 for an individual prize. Raffles can also go longer. The new rule increases the length from 120 days to 180 days.

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Lacey Cotter from Fisher High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

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We were also able to talk with Cissna Park FFA member Rudy King

 

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Jack Place with St. Joe Ogden  High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is making education a high priority. During his second budget address, the Governor says he wants to make historic investments in k through 12 education. The Governor also wants to increase MAP grant funding for college students…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

 

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Several lawmakers has gotten behind a proposal to repeal the state's new car trade-in tax and replace it with a different fee structure

(Springfield-jm) -- A bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers has gotten behind a proposal to repeal the state’s new car trade-in tax and replace it with a different fee structure. As of Jan. 1, Illinois’ sales tax applies to any trade-in vehicle worth more than $10,000. That means trading in a $30,000 car for one worth $60,000 will cost the customer an extra $1,200 in additional sales taxes. It’s estimated to bring the state $60 million annually, affecting what state officials insisted was a small portion of Illinois residents. Legislation filed would repeal the application of sales tax to trade-in value over $10,000. In turn, it would charge a tax based on the selling price of the car if it’s worth more than $15,000 or how many years old it is if valued at less than $15,000. It would take effect 120 days after it’s enacted.

 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois residents must get approved smoke alarms in their homes ahead of a 2023 deadline, according to the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshall. Among other things, a recent state law requires that all smoke alarms and detectors have a sealed 10-year battery by January 1, 2023, unless the alarms are hardwired into the residence. The idea is to improve safety because the batteries can’t be removed for other things and don’t need replacement as often.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation would give low income pet owners from housing options. The bill lets people living in state subsidized housing keep a cat or a dog, regardless of the animal’s size, weight or breed. Senator Linda Holmes of Aurora says too many families are having to give up their beloved pets when they move…

 

 

State Senator Linda Holmes of Aurora. Holmes says there is currently a shortage of pet friendly housing in Illinois and that studies show tenants with pets tend to stay longer and don’t have any more damage then those without dogs or cats.


 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A new superintendent has been named for the Rantoul City Schools District. J.W. Eater Junior High Principal Dr. Scott Woods will take over as superintendent January 1, 2022 after current superintendent Michelle Ramage retires. Ramage was named interim superintendent in 2011 and named superintendent in 2013. Heather Jacobs will take over as principal at Eater at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Police are investigating a crash near Rantoul over the weekend. First responders were called to the single vehicle rollover accident on county road 1300 east north of U-S 136 west of Rantoul. When they arrived no one was in the vehicle.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn and soybean producers will likely boost acreage this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Clayton Powell from Cissna Park High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

We were also able to talk with Fisher FFA member Will Shook 

 

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Chloe Smith from Rantoul Township High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

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We were also able to talk with PBL FFA member Autumn Bruens

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ law enforcement groups said they face a training budget shortage that they said was caused by new laws allowing judges to waive certain fines for traffic violations. Much of Illinois’ law enforcement training is provided by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. The board is funded by fees tacked on to traffic tickets. The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police said the board faces a $5 million shortfall that was taking a toll on local departments. The shortage doesn’t come from lawmakers sweeping any specific fund, rather laws they passed that allow judges to waive fee assessments on traffic convictions. The agencies said they had seen a 16 percent drop in revenue for the current fiscal year and the problem was getting worse.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois gun dealers told Illinois State Police officials about their concerns with the rules for the Firearm License Certification Act. During public comments in Springfield, about a dozen members of the public spoke about how the rules would affect them. Two people sought to beef up the rules, by increasing the video surveillance backup requirement from 90 days to 1 year. Gun store owners and advocates expressed their concerns.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- There are growing efforts to require the rest of the state of Illinois outside of Chicago and the collar counties to be considered when lawmakers pass bills, despite what the governor says. During his budget speech Wednesday Gov. J.B. Pritzker said some in the state think splitting Chicago from Illinois will solve the “economic challenges of downstate Illinois.” State Rep. Brad Halbrook, R-Shelbyville, last year filed the resolution to split Chicago from the rest of the state, saying in part the rest of the state shouldn't pay for Chicago’s debt, or take its mandates. House Bill 5030 to define downstate as anything outside of Cook and the so-called collar counties and to be given consideration in rule making after a law is passed. That has eleven co-sponsors.  House Bill 5029, has 13 cosponsors and allows lawmakers to request a downstate impact report for proposed laws. 

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — State regulators are warning consumers about a telephone scam in which the caller claims to be from the Illinois Board of Dentistry. Officials with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation say the scammer “spoofs” the phone number to look like it is from the state agency. The Iowa Dental Board earlier put out a warning about it and there has been one reported call in Illinois. Officials say the Board of Dentistry will never call anyone with demands for money or information. They say hang up immediately upon receipt of such a call.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Senators are discussing the pros and cons of 5-G technology. Supporters say 5-G infrastructure will add jobs, attract businesses and drastically speed up data transfers. Beth Cooley with a group representing the wireless communications industries says studies have shown that 5-G can help save lives…

 

 

 

 

Spokesperson Beth Cooley. Opponents say 5-G radiation can cause cancer. There’s a push underway to further study the issue, and to let communities have a say about whether or not 5-G is set up in their areas.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- A Chebanse man is dead after a crash in Iroquois County over the weekend. Illinois State Police say Gary Kleinert was traveling south on old Route 45 at 3000 north when his vehicle went off the road and overturned. Kleinert was pronounced dead at the scene by the Iroquois County Coroner. State police continue to investigate.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign clothing store is closing. Gordmans has announced they are closing several of their stores including the one in Champaign near Marketplace Mall. No date has been given on when it will close.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A group of Illinois Republican lawmakers are denouncing Governor J-B Pritzker’s decision to place passage of his graduated income tax proposal ahead of a commitment to fully fund education, health care and public safety in the FY21 budget. State Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville was one of those lawmakers that spoke out…

 

 

 

 

State Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville.


 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. WPXN was able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Cheyenne Cade from Armstrong High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

 

 

 

 

We were also able to talk with Iroquois West FFA member  Rachel Ash

 

 

 

 

With FFA week being this week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters. Brodie Landreth with St. Joe Ogden High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is going on today.

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MOLINE, Ill. (AP) _ Deere & Co. reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $517 million. On a per-share basis, the Moline, Illinois-based company said it had profit of $1.63. The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.28 per share. The agricultural equipment manufacturer posted revenue of $7.63 billion in the period. Its adjusted revenue was $6.53 billion, which also topped Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $6.2 billion.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers advanced two measures to expand the state’s venture capital investment program. Senate Bill 2946 would expand the Illinois Technology Development Fund to allow the treasurer’s office to invest in more than just technology equipment as it currently does. Senate Bill 3028, if enacted, would allow the treasurer’s office to transfer up to five percent of its investment portfolio into an account devoted to spur economic growth in the state via infrastructure investments, rather than technological companies. The investments would go to venture capital firms that specialize in property procurement and development in the state. 

 

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Parkland College students won't see the cost of their tuition increase

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and some of his top allies were named in a new federal subpoena. The Chicago Sun-Times reported federal investigators sent a subpoena seeking records to Merrionette Park, a village of 1,900 people in Cook County. The subpoena sought “correspondence with, or other communications (such as internal email messages) documenting communications with, Michael Madigan, Michael McClain, Timothy Mapes, Kevin Quinn and/or Marty Quinn,” according to the Sun-Times report.

 

 

(Springfield-cf)-- Sen. Jason Barickman of 53rd District Bloomington speaks on the Governor's new budget. Barickman said there will be some support pieces of his new budget particularly in the new K-12 section of the budget… 

 

53rd District State Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington

 

 

(Lincoln, IL-jm) -- Those who rely on their NOAA weather radio need to be aware of an outage issue. The National Weather Service office in Lincoln says their tower that transmits out of Champaign is down for several months. That station covers Champaign, Vermilion and Southern Ford Counties. Northern Vermilion County and Ford County except for the southwest portion can be picked up on KXI-86 out of Crescent City. Southwestern Ford County can be picked up on WXK-24 out of Odell. 

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake will take place Feb. 29. The Rantoul office services over 30 kids in Rantoul and Paxton who will benefit from the outing says Director Kristian Hopkins… 

 

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Rantoul Director Kristian Hopkins. 

 

 

(Watseka--jc)  -- The Watseka Family Festival has announced the  headliner act for the 2020 Festival. Country music artist Neal McCoy will perform at 8 p.m August . 29th The Watseka Family Festival will take place August 27th through the 30th in the city.

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. 

Brayden Karlson from Rantoul Township High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what their chapter has planned on Saturday.

 

 

Rantoul FFA member Brayden Karlson


 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Three people have been arrested on drug and weapons charges in Rantoul. Police executed a search warrant in the 1300 block of Cypress Lane. During the search police discovered powdered cocaine, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia, three guns and ammunition. Police arrested 52 year old Michael Sanders, 60 year old Robert Mercer and 32 year old Andrea Owens.  

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker gave his second budget address this week. The Governor covered a wide range of subjects from pushing for his graduated income tax to dealing with the state’s underfunded pension system. The Governor would also like to address issues with the states Department of Children and Family Services…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The lawmaker who proposed a bill which would have banned drivers from pumping their own gas in Illinois has tabled the bill. Rep. Camille Lilly (D) of the 78th District, near Chicago, introduced House Bill 4571 at the beginning of the month. If passed into law, drivers in Illinois would have had to wait for an attendant to pump their gas.

 

The Elliott Amvets will hold their all you can eat mountain oyster fry on Saturday, from 12-4 pm.

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill would allow residents to register their digital license plate with the state. The digital plates would replace the static metal like plates. Under the proposal you would still be required to have the metal plate on the front.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State leaders are honoring Black History Month in Illinois. Officials are celebrating the work of local African American coaches, volunteers, mentors, school principals and more. Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois has ties to the celebratory month…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says Woodson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Chicago and then became the second African American to earn a phd from Harvard.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police have released January enforcement stats. During the first month of 2020, troopers issued 333 citations and 566 written warnings including 5 for DUIs and 7 seatbelts. Troopers responded to 129 traffic accidents resulting in one fatality.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A banking glitch that caused some Busey Bank customers to be double charged has now been fixed. The company says customers who tried using their debit cards on Monday were double charged. The bank refunded customers.

 

(Buckley-cf)-- The venue is the 103 East Restaurant in Buckley.  The 2nd Annual Girls Day Out Event is scheduled for March 8th. All Ladies in the WPXN listening area are welcome to attend. There will be crafts, jewelry, homemade soap, scentsys, and posh. There will be something for all ages, says event spokesperson Missy Smith… 

 

 

Girls Day Out Spokesperson Missy Smith.  

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College students won’t see the cost of their tuition increase. The board of trustees approved a tuition freeze at their meeting. The tuition rates will remain at $148.50 per credit hour. The school is also creating a debt forgiveness program. The program gives former students a chance to restart their education by removing financial holds preventing registration.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker gave his second budget address this week. The Governor covered a wide range of subjects from pushing for his graduated income tax to dealing with the state’s underfunded pension system. Governor Pritzker says he wants additional funding to address mental health…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A robocall tracking website estimated that the automated calls rang the average Illinoisan’s phone 10 times a day in January. YouMail, which offers a robocall blocking service, estimated that Illinois residents received 164.6 million robocalls last month, about 10 per day. Jim Chilsen, with the Citizens Utility Board, said the best way to fight robocalls is to find out what your carrier offers in terms of free services, as mandated by a new federal law. If you do pick up a robocall that appears to be a scam, Maureen Mahoney with Consumer Reports said not to interact at all. Just hang up.

 

 

With FFA week being next week and we were able to talk with several students from area FFA Chapters about some of their planned activities. Tristen Cravens from Rantoul Township High School’s FFA Chapter talks about what is happening on Sunday.

 

 

Rantoul FFA member Tristen Cravens

 

 

Over 670,000 FFA students will be participating in FFA Week across the country. Mallory Ames with the St. Joe Ogden High School’s FFA Chapter talks about their auction on Saturday.

 

 

St. Joe Ogden FFA President Mallory Ames


 

The Iroquois West FFA Alumni Auction will take place on Saturday at the Iroquois West High School Gym. Dinner starts at 4 with the live auction beginning at 5.

 

The Chatsworth Fire and EMS will hold their Pancake and Sausage breakfast on Sunday from 7-1 at the Chatsworth American Legion.

 

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State lawmakers react to Governor J.B. Pritzker's Budget address

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers moved forward with legislation that would require high-voltage outlets to be installed in most new construction, renovations, and a significant portion of all parking garages to allow for electric car charging. House Bill 4284 is similar to a mandate in California. It requires any new residential construction to have a dedicated circuit that runs to the garage or all parking spaces to make it “electric vehicle ready.”  Any new residential property with six or fewer parking spaces would have to have a dedicated outlet for each spot under the terms of the bill.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A group of Illinois lawmakers declined to block the Illinois State Police from implementing new administrative rules governing firearms dealers. Those rules were adopted on an emergency basis in January, nearly one year after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Firearms Dealer License Certification Act into law. It requires that anyone holding a federal firearms license who engages in the business of selling or transferring firearms also obtain a state certificate and subject themselves to state regulation.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker gave his annual budget address before both chambers of the Illinois legislature Wednesday. One of the issues the Governor hopes to accomplish is the passage of his graduated income tax proposal…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

Reaction is starting to come in from area state representatives. State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington…

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington.

 

 

(Urbana--jc)  An apparent glitch in the computer system on Monday has caused some charges on some Busey Bank customers. Those affected used a debit card and Pin Number on Monday. Busey Bank officials say the accounts should be corrected today. 

 

 

(Gifford-cf)-- The Gifford Community Grade School held their monthly board meeting on Feb. 19. A few items that were on the agenda were the approval of Superintendent Mr. Smith to work on the budget for the upcoming school year, the approval of the school calendar of the upcoming year, and the approved hiring of a special education teacher. That teacher has not been named yet and we will update this story as it allows. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin have announced over $21 million in public housing funding from the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development. Among the location organizations receiving funding includes the Ford County Housing Authority receiving $130,000. The Champaign County Housing Authority will receive $71,000. The Vermilion County Housing Authority will receive just under $400,000.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- How is the coronavirus pandemic in China currently impacting U.S. ag exports into that market? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Speed limits on certain roads in Illinois could be going up. Senate Bill 2565 would increase the max speed on interstates from 70 to 75 mph in rural areas of the state. Another bill, Senate Bill 2564 would increase the non interstate highway speed from 55 to 60. Triple A has come out against the increases.


 

 

(Paxton--jc)  -- The Paxton Buckley Loda Education Foundation has awarded several grants to teachers in the district. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Have you filed your taxes but are still waiting to get their return? Here is when you can expect to see your return. If you filed by paper and are requesting a paper check you could be waiting six or more weeks for your return. If you filed electronically but are requesting a paper check you could be waiting four or more weeks. If you e filed and are requesting your refund be direct deposited it could take about 10 business days to receive your refund. The IRS says 90 percent of tax filings are processed within 21 days.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing strict new limits on health insurance policies that require patients to receive “prior authorization” from the company before they can receive certain treatments, tests or prescription drugs. It’s a common practice under most health plans, one originally intended to hold down costs while making sure patients receive the appropriate care. But it’s one that many critics say has gotten out of control.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- First, there were cordless phones and text messages. Then, internet access and video calls. Now, wireless’s fifth generation will drive mobile phone speeds even faster and allow for advances in telemedicine and management of traffic signals, for example, according to the Federal Communications Commission. But two lawmakers, Western Springs Democratic Sen. Suzy Glowiak Hilton and Elmhurst Republican Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, want to give residents, legislators and industry experts a chance to weigh in on the network upgrade. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker gave his annual budget address before both chambers of the Illinois legislature Wednesday. The Governor addressed the state’s pension issue…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

Area lawmakers are responding to the Governor’s annual budget address. State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian…

 

 

State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- The village of Ludlow is forming an ordinance committee. The committee, consisting of three members of the village board, will meet before each month's meeting. They hope to keep up on the current ordinances and meet the needs of the community.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Champaign County Clerks office has released early voting hours in Rantoul. Early voting will take place at the Rantoul United Methodist Church beginning March 9th through the 13th from 10 am to 6 pm, March 14th from 10 am to 1 pm, March 15th from 1 to 4 pm and March 16th from 10 am to 6 pm.

 

 

(IW-cf)-- The Iroquois West FFA Alumni Auction will be this Saturday. There will be a free porkchop dinner at 4pm, and the auction will get underway at 5pm. IW FFA Advisor Bill Bretzman gives details about what will be auctioned off…

 

 

Iroquois West FFA Advisor Bill Bretzman.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Kids hospitalized with the flu continue to rise as 14 more have died from the virus. 92 kids have died so far this flu season, the second highest since the 2017-2018 flu season when 187 died. The CDC says the flu shot isn’t an exact match to the strain that is going around. So far in the U-S, 26 million people have gotten the flu resulting in 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 have died. Symptoms of the flu include fever, sore throat, aches, chills, sweats and fatigue.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- A proposed bill in the Illinois House would define what part of the state is considered downstate Illinois. Representative Avery Bournes legislation would name any part of the state outside of Cook, Dupage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties as downstate.

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker is set to give his annual budget address today

(Springfield-jm) -- The owner of Illinois’ nuclear power plants said it could face criminal charges and other penalties in connection with a federal investigation involving the company's lobbying practices in Springfield, but Exelon officials said they don't know how any of those things could play out or what they could mean for the company's bottom line. Utilities like Exelon are required to disclose certain issues in an annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In its 2019 report released earlier this month, the company disclosed that the federal investigation into ComEd, its utility service company, could face challenges. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Reactions are coming in to President Donald Trump’s commutation of former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s prison sentence. Governor J-B Pritzker says the move sends the wrong message at the wrong time. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says he also disagrees with Trump’s decision…

 

 

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin. Former federal prosecutors are weighing in as well, saying while the President has the right to reduce Blagojevich’s sentence, /the former Governor was convicted of very serious crimes.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is set to give his annual budget address today at the state capitol. The Governor will address both chambers of the statehouse at noon. You can hear more about his address tonight at our news at 4 and 5 pm.



(Springfield-jm) -- The sponsor of leaf blowing legislation says she doesn’t expect it to pass this session, but hopes it educates the public. The bill bans gas powered leaf blowers because of environmental and noise pollution concerns. It’s sponsored by Senator Laura Fine of Glenview, who says people in her district asked for the change…

 

State Senator Laura Fine of Glenview. Fine says the gas blowers can cause hearing loss and emit high levels of pollutants. She hopes people will explore healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two area men are among 15 arrested following a child sex sting in Kankakee County. 27 year old Joshua Koenig of Buckley and 50 year old Robert Shawn Anderson of Paxton are both charged with attempted enticement of a minor. If convicted both face a minimum of 10 years in prison.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau is hosting two Viewpoint Breakfast meetings. The first breakfast will take place on Thursday at Happy Days Diner in Roberts. The second breakfast will take place on March 3rd at the farm bureau office in Gilman. Both breakfasts start at 7:30 am. For more information or to sign up, call the farm bureau.

 

 

(Paxton-jc)-- WPXN’s business of the day is Ryan Vance of Stine Seeds.With the 2020 planting season right around the corner Ryan Vance tells WPXN that there is a prediction for a wetter spring this year, and how there have been some restrictions on the dicamba herbicide… 

 

Ryan Vance of Stine Seeds.WPXN’s Business of the Day. 

 

 

Democratic candidates for the March 17th primary will hold a meet and greet at the Rantoul Public Library tonight from 5:30-7:30 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Other states are looking to copy Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act, but an innovation expert warned about a potential pitfall of the state law. Illinois’ law protecting biometric privacy – such as fingerprints and face shape – allows citizens to file a lawsuit, something unique to the state. Since Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act was enacted in 2008, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against companies large and small. Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act requires an entity to get express consent from a person before obtaining, storing, or using any of that person’s physical characteristics. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois taxpayers will find out how Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to balance the state's budget today. Ahead of the governor's budget address, leaders from both parties laid out what they hope to hear talk about. House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said his caucus wants the governor to focus on education spending and funding for state agencies. House Republicans say they want to be included in budget negotiation to get to a balanced budget without tax and fee increases or new spending.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation aims to reduce the amount of plastic being used in Illinois. One measure prohibits restaurants and bars from providing plastic straws, unless a customer requests one. Another imposes a 10 cent plastic bag fee says Representative Ann Williams of Chicago…

 

State Representative Ann Williams of Chicago. A third proposal establishes a container deposit program. Supporters say these changes are needed to reduce pollution and protect Illinois waterways.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The village of Fisher will spend $6,000 to rebuild or replace the engine on their oldest police vehicle. The village board voted to go that route instead of replacing the 2011 vehicle saying it was too soon to replace the vehicle after buying a new one late in 2018. The village hopes the vehicle will last another 3 to 4 years.

 

 

(Monticello, IN-jm) -- A popular regional tourist attraction is closing after 94 years. The owners of Indiana Beach in Monticello Indiana have closed the amusement park citing financial struggles.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Rantoul will be holding their annual Bowl for Kids Sake on Feb. 29. Kristian Hopkins, Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Rantoul gives us a little background on the event, and that it’s held every year at Country Tyme Lanes in Rantoul, and that this is the 5th year of the Bowl for Kids Sake…. 

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Rantoul Directory Kristian Hopkins.

 

 

The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce will hold their Lunch and Learn today at noon at Cobblestone Hotel.

 

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Area healthcare providers are warning about an increase in flu cases

(Springfield-jm) -- While a measure to require gas station attendants to pump gas in Illinois was tabled, other bills at the statehouse have been catching the attention of Illinois taxpayers. One would ban gas-powered leaf blowers. Another would require gun owners to get a $1 million insurance policy. state Sen. Laura Fine, D-Glenview, filed  Senate Bill 3313 would require that beginning in 2022 “a person may not operate or sell at retail a gas-powered leaf blower” and any violation would “be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500.” State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, filed House Bill 5170 to require gun owners to obtain a $1 million insurance policy. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The trade dispute with China, a disease that halved its hog herd, and thus the demand for U.S. grains to feed them, and robust competition from South America all have had Illinois soybean farmers dealing with a reduction in demand. Phase 1 of the new trade deal with China was expected to help alleviate some of those issues, with China’s agreement to buy $32 million in U.S. agricultural products in 2020. But the coronavirus epidemic has put a wrench in the works, said Joseph Camp, manager of AgriVisor and an analyst specializing in grains.

 

 

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State University’s president has created a new position focused on diversity and inclusion on campus. President Larry Dietz appointed Doris Houston as the university’s first assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion, The Pantagraph reported. Houston is currently the interim director of the university’s School of Social Work and she called the new role a natural fit with her background.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) One area of funding inscreases from the governor is higher education. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says the future of the state relies on educational opportunities in Illinois…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Area healthcare providers are warning about an increase in flu cases. Doctors say they are seeing more cases of the flu this year compared to this time last year. The flu is now considered widespread in Illinois according to the CDC. 

 

 

 

(Roberts-Flessner)- The Village or Roberts will be hosting an electronic recycling event in 2021. Ford County reached out to the Village to see if they would like to host. Mayor Rick Flesnsner has more.. 

 

 

Mayor of Roberts Rick Flessner 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A University of Illinois student has been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. The Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department says the unidentified student lives in off campus housing and is being isolated at an area hospital while receiving treatment.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- To compete with record low unemployment, the U.S. Census is offering higher wages than it has ever offered. With Illinois’ unemployment rate at 3.7 percent in December, Ellisa Johnson deputy regional director for the Chicago Regional Census Bureau, said the bureau needs thousands of additional temporary workers. According to its website, the Census is now offering jobs paying up to $29.50 per hour in the Chicago area, $23.50 an hour in the Peoria area, and $21 an hour in Springfield. Hourly pay in each county is at least $17 per hour with reimbursements. Johnson said these workers are necessary to ensure all Illinoisans are counted this spring. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Associated Builders and Contractors have raised concerns about a measure to require private contractors working in refineries or ethanol processing plants to pay prevailing wage would destroy the group's Community Builders apprenticeship program. Senate Bill 1407 would require certain safety provisions for work done at refineries or ethanol production plants. But it would also require private contractors to pay prevailing wage rates. It passed the Senate in 2019 and is up for final passage in the Illinois House.

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  Funding for the C=U at Home group continues through Friday. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…

 



(Springfield-jm) -- A national organization says Illinois is the best state in the country when it comes to animal protection laws. The annual study, compiled by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, assessed the strengths and weaknesses of each state’s animal protection laws and ranks them accordingly. Kathleen Wood, staff attorney with the organization, said it was no surprise the state topped the list for the 12th straight year.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More college age students in Illinois will be able to stay in state to get a higher education. In his last budget, Governor J-B Pritzker allotted more money for things such as MAP grants to entice more students to stay in state…

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Thawville-jm) -- A Thawville man is applying for a state marijuana growing license in Ford County. The man owns five acres in Ford County where he would operate a craft growing business employing 10 to 15 people. He needs the county boards permission for the state permit. The county zoning committee will discuss the issue on February 19th.

 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Three law enforcement officials will be honored for their work investigating the killer of a visiting Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois. Sgt. James Carter, Detective Eric Stiverson and telecommunicator Kenny Costa of the University of Illinois Police Department will be awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion at a ceremony Feb. 24 in Champaign. The award is the highest honor given by the university and has been awarded seven times.

 

 

(Gilman-cf)-- The Iroquois West FFA ALumni Auction will be Feb. 22 at IW High School in Gilman. The auction will kick off at 4pm with a FREE porkchop dinner says Iroquois West FFA Advisor Bill Bretzman…

 

 

Iroquois West FFA Advisor Bill Bretzman.

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State lawmakers across the country, including in Illinois, are considering new laws that would classify more workers as employees rather than contractors

(Springfield-jm) -- An analysis of election data over the last decade highlights where Illinois’ Republican Party lost the competitive swing of Illinois’ electoral fight with Democrats. In 2010, the midwestern states surrounding Illinois saw what the Center for Illinois Politics called a “red wave,” turning formerly Democratic stronghold states such as Wisconsin in a major GOP coup that helped send President Donald Trump to the White House six years later.  But Illinois stands out as a blue island surrounded by Republican-dominated states, thanks to a Democratic takeover of the former GOP strongholds in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. Why did those former Republican strongholds turn blue? The analysis said the key was independent suburban women.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Ahead of this week’s budget address, Governor J-B Pritzker is hi-liting some of the expected savings over the next few years. Governor Pritker says several changes, making the government more efficient will save the state more than 225 million dollars in the next budget year, and at least 750 million dollars over the next three years…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says the savings come from several areas including union contracts, avoiding late fees by paying overdue bills and merging some agency, board and commission functions to avoid duplication. The Governor will give his budget address on Wednesday.

 

(Chicago-jm) -- The two Chicago residents who were confirmed to have the Coronavirus have been released from isolation. The Illinois Department of Public Health says the couple were released from isolation last week after recovering from the disease. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Supporters of college student athlete legislation are urging the Senate to get it passed this week. The bill lets college athletes be paid for their name or likeness and allow them to sign endorsement deals. It’s sponsored by Senator Chris Welch of Hillside…

 

 

State Senator Chris Welch of Hillside. The measure has cleared the House but still needs to be passed by the Senate. Governor J-B Pritzker has said he will sign it into law.

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- An Iroquois County teen is in a Chicago hospital with serious injuries following a single vehicle crash Friday near St. Anne. Iroquois County Sheriff’s police say the 16 year old from Watseka was traveling east on 3300 north when they lost control on the ice covered road, when they went off the road and struck a utility pole.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 30 months probation for having heroin for sale. Lavonte McWilliams pleaded guilty in Champaign County court last week to possession with intent to deliver after he was arrested in August following a search of his home. During the search police discovered approximately 10 grams of heroin for sale and packaging materials. A lesser charge of possession of a controlled substance was dismissed.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing all drivers services facilities will be closed for the President’s Day holiday. Facilities open Monday through Friday will be closed today. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police says they’ve improved efforts to keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have them, but that more needs to be done. More than 600 police departments and criminal justice agencies are now taking advantage of a new web database, that lets users search for those who’ve had their FOID card revoked and why. Moving forward, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says he’d like to see passage of a bill requiring fingerprints to obtain a FOID card…

 

 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. The measure is currently awaiting a final vote in the Senate.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers across the country, including in Illinois, are considering new laws that would classify more workers as employees rather than contractors in the growing gig economy. California was the first state to try to regulate companies operating in the gig economy, telling organizations like Uber and Lyft that drivers are employees, not contractors. There is an enormous difference for both workers and for companies. Employees are protected by certain laws, including minimum wage laws, workers' compensation and Social Security. Independent contractors are not subject to those same provisions. The idea that Illinois could follow in California’s footsteps is leading to some uncertainty around the state, said Bryan Gay, chairman of the Illinois Economic Development Association.

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- An Illinois congressman is co-sponsoring legislation to expand hospital based violence intervention programs around the country. The bi-partisan legislation co sponsored by Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger and Maryland Democrat C.A. Dutch Ruppersburger would provide $10 million in federal grants to hospitals that offer services to victims of violent crime while they are recovering from their injuries.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The State Fire Marshal’s Office is stressing the importance of fire safety for older Illinoisans. According to the United States Fire Administration, about one thousand seniors die in home fires each year and another two thousand are injured says Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz…

 

 

State Fire Marshal’s Office Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Fultz says another problem is people smoking near oxygen tanks, which should be kept at least five to 10 feet away from any heat source. He urges seniors to keep their glasses and phones next to their bed and to make sure they have a clear route to get out of the house should a fire break out.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- Questions have arised over the cost to bring a Dollar General to the village of Thomasboro. The company wants to build a store on the northeast corner of Route 45 and Flatville Road. As part of the agreement to build in the village, the village has been asked to extend water and sewer services to the site. The village learned their portion of the bill would be $85,000. Several residents and village trustees are wondering where that money would come from.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- No injuries were reported after a car caught fire at the Rantoul Walmart. Rantoul Firefighters were called for a fully engulfed vehicle on fire at the store. The car was a total loss.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- You will have another option to escape the cold winters of Illinois. Allegiant Air announced a new non-stop flight to Destin-Fort Walton Beach Florida twice weekly starting in June from Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers are discussing criminal justice reforms, such as ending cash bail in Illinois. Supporters of the idea gave testimony at a hearing in Chicago, suggesting that too many suspects are languishing in jail simply because they can’t afford bail. But DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin says there are concerns about letting people off without a cash bond in place…

 

 

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. Berlin and other state’s attorneys says there should still be a bail for serious felony crimes and both the defendant and the state should be able to immediately appeal a judge’s decision.

 

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New legislation creates a statewide drug take back program in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- A new proposal in Springfield would create a uniform standard to prepare schools and daycare facilities for handling severe allergic reactions. House Bill 3983, sponsored by Northbrook Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, would require state officials to establish anaphylactic policies for school districts and daycare centers. They would include procedure and treatment plans, a training course on how to respond to a severe allergic reaction, strategies for reducing exposure to specific foods or other allergens known to cause anaphylactic reactions, and other measures.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  What's the outlook for U.S. net cash farm income this year?  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Gilman-cf)-- The Iroquois West FFA Alumni is hosting their Alumni Auction Feb. 22 at IW High School in Gilman. Bill Bretzman, IW FFA Advisor Bill Bretzman says the proceeds from the auction go to funding SAE grants for the students, and other funding for the FFA program… 

 

 

IW FFA Advisor Bill Bretzman 

 

 

(McLean County-jm) -- A Gifford man has been arrested on drug charges in McLean County. Jonah Wankel is charged with unlawful possession of a meth precursor. Police say Wankel had pseudophedrine with the intent to manufacture meth. He also faces two counts of obstructing justice by giving police a false name. He was release don $20,000 bond.

 

 

(Buckley-cf)-- The St. Johns Winter Carnival will be this Sunday Feb 16th in Buckley. Starting at 3:30pm, each game will cost one ticket and tickets can be purchased for .50c each, Spokeswoman Keri Satchura has more… 

 

 

St Johns Winter Carnival spokeswoman Keri Satchura St. Johns in Buckley 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois can expect a year of slowing job growth, according to economic and business magazine Kiplinger’s. The magazine forecasted job growth of 0.5 percent for Illinois in 2020. That’s down from 1.1 percent in 2019. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A bill in the Illinois House would require students entering the 6th grade to receive the HPV vaccination in order to attend school. In addition, House Bill 4870 would require confirmation of the vaccination upon entering 9th grade. If approved, the law would be enacted beginning the 2022 school year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is promoting his Rebuild Illinois infrastructure improvement plan. The governor discussed the plan during his State of the State address…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

The Saybrook American Legion will hold a chicken and fish fry tonight from 4:30-6:30 pm.

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters will hold a Glow Bingo on Saturday from 6-11 pm at the Rantoul Knights of Columbus. Tickets are $25 a piece.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois voters decide whether to change the state’s flat income tax to a progressive one this November, but the chief proponent and opponent have been separately debating what it could mean for Illinois' high property taxes. Illinois has a flat income tax. Lawmakers have changed the flat rate several times over the past decade. Those changes affect all taxpayers the same, regardless of income. Democrats in the Illinois Legislature passed a proposed constitutional amendment to voters this November to change the flat income tax to a progressive structure with higher rates for higher earners. Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the country.

 

 

(Springfield-cf)--New legislation creates a statewide drug take back program in Illinois. The measure is sponsored by Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz of Glenview who says one third of medications go unused, and often end up in the hands of addicts or flushed down the toilet and harm the environment. She says the Illinois Drug Act will change that… 

 

Rep. Jeffifer Gong-Gershowitz. The Bill requires drug manufacturers to fund a statewide drug collection effort and educate the public about why it’s important to properly dispose of medications. We will update this story as it allows. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A bill allowing active duty military to have access to the system for mailing absentee ballots is now law. The Count All Military Votes Act, sponsored by U-S Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois would expand the system to expedite and track absentee ballots for military bases.

 

 

(Buckley-cf)-- The 2nd Annual Girls Day Out will be taking place this year on March 8th. Event Organizer Missy Smith talks about the massive turnout last year, with over 20 vendors, and the amount of ladies that participated…. 

 

 

103 East of Buckley Organizer of the Girls Day Out Event, Missy Smith. 

 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- A Danville company will provide construction services for a water main project in Gifford. Bob Brown Construction won the bid at a cost of $297,560 to replace water mains on Main Street in the village. Bob Brown Construction was the lowest bidder out of seven for the project.


 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report said schools emotionally scar students by conducting unannounced active shooter drills. In the 2015-2016 school year, 95 percent of schools conducted active threat training, according to the U.S. Department of Education data. The National Education Association, International Federation of Teachers and Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund jointly released a report that criticized the practice of simulated school shooting drills conducted without first notifying teachers and students.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- While adult-use cannabis has legal in Illinois since Jan. 1, some remain concerned that high prices are keeping people from moving to the legal market. Illinois legalized medical cannabis five years ago. Starting Jan. 1, dozens of medical dispensaries around the state began selling cannabis products to adults 21 and older. Cannabis buyers in Illinois spent nearly $40 million in January, according to state regulators. State officials haven't released official revenue totals from the sales, but the state taxes can add up to more than 40 percent, depending on the potency of the product. The Los Angeles Times reported in September that California’s black market for cannabis was at least three times the size of the state’s regulated industry and the same thing is happening in Illinois.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Applications for more licenses in the Illinois cannabis industry are now available. State Department of Agriculture Bureau Chief of Medicinal Plants Jeff Cox says the license apps are for marijuana transporters, infusers and craft growers…

 

 

State Department of Agriculture Bureau Chief of Medicinal Plants Jeff Cox. Those interested can submit an application between February 14th and March 16th. Visit agriculture dot illinois dot gov for all the details. 

 

The Ludlow Fire Department will hold their pancake and sausage breakfast on Sunday from 8 to 1 at the firehouse.

 

St. John’s PTL Chicken dinner, silent auction and winter carnival will take place on Sunday from 3:30-7 pm at St. John’s Lutheran School in Buckley.

 

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Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is accusing the U.S. Department of Agriculture of playing favorites with trade war aid payments

(Springfield-jm) -- An interim annual financial report shows Illinois spent more in the previous fiscal year than it collected in revenue despite claims from elected officials that the state's budget was balanced. A public finance watchdog said despite some shortcomings, the interim annual report is valuable, especially as Gov. J.B. Pritzker prepares to propose his budget next week for the coming fiscal year that starts this summer. The five-page Interim Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. It was published this week by the Illinois comptroller, weeks after the fully audited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report was supposed to be published.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Is the situation with the coronavirus causing a slowdown in China's imports of U.S. soybeans? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Could changes be coming to the Sangamon Valley Conference? The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School board is expected to discuss the athletic conference at tonight's school board meeting. School board members will also discuss summer maintenance projects and releasing bids for parking lot repairs at the high school and junior high. The PBL School Board meeting gets underway at 6pm

 

 

State Senator Scott Bennett and State Representative Mike Marron will hold joint office hours today from 12-1 at the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce office.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is promoting some accomplishments from his first year as governor. One of those accomplishments is expanding childhood education and increasing teacher pay…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is accusing the U.S. Department of Agriculture of playing favorites with trade war aid payments by giving more money to southern cotton farmers who were less affected by the trade war than Illinois soybean farmers. Durbin, who sits on the Senate agriculture committee, made the accusation after the USDA last week distributed the third and final round of aid payments to farmers affected by the ongoing trade war with China. The $14.5 billion of payments came from an aid package called the Market Facilitation Program. First-round payments in Illinois averaged $69 per acre. In contrast, 163 counties in five southern states saw payments above $87 per acre, including 13 that saw the maximum $150 per acre. Soybean exports fell by $9 billion, a drop of 75 percent, compared to cotton exports which fell just 6 percent, a decrease of $54 million.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Proposed legislation in Illinois that would mandate your gas is pumped by an employee of the gas station would guarantee a price increase and is a “typical Springfield solution to creating jobs,” a convenience store group says. Illinois drivers filling up at the pump started paying double the state gas tax last summer. New revenue from the state gas tax increase from 19 cents a gallon to 38 cents is going to pay for a multi-year statewide construction program. Drivers also got hit with increased fees in other areas, such as annual vehicle registration fees. Last week, House Bill 4571 was filed by Democratic state Rep. Camille Lilly and would create the Gas Station Attendant Act. It says that “no gas may be pumped at a gas station” in Illinois “unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station.”

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation in Springfield would keep Illinois lawmakers from shutting down investigations into their colleagues by the legislative ethics officer. The Illinois General Assembly has seen multiple resignations, offices raided, arrests, allegations of illegal kickbacks and a conviction in recent months as part of a sweeping federal corruption probe. It was revealed in 2018 that Illinois' Legislative Inspector General, the person responsible for investigating harassment, corruption and other unethical behavior under the dome, was often blocked by the Legislative Ethics Commission, a panel of lawmakers who don’t release their decisions to the public.  House Bill 4558 would require the investigator to tell the panel of lawmakers that they’ve started an investigation but the commission would no longer be able to stop them from starting it or from releasing a report on the findings to the public. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday touted statewide benefits he said will result from a $500 million state investment in 15 hubs of a University of Illinois-led public-private research institute network. The money is for the planning and construction of the Discovery Partners Institute — a public-private research and development and workforce development hub led by the UI — and 14 other hubs of a statewide program.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Cold snaps, even short ones, can cause significant agricultural damage. Stephanie Ho has the details…

 


 

The Onarga Public Library will hold their Family Movie Night tonight at 6:30 pm with the showing of Snow Buddies.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The Fisher village board will meet tonight in their monthly session. Items on the agenda include discussing whether to repair or replace a 2011 police vehicle, consider approving revisions to the villages nuisance ordinance and consider amending the villages raffle ordinance. The Fisher village board meeting gets underway at 6pm.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington is introducing legislation to honor another branch of the U-S military on state license plates. Senate Bill 2518 would create the Air Force Combat Action license plate for eligible drivers. Senator Barickman says he wants to recognize all branches of military service.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What do USDA's latest domestic and global ag reports reveal about soybeans and wheat from a supply, export, and price perspective? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Most adults in Illinois give the state’s public school system only a so-so grade, but they give slightly higher marks for their own local schools. That’s according to a new survey commissioned by the Illinois Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. The survey, called the State of Education Report,  also found broad public support for increasing funding for K-12 education and raising educator salaries. When asked to give the state’s public school system a letter grade, only 2 percent of respondents gave it an A, while 20 percent gave it a B, both down slightly from a similar survey conducted last year. Forty-one percent gave the state a C, while 31 percent gave it a D or F.

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health now has the ability to test for the 2019 novel coronavirus in-state

(Springfield-jm) -- A teachers union-sponsored poll of Illinois residents found that most think public school teachers should be paid more, receive their pensions earlier, and have the state provide more funding for public education. They also said high quality public schools are more important than lowering taxes, reforming the state’s pensions, reducing violence, and balancing the state’s budget, a constitutional requirement. Fifty-seven percent also told them that the state of Illinois “was headed off on the wrong track.”

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite bringing in billions of dollars more in tax revenue, Illinois state government’s fiscal condition continues to deteriorate, according to an interim annual report published by the Illinois comptroller. The five-page Interim Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. The report shows tax revenues to Illinois state government increased by more than $3 billion, from $74 billion in 2018 to $77.9 billion in 2019. Total expenses were also up, from $80.3 billion in 2018 to $81.5 billion in 2019. The largest amount of revenue, outside of money from the federal government, is income taxes.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health now has the ability to test for the 2019 novel coronavirus in-state, meaning shorter wait times for test results for people showing symptoms of the virus and meeting certain criteria. Illinois Department of Public Health said in a news release Tuesday that Illinois is the first state to be able to do the testing without shipping specimens out of state, and results are typically available within 24 hours.

 

(Washington-jm) -- Even though the U.S./China trade deal is signed and in effect, USDA made few changes to its new export forecasts. Gary Crawford explains…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to an electrical fire in a stove Tuesday evening. Firefighters were called just after 6pm to the 600 block of S. Park Street. No injuries were reported.

 

 

(Buckley-CF)-- The St. Johns Chicken Dinner will be this Sunday Feb. 16th from 3:30- 7pm. There will be Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, Baked Beans, Coleslaw, and Applesauce. Spokesperson Kari Satchura has more… 

 

 

St. Johns Chicken Dinner Spokesperson Kari Satchura.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran is awarding a $500 scholarship for an area college student. The scholarship is through the Illinois Sheriff’s Association. Scholarship requirements include being a permanent Illinois resident, used at an institution of higher learning in Illinois and be enrolled as a full time student during the 2020-2021 school year. Deadline to submit your scholarship application to the Ford County Sheriff’s Office is March 15th.


 

(Roberts-CF)- The Village of Roberts held their monthly board meeting on Feb. 3rd and discussed the amendment to rescind their objections to the Ford County Zoning committee on the windfarm Mayor Rick Flessner has more..

 

 

Mayor of Roberts Rick Flessner. The Height can’t be any greater than 500 feet and that the setback shall be no greater than 2250 feet from city limits. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is receiving the Patriot Award for his commitment military service member employees. Frerichs was nominated by a member of his staff, who is also a member of the National Guard. The award is given to supervisors and employers who make conscious efforts to support their military employees.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- School officials have taken steps to protect students on the University of Illinois campus amid concerns about the new coronavirus from China. The Champaign-Urbana campus is home to more than 5,800 students from China. When the outbreak began, Dr. Robert Parker at the campus’ McKinley Health Center contacted each student from the particular area of China where the virus was prevalent. He said that, as of last week, nine students said they were previously feeling ill but not one had been flagged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as potentially having the respiratory illness.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A state senator wants to get a question in front of voters this November that would ban local governments in Illinois from prohibiting forced unionization. The state’s leading manufacturers’ group says that policy won’t grow the economy. State Sen. Ram Villivalam, D-Chicago, filed Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 13 last year. It would amend Illinois’ Bill of Rights to prohibit the state or any local units of government from restricting forced unionization. He was scheduled to hold a press conference on the issue last week, but said he plans to reschedule. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Two union locals working on a contract with the Illinois Secretary of State are prepared to strike if they don’t get their way. Deneen Taylor, a field service director with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, said Local 4407 runs all the IT for the Secretary of State. She said with the automatic voter registration program, REAL ID and other demands on employees, they want better pay and more staff. They also want raises and the same maternity leave other constitutional officers are offering employees. That policy is ten weeks of leave for mothers and fathers. She said the union voted down the administration’s last offer and authorized a strike.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers could enact new legislation this spring that would put the state on a path to using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, but just what the Clean Energy Jobs Act would mean for the state’s ratepayers remains unclear. The bill is awaiting consideration by the Illinois House of Representatives. Another version has been introduced in the state Senate. Both bills could be called this spring.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- As Valentine’s Day approaches Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office is warning the public about romance related scams. Con artists have been known to target people through dating websites, apps and social media, purporting to need money so they can travel to see the victim. Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson has this advice…

 

Illinois Attorney General Spokesperson Annie Thompson. Thompson says a few other online and phone scams are also circulating, where the caller poses as someone from the Illinois State Police, a utility company or the Social Security Administration, seeking your personal information.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing that all driver’s services facilities will be closed today for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. All facilities will reopen tomorrow.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)- The Paxton Buckley Loda  Education Foundation is set to start distributing money to the P-B-L school district for new computers, and updating technology. Technology becomes outdated in several years of  purchase says. P-B-L Education Foundation President Robin Niewold... 

 

 

P-B-L Education Foundation President Robin Niewold.


 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A health fair set for next month in Rantoul will focus on more than just your physical health. The health fair sponsored by the village of Rantoul in conjunction with the chamber will also focus on financial and inner health. 25 vendors will be on hand for the event on March 12th from 4-8 pm at the Forum Fitness Center.

 

(Crescent City-cf)- The Iroquois Country Fair Association is seeking sponsors for this year's upcoming fair. There are multiple ways to purchase sponsorships. Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones has the details... 

 

 

 Iroquois County Fair Association spokesperson Debbie Krones

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is working to ease the student debt crisis. The crisis currently sits at $1.6 trillion with the average debt of $18,000. The Student Loan Investment Act signed last year would invest $700 million to facilitate payment options for Illinoisans affected by student loans. The money would help 50,000 families and would start in 2021.

 

 

 

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A new bill has been proposed that would ban pumping your own gas at Illinois gas stations

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Revenue announced it collected nearly $240 million through a tax amnesty program, but similar programs in the future could yield diminishing returns, according to a public finance economist. The state's amnesty program allowed taxpayers to pay off any outstanding state tax liability and have penalties and interest forgiven. The program ended in mid-November 2019. Officials with the Illinois Department of Revenue said they expect to verify tens of millions of dollars more toward unpaid liabilities. As of Jan. 31, the department had verified $237,090,718 in qualified amnesty payments from 63,006 taxpayers.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Did you make a lot in tips last night? You get to keep them under a new state law. The law makes it very clear that workers own their tips says Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. Keller says the law requires tips to be paid to workers within 13 days after the end of the pay period. It does not prohibit businesses from having a system where tips are pooled among employees.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- The Ludlow school district could receive a grant to upgrade their heating system. The school board approved applying for a $10,000 matching grant. The grant would go towards getting a new mud pan for the schools boiler. That is expected to cost between $15,000 and $20,000.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Changes to the ordinance regulating the number of gaming machines in the city of Paxton will be discussed at tonight’s city council meeting. In addition, trustees will be asked to approve the purchase of a one ton truck with a dump bed and plow, approve the replacement of the salt bin and approve a pair of donations. A public safety committee meeting discussing the city’s emergency management agency will be held at 6:30 pm with the council meeting beginning at 7.

 

(Undated-jm) -- PACE center for independent living will hold a pair of low vision support group meetings today. The support groups will meet at 1:30 pm at Eagles View in Rantoul and at 3:30 at the Villas of Holly Brook in Rantoul.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The debate over the use of red light cameras in Illinois continues. Some lawmakers have addressed concerns over contracts with red light camera operators following an investigation and indictment of former state Senator Martin Sandoval. The investigation found former Senator Sandoval had some influence in the awarding of contracts between companies and municipalities. Other lawmakers say the cameras target minorities and low income people. Governor J-B Pritzker says he is open to any ideas on what to do with the programs…

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill has been proposed that would ban pumping your own gas at Illinois gas stations. The legislation was proposed by Illinois House Democrat Camille Lilly. The Gas Station Attendant Act would require fuel be pumped by a gas station attendant starting Jan. 1, 2021.

 

 

(GIbson City--jc)  --Trade publication Becker's Healthcare has released its 2020 list of leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. This year’s featured hospital CEOs  recognized by the top health care organizations. For the seventh year in a row, Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services  CEO Rob Schmitt has been named among these top 60 rural hospital and health system CEOs to know, one of only two CEOs selected from Illinois. Schmitt, who has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare leadership, is a fellow of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The woman picked to replace a state lawmaker who resigned after being charged with bribery could face discipline and possible removal amid questions about the integrity of the selection process. There are growing bipartisan calls to remove the Illinois state representative selected to fill the vacancy left by Luis Arroyo, who resigned after he was arrested for bribery. Arroyo, D-Chicago, pleaded not guilty to bribery last week. He was arrested in October 2019 and resigned the following month. Some have questioned Arroyo's role in picking his replacement, Eva Dina Delgado. Members of both parties have filed petitions to challenge her qualifications.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- 12 Illinois sites are being added to the National Register of Historic Places. The sites are located around the state and include a replica of the leaning tower of Pisa in Niles, a stone wine cellar in Hancock County and a few historic districts. Amy Hathaway with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says the Rollo Congregational United Church of Christ near Earlville is also now in the register…

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Amy Hathaway. Also added: the Paris High School and gymnasium, the Alton Gas and Electric Powerhouse and the Forum in Chicago.

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- Sibley village trustees could approve changes to their nuisance ordinance as early as next month. The village will take the changes to the village attorney for review. If the village attorney approves the changes, it will go before the board at their March 2nd meeting.


 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul village leaders are expected to approve a pair of purchases at tonight's village board meeting. Village trustees will be asked to approve the purchase of a new F-450 truck for the electric department from Shields for $56,000 and the purchase of pumps for the wastewater treatment plant for nearly $50,000. Village trustees will also be asked to forgive the over $226,000 balance on the library loan for the purchase of the building in 2004. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6 pm.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A survey of more than 2,000 UIUC students last year provided data on experiences of sexual misconduct and the university’s response. Researchers caution the results are not reflective of the experience of all students since there were only 2,076 responses to 12,500 surveys sent out. Respondents were about 60% female having completed at least a portion of the Sexual Misconduct and Perceived Campus Response Survey. Findings from the 2019 survey include: Women, members of the LGBTQ community, Greek-affiliated students and students living with a disability are more likely to report incidents of sexual misconduct. Students who reported sexual misconduct also experienced greater distress and disengagement with their academic work. Students felt safer from sexual misconduct while on campus than off campus. Students reported confidence in Illinois’ perceived response to sexual misconduct.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Whether it is summer or winter, crops need the right temperatures at the right times. Stephanie Ho has the details…

 


 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Bob Thomas, a one-time NFL placekicker whose second career led him to the state's highest court, is retiring. The Republican announced Monday that he will leave the Supreme Court at the end of February after 20 years. While he was chief justice from 2005 to 2008, he established the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, an outgrowth of a committee studying judicial civility. Thomas kicked the winning field goal in the 1973 Sugar Bowl to give Notre Dame the national championship and is the Chicago Bears' fourth-leading scorer of all time. State appellate court Justice Michael J. Burke will replace him. 


 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- When Illinois legalized recreational cannabis this year, lawmakers included a path to having previous criminal records expunged and the governor announced plans to pardon people previously convicted of possession of 30 grams or less. Brandon Williams, senior attorney for criminal records for Cabrini Green Legal Aid, said the process can be complicated. Under the existing law, anyone arrested but not convicted for a small amount of cannabis will have their records automatically expunged by the Illinois State Police. They’ll only know that happened, though, if they live at the same address as when they were arrested. Williams said it was best to contact the county where the offense occurred and to update mailing address records.

 

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The trial of an Illinois militia leader accused of being the ringleader in the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque will be postponed until April

(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state's next budget will be balanced, but said if voters don’t approve a progressive income tax in November, he would have to reduce state spending across the board in future years. The governor is preparing to deliver his budget address later this month. He said that the progressive tax was needed to address “income inequality” and increase state spending on things like education. On Friday, Pritzker told Politico at a conference in Washington D.C. that we would present a balanced budget. However, if voters don’t approve the progressive income tax this November, the governor said 15 percent cuts in state spending would be needed across the board.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More workers in Illinois whose employers don’t offer retirement savings plans are finding 5 percent of their pay automatically taken out of their checks and put into a retirement plan. Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said the state’s Secure Choice Savings program will pay dividends in the future. The Illinois Secure Choice Savings program began in late 2018 with companies employing more than 500 employees that didn't offer a savings plan. Employers take 5 percent out of their employees' checks to put into individual retirement accounts. Employers don’t have to match that investment and employees can opt-out.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Last year’s murder of a one and a half year old Illinois boy is prompting calls for a new legislative task force on domestic violence. Little Colton Michael Miller of Joliet was shot last September by his father. Colton’s mother was severly beaten by her estranged husband at the time as well. Now, Representative David Welter of Morris wants lawmakers to take action…

 

 

State Representative David Welter of Morris. Welter says the task force would look at existing laws and identify any gaps that need to be filled, as well as examine special conditions for bail and treatment options for victims and offenders.

 

 

(ST. PAUL, Minn. jm) — The trial of an Illinois militia leader accused of being the ringleader in the 2017 bombing of a Minnesota mosque will be postponed until April to give his defense team more time to prepare, a federal judge ruled Friday. Michael Hari was scheduled to go to trial on multiple counts this month. But U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank decided to push it back to April 27. Prosecutors allege Hari and two others drove from Clarence, Illinois, to bomb Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. Hari’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty. Hari is also charged in a failed bombing of a women’s clinic in Illinois.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)- The Pillar Campaign was launched to get over the $250,000 dollar mark, the mark that had to be passed in order to distribute money to the PBL school district. PBL Education Foundation President Robin Niewold says a large donation was from an anonymous donor.. 

 

 

PBL Education Foundation President Robin Niewold.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School school board members are expected to approve an abatement project and a health life safety project at tonight’s school board meeting. In addition, school board members will hear a presentation on health care careers program and an update on the targeted school violence prevention program. The Rantoul Township High School school board meeting gets underway at 7 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new proposal would put the Illinois State Police on the clock to make decisions a resident’s Firearm Owners Identification, or FOID card. In Illinois, a FOID card is required for a resident to own, buy or handle a gun and ammunition. If an applicant is denied a card by the Illinois State Police, which administers the card program, the resident to be able to appeal the denial, but there is currently no timetable for addressing appeals. Republican state Rep. Dan Caulkins’ legislation would require that process to happen in 60 business days.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Although some say they are “full-time legislators,” Illinois state lawmakers are considered part-time, but there's growing debate about how outside employment should be handled. Should lawmakers be allowed to work as lobbyists to lobby local governments? What about working as a farmer, dentist, teacher or lawyer? Are there other conflicts of interest? Former Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter said it was valuable for the legislature to have diversity in professions and expertise, but there should be full disclosure of any potential conflicts, such as farmers voting on measures affecting farmland, for example.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Several special events are planned this month at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, including free admission on Lincoln’s birthday next week. Everyone gets in free on Wednesday as the nation celebrates Lincoln’s 211th birthday. Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills says many activities are planned as well…

 


 

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Spokesperson Chris Wills. On February 13th, visitors can check out “Tales from the Vault,” featuring Valentine’s cards and love letters from the facility’s collections. Check out all that’s going on this month at: president lincoln dot illinois dot gov.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Democratic candidates for the March 17 primary in Champaign County will hold a meet and greet in Rantoul. Candidates present and the offices for which they are running will be Erika C. Weaver, 15th Congressional District; Cindy Cunningham, 104th House District; Ramona Sullivan, Ruth Wyman, Troy Lozar and David Moore, circuit court judge; and Susan McGrath and Robert Burkhalter, circuit court clerk. The meet and greet will take place from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Rantoul Public Library on February 19th.

 

 

(Roberts-cf)- The Roberts Village Board has sent a letter to the I.E.P.A about paint chip clean up at the water tower in Roberts. Mayor Rick Flessner says the board still has not received a response.

 

 

Roberts Mayor Rick Flessner. 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City leaders have a light agenda for tonight’s city council meeting. On the agenda will be a presentation by the Ed Day Skateboard Committee and alderman will consider a  15 minute parking limit in front of the city’s pharmacies. The Gibson City city council meeting gets underway at 7 pm.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- One of Governor J-B Pritzker’s proposals for his second year as governor is reforming the state’s criminal justice system. Governor Pritzker says he wants to work with both sides of the legislature to create a fairer system…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

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Flying Pumpkins will not be coming back to Rantoul this year

(Springfield-jm) -- The Democrat-controlled General Assembly voted to override Gov. J.B. Pritzker's veto of a sales tax exemption. House Bill 3902 reinstates a previous sales tax exemption on materials, parts, equipment, components and furnishings used on planes in 14 facilities in the state. The tax exemption was allowed to sunset along with others during the budget impasse, but state officials were largely unaware, not collecting what industry advocates estimated to be $50 million in taxes. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois lawmaker is proposing to change the Illinois Constitution to protect Firearm Owners Identification card fee revenue from being swept into the state’s general fund. The proposal filed would require that proceeds from the issuance and renewal of the Firearm Owners Identification card and concealed carry permits go solely toward facilitating the program or other firearm-related activities, akin to the 2016 “lockbox amendment” that altered the state’s guiding charter to protect road funds from being used for other purposes. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Legislative Inspector General says her office needs more autonomy to investigate allegations of misconduct in the House and Senate. Current Inspector General Carol Pope says she has to get approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission to proceed with cases, noting her office is supposed to be independent…

 

 

Illinois Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope. Pope also says she shouldn’t have to get approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission to issue subpoenas. Her comments were made during this week’s hearing of a Commission on Government Ethics Reform.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Pumpkins will not be flying through the sky over Rantoul this year. The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association announced the group voted to not return to Rantoul after their inaugural trip last year. The group cited a lack of competitors due to the distance from where the competition originated as part of the reason for not returning.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On January 20th, Josh Hardin of Ludlow was arrested for possession of meth and aggravated domestic battery. On January 28th, no injuries were reported no tickets issued following a two vehicle accident at Ottawa and John. On January 31st, police are investigating four burglaries that occurred at Prairieland Insurance, Cristals Creative Expressions, Pacey and Pacey law office and Pueblo Lindo. On February 2nd, James Hall of Morocco, Indiana was arrested for driving on a suspended license and ticketed for no functional taillight. Also on February 2nd, no injuries were reported no tickets issued after a one vehicle rollover in the 600 block of East Pells. On February 4th, no tickets issued no injuries reported in a two vehicle accident at Taft and Orleans.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching 50 million dollars in grants to help improve access to high speed internet across Illinois. The idea is to help fund efforts by internet providers, local governments and rural cooperatives to bring better service to all corners of the state says Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton…

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. Up to five million dollars per project will be available during the first round, with more grant money being released over the next several years.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An estimated 2,500 children and young adults in Illinois who had been in the custody of the state’s foster care system within the last year abruptly lost their health coverage on Feb. 1. That was just one of many problems that occurred over the weekend when the state shifted some 19,000 former foster children into its privatized “managed care” health coverage system. Children’s advocacy groups warned that more problems may lie ahead as the state works to move approximately 17,000 current foster children into that same system.

 

The Elliott Amvets will hold Family Night meals tonight. The meal includes fish and chicken plus two sides for $10. Also available for purchase are $1 sodas, $2 beers and $4.50 mixed drinks.

 

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

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The head of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce warned that shifting Cook County's property tax burden to businesses could shock the entire state of Illinois into an economic downturn. From 2018 to 2019, the Cook County Assessor’s office said the northern third of the county’s businesses would see their share of the total property tax burden go from 34 percent to 44 percent. That represents a sizable shift in property taxes to businesses, which Jack Lavin, CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said will mean an estimated $1 billion more in property taxes for those businesses compared to what they had been paying.  In the economic sense, a 2011 study found that states can enter and exit recessions independent of others, but didn’t remark on business climate, rather major industries such as oil and agriculture were the catalyst for economic downturns.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Senate Democrats are putting together a special committee to look at ways to improve public safety in Illinois. Members, like Senator Celina Villanueva of Chicago say for starters, they want to address disparities within the criminal justice system…

 

 

State Senator Celina Villanueva of Chicago. The committee also wants to look at more job training for inmates, mental health services and making sure kids have a chance to visit their parents who are in prison.


 

(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police troopers issued 29 traffic tickets, including 21 for failure to wear a seat belt and two for child-restraint violations, to go along with nine written warnings during Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols conducted in Ford, Iroquois and Kankakee counties on Friday, Jan. 31. The special patrols focused on making sure all vehicle occupants were wearing seat belts as required by Illinois law.

 

 

(Crescent City-cf)- The Iroquois Country Fair Association is seeking sponsors for this year's upcoming fair. There are multiple ways to purchase sponsorships says Iroquois County Fair Spokesperson Debbie Krones.... 

 

 

Iroquois County Fair Association spokesperson Debbie Krones

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education says it’s seeking extra sponsors to ensure area counties have a chance to participate in a summer meals program. Last year, more than 5.2 million meals were served across the state — except for 35 counties who didn’t have “sponsors,” or local organizations running a summer meal program. Ford County is one of the counties excluded from the program.

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White says Illinois’ automatic voter registration system is still a good program, despite a few recent glitches. Secretary White says problems with the system that led to more than 500 non-citizens being added to the Illinois voter rolls have been fixed. Representative Tim Butler of Springfield thanked White for his office’s quick action but says this needs to be carefully watched since every vote counts…

 

 

State Representative Tim Butler of Springfield. Some lawmakers are pushing to suspend automatic voter registration until it can be assured mistakes won’t happen again.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House overwhelmingly voted this week to override the governor’s veto of legislation restoring and retroactively applying a tax break for aircraft parts. Democratic Rep. Monica Bristow, of Godfrey, said it would protect more than 3,700 jobs at 14 aviation facilities in 12 communities across the state. She added 36 other states have similar laws on the books.The tax exemption was in place since 2010, but it expired without regulatory or other official bodies taking note, Bristow said. Aviation repair companies consequently did not collect the tax from jet owners during that period. Without the new law, those companies would need to repay $50 million in taxes to the state.

 

The Saybrook Sons of the American Legion will hold their spaghetti supper tonight from 5-7 pm.

 

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Universities all over the world are scrambling to assess the risks to their programs from China's virus outbreak.

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois saw the slowest job growth in over a decade. The state saw growth of 0.7 percent in 2019 and only added 45,000 jobs. That’s the slowest growth since the Blagojevich administration in 2007.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Clean energy is one of the key issues Governor J-B Pritzker hopes to accomplish in his second year as governor. He says he wants a clean bill not influenced by utility companies…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Soybean farmers in Illinois cannot catch a break. After a promising trade deal with China last month gave farmers hope amid an intense trade war, the deadly Wuhan coronavirus currently overwhelming China is also damaging its economy. The country’s economic slump is now sowing fears that China might not be able to buy all of the $32 billion of U.S. agricultural goods it promised for 2020, including soybeans from Illinois, America’s top soybean-producing state.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Burger King continues to undergo renovations following a fire last year. The restaurant was originally scheduled to undergo renovations next year, but while the restaurant is closed for repairs following the fire, the company decided to do the renovations. The renovations include a new facade and awning, adding a double drive thru lane and updated inside. The restaurant was built 13 years ago. The fire caused $100,000 in damage.

 

 

UNDATED (AP) — Universities all over the world are scrambling to assess the risks to their programs from China's virus outbreak. Some are canceling study-abroad opportunities and prohibiting travel affecting hundreds of thousands of students. In the U.S., the cancellations add to the tension between two governments whose relations were already sour. The scare also threatens to cause lasting damage to growing academic exchange programs that reached new heights over the last decade and a half. China sends far more students to the U.S. than any other country, more than 369,000 in the last academic year. The U.S. sends over 11,000 students to China annually. A potential coronavirus case is suspected in Champaign County. 

 

(Paxton-cf)- February is national heart disease month, and to show awareness for the month the Ford County Public Health Department is urging citizens to look at ways to improve their heart health and make healthy choices to help. Ford County Public Health Department Educator Danielle Walls has more. 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Educator Danielle Walls. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Early voting begins today in Illinois for the March primary. Early voting starts  today and runs through Monday, March 16th. The March primary is Tuesday, March 17th.

 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Red-light enforcement cameras would be banned in some suburban Chicago communities under legislation that won House committee approval Wednesday. The measure is sponsored by Rep. David McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills. It would ban photo enforcement of traffic violations in some Chicago suburbs. McSweeney and other critics complain they are unfair revenue-generators. They were spotlighted last week with the guilty pleas of an ex-state senator who admitted taking bribes in part from a red-light vendor in exchange for being a “protector”of the industry in the General Assembly.

 

 

(Champaign--jc)  -- One winter night takes place in Champaign on Friday evening. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials say at least one non-U.S. citizen voted after an error in the state's automatic vote registration system mistakenly registered over 500 people who said they weren't citizens. Secretary of State Jesse White's office released the information Wednesday during a hearing in Springfield. On the same day, State Board of Election officials revised their numbers, saying 16 people of 545 registered voters cast ballots instead of 15. Nine voters are likely U.S. citizens since they have long voter histories, leaving six people in question. White says he takes responsibility for the error and put his staff on notice.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)- It started with a quarter of a million dollar donation. That was the donation  to the Paxton Buckley Loda Endowment Fund. The fund continues to grow. Distributions from the money will help out the school district as funds come in says P-B-L Education Foundation President Robin Niewold....

 

 

PBL Education Foundation President Robin Niewold. 

 

(Springfield--jc)0  --Senate Bill 2978, filed earlier this month, would open up the ability for all municipal governments to tack on an extra 3 percent gas tax to the state and federal gas tax. Bill sponsor, state Sen. Bill Cunningham, D-Chicago, said the bill wasn't going to move anytime soon, but it could come up before the end of the legislative session. He said it would open up local control of local gas taxes. If passed into law, gas prices could rise at various parts of Illinois.

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  Though its a snowy day today, plans for the 20-20 Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce 4th of July celebration have started. The annual parade steps off on Saturday July 4th at 9-30 at the corner of Maplewood and Champaign Avenues. The two day event starts on July 3rd in the village. Those wanting to help or volunteer are asked to call the Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce at 893-3323

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission is recalling the Graco Little Lounger Rocking Seats due to the risk of babies suffocating. The commission says while no injuries or deaths have been reported with the Graco product, similar products have caused deaths. They say 111,000 of the seats have been sold in the U-S including at stores such as Target.

 

(Washington-jm) -- Establishing year-round availability of e15 fuel at the pumps was just the latest step to encourage more retailers offering this product, and more consumers demanding it. Rod Bain reports…

 


 

(Springfield-jm) -- A tax amnesty program created during the passage of last year’s state operating budget has brought in nearly $240 million — approximately $60 million more than was expected — the Illinois Department of Revenue announced. The Illinois Tax Amnesty Program, proposed by Gov. JB Pritzker and passed as part of Senate Bill 689, allowed qualified taxpayers to pay off any outstanding state tax liability and have corresponding penalties and interest forgiven.

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The village of Buckley has approved renovation work to the Buckley Lake pavilion. The village will spend over $3,000 to enclose the ceiling of the pavilion with tin and update the lighting to LED lights.

 

 

(Sibley-jm) -- The village of Sibley has uncovered two leaks but believe more are occurring. The village has been working to uncover where the leaks are occurring for several months. Last month, the village used over one point three million gallons of water.


 

(Undated-jm) -- The gender wage gap narrowed slightly as more women moved into high skilled jobs. The Pew Research Center reports for every dollar a man makes, women make 85 cents. The gap has decreased from 33 cents in 1980 to 15 cents in 2018.

 

 

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State officials said thousands of people fail to file for state tax refunds when they could get more money back

(Champaign-jm) -- After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention broadened the parameters for what qualifies as a “person under investigation,” or PUI, over the weekend, one person in the Champaign-Urbana area is suspected of having the respiratory virus. The Champaign County resident is a child, said Dr. Robert Parker, director of the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Recreational marijuana sales topped 39 million dollars last month in Illinois. Adult use cannabis became legal in Illinois on January 1st, with long lines and shortages at many dispensaries. The Governor’s Senior Advisor for Cannabis Control Toi Hutchinson says, more than eight million of the 39 million total sales came from people living out of state…

 

 

Governor’s Senior Advisor for Cannabis Control Toi Hutchinson. In all, about 972 thousand cannabis items were sold last month. A quarter of all proceeds will be reinvested in communities hardest hit by the war on drugs.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- With the debacle of the Iowa caucuses fresh in the minds of Illinois politicians, there’s bipartisan support to make the Land of Lincoln the first-in-the-nation primary. But that’s still just an idea at this point. Iowa Democratic Party officials say the delay in getting results from the first-in-the-nation caucuses Monday was because of a computer error. The state moved the primary up to the first Tuesday of February in 2008 when Barack Obama was running in the Democratic primary. He was an Illinois U.S. senator and a former Illinois state senator. But Illinois moved the primary back to March in 2012.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- 2020 got off to a warm and wet start in Illinois. January’s average temperature was 31 point four degrees, making last month the 17th warmest January on record in Illinois says State Climatologist Trent Ford…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. January was also the ninth wettest on record, with an average of four point four inches of precipitation statewide. Ford says most of that came over just a few days.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- An area paramedic is accused of sexually assaulting a patient on their way to the hospital. Jeffrey Sanford jr of Gifford is charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault. Police say the incident occurred on July 22nd after a 48 year old Rantoul woman was being taken to the hospital. If convicted he faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Sheriff’s office has released their recent activity report. During the month of January, deputies responded to four traffic accidents and issued 30 citations including 23 for speeding. Deputies also handled two reports each of burglary, theft and missing persons and one each of harassment and vandalism.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)- The PBL Education Foundation was given a $250,000 dollar donation to the Endowment Fund. That Donation helped start the Pillar Campaign. PBL Education Foundation President Robin Niewold has more.. 

 

 

PBL Education Foundation President Robin Niewold.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials said thousands of people fail to file for state tax refunds when they could get more money back.  Friday was the Internal Revenue Service’s 14th annual Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day and the Illinois Department of Revenue said taxpayers who file for the federal credit sometimes leave a state tax credit on the table. A couple filing jointly with three or more children could make about $56,000 and still qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. For the 2019 tax year, credits can reach up to $6,557 for a couple filing jointly that earns less than $55,952. A single filer with no children making less than $15,570 would be entitled to a $529 return. IDOR said nearly 20,000 Illinoisans claimed a federal EITC credit without also claiming the state EIC, leaving more than $5 million dollars unclaimed. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval and SafeSpeed LLC, the red light camera company at the center of federal corruption charges against him, are now the targets of a racketeering lawsuit that seeks to void tens of thousands of traffic citations issued through the company’s devices. Lawrence Gress, a Downers Grove resident and lead plaintiff in the case, filed the suit under the federal Racketeering, Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act a law most often used to prosecute organized crime syndicates also allows for private civil suits for actions that are part of a criminal enterprise. The lawsuit alleges SafeSpeed, its officers and employees, paid bribes to Sandoval and several other local government officials to gain approval for placing its red light cameras at various intersections in Chicago-area suburbs.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Early voting begins this week in Illinois. The primary isn’t until March 17th, but you can go ahead and cast your ballot starting Thursday says State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich…

 

 

State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. Mail-in ballots will be sent out beginning Thursday. To find your local polling place or to register to vote, visit: elections dot il dot gov.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Close to $2 million in grants will be available to increase tourism in the state. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development and State Office of Tourism is putting $1.9 million in grants to help increase tourism across all parts of the state. The state had a record number of tourists in 2018 with 117 million visitors bringing in $42 billion.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is Earthquake Preparedness Month and the State Emergency Management Agency reminds that the possibility is very real in Illinois. Records indicate that Illinois has experienced some of the largest earthquakes ever measured in North America and the state is home to both the New Madrid and Wabash Valley Seismic Zones. I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says that’s why it’s important you know what to do if the ground starts shaking…

 

 

I-EMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. I-EMA urges families, businesses and schools to register for the National annual earthquake drill, the great American shakeout. It will be held October 15th. Sign up at shakeout dot org.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul restaurant is now open. Yellow Ducky Express opened in the former Taco Bell location on the villages west side. The restaurant is open 10:30 am to 9 pm.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul is offering a one time only storm drainage amnesty program. All interest and late fees will be removed if the balance is paid in full by March 11th. The village says previous lien charges will not be waived. For more information about the program, call the Rantoul village building at 892-6800.

 

(Paxton-cf)- Feb. 7 is national Go Red For Women Day promoting Health. Be sure to wear red that day in support. Also when you're in red, be sure to share on social media and use the hashtag #FordCountyGoRed. When you use that hashtag, tag @1049WPXN on Twitter for a retweet! Danielle Walls has more information.. 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Educator Danielle Walls

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- High school students in Illinois will have more opportunities to vote during the school day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 1970  that allows schools to excuse adult students for 2 hours to go to the polls on election day. Pritzker signed.

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The Illinois State Fair is announcing six of the grandstand concerts that will be held in August

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Police executed a search warrant at House Speaker Michael Madigan state Capitol offices this week as part of an investigation into sexual misconduct, stalking and other allegations against former state Rep. Jack Franks. Police justified the search warrant, executed Wednesday, by saying “probable cause exists for the crimes of criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, official misconduct, stalking and aggravated battery,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported. It sought personnel files that contain information related to the allegations against Franks, who hasn’t been charged and denies any wrongdoing.

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Some of the groups tasked with helping ensure that Illinois gets a good turnout for the 2020 census haven’t received their state funding yet. Census advocates worry that the lag in funding the groups’ efforts could hurt the state’s showing in the 10-year count, which determines how many U.S. House seats each state gets and how to distribute billions of federal dollars to local communities. Only few of the nine regional intermediary outreach groups in the Chicago region have received the state funding they need to take on the mammoth task of trying to ensure that every resident participates or is accounted for in this year’s census, the Chicago Tribune reported.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is hi-liting the state’s efforts to fight human trafficking and urges the public to be vigilant as well. The current state budget included money and more prevention and awareness training for kids and therapy for teenage victims of sex trafficking says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Starting this summer, all hotel staff must be trained on how to spot human trafficking and what to do about it. Signs of human trafficking include bruising, seeming to be controlled by and deferring to a certain person, lack of personal belongings and not being able to come and go freely.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Several Paxton businesses were broken into Friday. Pueblo Lindo posted on their facebook page that someone broke into their business Friday morning and stole an unknown amount of cash. Cristal’s Boutique and Prairieland Insurance were also hit. The week prior The Animal Clinic, a laundromat and another insurance place was broken into. Anyone with information is asked to call Paxton Police.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County is in the process of finding their next county treasurer. Laurel Prussings last day was Friday. She stepped down after 18 months on the job. The Champaign County Board has 60 days to name her replacement.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)- The $250,000 dollar mark of the PBL Endowment Fund has been surpassed with help from the Pillar Campaign. The Endowment Fund now has over $625,000 that can start being distributed to the PBL school district. PBL Education Foundation President Robin Niewold tells us more.. 

 

 

PBL Education Foundation President Robin Niewold. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Facebook users in Illinois could soon see a portion of a $550 million settlement over the company's alleged breach of Illinois' biometric information law. The social media giant disclosed that it had come to a tentative agreement over a 2015 lawsuit that alleged the company violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act each time it stored a person’s facial data to then notify them about photographs posted on the platform.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- During December most producers were receiving higher prices than December a year earlier for most products. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Country Financial will hold a Winter Agribusiness Seminar today at 9 am at the Champaign County Farm Bureau building.

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Lawmakers questioned Illinois State Police about the DNA backlog at state crime labs, stating too many cases are waiting on DNA processing. State police say the backlog has been drastically cut down, but state senators worry the delays in processing DNA could mean potential suspects who might otherwise have been arrested and in custody haven’t been identified, WLS-TV reported. The backlog went down 16% last year.

 

 

CHICAGO (AP) — Two nonprofit organizations in Chicago have launched a state-funded legal aid program designed to help thousands of immigrants, former inmates and low-income people across Illinois. The program is called Access to Justice, which will be funded with $10 million in state money. Roughly 60 organizations across Illinois are expected to benefit. An estimated 4,600 people will get full legal representation through the program.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Fair is announcing six of the grandstand concerts that will be held in August. The State Fair runs August 13th through the 23rd in Springfield and acts scheduled so far include Country singers Kane Brown, Toby Keith with Craig Morgan, Chris Young, Rapper L-L Cool J to the Traveling Salvation Show which is a free tribute to Neil Diamond. State Fair Grandstand Manager Kim Hart says there’s more and at a bargain…

 

 

State Fair Grandstand Manager Kim Hart. Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 25th. Hart says more concerts, which could include a classic rock or pop group, will be announced later.


 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- The Iroquois County Fair Association is seeking sponsors for this year’s fair. In a press release, the fair board says the new sponsorship program will benefit fairgoers experience with improved fair activities and entertainment while providing maintenance to the fairground facilities. For more information about becoming a sponsor, call Debbie Krones at 815-228-2924.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A third teen has been arrested after a drug deal went bad last month in Rantoul. The 17 year old was one of three that allegedly tried to rob two people in the village back in January. The other two teens, a 16 and 15 year old have already been arrested in connection to the incident on January 11th. The group intended to meet in the 1200 block of Aspen Drive. During the incident a struggle ensued and the 17 year old was shot in the leg. All three face attempted armed robbery and various weapons charges.

 

 

(FORD COUNTY-cf)- February is National American Heart Association Month to promote heart disease awareness. February 7th is the national movement day for heart health. Ford County Public Health Educator Danielle Walls has more information. 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Educator Danielle Walls


 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite more problems surfacing with Illinois’ Automatic Voter Registration Program, the Secretary of State’s office isn't giving in to pressure to suspend the program. Earlier this month, it was revealed that more than 500 likely non-citizens were registered to vote more than a year and a half. This week, the state revealed that 300 people who selected to opt out of registering were still forwarded to local elections officials to be registered to vote. There were also thousands of 16-year-olds forwarded to local election authorities to register to vote “because some 16-year-olds will be 17 by the next primary and 18 by the next general election.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The clues have been dropped over the last few months, but now we have confirmation of a new direction for the U.S. cattle herd, beef and dairy. Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

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