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WPXN Blog Archives for 2020-03

Ford County has their first confirmed case of COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) -- Cases of Coronavirus in Illinois are surpassing five thousand. We’re now at five thousand 57 cases, including 73 deaths. The virus has been found in 52 Illinois counties. So will Governor J-B Pritzker extend the current stay at home order…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. One of the latest deaths is a male inmate at Stateville Correctional Center. 12 other inmates there have been hospitalized.


(Undated-jc-jm) -- Ford County has their first confirmed case of COVID-19.  In updating our story, Ford County Public Health Department Spokesperson Paige Eads says the person is in his 70s…



Ford County Public Health Spokesperson Paige Eads. WPXN news will continue to monitor this story as it develops.



(Champaign-jm) -- An area bank is offering financial relief during the COVID pandemic. Busey Bank is offering a financial relief program to customers. For the next six months, Busey is offering waivers of pre-authorized transfer fees to prevent overdrafts for savings and money market accounts, free debit card replacement. For personal loans and mortgages, Busey is offering payment deferrals including up to 12 months of deferrals for mortgage customers. For more information, reach out to your local Busey Bank branch.



(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is conducting a pilot study to see how advanced technologies like remote sensing can improve data collection on crop plantings and planted acreage. Rod Bain reports…




Champaign, IL, March 27, 2020— State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer funding to control invasive plants in forest stands in east-central Illinois through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). NRCS has partnered with the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Headwaters Invasive Plant Partnership (HIPP) to help producers address resource concerns such as water quality and soil health. Landowners can apply for assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to implement forest stand improvement, brush management, herbaceous weed control and tree/shrub establishment practices. The project focus is to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality by improving forest health in the following 11 counties: Champaign, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, Piatt and Vermilion.


(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released recent activity. On March 11th, Nicolas Sorbres of Hobart, Indiana was arrested for theft from a coin operated machine, possession of burglary tools and criminal damage to property after someone reported a person breaking into a vending machine at 149 S. Railroad. On March 14th, Luke Davis of Urbana was arrested for DUI and ticketed for speeding and operating an uninsured motor vehicle after a traffic stop at Vermilion and Prospect as Davis was caught driving 51 in a 30. On March 15th, Chad Hewerdine of Paxton was arrested on an Illinois Department of Corrections warrant.


(Undated-jm) -- The first of the month is approaching quickly. For millions of Americans who have been laid off or fallen on hard times, paying the bills will be a struggle. For those who have credit card debt, WPXN news’ Jason Madden has some helpful resources…




(Springfield-jm) -- Researchers at the University of Illinois are looking at a type of artificial intelligence to see if it can help predict farm yields. Farmers may love the land, but they are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence to help them work it. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois are working to see if a novel form of AI can predict crop yields. While conventional methods feed data into existing patterns, convolutional neural networks organize data by creating their own patterns, much like the human brain. In this study, researchers are studying data from farms around the world, including nine corn farms in the Midwest, by digitally breaking them down into 16-foot-square parcels and analyzing variables such as seed rate and soil conditions. Then they are using convolutional neural networks to see what factors will most figure in to accurately predicting what those parcels yield.


(Springfield-jm) -- Cases of Coronavirus in Illinois are surpassing five thousand. The state is now up to five thousand 57 cases and 73 deaths. Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says it’s hard to assess how prevalent the virus is, since not everyone is being tested…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Officials say it’s also hard to determine the recovery rate, since those who only have mild symptoms aren’t likely reporting that they feel better to their doctor.




(Undated-jm) -- The first of the month is approaching quickly. For millions of Americans who have been laid off or fallen on hard times, paying the bills will be a struggle. For those who have car payments, WPXN news’ Jason Madden has some helpful resources…


(Thomasboro-jm) -- A Thomasboro committee has given the green light to a new store. The Planning and Zoning Committee recommended annexing land for the construction of a Dollar General. If approved by the village board, the store would be located at the northeast corner of Flatville Road and U-S 45.



(Urbana--jc) A 28 year old man from Homer was charged with 8 counts of first degree murder in connection with two females from St Joseph that were murdured early Sunday Morning. In updating our story, Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis set bail for Jonathon Perry at 2 and one half Million Dollars on Monday. 54 year old Kimberly Coyne and 24 year old Blair Coyne were found dead from a shooting at their home just outside St Joseph, Perry is due back in court on April 16th.



(Paxton-cf)-- With the stay at home order in place you  can still get your favorite sub from Subway in Paxton. The best way to order is to order in the Subway app, online or call in, says Manager Alicia Weber… 



Subway in Paxton Manager Alicia Weber. You still can order a fountain drink, but that has to be served by a Subway Employee at this time. 



(Springfield-jm) --  A recent study on prosperity in the United States has good news and bad news for Illinois. The state ranked 23rd overall in the report conducted by the Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank and educational charity with a global vision to lift people out of poverty. On the other hand, the state ranked 49th in terms of economic quality, and dead last in fiscal sustainability.



(Rantoul--jc)  With the new social distancing guidelines, the basketball courts in the village of Rantoul are now closed. This will remain in effect until further notice. The village park in Cissna Park is also closed.


State officials say they don't expect the number of cases of COVID-19 to peak in Illinois for awhile

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials say they don’t expect the number of cases of COVID-19 to peak in Illinois for awhile. A new study out of the University of Washington projects that the Coronavirus will hit its peak here on April 14th. Governor J-B Pritzker says they are looking at several predictions…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The number of cases of Coronavirus in Illinois is now up to nearly 46 hundred. 65 people have died. Locally, Iroquois County reported their 2nd case on Friday. Champaign County is reporting 21 cases, Kankakee County 33 cases, McLean County 14 cases. Livingston County is also reporting 2 cases.


(Urbana--jc)  -- Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup is releasing the identities of two women discovered dead early Sunday morning in St. Joseph, . Kimberly A. Coyne, age 54, and her daughter, Blair A. Coyne, age 24, both of St. Joseph,  were pronounced dead at their residence located in the 1600 block of County Road 2200 East in St. Joseph Township. Both women appeared to have been shot and their deaths are being investigated by the Champaign County Sheriff’s Department and the coroner’s office as homicides. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Department of Employment Security is making changes to improve its website and the unemployment claim process to address a surge in the number of unemployment claims. In the first three weeks of March, Illinoisans filed 130,000 unemployment benefit claims. The department has asked people who need to file for unemployment benefits to do so following an alphabetical schedule. Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims online on Sundays, Tuesdays or Thursdays and by phone between 7:30 am and 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursday. Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims online on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays and by phone between 7:30 am and 6pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. Saturdays will be available to accommodate anyone who couldn’t file during their allotted window. For those filing by phone, Fridays between 7:30 am and 6pm to accommodate anyone who couldn’t file during their allotted window.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says Coronavirus testing is expanding in Illinois. The Governor says right now, about four thousand tests are being run each day. He says within the next week and a half, they should be up to 10 thousand per day…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritkzer says he is very disappointed the federal government hasn’t sent more tests and notes the state is working with public and private partners to increase testing capabilities.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois schools won't have to make up days missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but will have to implement remote learning starting Tuesday, the Illinois State Board of Education announced. Gov. J.B. Pritzker closed public and private schools statewide from March 17 through at least April 7. Through today, those days were declared "act of God" days. Starting Tuesday, schools will be required to use remote learning. Remote learning days "count toward the minimum length of the school year and absolutely do not need to be made up," according to a news release from the Illinois State Board of Education. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing several resources for Illinoisans struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of child care providers are helping care for the kids of essential workers says the Governor…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. Governor Pritzker says the state is also boosting efforts to help the homeless population and expanding access to snap benefits. Get all the details at: coronavirus dot illinois dot gov.



(Urbana-jm) -- Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana began testing for COVID-19 over the weekend. The hospital says they hope to cut the wait time for test results from several days to about 24 hours. The hospital says by today they should be able to do about 100 tests with about a 24 hour turnaround. They will also be able test not only their patients but patients at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center and Christie Clinic. 



(Urbana-jm) -- A Fisher man is accused of attacking a Mahomet man in his home last week. 24 year old Devon Todd is charged with home invasion after he allegedly entered a home in Mahomet Wednesday night and attacked a man until he was unconscious. If convicted he faces 6 to 30 years in prison. 

(Crescent City-jm) -- The Iroquois County Fair committee is gearing up for the 86th annual Iroquois County Fair. The committee issued a statement over the weekend saying they are still planning for the fair, which will be held July 15-20 at the fairgrounds north of Crescent City.



(Undated-jm) -- The first of the month is approaching quickly. For millions of Americans who have been laid off or fallen on hard times, paying the bills will be a struggle. For those who pay rent or a mortgage, WPXN news’ Jason Madden has some helpful resources…



(Paxton-jm) -- Some upgrades will happen at the Paxton pool. The park district board voted 4-0 to hire Rick Adkins Masonry to replace four doors at the concession stand, supply closet and guard office and do some exterior work. The work is estimated to cost about $4,600.



(Paxton-cf)-- With the current Pandemic that is sweeping the state, country, and world, it has caused all schools to close, most bars and restaurants to offer curbside services only, and put a statewide shelter in place order into effect. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington thinks there will be more… 


53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington.


(Springfield-jm) -- DCFS is receiving fewer abuse hotline calls while children are out of school. The agency says they have seen an estimated 45 percent decline in the number of calls. They say most of the calls they receive are from concerned school teachers and administrators. They are now relying on neighbors and family members to report abuse. DCFS reminds the abuse hotline is still available 24/7.



(Washington-jm) -- The Trump administration says it may come out with new guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the end of its 15 days to slow the spread today, but Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signaled the state’s stay-home order could extend beyond April 7. One thing President Donald Trump said he will be in talks with the White House Coronavirus Task Force is possibly designating counties across the country based on risk levels and opening things back up. 



SPRINGFIELD — The social distancing guidelines that led Illinois county fairs to cancel off-season events on their grounds through the end of April is one part of a financial impact double-whammy, a trade official said. Guidelines from Gov. JB Pritzker’s office regulating the number of people allowed to congregate shrank over the past few weeks from 1,000 to 50 to, finally, 10. County fairs canceled expositions, contests and other events back when that number was 250. Many local fairs use revenue from off-season events and activities to pay the bills.



URBANA, Ill. (AP) — The University of Illinois is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the estate of a slain visiting Chinese scholar against two social workers at a campus counseling center. A judge dismissed a federal lawsuit against the social workers in December. But the woman's estate refiled it in state court in January. Brendt Christensen was later convicted of kidnapping Yingying Zhang. Her body has never been found. The News-Gazette reports that her family has argued that the social workers should have done more when the Christensen told them about his fascination with serial killers and that he had bought items to move and dispose of a body.



CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The ?Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland College, which is currently closed due to the statewide Stay-at-Home order, will resume curbside distribution April 1. The food pantry will distribute prepacked food boxes through the circle drive at the Staerkel Planetarium and at the main campus bus stop (circle drive at the U Building) Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m.There will be no food distribution on Saturdays. At this time, the pantry is unable to offer choice model shopping until further notice. Only prepackaged food bags will be available for pickup. 



(Washington-jm) -- The USDA's Ag. Statistics Service is asking producers who get USDA surveys to respond online, if at all possible. It's a matter of health and safety. Gary Crawford has the details…




(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul City School board will interview candidates for a vacancy on the school board tonight. The vacancy comes after board member Kevin McCallister resigned. The person appointed to fill the vacancy will fill out the remainder of McCallister’s term which ends in April 2021. The meeting takes place at 5pm.



(Paxton-cf)--Hardware stores across the state will continue to operate during the stay at home order. Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen says that they will be operating like normal, plus some… 


If you need anything after hours, you can contact any Paxton Hardware and Rental Employee at this number… 


Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen. That number again is 815-471-0377. If you need anything after normal operating hours you can contact Paxton Hardware and Rental anytime. 

Iroquois County has a confirmed case of the Covid-19 virus

(Watseka--jc)  -- Iroquois County has a confirmed case of the Covid-19 virus. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…


(Springfield-jm) -- President Donald Trump’s administration has approved Illinois’ COVID-19 disaster declaration, which opens the state up to federal assistance. In an announcement Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said federal emergency aid will be made available to Illinois to supplement local recovery efforts. The approval also means federal funding will help cover up to 75 percent of local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations costs for various protective measures where the federal government will cover 75 percent. That includes federal assistance for all areas affected by COVID-19.


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is issuing a strong warning to those not doing their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Cases of COVID-19 in Illinois have jumped to more than 25 hundred and 26 have died. The Governor says you have to take this threat seriously…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. Iroquois County is reporting their first confirmed case. The health department says the individual is a man in his 50’s. Champaign County is also reporting 2 additional cases.


(Springfield-jm) -- Unemployment claims in Illinois for the week ending March 21 jumped ten-fold from the previous week as employers and employees continue to feel the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Initial unemployment claims in Illinois for the week ending March 21 were 133,763, up 122,893 from the 10,870 claims filed the previous week, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor and later updated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is launching the new “Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund” to help those affected by the pandemic. The Governor says this is a statewide fundraising effort to help support nonprofit organizations helping people in their communities…


Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. The fund has already raised 23 million dollars, including four million dollars from Governor Pritzker. Visit: il covid response fund dot org for more information.



(Danville-jm) -- Colorful hot-air balloons will not be taking to the skies over Vermilion County this summer. Balloons Over Vermilion 2020 has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. The event was set to take place on July 10, 2020. Balloons Over Vermilion 2021 has been scheduled for July 9, 2021.



(Washington-jm) -- Is all that's going on in grocery stores right now changing the prospects for food price inflation for the year? Gary Crawford has the details…





(Springfield-dg)-It’s National Ag Week and WPXN would like to salute the American Farmer. Consumers are becoming more involved than ever in the state’s agriculture industry, with readily available agritourism destinations, community gardening and an ever-growing interest in buying local. This interest is backed by the state’s legislation, which encourages consumers to purchase Illinois-produced food and products through the Buy Illinois Challenge program. Despite setbacks from weather challenges and more, Illinois’ farmers and agricultural leaders continue to push forward, growing in their diverse and important industry.



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police in Ashkum will be conducting Alcohol Countermeasure Enforcement Patrols in April. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…




(Urbana-jm) -- Illinois election officials scolded a Champaign County official for counting early votes before Election Day, which is against Illinois law.  Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons was accused of tabulating early votes beginning the night before the election. A first summary report of results from the primary election had a time stamp of 10:19 p.m. on Monday, March 16. The State Board of Elections says Champaign County was the only county to have such issues in the 2020 Illinois primary election. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White is announcing the federal government has decided to push back the deadline for residents to get their REAL ID. The original deadline was Oct. 1, 2020. White joined the National Governors Association, other states, government leaders and the travel industry, to ask the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on March 18 to extend the enforcement date on REAL ID due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Springfield-jm) -- Analysts with Fitch Ratings said the federal stimulus plan will help state and local governments, but it won't replace lost revenue from the economic downturn. Eric Kim, head of U.S. State Governments for Fitch, said Illinois was in a tough spot before the COVID-19 crisis because of existing risks, such as having the lowest investment-grade credit rating and the state's high pension debt. 



SPRINGFIELD – A commission that advises the General Assembly on revenue and economic issues is warning that a slowdown of business activity caused by the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to bring about a recession that could cause a 20 percent drop in state revenues, spread out over a number of fiscal years. The Commission on Government Finance and Accountability, gave that warning as part of its three-year budget forecast, which it is required to make annually. Those forecasts include an analysis of potential threats and opportunities to the state budget.




(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is temporarily changing its grading policy. The university announced in a mass mail that students now have the option to take their spring classes as "credit or no credit." This comes after the university moved its classes online due to COVID-19 concerns. Undergraduate and graduate students have until April 30 to make a decision in an effort to "lessen their stress."



(Loda-cf)-- Murdock’s kitchen is still in full operation amid the stay at home order from Gov. JB Pritzker. Murdocks will have an employee on site all day on Fridays for people who want to call in their orders throughout the day and bring it home to eat, says owner Brent Sinn…



Owner of Murdocks Brent Sinn


(Oakwood--jc)  -- 104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Oakwood is offering some help. The local Representative says his office will be available for information, legal help and more…



104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Oakwood


(Undated-jm) --  County Market is taking an additional step to protect its customers and employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. They are creating plexiglass shields for the cashiers. The shields are going up at all County Market locations. 


(Washington-jm) -- Farmers and other rural residents may have some unique challenges in dealing with the COVID-19 situation. Gary Crawford reports…




(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has added his voice to a coalition urging online giants Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart and Craigslist to “rigorously monitor price-gouging practices by online sellers” who use those sites. Raoul joined 33 other attorneys general across the country in issuing letters to the five companies; while the companies’ cooperation with state efforts to stop price-gouging in general was acknowledged, they were urged “do more to monitor listings by third-party sellers.”


Governor Pritzker has pushed back the deadline for state tax returns

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing 330 new cases of Coronavirus and three more deaths.. The most recent cases bring the state’s total to over 18 hundred including 19 deaths. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says they’ve been getting a lot of questions about COVID-19 testing. She says if you feel ill, start by calling your doctor…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says those sick should stay home for seven days or 72 hours after their fever and other symptoms are gone, whichever is longer. Locally, Champaign County is announcing four new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total to 8.



(Springfield-jm) -- About 39.7 percent of Illinois adults are considered at risk of coronavirus complications due to age or pre-existing medical conditions, the 36th highest share among the 50 states, according to a study released March 17 by the website 24/7 Wall St. The share of adults over age 60 out of the total at-risk adult population is 72.9 percent, the 24/7 Wall St. report said. The share of adults age 18 to 60 who are at risk is 15.1 percent.  The number of fatalities related to coronavirus in the United States could eventually be as high as 1.7 million, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although the vast majority of those infected will not endure serious ailments. About 105.5 million American adults age 18 and older, or 41 percent, face an elevated risk of serious illness if they contract the Covid-19 virus, Wall St. 24/7 reports. And among those at-risk adults, 5.7 million lack health insurance, according to the analysis.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing millions of dollars in emergency assistance for small businesses in Illinois. Governor Pritzker says he knows how hard it’s been the past several days, especially for businesses that have had to close their doors…


Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. A couple of options are available. Small business owners should visit: dceo dot illinois dot gov for more information.



(Springfield-jm) -- Food hoarding during the Coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on low-income Illinoisans who rely on the state for food assistance. The Women, Infants, and Children Program, commonly referred to as WIC, is a federal program that helps supplement low-income families with vouchers for food. With people hoarding food due to coronavirus it's become harder to fill the voucher. The vouchers expire at the end of the month.



(Washington-jm) -- Many USDA offices are temporarily doing business with producers only by phone or electronically. Gary Crawford reports…




(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is among the latest government agencies to set up a specific hotline for reports of potential violations of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s mandatory, Stay-At-Home executive order. To make sure nonessential businesses are complying, CUPHD announced Wednesday it will investigate complaints made to their hotline at 217-239-7877 or via email



(Paxton-cf)-- During the emergency meeting held by the Paxton City Council on Wednesday night, there was an ordinance passed that would allow you to order a beverage with your meal and bring it home. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold tells WPXN that an establishment that sells alcohol on premises can now sell you a beverage for your meal at home… 



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. The beverage must be in a sealed bottle, in its original packaging, in order for it to be transported home. 



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are reporting a reduction in the number of calls and arrests. Since the start of the COVID-19 threat, police estimate the number of calls for service and arrests have dropped by 50 percent. The department says they are adjusting how they respond to calls. Low priority calls will be handled over the phone while high priority calls will still receive an officer response.



(Loda-cf)-- The Kitchen at Murdocks in Loda is still operating fully during the stay at home order. There is a limited menu while the pandemic has that order in place, and Facebook will soon be the place to check that menu out says owner Brent Sinn… 



Murdcocks owner Brent Sinn. While he is still working on the page, be sure to check out Murdocks Facebook Page for regular updates in the coming days. 




(Springfield-jm) -- A report from the state government’s forecasting group said determining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s tax revenues was “virtually impossible” for now, but the commission said it could result in a loss of more than $8 billion over several fiscal years. The new report from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability included a projection of state revenues and expenditures for the next three years under different scenarios. One scenario assumes the state pays down its $8 billion worth of unpaid bills, another assumes flat spending and a third assumes spending growth of 2 percent. The report also highlighted threats to the state’s budget forecast, including it’s outstanding bill backlog of more than $8 billion as of March 25, the state’s unfunded pension liabilities of more than $137 billion, and the uncertainty around what it called the “COVID-19 Recession.”




(Undated-jm) -- Sam's Club locations across the nation are working to help those who need extra support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is introducing two new initiatives to make shopping easier for some. Starting tomorrow, Sam's Club will offer early shopping hours for senior citizens and those with disabilities or weakened immune systems every Tuesday and Thursday. Those shoppers will have access to the entirety of Sam's Club, including the pharmacy and optical center, from 7-9 a.m. During the new special shopping hours, members can now shop at Sam's Club without needing to leave their car.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois taxpayers are getting more time to file their state taxes. Just like the federal government, Illinois is extending the deadline says Governor J-B Pritzker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. To file your state income taxes and for more information, visit: tax dot illinois dot gov.



(Springfield-dg)-It’s National Ag Week and WPXN would like to salute the American Farmer. Illinois leads the pack in agribusiness and the state is a front-runner in industries such as soybean processing, meat packing, dairy manufacturing, service industries and foreign exports, which play a significant role in the Illinois economy. In 2014, Illinois exported $8.2 billion worth of agricultural commodities to other countries, and exports from Illinois account for 6 percent of all U.S. exports. In fact, the state is the nation’s second leading exporter of soybeans and feed grains, and approximately 44 percent of grain produced in the state is used for export.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton residents are urged to find alternative methods to pay their utility bill. With the COVID-19 outbreak ongoing, city hall is closed to public entry. The city reminds residents they can pay their bill online or drop it off in the dropbox. Those with questions are asked to call city hall at 379-2425.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois home sales and prices headed higher in February. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…



(Undated-cf)-- Today, Illinois Radio and television stations throughout Illinois are uniting in a statewide fundraising drive to combat hunger and food bank shortages due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In Partnership with Feeding Illinois, we encourage all listeners to make a monetary donation that will bolster dwindling food supplies at local food banks. Corporations and individuals looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of neighbors experiencing food hardship can contribute at: and/or text to FEEDIL to 91999.


Governor J-B Pritzker says the state is increasing testing for the Coronavirus and is working to make sure there are enough hospital beds for patients

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 250 more cases of Coronavirus and four additional deaths. The new COVID-19 cases bring the total to more than 15 hundred in 32 Illinois counties. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says 16 people have now died from their infection…


Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says 16 percent of patients in Illinois have had to be hospitalized and four percent have been in the I-C-U. Out of the 16 deaths so far, nearly all were older than 60. Champaign County Public Health officials have confirmed another confirmed case bringing their total to four.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says the state is increasing testing for the Coronavirus and is working to make sure there are enough hospital beds for patients. About two thousand tests are being run each day in Illinois. Governor Pritzker says they are working to quickly boost that to more than 43 hundred per day by using drive thru testing, mobile labs and more…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. The Governor says hospitals across the state are meeting the current need but officials are adding more space with triage tents and are considering reopening old hospitals.


(Springfield-jm) -- When will this end? Governor J-B Pritzker says there just isn’t enough data yet to tell. The state’s stay at home order lasts until April 7th, but Governor Pritzker says that could change based on the number of cases of Coronavirus…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says since COVID-19 testing has been limited, it will be important to keep an eye on the number of hospitalizations as well.



(Watseka-jm) -- The Watseka Park District along with the Iroquois County Public Health Department will hold a special training. The free community NARCAN training will take place on Saturday, March 25th from 8-3. More information is available by calling the Iroquois County Public Health Department.



(Springfield-dg)-It’s National Ag Week and WPXN would like to salute the American Farmer. The state of Illinois, boasts 72,200 farms that average 358 acres each. These farms work to produce some of Illinois’ top agricultural products, such as corn, soybeans, pork, wheat and cattle. The state’s fertile soil gives farmers room to grow a variety of other crops too, including oats, sorghum, fruits and vegetables, and specialty crops like buckwheat, ginseng, popcorn and mushrooms. Approximately 1,500 different types of soil can be found in the state, making it so fruitful that almost 90 percent of Illinois agricultural land can be used to raise crops.



(Paxton-cf)-- One of the first signs of Spring for most people is a robin sighting, others might see road work ahead signs. Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold tells us that the city has looked at repairing a few streets in Paxton with the Motor Fuel Tax fund… 



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. There will also be other roads repaired in the city of Paxton with the general fund. Those Roads will be named at a later date. 



(Champaign County-jm) -- The runner up for the Champaign County judgeship says she wants a recount. Ruth Wyman finished second to Ramona Sullivan. Wyman says when she checked the website Tuesday night, it showed all 118 precincts were counted and Sullivan was ahead by 148 votes. By the next day, Sullivan was ahead by 157 votes. The Champaign County Clerks office says mail in ballots still need to be counted.



(Ludlow-jm) --Ludlow will likely get an interest rate boost for their new water sewer project. The USDA informed the village the rate for the 2nd quarter, which runs April through June, will go from 2.75 percent to 1.375 percent. The village is qualified for a $2.8 million grant to replace the water plant and water mains in the village. The village is responsible for paying back $1.12 million.



(Undated-jm) -- Those who need legal assistance in the state have several options during the COVID-19 outbreak. Illinois legal aid organizations are available to help families, seniors and veterans impacted by the outbreak. Those who need assistance can call Land of Lincoln Legal Services at 1-877-342-7891 or Prairie State Legal Services at 1-800-531-7057. For veterans, they can contact the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network at 1-855-452-3526.




(Champaign-jm) -- MarketPlace Mall in Champaign is still open despite several store closures and reduced hours due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The mall reduced their hours of operations from noon to 7 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 to 6 on Sunday. Macy’s, JcPenney, The Gap, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field and Stream have announced temporary closures because of the outbreak.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Park District is buying a new truck. In a 3 to 1 vote, the park district will purchase the truck from Bob Ridings in Taylorville for $24,933. The new truck will replace a 1999 truck.



(Paxton-cf)-- Hardware stores have been named as an essential business in the stay at home order called by Governor JB Pritzker last week. Paxton Hardware and Rental has been very busy, Store owner  Scott Allen says the store is ready to provide a wide variety of goods and services... 



Paxton Hardware and Rental Owner Scott Allen. 


People applying for unemployment benefits need to be patient

(Springfield-jm) -- Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Illinois. The count is now up to nearly 13 hundred cases, including 12 deaths. COVID-19 has been found in 31 Illinois counties so far. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike urges the public to keep following the stay at home order…


State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. If you need to go out, Ezike says you should stay six feet away from other people. The virus is transmitted via droplets when someone coughs or sneezes.



(Springfield-jm) -- With tens of thousands of Illinoisans out of work, experts warn that people applying for unemployment benefits need to be patient. Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an emergency order last week that shuttered all non-essential businesses statewide to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois. The move was a broad-stroke effort to tamp down the spread of the virus, according to public health experts. It has also exposed tens of thousands of Illinoisans to something they may have never experienced before: Applying for unemployment benefits. For those who have been laid off, perhaps the most important piece of advice is to stay calm. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is working to get Illinois healthcare workers the protective gear they need to stay safe while treating patients. The Governor says as part of a new partnership, the Illinois Manufacturers Association will help coordinate companies that want to donate or produce personal protective equipment…


Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. Additionally, the state is purchasing millions of units of gear. Governor Pritzker says Illinois has received only a fraction of supplies that were requested from the federal government. 



(Urbana-jm) -- A Dewey man has been arrested on child sex abuse charges. 46-year-old Joshua Andrew Stover faces four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child. Police say incidents occured on March 7th and 8th at a Rantoul motel. He was taken to the Champaign County Jail. Bond was set at $500 thousand. If convicted he faces up to 14 years in prison.



(Urbana-jm) -- Carle is announcing they are adjusting hours for primary care doctors and labs amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The group says non-essential appointments are being rescheduled. Lab service hours in Rantoul are being reduced. Those needing lab services will be able to do so between 7 and 11:30 am and 1 and 3:15 pm. Lab services at Carle Foundation Hospital and Carle Hoopeston Regional will not be affected. Carle locations in Watseka, Cissna Park, Rossville and Milford could reduce their hours depending on the patient's schedule.



(Washington-jm) --  It's going to be hard to forecast food price inflation this year due to some fairly new wild cards being dealt. Gary Crawford reports…




(Monticello, Indiana-jm) -- A popular family amusement park may re-open this year after all. Apex Parks Group which owns Indiana Beach announced they have interest from several potential buyers after the group announced the closure of the 90 year old vacation destination last month.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On March 20th, Bryan Brandon of Gibson City was arrested for resisting a peace officer and criminal trespass. On March 22nd, Steven Price of Gibson City was arrested for aggravated domestic battery.



(Gibson City--jc)  A help line is now operational for questions from Illinoisans concerning the coronavirus pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says several departments and groups are available with answers…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



(Undated--jc)  -- Senior citizens, people with disabilities and low-to-moderate income families can get free income tax preparation and filing assistance for their 2019 state and federal tax returns. The Illinois Department of Revenue and the American Association of Retired Persons have partnered to set up a network of volunteers who can help. The program is open to people making 56 thousand dollars a year or less and people 60 years of age and older. People with disabilities and taxpayers who speak limited English are also eligible for help.300 locations are set up around the state to help with taxes



(The Center Square) –  We remember the wet spring in 2019 and the  delayed corn and soybean planting across Illinois. The numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on  production declined from 2018 in all regions and most counties of the state.The forecast is looking better for 2020, though, says Reid Thompson, with Hertz FarmManagement of Mahomet.  Thompson says that the winter months – December, January and February – were unusually warm and dry, making it possible for farmers to till fields and prepare them for planting earlier than normal. When the anticipated wet spell ends, farmers will be able to move directly to planting. The prediction does not mean a perfect year to plant and profitability always depends on market conditions. 



(Paxton-cf)-- During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold wants all area businesses to reach out to City Hall.  The reason is to let them and the public know about goods and services provided by local businesses... 



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold 



SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois General Assembly on Monday began its second week of shutdown due to the spread of COVID-19, and officials said it is still uncertain when, or under what circumstances, the session will resume. Officials in the offices of Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Michael Madigan said Monday that conversations have been taking place among legislative leaders and their respective caucuses, but as of yet no decision has been made. The last day lawmakers met was Thursday, March 5. 



(Iroquois County-jm) -- Iroquois County Sheriff’s police have released their recent activity report. On March 18th, timothy Masterson of Bourbonnais was arrested on an outstanding warrant for theft. On March 17th, Terry Blair Jr of Gilman was arrested for criminal trespass to property and Alisha Manzke of Loda was arrested for domestic battery. On March 13th, Timothy Felton of Champaign was arrested on an Iroquois County warrant for unlawful possession of a stolen credit or debit card. On March 12th Chase Kakala of St. Anne was arrested on a warrant for theft and Bailey Caldwell of Monee was arrested on an Iroquois County warrant for possession of a controlled substance.



(Paxton-jm) -- Visitors to the Ford County jail and courthouse will be limited. The move comes over COVID-19 fears. The jail and courthouse will only be open to essential personnel. Litigants and attorneys who have court ordered by the Judge will also be allowed.



(Washington-jm) -- Brazilian beef imports are once again allowed, but not without heightened inspections. Stephanie Ho has the details…




(Fisher-jm) -- The Fisher Area Business Association is joining the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. It cost the group $5,000 to join. To help in the efforts, the village of Fisher is donating $2,000 and Fisher National Bank is donating $500. The rest of the cost will be covered by contributions from the business community.



(Washington-jm) -- Congressman Adam Kinzinger is authoring a bill to save rural hospitals. The Rural Hospital Closure Act would expand and utilize the Critical Access Hospital program in order to stabilize vulnerable hospitals in rural areas until a long term payment model is developed.



(Paxton-cf)-- The Ford County Board, at its recent emergency meeting, discussed giving Board members special powers to pay bills if meetings are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says Chairman Robert Lindgren… 



Ford County Chairman Robert Lindgren. 


(Paxton--jc)  -- All area businesses are having to come up with plans to get their goods and services to the public during this coronavirus pandemic.  At Shields Auto Mart in Paxton, the sales floor is closed to the public, but those wanting to look at a new car can do so by calling the dealership in Paxton. Shields Auto Mart Manager Pete Klein says the service department is also open with restrictions to help with those needing work on their vehicles…



Shields Auto Mart Manager Pete Klein. The number to remember is 217-379-2393.


(The Center Square) – One state lawmaker wants the public to know more information when a school administrator is fired, including how much it could cost taxpayers.State Representative. Tom Morrison, Republican from -Palatine, has introduced a bill to force local school boards to share details about the early termination of a district superintendent or chief executive officer. Morrison says we have to remember the local taxpayers are the ones who pay the salaries of administrators, Morrison adds that if an administrator is let go for cause, the residents in that district should know the reasons. The proposed bill would give citizens a couple of pieces of data that aren’t readily available right now.

Illinois now has more than one thousand cases of Coronavirus

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois now has more than one thousand cases of Coronavirus, including nine deaths. The totals rise by the hundred every day, and range in age from infant to 99. State Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says they are still learning about the virus…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. So far, more than 83 hundred people have been tested for COVID-19 and Ezike says they are hoping to expand testing availability over the next few weeks. Three of the confirmed cases are from McLean County and another case was from Livingston County. Two of the confirmed cases from Saturday were University of Illinois employees.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is issuing a stay at home order for Illinois. Governor Pritkzer says he didn’t come to the decision lightly, but that it’s necessary to save lives. He explains what a stay at home order means…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. Pritzker says if you aren’t working from home yet, you should if you can. Many Illinoisans will still report to work in jobs deemed essential. For now, the stay at home order lasts until April 7th.



SPRINGFIELD – Meat has been among the most in-demand items at supermarkets as people stock up on essentials amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That has people up and down Illinois’ livestock supply chain – especially producers of beef and pork – trying to keep up. Industry leaders say the Illinois factories processing beef and pork are running at normal capacity with multiple shifts a day to keep shelves and meat cases stocked.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker wants retired health care workers to join the fight against COVID-19. The Governor says we’re in the middle of a battle and need reinforcements…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says they are waiving fees and expediting licensing for those interested. The license reinstatement form will be available online at: coronavirus dot illinois dot gov starting today.



(Undated-jm) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is extending the closure of drivers services facilities through April 7th. Expiration dates for drivers licenses, ID cards, vehicle registrations and other transactions and document filing will be ex tended. 



(Springfield-jm) -- As the Coronavirus spreads across the state, the Illinois Department of Public Health says medical supplies are being used up rapidly. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says the outbreak has led to a shortage of personal protective equipment, or P-P-E like gloves and masks for doctors, nurses and more…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says they are encouraging surgery centers, veterinarians and others to donate these supplies if they are not immediately needed.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says his office is looking into extending the tax filing deadline in Illinois. State taxes are due April 15th but given the current situation with the Coronavirus, that could be pushed to a later date. Governor Pritkzer says they do have some concerns to work out…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The IRS has extended the deadline to July 15th for federal taxes.



CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a defunct Champaign bus company won’t have to pay a $20,000 fine to the Illinois attorney general because of a technicality. The fine would have been in addition to the $100,000 that Suburban Express owner Dennis Toeppen paid as part of a court-enforced agreement the two sides reached in April 2019 after then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued it, alleging discrimination and harassment. Eight days after the consent decree was reached last year, the attorney general’s office alleged that Toeppen immediately violated the agreement by re-uploading a webpage that attacked a customer who made negative comments online about Suburban Express. But U.S. District Court Judge Andrea R. Wood wrote in a ruling last week that Toeppen won’t have to pay the $20,000 additional fine because the attorney general’s office should have given him 30 days to remove those webpages, as the language in the agreement allows for.


(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton City Council held an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to due to the COVID-19 outbreak to discuss giving the Mayor, and the controller city council special powers, meaning  that they will be able to pay the city’s bills without holding a regular meeting says Mayor Bill Ingold...



Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Human Services is closing many of its offices around the state and will reduce staff at other offices at least through early April due to the outbreak of COVID-19. All offices of the Division of Rehabilitation Services, which serves people with disabilities, are closed until early April. Family and Community Resource Centers, where people go to apply for services such as child care assistance, emergency food, cash assistance and a wide range of other services, will remain open but will operate with significantly reduced staff of 30 to 50 percent.




Three more people with the Coronavirus have died in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- Three more people with the Coronavirus have died in Illinois. The three patients are a Will County man in his 50’s, a Cook County resident in her 80’s and a woman in her 70’s who was visiting Sangamon County from Florida. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says there are now a total of 422 confirmed cases in 22 counties…



State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says numbers will continue to rise as more testing becomes available.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is trying to dispel some of the rumors about the state’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As states and communities across the country consider whether to order people to shelter in place, Governor Pritkzer assures essential services will remain open in Illinois…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritkzer says there is no need to run out and hoard gas, medicine and food and urges the public to only buy what they need.



(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College in Champaign has announced spring commencement ceremonies wont take place. The school announced Thursday commencement ceremonies originally scheduled for May 14th wont take place because of COVID-19.



(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton City City Council held their meeting this past Tuesday and had a few items on the agenda including the sale of the Paxton airport, which was approved and sold Friday.  Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold updates WPXN on the airport… 


Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold 



(Undated-jm) -- Add Busey Bank to the growing number of businesses shutting down in-person services to avoid transmitting COVID-19. In a facebook post, the company says lobby services at all branches will be closed until further notice. Drive up banking is still available.



(Washington-jm) -- Brazilian and Argentinian soybean crops are reported larger than expected according to USDA's latest world supply and demand estimates, but what does that mean for the global balance sheet in March? Rod Bain has the details…




(Springfield-jm) -- A new report places nearly all Illinois metro areas in the bottom half of the country when it comes to sustained job creation. The annual study, released by the Milken Institute, also looks at wage and salary growth and high-tech GDP growth to reach its rankings.  The Chicago metro area climbed a few spots from its place in 2018, but still ranked just 118 out of 200 large markets surveyed. The study also contains bad news for a number of downstate communities. The Peoria, Bloomington, Danville, Quad Cities, Decatur, and Springfield areas all hover in the bottom quarter of the list in overall numbers.


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is outlining a series of initiatives to help those affected by COVID-19. For starters, the state is deferring sales tax payments for small and medium sized bars and restaurants until May. Governor Pritzker says he’s also signing an executive order that expands tele-medicine opportunities in Illinois…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Additionally, the U-S Small Business Administration is offering disaster assistance loans. Eligible businesses can borrow up to two million dollars in low interest loans. Visit: disaster loan dot sba dot gov. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Many grocery stores are offering special hours for seniors to shop. Since older people are hit the hardest by the Coronavirus, many store owners are making some adjustments says Governor J-B Pritzker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Locally, Paxton IGA and County Market offer special hours for seniors and immuno-compromised customers.



(Undated-jm) -- Retailers and banking institutions, both local and nationally, are temporarily closing or restricting inside access because of COVID-19. Kohls is the latest retailer to announce they are temporarily closing all of their stores because of the pandemic. They join Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field and Stream. Local banking institutions, Iroquois Federal and Iroquois Farmers State Bank join Busey Bank in suspending lobby services. Customers can still use the drive thru, night box, ATMS and online banking.



(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois Board of Trustees passed a decision to increase undergraduate and graduate student healthcare premiums at UIUC by 33% for the 2020-21 academic year. This increases undergraduate premiums by $179 to $723 per semester. Graduate premiums will increase by $231 to $927 per semester.



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police will be conducting Nighttime Enforcement Patrols later this month. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…



(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois lawmaker is proposing a post-graduation scholarship program in an effort to keep young professionals from leaving the state. State Representative Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said the program would be funded by the Alliance of Community Foundations, which has created a scholarship program that is aimed at attracting young professionals with expertise in Illinois trades, such as agribusiness, food processing, biotechnology, healthcare and more.



(Rantoul--jc)  The Lincoln’s Challenge program, based in Rantoul, has cancelled the current cadet class. The 125 cadets in Class 54 were sent home this week due to the coronavirus pandemic issue. Leaders say the classes will resume at a later date


There are now 288 Coronavirus cases in 17 Illinois counties

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois was one of three states that went ahead with primaries Tuesday, and preliminary numbers show voter turnout for Tuesday's election was low. Coronavirus fears kept some voters away and led to some election judges to call off, causing some precincts to open late and forcing the relocation of other polling places.  Official voter turnout numbers won't be available for two weeks.



(Springfield-jm) -- Local governments across the state anticipate COVID-19-related closures will squeeze municipal budgets. With bars, restaurants, conventions, hotel cancellations and other economic activity at a virtual standstill, local tax revenue is expected to decline. Illinois Municipal League Executive Director Brad Cole said municipal officials should be prepared. 



(Springfield-jm) -- There’s been a jump in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois and state officials say the situation will get worse before it gets better. There are now 288 Coronavirus cases in 17 Illinois counties, including Kendall and Madison. State Department of Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike says if you start to feel ill, call your physician. Don’t just show up at their office or ER. If your symptoms are mild, doctors advise people to isolate themselves until they get better…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says everyone should avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, and call to check on friends and relatives instead of visiting.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching a new website with information for the public about the Coronavirus. The website is coronavirus dot illinois dot gov and includes daily case totals and more says Governor J-B Pritzker…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The website address again is: coronavirus dot illinois dot gov.



(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Jail will be restricting visitors due to COVID-19. Sheriff Derek Hagan made the announcement Wednesday. The restriction is in effect through the end of the month and will be re-evaluated. The county is also closing the administrative center to the public until further notice.



(Undated-jm) -- Several major retailers are either closed or changing their hours due to the COVID-19 outbreak. JcPenney has reduced their hours to close at 7 pm Monday through Saturday and 6pm on Sundays. Kohls has reduced their hours 11 am to 7pm. Walmart has changed their hours to 7 am to 8:30 pm. Target announced they will not close however, they are focusing more on online orders and parking lot pickups. Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods and Field and Stream has announced they are closing all their stores in the country.



(Paxton-cf)-- Road work season will soon be underway on interstates, highways and city streets in the coming weeks. Mayor of Paxton Bill Ingold says that the Motor Fuel Tax money will be used to repair some of those roads this upcoming spring and summer, and gives us some details on how that process is handled.. 



Mayor of Paxton Bill Ingold. WPXN will update this story with specific road closures throughout the spring and summer. 



(Undated-jm) -- Western Iroquois and central Ford counties are being targeted by burglars and thieves. Three tool sheds and one unoccupied home have been hit with a variety of items stolen. They include exhaust systems from tractors, one homemade trailer, one John Deere mower, fuel, money and jewelry are what’s been taken.


(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an emergency declaration Wednesday to allow trucking companies to get free permits to carry emergency supplies during the COVID-19 outbreak. The declaration, which is effective through April 12, enables haulers to get free overweight trucking permits from the Illinois Department of Transportation for the transportation of supplies needed during the pandemic.


SPRINGFIELD – Toilet paper and hand sanitizer are in short supply at Illinois supermarkets. At gun shops, firearms and ammunition are flying off the shelves, too. As the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, spreads through the state and the country, Illinois firearms retailers say sales of guns and ammunition have substantially increased over the past two weeks and especially in recent days. In order to buy a gun in Illinois, residents must first be licensed with a FOID card. And every gun they buy requires a Firearms Transfer Inquiry Program request. A spokesperson for Illinois State Police, which facilitates both processes, said the agency’s Firearms Services Bureau “has experienced a high volume of  submissions” since last Friday, receiving 18,980 in the six-day span.



(Fisher-jm) -- The Village of Fisher is restricting visitors due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The village is barring public access to village facilities until further notice. Village employees and officials will be allowed in. Fisher village leaders say they are still available by phone, email and mail.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul has been named Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for their commitment to effective urban forest management. The village got the designation by meeting the Arbor Day Foundation’s four requirements: tree board or department, tree care ordinance, community foresting budget of at least $2 per capita and have an Arbor Day observance or proclamation.



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police will be conducting alcohol countermeasure enforcement patrols in March. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…



Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing the first coronavirus related death in Illinois

(Undated-jm) -- Donald Trump and Joe Biden have won the Republican and Democrat nominations for President in Illinois.  WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the local results…




(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing the first coronavirus related death in Illinois. The victim is a woman in her 60s from Chicago who had an underlying medical condition. She tested positive earlier this month, says State Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…


Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. There are now 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 15 Illinois counties. That includes an outbreak at a DuPage County long term care facility where 18 residents and four workers are infected.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton IGA is offering free delivery for at risk customers. The store said anyone retired, disabled or over the age of 70 can call the store at 379-3312 and leave their name, phone number and address. Volunteers from the community will deliver your groceries to your door. Again the number is 379-3312.



(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois has canceled Commencement. University President Tim Killeen announced Tuesday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commencement ceremonies will not take place in May and that diplomas will be mailed. The campus is exploring possible alternatives to honor the Class of 2020.



(Paxton-cf)-- In a statement from Ford County Chairman Robert Lindgren, there will be an emergency meeting tonight at 5pm at the Ford County Courthouse. Lingdren stated “Given the declaration of a national emergency, the increasingly strict recommendations coming from State and Federal Health authorities about gatherings, meetings and the speed with which the recommendations change, it seems possible that by the end of the week, public gatherings could be totally prohibited.”  Lingdren wants to reiterate that he is not seeking emergency authority to interfere with rights of the citizens of Ford County, and that the agenda will be posted on the Ford County Website. 



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton city officials will hold a special meeting tonight. The council will discuss an update on COVID-19, discuss and pass an ordinance adding special emergency powers and discuss amending the liquor codes for certain package sales by bars and restaurants. The Paxton city council meeting gets underway at 6pm.



(Springfield-jm) -- Attorney General Kwame Raoul says he will be going after businesses that engage in price gouging. Attorney General Raoul says his office has already received many complaints about inflated prices on things like hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and face masks…



Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Raoul urges the public to report any cases of price gouging at both local retailers and online to his office via the website: illinois attorney general dot gov.



(Champaign County-jm) -- The United Way of Champaign County and the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois have established a COVID-19 relief fund for Champaign County. The organizations' Boards of Directors have each seeded the fund with up to $50,000, creating up to $100,000 to respond to the area's needs due to the pandemic.



(Springfield-jm) -- Cannabis dispensaries received new state guidelines meant to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Officials with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said sales of medical cannabis to medical cannabis patients and OAPP participants can happen outside a limited access area until March 30 if certain guidelines are followed. Adult-use cannabis sales must still happen inside the limited access area.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Local area lawmakers are reacting to the Coronavirus pandemic. State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City provides an update on the state's response…



State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.



(Paxton-jm) -- Clara Peterson Elementary School students in Paxton exceeded their fundraising goal in the Kids Heart Challenge. Students had a goal to raise $25,000. They raised $32,000. The fundraiser, held in February, was sponsored by the American Heart Association.



(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County justice departments are also starting to make big changes because of this outbreak. They've agreed to close the Champaign County Courthouse to general court business. The closure will last from now until March 30th. Cases scheduled during this time will be continued and a new court date will be assigned. Emergency hearings will be addressed on a daily basis by limited court staff.



(Washington-jm) -- What is the reason behind USDA's adjustments of the season ending average price estimate for corn and soybeans? Rod Bain reports…




(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has received $14.6 million in federal funding to respond to  COVID-19. Funding can be used for patient monitoring, lab testing, acquiring test kits and protective equipment, vaccine research. 



(Undated-jm) -- County Market is announcing special shopping hours for senior citizens. In a facebook post, the company says the store will be open to senior customers from 6-8 am to allow them to avoid busier and more crowded times. Health officials say COVID-19 can have more serious consequences on senior citizens.


(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City is closing all city parks in response to COVID-19. In a post on facebook, the city said they are barricading the parks off limits until further notice.



(Undated-jm) -- AMC Theatres will close for at least six to 12 weeks, according to a release from the company. The action takes effect on Tuesday at all 630 AMC locations across the country, in compliance with local, state and federal directives. The closure is to take precautions to help ensure the health and safety of the guests and theatre staff.  This includes the Champaign theatre location.




(Springfield-jm) -- Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday he plans to file for statewide eligibility in a federal loan program for small businesses impacted financially by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Small Business Administration is offering coronavirus disaster assistance loans to help impacted businesses.



(Undated-jm) -- As the state continues to deal with the effects of COVID-19, State Representative Mike Marron says his office stands ready to be of assistance to those in need…


State Representative Mike Marron.


(Buckley-jm) -- Another area high school is the recipient of an award from an area group. Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley has received a $500 Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Empowering Education Grant. The school will use the money to have their handbells refurbished this summer. The Paxton Buckley Loda FFA Chapter also recently received the award.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson Area Hospital is announcing visitor restrictions over COVID-19. Those coming to the hospital may only enter through the main entrance or ER. All patients and visitors must be screened. Inpatient visitors will be restricted to legal guardians of minor children, end of life hospice care including family and power of attorneys. In addition to restrictions at the hospital, the group announced the cancellation of events at the hospital, the cafeteria and Annex are closed to the public, All Elite locations and Paxton Wellness Center are also closed.




Get out and Vote today

Undated--jc)  -- Today is Primary Election Day in Illinois. The polls are open, but some changes to polling places have been made due to the coronavirus pandemic. Polls will remain open until 7pm, Voters will elect party representatives from County offices, congressional seats to U.S Presidents. WPXN will have  a full report on the elections as the information becomes available


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is banning gatherings of more than 50 people in Illinois in response to the Coronavirus. The Governor says the latest update from President Trump and health officials recommends people avoid crowds of more than 10 people…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. The state Department of Public Health is confirming 105 cases of COVID-19 in 15 Illinois counties.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has ordered all of the state’s driver services facilities to close for the rest of the month starting today.  During the closure, White’s office said driver licenses, ID cards, vehicle registrations, and other deadlines will be extended 30 days through an emergency rule. White’s office is also calling on the federal government to extend the Oct. 1 deadline for REAL IDs to be required to fly domestically. 


SPRINGFIELD – As store shelves across Illinois empty of key products during the COVID-19 pandemic, public and private-sector leaders are urging shoppers to put less stress on the supply chain by not hoarding items. Since the pandemic intensified in Illinois last week, customers have been panic-buying and hoarding products like toilet paper, tissues, hand sanitizer, bread and pasta. Signs posted on cleaned-out shelves ask customers to limit their purchases of such high-demand items to a few or even one. But perceived shortages of products are being caused not by a lack of supply, but by a panicked demand.



(Undated-jm) -- Dollar General is dedicating the first hour of operation each day to seniors in response to concerns about COVID-19. The company announced this new plan will be active beginning today. The idea is to allow seniors - the most vulnerable population to the spreading virus - the chance to buy things they need and avoid busier crowds. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Despite the Coronavirus outbreak, the primary election will be held today. Governor J-B Pritzker says the elections must go on and that the primary is an important part of democracy. He says polling places are taking precautions to protect voters…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritkzer. Polls are open until 7pm.



(Undated-jm) -- Spring dates for college placement tests are being pushed back amid fears of the COVID-19 spread. High school seniors may be allowed to take Advanced Placement exams to earn college credit from home. The announcement was made Monday. The April 4 ACT test has been rescheduled for June 13. The May 2 SAT has been canceled.



(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is suspending face to face instruction for the rest of the semester. Instruction will resume March 23rd using alternative delivery methods. University Housing officials said students who live in residence halls, Private Certified and Greek housing are asked to begin making plans to move out.



(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton is calling a special meeting this week. The council will discuss the recent COVID-19 outbreak and discussing creating an ordinance for special emergency powers. The meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 6pm.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul is closing all village offices to the public until further order. Mayor Chuck Smith made the announcement Monday afternoon. Mayor Smith says staff will still be in the office and can be reached by phone, email or mail. Those who make utility payments in person can do so by dropping off at the nightbox at village hall or at the Bank of Rantoul main branch. The Rantoul Public Library also announced they will be closed until the end of the month starting today.


(Springfield-jm) -- Public health officials say it’s important to protect yourself from COVID-19 and take steps not to spread the virus. Cases of Coronavirus are increasing in Illinois and State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says you should assume it’s in your community…



Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. Ezike advises cleaning frequently touched surfaces and washing hands often. You should also stay six feet away from people you’re talking with and sneeze or cough into a tissue.



(Gifford-jm) -- Gifford is moving forward with their water main project. During their meeting, the project manager provided an update to village trustees. The manager said the next step is getting a construction schedule together and notifying neighbors that will be affected.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA's budget was the subject of a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing this week.  Stephanie Ho reports…



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police will begin looking for ordinance violations again this spring. Officers will be looking for abandoned or unused vehicles, tires, debris, furniture or trash accumulation in general. Verbal warnings will be given through March 20th with residents having until April 17th to take care of the issue. A second verbal warning will be given and residents will have until May 15th to take care of the issue or they could be taken to court.



(Paxton-cf)-- The March Primary will be taking place today. Ford County Circuit Clerk Amy Fredrick lets Ford County Residents know what will be on the ballot for local positions… 



Ford County Circuit Clerk Amy Fredrick. 


(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois National Guard has been activated to help in the state’s response to COVID-19. On Monday in Springfield at the State Emergency Operations Center, the governor said some in the National Guard members have medical backgrounds and can help expand triage if needed.



(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker said his office is working with the Illinois Department of Revenue to find a way to provide relief for businesses that have tax payments coming due, especially as they face an uncertain economic future amid growing concerns about the global coronavirus pandemic. He said he’s focused on working with the federal government to assist in finding relief.


SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker used his emergency powers to waive a portion of the Illinois Open Meetings Act to allow local governments and other public bodies to hold “remote” meetings to help control the spread of COVID-19. The order waives a portion of the Open Meetings Act that requires a quorum of members of a public body be “physically present” at the meeting location. It applies to city councils, county boards, school boards and all other public bodies of state and local government.



(McLean County-jm) -- The McLean County jail is ending inmate visits due to COVID-19. All jail programs conducted by outside volunteers have been suspended. Inmates brought in will undergo intense medical screenings. The changes will be in effect until April 10th.



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Park District has announced they are closing their facility due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In an announcement on facebook, the park district announced the civic center and all activities are canceled through March 31st. The civic center will be open until 1pm on weekdays for Peace Meal recipients to pick up meals. The 2020 Paxton Community  Sale has also been canceled.



(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City is closing their city buildings. In a statement yesterday on the city’s facebook page they said, Starting at 430 pm today all city buildings will be closed until further notice. We can still be reached at (217) 784-8666, in case of emergency please call 911. All officers will still be providing 24/7 service to the community. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On February 28th, James Tovey, 29, of Paxton was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and retail theft after he was arrested for stealing a Red Bull at Caseys. On March 1st, Wyatt Roberts, 29, was arrested for driving under the influence after police responded to a person passed out in their vehicle at the intersection of I-57 and Route 9. Also on March 1st, Shane Anderson, 28, of Danville was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, criminal trespassing, resisting a peace officer and a Vermilion County warrant for failure to appear. On March 5th, Pharron Gray, 21, of Paxton was arrested for burglary, possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful use of a credit card after he used unlawfully a credit card at Caseys. On March 9th, Bradley Hildebrand, 29, Chicago was arrested for fleeing and resisting a police officer, driving on a revoked license, no valid registration and an outstanding warrant out of Coles County.



(Paxton-cf)-- The Clara Pete Carnival hosted by the PBL PIT crew will be held on May 16 of this year. There will be many normal carnival style events, like the ring toss, splash ball, and one very unique event. Kids have the opportunity to sign their name on demolition derby car that will be run this summer says PIT Crew President Julie Foster… 



PIT Crew President Julie Foster. 



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police in Ashkum have released February enforcement numbers. Troopers issued 373 citations including 10 DUIs and 17 seatbelt violations. Troopers also made 15 criminal arrests and responded to 82 traffic accidents.



(Gibson City-cf)-- The COVID-19 pandemic has similar symptoms to that of the flu or the common cold, either way if you feel sick or unwell you should stay home says CEO of Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services Rob Schmidt… 



Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services CEO Rob Schmidt.


Governor J-B Pritzker is closing all bars and restaurants in Illinois to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus

(Springfield-jm) -- 47 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Illinois since Friday and the number of counties affected has also risen. 93 cases have been reported in 13 counties across the state, including one in Champaign County. The Champaign County case is a female in her 50s and is in home isolation and recovering. The Champaign County Public Health Department says they are still waiting on results of another 50 tests.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is closing all bars and restaurants in Illinois to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus. The closure goes into effect at the close of business tonight and runs through March 30th. Restaurants will still be able to offer delivery, drive thru and curbside pick up. Governor Pritzker says these decisions were not easy to make…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker is asking the public to stay home if possible and to not hoard food. Monicals Pizza in Paxton announced on their facebook page they will remain open and fully staffed and will offer delivery all day. Mareci’s Bakery and Paxton Dairy Queen also announced they will remain open.



(Undated-jm) -- Area hospitals are implementing visitor restrictions over COVID-19 concerns. Carle Foundation Hospital announced starting today patients will only be able to enter the hospital at three locations: Emergency Department, Orchard Street Lobby and the South Clinic Cancer Center and visitors are not allowed at any Carle locations.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is ordering all schools in Illinois to close for the next two weeks in hopes of curbing the spread of the Coronavirus. The closures begin Tuesday and include public and private schools, grades kindergarten through 12th, across Illinois. Students would return to class on March 30th says Governor Pritzker…


Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Students receiving free and reduced price breakfast and lunches will be able to receive grab and go meals each day. Some districts may offer delivery while others will have parents pick up the food. The Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District sent out a message to parents Sunday stating classes are scheduled to be in session today however, if a student misses it will be counted as excused and teachers will work with parents to pick up educational packets.



SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Gaming Board has ordered all 10 casinos in the state to suspend operations for 14 days starting Monday, citing public health concerns over the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. “The public health of patrons, casino employees, IGB staff, and others is of paramount importance,” the board said in a statement late Friday. “The board is continuously monitoring developments and will update licensees and the public as frequently as possible.”



(Springfield-jm) -- Here’s what to do if you think you have the Coronavirus. The first thing to do is to call a healthcare provider, don’t just show up at your local urgent care or ER says Governor J-B Pritzker. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and if you have recently traveled…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says from there, you will be isolated for further assessment and if you meet certain criteria, a test for COVID-19 will be administered. Right now, they are prioritizing those at higher risk for complications from the Coronavirus.



(Springfield-jm) -- As Illinois colleges and universities extend spring break for students and move to online classrooms amid growing concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus, businesses in college towns are already feeling the pinch. The University of Illinois, Illinois State, Bradley University, and Northwestern are just some of the schools that have announced plans to move classes online after spring break. 





(Undated-jm) -- Ameren Illinois announced it's plan to help customers who may experience hardship due to COVID-19.  In response to the economic hardships that residential and business customers may experience, starting Saturday, Ameren Illinois will suspend service disconnections and forgive late payment fees through at least May 1. 



(Gibson City-cf)-- The process is in place. Should there be a COVID-19 case come to a local hospital, they are ready.  Gibson Area Hospital CEO Rob Schmidt says information will be provided through the proper channels including the Ford County Public Health Department and Iroquois County Public Health Department...



Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services CEO Rob Schmidt 



(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man and a Gifford woman have been charged with multiple crimes. Police arrested 25 year old Jalen Dixon of Rantoul and 19-year-old MacKenzie Flahaut of Gifford following a traffic stop in Champaign. A run of the plate found the car was reported stolen out of Houston. A search of a bag in Dixon’s possession uncovered a gun reported stolen out of Orlando, Florida and eight debit cards with other people’s names on them. In the trunk, police found a card chip reader, a card reader, other credit and debit cards, two Florida driver’s licenses with Dixon’s picture but different names on them and items commonly used in the production of methamphetamine, including cold medication and watch batteries. In Flahaut’s purse, police found three books of personal checks, two of which had other people’s names on them, and six cellphones. Dixon was charged with possession of a stolen firearm and a stolen vehicle, both Class 2 felonies, and aggravated unlawful use of weapons and unlawful possession of a credit or debit card, Class 4 felonies. Flahaut, who has no prior convictions, was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and two counts of identity theft.



(Undated-jm) -- Those traveling throughout the area this week will notice another season, road construction. Crews will be working on I-57 from Paxton to the Ford/Champaign County line starting today. Also starting today, for those that work in Urbana, construction will begin on University between Goodwin and Cunningham Avenue’s. That project is expected to wrap up in November 2021.


(Gilman-jm) -- Iroquois West school board members will discuss the next fiscal and school year at tonight’s school board meeting. School board members will be asked to begin preparing a tentative budget and discuss fees for the 2020-2021 school year. The Iroquois West school board meeting gets underway at 7pm



(Buckley-cf)-- Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will be at the Thawville Community Sale on April 18. They will be at their usual spot across from the post office, and will have all kinds of food items to choose from says Executive Director Sandy Spitz… 



Executive Director Sandy Spitz 



(Rantoul-jm) -- Champaign County Area Rural Transit will be offering free rides to the polls next week. The group announced on facebook they will be offering free rides on Tuesday for the Illinois primary. Passengers must inform the bus operator they are going to a polling place.





(Undated-jm) -- Area nursing homes and senior facilities are implementing restrictions to keep their residents safe. Both Accolade facilities in Paxton have announced visitor restrictions as have Piper City Rehab, Gilman Healthcare, Country Healthcare and Rehab in Gifford, Brookstone Estates in Rantoul and the Villas of Holly Brook in Rantoul and Gibson City among others.




(Springfield-jm) -- Hundreds of thousands of church-goers in Illinois will be at home on Sundays after some of the state’s largest religious institutions closed their doors after the governor banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people. The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, along with several other groups, canceled weekend services, opting to stream them online. 



(Springfield-jm) -- While nearly everything else has been shut down over concerns of spreading COVID-19, Tuesday’s election is still on, and it will determine who Illinois delegates from each of the parties will support heading into the national conventions this summer. Those who pull a Republican ballot will see a statewide race with five different candidates vying to be the Republican nominee to take on U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Springfield, in November. People statewide will also have the chance to vote on which Democratic candidate will get delegates from Illinois. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and U.S. Rep. Tusli Gabbard of Hawaii, are in the running and on Illinois’ ballot. But a lot of other Democratic candidates who filed to be on Illinois’ ballot are no longer in contention. Including Biden, Sanders and Gabbard, a total of 13 candidates will appear on the Democratic ballot for president. On the Republican ballot statewide, incumbent President Donald Trump faces two challengers, John Schiess of Wisconsin and and “Rocky” De La Fuente of California.



(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s office says all but one driver services facility will remain open. The drivers services office in the James R Thompson Center in Chicago will be closed, but all others across the state are up and running. Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker says they urge only those with immediate needs to come in, and reminds their website is also a good resource…


Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker. The Secretary of State’s website is: cyber drive illinois dot com.



(Undated-jm) -- The village of Rantoul is closing the Forum Fitness Center and the Youth Center until further notice over COVID-19. The Rantoul Public Library will remain open however several programs have either been postponed or canceled. In Gibson City, the Moyer District Library will be closed until further notice starting tomorrow.



(Paxton-cf)-- The Ford County Public Health Department has given WPXN an update about the COVID-19 virus. Ford County Public Health Department Administrator Lana Sample provides the latest efforts… 



Ford County Public Health Department Administrator Lana Sample. WPXN will continue to provide the latest information on the issue as more official news becomes available. 



(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson Area Chamber of Commerce has named the winners of several awards. Hannah Hathaway and Hannah Cliff were named outstanding junior citizens of the year. Dan and Paula Dickey were named outstanding citizens of the year. Susie Tongate received the Lifetime Achievement Award. 



(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police, District 21 in Ashkum will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in March. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…


(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school board will have a busy meeting tonight. School board members will be asked to approve a contract with Russell Leigh and Associates for audits, approve memberships with IHSA and IESA and approve the hiring of an architecture firm for improvements and additions. The GCMs school board meeting gets underway at 6:15 pm.



The state is mandating that all large scale events in Illinois of over one thousand people be cancelled for the next 30 days

(Springfield-jm) -- The seven new cases come from Chicago and Kane, Cook and McHenry Counties. They range in age from a male youth in Chicago to three people in their 70s, says State Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike…



State Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says about 29 percent of cases are travel related and 44 percent are because of contact with a COVID-19 patient. The rest do not have a clear connection and may be the result of spread of the virus in the community.


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritkzer is issuing new guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The state is mandating that all large scale events in Illinois of over one thousand people be cancelled for the next 30 days and recommends that gatherings of 250 be scrapped as well. Governor Pritzker says this applies to all of Illinois…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker encourages businesses to let employees work from home. State government will remain open but the James R Thompson Center in Chicago will be limited to people who work there and have business with the state.


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department on Aging issued an order to state senior centers to “immediately suspend all gathering activities,” including group meals and social activities, in response to the spread of COVID-19. The letter directed area aging agencies to notify providers, staff and clients of the closures within 24 hours. The agencies were also directed to notify those groups of immediate alternatives that will still be available during the group meal suspension, including box lunch services, pick-up options or home-delivered meals. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says Tuesday’s primary election will go on as scheduled. The Coronavirus won’t close the polls, but the Governor has this advice…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says you can also pick up a mail in ballot at your local election office. Additionally, election authorities have been working to move polling places usually set up in some nursing homes to other locations.



(Springfield-jm) --  Illinoisans again paid the highest total state and local tax burden in the nation. That’s according to the annual “Best and worst states to be a taxpayer” report from the financial site WalletHub.  WalletHub researches weighed property taxes, income taxes, and sales and excise taxes as an average across each state and measured it as a percentage of the median U.S. household’s income and behaviors (assumed to buy the nation’s most popular car for instance) and found that Illinois residents pay nearly fifteen percent of their pre-tax income to state and local units of government. In other words, $9,064 will be taken from the typical Illinois household in state and local taxes and fees in 2020.  When weighed against the median state income, Illinoisans paid $8,902.



(Washington-jm) -- While news was minimal from the Agriculture Department's latest look at the global corn balance sheet, there were some interesting information tidbits. Rod Bain reports…


(Watseka-jm) -- Two Watseka men have been arrested on sex charges. 33-year-old Ruben Irby was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. 68 year old Douglas Stevens was arrested on two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.



(Paxton-cf)-- The Clara Pete Carnival is a very fun, and inexpensive way to enjoy a day with your family on Saturday May 16th. One of the many events taking place during the carnival is the raffles. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $1 or 6 for $5 says PIT Crew President Julie Foster… 



PIT Crew President Julie Foster.



(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher is announcing special election hours leading up to the primary. The special election hours are set for Saturday from 8:30-12 at the clerk's office in Watseka.



(Undated-jm) -- COVID-19 is also impacting local school districts extra curricular programs. All the schools in the WPXN listening area are restricting any programs until April 5th. In addition, both nursing homes in Paxton have visitor restrictions. Yesterday, Piper City Rehab announced visitor restrictions at their facility.




(Springfield-jm) --  A new online contest to find “the coolest stuff made in Illinois" is going on all during March. The first “Makers Madness” is off to a rousing start, said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. More than 256 products have been nominated and people are going to the website,, to vote for their favorites. The idea is to let people know about some of the amazing products that are manufactured in Illinois, he said.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state unemployment rate fell to a historic low last month. January was another record breaking month, as the jobless rate dropped to three point five percent. That’s down from three point seven in December. Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco says more than 16 thousand jobs were added last month as well…



Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco. The national unemployment rate for January came in at three point six percent.



(Urbana-jm) -- An Urbana man was taken to the hospital after an incident at the Champaign County Jail. The 23 year old unnamed man used a rusty bolt from his cell to cut the inside of his arm.



(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police, District 21 in Ashkum will be conducting roadside safety checks in March. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…




(Rantoul-jm) -- Those who don’t want to go out to get your groceries can now get them delivered. The Rantoul Walmart is now offering grocery delivery services to residents in Rantoul, Thomasboro, Fisher, Ludlow, Paxton and Gifford areas. Fees start at $7.95-$12.95 one time, $12.95 each month and $98 a year.


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


Many cancellations across central Illinois because of COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) -- Six more cases of COVID-19 are being announced in Illinois. The new cases range in age from 40’s to 80’s and all are in Chicago or Cook County except for one in Lake County. That brings the total now to 25. Governor J-B Pritzker urges the public to use caution and says the CDC is warning about events with crowds larger than 250 people…


Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Illinois Legislature cancelled session for next week to help slow the spread of the virus.


(Undated--jc)  -- Watseka and Iroquois West High School officials have announced that the High School Indoor Track Meet scheduled at Purdue today has been cancelled  due to the corona virus. The meet will not be rescheduled for another time.

A couple from Bloomington is headed to either Georgia or Texas to be quarantined for the coronavirus. The pair were being held on Grand Princess Cruise ship harbored in Oakland.



(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College is moving as many courses online as possible starting after spring break out of an abundance of caution over COVID-19 fears. The school says the shift will begin March 23rd and is implemented through April 3rd. The situation will be re-evaluated to determine whether or not to continue the change. Lab and studio components of classes will still be required to meet on campus. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign also made a similar announcement Wednesday. Those attending any gathering are prudent to find out what, if any, changes have been or are being made as concerns of the coronavirus continue WPXN news will continue to provide local information about the pandemic.


(Urbana-jm) -- Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons is announcing some changes for polling places for next week’s primary over COVID-19 concerns. Three nursing home facilities will no longer be used for voting. Those that normally vote at Clark Lindsey in Champaign will now vote at St. Matthews Church. Those that vote at The Glenwood in Mahomet will now vote at the Elks Pavillion at Lake of the Woods. Those that normally vote at Eagle View Retirement in Rantoul will now vote at The Gathering Place.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul City School district leaders are expected to give approval to begin preparing the next tentative budget at tonight's school board meeting. School board members will also be asked to approve job descriptions for a special education administrator position as well as an academic coordinator for the bilingual and esl program. The Rantoul City School board meeting gets underway at 6:30 pm.


(Rantoul-cf)-- The Spring Fling and Meat Raffle for the Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County will take place April 28 at the Rantoul VFW. There will be multiple events taking place such as bluegrass and country bands, as well as appetizers and a silent auction says Director Andy Kulczyzki(KUL-sicki)... 


Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Director Andy Kulzycki(KUL-Sicki)



(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul business is undergoing renovations. Workers are remodeling the south Caseys in the village. Work is expected to be completed in about two weeks.



(Paxton-cf)-- The Clara Peterson preschool screenings will start at 8:30am at the Evangelical Church in Paxton on Friday April 3rd. If parents do want to schedule a time, call Clara Peterson to set your time up, says Clara Peterson Asst. Principal Amanda Styck… 


Clara Peterson Asst. Principal Amanda Styck 


(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. JB Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity have announced another step that was made in the Rebuild Illinois plan. They announced that $80 million in Rebuild Illinois funds are now available to invest in public infrastructure and economic development. The money will support governments at a local level, as well as projects that will help create jobs and expand economic opportunities statewide.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA is seeing continued progress on implementation of China trade deal. Stephanie Ho reports…



The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Iroquois West High School in Gilman today from 9-3.


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.

(Savoy-jm) -- Willard Airport officials are taking precautions over the COVID-19 outbreak. Officials say they are following CDC guidelines and working with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department to protect passengers and employees.



(Washington-jm) -- A lawmaker from Illinois is seeking clarification about airport screening procedures as they related to protecting people from COVID-19. In a letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin voiced concerns about travelers from countries with high virus risk not being screened when they enter the United States.  Durbin pointed out two cases in which people coming from Italy moved through O'Hare International Airport in Chicago and were not screened, then later tested positive for COVID-19. Durbin also voiced concerns about discrepancies in travel advisories between the CDC and State Department. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is barring large crowds from the Illinois State Capitol in hopes of slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. Group tours and big events will not be allowed at the building until further notice says Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker…



Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker. Druker assures the capitol is not closed and says that deep cleaning of the building is underway.



(Fisher-jm) -- An ordinance regulating manufactured homes in the village of Fisher could be amended at tonight’s village board meeting. In addition, village trustees will be asked to approve installing pathway lights at Heritage Pond. The Fisher village board meeting at 6pm.



(Rantoul-cf)-- The 2nd Annual Rantoul Township High School 5k and 1k will be held on April 10th. Event organizer and RTHS track Coach Mitch Wilson gives us the course throughout the village of Rantoul runners will travel… 


Event organizer and RTHS track Coach Mitch Wilson 



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police in Ashkum have released results of recent Nighttime Enforcement patrols. During the enforcement patrol, 2 people were arrested and charged with DUI, 3 were cited for occupant restraint violations, 4 for registration violations, 5 for drivers license violations and 3 for insurance violations.


(Gibson City-cf)-- The Ford County Public Health Department and Parkland Community College will be holding a Food Safety Certification Course. WPXN’s Cale Fleming has the details… 




(Springfield-jm) -- While lawmakers are working on crafting a budget that’s due in May, a credit rating agency said the governor’s proposed spending plan won't reduce the state's pension liabilities, even if voters approve a progressive income tax plan in November. Fitch Ratings released its official assessment of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget proposal, dicing up his decision to hold $1.4 billion in reserve should the progressive income tax amendment fail.  The rating agency said that, even if voters approve the proposed progressive income tax, the added revenue would not be enough to make a dent in Illinois pension debt. Illinois has, by Fitch’s estimation, $200 billion in long-term liabilities, pensions accounting for 80 percent of that. 


(Washington-jm) -- No real surprises were in USDA's is latest monthly forecasts for agricultural supply and demand. Gary Crawford has the details…



A health fair will be held this evening from 4-8 pm at the Forum Fitness Center in Rantoul.


Efforts are now underway to make Illinois the first state to ban electronic monitoring

(Springfield-jm) --  One week before a presidential primary election, Secretary of State Jesse White’s office sent a letter to the State Board of Elections acknowledging a third “programming error” that, left undetected, could have created confusion at polling places and could have denied valid voters from casting their ballots. In a letter to county clerks, the State Board of Elections said White’s office, “had identified a batch of records for REAL ID applicants which were erroneously categorized as having opted out of registration, due to a programming error. The records that were identified should have been categorized as valid AVR applications.”


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says there are eight new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois, bringing the current total to 19. For the first time, two of the new cases are from outside of the Chicago-Cook County area and are likely the result of community transmission, says Governor Pritzker…


Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Officials continue to stress the need to help stop spread of the virus by frequently washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer.



(Springfield-jm) -- Officials with the Illinois State Board of Elections are in the process of putting together recommendations designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at polling places ahead of the March 17 primary. Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich says the agency is seeking specific recommendations from state public health officials for polling places. He said he expected it to be similar to what had already been recommended.



(Springfield-jm) -- This was the ninth warmest winter on record in Illinois. State Climatologist Trent Ford says it’s been a very moderate winter, which in this case includes the months of December, January and February…



State Climatologist Trent Ford. This winter tied for the 21st wettest on record with a statewide average of eight point one inches of precipitation. January was the wettest and totals varied across the state.



(Piper City-jm) -- One area nursing home is putting visitor restrictions over COVID-19 concerns. Piper City Rehab and Living Center announced the restrictions yesterday. Facility administrators say the move is strictly precautionary and there are no illnesses at the facility.



(Paxton-jm) -- Could Paxton Buckley Loda athletics join another conference? That’s the question up for debate at the PBL School Board meeting tonight. School board members will be asked to consider possibly joining the Illini Prairie Conference. School board members will also consider selling the former Eastlawn school lot, consider renewing their audit agreement with Russell Leigh and Associates. The PBL School Board meeting gets underway at 6pm.



(Washington-jm) -- Although the Agriculture Department's March crop production and global supply and demand estimates were mostly quiet from a change perspective, there were some notable adjustments from prior reports. Rod Bain reports…




(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County is reaching out for a federal grant to fight youth drug use. The funding to the Iroquois County Juvenile Justice Council would be through the Drug Free Communities Grant from the White House. The grant would go towards awareness and prevention of youths about using alcohol and vaping products.



(Buckley-cf)-- The annual Pork Chop lunch at Christ Lutheran Highschool in Buckley will take place on Sunday April 5. Executive Director Sandy Spitz tells us what will be on the menu… 



Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz



(Springfield-jm) -- Efforts are now underway to make Illinois the first state to ban electronic monitoring. House Bill 1115, It would eliminate the use of electronic monitoring for people who have completed their prison sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections, except for the people who have statutorily required it to be on.  


The National Weather Service will hold spotter training at the Crescent City community center tonight at 6:30 pm.


(Springfield-jm) -- A prison watchdog said the Illinois Department of Corrections needs to make its plans for addressing COVID-19 public. The statement included data from a poll done by the John Howard Association from those who are in state custody and of 12,780 people who responded from 21 facilities between April 2018 and May 2019, 65 percent expressed dissatisfaction with medical care and 78 percent were dissatisfied with IDOC’s provisions of hygiene items such as soap and hand sanitizer. 



(Springfield-jm) -- Sheriffs suing the state in federal court said they want to clarify who would be liable if an illegal immigrant released under the constraints of the Illinois Trust Act hurts someone. The Trust Act prohibits police from holding a person solely based on immigration status. Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey said the state’s Trust Act, enacted in 2017, has tied the hands of law enforcement officers at county jails. Downey said several of the sheriffs have been sued and they expect more lawsuits. Kankakee joined McHenry, Ogle and Stephenson counties in a federal lawsuit this week that seeks to have the Trust Act declared unconstitutional. Both Kankakee County and McHenry County have multi-million dollar contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house and transport people with ICE detainers.



(Springfield-jm) -- Thursday is the last day you can request to vote in the primary election by mail. Voting by mail is a good option if you want to avoid the crowds on election day Tuesday says Illinois State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. He says it’s becoming more popular…



State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. You must request a mail in ballot by Thursday and send it back on or before election day on the 17th. Visit elections dot il dot gov to find the application form for your area.



(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher is seeking election judges for the March primary. Fancher says there is a need for Republican and Democrat judges in all parts of the county. Election judges will be paid $120 per day plus training. Those interested can call 815-432-6960.



(Loda-jm) -- Loda village leaders are expected to continue discussions on their water tower project at tonight’s village board meeting. In addition, trustees will discuss cannabis zoning as well as ordinance violations. The Loda village board meeting gets underway at 7pm.



(Springfield-cf)-- 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington talks about the new budget unveiled by Gov. JB Pritzker. Sen. Barrickman says the governor fell short of business or organizations who rely on the state’s budget…. 



53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington



(Gibson City-jm) -- An area hospital has generated a large impact to the area and state economy. According to the hospital in conjunction with the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, the Gibson City based Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services contributed $237.7 million to the state's economy. $147 million of that comes from their payroll.


(Washington-jm) -- There are many potential markets for US agricultural products. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Springfield-jm) --  The Better Business Bureau is warning people to be wary of scams involving the spread of a novel coronavirus at the center of a global outbreak. Steve Barnas, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, warned that scammers are already finding ways to exploit the coronavirus outbreak. Barnas said that scammers will often pose as representatives of legitimate health organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but he reminded the public that government agencies rarely contact people by email and never ask for money.


Governor J-B Pritzker is issuing a state disaster proclamation over COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is issuing a state disaster proclamation as four new cases of COVID-19 are reported in Illinois. This brings the total to 11, and all patients are in the Chicago area including a Chicago Public School teacher and now two of her family members. Governor Pritzker says officials will be holding daily briefings on the Coronavirus to keep the public informed…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The disaster proclamation will let the state recoup response costs from the federal government and authorize the Governor to activate Illinois National Guard Reservists, some of whom may be doctors or nurses.



(Springfield-jm) -- A bill that would give a state tax credit of up to $1,000 a year to foster families has bipartisan support in Illinois, but the cost of such a credit isn't yet known. State Rep. Darren Bailey of Xenia, filed House Bill 5119 and members of both parties signed up in support. The measure was filed in February, but remains in the House Rules Committee.



(Springfield-jm) -- One of the issues expected to continue atop the minds of policymakers well after next week’s primary and into the November general election is the healthcare landscape, and even then, one Illinois insurance broker doesn’t expect much to change. Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, of Chicago, said people are frustrated by the increasing cost of prescription drugs and healthcare services. insurance broker Dave Castillo said he doesn’t expect any major changes in the next few years, but he said there could be movement after November.



(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Police Department is inviting the public to attend the Champaign County Police Academy. The academy runs Thursday nights from 6-9 pm for 10 weeks starting April 30th at the Police Training Institute in Rantoul. More information is available by calling the Rantoul Police Department.



(Washington-jm) -- With figures now available for the first third of this current fiscal year, how are U.S. agricultural exports holding up? Gary Crawford reports…



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton city officials are expected to approve a list of street repair projects at tonight's city council meeting. In addition, council members could approve the sale of the city’s airport and approve the annexation of property. The Paxton city council meeting gets underway at 7pm.


(Elliott-jm) -- The Elliott village board is expected to meet tonight at 7pm.



(Watseka-cf)-- The March Primary is right around the corner and Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher gives us details about what seats are up for reelection… 



Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher 



(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man is this week’s Champaign County Crime stoppers Wanted Person. 23 year old Devon Wilson is wanted on warrants for probation violations for theft and criminal damage to property. Wilson is described as standing 5-9, weighing 120 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone knowing his whereabouts is asked to contact Champaign County Crime Stoppers.




(Undated-jm) -- Illinois gas prices are down 11.2 cents per gallon in the past week. That is according to GasBuddy.  The average price in Illinois is $2.39. That is based on a survey of 4,378 stations. Gas prices in Illinois are 0.6 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, but 12.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.



(Springfield-jm) -- Public health officials have some advice for protecting yourself from the Coronavirus. The virus is spread by close contact with someone who is sick through droplets from a cough or sneeze. Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike says precautions include those who would normally take during the flu season...



Illinois Public Health Director Doctor Ngozi Ezike. Ezike also recommends washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and urges people to get their flu shot if they haven’t already to help lessen the number of sick people in general in Illinois.

(Undated-jm) -- A new bill proposes to restore Amtrak riders legal rights and protections in situations where passengers might get injured. The bill is in response to a new policy to keep passengers from suing the company. The new policy does not allow passengers to file lawsuits in a situation such as train derailments.



(Undated-jm) -- A Missouri coronavirus patient rode an Amtrak train through Illinois. The young woman returned from Italy after studying abroad. The company says the woman traveled on train 303 from St. Louis to Chicago on March 4th. Amtrak says they are notifying passengers and employees who were on the train that day and that particular train has been taken out of service.



(Hoopeston-jm) -- The Hoopeston Police Department along with the city of Hoopeston are ending their drug drop off boxes for expired prescriptions to be discarded. The police department and area pharmacies teamed up to install the boxes four years ago. Police say there has been an increase in the number of hypodermic needles being dropped in the box putting people at risk.


(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police, District 21 in Ashkum will be conducting roadside safety checks in March. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul village leaders are expected to approve a pair of purchases at tonight's village board meeting. Village trustees are expected to approve a cleaning contract of village offices at $78,600 and the purchase of 14 tasers over five years at a cost of $64,679. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6pm.


(Melvin-jm) -- The Melvin village board is expected to meet tonight in their monthly village board meeting at 7pm.



(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Health Fair will be held on Thursday at the Forum Fitness Center in Rantoul from 4 to 8pm. Forum Fitness Center Director Todd Brooks says there will be a magnitude of vendors there to inform the public on physical health from Chiropractors to Acupuncture… 



Rantoul Forum Fitness Center Director Todd Brooks. 



(Champaign-jm) -- An interim county treasurer could be sworn in this week. Champaign County Board Chairman Giraldo Rosales is expected to name Marisol Hughes as the interim treasurer pending the county board's approval in a special meeting tonight. If approved, Hughes will take over for Laurel Prussing who retired at the end of January. 



(Springfield-cf)-- Governor JB Pritzker unveiled his new budget for the upcoming fiscal year. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington talks about how Gov. Prtizker has a job to do, manage the resources that are available… 



53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington 


(Springfield-jm) --  Illinois officials launched a new statewide campaign this week focused on health and safety information for people who use marijuana. The campaign is centered around a new website,, and advertisements via social media, digital media and radio. The Illinois Department of Human Services developed the campaign with Prevention First, a nonprofit that offers substance use prevention services, and Rescue, a communications agency.

Country Music Artists Eli Young Band and Joe Diffie will perform at the Ford County Fair this Summer

CHICAGO (AP) — Health officials said Sunday that a hospitalized Chicago man in his 60s is believed to be Illinois’ first community transmission case of COVID-19. The man, in serious condition, had not traveled recently. His case marked the seventh overall in Illinois.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois homeowners, whether they’ve paid off their mortgage or not, have an additional “shadow mortgage” averaging $90,000 that they’re on the hook for in the coming years, according to a new report. Policy researchers at the nonprofit Wirepoints came to that estimate by adding up and dividing the future liabilities owed by the state, county and local municipalities in the form of pensions and retiree healthcare costs by household.  



(Springfield-jm) -- A new website aims to answer the public’s questions about recreational mariuana. The Let’s Talk Cannabis webpage is easy to use and features several fact sheets with helpful information says the Illinois Department of Human Services Dani Kirby…



Illinois Department of Human Services Dani Kirby. The website is: lets talk cannabis il dot com.



(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 today 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.



(Gibson City-jm) -- An area golf course and restaurant is closing at the end of the month. In a post on Facebook, Bluefish at Railside Golf Course in Gibson City announced the end of March will be the last for both the golf course and the restaurant. The post says the group that owns the course, grounds, clubhouse and restaurant made the decision to close after there was no one to sign the lease. Bluefish says they will continue to operate the restaurant for lunch and dinner until the ownership group closes the door. There’s no word on what will happen to the site in the future. 



(Iroquois County-jm) -- Heavy load haulers in Iroquois County take note. Beginning today through the 15th, the county has issued a hauling notice. That means you must contact the township road commissioner for approval to use township roads.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA analysts will be formulating its new global commodity supply and demand forecasts in an unusually uncertain market. Gary Crawford reports…



(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Board is expected to approve a pair of new hires at tonight’s county board meeting. County board members will be asked to approve the hire of a full time senior service specialist for the health department and a part time deputy for the Supervisor of Assessments and Treasurer's office. In addition, county board members will also be asked to approve bids for motor fuel tax work. The Ford County Board meeting gets underway at 7pm in the basement of the Ford County Jail.



(Gilman-jm) -- Gilman city leaders are expected to discuss and possibly approve a couple of project related expenses at tonight's meeting. Council members will be asked to approve an engineering agreement for the North Central Street streetscape project as well as approve a payment for the North Thomas/East Second Street project. The Gilman city council meeting gets underway at 7pm.



(Rantoul-cf)-- The Spring Fling and Meat Raffle for the Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County will be held at the Rantoul VFW on April 28 says Director Andy Kulczycki(KUL- chiscki)... 



Community Service Center of Northern Champaign County Director Andy 



(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda FFA Chapter has been awarded a $500 Empowering Education Grant from Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative. The grant will go towards the purchase of a PlasmaCam CNC Plasma Table System that will provide students a modern hands on learning opportunity in metalworking, design and fabrication.



The national act coming to the Ford County Fair in June is the Eli Young Band. Joe Diffie will also perform.


SPRINGFIELD — The chairman of the House Revenue and Finance Committee said that a task force set up last year to provide proposals for reforming the state’s property tax system was unable to reach a consensus. State Representative Michael Zalewski, of Riverside said there's no real one solution that is going to offer comprehensive, one-size-fits-all relief. And as a result of that, you have things like the Property Tax (Relief) Task Force where you have all these ideas that come together and no one can gain a majority to author a finalized report.



(Springfield-jm) -- Several measures at the Illinois statehouse dealing with vaccination requirements face opposition. One measure, House Bill 4870, would require students to get the HPV vaccine before they can go to school. Another proposal to eliminate the religious exemption for vaccine requirements, Senate Bill 3668, could be pared back as discussion continues.  Those in opposition believe it takes away a parents right to raise their child as they see fit.



(Springfield-jm) -- It’s problem gambling awareness month and the state has several resources for those who think they may have a gambling addiction. Illinois Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin says the website: we know the feeling dot org, has information on where to get help, and a quiz to see if you might have a problem…



Illinois Department of Human Services Spokesperson Patrick Laughlin. The state also has a hotline for those struggling, the number is 1-800-gambler.



(Urbana-jm) -- A University of Illinois student has been arrested after police say he broke a window and tried to set a building on fire. Police say 20 year old Ethan Dye of Champaign is accused of breaking out a window at the Granger College of Education building and using a torch at the window. Dye is charged with criminal damage to state supported property.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul fire officials believe smoking material caused a Sunday morning house fire. Firefighters were called to the house fire in the 1100 block of Briarcliff Drive around 7 am. Damage was estimated at $10,000. Fire officials say the house is uninhabitable.



(Washington-jm) -- USDA has additional measures it will take if African Swine Fever is ever detected in this country. Stephanie Ho reports…




(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City leaders are expected to have a short meeting tonight. On the agenda is appointing Alexandria Kafer as junior alderman. The Gibson City city council meeting gets underway at 7pm.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School school board members are expected to approve a handful of items at tonight's school board meeting. One of the items school board members are expected to approve is several updated policies. Another item is the renewal of membership to the IHSA. The Rantoul Township High School school board meeting gets underway at 7pm.



(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Health Fair used to take place every year until about 15 years ago. Todd Brooks joined the staff at the Forum as Director last year and was tasked with bringing the fair back… 



Director Todd Brooks 



(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton is moving forward with the purchase of a new truck. The city is buying a truck with a dump bed and plow. The truck will cost the city nearly $60,000 with $46,000 coming from the city’s vehicle replacement fund and $13,500 from the curb and sidewalk fund.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office is reminding the public to change your clock, change your batteries this weekend

(Washington-jm) -- A bill to increase funding, training, and support for caregivers passed in the Senate unanimously. The Supporting America's Caregivers and Families Act is sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Senator Tim Kaine, of Virginia. The Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 aims to increase funding for the National Family Caregiver Support Program, increase the use of caregiver assessment, and enhance funding and partnerships with health payers.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says the state is on the lookout for price gouging related to the Coronavirus outbreak. Governor Pritzker’s administration has contacted insurance companies, warning them not to jack up prices for patients…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says price gouging will also not be tolerated for things like hand sanitizer, face masks and other products.


(Urbana-jm) -- The State Farm Center has unveiled a new art display by local artist John Jansky inside the west main entrance. The new display is titled State Farm Center Icons. The first ten Icons include Garth Brooks, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley and Prince as well as Illini greats Dee Brown, Kendall Gill, Deron Williams and Lou Henson.



(Paxton-cf)-- If you live in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District and have a child that is about to enter preschool or that is 3 or 4 years old, it’s now time to schedule your child’s preschool screening. Screenings will take place Friday April 3rd at the Evangelical Church in Paxton says Clara Peterson Asst. Principal Amanda Styck ...



Clara Peterson Asst. Principal Amanda Styck



(Springfield-jm) -- A fifth Illinois resident has tested positive for COVID-19, also called coronavirus. The Illinois Department of Public Health and Cook County Department of Public Health announced the patient is a Cook County resident in his 20s who flew into Chicago O’Hare Airport earlier this month after traveling to Italy.



(Springfield-jm) -- A surcharge tax could be added for those looking to purchase firearm ammunition in the state of Illinois. The bill is House Bill 5651. It was authored by Rep. Jonathan Pizer. According to the bill, a tax act would impose a 2 percent surcharge on firearm ammunition. The surcharge would help fund the Safe Schools and Learning Environments Grant Fund. 



(Washington-jm) -- How much will the China trade deal play into USDA's upcoming new supply and demand forecasts? Gary Crawford reports…



Iroquois West will hold a preschool screening at the Gilman United Methodist Church today from 8:30-3. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 815-269-2230.


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


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 Melvin Community Hall will have the Dixie Flyers Band at 7pm. Playing classic country and rock favorites. Doors open at 5:30. Adults $10 , Kids 10 and under are free. Food served by the Melvin Christmas decoration Fund. 


The Onarga Lions Club will hold their pancake and sausage breakfast on Saturday from 7-11 am at the Onarga Academy Dining Hall.


SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ justice system has a problem, the top court’s chief justice told lawmakers this week. There is no statewide system to track how many people are in jail and for how long, for example, or how quickly judges clear their docket. The Illinois Supreme Court, which has authority over all courts in the state, asked members of the General Assembly for the financial resources in part to acquire technology “capable of accurately capturing and compiling data from each county,” Chief Justice Anne Burke said in separate appearances before House and Senate budget panels.


(Chicago--jc)  -- Governor. J.B. Pritzker has confirmed a fifth case of COVID-19 in Illinois. He said Thursday that the patient is a man in his 20s who traveled to Italy. He is in isolation at a Chicago hospital in stable condition. Pritzker and cabinet officials offered reassurance that the risk of widespread outbreak of the potentially deadly illness remains low and that the state is aggressively combating it. Dr. Ngoze Ezike is the state public health director. She says the state now has four labs to speed up testing for the novel coronavirus and is working with hospitals to conduct proactive surveillance tests.


(Springfield-jm) -- March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month. Spring weather can include just about anything in Illinois says State Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. That’s why it’s important to stay informed…



Illinois Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Clark says they also recommend turning on wireless emergency alerts on your smartphone, which are used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children and more.  I-EMA says you should also have an emergency kit in your care and at home. A list of suggested items for your kit is available online at ready dot illinois dot gov or you can reach out to your local emergency management agency.



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois' Republican congressional delegation wants Gov. J.B. Pritzker to focus on fixing problems with the state's automatic voter registration program instead of President Donald Trump's personnel decision. Pritzker confirmed he wrote the president a letter Feb. 21 that was critical of Trump’s decision to relieve acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Republicans responded with their own letter to the governor.




(Danville-jm) -- Danville Area Community College received a check from the Hoopeston Area Healthcare Foundation worth $5,000. The donation will go toward the renovation of a former US Army Reserve, which is located on the northeast corner of the Danville campus. The renovation will allow the college to expand its nursing, radiation technology, sonography, and echocardiography programs.



(Rantoul-cf)-- Save the Date! Wednesday March 12th at the Forum Fitness Center in Rantoul there will be a Health Fair for anyone who wants to get more information on fitness says Director Todd Brooks…




Forum Fitness Center Director Todd Brooks.



SPRINGFIELD – Legal marijuana sales in the state remained strong in February, with nearly $35 million spent on marijuana and infused products in the second month of adult-use legalization. Customers spent $34.8 million on 831,600 items over the 29-day period. Of that, $25.6 million was spent by Illinois residents, while out-of-staters spent about $9.2 million, according to a news release from the governor’s office. The numbers do not include taxes collected.



SPRINGFIELD – A bill that would allow the state to cap the prices of certain high-cost prescription drugs stalled in a House committee amid stiff opposition from the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. It was the second straight year House Bill 3493 failed to pass out of the Prescription Drug Affordability and Accessibility Committee. The bill would set up a five-member board that would have authority to conduct cost reviews and set “upper payment limits” for any prescription drug that crosses certain price thresholds.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding the public to change your clock, change your batteries.” It’s daylight savings time this weekend and a chance to not only spring forward, but to make sure your smoke alarms are working properly says Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz…



State Fire Marshal Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Fultz says you should also make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms haven’t expired, since they last about 10 years. 


The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual Cash Bash on Saturday from 5-10 pm. Tickets or more information is available by calling Michael Fox at the Bank of Rantoul 892-2943.


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


The Rantoul Knights of Columbus will hold their Breakfast on Sunday  from 8 to 11 am at St. Malachy School.


The 2nd annual Girls Day Out will take place on Sunday from 2-6 pm at the 103 East Banquet Room in Buckley.


Misrepresenting a dog as a trained service dog could soon come with a hefty fine

(Watseka-cf)-- Early Voting has become very popular among all generations of voters both young and old, Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher gives us some details as to how to vote early… 



There is also only one place to vote early if you are an Iroquois County resident, and that is the clerk's office in Watseka… 



Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher 



(Champaign--jc)--The Price Is Right Live™ is thrilled to have Todd Newton, known worldwide for his work on E! Entertainment Television, hosting the stage show at the State Farm Center on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The man often referred to by industry insiders as "The Host with the Most" brought viewers face- to -face with Hollywood's biggest stars for over a decade. Todd Newton entered the world of game shows in 1999 as host of Hollywood Showdown on GSN. He has since awarded contestants over forty five million dollars in cash and prizes on shows such as Whammy, Family Game Night, Instant Millionaire, Monopoly Millionaires' Club. 



(Undated-jc)  -- The 20-20 census process officially gets underway one week from today. Local county officials are helping. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has the story…




(Springfield--jc)  --A state lawmaker is defending his bill to allow barbers, cosmeticians, hair braiders and nail technicians to work without a state license.Illinois requires people to obtain a number of hours of training and continued education to get a state license. Cosmetologists are required to get 1,500 hours of education, the same for a barber license. An esthetician license requires 750 hours. The requirement is 350 hours for nail technicians, and 300 hours for hair braiding. There are other regulations for salons and barbershops.State Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, said his House Bill 5558 was simple. It would allow those practicing various jobs in the cosmetology arena to do so without a license, as long as it’s publicly posted they’re not licensed. He said the idea came about after he got his hair styled by his go-to stylist.




(Springfield--jc)-- Several Republican Legislators along with supporters of the 2nd amendment held a press conference in Springfield on Wednesday to discuss solutions to end delays in FOID card processing, and discussed their shared 2nd Amendment focused legislative agenda. Local State Representative Mike Marron of Oakwood says his office is overwhelmed every week with calls from constituents experiencing long delays for FOID renewals…



Local State Representative Mike Marron, Republican from Oakwood.

Those at yesterday’s event also expressed their concerns that fund sweeps of $28 million from the Illinois State Police fund have led to delays in processing FOID card applications and renewals.


(Iroquois County--jc)  -- The Iroquois County Genealogical Society will sponsor a program on Scotland – “Scottish Clans and Castles” – from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at the Crescent City Community Center, 301 Main Street, Crescent City. Tickets are available now and include lunch; however, though pre-registration is not required, it is requested so the group can make sure enough food will be available, plus seating is limited. There is also a discount ticket price if tickets are purchased in advance, rather than at the door. Dr. Loarn Robertson’s presentation will cover histories, families, castles and genealogical information. Dr. Robertson is a native of Scotland who came to the US to attend the University of Illinois, and he now resides in Tuscola. More information is found by calling the Iroquois County Courthouse Museum in Watseka at  815-432-3730

(Paxton-cf)-- Area farmers continue to be the backbone of small businesses in the rural areas of the state. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington says the function of state government should be to help that type of small businesses….



Senator Barrickmen also comes from a farming background, and says farmers need a government that functions,  to help farmers all year long… 



53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington



(Springfield--jc)  -- Misrepresenting a dog as a trained service dog could soon come with a hefty fine under the terms of a new proposal in Springfield.House Bill 3905 would require a person to have their dog professionally trained to wear anything indicating the animal is a service dog or be brought into any business that only allows service animals.The second time someone is found to have misrepresented their pet as a service animal, they could be fined hundreds of dollars.State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, told the House Judiciary Criminal Committee that this practice can be dangerous.



(Buckley-cf)-- The 2nd Annual Girls Day Out Event will be on Sunday. Missy Smith, organizer of the event, says that it’s a one stop shopping event. Participants can come in and browse from what the vendors have, and it will be in two sections of the 103 East in Buckley… 



Girls Day Out Organizer Missy Smith



(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.



(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.


(Gibson city--jc)  Have you received your Census packet? Households across the local area, state, and nation are set to be counted with the 20-20 census. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says it is more than a head count, the census numbers provided dollars to the local area…



106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City



(Ashkum-jm) -- District 21 Illinois State Police will be conducting nighttime enforcement patrols in the month of March. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…



Hunters and anglers in Illinois are reminded they need to get a 2020 hunting or fishing license

SPRINGFIELD – A 2013 state law allowing utilities to tack natural gas surcharges onto consumer bills for the purpose of funding infrastructure improvements is under scrutiny at the Capitol. At a Statehouse news conference Tuesday, lawmakers and consumer advocates called for ending that state law on Jan. 1, 2021, three years earlier than its Dec. 31, 2023, statutory sunset date. They claim allowing the surcharges “helps major utilities sidestep the regulatory process, automatically raise heating bills, and force many customers into financial crisis to cover billions of dollars in reckless utility spending.”



(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Republicans called on the Democratic majority Tuesday to hold fair hearings on measures to reduce property taxes in Illinois, which has the second-highest property taxes in the nation. State Rep. Deanne Mozzachi, of Elmhurst, said since the Property Tax Relief Task Force was created in the fall and wrapped up their work in late December without producing a final report, property taxes across the state continue to increase. Republicans on Tuesday used a statehouse news conference to call the Illinois Property Tax Relief Task Force a “sham,” a “failure,” a “facade” and an effort to push for increased sales and income taxes rather than property tax relief. They say Democrats need to act.



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Farm Bureau is joining the Illinois Associated Builders and Contractors in opposing a measure to require prevailing wage for entry-level laborers working in refineries. Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert said at Tuesday’s Ag Breakfast in Springfield that for agriculture to thrive in Illinois, it needs four things: “Great trade agreements” and exports, growth in the livestock industry, and “a renewable fuel industry that works well.” He urged the room full of farmers to oppose Senate Bill 1407. He said it would limit future markets for corn and soybeans.



(Washington-jm) -- Britain's position on ag trade comes as no surprise to USDA officials, who are planning an agricultural trade mission there later this year.  Stephanie Ho reports…




(Springfield-jm) -- Hunters and anglers in Illinois are reminded they need to get a 2020 hunting or fishing license. Licenses for the 2020 season began March 1st and is valid through March 31, 2021. 2019 licenses are still good through the end of the month.



(Buckley-cf)-- The 2nd Annual Girls Day Out will be taking place Sunday at the 103 East in Buckley. Event Organizer Missy Smith talks about the massive turnout last year, with over 20 vendors, and the amount of ladies that participated…. 



Organizer of the Girls Day Out Event, Missy Smith. 



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul residents who on their storm drainage bill have just a few days left in the villages amnesty program. The village is offering to waive interest and late fees if your bill is paid by March 11th. The village says lien charges will not be waived and this is the only time the village will offer this program. More information is available by calling the village at 892-6800.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker gave his recent budget address to the Illinois General Assembly. In his address the Governor said his budget will save taxpayers money…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 



SPRINGFIELD – A local government advocacy group laid out its legislative agenda and called on lawmakers to fully fund a program that shares state income tax revenue with local municipalities. The Illinois Municipal League’s “Moving Cities Forward” agenda also includes efforts to: protect local governments from lawsuits resulting from data breaches; give non-home rule communities greater authority to tax and greater access to financially-distressed cities assistance; and remove unfunded mandates on municipalities.


 SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ top health official Tuesday elaborated on the Department of Public Health’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, one day after a fourth person in the state tested positive for the illness. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the department, updated members of the Senate Public Health Committee on state and local efforts to prevent, contain and treat COVID-19, as well as the toll it has taken on state resources. 



SPRINGFIELD – A board that oversees the discipline of attorneys in Illinois recommended Tuesday that former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich be disbarred from the practice of law. The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, or ARDC, said in an order that Blagojevich “has not acknowledged that his conduct was wrongful or expressed any remorse” and that “his failure to appear for his disciplinary hearing demonstrates a lack of respect for the disciplinary process and the legal profession.” An ARDC spokesman said in an email that Blagojevich has 21 days to appeal the finding. If he does, the case would go to a review board. If he does not appeal, however, the report will be sent to the Illinois Supreme Court, which has the final say in whether to revoke his law license.




(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ automatic voter registration system, now the subject of a federal lawsuit, isn’t likely to be fully operational before the November election, advocates involved in the litigation said. Several advocacy groups filed suit over the implementation of the state's automatic voter registration program by Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. The program was supposed to be implemented by July 2018, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court’s northern district.



(Springfield-cf)-- Governor JB Pritzker just unveiled his proposed budget for the 2020 Fiscal Year. State Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington says where it needs serious help is in the notation in which the governor has tied funding to his own  political agenda to a controversial tax hike this past november….



53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. 



(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Fair is announcing Rapper LL Cool J’s performance at the fair in August has been canceled. The fair announced the rapper and tv star is no longer able to perform. A replacement act will be named in the coming weeks.




(Paxton-jm) -- Ford County Sheriff’s police have released February enforcement numbers. Deputies responded to nine traffic accidents last month and issued 25 traffic citations including 16 for speeding. Deputies also handled 35 house checks, 15 cars in ditch, 13 reports of suspicious activity and 2 each of theft, burglary and domestic troubles.


(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker gave his recent budget address to the Illinois General Assembly. The Governor says his budget includes the creation of a rainy day fund…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.



SPRINGFIELD – Several statewide law enforcement organizations said they will strongly oppose efforts to eliminate cash bail in Illinois, one of Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker’s top priorities. Illinois enacted significant bail reform in 2017. Under the new system, people charged with most nonviolent crimes do not have to post a cash bond to get out of jail, but they may be subjected to other limitations such as house arrest or wearing some kind of electronic monitoring device. Advocates for eliminating cash bail say the system is unfair to poor people who cannot afford their bail and it forces many of them to plead guilty simply so they can get out of jail.

University of Illinois students will vote this week on a possible new mascot

(Springfield-jm) -- A new proposal in Springfield would open up a whole new market of direct-to-consumer wine delivery. Currently, only the producer of wine can ship bottles into Illinois and deliver them to a customer. A vineyard sending their wine club shipment, for instance. If Senate Bill 3830, sponsored by state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago, is enacted, Illinois residents could have wine shipped to them from retailers or wine clubs from all over the world. 


(Springfield-jm) -- Officials from the Illinois Municipal League said communities have concerns about the governor’s proposal to hold 5 percent of Local Government Distributive Funds in reserve from local governments if voters don’t approve a progressive income tax in November. Of the $1.4 billion in reserve funds the governor plans to hold back if the flat tax isn’t changed by voters to a progressive one, there’s $73 million, or 5 percent for Local Government Distributive Funds. Another 5 percent of state sales taxes shared with local governments, or $25 million, would be held in reserve. That’s on top of $150 million in K-12 funding, nearly $15 million for community colleges, nearly $56 million from public universities, and $300 million in corporate income tax refunds being held if voters don’t approve higher income tax rates for higher earners.



(Springfield-cf)-- There has been support on both sides of the aisle in Springfield about fully funding schools. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington gives his thoughts on the issue.


53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington.



(Paxton-jm) -- Water meters in Paxton will be replaced. The meters were upgraded not long ago however, they are running out of battery power sooner than expected. The replacement is expected to take several months and won’t cost the city anything as they are under warranty.


(Urbana-jm) -- University of Illinois students will vote this week on a possible new mascot. The proposed mascot is the Belted Kingfisher, a bird native to Illinois that is orange and blue in color. Voting will take place Wednesday and Thursday with the results of the vote to be announced on March 11th.



(Undated-jm) -- How does the weather look for the beginning of March? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the answer…



State Climatologist Trent Ford.



(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul will purchase a new truck for the villages electric department. In a 5-1 vote, the village will spend $56,000 on the new truck from Shields. The village will also work on creating a plan to update all the village departments vehicles over the next several years.



(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka is teaming up with a leading cancer treatment facility in the country. The hospital is teaming up with Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Chicago to provide advanced oncology care. Cancer patients will be able to receive care from specialists at both facilities.


(Washington-jm) -- USDA is planning domestic and international exercises involving African Swine Fever.  Stephanie Ho reports…




(Springfield-jm) -- A 4th presumptive positive case of Coronavirus has been reported in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health says the recent case is the spouse of the 3rd case. The health department is waiting for confirmation from the CDC.


(Springfield-jm) -- A new proposal in Springfield could change the way schools report their data to the State Board of Education. State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, said the existing requirements need a review, in part because of the burden they place on local districts. He said he wants to study how data collection could be streamlined, ways to eliminate inefficiencies in the system, and figure out which metrics are still needed and which might be outdated. The proposal gives the Board of Education a year to conduct the study. Lawmakers would examine the findings before determining the next step.



CHICAGO (AP) — Justice Charles E. Freeman, the first African American to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court, died on Monday, according to a statement from the state’s high court. He was 86. Current Chief Justice Anne M. Burke heralded Freeman as someone with a sharp legal mind who broke down barriers throughout his life. The statement didn’t include a cause of death.



(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is promoting the benefits of the passage of adult use marijuana in Illinois. The governor spoke about the benefits during his State of the State address…



Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.


(Rantoul-jm) -- Redistricting will be a main topic at tonight’s Rantoul village board study session. Village trustees will continue the discussion following the November 2018 vote. In addition to continued discussions on redistricting, trustees will also discuss the purchase of 14 tasers for the villages police department and a resolution to use motor fuel tax funds to stripe a bicycle lane on Route 45. The Rantoul village board study session gets underway at 6pm.



(Urbana-jm) -- University of Illinois police are investigating after two students were robbed at gunpoint. Campus police say the first incident occurred Sunday night in the 400 block of S. Fifth Street in Champaign. The student was approached by two men both of whom displayed handguns and took the students belongings. A few minutes later a second student was approached by a man with a handgun in the 300 block of S. Fifth Street. The suspect fled before taking anything. 



(Washington-jm) -- March 15th is the deadline for producers to purchase crop insurance for Spring planted crops, but that date is also important to producers who accepted federal prevented planting top up payments last year. Rod Bain reports…



(Rantoul-jm) -- The woman accused of stealing more than one hundred thousand dollars from a veterans organization in Rantoul has been formally charged. 75 year old Brenda Davis-Wise is charged with one count of theft. If convicted she faces penalties ranging from probation to four to 15 years in prison.


(Gifford-jm) -- A Gifford man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for robbing a business in May of last year. Chad Billings pleaded guilty in December to aggravated robbery after he pointed a BB gun at an employee of the Homestead Restaurant and Bar.


(Buckley-cf)-- This year’s location for the 2nd Annual Girls Day Out will be at the 103 in Buckley. Doors will open at noon for vendors, and doors for shoppers open at 2pm. However, shoppers can start lining up at 1:30 says Organizer Missy Smith.



Girls Day Out Event Organizer Missy Smith. There will also be lunch available for purchase. ¼ of a chicken will be available for $5.50 and a ½ chicken will be available for $7.50, both come with coleslaw and a baked potato. 



(Springfield-jm) -- A measure at the Illinois statehouse that would require every fire district in the state to add a fee on out-of-state fire insurance policies is being called a tax increase. State Sen. Robert Martwick said the foreign fire insurance fee is a fee paid for by out-of-state insurance companies that sell fire insurance policies to in-state homeowners. Martwick’s bill would mandate all districts to assess a 2 percent tax on out-of-state insurers.

Public health officials say the risk from COVID-19 remains low for Illinois residents

(Springfield-jm) -- Gov. J.B. Pritzker appointed former state lawmaker Jerry Costello to serve as the director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.  Costello, a Democrat, served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019. Pritzker fired John Sullivan for failing to take action regarding a lobbyist's 2012 email that mentioned a rape in Champaign and ghost payroll practices. The governor's office said that Sullivan, as a state senator in 2012, knew about the email, but did nothing about it.


(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s public health officials said Friday the risk from COVID-19, the novel coronavirus from China, remains low for Illinois residents and the state is preparing in case the outbreak intensifies. The elderly and those with immunocompromised systems are most susceptible to the virus. And while the World Health Organization said the risk of spread is high, Illinois officials said diligence among public health officials and residents practicing routine hygiene will keep the risk low in Illinois. A third person was confirmed to have the virus over the weekend in Illinois.



(Washington-jm) -- Secretary Sonny Perdue is confident trade with China will go forward. Stephanie Ho reports…



(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton first responders were busy Sunday. Around 4 am they were called to a one vehicle rollover accident on Stockholm Road at 300 north less than a mile south of Paxton. Around 11 am they were called to a gas leak in the 300 block of N. American Street. At noon they were called to a two vehicle accident at Route 45 and 200 north, 1 mile south of Paxton.


(Paxton-jm) -- Police from several area departments were busy searching for a suspect Sunday. Police from Paxton, the Ford County Sheriff's Office and Illinois State Police responded to a burglary report near Weaver Court. The suspect fled from police leading to a several hour search. The man whose identity was not released, had a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear in Vermilion County. The man is charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, criminal trespassing and resisting a peace officer.



(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police, District 21 in Ashkum will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in March. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…




(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Clerk Lisa Fancher is seeking election judges for the March primary. Fancher says there is a need for Republican and Democrat judges in all parts of the county. Election judges will be paid $120 per day plus training. Those interested can call 815-432-6960.



(Paxton-cf)-- A few years ago, 53rd District Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington was the Rep. negation for the historic School Funding Proposal, which in turn led to the state putting in 350 million dollars in the budget. But, there is a catch to it in the FY21 Budget proposed by Governor Pritzker says Barrickman…. 



53rd District State Senator Jason Barrickman of Bloomington. 


(Springfield-jm) -- School children learning about sex education could soon learn about the dangers of “sexting.” House Bill 4007 was unanimously approved by the state House of Representatives. It would require schools that do teach sex education to include age-appropriate information about the dangers of sending sexually explicit photos or videos from a mobile device. It would not mandate that the content be taught in schools.



(Springfield-jm) -- A group representing Illinois employers has raised questions about Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed merger of the Department of Labor and the Department of Employment Security. Pritzker’s office said the merger would not only save taxpayer dollars, but would enhance enforcement of labor and unemployment laws and more effectively prevent fraud.



(Washington-jm) -- The Agriculture Department's latest ag prices report shows an overall, month-over-month reduction in what producers received for commodities in January. Rod Bain reports…




(Savoy-jm) -- The parent company of a C-U movie theatre has filed for bankruptcy protection. Goodrich Quality Theatre which owns the Savoy 16 owes nearly $33 million to its creditors. There’s no word on what it means for the future of the theatre.


URBANA, Ill. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to serve 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to distributing more than 45 pounds of methamphetamine in East Central Illinois, federal prosecutors announced this past week. Travis Tuggle, a 38-year-old from Mattoon, pleaded guilty in September. U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced him on Feb. 18.



(Buckley-cf)-- 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 organizer Missy Smith… 



Girls Day Out organizer Missy Smith.



(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.



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