WPXN Blog Archives for 2020-07

Thursday marked the highest daily total for new Coronavirus cases in more than two months

(Springfield-jm) -- About 32,500 people filed for initial unemployment claims last week in Illinois. That’s about 4,000 fewer than the week before but brings the total number to around 1.5 million Illinoisans who’ve filed for unemployment since the beginning of March. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  A new study ranking school systems across the country put Illinois among the best in the nation. The website WalletHub analyzed 33 metrics – including test scores, dropout rate, pupil to teacher ratio, and statewide school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois ranked 13th in the nation, boosted by median ACT scores, which were tied for 4th best in the country. Illinois scored poorly in the category of threatened or injured high school students and incidents of bullying.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Thursday marked the highest daily total for new Coronavirus cases in more than two months. The State Department of Public Health reported nearly 18 hundred new cases. The last time the daily total exceeded that amount was May 24th. Director, Dr Ngozi Ezike says you have to be vigilant and most certainly wear a mask…

 

 

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Illinois now has nearly 177 thousand cases of COVID-19, although many have recovered. Nearly 75 hundred have died. The state’s positivity rate is 3.8 percent. About 14 hundred patients are in the hospital with 149 on ventilators.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, McLean County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 504. Vermilion County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 176. Livingston County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 85. Kankakee County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 1,728. Champaign County reported 19 new cases bringing their total to 1,432. Iroquois County reported 7 new cases bringing their total to 250. Ford County reported no new cases Thursday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraging people to shop local for your Christmas gifts. Christmas is 5 months away but Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer says they want people to consider mom and pop stores instead of the big box stores…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- OSF Healthcare is announcing a new primary care provider in C-U. Dr. Margaret Tate joins the staff of OSF. She is currently at their West Park Street location but will move to the new Union Square location at Mattis and Springfield when it opens.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- Rantoul City Schools will have two plans for the upcoming school season. The first is a hybrid plan that will allow students to come to school for two days a week for in person learning and the rest of the students week will be online. The second plan, or the Learning Academy is all online says Rantoul City Schools  Superintendent Michelle Ramage…

 

Rantoul City Schools Superintendent Michelle Ramage

 

(Undated-jm) -- The American Red Cross is reminding Illinoisans to prepare for storms and floods. Among those is an emergency kit with food and water, first aid and other essential items. The nonprofit group is also looking for volunteers as the summer season could bring wildfires and hurricanes in other communities across the country.

 

The Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting Helping Hometown Heroes on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state's two largest education unions said all options are on the table, including strikes, to make sure school districts have appropriate protections in place. The Illinois Education Association and Illinois Federation of Teachers, which represent 238,000 school, college and university employees in the state, also called for the school year to begin with remote learning.The unions said in-person instruction was possible, but more planning was needed. The union leaders said they would use every tool available to make sure all school districts follow state and federal safety guidelines.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- With high unemployment and an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, some first responders said calls for suicide attempts are becoming far too familiar. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported preliminary numbers that show there have been 601 suicides in Illinois so far this year, but that does not include a month-to-month breakdown. There were 1,400 suicides in all of 2019, according to the department. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned the pandemic could be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about the virus and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Psychiatric Times reported once the pandemic ends, the psychological after-effects will likely linger for years to come. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 409 have recovered, 77 remain in isolation, 3 are hospitalized and 15 people have died. Vermilion County is reporting 130 have recovered, 42 in isolation, 2 hospitalized and 2 have died. Livingston County is reporting 68 have recovered, 15 cases are active and 2 have died. Kankakee County is reporting 1,195 have recovered, 468 cases are active with 7 hospitalized and 65 have died. Champaign County is reporting 1,194 have recovered, 219 cases are active, 14 are hospitalized, there’s an additional death bringing their new total to 19. Iroquois County is reporting 186 have been released from isolation, 50 remain in isolation, 7 are hospitalized and 7 have died. Ford County is reporting 43 have been released from isolation, 5 remain in isolation and 1 person has died.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- There will be some changes when lawmakers return to the state capitol. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the changes…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Ameren Illinois has set aside $8 million in bill payment assistance for qualified customers. The money will help reduce or eliminate past-due account balances. Qualified customers can get up to $700 under Ameren Illinois' "Fresh Start" program. Customers can apply for the Fresh Start program by calling 1-800-755-5000, Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Marketplace Mall in Champaign today from 10-3.

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing new guidelines for youth and adult recreational sports

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials warn that some areas of Illinois may soon be facing new restrictions. For 15 days in a row now, there have been more than 900 new cases per day. Governor J-B Pritzker says the trend is concerning…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Under the Governor’s new mitigation plan, more restrictions go back into place if hospital capacity becomes an issue or the positivity rate for a particular region hits 8 percent or more for three days in a row. The Metro East area is currently at seven point six percent. Wednesday, 1,393 new cases were reported with 18 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 175,124 and total deaths to 7,462.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, Iroquois County reported 2 new cases Wednesday bringing their total to 243. Ford County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 49. Champaign County reported 46 new cases bringing their total to 1,413. Vermilion County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 165. McLean County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 486. Livingston County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 81. Kankakee County reported 10 new cases bringing their total to 1,712.

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for active and recovered cases, in Iroquois County 184 have been released from isolation with 46 in isolation and 6 hospitalized. In Ford County, 43 have been released from isolation and 5 remain in isolation. In Vermilion County, 119 have recovered, 42 remain in isolation and 2 hospitalized. In McLean County, 405 have recovered, 63 remain in isolation and 3 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 68 have been removed from isolation and 11 cases are active. In Kankakee County, 1,195 have recovered, 447 cases are active and 12 are hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,183 have recovered, 212 cases are active and 14 are hospitalized.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing new guidelines for youth and adult recreational sports. The restrictions apply to rec leagues, school sports, club sports and more, and are based on the risk of spreading the Coronavirus. The Governor says he knows this is heartbreaking for kids and their families…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The guidance places each sport in a risk category of lower, medium or higher. For example, tennis is lower while football is higher. Then there are four levels of play allowed based on current infection rates, ranging from only no-contact practice allowed to tournament play.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- The Vermilion County Housing Authority has received a quarter of a million dollar grant for Parkview Court in Hoopeston. The money will fund security cameras at the facility. The grant comes from the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development.

 

 

(Cissa Park-cf)-- Cissna Park students will in large stay in classrooms at the Jr. High level. However, the school district has allowed a few minutes between classes for a passing period. Superintendent Dan Hylbert has the details… 

 

Cissna Park Superintendent Dan Hylbert. 

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- A portion of Loda-Lake Iroquois Road will be closed starting next week. The Ford County Highway Department announced Wednesday the road will be closed between Route 115 and 1400 E starting August 3rd to replace a bridge. The closure is expected to last through the beginning of August.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is increasing benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, by more than five percent for next fiscal year. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation unveiled their 6 year road construction plan. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there are several projects planned in the area…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Four OSF HealthCare hospitals were ranked among the best in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2020-2021 Best Hospitals rankings. U.S. News & World Report ranks these facilities by evaluating data on nearly 5,000 hospitals in 16 adult medical specialties, nine adult procedures or conditions, and 10 pediatric specialties. OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center in Danville achieved high performing status in caring for patients with COPD. OSF Healthcare Little Company of Mary in Evergreen Park also achieved high performing status in caring for patients with COPD, as well as providing cardiovascular care for people with heart failure. In addition, OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria was ranked at 12th in Illinois. The facility was noted as high performing in colon cancer surgery and lung cancer surgery. Finally, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Peoria was ranked at 23rd in Illinois. It achieved high performing status for caring for people with COPD, providing cardiovascular care for people with heart failure, and knee replacements within the orthopedics category.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce has a new member to their group. Leah Moore introduces herself…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary and Treasurer Leah Moore.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- Registration dates for Ludlow Grade School have been set. Sign up for returning students is August 4th.  Sign up for new students and kindergartners is August 5th. Registration times for both days is 1-5 pm.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Consumers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the EU have been getting unsolicited packets of seeds from China. U.S. officials are investigating the situation. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker says when it comes to COVID-19, things are not moving in the right direction

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says when it comes to COVID-19, things are not moving in the right direction. The State Department of Public Health is announcing more than 12 hundred new cases, marking the sixth day in a row that daily new infections have surpassed one thousand. Governor Pritzker says people need to wear a mask and get used to it…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The seven day statewide positivity rate is now three point eight percent, although some regions are higher. Over 74 hundred Coronavirus patients have died.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, Livingston County reported 7 new cases bringing their total number to 76. McLean County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 461. Vermilion County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 146. Kankakee County reported 27 new cases bringing their total to 1,681. Iroquois County reported 10 new cases bringing their total to 220. Champaign County reported 32 new cases bringing their total to 1,312. Ford County reported no new cases.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 228 cases have been in Rantoul, 76 in Mahomet, 56 in Clifton, 36 in Gilman, 30 in Fisher, 27 in Watseka, 22 each in Chebanse and St. Joseph, 20 in Hoopeston, 18 in Onarga, 14 in Ashkum, 11 each in Paxton and Gibson City, 8 in Danforth, 7 each in Ludlow, Foosland and Crescent City, 6 in Milford, 5 in Thomasboro, 3 in Dewey, 2 in Gifford and 1 each in Penfield and Ogden.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The next time an unfamiliar number pops up on your phone, Governor J-B Pritzker says you might want to take the call. An important component in the fight against COVID-19 is contact tracing, where those who have been around someone who has recently tested positive are notified that they may have been exposed says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If you are contacted, the caller will discuss the potential risk and ask you to self quarantine for 14 days.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center in Urbana has been designated one of Newsweeks Best Maternity Care Hospitals in the nation. The hospital also received an A rating from Leapfrog, a national watchdog organization for patient safety.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Condition ratings for corn and soybeans look much better than they did the same time last year. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Home sales were up in June in Champaign County. According to the Champaign County Area Association of Realtors, home sales jumped 10 percent from 344 in June of 2019 to 379 in June 2020. The median price also rose in June. In 2019 it was $164,000. June 2020 that number rose to $174,500. That’s a 6.4 percent increase. Year to date totals are down slightly this year compared to last year. In 2019 1,371 homes had sold. This year that number is 1,366.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- As back to school time gets closer, this year will look a lot different for all schools in the area. Rantoul City Schools is offering two plans due to the pandemic. The first is a hybrid plan that students will be in class two days per week, and the other three will be online, says Rantoul City Schools Superintendent Michelle Ramage… 

 

 

Rantoul City Schools Superintendent Michelle Ramage.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On July 26th, Stephanie Dorrough of Paxton was arrested on a Champaign County warrant. Also on July 26th, Jacob Schultz of Paxton was arrested for domestic battery after an alleged incident with a family member. On July 24th, Rickie Kingery of Paxton was arrested for domestic battery, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property. Kingery allegedly committed domestic battery against a family member, then battered a responding paramedic. Also on July 24th, Ryan Mullett of Paxton was arrested on a Champaign County warrant following a fight in progress at Village Pantry. On July 21st, Harrington Matherne of Penfield was arrested on a Champaign County warrant.

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases, 61 have been removed from isolation and 13 active cases are being reported in Livingston County. In McLean County, 387 have been released from isolation, 61 are in isolation with 3 hospitalized. 117 have recovered in Vermilion County with 26 in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,190 have recovered, 426 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized. 181 have been released from isolation in Iroquois County, 26 remain in isolation with 6 hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,117 have recovered, 177 cases remain active and 12 are hospitalized. 40 have been released from isolation in Ford County, with 5 remaining in isolation.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- 5 new COVID-19 deaths were reported locally. 2 additional deaths each were reported in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties bringing their totals to 65 and 7 respectively. Champaign County also reported a new death bringing their total to 18. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Amid the ongoing criminal investigation into House Speaker Michael Madigan, more subpoenas are being issued. The Speaker was implicated in a bribery scheme involving utility giant Commonwealth Edison and now subpoenas are being issued for his involvement with AT&T. Many Republicans are calling on Madigan to resign and for the state to pass ethics reform including 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The liquidation sale at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Champaign has begun. The store announced earlier this month they will be closing their store on Market Street in Champaign near Marketplace Mall. The sale began yesterday and will continue until August 8th.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a raffle to replace the annual Swine n Dine event set for September. Chamber President Alan Meyer tickets are going fast…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County’s final property assessment equalization factor has been released. According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the factor, or multiplier if 1.0240. The multiplier is used to achieve uniform property assessments. Assessments are set at 32.55 percent of market value based on sales in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The unemployment rate was up in all 14 metro areas in June. The state’s unemployment rate came in at 14.6 percent. Locally, in Champaign County the rate rose from 3.9 percent in June 2019 to 16.4 percent in June 2020. In Ford County that number rose from 4 percent to 9.5 percent. In Vermilion County, it rose from 4.8 percent to 12.3 percent. In Iroquois County, it rose from 3.3 percent to 7.8 percent. The national unemployment rate for June was 11.2 percent.

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health is issuing a warning about four COVID-19 hotspots in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- With much of the country experiencing new spikes in COVID-19 cases, the average age of someone who is testing positive has significantly dropped. Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said the average age of someone who tests positive has lowered by 15 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people ages 18 to 29 are the second highest demographic. The state of Illinois as a whole is seeing the same thing. Doctors say there is still a very low percentage of the younger population that develop serious illness from the virus.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois is introducing federal legislation to combat opioid addiction as the U-S has seen a rise in overdose deaths during the pandemic. The bill would expand telehealth and treatment access to addicts. According to the CDC, 128 people die each day of an overdose in the U-S and 1.7 million abuse opioids.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is issuing a warning about four COVID-19 hotspots in Illinois. The areas are LaSalle, Randolph, Peoria and Adams Counties. Officials say outbreaks are associated with risky behaviors such as large social events, crowded bars, youth sports and not wearing a mask. It’s something Governor J-B Pritzker has been talking about all week…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The warning can be triggered by several factors including an increase in cases or deaths, hospitalization and ER visits and clusters of cases.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Work on both Mattis Avenue bridges over I-57 and I-74 in Champaign began this weekend. Both bridges will be built higher and longer to accommodate the new I-57/I-74 interchange.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating what they call a paintball war in the Pheasant Ridge neighborhood. Police were called to the 1700 block of Pheasant Ridge for multiple people shooting paintballs at each other. When officers arrived, those involved were gone but multiple houses and cars were found struck. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The full impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on the state is not yet known. The state saw record numbers of unemployed people and a sharp decline in revenue but 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there are some signs of improvements…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- The Vermilion County Courthouse will reopen today after an employee tested positive for the Coronavirus. The employee worked in the circuit clerk's office. The courthouse was closed Friday for cleaning. All the employees in the circuit clerk’s office were tested and all the tests came back negative. A bailiff did test positive and is in quarantine. All scheduled hearings for today will take place. Those that were canceled last Friday will be rescheduled.


 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Hundreds of people were in Rantoul this weekend for the 12th annual TopGun LargeCar Shootout. The annual semi show brought trucks from across the country to the Rantoul National Aviation Center Friday through Sunday. A parade of lights and braking competition hi-lited the three day event.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- While the 2020 Paxton Swine n Dine BBQ Festival is canceled, organizers have something else planned. Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer says they are doing a raffle…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- Loda’s new water tower is moving one step closer. A construction permit application was ready for the village to sign before it could be submitted to the state EPA. The village could discuss bidding and reviewing construction phases as early as their August meeting with the project possibly going to bid in September.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Park District has a new director. Cody Evans was named director, taking over for Neal McKenry who stepped down in May after 9 years.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is joining 24 other attorneys general in pushing for graphic image warning labels on cigarette packaging. The attorneys general support the FDA’s efforts to issue regulations regarding images being included with texting warnings on packages.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has submitted their five year waterfowl season proposal to the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. Once approved the Department of Natural Resource will announce those dates. Fall duck season for the area is October 24th through December 22nd. Goose season runs October 24th through November 1st and November 12th through January 31st.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Some congressional Democrats have released a blueprint for how the country can hit net-zero emissions by 2050. Mary Scheurmann has the latest…

 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arrested on drug and weapons charges. William Meek was arrested after Urbana police stopped him for a loud exhaust. Meek admitted to police he had a small amount of cannabis, when police searched the car they found meth, cocaine and a gun.



(Urbana-jm) -- A Mahomet man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting a child. Gregory Reed received the sentence after pleading guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault. Reed was already serving a 10 year sentence for child pornography.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The new Sports Complex that is being built in Rantoul will be adding new CCTV and WiFi systems says Administrator Scott Eisenhower…

 

 

 Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower.

 

(Normal-jm) -- Illinois State University in Normal is announcing the end to a record breaking fundraiser. The 7 year campaign, entitled Redbird Rising, starting in 2013 with a goal of raising $150 million. The University surpassed that goal finishing with $180.9 million. The money will go towards scholarships and innovations at ISU.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The American Soybean Association is seeking nominations for their annual Soy Recognition Awards. The group is seeking nominations for Outstanding State Volunteer Award, the ASA Distinguished Leadership Award and the ASA Pinnacle Award. The deadline to nominate someone is October 24th and can be done online at soy growers dot com slash about slash awards slash asa recognition awards.

 

 

 

(Cissna Park-cf)-- Back to school time has approached us quickly, and it will look a lot different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Cissna Park Superintendent Dan Hylbert details the reopening plan for the Cissna Park School district… 

 

 

Cissna Park Superintendent Dan Hylbert. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul village leaders are encouraging residents to complete their 2020 census. Currently about 60 percent of residents have completed the census. Village leaders say for every resident who doesn’t complete the form, the village loses $1,400 per year.

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The Village of Buckley has approved a $3,100 contract with Price Tree Cutting to remove 7 trees in the village. Additional work will have to be done at a later time.

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Illinois is seeing its highest daily total in new COVID-19 cases in nearly two months

(Undated-jm) -- The Chicago Tribune reports that the federal government is looking into the dealings AT&T may have had with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Last week, electric utility ComEd agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. AT&Ts lobbying team has some of the same former Madigan staffers as ComEd.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is seeing its highest daily total in new COVID-19 cases in nearly two months. The State Department of Public Health reported over 16 hundred new confirmed infections, bringing the statewide positivity rate up to three point four percent. Governor J-B Pritzker has this to say about refusing to wear a mask…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The number of Coronavirus patients in the hospital has held pretty steady this month. The recovery rate for COVID-19 is 95 percent.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 45. Livingston County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 67. McLean County reported 18 new bringing their total to 429. Kankakee County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 1,641. Vermilion County reported 7 new cases bringing their total to 132. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 205. Champaign County is reporting 31 new cases bringing their total to 1,270.

 

 

(Ford County-cf)-- Planting season has come to an end for most all farmers in Ford and Iroquois Counties. Ford-Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece gives an update on July planting progress… 

 

 

Ford Iroquois farm Bureau Manager David Treece. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign Police are warning residents after a juvenile was found with a realistic-looking BB gun at Market Place Shopping Center. Officers were called to the area after someone reported a person with a rifle at the shopping center. Champaign Police say BB guns need to be used safely in appropriate areas such as private property with permission or at a target range.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- Rantoul is building a state-of-the-art sports complex on the village’s southwest side.  Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower gives us an update on the construction of the complex…

 

 

The Rantoul village board also approved the addition of playgrounds at the complex say’s Eisenhower…

 

 

 Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign is hi-liting free credit report resources that are available. Federal law requires Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to provide free credit reports every 12 months if requested. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, they will now provide free weekly credit reports through April 2021.

 

The 13th Annual Largecar Shootout truck show will take place this weekend at the Rantoul National Aviation Center.  Admission is free.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Department of Children and Family Services has been through three audits in the last five years, with another one coming in 2021. DCFS directors faced two hours of questioning at the Capitol this week about the audit completed from fiscal years 2015 to 2017, presented in May 2019. The legislative audit commission cited lack of record keeping, slow response time, and data issues as just some of the issues in the most recent audit. Some of the audit results showed 78.7 percent of investigators had at least one month with 15 or more new cases, 35 out of 150 of investigations had no final safety assessment, 42.7 percent of cases had an inaccurate level of intervention and 16 cases had no record of intervention at all and 65.3 percent of reviewed investigations lacked documentation.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases, Ford County is reporting 38 have been released from isolation with 6 remaining in isolation. Livingston County 57 have been released with 8 active cases. McLean County, 338 released, 74 in isolation and 2 hospitalized. Kankakee County, 1,154 recovered, 424 active and 10 hospitalized. Vermilion County 98 released, 31 in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Iroquois County, 174 released, 24 in isolation and 2 hospitalized. Champaign County 1,070 have recovered, 185 cases are active and 10 hospitalized.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- Changes are coming to the Ludlow Co-op Elevators in Buckley. Paul Seamon with Ludlow Co-op talks about the changes…

 

 

Ludlow Co-op Elevators Spokesperson Paul Seamon.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture is offering a free recycling program for agrichemical containers throughout the state. Locally, on August 5th in Onarga at Nutrien Ag Solutions and August 12th at United Prairie in Tolono.

 

(Champaign-cf)-- Want a chance to win 75 bottles of wine? The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a wine raffle in correlation with celebrating agriculture throughout the month of July. Marketing Director Linday Quick lets us know how we can enter the raffle for a chance to win… 

 

 

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Lindsay Quick. Enter for your chance to win at champaigncountychamber.com. 

 

 

(Peoria-jm) -- OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria is announcing that work on their Comprehensive Cancer Center will begin soon. The $250 million project is expected to begin in late 2020 and be completed in early 2023.

 

Paxton IGA will hold a cookout benefiting St. Mary’s CCW on Saturday from 10-2.

 

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State officials say they are very concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials say they are very concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases in Illinois. The State Department of Public Health is reporting nearly 16 hundred new cases, the highest daily total since early June. Public Health Director, Dr Ngozi Ezike says everyone needs to take the threat seriously and not undo the gains Illinois has already made. That includes wearing a mask and socially distancing…

 

 

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. The Governor has said if numbers keep increasing, some areas may face restrictions again. The City of Chicago has already cracked down on bars and restaurants. The Metro East area may be next.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally Vermilion County reported 12 new cases bringing their total number to 125. McLean County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 441. Livingston County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 66. Kankakee County reported 34 new cases bringing their total to 1,628. Iroquois County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 201. Champaign County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 1,241. Ford County had no new cases.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is warning the public about a nationwide fraud scheme. The scheme is primarily impacting each state’s Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Governor J-B Pritzker says anyone that gets a debit card in the mail although they never applied for P-U-A needs to be on alert…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If this happens to you, the Governor says you should not use the car, report it to IDES and check your credit report for any suspicious activity.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program will soon be available to eligible households in Champaign County. The program will begin on Monday, July 27. Households in need of energy assistance are encouraged to apply, especially those with disconnection notices, high past-due balances, and those who have been most affected by wage fluctuations during the pandemic.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Four area high schools are among the recipients of a stage grant to recruit future educators. The Pritzker administration announced $2 million in grants to 62 high schools in the state. Among the recipients are Mahomet-Seymour High School, Rantoul Township High School, St. Joseph Ogden High School and Gibson City, Melvin Sibley High School.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois schools will receive federal funding to help them prepare for class in the fall in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett talks about the funding…


 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City has a new police captain. Roy Acree takes over for Kaleb Kraft who is retiring July 26th. Acree served as a police officer in Gibson City from 1985 to 1988 before becoming an officer at the University of Illinois. He retired in 2015.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA is expecting pork exports to increase both this year and next year. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases of COVID-19, In Vermilion County 91 have been released from isolation while 31 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In McLean County 326 have recovered, 68 remain in isolation with 2 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 57 have been removed from isolation with 7 active cases. In Kankakee County, 1,133 have recovered, 432 cases remain active with 10 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 171 have been released, 23 remain in isolation with 2 hospitalized. In Ford County, 38 have been released and 4 remain in isolation. In Champaign County, 1,033 have recovered, 189 cases remain active with 10 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is extending the state’s ban on evictions through August 22nd. The moratorium on kicking someone out of their home for not paying began in March, and will now last through late August says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The state is launching two grant programs, one for renters and one for homeowners who are struggling. Applications can be submitted in a few weeks. Visit: ihda dot org for more details.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Pritzker administration is launching a program to reduce housing insecurity for justice involved individuals.The state funding will provide housing placement and rental assistance for 75 participants. The Housing Authority of Champaign County will receive $487,674 to support 15 units in Champaign County.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- This week at the Rantoul Theatre, there will be Carol Burnett skits taking place. Rantoul Theatre Group Treasurer Jessica Holmes details a few skits from Carol Burnett… 

 

 

Rantoul Theatre Group Treasurer Jessica Holmes. Admission is $5, starting at 7pm. 

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Parents, students and even school administrators and teachers are unsure how the 2020-2021 school year will look with the continuing Coronavirus pandemic. Many students will return to the classroom about a month’s time and 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the situation remains fluid…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- OSF Medical Group in Urbana is announcing a new provider. The group welcomes Dr. Kavitha Raman as a primary care provider.

 

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Illinois House Republicans are calling for a special session on ethics reform

(Springfield-jm) -- A lawsuit has now been filed to stop FOID card delays in Illinois. The Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois State Rifle Association filed the lawsuit on Tuesday. The organizations want to force the Illinois State Police (ISP) to comply with the mandated 30-day requirement to issue a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, if the applicant meets qualifications.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Republicans are calling for a special session on ethics reform. Given the most recent scandal to plague the legislature, a Com-Ed federal bribery case, Representative Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst says lawmakers need to get back to Springfield. She calls on the Democrats to get on board with some of the GOP’s proposed reforms…

 

 

State Representative Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst. Mazzochi says staying silent on ethics matters amount to corruption.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 995 new cases of Coronavirus Tuesday and 23 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 163,703 and 7,324 deaths. Locally, Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 43. McLean County reported 17 new cases bringing their total to 402. Livingston County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 64. Kankakee County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 1,594. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 186. Champaign County reported 26 new cases bringing their total to 1,223. Vermilion County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 113.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The 2020 Paxton Swine n Dine BBQ Festival is canceled. Chamber President Alan Meyer talks about the decision behind the cancelation…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The American Soybean Association is seeking applicants for the 2021 Corteva Agriscience Young Leaders program. The program is an educational program for farming individuals. Applications are available online at soy growers dot com.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The U-S Treasury department has released the list of companies that had received over $150,000 in PPP funds. Receiving between $2 and $5 million-Heritage FS in Gilman. Receiving between $1 and $2 million Colmac Coil in Paxton, Custom Service Crane in Fisher, Eagle Wings Rantoul, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative Paxton and KSI Conveyors Cissna Park. Receiving $350,000 4 Corners Insurance Rankin, Accolade on Fulton and Accolade on Pells in Paxton, Country Health Gifford, Altamont Company Thomasboro, Craigs Concrete Gilman, Illinois Grain and Seed Cissna Park, K&H Gilman, Lee Farms Paxton, SNC Solutions Gibson City and Taylor Studios Rantoul. Receiving $150,000 ATS Commercial Products Piper City, Buhs Agri Intermodel Service Gibson City, St. Joseph Foods, Dirtworks Trucking and Excavating Rantoul, First School Mahomet, Ehler Brothers Thomasboro, Farmers Ag Service Gifford, Gray Transportation Gilman, Hudson Pharmacy Paxton, Kens Delivery Mahomet, Lee Trucking Thawville, Lee Co Construction Onarga, Lee Consultants Inc Buckley, Matco Fire Protection Inc Paxton, Meats Plus Loda, Pentacres Daycare Rantoul, Prairie Village Supportive Living Rantoul. Please continue to support these businesses as well as all local businesses.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The dog days of summer continue with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s and heat index values near 100. State Climatologist Trent Ford details if we could see more of the same…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On July 17th Pharron Gray of Paxton was arrested on a Douglas County warrant after he arrived at the police station to pay a fee for his seized vehicle. Also on July 17th Robert Skogland of Evanston was arrested on a Douglas County warrant after police were called to a disturbance at the Paxton Inn. On July 16th, Jesse Hammel of Paxton was arrested for disorderly conduct and obstructing an investigation after police were called to a fight in progress at Casey's north. Hammel fled from police before being arrested.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- A new Quality Loss Option is among the latest improvements introduced in federal crop insurance policies. Rod Bain reports…

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Presidents of public universities throughout the state of Illinois are pushing for more federal support during the pandemic. In a letter to Illinois' congressional delegation, they estimate that the total economic impact from COVID-19 will be more than $393 million. They also said the pandemic has taken a huge toll on students, and further financial assistance is needed.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a more than 21 billion dollar plan to improve roads and bridges in Illinois. The money will be used over the next six years to reconstruct more than 33 hundred miles of roads and many bridges around the state. The Governor unveiled the plan in Collinsville with State Representative Katie Stuart…

 

 

State Representative Katie Stuart. The work is being funded by the Governor’s “Rebuild Illinois” initiative.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 995 new cases of Coronavirus Tuesday and 23 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 163,703 and 7,324 deaths. As for local active and recovered cases, 38 have been released from isolation in Ford County with 4 in isolation. In McLean County 312 have recovered, 73 are in isolation and 2 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 57 have been removed with 5 active cases. In Kankakee County, 1104 have recovered, 415 active cases and 11 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 171 have been released, 9 in isolation and1 hospitalized. 1,035 have recovered in Champaign County with 181 active cases and 10 hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 89 have been released from isolation, 21 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- Throughout the week there will be Carol Burnett skits taking place at the Rantoul Theatre. There will be 5 skits this week that will all last around an hour says Rantoul Theatre Group Spokesperson Jessica Holmes… 

 

 

Rantoul Theatre Group Spokesperson Jessica Holmes. Admission is $5, starting at 7pm. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Farm Credit and the American Farm Bureau Federation are sponsoring the 2021 Ag Innovation Challenge. The challenge is a national competition for food and ag entrepreneurs that supports start up companies dedicated to creating innovative solutions that address the needs of farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Applications will be accepted through July 31st.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On July 13th, William Lindsay was cited for driving while registration was suspended.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker announced last week, revised metrics and plans for phase four of the Restore Illinois plan. The changes come as the number of cases have risen since the state entered phase four. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City explains some of the changes…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Representative Bennett says he’s glad the Governor is taking a more regionalized approach but wishes the state legislature was more involved in the process.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- Severe weather pushed through the area around the mid day hours Tuesday. A weather reporting station in Rantoul measured winds at 63 mph. The Champaign County Emergency Management Agency is reporting several structures damaged near Thomasboro including a barn blown down at Ehlers Farm with one person taken to the hospital and numerous trees down there and on the south side of Rantoul.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  USDA's July reports project production increases in most meat sectors, except turkeys. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker is once again pleading with Illinoisans to wear a mask when out in public

(Springfield-jm) -- With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, Governor J-B Pritzker is once again pleading with Illinoisans to wear a mask when out in public. The state is reporting nearly 12 hundred new cases of infection, marking the 8th time cases have been over one thousand in the past 12 days. The Governor says wearing a mask is one of the best ways to combat the trend…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Nearly 163 thousand people in Illinois have tested positive for the virus so far and over 73 hundred have died.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, Iroquois County reported 1 new case since Friday bringing their total to 182. Livingston County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 63. Vermilion County reported 7 new cases bringing their total to 107. McLean County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 385. Kankakee County reported 18 new cases bringing their total number to 1,582. Champaign County reported 63 new cases bringing their total to 1,197. Ford County reported no new cases.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Crop conditions improved over the past week. 55 percent of soybeans are blooming and 67 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener takes a look at corn…


 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 94 percent of winter wheat has been harvested and the 2nd cutting of alfalfa hay is 75 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at one percent very short, 17 percent short, 77 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- One person was taken the hospital after a semi carrying anhydrous ammonia overturned in Rantoul Monday afternoon. Emergency personnel were called I-57 northbound ramp just before noon. Police say the driver was getting off the interstate when the semi left the road and overturned in the median. The exit was closed for several hours while crews cleaned up the scene. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Gifford woman was arrested over the weekend for a fight at Walmart over wearing a mask. Rantoul police were called to the store around 3:30 Sunday afternoon. A customer got into an physical confrontation with several customers and employees. 48 year old Angela Sanford of Gifford was arrested for aggravated battery in the incident.

 

 

(Rantoul)-- The Village of Rantoul has entered an agreement with WatchFire, a video board manufacturer for 3 large video boards for the fields at the sports complex. Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower has the details… 

 

 

 

 Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- The future of the Savoy 16 theatre continues to be in limbo. The theare’s parent company, Goodrich Quality Theatre filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, owing $33 million. A new company bought 21 of the 30 theatre’s with the Savoy location not one of them. The theatre has been closed since March due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The other theatre in Champaign, AMC hopes to open their theatre on north Prospect in Champaign by early August.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- Ludlow Co-op Elevators is making improvements to their Buckley facility. Spokesperson Paul Seamon says they will be able to nearly double their storage capability…

 

 

Ludlow Co-op Elevators Spokesperson Paul Seamon.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Buckley residents will have to have a permit for golf carts and ATVs starting January 1st. The village board voted to have a permit for golf carts and ATVs after several issues.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul teen was arrested over the weekend on gun and cannabis charges. Police were called to 600 block of East Wabash around 10 pm Friday evening for an unknown disturbance. When they arrived they talked to the occupants of a vehicle in the driveway. An officer detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. A 17 year old driver of the vehicle admitted to police he had several bags of marijuana and a loaded handgun on him. He was charged with armed violence and possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul woman has non life threatening injuries after she was accidentally shot Sunday evening. Police say the incident happened in the 1300 block of Abrams Drive around 10 pm. They say the woman's husband was cleaning a gun when it accidentally discharged striking her in the armpit area. 

 

 

(Champaign-cf)-- The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating agriculture throughout the month of July. On July 28th there will be a keynote speaker Eric Snodgrass to cap off the month. Marketing Director Lindsay Quick describes what he will be covering… 

 

 

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Lindsay Quick. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is helping its students return to campus safely. The university is doing so by offering back-to-school personal protective equipment kits. These kits will include U of I-branded face coverings, hand sanitizer, wipes, a digital thermometer, and a clean key.

 

 

(Ford County-cf)-- Rain showers are vital in the hot summer months for the corn and soybean crops. David Treece, Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager wants to see some more lighter rain, rather than the heavy rains and hail that has been falling around the area… 

 

 

Ford Iroquois farm Bureau Manager David Treece. 

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- Fisher village trustees voted not to proceed with drainage improvements in the Ashlyn Drive area. Trustee’s were asked to approve a $9,030 engineering agreement for the design work, however, it failed in votes. Village leaders believe the inadequate drainage system was there when the area was developed.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- We may import more beef than we export this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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Electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said that the COVID-19 shutdown this spring has had a significant impact on tax revenues that the state needs to operate. The pandemic health crisis has also hit Illinois with several billion dollars in emergency expenses, she told the State Journal-Register. Mark Glennon, executive editor of the state budget watchdog group Wirepoints, said Illinois budgets are typically in the hole for $1 billion to $2 billion. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the deficit for the new fiscal year will be $6 billion to $8 billion, he said. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, federal prosecutors announced Friday. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin reacts to the announcement...

 

 

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The COVID-19 pandemic could have lasting consequences for property owners, especially if business closures shift property tax burdens to homeowners.  Property taxes aren’t implemented like income taxes, where a percentage of each dollar earned is diverted to the taxing body. Instead, the taxing body sets an amount it needs and spreads that burden over all the properties that fall within its boundaries based on assessed value.  In the case of businesses, they’re taxed partly on how well their business does. In times of disasters that suddenly cut the business’ income, the property owner can have the company's tax burden reduced.  

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The unemployment rate dropped last month in Illinois. The state’s jobless rate fell nearly a full percentage point to 14 point six percent in June. Illinois Department of Employment Security Sam Salustro says close to 143 thousand jobs were added last month…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Still, that’s a decrease of almost 600 thousand jobs in Illinois compared to last June when COVID-19 wasn’t a factor. The national unemployment rate last month came in at 11 point one percent.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said it is "pleased and gratified" that the Trump administration has rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer schools or leave the country if their colleges hold classes entirely online this fall. The university has been planning to use online and in-person hybrid classes for the 2020 fall semester, so the law may not have affected U of I students.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The flagpole for a large flag is up on Paxton’s west side. Crews put the flagpole up last week near the PBL Junior High Friday. Paxton Fire Chief and flag spokesperson Denny Kingren talks about how big the pole is…

 

 

Paxton Fire Chief and flag spokesperson Denny Kingren. Kingren says some lighting and landscaping still needs to be done. A parade and flag raising will take place September 13th.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School Board will meet tonight where they will discuss their return to class plans. School board members will also hear an update on summer projects. The Iroquois West school board meeting gets underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The first two employees have been hired for the Rantoul Sports Complex. Patrick Reed who spent time organizing sports events for Visit Champaign County will be the director of the complex, and Rennee Wilson will be the director of Marketing says Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower… 

 

 

 Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower.

 

(Savoy-jm) -- Willard Airport in Savoy will receive $9.9 million in federal funding and $1.1 million in state and local funding for improvements. The funding will go to improve and expand local airports. The funding comes from the FAA and IDOT.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Even though Illinois is facing a budget shortfall in the fiscal year that began this month, a budgetary analyst said the real pain will come when the state's federal loans come due the year after. The current 2021 fiscal year is projected to be billions of dollars short, but lawmakers plan to borrow $5 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank’s Municipal Liquidity Facility to cover costs. Although Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza warned that the state “may not make it through” the current year without some sort of untethered state aid, others said the crunch will come once the borrowing done in the current year comes due in tandem with a pension tab that will reflect COVID-19 market losses. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, federal prosecutors announced Friday. Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker weighed in on the issue...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than $7 million in federal funding will be going to organizations to help Illinois communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority said it will distribute $7.1 million in U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance money made available through federal stimulus legislation last spring. The money will also be provided for community-based operations to pay rent, utilities, or supplies related to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to distribute food to needy residents, and other needs as determined by local community officials.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says his lawsuit to require masks in school is about protecting children and staff. The suit, filed in Sangamon County, seeks a judge’s approval of the Governor’s order requiring masks for students, teachers and staff...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says accommodations will be made for students and staff that can’t medically wear a mask, such as using face shields instead.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Nicor Gas has been named one of Escalent’s Most Trusted Business Partners among utilities in a national survey. Nicor received the 2nd highest score in the midwest and came in the top 13 in the country.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce will have other events taking place this fall, Executive Director Amanda Vickery gives the details on the golf outing in September, and the banquet in the fall… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery. 

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School Board will meet tonight. School board members will discuss their return to class plans for the fall. The Mahomet Seymour school board meeting gets underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Champaign-cf)-- The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating Ag and Ag Businesses throughout the month of July. The Chamber usually host’s a wine walk but due to COVID plans had to change. Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Lindsay Quick gives us details on how the event came to life… 

 

 

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Lindsay Quick.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign is encouraging small business owners to apply for PPP loans before the new deadline. The Small Business Administration extended the deadline to August 8th.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,257 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 25 additional deaths

(Springfield-jm) -- S&P Global Ratings called Illinois’ spending plan, which relies on borrowing billions from the Federal Reserve, “precariously balanced” as nonprofit groups weigh in on how federal aid should be distributed to states. Adam Schuster, budget and tax research director with the Illinois Policy Institute, said federal aid to Illinois should include conditions. Governor J.B. Pritzker has said if the federal government doesn’t approve a bailout for states amid the pandemic, lawmakers may have to rework the budget.

 

(Paxton--jc)  --  Six  area fire departments were called to an early morning house fire in Paxton this  morning. Authorities were called to a house fire in the 500 block of South Fall Street just after 1 this morning. No word on damages was provided. Firefighters were on the scene to around 5-30 this morning.  Firefighters from Paxton, Loda, Buckley, Ludlow, Elliott and Rantoul assisted with the blaze

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The grassroots coalition “Vote Yes For Fair Tax” is once again making a push to persuade Illinoisans to approve the progressive tax amendment in November, but business groups are lining up to oppose the income tax. The amendment would scrap the state’s flat-rate income tax for a new structure allowing lawmakers to tax different levels of income at different rates. The National Federation of Independent Business, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Farm Bureau have come out against the measure.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is encouraging those who haven’t responded to the 2020 census to do so as soon as they can. The census count, which is done every 10 years, helps determine representation in Congress and the amount of federal funding the state receives. It’s crucial to make sure everyone is counted says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Illinois’ response rate is about 67 percent so far. The Governor says the state is working hard to make sure those often undercounted including college students, young kids, snowbirds and minorities fill out the census form.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,257 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 25 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 157,450 and deaths to 7,251. Locally, McLean County reported 13 new cases bringing their total number to 350. Vermilion County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 94. Kankakee County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 1,529. Champaign County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 1,091. Ford, Iroquois and Livingston Counties all reported no new cases.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arrested following an armed robbery in the village this week. 19 year old Alexander Wilson was arrested for allegedly robbing a man of his cell phone, money and cigarettes at gunpoint Wednesday evening at Colonial Liquors on Maplewood Drive. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- An 80 year old Rantoul man has been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly engaging in a sex act at a park in the village. Police were called to a park in the village Wednesday afternoon for an indecent exposure for a man and woman engaging in sexual activity. Glenn Tadlock was identified as the man in the incident. The woman hasn’t been found.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Grand Ole Flag project is taking another step forward. Crews have been preparing the site and Paxton Fire Chief and flag spokesperson Denny Kingren says the pole will go up this morning…

 

 

Paxton Fire Chief and flag spokesperson Denny Kingren. A parade and flag raising will take place on September 13th.

 

(Washington-jm) -- The U-S House Ag Committee has approved their Fiscal Year 2021 bill. The bill sets aside $4.2 billion for rural development programs and $1 billion for rural broadband initiatives. It also sets aside $2 billion for international food aid and to promote U-S ag exports overseas, $1 billion in conservation efforts and $3.3 billion in ag research.

 

 

(Champaign County-cf)-- Income has become a concern with many farmers in the area. The Phase 1 Trade Deal with China, Commodity’s not being where they should be, and Trade with other countries are areas of emphasis says Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken… 

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The American Soybean Association is urging Congress to include more relief for farmers in future COVID-19 legislation. The group is asking Congress to provide additional funding to the USDA for temporary relief and assistance while replenishing and increasing the cap for the Commodity Credit Corporation by at least $50 billion and establish policies to offer direct and temporary assistance to broaden the ag supply chain.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- On average, the share of residents in Illinois counties deemed most vulnerable to the coronavirus is 24 percent, according to a new study by the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis is designed to measure how resilient communities are when confronted with disasters or other emergencies, the Census Bureau reports. In Illinois, 46 percent of county populations on average have one to two risk factors, such as being age 65 or older, low income, disabled, lacking health insurance or having serious preexisting conditions, the analysis said. And on average, 30 percent of the state’s county populations have no risk factors.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois ranked in the top half of all states in terms of prosperity, according to a new analysis. The 2020 United States Prosperity Index is an assessment of prosperity and ranked Illinois 21st in the country, up two spots from 2019.The index measures performance across 11 pillars of prosperity using more than 200 indicators grouped into 48 policy-focused elements, according to the Legatum Institute. Illinois scored well in the categories of personal freedom, business environment, market access and infrastructure. Illinois ranked 48th in the country in the economic quality category.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Just a few days are left for communities to apply for a Restore, Reinvest, Renew state grant. Applications for R-3 grants addressing violence prevention, economic development and other issues are due Monday. Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton says the money will go to areas that have been adversely affected by the war on drugs. Her office is trying to spread the word…

 

 

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. The grants are funded by the sale of recreational marijuana in Illinois. Visit: r3 dot illinois dot gov for all the details.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,257 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 25 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 157,450 and deaths to 7,251. As for local active and recovered cases, In McLean County, 279 have recovered, 53 remain in isolation and 3 hospitalized. In Vermilion County 65 have been released from isolation with 27 still in isolation. 36 have been released from isolation and 5 remain in isolation in Ford County. In Livingston County 53 have been removed from isolation and 4 cases are active. 1,074 have recovered in Kankakee County with 392 active cases and 12 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 162 have recovered, 12 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. 950 have recovered in Champaign County with 124 active cases.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The owners of four American Bulldogs that attacked an animal control officer in Rantoul last week has been cited. Police say the owners were cited for dogs running at large and declaration of vicious or dangerous dog. Animal control was called to the 1400 block of Mather Drive last week after a woman reported the four dogs rushed a neighbor and acted aggressive. The dogs attacked the animal control officer and a Rantoul police officer shot the dogs. Two of the dogs died at the scene, a third died at the U of I vet med. The fourth is being treated but is expected to survive. If that dog is deemed vicious it will have to be put down. If it is deemed dangerous the owners will be required to take safety precautions.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois Memorial Hospital is announcing the opening of a new outpatient pharmacy. The hospital says the new pharmacy makes it more convenient for people. They also offer delivery services to Watseka, Milford, Sheldon, Crescent City and Gilman. The new pharmacy hours are 6:30 to 5 Monday through Friday and 6:30 to 3 Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

(Fisher-cf)-- Two Fisher residents will be competing at the Little Miss Midwest pageant representing Illinois.  Mackenzie Bottom who was the Little Miss Fisher Fair of 2018, and Jordan Huskason who was Little Miss Champaign County of 2017 says Amy Huskason…. 

 

 

Mother of Jordan Huskason Amy Huskason 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The U-S and Kenya have begun negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two countries. Kenya is the largest importer of U-S soy products in Africa at nearly 200 thousand metric tons annually.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Area communities could soon be receiving much needed federal relief from the COVID-19 pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the relief comes from the federal CARES Act but there could be some issues for communities…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is launching a new effort. The group is putting faces of local missing children on gas pump screens in Illinois. The group hopes it reminds the public to look out for missing children in the state.

 

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State officials say they are carefully watching Coronavirus outbreaks and hotspots in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials say they are carefully watching Coronavirus outbreaks and hotspots in Illinois. Governor J-B Pritzker says since the state moved into phase four, cases among youth and young adults have been higher than ever before…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting nearly 12 hundred new cases and 8 additional deaths. The seven day positivity rate in Illinois rose slightly to three point one percent.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, McLean County reported 4 new cases bringing their total number to 337. Livingston County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 59. Vermilion County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 91. Kankakee County reported 10 new cases bringing their total number to 1,523. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 180. Champaign County reported 11 new cases bringing their total number to 1,076. Ford County reported no new cases Wednesday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking cases in area communities. 214 have been in Rantoul, 71 in Mahomet, 55 in Clifton, 24 in Fisher, 23 in Watseka, 20 in Chebanse, 17 each in Onarga and St. Joseph, 14 in Paxton, 13 in Ashkum, 11 each in Gibson City, Hoopeston and Gilman, 7 each in Crescent City and Danforth, 6 each in Ludlow, Milford and Donovan, 3 in Thomasboro, 2 each in Dewey and Foosland and 1 each in Gifford, Penfield and Ogden.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a new plan to help prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 in Illinois. The plan breaks the state into 11 regions instead of the original four, separating Chicago, suburban Cook County, the Metro East area and more. The Governor says it also creates new metrics…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If a region sees a resurgence, restrictions could be put back in place such as only allowing outdoor dining, suspending elective surgeries and greater limits on gatherings in that area.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Catalytic converters were stolen from four vehicles owned by the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. U of I Police say a university employee reported that the theft happened sometime between March 1 and July 13. The vehicles were parked at the Transportation and Automotive Services facility when the catalytic converters were stolen.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul City School Board will meet tonight where they will discuss their reopening plan and their fiscal year 20-21 budget. In addition, they will take action on board policies and hire a part time nurse. The Rantoul City School Board meeting gets underway at 6:30.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- One area elevator is seeing some improvements. Ludlow Co-op Elevators is doing some work at their Buckley facility says spokesperson Paul Seamon…

 

 

Ludlow Co-op Elevators Spokesperson Paul Seamon.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On July 10th, no injuries were reported and no tickets issued following a two vehicle accident involving a City of Paxton dump truck and a car at  Spring and Summer. On July 8th, a 17 year old from rural Paxton was issued a notice to appear for unlawful possession of alcohol after police received a report of the juvenile yelling at protestors and throwing a beer can. On July 7th, Christopher Merry of West Lafayette, Indiana was arrested on an Iroquois County warrant after police were called to the Paxton Inn for a person refusing to leave. On July 6th, no injuries were reported and no ticket issued after a two vehicle accident on Route 45 in front of Dollar General.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials say they are carefully watching Coronavirus outbreaks and hotspots in Illinois. There have been dozens of cases among kids participating in an athletic camp in Suburban Lake Zurich and several bars and restaurants around the state have had to shut down temporarily due to COVID infection. This is troubling says Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike is reporting nearly 12 hundred new cases of the virus. About three percent of COVID-19 tests run this past week came back positive.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases, 269 have recovered with 49 in isolation and 4 hospitalized in McLean County. In Livingston County, 53 have been removed from isolation with 4 active cases. 62 have been released from isolation with 27 still in isolation in Vermilion County. In Kankakee County, 1,072 have recovered with 388 active cases and 8 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 162 have recovered, 12 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. 32 have been released from isolation in Ford County with 10 remaining in isolation. 936 have recovered in Champaign County with 123 active cases and 3 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says schools need to make masks a requirement for students heading back to the classroom this fall. The State Board of Education released guidelines for schools to reopen, but districts can work out all the specifics. The Governor says that should include students and teachers wearing masks, social distancing and limits on the number of students per classroom…

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says many districts will likely offer a combination of in person and remote learning this fall.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Translators at the Champaign County courthouse will have new equipment to help them keep social distance. Translators and their clients will wear headsets with microphones that will allow them to communicate with each other. They will also wear clear masks to watch each other speak.

 

 

(Chatsworth-jm) -- Severe weather once again struck the WPXN listening area Wednesday afternoon. A tornado warning was issued for the north-central part of Ford County and west-central Iroquois Counties yesterday afternoon. Damage was reported near Chatsworth because of the storm. No other official reports of damage has been reported.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce will be hosting Freedom Fridays every Friday until September 4. Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery gives the details of the events… 

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana saw damage to their farm covering over 1,000 acres after Saturday's hail storm. The intense 1 3/4" ping pong ball-sized hail broke off stocks and tassels, resulting in a 50% yield reduction of corn. The damage could help fungicide data collection.

 

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If you have not yet filed your taxes, today is the last day to do so

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois will get a piece of a $117 million Medicaid fraud settlement with United Health Services, Inc. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says the settlement says the state will get $5.38 million as part of the deal. The settlement comes after alleged violations of the False Claims Act including admitting people who were not eligible for inpatient or residential treatment, implementing improper and excessive lengths of stay and billing for services not rendered.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- If you have not yet filed your taxes, today is the last day to do so. This year's federal and state income tax deadline is today, it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. If you need more time, you only have today to file for an extension. The extension would then give you until October 15.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The State of Illinois brought in $52 million in adult-use cannabis sales in the past six months. The state collected $34.7 million in cannabis excise taxes in the second half of fiscal year 2020. The Illinois Department of Revenue collected $18 million in sales taxes that will be shared with local governments.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is asking younger Illinoisans to be careful about spreading the Coronavirus. As bars and restaurants have opened back up, more young adults seem to be contracting COVID-19. Governor J-B Pritzker says too many think that even if they get it, they won’t get that sick…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The State Department of Public Health is announcing 707 new COVID-19 cases and 25 additional deaths. Three percent of the tests run over the past week have come back positive.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, McLean County reported 12 new cases bringing their total number to 333. Vermilion and Iroquois Counties each reported 1 new case bringing their total numbers to 88 and 177 respectively. Kankakee County reported 15 new cases bringing their total number to 1,513. Champaign County reported 19 new cases bringing their total to 1,065. Ford and Livingston Counties both reported no new cases Tuesday leaving their totals at 43 and 58 respectively.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has been tracking cases in area communities. 214 have been in Rantoul, 71 in Mahomet, 55 in Clifton, 23 each in Fisher and Watseka, 21 in Chebanse, 16 each in St. Joseph and Onarga, 14 in Paxton, 12 in Ashkum, 11 in Gibson City, 10 each in Hoopeston and Gilman, 7 each in Danforth and Crescent City, 6 each in Milford, Beaverville and Ludlow, 3 in Thomasboro, 2 each in Foosland and Dewey and 1 each in Gifford, Penfield and Ogden.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite the President’s calls for all kids to return to the classroom in the fall, Governor J-B Pritzker says it will be up to individual school districts in Illinois on how to proceed. The State Board of Education released guidelines for schools to follow during the pandemic, such as having all staff and students wear a mask. Schools can formulate their own plans from there says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Some districts are looking at staggered schedules and are trying to figure out how to handle lunch periods. WPXN News will be reaching out to area school districts for their return to school plans for the fall semester.

 

(Paxton--jc)  Work at the site of the American Flag on the west side of Paxton continues.  Organizer Denny Kingren says concrete in the area is one of the steps being done along with setting the pole. A community celebration and dedication of the American Flag is set for September.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School Board will meet tonight where they will discuss their reopening plans. In addition, school board members will discuss and possibly consider the fiscal year 21 budget and consider the next inductees into the hall of fame. The PBL School Board meeting gets underway at 6pm.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois hospitals will receive additional funding thanks to a bill signed by Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the bill…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A faculty member at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign was scammed out of thousands of dollars. Police say the faculty member received an email from someone he thought was a colleague asking for gift cards with a promise to reimburse them. The faculty member sent approximately $4,400 worth of gift cards before a store clerk informed him of the scam, according to U of I Police.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Salvation Army Thrift Store, located at 2212 N. Market St. in Champaign, will soon be closed for good. The company announced the location will close permanently on August 8th. The store will reopen on Monday, July 27. It will hold a liquidation sale until its closing date.

 

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(Washington-jm) -- What are USDA's expectations for the U.S. corn crop? Stephanie Ho has the details…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday he will dedicate $108.5 million to preK-12 public education and higher education institutions to help face the challenges presented by COVID-19. The funding intends to ensure all students receive a quality education by bridging the digital divide, protecting the health and safety of students, and overcoming barriers created by the pandemic. A total of $10 million will be allocated to support early childhood programs in Illinois. K-12 schools will receive $50 million to close the digital divide, training for parents and educators and social-emotional support for students. Higher education will receive $49 million of the total $108 million.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission is launching a new electronic filing system. Attorneys will be able to draft, sign, submit, and receive approval of settlement contracts through the system, called CompFile. Officials hope this will continue to promote remote work during the pandemic.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is encouraging residents to learn a life safety skill. The state sees a range of hazardous weather from tornadoes to earthquakes, flash floods and ice storms. IEMA says learning a life safety skill such as first aid, CPR or fire prevention could save yours or your loved ones life.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for active and recovered cases locally. McLean County reported 260 have recovered with 54 in isolation and 4 hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 53 have been released from isolation, 32 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 162 have recovered with 10 in isolation. Ford County reported 32 have been released from isolation with 10 in isolation. Livingston County reported 53 have recovered with 3 active cases. Kankakee County reported 1,068 have recovered with 382 active cases and 8 hospitalized. Champaign County reported 920 have recovered with 128 active cases and 2 hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- There were no new deaths in the area yesterday leaving the total numbers at 15 in McLean County, 2 each in Vermilion and Livingston Counties, 5 in Iroquois County, 63 in Kankakee County, 17 in Champaign County and 1 in Ford County.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- Loda village leaders are expected to hear an update on a trio of water projects at tonight's village board meeting. ERH, the village’s water maintenance company will provide an update on the meter project at the firehouse along with a tile issue near the firehouse and a service leak on Mulberry. Village trustees will also discuss no parking signs on Washington Street. The Loda village board meeting gets underway at 7 pm.

 

 

(Champaign County-cf)-- Fairs have been canceled across the state due to the pandemic, and with progressive income tax resolution on the ballot in Illinois topped with the election Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken says these are all issues to watch in the coming weeks and months…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken. 

 

 

(Westville-jm) -- A Westville woman is dead after police say a young child found a gun in the car and accidentally shot her. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 64 year old Marita Hile died at Carle Foundation Hospital over the weekend. Police say Hile was shot after a child discovered a handgun in car and it discharged striking Hile in the back.

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's July Crop Production report is estimating lower production of winter wheat.  Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- There’s a new exhibit at the Illinois State University Wonsook Kim School of Art, Student Art Gallery. The exhibit, by two graduate students, is featured at the gallery at the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.

 

 

 

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The NHL Training Camp 2.0 kicked off on Monday

(St. Louis-cf)-- St. Louis Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks has opted out of the 2020 MLB season. Hicks, who had Tommy John surgery in July of last season, decided not to play this season citing pre-existing health conditions. Hicks is a Type 1 diabetic. 

 

 

(Chicago-cf)-- The NHL Training Camp 2.0 kicked off on Monday at Fifth Third Bank Arena. All 35 members of the Chicago Blackhawks were present at camp, except 1. Goaltender Corey Crawford was deemed “unfit to play” and there is no timetable for his return. 

 

 

(Orlando-cf)-- The NBA will be facing it’s first challenge the first week in. Houston Rockets Star Russell Westbrook has tested positive for Covid-19. Sacramento Kings Ricchaun Holmes has also restarted the quarantine process as 

he left the “bubble” in Orlando. 

 

Tonight on WPXN its NASCAR Live. Get the latest news in NASCAR from 6-7.

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The Champaign County Clerk's office is closed this week after an employee was exposed to the Coronavirus

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two Rantoul men have been federally indicted on child pornography charges. 25 year old William Armstrong is charged with 1 count each of transportation and possession of child pornography. Officers say Armstrong allegedly had 30 videos of child pornography and engaged in sexual activity with minors. 55 year old Dwayne White is charged with 2 counts of distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. If convicted of the transportation or distribution charges they face 5-20 years each. If convicted of possession they face up to 10 years in prison. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The Champaign County Clerk’s office is closed this week after an employee was exposed to the Coronavirus. The office says they will use the week to clean the office and test employees. All previously scheduled appointments for this week will be rescheduled.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- Illinois has moved into phase 4 of the Rebuild Illinois Plan. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde wants to remind everybody that you should still wear a mask, and keep your distance from others…

 

 

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two more area events have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 Paxton Swine n Dine and the 2020 Clinton Apple n Pork Festival has been canceled. Swine n Dine was scheduled to take place September 19th. Apple n Pork takes place the last full weekend in September. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Severe weather Saturday night brought down trees and power lines causing damage and people to lose power. Ameren Illinois reported power outages in Iroquois, McLean, Livingston and Champaign Counties. In Farmer City strong winds sent a light pole crashing through the stands at the Farmer City Raceway. In Chenoa in McLean County strong winds damaged part of an elevator.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- There were really no big surprises in Friday's round of USDA crop forecasts. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the patriotic porches and panes winners. 1st place was Eagle’s View Supportive Living, 2nd place was WhitNicole Creations and 3rd place was Anywhere Anytime Journeys. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexually molesting a child in April. 32 year old Romeo Andres received the sentence after pleading guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault of a child. A second count was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to beating a man with a baseball bat in December. Nicholas McMahon received the sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for the December 24th attack at a home on Eater Drive. In exchange for his plea, a more serious charge of home invasion was dismissed.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Happ Parker Aquatic facility in Rantoul is now open in Phase 4. The pool can hold 501 people at a time says Rantoul Rec. Department Director Luke Humphrey… 

 

 

Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Goodwill in Champaign will soon reopen. The store and donation center is set to reopen at 10 a.m. today. The location temporarily closed on July 6 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 before coming to work. Goodwill in Champaign will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College is reopening select student service focused offices today. Admissions and the Financial Aid offices will be open from 7:30 to 5 Monday through Thursday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- There are several meetings around the area tonight. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois Memorial Hospice has received national recognition. The hospice was named one of Strategic Healthcare Programs Superior Performance Caregiver Satisfaction Awards. The award is given to the top 20 percent hospice facilities in the country.

 

 

(Champaign County-cf)-- With temperatures now in the 90’s and heat index’s in the 100’s now would be a good time for a rain shower for corn and soybeans in the area. Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken describes how we could use that shower… 

 

 

Temperatures have also remained the same during the night time hours as well. Uken would like to see the heat subside overnight to take some of the stress off the corn crop…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken. 

 

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The state legislature says Illinois' revenue took a $1.1 billion hit this past fiscal year

(Springfield-jm) -- The state of Illinois saw slight decreases in the number of people filing first-time unemployment claims as well as the number of people receiving continuing benefits during the week that ended July 4. The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that it processed 39,015 initial unemployment claims during the week, which was shortened by the Independence Day holiday weekend. That was down from 43,934 initial claims filed the previous week, a decline of 11 percent. Meanwhile, the number of Illinois workers receiving continuing benefits under traditional unemployment insurance fell to 667,460, a decline of about 1.4 percent from the previous week.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state legislature says Illinois' revenue took a $1.1 billion hit this past fiscal year. The main reason for the drop is the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is not all bad. The data also shows improvements in June due to the state's reopening plans.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The State Department of Transportation is alerting motorists that mowing is underway on Illinois highways. In recent years, IDOT has developed a specific schedule for mowing, says Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. IDOT schedules mowing to help create and maintain habitat for pollinators like the monarch butterfly, which is at risk of being declared endangered. Wappel says crews are also mowing culverts, ditches and around traffic signals.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,018 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 150,450 and deaths to 7,119. Locally, McLean County reported 9 new cases bringing their total number to 299. Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 42. Livingston County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 56. Kankakee County reported 32 new cases bringing their total number to 1,438. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 172. Champaign County reported 18 new cases bringing their total number to 998.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for total number of cases in communities as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health...210 in Rantoul, 66 in Mahomet, 54 in Clifton, 21 in Watseka, 20 in Fisher, 19 in Chebanse, 16 in Onarga, 15 in St. Joseph, 14 in Paxton, 11 each in Gibson City and Ashkum, 10 in Hoopeston, 8 in Gilman, 7 each in Crescent City and Danforth, 6 each in Ludlow, Beaverville, Danforth and Milford, 3 in Thomasboro, 2 in Foosland and 1 each in Dewey, Gifford, Penfield and Ogden.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Several roads in Rantoul were closed yesterday afternoon after heavy rains caused major flooding. The National Weather Service reported 2-3 inches of rain had fallen in an hour's time. The U-S 136 viaduct along with Maplewood Drive near the post office were closed due to high water. The south Casey’s was also closed after water flooded the store and parking lot prompting a response from the Rantoul Fire Department in case fuel leaked from the underground fuel tanks.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College is announcing staffing cuts due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 65 full time employees will lose their job because of an estimated $4.9 million deficit in the next fiscal year. The Champaign based community college hoped to not cut positions by offering voluntary separations but not many took the offer. The community college is also facing a decrease in enrollment however, those numbers have not yet been released.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)--The normal is now wearing a mask in the grocery store, or around older loves more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde gives us steps to move forward and not backwards from the last three months… 

 

 

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- A Potomac man has been sentenced to 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to burglary. 40 year old Justin Lawless received the sentence in Vermilion County court. According to police, Lawless entered a storage container and stole items used in the management and upkeep of a farm in Collison back in October of 2018.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Forum Fitness Center in Rantoul is now open in Phase 4. Equipment is being properly sanitized and the fitness center is asking all patrons to social distance and wear masks when distiancing can’t be practiced says Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey… 

 

 

Rantoul Recreation Department Director Luke Humphrey.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many sectors of the economy and livestock farming is one of them. Closures of public spaces such as schools, restaurants, bars, and hotels mean decreased demand for meat products. In addition, outbreaks of coronavirus-caused illness at meatpacking plants caused some large operations to shut down temporarily, swamping small mom-and-pop operations that are now booked into spring 2021. The Illinois Pork Producers Association says the industry is back at about 90 percent capacity. Farmers are putting their pigs on high-fiber diets so that they don’t grow too large to be processed when their time does come. 

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at St. Pauls Lutheran School in Woodworth today from 2-6 pm.

 

The Fisher Community Fair will hold a curbside food drive this afternoon from 3 to 6:30 pm at the Fisher Fairgrounds. WPXN will be broadcasting live this afternoon starting at 4-30 with Becky Puetz.

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul says guidance is available now that the moratorium on utility shut offs is being lifted. Those behind on their utility payments have 30 days to set up a repayment plan with their utility. Shut offs and late fees can’t be charged or occur until July 26th. The guidance is available on the attorney general's website: illinois attorney general dot gov.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department on Aging is launching a new campaign to protect seniors and adults with disabilities from abuse. The tv and social media campaigns aim to assist in preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly and those with disabilities. According to the Illinois Department on Aging, they handled over 21,000 abuse reports in 2019. If you suspect elder abuse or exploitation, call and report it at 1-866-800-1409.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is joining more than a dozen other states in trying to force the Environmental Protection Agency's hand on methane pollution standards. Mary Scheurmann reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,018 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 150,450 and deaths to 7,119. As for local active and recovered cases...in McLean County 257 have been released from isolation, 32 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In Ford County 31 have been released from isolation with 9 in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 50 have been removed from isolation with 4 active cases. In Vermilion County 50 have been released from isolation, 28 remain in isolation with 2 hospitalized. In Kankakee County 1,050 have recovered, 352 cases remain active with 4 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 150 have recovered with 17 in isolation. In Champaign County, 857 have recovered with 125 active cases and 7 hospitalizations.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- McLean County reported their 15th Coronavirus death Thursday. As for other area counties...Kankakee County has 63 deaths, Champaign County 16 deaths, Iroquois County 5 deaths, Livingston and Vermilion Counties have 2 deaths each and Ford County has 1 death.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced a $300 thousand public-private investment to support rural broadband plans Thursday. One of those receiving money is the Housing Authority of Champaign County. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A University of Illinois police officer facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct is no longer employed with the university. Former U of I Police Officer Brian Tison is accused of engaging in a series of unwelcome, offensive actions with three different women and others over a period of as long as 17 years.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A Clay County judge ruled last week that Governor Pritzker is only allowed to issue one executive order instead of several subsequent ones in response to a lawsuit filed by Representative Darren Bailey over the governor’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City shares his thoughts on the ruling…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The 2020 Gibson City Harvest Fest is the latest event to be canceled. The two day festival was scheduled to take place September 11th and 12th. Organizers say they are planning next year’s event, scheduled to take place September 10th and 11th. Earlier this week the Watseka Family Festival scheduled for the end of August and the National Sweetcorn Festival in Hoopeston, scheduled for Labor Day weekend were both canceled.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce will be putting on Freedom Fridays until Sept. 4. Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickory describes how important it is to revamp downtown areas in smaller communities… 

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A sure sign of summer, cicadas are emerging throughout Illinois after hibernating underground for years. There are three types of cicadas in Illinois: Annual cicadas and periodic cicadas, which emerge in 13-year and 17-year cycles. Seventeen-year cicadas are the longest living insect known to man. No one knows why, but Illinois has the largest brood of cicadas in the world. This summer will be steady with cicadas emerging, but the main invasion will be in 2024.

 

The Fisher Fair will hold a pandemic parade tonight at 7pm.  WPXN will be broadcasting live at 4-30 during the community food drive with our Becky Puetz.

 

Paxton IGA will hold a cookout benefiting First Lutheran Youth Group on Saturday from 10-2.

 

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You now have a little more time to renew your driver's license, ID card and license plate sticker

(Springfield-jm) -- Fiery statements were made by Governor JB Pritzker during his testimony to a Congressional hearing on COVID-19 on Wednesday. The Governor urged federal lawmakers to adopt a nationwide face-covering requirement as cases continue to climb exponentially in some states. Pritzker also urged Congress to continue federal funding for the National Guard’s COVID response and a federal bailout for state and local governments to cover lost revenue due to the pandemic.The Governor also criticized the Trump Administration for not implementing the Defense Production Act earlier in the pandemic. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- You now have a little more time to renew your driver’s license, ID card and license plate sticker. Expiration dates had already been extended to October 1st due to Secretary of State offices being closed during the pandemic. That’s been extended again to November 1st says Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Haupt reminds that there are several things you can do online such as renewing your vehicle registration at: cyber drive illinois dot com.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 980 new cases of COVID-19 and 36 additional deaths Wednesday. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 149,432 and total deaths to 7,099. McLean County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 290. Vermilion County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 82. Kankakee County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 1,406. Iroquois County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 170. Champaign County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 980.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- According to numbers from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 210 cases have been in Rantoul, 63 in Mahomet, 53 in Clifton, 20 in Watseka, 18 in Chebanse, 17 in Fisher, 16 in Onarga, 15 in St. Joseph, 13 in Paxton, 11 each in Gibson City and Ashkum, 10 in Hoopeston, 8 in Gilman, 7 each in Crescent City and Danforth, 6 each in Ludlow, Beaverville, Donovan and Milford, 3 in Thomasboro, 2 in Foosland and 1 each in Dewey, Gifford and Penfield.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Thomasboro man has been arrested on sexual assault and domestic battery charges. 34 year old Mark Frandle was arrested by U-S Marshals on four counts of criminal sexual assault and one count of aggravated domestic battery. Police say Frandle allegedly sexually assaulted a woman twice in June and allegedly choked her in March. Bond was set at $250,000.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- There is diverging progress in the corn and soy crops. Stephanie Ho and USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey have the details…

 

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- Rantoul Police were notified of three vicious American Bulldogs in the 1400 Block of Mather Drive at 8:45am Wednesday. The dogs rushed the residence as the caller attempted to leave for work. Animal Control arrived at the scene assisted by a Rantoul Officer. Animal Control arrived and exited his vehicle with four American Bulldogs at the scene. The Rantoul Police Officer arrived on scene and tried to distract the dogs using his siren. The dogs did not change behavior and continued to swarm the animal control officer, who attempted to retreat around the side of his van. The dogs attacked the animal control officer pinning him against his van, and biting his arm and legs. The Rantoul Police Officer discharged 5 shots and struck all four of the dogs. Two of the dogs died at the scene, and two were transported to the University of Illinois Emergency Vet-Med Clinic. The Animal Control Officer was bitten several times in the arms and legs and was transported to Carle Foundation Hospital for Treatment. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A planned peaceful protest was held last night in downtown Paxton. The protest, organized by PBL grad Matt Harper, took place outside city hall from 6-8 pm calling for the end of white silence.

 

(Chicago-jm) -- The Illinois Attorney General's Office has filed a motion to dismiss Count I in a lawsuit brought by Representative Darren Bailey against Governor Pritzker. A Clay County judge ruled last week the Governor’s executive orders ended April 8th. In the motion filed this week, the Attorney General says the Clay County judge's ruling on July 2 was a non-final and non-appealable ruling because one of the counts wasn't resolved, Count I. Count I focuses on whether Pritzker's April 30 proclamation and June 26 proclamation meet the definition of a disaster as defined by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act. A court hearing for the Attorney General 's motion to dismiss is set to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 17.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is warning about the dangers of extreme heat. The best way to protect yourself is to really stay hydrated and take frequent breaks if you’re working outside says Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. She says signs of trouble can appear quickly…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache and cool and clammy skin. It should be treated by moving the person to a cool spot and giving them fluids. Heat stroke is the most serious and includes a high fever. In that case, seek medical attention immediately and do not give fluids.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Milford woman has been charged with forgery in Hoopeston. Hoopeston Police say they were called to a business after Antoniette Spine allegedly tried to pass a fake $100 bill. 


 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 980 new cases of COVID-19 and 36 additional deaths Wednesday. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 149,432 and total deaths to 7,099. As for recovered and active cases...in McLean County 248 have recovered with 26 in isolation and 2 hospitalized. In Vermilion County 50 have been released from isolation, 28 are in isolation with 2 hospitalized. In Kankakee County 1,034 have recovered, 309 cases are active with 10 hospitalized. In Livingston County 46 have been released from isolation with 7 active cases. In Ford County, 31 have been released from isolation, 8 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 149 have recovered with 16 in isolation. In Champaign County, 832 have recovered, 131 cases are active with 7 hospitalized.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County reported an additional death Wednesday bringing their total number to 17. That’s five deaths in the past week. According to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department, they are two males in their 70s, a female in her 70s, a male in his 80s and a male in his 90s and all had underlying health conditions.


 

 

(Fisher-cf)-- This year’s Fisher Parade will start at the Fisher Fair Grounds, and the entry fee is $5. The entry fee will all go to the Fisher Food Bank says Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty…

 

 

If you would like to donate food items at the parade, you can do so at the south gate. All participants will line up by 6:30 on Friday afternoon, and follow the parade route, says Haresty…

 

 

 

Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty

WPXN will be broadcasting in Fisher on Friday afternoon starting at 4-30 with our very own Becky Puetz

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Summer projects are moving forward at Rantoul Township High School. The foods room is getting a complete makeover, the district is expected to replace a west wing chiller later this month or early next month and will be replacing three interior doors.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Senate Ag Committee Chairman Scott Bennett of Champaign is promoting new grants to support dairy farmers. The grants are through the Dairy Business Innovation Alliance and total $220,000. The deadline to apply is August 14th. Those selected will be notified on September 4th.

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The pandemic has prompted more Americans to consider moving to less populated areas and continuing to work from home

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois economy shrank at an annual rate of 5.4 percent during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter, according to federal data released Tuesday, an indicator of just how severely the COVID-19 pandemic affected commercial activity. Nearly all sectors of the economy took significant hits during the quarter led by arts, entertainment and recreation, which took the biggest hit with a 36 percent rate of decline. Accommodations and food service fell at a rate of more than 27 percent. Other sectors taking big hits included finance and insurance, down 10.6 percent, and transportation and warehousing, which includes airline and rail transportation, which fell at a 9.8 percent rate. he only bright spot in the report was the agricultural sector – one area of the economy that was not affected by the stay-at-home order – which grew quarter-to-quarter at a rate of 183 percent.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- New data released by the Small Business Administration shows taxpayers gave more than 200,000 Illinois businesses a total of more than $22 billion in COVID-19 relief funds. The SBA documents suggest more than 2.1 million jobs were retained in Illinois. In Illinois, there were more than 202,000 businesses that were listed in documents released this week. Businesses that got less than $150,000 were kept mostly anonymous, though some location information was available.The latest aggregate report from June 27 showed Illinois businesses shared in $22.4 billion.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- There’s only about a week left to file your income taxes if you haven’t already done so. Taxpayers have until July 15th to file this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro says about 85 percent of people have already filed…

 

 

Illinois Department of Revenue Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Salustro says they encourage people to file electronically so that they will get their refunds quicker. If you’re filing a 10-40 for your state taxes, you can do it for free online at: my tax dot illinois dot gov

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 587 new cases of Coronavirus Tuesday and 57 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 148,452 and deaths to 7,063. Locally, Vermilion County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 78. Ford County reported 1 new bringing their total to 41. Livingston County reported 1 new bringing their total number to 55. McLean County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 282. Kankakee County reported 8 new cases bringing their total number to 1,390. Iroquois County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 169. Champaign County reported 17 new cases bringing their total to 975.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local totals, Rantoul has had 210 cases, Mahomet 63 cases, Clifton 53 cases, Watseka 20 cases, 18 cases in Chebanse, 17 in Fisher, 16 in Onarga, St Joseph 15 cases, 13 in Paxton, 11 each in Gibson City and Ashkum, 9 in Hoopeston, 8 in Gilman, 7 each in Crescent City and Danforth, 6 each in Milford and Ludlow, 3 in Thomasboro, 2 in Foosland and 1 each in Dewey, Gifford and Penfield.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- It's smaller than it used to be, but the U.S. still has an agricultural trade surplus with the rest of the world. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- A Milford man has been indicted for the murder of a Martinton woman. Jason Fancher was indicted on two counts of murder in the deaths of 54 year old Pam Williams. Her body was found outside of Sheldon in December. Investigators believe Williams death was connected with the murder of Brian Musk of Milford. Fancher is not being charged in Musk’s death. Bond for Fancher was set at $1 million.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to a farm equipment fire Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters were called to the fire at 500 North 1450 East about 12:45 pm. No word on what caused the fire.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- A lot of people in Champaign Urbana and surrounding communities wanted the IHSA boys state tournament to return to Champaign the birthplace of March Madness. Visit Champaign President and CEO Jayne DeLuce said her mission was to get it back to Champaign ten years ago when she took the position… 

 

 

Visit Champaign President and CEO Jayne DeLuce. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The pandemic has prompted more Americans to consider moving to less populated areas and continuing to work from home and a new analysis from Business Insider found Illinois is well suited for post-pandemic refuge seekers. Springfield topped the list. Bloomington was fourth, Champaign was fifth, Peoria placed 28th, and Danville ranked 30th in the nation, according to the analysis. The business publication came up with the best places in the country to live in after the pandemic. The publication used nine economic, educational and demographic metrics for its ranking, including population density, housing affordability, commute times, and school spending per student.

 

(Washington-jm) -- U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth faces criticism for comments she made about removing statues of President George Washington. The junior Senator from Illinois told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday that the nation needs to have a dialogue about Washington and his ownership of slaves when the host asked her about calls for the first U.S. President’s statues to be removed.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The fight is on over whether or not Illinois voters should approve a change of the state’s flat income tax to a tax with higher rates for higher earners. The group “Vote Yes for Fairness” put out a series of 15-second video ads supporting the proposed constitutional amendment voters will decide on this November. Governor J.B. Pritzker this week gave the group $51.5 million. The Illinois Chamber of Commerce joined with other groups virtually across the state Tuesday to oppose the amendment. The Illinois Farm Bureau, National Federation of Independent Businesses and Manufacturing Association joined the Illinois Chamber of Commerce in opposing the amendment.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Coronavirus pandemic has caused an increase in the state unemployment numbers. The unemployment rate went over 17 percent in April and over 15 percent in May. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says that has activated a state law that helps put Illinoisans to work and is being enforced by the Illinois Department of Labor…

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. The law only applies to projects that receive state or federal funds.

 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- This week's USDA crop supply and demand forecasts will be based partially on those surprising planted acreage numbers that were released June 30th.  Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- A Danville man has been arrested on kidnapping and beating a Cissna Park woman. Police say a Cissna Park woman returned home and found her home had been broken into and Vincent Beard outside waiting for her. Beard forced the woman to drive to Danville punching her several times and threatening her with a gun. He is charged with aggravated kidnapping, armed robbery, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and aggravated battery.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating a theft that occurred sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning. The theft occurred in the 400 block of East Pine Street. Stolen was a wallet with currency, debit cards and drivers license, a fishing tackle box and a depth finder for a boat. Anyone with information is asked to call Paxton police.

 

 

(Champaign-cf)-- The COVID-19 testing site at the MarketPlace Mall in Champaign has been operated by the Illinois National Guard since it opened in late May. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde says that the National Guard will be pulling out of the site, and will be replaced by another testing agency that will offer walk-up testing as well…

 

 

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The state of Illinois is hoping to hire about 4,000 contact tracers in the fight against COVID-19, but the Federal Trade Commission is warning about scams related to contact tracing. Contact tracing involves calling people infected with the virus to see who they have had contact with in recent days. It also means reaching out to those who may have been exposed to people with COVID-19. The Federal Trade Commission reported scammers pretending to be coronavirus contact tracers are sending text messages to falsely warn people they’ve been exposed to someone with the virus and need to click a link to learn more. The link downloads malicious software onto a person’s smartphone, giving hackers access to private information.

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Secretary of State Jesse White's Office is unveiling a new organ and tissue donation ad campaign

(Springfield-jm) -- Worries about a surge of child abuse cases in Illinois persist as the state begins to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Calls to report suspected child abuse and neglect during the pandemic dropped by 57% in Illinois compared to the same time last year, according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. According to Illinois DCFS data, one in five children is abused or neglected before they turn 18 and 70 percent of child abuse is not reported. Anyone who suspects a child may be at risk is encouraged to call the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE.

 

 

(Undated-jm) --  More than $266 billion in stimulus payments was given out to Americans. In Illinois, nearly $10 billion was distributed to 5.9 million people. The payments were issued based on information from the 2018 and 2019 tax returns or social security benefits. There could be another round of stimulus checks coming. Congress could take up the issue as early as the end of this month.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is unveiling a new organ and tissue donation ad campaign. This year’s ad tells the story of a woman who received her life saving heart from her friend’s daughter. Secretary White urges the public to consider giving the gift of life…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. There are six point nine million Illinoisans currently signed up to be organ donors, but about 300 people still die waiting for an organ each year. Watch the ad and sign up today at: life goes on dot com.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 614 new cases of Coronavirus and 6 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number to 147,865 cases and 7,026 deaths. Locally, Iroquois County is reporting 6 new cases bringing their total to 168. Ford County is reporting 3 new cases bringing the total number to 40. Vermilion County is reporting 3 new cases bringing their total to 76. McLean County is reporting 7 new cases bringing their total number to 279. Kankakee County is reporting 10 new cases bringing their total number to 1,383. Champaign County is reporting 27 new cases bringing their total number to 958. Livingston County reported no new cases Monday leaving their total at 54.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for cases in area communities, 203 are in Rantoul, 61 in Mahomet, 53 in Clifton, 20 in Watseka, 17 in Fisher, 16 each in Chebanse and Onarga, 15 in St. Joseph, 13 in Paxton, 11 each in Gibson City and Ashkum, 9 in Hoopeston, 8 in Gilman, 7 each in Danforth and Crescent City, 6 each in Ludlow and Milford, 3 in Thomasboro, 2 in Foosland and 1 each in Dewey, Gifford and Penfield.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops dropped this past week. 22 percent of soybeans are blooming and one percent of the crop is setting pods. 63 percent of soybeans are rated in good to excellent condition, down from 68 percent the previous week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at corn…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture decreased to 3 percent very short, 26 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. The second cutting of alfalfa is now 38 percent complete.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating an armed robbery at a business in the village over the weekend. Police say two men entered the Dollar General around 6:15 pm Saturday evening, displayed a gun and demanded cash. The suspects are described as black males between 5 foot 9 and 6 feet tall, wearing brown hooded sweatshirts, masks and gloves. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- The Ludlow man who eluded U-S Marshals over the weekend who were trying to arrest him for murder and attempted murder in Kentucky, turned himself in Monday. Justin Hardin fled from his mother's house in Ludlow Friday as U-S Marshals arrived to arrest him. Officers attempted to search for him for about six hours before it was called off. Hardin is due in court this afternoon.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The first phase of the reconstruction of the I-57/I-74 interchange in Champaign will begin tomorrow. Construction will begin on the Bloomington Road bridge over I-57. In August both Mattis Road bridges will undergo construction. The bridges will be rebuilt higher and longer to accommodate the new ramps for the interchange.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- It was a hot and dry 4th of July weekend. But how does the forecast look for the rest of the month? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- A Ford County road will be closed for about a month. The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Monday, Route 115 between Roberts and Piper City will be closed for a bridge replacement. Work is expected to be completed in August.

(Chicago-jm) -- People traveling to Chicago from out-of-state may have to undergo a two-week quarantine. The states include: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. Those who don’t follow the order could be fined $500 per day.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Casinos that fail to follow guidelines aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus could be disciplined, including loss of their license, Illinois regulators warned. Requirements include face coverings in gaming establishments and casinos and social distancing along with regular hand washing.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is urging the public to be on the lookout for buckling roads as high temperatures persist. Extreme heat and humidity like the state is experiencing right now can cause the pavement to expand and buckle says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says they are asking people to report any road buckling they see by calling 1-800-452-IDOT or 9-1-1.

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops dropped this past week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 10 percent of corn is silking and 61 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. That compares to 67 percent the previous week. Turning to soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 82 percent of winter wheat has been harvested. Average statewide topsoil moisture is a little drier and now stands at 3 percent very short, 26 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

 

 

(Rural Fisher-jm) -- Multiple people were taken to the hospital following a single vehicle rollover accident near Fisher Monday afternoon. The accident occurred 600 East just south of Fisher around 4:15. At least two people were airlifted to the hospital. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Goodwill will be closed for a few days after an employee tested positive for the Coronavirus. The store closed Monday for cleaning and is expected to reopen on Thursday. 

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- The 2020 Hoopeston Sweetcorn Festival is the latest event to be canceled because of the Coronavirus. Organizers say the 77th National Sweetcorn Festival will take place September 2 through the 6th in 20-21.

 

 

(St. Joseph-cf)-- The Village of St. Joseph has made changes to their swimming pool and hot tub ordinances. The old ordinances were outdated and needed modifications. You must now call the village office before you install the pool to make sure that the location where the pool will be on your property is not covering any gas or sewer lines, or any other major line underground, says Mayor Tami Fruhling… 

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On July 1st, 30 year old Nathaniel Stokes of Gibson City was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle.

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A man wanted for attempted murder in Kentucky escaped from U-S Marshals Friday

(Ludlow-jm) -- A man wanted for attempted murder in Kentucky escaped from U-S Marshals Friday who tried to arrest him in Ludlow. Agents from the U-S Marshals office attempted to arrest Justin Hardin at his mother’s house around 8 am. Hardin escaped and a six hour manhunt ensued with 15 officers from the U-S Marshals office setting up a perimeter around the village looking for him. He is described as a white male approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing about 160 pounds with brown hair and a medium build. Anyone with information on his whereabouts are asked to call 9-1-1.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to a house fire Saturday evening. Firefighters were called to a porch on fire in the 300 block of West Pine Street just after 10 pm. No injuries were reported.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- At the June Council Meeting for the City of Paxton, the city was able to secure a grant for the “Rebuild Illinois” project. The grant can be used to repair city streets as well as sidewalks saysPaxton  Mayor Bill Ingold… 

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 147,251 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 7,020 deaths. Friday the state reported 868 new cases and 18 additional deaths, Saturday 862 new cases and 10 deaths and Sunday 639 new cases and 6 deaths. We will have the latest numbers tonight on our news at 4 and 5.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for cases in area communities. As of Sunday, 198 in Rantoul, 59 in Mahomet, 52 in Clifton, 20 in Watseka, 16 each in Chebanse and Onarga, 13 each in Paxton, Fisher and St. Joseph, 11 in Ashkum, 10 in Gibson City, 9 in Hoopeston, 8 in Gilman, 7 in Crescent City, 6 each in Ludlow, Danforth and Milford, 3 in Thomasboro, 2 in Foosland and 1 each in Gifford and Penfield.

 

 

(Fisher-cf)-- This year’s Fisher Fair will have a different twist. In place of the fair, postponed by the COVID-19 Pandemic, there will be a parade throughout the village. There will be a sidewalk chalk contest along with the parade, and entries will be judged, and winners will receive a season pass to the 2021 Fisher Fair says Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty…

 

 

Fisher Fair Secretary Jill Hardesty.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Could a family entertainment venue be coming to Rantoul? And could a hair salon in the village get a new home? Those answers depend on if the village will provide $1 million in loans. The village's EDA loan committee will meet Monday afternoon where they will consider a request for a  $500,000 loan to build a family entertainment venue on the village's west side that would feature miniature golf and arcade among other attractions. The second request, also for $500,000, would go to Shear Excellence. The hair salon is looking to use the money to purchase and renovate a building in the village allowing the salon to expand its services.

(Urbana-jm) -- One person is dead after an accident on I-74 in Champaign County early Saturday morning. Illinois State Police say 24 year old Caleb Sullivan of Urbana walked onto the interstate from the right shoulder and was struck by a vehicle driven by a woman from northern Illinois. The woman was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Sullivan was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Communities have until July 20th to apply for the state’s Restore, Reinvest and Renew Program. The “R-3” Program offers grants for initiatives in areas disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. The money comes from tax revenue generated by the sale of recreational marijuana and can be used to address several needs, says Quinn Rallins with the Lieutenant Governor’s office…

 

 

Quinn Rallins with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. Groups interested in applying for a grant should visit: r3 dot illinois dot gov. A map is available listing which areas are eligible.

 

 

(Champaign-cf)-- The State of Illinois has now moved into the 4th phase of the Rebuild Illinois Plan. Mayor of Champaign Deb Feinen discussed some of the protocols  implemented at bars and restaurants in Champaign…

 

 

Mayor of Champaign Deb Feinen. 

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- Vermilion Circuit Clerk Chief Deputy Missy Quick was appointed to Vermilion County Circuit Clerk. Quick replaced Denny Gardner following his retirement on June 30. Gardner was serving his third and final term as Vermilion County Circuit Clerk. Quick has been with the office for more than 29 years. 

 

 

(Rantoul--jc)  Downtown Rantoul is a destination on Friday nights. Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery says music, games and more started this past Friday…

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County is seeking people to fill several vacant positions. The county is seeking appointments to drainage districts and to fill unfilled positions on cemetery associations and boards, community action board, county board of health, developmental disability board and zoning board of appeals. Anyone interested can fill out an application on the county’s website.

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A Clay County judge ruled Thursday that Governor J.B. Pritzker's executive orders were void beyond the initial 30-day period

(Clay County-jm) --  A Clay County judge ruled Thursday that Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders were void beyond the initial 30-day period in a legal win for state Representative Darren Bailey. The Illinois Attorney General is expected to appeal and the case could go all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court. Pritzker called Bailey's lawsuit a political stunt.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The first report from the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission surfaced Thursday, a day after it was supposed to be shared with state lawmakers, and without any kind of meeting of the commission. The state law creating the Restore Illinois Collaborative Commission was signed by the governor last month and required an initial report on how to revive the state’s economy to be issued July 1. The report outlines various assistance programs the Pritzker administration facilitated, including hundreds of millions of tax dollars for things like job training, low-income energy assistance, business grants and more.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite the recent rains, June ended up drier and warmer than normal in Illinois. The statewide average temperature was nearly 74 degrees last month. That’s almost two degrees above normal and tying for the 26th warmest June on record in Illinois. The biggest departures were in Northern and Northeastern Illinois says State Climatologist Trent Ford…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford. Ford says precipitation varied widely last month, with areas of Western Illinois and East Central Illinois getting more than eight inches of rain and parts of Central and South-Central Illinois only receiving about half an inch. Ford says the short term outlook is calling for dry, hot weather.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 869 new cases of COVID-19 and 36 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 144,882 and total number of deaths to 6,987. Locally, Livingston County reported 4 new cases bringing their total number of cases to 51. McLean County reported 4  new cases bringing their total number to 265. Vermilion County reported 4 new cases bringing their total number to 71. Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 34. Kankakee County reported 6 new cases bringing their total number to 1,373. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 162. Champaign County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 901.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for cases in area communities, 195 are in Rantoul, 12 in Paxton, 7 each in Gibson City, Gilman, Crescent City and Hoopeston, 52 in Clifton, 16 each in Chebanse and Onarga, 11 in Ashkum, 19 in Watseka and 6 each in Danforth, Ludlow and Beaverville, 8 in Fisher, 1 each in Gifford and Penfield, 54 in Mahomet and 12 in St. Joseph.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating a report of shots fired in the village early Thursday morning. Police were called to the 600 block of St. Andrew’s Circle just before 1:30 am for a report of shots fired. A few minutes later officers received a fireworks complaint in the 1400 block of Mather (may-ther) Drive. No evidence of shots fired or fireworks were found. About 8:15 am police were called to the 1400 block of Eater (ate-er) Drive after a resident found several spent shell casings in the street. The resident reported hearing what they thought were fireworks earlier in the morning but did not call police. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Sheriff’s office has released their June activity numbers. Deputies responded to 7 traffic accidents and issued 34 citations during the month including 7 for speeding, 3 each for driving on a suspended license, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and illegal transportation of alcohol, 2 each for improper lane usage, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and reckless driving and 1 each for fleeing and eluding police, DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. Deputies also handled 12 reports of suspicious activity, 7 reports each of harassment and custody disputes, 6 domestic issues, 3 criminal damage to property reports and 2 each of fight in progress, burglary and hit and run.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will be holding a pork burger lunch this Saturday. Executive Director Sandy Spitz talks about the lunch…

 

Christ Lutheran High School Executive Director Sandy Spitz.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- IDOT is suspending road construction and reopening some lanes of roads for the 4th of July holiday weekend to minimize travel disruptions. Where lane closures remain, IDOT reminds motorists work zone speed limits will remain in effect. 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA is offering loan repayment flexibility during the time of the pandemic.  Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Paxton IGA will hold a cookout benefiting Cornerstone Youth on Saturday, July 4th from 10-2.

 

Buckley will hold a 4th of July parade on Saturday, July 4th starting at 10:30 am

(Springfield-jm) --  A recent survey shows how Americans feel about the economic situation during and after the pandemic. The website WalletHub examined people’s thoughts on travel and dining, and how soon the country will recover financially. The survey also asked about taxes.  Governor J.B. Pritzker is going forward with his progressive income tax proposal which includes a $3.7 billion tax increase. The majority of respondents are not in favor of a tax hike.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More Illinoisans went back to work last week as the nation posted record job gains, but a full recovery remains far off. The U.S. Department of Labor posted both its weekly unemployment figures and June unemployment data ahead of the holiday weekend. The department announced the nation added 4.8 million jobs in June, shattering previous records and expectations. The last record was in May when the U.S. added 2.7 million jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1 percent in June. In Illinois, 45,249 workers filed initial claims for unemployment in the week ending June 27. That’s a decrease of 1,027 from the week prior. June’s unemployment rate has yet to be released, but the Illinois Department of Employment Security said May’s unemployment rate was 14.7 percent.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor is alerting local officials about a new hiring requirement for public works projects. A law requiring at least 90 percent of workers hired for a public works job to be from Illinois kicks in after two months of a state unemployment rate higher than five percent says Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. Keller says the requirement will be enforced by the Department of Labor and Illinois Attorney General’s Office. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 869 new cases of COVID-19 and 36 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 144,882 and total number of deaths to 6,987. As for active and recovered cases, in Livingston County 39 have been removed from isolation with 10 active cases. In McLean County 238 have been released from isolation with 13 in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 44 have been released from isolation, 23 remain in isolation with 2 hospitalized. In Ford County, 25 have been released from isolation and 8 are in isolation. In Kankakee County, 995 have recovered, 315 remain active with 10 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 144 have recovered and 13 remain in isolation. In Champaign County, 775 have recovered, 114 remain active with 4 hospitalized.

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On June 28th, Dominick Stallone, 65, of Paxton was arrested for violating an order of protection after police were called to a dispute on Dawn Avenue. On June 26th, an unknown vehicle ran over the stop sign at Market and Pells. Anyone with information is asked to call Paxton police.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for a sexual assault last year. 46 year old Roberto Velazquez received the sentence after pleading guilty in Champaign County court to criminal sexual assault. Prosecutors say Velazquez assaulted the intoxicated woman at a party in Rantoul back in March of 2019. He was given credit for 239 days served.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- The dust plume traveling from the Sarhian desert has gotten national attention over the past several weeks and it could reach to Central Illinois making the sky a milky color. What is the dust plum, and what causes it? Fox 55/27 Meteorologist Doug Quick fills us in…

 

 

Fox 55/27 Meteorologist Doug Quick. You can hear Doug on WPXN hourly and on dougquick.com. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office is announcing closures of all drivers services facilities for the 4th of July holiday. Facilities open Monday through Friday will be closed today. Facilities open Tuesday through Saturday will be closed on Saturday.

 

The Rantoul VFW and American Legion will host a 4th of July parade on Saturday at 10 am starting at the police station, head east to Chanute Street, south on Chanute to Sangamon then west to the train station.

 

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley is hosting a drive thru pork burger lunch on Saturday, July 4th from 11-1.

 

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Expect to see more police out on the roads over the 4th of July holiday weekend

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report from an Illinois think tank says the state was ill-prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily because of a pre-existing shortage of nurses, and that the pandemic has left state even more vulnerable in the event of another public health crisis. The report, by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute also argues the state would be in a better position if nurses at more hospitals were unionized and if the state adopted a law requiring mandatory minimum nurse staffing levels, an idea that was proposed in the 2019 legislative session but was not adopted. The Illinois Health and Hospital Association agrees there is a nursing shortage, it argues the lack of preparedness was more of a federal problem, and that the nursing shortage did not diminish the quality of care patients received. It strongly opposes legislation requiring minimum nurse staffing levels at hospitals, and disputes any correlation between the quality of patient care and the presence of a nurses’ union in a hospital.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A lawsuit challenging Governor J-B Pritzker’s COVID-19 orders will be heard in a Clay County court this afternoon. State Representative Darren Bailey filed the suit challenging whether the Governor can extend emergency declarations beyond 30 days as well as whether the Governor has the power to close businesses.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Expect to see more police out on the roads over the 4th of July holiday weekend. ISP Captain JW Price says they are boosting patrols and troopers will be looking for speeders, distracted drivers and drunk drivers…

 

 

Illinois State Police Captain JW Price. That includes having a designated driver, using a ride share service, taxi or public transportation. If you get behind someone that appears to be driving drunk, pull over and call 9-1-1.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing 828 new cases of COVID-19 and 30 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 144,013 and deaths to 6,951. Locally, Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 33. Vermilion County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 67. McLean County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 261. Livingston County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 47. Kankakee County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 1,367. Champaign County reported 24 new cases bringing their total to 890. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 160.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for cases in local communities...192 are in Rantoul, 54 in Mahomet, 52 in Clifton, 18 in Watseka, 15 each in Chebanse and Onarga, 12 each in Paxton and St. Joseph, 11 in Ashkum, 7 each in Gilman, Crescent City and Hoopeston, 6 each in Gibson City, Ludlow and Danforth, 5 in Fisher, 3 in Thomasboro and 1 each in Gifford and Penfield.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- The dust plum that is traveling from the Sarhian desert to the United States could be here this week. What will the chance of rain showers look like if the cloud reaches Central Illinois? Fox 55/27 Meteorologist Doug Quick has the answer… 

 

 

Fox 55/27 Meteorologist Doug Quick. You can hear Doug on WPXN hourly and on dougquick.com. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department is announcing 6 cases of Cyclosporiasis. According to the health department, the outbreak is part of a multi-state outbreak believed to be linked to packaged garden salads. Symptoms of Cyclosporiasis include water diarrhea, loss of appetite, cramping, bloating or increased gas, nausea and fatigue.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton Freedom Celebration was postponed earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The insurance company also told the city they wouldn’t insure the fireworks display due to the pandemic, says Mayor Bill Ingold… 

 

 

The City also sets aside $7,500 dollars for the display, and raises another $7,500 by donations from businesses and citizens, with the pandemic and businesses being shut down, it wasn’t the time to ask for donations says Mayor Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture has released junior livestock and horse show dates. Beef cattle, sheep, dairy goats, pygmy goats and rabbits will be shows at the state fairgrounds September 11-13. Swine, dairy cattle and meat goats will show September 18-20. The English Jr Horse show will take place August 29 and 30 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds with the Western Jr Horse show September 3-6 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds. The competitions are for ages 8-21.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation said online banking has increased 50% because of the COVID-19 pandemic and scammers are taking advantage. The bureau warned against two types of scams especially: one is the creation of fake banking apps, and the other is installing “trojans,” a form of malware that can take control of your phone or tablet and then extract information from your banking app when you open it. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police are reporting a reduction in forensic backlogs. State police say through funding initiatives and the creation of a task force to address the backlog, they reduced the backlog by 33 percent. State police hope to continue to reduce the backlog at the 6 crime labs across the state.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law taking effect this week in Illinois further cracks down on distracted driving. Illinois was one of the first states to ban texting while driving, and the law has been tweaked over the years says Secretary of State Jesse White’s Spokesperson, Henry Haupt…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s Spokesperson Henry Haupt. Those caught face a minimum fine of one thousand dollars and may also have their driver’s license suspended or revoked. Motorists could also lose their license under another new law if they fail to yield at a crosswalk and  seriously injure someone.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- No additional COVID-19 deaths were reported in the area Wednesday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing 828 new cases of COVID-19 and 30 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 144,013 and deaths to 6,951. As for active and recovered cases locally, Ford County is reporting 25 have been released from isolation while 7 remain in isolation. Vermilion County is reporting 44 have been released from isolation, 22 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. McLean County is reporting 238 have recovered, 9 are in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 39 have been removed from isolation with 6 active cases. Kankakee County is reporting 983 have recovered, 321 are active with 6 hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 761 have recovered, 117 are active with 7 hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 135 have recovered with 20 in isolation.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- Most fans that have attended the State Farm Center since it was renovated in 2015 know there are a lot of new amenities in the arena. Visit Champaign President and CEO Jane DeLuce says those amenities are what helped sell the arena to the IHSA board to bring the IHSA State Finals back to Champaign Urbana…

 

 

DeLuce also says outside of the arena, when the IHSA was present for their walk through over 150 community members were present in the Traditions Club saying “we want you back”... 

 

Visit Champaign President and CEO Jayne DeLuce. 


 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is hiring more than 100 people to help collect COVID-19 tests. The university wants to test all staff, faculty, and students as they come back this summer and fall. 20 test sites will be set up around campus with the goal to process 10,000 tests a day. After the initial test, the university wants everyone to be tested again three to four days later to confirm their first result.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Local municipalities are looking to determine the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on their budgets. One of those communities is Gilman. Mayor Rick Theesfield says some projects could be affected…

 

Gilman Mayor Rick Theesfield.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- Thomasboro Grade School students will be returning to the classroom later than expected. The school board approved starting the new school year two weeks later to give the district more time to implement safety protocols. Parents have some options for their students. They can enroll them in all remote learning, all in person learning or a combination of both. Classes for the Thomasboro Grade School district will begin August 10th.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- Bars and restaurants in the City of Urbana have been open for outdoor dining since the beginning of phase three. Mayor Diane Marlin describes how that process has gone, and that we have been blessed with really good weather…

 

Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin.

 

 

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Illinois gas tax increases seven-tenths of a penny today

(Springfield-jm) -- It’ll cost about a nickel or a dime more when filling up with gas in Illinois starting today when the state’s gas tax increases seven-tenths of a penny, a year after state lawmakers doubled the gas tax and tied annual increases to the rate of inflation. Last year lawmakers passed a doubling of the state’s gas tax from 19 cents a gallon to 38 cents a gallon. And the tax receipts show it. From July 2019 to May 2020, Illinois drivers paid $1.24 billion more than the same time the year before. The same law also pegged future increases to the consumer price index. The annual increase tied to the Consumer Price Index raises the gas tax today from 38 cents to 38.7 cents a gallon.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- There’s still no certainty regarding how Illinois will cover $6.3 billion of its upcoming pandemic-era spending plan that starts today. Despite projected revenues being down by billions of dollars because of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the $42.9 billion spending plan that begins July 1 is the largest in state history. $6.3 billion of the planned spending in the fiscal year 2021 budget has not yet materialized. One line item is $5 billion in borrowing from the federal government to pay off a $5 billion loan from a federal reserve program. Around $1.3 billion of the state’s planned spending is based on a tax increase from the progressive income tax on the ballot for Illinois voters to decide this November.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Farmers in Illinois and across the country planted more corn and soybeans this year. 10 point 4 million acres of soybeans have been planted, that’s an increase of five percent over last year, says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Looking at corn…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Nationally, corn acreage is up by three percent and soybean acreage is up by 10 percent compared to last year.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 724 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 143,185 and deaths to 6,923. Locally, McLean County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 260. Vermilion County also reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 64. Kankakee County reported 8 new cases bringing their total number to 1,358. Champaign County reported 12 new cases bringing their total number to 866. Ford, Iroquois and Livingston Counties all reported no new cases leaving their totals at 32, 157 and 45 respectively.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health along with area health departments are reporting cases in area communities. 189 cases are in Rantoul, 52 in Clifton, 48 in Mahomet, 37 in Pontiac, 18 in Watseka, 15 in Chebanse, 11 in Ashkum, 10 each in Onarga and Paxton, 9 in St. Joseph, 7 each in Gilman, Crescent City and Hoopeston, 6 each in Danforth, Gibson City, Ludlow and Fairbury, 3 each in Fisher and Thomasboro and 1 each in Gifford, Penfield, Saybrook and Colfax.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The 4th of July holiday is this weekend and many are stressing safety. One of those includes 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.


 

(Champaign-jm) -- No injuries were reported after a semi rolled over near Champaign Tuesday afternoon. Illinois State Police say the semi was getting off I-57 onto the westbound I-72 ramp when his load shifted causing the vehicle to overturn.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- Playgrounds are now open statewide in Phase 4. Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde says it will be on the parents or caretaker of the child to make sure that their hands are clean when children are done playing on the equipment to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus…

 

 

Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating after a teen was shot with a paintball over the weekend. Police say the teen was walking in the 1100 block of Fairlawn drive just before 5pm Sunday evening. The teen told police a passenger in a vehicle rolled down a window and fired several shots striking the teen 3 times. Police say 4 black males were in the vehicle at the time. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Those wanting to golf and support a great cause can do so in Rantoul. The Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting their golf outing in September says Director Amanda Vickery…

 

 

Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickery.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two area attractions at the Champaign County Forest Preserve will be reopening in July. The forest preserve announced the Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet and the Homer Lake Interpretive Center between St. Joseph and Homer will be opening July 8th on a limited basis and with restrictions in place. The Homer Lake Interpretive Center will be open from 1-5 pm Wednesday through Friday with a limit of 10 people at a time. The Museum of the Grand Prairie will be open from 1-5 pm Wednesday through Friday but you must sign up for a 1 hour time slot on their website ccfpd dot org. There will also be a limit of 10 at a time and the 1st hour every Wednesday will be for those 65 and over and vulnerable groups. Masks and social distancing will be required at both locations.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is announcing $250 million in additional relief to assist communities respond to COVID-19. The money is through the Federal CARES act. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A Clay County couple is suing the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education over the school reopening guidelines. The lawsuit was brought by James and Kali Mainer, the parents of three young children. The Mainers claim the guidelines are "unlawful as well as arbitrary and capricious." The Mainers take issue specifically with the face mask and temperature check requirements in the lawsuit. The couple is asking for a judge to determine the school reopening guidelines consisting of the face mask requirement, temperature checks, and the 50 person gathering limit is unlawful.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Farmers in Illinois and across the country planted more corn and soybeans this year. Nationally, soybean acreage is up by 10 percent and corn acreage is up by three percent. In Illinois 10 point 9 million acres of corn were planted, an increase of four percent compared to last year. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener looks at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. An estimated 490 thousand acres of hay will be harvested in Illinois this year, up 17 percent from 2019. The winter wheat harvest is expected to be down this year.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 724 new cases of COVID-19 and 23 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 143,185 and deaths to 6,923. As for local active and recovered cases...McLean County is reporting 237 have recovered and 10 are in isolation. Vermilion County is reporting 41 have been released from isolation, 20 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 134 have recovered and 18 remain in isolation. In Kankakee County, 981 have recovered, 314 cases are active with 6 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 37 have been removed from isolation with 6 active cases. In Ford County, 25 have been released from isolation with 6 remaining in isolation. In Champaign County, 755 have recovered, while 99 cases remain active and 8 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- For the 6th straight day no new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in the WPXN listening area.

 

 

(St. Joe-cf)-- The Village of St. Joseph will be moving forward in a drainage project on 1st street. However, a majority of the standing water that occurs is located on Sherman Street. The Village has made minor fixes to the drains but it’s now time to for a new drainage system in the area says Mayor Tami Fruhling… 

 

 

St. Joseph Mayor Tami Fruhling

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- Ludlow residents will see a rise in their water bills. Residents inside village limits will see their rates increase $45 in July. Those outside of the village limits will see their rates go increase $67.50. An additional hike is expected in 2021. The increase is to pay off a loan for the new water main replacement project.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- The new format of the IHSA boys tournament starting in 2021 will all be completed in one weekend. There are also plans for other events to happen during that weekend in Champaign, and surrounding communities… 

 

 

Visit Champaign President and CEO Jayne DeLuce. 

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- Danville Area Community College is offering commercial refrigeration training this summer. The training will take place Wednesday and Thursday nights starting July 15th through September 17th from 6-9:15 at the DACC Technology Center. Cost is $750 plus books. For more information about the program or financial assistance call 217-554-1628.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department is asking the public to once again collect dead birds for testing for the West Nile Virus. Every summer the health department collects dead birds to be sent off for testing for the virus. Christy Wallace with the Ford County Public Health Department says there are some criteria for collecting dead birds…

 

 

Christy Wallace with the Ford County Public Health Department. If you suspect you have a dead bird that could be used for testing, call the health department at 217-379-9281.

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Nominations are being sought for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. Since 2002, the Illinois Conservation Foundation has been accepting nominations for the fame. Nominees should have shown improved conservation efforts or outdoor recreation opportunities in Illinois. Nominations are due by July 8th and can be found online at il conservation dot org slash who we are slash outdoor hall of fame.

 

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