WPXN Blog Archives for 2020-08

Talks on another round of Coronavirus relief continues in Washington

(Springfield-jm) -- Half of Illinois high school students reported using an electronic tobacco product last year, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found, “erasing gains” made by health advocates in recent years to curb tobacco use.  The federal agency also found roughly one in five Illinois high school students used electronic tobacco products at least one day during the 30-day period before responding to its survey. Nationwide, that number was approximately one third of high school students. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s transportation director said gas tax revenues are down from estimates and that will push some projects from the multi-year construction plan back a year. Motor fuel tax revenues are down $82 million from this time last year, despite a doubling of the state’s gas tax. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinoisans have already requested more than one million mail in ballots. Avoiding the polls and mailing in the November ballot is proving to be a popular option, with one point one million requested so far says State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich…

 

 

State Board of Elections Spokesperson Matt Dietrich. Under a new state law, applications for mail in ballots were sent to all recent voters. You can also request a ballot at elections dot il dot gov. They will be mailed out in late September.


 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 233,000 COVID-19 cases and 8,019 COVID deaths, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Cases at universities around the state continue to rise. Illinois State University has 933 positive cases and the University of Illinois is reporting almost 800.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Talks on another round of Coronavirus relief continues in Washington. One part being negotiated is another round of stimulus checks says 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul Township High School student and two Rantoul City Schools students have tested positive for the Coronavirus. The schools made the announcement to parents and staff Friday. The Rantoul students are the latest in the area after 2 PBL students and 2 students in the Mahomet Seymour school district have also tested positive so far this school year.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Illinois seniors will have some reprieve when it comes to renewing their driver's license. Secretary of State Jesse White announced last week those 75 and older have a year extension to renew their license says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The parking lot and tennis courts at the Paxton Park District will be resealed. The park district approved spending $12,000 to reseal the parking lot at the swimming pool and just over $78 hundred to reseal the tennis court.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- After a decline in the global economy this year, one analyst says there is likely going to be a rebound in 2021 that will help boost U.S. agricultural product exports. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois homeowners, and those who pay through rent, paid a higher tax rate than all but one other state in America.  At 2.05 percent of the average market value of their home, Illinois owners shelled out a higher portion of their home’s value in property taxes than any other state in 2018 with the exception of New Jersey. That’s according to an annual report from the nonprofit Tax Foundation. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- 30 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19. The warning is triggered when certain metrics are hit, such as a high hospitalization or test positivity rate says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. New counties added to the warning list include Cook, Sangamon, Effingham, Jo Davies and Pike. You can view COVID numbers for your county on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website.


 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois is reporting 8,019 COVID deaths and 233,355 confirmed COVID cases. Over the weekend, University of Illinois students, faculty and building service workers protested the campus’ handling of the pandemic. The group’s protest started on the Quad and went to the President’s house where they said they didn’t feel safe being on campus during the pandemic.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton-Buckley Loda Hall of Fame class has been announced. Robert Frump, who graduated from Paxton High School in 1965 and is a Pulitzer Prize Winner, and Harold Kenny graduated from Loda High School in 1922 and went to the University of Illinois and graduated from Vanderbilt University. Kenny Coached wrestling at Illinois and won 5 Big Ten Titles. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline to pay their second installment of real estate taxes without penalty is coming soon. The deadline to pay is tomorrow. After that day a late penalty will be assessed. You can pay your real estate taxes at the Treasurer’s office between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday, by mail, or at any Iroquois County bank.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker is touting the success of the state’s contact tracing efforts in the fight against Coronavirus. The state provided grants to health departments to higher contact tracers says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is reminding area non profits the deadline to apply for Community Commitment Grants is today. The grants are funded by endowments from donors. Eligible non profits can apply for up to $7,500. For more information call the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois at 217-359-0125.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- There's encouraging news about Illinois' potential for wind energy development in a new analysis. Mary Scheurmann reports…

 

 

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The unemployment rate is up and jobs are down in all 14 of the state's metro areas

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois residents should expect fewer road repairs, community programs and other local government-provided services and higher locally-imposed tax rates as officials struggle with COVID-19-induced revenue shortfalls, a municipal government advocacy group warned this week. According to a survey conducted by the Illinois Municipal League, almost nine out of 10 city and town governments expect a 20 to 30 percent drop in revenue from March 1 through July 24 as compared to the year before. Just over 225 of the state’s roughly 1,200 municipalities responded to the poll. Local governments collect funds through taxes on retail purchases, fuel, gaming, property and income as well as utility and permit fees, for example. But because of economic restrictions implemented by Governor JB Pritzker to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, many of those sources generated fewer funds than officials expected.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Leading Illinois business associations are giving up hope on the Illinois Legislature and going to members of Congress to address liability protection in the era of COVID-19. A report from Fisher Phillips has Illinois with the sixth or seventh most COVID-19-related complaints being filed in the judicial system. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The unemployment rate is up and jobs are down in all 14 of the state’s metro areas. The metro figures compare numbers from this July to the previous July. With the addition of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro says it’s been a tough year…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Salustro says the state is making progress while trying to safely reopen the economy. Locally, Champaign County’s unemployment rate rose from 4.2 percent to 8.1 percent. Ford County’s rose from 4.4 percent to 7.6 percent. Vermilion County’s rose from 5.4 percent to 9.9 percent. Iroquois County’s rose from 3.8 percent to 6.2 percent. McLean County’s rose from 4.1 percent to 8 percent.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced another 1,707 cases of Coronavirus and 24 additional deaths Thursday. Locally, Vermilion County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 303. Livingston County 2 new cases bringing their total to 178. McLean County 56 new cases bringing their total to 1,292. Champaign County 40 new cases bringing their total to 2,133. Kankakee County 19 new cases bringing their total to 2,182. Iroquois County 4 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total cases to 315 and deaths to 19. Ford County reported no new cases leaving their total at 98.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Work continues on the $20 million dollar sports complex on Rantouls west side. The project will include several baseball and softball fields as well as a football, field hockey and lacrosse field. New sports complex director Ryan Reed says they have a lot of events already planned…

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- An autopsy is scheduled for today for an Iroquois County Jail inmate. 24 year old Andre Maiden of Hoopeston was found unresponsive in his cell August 26th. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Maiden was the second inmate found unresponsive in the jail this week. Another inmate, Jason Fancher, was found unresponsive August 25th. Fancher remains in critical condition. Illinois State Police are investigating both incidents.

 

 

(Rural Rantoul-jm) -- A Tuscola man on parole faces up to 14 years in prison after he was found in possession of a shotgun near Rantoul. Champaign County deputies were called to the Eastside Mobile Home Village between Rantoul and Gifford for a man carrying a shotgun and slashing vehicle tires. Terry Porter was arrested and charged with unlawful use of weapons by a felon. Bond was set at $50,000. He is due back in court October 20th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Congressional leaders are still discussing unemployment benefits that ran out a few weeks ago. Those who were unemployed due to the Coronavirus pandemic were receiving an extra $600. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois believes there will be some kind of a temporary boost…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The village of Buckley is warning residents about golf cart use. The village has received complaints about people using golf carts on sidewalks and unlicensed golf carts being driven into town. Village leaders say golf carts should only be used on the road and only those licensed with the village are allowed to use them within village limits.

 

 

(Kankakee-jm) -- The Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley is accepting applications for $33,000 in grants for non profits in Iroquois and Kankakee Counties. The grants are through the Robert K. Dunn Perpetual Trust Fund.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting Melvin Men’s Group on Saturday, from 10-2.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Exelon will shutter two of its six nuclear power generation facilities in Illinois in 2021. The company announced its Byron facility would cease operation in September 2021 and its Dresden facility will shut down in November 2021. The Dresden and Byron facilities employ more than 1,500 full-time employees and 2,000 supplemental workers during refueling outages. The two plants, which supply about 30 percent of the state's carbon-free energy, pay nearly $63 million in taxes each year, according to the company. The company says facilities at Braidwood and LaSalle are now considered high risk and could be the next ones to close.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Governor J.B. Pritzker has rescinded a requirement widely-criticized as a deal cut with a Chicago-area casino that required anyone hoping to place online bets for sporting events to register in person at a casino. The move is projected to bring the state millions of dollars per month in additional revenue. Pritzker’s executive order not only re-extended his ongoing emergency COVID-19 restrictions but it also removed the in-person requirement to register for popular online betting sites like FanDuel or DraftKings. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This weekend marks “Saturation Saturday” when police will really be cracking down on impaired drivers. As the Labor Day holiday approaches, cops want to send a strong message that drinking or using drugs and driving will not be tolerated says the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Shannon Alderman…

 

 

Illinois Department of Transportation’s Shannon Alderman. While numbers have improved over the years, Alderman says about 300 people die each year in alcohol related crashes on Illinois roads each year.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois is now reporting 227,334 Coronavirus cases and 7,977 deaths. Iroquois County recorded their 19th death yesterday. As for local active and recovered cases, in Vermilion County, 273 have recovered, 26 are in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 156 have been removed from isolation and 18 cases are active. In McLean County, 780 have recovered, 493 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,737 have recovered, 376 cases are active and 2 are hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,520 have recovered, 595 cases are active and 15 are hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 273 have been released from isolation, 22 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Ford County, 79 have been released from isolation while 17 remain in isolation.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul business is closing, the victim of the Coronavirus pandemic. Family Video announced their last day will be October 26th. The store is selling off all their movies and games.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The City of Urbana is expanding their guidelines for parties and gatherings. The original order limited the size to a maximum of 10 people in and near the U of I campus. Now the order is for the whole city. The order is set to expire September 28th.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The FY21 Budget for the Paxton-Buckley-School District will see a deficit this year. The district has added to the staff with another nurse, custodian, and making sure they have all the PPE needed for the school year, as well as making sure each student has access to a computer. Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure. With the deficit, not all of the income has been counted at this time, and that number could shrink.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police in Pesotum have announced results of a recent occupant restraint enforcement patrol. The patrol was held in Champaign County and yielded 19 safety belt citations and 1 child restraint citation.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Mahomet youth interested in flag football, the deadline to register is fast approaching. The deadline is Tuesday, September 1st. Visit mahomet recreation dot com to sign up.

 

The Old Courthouse Museum in Watseka will hold a drive thru pork tenderloin sandwich dinner this evening from 4 to 7 pm.

 

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The state Department of Public Health announced 2,157 new cases Wednesday and 37 additional deaths

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has more than 225,000 Coronavirus cases and deaths near 8,000. The state Department of Public Health announced 2,157 new cases Wednesday and 37 additional deaths. Despite the numbers the seven day positivity rate fell to 4 percent. Locally, Vermilion County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 298. Livingston County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 176. McLean County reported 50 new cases bringing their total to 1,236. Champaign County reported 32 new cases bringing their total to 2,093. Kankakee County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 2,163. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 311. Ford County reported no new cases Wednesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says the state’s organ and tissue donation registry is now seven million donors strong. Secretary White says it’s great to see so many Illinoisans with a giving spirit, especially high schoolers that can now sign up…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. Still, White says about four thousand people are currently in need of an organ and 300 die each year waiting for a transplant. Sign up to become a donor at: life goes on dot com.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- A suburban Chicago man is dead after a crash on I-57 at Gilman Wednesday. Illinois State Police say 70 year old Frank Horn of Burbank, Illinois was traveling north on I-57 near the Gilman exit when his car left the road and struck a fence and tree. Horn was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the vehicle was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The woman who was driving drunk when she drove her car off an unfinished bridge in Champaign last September has been sentenced to 6 years in prison. Police say Ashia Marshall drove through a closed construction zone at the Bradley Avenue bridge, went airborne and landed on the shoulder of I-57. Marshall and two others in the vehicle received non life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson Area Hospital is announcing the final day for their free drive thru COVID-19 testing site will be September 10th. The last few testing dates are August 31st, September 2nd, 8th and 10th. Hours are 10 am to 6pm. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn and soybean conditions numbers continue to decline, nationwide. Stephanie Ho has the latest…

 

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- The village of Loda will begin opening bids for their water tower project in September. The new water tower will feature an in ground water supply tank. The project is expected to be completed in April 2021.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- New unemployment numbers for the state are out. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the numbers are mixed…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is announcing an $85 million settlement with automaker Honda. Raoul says Honda concealed safety issues related to defects from airbags made by Takata.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,157 new cases of Coronavirus Wednesday and 37 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 225,627 and total deaths to 7,954. The seven day positivity rate is 4 percent. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 25 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 156 have been removed from isolation and 16 cases are active. McLean County is reporting 766 have recovered, 450 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,730 have recovered, 343 cases are active and 2 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,501 have recovered, 595 cases are active and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 20 remain in isolation and 4 hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 79 have been released from isolation and 17 remain in isolation. No additional deaths were reported in the WPXN listening area Wednesday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has hit a milestone in its massive Papers of Lincoln Project. Every known document written to or by the 16th President from his birth to the end of his single term in Congress is now available online. The most recent addition is the eight year period between 1841 and 1849 says project director, Dr Daniel Worthington…

 

 

Papers of Lincoln Project Director Dr Daniel Worthington. Worthington says they have published about nine thousand documents so far with more to come. Visit them online at: papers of abraham lincoln dot org.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Illinois State Police are investigating a pair of incidents at the Iroquois County Jail, one of which resulted in the death of an inmate. On August 25th an inmate was found unresponsive and was taken to the hospital where they remain in critical condition. On August 26th, a second inmate was found unresponsive. That inmate was taken to the hospital where they were later pronounced deceased.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- AMC has announced they will reopen 170 movie theaters today including the one in Champaign. Movie goers will see enhanced cleaning, contactless payment, limited seating and the use of masks by everyone.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police are warning residents to pick up after themselves at the city’s parks or they will be closed. The department made the announcement Wednesday on social media. The police chief said he spent 20 minutes cleaning up one of the city’s parks.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Are retail food prices finally starting to come down from their high spring and summer levels?  Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton church is looking for a new pastor. Levi Deatrick and his family are leaving the Grace Baptist Church after 15 years. Deatrick and his family are moving to North Carolina where he recently took a position at this brothers church. 

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols on August 31st. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is reporting their 9th consecutive year of record tourism. Over 120 million visitors spent $43.1 billion last year in Illinois according to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

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A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff

(Springfield-jm) -- A new survey by the Illinois Municipal League found the majority of communities are facing revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19. The group reports the shortfalls are around 20-30% when compared to last year. Municipalities reported shortfalls across several categories that usually generate tax revenue, with the following sources resulting in the largest losses: 21% reported a loss in sales tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in gaming tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in motor fuel tax revenue and 15% reported a loss in income tax revenue.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinoisans are poisoning themselves through everyday activity, most would think would help keep you safer and healthier especially during this pandemic. The Coronavirus pandemic causing people to over clean or those who are cleaning doing it incorrectly resulting in a thirty-three percent spike in cases for the Illinois Poison Center. Illinois Poison Center numbers jumped even higher to forty-nine percent exposures in March and April. Illinois Poison Center estimates handling eight thousand exposure cases in a twelve-month time frame during the pandemic.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff. Governor J-B Pritzker says with COVID-19 numbers rising, the new requirement is meant to protect workers and help slow the spread of the virus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Patrons must already wear a mask in a bar or restaurant unless they are eating or drinking at a table or up at the bar.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported almost 17 hundred new Coronavirus cases Tuesday and 29 additional deaths. Locally, McLean County reported 43 new cases bringing their total to 1,186. Livingston County reported 1 new case and an additional death bringing their case total to 173 and total deaths to 4. Kankakee County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 2,141. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 297. Champaign County reported 86 new cases bringing their total to 2,061. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 308. Ford County reported no new cases Tuesday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for total cases in area communities as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 265 in Rantoul, 104 in Mahomet, 66 in Gilman, 60 in Clifton, 40 in Watseka, 35 in Paxton, 30 each in Fisher and St. Joseph, 28 in Chebanse, 23 in Hoopeston, 21 in Onarga, 16 in Fairbury, 14 in Ashkum, 12 each in Gibson City and Forrest, 10 in Danforth, 9 each in Foosland and Crescent City, 7 each in Potomac, Gifford, Milford, Bellflower and Saybrook, 6 each in Thomasboro, Ludlow, Piper City, Cissna Park, Rossville, Donovan, Martinton and Beaverville, 5 in Dewey and 1 in Penfield. Note not all of these cases are considered active by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Seniors 75 and older are getting more time to renew their driver’s license. Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker says they are hoping to reduce lines and protect seniors from exposure to the Coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker. Letters will be sent to those who qualify and Druker says you should keep it as proof of the one year extension. License expiration dates for all other drivers have been pushed to November 1st.

 

 

(Rural Gibson City-jm) -- A FedEx driver received minor injuries after a collision with a train near Gibson City Tuesday. The accident occurred on Route 54 at 600 East just before 11:30. Ford County Sheriff’s police say the driver didn’t see the training coming until it was too late. The train struck the front bumper of the truck. The driver received some scrapes, no one on the train was injured.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Congressman John Shimkus is accepting applications for military service academy nominations. To be eligible: applicants must be American citizens at least 17 but not more than 23 years of age, not married or have legal obligations of child support and must live within the 15th Congressional District. Applications are due by October 30th and can be obtained by calling his office at 618-288-7190.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County COVID relief fund has distributed $160,570 in grants to k-12 students and families. Among the recipients are the Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education which received $2,200. The Hoopeston Multi-Agency received $3,000. Mahomet Seymour schools received $1,250. Rantoul City Schools received $6,500.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The FY21 budget for PBL has some good news. The Equalized Assessed Valuation or EAV has gone up for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heurmann is announcing his office will be increasing patrols between now and the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to the latest data from IDOT, in 2018, 121 alcohol related accidents occurred in this time frame in Champaign County resulting in 4 fatalities and 53 injuries. There were also 32 drug related accidents resulting in 8 fatalities and 10 injuries. So far in 2020, Champaign County deputies made 56 DUI alcohol arrests, 9 DUI drug arrests and drug or alcohol impairment was a contributing factor in at least 12 accidents.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s budget deficit could be significant because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the latest numbers…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that $10 million in funding is available to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts in Illinois communities. The grants will be provided to municipalities, counties, and land banks through the state's Strong Communities Program. This program helps local government agencies acquire, maintain, rehabilitate, and demolish abandoned residential properties in their areas. Local government agencies can receive grants of up to $250,000 through the program.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing the review of the Long Term Care Bureau in response to delays in complaint investigations during the pandemic. The bureau investigates abuse and neglect complaints. An independent consultant and former U-S Attorney have been hired for the review.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A second region of the state is moving to tighter COVID-19 restrictions. First it was the Metro East area, and now it’s Will and Kankakee Counties that are under stricter guidelines. That’s thanks to rising cases says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The restrictions for Will and Kankakee areas are stricter than those in place in the Metro East and include a ban on indoor dining and bar service. The Governor says if the Metro East numbers don’t improve, that area will also face these tougher measures starting September 2nd.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has over 223,000 Coronavirus cases and over 79 hundred deaths after the state reported an additional 1,680 cases and 29 deaths Tuesday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 727 have recovered, 439 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 150 have been removed from isolation, 19 cases are active with 1 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,475 have recovered, 599 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 24 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,730 have recovered, 311 cases are active with 2 hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 266 have been released from isolation, 23 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 79 have been released with 17 in isolation.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking cases in area Long Term Care Facilities. According to IDPH, 7 cases have been reported at Country Health and Rehab in Gifford, 5 cases have been reported at the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul and 2 cases at Clark Lindsey in Champaign. 32 cases and 1 death has been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton. 79 cases and 10 deaths have been reported at Gilman Healthcare. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Relief is now available for homeowners having a hard time paying their mortgage during the pandemic. The 150 million dollar emergency mortgage assistance program is underway, helping those who have been impacted by the virus says Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field...

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Apply online at: ema dot ihda dot org. It’s expected the program will help about 10 thousand households through the end of the year.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline to pay their second installment of real estate taxes without penalty is coming soon. The deadline to pay is September 1st. After that day a late penalty will be assessed. You can pay your real estate taxes at the Treasurer’s office between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday, by mail, or at any Iroquois County bank.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is reminding area non profits the deadline to apply for Community Commitment Grants is the end of the month. The grants are funded by endowments from donors. Eligible non profits can apply for up to $7,500. For more information call the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois at 217-359-0125.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is cracking down on parties and large gatherings. Campus police along with volunteers are going around breaking up parties and large gatherings and following up on tips of parties and gatherings. Activities are turned over to campus student affairs officials who decide whether disciplinary action should be taken. U of I Chancellor Robert Jones has said students who don’t follow the rules could be suspended.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Meteorological summer comes to an end at the end of the month and the start of meteorological fall begins September 1st. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at September and meteorological fall…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating the theft of over almost $300 worth of fuel from a gas station. Police were notified of the theft on the morning of August 13th that a truck pulling a flatbed with three vehicles stopped over an access point for the station's fuel around 4:30 am. It is suspected that 112 gallons of fuel was pumped out at that time. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What trends were revealed when the Agriculture Department looked at 2020 cash rents per acre versus the previous year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

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A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff

(Springfield-jm) -- A new survey by the Illinois Municipal League found the majority of communities are facing revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19. The group reports the shortfalls are around 20-30% when compared to last year. Municipalities reported shortfalls across several categories that usually generate tax revenue, with the following sources resulting in the largest losses: 21% reported a loss in sales tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in gaming tax revenue, 17% reported a loss in motor fuel tax revenue and 15% reported a loss in income tax revenue.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinoisans are poisoning themselves through everyday activity, most would think would help keep you safer and healthier especially during this pandemic. The Coronavirus pandemic causing people to over clean or those who are cleaning doing it incorrectly resulting in a thirty-three percent spike in cases for the Illinois Poison Center. Illinois Poison Center numbers jumped even higher to forty-nine percent exposures in March and April. Illinois Poison Center estimates handling eight thousand exposure cases in a twelve-month time frame during the pandemic.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new statewide rule requires bar and restaurant customers to wear a mask when interacting with staff. Governor J-B Pritzker says with COVID-19 numbers rising, the new requirement is meant to protect workers and help slow the spread of the virus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Patrons must already wear a mask in a bar or restaurant unless they are eating or drinking at a table or up at the bar.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported almost 17 hundred new Coronavirus cases Tuesday and 29 additional deaths. Locally, McLean County reported 43 new cases bringing their total to 1,186. Livingston County reported 1 new case and an additional death bringing their case total to 173 and total deaths to 4. Kankakee County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 2,141. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 297. Champaign County reported 86 new cases bringing their total to 2,061. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 308. Ford County reported no new cases Tuesday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for total cases in area communities as reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health. 265 in Rantoul, 104 in Mahomet, 66 in Gilman, 60 in Clifton, 40 in Watseka, 35 in Paxton, 30 each in Fisher and St. Joseph, 28 in Chebanse, 23 in Hoopeston, 21 in Onarga, 16 in Fairbury, 14 in Ashkum, 12 each in Gibson City and Forrest, 10 in Danforth, 9 each in Foosland and Crescent City, 7 each in Potomac, Gifford, Milford, Bellflower and Saybrook, 6 each in Thomasboro, Ludlow, Piper City, Cissna Park, Rossville, Donovan, Martinton and Beaverville, 5 in Dewey and 1 in Penfield. Note not all of these cases are considered active by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Seniors 75 and older are getting more time to renew their driver’s license. Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker says they are hoping to reduce lines and protect seniors from exposure to the Coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Spokesperson Dave Druker. Letters will be sent to those who qualify and Druker says you should keep it as proof of the one year extension. License expiration dates for all other drivers have been pushed to November 1st.

 

 

(Rural Gibson City-jm) -- A FedEx driver received minor injuries after a collision with a train near Gibson City Tuesday. The accident occurred on Route 54 at 600 East just before 11:30. Ford County Sheriff’s police say the driver didn’t see the training coming until it was too late. The train struck the front bumper of the truck. The driver received some scrapes, no one on the train was injured.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Congressman John Shimkus is accepting applications for military service academy nominations. To be eligible: applicants must be American citizens at least 17 but not more than 23 years of age, not married or have legal obligations of child support and must live within the 15th Congressional District. Applications are due by October 30th and can be obtained by calling his office at 618-288-7190.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County COVID relief fund has distributed $160,570 in grants to k-12 students and families. Among the recipients are the Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education which received $2,200. The Hoopeston Multi-Agency received $3,000. Mahomet Seymour schools received $1,250. Rantoul City Schools received $6,500.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The FY21 budget for PBL has some good news. The Equalized Assessed Valuation or EAV has gone up for the Paxton-Buckley-Loda School District. Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heurmann is announcing his office will be increasing patrols between now and the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to the latest data from IDOT, in 2018, 121 alcohol related accidents occurred in this time frame in Champaign County resulting in 4 fatalities and 53 injuries. There were also 32 drug related accidents resulting in 8 fatalities and 10 injuries. So far in 2020, Champaign County deputies made 56 DUI alcohol arrests, 9 DUI drug arrests and drug or alcohol impairment was a contributing factor in at least 12 accidents.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s budget deficit could be significant because of the Coronavirus pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the latest numbers…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority announced that $10 million in funding is available to support affordable housing and community revitalization efforts in Illinois communities. The grants will be provided to municipalities, counties, and land banks through the state's Strong Communities Program. This program helps local government agencies acquire, maintain, rehabilitate, and demolish abandoned residential properties in their areas. Local government agencies can receive grants of up to $250,000 through the program.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing the review of the Long Term Care Bureau in response to delays in complaint investigations during the pandemic. The bureau investigates abuse and neglect complaints. An independent consultant and former U-S Attorney have been hired for the review.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A second region of the state is moving to tighter COVID-19 restrictions. First it was the Metro East area, and now it’s Will and Kankakee Counties that are under stricter guidelines. That’s thanks to rising cases says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The restrictions for Will and Kankakee areas are stricter than those in place in the Metro East and include a ban on indoor dining and bar service. The Governor says if the Metro East numbers don’t improve, that area will also face these tougher measures starting September 2nd.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois now has over 223,000 Coronavirus cases and over 79 hundred deaths after the state reported an additional 1,680 cases and 29 deaths Tuesday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 727 have recovered, 439 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 150 have been removed from isolation, 19 cases are active with 1 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,475 have recovered, 599 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 269 have been released from isolation, 24 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,730 have recovered, 311 cases are active with 2 hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 266 have been released from isolation, 23 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 79 have been released with 17 in isolation.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking cases in area Long Term Care Facilities. According to IDPH, 7 cases have been reported at Country Health and Rehab in Gifford, 5 cases have been reported at the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul and 2 cases at Clark Lindsey in Champaign. 32 cases and 1 death has been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton. 79 cases and 10 deaths have been reported at Gilman Healthcare. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Relief is now available for homeowners having a hard time paying their mortgage during the pandemic. The 150 million dollar emergency mortgage assistance program is underway, helping those who have been impacted by the virus says Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field...

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Apply online at: ema dot ihda dot org. It’s expected the program will help about 10 thousand households through the end of the year.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding residents the deadline to pay their second installment of real estate taxes without penalty is coming soon. The deadline to pay is September 1st. After that day a late penalty will be assessed. You can pay your real estate taxes at the Treasurer’s office between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday, by mail, or at any Iroquois County bank.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois is reminding area non profits the deadline to apply for Community Commitment Grants is the end of the month. The grants are funded by endowments from donors. Eligible non profits can apply for up to $7,500. For more information call the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois at 217-359-0125.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is cracking down on parties and large gatherings. Campus police along with volunteers are going around breaking up parties and large gatherings and following up on tips of parties and gatherings. Activities are turned over to campus student affairs officials who decide whether disciplinary action should be taken. U of I Chancellor Robert Jones has said students who don’t follow the rules could be suspended.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Meteorological summer comes to an end at the end of the month and the start of meteorological fall begins September 1st. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at September and meteorological fall…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating the theft of over almost $300 worth of fuel from a gas station. Police were notified of the theft on the morning of August 13th that a truck pulling a flatbed with three vehicles stopped over an access point for the station's fuel around 4:30 am. It is suspected that 112 gallons of fuel was pumped out at that time. Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Ford County Crimestoppers at 217-784-4173.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What trends were revealed when the Agriculture Department looked at 2020 cash rents per acre versus the previous year? Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,612 new cases of Coronavirus Monday

(Springfield-jm) -- The number of Illinois children entering kindergarten who are fully prepared to start school, grew for the second consecutive year in 2019, a possible indication that the state’s increased spending on early childhood education is paying off. But the latest kindergarten readiness report, released Monday by the Illinois State Board of Education, also showed that more than one-third of all pupils who entered kindergarten last year were unprepared across all three developmental areas that the state tries to measure. The latest report showed that 29 percent of the pupils entering kindergarten demonstrated readiness across all three developmental areas. The report also showed there has been steady growth within each of the three development areas. The percentage of kindergartners demonstrating social and emotional readiness grew to 56 percent, up from 49 percent in 2017; 47 percent demonstrated readiness in language and literacy development, up from 44 percent in 2017; and 35 percent demonstrated readiness in math, up from only 30 percent in 2017. That same report also showed that 37 percent of last year’s kindergartners failed to show readiness across any of the three developmental areas. Still, that number was down from 39 percent in 2018 and 42 percent in 2017.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Residents in the 217 area code are going to have to dial a few more numbers. A second area code, 447, is coming to the 217 next March since numbers are starting to run out. That means residents will have to dial the full number for even local calls, says the Illinois Commerce Commission’s George Light. He urges people to get into the now…

 

 

Illinois Commerce Commission’s George Light. Otherwise, those with a 217 number won’t see any changes. New numbers will be given the 447 area code.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,612 new cases of Coronavirus Monday and 8 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 221,790 and deaths to 7,888. Locally, since Friday, McLean County reported 250 new cases bringing their total number to 1,143. Vermilion County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 281. Ford County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 98. Champaign County reported 126 new cases bringing their total to 1,975. Livingston County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 172. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 305. Kankakee County reported 52 new cases bringing their total to 2,123.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- 4 additional deaths were reported in the WPXN listening area Monday. Vermilion County reported 1 additional death bringing their total to 3. Iroquois County reported 3 additional deaths bringing their total to 18.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is reporting 109 students have tested positive for the Coronavirus. Monday was the first day of classes for the fall semester. All students and staff have to be tested twice weekly before being allowed into any building. Those who tested positive will have to quarantine for 14 days.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It was a cool, dry week for Illinois crops. Both temperatures and rainfall were below normal, with nearly the entire week suitable for fieldwork. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 92 percent of soybeans are setting pods and 73 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to six percent very short, 29 percent short, 64 percent adequate and just one percent surplus.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Those wanting assistance in lowering their utility bills can do so next month. 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign will be hosting a virtual clinic with the Citizens Utility Board on Wednesday, September 30th from 5:30-7:30 pm. More details are available by calling Senator Bennett’s office at 217-355-5252.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- An Illinois Congressman is speaking out on the recent riots across the country. Riots have occurred nationally, including in the Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal areas this summer over police brutality. 16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger says protesting is ok but some take it too far…

 

 

16th Congressional District Congressman Adam Kinzinger.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County has a new zoning enforcement officer. The county hired Brandon Magers. He replaces Matt Rock who resigned at the end of July.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Last week was a comfortable week for summer with highs in the low to mid 80s. This week could see more summer like with temps near 90. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at the rest of August and beginning of September…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A Paxton man has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a child. 33 year old Brandon Irish was arrested and charged with a single count of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child under 13. If convicted he faces 6 to 30 years in prison. Bond was set at $250,000. Police say additional charges are pending.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority announced the state's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program is now open. The program intends to assist eligible homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments during the coronavirus pandemic. Approved applicants will receive up to $15,000, which will be paid directly to the individual's mortgage servicer to cover missed rent payments beginning in March and prepay through Dec. 30 or until the money is used.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Republican lawmakers say it’s time to get back to work on ethics reform. The Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform hasn’t met since March 5th and GOP members say they haven’t heard anything about when they will get together again. Representative Pat Windhorst of Harrisburg says they want meetings to resume immediately, either in person or virtually…

 

 

State Representative Pat Windhorst of Harrisburg. House and Senate Republicans say they are looking at banning legislators from paid lobbying work with local governments, requiring more disclosure about outside income and potential conflicts of interest and other reforms. The democratic co-chairs of the commission say the group will meet in the coming weeks to submit a final report.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting cases at area long term care facilities. According to IDPH, 79 cases and 10 deaths are being reported at Gilman Healthcare. 32 cases and 1 death has been reported at Accolade on Pells in Paxton. Country Health and Rehab in Gifford reported 7 cases and Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul reported 5. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois now stands at 221,790 confirmed Coronavirus cases and the number of deaths has reached 7,888. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 720 have been released from isolation, 403 remain in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 262 have been released while 16 remain in isolation. In Ford County, 79 have been released from isolation while 17 remain in isolation. In Champaign County, 1,719 have recovered, 236 cases remain active and 3 are hospitalized. In Livingston County, 149 have been removed, 20 cases are active with 2 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 262 have been released, 22 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,459 have recovered, 597 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Kankakee County-jm) -- The state is putting restrictions on Kankakee and Will Counties beginning Wednesday. Among the restrictions include no indoor dining, bars and restaurants must close by 11pm and all bar patrons must be seated at a table. The move comes as their positivity rate topped 8 percent for 3 consecutive days. The restrictions are in place through September 2nd where it will be re-evaluated.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It was a cool, dry week for Illinois crops. Farm fields saw less rainfall and lower temperatures than normal this past week, with 47 percent of corn in the dent stage says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 72 percent of the corn crop is rated in good to excellent condition, a decline from the previous week…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 69 percent complete, and average statewide topsoil moisture dropped to six percent very short, 29 percent short, 64 percent adequate and one percent surplus.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign police are investigating after an MTD bus was struck by gunfire over the weekend. Police say it happened around 11:30 Sunday morning in the area of East Columbia and North 5th. The driver and five people were on the bus at the time. Police say two cars were shooting at each other when the incident occurred. No one on the bus was injured.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The village of Rantoul has hired Ryan Reed to become the director of the new sports complex. Reed comes from the Visit Champaign County organization. He explains his role at the new complex…

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Several area Parkland College students earned Spring flight credentials. The students are part of Parkland College’s Institute of Aviation. Anna Nielson of Mahomet, London Rouley of Elliott and Adrian Bituin of Rantoul soloed for the first time. Taylor Watts of Champaign and Zachary Chalk of Mahomet received their credentials for private pilot airplane single engine landing certificate. Evan Burge of Mahomet and John Dee of Champaign received their credentials for Commercial Instrument Rating. Andrew Greene of Champaign received his Commercial pilot airplane single engine landing. Heather Czeck of Champaign received her Certified Flight Instructor credentials. Andrew Greene of Champaign and Cullen Brucker of Melvin received their commercial pilot multi engine certificate.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The IHSA has modified certain extra-curricular activities for this upcoming year. Marching Band, and football season have been canceled, but those seasons might be made up in the spring. Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

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20 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is dealing with a shortage of teachers, and now the possibility of educators retiring rather than going back into the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois State Board of Education reports of the state’s 850 school districts, over 500 will be offering in-class instruction this fall. That involves over 600,000 students. The question arises if there is a surge in teacher retirements, who will replace them? Illinois had the 8th highest decrease in students entering education programs in college. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The purchasing power of a dollar is lower in Illinois than in most of the country. That’s according to a new report from The Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit, which ranked Illinois 32nd among the states. The survey aims to show the real value of $100 in each state. Overall in Illinois, that value is $101.94, but the amount varies depending on which part of the state is being considered. In the Chicago area, $100 tends to buy around $97 worth of goods on average while in the Carbondale-Marion metro area it buys $119.90. Illinois ranks the lowest in the Midwest and is surrounded by four states among the top 12 in the country.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- 20 Illinois counties are now at a warning level for COVID-19. A county hits the designation when two or more virus risk factors are met, such as the number of cases per 100 thousand residents and weekly emergency room visits. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says she knows they keep repeating the same message to wear a mask and wash hands, but that it’s not sinking in for some…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Counties now at a warning level include: Bureau, Cass Clay, Clinton, Franklin, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, Henderson, Jefferson, Logan, Madison, Monroe, Moultrie, Randolph, St. Clair, Union, White, Will and Williamson.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A 4th grade student at Paxton Buckley Loda’s Clara Peterson Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19. The district made the announcement Friday. The district says they are working with the health department to identify all who may have been in contact with the students and a deep cleaning will take place. 

 

 

(Ford County-cf)-- The Ford County Board has approved a new hire at the Ford County Public Health Department. The County was on a hiring freeze, and still is. However the Public Health Department is not tied into the general fund, and can hire new employees with the approval of the Board says Chairman Robert Lingdren… 

 

 

Ford County Board Chairman Robert Lingdren. The FCPHD is funded through levies and grants. 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The Gibson City Melvin Sibley School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to approve the issuance of over $12 million in general obligation bonds. In addition, the FY 21 budget will be presented. The GCMS school board meeting gets underway at 6:15.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Work continues on the new sports complex in Rantoul. The village recently hired Ryan Reed to lead the complex. Reed introduces himself to the community…

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reed.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A portion of Prospect Avenue in Champaign will be closed. Starting today, Prospect Avenue will be closed between Vine and Maple Streets so Canadian National Railroad crews can repair the crossing. The closure is expected to last 7 to 10 days.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The beef sector is gradually returning to some semblance of normalcy. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Voters will decide the fate of Illinois' proposed progressive income tax amendment in November, but groups continue to debate the impact the proposal will have on residents. Changing Illinois’ flat income tax to a structure with higher rates for higher earners will either be good for women and minorities or it will diminish their access to jobs, according to groups on opposing sides of the tax issue. Governor J.B. Pritzker, who has made the progressive income tax central to his spending plans, has said the proposal will result in the same or slightly lower tax rates for 97 percent of taxpayers while the top 3 percent of earners would see a tax increase. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Only one in five of the 143 largest statewide public retirement systems in the U.S. are resilient, a new analysis published by the bipartisan nonprofit Equable Institute shows. The report, “State of Pensions 2020,” analyzes trends in public pension funding, investments, contributions, cash flow and maturation of retirement systems that had more than $1 billion in assets through 2019. The current estimated funded ratio for 143 statewide plans is 67.9 percent, near the lowest point in modern history. And five states – California, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas – account for more than 50 percent of unfunded liabilities. The report also analyzed unfunded liabilities relative to state GDP and found that states with some of the most visible pension funding challenges, including New Jersey, Kentucky and Illinois, have the largest share of unfunded liabilities relative to their state’s GDP, topping 15 percent, respectively.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The burnout experienced by Illinois nurses on the front lines of the pandemic is apparently nothing new. In a survey of hospitals in Illinois and New York taken just before the arrival of COVID-19, half of nurses scored in the "high-burnout" range as the result of their workloads. Mary Schuermann reports…

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two Rantoul teens accused of shooting at a person in a botched robbery attempt at the Jimmy Johns in Rantoul have been sentenced to the juvenile justice system. A 17 year old was sentenced to 3 years while a 15 year old was sentenced to 15 years or until he turns 21 after they plead guilty to aggravated discharge of a firearm. Police say the teens met a person at the Jimmy Johns on June 3rd to purchase cannabis. When the person arrived they tried to rob the individual of cannabis and money. The victim began to chase the teens when one of them pulled a handgun and fired several shots. The other one grabbed a shotgun from a vehicle and also fired shots. No one was injured in the shooting.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Nitetime Enforcement Patrols in early September. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- 2020 is an election year and that means come November, voters will be going to the polls to elect the next President of the United States among many other state and local races. This election will look different with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Illinois lawmakers approved a bill allowing for vote by mail earlier this year. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick talks about the bill and what it means for voters in Ford County…

 

 

Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick. Ballots can first be mailed out starting September 24th. Early voting at the county clerk’s office also begins September 24th. The election takes place November 3rd. 

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The village of Fisher approved a contract for tree removal. The village approved the bid from Glad’s Tree Service of Paxton for $19,000. It’s part of the village’s 10 year tree plan.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Analyst says hog prices will recover, but it will take a while. Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

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The Itasca, Illinois-based National Safety Council is predicting that COVID-19 likely will be the third leading cause of death in 2020

(Springfield-jm) -- The Itasca, Illinois-based National Safety Council is predicting that COVID-19 likely will be the third leading cause of death in 2020, with the majority of those deaths occurring in long-term care facilities. The death toll nationwide from the pandemic exceeds 170,000, eclipsing the total number of preventable accidental deaths in 2018, the most recent year of final data. Only heart disease and cancer account for more deaths. It would mark the first time since 2016 that preventable deaths – which include drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes, and falls – would not be the third leading cause of death in the country. According to a Franklin Templeton-Gallup research project, 92 percent of COVID-19 deaths nationwide are people who hare 55 or older. Illinois has seen 7,833 deaths related to COVID-19, with over 6,700 involving people aged 60 or older.  Fifty-five percent of the deaths statewide have occurred in long-term care facilities.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ final step out of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s multi-phased shutdown of Illinois’ economy to stave off the spread of COVID-19 is a widely distributed vaccine. New polling shows a broad swath of the population would refuse to take it. A new Marist poll shows 35 percent of adults across the nation would not get a COVID-19 vaccination. That number increases to nearly 45 percent if the respondents are either Republican, white women without a college education, members of Generation X, or they live in a small city or rural area.  The widespread scepticism could threaten Illinois’ plan to fully return to life as it was before COVID-19, since Pritzker’s Phase 5 requires that “Either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health care capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period.”

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state unemployment rate dropped to 11 point three percent last month. The Illinois jobless rate is down from 14 point five percent in June says Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro…

 

 

Illinois Department of Employment Security Spokesperson Sam Salustro. Salustro says the biggest job gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector as more restaurant and bar employees get back to work. Growth was also seen in educational and health services and professional and business services.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,832 new cases of Coronavirus Thursday and 27 additional deaths. The state also reported testing over 51,000 specimens in 24 hours. Locally, McLean County reported 42 new cases bringing their total number to 872. Livingston County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 161. Vermilion County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 268. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 303. Ford County is reporting 6 new cases bringing their total to 89. All 6 new cases are part of an outbreak at a long term care facility in Paxton. Kankakee County reported 30 new cases bringing their total to 2,046. Champaign County reported 36 new cases and an additional death bringing their total number of cases to 1,824 and total deaths to 20.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says a graduated income tax is needed as Illinois continues to fight the Coronavirus pandemic. Illinois voters will be asked to approve a new tax structure when they cast a ballot in November. Governor Pritzker says taxing based on how much you earn instead of the current flat tax is fairer, and will generate more money for the state…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says 97 percent of Illinoisans would pay the same or less in income taxes under his plan. Opponents say the change opens the door to future tax increases and hurts small businesses.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are looking for the individuals who beat an elderly man in the village. Police say two young men approached the 60 year old man in the 700 block of North Maplewood, across from Eastlawn Elementary school, and asked for money. The man said no and that’s when the two attacked him. The man was taken to the hospital for his injuries. The suspects are described as black males between the ages of 16 and 25. One was wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans, and the other was wearing a blue shirt. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- There could be a new competitor in the market for corn trade. USDA’s Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski talks about Ukraine's growing influence in world corn markets…

 

 

USDA Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul’s newest addition to the fire department has arrived. The village purchased a $1.3 million dollar ladder truck earlier this year. The truck gives the department 25 additional feet of reach compared to their old ladder truck and also pumps and holds more water. The ladder truck joins a new half a million dollar rescue pumper and tanker/tender truck that were both purchased in 2015.


(Gibson City-cf)-- The Gibson City Melvin Sibley School District has developed an app GCMS#5 that will monitor students' symptoms, and that can do the symptoms  checks at home, as well as at school.The app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell has the details… 

 

 

GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell.

 

The Sheldon Fun Days Committee will hold a day-long event on Saturday, August 22nd at Sheldon Park starting with an antique tractor show from 9-5, Community Picnic at noon and mobile escape room from 12:30-6:30.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- In an effort to help lower unemployment, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association has launched the "Makers Hiring" campaign, which matches job seekers with open positions in the manufacturing sector. Almost 50 companies have already signed up to participate in the campaign, looking to fill more than 950 jobs. Those interested in a job can visit the states jobs website: illinois dot gov slash get hired.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Peaches sold at Aldi stores across the country including Illinois are being recalled over potential salmonella concerns. The peaches are a Wawona brand. The CDC reports 68 cases across the country with 16 hospitalized. Experts say you should throw them out if you have any.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker continues to remind the public about the use of masks. The Governor says masks work in helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Yesterday, Illinois reported 1,832 new cases of the Coronavirus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Conservation Foundation is launching a new app. The Outdoor Illinois app is free and provides information on hunting, fishing, boating and camping in Illinois. You can also renew your hunting and fishing licenses as well as register your new boat and renew your boat registration. The app is available on Iphones and Androids.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County reported 664 have recovered, 188 are in isolation and 4 hospitalized. Livingston County 139 have been removed from isolation, 19 cases are active and 1 hospitalized. Vermilion County 248 removed, 18 in isolation. Iroquois County 243 released, 39 in isolation and 6 hospitalized. Ford County, 65 released, 22 in isolation. Kankakee County 1,420 recovered, 559 active 8 hospitalized. Champaign County 1,673 recovered, 131 active 4 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor reminds that teens under 16 need a work permit before starting a job. 14 and 15 year olds wanting to work should get a letter from their prospective employer, stating the type of work and anticipated hours. That needs to be submitted to the child’s school, which will decide if the work permit is approved says Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Assistant Director Jason Keller. Keller says students can go through the application process remotely if the school building is closed due to COVID-19. Teens don’t need a permit for jobs like delivering newspapers, mowing or babysitting.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Bement man who stole thousands of dollars worth of equipment and money from his Thomasboro employer has been sentenced to 30 months probation. Joey Marshall pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to theft with a prior theft conviction. Marshall stole over $10,000 worth of equipment and cash from Concrete Inc in Thomasboro. As part of his plea deal, a more serious felony charge was dropped. He was also ordered to pay over $16,000 to the company.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- A few students and parents have chosen to attend school solely online this upcoming school year in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district. PBL  Superintendent Cliff McClure says about 12% of the district chose to go online…. 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Ford County-cf)-- The Ford County Board has approved a purchase of an O-W-L or OWL. It is a package for web conferencing that comes with a better webcam and microphone. County Board Chairman Robert Lindgren has the details on the purchase… 

 

 

Ford County Board Chairman Robert Lingdren.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting Gold Star Mission on Saturday, August 22nd from 10-2.

 

 

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State officials say Illinois is heading in the wrong  direction when it comes to the Coronavirus

(Springfield-jm) -- The Office of the Architect of the Capitol Board voted Wednesday to move forward with plans to rearrange several large statues with connections to slavery on the Illinois State Capitol grounds, despite not knowing how much the proposals will cost. Statues of Steven Douglas and Pierre Menard will be removed and put in storage. The board also approved moving the Martin Luther King Jr statue from across the street to the capitol grounds.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials say Illinois is heading in the wrong  direction when it comes to the Coronavirus. Illinois is close to hitting 212 thousand positive cases, and more than 78 hundred patients have died says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says several regions of the state are seeing increases in positivity and hospital admission rates. The Governor says if numbers continue to rise, more areas will be subject to tighter restrictions.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, Livingston County reported 3 new cases Wednesday bringing their total number of cases to 157. McLean County reported 51 new cases bringing their total number to 830. Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 83. Kankakee County reported 15 new cases bringing their total number to 2,016. Champaign County reported 16 new cases bringing their total number to 1,788. Iroquois and Vermilion Counties both reported no new cases Wednesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Officials say FDA approval of the University of Illinois’ COVID-19 saliva test is a game changer. It’s called the “Shield” Program and the U of I has already tested more than 50 thousand students and college staff. President Tim Killeen says this is groundbreaking…

 

 

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen. Killeen says the test is especially useful in identifying carriers who show no symptoms and are unknowingly spreading COVID. The state and U of I are working to offer the saliva test at other colleges and the goal is to make it available at K through 12 schools, long term care facilities and more.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been arrested on sexual assault charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a developmentally delayed teen. Demetrius Wade was charged with a single count of criminal sexual assault. Police say Wade allegedly had sex with the teen in December. Bond was set at $100,000. He’s due back in court September 8th.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- 2 properties in the village of Fisher have been deemed unsafe. The homes are in the Shepherd Mobile Home Estates. The designation requires the owners of the properties to remove or demolish them within 90 days. If they don’t the issue could end up in court.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Students returning to classes this fall will have to wear face masks. To help out, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency are teaming up to provide masks to districts says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Urbana is following Champaign’s steps in issuing executive orders for U of I bars and restaurants ahead of students returning to campus. Urbana’s city order requires people to be seated at bars and restaurants and requires people to wear masks out in public. Champaign’s order, issued Tuesday, also shuts down indoor dining at campustown restaurants. Both orders are in effect through the Labor Day Holiday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study on the country’s early education systems gave Illinois high marks. The personal finance website WalletHub looked at 12 key metrics to come up with the rankings, including the share of school districts that offer preschool programs and the total spending per child enrolled in preschool. Illinois ranked 12th best in the country. The state scored well in the share of school districts that offer a preschool program and enrollment numbers. Illinois also fared well in the total state Head Start spending per child enrolled in preschool.

 

 

(McLean County-jm) -- A new wind farm could be coming to McLean County. Apex Clean Energy is looking to build a wind farm on 30,000 acres between Heyworth and LeRoy. The company has six other wind farms in the area. 


 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,295 new cases and 25 additional deaths Wednesday. As for active and recovered cases locally, Livingston County reported 131 have been removed from isolation with 23 active cases and 1 hospitalized. McLean County reported 655 have recovered, 155 are in isolation with 4 hospitalized including one in the ICU, Vermilion County reported 232 have been removed from isolation, 30 remain in isolation. Iroquois County reported 241 have been released, 39 are in isolation and 6 hospitalized. Ford County reported 65 have been released from isolation with 16 in isolation. Kankakee County reported 1,362 have recovered, 587 cases are active with 8 hospitalized. Champaign County reported 1,657 have recovered, 112 cases are active and 9 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is launching a virtual guestbook to honor former Governor Jim Thompson. The guestbook is online and will be shared with Thompson’s family says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker calls the longest serving Governor in Illinois history a titan of state government who brought all political stripes together.


 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- The new Dollar General in Thomasboro is expected to open in September. Construction began in July on the building east of Route 45 at Flatville Road.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign man has been sentenced to 30 months probation for aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child. Bradley McDermott received the sentence in Champaign County court. In exchange for his plea, a charge of criminal sexual assault was dropped.

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker is continuing to encourage Illinoisans to wear masks and social distance

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is teaming up with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation – Division of Banking and Division of Financial Institution to work with financial institutions to seek out and fight back against the fraud. The Illinois Department of Employment Security recently announced they would be cracking down more on unemployment fraud.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network , they've seen a major spike in minors calling their hotline. The alarming part is three out of four children live with their abuser. With schools being virtual, experts are afraid it could cause more cases to go unreported. Illinois has seen a 50% decrease in the number of calls to the Department of Children and Family Services but it doesn't mean that abuse isn't happening it's just going unreported.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is continuing to encourage Illinoisans to wear masks and social distance. The Governor is encouraging the use of masks and social distancing as the state continues to see an increase in COVID-19 cases. Governor Pritzker warns if people don’t start taking action, restrictions may be put back into place…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. So far only the Metro East area has been put under increased restrictions. Yesterday, Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen issued an executive order closing indoor dining at restaurants on the University of Illinois campus until after the Labor Day weekend. 


 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,740 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 209,594 and deaths to 7,782. Locally, McLean County reported 3 new cases bringing their total number to 779. Vermilion County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 264. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 301. Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 81. Kankakee County reported 22 new cases bringing their total to 2,001. Champaign County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 1,772. Livingston County reported no new cases.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- One analyst says it's hard to make accurate predictions about what's going to happen in the dairy sector, but he's going to try. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Market Street Theatre Group is the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an announcement on social media Tuesday evening, Tom and Sherry Janowski announced they are putting the theatre building up for sale. The Janowski’s did leave the door open to possible future shows in cooperation with groups in the community.

 

 

(Chicago-jm) -- Chicago's Navy Pier is closing again until next spring because attendance has been so low during the coronavirus pandemic. The tourist spot began reopening June 10, but officials say they're only seeing about 15% to 20% of the usual crowds during what's generally the busiest time of year. 


 

(Undated-jm) -- The IRS is extending the deadline to ensure people with children receive their $500 Economic Impact Payments to September 30th. The money is from the first round of stimulus checks passed by Congress. People can provide the information on the IRS’s non-filer tool at: irs dot gov slash coronavirus slash non filers enter payment info here.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district has sent out, and made the opening plan official. There is one key piece of information in the document that both students and parents need to go over, and that is the new flow-chart. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure has the details… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons is warning residents about a printing error on the vote by mail application. The application has the wrong return zip code. The zip code on some read 61208 when the correct zip code should be 61802. Ammons says you should return it with the correct zip code. Ballots will be mailed out September 24th.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker is announcing Ford County 2019 real estate tax bills payable in 2020 were mailed out August 14th. The first installment is due September 18th with the 2nd installment due November 6th. Tax bills can be paid by mail, any Ford County bank or at the Treasurer’s office. If you haven’t received your bill by September 1st, call the office at 379-9465.

 

(Washington-jm) -- U-S Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin have introduced federal legislation to close loopholes to protect domestic abuse survivors. The legislation would restrict those under a temporary restraining order from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Current federal law only restricts access once the court issues a permanent restraining order.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It’s unclear how to handle election outcomes if there’s an outbreak at a local county elections office. The question was posed last week during a virtual roundtable discussion amid Illinois elections officials and Congressman Rodney Davis. Green County Clerk Debbie Banhart said her entire staff was sent home for two weeks because an employee contracted COVID-19. Davis said that’s a real threat to the November General Election.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Struggling renters now have a little more time to apply for emergency relief assistance. Many people lost power last week as storms swept through the state, so the Illinois Housing Development Authority is extending the deadline for rent relief to August 28th. Spokesperson Andrew Field says the program is for those having a hard time paying their rent during the Coronavirus pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Spokesperson Andrew Field. Applicants will need to meet certain income eligibility guidelines and landlords will need to sign the form. Visit: era dot ihda dot org to get started.


 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,740 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 209,594 and deaths to 7,782. As for local active and recovered cases, 622 have been released from isolation in McLean County with 137 in isolation and 4 hospitalized including 1 in intensive care. In Vermilion County, 232 have been released from isolation while 30 remain in isolation. In Iroquois County, 239 have been released from isolation, 39 remain in isolation with 8 hospitalized. In Ford County, 64 have been released from isolation, 14 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 123 have been removed from isolation with 28 cases remain active and 1 hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1359 have recovered, 575 cases remain active with 7 hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1640 have recovered, 113 cases are active with 9 hospitalized.

 

 

(Gibson City-cf)-- School starts today for the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley School District. GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell details the reopening plan for the district… 

 

 

GCMS Superintendent Jeremey Darnell.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College in Champaign will not have to make layoffs after all. The school had announced they would be laying off 65 people because of lost revenue from declining enrollment due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The college offered voluntary separation agreements. Between that, retirements and resignations, the college expects 69 positions to become vacant over the next 3 years. The college says they will not fill 34 of those positions.

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- The new plan for a casino in Danville is moving forward. Danville Development LLC plans to build the casino on Eastgate Drive, near the Lynch Road exit off I-74. The site is close to the earlier proposed site. The Illinois Gaming Board will review and possibly approve the new plan next month.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn use for ethanol is expected to expand. That’s according to USDA’s Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski…

 

 

USDA Outlook Board Chairman Mark Jekanowski.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- A member of the Sadorus village board will represent the Champaign County GOP on the November ballot for county treasurer. Ted Myhre was selected to run against Democratic challenger Cassandra Johnson to fill the remainder of the term of Laurel Prussing who resigned earlier this year. County democrats selected Marisol Hughes to take over but opted for Johnson instead of Hughes to run on the ticket for the November election.

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health has a new guide to help assess out of state travel risks during the pandemic

(Springfield-jm) -- A couple of business groups are keeping their legal options open following last week’s mask and social distancing rules from the governor were allowed to stand. The Illinois Retail Merchants Association said litigation against the rule is possible. The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association that represents convenience stores said a legal challenge is likely. Both groups were among the first to voluntarily implement mask and social distancing guidelines. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Reformers say it’s time for Illinoisans to “advocate for themselves” when lawmakers redraw the state’s political boundaries in a few months. That’s the message the Coalition for Honest and New Government Ethics, or CHANGE Illinois, a group that has long advocated for changes to the redistricting process, intends to deliver through an online application its helped develop. The state has until June 30, 2021 to create an agreed-upon  redistricting plan.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has a new guide to help assess out of state travel risks during the pandemic. The travel guide indicates which states and countries pose the greatest risk for the Coronavirus says Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says airports, bus and train stations and rest stops are all places with an increased risk of transmission. The travel guide is available on the State Department of Public Health’s website.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the state’s total number of cases is now 207,854 and deaths are at 7,756. Locally since Friday, McLean County reported 54 new cases bringing their total to 776. Livingston County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 154. Vermilion County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 263. Ford County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 80. Kankakee County reported 39 new cases bringing their total to 1,979. Champaign County reported 31 new cases bringing their total to 1,739. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 298. McLean County reported their 16th COVID death while Kankakee County reported their 67th COVID death.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops dropped a little this past week. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 97 percent of soybean acres are blooming…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 81 percent of corn is in the dough stage and 21 percent has dented. 76 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. The third cutting of alfalfa is now 57 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at three percent very short, 20 percent short, 72 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A North Carolina man has been arrested for driving under the influence after his vehicle struck a mobile home in Rantoul. 62-year-old Paul Lyons was arrested after his vehicle struck a mobile home in the 1200 block of Wedgewood Drive. No injuries were reported. 


 

 

(Parke County, Indiana-jm) -- A fall event just over the border in Indiana that attracts thousands has been canceled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Parke County, Indiana officials announced Monday the 2020 Covered Bridge Festival originally scheduled for October 9-18th. 

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district will begin school this Wednesday. PBL Superintendent Cliff McClure gives us the details on how the daily operations will be for this fall… 

 

 

Paxton-Buckley-Loda Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A 17 year old from Rantoul will spend the next 8 years in prison for a shooting in October. James Price pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm. Police say Price shot a person after an exchange of words between the victim and a group of people Price was with. Price had a prior juvenile adjudication for possession of a weapon.

(Washington-jm) -- U-S Senator Dick Durbin has introduced a bill to fund clean climate futures. The bill would establish an independent federal agency to support and invest in job creation and clean energy projects, provide grants to state and local governments for impacted communities, rebates to individuals and refunds for carbon capture and a delayed onset for a carbon tax.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Pritzker administration is targeting a decree the state entered into in 1972 to combat patronage hiring, but Republicans said it should be expanded, not vacated. A filing the Illinois Attorney General made on behalf of Governor J.B. Pritzker last month seeks to vacate a decree from 1972 about questionable hiring practices in Illinois State Government.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker visited the Metro East area Monday, as new restrictions are being put into place. The region has had three days in a row of a COVID-19 positivity rate of eight percent or more, triggering new mitigations. That means no party buses, no barstools at the bar and only six people to a table indoors. Bars, restaurants and casinos will have to close at 11pm, just like St. Louis. Governor Pritzker says residents need to take this seriously…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If numbers don’t improve, the Governor says more restrictions may go into effect. The new rules will be dropped if the region’s positivity rate average six point five percent or less over the next two weeks. 


 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the state’s total number of cases is now 207,854 and deaths are at 7,756. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 618 have recovered, 136 remain in isolation with 6 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 123 have been removed from isolation, 28 cases are active with 1 hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 227 have recovered and 34 remain in isolation. Ford County is reporting 64 have been released from isolation, 13 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,346 have recovered, 566 cases remain active and 6 are hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,618 have recovered, 122 cases remain active and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 231 have been released from isolation, 43 remain in isolation and 9 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of Illinois corn and soybean crops dropped a little this past week. 81 percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 76 percent of the soybean crop is also in good to excellent condition, with 84 percent of acres now blooming. Average statewide topsoil moisture is at three percent very short, 20 percent short, 72 percent adequate and five percent surplus.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City police have released their recent activity report. On August 15th, Gail Scales of Champaign was ticketed for speeding and Dale Enghausen of Saybrook was cited for leaving the scene of an accident.

 

 

(Kankakee-jm) -- Kankakee Community College will be offering 5 free job hunting webinars over the lunch hour. The first webinar is September 22nd titled 5 steps to a winning resume, September 29th titled AIDA cover letter, October 6th, micro internships for students and recent grads, October 13th, Leveraging Linkedin and October 20th Acing your Video Interview. For more information or to sign up, call 815-802-8207.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Pritzker Administration has announced $250 million in infrastructure grants as part of his Rebuild Illinois campaign. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at Vermilion County communities receiving funds…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College in Champaign is hosting a fall enrollment blitz. The blitz runs Monday through Friday 8-5 through August 21st. Enrollment will take place either at the student union or by zoom.

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Governor J-B Pritzker says a COVID-19 saliva test developed by the University of Illinois is showing a lot of promise

(Springfield-jm) -- Former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson, the state’s longest-serving chief executive, has died. He was 84. Thompson was first elected governor in 1976 and eventually served four terms before leaving office in 1991. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Friday’s daily COVID-19 total is the highest its been since late May. State officials are reporting more than 22 hundred new cases. But the past 24 hours have been the second highest for the number of tests run, at over 49 thousand. Governor J-B Pritzker says the virus isn’t going away anytime soon, and that it’s still dangerous…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. COVID-19 deaths in Illinois are now up to more than 77 hundred and about 16 hundred patients are currently in the hospital.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State Senator Chapin Rose is demanding Gov. J.B. Pritzker get the state’s unemployment offices back open. The offices have been closed to the public since near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 22,900 new unemployment filers in Illinois last week.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says a COVID-19 saliva test developed by the University of Illinois is showing a lot of promise. The test is cheaper than the nasal swab, with results available in hours instead of days. It was initially created to test students and faculty on campus. Governor Pritzker says it’s a tremendous development in the fight against the Coronavirus…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The U of I has formed an organization to make the test available statewide and eventually across the country.

 

 

(Gifford-jm) -- A Gifford teen is dead and another injured after they were hit by a car Saturday night. Illinois State Police say the teens were riding their bike on U-S 136 about a mile east of Gifford just before 9:30 Saturday night when they were struck by a vehicle. 18 year old Matthew Correll died at the scene. A 15 year old was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle was not injured. The accident remains under investigation.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department passed an ordinance Friday that takes Governor J-B Pritzker’s recent mandates a step further. This week the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules passed rules that could fine and cite businesses, organizations and schools up to $25 hundred if they don’t follow the mask and social distance mandate but would not fine individuals. The CUPHD took it a step further and passed an ordinance that would fine individuals the same amount as well. The health department says wearing a mask is no longer optional and the new ordinance takes effect August 24th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- How has the beginning of August looked weatherwise and how does the rest of the month look? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.


 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to finalize their fall plans and set their budget. Also at tonight’s meeting, school board members are expected to raise the minimum wage for employees, review updated school policies and hear updates on several projects. The Iroquois West School Board meeting gets underway at 7 pm.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- The Fisher School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to approve updates to their reopening plan. In addition, school board members are also expected to approve some updates to policies and present their tentative FY 21 budget. A building tour gets underway at 5:45 with the school board meeting getting underway at 6:30.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Illinois’ tax structure could change pending the outcome of a constitutional amendment before voters on the November ballot. The amendment would change the states tax structure from the current flat rate to a progressive income tax. The change would allow lawmakers to adjust the income tax amount whenever they would like to. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the state needs to look at other ways to address the financial situation…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Early voting begins October 19th in Illinois. The election is November 3rd.

 

 

(Thomasboro-jm) -- Some streets in Thomasboro will see some work this summer. The village board approved to spend $25,000 to oil and chip portions of Clark, Park and as much of Pearl that can be done.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is seeing record sales in marijuana during the pandemic. Sales have totaled more than $300 million since the start of the year, with July seeing more sales than any other month, according to state figures. Cannabis sales in July hit $61 million, which is up from $47.6 million in June and $44.3 million in May, according to the Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- School districts that had planned for some in-person teaching amid COVID-19 concerns have reversed course to full remote to start the fall semester and that puts parents with jobs in a tough spot. A new study from BankRate shows 3 of 5 parents nationwide found remote learning will negatively impact their finances, with more than a third saying they would have to either cut their hours at work or quit altogether.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is sending out two and a half million masks to public schools across Illinois. The cloth masks will go a long way towards protecting all students in the classroom says State Board of Education Spokesperson Jackie Matthews…

 

 

State Board of Education Spokesperson Jackie Matthews. Masks are required for kids and all school staff, and are scientifically proven to be one of the best ways to reduce spread of the virus, says Matthews. The state is also shipping out face shields to be used for additional protection at school if needed.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Park District has suspended all public and private events at the Virginia Theatre through April 30, 2021. The decision was made due to health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. Champaign Park District officials said many of the events that were originally scheduled for the fall and winter of 2020 and the spring of 2021 will be rescheduled.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Police Department is looking at ways to recruit officers to its department. That also includes recruiting more minority candidates. The department will implement a new testing system to recruit officers. Instead of testing once every two years the department will use a continuous testing model. The new testing system will kick off in January 2021.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker was supposed to appear before a Clay County judge last Friday after a judge ruled his executive orders unconstitutional. However, a northern Illinois judge and the state Supreme Court stepped in and put a hold on the case. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the situation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Bennett says he is sponsoring legislation that would answer what happens after the Governor’s 30 days are up that would require the General Assembly’s approval to issue more emergency orders beyond 30 days.

 

 

(Cissna Park-jm) -- The Cissna Park School Board will meet tonight where they are expected to approve a contract for an air conditioning project. In addition, school board members will also be asked to approve changes to the school handbook to include the use of face coverings and approve a change to their reopening plan. The Cissna Park School Board meeting gets underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School Board will meet tonight where school board members expected to approve a pair of policy changes. In addition, school board members will hear about infrastructure plans with IGA, the village and the school board near the junior high and approve putting the FY 21 budget on display. The Mahomet Seymour school board meeting gets underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Lower corn prices could help move the expected record large corn crop. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

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Total cases of Coronavirus surpasses 200,000

(Springfield-jm) -- Fewer people are filing for unemployment in Illinois, but it’s still in the tens of thousands a week. The U.S. Department of Labor reports nearly 22,900 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week. That’s down about 2,800 from the total that filed the week before. Around 1.5 million Illinoisans have filed since the beginning of March. For the first time since mid-March, the number of initial weekly claims was below 1 million nationally last week.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Technology and Manufacturing Association says the sector is holding back on rehiring workers because of concerns about changing regulations and the possibility of another state shutdown, according to a new survey. The association's monthly survey was at a two-year optimism high in February, but plummeted to 20 percent in April because of the pandemic and the shutdowns that came after.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More adult use cannabis dispensary licenses are expected to be issued in the coming weeks. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that permanent rules have been adopted regarding the tiebreaking process for cannabis dispensary licensees. Specifically, the rules will be used to select adult use cannabis dispensary licensees when there are two or more applicants in the same Bureau of Labor Statistics Regions with tied high scores. With the approval of these rules, the state can now award 75 new licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is reminding families about the A-B-Cs of safe sleep. Babies should sleep alone, on their back and in a crib says DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez…

 

 

DCFS Spokesperson Deborah Lopez. Lopez says babies should never be left to sleep in an adult bed or a couch. Unsafe sleep is a leading cause of death for children one year old and younger.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,834 new cases of Coronavirus and 24 additional deaths Thursday. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 200,427 and deaths to 7,696. Locally, Livingston County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 137. Vermilion County reported 11 new cases bringing their total number to 247. Ford County reported 6 new cases bringing their total number to 76. McLean County reported 20 new cases bringing their total to 690. Champaign County reported 16 new cases bringing their total number to 1,716. Kankakee County reported 17 new cases bringing their total to 1,920. They also reported their 66th death. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 294.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Pritzker Administration has announced $250 million in infrastructure grants as part of his Rebuild Illinois campaign. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at Iroquois County communities receiving funds…

 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker and representatives with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity were in Champaign-Urbana on Thursday to announce 50 grants were awarded to small businesses in the area. The 50 grants total $910,000. The grants are part of the Business Interruption Grant program.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department will meet this afternoon where they will consider a mask ordinance for the county. The move comes after Governor Pritzker filed rules with the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules Tuesday which would fine businesses, organizations and schools if they follow the mandate.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is encouraging residents to fill out the 2020 census. Representative Bennett says if you haven’t filled out your census yet you could receive a visit from someone from the census…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Farmland values increased slightly according to the 2020 annual study of 20 benchmark farms by Farm Credit Illinois. Values increased 2.07 percent from last year. That’s the 2nd consecutive year of slight increases following four years of declines.

 

Christ Lutheran High School will hold their golf outing today starting at noon at Shagbark Country Club in Onarga. Tee time is 1pm

 

For the Old Settlers Renuion in Cissna Park today it is the famous Dave Schippert fish sandwiches. Food pick up available at the Cissna Park Legion Post 527 from 4pm to 8pm today. The Cissna Park American Legion Color Guard raise the American Flag at 6pm tonight.

There is a limited parade with legion members on Saturday at noon. A new 20-20 Chevroet  Ttrax will be given away Saturday night at 9pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An attorney suing the state in federal court seeking compensation for businesses forced closed because of COVID-19-orders said a jury is needed to ensure things are fair. Attorney Alan Bruggeman said relying on the Pritzker administration to decide which businesses get paid allows politics to get in the mix, which could make things less fair. Bruggeman said he expects the case to survive a motion to dismiss. A hearing date is set for December 1.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Most students in Illinois will be learning remotely this fall, according to results from an Illinois State Board of Education survey. Of more than 850 school districts in the state, only 671 have responded to the survey of fall semester plans amid COVID-19 concerns. Most are offering a blended model, around 200 are offering in-person and 150 are offering remote learning only.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Some members of the Illinois General Assembly are pushing for the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform to pass nine measures regarding ethics reform. The nine measures include: prohibiting legislators from lobbying elected officials from other units of government, stop the legislator-lobbyist revolving door by establishing at least a one year prohibition on legislators leaving office and going to work as lobbyists, better define who is a lobbyist, expand disclosure of legislators outside income, initiate an official censure similar to U-S Congress, strengthen the Legislative Inspector General, end exemption of legislators direct employees from the state’s Human Rights Act, establish term limits for legislative leaders and enact a policy to temporarily remove a legislator as leader or committee chair during a criminal investigation or indictment.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- With fewer than 90 days until the November election, the partisan divide over vote-by-mail appears to be growing in Illinois. Mary Scheurmann reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The state hit topped 200 thousand confirmed Coronavirus cases Thursday. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,834 new cases of Coronavirus and 24 additional deaths bringing  the state’s total number of cases to 200,427 and deaths to 7,696. As for local active and recovered cases, in Livingston County 116 have been released and 18 cases are active. Vermilion County reported 217 have recovered, 27 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In Ford County, 62 have been released from isolation, 11 remain in isolation with 1 hospitalized. In McLean County, 581 have recovered, 91 remain in isolation with 3 hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,557 have recovered, 140 cases are active with 9 hospitalized. In Kankakee County, 1,326 have recovered, 528 cases remain active with 7 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 222 have been released, 48 remain isolated with 10 hospitalized.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What was the market reaction to USDA's forecasts of big harvests? Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- AMC movie theatre announced reopening dates for their theatres in Illinois including their location in Champaign. The Champaign theatre will reopen on August 27th. 

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in August. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Iroquois Memorial Hospital’s Gilman Practice is moving. The hospital announced it will move the clinic next to the CVS starting August 17th.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting a cookout benefiting York Rite of Paxton on Saturday, from 10-2.

 

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The USDA is projecting record corn and soybean yields this year

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Human Services has extended the deadline for state residents to apply for nutrition benefits. The new deadline is Monday, August 31st. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing 1,645 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 198,593 and total number of deaths to 7,672 deaths. Locally, Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total number to 70. Champaign County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 1,700. Livingston County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 134. McLean County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to  670. Kankakee County reported 20 new cases bringing their total to 1,903. Vermilion County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 236. Iroquois County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 290. Iroquois County also reported 3 additional deaths Wednesday bringing their total to 14.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The USDA is projecting record corn and soybean yields this year. Numbers are definitely up in Illinois. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says the state’s corn yield is expected to be 207 bushels per acre, up 26 bushels from last year…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Illinois’ soybean yield is expected to hit 64 bushels per acre, a new record high. Total soybean production is forecast at 662 million bushels, an increase of 24 percent over the previous year.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 4 years probation after pleading guilty to possessing a stolen firearm. 22 year old Samual Hall pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to the charge. Police stopped Hall in Urbana for a traffic violation. Hall admitted to having the stolen firearm and cannabis in his possession he was intending to sell. In exchange for his guilty plea, the possession with intent charge was dismissed.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign is supporting a new law protecting frontline workers. Governor J-B Pritzker signed the law last Friday. The law charges those who attack workers at grocery stores and other places that warn people about the public health guidelines and the mask mandate.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- If you receive seeds that you didn't order, experts say emphatically, "Don't plant them." Gary Crawford has more…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is joining 30 other attorneys general in urging the U-S Senate to provide relief for all federal student loan borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act currently only covers federal student loans owned by the federal government, excluding nearly 8 million borrowers whose federal student loans are owned by private entities. In the letter to the Senate, the coalition urge the Senate to provide the same relief currently available to borrowers whose federal student loans are owned by the federal government, including a temporary suspension of payments, a zero percent interest rate, and the suspension of involuntary collections.

 

 

(Pontiac-jm) -- The Livingston County Public Health Department will be hosting a two day mobile COVID testing. Testing will take place August 17th and 18th from 8-4 at their facility in Pontiac.

(Springfield-jm) -- The challenge to the governor’s authority to issue executive orders during the pandemic from state Rep. Darren Bailey has been consolidated with other similar cases, and a civil contempt hearing in Clay County the governor was ordered to attend or face jail has been postponed. Bailey said it was frustrating and disappointing, but said the Clay County ruling against the governor’s orders still stands.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing 1,645 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 198,593 and total number of deaths to 7,672 deaths. As for local active and recovered cases Wednesday, 54 have been released from isolation in Ford County with 12 remaining in isolation and 2 hospitalized. In Champaign County 1,538 have recovered, 143 cases are active with 9 hospitalized. In Livingston County 108 have recovered and 23 cases are active. In McLean County 572 have recovered, 82 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. In Kankakee County 1,260 have recovered, 512 cases are active and 8 are hospitalized. In Vermilion County 215 have recovered, 18 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. In Iroquois County 222 have been released from isolation, 44 remain in isolation with 10 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is awarding the first round of Business Interruption Grants. 46 million dollars in grants have been released to more than 26 hundred businesses including salons, gyms and restaurants says Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Michael Negron…

 

 

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Michael Negron. The grants range from 10 thousand to 20 thousand dollars and can be used for things like payroll, utilities, equipment and PPE for employees. Negron says they expect to award more grants in subsequent rounds. Visit dceo dot illinois dot gov for more information.

 

 

(Thawville-jm) -- Thawville firefighters were called to a two vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon. Emergency crews were called to the accident at 115 and 1900 just before 4:30. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Work on a portion of I-72 began Wednesday. Crews are redoing 11 miles of patching and resurfacing I-72 between White Health and the I-57 interchange. The $8.3 million project is expected to be completed by the end of November.

 

 

(St. Joseph-cf)-- St. Joseph-Ogden has made the determination that they will be attending class on campus every other day of the week once school starts this upcoming fall. However, there is still one piece of the puzzle that is still not yet solved, and that is the bell schedule. School could be let out an hour earlier than normal to give teachers more time to work with students who choose to solely attend classes online, St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks has the details…

 

St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A new study of high school seniors in the U.S. suggests that teens who are less satisfied with their lives and seek out risky experiences and exciting, unpredictable friends are more likely to use multiple illicit substances regularly. Teens’ attitude toward e-cigarette use also played a critical role in their use of other substances. Students who considered vaping to be a relatively harmless activity were more likely to use significant amounts of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. The research was conducted by U of I Professors Kevin Tan and Douglas Smith.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- 52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign is teaming up with Community Blood Services to host two week long blood drives. The blood drives will take place September 8-11 in Urbana and Danville.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,549 new cases of Coronavirus and 20 additional deaths

(Springfield-jm) -- A legislative oversight committee upheld Governor J-B Pritzker’s mask enforcement rules for Illinois businesses, schools and daycare centers Tuesday. The rules create guidelines for enforcing the state’s mask mandate and social distancing requirements, ranging from a warning to fines for repeat offenders. The Governor’s General Counsel, Ann Spillane, says businesses need to post signs asking customers to wear a mask and provide masks to customers if possible. They do not need to police those who say they can’t medically wear a mask…

 

 

Governor’s General Counsel Ann Spillane. Opponents argued that any enforcement measures should be a part of state law, and that businesses shouldn’t be held liable for customers refusing to wear a mask. The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules let the guidelines stand.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,549 new cases of Coronavirus and 20 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 196,948 and deaths to 7,657. Locally, McLean County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 656, Champaign County reported 33 new cases bringing their total to 1682. Vermilion County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to  228. Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 68. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 282. Livingston County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 132. Kankakee County reported 19 new cases bringing their total to 1883. No new deaths were reported locally Tuesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is announcing 20 more weeks of regular state benefits are now available. The extended benefits are funded by the federal government and are being released because of the state’s high unemployment rate. This is meant for those who have exhausted their 26 weeks of traditional benefits and 13 weeks of P-U-A benefits says I-D-E-S Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco..

 

I-D-E-S Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco. Visit: ides dot illinois dot gov for more information.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Four colleges and universities in Central Illinois have been awarded TRIO Student Support Services grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Heartland Community College in Bloomington is receiving $275,104. Illinois State University $309,457. Parkland College $335,111. University of Illinois Urbana Champaign $338,337. The grants are used to increase college retention and graduation rates among students who are traditionally disadvantaged.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- When voters go to the polls in November they will be asked to approve a constitutional amendment that would change the state’s tax structure from a flat rate to a progressive income tax. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says he thinks it will be a close vote but the Coronavirus pandemic may play a role in the outcome…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Voters go to the polls November 3rd. Early voting begins October 19th.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating a string of vehicle burglaries. Police say 7 vehicles were burglarized on the night of August 7th. 5 of the vehicles were in the 400 block of East Chestnut, a vehicle in the 200 block of North Washington and a vehicle in the 600 block of East Pells. Cash, loose change and various other items were taken. Anyone with information is asked to call Paxton Police or Ford County Crime stoppers at 217-784-4173.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- From silking stage to condition, several aspects of crop progress are covered in the latest report on the nation's corn crop. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,549 new cases of Coronavirus and 20 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 196,948 and deaths to 7,657. As for active and recovered cases, 551 have recovered in McLean County with 90 in isolation. In Champaign County 1,523 have recovered, 140 cases are active and 11 are hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 213 have recovered, 11 are in isolation and 2 hospitalized. In Ford County, 53 have been released from isolation, 11 remain in isolation with 2 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 209 have been released from isolation, 50 remain in isolation with 12 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 105 have been removed from isolation and 24 cases are active. In Kankakee County, 1,326 have recovered, 492 cases are active with 8 hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching the new emergency rental assistance program. If you’ve taken a financial hit during the pandemic and are struggling to pay rent, check to see if you qualify for the program says Illinois Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kristen Faust…

 

 

Illinois Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kristen Faust. All the details are available online at: era dot ihda dot rog. Another program for those having trouble keeping up with their mortgage will be available in a few weeks.

 

 

(Chatsworth-jm) -- A Chatsworth house is a total loss after a fire Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters from Chatsworth, Piper City and Pontiac were called to the fire near Ash and 3rd Streets. No one was home at the time of the fire.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Pritzker Administration has announced $250 million in infrastructure grants as part of his Rebuild Illinois campaign. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at Ford County communities receiving funds…

 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Another concert will be coming to the big screen at the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In in Gibson City. The drive in announced Metallica will perform on August 29th. Three Days Grace will be the opening act. Tickets go on sale at noon on Friday.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The latest USDA Crop Progress report for soybeans notes a week-over-week improvement in the condition of the bean crop. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

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Severe thunderstorms pushed through the area late Monday afternoon leaving several without power

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,319 new cases of COVID-19 Monday bringing the state’s total to 195,399. Locally since Friday, McLean County reported 37 additional cases bringing their total to 645. Vermilion County reported 7 new cases bringing their total number to 226. Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total number to 66. Livingston County reported 8 new cases and one additional death bringing their total number of cases to 118 and total deaths to 3. Iroquois County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 279. Kankakee County reported 30 new cases bringing their total number to 1,864. Champaign County reported 44 new cases bringing their total to 1,649.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health along with area health departments have been tracking cases in area communities. Since the pandemic began, 260 cases have been in Rantoul, 90 in Mahomet, 63 in Gilman, 59 in Clifton, 35 in Watseka, 30 in Fisher, 27 in St. Joseph, 26 in Chebanse, 23 in Hoopeston, 21 in Onarga, 20 in Paxton, 14 in Ashkum, 11 in Gibson City, 9 in Crescent City, 8 each in Danforth and Foosland, 7 in Bellflower, 6 each in Saybrook, Thomasboro, Milford, Gifford and Ludlow, 5 in Dewey and 1 each in Penfield and Ogden. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of the corn and soybean crops improved this past week. Crop Statistician Steve Parn says 66 percent of the corn crop is now in the dough stage…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Steve Parn. The Illinois soybean crop improved to 78 percent in good to excellent condition, with 91 percent of soybeans blooming and 74 percent setting pods. Both temperatures and rainfall were below normal, leaving average statewide topsoil moisture at two percent very short, 21 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Severe thunderstorms pushed through the area late Monday afternoon leaving several without power and people cleaning up. The storms pushed through just after 4pm. Several small branches were blown down in the Paxton area. A semi was blown off the road near Gilman and a spotter in the Crescent City area reported numerous trees and powerlines down. Ameren Illinois and Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative both reported power outages in Iroquois County with Ameren also reporting outages near the St. Joseph area. At the peak of the storm almost 750,000 customers across the state were without power.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is expanding their COVID saliva testing nationally. The University made the announcement Monday. The saliva test produces rapid results in as little as 2-6 hours and costs significantly less than the nasal tests. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A job fair for the new Costco in Champaign will be held today. The East Central Illinois worknet is hosting the job fair from 10 to 2 at 206 West Anthony Drive in Champaign. 

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in August. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- A Gibson City man faces several charges after an accident. Gibson City police arrested 20 year old Luke Freehill on August 2nd on charges of leaving the scene of an accident, illegal transportation of alcohol and improper lane usage.

 

Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka is hosting a Community Health Walk today from 3 to 6 pm.

 

(Washington-jm) -- This week we will have much more information about production and market prospects for wheat and for most major crops. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,319 new cases of COVID-19 Monday bringing the state’s total to 195,399. As for active local and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 529 have been released and 101 remain in isolation. Vermilion County is reporting 203 have recovered, 20 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 50 have been released from isolation, 12 remain in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 99 have been removed from isolation and 16 cases remain active. Iroquois County is reporting 207 have been released from isolation, 53 remain in isolation and 8 are hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,260 have recovered, 539 cases are active and 14 are hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,477 have recovered, 153 cases remain active with 14 hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking cases at Long Term Care Facilities around the state. Locally, 7 cases have been reported at Country Health and Rehab in Gifford and 5 at the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul. 7 cases have been reported between the two Accolade facilities in Paxton and 4 have been reported at the Gibson Annex. 72 cases and 5 deaths have been reported at Gilman Healthcare and 3 cases have been reported at Prairieview Lutheran Home in Danforth.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The condition of the corn and soybean crops improved this past week. 10 percent of corn is in the dent stage and 79 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Crop Statistician Steve Parn says 91 percent of soybeans are blooming…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is now 46 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at two percent very short, 21 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College in Champaign will host a virtual town hall meeting this week. The event will take place on Thursday, August 13th from 6:30-7:30 pm. Topics include COVID planning, educational plans and a Q&A session.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Roger Ebert's Film Festival, Ebertfest, will return in 2021 a few months later than scheduled. Instead of being held at its usual time in April, the festival will be held at the Virginia Theatre from September 8 through 11, 2021. Festival passes for next year's event will go on sale January 4.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The University of Illinois Extension has launched a community food map to help Illinoisans locate food resources in their area. The Find Food IL map allows people to search by Illinois ZIP code to find local food resources. Users can search for food pantries, school and summer meal sites, grocery stores, food retailers, farmers markets, and roadside farm stands that accept SNAP, WIC, or senior food benefits.

 

 

(Watseka-cf)-- There will be a health walk this afternoon at Iroquois Memorial Hospital, and a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new pharmacy at the hospital. IMH Outreach Director Mary Kay Lavicka has the details… 

 

 

Iroquois Memorial Hospital Outreach Director Mary Kay Lavicka. There will also be a raffle at the end of the walk. Please bring a mask and stay 6 feet from others. 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Chinese purchases of certain U.S. farm products are ahead of last year by huge percentages. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two 13 year olds including one from Rantoul have been arrested for stealing a vehicle in Urbana last week. A woman reported her vehicle stolen in north Urbana Thursday morning. Later that morning officers spotted the vehicle in Champaign. After a short chase, police stopped and arrested the youth.

 

Christ Lutheran High School in Buckley will hold their Back to School Night on tonight starting at 6:30 pm.

 

 

 

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The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing new rules to help enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is announcing new rules to help enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines. The rules only apply to businesses, schools and daycare facilities and aim to boost compliance with public health mandates says Governor Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The first step will be a warning, followed by asking patrons to leave if a business is caught failing to comply a second time. If there is a third violation, the business may be hit with a misdemeanor charge and a fine ranging from 75 dollars to 25 hundred. A legislative committee will take up the issue tomorrow.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new state law aims to protect workers during the Coronavirus pandemic. The bill is sponsored by Senator Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights and adds a penalty for assaulting a retail worker who is telling customers about public health guidelines…

 

 

State Senator Ann Gillespie of Arlington Heights. The new law also increases paid disability leave for police, fire fighters, corrections officers and other first responders whose recovery from injury has been impacted by the pandemic.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two people were struck by a car in Rantoul. Police say the incident happened on 136 by the high school. A 30 year old and 10 year old were struck. The driver was cited for failure to yield at a crosswalk.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Illinois voters will be asked to approve a constitutional amendment in November to change the state’s tax structure. Currently the state operates on a flat tax rate, but the proposal before voters in November would change that to a progressive income tax. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says that would make it easier for lawmakers to increase taxes in the future…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Election Day is November 3rd, however, early voting begins October 19th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- There is a pair of school board meetings tonight around the area. Rantoul Township High School will meet tonight at 6 where they will discuss their tentative FY 21 budget and consider approving their reopening plan. The St. Joseph Community school board will meet tonight at 6:30 where they will hear an update on summer projects, discuss their FY21 budget and also discuss their reopening plan. Again the Rantoul Township High School school board meets at 6. The St. Joseph Community school board meets at 6:30.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- After a fall like week last week, how does the outlook for the rest of August look? State Climatologist Trent Ford has the details…

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- The village of Ludlow is in the process of updating their ordinances. Residents have complained of a wide range of issues from burning trash to excessive noise and inoperable vehicles. Ordinances were last updated in 1989. The village has a deadline of September 2nd to get them updated.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A legislative oversight committee meets Tuesday to consider mask enforcement rules, and Governor J-B Pritzker is asking members to leave politics out of their decision. Some on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules have already expressed opposition to the rules, but the Governor asks them to focus on the health of Illinoisans…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The rules apply to businesses, restaurants, bars, schools and daycare centers, ranging from a warning for a first offense to fines for a third offense.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is enlisting the help of medical experts to stress the importance of wearing a mask. University of Chicago Medicine Infectious Disease Expert Emily Landon says social distancing and wearing a mask are critical in avoiding another lockdown. She says the pandemic is still a very serious situation…

 

 

University of Chicago Medicine Infectious Disease Expert Emily Landon. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A second man has been charged in the death of a former Rantoul man in Champaign in May. 20 year old London Taylor of Urbana was arrested and charged with 1st degree murder and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon in the fatal shooting of James Coleman on May 21st. A second person, Keith Baker, was arrested shortly after the shooting. Bond for Taylor was set at one million dollars.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Local governments can take advantage of federal money to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the money…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- There are several town board meetings tonight around the area. Gibson City will meet tonight at 7 where council members will be asked to approve the purchase of a 2017 PJ trailer. The Gilman city council meets tonight at 7 where they are expected to approve a payment to Iroquois Paving for North Thomas and East 2nd Street project and consider changing the treasurer’s position to an appointed position. The Onarga village board will meet at 7 where they are expected to hear a trio of updates including the Evergreen Street project, sidewalk projects and the gas tax. The Ford County Board also meet tonight at 7 where they are expected to approve the hiring of a contact tracer for the health department, allow the health department to hire without county board approval and consider the appointment of Brandon Magers to replace Matt Rock as Zoning Officer. Again, the Gibson City, Gilman, Onarga and Ford County Board meetings get underway at 7pm.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Pritzker Administration has announced $250 million in infrastructure grants as part of his Rebuild Illinois campaign. WPXN’s Jason Madden looks at Champaign County communities receiving funds…

 

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- Governor JB Pritzker is announcing 15 Illinois community colleges will receive more than $103.5 million to expand existing facilities and construct new buildings, among other projects. The investments are made possible by the Governor’s historic, bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the most robust capital plan in Illinois history and the first in nearly a decade. Locally, Danville Area Community College will receive $2.3 million to remodel 32,500 square feet of space at the Clock Tower Center and rehab the Ornamental Horticulture Building.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Marketplace Mall in Champaign today from 11 to 4.

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The Illinois Department of Employment Security is extending the state's unemployment benefits

(Springfield-jm) -- Nearly 25,000 Illinois workers filed for unemployment benefits last week. While that’s around 8,500 fewer than the week before, it’s still more than 1.4 million Illinoisans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the beginning of March. Across the country, unemployment filings are also down with 1.2 million filing initial claims just last week alone. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Employment Security is extending the state's unemployment benefits. Typically unemployed residents seeking benefits are allowed to get unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. That was extended to an additional 13 weeks. Now, residents will get an additional seven weeks, for a total of 20 weeks of extended benefits.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- June brought renewed housing demand as Illinois reopened, however, low housing inventory is still an issue. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,953 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths Thursday. Locally, McLean County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 598. Champaign County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 1,574. Ford County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 64. Ford County also reported their 2nd COVID death. Livingston County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 105. Kankakee County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 1,796. Vermilion County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 216. Iroquois County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 272.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking outbreaks at Long Term Care Facilities across the state. Locally, 13 cases have been tied to facilities in Ford County, 115 in Iroquois County, 362 in Kankakee County, 65 in McLean County and 46 in Champaign County. 

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- Could taxes be going up in Illinois? Voters will be asked to approve a constitutional amendment changing the state’s tax structure in November. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says a tax increase is not the answer but addressing the way the state spends money is…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Ludlow-jm) -- The village of Ludlow is looking to address speeding in the village. Several residents came forward at their recent meeting to address their concerns saying it's a safety issue.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City Police are releasing their recent activity report. On July 29th, Kendall McElhaney of Gibson City was arrested on an in state warrant. On July 31st,  On August 2nd, Daniel Walker was arrested on an in state warrant.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA has just added some new crop insurance payment flexibilities to an already long list of moves to help producers during stressful times. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The Paxton IGA will be hosting a cook out benefiting Boy Scout Troop 32 on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

The Rankin Fire Department is hosting their annual pork chop dinner on Saturday from 4-7 pm. Cost is $8 for adults, children are $4. Carry outs are available.

 

(Undated-jm) -- As Illinois struggled with state-mandated lockdowns amid the COVID-19 crisis, Illinois Policy Institute analysis reveals the state’s economy shrank by an estimated $86 billion from April through June, or $940 million per day. These figures come from national data released July 30, estimating the U.S. gross domestic product suffered its largest quarterly decline on record. Just ahead of federal jobs data for July expected today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis found national GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 32.9% in the second quarter of this year, compared to just 5% during the first quarter of 2020. Institute experts believe these reports should influence the debate surrounding another federal stimulus bill, and the primary goal of public policy decisions should be to prevent mass business failure and bolster a strong economic recovery. U.S. Department of Labor data show 24,712 Illinoisans filed for unemployment in the week ending Aug. 1, bringing total new jobless claims to 1.55 million since COVID-19 started impacting Illinois’ economy.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is joining 19 other attorneys general in calling on social media giant Facebook to take steps to prevent the spread of hate and disinformation. The attorneys general wants Facebook to aggressively enforce its policies against hate speech and organized hate organizations, expand policies limiting inflammatory advertisements that vilify minority groups, offer assistance to victims and harassment and strengthen filtering, reporting and blocking tools among other things.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- One area state representative is urging people to not plant seeds that could be from China. Several states are reporting people receiving unsolicited seeds. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there are some things you need to do if you receive some…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,953 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths Thursday. As for active and recovered cases, 483 have been released in McLean County with 99 in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,371 have recovered, 184 cases are active and 12 are hospitalized. In Ford County, 48 have been released from isolation, 12 remain in isolation and 2 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 84 have been removed from isolation and 19 cases are active. In Kankakee County, 1,237 have recovered, 496 cases remain active and 7 are hospitalized. In Vermilion County, 182 have been released from isolation, 29 remain in isolation with 3 hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 198 have been released from isolation, 57 remain in isolation with 9 hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Department of Public Health along with area health departments are releasing numbers in area communities. So far, 257 have been in Rantoul, 86 in Mahomet, 60 in Gilman, 56 in Clifton, 31 in Watseka, 30 in Fisher, 27 in St. Joseph, 25 in Chebanse, 21 in Hoopeston, 20 in Paxton, 19 in Onarga, 14 in Ashkum, 12 in Gibson City, 9 in Crescent City, 8 in Danforth, 7 each in Foosland and Bellflower, 6 each in Saybrook, Milford, Ludlow and Thomasboro, 5 in Dewey, 3 in Gifford and 1 each in Penfield and Ogden.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- There will be a second referendum on the ballot in the upcoming November election in the Village of Rantoul. The ballot will have the approval of the new districts in Rantoul, which will result in 1 trustee from each district with 4 year term limits, staggered every two years says Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower… 

 

 

 Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heurmann is warning residents about several vehicle thefts. The sheriff says they have seen an increase in thefts, mainly being committed by juveniles. And most have a common theme, the vehicles were left unlocked and the keys left inside. Sheriff Heurmann reminds residents to lock their vehicles, do not leave keys inside and do not leave anything valuable in your vehicle. If your vehicle does get stolen, you should report it to police and also your insurance company.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, scientists and health care providers are seeking ways to keep the coronavirus from infecting tissues once they’re exposed. A new study suggests luring the virus with a decoy – an engineered, free-floating receptor protein – that binds the virus and blocks infection. Erik Procko, a Biochemistry professor at the University of Illinois, led the study published in the journal of science. Further work is required to determine whether the decoy receptors could be an effective treatment of or preventive agent against COVID-19.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- More producers have filled their Census of Agriculture surveys online over the last three Census years, and that has to do with making the surveys more user friendly via technology. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

 

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Governor J-B Pritzker is issuing another warning in light of rising COVID-19 numbers in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- Representative Darren Bailey is continuing his fight with Governor JB Pritzker and his COVID-19 Executive Orders. Bailey says he now wants Governor Pritzker held in civil contempt because he "continually ignored a valid court ruling that his COVID-19 Executive Orders after April 8, 2020 are null and void." Specifically, Bailey says Pritzker violated the court ruling by imposing three new Executive Orders. That's why Bailey filed a petition for Pritzker to be held in contempt and have the last three executive orders rescinded or have him held in the Clay County Jail.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police continue to chip away at the state's DNA forensic backlog. A cooperative effort helped cut the fiscal year 2020 biology/DNA forensic backlog by 30% from fiscal year 2019. Submissions for biology/DNA analysis were also up by 9% over the last fiscal year. The Biology Section completed 47% more assignments in FY2020 than in FY2019.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is issuing another warning in light of rising COVID-19 numbers in Illinois. The good news is that the state is averaging about 41 thousand tests a day. But the Governor says the bad news is that the virus rages on. He urges local officials to keep an eye on their numbers and take appropriate action…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says just four of the state’s 11 “Restore Illinois” regions have a test positivity rate below five percent. Region 6 which includes Ford, Iroquois, Champaign and Vermilion Counties are at 3 percent. Region 7 which includes Kankakee County is at 6.3 percent. Region 2 which includes McLean and Livingston Counties are at 5.3 percent.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Locally, McLean County reported 13 new cases yesterday bringing their total number to 583. Livingston County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 101. Vermilion County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 212. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 265. Ford County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 62. Kankakee County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 1,783. Champaign County reported 35 new cases bringing their total to 1,558.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department reported 8 of the 13 new cases this week have been in Long Term Care Facilities. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 4 of the counties 62 cases have been at the Gibson Hospital Annex while 9 have been at the Accolade facilities in Paxton. Looking at other area long term care facilities...Country Health and Rehab in Gifford had 6 of Champaign Counties cases while the Villas of Hollybrook in Rantoul contributed 3. In Iroquois County, Gilman Healthcare has 61 of the counties cases and 2 deaths while Prairieview Lutheran Home in Danforth has 3.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state has found more than 120 thousand cases of the unemployment benefit fraud that is plaguing the nation. The scheme is likely tied to a prior data breach, where your personal information was stolen says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If this happens to you, the Governor says you should not activate the card, but do report it to the Illinois Department of Employment Security online at: ides dot illinois dot gov.

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- The village of Roberts will be feeling the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and village leaders say residents may feel it too. The village says they have been told to anticipate adjusting their budget by as much as 30 percent. Village leaders say that may result in an increase in taxes to a reduction in services.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  USDA's new monthly food price forecast for 2020 reflects a moderating level of price inflation for the rest of this year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health said the state turned over the vacant Vibra Hospital in Springfield in mid-June and the courts are going to decide how much is owed. The state leased the hospital at the height of the pandemic for overflow capacity, but it was never used. In Chicago, the alternative healthcare facility at the McCormick Place convention center is set to be completely dismantled later this month. 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Housing Development Authority will receive $7 million in federal funding. This funding will support the creation of 81 rental units for low-income Illinois residents with disabilities. The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- U-S Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are calling on the Trump Administration to deliver the remaining economic impact payments to Illinoisans. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, as many as 392,000 adults and children in Illinois will not receive their EIP automatically, amounting to $401 million in unclaimed aid. The letter was sent Wednesday to Treasury Secretary Steve Munchin and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig and called for the delivery of payments as soon as possible.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Contact tracing efforts are providing a little insight into how the public is reacting to the Coronavirus. By talking to those who test positive and others who may have been exposed, State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says workers are reporting back what they’ve learned…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says they’ve also discovered a pattern of outbreaks after large family gatherings. She says even though you are with extended family, if you haven’t been around them all this time, everyone should be wearing a mask.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 1,759 new cases of Coronavirus and 30 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 186,471 and deaths to 7,573. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 466 have been released from isolation, 101 remain in isolation and 1 person is hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 84 have been removed from isolation with 15 cases still active. Vermilion County is reporting 177 have recovered, 31 remain in isolation with 2 hospitalized. Iroquois County is reporting 198 have been released from isolation, 50 remain in isolation and 9 are hospitalized.  Ford County is reporting 48 have been released from isolation, 10 remain in isolation with 3 hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,237 have recovered, 481 cases remain active with 7 hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,558 have recovered, 195 cases remain active with 13 hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for case numbers in local communities provided by the Department of Public Health...253 have been in Rantoul, 85 in Mahomet, 60 in Gilman, 56 in Clifton, 31 in Watseka, 30 in Fisher, 26 in St. Joseph, 25 in Chebanse, 21 in Hoopeston, 18 in Onarga, 16 in Paxton, 14 in Ashkum, 11 in Gibson City, 9 in Crescent City, 8 in Danforth, 7 each in Foosland and Ludlow, 6 each in Milford, Saybrook and Bellflower, 5 each in Dewey and Thomasboro, 3 in Gifford and 1 each in Penfield and Ogden.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs says his office has returned a record breaking one billion dollars in unclaimed property. Treasurer Frerichs says this is the highest amount ever returned over a five year time period. So what is unclaimed property?...

 

 

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs. Frerichs credits increased efforts and technology improvements for the success. Check if you are due any money or property by going online to: illinois treasurer dot gov and click on “I-cash.”

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City passed a trio of motions at their recent meeting. Council members approved a sidewalk cafe permit and license for the American Legion, approved an O liquor license for Los Caminos Mexican Restaurant and approved an ordinance allowing Casey’s to sell beer curbside.

 

 

(St. Joseph-cf)-- Bus transportation is an important factor in this year’s upcoming school year due to having to socially distance, or wear a face covering. St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks details the transportation aspect of the return to school plan… 

 

 

St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Taylorville U.S. Representative Rodney Davis on Wednesday doubled down on his call for federal funds already released to states to be given to local governments. A federal report indicates only 15.3 percent of $4.9 billion in funds Illinois received in COVID-19 relief had been dispersed as of the end of June. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said such funds will be spent through the rest of the year. Davis said the funds should be released immediately.

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Health officials are worried the pandemic may have prevented people from getting flu shots

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois faces rough waters ahead with fiscal landmines Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says are from the COVID-19 pandemic, and without tax dollars from the federal government, she warns of life-endangering shutdowns of the state’s social safety net. It’s unclear if there will be additional federal aid to states and cities. Congress could allow for already released and unused aid to cover lost revenue driven by government shutdowns of the economy, but no deal on another aid package has advanced.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Health officials are worried the pandemic may have prevented people from getting flu shots setting up a “double whammy” during the influenza season. The website QuoteWizard ranked all 50 states based on child flu vaccination rates, and Illinois was found to have a 54.9 percent rate, ranking it the 18th lowest in the country. Nationwide, child flu vaccination rates have declined by an estimated 21.5% during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, over the past decade, influenza and pneumonia have been associated with an average of 35-hundred deaths a year in Illinois. During most flu seasons, which typically runs from October through May, between 10 and 20 percent of the population is infected with influenza viruses.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker said his administration is continuing to look for ways to enforce his executive orders as he tours COVID-19 hot spots in Illinois to encourage local officials to adopt their own ordinances. Pritzker said he tried to work with the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules on state penalties for businesses that don’t follow his orders. Pritzker repealed the rule he filed to level criminal penalties against businesses that didn't comply with his mandates just before JCAR met in late May. A separate rule he filed about workers’ compensation benefits for COVID-19 claims was challenged in the courts and was then repealed.

 

(Washington-jm) -- Coming soon we will get our first forecast for corn and soybeans and some other crops based on more than just acreage multiplied by average yields. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,471 new cases of Coronavirus Tuesday including 19 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 184,712 and total deaths to 7,545. Locally, McLean County reported 18 new cases bringing their total number to 570. Vermilion County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 203. Livingston County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 100. Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 54. Kankakee County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 1,769. Champaign County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 1,523. Iroquois County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 261.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- While most events have been canceled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce is moving forward with their plans for the 2nd annual Wine and Chocolate Walk says Chamber President Alan Meyer…

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka has a new Chief Financial Officer. The hospital announced Richard Harning will take over the position. Harning has over 28 years experience in financial healthcare leadership.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have arrested two people on drug charges. Kenneth Armstrong of Wheaton, Illinois and Heather Scott of Sheldon were arrested following a traffic stop Monday afternoon for the driver having a suspended license and a warrant out of Vermilion County. Officers found 33 grams of meth, Alprazolam pills, 1/10 of a gram of heroin, numerous hypodermic needles, less than 10 grams of cannabis, scales and plastic baggies. Armstrong was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of heroin, possession of a controlled substance, illegal possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia as well as the warrant and driving with a revoked license. Scott was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and obstruction of justice.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- One area lawmaker is questioning Governor J-B Pritzker's approach to fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman talks about the Governors fight against the virus…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School today from noon to 4pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Exelon's CEO cast fresh uncertainty on the profitability of its subsidiary's nuclear facilities in Illinois without intervention from lawmakers despite the eroded trust after a patronage and lobbying scandal. The company says they need state lawmakers to create a separate wholesale energy market that would allow its six nuclear plants to sell subsidized energy. Federal regulators objected to the nuclear plants selling discounted power on the PJM Interconnection market because it put other energy providers at a disadvantage. Exelon operates six nuclear power facilities in Illinois. The company said last October that the Byron, Braidwood, Clinton, LaSalle and Dresden plants were in danger of being shuttered.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The truncated COVID-19 session the Illinois legislature organized in late May in Springfield had an additional $143,000 taxpayer cost so the House could legislate while remaining socially distant. With a May 31 deadline to pass a state budget with simple majorities, leaders planned to return for three days, May 20-23. While some legislators did not attend because they either tested positive for COVID-19 or had other health concerns, the Illinois Senate held its session in the Senate chambers for the upper chamber's 59 members. The Illinois House opted for an offsite location at the Bank of Springfield convention center for its 117 members.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The safety of school reopening plans is now up to a medical review panel. The Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics made the announcement Tuesday. More than a dozen doctors will review district reopening plans that teachers are concerned about. If a district’s plan is deemed unsafe by the panel of medical experts, the district will be informed of the changes that need to be made to ensure all are safe and the environment is healthy.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is National Minority Donor Awareness Month and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is shining a spotlight on the need. When it comes to those who need an organ and those who pledge to donate, there’s a significant disparity among minorities says Secretary White…

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. Additionally, Secretary White says people of color are disproportionately affected by illnesses like hypertension and diabetes, which can lead to the need for a kidney transplant.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,471 new cases of Coronavirus Tuesday including 19 additional deaths. That brings the state’s total number of cases to 184,712 and total deaths to 7,545. As for local active and recovered cases...McLean County reported 451 have recovered, 102 are in isolation and 2 hospitalized. In Vermilion County 171 have recovered, 29 are in isolation and 1 hospitalized. In Livingston County, 81 have recovered and 17 cases are active. In Ford County, 48 have been released, 3 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. In Kankakee County 1,234 have recovered, 470 cases are active and 7 are hospitalized. In Champaign County, 1,287 have recovered, 217 cases are active and 14 are hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 196 have been released, 52 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation announced their six year road construction plans. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details on projects beyond 2021…

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- Many people who were tested for COVID-19 at one of the seven mobile testing clinics in Vermilion County have still not received their results after two weeks. The Vermilion County Health Department said a commercial lab in Pekin got overwhelmed and did not properly test  all 118of the samples collected at the clinic. The health department said many of the samples received at the Pekin lab between July 12 and July 24 were not processed within the necessary window. It is recommended that those who were tested between these dates and have not received their results should be tested again.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn and soybean condition numbers remain steady. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(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.

 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will host a free agrichemical recycling at Nutrien Ag Solutions in Onarga this afternoon from 1-3 pm.

 

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A lawsuit to ensure school children wear face coverings when schools re-open is now being bumped up to the Illinois Supreme Court

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Human Services announced on Monday three new mental health programs designed to provide additional support for Illinois residents. These new resources will be provided by community organizations through the Living Room Program, Transitional Living Centers, and the Transitional Community Care and Support Programs throughout the state.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Consumers bought more than $300 million worth of legal cannabis for recreational use in Illinois in the first seven months of the year after July sales exceeded previous months by as much as $20 million. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported in July a total of nearly $61 million in recreational cannabis products were sold. The latest revenue figures from the Illinois Department of Revenue show for adult-use cannabis taxes, the state generated $52.8 million from January through the end of June, which completed the fiscal year 2020.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A lawsuit to ensure school children wear face coverings when schools re-open is now being bumped up to the Illinois Supreme Court. The lawsuit sought a Sangamon County judge’s approval of Pritzker’s order that schoolchildren wear face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19. A judge ruled that the temporary restraining order being sought didn't give as much certainty. Therefore the court will wait for the parties involved to argue their case to the Supreme Court.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new survey finds nearly one in 10 Americans has moved in with other people, and three in 10 have delayed attempting to purchase a home during the pandemic. It also says just half of Americans feel secure in their current housing situation. Mary Schuermann reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,298 new cases of Coronavirus and 10 additional deaths Monday. Locally, McLean County reported 39 new cases since Friday, bringing their total to 552. Ford County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 53. Vermilion County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 197. Champaign County reported 64 new cases bringing their total to 1,512. Kankakee County reported 20 new cases bringing their total to 1,761. Livingston County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 94. Iroquois County is reporting 10 new cases bringing their total to 260. They are also reporting an additional death bringing their total number to 8.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- As for case totals in area communities, 250 have been in Rantoul, 82 in Mahomet, 61 in Gilman, 56 in Clifton, 31 in Watseka, 30 in Fisher, 25 in St. Joseph, 24 in Chebanse, 21 in Hoopeston, 18 in Onarga, 14 in Ashkum, 13 in Paxton, 11 in Gibson City, 8 each in Danforth and Crescent City, 7 each in Ludlow and Foosland, 6 each in Beaverville, Milford and Saybrook, 5 each in Thomasboro and Dewey, 3 in Gifford and 1 in Penfield.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois crops are about on pace with the five year average so far. 96 percent of corn is silking, compared to 92 percent normally, and 43 percent is in the dough stage says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 76 percent of both corn and soybeans are rated in good to excellent condition. The second cutting of alfalfa is 90 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, nine percent short, 68 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus. 

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Sheriff’s Office released their July activity numbers. Deputies responded to 4 traffic accidents and issued 26 citations during the month. Those include 15 for speeding, 2 each failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and unlawful possession of cannabis by a driver and 1 each for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, illegal backing in a roadway, driving while revoked, driving with an expired registration, illegal transportation of alcohol and no seat belt. Deputies also handled 8 animal complaints, 6 domestic issues, 5 each of harassment, suicidal subject and suspicious activity, 4 thefts, 3 each of trespassing, damage to property and burglary, 2 reports of fraud and 1 each of a fight in progress and a hit and run.

 

 

(St. Joseph-cf)-- School will be back in session in just a few weeks, and it will look a lot different this year as we continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic. St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks details how the school year will look for the district… 

 

 

St. Joseph-Ogden Superintendent Brian Brooks. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture is offering a free recycling program for agrichemical containers throughout the state. Locally, on August 5th from 1-3 pm in Onarga at Nutrien Ag Solutions and August 12th 1-3 pm at United Prairie in Tolono.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce continues to promote their chamber bucks program. Executive Secretary and Treasurer Leah Moore says they can be used just like cash…

 

 

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

 

 

(Normal-jm) -- Illinois State University in Normal has received a $13 million grant from the U-S Department of Energy. The grant is for a biofuels project led by Professor John Sedbrook and is aimed to genetically strengthen a plant for use in sustainable energy efforts.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois lawmaker is calling for the suspension of history lessons in public schools until the lessons focus more on the contributions of minorities and women. Democratic State Representative La Shawn Ford met with a group that supports that change over the weekend. He said the lessons need to be more inclusive to accurately portray history.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A Logan County Circuit Court judge handed Governor J.B. Pritzker his latest loss in a challenge to the governor's executive authority. Judge Jonathan C. Wright ruled Monday that Pritzker’s order that temporarily halted county jails from moving prisoners to state-run facilities ran afoul of state law.The Illinois Department of Corrections must accept an inmate within 14 days of a transfer.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker doesn’t think the cloud of corruption over Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan will hurt the proposed progressive income tax amendment on the November ballot. When asked if having Madigan stay in power as Democratic Party of Illinois chairman hurts the chances of the progressive income tax, Pritzker put more weight on the character of other Democrats on the ballot.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is launching a new mask awareness campaign to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. “It only works if you wear it” is a five million dollar campaign to get people to wear a mask out in public says the Governor...

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The state has had a mask requirement since May 1st, and Governor Pritzker says it’s up to local communities to decide how they want to enforce the mandate.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,298 new cases of Coronavirus and 10 additional deaths Monday. As for local active and recovered cases, McLean County is reporting 434 have recovered, 101 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Ford County is reporting 46 have been released, 4 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County is reporting 164 have recovered, 30 are in isolation and 1 hospitalized. Champaign County is reporting 1,268 have recovered, 225 cases are active and 15 are hospitalized. Kankakee County is reporting 1,212 have recovered, 484 cases are active and 7 hospitalized. Livingston County is reporting 81 have been removed and 11 cases are active. Iroquois County is reporting 195 have been released, 53 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois crops are about on pace with the five year average so far. State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 78 percent of soybeans are blooming, compared to 84 percent normally, and 52 percent of the crop is setting pods...

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Rainfall this past week was more than an inch above normal, leaving average statewide topsoil moisture at one percent very short, nine percent short, 68 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.

 

 

(Ashkum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Occupant Restraint Enforcement Patrols in August. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

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

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul had a referendum on the ballot in the 2018 election to approve dividing the village into six districts. Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower describes how the trustees are elected at the current time… 

 

 

 There will now be one trustee for each district in the village of Rantoul, says Eisenhower. The next step was to divide the village into the six districts. Eisenhower describes the process…

 

 

Rantoul Village Administrator Scott Eisenhower

 

 

(Penfield-jm) -- Champaign County Crime stoppers is seeking the public's help regarding a theft. The theft occurred sometime between Sunday, July 19th at 4pm to Monday, July 20th at 6:30 am at Middlefork Forest Preserve in Penfield. A person entered the preserve and stole a 7 by 12 construction trailer. The trailer license plate is 1000414TB.

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New research shows moms suffered three times the job loss than dads in Illinois during the pandemic

(Undated-jm) -- New research from the Illinois Policy Institute shows moms suffered three times the job loss than dads in Illinois during the pandemic. Moms saw a 16.3 percent drop compared to 5.7 percent for dads. Researchers say the decrease could increase the likelihood more women will leave the workforce altogether.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- According to a new report out of the state Criminal Justice Information Authority, teen drinking is down in Illinois, but still concerning. The data shows that alcohol consumption by teens dropped by about eight percent between 2008 and 2017 says Acting Research Director Jessica Reichert…

 

 

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Acting Research Director Jessica Reichert. Alcohol-related arrests were also down in Illinois by about 25 percent from 2005 to 2019. Despite the decreases, Reichert says alcohol use by youth remains an important health and safety issue, since drinking can lead to risky behavior, affect schoolwork and alter brain development.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Rantoul man has been sentenced to 30 months probation for his role in a scrap metal scheme. Patrick Henderson pleaded guilty in Champaign County court to theft for stealing brass fittings from a place in Champaign and attempted burglary for trying to dismantle an air conditioner unit at a Rantoul factory.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Temperatures this weekend were in the 70s and 80s bringing much needed relief from the hot weather. State Climatologist Trent Ford has a look at the next couple of weeks…

 

 

State Climatologist Trent Ford.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Ford Iroquois 4-H Foundation has announced their scholarship winners. The winners are: Anna Ritter of the Milks Grove Challengers 4-H Club, Brooke Beyers of the Prairie Fire 4-H Club, Carson McGill of the Ashkum Go-Getters 4-H Club, Cyrus Cook of the Danforth Blue Ribbon 4-H Club, Erin Anderson of the Fountain Creek Stitch n Do 4-H Club, Karlie Wilken of the Ashkum Go-Getters 4-H Club, Kaylee Warren of the Sheldon Square Shooters 4-H Club, Nikolaus Hanson of the Ashkum Go-Getters 4-H Club, Seth Bishop of the Donovan Ag 4-H Club and Spencer Meenen of the Town and Country Helpers 4-H Club.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- One Illinois lawmaker says state leaders need to be careful when issuing mandates to combat the Coronavirus. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says while some of the mandates may help to slow the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic there may be some unintended consequences…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s Public Works Director will be leaving at the end of August. Mark LeClair announced he is retiring after 42 years with the city on August 31. LeClair started with the city in 1978.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois is the slowest state in the Midwest to get workers unemployed by the Coronavirus pandemic back to work. Research by the Illinois Policy Institute shows the state is second behind North Dakota in getting people back to work. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new effort to transform the state’s juvenile justice system is underway. The three phase plan aims to reduce the harm of being locked up says Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice Director Heidi Mueller…

 

 

Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice Director Heidi Mueller. The plan will transition youth offenders to smaller, regional centers, with intervention support from community organizations. They will be more of a dorm setting instead of a prison and it will be easier for kids to see their families.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A 17 year old Rantoul teen who had a gun and cannabis in his possession will remain in custody at the Juvenile Detention facility until at least his next court appearance. Rantoul police were called to a home in the 600 block of East Wabash Avenue for a welfare check on July 17th. Officers found the 17 year old and two others in a vehicle in the driveway. An officer detected the odor of cannabis coming from the vehicle and a search found cannabis and a loaded handgun. The teen is due back in court August 12th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation announced their six year road construction plans. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details on projects happening in the next year…

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City has adopted their new budget and appropriations. The general fund shows expenditures topping $2.5 million. Water expenditures also jumped this year to $4.149 million. $3.3 million is for a new water tower for the city.

 

 

(Cissna Park-cf)-- Cissna Park Students that have to ride a bus to school will be temperature checked before they can enter the school bus, and they can’t have any Covid-19 symptoms to enter the bus. The temperature checks should be performed by parents, but if that can’t happen the bus driver will scan the child's temperature says Superentined Dan Hylbert… 

 

 

Cissna Park Superintendent Dan Hylbert. 

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- Roberts has a new village trustee. Taylor Behrens stepped down from his position in July. Mary Ager was appointed to fill the remainder of Behrens term which expires in April of 2021.

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