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WPXN Blog Archives for 2021-04

House legislative committee is discussing tweaks to current state gaming laws

(Springfield-jm) -- A House legislative committee is discussing tweaks to current state gaming laws. One proposal allows people to place bets on Illinois college sports. But University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman says he and his colleagues oppose the idea, noting the importance of student athlete mental health. He says players are already attacked online after a bad game…

 

 

University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman. A representative of the declining horse racing industry also testified at the hearing, saying that the 2019 gambling expansion law did not dedicate any revenue towards the purses awarded.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is looking into use of an electronic COVID-19 vaccination card. At a legislative hearing this week, State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike touted the benefits of getting the shot. She was asked how people will prove they’ve had the vaccine…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Event organizers and sports teams are figuring out how to bring back visitors and fans. That could include only allowing those who have received the shot to enter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,394 new Coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths Thursday. Champaign County reported 23 new cases bringing their total to 20,199. Vermilion County reported 28 new cases bringing their total to 9,194. Iroquois County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 2,955. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Fireworks will likely go off this summer in the city of Paxton. Mayor Bill Ingold says the city is planning for the annual 4th of July celebration…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- An Arbor Day observance will take place this morning in Paxton. The observance will take place at Pells Park near the cannon at 7:30.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City has a new member on the city council. Mayor Dan Dickey appointed Michelle Celeschi to fill the vacancy in ward 3 following the resignation of Aaron Kafer.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School FFA will be hosting their annual plant sale coming up on Saturday, May 8th from 8 to noon at the high school. FFA Advisor Theresa Porter talks about the types of plants that will be for sale…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School FFA Advisor Theresa Porter. Proceeds from the sale will go to the chapter.

 

Cissna Park townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow

 

A spring fling craft and vendor show will take place tomorrow from 9 to 2 at the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in in Gibson City. Over 50 vendors will be present. Admission is free.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Loda American Legion tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

Draggin Main will take place in downtown Paxton tomorrow from 4 to 9 pm.

 

Gibson City will host their sesquicentennial community event at North Park on Sunday from 1-4 pm.

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report looks at the main causes of death for new mothers in Illinois. The data covers deaths in 2016 and 2017 among pregnant women and those within one year of pregnancy says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. That’s followed by hypertensive disorders and hemorrhage. Ezike says black women are more than three times as likely to die during or within a year after their pregnancy. Most black women died of related medical problems while white women died more often because of pregnancy-related mental health conditions.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois lawmakers are sending emergency housing legislation to the Governor’s desk. The bill was passed by the Senate and sets up guidelines for administering one point four billion dollars in federal rental assistance says Senator Omar Aquino of Chicago. It also places a stay on foreclosures through next month…

 

 

State Senator Omar Aquino of Chicago. The measure also seals eviction records until July 31st of 2022.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,394 new Coronavirus cases and 38 additional deaths Thursday. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 19,625 have recovered, 430 are in isolation and 18 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,865 have been released from isolation, 25 are in isolation and 4 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 122 active cases and 8 are hospitalized.

 

(Gibson City-jm) --  Gibson City is celebrating their sesquicentennial this year. There are events taking place throughout the year including a beard growing contest and photography contest. A big community celebration will take place on May 2nd says Spokesperson Susie Tongate…

 

 

Gibson City Sesquicentennial Spokesperson Susie Tongate. The Harvest Moon Twin Drive in will also have a special movie Sunday night says Spokesperson Ben Harroun…

 

 

Harvest Moon Twin Drive In Spokesperson Ben Harroun. 

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Hoopeston man is facing drug charges. Troy Wright was arrested after an officer saw Wright and knew he had an outstanding warrant. In the process of arresting Wright for the warrant, the officer discovered meth. He was also charged with possession of meth.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- First Mid Illinois Bancshares reported first quarter net income of $4.1 million. The Mattoon based bank with locations in Rantoul, Mahomet and Champaign Urbana, said it had earnings of 88 cents per share beating Wall Street expectations of 41 cents per share. Revenue topped $58.6 million while expenses came in at $54.5 million, also beating expectations.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School District is signing an agreement with the Mahomet Police Department to have a school resource officer. Superintendent Lindsey Hall talks about the agreement and how it has benefited the district…

 

 

Mahomet Seymour Schools Superintendent Lindsey Hall.

 

The public is getting even more time to get the Real I-D

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the state’s backlog is now under control. The stack of bills waiting to be paid totaled well over 16 billion in 2017, but that has since been whittled down to three point five billion. Comptroller Mendoza says this is very exciting news…

 

 

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Mendoza says having a reasonable payment cycle also helps the state’s credit rating. She cautions that lawmakers must pass a balanced budget this spring that doesn’t rely on the one time influx of federal relief money.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The public is getting even more time to get the Real I-D. There’s still no need to rush into your local Driver’s Services Facility says Secretary of State Jesse White’s Spokesperson Beth Kaufman…

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman. Kaufman urges Illinoisans to wait until their current driver’s license or ID is close to expiring before coming in. When you’re ready, there’s a handy online checklist of documents you’ll need at cyber drive illinois dot com.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,728 new cases and 33 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,328,454 and deaths to 21,891. Champaign County reported 69 new cases bringing their total to 20,176. Vermilion County 14 new cases bringing their total to 9,166. Ford County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 1,725. Iroquois County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 2,943.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The Harvest Moon Twin Drive In in Gibson City will be hosting a spring fling this Saturday. Spokesperson Ben Harroun talks about the event…

 

Harvest Moon Twin Drive In Spokesperson Ben Harroun. The show runs from 9 to 2. Parking and admission is free.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is getting millions of dollars in state funding. On Wednesday, the Illinois Capital Development Board announced more than $3.2 million for safety upgrades at the university. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Police Department will be getting an upgrade to their fleet. Normally the department goes with a Chevy Tahoe but Mayor Bill Ingold says the department is going with a different vehicle…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Board is the latest to issue a resolution supporting local zoning control over wind and solar farms. Legislation in the Illinois General Assembly would take the control of zoning from counties and put it in the hands of the state. Iroquois County also recently passed a resolution supporting local control.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a 15 million dollar investment in two new manufacturing training academies in downstate Illinois. The state of the art training facilities are being built at Heartland Community College in Normal and Southwstern Illinois College in the Metro East area. Governor Pritzker says it’s more important than ever that the state has a skilled workforce…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The academy at Heartland will be a partnership with Rivian Automotive, focusing on electric vehicle energy storage. Training at Southwestern will include precision machining starting in the fall of 2022, to be followed by welding manufacturing and industrial electricity.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Police is graduating a new cadet class. The class of 39 cadets began last October, and after 26 weeks of training, is ready to hit the road. State Police Director Brendan Kelly referenced tensions with the public across the country and had this message for the graduates…

 

 

State Police Director Brendan Kelly. The new troopers will be paired with field training officers and assigned to districts all over the state.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,728 new cases and 33 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,328,454 and deaths to 21,891.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Farm safety is key this time of year as farmers are hitting the fields for the spring planting season. Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken provides some safety tips…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- An instructor in the Iroquois West school district is being recognized. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas talks about the accomplishments by Ashley Carlson…

 

 

Iroquois West Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Champaign County home sales hit another monthly record in March. 265 homes were sold last month, up 18 percent from March 2020, when 225 homes sold. Median prices were also up 9 percent. The median price in March was $169,900 up from $155,000 from March 2020.

 

Illinois is losing a seat in U.S. Congress

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is warning the public about two scams targeting Illinois residents. Complaints have been coming in about the scams and the Federal Trade Commission and FBI have been notified says Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Henry Haupt. The other scam is a website: illinois car reg dot com, offering bogus license plate sticker renewals.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A White County Circuit Court judge has again ruled Illinois’ Firearm Owner Identification Card is unconstitutional, setting the stage for the Illinois Supreme Court to reexamine the issue. In 2017, Vivian Brown, was charged with violating the FOID card law for owning a rifle without possessing a FOID card. Yesterday, a judge dismissed the charges, and ruled the FOID card law was unconstitutional, saying it makes the Second Amendment a “facade” turning a right into a privilege.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is losing a seat in Congress. Preliminary data from the 2020 U-S census indicates that the number of Illinois members in the U-S House of Representatives will drop from 18 to 17. Republican Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville says this isn’t surprising…

 

 

State Representative Avery Bourne of Morrisonville. Bourne says the census data shows the need for more pro-business policies in Illinois and for fair political boundaries to be drawn.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Several Republicans in Washington, D.C. including U.S. Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois, are pushing for a bill that would allow marijuana users to purchase guns in states where marijuana is legal. A person can possess a gun and use marijuana legally. However, marijuana users cannot purchase a firearm because marijuana use is not federally legal. This new bill would allow those who live in states where marijuana is legal to buy a firearm even if they use marijuana.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A bill that would expand the statute of limitations for perjury has advanced out of the Illinois House. The bill would extend the statute of limitations for a prosecution for perjury to five years of the last act committed in furtherance of the crime. It’s sponsored by State Representative Tom Bennett…

 

 

State Representative Tom Bennett. The bill now moves to the state Senate where it was picked up by Senator Scott Bennett as chief sponsor.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,556 new cases and 23 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,325,726 and deaths to 21,858. Vermilion County reported 19 new cases bringing their total to 9,152. Iroquois County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 2,935. Champaign County reported 39 new cases bringing their total to 20,107. 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School FFA Chapter will be hosting their plant sale again this year. FFA Advisor Theresa Porter talks about this year’s sale…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School FFA Advisor Theresa Porter. Proceeds from the sale go to improvements in the greenhouse.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is signing a new law designed to bring more equity to healthcare in Illinois. The reform bill makes several changes to tackle the problem of discrimination and racism when it comes to getting medical treatment. They include…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The new law also requires daycare providers to be trained in childhood emotional learning and trauma, prevents someone seeking treatment for a drug overdose from being arrested and ensures hospitals provide N-95 masks to all doctors and nurses free of charge.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The federal REAL ID deadline has been extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the deadline to May 3, 2023. The Illinois Secretary of State's Office said current Illinois driver's licenses or ID cards will continue to be accepted at airports and secure federal facilities until DHS' new deadline.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is Work Zone Awareness Week. Construction season is underway in Illinois, with several projects planned this year says State Department of Transportation Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. There are about 64 hundred crashes in work zones each year in Illinois, injuring 17 hundred people and killing 34.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill passed in the Illinois House would expand a statewide database for children to help doctors know which shots and vaccinations people have received as an adult. The bill passed along party lines with every Republican voting against the measure.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House has approved  legislation ensuring mature drivers can participate online in training they need to obtain insurance premium discounts. The bill was sponsored by State Representative Dan Brady…

 

 

State Representative Dan Brady. The measure now moves to the Senate.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,556 new cases and 23 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,325,726 and deaths to 21,858. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County reported 104 cases are active and 7 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,857 have been released from isolation, 12 are in isolation and 5 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,554 have recovered, 409 are in isolation and 14 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School District is launching the Bulldog Blueprint. Superintendent Lindsey Hall talks about the program and the goals they hope to accomplish…

 

 

Mahomet Seymour Schools Superintendent Lindsey Hall.

 

Illinois could be moving to the new "Bridge" phase in less than a week

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois could be moving to the new “Bridge” phase in less than a week. Although more than 70 percent of seniors are now vaccinated, the state hasn’t been able to move out of phase four due to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. That may be changing, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The latest daily total are more than 21 hundred new cases and over two thousand COVID patients in the hospital. The state Department of Public Health has confirmed in excess of 25 hundred cases of COVID variants in Illinois. Locally, Champaign County reported 86 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 20,068 and deaths to 144. Ford County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 1,711. Iroquois County reported 7 new cases bringing their total to 2,934. Vermilion County reported 31 new cases bringing their total to 9,133.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says COVID-19 vaccine supply will soon outweigh demand. As more doses roll in, it’s becoming much easier to get an appointment for your shot. Governor Pritzker says they are trying to make sure that counties with plenty of doses don’t keep getting new shipments…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says he’d eventually like people to be able to get the shot at their regular doctor’s office. More than nine million doses have been administered so far in Illinois, with 37 percent of the population now fully vaccinated.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Planting season is underway around the area. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece provides a local update on planting progress…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece. We also reached out to Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken about planting progress in his area…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken.

 

PBL Youth Football and Cheerleading are now accepting registration forms from 3rd through 8th grade.  Forms were sent home from school, but extras are available on the PBL Youth Football/Cheer Facebook page or by contacting Matt Vaughan at 217-249-3722 or mavaughan76@hotmail.com. They need as many players as possible to rebuild the program after not being able to play last season.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- March unemployment rates are up compared to one year ago. In Champaign County, the rate is up to 5 percent from 2.9 percent in March 2020. In Ford County the rate went from 3.7 percent in March 2020 to 4.8 percent last month. Iroquois County’s went from 4.3 percent to 5.6 percent. Vermilion County’s is up to 6.9 percent from 4.3 percent in March 2020.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Temperatures were about 10 degrees below normal this past week but farmers still got some planting done as we hear in the weekly crop report. Nearly five days were suitable for fieldwork says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 19 percent of winter wheat has headed and the crop improved to 71 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture stayed about the same and is rated as 11 percent short, 82 percent adequate and seven percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching a new program to help expand COVID-19 resources and access to the vaccine. The idea of the Pandemic Health Navigator Program is to reach out locally to those who need it says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Pritzker says navigators are there to answer community questions about the virus and vaccine, to dispel myths, to direct people to vaccination sites and to make sure those in quarantine have access to things like groceries.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce will have their traditional parade for the 4th of July this year. Chamber Director Amanda Vickory has the details… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickory.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Treasurer Kurt Albers is reminding mobile home residents their tax bills are due next week. Mobile Home Tax Privilege bills were sent out in early March. The due date to pay without penalty is May 3rd. You can pay in person at the administrative center or by mail.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School is preparing for the 2021-2022 school year. The district, like many others around the area, are unsure how the school year will look with the ongoing pandemic says Superintendent Scott Amerio…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Temperatures were about 10 degrees below normal this past week but farmers still got some planting done as we hear in the weekly crop report. 23 percent of corn has been planted, with two percent emerged. That’s behind last year’s pace and the five year average. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 18 percent of soybeans have been planted…

 


State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at 11 percent short, 82 percent adequate and seven percent surplus, relatively unchanged from the previous week.

State lawmakers passed bills at a furious pace last week

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers passed bills at a furious pace last week. The House and Senate put in a lot of hours, trying to meet deadlines to pass legislation one from one chamber to the other. Recently approved measures include everything from 10 year term limits for legislative leaders to addressing the use of isolation rooms and restraints in school as sponsored by Representative Johnathan Carrol of Northbrook…

 

 

State Representative Johnathan Carrol of Northbrook. Another bill modernizes marriage licenses by letting couples get a copy that has more gender-neutral terms like “spouse” instead of “bride and groom” and there’s also a measure aimed at preventing more teens from vaping.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton first responders were called to a two vehicle accident west of Paxton Friday evening. The accident occurred at Route 9 and 115 around 6:15. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- A Chicago man wanted for an alleged carjacking in Champaign was arrested in Ford County. Kentrell Spearman was arrested on I-57 in Ford County after he allegedly took a woman’s car and cell phone in Champaign. Police also discovered a gun and ammunition. He is charged with armed robbery, aggravated vehicle hijacking, possession of a stolen vehicle and aggravated unlawful use of weapons. Bond was set at $500,000.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Friday was the final day bills could be brought forward, voted on and passed in the Illinois House for the spring session of the general assembly. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about some of the bills that were approved…

 

 

But Representative Bennett says there were several that were not passed…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A 15 year old student is being criminally charged following Thursday's incident at PBL High School. The 15 year old from Clarence is facing two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and stolen firearm charges are pending. The teen is accused of bringing a loaded gun into the high school. The school was put on lockdown and police and school officials say no threats were made.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- OSF is announcing starting May 1st,  patients who are enrolled in Meridian Medicaid will be able to access OSF HealthCare hospitals and physicians as part of their insurance plan. The coverage applies across the state and includes access to OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Pregnant women may be able to park a little closer under a bill passed by the House Friday. The legislation lets expectant mothers in their third trimester apply to the Secretary of State’s Office for a disability parking decal. It’s sponsored by Representative Keith Wheeler of North Aurora…

 

 

State Representative Keith Wheeler of North Aurora. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Illinois Senate approved a plan to form the Mahomet Aquifer Council. The council, sponsored by State Senator Chapin Rose of Mahomet, would be made up of representatives of local government and various stakeholders. The council would be tasked with reviewing and making recommendations to improve state laws and regulations to protect the aquifer. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton will be doing some road work this summer. The city has a list of motor fuel tax projects says Mayor Bill Ingold…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Fairbury-jm) -- A Fairbury man is behind bars facing child pornography charges. Earl Burnette is facing four counts of child pornography following an investigation by Fairbury Police, Livingston County Sheriff’s police and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) --  Gibson City is celebrating their sesquicentennial this year. There are events taking place throughout the year including a beard growing contest and photography contest. A big community celebration will take place on May 2nd says Spokesperson Susie Tongate…

 

 

Gibson City Sesquicentennial Spokesperson Susie Tongate.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- The musical act for the 2021 Gibson City Harvestfest has been announced. Rock band Firehouse will perform at the Harvest Fest on September 11th. General Admission is free.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture is now accepting specialty crop block grant proposals. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local and government entities, trade and commodity associations, public and private colleges/universities. All projects must begin in calendar year 2022. Applications are due by May 24th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation requiring schools to provide contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and for the Crisis Text Line on the back of each students I.D. card issued by the school district has advanced to the state senate. The bill is sponsored by State Representative Mike Marron. He talks about how the bill came about…

 

 

104th District State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian.

 

"Fix the FOID" legislation is advancing in the Illinois House

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District provided an update last yesterday on an incident that occurred at the high school. PBL High School was put on lockdown after a student was found with a loaded handgun. According to a release from the district, the student was not connected to a fight that occurred earlier in the day and there is no threat related to the incident. The incident remains under investigation by the Paxton Police Department. The district says school will be in session today.

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The man found guilty of murdering two people in St. Joseph will spend the rest of his life in prison. Jonathan Perry received the sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to shooting and killing Kimberly Coyne and her daughter Blair last year. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Around 13,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment claims last week. That’s nearly 5,900 fewer than filed the week before. Despite that, when including continued filing by independent contractors for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the state has nearly 87,400 more people getting unemployment benefits than the week before for a total of 404,700.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- "Fix the FOID” legislation is advancing in the Illinois House. The measure requires fingerprints and a background check for those wanting a FOID card, offers an electronic version of the card and creates an online prohibited persons portal for law enforcement agencies to check if someone is not legally allowed to own a gun. It’s sponsored by Representative Kathleen Willis of Northlake…

 

 

State Representative Kathleen Willis of Northlake. Opponents argue that people shouldn’t have to submit fingerprints for what is a constitutional right, and also disagree with a provision in the bill that prohibits the private sale of firearms. The bill has passed a House committee.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois General Assembly took the next step Thursday towards implementing term limits on House and Senate Leadership. By a unanimous 115-1 vote, the Illinois House passed House Bill 0642 which imposes 10-year term limits on the Speaker of the House, Senate President, and the minority leaders in both chambers. This bill will now head to the Senate for approval where it is widely expected to pass with strong bipartisan support. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by Governor JB Pritzker it would take effect in the 103rd General Assembly in January of 2023.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois may soon join New York in adopting a law adding more food allergy training for teachers, staff and caregivers. The House passed a bill requiring the state to help schools, at home daycares and daycare centers set up policies and procedures for dealing with kids with food allergies and responding to anaphylaxis emergencies. It’s sponsored by Representative Jonathan Carrol of Northbrook…

 

State Representative Jonathan Carrol of Northbrook. The measure now moves to the Illinois Senate.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,170 new Coronavirus cases and 33 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,312,722 and deaths to 21,755. Champaign County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 19,910. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 9,072. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,924. Ford County did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Youth sports are underway at the Paxton Park District. The park district is now preparing for summer ball says Director Cody Evans…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans. You can sign your child up at the Paxton Park District office. No decision was made on whether or not to open the pool at this week’s meeting.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton police department is opening the shooting range up to the public again this year. The range will be open the second Saturday of each month from 10 to noon. You must have a valid FOID card, provide your own weapon, ammunition and safety equipment. Cost is $10 per session.

 

Buckley townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow

 

The Loda American Legion will host their fish and chicken fry tonight from 4-7 pm.

 

Ford County will be hosting an electronics recycling on Saturday from 9 to 1 at 115 S. Sangamon in Gibson City.

 

Paxton IGA will host their cookout benefiting the Hands of Christ Food Pantry on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The final tab on back to school shopping can get pretty big. One lawmaker in Springfield, is trying to cut that down as much as they can. Representative Katie Stuart proposed a bill that would decrease the state sales tax for one week in August from 6.25 percent to 1.25 percent. The idea would be to create a big back to school shopping week in order to save parents and students money before they go to the classroom.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois may soon have a new state holiday. Senate lawmakers voted Thursday to officially celebrate the end of slavery on June 19th each year. The bill is sponsored by Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood…

 


 

State Senator Kimberly Lightford of Maywood. Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when the last slaves were freed in Texas. If approved by the House and the Governor, Juneteenth would become a state holiday on par with the Fourth of July, New Year’s Day and Christmas.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers from both sides of the aisles at the Illinois statehouse are looking to vote on legislation to decrease the small trailer tax from $118 to $18, but such a measure has yet to advance. State Rep. Mike Zalewski chairs the House Revenue and Finance Committee.Last week he told the House he won’t advance a bill decreasing taxes unless there’s a proposal to make up the difference. There are several bills from Democrats and Republicans to slash the fee by $100.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers approved legislation Thursday licensing home birth midwives in Illinois. The number of families opting to have their baby at home is growing, so the state should be regulating and licensing these professionals says bill sponsor, Representative Robyn Gable of Evanston... 

 

 

State Representative Robyn Gable of Evanston. 35 other states have a similar law. The bill now needs Senate approval.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,170 new Coronavirus cases and 33 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,312,722 and deaths to 21,755. As for local active and recovered, Champaign County reported 19,449 have recovered, 320 are in isolation and 17 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 93 active cases and 7 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,836 have been released from isolation, 24 remain in isolation and 3 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold was re-elected to another term as mayor earlier this month. Mayor Ingold talks about why he decided to run again…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

 

 

The man accused of several armed robberies including one in Paxton has been arrested

(Undated-jm) -- The man accused of several armed robberies including one in Paxton has been arrested. U-S Marshals arrested John Beck in Springfield Wednesday. Beck is accused of robbing the Village Pantry in Paxton Sunday evening. He is also accused of robberies in Livingston, Sangamon and Peoria Counties.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation passing the Illinois House Wednesday reduces the penalties for possessing smaller amounts of illegal drugs. Under the bill that was narrowly approved, those busted with certain amounts of drugs like meth, heroin and cocaine will only be charged with a misdemeanor instead of a felony and jail time. It’s sponsored by Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana who says it’s time to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs…

 

 

State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana. Opponents worry this may backfire, by not motivating drug users enough to get help.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,765 new Coronavirus cases and 28 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,309,552 and deaths to 21,722. The seven day positivity rate is 4.5 percent. Vermilion County reported 17 new cases Wednesday bringing their total to 9,056. Ford County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 1,708. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,920. Champaign County reported 72 new cases and 1 additional death, a woman in her 100’s, bringing their total number of cases to 19,889 and deaths to 141.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More community college students would likely be able to get into the University of Illinois under a bill passed by the Illinois House. The measure sets up a pilot program where community college students with at least a three point oh average and 36 credit hours completed automatically get into the U of I. It’s sponsored by Representative Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst and was agreed to by the University…

 

 

State Representative Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst. Mazzochi says she would like to see this expanded to include all high school students in the top 10 percent of their class. The bill now moves to the Senate.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Community members in the Mahomet Seymour school district are encouraged to attend a series of community engagement programs focusing on facility planning starting tonight. The programs, called Bulldog Blueprint, will focus on long term needs of the district. Tonight’s session gets underway at 6:30 at Middletown Prairie Elementary School.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House is voting to make it illegal to release more than 50 balloons into the air. Those busted for releasing a big bunch of balloons would get a warning the first time, and then an up to 500 dollar fine for a second offense. Representative Sam Ying Ling of Round Lake Beach explains why this is needed…

 

 

State Representative Sam Ying Ling of Round Lake Beach. The Senate will take up the bill next.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,765 new Coronavirus cases and 28 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,309,552 and deaths to 21,722. The seven day positivity rate is 4.5 percent. Champaign County reported their 141st death, a woman in her 100’s. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County reported 88 active cases and 5 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,836 have been released from isolation, 20 are in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,274 have recovered, 474 are in isolation and 17 are hospitalized. 


 

(Springfield-jm) -- Public school students would get more play time under a bill advancing in the Illinois Senate. A Senate committee passed the “Right to Play” Act, requiring schools to give kindergartners through 8th graders 60 minutes of unstructured play time each day. It’s sponsored by Senator Robert Peters of Chicago…

 

 

State Senator Robert Peters of Chicago. Peters says the 60 minutes can be broken up throughout the day, such as in 15 minute increments. Supporters say this is just as important as what’s taught in the classroom.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- I-57 will be closed several nights as crews work to place new bridge beams on the Mattis Avenue bridge. IDOT says the closures are expected to begin at 10 pm and last until 6 am. It started last night and will continue tonight in the southbound lanes. Northbound lanes will be closed overnight April 26th and 27th.

Governor J.B. Pritzker's office doesn't expect to bring back COVID-19 shutdowns

(Springfield-jm) -- Child care is not getting any cheaper in the state of Illinois. The state is now ranked ninth most expensive state for child care, according to Move.org. In Illinois, the average cost of child care is $12,795 each year. Infant care costs were also 19.9% of the median household income of Illinois families. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office doesn’t expect to bring back COVID-19 shutdowns. The governor’s office told the Associated Press while there are concerns of increased COVID-19 cases, they note hospitals have open beds and there’s no need to repeat shutdowns. The governor does still have 50% capacity limits for most businesses part of his COVID-19 reopening plan with no date certain on when all restrictions would be lifted.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What do higher dairy prices mean for dairy margins? Stephanie Ho reports from Washington…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,587 new Coronavirus cases and 9 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,306,787 and deaths to 21,694. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 2,916. Champaign County reported 55 new cases bringing their total to 19,827. Vermilion County reported 18 new cases and 3 additional deaths, a woman in her 80s and two men in their 70s, bringing their total number of cases to 9,039 and deaths to 131. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers have a tough task ahead of them, creating a state budget in the midst of a pandemic. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City discusses the budget…

 

 

One area lawmakers will be focusing on is education says Representative Bennett…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive today at Gibson Area Hospital from 9:30 to 2:30.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan continues to spend political funds on legal bills. Madigan has spent $2.7 million on a law firm that handles corruption cases, according to campaign finance disclosure. The Chicago Tribune reported that’s $1 million more than he paid for legal services in 2020. Madigan still controls his personal political fund and his Ward 13 fund with a combined total of around $13 million.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Around $1.6 billion from federal funds are set to cover costs to expand access to early childhood education and child care in Illinois. Of the funds, $140 million will go to childcare providers over the next three weeks. That’s in addition to nearly $300 million in grants for providers over the past year.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Wheat is increasingly being used as a feed ingredient in China, which is driving up the country's forecast consumption numbers. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,587 new Coronavirus cases and 9 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,306,787 and deaths to 21,694. As for local active and recovered cases, Iroquois County reported 2,830 have been released from isolation, 20 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,245 have recovered, 442 are in isolation and 11 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 82 active cases and 5 are hospitalized. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A new car wash is coming to Paxton. Mayor Bill Ingold says its coming to the west side of town…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- The Vermilion County Sheriff's Office is warning the public that some residents are receiving scam calls that appear to come from the sheriff's administrative number. The calls come from 217-442-4080. The caller then leaves a message saying they are Sergeant Bell to call them back at 630-765-5237.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to independent pharmacies in phase two of the distribution process. Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson has the details of what the vaccine process will look like at his pharmacy… 

 

 

Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson.

 

 

Paxton police are investigating a convenience store robbery

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police are investigating after a convenience store was robbed Sunday evening. Police were called to the Village Pantry around 7:30 pm after a man entered the store with a club and demanded money and cigarettes. The man was identified as John Beck. He is also wanted for a string of robberies in Livingston of Sangamon Counties. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House Democrats are looking to create safe and monitored spaces for drug use. It's all part of House Bill 0110 introduced by State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. The spaces would be staffed by medical professionals and provide free needles and syringes, plus their safe disposal. Use of illegal substances inside the injection spaces would not be subject to criminal charges. The proposed legislation is currently awaiting a vote on the House floor.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois state lawmakers return to Springfield today to continue the spring session. They’ll have six weeks to pass measures with simple majorities, including a budget. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are voting to create a new domestic violence task force. The task force would work to build a statewide system to better protect victims and survivors of domestic violence. Its named after Colton Miller who was shot and killed by his own father in 2019 says Representative David Welter of Morris…

 

 

State Representative David Welter of Morris. Legislation setting up the task force was passed unanimously by the House and now moves to the Senate for approval.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,959 new Coronavirus cases and 22 additional deaths Monday. Ford County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 1,700. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,914. Vermilion County reported 73 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 9,021 and deaths to 128. Champaign County reported 100 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 19,772 and deaths to 140.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Ameren Illinois is asking the Illinois Commerce Commission if it can raise its electric rate. The adjustment would add about $2.75 per month to the delivery portion of residential customer bills next year. If approved by the ICC, the new rates would start in 2022.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Road construction season is upon us. With the warmer weather, road projects will be getting underway especially with the help of additional funding from the state says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting progress continues a little ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. It was a cool, dry week, with nearly five days suitable for fieldwork says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Five percent of winter wheat acres have headed with 69 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short. eight percent short, 82 percent adequate and nine percent surplus.

 

(Dixon-jm) -- First Lady Dr Jill Biden made a stop in Illinois Monday. The First Lady visited Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon to discuss the importance of community college to the nation’s economy. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Senate will now be asked to apply regulations to trampoline parks. House Bill 60 passed the House and would levy fees, require inspections and apply other regulations used for amusement parks on such facilities.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Monday marked the 16th Anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. The museum marked its five millionth visitor last summer and celebrates continued success over the years. Acting Director Melissa Coultas says they are proud to offer a strong educational component, reaching tens of thousands of students and teachers each year...

 

 

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Acting Director Melissa Coultas. The museum is currently open to visitors, although you need to book your tickets online ahead of time. More information is available at: president lincoln dot Illinois dot gov.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,959 new Coronavirus cases and 22 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,304,200 and deaths to 21,685. Iroquois County reported 2,830 have been released from isolation, 21 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 79 active cases and 9 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 19,190 have recovered, 442 are in isolation and 13 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Community Sale was a huge success. That’s the word from the Paxton Park District after the sale was canceled last year because of the pandemic says Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director Cody Evans.

A decision about the use of the Paxton pool for this year is expected to be a topic for Paxton Park District members when they meet tonight. 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Champaign County Clerk’s vital records area is now accepting walk ins for certain items. Those needing notaries, or copies of birth, death or marriage certificates can do so without an appointment. Those needing a marriage certificate, you still need to make an appointment.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce will be working with the Rantoul Downtown Businesses to host some events throughout the summer. Chamber Director Amanda Vickory has the details… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Director Amanda Vickory.


 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Parkland College Foundation will host a virtual Scholarship Reception on April 28 to honor those who have contributed to scholarship funds. The Virtual Scholarship Reception will premiere a slideshow recognizing student scholarship recipients, their awards, and their testimonials. Participants can view the reception at parkland.edu/foundationreception, which will go live at 10 a.m. on April 28.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting progress continues a little ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. 12 percent of corn has now been planted. That compares to seven percent at this time last year and eight percent for the five year average. Soybean planting is also underway, with five percent of acres planted says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Looking at winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Conditions are drier, with average statewide topsoil moisture at one percent very short, eight percent short, 82 percent adequate and nine percent surplus.

Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing one point six billion dollars in federal aid to improve access to high quality early childhood education and care

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing one point six billion dollars in federal aid to improve access to high quality early childhood education and care. The money will help fund initiatives to get more kids ready for kindergarten, creating a new division of early childhood at the Department of Human Services to coordinate efforts. 140 million will go to childcare providers over the next three weeks says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Additionally, a network of early childhood councils will be launched over the next 18 months which will work with local leaders, schools and families to make sure each community has the services it needs.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul firefighters were busy with 3 house fires in a half hour Saturday afternoon. Crews were called to a house fire in the 400 block of West Champaign Avenue just after 5:30. While fighting that fire, a house directly behind in the 400 block of Broadmeadow also caught fire. The third fire occurred just before 6 on Hobson Drive. Firefighters believe the first fire started in the basement. There’s no word on the cause of the other fires.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The hangers at Chanute Air Force Base have been sitting empty for 27 years, since the base closed. The Village of Rantoul now owns those hangers. The village has already sold one, and is looking at potentially selling two more says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.


 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Ford County Public Health Department hosted a COVID vaccine clinic yesterday. The vaccination clinic was held at the health department in Paxton. If you missed it, they will hold another one May 8th from 8:30 to 4:30.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- Lakeview Country Club hosted the first Kindness Kannonball Saturday. The event was organized by Amy Swan and Cara Tweedy to help raise money for area non profits…

 

 

Lakeview Country Club Manage Cara Tweedy. 

 

Organizer Amy Swan talks about a donation she received…

 

 

Kindness Kannonball Organizer Amy Swan. About 200 people signed up to participate in the event.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois public school students would be taught about the dangers of sexting under legislation passed by the House. The measure would apply to grades six through 12, and is needed now more than ever says Representative Maurice West of Rockford…

 

 

State Representative Maurice West of Rockford. West says the age appropriate lessons would be a part of current sex education curriculum cover things like the consequences of sexting and related harassment and bullying. The bill still must be approved by the Senate.

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School District could do some indoor air quality work. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says they are exploring their options…

 

 

Iroquois West Schools Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.


 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The first games were played at the Rantoul Family Sports Complex over the weekend. Over 1,000 athletes hit the field for the first tournament at the $20 million complex. Work to finish the complex will continue until complete, which is expected to be in June.

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Gibson City Melvin Sibley and Mahomet Seymour School Boards along with the Ford County Board all meet tonight. GCMS leaders are expected to meet at 6:15 where they are expected to approve a bus bid with  North America Central school bus. At 7 in Mahomet, Mahomet-Seymour school board members are expected to approve a school resource officer agreement and bus lease. In Paxton at 7, Ford County board members are expected to approve a pair of bids from Iroquois Paving and Cross Construction.

Illinois is inching closer to setting term limits on lawmakers

(Springfield-jm) -- Another 17,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week, which’s about 760 more than the week before. Groups of employer associations are pushing for the state to use some of the billions in federal funds to cover the debt unemployment trust fund debt they say could be up to $5 billion.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Illinois is inching closer to setting term limits on lawmakers. The bill, introduced by Representative Anthony DeLuca, would limit Illinois lawmakers in leadership roles from serving more than 10 consecutive years. Those roles include speaker of the house, senate president and minority leaders of the house and senate.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA saw small increases in global corn production. Stephanie Ho has the details…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,581 new Coronavirus cases and 40 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,292,515 and deaths to 21,609. Champaign County reported 27 new cases bringing their total to 19,615. Iroquois County reported 7 new cases bringing their total to 2,907. Vermilion County reported no new cases leaving their total at 8,948. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

 Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Sports Complex will host their first games this weekend. The sports complex will kick off their first game tonight says Mayor Chuck Smith…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith. 

 

Mahomet, IL – Starting on the evening of April 22 and extending into the fall, Mahomet-Seymour School District is hosting a series of community engagement meetings for the development of a long-range facility improvement program. The engagement program, Bulldog Blueprint, is being organized by a coordinating committee of more than 20 volunteers led by four community co-chairs: Jama Grotelueschen, Adi Puckett, Jennifer Soderlind and James (Riz) Risley. Through a series of community workshops, the District will gather data and input to identify community priorities related to the development of a long-range facility plan. ALL members of the community are invited and encouraged to participate in this engagement process. 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On April 12th, Christopher Siaperas of Paxton was arrested for aggravated domestic battery and domestic battery. No injuries were reported and no tickets issued following a two vehicle accident near State and Vermilion on April 12th. Austin Jennings of Paxton was arrested on April 10th for a Champaign County warrant. Also on April 10th, Wilma Brown of Loda was ticketed for driving with a suspended driver’s license. On April 9th, Breana Lowe of Melvin was arrested for failure to appear. Jacob Hill-Campbell of Paxton was arrested on April 9th for two warrants for failure to appear. Andrew Thompson of Paxton was ticketed for failure to yield following a two vehicle accident at Cherry and Ottawa on April 7th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The spring legislative session continues as lawmakers continue to try and pass their legislation along with handling the COVID pandemic and prepare to address the state’s budget crisis. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about some of the legislation he has introduced…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

The Onarga American Legion will host their fish fry tonight from 4:30 to 7:30 pm.

 

The Thawville Community Sale will take place Saturday.

 

Paxton IGA will host their cookout benefiting the Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

The Onarga Fire Department will host a taco fundraiser on Saturday starting at 10:30. Cost is $2.50 per taco.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Mothers in Illinois who make 208% of the federal poverty level are now eligible for full Medicaid benefits for a full year. Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the expansion from 60 days to 12 months postpartum. The move follows the federal government’s approval of an Illinois waiver allowing the extension.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza said the state's financial situation is getting better. The state received a new outlook on bonds from two major investor services this month. Both took the outlook from negative to stable. During the two-year budget impasse, Illinois' credit rating had dropped to a stop above junk status. 

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's latest outlook for the meat industry expects higher prices for beef and pork. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,581 new Coronavirus cases and 40 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,292,515 and deaths to 21,609. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 19,024 have recovered, 453 are in isolation and 13 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,816 have been released from isolation, 28 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 8,780 have been released from isolation, 42 cases are active and 5 are hospitalized.

 

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver is reminding local government officials they have until May 1st to submit Statements of Economic Interest. Approximately 1200 officials are required to submit the statements including from townships, villages, schools, drainage districts, fire districts, multi-township assessing districts, libraries, county government, park districts and cemeteries. There is a fine for not submitting on time.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is receiving billions of dollars in federal aid. The money comes from the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington talks about how he feels the state should use the money and what he fears some in Springfield might do instead…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

New legislation would modernize the state's FOID and concealed carry systems

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,536 new Coronavirus cases and 31 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,288,934 and deaths to 21,570. Ford County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 1,683. Champaign County reported 87 new cases bringing their total to 19,588. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,900. Vermilion County reported 24 new cases bringing their total to 8,948.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- The entire village of Buckley is under a boil water order until further notice.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation would modernize the state’s FOID and concealed carry systems. The bill is an initiative of the Illinois State Police and makes some much needed updates, says Director Brendan Kelly. For starters, he says they want to sync up the FOID and concealed carry permits into one card and allow them to be renewed at the same time. Additionally…

 

 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly. The measure also creates an online portal of people prohibited from owning a gun for use by law enforcement agencies.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An Illinois House task force will review artifacts in the state Capitol for their depiction of historical figures with racist or other objectionable traits. House Speaker Chris Welch on Wednesday announced the Statue and Monument Review Task Force. The review follows last summer's removal of a Capitol statue of Stephen A. Douglas.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A bill headed to the Senate floor aims to help students make better choices when choosing their loans for higher education. The Know Before You Owe Private Education Loan Act is designed to give students more chances at federal loans before they result to private vendors. State Senator Scott Bennett of Champaign is sponsoring the bill, which will require private lenders to confirm with a potential borrower’s school that the student’s tuition, housing, and other costs are not covered by other sources of financial aid.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House is voting to decriminalize HIV. Currently, its a crime to knowingly transmit HIV or not disclose HIV status before engaging with a sexual partner. But Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana says the law reflects past thinking about the virus and needs to be changed…

 

 

State Representative Carol Ammons of Urbana. The bill passed on a 90 to 9 vote and still needs Senate approval.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- One person is dead and another seriously injured following a crash on I-57 in Champaign County. Illinois State Police say two vehicles collided in the southbound lanes causing one of the vehicles to go off the road and strike some trees. The driver, Kimberly Lewis of Chicago was taken to Carle Hospital where she died. A passenger was ejected and taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The second vehicle left the scene.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Public Library will no longer charge late fees. Library officials say the fees have become a barrier for services to low income families.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul will be seeing a new business coming to town. Maverick Piping based in New Jersey has purchased one of the hangers from the city, and will create 50 new jobs to start, and 150 when they get settled says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith… 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Two pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly could affect zoning for wind farms. Senate Bill 602 and House Bill 804 would take away any authority from county governments when it comes to zoning control of wind farms. That would be left to the state. It’s part of the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act. The Illinois Farm Bureau is among the organizations that oppose the legislation.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Illinois National Guard and the Iroquois County Public Health Department will conduct a Moderna vaccination clinic next week. The clinic will take place Monday at the Iroquois County Fairgrounds north of Crescent City. It is open to Illinois residents, 18 and older. The vaccine is by appointment only. Call 815-432-2483 to set up your appointment. The second dose will be administered May 17th also at the fairgrounds.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are voting for legislation that aims to bring an end to puppy mills. The measure prohibits pet stores from selling dogs and cats obtained from a breeder. They can only sell pets they get from animal control or a shelter says bill sponsor, Representative Andrew Chesney of Freeport…

 

 

State Representative Andrew Chesney of Freeport. The legislation still lets people buy dogs and cats from private breeders. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite seeing a decline in sports betting month-over-month, Illinois is still gaining ground compared with other states. Industry analysts with PlayIllinois.com say February’s handle in Illinois dropped nearly $72 million in February to $509.8 million. Despite the drop, Illinois surpassed Pennsylvania's handle of $509.5 million, making Illinois the third highest state for sports betting.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill would require the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to report how many youth are stuck waiting for permanent placement. Reports show that finding placement for youth has been a long time struggle for the department. If passed and signed, the department would have to provide an annual report about the youth who sit in waiting. The bill also requires a demographic breakdown of the youth affected by these placement concerns.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State officials are urging the public to consider flood insurance this spring. It’s estimated that less than one percent of Illinois residents have flood insurance. But State Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert says it’s definitely something to think about…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Torbert says you don’t want to wait if you plan on getting flood insurance, since it usually takes up to 30 days to go into effect.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- A Las Vegas man is dead following a collision with a train in Iroquois County. Coroner Bill Cheatum says 54 year old Greg Brutlag struck a train near Woodland late Tuesday night. The incident remains under investigation.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A suspect attempted to rob a University of Illinois student in Champaign. U of I police said this happened at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, when a man approached a student who was walking on the sidewalk in the 200 block of S. Wright St. The suspect hit the victim in the back of her head and tried to take her backpack. Police said the suspect ran when a passing vehicle stopped to help, causing the robbery attempt to fail. The suspect was last seen running west from Wright Street. 

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- The Iroquois West School District is looking into possibly doing some roof work at their school in Thawville. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says they are in the early stages of the potential project…

 

 

Iroquois West Schools Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The Champaign County Board is asking community members to send in suggestions and input for reforms to the Champaign County Animal Control ordinance. In December 2020, a dog was accidentally put down after miscommunication at Animal Control. This launched an investigation into the department, and further change will be made as a result of it. Later this year, the Champaign County Board will receive recommendations from a task force formed with community partners on reforms to the Animal Control ordinance and the overall structure of the department.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Republican Women is announcing they will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a graduating female high school senior. To qualify you must be a resident of Iroquois County at least 3 years, register to vote if 18 by November 2, 2021, proof of citizenship, letter of recommendation, copy of recent high school transcript and be a member or relation of a member of the group. The deadline to apply is today. Email iroquois gop women at gmail dot com.

 

The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology is warning about the dangers of "phishing" emails

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation lets student athletes make changes to their uniforms for religious reasons. Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines says students should be able to easily make modest alterations when they compete. That may include adding a hijab, undershirt or leggings to be more in line with their religious beliefs…

 

 

State Senator Laura Murphy of Des Plaines. A Senate committee approved the measure and it now goes to the Senate floor for a vote.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois received a C- for infrastructure in a new report from President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan. The new report states, infrastructure in Illinois has suffered from a systemic lack of investment. It adds that Illinois has 2,374 bridges and 6,218 miles of highway in poor condition.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology is warning about the dangers of “phishing” emails. Phishing emails are sent by scam artists hoping to get you to reveal your personal information. The state’s Chief Information Officer, Chris Britten says the message may appear to be from someone you know or a company you do business with, but if anything looks off, be on alert. He recommends this trick…

 

 

Illinois Chief Information Officer Chris Britten. Same goes for the email sender, you can hover your mouse over the email address to see if it’s legit. Britten advises never clicking on a link sent in an email just to be safe. Instead, if it’s from someplace like your bank or Amazon, open up a new tab and go straight to the company’s website.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,193 new Coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,285,398 and deaths to 21,540. Champaign County reported 38 new cases bringing their total to 19,501. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,895. Vermilion County reported 25 new cases bringing their total to 8,924. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Firefighters from several departments were called to a fire in Rantoul Tuesday evening. Crews were called to the fire in Maplewood Estates mobile home park just after 7pm. No word on the cause of the fire. Rantoul, Gifford and Thomasboro responded to the fire.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois leaders will be discussing how to spend the $13 billion the state is receiving following the passage of the American Rescue Plan. Governor Pritzker and some Republican members of the General Assembly including 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City, believe the money should go towards paying down the state’s backlog of bills…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County residents who are 16 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, which includes U of I students. University officials are working with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District on possible vaccine clinics in the future. An additional shipment of 20,000 doses has been requested from the state to help get U of I students vaccinated.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What is USDA's latest outlook for corn? Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Corrections is resuming in-person visits at state facilities. The East Moline Correctional Center is open for families to visit their incarcerated loved ones now, and the other locations will soon follow. Agency Spokesperson Lindsey Hess says visits had been suspended since last March…

 

 

Illinois Department of Corrections Spokesperson Lindsey Hess. Visitors will have to sign up ahead of time online. More details are available at: illinois dot gov slash idoc. Click on facilities and then visitation rules and information.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A study ranked Illinois in the top five nationally for marijuana taxes generated in 2020. The U.S. Drug Test Centers study on Marijuana Economics and Usage by State found Illinois ranked No. 5 in marijuana taxes with $175 million during the 2020 year. In addition, adult and youth marijuana usage increased. Adults who used marijuana in Illinois "in the last month" grew by 39% since 2015 and youth ages 12-17 increased by 4%. The study said the $175 million in 2020 Illinois taxes made up .4% of total Illinois revenue.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is encouraging families to include their kids in any disaster planning. Emergency plans should keep in mind the unique needs of children. IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark says getting them involved in building an emergency kit, planning an escape route and practicing fire drills can help make kids feel safer…

 

 

IEMA Spokesperson Rebecca Clark. Clark says there are a number of online resources that make disaster preparedness fun for kids including the National Fire Protection Association and Federal Emergency Management Agency’s websites.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,193 new Coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,285,398 and deaths to 21,540. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 18,960 have recovered, 403 are in isolation and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,810 have been released from isolation, 22 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 31 active cases and 4 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- An accident in Mahomet caused a gas leak and a portion of Route 150 to be closed for several hours. Crews say a teen with a driving permit was driving with his parents when he accidentally hit a gas feed to a building causing the leak. Traffic on Route 150 had to be diverted while crews fixed the leak.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The COVID-19 Vaccine is available at Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop in Paxton. There will be an online form that you can fill out, as well as a paper version when you go to get your vaccine. Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson has the details of the process… 

 

 

Hudson Drug and Hallmark Owner Andy Hudson.

 

 

(Undated-jm)-- Nominating petitions are available for Illinois Commodity Boards. For the Illinois Soybean Program, petitions are available for District 11 which includes Champaign, Coles, Douglas, Edgar and Piatt Counties. For the Illinois Wool and Sheep Marketing, petitions are available for District 2 which includes, Champaign, Clark, Coles, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Kendall, Livingston, Piatt, Vermilion and Will Counties. To be nominated, you must be at least 18 and reside in the district. Nominations must be submitted by July 6th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA made some changes to the U.S. supply and demand estimates for soybeans. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

 

Illinois came up $1 billion short in expected transportation tax revenue last year

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House GOP lawmakers want to ban your workplace from requiring you to prove you've received the COVID-19 vaccine. The proposed legislation would make it illegal for an employer in Illinois to require an employee to show proof of receiving a vaccine that is only approved for emergency use authorization by the FDA. The bill would only apply to vaccines that have emergency use authorization, not vaccines that have full FDA approval.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois came up $1 billion short in expected transportation tax revenue last year. Due to COVID-19, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute estimates the state's travelers did so up to 40% less compared to 2019. Taxes on things like fuel pay for infrastructure spending.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- The Vermilion County coroner’s office is releasing the name of an inmate that died at the county jail. Coroner Jane McFadden says 43 year old Joshua Edwards of Hoopeston died Sunday morning at the counties jail. An autopsy was scheduled for yesterday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,433 new Coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,282,205 and deaths to 21,523. Champaign County reported 112 new cases bringing their total to 19,463. Iroquois County reported 6 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 2,890 and deaths to 61. Ford County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 1,675. Vermilion County did not have a report Monday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Rantoul village board and Paxton city council both meet tonight. In Rantoul at 6, village trustees are expected to approve the purchase of 70 new radios for the police and fire departments, waive certain liquor license fees and approve their fiscal year 21-22 budget. In Paxton at 7, city aldermen are expected to consider motor fuel tax projects, approve the purchase of a new police vehicle, consider changes to the city’s tree ordinance and discuss the 4th of July. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6 with the Paxton city council meeting getting underway at 7.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Two Paxton Buckley Loda teachers have received grants. Superintendent Cliff McClure recognizes those teachers…

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- Willard Airport will be receiving over a million dollars in federal funding. The Savoy based airport received $1.17 million to purchase a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting truck as well as snow removal equipment. The funding is part of $627 million in federal infrastructure and safety grants.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting has begun in Illinois. Nearly four days were suitable for fieldwork this past week, giving producers time to start planting says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Three percent of winter wheat has headed and 73 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Rain was more than an inch above normal, boosting average statewide topsoil moisture to six percent short, 73 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus.

 

The American Red Cross will host a blood drive at the Milford Fire Department today from 1-6 pm.

(Springfield-jm) -- More than a third of small businesses in Illinois have closed a full year into COVID-19 restrictions.Those restrictions the governor says are to slow the spread of the virus continue to this day. The Illinois Policy Institute analyzed data from Harvard University that showed 35% of small businesses are closed compared to before the pandemic, more than in any other Midwestern state, except Michigan.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new study at Northwestern University is shedding light on the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the body. Eighty-five percent COVID-19 “long haulers” reported four or more neurological symptoms such as attention and memory problems, loss of taste and smell, headaches and blurred vision. The average age of people in the study was 43.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department on Aging is working to make sure seniors stay connected. The state has distributed more than 11 hundred i-pads, tablets and access to wifi and hotspots to older Illinoisans and people with disabilities thanks to a nearly two million dollar federal grant. Department on Aging Director Paula Basta says the technology has provided a valuable lifeline during the pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Department on Aging Director Paula Basta. More resources are available to seniors and families struggling to get through the pandemic on the agency’s website at: illinois dot gov slash aging.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- One person is in the hospital and one person is behind bars following a weekend shooting in Rantoul. Police were called to the 600 block of Autumn Fields Lane. Darrion Miles was arrested for aggravated battery with a firearm.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,433 new Coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,282,205 and deaths to 21,523. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 18,926 have recovered, 399 are in isolation and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,808 have been released from isolation, 19 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Ford County is unable to provide an active and recovered report at this time. Vermilion County did not have a report Monday.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Rantoul village board and Paxton city council both meet tonight. In Rantoul at 6, village trustees are expected to approve the purchase of 70 new radios for the police and fire departments, waive certain liquor license fees and approve their fiscal year 21-22 budget. In Paxton at 7, city aldermen are expected to consider motor fuel tax projects, approve the purchase of a new police vehicle, consider changes to the city’s tree ordinance and discuss the 4th of July. The Rantoul village board meeting gets underway at 6 with the Paxton city council meeting getting underway at 7.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College is announcing student artists selected to attend the 2021 Illinois Community College Juried Exhibit. Katy Geurtz of Loda and Grant Siegmund of St. Joseph were among those selected to participate.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Corn planting has begun in Illinois. Five percent of corn acres have now been planted. That’s ahead of last year and the five year average says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. He turns to winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Pasture conditions improved quite a bit, to 70 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture increased to six percent short, 73 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus.

 

.

 

The pandemic has taught the Illinois Emergency Management Agency some valuable lessons

(Springfield-jm) -- New daily COVID-19 cases rose above four thousand Friday for the first time since the end of January. Four thousand four new and probable cases of infection are being reported along with 21 additional deaths. The number of COVID patients in the hospital is also increasing with about 18 hundred currently admitted. The good news is that it was another record day for vaccinations, with more than 164 thousand given, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The governor says those that are ending up in the hospital typically haven’t been vaccinated. You can find a vaccination site near you online at: coronavirus dot illinois dot gov. On Friday, Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,884. Champaign County reported 58 new cases bringing their total to 19,351. Vermilion County reported 17 new cases and 1 additional death, a woman in her 30s, bringing their total number of cases to 8,899 and deaths to 126. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are hearing from the tourism and hospitality industry. During a committee meeting, members of hotel, restaurant and convention groups stressed that they can’t survive another summer under low capacity limits. And, while they appreciate the need to move ahead based on COVID numbers, Navy Pier CEO Marilyn Gardner said they need more notice…

 

 

Navy Pier CEO Marilyn Gardner. Hotel industry representatives expressed frustration that their staff, including housekeepers, were not included in the initial priority groups eligible for the vaccine. Others said there needs to be a coordinated effort to promote what’s open in Illinois so travelers and event organizers aren’t having to try and figure that out.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- One person was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries following a car vs semi accident near Paxton Friday evening. Emergency personnel were called to the accident just before 5pm on I-57 near mile marker 263.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul will be getting a new building for multiple businesses. Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith says that he doesn’t know who will be in the new building but that there are more tenants wanting the location then the building has space… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Could the graduated income tax proposal still come to fruition? There are talks Democratic legislative leaders are considering the idea again says 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

Representative Bennett goes on to say raising the income tax while recovering from the pandemic is not a good idea…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Several area schools are receiving federal COVID money. Thomasboro Grade School is receiving $1,468,270. Rantoul City Schools is receiving $9,109,926. Gifford Grade School $255,934. Rantoul Township High School $3,590,051. Paxton Buckley Loda $3.3 million. Gibson City Melvin Sibley $2.6 million and Tri Point Schools $1.2 million.

 

The American Red Cross will host a blood drive at the Crescent City Community Center today from 1-6 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The pandemic has taught the Illinois Emergency Management Agency some valuable lessons. IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau says Illinois has become a national leader in PPE preparedness, building a system of purchasing and transporting valuable supplies like masks and gloves and keeping a 60 day stockpile on hand. But there is concern for the future…

 

 

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. Tate-Nadeau says they also realized they didn’t really have a logistical arm to the agency. That’s changed with the addition of new warehouses around the state to quickly disperse supplies to communities in case of disaster. She says more training for local emergency management personnel is also needed.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul business has moved to a new location. Sheer Excellence held a ribbon cutting yesterday at their new location across from the south Casey’s along Route 45. The business offers hair cuts as well as tanning.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- There will be a slight fee increase in the Iroquois West School District. Superintendent Angelo Lekkas says only Head Start students will be affected by the increase…

 

 

Iroquois West Schools Superintendent Angelo Lekkas.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Republican Women is announcing they will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a graduating female high school senior. To qualify you must be a resident of Iroquois County at least 3 years, register to vote if 18 by November 2, 2021, proof of citizenship, letter of recommendation, copy of recent high school transcript and be a member or relation of a member of the group. The deadline to apply is April 15th. Email iroquois gop women at gmail dot com.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- An area lawmaker is calling out Governor J-B Pritzker’s handling of the pandemic. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says the Governor is ignoring calls to have the legislature involved in the reopening plan…

 

 

Senator Barickman also talks about Governor Pritkzer’s recent announcement creating a bridge phase…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will be hosting a series of COVID vaccination clinics this week. The Moderna vaccination clinic will take place on Wednesday, April 14th with the Pfizer vaccination clinic on Thursday, April 15th and the Johnson and Johnson vaccination clinic on Friday, April 16th.

 

 

Everyone in Illinois 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday

(Springfield-jm) -- More than 15,000 Illinoisans filed for additional unemployment benefits last week. That’s nearly 1,000 more that filed for the expanded traditional benefits than the week before. More than 2,200 independent contractors also applied for benefits, a decrease of around 200 from the week before. In total, the state has nearly 430,000 people getting benefits, more than 40,000 than the week before.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s top public health doctor says they are keeping a watchful eye on the COVID variants circulating in Illinois and across the country. 704 cases of variants have been confirmed in Illinois so far, the vast majority are the B-1-1-7 strain, first seen in the UK. This isn’t unusual says State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says experts will continually be studying the properties of any new variants to determine if they are more contagious and covered by the vaccine.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,739 new Coronavirus cases and 34 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,269,196 and deaths to 21,457. Champaign County reported 46 new cases bringing their total to 19,293. Ford County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 1,662. Iroquois County reported 9 new cases bringing their total to 2,879. Vermilion County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 8,882.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)--To go along with all the vaccination efforts that the Ford County Public Health Department is putting forth currently, Educator Megan Ruetter is working with Tri-Point junior high schoolers on routine hygiene… 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Ruetter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A Foosland man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection to a real estate short sale scheme. 41 year old David Litman received the sentence after pleading guilty to conspiring with others to defraud lending institutions in a series of short-sale transactions between 2008 and 2010.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- The Crime Stoppers’ Illegal Gun Bounty Reward Program will continue in Champaign County. Since it began in 2019, 32 firearms were taken off the streets and 26 have been arrested for gun-related, felony crimes.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Sports Complex is close to completion. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony in the future, says Director Ryan Reid… 

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reid.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Penfield man is facing multiple charges in Vermilion County. Timothy Wernigk was arrested after police observed a vehicle pull into the lot of a Hoopeston business, blacked out and a male get out and start carrying property from the building. When confronted by police, Wernigk told police he had permission to remove the items. Wernigk was also found in possession of meth. He is charged with burglary to a commercial building, criminal damage to property, possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- Farm Credit Illinois is announcing the winners of their ag scholars. Rachel Ash and Taylor Talbert of Iroquois West High School and Randy Shook of Fisher High School each received $2,000 scholarships. The Fantastic 4-Hers of Fisher received a $500 Community Improvement Grant from Farm Credit Illinois to go towards constructing picnic tables for the Fisher Community Park.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Chinese purchases of U.S. agricultural products are still setting records. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

St. Joseph community spring garage sales will take place today and tomorrow

 

Kankakee Community College will host a virtual career fair today from 10 to 4. Visit career services at kcc dot edu for more information.

 

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

 

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will host a household hazardous waste collection tomorrow from 8 to 3 at Marketplace Mall in Champaign.

 

The Champaign Urbana Public Health Department will host a free pregnancy and postpartum health virtual expo tomorrow starting at 10 am. 

 

Paxton IGA will host their cookout benefiting the Prairie State Church camp tomorrow from 10 to 2.

(Springfield-jm) -- The case Geneva restaurant FoxFire brought against Governor J.B. Pritzker’s orders closing restaurants to slow the spread of COVID-19 will advance. Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow denied Pritzker’s motion to dismiss. Pritzker’s attorneys have 2 weeks to respond. A hearing is set for April 28.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Everyone in Illinois 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday. More than 80 counties have already expanded eligibility and there are more than one thousand vaccination sites across the state now says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. More than 700 cases of COVID variants have been confirmed so far in Illinois.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,739 new Coronavirus cases and 34 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,269,196 and deaths to 21,457. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 18,787 have recovered, 368 are in isolation and 10 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,800 have been released from isolation, 18 are in isolation and 2 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 246 active cases and 4 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Rantoul Chamber of Commerce usually holds their cash bash during the spring. However, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chamber Director Amanda Vickory says that the event has been postponed, and the date will be set in May… 

 

 

Rantoul Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Amanda Vickory

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) --  A 49-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to sexual assault of a teenager. Former youth pastor Roger VanRaden pleaded guilty in February after he was accussed of having sex with a teenager who was also a member of his congregation. VanRaden was a youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Champaign. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to the Hardee’s yesterday afternoon. Crews were called just before 2pm for a fryer smoking. No injuries were reported.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The man accused of shooting at another man in Rantoul back in September has been arrested. Police say Dametrius Kellup was taken into custody in Wisconsin and brought back to Champaign County. Kellup is accused of shooting at a vehicle with a man inside, whom he had just gotten into an altercation with back in September 2020. He’s charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm. A judge set bond at $250,000. Kellup is due back in court May 4th.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Sheriff’s Office has released their March activity report. During the 3rd month of 2021, deputies responded to 4 traffic accidents and issued 14 citations for speeding, 4 for driving on a suspended or revoked license, 2 each for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and operating an uninsured motor vehicle and 1 each for illegal use of registration, expired registration, improper lane usage, expired driver’s license and illegal transportation of alcohol. Deputies also handled 6 domestic issues, 3 missing persons reports, 2 each of harassment, trespassing and abuse complaints and 1 each of theft and a pursuit.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The latest USDA agricultural trade update has good news for U.S. farmers and exporters. There's also news for an economist who puts that update together every month. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

New cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- New cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Illinois. The latest daily total is nearly 38 hundred new cases of infection. That’s the highest one day total since January 29th. Additionally, about 17-hundred COVID patients are currently in the hospital says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The seven day rolling positivity rate has now risen to four point one percent. About 19 and a half percent of adult Illinoisans have been fully vaccinated. Locally, Iroquois County reported 2 new cases bringing their total to 2,870. Champaign County reported 51 new cases bringing their total to 19,247. Ford and Vermilion Counties did not have a report Wednesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker’s office says they are hopeful Illinois can move to Phase Five by the beginning of the summer. Despite the recent rise in cases, the Governor’s Chief of Staff Ann Caprara says there may be some good news in the next few months…

 

 

Governor Pritzker’s Chief of Staff Ann Caprara. Caprara says there are still concerns about the COVID variants circulating. There have now been 600 such cases in Illinois. In order to move to Phase Five, 50 percent of Illinoisans 16 and older will need to have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That number is currently around 40 percent.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Labor is urging drivers to be careful during the busy spring planting season. The best thing you can do is slow down and have patience as large farm equipment moves in and out of fields and down the road says the Department’s Hap Hileman. He notes that many accidents occur when a driver tries to pass a big piece of equipment, not realizing the farmer is making a left hand turn…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Spokesperson Hap Hileman. Drivers should also remember that farmers have limited visibility in the rear. Those driving farm equipment need to do their part as well, having slow moving vehicle signage posted and the correct lights.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton Economic Development committee will meet tonight. The committee will meet at 7pm where they will discuss how the city will benefit from the new sports complex in Rantoul.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul is in negotiations with two Hotels. Mayor Chuck Smith says that the chances of getting both is in the works… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Dates for Gilman’s Old Boys and Girls Reunion have been announced. The event was postponed last year because of the pandemic. It’s scheduled for August 12th-15th. The reunion happens every 5 years.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state GOP platform for this session is Reimagine Illinois. One of those on the committee creating the platform is 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. He talks about the platform and their goals…

 

 

Another key portion of the platform deals with public safety says Representative Bennett…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

The Moyer District Library in Gibson City will host a free hot dog cookout as part of National Library Week today from 3:30 to 6.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- New legislation would let Illinois community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education. A community college could apply to offer a bachelor of applied science degree in the field under the proposal. It’s sponsored by Chicago Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas who says this is desperately needed…

 

 

State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas of Chicago. Supporters say this is also a way to make a bachelor’s degree more accessible for non-traditional and lower income students.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College’s Child Development Center is receiving recognition. The center received the Gold Circle of Quality from ExeleRate Illinois.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The pandemic has caused things to look different for students around the area. Between a hybrid mix of remote and in person learning to wearing masks during athletic events the past year has been a challenge. But the Paxton Buckley Loda School District is looking at trying to bring some form of normalcy says PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Republican Women is announcing they will be awarding a $500 scholarship to a graduating female high school senior. To qualify you must be a resident of Iroquois County at least 3 years, register to vote if 18 by November 2, 2021, proof of citizenship, letter of recommendation, copy of recent high school transcript and be a member or relation of a member of the group. The deadline to apply is April 15th. Email iroquois gop women at gmail dot com.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Redistricting efforts are underway in Springfield. Redistricting is done using census data. The Census Bureau announced the data won’t be available until fall however, 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says there are efforts to move forward with creating the new maps anyway…

 

 

Senator Barickman also discusses a recent redistricting meeting…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

 

Secretary of State Jesse White's Office is launching a new organ and tissue donation campaign featuring a former White Sox All-Star

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is touting federal relief money to help schools reopen and get students back on track. The seven billion dollars will help districts address some of the obstacles created by the pandemic, and the challenge of returning to normal says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Most of the funding is coming from the American Rescue Plan. It’s suggested the money be used for things like improving access to technology, summer school and after school programs and tutoring.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,931 new Coronavirus cases and 13 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,261,667 and deaths to 21,395. Vermilion County reported 14 new cases and 2 additional deaths, a man in his 90s and a man in his 60s, bringing their total number of cases to 8,877 and deaths to 125. Ford County reported 14 new cases bringing their total to 1,653. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,868. Champaign County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 19,196.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois House members are discussing ethics reforms, including a revolving door prohibition for legislators. The change would prevent lawmakers leaving office from immediately going to work as a lobbyist. Some have suggested a six month ban, but Reform for Illinois Executive Director Alisa Kaplan says two years would be better…

 


 

Reform for Illinois Executive Director Alisa Kaplan. Supporters argue the ban is needed to address problems like the recent Com-Ed bribery scandal. Some lawmakers say while they support ethics reforms, they shouldn’t be prevented from working on an issue they care deeply about after they have left office.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Yesterday was the consolidated election in Illinois. WPXN’s Joel Cluver has some results of races in the WPXN listening area…

 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The Champaign County Sheriff's Office is working through its 2021 initiatives; one of them is creating a mobile app. It covers watch requests for residents who live in the county's officer patrol jurisdiction, extra patrol requests, and neighborhood watch. You can also find most wanted and information on paying fines. The app is free.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- The Village of Rantoul has received a grant for road repairs. The repairs are going to be on Maplewood Drive. The road will be resurfaced from the start of the base to the north side of town towards Paxton. The repairs will also fix a dip in the asphalt in front of the Post Office says Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith… 

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is providing funding for truck access route projects including two locally. Ford County will receive $360,000 from the state for work on county highway 22 from Illinois 54 to the Ford/Iroquois County line. Champaign County will receive $900,000 for work on county highway 20 from U-S 45 to the east village limits of Royal.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is launching a new organ and tissue donation campaign featuring a former White Sox All-Star. For more than a decade White Sox pitcher and later announcer Ed Farmer has promoted organ donation, having benefited himself from the gift of life in the early 90s says Secretary White…

 

 

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. Farmer passed away last year. More than seven million people are currently on the state’s donor registry but about 300 Illinoisans still die each year waiting for an organ.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,931 new Coronavirus cases and 13 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,261,667 and deaths to 21,395. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County reported 250 active cases and 2 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,795 have been released from isolation and 14 remain in isolation. Champaign County reported 18,735 have recovered, 323 are in isolation and 7 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s top technology official is offering some advice about choosing a secure password. It’s vital to have a complex password to protect your information. Illinois Chief Information Officer Chris Britten says that means it should be at least 8 characters long, with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols…

 


 

When you need to update your password, you can change the L’s in Illinois to ones, altering it just enough to be secure. Britten also recommends not using any personal information such as birthdays, children’s names or pet’s names that can easily be found on social media, and not having the same password for multiple accounts.

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting their annual tree and fish sale. Fish orders are due today while tree orders are due tomorrow. Call Sarah Earles at 217-379-4388 to place your order.

 

 

(Rantoul-cf)-- Construction on the Rantoul Sports Complex was delayed due to all the winter weather that the area saw this year. One of the final pieces is laying the turf on the remaining fields, says Director Ryan Reid… 

 

 

Rantoul Sports Complex Director Ryan Reid.

 

 

(Elliott-jm)  -- The Ford County village of Elliott is receiving over half a million dollars from the state. Elliott was awarded a $550,000 Community Development Block Grant for water and sewer infrastructure improvements.

 

March cannabis sales broke records with retailers selling $109.1 million

(Springfield-jm) -- After a slump in February where cannabis sales were down more than $8 million from the month before, March sales broke records with retailers selling $109.1 million worth of adult-use cannabis products. That brings the total sold since January 2020 to nearly $950 million. The state has collected more than $233.5 million in taxes from legal sales since sales began in 2020.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It’s the first weekly crop report of the season. There were less than four days suitable for fieldwork this past week, but farmers got a few things done says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Two percent of winter wheat has headed and 74 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture conditions are rated as 58 percent in good to excellent shape.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,102 new cases and 11 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,258,736 and deaths to 21,384. Locally since Friday Champaign County reported 130 new cases bringing their total to 19,181. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,864. Vermilion County reported 33 new cases and 1 additional death, a woman in her 70s, bringing their total number of cases to 8,863 and deaths to 123. Ford County did not have a report Monday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Today is the Consolidated election. Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick talks about some of the races in the county…

 

 

Ford County Clerk Amy Frederick. In Iroquois County, Clerk Breein Suver has the races in her county…

 

 

Iroquois County Clerk Breein Suver. Polls are open until 7 tonight. You can catch all your local election results tomorrow morning on our news at 6:30,7, 7:30 and 8.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Hoopeston man was arrested after police say he attempted to enter a residence over the weekend. Police were called to the 400 block of West Lincoln Street. When they arrived they found the resident of the home and his two sons had chased down the suspect, 21 year old Chase Hensley. He is charged with criminal trespass to property and criminal damage to property.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- The Ford County Public Health Department is looking to add a few vaccination clinics in the near future. Community Educator Megan Ruetter has the details… 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Ruetter. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign based Parkland College is receiving $862,000 for ADA upgrades and door replacement. The funds come from Governor Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois plan.

 

OSF St. James John Albrecht Diabetes Support Group will meet tonight from 6 to 7 pm.

(Springfield-jm) -- The Department of Children and Family Services is supposed to provide safe places for children who weren't safe in their own homes, but new reports are showing that cases of maltreatment in care are double the rate Illinois is aiming for. "Maltreatment in care" is how the department describes when a child continues suffering abuse and neglect in foster care, even after being removed from a harmful situation at home. The current rate is 18.5 per 100,000 days in care. The rate the state is aiming for is 9 per 100,000.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- It’s the first weekly crop report of the season. Illinois farmers were able to till, spread dry fertilizer and apply anhydrous ammonia this past week says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Looking at winter wheat…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Pasture conditions are rated as 58 percent in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture came in at one percent very short, 16 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 30 percent surplus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 2,102 new cases and 11 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,258,736 and deaths to 21,384. As for local active and recovered cases since Friday, Champaign County reported 18,669 have recovered, 374 are in isolation and 10 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,790 have been released from isolation and 15 remain in isolation. Vermilion County reported 247 active cases and 2 are hospitalized. Ford County did not have a report Monday.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- Champaign County voters will see three referendum questions on the consolidated election this year. Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons details the first… 

 

 

The village of Dewey is looking at dissolving their water district says Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons… 

 

 

Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons. Polls close at 7 tonight. We will have the results from area races tomorrow morning on our news at 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Registration for fall classes at Parkland College is underway. Yesterday was the first day students can sign up for the fall semester which begins August 23rd.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton Economic Development committee will meet this week. The committee will meet on Thursday at 7pm where they will discuss how the city will benefit from the new sports complex in Rantoul.

 

 

 

Opioid deaths are on the rise in Illinois

(Onarga-jm) -- Five people, including 3 children, were taken to the hospital following a single vehicle accident on I-57 near Onarga Saturday evening. Illinois State Police say the vehicle was traveling northbound on I-57 when it veered off the road and flipped several times, landing in the southbound lanes around 7pm. One child was fully ejected and a second was partially ejected. Both children and two adults were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. An infant was also taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is kicking off child abuse prevention month. DCFS and children’s advocates gathered for an event in downstate Carterville. Brittany Hale with Prevent Child Abuse Illinois says keeping kids safe includes parent education, support for community programs like home visists and early intervention and the watchful eye of the public…

 

 

Prevent Child Abuse’s Brittany Hale. Some signs of abuse and neglect are: no parental supervision, wearing long sleeves and pants when it’s really warm outside, frequent absence from school, unexplained cuts and bruises and showing extreme behavior. To report suspected cases of abuse, you can call 1-800-25-ABUSE or fill out a form on the DCFS website.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,235 new Coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths Friday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,251,346 and deaths to 21,549. The seven day positivity rate rose to 4.1 percent. On Friday, Champaign County reported 28 new cases bringing their total to 19,051. Iroquois County reported 3 new cases bringing their total to 2,860. Ford and Vermilion Counties did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Closing “unaffordable corporate loopholes” used by Illinois businesses would result in higher costs for local consumers and lower wages, according to an analysis of the proposals. Using a biannual analysis from the Minnesota Department of Revenue, the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois estimates Governor J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget for the coming fiscal year would place an $8.8 billion burden on Illinois consumers in the form of higher prices, reduce wages by $403 million, and reduce profits by $2.3 billion. That’s in comparison to not having any tax burden. 

 

 

(Champaign-cf)-- The Champaign Urbana Public Health District will be hosting a virtual Women's Health Expo. The event will cover topics for mothers with young children, and expecting mothers… 

 

 

Champaign  Urbana Public Health District Women's Health Expo Spokesperson Sheila Raila.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Portions of Paxton were without power Saturday. The strong winds brought a line down near the Village Pantry along Route 45. It took Ameren a couple of hours to repair the line and restore power.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The City of Paxton has a list of projects they are hoping to get accomplished. Mayor Bill Ingold talks about some of those projects…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Get ready for higher prices when you go to buy certain toilet paper, tissue paper, and diaper brands this summer. Kimberly-Clark announced it will be increasing prices on the majority of its products in the United States and Canada. Those items include: Huggies, GoodNight and Pull-Ups as well as Kleenex, Scott, Kotex, Cottonelle, Poise and Depends products.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- According to provisional data from the state Department of Public Health, opioid deaths are on the rise in Illinois. Nearly 29 hundred people died due to an overdose of opiates last year. That’s a 30 percent increase over 2019. 83 percent of those cases involved fentanyl laced drugs, which Marnell Brown, founder of the non profit Chicago based group “To Walk in My Shoes” says is turning up everywhere…

 

 

To Walk in My Shoes Founder Marnell Brown. Brown was speaking before a senate committee on the issue. Other speakers talked about the need to get drug users long-term treatment instead of putting them in jail and to aggressively pursue dealers who sell tainted drugs that end up killing someone.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,235 new Coronavirus cases and 24 additional deaths Friday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,251,346 and deaths to 21,549. The seven day positivity rate rose to 4.1 percent. As for local active and recovered cases on Friday, Champaign County reported 18,547 have recovered, 366 are in isolation and 18 are hospitalized. In Iroquois County, 2780 have been released from isolation, 20 remain in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Ford and Vermilion Counties did not have a report. 

 

 

(Chicago-jm) -- The Illinois Automobile Dealers Association has filed a lawsuit against the state and electric truck startup Rivian for selling vehicles directly to consumers. The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court also names Lucid Motors, an electric vehicle startup based in California that is planning to open a sales office in suburban Chicago. Rivian began taking advance orders online in November and plans to open a Chicago showroom. The lawsuit cites the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act, which mandates all vehicle sales to the public be made through licensed and independent franchised dealers. The dealers association claims they are protecting consumers and franchised dealers.

 

 

(Gibson City-cf)-- If you chose to participate in the Photo Contest that is taking place until the middle of August in Gibson City, there are four different prize groups says spokesperson Suzie Tongate… 

 

 

Gibson City Photo Contest Spokesperson Suzie Tongate.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting their annual tree and fish sale. Fish orders are due by April 7th while tree orders are due by April 8th. Call Sarah Earles at 217-379-4388 to place your order.

 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The COVID pandemic isn’t the only health issue rising around the area, so is the number of sexually transmitted diseases among young people. According to data from the state, Champaign County comes in 2nd with 948 cases per 100,000 people when it comes to Chlamydia. For Gonorrhea, Champaign County is 8th with 299 cases per 100,000 people. Champaign County comes in 10th for Syphilis with 9 cases per 100,000 people.

 

A new bill making its way through the Illinois House aims to make it easier to sue police officers

(Springfield-jm) -- Another 13,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment claims last week. That’s in addition to around 2,400 independent contractors from the state that filed for benefits last week. All filers combine getting continued benefits in Illinois totals nearly 391,000 workers out of work getting benefits.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Some lawmakers are backing another effort to require Illinois gun owners to submit their fingerprints to Illinois State Police in order to get a Firearm Owner Identification Card. State Senator Ram Villivilam’s bill would also increase the cost of the FOID card. It’s unclear how such a bill would clear a backlog of applications. The state faces several lawsuits in state and federal court over backlogs of applications lasting months and in some cases more than a year.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,526 new Coronavirus cases and 25 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state's total number of cases to 1,248,111 and deaths 21,326. The seven day positivity rate is 4 percent.  Iroquois County reported no new cases leaving their total at 2,857. Champaign County reported 45 new cases bringing their total to 19,023. Ford and Vermilion County did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)--  The Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce has a few events scheduled for the 2021 calendar year. The Swine-and-Dine will take place Saturday Sept. 18, and the Wine and Chocolate Walk will take place Oct. 2 says Chamber President Alan Meyer… 

 

 

To go along with the Swine-and-Dine, the Chamber is also hosting their Farmers Market in the Spring and Summer on Thursdays says Meyer… 

 

 

Paxton Area Chamber of Commerce President Alan Meyer. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The Executive Committee of the University of Illinois System Board of Trustees on Thursday approved a request by the three universities to allow high school students to apply for admission in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years without taking standardized tests. Thursday’s decision extends a policy allowing test-optional admissions at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, University of Illinois Chicago and University of Illinois Springfield for the 2021-22 academic year.

 

 

(Urbana-cf)-- If you live in Rantoul, and want to vote early in the consolidated election, you can do so at The Gathering Place. However, early voting will not be permitted on Easter Sunday at the location says Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons… 

 

 

Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The HOT ROD Power Tour is coming back to Champaign for one night only. The tour comes to Champaign on Friday, August 27th to the State Farm Center.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn markets got a surprise in USDA's Prospective Plantings Report. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at the Hoopeston First Prisbyterian Church today from 11-4.

 

Parkland College’s Staerkel Planetarium will host their final virtual Kaler Lecture Series this evening at 7pm as University of Illinois Assistant Research Professor Daniel Andruczyk discusses why nuclear fusion is seen as the energy of the future.

 

The Onarga American Legion will host a breakfast with the Easter Bunny tomorrow from 7 to 10 am with an Easter Egg hunt to follow at Durham Park at 10:15.

 

The Paxton Community Sale will take place tomorrow at 10 am at Coady Park.

 

The Easter Bunny will be at Buckley Lake tomorrow from 10 to 11:30.

 

Paxton IGA will host their cookout benefiting the Loda Truck and Tractor Pull tomorrow from 10 to 2.

 

The Moyer District Library will host an Easter egg hunt at North Park in Gibson City tomorrow starting at 10 am.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill would provide state's attorneys with a new resource in investigations of abuse and neglect. Lawmakers say it could help protect the state's children. Currently cases are broken down into two categories: unfounded, where there was no evidence found in the investigation and indicated, where evidence was found. This bill would allow the state's attorneys to receive unfounded reports when they try these cases.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new bill making its way through the Illinois House aims to make it easier to sue police officers. The "Bad Apples in Law Enforcement Accountability Act" would eliminate qualified immunity statewide. If passed, it would allow for civil litigation against law enforcement if they deprive any individual rights guaranteed under the Illinois Constitution. The bill would also make it so that there is legal liability for police officers who don't intervene when other officers are breaking the law. Municipalities would also be required to publicly disclose any legal settlements with law enforcement.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 3,526 new Coronavirus cases and 25 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state's total number of cases to 1,248,111 and deaths 21,326. The seven day positivity rate is 4 percent. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 18,531 have recovered, 354 are in isolation and 13 are hospitalized. Iroquois Counties numbers remained the same. Ford and Vermilion County did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Community Sale will be making a return this year to Coady Park. The sale last year was canceled because of the pandemic. Paxton Park District Director and Community Sale Spokesperson Cody Evans talks about this year’s event…

 

 

Paxton Park District Director and Community Sale Spokesperson Cody Evans.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois Police Department is investigating a sexual assault report. A U of I student said they were sexually assaulted in a residence hall by a person they know. 

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District will be doing some projects this summer. Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about the work to be done…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Danville-jm) -- A Danville man will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars for the sexual assault of two children. Travis Vannote was sentenced to Natural Life in the Illinois Department of Corrections for Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault. Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault is a Class X felony. Vannote pleaded guilty to two counts; one count for each victim.

 

 

(Paxton-cf)-- Ford County is starting to make progress in the vaccination process. Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter has the details… 

 

 

FCPHD is also reminding residents and employees of Ford County to still sign up to get the vaccination through the Health Department says Ruetter… 

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Ruetter.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A former Rantoul motel will be demolished. The village announced the former Knights Inn will be under new ownership. The developer plans to redevelop the former motel at the corner of Murray Road and 136. The village says the developers plans will focus on varying types of retail. The deal is expected to close sometime this month.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Farmers intend to boost soybean acreage this year, but not by as much as many had expected.  Gary Crawford has the details…

 

 

 

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