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WPXN Blog Archives for 2021-05

Paxton's Grand Ole Flag will be raised this weekend

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office says reports of online child sexual exploitation are on the rise. Cyber Crime Specialist Christine Feller says they are expecting to see a 16 percent increase in reports this year. And while most involve adults abusing children, kids are also posting inappropriate content on instagram and snapchat. Additionally...

 

 

Cyber Crime Specialist Christine Feller. The Illinois Internet Crimes Against Kids Task Force works to investigate these reports, train law enforcement agencies and provides online safety education to kids and adults

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Students would learn more about the dangers of sexting under a bill passed by Illinois lawmakers. The measure requires schools teaching sex education in grades 6 through 12 to include curriculum on sexting. It’s sponsored by Senator Steve Stadelman of Rockford…

 

 

State Senator Steve Stadelman of Rockford. It’s now up to the Governor to sign the bill into law.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House approved a summer school bill sponsored by Representative Mike Marron. The Illinois Pension code requires an employer to make an additional contribution to the System for certain salary increases greater than 6%, Senate Bill 1646 excludes salary increases resulting from teaching summer school on or after May 1, 2021 and before September 15, 2022…

 

 

State Representative Mike Marron of Fithian. The measure now heads back to the Senate for consideration.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton’s Grand Ole Flag will be raised this weekend. A parade and dedication will take place on Sunday says spokesperson Denny Kingren…

 

 

Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren. The parade gets underway at 3pm.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A Loda man is facing multiple charges in Champaign. According to the Champaign News Gazette, officers were called to the Target on North Prospect just after 6pm Wednesday after a woman reported her purse was stolen from her truck as she returned her shopping cart to a corral. Security cameras showed 26 year old Andrew Stover getting out of his vehicle and approaching the truck. Stover was stopped a short time later where officers found the purse as well as a bag containing two tenths of a gram of cocaine and a second bag containing 20 grams of meth. Stover is charged with delivery of meth, possession of meth, possession of a controlled substance and burglary. If convicted of the delivery of meth charge, he faces a mandatory 6 to 30 years in prison.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- As lawmakers continue a final push to get a new budget in place before the end of the fiscal year, the state received some positive economic news. The state saw an increase in revenue last year despite the pandemic, which 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says could help the state pass a balanced budget before the May 31st deadline…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City Melvin Sibley senior Ethan Garard has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship from Mediacom. Garard was selected to receive one of 60 scholarships.

 

The Paxton American Legion Auxiliary will have poppies available for Memorial Day today and tomorrow.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Girl Scouts Toy Drive on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

The Hoopeston Sesquicentennial Committee will host a golf cart parade on Sunday at 2pm.

 

Paxton’s Grand Ole Flag will be hoisted up on Sunday starting with a parade from the Paxton firehouse to the location at PBL High School starting at 3pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- School dress codes can’t ban certain hairstyles under legislation passed by the Illinois House. The measure was prompted by an incident in Chicago, where a four year old African American boy was sent home from pre-school because his hair was in braids. Representative Greg Harris says there should be no discrimination based on how a student wears their hair…

 

 

State Representative Greg Harris. Opponents argued this shouldn’t apply to private schools. The Senate needs to approve a small change to the bill and then it goes to the Governor’s desk.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State and local police in Illinois will be participating in a nationwide seatbelt campaign over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Police are taking click it or ticket enforcement, border to border in Illinois, looking for those not buckling up, as well as drunk, speeding and distracted drivers says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says the campaign includes additional police patrols and seat belt enforcement zones across the state.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- You may soon be able to get a free drink if you’re vaccinated against COVID-19. Under legislation passed by the Illinois House, bars can offer one free alcoholic beverage to patrons showing proof of vaccination. It’s sponsored by Representative Mike Zalewski of Riverside…

 

 

State Representative Mike Zalewski of Riverside. The promotion would run for one month, from June 10th through July 10th. The bill also extends a law enacted during the pandemic allowing cocktails to go and for delivery. It still needs Senate approval.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting roadside safety checks in Vermilion County. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County State’s Attorney's office and Illinois State Police have released a report and videos from last week's deadly shooting in Champaign that left one officer dead and another officer injured. On May 19th, officers Chris Oberheim and Jeffrey Creel responded to the Town Center Apartments for a domestic issue. The officers confronted the suspect, Darion Lafayette, a struggle ensued and Lafayette pulled a gun and started shooting at the officers. Officer Oberheim was taken to Carle Hospital where he died, Lafayette died at the scene. Officer Creel was shot three times and was taken to the hospital where he has since been released. Oberheim was laid to rest this week in Decatur.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The city of Paxton could be increasing the number of liquor licenses they issue. Mayor Bill Ingold says there has been interest in Class C and E licenses…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton police have released their recent activity report. On May 23rd, Erica Baur of Rankin was arrested for forgery, theft and unlawful use of a credit card after police were called to the Cobblestone hotel for a report of a stolen wallet and a credit card used to buy $530 worth of products online. On May 21st, no tickets were issued and no injuries were reported after a vehicle struck a parked vehicle in the 300 block of East Pells. On May 20th, Timothy Price of Paxton was arrested for disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon after police were called to a disturbance in the 500 block of East Orleans. Price allegedly threatened to shoot a neighbor. Also on May 20th, no tickets were issued and no injuries were reported following a two vehicle accident at Pells and Railroad.

 

The former chief of staff to former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted

(Springfield-jm) -- The former chief of staff to former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted. Timothy Mapes was charged with one count of making false declarations before a grand jury and one count of attempted obstruction of justice. Maps is accused of making false statements during a grand jury investigation into possible violations of federal criminal law. If convicted on obstruction charges he faces up to 20 years and a maximum of 5 years for false declarations.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Voters will be asked if Illinois workers should have a fundamental right to unionize in the March election. The amendment to the state constitution would make it a fundamental right for workers to form a union and collectively bargain. It was sponsored by Representative Marcus Evans of Chicago, who urged his colleagues to vote yes…

 

 

State Representative Marcus Evans of Chicago. The amendment also prohibits municipalities from passing local right to work laws. It’s passed both the House and Senate and will now be put to the voters.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,139 new Coronavirus cases and 27 additional deaths Wednesday. 66 percent of Illinoisans have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 49 percent are fully vaccinated. Champaign County reported 32 new cases. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases. Vermilion County reported 25 new cases. Ford County reported 16 new cases.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- May 31st. That’s the deadline state lawmakers have to pass a state budget. The state is receiving several billion dollars in federal stimulus funds which 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says should be used carefully…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- A Cabery man has filed a lawsuit against the Ford County Jail. The lawsuit filed by David Horn claims the jail denied him medication for his diabetes. Horn was incarcerated at the jail on July 2, 2020. According to the suit, Horn was taken to the hospital after experiencing headaches, blurred vision and numbness on one side. Doctors discovered several blood clots and a stroke. Horn is seeking $100,000 in damages.

 

 

(Vermilion County-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting special traffic enforcement patrols in Vermilion County. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul is moving their Freedom Celebration parade. The parade was originally scheduled for 10 am on July 4th. It will now take place at 9:30 am on Saturday July 3rd.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- Two Iroquois County communities are receiving $30,000 from the state. As part of a one million dollar effort by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to assist unsewered communities to address wastewater collection and treatment, Buckley and Woodland are each receiving $30,000.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- A portion of road in Mahomet will become a no u-turn zone starting next week. No U-Turns will be allowed on State Street from Franklin to Crowley near Lincoln Trail Elementary and the Mahomet Seymour Junior and Senior High Schools starting June 1st.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA is rolling out several market-based education tools for cattle and livestock producers over the next few weeks. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Republican senators this week raised concerns about four Prisoner Review Board members who have continued to serve for almost two years despite not being confirmed by the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, a constitutional requirement in the state. The appointees in question include Aurthur Mae Perkins, Joseph Ruggiero, Oreal James and Eleanor Wilson. All four were appointed members of the Prisoner Review Board by Pritzker in March and April of 2019, but were never confirmed by the Senate. In accordance with the Illinois Constitution, the appointees are required to testify before the Senate Executive Appointments Committee to be confirmed or rejected within 60 legislative session days of their appointment. As the 60 session days deadline for confirmation approached in March 2021, Senate Republicans said Pritzker withdrew the four appointments and reappointed each of them days later, which reset the 60 session days.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s Office is warning the public about new email and text scams. The scams are targeting Illinoisans and include unsolicited text and email messages claiming to be from the Secretary of State. Spokesperson Beth Kaufman says they are bogus…

 

 

Secretary of State Spokesperson Beth Kaufman. The scam messages mention pending DMV fees or ask to update your information. Kaufman says they are working with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on the matter.

 

(St. Joseph-jm) -- Traffic on I-74 was slowed Wednesday evening after a car ran into the back of a semi and rolled. The accident happened in the eastbound lanes between St. Joseph and Urbana. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The spring legislative session is winding down. With just a few days left, lawmakers are trying to pass as many bills as possible. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about two issues he says are important…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- An electronics recycling will be held in Paxton next month. The recycling will take place on Saturday, June 19th from 9 to 1 at the city shed behind the police station.

 

 

(Fisher-jm) -- Fisher residents will be receiving new updated tax bills. The village missed a deadline to submit documents to the county causing residents to see a significant increase in their property taxes. The village submitted the documents and new tax rates were calculated bringing the rates back down. Residents should start receiving the new tax bills over the next week.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- Illinois State Police have released results of a recent distracted driving patrol in Champaign County. During the patrol troopers issued 18 citations for hand-held phone or device violations and 1 texting while driving citation.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Prospects for U.S. agricultural exports continue to improve. USDA has once again raised its export forecast. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

The Illinois House is passing legislation to increase diversity in the state's cannabis industry

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Senate is voting to decriminalize HIV. Under current law, a person can be charged with a felony for transmitting the virus, even in a consensual relationship. Senator Robert Peters of Chicago says that needs to be repealed…

 

 

State Senator Robert Peters of Chicago. The bill passed the Senate on a 37 to 17 vote and now it’s up to the Governor to sign it into law.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be offering free recycling for agrichemical containers. Farmers and agrichemical facilities are urged to save their empty containers for the upcoming recycling days says the agency’s Richard Severns…

 

 

Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Richard Severns. Containers must be clean and dry and be free of caps and labels. Mini and intermediate bulk containers must be cut into separate top, bottom and sides and fittings removed. More information is available online at: agriculture dot illinois dot gov.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 808 new Coronavirus cases and 17 additional deaths. Iroquois County reported 2 new cases. Vermilion County reported 33 new cases and 2 additional deaths, a female in her 90s and a female in her 70s. Champaign County reported 15 new cases. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton is moving forward with plans for the 4th of July. Mayor Bill Ingold says they will have activities at both Pells Park and Bixby Park…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) --  The Fourth of July Planning Committee is seeking nominations for its Golden Deeds Awards to be presented at the Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration at Pells Park.  These awards are given to two outstanding community volunteers, one man and one woman.  Nominations need to include all of the nominee’s volunteer activities.  Nominations should be mailed by June 20th to:  Golden Deeds Awards, c/o Paxton Church of Christ, P.O. Box 299, Paxton, IL 60957.

 

 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Several Champaign County residents are upset after they received letters from the county clerk saying their voter registration could be pulled after not voting the last four years. Many of them say they voted in elections in recent years, and that the notice makes them question if their vote counted. The Champaign County Clerk’s office says around 24,000 letters are being sent out and they ask residents to complete the information requested and send it back.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is looking at some positive economic news. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says the state saw an increase in revenues as they begin the budget process…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Lawmakers have until the 31st to pass a budget.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House is passing legislation to increase diversity in the state’s cannabis industry. The bill is sponsored by Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago and aims to improve upon the 2019 landmark law legalizing recreational marijuana…

 

 

State Representative LaShawn Ford of Chicago. Ford says flaws in the application and scoring process kept minorities out of the profitable industry. His measure tweaks the system and adds two more lotteries in which 11 dispensary licenses will be available. It now moves to the Senate.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers are working on bills to help increase access to menstrual products. One requires public community colleges and universities to stock restrooms with free pads, tampons and the like. Another measure, sponsored by Senator Christopher Belt of East St. Louis requires shelters offering temporary housing to offer the products. It’s meant to address “period poverty”...

 

 

State Senator Christopher Belt of East St. Louis. Last week the House passed a bill requiring schools to have feminine hygiene items in all school bathrooms in grades 4 through 12.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Federal lawmakers and the Biden Administration is putting together a $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan and one area community is preparing for some of that money. Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey says they want to hit the ground running if and when that money comes…

 

 

Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) --52nd District State Senator Scott Bennett will be hosting a town hall next week in Champaign. Senator Bennett’s town hall will take place Thursday, June 3rd from 630-8pm at the Main Atrium at Parkland College. 

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagan is awarding five $1,000 golf outing scholarships. The scholarships are for the 2021-2022 academic year. The deadline to apply is Friday. To be eligible, the applicant must be a permanent Iroquois County resident and apply as a full time undergrad.

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The CDC earlier this month made changes to mask recommendations. The biggest change was allowing fully vaccinated individuals to ditch masks in most instances. Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter explains why they still encourage everyone to wear a mask…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing that roadside mowing is now underway across the state

(Springfield-jm) -- A new report found Illinois is among the worst states in the country when it comes to the tax burdens faced by businesses. The recent “Location Matters” study, published by the Tax Foundation, calculated and analyzed the tax costs of eight model firms in every state. Illinois' high-income tax rates contributed to their low ranking.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing that roadside mowing is now underway across the state. In recent years, IDOT has revised its mowing schedule to better balance environmental needs with routine maintenance for driving safety. Crews are out mowing now says Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says safety mowing is done right next to the roadway as needed, but other areas like ditches and culverts are mowed on a cycle to protect the habitats of Illinois pollinators like the monarch butterfly.

 

 

(Del Rey-jm) -- One person was taken to the hospital with life threatening injuries following an accident on Route 45 near Del Rey Monday afternoon. State police say a motorcyclist was traveling southbound when two deer ran out into the road. The motorcyclist struck one of the deer causing them to lose control and was ejected from the bike. The bike struck a northbound vehicle, causing that driver to lose control and crash into the ditch. That driver was not hurt.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois General Assembly has a few days left to come up with a balanced state budget. Despite the COVID pandemic, 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says Illinois actually has a surplus of money…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Hoopeston man is facing multiple charges following an incident over the weekend. Police were called to the 400 block of East Seminary for a disturbance involving three individuals including one possibly armed with a handgun. Anthony Chandler was arrested and charged with 3 counts of unlawful use of a weapon, 3 counts of aggravated assault, theft, possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

 

 

(Crescent City-jm) -- A former Iroquois County Fair Board President has been recognized by the state. The Illinois House passed a resolution marking May 20th as Marvin Perzee County Fair Day. The resolution was sponsored by State Representative Tom Bennett and recognizes Perzee, a long time Iroquois County Fair supporter who died in 2019.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Statewide rainfall waas about a half inch above normal this past week, but producers still found time to continue planting. An average of three point seven days were suitable for fieldwork and corn planting is now 90 percent complete says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 80 percent of soybean acres have been planted with 60 percent emerged. 90 percent of winter wheat has headed and 84 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, nine percent short, 73 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is receiving millions of dollars to offer mental health and addiction treatment services to Illinoisans. Illinois is receiving nearly $105 million from the American Rescue Plan. The Illinois Department of Human Services will get $54.7 million in Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funding, as well as $50.2 million in Community Mental Health Services Block Grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 933 new Coronavirus cases and 10 additional deaths Monday. Iroquois County reported 9 new cases. Ford County reported 10 new cases. Vermilion County reported 36 new cases. Champaign County reported 46 new cases and 1 additional death, a woman in her 70s.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is warning parents and caregivers about the dangers of childhood drowning. Kids can drown in as little as one inch of water, so it’s a good  idea to secure toilet lids and hot tub covers and empty buckets and inflatable pools when not in use says DCFS Chief Nurse Pete Dykes. He also has this advice…

 

 

DCFS Chief Nurse Pete Dykes. Dykes recommends learning COR as well. Last year in Illinois, 20 children lost their lives to accidental drowning, including 9 in swimming pools, 4 in rivers, 2 in lakes, 1 in a pond and 1 in a cistern.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton firefighters were called to a garage fire Monday evening. Crews were called to the fire at the corner of Summer and Vermilion Streets around 5:15. No word on the cause of the fire.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A park in Rantoul will be rededicated this weekend. A ribbon cutting and rededication of Rudzinski Park will take place at 11 am Saturday. The celebration will take place in front of the new playground. The public is invited to attend.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- AAA said gas prices are about to spike ahead of Memorial Day. The insurance company reports 1.7 million people in Illinois are going to be traveling by car for the holiday.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Statewide rainfall was about a half inch above normal this past week, but producers still found time to continue planting. 90 percent of corn acres are now planted, with 74 percent emerged and 71 percent of the crop rated in good to excellent condition. Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener says 80 percent of soybeans have been planted and 60 percent emerged…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, nine percent short, 73 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

 

The Illinois Conservation Police is boosting enforcement efforts as boating season in Illinois gets underway

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Conservation Police is boosting enforcement efforts as boating season in Illinois gets underway. Police will be out on the water looking especially for drunk boat drivers. They will also perform safety checks says Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resource Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Torbert says boats also need to be equipped with a fire extinguisher, flares, working horn and navigation lights as well as an engine cut off switch as required by a new federal law.

 

 

(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. 

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Champaign County Executive Darlene Kloeppel has vetoed the county’s board vote on a new equity map. The map would have turned two of the county board’s eleven districts into “minority majority” districts. In an announcement of her decision, Kloeppel said she felt the county board did not take into account public input and they ignored the other three recommended maps. It could be brought up again in June.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A group of distinguished veterans were honored in a street-renaming ceremony Saturday afternoon in Rantoul. A portion of Century Boulevard will now be named Tuskegee Airmen Boulevard. The street name will start near the Business Center at the corner of Veterans Parkway and extends south to Chandler Road.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  --  The Paxton American Legion Post #150 will not be holding their traditional public Memorial Day parade this year. However, we will be having a ceremony and Honor Guard rifle salute on Monday, May 31st beginning at 11:00 am at the usual location by the veteran’s statue at Glen Cemetery.  Legion members and volunteers are still planning on placing American Flags on the graves of all the heroes buried at Glen Cemetery in Paxton. Those interested are asked to meet at the gazebo in the cemetery at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. The Paxton American Legion Post will provide the flags and guidance on placing of the flags.

 

 

(St. Joseph-jm) -- Traffic on I-74 near St. Joseph had to be rerouted after a semi caught fire Sunday evening. The incident happened on I-74 eastbound around 7pm. No word on the cause of the fire or if there were any injuries.

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City leaders are looking at ways to address rust issues at the city’s water plant. Mayor Dan Dickey talks about the issue…

 

 

Gibson City Mayor Dan Dickey.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department will hold a walk in Johnson and Johnson one dose COVID vaccine clinic on May 26th. The clinic will be held at Iroquois Memorial Hospital from 4 to 6pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State ride inspectors are back at it again this summer. As things return to pre-pandemic status, inspectors with the Illinois Department of Labor are out making sure rides are safe at theme parks, fairs and festivals, says Director Michael Kleinik…

 

 

Illinois Department of Labor Director Michael Kleinik. Kleinik says the public needs to do its part as well, following posted height and weight guidelines as well as safety rules.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Grant funding has been frozen in Champaign County because of an overdue audit. The 2019 audit has yet to be submitted to the state causing grants to be frozen. The county auditor hopes to have the audit completed by June 1st.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- One of the Champaign Police officers who was shot in the line of duty on Wednesday has been released from the hospital. Police were called to the Town Center Apartments for a domestic disturbance. Darion Lafayette opened fire on officers when they arrived. Officer Chris Oberheim was shot and killed. Officer Jeffrey Creel was shot three times and was released from the hospital Friday. Lafayette died in the shootout.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- May is Stroke Awareness Month and the Ford County Public Health Department is hosting a free educational session on strokes. Community Educator Megan Reutter talks about the event…

 

 

Ford County Public Health Department Community Educator Megan Reutter.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Last week, Governor J-B Pritzker announced a six year $20.7 billion dollar construction plan for the state. The plan runs 2022-2027. Now we look at projects planned for 2023 through 2027: I-57 bridge replacement south of Paxton, pavement rehab on I-57 from Ford/Iroquois County line to Buckley, new bridge deck at the Buckley I-57 overpass, new bridge on I-57 7.3 miles south of Onarga, I-57 pavement rehab from 2 miles south of Onarga to 2.4 miles north of Gilman, replace bridge at Onarga I-57 overpass, pavement reconstruction Route 45 from Route 24 to Route 54, ADA improvements Lott Boulevard to Route 47 in Gibson City, pavement rehab on IL-54 from Route 9/47 in Gibson City to the Champaign County line, I-57 Kirby avenue bridge replacement in Champaign, ADA improvements along U-S 136 from Rantoul to Gifford.

The state's top public health doctor is discussing the ins and outs of COVID-19 vaccine

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s top public health doctor is discussing the ins and outs of COVID-19 vaccine. If you are fully vaccinated, meaning you’ve received the required doses and passed the two week mark, you can assume you’re protected and you aren’t going to get severely ill or end up hospitalized, says Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. But can you still get the virus…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Ezike says that low levels of the virus makes it unlikely that someone vaccinated who gets COVID would spread it to others.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state Senate is voting to overhaul sex education in Illinois schools. The legislation passed 37 to 18, mandating sex ed starting in Kindergarten. The idea is to provide comprehensive, age appropriate, inclusive and medically accurate information to all children. Topics would include consent, healthy relationships, sexual health and dating violence. These are important lessons says State Senator Linda Holmes of Aurora…

 

 

State Senator Linda Holmes of Aurora. District will be able to decide how they teach the curriculum and parents can opt out their kids from instruction. The measure now needs House approval.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,542 new Coronavirus cases and 42 additional deaths. Vermilion County is reporting 39 new cases, Iroquois County 3 new cases and Champaign County 24 new cases. Ford County did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers have until June 30th to pass new legislative maps. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City talks about the process if the legislature doesn’t pass the maps…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Loda-jm) -- Fire crews from Buckley and Paxton were called to a semi fire on I-57 Thursday afternoon. The semi was traveling northbound near milemarker 267 when the driver noticed smoke coming from the rear tires of the trailer. The semi was a total loss.

 

 

(Cullom-jm) -- Livingston County authorities are investigating a deadly shooting in Cullom Thursday. Deputies were called for a person who had been shot. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The Livingston County coroner’s office has not released that person’s identity. The incident remains under investigation.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton will be raising their grand ole flag coming up Memorial Day weekend. Spokesperson Denny Kingren says they are putting the finishing touches at the site and preparing for the flag raising on May 30th…

 

 

Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren. A parade and dedication ceremony will take place at 3pm on the 30th.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Wednesday Governor J-B Pritzker announced a six year $20.7 billion dollar construction plan for the state. The plan runs 2022-2027. Now we look at projects planned for 2022: pavement rehab on I-57 from Buckley to 2 miles south of Onarga, pavement rehab of Route 9 from Stockholm Road to the Vermilion County line, pavement preservation Route 47 from Livingston County line to 9th Street in Gibson City, ADA improvements on Route 54 from I-57 to Route 45 in Onarga, resurfacing I-57 from 2 miles south of Thomasboro to the Ford County line and continued work on the I-57/I-74 interchange in Champaign. Tonight we will look at projects to be completed in years 2023-2027.

 

Gibson City will host their Friday Night Fun Cruise Night tonight from 6-9 pm with Breaking Storm performing live music downtown.

 

Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka will be hosting an affordable sports physical for student athletes on Saturday from 8 to noon. Pre-registration is required.

 

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

 

The Mahomet Seymour School District will host a job fair on Saturday from 9 to noon in the high school commons area.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Republicans in the Illinois House are calling for state employment offices to reopen. Illinois Department of Employment Security offices have been closed since the start of the pandemic, with business conducted online and via phone. Rockford Representative Joe Sosnowski says its time IDES opens to the public and praises the secretary of state’s office for remaining open during much of the pandemic…

 

 

State Representative Joe Sosnowski of Rockford. Governor J-B Pritzker has said IDES offices will reopen this summer but hasn’t given an exact date. He’s cited safety concerns in the past based on threats against workers.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois schools will have to make sure all bathrooms are stocked with menstrual products under a bill passed by the House Thursday. The measure passed on a 68 to 43 vote, with a lot of debate about why both male and female bathrooms need to have pads and tampons. Representative Kathleen Willis of Northlake explains…

 

 

State Representative Kathleen Willis of Northlake. Opponents argue it’s a waste of money to put the products in the boy’s restroom. The bill applies to grades 4 through 12 and now moves to the Senate for approval.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 1,542 new Coronavirus cases and 42 additional deaths. Vermilion County is reporting 39 new cases, Iroquois County 3 new cases and Champaign County 24 new cases. Ford County did not have a report Thursday.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting distracted driving patrols in Champaign County. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A Champaign man arrested in a riot at Market Place Mall nearly a year ago has pleaded guilty to another charge. 20-year-old Shamar Betts pleaded guilty to burglary in association with a riot at the mall that began on May 31 and continued overnight into June 1, 2020. He will be sentenced for burglary on July 8.

 

 

(Bloomington-jm) -- An Illinois Wesleyan University fraternity has been suspended for three years after a student was injured in a hazing incident last month. Officials at the Bloomington campus announced this week that undergraduate members of the Sigma Chi fraternity won't be allowed to live in the chapter house, gather for meetings and activities as a fraternity, or maintain a social media presence as a fraternity. The incident involving a first-year member of the fraternity occurred on April 10.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City will once again be holding their Friday Night Cruise nights. Susie Tongate talks about this year’s cruises…

 

 

Gibson City Cruise Night Spokesperson Susie Tongate. The first cruise night is tonight with Breaking Storm performing live.

 

 

 

The Illinois State Board of Education is voting to require most kids to return to the classroom in the fall

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing a new 20 point seven billion dollar plan to improve Illinois roads and bridges over the next six years. The multi-year plan is part of the state’s Rebuild Illinois initiative, with projects scheduled all over the state covering nearly 28 hundred miles of roads and close to eight million square feet of bridge deck…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Coming up tonight on our news at 4 and 5 we will hi-lite some of the area projects covered in the Governor’s announcement. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite what Fitch Ratings says are notable improvements over the month, Illinois is one of only seven states that remain below 50% jobs recovered from the pandemic. The credit rating agency, which has the state’s rating a notch above speculative grade, or junk bond status, notes the other states have recovered more than half the jobs they lost at the peak of the pandemic.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Treasurer Mike Frerichs is reminding military families that his office has more than 100 medals waiting to be claimed. Most often, the medals end up at the Treasurer’s office after being forgotten inside a safe deposit box or storage facility. Treasurer Frerichs wants to see them returned…

 

 

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs. To see if your family has any missing medals or other items like cash, bonds, jewelry and even baseball cards, run a search online at: illinois treasurer dot gov slash icash.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,633 new Coronavirus cases and 28 deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,370,342 and deaths to 22,492. Locally Iroquois County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 3,057, Champaign County 30 new cases bringing their total to 20,762 , Ford County 12 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 1,801 and deaths to 46. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

 

(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. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a walk up job fair today. The job fair runs 10-3 in the parking lot of their office at 303 W. Kirby Avenue in Champaign. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- GOP lawmakers are pushing for Governor J-B Pritzker to uphold his promise to veto a partisan map proposal. One of those speaking out is 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. Lawmakers have until June 30th to pass a maps proposal otherwise a commission will get the task.


 

(Champaign County-jm) -- Over $40 million has been allocated to Champaign County from the American Rescue Plan. The finance committee of Champaign County is hosting a study session to allow public input on how the county can use this money. The meeting will be held virtually on Zoom on Tuesday, May 25, at 6 p.m.

 

The Paxton Emergency Response Service will host an all you can eat pancake and sausage supper this evening from 5 to 7:30 pm.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education is voting to require most kids to return to the classroom in the fall. The board approved a resolution signifying that it’s time to get back to school. State Superintendent Carmen Ayala…

 

 

Illinois Schools Superintendent Carmen Ayala. The only exception will be students who are unable to receive the vaccine and are also under public health quarantine orders. The resolution does not include a vaccine mandate.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois expects to get more than $13 billion from the federal government to be split between the state and local governments. President Joe Biden announced the U.S. Treasury is sending out $350 billion to state and local governments as part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief measure enacted earlier this year. Illinois state government is in line for $7.5 billion. Local governments will share $5.7 billion.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says there are no plans to cut enhanced unemployment benefits for out of work Illinoisans. Several states are ending the extra 300 dollars a month benefit, with leaders saying people aren’t as motivated to go back to work these days. Speaking this week in Springfield, Governor Pritzker disagreed…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Republicans in Illinois say businesses are having a hard time getting back on track since they can’t find enough workers.

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,633 new Coronavirus cases and 28 deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,370,342 and deaths to 22,492. Locally Iroquois County reported 6 new cases, Champaign County 30 new cases, Ford County 12 new cases and 1 additional death. Vermilion County did not have a report. Reditus Labs in Pekin announced they have identified the Indian double mutant variant known as B-1-617 in a sample collected in the Bloomington-Normal area. The variant contains 13 mutations and is believed to be more contagious.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- School districts around the area are planning for the 2021-2022 school year. Mahomet Seymour Schools Superintendent Lindsay Hall talks about their plan…

 

 

Mahomet Seymour Schools Superintendent Lindsay Hall.

 

 

(St. Louis-jm) -- Starting this weekend, some visitors to Six Flags St. Louis won’t be required to wear a mask. The theme park announced those fully vaccinated can leave their masks at home. Temperature checks and advanced reservations will also not be required.

 

 

(Springfield--jc) --  A group of Illinois House Republicans, in an earlier press conference Wednesday, addressed what they see to be the lack of accountability and leadership from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s office. 105th District State Representative Dan Brady says the governor has failed with I-D-E-S and handling unemployment benefits for Illinoisans... 

 

 

105th District State Representative Dan Brady of Normal.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Avijit Ghosh, vice president, chief financial officer and comptroller of the University of Illinois system since 2018, has been named interim executive vice president and vice president of academic affairs. Ghosh will serve until a national search is complete to find the replacement for Barb Wilson, who left to become president at the University of Iowa. 

 

 

 

Illinois is among the slowest states to recover jobs amid the pandemic

(Springfield-jm) -- The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reports the state is actually bringing in $45.6 billion in the current fiscal year that ends June 30. That’s more than $2 billion more than the previous projections released in March. A revised report to lawmakers says the revised revenue estimate for the coming fiscal year is now $41.1 billion, or up $792 million from the previous report.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,495 new Coronavirus cases and 21 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,368,709 and deaths to 22,466. Vermilion County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 9,637. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 3,051. Champaign County reported 20 new cases bringing their total to 20,732. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A new service called “Illinois Court Help” is now available to help guide people through the often confusing court process. The help line is staffed by trained court guides to answer your questions, says Lisa Colpoys with the Illinois Courts…

 

 

Illinois Courts’ Lisa Colpoys. You can also get information about how to file court documents and up to date information about the steps of your case. To take advantage of this new, free service, call or text: 833-411-1121, or visit the website: il court help dot gov.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- A memorial fund has been set up for a PBL junior who died from COVID complications. Joey Hoopingarner passed away over the weekend. A memorial fund has been set up at the Frederick Community Bank.

 

(Rural Ludlow-jm) -- Champaign County Sheriff’s police are investigating a fire at a rural Ludlow house over the weekend as suspicious. The incident happened on County Road 1900 East near County Road 3300 North. Investigators say the homeowner returned home Sunday morning to find burn marks on the side of the home and a large section of siding melted off. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign County Sheriff’s police.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Republican legislators are calling on Governor Pritzker to keep his promises about supporting a redistricting process that is both fair and non-political. Ray Watt reports from the state capitol…

 

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson Area Hospital is easing some of their visitor restrictions. The hospital says they are no longer restricting the number of visitors per patient except in some instances. Masks will still be required.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- What are the prospects for beef producers this year and next? USDA has some new projections. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is among the slowest states to recover jobs amid the pandemic, according to a WalletHub review of state unemployment rates. The consumer finance website ranked Illinois No. 40 of all states. Illinois’ unemployment rate has declined from 7.4% in February to 7.1% in March. The national average is 6%.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,495 new Coronavirus cases and 21 additional deaths Tuesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,368,709 and deaths to 22,466. As for local active and recovered cases, Vermilion County reported 125 active cases and 10 hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,943 have been released from isolation, 42 remain in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 20,318 have recovered, 267 are in isolation and 8 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Legislation pending in the Illinois Senate requires high school students to be taught about media literacy. A new state law already requires kids to take a course in computer literacy. Sponsor of the new bill, Senator Karina Villa of West Chicago wants media literacy to be covered in that course as well…

 

 

State Senator Karina Villa of West Chicago. The unit, which would be developed by each school district, would also include lessons on creating media and the importance of getting information from a variety of sources.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A ribbon cutting for the Rantoul Sports Complex will be held later this month. The ribbon cutting and grand opening will take place May 29th at 1pm. The public is invited to attend.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- A new Coronavirus test created by the University of Illinois can get accurate results from a saliva sample in less than 30 minutes. Though it is still in the prototype stage, the device is estimated to cost less than $78 and the reagents and other materials needed for testing would amount to $6-$7 per test

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Mahomet Seymour School District will be having in person graduation this year. Superintendent Lindsay Hall talks about the districts plans…

 

 

Mahomet Seymour Schools Superintendent Lindsay Hall.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois State Board of Education is releasing financial profiles for area school districts. Districts in the Recognition category include: Armstrong Township High School, Armstrong Ellis, Cissna Park, PBL, GCMS, Gifford Grade, Hoopeston Area, Iroquois West, Ludlow Grade, St. Joseph Ogden, Rantoul Township and Thomasboro. Districts in the Review category include: Fisher, Rantoul City Schools, Mahomet Seymour and Milford. Districts in the early warning category include St. Joseph Community and Tri Point. Recognition is the highest financial strength. Districts in review are being monitored for potential decline. Districts in early warning are offered assistance from the state.


 

(Washington-jm) -- Moderate progress reported on corn and soybean planting progress. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

Illinois adult-use recreational cannabis sales expected to hit $1 billion by year-end

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois’ cannabis industry is growing up fast with adult-use recreational cannabis sales expected to hit $1 billion by year-end. In March alone, Illinoisans spent $110 million on weed for fun. Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, said one factor contributing to Illinois’ explosive growth is that most neighboring states haven’t legalized marijuana yet. The state collects upwards to 40-plus percent tax on the sale of adult-use cannabis.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says his office will soon be releasing new mask guidelines for Illinois. The state has had a mask mandate in place for about a year now, but that will be relaxed in line with the latest CDC recommendations, says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The CDC advises that fully vaccinated people can safely stop wearing a mask in most settings, both indoors and outdoors.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 946 new Coronavirus cases Monday and 6 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,367,214 and deaths to 22,445. Iroquois County reported 10 new cases bringing their total to 3,047. Ford County reported 6 new cases bringing their total to 1,789. Champaign County reported 68 new cases bringing their total to 20,712. Vermilion County reported 53 new cases bringing their total to 9,625.

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- The village of Roberts has some upcoming projects. Mayor Matt Vaughan talks about the projects…

 

 

Roberts Mayor Matt Vaughan.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul man is facing public indecency charges after police say he exposed himself to two women at the Rantoul Walmart Saturday. Rantoul police were called to the Walmart after a woman reported Ishmel Jackson asked her to come to his vehicle, when she got there he exposed himself. She went inside and reported it. Meanwhile, a second woman, an employee on break, reported Jackson pulled up near her car and asked her to come to his car where he again exposed himself. Bond was set at $5,000. He is due back in court July 6th.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois House returned to Springfield Monday for the final two weeks of the spring session. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City previews the upcoming two weeks…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Jonas Hoedebecke will continue to serve on the Paxton City Council. Hoedebecke decided not to run for re-election but was appointed by Mayor Bill Ingold to the Ward 4 seat.


(Springfield-jm) -- A cool, dry week kept planting progress ahead of pace as we hear in the weekly crop report. About four days were suitable for fieldwork, and 86 percent of corn acres have now been planted. 59 percent has emerged, compared to 40 percent at this time last year, says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. Looking at soybeans…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 85 percent of winter wheat has headed and 83 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. The first cutting of alfalfa is now 22 percent complete. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated one percent very short, 10 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Revenue will begin issuing refunds to eligible taxpayers who filed their 2020 Illinois Individual Income Tax Return prior to a newly enacted federal unemployment tax exemption. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included a retroactive provision making the first $10,200 per taxpayer or up to $20,400 married, filing jointly of unemployment benefits nontaxable for returns with a modified Adjusted Gross Income of less than $150,000.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker is announcing one and a half billion dollars in assistance for renters and landlords struggling during the pandemic. Through the Illinois Rental Payment Program, approved applicants can get up to 25 thousand dollars for rent due as far back as last June and to pre-pay through this August says the Governor…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says the current eviction moratorium will be phased out by August. To apply for a grant, visit: illinois housing help dot org.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 946 new Coronavirus cases Monday and 6 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,367,214 and deaths to 22,445. Iroquois County reported 2,936 have been released from isolation, 45 remain in isolation and 3 are hospitalized. Champaign County reported 20,712 have recovered, 258 are in isolation and 9 are hospitalized. Vermilion County reported 129 active cases and 10 hospitalized. Ford County is unable to provide active and recovered cases at this time.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington is pushing through legislation to help farm families when it comes to passing down the farms to other generations. Senator Barickman explains the legislation and how it will help…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A celebration honoring a specialized group of military members once stationed in Rantoul will be held this weekend. The celebration will be held at the intersection of Route 45 and Veterans Parkway Saturday at 11 am. The area will be designated Tuskegee Airman Honorary Boulevard. The public is invited to attend.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- Gibson City will once again be holding their Friday Night Cruise nights. Susie Tongate talks about this year’s cruises…

 

Gibson City Cruise Night Spokesperson Susie Tongate.

 

Hudson Drug and Hallmark Shop in Paxton is hosting another Moderna Vaccine Clinic. The clinic will be held on Wednesday from 4-8 pm at the Paxton Firehouse. 

Go to hudson covid 19 dot com or call 217-379-4858 to schedule and appointment.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A cool, dry week kept planting progress ahead of pace as we hear in the weekly crop report. 86 percent of corn and 71 percent of soybean acres have been planted, well ahead of last year’s schedule and the five year average says Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. The first cutting of alfalfa hay is 15 percent complete and average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, 10 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus.

 

State lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a state budget

(Springfield-jm) -- Another 18,000 Illinoisans filed for initial unemployment benefits last week. That’s nearly 2,800 more than the week before. The total number of Illinoisans receiving benefits is more than 450,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker says unemployment offices will be reopened to those needing help with their claims sometime this summer, but he hasn’t given a specific date. The offices have been closed for more than a year. Pritzker said the Illinois Department of Employment Security is working with state public health officials toward a reopening.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols. WPXN’s Jason Madden reports…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County will be hosting a spring electronics recycling. The recycling will take place on May 22nd. Registration information and more details will be available in the coming weeks.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers have until the end of the month to pass a state budget. The state will be receiving several billion dollars in federal COVID relief funds which GOP lawmakers say should go towards paying down the state’s debt. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says he thinks Democrats will use the money to create new programs which eventually have to be paid for by taxpayers…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Chief County Assessment Officer Robert Yergler is reminding senior citizens the deadline to file the 2021 Senior Citizens Homestead Assessment Freeze is July 1st. If you have questions or need assistance call the Iroquois County Volunteers Services Office at 815-432-5785.

 

 

(Paxton--jc)  Just Hamburgers in Paxton will be closed today due to a family and friend funeral this morning.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Exports have become increasingly important for the U.S. dairy sector, especially after market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Despite other states eying an end to enhanced unemployment benefits ahead of a September drawdown, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he’s not “going to pull the rug out” from anyone. Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President Mark Denzler sent the governor a letter urging him to end Illinois’ participation in enhanced benefits and rescind an executive order that waives the requirement for someone to actively seek employment to qualify for the benefits.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A compromise to drop the state’s trailer tax fee from $118 to $36 while making up lost revenue by increasing the one-time title transfer fee by $5 could come together before the end of the month. Bipartisan legislation to drop the fee back to $18 was heard in committee last week.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- An organization that helps victims of sexual assault is expanding. Clove Alliance is expanding from Iroquois and Kankakee Counties to also include Ford County. The group has an office in Paxton says Spokesperson Tammy Barragree…

 

 

Clove Alliance Spokesperson Tammy Barragree.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- Iroquois County Sheriff Derek Hagan is awarding five $1,000 golf outing scholarships. The scholarships are for the 2021-2022 academic year. The deadline to apply is May 28th. To be eligible, the applicant must be a permanent Iroquois County resident and apply as a full time undergrad.



(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s two legislative groups are fighting over redistricting. Democrats want to move forward with drawing up legislative districts before the June 30th deadline while GOP members want to hold off because of a delay in receiving census data. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City says there could be some legislative changes…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois State Fair is announcing Sammy Hagar and The Circle will be added to the grandstand lineup. Hagar will take the stage on Thursday, August 12th. Tickets go on sale May 22nd.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's top economist says now that USDA has cut its forecast for Brazilian corn production, markets will re-focus on U.S. crop conditions and prospects. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Illinois officially moves into the "Bridge Phase" today

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton pool will not open this summer. Park district officials voted against opening the pool citing the park district's finances from the COVID-19 pandemic. The district hopes to take the next year to discuss repairs to the pool and have it ready to open in summer 2022.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois officially moves into the “Bridge Phase” today. Thanks to declining COVID cases and hospitalizations, some restrictions will be loosened up a bit, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If COVID numbers continue to decline, the state will move to Phase Five, full reopening in about a month. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,918 new Coronavirus cases and 35 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,361,666 and deaths to 22,320. Locally Vermilion County reported 84 new cases and 1 additional death, a man in his 70s, bringing their total number of cases to 9,558 and deaths to 135. Iroquois County reported 8 new cases bringing their total to 3,033. Champaign County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 20,615. Ford County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says the state has now awarded one billion dollars for infrastructure projects through the Rebuild Illinois program. The program is the largest infrastructure investment in state history, with this funding addressing overdue transportation needs says the Governor…

 


 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says Rebuild Illinois grants have gone to local work as well, including bike paths, storm sewers and traffic signal upgrades. An additional 500 million dollars will be awarded under the program.Champaign County is receiving $962,449. Ford County $95,809. Iroquois County $231,631. Vermilion County $423,351. Local communities eceiving money:Paxton $49,131. Rantoul $142,143. Fisher $20,660. Foosland $1,109. Gifford $10,709. Ludlow $4,075. Mahomet $92,265. St. Joseph $43,573. Thomasboro $12,367. Elliott $3,240. Gibson City $37,422. Melvin $4,964. Roberts $3,976. Sibley $2,987. Buckley $6,590. Cissna Park $9,292. Gilman $19,924. Loda $4,470. Onarga $15,026. Milford $14,345. Rankin $6,162. Potomac $8,237 and Hoopeston $58,775.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Paxton is getting ready to unveil the grand ole flag. The flag will be on the west side of town near the PBL Junior and Senior High School along I-57. The flag will be raised Memorial Day weekend. Spokesperson Denny Kingren talks about what it means to him…

 

 

Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul fire crews were called to a semi fire north of Rantoul yesterday morning . Crews were called around noon to the fire in the southbound lanes at milemarker 253. South bound traffic along the interstate was slowed and down to one lane for several hours. The interstate re opened around 1-45 this afternoon.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The top USDA economist says farmers this year have a better opportunity to profit from higher crop prices that they did last year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

Watseka townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow.

 

Gilman townwide garage sales will take place today through Sunday.

 

The American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at Gibson City Melvin Sibley High School today from 9 to 2.

 

A Rules of the Road senior refresher course will be held at the Moyer District Library in Gibson City today from 10:30 to 12:30.

 

Mahomet clean up day will take place on Saturday from 8 to noon.

 

Paxton IGA will be hosting their cookout benefiting the Rainbow Girls on Saturday from 10 to 2.

 

An informational meeting for those interested in participating in the 2021 Miss Iroquois County Fair Queen Pageant will take place Sunday at 5:30 pm at Town and Country in Milford.

 

 

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police will be conducting distracted driving enforcement patrols. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Many businesses across Illinois are facing a staffing shortage. C-U at Home is now among them. Operations and programs are being temporarily paused starting this week at The Men's Shelter and at Austin's Place. The organization hopes to reopen on Monday, June 14 with additional staff.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Analysts say the market situation for U.S. soybeans could stay strong for most of the upcoming marketing year. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Kids ages 12 to 15 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois

(Springfield-jm) -- Kids ages 12 to 15 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine in Illinois. With approval of use of the Pfizer version for this age group, Governor J-B Pritzker said the state stands ready to administer the shot…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor says as more doctor’s offices carry the vaccine, kids will also be able to get the shot during their regular check-up or back to school physical.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,795 new Coronavirus cases and 26 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,359,748 and deaths to 22,285. Champaign County reported 35 new cases bringing their total to 20,594. Iroquois County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 3,025. Ford County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 1,777. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Motorists traveling Illinois interstates should soon have an easier time finding an electric vehicle charging station. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working to promote clean energy with this latest initiative says Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. The blue signs will read “Alternative Fuels Corridor.” Governor J-B Pritzker’s goal is to have 750 thousand electric vehicles on the road by 2030. Interstates that will have the signs include 39, 55, 70, 74 and 90.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- A Rantoul woman has been sentenced to two years probation for stealing $100,000 from the local VFW. 76 year old Brenda Wise received the sentence in Champaign County Court yesterday after pleading guilty. She must also pay the VFW back the $100,000 and perform 100 hours of community service.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers have less than a month to come up with a balanced budget. One thing that could complicate the budget process is the federal COVID money the state will receive. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington fears the money may not go to what is really needed…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Parkland College and Walgreens will be partnering to offer vaccinations today and Thursday, May 20, from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. as part of a new partnership that will bring on-site vaccination to the college's campus and surrounding community.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA has outlined the process for correcting data errors in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The saliva test for COVID-19 will soon be available for use in Illinois schools. Thanks to a 225 million dollar state investment, students in middle and high school can be tested for the virus by giving a saliva sample. The test was developed by the University of Illinois and offers quick results. Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold says this is part of an effort to make schools as safe as possible…

 

 

Illinois Department of Public Health Spokesperson Melaney Arnold. The testing will be free for districts with predominantly low income students. Other schools will get a discounted rate of 10 dollars per test.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,795 new Coronavirus cases and 26 additional deaths Wednesday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,359,748 and deaths to 22,285. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 20,150 have recovered, 297 are in isolation and 12 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,925 have been released from isolation, 35 remain in isolation and 2 are hospitalized.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is launching a new tourism campaign, “Time for me to Drive.” Governor J-B Pritzker says the idea is to safely get people back to enjoying all Illinois has to offer…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Road trip ideas are available on the website: enjoy illinois dot com. Officials say this campaign is just one component of the state’s strategy to revitalize tourism in Illinois.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Flags in the village of Rantoul are flying at half staff today in memory of a Rantoul firefighter who passed away. Ron Loy served in the Rantoul Fire Department for nearly 40 years. He previously served as a village trustee and was currently serving on three other village committees. His funeral service is set for 10:30 this morning at Lux Memorial Chapel.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- House lawmakers are working on carbon capture legislation. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City is part of the group sponsoring the legislation…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Iroquois County-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department is hosting a pair of upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinics. A walk in Johnson and Johnson one dose and 2nd dose Moderna vaccines will take place on Monday, May 17th from 9 to 6 at the Iroquois County Fairgrounds with the assistance of the Illinois National Guard. A second vaccination clinic, by appointment only, will be held at the Iroquois County Public Health Department in Watseka on May 19th from 9 to 3:30.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- USDA's first outlooks for the 2021-21 marketing season includes indications of what the U.S. corn and soybean balance sheets might look like. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

More than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Illinois

(Pesotum-jm) -- A train containing flour and alcohol derailed near Pesotum Tuesday evening. Crews from the Champaign County Emergency Management Agency, Champaign County Sheriff’s Department and several fire departments responded to the derailment. No word on if there were any injuries.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Illinois. The current average is about 84 thousand shots given each day, and nearly 36 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated. Still some remain skeptical, says Governor J-B Pritzker…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Others just don’t have the time or easy access to the vaccine. The Governor says they are addressing that problem with mobile units, local clinics and making the shot available in doctor’s offices. The latest daily total includes more than 15 hundred new cases of COVID-19 in Illinois and 26 deaths. Vermilion County reported 77 new cases bringing their total to 9,747. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 3,014. Champaign County reported 25 new cases bringing their total to 20,559. The Iroquois County Public Health Department is hosting a free walk in Johnson and Johnson one dose COVID vaccine clinic today at Iroquois Memorial Hospital from 8 to 12:30.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers are considering legislation to address the FOID card backlog. House Bill 2532 is sponsored by House Republicans including 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Treasurer Krisha Shoemaker is announcing mobile home tax bills were mailed out yesterday. Taxes are due July 2nd. They can be paid by mail or at the county treasurer’s office.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency both have a major interest in biofuels, among other things. How well the two agencies work together could determine the future of renewable fuels. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is making plans for the upcoming school year. The 2020-2021 school year is winding down and district leaders are looking ahead to the 21-22 school year and what that might look like says Superintendent Cliff McClure…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- An Indiana man will spend over a decade in prison for attempted child sex crimes in Illinois. Caleb Hickman of Granger, Indiana was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempted enticement, sexual exploitation of a minor, and attempted receipt of child pornography. Officials say the crimes occurred between February 14 and May 26, 2020, in Champaign and Kankakee Counties.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The U.S. Agriculture Secretary is talking with many of his international counterparts on the subject of climate change. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Speak with you physician if you are uncertain about getting the vaccine

(Springfield-jm) -- The state’s top public health doctor is urging those who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine to speak with their personal physician about the shot. Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says getting the vaccine is an important decision that should be discussed with a trusted doctor…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. Nearly 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered so far in Illinois, with more than 35 percent of the population now fully vaccinated. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 1,424 new Coronavirus cases and 12 additional deaths Monday bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,356,391 and deaths to 22,235. Locally Ford County reported 1 new case bringing their total to 1,773. Iroquois County reported 13 new cases bringing their total to 3,010. Champaign County reported 62 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 20,534 and deaths to 146. Vermilion County reported 16 new cases bringing their total to 9,397.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) --  Planting continues ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. The cool, wet weather left only about three and a half days suitable for fieldwork, but farmers still made some nice progress, says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 57 percent of soybeans have been planted and 23 percent emerged. 58 percent of winter wheat has headed and 70 percent of the crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as one percent very short, 10 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Rantoul and Paxton city councils meet tonight. In Rantoul at 6, village board members are expected to approve a contract for upgrades to the Forum Fitness Center and approve an engineering agreement for the Wastewater Facilities capital improvement plan. At 7 in Paxton, city council members are expected to approve Mayor Bill Ingold’s appointment to ward 4 alderman, approve an IT contract with MCS, approve a street repair bid with Iroquois Paving and consider additional class c and e liquor licenses.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- A push to create fair legislative maps through an independent commission may be stalling. In Illinois, lawmakers are tasked with drawing legislative maps based off of census data every 10 years. GOP members and at the time candidate J-B Pritzker pushed for a commission to create the maps however, 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman says the Governor and Democrats may be changing their minds…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- Construction is underway at Willard Airport in Savoy. The airport received just over $12 million in federal funding to redo runway lighting, pavement and markings. The work is expected to be completed by October.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Even with the unpredictability faced by ag producers over the last several months, crop insurance remained a steady and reliable part of their risk management portfolio. Rod Bain reports…

 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is urging the public to “Start Seeing Motorcycles.” It’s time for the annual campaign to once again ask drivers and riders to be especially careful says IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel…

 

 

IDOT Spokesperson Paul Wappel. Wappel says while motorcyclists represent just three percent of total vehicle registrations in the state, they account for 14 percent of traffic fatalities. 153 bikers died on Illinois roads last year.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Planting continues ahead of schedule as we hear in the weekly crop report. 74 percent of corn has been planted, compared to 61 percent for the five year average. 35 percent of the crop is emerged says State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener…

 

 

State Crop Statistician Mark Schleusener. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- The Vermilion County Board and St. Joseph village board meet tonight. At 6 in Danville, the Vermilion County board is expected to approve a resolution in support of keeping wind and solar farm regulations at the county level and approve funds for a pair of bridge replacements. At 7 in St. Joseph, village board members are expected to consider a food truck ordinance and hear an update on the village manager search.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is considering creating a summer enrichment camp. Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about the camp…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- A new store is now open in the shopping district along Prospect Avenue in Champaign. Burlington opened last week in the former Gander Mountain and Circuit City location.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The Biden Administration is focusing on agricultural innovation that helps support climate efforts, at home and abroad. Stephanie Ho reports…

 

 

 

 

The Illinois economy shrank by 4 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on many of its sectors

(Springfield-jm) -- A recent report on maternal deaths is offering recommendations to improve health outcomes for pregnant women. Some of the suggestions include insurance and Medicaid coverage of telehealth services and making sure all new moms leave the hospital with an appointment for a post-natal follow up visit scheduled. State Public Health Department Office of Women’s Health Deputy Director Shannon Lightner says there also needs to be more careful monitoring of mothers after childbirth for hemorrhaging…

 

 

State Public Health Office of Women’s Health Deputy Director Shannon Lightner. The report also recommended that providers should seek consultation when prescribing, changing or stopping a pregnant woman’s antidepressants or other psychiatric medication.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois economy shrank by 4 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on many of its sectors, although there were signs of a recovery taking place late in the year. Those preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, showed that the leisure, hospitality and food service sector was the hardest hit by the pandemic, reporting a nearly 30 percent drop in economic output for the year. Other industries that suffered in Illinois included transportation and warehousing, down 14 percent; non government services, down 12.3 percent; manufacturing, down 7.3 percent; wholesale trade, down 5 percent; and retail trade, down 2.3 percent. The one bright spot in the state’s economy was the agriculture sector, which grew by nearly 68 percent over the previous year. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Clove Alliance is expanding to Ford County. The group is adding Ford County to their area of Iroqouis and Kankakee Counties. Spokesperson Tammy Barragree talks about some of the services they provide…

 

 

Clove Alliance Spokesperson Tammy Barragree.

 

 

(Fairbury-jm) -- A Gilman man is facing drug and child sex charges in Livingston County. 37 year old Rocky Nelson was arrested by Fairbury police for indecent solicitation of a child, solicitation to meet a child, travelling to meet a child, exploitation of a child, distributing harmful material via cellular device, possession of crystal meth and aggravated delivery of meth.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda School District is looking at some summer projects. One of the major projects is the high school track, says Superintendent Cliff McClure…

 

 

PBL Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- According to Gas Buddy gas prices will rise soon. Illinois gas prices have risen 7.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.10 per gallon. Gas Buddy expects prices to continue to rise as more people receive their COVID vaccinations and restrictions ease this summer.

 

 

(Washington-jm) --  The retail cost of fresh fruit is rising substantially this year, after two years of price declines. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Interested in a career in law enforcement? Illinois Conservation Police are hiring. The State Department of Natural Resources is looking for those interested in combining their love of the outdoors with their commitment to public safety says Spokesperson Rachel Torbert…

 

 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Rachel Torbert. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s and three years of law enforcement experience. To see the job posting, visit: illinois dot jobs 2, that's the number 2, web dot com and search for conservation police officer trainee. The deadline to apply is May 31st.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Challenges of the pandemic are prompting Illinois families to switch over to homeschooling. According to the U.S Census Bureau, Illinois families with school-age children who reported homeschooling jumped from 2.1% between April 23 and May 5, 2020, to 5.4% between Sept. 30 and Oct. 12, 2020. 

 

 

(Roberts-jm) -- The village of Roberts is facing some well issues. Village President Matt Vaughan says the issue is costly…

 

 

Roberts Village President Matt Vaughan.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- The University of Illinois is offering a new, virtual summer camp for high school students with autism who want to learn more about college life.  The free camp will be offered June 22 to 25 via Zoom. The registration deadline is May 24.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Grand Ole Flag committee is continuing to raise money for the project. Spokesperson Denny Kingren provides an update…

 

 

Paxton Grand Ole Flag Spokesperson Denny Kingren.

 

 

(Georgetown-jm) -- Country music legend Tracy Lawrence will perform at this year’s Georgetown Fair. Local group the Feudin Hillbillys will open. The concert will take place August 13th.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- The corn market keeps on getting stronger. Market indicators point to continued strength. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois will move into the "Bridge" phase next Friday

(Leverett-jm) -- One person is dead following a two vehicle accident in Champaign County Thursday afternoon. Illinois State Police say the accident happened at Route 45 and Leverett Road around 2:15. 81 year old John Reitmeier of St. Joseph was entering Route 45 when he was struck by a southbound vehicle. He died at the scene. The driver of the other vehicle, Mark Holt of Rantoul, was taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Charges against the man accused of hitting a woman in Gibson City with the intent to kidnap and sexually assault her have been dropped in Ford County Court. Instead, Paul Theesfield of Roberts is facing federal charges of attempted kidnapping.  Theesfield’s federal trial is expected to begin at the end of June.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois will move into the “Bridge” phase next Friday and may fully reopen as soon as June 11th. Thanks to declining cases and steadying hospitalization numbers, the Governor says the state can enter the bridge phase on May 14th…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. If COVID conditions continue improving that full reopening could begin as early as June 11th. Masks will still be required during the bridge phase and it’s yet to be determined if that will continue into Phase 5. Illinois reported 1,778 new cases and 40 additional deaths Thursday bringing the state's total number of cases to 1,348,176 and deaths to 22,136. Iroquois County reported 5 new cases bringing their total to 2,992. Champaign County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 20,428. Vermilion County reported 35 new cases bringing their total to 9,312. Ford County did not have a report.


 

(Springfield-jm) -- New election reforms are being proposed in hopes of instilling more voter confidence. The bill aims to standardize practices across the state, so that all county election authorities are on the same page. That includes training for election judges and publishing online exactly how vote by mail ballots are handled says Senator Sally Turner of Lincoln…

 

 

State Senator Sally Turner of Lincoln. The legislation also calls for election authorities to post a notice online about why ballot tallies are more than five hours late and to perform periodic audits.

 

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Spring is here and that means planting season. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece has safety tips for both farmers and the motoring public…

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- New data from Recent Point-in-Time completed by Continuum of Services Providers to the Homeless helped identify new ways to improve the lives of those without an address. During the homeless count in Champaign County, which took place in late January, 146 individuals were identified. The data is used to find the gaps in the need, and how the community can better serve the homeless in the Champaign-Urbana area. One of those gaps is the growing need for volunteers at the local shelters. This year, 132 individuals were in emergency shelters and 14 were in transitional housing. Data shows that 25 percent of them were under the age of 18, 7 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24, and 68 percent were over the age of 24.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- An organization that helps victims of sexual assault is expanding into Ford County. Clove Alliance’s Tammy Barragree talks about the organization expanding to Ford County…

 

 

Clove Alliance Spokesperson Tammy Barragree.

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state is expanding vaccine availability to doctor’s offices across Illinois. State Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike says 60 percent of adult Illinois residents have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Now, officials want to reach those who haven’t gotten the shot yet…

 

 

Illinois Public Health Director Dr Ngozi Ezike. More than one thousand doctor’s offices have already signed up. Those interested in joining can visit the I-D-P-H website for an enrollment packet.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Police Department has two new members. Rathen Camacho and Ethan Smith were sworn in this week and will begin their 14 week training this weekend. 

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) is preparing for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to get approved by the FDA for youth ages 12 to 15 years old. The district said it started saving doses about a week ago, setting them aside for teens not able to get other COVID-19 vaccine types. In Champaign County, 10,500 youth between the ages of 12 to 15 years old will be eligible.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- Illinois State Police will be conducting Special Traffic Enforcement Patrols in Champaign County during the month of May. WPXN’s Jason Madden has the details…

 

 

 

Crescent City townwide garage sales will take place today and tomorrow

 

The village of Rantoul will host a clean up day on Saturday from 8 to noon.

 

The Rantoul Township High School Plant Sale will take place on Saturday from 8 to 2 in the ag shop.

 

The Vermilion County Public Health Department will be hosting an electronics recycling on Saturday from 9-11 in the north lot of Danville Area Community College.

 

Governor J-B Pritzker says conventions are back this summer

(Paxton-jm) -- A portion of Route 9 in Paxton could be renamed for a fallen State Trooper. State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City introduced the legislation at the state capitol…

 

 

State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Governor J-B Pritzker says conventions are back this summer, starting with the Chicago Auto Show in mid-July. The nation’s longest running auto show will run July 15th through the 19th and will be the first large convention to be held in Illinois since the start of the pandemic…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. Governor Pritzker says a temperature scan will be done upon entry and visitors will have to wear a mask and fill out a short medical questionnaire, but proof of vaccination will not be required.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Lawmakers are beginning to draw new legislative districts despite not having census data. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington says there is overwhelming support to take the map making process away from lawmakers…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 2,410 new Coronavirus cases and 30 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,346,398 and deaths to 22,096. Ford County reported 9 new cases bringing their total number of cases to 1,760. Champaign County reported 55 new cases bringing their total to 20,413. Iroquois County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 2,987. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Many area schools are making plans for in person graduation. Paxton Buckley Loda Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure talks about the districts tentative plans…

 

 

PBL  Schools Superintendent Cliff McClure.

 

 

(Watseka-jm) -- The Iroquois County Public Health Department in conjunction with Iroquois Memorial Hospital will be conducting a Johnson and Johnson, one dose COVID-19 vaccination clinic tomorrow. The free walk in vaccination clinic will be held at Iroquois Memorial Hospital tomorrow evening from 5 to 8 pm.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- U.S. agricultural product exports continue to climb. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Public schools could lose some state funding if they apply student dress codes to hairstyles under a bill being discussed in the Illinois Senate. The measure was discussed in a legislative committee, where Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago said it’s time to end old policies that discriminate against minority students…

 

 

State Senator Mike Simmons of Chicago. Schools that don’t comply would have their state funding kept at the previous year’s levels. While committee members agreed the change is needed, some questioned the harsh penalty. Simmons says negotiations are ongoing.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- This is Arson Awareness Week, with a focus on arson due to civil unrest. The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office urges local fire departments to have a comprehensive plan in place should civil unrest and fires break out says Spokesperson J-C Fultz…

 

 

Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Spokesperson J-C Fultz. Last year in Illinois, state investigators responded to more than one thousand suspected cases of arson. The office also has seven accelerant detection dogs that were brought in for 263 cases.

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois reported 2,410 new Coronavirus cases and 30 additional deaths bringing the state’s total number of cases to 1,346,398 and deaths to 22,096. As for local active and recovered cases, Champaign County reported 19,863 have recovered, 405 are in isolation and 17 are hospitalized. Iroquois County reported 2,882 have been released from isolation, 41 are in isolation and 1 is hospitalized. Vermilion County did not have a report.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School is planning for in person graduation this year. Superintendent Scott Amerio talks about the districts plan…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.

 

(Gilman-jm) -- Commodity prices are impacting what farmers plant this spring. Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece talks about how prices impact farmers decisions…

 

 

Ford Iroquois Farm Bureau Manager David Treece.

 

 

(Hoopeston-jm) -- A Hoopeston juvenile is facing attempted murder charges among other charges following an incident. Police say they were called to Parkview Court in Hoopeston for a person injured following an altercation. The 15 year old suspect was gone when police arrived but was found a short time later and charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, armed violence and aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon. Further details were not immediately available.

 

 

(Washington-jm) -- Corn prices and corn exports are still making news. Gary Crawford reports…

 

 

Illinois could move to Phase 5 by July 4th

(Springfield-jm) -- The Illinois legislature is taking steps to help prevent unemployment fraud. A bill heading to the Senate would stop the Illinois Department of Employment Security from sending someone’s Social Security number out during department letters or correspondence. Instead of printing and sending Social Security numbers, IDES would have to develop a new system of identifying information.

 

New

(Springfield-jm) -- A bill is looking to help educate Illinois students on gun safety. House Bill 3173 would allow school districts to offer firearm safety courses as part of the curriculum or as an after-school program. The Illinois State Board of Education would also provide resources that may be used to develop these courses. The legislation passed in the Illinois House and is being considered by the Senate.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- If COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, Governor J-B Pritzker says Illinois is on track to enter Phase Five in July. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that her goal is to fully reopen the city by July 4th. That’s a real possibility statewide says Governor Pritzker, so long as the variants don’t cause an increase in cases and hospitalizations…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The Governor is hopeful Illinois will soon be in the Bridge phase. Then, if numbers hold or decline for a 28 day period, the state can move to Phase Five, which is a full reopening. Yesterday Illinois reported 2,211 new cases and 19 additional deaths. Champaign County reported 21 new cases bringing their total to 20,358. Vermilion County reported 18 new cases bringing their total to 9,277. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases and 2 additional deaths bringing their total number of cases to 2,975 and deaths to 63. Ford County did not have a report Tuesday.

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul is seeing an increase in the number of new businesses coming to the village. Mayor Chuck Smith says they are seeing an economic development boom…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Police are looking for two people who may be involved in a shooting Sunday afternoon. Officers were called around 4 p.m. to the 600 block of Autumn Fields Lane for a report of multiple shots being fired. A day earlier a male juvenile was shot in the chest. Police are unsure if the shootings are related.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Champaign County will be hosting a spring electronics recycling. The recycling will take place on May 22nd. Registration information and more details will be available in the coming weeks.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Several area lawmakers are facing a significant number of complaints when it comes to the renewal of FOID cards. 106th District State Representative Tom Bennett says it's one of the top complaints his office receives…

 

 

106th District State Representative Tom Bennett of Gibson City.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Christian band MercyMe is coming to the State Farm Center later this year. The group will perform in Champaign on November 6th. Micah Tyler will open.

(Springfield-jm) -- Fewer people are going to college. Enrollment across all higher education institutions in Illinois is down more than 7%. However, all universities say they are seeing a push from students to return to the classroom and freshmen wanting to attend.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- Illinois is among the worst places for business, according to Chief Executive Magazine. The magazine said, “Despite powerful human capital, high costs remain a turnoff” for businesses for the bottom five. Illinois was among California, New York, New Jersey and Washington ranked in the bottom five. Texas was selected as the best state for business.

 

 

(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.

 

 

(Gibson City-jm) -- East Central Illinois Community Action Agency will be holding a drive thru health fair later this week in Ford County. The drive thru health fair will be at the New Beginnings Church in Gibson City on Friday from 11 to 3.

 

 

(Buckley-jm) -- Buckley and Loda Alumni will be gathering this summer. The 68th alumni banquet will take place on June 12th at the 103 in Buckley. Cost is $25 per person. Reservations are required by June 3rd.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- Youth football and cheer will be underway soon in the Paxton Buckley Loda Area. Spokesperson Matt Vaughan says they are still looking for kids to sign up…

 

 

Vaughan says the deadline to sign up is fast approaching…

 

 

PBL Youth Football and Cheer Spokesperson Matt Vaughan.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- Ford County Sheriff Mark Doran’s office has released their April activity report. During the month, deputies responded to 8 traffic accidents and issued 19 citations for speeding, 6 for driving on a suspended or revoked license, 3 for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, 2 each for disregard or a traffic signal and leaving the scene of an accident and 1 each for fleeing and eluding police, improper lane usage and no driver’s license. Deputies also handled 9 custody disputes, 8 harassment reports, 4 thefts, 2 burglaries and 1 report each of fraud, stolen vehicle and a police chase.

 

The state may be able to soon enter the "Bridge" phase of COVID-19 mitigations

(Rural Rankin-jm) -- One person is dead following an accident near Rankin Monday. Illinois State Police say the accident happened on Route 49 at 4000 north just after 1pm. They say a car heading south on Route 49 went to turn into a drive when it struck a northbound vehicle. That vehicle rolled. The driver of that vehicle died at the scene. The other driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and cited for failure to yield to the right of way.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- State lawmakers return to Springfield today. They’ll have four weeks of session to pass legislation with simple majorities.  That May 31st deadline is also for the state to pass a balanced budget. Another deadline is June 30 for lawmakers to send Governor J.B. Pritzker new outlines for congressional and legislative districts.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- The state may be able to soon enter the “Bridge” phase of COVID-19 mitigations. Enough seniors are vaccinated for Illinois to move into the bridge phase, which increases capacity limits in several different settings, but hospitalizations are still a concern. Governor J-B Pritzker says it appears that’s changing…

 

 

Illinois Governor J-B Pritzker. The latest daily total included more than two thousand new cases and 28 additional deaths. Locally, Vermilion County reported 39 new cases and 1 additional death, a man in his 70s, bringing their total number of cases to 9,259 and deaths to 133. Ford County reported 11 new cases bringing their total to 1,751. Iroquois County reported 12 new cases bringing their total to 2,931. Champaign County reported 65 new cases and 1 additional death bringing their total number of cases to 20,337 and deaths to 143.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- In addition to passing a state budget, lawmakers will also be addressing legislative districts. For years Democrats and Republicans have battled over how legislative districts should be drawn. 53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington is sponsoring legislation addressing the issue…

 

 

53rd District State Senator Jason Barickman of Bloomington.

 

 

(Ford County-jm) -- The Ford County Board approved a pair of bids for road construction. The board approved a bid from Cross Construction for $149,339 to repave Stockholm Road in Patton Township. They also approved a bid from Iroquois Paving for $203,917 to repave portions of 500 north in Dix Township.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- The Rantoul Township High School FFA Chapter will be hosting their plant sale Saturday, May 8th. The sale will run from 8 to noon and will feature nearly 20 different varieties of plants from marigolds to tomatoes and hanging baskets. FFA Advisor Theresa Porter talks about what the chapter plans to do with the money raised…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School FFA Advisor Theresa Porter. Porter says they will also use some of the funds for the Horticulture 2 class to raise poinsettias that will be for sale in December.

 

 

(Pesotum-jm) -- District 10 Illinois State Police in Pesotum is reporting results from nighttime enforcement patrols conducted in April in Champaign County. During the patrols, 1 citation was issued for driving under the influence, 3 were cited for other drug or alcohol related offenses, 1 for registration offense, 3 for drivers license offenses and 5 for insurance violations.

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than half of Illinois corn acres have now been planted. Above average temperatures and about normal rainfall gave farmers over four days in the fields this past week says Crop Statistician Steve Parn…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Soybean planting is ahead of schedule with 41 percent in the ground and seven percent emerged. 21 percent of winter wheat has headed. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated as two percent very short, 17 percent short, 69 adequate and 12 percent surplus.

 

 

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Township High School will see some work done this summer. Superintendent Scott Amerio says some restrooms will see some updates…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Two people have been arrested on drug charges in Rantoul. Heidi Snyder of Rantoul and Hunter Whitson of Ludlow were arrested after police found them with drugs in the parking lot of a Rantoul hotel. Both were arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver over 15 grams of meth. Snyder faces an additional charge of possession of adderall while Whitson faces additional charges of possession with intent to deliver hydrocodone and obstruction of justice. They both face 6 to 30 years in prison. They are due back in court June 22nd.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Coronavirus pandemic delayed Paxton’s streetscape project. Mayor Bill Ingold provides an update on the project…

 

 

Paxton Mayor Bill Ingold.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- The Champaign County Humane Society will be moving across town after initial expansion plans fell through. The organization said after property and construction, the expansion would have cost around $3.5 million. Instead, the humane society will be moving into a larger set of buildings in West Champaign in the coming years. 

 

 

(Springfield-jm) -- More than half of Illinois corn acres have now been planted. 54 percent of corn is in the ground and 14 percent has emerged says Crop Statistician Steve Parn. Looking at soybeans and winter wheat…

 

 

Crop Statistician Steve Parn. 68 percent of the winter wheat crop is rated in good to excellent condition. Average statewide topsoil moisture is rated at two percent very short, 17 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

Illinois has topped 22,000 COVID deaths

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul police are investigating a weekend shooting. Police were called to the 800 block of Golf Course Road around 8:30 Saturday evening where they found a male juvenile with a gunshot wound to the chest. The youth was taken to the hospital. Police believe the shooting may have occurred on Autumn Fields Lane. Anyone with information is asked to call Rantoul police at 217-892-2103. 

 

 

(Undated-jm) -- Illinois has topped 22,000 COVID deaths since the pandemic began. Illinois now has 1,339,728 cases and 22,019 deaths. Friday Champaign County reported 73 new cases bringing their total to 20,272. Vermilion County reported 26 new cases bringing their total to 9,220. Iroquois County reported 4 new cases bringing their total to 2,954. Ford County reported 15 new cases bringing their total to 1,740.

 

 

(Champaign-jm) -- Will Champaign County farmers plant more corn or soybeans this year? As planting season gets underway many are wondering whether farmers will plant more corn or soybeans. Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken says he thinks it will be a pretty even split…

 

 

Champaign County Farm Bureau Manager Brad Uken.

 

 

(Paxton-jm) -- A tree planted at Pells Park in Paxton was dedicated in memory of a long time doctor. During the city’s annual arbor day tree dedication Friday, the tree was dedicated in memory of Doctor Richard Foellner. Foellner died in October and had practiced medicine in Paxton for nearly 50 years.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith was re-elected to another term earlier last month. Mayor Smith talks about some of his goals he hopes to accomplish…

 

 

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith.

 

 

(Savoy-jm) -- Willard Airport is hoping to soon be able to offer a direct route to Washington, D.C. The airport applied for a federal grant for $850,000. The money would be used to partially cover the minimum revenue guarantee fund to add a new flight to Washington, D.C. Additionally money will need to be raised by Willard Airport and the community to make the flight a reality. The goal is to have Washington, D.C. as a possible destination sometime in early 2022.

 

(Paxton-jm) -- The Paxton Buckley Loda Youth Football and Cheer Program is in need of players. Spokesperson Matt Vaughan says they would like to see more sign up to keep the program going…

 

 

PBL Youth Football and Cheer Program Spokesperson Matt Vaughan. The unofficial deadline to sign up is May 5th.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Rantoul community leaders came together over the weekend to address the rise in gun violence in the community. The forum was put on by the Rantoul police department and members of the village board. The goal of the meeting was to have an open dialogue about safety concerns and how to fix the issue of gun violence.

 

 

(Mahomet-jm) -- The Illinois Department of Transportation is announcing lane closures starting tonight on IL-47 at I-74 in Mahomet. The closures will take place from 8 pm to 5:45 the next morning for bridge repairs. Work is expected to be completed by May 7th.

 

 

(Rantoul-jm) -- Schools around the area are planning how the next school year will look while dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic. Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio says the district is looking at their options…

 

 

Rantoul Township High School Superintendent Scott Amerio. Amerio says a recommendation will be brought to the board in May with a vote on a plan likely to happen in June.

 

 

(Urbana-jm) -- Students at the University of Illinois will no longer be required to take a COVID-19 test if they're fully vaccinated. Chancellor Robert Jones announced that in the future, the university will accept an individual's verified proof of being fully vaccinated in place of regular testing. Chancellor Jones expects this to begin before August 23, the first day of the fall 2021 semester.

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